Written by Ria du Plessis - Digital Marketing Expert
What Is Zendesk?
Zendesk is a customer relationship management company founded in 2007 designed to provide full support across multiple channels relating to customer interaction. It offers an easy to use, customizable hub for you to keep all your customer interactions in one place and integrates an internal marketplace, where you can buy and/or install various additional features and services to make for a personalized experience.
Zendesk Pros & Cons
- Extensive tutorials - Zendesk boasts a fully integrated learning center, including certifications, with everything just a few clicks away. They offer multiple tutorials, seminars and tailored help alongside the standard documentation, providing everything you need to become a Zendesk whizz
- Internal integrations - Alongside their “sales” platform, used for email marketing, Zendesk offer a “service” branch for live chat, ticketing and messaging purposes. Both of these platforms are fully integrated, resulting in a very efficient workflow all managed internally
- App support - Zendesk comes with a mobile app, making for a very ‘handy’ tool for those constantly on the move. It has a network of supplementary internal apps that allow you to easily expand your capabilities in a couple of clicks, as well as 1000+ integrations with other services such as Gmail and Slack
- Pricing structure - The lack of information in relation to email marketing and the multiple different subscriptions/additions needed for extra features can lead to a convoluted experience. The internal training center, while very beneficial, can also be quite costly. You’ll need to pay for a more advanced plan to take advantage of basic email automation tools
- Limited capabilities - Zendesk only offers the ability to send 300 emails/day per user on every price plan. If you wish to send out a bulk marketing campaign, you need to have a subsidiary service to integrate. This is the case for other essential features such as automation, which is also locked behind more expensive subscriptions
Who Is Zendesk Recommended For?
I’d recommend this to someone who wants a fully integrated internal system of email marketing, ticketing and messaging services, and prefers to pick and choose which services they need to take full advantage of what Zendesk has to offer. If you’re comfortable with these services, this could be a very powerful tool covering all of your customer interactions.
Who Is Zendesk Not Recommended For?
Beginners. If you are new to the world of email marketing and are looking to dip your toe in the water, I’d suggest you try elsewhere. The limited features offered in the initial packages means you’ll have to spend time downloading support apps and integrating other services instead of having everything ready to go straight away.
Emails a day
300 per user
Up to 3
Zendesk marketplace integration, mobile CRM
300 per user
Custom templates, personalized emailing, custom fields
300 per user
Activity reports, task automation, priority sorting
300 per user
Advanced reports, API capabilities, premium customer support
The prices stated here are for a month-by-month subscription but if you decide to go for an annual subscription, you’ll receive discounts for each plan. This initial subscription gives you the foundation needed to utilize Zendesk but if you want further features, additional subscriptions are required. “Reach”, for example, is an additional plan priced at $30 - $90 per month which adds engagement and enrichment features. There’s a 14-day free trial available which gives you access to all Sell features.
Cancellation / Refund Policies
Zendesk has a no refund policy for subscription changes or the time you don’t use your account. They take no responsibility for integrating a non-Zendesk service if it ceases to exist or function in the product. Other customers have complained about difficult dealings with customer service when changing plans, especially downgrading.
Zendesk has plenty to offer in terms of features. While several basic functions come with the ‘Sell’ plan, Zendesk Marketplace, integrated apps and supplementary services are where the tool really shines.
· Mobile CRM
The Zendesk app available on iOS and Android allows you to access your profile via a cell phone app with a clean UI, great for users who are always on the move.
· Ease of Use
The fact that Zendesk offers a lot more than just email marketing in a fully integrated system means you can easily keep all your customer relations in one place, with different tools communicating automatically to ensure everything is operating optimally.
Integrate your accounts across all Zendesk services and create a central hub where you can download additional integrated apps from the marketplace. Featured apps include Mailchimp, Facebook and Google to name just a few.
· Learning Resources
The internal training page provides you with expert lectures and classes for all things Zendesk. For $899, you can take a master course which will get you a certified certificate in 6 months.
· Zendesk Marketplace
The internal store gives you a range of extra apps (56 for Sell) that can be integrated with just a few clicks. With a whole range of categories, the marketplace allows you to pick and choose what’s best suited to you.
· Free Trials
Zendesk offers a 14-day trial for each of its services with full access to features, giving you an insight of what’s on offer so you can pick subscriptions relevant to your needs.
· Email Designer
Download subsidiary apps to automate and personalize your email marketing campaigns, but this is limited to HTML editing. Potentially take advantage of an unlimited number of templates at your disposal, as well as automating interaction notifications so you can reach out at the right time.
· Activity Reporting
Track how effective your email campaigns are by tracking the number of clicks and views, delving deeper to capture new leads by filtering with terms such as “no communication yet”.
FEATURES SCORE: 4/5
Zendesk Automation Features
Basic email marketing automation - With your initial subscription to Sell, you’ll be limited to only basic functions such as being notified when an email is opened. You’ll need to pay extra to gain full access to automation features like automating emails at intervals.
Reach - I briefly mentioned Reach when looking at the price plans earlier. This additional paid service allows for more advanced automation capabilities, such as automatic triggers and email sequences. Limitations include the need to manually add new leads to automation sequences and limited access if you aren’t operating from an Admin profile.
Zendesk Software Integration
Integration with Zendesk Support - The great thing about dealing with a company like Zendesk, which offers a full customer relationship management system, is that you’re able to integrate your Sell account across all Zendesk platforms and know that it’s just going to work (as long as you’ve paid for these other services).
Internal app store - The marketplace is where you can further integrate other featured apps like Mailchimp, Facebook and Google into your plans. Partnerships with other companies and services mean you can add bonus features from many categories.
Having all of this available in one system can be massive in terms of improving your workflow and communication abilities, making for a cohesive hub of operations.
Zendesk Alternative Brands
Hubspot - Similar to Zendesk, here you have a full CRM service with email marketing one part of the services on offer in a fully integrated system. The “Marketing” service offers something for everyone with prices starting from $45/month going up to $3,200/month. It can be a bit more pricey, but that cost comes with extensive automation and reporting features already integrated.
Active Campaign - Founded in 2003, Active Campaign is a solid go-to for your email marketing needs. If you aren’t interested in all the other services associated with CRMs, this can be a more cost-effective choice for you as prices start at $9/month with automation features, unlimited email sending and campaign reporting all available for this price.
Constant Contact - With a focus on affordable price plans and expert support, this alternative starting at $20 gives you all the features needed for effective email marketing campaigns off-the-bat. Constant Contact also offers a Website Builder to help you boost your online presence.
If you’re already comfortable traversing the world of customer relationship management and want to build a custom experience, picking and choosing what best suits you, Zendesk could prove to be a great choice. While the need to add multiple subscriptions and additions may seem convoluted, if you can navigate it, you can reap the benefits of a fully integrated system with plenty of features.