Announcing changes to the Zendesk customer support experience

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97 Comments

  • Kelly Danner
    Zendesk Customer Care

    Hi everyone -

    Thank you again for sharing your feedback with us. We have some updates and information to share that we hope will be helpful as we continue to work through the challenges that this rollout has presented.

    First, we reactivated the support email address from Monday morning to midday Wednesday as we worked through an issue to ensure you continued to have a way to reach us in addition to the widget in our help center. We have since deactivated it as the widget is once again available in the products. 

    In the future, if the widget is not working or becomes unavailable for any reason, you can reach us by following the directions here: Contacting Zendesk when Messaging is unavailable, and we will post any widget outages to our Status page.You can also always post your questions to the Zendesk Community forums as well.

    Second, we are reviewing all of the feedback here, and it continues to inform how we further refine our support processes. We are listening and will continue to improve  the ways we support you and make adjustments based on what you are telling us you need. As an example, we have some changes under way to our bot messaging and flow based on your feedback!

    We also understand the sentiment some of you have shared that it appears we are taking channels away. We see our approach to messaging as a way of combining email and chat support channels to keep the context and history of your request intact. Messaging allows for both an asynchronous conversation when you don’t have time to engage with us live, while also enabling the flexibility of real-time help when you need it -- without channel switching.

    This shift is a change to the entry point for you to get support, not a way to reduce the level of support we provide. If your support issue requires a different channel such as email, a screen share, etc. to address, then we’ll switch the conversation over to whichever channel is best suited for resolution.

    Ultimately we’ve made this change to be more responsive to your needs more quickly, though we realize the first few days of the experience have not demonstrated that for everyone.  We are quickly adapting our workflows to ensure we achieve more timely first responses and you should start to see the effects of these changes immediately. Please know that we are working around the clock to improve the support experience.

    To respond to some specific concerns: 

    Michael M - You’re right, 25 minutes is too long to wait for a response. This is not the desired outcome of these changes, and you can expect a shorter wait time than that most of the time. Thank you for bearing with us as we work through the transition. As for the number of questions the bot asked, we’re still training the bot and refining the workflows, so this should quickly become a better experience. 

    Tina Yates - We will follow up with you directly to understand why you experienced this issue with the bot.

    C.W. Holeman III, Teranet Inc., and Rylan R - Clearly, the wait times you have been experiencing over the past few days are not what we would consider acceptable. We will be reaching out to each of you directly as well.

    CJ Johnson - thanks for sharing your detailed feedback. We’ve made sure this has gotten in front of our customer experience team. I don’t expect to have any immediate updates, but we are pulling together all of the feedback we are receiving from customers on this experience and it will get reviewed and discussed.

    Kyle Pinkley - thank you for your feedback as well, and again, that kind of delay is not what the normal experience should be.

    -2
  • Teranet Inc.

    Tray Cushing - agree 100% on the principle of what you are saying.  If it was me, and I had deadlines and a bonu$ at risk...it's take the help from whomever is willing to offer it....but that's me.

    3
  • C.W. Holeman III

    Teranet Inc., thanks for the offer! Unfortunately, after waiting for assistance on this for two days, I've been forced to back-burner that project for the time being.

    2
  • Jeremy Heath

    Well I am not filled with optimism so far

    This is an old account that I used a long time ago, which is lucky because this is the only way I can get anyone to look at my issues.

    I cannot log in to my main account because I get an account suspended error

    An Agent tweaked the account to add a second email. I received 24 emails that were jammed in the system, and now I'm suspended ??? (dunno if they are connected)

    Tried sending a mail to support

    Tried 2 messages which seem to be getting ignored

    Both of those have been sent with zero replies from Zendesk

    Not having any fun here.

    6
  • Michael M.

    Is support open today?   No responses on live chat at all, all telephone options go to a "we're not here now" message and voicemail.   It's end of month on a Friday, where is everybody? 

    6
  • C.W. Holeman III

    Finally got a hold of an agent. But missed the conversation for most of an hour because this:

    Jennifer Rowe, please tell me that this agent is just misinformed?

    5
  • Jeremy Heath

    Small Update, an Agent commented on 1 of the issues over the weekend (The other is still unanswered).

    But as I have found common with Zendesk in the past, didn't read any of the detail (descriptions, images etc) I had provided and just asked how can I help....

    Why do we bother trying to give you accurate detail to help you get it done quicker, if you don't look it ???

    I wonder if Zendesk are going to give us a reduction in the cost to offset the lack of support for their product? I think we all know the answer to that..

    So I still cannot log in to my web support account after they changed something.... more updates to come

     
     
     
     
     
    4
  • Matt

    Turns out that when you deprecate support, customers experience deprecated support. That's especially remarkable given how bad the support was in the first place.

    2
  • Jeremy Heath

    Well im back in the zero answer route again...

    At least when we had chat I could get a reply within 30 mins ish everytime..

    2
  • Rylan R

    The long wait time is just the first hurdle.

    1. There is no effective way for me to track queries
    2. I do not know when is a request closed. A follow up on the closed request is also still closed.
    3. Conversation via the messaging bot and the My Activities page on support.zendesk.com are not synced, making it difficult to track.
    4. Any reply from an agent is mostly like a chat message which is a one-liner. A response to that takes another few hours to get answered. This makes it look like we're having a chat conversation of one-liners across a few days. It's definitely not an ideal situation.

    Maybe all these hindrances might not have been considered, but this is some feedback for your product/release teams. Rather than releasing a new feature to all 100% of the Zendesk universe, this should have been done in a structured & phased manner where feedback from a few would have helped improve the process of contacting Zendesk for help.

    5
  • Kelly Danner
    Zendesk Customer Care

    Hey everyone,

     

    Thank you for continuing to take the time to share your concerns regarding the new customer support experience we’ve launched. We truly value your feedback and our team is working diligently to ensure our new operating model fits the needs of our customers. We have made changes in reaction to feedback from our users already and expect to see adjustments moving forward as we learn more about, and hear more about, expectations that you all have.

    @jeremy heath we hear you and agree you should not have to repeat the same information over again when all the context has been provided prior to chatting with an agent. Without going into too much detail, because the email address originally used caused a mail loop it was suspended, which caused the conversation to break into separate tickets. We are actively investigating how to more elegantly handle this edge case. Going forward, you should be set and should not have to repeat yourself.

    @ Michael M we were able to connect last week with members of our leadership team and I hope that helped provide some context.

    Rylan R - All of your conversations (tickets) should still be within MyActivities in the Help Center, with the added benefit that they're stored in the widget as well. Thanks for the feedback on having a visual indicator of a 'solved' ticket in the conversation - this is a great note and we'll be exploring how to do this. Finally, our team is also adjusting to using messaging instead of asynchronous support or chat. We'll follow up with agents about connections like this, and continue to improve our support over messaging.

    As you might imagine, this is a process change, a tool change, and a big change management curve for our team and we’re moving quickly to ensure the support we give our customers isn’t negatively impacted. We’re making this change because we believe in the messaging product, and we want to be the first to make support over messaging a beautifully simple experience. We’re working through this transformation with a lot of bumps, but are working diligently to provide the service you deserve.

    We know that aspects of this change to our support processes have been a concern for some in this thread and we are continuing to monitor these comments and we do hear you. Please continue to stick with us as we make improvements to address these challenges; we will keep you posted with any additional updates as they become available. 

    -3
  • Matt

    Kelly Danner

    I say this without intending to be overly harsh: This messaging is not helping at all.

    Remember, your audience is a group of people who themselves run support and service operations. We know what we're talking about, and we know how all of this would look to our own customers - which is why we are bristling not just at what was done, but at how it was done and how it was (and is) communicated.

    First, I don't get the sense that there is any hair on fire over there. There should be. I've had multiple conversations with colleagues who are, as I am, re-assessing their tool selection in advance of budget time. The tone of the communications from Zendesk sounds blithe and not particularly sincere - it's neither contrite nor urgent.

    Second, saying you believe in the messaging product, particularly when it was rolled out absent any pilot with a subset of customers (or having simply asked customers what they want), also feels diminishing, and not at all confidence-inspiring. We don't need zealous declarations of belief in a tool. We need our support concerns prioritized. We need concrete solutions that solve problems - including concrete problems reported in this thread.

    Third, none of the wait times mentioned in this thread were addressed at all. That's profoundly dismissive and frankly just not nice. "Not what it should be" (from a previous message) is not a response to absurdly long waits. Some transparency as to what is going on and how it will be fixed is what is called for.

    Finally, phrasing basic remediations that would be caught in any legitimate UAT effort as "edge cases," and taking a tone in general that fixing them is indicative of some above and beyond effort, is likewise diminishing.

    6
  • Suppasak Tichinpong

    Kelly Danner

    When you said, "We’re making this change because we believe in the messaging product", so you are implying that Zendesk does not believe in their other products, and also the Zendesk omnichannel is a joke.

    When you said, "Finally, our team is also adjusting to using messaging instead of asynchronous support or chat", this verifies a standard response (in my translation) from Zendesk of "Accept it and move on".

     

    I do not understand why Zendesk, who provides a support solution, would stop utilizing it and advise their client to believe them. I think it is because Zendesk has an advantage over their customers in that switching from Zendesk to another tool is difficult (in fact, it is extremely tough).

     

    Finally, I agree with others that Zendesk must continue to provide all support channels while also adding Messaging. If the advantage of using Messaging outweighs all others, it will automatically become the primary channel.

    6
  • Kyle Pinkley

    I did think the first response (and responses after that point) from an advocate was improving. I started a new message via messaging with an advocate for an issue earlier this week. The first reply time was 7 minutes with the next reply times anywhere from minutes up to 1h 15m. I'm good with that for the type of issue it was.

    I started a message via messaging yesterday for a new issue, at 1:30PM. It is now 5:01AM and still waiting for an advocate to pick it up and get the first reply. Very dissapointing.

     

    3
  • Ryan Nguyen

    It'd be better if Messaging chat window can go full screen, or even a standalone page.

    This will help to manage things easier. Otherwise it cannot substitute for the old ticketing system in any aspect.

    3
  • Josh Schnitzer

    I find it frustrating that when the chatbot does open a case, the updates are done in the widget.  I get an email that there is an update, but I have to log into the system to see what the update is, instead of actually getting the update in the email itself.

    I have multiple times logged in and went to the chat widget and didn't see the update because it had a loading issue or something.  If this is a ticket we should be able to correspond via email like a normal ticket, which I can do from my phone...instead of having to log into the system. 

    2
  • Jacob R.

    This may be small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, but yesterday the bot asked me multiple times to provide my email address to send a verification email to and when doing so, I was told it was invalid, despite the fact that I was currently logged into Zendesk with the said email address.

    Sort of indicative of the fundamental flaws with this rollout. If we can't get past the bot, it doesn't necessarily bode well for live correspondence.

    3
  • Champ Yarbrough

    From my experiences so far the changes made to ZD Support have been negative across the board. I have yet to get a single useful answer from a BOT and now getting to a live person who can actually provide any useful information is significantly more difficult and much more time-consuming and inconvenient than over products I have dealt with. (This is saying something since over the past 20 years I have been in charge of full implementations of Heat, Remedy and ServiceNow)

    Given that the audience Zendesk is playing to is, for the most part, made up of experienced support professionals, the explanations that are being given for the recent changes are disappointing. Frankly, I am, oddly enough, hoping/assuming that these changes are in fact being driven by efforts to create new revenue streams by monetizing the support that used to be provided as a service while reducing the costs associated with providing that support. I say that I am hoping that this is the case because if Zendesk is really serious and believes these changes are improving the customer experience, providing better service to their customers they are exposing a somewhat disturbing lack of understanding about what actually constitutes good customer service as well as change management. On a positive note, this experience so far has been a useful object lesson in how not to implement changes in our support practices and has given us some valuable insight into whether we should be considering implementing any more Zendesk products or "features". I also want to be clear, that I have found that when I did get to speak to a real person they were all extremely helpful and willing to research and find any answers they did not personally have at hand. 

     

    5
  • Lone Admin

    Champ Yarbrough

    I would have to agree.

    I always tried to interact with support, and they were always helpful for the most part. But now, it's like there are no agents available to look at anything.

    It just feels they don't want us to contact… I have definitely been less inclined to ask something, which is maybe the whole purpose behind it.

    3
  • Jacob R.

    I guess just to add to the already mentioned issues with response times, Monday a chat was turned into a ticket, just after Noon Eastern time. Nothing all day yesterday and then this morning at just after 3:00 AM Eastern time, an agent picked up the ticket and proceeded to have a chat (with himself).

    There is absolutely zero chance I am actively monitoring Zendesk at 3 in the morning so I can chat with an agent, and the kicker for me is, after he hadn't heard from me in 9 minutes, I get this " I haven’t heard from you in a while.". 

    I have worked with this agent before so I know he is knowledgeable, but I am not going to be available to chat according to his schedule. I hope someone out there is reading and digesting all this feedback.

    7
  • Michael M.

    I've had the same experience as Jacob R.  (cool name btw!)   Got the same "Haven't heard back so I'm closing this ticket" response and action, in the middle of the night for me. 

    I'd also like to shout out Champ Yarbrough's points too. Spot on.

     

    3
  • Justin Federico

    While I don't mind chat per se, as it does have its place for some levels of support, making it the primary channel is not fit for purpose for many. As said before, most do not have the time to spend on a chat. We would rather submit a ticket and go about our business till we see a reply.

    My last engagement ended because I did not know I was waiting for a chat response. It was not made clear to me that anyone was going to answer me in the chat. I waited a little while and went about my day assuming I would hear back on a ticket. Then I get an email notification that there was no response from me and the ticket would be closed.

    We don't use chat for support since there is little chance that any of the issues would be solved during a chat session (too complex). I feel that the same is true for most of the issues I have opened with Zendesk. Being able to open a ticket via other channels (email or web portal) is very important to us.

    3
  • Matt

    Did you just delete a comment form someone that was less than flattering? Is Zendesk essentially letting us all know that they're done with humoring us by, you know, communicating with us?

    1
  • Ashleigh Rentz

    Matt - Very unlikely. ̶Z̶e̶n̶d̶e̶s̶k̶ ̶h̶a̶s̶ ̶m̶o̶d̶e̶r̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶u̶r̶n̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶(̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶r̶i̶g̶h̶t̶l̶y̶ ̶s̶o̶)̶,̶ ̶s̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶y̶ ̶j̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶v̶e̶ ̶p̶u̶b̶l̶i̶s̶h̶e̶d̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶b̶e̶g̶i̶n̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶i̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶w̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶i̶l̶e̶n̶c̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶g̶.̶ Much more likely is that the commenter decided to delete it themself for some reason. I'm no fan of the support change, but I doubt the ZD folks on this thread were the decision-makers—and they might even be saying "told you so" internally for all we know.

    Edit: My mistake, the moderation is enabled elsewhere but not on these comments. But still, I very much doubt any malice.

    1
  • Matt

    All fair points, and duly noted. Of course, "for all we know" is the problem. Very little useful communication has come out since the wave of bad feedback. Nothing since the perfectly tone deaf statement a month ago. That doesn't feel accidental. It feels like a brush off. So pardon my suspicious interpretation.

    1
  • Amie Brennan

    Hey Team,

    Believe me when I tell you, that I feel everyone's pain on here. All the pain points which have been reported, I feel and we all feel together. 

    I don't work directly for Zendesk however, I am a partner and what I can tell you is that whilst we (you, me and everyone else on this thread) haven't heard much clear clarity back from Zendesk (like you're looking for here Matt). Keep in mind that when a new feature/change like this does roll out... like any company small or large with a piece of tech; they need to let it run for a few months, gather all the feedback, make assessments before any further changes happen. 

    Right now it looks like nothing is happening but there's a lot of behind the scenes stuff happening with this new change right now that Zendesk is working on. They realise the change isn't for everyone and that there are significant gaps and features which are lacking. 

    The entire Zendesk workforce is doing their best from the support team all the way through to the development teams to try and bridge the gaps and make it as smooth of an experience for everyone. 

    Zendesk is pretty good at letting us know when new things or changes are coming. When they don't give you anything... it generally means they have no timeline to share yet. 

    Hopefully early in the new year, enough time has passed for an evaluation so proper adjustments can be made. :)

    0
  • C.W. Holeman III

    Amie Brennan That's actually *worse*. This means that all of our feedback is being filtered through a third party before it gets to Zendesk.

    At this time I now consider Zendesk not to have a support system. It takes mind-boggling amounts of time to get to a human, and adds 17 layers of STRASSLE (stress & hassle) navigating a bot that has been useful exactly 0% of the time. Due to this elimination of support (for all intents and purposes), we are actively looking at other solutions for our support system.

    As others have stated, we are support professionals, each running our own support systems. If I had implemented such a horrific rollout of such a massive rollback of features (while trying to label it as an improvement, LOL), well. I wouldn't have been fired, but I doubt my higher-ups would have let me make a decision about anything for a few years. It clearly demonstrates a total lack of awareness of what your (Zendesk's) client requirements are.

    Every single piece of feedback on this announcement has been negative. But Zendesk's response has been "Maybe next year we will think about perhaps making some minor concession, while keeping the core awfulness we have implemented." 

    Let me say again: had this been the level of support you offered when we were looking at solutions, we NEVER would have signed a contract with you. Not just because we would (generally speaking) like to have access to support for our support. But because we would not have been able to get things set up during our trial period in such a manner that we could be certain that the product could do what we needed.

     

    #Disappointed.

     

     

    3
  • Matt

    Amie Brennan - What you describe are exactly the behaviors of a company that I would advocate my company flee from as soon as possible. Going dead silent and ignoring wave after wave of horrible feedback and glacially slow support engagement is not what "any company small or large" would do. It's what a company that doesn't care at all about customer communication or service does.

    This isn't a technology decision. It's a service decision, one that has gone career-shakingly badly, and one that merits hair on fire and real time communication right now. Zendesk cannot claim to understand service excellence while not grasping that basic reality. This episode undermines the company's credibility in designing and providing support tools.

    1
  • Ana Wiechers
    Zendesk Customer Care

    Hi all - Thanks again for your continued feedback and I want to acknowledge that we do hear you. Your input and customer experience is critically important to us. I apologize if our messaging has come across as insensitive or that we’re not listening to and appreciate the feedback to keep pushing us for more communication. Our entire leadership team is diligently working on many updates to this experience and our support model to align with what you’re telling us across the following channels:

    • Comments in this article
    • 1:1 customer conversations (if you'd like to discuss 1:1, please let me know)
    • CSAT responses
    • Survey responses

    Below are some of the major themes and areas of improvement we’re actively working on:

    1. Usability of the widget – Expand the space to enter your questions. Add functionality to add screenshots more easily. Make it easier to find the widget. 
    2. Channels - Allow users to select where to receive their next update and how to respond. Improve channel switching functionality and visibility. Create a cohesive experience where ticket updates are visible and notified across all channels.
    3. Bot usability – Improve the click path to receive customer support. Ensure stability of authentication systems, and seamless hand off to support. Improve natural language understanding and bot returned responses.
    4. Customer Support – Improve the notifications when a Customer Support team member has responded. Reduce the time it takes to receive your first and ongoing responses. 

    While we’re not yet at a stage to tie dates to the above adjustments, we wanted to provide a level of insight into what we’re looking to improve in the coming months. There are other adjustments that we're still looking at, so if you don't see your feedback reflected exactly, that doesn't mean it's been discarded or ignored, just that there may be further alignment needed.

    I understand that there’s broken trust here for some of our customers, which means you may read these updates and immediately disregard the sincerity of them. I can only hope that our ongoing efforts (and communicating those efforts) to implement these changes, and other future changes can help rebuild your trust and ultimately result in the best possible experience for you as our customers. 

    4
  • CJ Johnson

    Today I noticed that all feature requests I filed that were older than 3 months? All gone. I could have sworn there was a thread in these comments where Zendesk said this was part of the change, and they were going to archive and close tickets for comments after 6 months but leave them visible still, because I was bumping my tickets when they approached 6, but I just cannot find any part of that conversation. Anyways, it was a pretty unhappy holiday surprise to find out that the 60+ feedback and feature requests I made were all quietly deleted sometime between the 15th and now. 

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