Fine Tuning: What to consider when going live with Zendesk


  • Lindsey Fischer

    We just posted our 8am tips! Join the discussion by posting in the comments section. 

  • Wes Drury

    Hi Lindsey - Here was our high level overview checklist when we went live with Zendesk.


    • Product Demo
    • Review available apps in MarketPlace
    • Custom Zendesk Apps
    • Forms
    • Categories
    • Required Fields
    • Groups
    • Triggers\Automations
    • Login (SSO\Zendesk)
    • Data Conversion (import data from previous system?)
    • User Import (CSV,SSO,or API)
    • Custom Fields & Conditional Fields
    • Help Center Design
    • Zendesk Email Settings and Design
    • Knowledge Base Articles (import from pervious system?)
    • Send Communication to all users with dates


    • Training

      • Administrator Training
    • Communication to all users for a status update

    • Sandbox – setup and configure

      • Users – Import Agents
    • Users – Import Users

    • Test Run of Data Conversion

    • Setup Forms

    • Setup Triggers/Automations

    • Setup Back End Configuration

    • Setup Custom Fields

    • Setup SSO

    • Install Apps from MarketPlace

    • Install Custom Apps

    • Help Center Design & Customization

    • Zendesk Email Design

    • Training

      • Agent Training
    • Testing

      • Test Data Conversion
    • Test SSO login

    • Test Tickets from start to finish using each form and every category

    • Test Help Center

    • Test Zendesk Apps\Custom Apps


    • Move Sandbox Settings over to Production with changes from Testing
    • Final Data Conversion
    • Testing
      • Test Final Data Conversion
    • Test SSO login
    • Test Ticket from start to finish using each form and every category
    • Test Help Center
    • Install Zendesk Apps\Custom Apps
    • Communication to all Staff and End Users
    • Change links on public website
    • GO LIVE
  • Colin Piper

    One tip form me and one that i learnt the hard way --  don't rush. I tried to put a multi-branded helpdesk live in just 1 month. The reality is that the lack of planning time has cost me a lot of real time. I read the marketing literature and knew that Zendesk could integrate with the products I use (such as Salesforce) but I did not take the time to really investigate the integration and hence had a couple of false starts.

    Zendesk is flexible, adaptable and configurable but plan, plan and plan. You can prototype much on a trial system and the forums here are a wealth of knowledge. Use it. Take the time to ask questions. Play with alternatives as often there is more than one way to achieve a goal. 

    Wes has given an excellent project plan but I would add reporting to that list. I had to go back and add more fields and change things once I started to think about what i wanted to get out of Zendesk. Always think about the outputs before the inputs.

  • Wes Drury

    Great point Colin about Reporting as that should be on the list.  Our reporting was very basic so we knew GoodData could give us what we needed right out of the box so we didn't spend much time on reporting.  I agree that you should take your time as our implementation was done in a three month timeframe and that was launching the Help Center with basic ticket submission.  We are now in Phase Two of our project where we will be launching our Knowledge base and Community for the Help Center.  The bigger you are the more you need to break out your project and like Colin stated don't try and do it all at one time.

  • Lindsey Fischer

    We just posted our 11am tips! Join the discussion by posting in the comments section. 

  • Colin Piper

    When I started to roll out Zendesk I hit an unexpected issue. My agents found zendesk straightforward and easy to understand. I had planned a two hour session to cover the interface and terminology but I was able to deliver this part quickly. I was left to fill an hour. The feedback from my agents was that the interface is clear to follow. 

    I revamped following sessions to move on to workflow quicker. 

    In that first session however I used the spare time to show agents the bits they do not normally see - triggers, automations and the like. The feedback was that this gave them a better understanding of the possibilities and their subsequent requests ever since have been for more reasonable and achievable.


  • Lindsey Fischer

    Thanks Wes & Colin. All great suggestions! 

    @Colin: very interesting insight. We often don't think about giving agents an inside look behind the scenes.

  • Wes Drury

    Those are very good tips for training but we did things a little bit different.  We used JIT (Just-In-Time) for our agents so the same week we went live we held Agent Training in our Sandbox environment.  Our Sandbox was setup exactly like our Production so this allowed our agents to play around with the system after the training.  We did have our Zendesk Implementation Manager onsite the week we went live in case any issues occurred.  Like Colin mentioned the system was so easy to use and navigate our agents picked right up on it.

    We also used this approach for end user training .  Our Help Center is internal only so for our end users we used Just-In-Time along with Train the Trainer.  We had one person from our 60 sites come in for training and then that person went back to their school and trained all of the other users.  Zendesk provided the initial training for us.  Thats how we were able to train over 5000 employees within a day.  We also posted all of our training guides in our Help Center for future reference and new employees.

  • Eli Winderbaum

    Wes, great list. That is about as comprehensive as it gets, well done. Colin, I have to agree with you. That is especially true if you are a fully developed organization and/or migrating from another platform to Zendesk.

    However, If I can speak for the startups out there, when we were evaluating a support/ticketing system over 2 years ago, our organization didn't have a single customer. Two years later, we support over 30,000 customers in 136 countries. At the time, we (I) just kind of winged it, because we really didn't have a choice. Sure there were issues that came up, but we were able to react in a matter of minutes and our reach was minimal to begin with. We went live with Zendesk the same day we onboarded our very first customer. We had to direct our customers somewhere, no matter what state it was in. So, definitely take your time, but also, don't be afraid to pull the trigger and trust that Zendesk thought of nearly everything.

  • Colin Piper

    @Eli. Absolutely. Although I learned that I should plan better I found that making changes live is not a great risk in Zendesk. In fact I am still doing it today.

  • Colin Piper

    I just reread my last post and decided it should cone with a health warning. Please use common sense when making changes. I often sandbox things first.

    The point that Eli makes and I agree with is that you can sign up and you immediately have a system that a customer can use. Making changes to add functionality is simple and requires little effort.

  • Lindsey Fischer

    Awesome tips so far!

    We just posted our 2pm tips! Join the discussion by posting in the comments section. 

  • Kristof Van Kriekingen


    When we were looking for a new helpdesk-system zendesk was there and provided multiple awesome features for us compared to our old system.
    It is super easy to control, flexible and there is so much *zendesk love *and ofcourse so much more!
    What I mostly love about zendesk and is a great tip for other people:

    • Triggers & Automations.

    This feature, I just love it! It makes everything so much more easier for agents and not just agents customers aswell.
    We are looking into getting the SSO which also looks very promising for our customers.

    I also have to agree with Colin there, at the start we were rushing it a bit aswell, don't rush!
    If you want to rush you'll most definitely forget some things here and there, which isn't good. I suggest for people to make a list about what you want and keep that list with you. Did you come across something you saw and was interesting?  Write it down on that list. Look over it 1 by 1. It's better doing it correct the first time then only half.

    Wes named up all of the things , even more , then we needed. The Help-Center is awesome for community feedback and not just that. Even for a closed zendesk it can be useful. We can put ( in the future ) small manuals of our software there.

    We also use Jira integration in zendesk, which makes creating tickets for our agents SO much easier.
    They are just 1 click away from creating a ticket. Super tip for software companies!

    PS: It's maybe a small thing but it makes our agents laugh every single time. - Cheerleader app!

    But make sure that you make time to control everything, plan everything and you will be happy with the result.
    If it's to much to handle, do it 1 by 1 or ask help, even on zendesk forums/support.
    From what I've seen before, people are afraid to ask questions so that they won't look dumb. WHAT?!
    Asking help is NOT a handicap or people won't look weird at you for asking ' stupid ' questions. There are *cough* almost * cough* no stupid questions! You might have overlooked something or who knows what you forgot/missed.
    Other people are happy to help you. So don't know the answer? DON'T quit and ASK OTHERS!

    Without coordination, you won't get far. So making good triggers and Automations!
    Control your life, Control your business, Control your zendesk!

    Kind regards and much love back!


Please sign in to leave a comment.

Powered by Zendesk