This week, we sat down with one of our Senior Product Managers who specializes in Support Data Platform & Ticketing, Gaurav Parbat. In this interview, we addressed your product feedback, learned more about how he improves Support, and what changes are coming down the pipeline. If you have anything you'd like to ask that we didn't address, please feel free to ask it below!
Making Support the best product for our customers is a task that requires many minds at work. One key role in making this happen is our Product Managers who lead development on numerous aspects of the Zendesk suite. Their job is to understand customer needs and design a roadmap that will result in product improvements over time.
By sitting down with users to better understand their experiences and collecting feedback from the community, our PMs put themselves in the shoes of the customer. In our conversation with Gaurav, we explored what his role entails and how he makes Zendesk Support a better space for everyone’s customer service needs.
Full steam ahead on developing Zendesk Support
Despite the current limitations imposed by the recent Coronavirus through social distancing and mass work from home, Gaurav and his team are still full steam ahead. “My home set up is done with multiple screens, so I’m ready! A lot of major companies are implementing work from home, which I support completely; we have to make sure we are doing our part within the community”.
A little about Gaurav
Gaurav’s full title is “Senior Product Manager of Support Data Platform & Ticketing,” a role he has only been in for four months. But with former companies such as Oracle and Salesforce under his belt as a PM, Support is in good hands. His area of the product ensures databases are in check, ticket functionality works, and ticket features via admin side are optimal. In short, he and his team have a significant impact on a lot of the day to day activities most users have within the product.
Gaurav takes great responsibility for his role. When asked what being a product manager means, he responded, “A product manager in my eyes is somebody who is a customer advocate and who will realize what customers really need.”, and for this, the customer’s voice is essential. Looking at user stories, identifying pain points, and analyzing the needs of enterprise and small businesses alike is vital. Through this information, he and his team find the key data points that allow him to translate user needs into features for development.
How user feedback informs the product roadmap
Gaurav told us how important user feedback is to his product development process: “Understanding [the customer journey is a big part of my goal. There are many avenues through which we interact with customers. From surveys to one-to-one interactions with customers, we try to understand how our customers are using our services and the pain points they experience. We also work with Customer Success and Advocacy teams as they work closely with our customers daily.”
The future of Zendesk Support will be guided, in part, by Gaurav and his team. The product has grown a lot, so ensuring that the Enterprise experience is “A holistic customer experience that ties your whole Zendesk customer suite together” is paramount in the current roadmap. “We want to make sure anyone who uses our product can utilize all aspects of Zendesk”.
What the team is working on now
So what is happening with Support now? Recently, we saw the launch of Conditional Ticket Fields, which gives users the ability to add a ticket field within a ticket form that only appears to agents and end users, under certain circumstances. Users also now can place enhanced field requirements on those conditional ticket fields. Gaurav is looking to “take this a step further by looking at features that we can build on top of conditional fields. In the future, you should be able to have any field that you want and required at any status”.
Another project in the pipeline is custom ticket statuses, which has been a big request from users though there is no ETA we can share at this time. “We want to make sure we do things, and users get the right solution.” All these efforts are focusing on features that customers have shared with us that they need. Gaurav emphasizes that his interactions with customers have deeply informed these decisions and that the feedback provided in the Zendesk Community has been really helpful in planning a customer-focused roadmap.
Please share your feedback
“We actively are listening to our customers, and even if you don’t get a response, know we see your feedback. Scheduling all the changes we want to make means sometimes, we have to balance our workload, and that means something hit the pipeline sooner than others.” So keep that feedback coming because, as always, the devs are here, and they are listening.
- My team does a lot of proactive outreach - we know about the proactive tickets upgrade but don't have it in the budget. As an admin, I would love to be able to put in a 'checkpoint' that stops a ticket from being created by an agent (via the web) that's missing a required field or tag.
- Gaurav: We are aware of this requirement, and making any field required is an item on our backlog. You could use a conditional ticket field and make that required for any ticket status. Conditions for end-users affect ticket fields in forms that appear in the Help Center and Web Widget.
- Has there been thought to integrating some of the Zendesk apps (Select an Address, for example) more fully into the product? This app feels like it should be core vs. an add on app so you can benefit from triggers and macros being able to set these addresses.
- Gaurav: Yes, there has been and Conditional Ticket Fields was our first step towards moving away from the Conditional Fields App. We will evaluate many of the current Zendesk apps that should be native features and keep releasing them.
- Some limited editing of closed tickets could be helpful, such as being able to edit the tags. We were thinking we might want to be able to create follow-up tickets via automation, but it's not possible, according to Zendesk documentation. Users have tried anyway with automation and target, but the automation won’t run. Is this because it included a condition to tag the closed ticket? If so, can we see this change in the future?
- Gaurav: There is a bigger initiative on the way on how we manage closed tickets and archived tickets. This is a roadmap item to manage limited changes/comments on closed tickets and a larger effort on how closed or archived tickets are stored/retained in views.