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Zendesk Unveils Comprehensive CX and Workforce Engagement Solution

Zendesk Unveils Comprehensive CX and Workforce Engagement Solution

The News: At its Relate global conference, Zendesk announced a comprehensive, AI-powered customer service and workforce management (WFM) solution. The offering incorporates autonomous AI agents, workflow automation, agent copilot, WFM and quality assurance (QA) capabilities, all powered by Zendesk AI. Zendesk AI is the company’s fastest adopted product in the company’s history and is designed to automate up to 80% of support requests and generate a threefold increase in immediate, automated resolutions. You can check out the press release on the Zendesk website.

Zendesk Unveils Comprehensive CX and Workforce Engagement Solution

Analyst Take: Zendesk made several announcements around new innovations to its customer service and WFM solutions, incorporating autonomous AI agents, enhanced automations, an agent copilot function, and advanced WFM and quality assurance (QA) capabilities. These enhancements are powered by Zendesk AI, the company’s AI technology that incorporates several AI algorithms and models.

Zendesk CEO Tom Eggemeier has taken the view that within the next 5 years, autonomous agents will be able to handle around 80% of all support requests. This lofty goal requires engagement tools and systems that can identify a customer’s intent, selecting an appropriate response based on that customer’s profile and past successful interactions and the ability to quickly determine when and if a handoff to a live agent is required to ensure a customer’s needs are met. To help customers address the need for more efficient and effective use of AI throughout the platform, Zendesk made the following announcements.

AI Agents

Zendesk announced its agents can autonomously interact with customers and provide end-to-end resolutions for both simple and complex inquiries. According to the company, these AI agents, which incorporate technology from Ultimate, the company it acquired earlier in the year, are “highly sophisticated, integrate with any knowledge base and offer full customization to handle intricate use cases.”

The real value of these AI agents will be dependent upon the use case and quality of data upon which they are deployed. An autonomous agent must be able to not only understand a user’s intent but also respond appropriately, based on the context of the interaction, as well as the data used to ground the algorithm. For example, an organization that chooses to use a bot to deflect first-level inquiries must ensure that its data has been properly cleaned and labeled so that the algorithm is able to accurately parse the corpora and then provide an appropriate response. Zendesk says it has millions of interactions from which to train the models, which can help reduce hallucination, along with the use of retrieval augmented generation (RAG), which can be used to ground the model to a specific source of truth.

Agent Copilot

Meanwhile, Zendesk has announced its AI-based tool targeted at the agent persona, called Agent Copilot. Although Zendesk has made automation a priority, it also realizes that some interactions will still require human intervention. Agent Copilot is a set AI-driven tools that is designed to learn and incorporate past interactions to help human agents to improve workflows, predict customer needs, and then suggest potential responses. With Zendesk’s focus on leveraging its large base of interactions and intents, the company noted that Agent Copilot is designed to do the heavy lifting and lets the human worker review and approve suggestions, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Workforce Engagement Management

Zendesk also announced that it is integrating WFM and QA features into its workforce engagement management (WEM) offering. These tools are designed to focus on improving human agent performance and efficiency through analytics and a more comprehensive review of past interactions.

Predictive Workforce Tools, which integrate forecasting algorithms to enhance control over workforce deployment, are designed to help supervisors monitor real-time changes in demand, and then adjust agent scheduling.

Zendesk also announced Voice QA, which analyzes call transcripts, scores interactions, and identifies outliers for coaching and review. Zendesk’s QA for AI Agents also assesses 100% of AI interactions, utilizing AI to detect interactions that demand human intervention, to drive better CX and satisfaction. Zendesk says that typically, a very small percentage of interactions are reviewed via manual processes, and the company’s solution allows for a more complete analysis of what is happening during agent and bot interactions.

Zendesk Reinforcing Commitment to AI Safeguards

One of the other notable topics that was discussed during the Analyst Summit is Zendesk’s commitment to implementing guardrails around its AI offering. With the very public mentions of customer-facing, generative AI-power bots misbehaving or relaying incorrect information, it is good to see Zendesk focused on bringing AI solutions to market that incorporate robust controls for redacting personal information, as well as using techniques such as RAG to ground the bots to vetted and approved data sources.

Zendesk’s Future Goals Amid an Evolving Market

Zendesk is continuing to develop and acquire tools that are designed to enable organizations to streamline and optimize their customer service and support operations via the use of AI and automation. The company is positioning its offerings as an efficient way for businesses that don’t typically have a large IT staff or budget to handle complex integrations, which are typically small to midsize businesses (SMBs) or mid-market firms, by offering what they believe is a complete service solution.

The company’s growing network of implementation partners is notable in that the company is seeking to move upmarket into the enterprise space via a vertical market play, and that is where they likely will need outside assistance to meet the more customized requirements of these larger customers.

Overall, Zendesk appears to be making the right moves, focusing on their core business of automating processes through AI. But with stiff competition from all corners of the market, including CRM, contact center, and CDP vendors also offering similar capabilities, Zendesk will need to lean into other messaging, focusing on the company’s ability to deliver value quickly.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Zendesk to Acquire Service Automation Provider Ultimate

Zendesk Reveals Improvements to Tymedesk Workforce Management Solution

Zendesk to Acquire AI-Driven Quality Management Platform Klaus

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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