How to Maximize Zendesk’s Capabilities With AI & Automation

Two people with headsets sit at laptops at a customer support center.

Zendesk’s leading customer support software already gives your CX a boost. But in 2023, when AI has never been hotter, here’s how conversational and generative AI can help unlock the full potential of Zendesk.

You’re a Zendesk admin. So you already know how important it is to provide your customers with effortless, enjoyable experiences and your agents with a centralized hub for managing customer interactions. But if you’ve ever spent a good chunk of your workday manually tagging and routing tickets or answering the same customer requests over and over again, you might find yourself wondering if there’s something else out there. Something that would help you get more out of Zendesk and provide better CX along the way. 

Something like AI and automation. 

Zendesk, AI and the pursuit of better CX

To truly take your customer support to the next level, you can integrate your Zendesk Suite with an automation solution that’s powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Coupling Zendesk with a customer support automation platform — like Ultimate — will ramp up efficiency, get your customers the right answers fast, and overall save both time and money for your business.  While Zendesk recently launched their own built-in AI integration, our purpose-built AI solution elevates Zendesk's capabilities to the next level.

So how exactly does AI-powered automation work? Basically by integrating your Zendesk CRM with an automation solution, you connect the two systems. The AI becomes a sort of “virtual agent” that works within your Zendesk ecosystem and has access to all your other back office systems — just like a human agent would. This means it can automate processes, like routing or tagging tickets, as well as automatically responding to requests across channels, including chat, email, messaging and more. 

Understanding AI-powered support for Zendesk

There are two main branches of artificial intelligence that tend to be used for customer support automation: conversational AI and generative AI. Conversational AI allows humans and machines to have human-like interactions with chatbots and the like. Within conversational AI is the hottest new thing everyone is talking about: generative AI, the groundbreaking tech that’s behind ChatGPT. Generative AI differs from traditional AI systems in that it doesn’t just predict patterns; as the name implies, it actually generates entirely new content. 

At Ultimate, we’ve been using conversational AI to power seamless support for Zendesk users for the past 6 years — so seamless in fact, that Zendesk themselves is one of our happy customers. We were also one of the first automation companies to create a generative AI integration with OpenAI when it first burst onto the scene: UltimateGPT. 

Watch a demo of AI-powered support automation for Zendesk users, from set-up to backend API integrations. 

Generative AI for Zendesk users

Generative AI has revolutionized the support automation space in a few short months. It’s now possible to build an AI chatbot that’s entirely personalized to your brand in just a few minutes. 

You simply connect your Zendesk Knowledge Base to the gen AI bot — like UltimateGPT — and it can instantly and accurately answer your customers. Instead of simply serving up links like Zendesk’s AnswerBot, this virtual agent finds the correct answer, summarizes it, and sends it to your customers. It’s essentially an instantly effective chatbot that can chat naturally with your customers and resolve requests 24/7.

But what if your knowledge base isn’t up-to-date? Never fear: conversational AI is still here. 

Conversational AI for Zendesk users 

While it may not be as buzzy as generative AI, conversational AI was the star of the automation show before ChatGPT came along. Using a combination of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, conversational AI also enables bots to understand and respond to human speech. This means your bot can engage in human-like conversations, understand customer intent, and offer real-time support to customer requests. 

But these responses have to be built out in dialogue flows by conversation designers or automation managers. It does take a bit more time, but it’s great if you need to cover a question that’s not already answered in your knowledge base. Generative AI can even help assist with building out these traditional intent-based dialogue flows. Instead of manually training your AI model, you can ask your LLM to generate training data for it. 

To ramp up automation even further, you can also add API integrations to all your back office systems — like your order management system, your payment processor, your courier and more. This allows your bot to resolve more complex requests and results in higher end-to-end automation rates. 

The future of Zendesk AI-powered support is a hybrid of these two technologies. It means faster set-up plus the flexibility to adapt your bot as your business grows. It also means your customers will have a great, on-brand CX and get the right answers fast. 

Why your agents will love AI for Zendesk

Your customer support team’s lives will be made exceptionally easier with AI and automation. Not only can an AI-powered bot respond to and resolve customer requests, it can also take care of backend processes like ticket tagging and routing. Plus, a seamless integration into your CRM means that your agents can continue working in a system they already know and love — Zendesk. 

What’s more, with a virtual agent taking on the mundane and repetitive tasks, your human agents will have more time to handle the more exciting and complex cases that require a human touch. And they can rest assured they have the tools they need to manage high ticket volumes and seasonal surges with ease. 

Learn from the AI pros at Zendesk x Ultimate: Check out our all-new Customer Support Academy module on enterprise bot building best practices. 

The top customer benefits from AI-powered support on Zendesk

AI offers your customers three main advantages:

Furthermore, AI can handle routine queries, provide self-service options, and route complex issues to human agents when needed. This ensures routine queries are answered quickly and special cases get the care they deserve, resulting in better customer satisfaction and increased loyalty. 

Learn how Lush, an ethical cosmetics company (and Ultimate x Zendesk customer), implemented automation and maintained a 93% CSAT score. 

How AI enables more functionalities within Zendesk 

Incorporating AI-powered support into Zendesk truly amplifies its capabilities, making life easier for your agents and CX better for your customers by enabling the following functionalities:

  • Human-like responses across digital channels, including chat, email, social media, messaging and more
  • Automation of backend processes like ticket tagging, routing and more
  • Generative AI and LLM-powered bot training data generation to make training your bot faster and easier
  • API integrations with all your back office systems to enable end-to-end automation of complex cases

Essentially, by leveraging generative AI and conversational AI integrations built for Zendesk, your business can create a seamless support ecosystem that combines the efficiency of automation with the human touch. Embracing AI for Zendesk ensures your team is getting the most ROI out of your CRM, while providing faster response times, personalized interactions, and improved customer satisfaction. Long-term success and sustainable growth is all but guaranteed.

Revolutionize your Zendesk support with AI