How To Ace the Transition to Zendesk Messaging With AI

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Automating support across messaging channels lets you be there for your customers — wherever, whenever.

Using messaging apps for customer service allows companies to meet customers where they are, providing a frictionless experience via the popular platforms they are already familiar with. It also allows support conversations whenever is most convenient for them. Instead of waiting on hold or spending chunks of time writing emails, they can dip in and out of support conversations throughout the day. It’s what the CX industry calls asynchronous messaging, and it’s most popular with social messenger apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, and more.

As messaging becomes a revenue driver in its own right, support via asynchronous messaging channels is exploding: Between 2020-21, WhatsApp alone saw an increase of 370% in ticket volumes.

While this is a huge win for customers — they can now reach agents more easily and conveniently — it can be a challenge for support teams.

Mastering the transition to asynchronous messaging with Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations

"The shift to messaging is particularly hard to deal with for old-school call centers", says Tim Sheard, Director of Tech Alliances at Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations, which provides a universal messaging API that lets companies quickly and easily communicate with customers across all major messaging channels.

More channels mean more tickets. In addition, support teams are frequently overwhelmed by the expectation of not only asynchronous, but 24/7 support. They may also find it hard to manage and track conversations that are staggered across hours or days. This in turn frustrates customers, because there’s nothing they hate more than having to repeat themselves.

Automation can help. 

“Our integration makes it easy for customers to reach you from their preferred channel without needing to manage contacts in multiple systems.”
James Longbotham, Solution Architect at Ultimate

Messaging + Automation = Empowerment

By integrating with Zendesk’s messaging platform, Ultimate can help your business ace the transition to AI messaging in five key ways:

  1. Freeing up your agents: Automating chat with an Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) across your core messaging channels frees up your live agents to handle more complex tasks and streamline the customer experience. The IVA can handle up to 80% of your most repetitive customer questions.

  2. Keeping workflows flowing: Setting up a virtual agent is quick and easy: It integrates into your existing tech stack, becoming an integral part of your team. All chats are escalated into your existing CRM platform, meaning there’s no need for your agents to learn new tools.

  3. Outside hours support: The IVA can also keep working even when your agents are not available, enabling 24/7 support and keeping backlogs at bay.

  4. Keeping your conversations on-brand — and on-track: Our integration with Sunshine Conversations now makes it possible to integrate one or several virtual agents across multiple social channels, with customized experiences in each. At the same time, you’re offered a single view of the customer in your CRM, regardless of the channel.

  5. Context is key, and you can unlock it any time: Your IVA sits within Sunshine, where it can carry out conversations, as well as gathering and routing customer information. When escalating to a human agent, the IVA creates a ticket and passes all relevant information over to them, providing context into the conversation.

“One of the immediate benefits of automation is the 24/7 availability. We’ve seen this lead to CSAT bumps of 10%."

Tim Sheard, Director of Tech Alliances at Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations

Getting started with asynchronous AI messaging

In addition, Tim Sheard recommends keeping the following two tips in mind when scaling your support across messaging channels with automation: 

  • Know which channels are most popular within your customer base.

"The first thing you need to do is work out where your customers are. Do some proof of concepts, do some outreach on those channels, and see where they want to interact with you."

Tim Sheard, Director of Tech Alliances at Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations

  • Adapt your metrics: While KPIs like average handle times (AHT) may be crucial for traditional channels like phone and chat, asynchronous channels require a shifted mindset. Agents will be in and out of conversations, and they might even be running several of them simultaneously. That’s why it’ll be more helpful to zone in on customer satisfaction metrics and resolution rates instead. After automating, metrics like the amount of conversations handled by your bot and ticket resolution rates after handover to an agent become crucial for success. 

Future-proof your support

At our event, "Messaging + Automation: Be there for your customers wherever, whenever"