Put customer service at the heart of your company with Zoho Desk

Starting from the way an agent’s ticket list looks, existing help desk software fails to highlight the best way an agent could go about their day. Enter Zoho Desk, which helps agents by automatically organizing their tickets based on urgency. It gives them complete ticket- and customer-related context — that used to be spread across platforms — on a single screen. For managers, it’s all about keeping track of team activity and making impactful improvements to team output. Zoho Desk brings them all the data they need, in real time, for making context-aware decisions. Zoho Desk also brings about company-wide collaboration without having to worry about timezones, meeting schedules et al.

Besides this, Zoho Desk also helps empower the most important person in this story — the customer. Customer service teams will have more time and context to build a culture of self-service for their customers. So customers can find answers to questions without having to reach out to an agent. All this, and the advantage of going mobile, makes Zoho Desk truly next-gen when it comes to help desk software.

Kevin William David interviewed Rakeeb Mohamed Mubeen, Head of Product at Zoho Desk to learn more.

Can you tell us about what you are working on? What is Zoho Desk?

Rakeeb: Zoho Desk is the industry’s first context-aware help desk software, that helps companies focus on their customers.

Most customer service interactions lack context — be it about which ticket an agent should be handling, information about the customer, or how their previous interaction with the company went. This could be caused by a number of reasons ranging from obsolete help desk interfaces to the scattering of information across several software. Zoho Desk puts an end to this by bringing everything a customer service team needs to a single screen. Agents can see which tickets need them urgently, and extensive customer information within each ticket. Managers are also able to track the most important performance metrics from within the help desk. What’s more, Zoho Desk helps teams set up self-service portals, so customers can find solutions to simpler problems on their own.

With Zoho Desk, agents become more productive, managers become more impactful and customers become more empowered.

Why are you building this? What problem are you trying to solve?

Rakeeb: The inspiration to build Zoho Desk came from within. At Zoho, we deal with over 25 million users. And each of their tickets requires help from people across departments — Sales, Marketing, Engineering. But they are all separated by distance, being in different buildings, cities or even continents. This was something that software somehow had to bridge.

There were other challenges too, that we needed solutions for. And these were challenges that directly affected the quality of our service: The productivity of customer-facing employees, their ability to have meaningful conversations with customers, and the availability of actionable information to managers.

We took all of this and sought to build a solution.

How is Zoho Desk different from what already exists in the market? What’s unique about what you are building & why do you think companies should use Zoho Desk?

Rakeeb: Zoho Desk’s USP is that it is context-aware, at every stage of a customer service interaction.

Work Modes is a feature unique to Zoho Desk. It automatically organizes tickets, based on the chosen Work Mode, so that agents don’t have to spend time picking their next ticket. Inside each ticket, relevant solutions from the Knowledge Base are automatically listed, to help agents respond smartly.

Then there’s the Team Feed, to help customer service teams reach out across departments when they need help on tickets. They can communicate and collaborate without having to meet physically. These conversations are stored with the full context of the ticket, so they serve as reliable information for the future.

For managers, The HQ puts the most important performance metrics together on a single screen. This cuts down on the time they spend on never-ending reports, and helps them make more context-aware decisions.

For every stakeholder in a customer service interaction, Zoho Desk brings more context.

Who uses Zoho Desk? Can you tell us a bit about the different customer segments using Zoho Desk? What types of roles do your customers have at their companies (Sales, Marketing, Devops, etc.)?

Rakeeb: In terms of verticals, we have customers from SaaS, Telecom, Business Services, ITES, Education, Manufacturing, Government and Non-profit. Owing to Zoho Desk’s flexibility, many of our customers are medium and large businesses. The decision-makers often tend to be leaders of customer support or customer service functions at these companies. Users from functions — like technical support, billing & payments, logistics & operations, sales & relationship management — rely on Zoho Desk to manage their communication with customers.

How are your customers using Zoho Desk? Could you share a few different use cases?

Rakeeb: Startups and companies in stealth mode use Zoho Desk to connect with their early users and ship better products to their markets.

Product companies connect Zoho Desk with Zoho Projects and use customer feedback to shape their products. Services companies communicate with their customers right from the point of gathering requirements to refining the end result for maximum impact. Zoho Desk helps them do this elegantly by organizing all their conversations to give them maximum context at any given time.

Large enterprises use Zoho Desk in a variety of ways. Customer-facing teams use it to extend help and create strong customer experiences. Partner-facing teams use it to unify their communication and manage their relationships better. Employee-facing teams like Administration, HR, Travel and Payroll use it to accomplish everything from employee onboarding to facilitating regular amenities.

Who are some early customers?

Rakeeb: We, Zoho, were our own first customers, running all our customer service operations on Zoho Desk for a year before its market release. This helped us test the product across a variety of use cases (owing to the vastness and diversity of Zoho’s suite of products) at an early stage.

What were some of the biggest challenges while building the product early on and how did you solve them?

Rakeeb: Zoho Desk was built entirely in Tenkasi, a small town in rural India. So one of the biggest challenges in Zoho Desk’s early days was building the team. Getting employees to move to Tenkasi was tricky initially. But the place — and we have a 150-strong team to vouch for this — proved to be an idyllic location that had all the resources we needed to build software. To that, we added an unconventional hiring practice. We’d get existing employees to recommend potential candidates who would be up for a job in Tenkasi. And this has worked beautifully for us.

What have been some of the most interesting integrations you’ve added? Are there any that have been particularly impactful for you?

Rakeeb: Our integration with Zoho CRM is one of the best CRM-helpdesk integrations in the market today. It helps sales and customer service teams work in partnership, no matter the physical location. Customer support teams can now put a face to every ticket, thanks to detailed customer information pulled in from CRM. Sales teams can easily identify happy customers from ticket data, and find more sales opportunities.

As for third-party integrations, the partnership with Twilio for cloud telephony has been one of the most important. This one makes a huge impact on Zoho Desk’s ability to be a multi-channel platform.

Apart from integrations and APIs, we also offer Custom Functions in Zoho Desk. These are custom pieces of code written to help companies perform more mature processes, like instructing Zoho Desk to add a task in a project management app, or sending ticket-related data to an invoicing app. They basically extend the function of Zoho Desk to fit a company’s unique needs.


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