How to Get Prepared for Zendesk Import

The Good, the Bad, and the Migration to Zendesk

Either your brand is a company, a product, a service, or it works with businesses or individuals, the secret sauce to success is the experiences. The customer support should craft these experiences and make your customers delighted. Why? Because those people determine the meaning and value of your brand. Let’s say your company runs a customer satisfaction strategy, loyalty program, help desk software, and experienced support agents team. Thus, you still lack the big picture of how to make all the puzzle pieces fit together.

The thorniest question in brand strategy is how to keep it growing. The success (or failure) in business depends on dozens of factors. A help desk solution and its value to the company's end-users, support agents, are on that list. The issue of framing starts every journey problem. Here it is a change (or adoption) of the help desk software. The migration to a new help desk comes out as a juncture: you might continue to perpetuate the past errors and import data or set up a new stage for the optimized business performance.

Don’t get upset if it seems that you are pursuing the wrong tasks. That draws a rather blurred picture of data migration and all accompanying procedures (preparing database, business processes, and the team for the changes, setting up a destination help desk, and the like). Besides, you might also feel insecure about what should be the next steps.

The Air Force Risk Management in the Help Desk Migration

Before we dive into the guidance on how to plan, execute, and check the results. How about analyzing the data import and migration from an unusual perspective? Have you heard about the five steps of the Air Force Risk Management process? No? Let’s fix it. So, the steps are the following:

  1. identify hazards;
  2. analyze risk control measures;
  3. assess risk levels;
  4. make risk decisions;
  5. plan risk avoidance.

How does this relate to switching help desk platforms? Think about it this way. In case, you are enjoying this reading; you have passed the first step. From now on, you have already detected the weak spots in the current help desk. The second step is also done. You decided that Zendesk is the help desk solution that is suitable for meeting the company’s requirements.

This guide will help you to cope with the third, fourth, and fifth steps. Here the assess-risk-level step is covered by explaining the peculiarities of data import and data migration. The offered information will provide you with a background for making decisions and creating a plan that will allow avoiding risks. Simply put, you will learn:

  1. how things will go;
  2. what issues might occur;
  3. how to deal with all this stuff efficiently.

A Pinch of Bureaucracy: the Value of a Documented Plan

Once you concluded that it is time to hit the road and set up your organization import to Zendesk, remember: proper planning is halfway to success. Apart from knowing the destination, don’t avoid the ever-pressing issue of budget and spend.

Also, let’s not forget about a well-documented plan. Ensure that it is available for every department or team of your organization. What should be included in this plan? Answer the three questions:

  • Who is responsible for a Zendesk data transfer? The change of a help desk platform will impact the whole company. Some departments will get affected more compared to others. Either way, the migration should have a responsible manager who will be there to answer questions and dispel concerns.
  • What information is going to be migrated? Start off with reviewing and refining the help desk data. Often times, companies don’t need all their records on the new platform. A new help desk is like a blank canvas, so make sure you only take what matters.
  • How much time is the process going to take? Time is a precious commodity. When you have a clear deadline, you can plan all the processes and do your best to prevent any deadline postponing (or even the budget overspending).

Coming up next is the crux and hallmark. You need to choose which method to apply: a third-party migration service or a Zendesk import tool. On the tech side, you would require the developer team that shares the same understanding of the tasks and can handle processes properly.

What is the Difference Between Data Import and Data Migration?

During data import, you will need to export the company database in CSV files, and that brings you much more work with the old help desk software. On the flip side, a data migration service will handle the process of delivering your help desk records to Zendesk and you will have to order and pay to get the result.

Specific aspects of data import
  • If you plan to onboard Zendesk by importing backup data from the current platform, you might need to change the file structure or reimport the records.
  • When importing records from one platform to another, you may need to upload them in a particular order to preserve the relationships.
  • Data import, usually, allows uploading custom entities.
  • During data import, you can’t use multiple files - you import one file per time.
  • The quality of data in Zendesk depends on the data you have extracted from the previous help desk.
Specific aspects of data migration
  • The data migration allows applying multiple record sources.
  • During data migration, you can transfer custom entities and fields if the destination help desk has the same corresponding entities and fields.
  • The API-based migration helps to save time and securely switch data between the help desk solutions.
  • If you don’t cleanse the company’s database before the migration, you will get poor quality records on Zendesk.

Whether you’re just getting started with the preparation for Zendesk import or you’ve been running the initiative for some time, check out these tips and best practices on the data import, as well as the data migration, to ensure that you’re on the right track.

Looking Ahead: Why Zendesk Import Is a Wise Decision?

The more touchpoints with customers you offer, the more happy and returning clients you get. The help desk software (or ticketing system) organizes the customer queries, facilitates customer-company communication, and tracks customer satisfaction statistics. Such channels as email, phone calls, live chats, social media messages are routed into a single place. That’s clear.

The scenario familiar to many companies: the customer base keeps growing, and your support agents spend more time on routine tasks. The current platform can’t cope with business requirements. This is how organizations decide to change the software. Zendesk has a reputation and provides a toolbox to fulfill the needs and expectations many companies have.

What Can Zendesk Do?

First off, this help desk platform was designed to drive customer interactions. Zendesk Support puts all customer support interactions in a single place for seamless and personal communication: productive agents and satisfied customers. With the Zendesk product family, many businesses will get opportunities to scale and meet the changes smoothly. The list of the add-ons looks like this:

Zendesk Chatcreates a personal connection (via the web, mobile, and messaging) with customers, who come for help without interrupting their experience
Zendesk Talkis a built-in call center solution that helps agents to resolve complex issues faster and deliver personalized support
Zendesk Guideis a tool for building a customizable help center, online community, and customer service portal for better customer self-service
Zendesk Connectleverages that information across all channels to design the customer journey when you offer more ways to help
Zendesk Exploreintegrates the data from every channel, so you can measure how customers interact with your brand without losing the thread

Note: The separate apps of Zendesk have their own pricing. So, ensure that you test out your end-to-end solution completely and get a price quote that includes every tool you are going to use in the future.

To understand how Zendesk helps to solve tough customer support challenges, let’s check out briefly how the key tools work.

Zendesk Menu Overview

There are the following items on the left side:

  • home button (provides access to the dashboard and shows the current configurations);
  • views section (holds information about the unresolved tickets);
  • reporting section (delivers details about tickets, agents, customers, and the like);
  • the last button (will link you to the Admin homepage).

On the top right corner, you will find the search box, a menu to select between the Support section and the Help Center. Once you click on the avatar, you will open Profile Settings.

  • The email system represents one of the mediums of gathering customer feedback. When the client sends an email to your support service, it is automatically converted into a ticket with all communication details. For the outgoing emails, you can use Zendesk templates or customize them to the brand preferences.
  • The ticket view delivers a set of functionality for the support agents. You can add internal or external notes to the open tickets via the Main Ticket view. To close the ticket, the support rep needs just to click on “Submit as Solved” and this ticket will get marked as completed. The navigation panel allows opening several views: Recently Solved Tickets, Recently Updated Tickets, and Pending Tickets.
  • Business rules are a savior for a support agent. They trigger and automate the repetitive tasks according to preconditioned events. A simple example: you can assign a specific type of ticket to a support agent who is an expert in this question or problem. Additionally, you can add macros when responding to repetitive issues.
  • The reports deliver you the analysis on the set conditions about the activities of customers, support team, and every agent, in particular; as well as about the SLA agreement, the first reply time, the average reply time, the resolving time, and the like. However, there is one condition: the more expensive plan you bought, the better analytics you are going to have.

Zendesk provides the customization option. You can add brand identity by editing templates, CSS, or JavaScript rebranding. Also, you can modify business rules, workflows, triggers, ticket views, email templates, and the like.

Note: Zendesk has updated its DPA (data processing addendum) to provide its customers with contractual commitments regarding compliance with applicable EU data protection law and implemented additional contractual provisions required by the GDPR.

Price vs Functionality: Is Zendesk Worth It?

Zendesk Support offers five pricing plans.
#1 Essential from $5 per agent/month
There are three aspects when this plan might fulfill your needs, if:
  1. you are launching a customer service;
  2. you have low ticket volumes;
  3. the ticket volume isn’t enough for a dedicated support rep.
Nevertheless, in case your company growing fast, you will outgrow this plan within a short time frame. The plan supports:
  • email and social media channels;
  • basic help center (it includes FAQ);
  • website and mobile app integration.
#2 Team from $19 per agent/month
When you run a rather small company and have a steady stream of ticket volume, then this plan will be good for you. It offers:
  • business rules (trigger creation);
  • performance dashboard (basic analytics with limited details and no option to customize);
  • third-party application integration.
#3 Professional from $49 per agent/month
In case, your company is ready to dive into data-driven customer service, this plan tier might be just the job. Here you will get:
  • CSAT (customer satisfaction surveys and track support reps’ performance);
  • custom reports and dashboards;
  • multiple languages.
#4 Enterprise from $99 per agent/month
If you run a medium or large size organization with complex customer service processes, then this plan is the right place to land. It includes:
  • agent roles (light agent, staff, team lead, or administrator, you can create custom roles);
  • multiple brands (customized help desks and contact forms managed from one location);
  • multiple ticket forms;
  • personalized Zendesk support during the platform launch;
  • satisfaction prediction (analyze data to predict customer satisfaction and detect successful action).
#5 Elite from $199 per agent/month
The usual customers of this plan are the big companies and large enterprises. The peculiarities are the higher security and priority in support from Zendesk. It also comes with:
  • unlimited light agents (see and comment but can’t be assigned to the tickets);
  • 99,9% uptime (thus, this uptime level is at all plans);
  • an hour service level objective (support agents will get the answer to their question from Zendesk within an hour);
  • advanced encryption and security;
  • data center location can be selected (in the US or the EU).
Do you remember about the add-ons? The free trial gives the potential customers a light version of each. Why are these products offered for a separate price each? Well, many companies prefer to use other tools instead of Zendesk native one. So, from this point of view is an original feature of this help desk: you choose only what is needed, and other tools search in the App Marketplace and integrate them.

Facing the Competition

The market drives a lot of choices. There is a bunch of help desk platforms that attract customers and create competition for Zendesk. Check out short head-to-head comparisons.

Zendesk vs. Freshdesk

The principal function of the help desk is to enhance the process of customer support, as well as make it more effective and timely. When comparing Freshdesk to Zendesk, each platform has some advantages and drawbacks. Here is a couple of features to illustrate the benefits of Zendesk:
  • the collaborative workspace advanced the quality of support service and boosted agents’ productivity;
  • the extensive content filtering to get the required information;
  • the filters applicable to views help to prioritize tickets and respond faster.

Zendesk vs. Help Scout

While Zendesk ticketing is based on the Views, Help Scout resolves customer issues by the channel they come in a separate mailbox. The tickets within one mailbox can be sorted into folders and visible for the entire mailbox or chosen users. This folder organization is rather inflexible and less convenient. A customer may come from various channels for resolving the same issue, and a support rep will struggle a little bit to get the interaction history. Zendesk allows creating various ticket views on a series of conditions.

The automations in Help Scout called workflows. They are mailbox specific and can’t be divided by function. There is no global automation due to the mailbox scheme. In Zendesk, you can automate processes employing triggers, automations (timed event rules), SLA, and macros.

The reporting in Help Scout is based on the Views tool. It works as a filter where you can add a search field (type, tag, folder, and custom fields). There is no option of scheduling report emails. In Zendesk there is a range of various customizations to get the required information and schedule its delivery and share across the company.

To conclude: in Help Scout to Zendesk comparison, Zendesk looks like a winner.

Zendesk vs. Jira Service Desk

Atlassian's Jira Service Desk is a strong competitor to Zendesk. Both solutions offer ITIL processes. Thus, Jira is certified and enables it on a full scale while Zendesk is partly adhering to it. The difference between them in the primary use cases: Jira is useful for managing the software development process, Zendesk is good for end-user communication.

If to talk about the help desk strong points, Jira Service Desk has multiple activities feeds (at a project, team, issue, and user levels) and reporting tools. Concerning Zendesk, this would be automations, two-way communication, and a knowledge base.

In terms of deployment, Zendesk requires a little setup to start while Jira Service Desk takes time on training and adaptation (if you didn’t use any of Atlassian’s products before).

Zendesk vs. HubSpot Service Hub

The new shiny thing isn’t always better. This similarity is applicable to HubSpot Service Hub. The solution is new and offers significant functionality (ticketing, live chat, automation and routing, knowledge base, reporting, email templates, and the like) other help desk software provides as well.

In the drawbacks list, you will find one level pricing ($400/mo for five users), report add-on (for $200 per month), each additional user will cost $80 per month, and API access comes at $500 per month.

It is hard to say that HubSpot Service Hub is a competitor to Zendesk, as the solution is new and the feature set may change in the future after they receive feedback.

5 Tips for a Change Expert: Convince Your Team to Use a Help Desk Solution

The changes in business are both inevitable and necessary. That’s why the switch from email to help desk software is an expected change. This is a step to maximizing the efficiency of customer support processes, improve the product or service quality, and reduce the support agents' workload. Thus, people are intimidating to the changes. The staff buying into the help desk implementation comes out as another business challenge.

Quite often the changes are met as the least popular things, so the initiative of Zendek import should be understood and reinforced by the action among the team. If you want to create the organizational “buy-in”, then your goal is to get support for this innovation. There is no problem ever insurmountable, and there is a couple of things to ease this process.

#1 Become a Change Expert

First off you need to learn as many details as possible about the organization import and the platform - in our case about Zendesk. You should be ready to answer a lot of questions when it comes to asking for supporting a change. And, perhaps, the most important, you must see the change as the opportunity yourself; otherwise, no one will be convinced of its merits.

#2 Let the Change Discussion Be an Early Bird

Apart from minimizing the impact, the early discussion aids in getting a mutual understanding of the change value. Besides, people become more supportive if they have a feeling of being involved in the decision-making process. Get prepared for the resistance and be open to feedback.

#3 Prove the Actual Value of the Change

When talking with the support service team, ensure that you have explained to them the benefits of the help desk platform, and they understood them. In case, it gets challenging to prompt the change, you can discuss some past issues and show how they could be fixed with the help desk solution.

#4 Know Your Audience

While delivering your point, don’t forget about the audience. If you want to gain their support, follow the three aspects:

  • use communication style of your audience;
  • discuss at the time suitable for them;
  • choose a place where your team feels comfortable.

#5 Confirm Support

After you have discussed a change, answered questions, and received suggestions, it is time to confirm support. Don’t accept the vague responses. You need a clear answer: yes or no. If the answer is no, then you should start over again with the third point of this list.

Few Ideas to Prove the Value of Help Desk Software

“It is impersonal!” The classical answer of those who are refusing to use the help desk software. Explain to your team that there are three reasons why the ticket system is valuable:

  • tracking issues;
  • bringing efficiency to the staff workload;
  • eliminating the problems and records falling through the cracks.

Follow up on how the process of getting on with the change goes. Within Zendesk, you can create an internal forum and use a knowledge base to train new support reps. It will be useful to communicate interesting tips or some downloadable resources to help people learn and advance their skills.

Praise and reward your team for using the help desk and improving their proficiency. Make them feel valuable to the company, so they would be more loyal and satisfied with the job. Adopt the gamification approach and set badges for achieving a certain number of closed tickets.

There is no easy way to become better. It takes time and effort to bring the help desk solution into the daily routine of a support team. The structured support service will do a great thing for your company and for the team too. In simple English, a help desk platform is one of the components that bring your company towards the goals.

How to Start: Data Import Checklist

Either you are getting lost “How to start import customer support data?” or need some quick reference this checklist will help you. At this point, you should have finished your pre-import assessment: done the thorough data audit, analyzed the processes, and defined the scope of work:

  • set timelines for every stage and inform the data import team about the tasks and deadlines;
  • the objectives and goals have detailed descriptions and the team has a shared understanding of the upcoming project;
  • create the communication plan to keep the team, company departments, the boss, the stakeholders (if it is necessary) on the same page about the progress;
  • audit the organization data and check the quality of the records. Search for duplicates and delete the redundant records (if you find such);
  • develop training documentation (with the new terms, roles, and the like) for a support service team to make the transition to Zendesk easier.
There are three key areas in which you should take “to-dos” carefully:

A. Prepare the Organization for Zendesk Import

If any initiative touches a couple of departments, you will see competing objectives and priorities. That’s why before rolling out, you should double-check if everyone is on the same page with the plan, objectives, and deadlines. It is also important to the project manager to keep everyone involved updated on the progress. A well-developed communication plan will be helpful.

B. Get the Records and Files Ready

The support service team relies heavily on the information specific to their roles. The other departments use this data for performance, analysis, and reporting too. So, you need to guarantee data consistency and quality.

When you get records prepared for import, check whether you have:

  • set the header in the first row;
  • mapped column headers to fields and rows to records;
  • checked data for duplicates outside Zendesk or before exporting the CSV files;
  • made a backup to combat data loss phobia.

Compare your files to the requirements and limitations of Zendesk bulk import. Then sort out the data into files and columns correspondingly.

C. Setup Zendesk

Before you have started the import process, it is essential to prepare the target help desk for the data upload. If you have some custom fields, then create them; otherwise, your import may get stuck on the mapping stage.

7 Steps to Persuade a Boss to Migrate to Zendesk

If you’re intimidated by offering a data migration project to a boss, don’t be. If you tried and your boss said “No” or “Our budget doesn’t allow it,” it shows that you didn’t prove the efficiency of the case. The data import to a new help desk solution is expensive and complicated, but the value comes in terms of service quality and team workload. Here are seven steps to get the boss’ support when you suggest a new initiative.

#1 Do Your Homework

Try to figure out the organizational and department goals, and ensure that they aligned with the request. If it is necessary, you may ask the boss to review the support team goals and current performance. Remember that the numbers are more convincing than mere praising of the (possible) value of the implementation of the new software. Qualify the current situation and show in numbers what the new solution will bring gains to the organization.

#2 Don’t Play on the Ambitions but Emphasise the Value

After reading step one, remember that your boss focuses on business growth, not on self-actualization. Before handing in your proposal, add to it a showcase with:

  • the routine enhancement;
  • how the tickets falling through the cracks will be reduced;
  • how the knowledge base and self-service portals reduce support reps workload;
  • improved analysis of ticket resolution time, agents’ performance, and the like.

#3 Put on a Lawyer Hat

As a rule, the changes are initiated directly from the C-level executives or the boss. So, these people are the audience, and you are the lawyer. The task is to present them the base on how your proposal will alleviate the problem, impact cost-savings, and increase productivity.

#4 Sweeten the Offer with an Indirect Benefit

After you have substantiated the suggestions in numbers, emphasize the additional benefits such as improved team morale, higher job satisfaction, or reduced staff turnover. Even though these potential advantages are intangible, they are still attractive to C-executives and your boss.

#5 Prepare Answers to Objections

When you dig into this topic, you read a lot of pros and cons of the help desk migration. So, use this information and anticipate the possible questions and objections from your boss. And make sure you have documented the answers before making the request.

#6 Time and Place Are Critical for the Opportunity

Perhaps, every boss has a specific time for discussing new ideas. You need to define it in your boss’ schedule, and then offer the case. Find out how much time of boss’ attention you may have, and ensure that your suggestion will fit into these time frames.

#7 Make Your Suggestion a Sales Pitch

Let’s face the truth: nobody wants more work or challenges. So is your boss. Have you seen the bosses who look for added costs or budget overflow? Nope. Your solution should be polite and tailored to the organization's needs. Display your passion with the possible advantages of using another help desk software. And last but not least, show your commitment to making this initiative successful.

The Recap

To get “yes” for your ideas and proposals from the boss, you should understand the challenges, as well as the targets your organization has. Allocating the available resources to the best opportunities is harder than it may seem. That’s why the systematic approach to development, presentation, and defense of your idea will improve the chances for success.

Data Migration Checklist for Zendesk

The data migration is moving records from one place to another. It sounds pretty forward. Thus, it usually includes a change in storage and application. The definite plan and amount of work to be done prevent the amplifying the inaccuracies in the source data. The competent team and well-developed strategy will exclude the situation when Zendesk data migration creates more problems than it solves.

The critical factors for preparing to the help desk migration are the following:

  • Arrange in-house teams and processes for the migration. As the project manager, you need to check if everyone is on the same page with the plan, objectives, and deadlines. It is also essential to keep the project team, other departments, the boss, and stakeholders updated with the process.
  • Time frames of the preparation to the switch, performing the migration, and testing the results, as well as the budget should be carefully calculated.
  • Know the quality and structure of the records. The organization data should be audited before the Zendesk migration. Without this step, you may face unexpected issues during the migration and testing of the new software.
  • Clean up the duplicates and redundant records. If there were identified some issues with the data, you should resolve them. Note that this may require additional tools or third-party service help. All depends on the amount of work to do.
  • The golden rule: remember to back up the company’s data for preventing any possibility of loss incidents.
  • Unlink email alias, social media channels, and app integrations from the current help desk software.
  • Create training documentation and quick guides for support agents. Explain the terminology changes, workflows and automation settings, details on Zendesk ticket views, and the like. Getting familiar with the new help desk solution will make the shift more acceptable.
  • If your migration initiative will impact your customers, inform them about its timelines and send them an email about the upcoming changes.
  • Keep in mind the end date of the current help desk subscription. Plan your Zendesk migration a week or two before the billing cycle to avoid any confusion.
  • Before you kick off the data migration project, take care of Zendesk settings. Check the number of full licenses for support agents. If you use API for ticket import, the tickets can’t be assigned to the light agents. Create custom fields if they are required.

TL;DR: the Bottom Line

In point of fact, both the data import and data migration require more effort than simply to download file and double-click. But Zendesk data migration proves to be money and time well-spent. Here are five brief aspects to back up this thought:

  1. Zendesk is easy to set up and use. The support agent organizes data faster and tracks the communication channels with ease. Therefore, the support rep understands customer issue and fix the ticket faster.
  2. The price plans come with various costs and functionality. Hence, nearly everyone can find a suitable and affordable toolbox. The higher the price tag, the more options you will get. As a plus, Zendesk offers a free trial; but as a minus - it doesn’t provide a free plan (while the competitors do).
  3. Zendesk widgets work for streamlined conversations, automation, sharing, ticket views, and triggers. The solution supports ITIL (yet Zendesk doesn’t adhere to the whole ITIL methodology) and automated workflows.
  4. Employing Guide, a Zendesk family product, you can create a well-built self-service. That will include the standard FAQs section with intuitive searches and a robust knowledge base. You also can set up the internal and external communities, 24/7 online service portals. All for the sake of time and effort. The customers can easily find the answer to the common (from the support rep’s point) questions, and support agents have a lighter workload.
  5. Zendesk App Marketplace is an ever-expanding place where you can integrate a lot of various business tools. The simple examples are E-Commerce, social media, CRM solutions, invoicing and accounting software, CMS platforms, support agent productivity, reporting and analytics, and many more. Also, this help desk comes with the REST API for the additional benefit of its customers.

Zendesk proves to be a good SMB oriented help desk platform. The solution provides the competitive feature set on different levels. If you think about data migration from your current help desk, then Zendesk import will be a wise choice.

The help desk selected, and there are two ways for further actions. Firstly, you need to convince your staff to take a step and employ the help desk software in their work. Once you become an expert in this question, you will convince them of the value of this technology. Secondly, you need to prove the benefits of migration to Zendesk to your boss. With a little homework, you will get from your boss “yes”.

Despite your way to the Zendesk import, you will need a preparation checklist. The details for import and data migration differ, yet the essence stays the same:

  • prepare the project plan and deadlines and descriptions of objectives;
  • announce the kick-off inside the organization;
  • keep everybody involved on the same page with updates;
  • audit the company data, back up it, delete duplicates and redundant records;
  • inform your customers if this process may impact them somehow;
  • create guidance on Zendesk for the support service team;
  • set up Zendesk to business requirement.

Either data import or data migration is an expensive and timely project. Thus, a well-developed plan that includes possible risks improves the chances for success.

Part 2. Whats, Whys, and Hows of Importing Data to Zendesk

Part 3. The Destination Reached: What to Do Next?

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