TechBytes with Mark Bloom, Director, Product Marketing, Zendesk

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Mark Bloom

Mark Bloom
Director, Product Marketing, Zendesk

Recently, Zendesk launched their Enterprise Workflow and Collaboration tools to help businesses build and manage their digital transformation journey by changing the way they interact with the customers and partners. In a rapidly transforming omnichannel marketing ecosystem, attribution and technology models can become very complex. To better understand how businesses can leverage Zendesk Suite for omnichannel marketing, we spoke to the company’s Director of Product Marketing, Mark Bloom.

Tell us about your role at Zendesk and the team/technology you handle.

As the Director of Product Marketing for Omnichannel at Zendesk, I oversee multiple product offerings including Zendesk Talk, Zendesk Chat, and the new Zendesk Suite. I believe an omnichannel experience removes friction so companies can better connect with their customers.

What are the core tenets driving the technology behind the Zendesk Suite?

By combining Support, Guide, Chat and Talk into one omnichannel offering, Zendesk enables companies to deliver a consistent customer experience when and where it’s needed. The Suite delivers everything our customers need for frictionless omnichannel support.

What is the state of ‘Omnichannel Marketing’ in 2018?

Omnichannel has become the new norm in customer support and is a response to changing customer expectations. According to Forrester, 95% of customers are using up to three different channels to communicate with companies. As evidenced by their research, customers want to interact with companies on a variety of channels, as well as have the ability to move between these channels seamlessly, without having to repeat themselves.

However, it’s important not to confuse multiproduct with omnichannel. Offering multiple channels to consumers is important, but without an omnichannel strategy to ensure those channels are integrated, can cause chaos for both customers and support teams, resulting in siloed, fragmented experiences. When this happens, customers wind up having to repeat themselves as they navigate through different channels and get passed from one agent to the next.

What customers really want is a conversation. They want something that flows effortlessly across any channel they might use—similar to the way we communicate in personal relationships.

What does your product roadmap for omnichannel marketing attribution look like for 2018-2020?

When we think about our roadmap and what is required to deliver true frictionless omnichannel support, we look at three things:

  • For the customer, it’s about delivering seamless conversations, across any channel, where the context of the interaction is preserved
  • For the agent, it’s about providing simplified workflows through an easy-to-navigate, contextual workspace, regardless of the channel
  • For the admin, it’s all about having all the data in one place and being able to manage operations with cross-channel reporting

As we make ongoing product investments, we are anchored to an approach that ensures the Zendesk Suite works right out of the box, with powerful features, functions and insights to help any business improve support operations and interactions with customers today and in the future.

How do you leverage audience and customer data platform to further refine the Zendesk Suite?

Having all customer data centralized in one data platform yields significant advantages. It serves as a single source of truth, with360-degreee visibility into customer activity, needs, past purchases and interaction history. You cannot serve your customers better unless you understand the person behind the ticket. Context is paramount. This approach also allows you to manage operations with cross-channel reporting – both real-time and historical trending – to analyze and optimize your CX deployment.

How do you work with Data Science and AI/ML?

As the volume of customer contact grows over a greater number of channels, often shifting between them seamlessly, enterprises have been responding by adding headcount. But this is not sustainable in the long run, as costs quickly outgrow existing budgets. Strategic plans need to include building capabilities in AI, ML and knowledge to enable self-service and ticket deflection. Doing so will greatly diminish the pain points that are starting to crop up.

One product we created to help alleviate this issue is a feature in our Guide product called Answer Bot. Answer Bot uses machine learning to help answer customer questions using content from a company’s existing knowledge base. The answers it provides are tailored to each customer’s question and, should it fail to address the question, Answer Bot loops in a support agent to offer the customer a human touch. Utilizing AI helps support agents save time solving mundane problems and leaves room for them to have authentic, connected conversations with customers.

Would GDPR impact your data management and retention models for the Zendesk Suite?

GDPR requires organizations to be more transparent about how they process and use the personal data of individuals residing in the European Economic Area (EEA), and advocating for greater transparency could lead to greater consumer trust. This potentially encourages customers to become more willing to share specific data in exchange for better service.

There are hundreds of global data protection regulations and frameworks. While they may appear at times onerous and sometimes challenging and costly to comply with, they ultimately serve one purpose: improving how customer data is stored, analyzed and shared, both internally and externally with customers and business partners. This is good for everyone.

Additionally, GDPR gives EEA residents certain rights, including the right of data portability and the right to be forgotten, so customer service software must be equipped with the features to support this. This demonstrates to customers that their needs come first, giving your business that extra boost in consumer confidence. Thus, SaaS providers like Zendesk need to be prepared to provide product features and functionality to support, not break, its customers’ GDPR compliance programs.

Thanks for chatting with us, Mark.
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