Today online customer service tool Zendesk debuted a new version of its cloud-based platform, and announced that it has raised $60 million in new funding. The funding round was led by Redpoint Ventures with participation from Index Ventures, GGV Capital, Goldman Sachs, Silicon Valley Bank and existing investors including Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners. The company, which launched in 2007 and had previously raised over $25 million in funding, has over 20,000 customers in over 140 countries, and has reached over 72 million users around the world.
Jeff Wiss, VP of demand generation and PR at Zendesk, said in an interview that the funding will be used for three main initiatives, including global expansion. Right now the company has offices in Copenhagen, Australia and London, and they’ll be establishing offices and larger presences in countries including Japan, and hiring in those new locations. “The second is definitely hiring top notch talent,” Wiss said. “The third area is technology innovation. We do see this as the new Zendesk, and it’s the way we’re changing the face of changing customer service.”
VP of product marketing JD Peterson said the inspiration for today’s new platform came from the company’s iPad app, since customers like the user experience and requested a web experience that mirrored the app. Over 4,000 of Zendesk’s customers have participated in the beta release of the new version. “We said ‘could we challenge ourselves to make our core web application even easier, and even feel more consumerized in a sense, and much more like a modern iPad app or social application,’” he said in an interview.
All updated functionality to the platform is on the company management side, not the consumer-facing company support forums. The updated version displays a real-time feed of tickets as they’re updated, and shows support staff stats about their open tickets and how many tickets they’ve resolved to date. Customer service reps can open and address tickets in order of their priority, and the platform automatically opens a new ticket after one is closed, rather than requiring users to search through tickets to find one requiring their attention. ”We wanted to give people the ability to spend less time shopping for a ticket, and more time solving the most important ticket,” Peterson said.
The redesign also focuses on giving support staff more context around customers, pulling in social profiles and other details to give a complete picture of who they’re helping. Additional features including improved search, benchmarking data to see how a company’s customer service team compares to others in an industry or area. The company is also debuting 11 international versions of the platforms in languages including Japanese.
Prior to today’s redesign, the company had integrations with over 100 third-party apps, including GoodData and Salesforce. Today they’re launching Zendesk Apps, where customers can browse and install those apps from a central marketplace. Customers can build their own apps using Zendesk’s API and share them on the marketplace, or keep them private. Peterson said the apps marketplace isn’t a way to further monetize, and all apps will remain free.
The redesign is a response to customers asking for an app-like online platform, but Peterson said it’s also a way to integrate new customer service tools, not just social media, email, and phone, but also live chatting any other method companies want to use to keep in touch with their customers. The competition in the space is fierce, with companies like GetSatisfaction, UserVoice and startups like Helpmint and Freshdesk trying to help companies engage with their customers in new and traditional methods. Peterson said he believes Zendesk is the leader for mobile support, and are at the front of the pack because they have such an international presence. “We do believe we’re far and away the leader when it comes to providing mobile solutions for support,” he said, both for customers looking for help, and agents managing their support teams.