UPDATED 09:00 EDT / OCTOBER 04 2023


Zendesk debuts new AI features for its customer service platform

Zendesk Inc. today debuted new generative artificial intelligence features that aim to make help desk teams more productive.

The features are rolling out for the company’s flagship customer service platform, which is used by about 100,000 organizations worldwide. The platform enables help desk representatives to process support requests through a centralized interface. It also provides various related capabilities including a tool for creating knowledge base articles.

The platform includes a machine learning toolkit, Zendesk AI, that enables companies to build customer service chatbots. A retailer, for example, could create an AI assistant to field inquiries about its product return policy. Most of the new features that Zendesk debuted today are designed to make chatbots powered by its platform more useful. 

Zendesk’s chatbots can display prewritten answers created by a human in response to common customer questions. When a new prepackaged answer is added, its AI algorithms analyze it to determine when it should be displayed to customers. The results of this analysis are used to configure chatbots’ behavior.

As part of today’s update, Zendesk is enhancing this capability with new customization features aimed at travel industry, human resources and technical support use cases. Help desk teams in those fields can now customize which prewritten answer a Zendesk chatbot should deliver in what situation. An airline, for example, could configure its chatbot to provide an overview of its frequent flier program when a traveler asks about frequent flier miles.

Zendesk is also adding new chatbot monitoring tools. According to the company, administrators can use the tools to detect situations when AI-provided support answers may not adequately address a customer’s questions. Moreover, it’s now possible to vary the tone in which support answers are delivered on a scale of casual to professional.

The company is enhancing its chatbots in a number of other ways as well. AI-generated customer support answers can now incorporate information from multiple help desk articles. Additionally, a new entity detection feature can extract key details from customer inquiries to help desk teams more quickly find important information. 

The chatbot enhancements are rolling out alongside a tool called AI for Voice. It can automatically transcribe support calls, generate a summary and calculate a customer sentiment score. Zendesk says that the tool will save time for help desk teams by removing the need to perform those tasks manually.

The third major highlight of today’s product update is a new platform module called the Advanced Data Privacy & Protection Package. According to Zendesk, it allows companies to log which worker accesses what piece of customer data for cybersecurity purposes. The module also promises to ease related tasks such as encrypting sensitive records.

Today’s feature additions represent one of the first major product updates Zendesk has released since going private last November. That month, a group of investors led by Hellman & Friedman and Permira bought the company for $10.2 billion as part of a deal originally announced in June 2022. Zendesk previously traded on the Nasdaq for eight years. 

Photo: Zendesk

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