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Zendesk Launches New Customer Sentiment and Intent Functionality Powered by Machine Learning

Unique approach to AI is designed to better serve customers and businesses without long, costly implementation

Zendesk, Inc. (NYSE: ZEN) today announced Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist, new AI solutions empowering businesses to triage customer support requests automatically and access valuable data at scale. By democratizing access to these solutions, companies can see value in minutes by understanding intent and sentiment through account-specific, data-driven models that are customized for individual use cases and drive faster resolutions.

Industry analysts predict that in the near term, AI will touch the majority of customer service interactions, but Zendesk research shows less than a third of companies are currently using AI to help their service teams become more efficient. That’s in part because even as AI technology has rapidly improved in the last five years, software vendors haven’t yet passed those improvements on to their customers and are still selling expensive AI solutions that are extremely time-consuming to set up.

Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist are the next step in Zendesk’s vision to create accessible CX AI for companies of all sizes. The technology uses proprietary industry expertise and insights from trillions of customer data points and applies a vertical lens. This creates models custom to each business capable of identifying the intent, language and sentiment of each customer interaction.

This unique approach to applying machine learning creates more personalized and informed interactions to better serve customers. For example, specific inquiries, such as "I'm having problems with payment", can be automatically sent to an agent who is equipped to handle billing for a quicker resolution, while inquiries that include language written in all capital letters or in a sarcastic way will indicate a highly negative sentiment and be routed to the top of the queue.

The new capabilities:

  • Instantly route and prioritize revenue drivers, ensuring agents are working on business-critical requests
  • Analyze distribution of requests so businesses can better plan operations, collaborate across departments and identify improvement opportunities supported by data for more efficient CX operations
  • Automatically guide agents on how to best resolve a customer’s issue in real-time, understand context, recommend solutions, and improve coaching and training with valuable insights
  • Continuously boost accuracy as the AI solutions receive feedback on predictions and recommendations
  • Detect sensitive information automatically to meet compliance and security needs or extract confidential data like names, addresses, phone numbers, usernames, and financial info for use in workflows

All these capabilities are offered out-of-the box, included with The Zendesk Suite Enterprise Edition, instead of requiring months of training or costly developer support.

“With this technology, we’re delivering AI tools that can be set up in under a minute to streamline business operations without needing dedicated developers or an expensive implementation,” said Adrian McDermott, chief technology officer, Zendesk. “Our approach is designed to take the burden off customer experience teams through pre-trained machine learning tools that do more, faster and with less guesswork involved. These models come ready to use instantly, and continue to learn over time and become customized to each company’s operations by continuously incorporating feedback.”

Zendesk analysis shows that 80% of inquiries can be narrowed down to only 20 issues. That knowledge is incredibly powerful when looking to streamline and improve CX processes.

“I'm a big fan of anything that makes customer experiences better, and the ability to triage requests is a foundational element, not only for CX efficiency, but also for customer satisfaction,” said Shelly Kramer, founding partner, Futurum research. “Zendesk’s AI tools nail it when it comes to the ability to quickly and easily determine customers' intent and sentiment, allowing for quick routing to the right agent and speedy identification of areas where processes can be improved. This ensures the speedy (sometimes instantaneous) resolution of customer issues, helps the customer service team remain agile (especially during busy times like the holiday season), and delivers bottom line business benefits in terms of hours/costs saved. There's nothing not to like about this new functionality.”

“Instead of putting bots that aren’t fully trained in front of customers, causing frustration and many times lost business, Zendesk’s fundamentally different approach takes the burden and complexity off of customers, allowing companies to build powerful applications on top of a strong foundation,” said Cristina Fonseca, vice president of product, Zendesk.

*Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist technology is initially focused on Retail/eCommerce use cases, with more industries to roll out. For more from Zendesk’s CTO on the company’s AI perspective please visit the Zendesk Newsroom.

About Zendesk

Zendesk started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business around the world to take their customer service online. Today, Zendesk is the champion of great service everywhere for everyone, and powers billions of conversations, connecting more than 100,000 brands with hundreds of millions of customers over telephony, chat, email, messaging, social channels, communities, review sites and help centers. Zendesk products are built with love to be loved. The company was conceived in Copenhagen, Denmark, built and grown in California, taken public in New York City, and today employs more than 6,000 people across the world. Learn more at


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