The Zendesk-Klaus Acquisition: 3 Major Talking Points

Prominent customer experience analysts break down Zendesk’s latest roll-up

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The Zendesk-Klaus Acquisition: 3 Major Talking Points
WFONews Analysis

Published: January 23, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

Two weeks ago, Zendesk announced its acquisition of Klaus, the contact center quality assurance (QA) platform provider.

Klaus automates quality scoring and leverages conversational analytics to offer additional insight into every contact center conversation.

That aids manual evaluation, allowing contact center supervisors and quality analysts to isolate coaching opportunities more easily.

Yet, Klaus also provides learning management solutions to seize these opportunities with targeted coaching and improve agent performance.

From there, contact centers may measure the impact of the coaching via automated quality scoring.

As such, Klaus effectively allows brands to build this cyclical connected learning strategy. In itself, that is an exciting new platform and proposition for Zendesk to offer its customers.

However, the customer experience analysts who took part in our soon-to-be-released BIG News Update spotted three more reasons why the acquisition may make waves.

1. It’s Likely to Add Significant Insight to Every Zendesk Ticket

When Zendesk integrates Klaus into its stack, every ticket will likely come with that automated quality score.

However, Zendesk may go further, leveraging Klaus’ conversational analytics to add more data to every ticket. That could cover customer sentiment, hot topics, long pauses, keywords, and more – alongside the customer’s contact reason.

These insights will allow supervisors to get into the weeds when analyzing agent performance. Yet, they could also aid root-cause analysis, complaint management, and resource planning initiatives.

Consider the latter, as many resource planners now leverage Zendesk after its 2023 acquisition of the workforce management (WFM) platform Tymeshift.

Soon, they may use Klaus QA data to evaluate how changes to agent schedules and breaks impact performance – at both an individual and team level.

If Zendesk unites these WFM and QA tools within a central workforce engagement management (WEM) suite – it may compete with the likes of NICE, Verint, and Calabrio at the top of that market.

That potentially opens up another growth engine for Zendesk to land new customers and cross-sell its helpdesk, CRM, and conversational AI solutions.

2. It Funnels Lots More Data Into the CX Ecosystem

“What Zendesk does very effectively is pull the contact center into the rest of the CX “at large” ecosystem,” said Liz Miller, VP & Principal Analyst at Constellation Research.

That ecosystem compiles commerce, marketing, and sales data for a unified CX approach.

Yet, perhaps most pertinently, that cross-function data will feed the new AI models that many service, sales, and marketing teams plan to implement in the coming years.

Crucially, Klaus will bring lots more of that data to the table. After all, contact center QA and conversational analytics offer a goldmine of customer insight. Miller continued:

CX teams and the contact center are going to run out of data very, very quickly for all the things AI is promising to do – and Zendesk is trying to figure out: how do we expand the corpus, without really blowing up the rest of the stack? This is a good move.

Teresa Anania, SVP of Customer Experience at Zendesk, showed off some of Zendesk’s latest AI and GenAI capabilities during a recent interview with CX Today, highlighted below.

These include auto-generated contact summarizations and knowledge articles. Yet, perhaps most innovative is Zendesk’s “expanding agent supplies” solution, which allows agents to type the crux of their response and then fleshes it out for them.

As Zendesk customers leverage these solutions, Klaus QA may also measure their impact on customer sentiment and agent performance – which is critical for AI optimization.

3. It Sets Up Zendesk for a Big Contact Center Play

“They have more Genesys execs than Genesys,” joked Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research, about Zendesk.

In itself, that suggests that Zendesk plans to gravitate more toward the contact center space – as people typically lean into what they know.

Yet, add in the Tymeshift and Klaus acquisitions, and Zendesk has the necessary WEM software to compete in the contact center market.

“This is all bricks in the wall for Zendesk to move out of the niche space they’ve been in and actually become a real contact center company,” said Kerravala.

They’ve got a good brand, really good customer loyalty. So, I don’t really see why they can’t be successful here, other than it’s just a very crowded space.

Yet, “bricks in the wall” is perhaps a disservice. After all, once Zendesk pulls its portfolio together, it’ll have a more capable WEM suite than most CCaaS brands – especially when it comes to QA.

That said, the modern CCaaS platform covers several bases. Indeed, at its last conference, industry leader NICE stated that when it enters a contact center, it replaces up to 15 products. As such, those bricks in the wall are mission-critical.

As Kerravala summarized: “Those are all products that – if you bring partners in to do – you open the door for someone else to sell in there. So, I thought it was a good move.”

Capture more insights from Liz and Zeus into this acquisition and other big CX news stories from the past month as they join myself and other prominent market analysts on an upcoming episode of our CX BIG News Update.

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