Zendesk Enters the Workforce Engagement Market with a Deep Offering

Its suite offers several differentiative features when compared with other WEM platforms brought to market by rival CX players

Zendesk Enters the Workforce Engagement Market with a Deep Offering
WFOLatest News

Published: May 2, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

In March, Zendesk announced a new Workforce Engagement Suite.

The offering comes after Zendesk’s July 2023 acquisition of the workforce management (WFM) provider Tymeshift and its January 2024 roll-up of quality assurance (QA) powerhouse Klaus.

Now, after months of building their solutions into a cohesive suite, Zendesk has presented a deep workforce engagement management (WEM) offering.

While it might not yet cover areas such as learning management and gamification, it encompasses all the fundamentals of WFM and QA.

In addition, it offers several innovative features that most CCaaS vendors – let alone CRM players – do not deliver.

Paxton Cooper, SVP & Global Head of Product at Zendesk, showed many of these off – as shared below – during his opening keynote at Zendesk Relate 2024.

Zendesk Workforce Management

There are several differentiative features within the Zendesk Workforce Management solution.

For starters, it not only automates a forecast but also utilizes the latest contact volume data to continually optimize it, ensuring greater forecast accuracy.

Meanwhile, by leveraging the latest forecast data, Zendesk WFM automatically schedules and reschedules agents across channels in real-time, enabling enhanced scheduling efficiency.

Planners may also make manual tweaks to the forecasts and schedules based on their experience and know-how. But, ultimately, WFM plans are ready in a fraction of the time they once took.

Moreover, like many others, Zendesk offers real-time and historical WFM reports, which track metrics from schedule adherence to average handling time (AHT).

Yet, the vendor takes this further. As Cooper said:

It can even track back office activity outside of your tickets, like work that your team may be doing on their knowledge base, so you have a complete picture of where they spend their time.

Finally, with Zendesk, planners get a much more granular view of their contact volumes – which may influence their WFM strategy moving forward.

For instance, they can see how much of the contact center’s traffic runs through a specific channel, support tier, agent type, or any other category they should please.

In addition, planners may even split that traffic between intents, spot specific customer queries that are on the rise, and share that data with the broader team for action. That’s next-gen WFM!

Zendesk Quality Assurance

Zendesk Quality Assurance starts with Auto-QA, scoring all customer conversations across channels (including voice), languages, and operations.

Such scoring covers grammar, empathy, and the resolution – all things Zendesk’s new Agent Copilot can help with.

Yet, it stands out in its ability to automatically detect service quality issues, coaching opportunities, and knowledge base gaps.

The latter is particularly helpful as agent-assist models and autonomous customer-facing virtual agents – which feed from the knowledge base – become more widely implemented.

Zendesk QA also recommends conversations for manual review and surfaces burgeoning interaction trends – with the help of Spotlight.

Spotlight is an analytics-driven conversation discovery engine powered by Zendesk AI that pinpoints potential problems within customer conversations. In doing so, it prompts actions to escalate the issue or coach the agent.

Supervisors may then take such actions via a dashboard that provides a full conversation view, including sentiment, churn risk, customer satisfaction, quality scores, ticket details, etc.

Lastly, a QA for AI Agents tool is available within the solution. According to Paxton, this is “something that no one else in the industry has.”

The tool allows businesses to run QA for automated conversations, just as the contact center does for live agent interactions.

“You can be confident that [the AI agents] are really accurate, fast, and – most importantly – achieving resolutions,” said Cooper.

And – of course – Spotlight will tag churn risk and negative sentiment in AI-based conversations as well.

“[As a result,] you know when you need to update your source content, refine automated workflows, or follow up with unhappy customers.

The Strategy Is Threefold

The development of the Zendesk Workforce Engagement Suite provides three insights into the CRM and helpdesk stalwart’s strategy moving forward.

1. Zendesk Recognizes a Broader Opportunity In WEM Data

Zendesk has a robust reputation for pulling the contact center and its data into the broader customer experience ecosystem.

Now, after moving into the WEM space, the vendor brings even more data into that ecosystem and better powers the AI models across it.

Moreover, it can do so without blowing up the tech stack.

Yet, Zendesk also spots the potential of putting WEM data to work within contact center workflows.

For example, Cooper shared how a service team may leverage Zendesk’s intelligent triage together with its QA platform’s Spotlight solution.

By doing so, the contact center can route customers based on their query’s urgency – determined by its general impact on sentiment – or by agent proficiency to their specific intent.

2. Zendesk Senses A Chance To Centralize Contact Center Staff Management

In his presentation, Cooper doubled down on how the Zendesk Workforce Engagement Suite allows an organization – with service operations across the globe – to centralize staff management.

For instance, he noted how Wyze – a provider of smart home cameras and devices – leveraged Zendesk WFM to optimize their contact center teams across time zones and BPOs.

Later, he highlighted how Zendesk QA could evaluate all customer conversations across an entire enterprise’s service teams and outsourcers.

In these examples, Cooper flaunts one of Zendesk’s advantages over several market rivals, which offer similar WEM solutions within their CCaaS platforms: Zendesk offers elasticity.

After all, many enterprises leverage different contact center platforms across service locations – which means they often leverage multiple WEM solutions, making it a siloed activity.

Yet, Zendesk Workforce Engagement integrates various telephony environments as a vendor-agnostic overlay, enabling businesses to pull their global operations together and spot broader WFM and QA improvement opportunities.

3. Zendesk Is Going All-In On The Contact Center

While it offers products for sales and marketing, Zendesk is becoming increasingly service-centric.

That’s obvious in its new WEM suite, Ultimate acquisition, and other innovations released during Relate 2024.

Despite how crowded the service market is, Zendesk seemingly senses an opportunity there – and Simon Harrison, Founder & CEO of Actionary, agrees.

During a recent episode of CX Today’s Big News Update, Harrison said:

The biggest threat to the CCaaS landscape is the customer engagement center vendors because ServiceNow, Zendesk, all of these guys go in to do a demo for a customer, and they show such a deep, rich experience across all kinds of use cases.

“If I were a CCaaS vendor going in after them, I’d expect the customer to go: where’s the rest? Because what we just saw was so much broader and deeper. And, when organizations want to feel safe, they buy ecosystems.”

More from Zendesk Relate 2024

Alongside the Workforce Engagement Suite, Zendesk shared many more announcements at its Relate 2024 event.

To catch up on all the other headlines, check out our articles:


HelpdeskWorkforce ManagementWorkforce Optimization

Brands mentioned in this article.


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