Zendesk has expanded capabilities to its service-first CRM solutions that help companies provide real-time support across messaging channels on web, social, and mobile.

A key enabler of these capabilities is a strategic partnership – among the first of its kind – with WhatsApp that enables companies to immediately engage with customers, share information and respond to questions across WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Research by Zendesk and ESG has shown that companies with the best customer experiences (CX) invest in offering more channels to their customers, and are much more likely to have embraced messaging apps (89%) and social media (87%) when compared to their competitors.

There are significant shifts in the way customers are choosing to interact with businesses – most notably a 50% surge in usage of messaging channels over the first half of 2020, Zendesk president of products, Adrian McDermott said.

“The new Zendesk messaging capabilities, automated workflows and customisation features are helping our customers provide conversational experiences that flow seamlessly across channels and devices while remaining engaging, personal and contextual. Our partnership with WhatsApp and Facebook, which provides Zendesk business customers access to simple API tools to connect with their customers on WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, is integral to this evolution,” he said.

Businesses today need to meet their customers where they want to be met — and that’s increasingly through messaging, according to WhatsApp chief operating officer, Matt Idema.

“More than 175 million people already message a business account on WhatsApp every day to ask questions and get helpful information, and as more conversations shift online during the ongoing pandemic, messaging tools can help businesses of all sizes increase their efficiency and improve customer satisfaction,” he said.

“Through this partnership with Zendesk, we’ll help many more medium-sized businesses get started using messaging to communicate with their customers in a matter of minutes and build new features to make WhatsApp the best way to get business done.”

Businesses will be able to add out-of-the-box Zendesk messaging capabilities to their website and mobile app so customers can have rich, engaging, and automated conversations over WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Messaging conversations flow into the unified agent workspace so a support team can manage and respond to customers over any channel, all from a single place, and with complete history and context of the conversation.

To scale conversations across multiple channels, brands can automate common question and answer conversations and build AI-powered workflows powered by Answer Bot. For example, offering support on frequently asked questions such as store locations, payment options, shipping and returns. When customers visit the retailer’s website, they will be greeted by a customised bot that allows them to choose from options in order to get an instant answer. If the question requires agent assistance, the retailer’s bot escalates the inquiry to a live messaging channel.