In a way, Zendesk is really two products in one. The first product is the ticketing system, which includes most of the features that I’ve described up until this point in the book. The other product is the Forums feature, which is a self-service portal where your customers can find answers to their questions without engaging with your support team directly.
In his book High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, Micah Solomon describes the growth of self-service portals (similar to Zendesk’s forums) with the observation, "self-service[…] is a powerful trend in customer service, and companies that ignore it, pursue it reluctantly, or violate the basic laws of its implementation will be left in the dust". To companies who are not observing this trend, "customer service" is delivered through a person-to-person interaction, and anything else seems impersonal or robotic. But really, customers are becoming more satisfied when companies are able to anticipate their needs, and provide the answers to their question immediately, without human intervention.
Before explaining the forums feature, I want to clarify that its name is misleading for most people. When thinking of a forum on the Internet, most people think of those bulletin board style systems where people post new threads, perhaps asking a question, and other people respond and engage in a conversation on the forum. The primary purpose of these types of forums is to allow user-to-user interaction.
Forums in Zendesk provide ...