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Why the Zapier Zendesk Integration Doesn’t Work for Growing Teams

Colin BovetColin Bovet

Zapier has become a mainstay of most tech startups, connecting data across an amazing number of web services with a user-friendly interface. However, as companies grow they reach a point where Zapier doesn’t serve their needs anymore. In this post we cover what goes wrong, and what companies can do instead, with the Zapier Zendesk integration as an example.

As startups begin to scale, they often set up Zaps to automate simple tasks and share data across platforms. Zapier works in the background 24/7 sending CRM data to spreadsheets, calendar events to emails, and blog posts to social media. It’s inexpensive, versatile, near-realtime, and simple to set up without much tech knowledge. For tasks that can be done passively in the background, Zapier is a game-changer.

Where does Zapier start to hit limitations?

  1. Creating a two-way flow of information
  2. Filtering and segmenting information
  3. Involving more of the team in the process

Let’s use the example of integrating Zendesk with Slack using Zapier. Say that a company’s customer support team uses Zendesk for all their tickets, and they want a way to keep the rest of the team posted about important tickets.

Zapier has a built-in integration to post new Zendesk tickets to Slack. The setup is straightforward – the Zendesk ticket is a trigger in Zapier that creates a new ticket in a connected Slack account. With the Zapier Zendesk integration, all new tickets will now be shared in a Slack channel, e.g. #support-tickets. Note that you’ll need a paid Zapier account to use this integration.

Creating a two-way flow of information

The Zapier Zendesk integration creates a passive one-way display channel in Slack for Zendesk tickets. Only the first part of a ticket will be shown in Slack – not subsequent conversations on the ticket.

While Zapier can post new Zendesk tickets into Slack, it does not work the other way around. It’s a one-way sync; after that ticket is posted in Slack, there’s no way to modify the ticket in Zendesk from Slack. Slack users can’t comment or edit tickets from Slack but have to visit Zendesk (and have a Zendesk seat) to make changes.

Zapier also does not support the ability to use Slack to create tickets in Zendesk. This functionality would be especially useful for companies that use Zendesk as an internal IT support tool. Employees can send Slack messages to the IT team for support issues, which can be turned directly into support tickets on Zendesk.

Filtering and segmenting information

What happens when a team wants to communicate in a more rich, nuanced way between Zendesk and Slack?

Say that certain types of Zendesk tickets need to be shared with specific individuals or posted in certain channels, depending on the ticket. Zapier’s supported triggers for Zendesk are limited and can require manual workarounds to cover your use-cases.

You can set up a different Zap for each type of ticket and use Zapier filters based on Zendesk tags to funnel tickets into the correct Slack channel, but this quickly gets cumbersome. It gets especially complicated if you want to have a Zendesk ticket go into multiple Slack channels – you’d need to set up and manage multiple Zaps to do so.

Involving more of the team in customer success

Today’s high-performing organizations know that customer success is a team effort and bring everyone into the conversation – from sales to engineering, operations to support.

Zendesk is a walled service – there’s no efficient way for team members without a Zendesk seat to get visibility into ticket status. And Zendesk seats are pricey!

What happens when a team member who doesn’t have a Zendesk login wants to be kept in the loop about tickets for a certain customer, or wants to add a comment on a ticket? Support team members can forward tickets, but that adds extra load onto their plates and it’s inefficient.

Quick Recap

Zapier is amazing for what it is — a quick, easy tool that bridges lots of gaps. However, when it comes to using vital tools like Zendesk and Slack, it hits some important limitations:

A better alternative for growing teams

As organizations grow, their needs grow as well. When this happens, it’s time to find solutions that are custom-built to solve a specific need.

BubbleIQ has a simple, yet powerful, tool to address the challenges outlined here (see “How to Use the BubbleIQ Zendesk Slack integration“). This platform allows teams to use Slack to create and comment on Zendesk tickets, send tickets to Slack users, and improves ticket visibility across the organization. If you’re not using BubbleIQ yet, get a free demo.