It can be a real struggle to create experiences that meet customer expectations. In today’s world, new apps and channels have made it easier than ever to interact with a company’s brand across platforms and devices. This has generated a never-ending stream of customer data that’s disconnected, especially when building apps that enhance the customer experience.
That’s because many businesses are stuck building apps on legacy CRM platforms that force developers to work with separated customer data, rigid data models, and proprietary developer frameworks from a different era of app development. Together, this can make it hard to truly understand who customers are and what they want, and deliver personalized experiences throughout the entire customer journey.
At Envoy, we need to build apps at a rate that is as fast as our customers—the kind of customers who get same-day delivery from Amazon Prime and follow rapid-fire trends driven by social media. That’s why we turned to Zendesk Sunshine, which combines the flexibility of AWS public cloud infrastructure with the agility of an open-standards based development framework. We immediately realized the benefits—at the end of our first project using Sunshine, our developers found that they could build apps three times faster than before.
Personal touches for better customer experiences
Envoy is a Zendesk premier partner who helps deliver customized Zendesk solutions for customers across all industries and company sizes. Our desire to provide better customer experiences coincided with our growing need to deliver personal touches on unique enterprise use cases. There isn’t an easy solution for that: there are certain complexities to account for when delivering custom solutions for customers. For example, our engagement managers handle projects for multiple accounts. Each account has specialized project needs, like gaining deeper insights into their support ticket drivers or building out a help center. Each need necessitates a different kind of interaction, and it isn’t easy to manage them all in one place.
We realized we needed to create efficiencies within our business that could meet growing customer demand and detail every client interaction. To accomplish that, we decided to create a project management app within our own Zendesk workspace. It was an undertaking that would require bringing various elements together—native Zendesk Support data, third-party data in AWS, and internal business data on our own projects and tasks. All to help make our project management experience truly personalized for each client.
From 15 days to five
One of the biggest time-savers was how quickly we were able to bring that data together. Sunshine’s flexible data layer allows Zendesk data to connect to other data sources, such as data residing in AWS. Typically, we’d have to develop a standalone app and then integrate all of our data into it. Instead, we were able to take both steps at the same time.
On top of that, since our developers weren’t locked into proprietary technology, they could take advantage of the open source technologies they were already familiar with. Sunshine’s low learning curve allowed us to customize the app based on our existing customer data and infrastructure, rather than working within the limitations of a particular framework—a “round peg, square hole” issue that we experienced in the past with other CRM tools.
When we needed to incorporate our project and tasks data into the app, we used Sunshine Custom Objects to store and manage our project data, and link it to user data already in Zendesk. The result was an app that doesn’t require our staff to leave Zendesk or login to multiple systems. The best part of the whole experience was the speed of app development. We approximated that an app like this generally requires 15 days for development. With Sunshine, it took us only five.
The fact that we’re able to use our data in ways that best suits us—for those greater efficiencies in serving our customers and knowing the details of every interaction for more personalized touches—is invaluable. While we started with an internal application, this test run with Sunshine demonstrated its huge promise to change our entire development lifecycle. It’ll be especially helpful as we continue to build scalable, user-first custom apps for use with Zendesk for our clients.
Kasia Wood is director of marketing and enablement at Envoy, a Zendesk implementation and optimization firm. She has more than 15 years of marketing and project management expertise in creating exceptional customer experiences for B2C and B2B customers.
Learn more about how Envoy builds scalable, user-first customer experiences and custom apps for use with Zendesk by visiting our website.