How Zendesk’s iPad App Makes Customer Support Child’s PlayFebruary 14, 2011
by Matthew Lynley
Zendesk operates a Web-based help desk service that lets companies track customer complaints across most of the web. It’s one of a number of startups that are trying to bring the ideas behind consumer-facing technology like Twitter and Facebook to the enterprise space. And today it’s launching a mobile version of its app for the iPad.
The Zendesk iPad app feels a whole lot like Twitter and Facebook. Customer-support workers can quickly browse active tickets and flag specific tickets they need to access later. They can jump into active threads and respond to customers and other employees or respond to employees specifically within a thread.
The whole interface is streamlined like most micro-blogging applications to make it easy to manage. The idea is to help customer support employees do their job at home or sitting in bed, said Zendesk chief executive Mikkel Svane. Or anywhere else, for that matter, now that tablet computers have basically turned every employee into a field operative, he said.
Svane said he only gets his iPad back after his two daughters are done playing games and have gone to bed. Then he gets straight to work. “It’s kind of crazy — your productivity machine is also a kid’s toy,” he said. “It just makes it so much easier because you aren’t tied to a desk or a computer.”
Zendesk already has an iPhone app, but the company decided to build the iPad app from scratch, Svane said. iPhone users have downloaded Zendesk’s mobile application around 80,000 times, he said. The iPad is quietly becoming a supergiant in the enterprise space — around 80 of the largest companies in the world on the Fortune 100 list have either deployed an application on the iPad or are testing one. It was a natural next step to develop an application for the tablet, Svane said.
Zendesk is part of a number of new-age venture-backed enterprise startups that are bringing consumer tech to the enterprise. The company recently closed its third round of fundraising worth $19 million. It also closed a $6 million fundraising round in August 2009. Yammer, another startup in that generation, recently announced a funding round worth a whopping $25 million. Huddle raised an extra $10.2 million in its second round of funding earlier this year in May.