It’s official: The Monkeys ARE running the billion-dollar-zoo. Zendesk, a leading customer service and sales engagement solution, has announced plans to pick-up Momentive, the parent to the research and survey disruptor of the 2000’s, SurveyMonkey, for a cool $4.13 Billion. This after the other marketing-monkey, MailChimp, a company of no relation and in a totally different space, was picked up by Intuit for $12 Billion this past September.
While the two primate companies couldn’t be more different, the near-term value for Zendesk and Intuit feet the same: access to new customers to boost revenues. For Zendesk, this near-term motivation is laid bare in the second subhead of their press release: “Combination expected to be growth accretive by 2023 and accelerate Zendesk’s revenue plan to $3.5 billion in 2024.”
It doesn’t get spelled out much more clearly than that. But it’s the long-term vision that has me most intrigued. Zendesk intends to become a “Customer Intelligence” company, and I think they’ve got a pretty good shot.
From the start, Zendesk has been focused on capturing the moments that matter most to a customer—those moments when customers are in need of answers or in need of help. What started as tools for customer service agents to more easily engage with customers has evolved into a comprehensive and predictive platform to bring sales and service closer to the true need, and perhaps even voice, of the customer. For sales and service teams, the Zendesk platform can provide immediately actionable customer understanding in every engagement, including automating next best actions like relevant content delivery or sales follow-ups.
Over the past several years Zendesk has intentionally invested, be it through targeted acquisitions like Smooch (2019) and Cleverly.ai (2021) or through its own innovation and platform advances, in solutions and tools to help organizations be better at having focused, valued conversations with customers. Zendesk has worked to make an organization’s people more productive and effective at conversing with their customers, especially when that means empowering the end customer to help themselves.
So it isn’t that much of a leap to see why Zendesk would start shopping for a means to pull voice more directly into the conversation. With Momentive, Zendesk isn’t just picking up SurveyMonkey, but a slew of smaller pickups along the way that intentionally build broad feedback loops between organization, digital product and customer. This pick up allows an organization to amass a customer-voice-driven profile that is rich with behavioral intention and direct high-fidelity signal from customer feedback…now native (once integrated) to the platform their teams are using to actually engage in sales and service conversations.
And this, at least in my wild world of CX, is where Zendesk has a real opportunity: To connect the dots between a customer’s interaction with an organization and their feedback on how those experiences have landed in one aggregated pane of intelligence and understanding. Today, the intelligence about the customer has been segmented across moments of discovery (largely driven by marketing), moments of opportunity (largely driven by sales), and moments of requirement or need (largely driven by service and support).
These moments, and the rich intelligence they can deliver back to the organization, are too often relegated to the tools and systems they have been collected in. Zendesk has a chance to flip that script by intentionally collecting those signals and feed them back to the front line of customer experience delivery. Today, that front line impacted by Zendesk is largely a sales and service driven picture…but I doubt the company has any intention of limiting their scope there.