Helpbot, Slack bots and the future of work

Yesterday we officially announced our newest product, which is a Slack bot for interacting with Zendesk called Helpbot. It’s another realization of our efforts for innovating in the Customer Service space.

Our reasoning for building Helpbot went like this:

Most Zendesk users only use its very core functionality. This is a great example of the Pareto principle. This core functionality can easily be replicated, and probably explains why there are so many Help Desk SaaS competitors out there.

These are what we call casual users, meaning Customer Service is not their main responsibility. Casual users don’t spend much time on Zendesk and they don’t even keep it open. They just log in from time to time to check it. All in all, they’re not Zendesk power users and would be just fine using a much simpler support system. One that’s less complex, less cluttered with functionality and easier to learn.

As Slack is increasingly becoming a hub for internal communications at companies and teams, more time is spent inside it. It’s a tool that everyone at a company is familiar with, regardless of their role.

Slack is encouraging its users to integrate their workflows into Slack, and their APIs are enabling them to do so. Slack has the potential to become a Command Line Interface for non-techies.

This suggests there’s an opportunity for integrating workflows from many departments into Slack, and we’re already seeing some successful examples in Marketing, Sales, Human Resources or Customer Service.

Most of Zendesk’s functionality can be accessed to through their API. What this means is that we can abstract Zendesk’s core functionality, the one that casual users need, and put it into Slack.

Slack bots are never going to replace Salesforce, Zendesk or any other vertically focused software, because power users need complex UIs that let them accomplish complex tasks. That’s other side of the Pareto coin.

However, for casual users a Slack bot such as Helpbot is probably a better choice.


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