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Joel’s Picks – Zendesk Help Desk 2.0

I’ve recently started working with Zendesk, and I can’t say enough about this Web 2.0  SaaS helpdesk company.  In my last post, I made the point that most SaaS vendors just don’t get Web 2.0.  Zendesk is the exception that proves the rule and I think this company has an amazing future.

You might think that the last thing the world needs is another helpdesk product.  I personally can’t think of too many spaces that are more crowded with everything from cheap packaged software to large scale ERP-integrated SaaS offerings.  So, what makes Zendesk special?  They get what all the other B2B SaaS / Enterprise 2.0 companies are missing.  When I submit their offering to the Web 2.0-savvy IQ test, their marks are off the chart.

First and foremost, Zendesk is a native Web-centric application that completely integrates the backend helpdesk with a company’s online customer support presence.  When you turn on Zendesk, you not only turn on the traditional helpdesk ticket tracking, business rule automation and reporting, you turn on your customer support portal, online forums, mashup widgets, pervasive RSS and your support@yourcompany.com email–all these customer communication points are seamlessly integrated to your back end helpdesk.  When I speak of B2B2C being an emerging disruptive force in Enterprise 2.0 SaaS…this is exactly it.

Zendesk launched in November of 2007 and in a short half-year has  [an undisclosed but an amazing number of ] paying customers and an increasingly impressive list of brand names.  Why?  Because you can sign up and get going without any help at all.  The website content, trial sign-up and purchase are seamless and is 100% automated.  And, the minimalist design is so intuitive that no training is required.  Although I know these guys like to give each new account a little tender loving care, the truth is that getting going is as straightforward as any Web 2.0 consumer site.

If your run a Web-based business, or simply want to provide better support over the Web, and agile customer service is more important to you than heavy-iron process automation and compliance on the backend…my pick is Zendesk.

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