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Getting to grips with Zendesk’s newest AI tool, conversation summaries

Jude Kriwald

January 10, 2024

4

min read

Introduction

AI is the talk of the town at the moment. From article writing to life coaching, there are few applications where AI hasn’t been tested as an alternative or support to the traditional approaches. So it’s no surprise then that AI assistance has arrived in Zendesk.

Having just finished setting up Zendesk’s new Advanced AI tools for a client of mine, it’s safe to say that Zendesk has more new AI features than I could ever cover in one article. Let’s focus on one of the simplest yet most helpful new AI-based features Zendesk offers: conversation summaries.

Challenge

Every agent has been there: you’re on a roll, trying to whizz through dozens of tickets to clear the backlog or meet SLAs. You’re quickly scanning short emails and firing off macro-based responses at a thousand miles an hour. You think you’re going to clear the backlog right before the clock strikes for your next break.

Then disaster strikes. You come across a ticket comprising a rambling message from a customer. This wasn’t part of your plan! Now you’re going to need to slow down, read the message at a careful and steady pace, take notes as they’ve highlighted multiple issues, and then create a custom response as none of your macros cover all the topics they’ve raised. Your flow is interrupted and your momentum is significantly reduced.

But what if there was a way to obtain an in-depth understanding of what’s needed, all without slowing down so much? With Zendesk’s new Conversation Summary tool, that’s exactly what you can do.

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Summarizing a new ticket

N.B. This feature requires the Advanced AI add-on.

Let’s start by taking a look at a new ticket below.

As you can see, the customer has sent a thorough, albeit very long email. Let’s see if we can save agent time by producing a succinct summary of their email without missing any crucial details.

Head over to the toolbar on the right of the screen, and click on the wand icon.

Then, click on “Summarize conversation”.

Amazingly, Zendesk’s Advanced AI has summarized a 427-word message down to just 84 words. That’s a potential time saving of around 80%.

To be clear, I’m not for a moment suggesting that the agent shouldn’t glance at the original message. Instead, this summary can be useful for a number of reasons:

First of all, it can help triaging agents know who to assign the tickets to, and in much less time.

Second of all, this summary supports the replying agent to have a clear understanding of what is happening in the message, so they can wrap their head around it and choose the most appropriate macro. From there, the agent can of course take a look at the original message for any further details that need clarifying, but they needn’t read the whole message to understand where things stand.

Summarizing a whole conversation

The “Summarize conversation” feature isn’t limited to summarizing a single message. As the name suggests, we can use the new AI tool to summarize an entire conversation between an end-user and an agent.

This is even more helpful, as reading several messages that have been sent back and forth between multiple people, just to get an understanding of what the next steps are, can be really time-consuming.

Let’s look at another example.

Below is an email from a customer called Graeme.

As you can see from the size of the scroll bar on the right, a long conversation about repairs has taken place between the customer and the customer service agent.

In fact, the whole conversation is 1,060 words long. Imagining that a new agent was assigned to respond to Graeme’s latest message at the bottom of the page, it would take them approximately five minutes to read every word and know exactly what is needed from them.

Instead, let’s try out the new Summarize conversation feature once more. As before, head over to the wand icon on the right and click “Summarize Conversation”.

Incredibly, Zendesk’s AI tool has dropped the word count from 1,060 to 105, that’s over a 90% saving.

This time round, not only has Zendesk summarized the initial email, it has summarized all 11 messages that were sent back and forth into one easily digestible paragraph that can be read in 30 seconds.

As before, it’s quite likely that the agent will want to look at the very last email from Graeme in full, to understand how to respond as appropriately as possible but, with this summary, they needn’t read any of the other ten messages in the conversation.

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Summary

Whilst this has been a whistle stop tour of the new Summarize conversation feature in Zendesk, it’s already very clear how much time and money it could save your customer service team.

But let’s be clear here; this tool is about more than just time and money, it can help your agents feel supported. It supports them to be confident in their responses and can act as a sense-checker for any scanning they’ve done of their own.

For all the understandable worry about AI replacing humans at work, it’s refreshing to see AI supporting humans at work.

WRITTEN BY OUR EXPERT

Jude Kriwald

Zendesk Consultant

Jude Kriwald first learned to administer Zendesk in 2015 and has been helping businesses improve their customer operations as a freelance consultant since 2018. Offline, he can be found making maps, paragliding or exploring remote places.

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Salto for

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Zendesk

SHARE

Getting to grips with Zendesk’s newest AI tool, conversation summaries

Jude Kriwald

January 10, 2024

4

min read

Introduction

AI is the talk of the town at the moment. From article writing to life coaching, there are few applications where AI hasn’t been tested as an alternative or support to the traditional approaches. So it’s no surprise then that AI assistance has arrived in Zendesk.

Having just finished setting up Zendesk’s new Advanced AI tools for a client of mine, it’s safe to say that Zendesk has more new AI features than I could ever cover in one article. Let’s focus on one of the simplest yet most helpful new AI-based features Zendesk offers: conversation summaries.

Challenge

Every agent has been there: you’re on a roll, trying to whizz through dozens of tickets to clear the backlog or meet SLAs. You’re quickly scanning short emails and firing off macro-based responses at a thousand miles an hour. You think you’re going to clear the backlog right before the clock strikes for your next break.

Then disaster strikes. You come across a ticket comprising a rambling message from a customer. This wasn’t part of your plan! Now you’re going to need to slow down, read the message at a careful and steady pace, take notes as they’ve highlighted multiple issues, and then create a custom response as none of your macros cover all the topics they’ve raised. Your flow is interrupted and your momentum is significantly reduced.

But what if there was a way to obtain an in-depth understanding of what’s needed, all without slowing down so much? With Zendesk’s new Conversation Summary tool, that’s exactly what you can do.

What if Zendesk was 4x less work?

Request a Demo Get started with Salto

Summarizing a new ticket

N.B. This feature requires the Advanced AI add-on.

Let’s start by taking a look at a new ticket below.

As you can see, the customer has sent a thorough, albeit very long email. Let’s see if we can save agent time by producing a succinct summary of their email without missing any crucial details.

Head over to the toolbar on the right of the screen, and click on the wand icon.

Then, click on “Summarize conversation”.

Amazingly, Zendesk’s Advanced AI has summarized a 427-word message down to just 84 words. That’s a potential time saving of around 80%.

To be clear, I’m not for a moment suggesting that the agent shouldn’t glance at the original message. Instead, this summary can be useful for a number of reasons:

First of all, it can help triaging agents know who to assign the tickets to, and in much less time.

Second of all, this summary supports the replying agent to have a clear understanding of what is happening in the message, so they can wrap their head around it and choose the most appropriate macro. From there, the agent can of course take a look at the original message for any further details that need clarifying, but they needn’t read the whole message to understand where things stand.

Summarizing a whole conversation

The “Summarize conversation” feature isn’t limited to summarizing a single message. As the name suggests, we can use the new AI tool to summarize an entire conversation between an end-user and an agent.

This is even more helpful, as reading several messages that have been sent back and forth between multiple people, just to get an understanding of what the next steps are, can be really time-consuming.

Let’s look at another example.

Below is an email from a customer called Graeme.

As you can see from the size of the scroll bar on the right, a long conversation about repairs has taken place between the customer and the customer service agent.

In fact, the whole conversation is 1,060 words long. Imagining that a new agent was assigned to respond to Graeme’s latest message at the bottom of the page, it would take them approximately five minutes to read every word and know exactly what is needed from them.

Instead, let’s try out the new Summarize conversation feature once more. As before, head over to the wand icon on the right and click “Summarize Conversation”.

Incredibly, Zendesk’s AI tool has dropped the word count from 1,060 to 105, that’s over a 90% saving.

This time round, not only has Zendesk summarized the initial email, it has summarized all 11 messages that were sent back and forth into one easily digestible paragraph that can be read in 30 seconds.

As before, it’s quite likely that the agent will want to look at the very last email from Graeme in full, to understand how to respond as appropriately as possible but, with this summary, they needn’t read any of the other ten messages in the conversation.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Summary

Whilst this has been a whistle stop tour of the new Summarize conversation feature in Zendesk, it’s already very clear how much time and money it could save your customer service team.

But let’s be clear here; this tool is about more than just time and money, it can help your agents feel supported. It supports them to be confident in their responses and can act as a sense-checker for any scanning they’ve done of their own.

For all the understandable worry about AI replacing humans at work, it’s refreshing to see AI supporting humans at work.

WRITTEN BY OUR EXPERT

Jude Kriwald

Zendesk Consultant

Jude Kriwald first learned to administer Zendesk in 2015 and has been helping businesses improve their customer operations as a freelance consultant since 2018. Offline, he can be found making maps, paragliding or exploring remote places.