Interview: Zendesk Startup Central Slack Community

by Chris Cardone

Interviewers: Greg Geibel (Zendesk), Rose Serafini (Zendesk)

Greg (Zendesk): To start off, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in your company?

I am a customer-obsessed success lead for Unstack working in Boston, MA. I work daily with customers to support them in using the platform to its fullest and build out our educational materials to allow more customers to self-serve.

Before Unstack, I previously was the first marketer at Plannuh and worked on building out a relatable, human brand voice.

My focus is on creating those “WOW” moments, whether that’s speedy support replies, incredible documentation, or a friendly, energetic onboarding experience.

Greg (Zendesk): What was the inspiration behind the product (Unstack.com)?

Our founder, Grant Deken, set out to level “the playing field for non-technical users to build, measure, and scale businesses without reliance on developers.” (We just recently announced our $3.1m. seed funding)

Understanding that entry-level tools don’t scale and larger tools require an in-depth knowledge of code. After that, the vision was clear: Building a different kind of CMS that allows for:

  1. Robust content and digital experience creation
  2. Customer data, marketing analytics, and A/B testing
  3. Integrations and data synchronization

With this vision of helping startups by providing a tool that grows with them, we work hard—every day—to further enable the startups that are entrusting us with their visions.

Rose (Zendesk): What is the underlying tech stack?

For support, we leverage Zendesk, Trello, Slack, and Cloudapp. We’ve found Zendesk to be the key player in delivering metrics, while Slack and Trello are perfect for communication, both within support and working cross-functionally with our product team. 

I love tech, but I’d also note that having clear standards of communication is critical. No matter how much tech you include, there’s nothing better than known accountability. We do this through developer SLAs, which require the development team get back to support within a certain number of hours with an accurate timeline based on the prioritization of the ticket.

Additionally, we use Zendesk to measure those SLAs.

Greg (Zendesk): What's the biggest benefit you've seen by using Zendesk?

Metrics are the largest win we’ve seen. Whether it’s noticing rises in product areas causing support tickets, prolonged chat times, or breached SLAs: the Zendesk explore reporting has allowed us to monitor the customer experience at a macro level and make quick course corrections when needed.

Secondly, the clear widget experience gives the customer the ability to engage with our Answer Bot, submit a ticket, and chat with an agent all in one place while, through design, clearly indicating which action they’re currently taking and setting the expectation of whether they’re reaching a human or a bot.

Lastly, the robust triggers Zendesk offers have allowed us to continue that expectation setting through to ticket completion.

Rose (Zendesk): What lessons have you learned since penetrating the market?

Support is everything. We have an incredible product, but even the best products need accessible support and great help docs in order to keep customers. In my role, I focus on how best to educate and enable our customers, and I’m so excited whenever our work here is noticed by our community, whether it’s a one-off review that mentions support, or how we’re one of the top-rated support teams in the website builder category.

Our team has adapted quickly to focus more on how we can delight our customers when they need a helping hand and thank them for taking the time to reach out rather than abandoning ship.

Greg (Zendesk): What has allowed your growth?

We’ve grown a lot as a company since I joined, and we’ve needed to adapt to meet the needs of those customers. To enable this growth, we’ve focused on building out more-and-more self-service content, videos, and a community that helps with things outside our support’s scope.

Additionally, having a dev team that is also customer-centric has been a major addition to our support operations, since we’ve been able to resolve issues in hours (not days) and delight customers who normally would grow annoyed with the platform should an issue or bug have been blocking their progress.

Lastly, customer advocacy. It’s very easy to just answer a ticket and say “I’ll add that request,” then never fully advocate for that customer’s use case or desire. However, we’re made a large motion to push for internal empathy for our customers, which has allowed us to truly understand how a feature would be beneficial to them and advocate for it, especially if it could help additional users within our user base.

Rose (Zendesk): How do you lead/empower your agents?

We’re a smaller support team so leading and empowerment is easier and more monitorable. However, what has helped us immensely is a shared core value of “Delivering wow.” Whether this means going above and beyond for a customer, recording a personalized video, or getting back to a free tier customer within an hour, our team works extremely hard to never leave customers disappointed.

And, since this is a core value company-wide, it has provided support a lot more leverage than traditionally given to make it up to customers whose experiences have slipped below our standard, which thankfully, doesn’t happen often.

As for specific motions of empowerment, when we train agents, we train on the “why” not the “how.” This allows for a lot more autonomy when they’re helping customers so they don’t feel like they’re simply fulfilling a workflow. Allowing them to inject personality, get to know our customers, and truly be a supporting person for every customer in our user-base.

Rose (Zendesk): Tell us something cool you have built with Zendesk.

Personally, I LOVE our personal looking emails that we styled with the help of Rose They deliver this feeling of a 1-on-1 conversation rather than the customer feeling like a ticket within the system.

Zendesk Personal Looking Email

While building out the guide, I brought my understanding that, at least here at Unstack, we have two audiences who use our guide in two completely different ways.

[1] New users looking for information and education

Those users usually don’t know your terminology. They don’t know what to search, so they’re looking to head to your guides and be taught that. So, we set up our guide to accommodate for this by providing a “Guides” category, which allows them to look through each part of the app.

[2] Users trying to answer a question

These users are a bit more powerful on the platform and have more of a grip on the terminology of the product. So, we’ve built out our category “common questions” which respond and answer to completion the most common questions our team gets. This allows us to not only standardize our explanation but also allow users who haven’t already reached out to self-service through our search or answer bot.


This was originally conducted within the Zendesk Startup Central Slack Community.