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Jeremy Martin | June 5, 2018

10 Ways to Use Fusion with Zendesk


The problem:

You’re the CMO at a small to medium sized business. As a result, you have a lot of responsibility, chief among them a host of data problems you’re trying to solve.

Specifically, because your company uses Zendesk, Salesforce, Marketo, NetSuite, and Jira, all your organization, contact, usage, and support data is spread across these cloud applications. While your sales, marketing, customer success, and finance teams use this data for different reasons, each still struggles to gain access to the data and manage it effectively. Just thinking about it gives you chest pain.


Take today’s manager’s meeting. Present are you (CMO), your CEO, Director of Customer Success, and Head of Sales, who’s already got steam coming out his ears.

“Every time sales wins an account and customer success implements the product, the contact data is different. Marketing has it in Marketo. Sales has it in Salesforce. And customer success gets that contact data in Zendesk.”


“He’s right,” says your Director of Customer Success. “Everytime we need to communicate with customers, we have to do a periodic data dump. Marketo has one field, Salesforce has another, and we’re left managing the deltas between those and Zendesk on an ongoing basis. It's all highly inefficient. And if we’re ever going to get a 360 degree view of the client, something has to change. Otherwise sales is going to keep missing out on all kinds of opportunities. And customer success won’t communicate well with our customers.” 

“Okay, okay,” you put your hands up. “I hear you. Loud and clear.”


The solutions:

1. Rolling Up Support Activity by Account

Say you want to know the average number of tickets for your leads and current customers, per account, per month. You use Zendesk for support, a marketing automation system for capturing leads, and sales CRM for deals and opportunity info. 

To answer this simple question, you would need to do a lot of complex things, like pull data from all these systems, load that data into a warehouse so you can access it using SQL or any business intelligence tool, then figure out how to combine it. Leads exist in your marketing automation system. Your CRM has current customer data. And Zendesk logs ticket and agent information in its own native reports.


To complicate matters, Zendesk has an organization object, which your CRM dubs an ‘account’ and marketing automation system calls a ‘company’. Three different data models create a morass of unique data types and formats across tables. So you would need to create a common, object-oriented schema, spend hundreds of hours extracting data from these applications, eliminating duplicates, resolving conflicts, cleaning up format inconsistencies, joining tables, and consulting a range of BI tools and dashboards.

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With Fusion, however, you can simply access the fused_company table, where Zendesk’s organization data, your CRM’s account info, and marketing automation’s company data have been combined. For all the ticket data, just query the fused_tickets table. And to get a holistic view across all three systems, simply join the fused_tickets table with your fused_company table using the links_company_tickets table. For more on links tables, see our help documentation here.

 Overcoming Data Silos to get a Unified View of Customers (1)

2. Account Dashboards for Sales 

Yes, Zendesk is a support application. And yes, your sales team wants to know the health score for each account. Meaning they need a way to calculate that health score and a dashboard for tracking that score by account.

By having records fused, in one data warehouse, it’s possible to create these scores, and answer questions such as:

  • How much have you invested in targeting a specific account?
  • How much pipeline revenue was generated by that account per campaign?
  • How many interactions were needed before the account was converted to a customer?
  • What was the medium (e.g. phone, email, chat, etc.) for these interactions?
  • What was the optimal sequence of interactions that most effectively led to the acquisition of a new customer?
  • Once they became a new customer, how engaged are they with the product? Are they using features often? Correctly?
  • How satisfied are they with the product? How likely are they to recommend your product or service to others? How many tickets, and of what severity, have they filed? 

With Fusion you could use a combination of Companies, Contacts, Activities, and Tickets to aggregate all this data together to create a health score using Zendesk data along with your other SaaS applications. And in the process you can identify the Company and Contact properties for each ticket profile, your combined satisfaction rating, or the average number of tickets and conversations for a new contact or current account. section5-slide1-topRolling up ticket and company information by account is extremely valuable. It lets you understand an entire account’s support experience with your business. It signal which accounts are more prone to churn based on relative incident rates. So aside from saving you the hassle of data prep, Fusion fastens your Zendesk support cases to your sales accounts, giving you the ability to create a holistic health score for every account. 

3. Connect Customer Satisfaction to Product Activities

Fusion includes other important Zendesk objects in your data warehouse, such as the activity_stream, a per agent event stream of the most recent events that relate to the agent polling the API. You can also access the satisfaction reasons in your Zendesk Support account, so if a user gives a negative rating to a solved ticket, a follow-up question is presented to the user to garner the possible reasons for the negative rating.

And while other customer satisfaction objects Fusion brings into your warehouse include Ticket, Ticket_problem, Request, Satisfaction_reason, Suspended_ticket, and Survey, there is much more you can do with them in Fusion.

Indeed, alone these objects can help you to calculate a customer satisfaction rating (CSAT) so you can tell how customers feel about your service and support. With just this Zendesk data, it’s easy to see what percentage of customers felt positively about the quality of agent-customer interaction, helping to improve agent performance and support training.

But what if you used these CSAT metrics together with other fused objects like Activity and Product? Then you would be much more liable to know more than how satisfied customers were with their customer service. In addition, you’ll know which parts of the product they used, how their product activity (see #5) led to them interacting with customer service, and why those product activities informed their satisfaction rating. In other words, connecting CSAT ratings to product activities tells the whole story.

How? When you connect your Fusion warehouse to a BI tool, you will access certain objects. Specifically, you’ll want to look at the Ticket, Contact, Company, Activity, and Product objects. These fused objects you can join to Zendesk objects like survey, ticket_problem, satisfaction_rating, satisfaction_reason, and activity_stream, giving you a holistic view of your customer’s support journey as it relates to their product usage. Zendesk has a product object, too, so if you offer multiple products, you can have a separate support portal for each product. By connecting this product object to your activity data, you can then combine them with customer satisfaction data.

Traditionally, to combine data from many sources so as to create a common, object-oriented schema would demand hours of data wrangling. You would need to extract data from Zendesk, your CRM, and any other product databases. Then you would need to eliminate duplicates, resolve conflicts, clean up format inconsistencies, join tables, and consult a range of BI tools and dashboards. With Fusion, you have all your data right there, SQL ready, in the right format. All the critical feedback you’ve gathered about your customers, their likes and dislikes, what they'd like you to add and what they'd like you to change from discussion forums, how they use the product, and how likely they are to recommend you to someone else, enable you to build a community rather than a mere repository of tickets triaged by severity. 

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4. Automated Contact Merging 

Zendesk allows admins and agents to merge multiple contact points of the same person into one contact. This makes it easier for the agents to pull up contextual information like recent tickets, company information, and more, to retain all the basic details such as name, phone number, address, notes, and so forth.

The trouble? You have to merge contacts manually. And nobody wants to do that. Especially not tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times.

In short, Fusion’s automated de-duplication saves you from having to merge contacts. That all happens before your data is brought into your cloud data warehouse. 

5. Visibility for At-Risk Accounts

Great customer success managers want to keep a finger on the pulse of their accounts. Will the account renew? Is their contract at risk? How expertly and often are they using the product? 

To gauge the health of your accounts, however, requires combining other data sources — product, financial, and sales — with your Zendesk support data. 


Well, first, product engagement, or activity data, is a great litmus test for at-risk accounts. Any high paying account not engaged with the product bodes poorly for renewal. Likewise, accounts with contracts set to expire and heavily engaged with the product are ideal for renewal, and sometimes upgrades (see #7). Such activity data might come from Marketo, which permits a huge variety of activity types related to lead records. For such activity, nearly every change, action or flow step is recorded against a lead's activity log, which Fusion retrieves via the API to populate in both the raw records in your Fused warehouse and merges with activities from other applications in the fused_activity table. Because Fusion interprets Marketo lead objects as Contact and namedAccount as Company, you can easily tie other Contact and Company data to your product activity data source(s).

Take, for example, data from financial applications like Quickbooks or ERPs like NetSuite. Such cloud applications give you insight into what and how often your customers are paying you via objects — invoices, orders, bills, payments, deposits, order items, purchase orders, and so on — that in their native applications are tied to an account or customer object. In Fusion, all this financial data stems from the Company and Contact objects. These two common objects are what let you analyze financial data and product activity data together.


If you use an application like Zendesk, your customer support data can then be combined with financial and activity data. Together, your Zendesk tickets, agents, discussion categories, surveys, product types, and satisfaction ratings can give you excellent insight into which Contacts and Companies are at risk. So if an account is due to renew in the coming three months, you can evaluate the status of each customer that is close to renewal and communicate accordingly. In the case that the customer shows good engagement patterns and the likelihood of renewal is high, you may want to use this opportunity to educate the customer regarding additional offerings. For those with poor product engagement patterns, you’ll want to learn how the customer has been using your product and educate them on better use before issuing a new contract. So with Fusion you can save your at-risk accounts. 

6. Connecting Support Issues to Bug Fixes

When a customer gets in touch with you through Zendesk, the interaction may very well result in a support ticket assigned to engineering in a system like Atlassian’s Jira. 

Here’s the rub: Zendesk has a ticket and contact object, but connecting this to a bug tracking system like Jira, which lacks said ‘company’ object, is complex.


With Fusion, you can foster better communication between support and engineering by connecting issues from Zendesk to bug fixes in applications like Jira.


Fusion allows you to create a custom mapping, which defines how one field relates to another field for a given object. As your connectors have unique schemas, you can tie their fields together by creating a custom mapping using Fusion’s schema tool. (For more, read our blog post Mapping Systems in Fusion and watch our short video Your Fusion Warehouse). And if your instance of Jira lacks a company field, no sweat. In Jira you can add a custom field that would denote the company name, id, account number, etc. With this custom field added, you can create a custom mapping in Fusion, associating the type of ticket, severity, due date, all the subtasks and other data in Jira to your Zendesk support system. 

The value here is in bringing your support agents better visibility into what engineering is doing. By connecting support issues to bug fixes, you can triage issues by severity, helping more at-risk clients before less at-risk clients, or more profitable and successful customers before less profitable or successful customers, and expedite how long it takes engineering to solve issues affecting multiple contacts and companies.

7. Upgrade opportunities 

In #5, we discussed how to identify at-risk accounts using multiple data sources. And in #6, we discussed faster ways to help accounts by bridging the gap between support and engineering. But what if you’ve done a great job with your account? How do you know when to upgrade or upsell them? 

Imagine your Zendesk data shows certain customers are spending a lot of time talking to your agents, which is a drain on resources, but perhaps your activity data shows that these accounts are also having trouble getting the most out of your product. This is an excellent upgrade opportunity. Such accounts are great candidates to buy extra services, which additional revenue can grow your business.

8. Connect CRM data to Zendesk for Fast Analysis in Business Intelligence 

BI front-ends can pull CRM activity data, but with serious API call and volume limitations. Refreshing dashboards is slow. The volume of data you can download is limited. Which is a shame, really, because there really is a ton of value in using great BI tools (Amazon Quicksight, Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, MySQL Workbench, Metabase, Looker, Yellowfin, Lattice, Domo, Chartio, Qlik, Mode Analytics, Periscope, GoodData, etc.)


Fusion grants you real-time access to Zendesk production data while eliminating the need to create a warehouse of your own. What this means is you can also unify your CRM data with support applications like Zendesk, as well as Finance, eCommerce, and marketing automation systems.

9. Unified Customer Data for Support Teams

Of all the ways to use Fusion with Zendesk, getting a consolidated resource for reports is perhaps the simplest and yet the most likely to confer value. Customer success teams want one place to go for real-time analytics. They want accurate, up-to-date data, not data that’s weeks, even months, old. 

When your Fusion warehouse is built and plugged into a BI tool, you can access just Zendesk data or every data source all at once. Relationships between that data sources are already mapped for you based on a default schema, with their integrity left intact.

10. Calculating Customer Health Scores 

Customer health metrics help managers determine how well a support rep is developing, maintaining, and strengthening relationships with customers. Fusion is a perfect way to use your Zendesk data to calculate a customer health score. By adding metrics about how users engage, customer success teams can then take the action to remedy low health scores and product designers can iterate more quickly on their next release or sprint.

When calculating your customer health score, go beyond how often customers use product and explore every facet of successful product usage. Customer health is a metric greater than churn and product. It’s about incorporating feedback after listening to what customers like and don’t like about your customer. The more you use Zendesk’s surveys and questionnaires, the better Fusion will allow you to blend multiple dimensions of customer data metrics to see whether customers are deriving value from your people, as well as your products and services. 

Ready to feed your Zendesk data into a Fusion data warehouse? Try it for free.

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