Yext adds Salesforce and Zendesk tie-ups to expansion of enterprise search credentials

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan September 6, 2021 Audio mode
Summary:
Zendesk and Salesforce-related announcements point to Yext's expansionist thinking in practice.

kid-searching

Building on an earlier integration with Zendesk, search specialist Yext recently announced Salesforce-centric enhancements, aimed at enabling businesses to augment their existing Service Cloud-powered help sites, agent consoles, and support forms with Yext’s AI-powered Support Answers.

According to the firm, the intent is to deliver more manageable ticket volumes, faster resolution times, and higher customer satisfaction rates. The two integrations are the latest expansion of enterprise capabilities from Yext with two powerful players in the CRM space.

CEO Howard Lerman touched on the rationale for these moves in a recent analyst call when he said of the Zendesk integration:

This enables our mutual customers to use Yext and Zendesk together to strengthen their overall customer support offerings. Our integration enables businesses to add an AI-powered search engine to their existing health sites so that customers can more easily get accurate answers to their questions directly from a brand's Knowledge Graph. And by enabling customers to more efficiently self-serve, Support Answers helps reduce ticket volume and save on operational costs.

Naturally, there are issues that require a more hands-on approach and Support Answers helps agents with their customer interactions. Yext AI search directly on a company's internal Zendesk agent help desk. With that, agents can access relevant answers in real time as customers are filling out the details of their issue. This means agents are more empowered and more efficient, reducing friction in the customer experience, which leads to higher customer SAT scores.

As for the introduction of Yext AI search for Salesforce Service Cloud on the Salesforce AppExchange:

Our collaboration brings the best of our platforms together as it enables our mutual clients to augment their existing Salesforce Service Cloud-powered help sites, agent consoles and support forms with Support Answers. We're excited about this integration with Salesforce as it highlights the large market opportunity that exists for Support Answers.

Expansion

Yext’s latest - summer - release introduced has also looked to expand functionality, including rolling out an updated data connector framework to enable businesses to extract their data from multiple new sources and connected to their Knowledge Graph. Lerman said:

For example, with these connections, Yext customers can integrate with their Zendesk account in only about 15 minutes. We built multiple connectors and plan to significantly increase that number by the end of next quarter. In an effort to make our search results even more powerful, we updated our search algorithm to enable dynamic reranking. That means search results will be delivered in order of what users have previously engaged with since that is a strong indication of preference.

We also added semantic search. This serves as pictures and GIFs to the already rich text-based results. And these key enhancements are just a few examples of how we are helping to move the enterprise away from outdated index-based keyword search to more intelligent, dynamic way of delivering answers to customer questions using natural language and from a Knowledge Graph. 

 

The firm’s latest quarterly results suggest that the expansion strategy is delivering with the total number of Yext direct customers, excluding SMB and third-party reseller customers, increasing 23% year-on-year to over 2,600. New customers included First Citizens, Frontier Communications, First National Bank and Revlon, while the likes of FedEx, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Marriott International, Mount Sinai Hospital and Tiffany & Co were among notable renewals.

The ROI pitched here with Yext’s Answers is straightforward, argued Lerman:

Customers usually implement Yext Support Answers for three parts of their ROI. The first is increased transactions. With natural language search, when a customer runs a question and ask a question, they're going to be getting maps back and customers -- or other types of transactions, and customers can create whatever transaction button they want. So increased transactions is the first.

Second is the reduced support tickets. I'm friendly with a number of the large support platforms CEOs and executives and they tell me that, right now, their customers are being crushed with a number of support tickets. We really want to help them. Our Support Answers solution is reducing the number of tickets that come through. And there's a number of different ways you can do that, but one of them for a case deflection is the ability for Yext Answers to scan a ticket as it's being written and as one of their customers types in a ticket, if we can find a potential answer, we'll surface that using Yext Search. We'll also show that same answer to the help desk agent within the agent's help desk and Zendesk or Service Cloud, and that reduces support tickets.

Better customer satisfaction is the last part of the picture, he added:

The customer journey starts with the question and that question can either happen on your own site, your own help site, your own website and one of your own apps or it can happen on Google. And our Marketing Answers and Support Answers solutions are designed to help companies engage with their customers regardless of where they might be. The Support Answers solution is uniquely tailored to be sold to the head of support. It solves a little bit of a different use case in that we can integrate with Zendesk or, now, Salesforce Service Cloud to put in a help site, to put all the health articles into a Knowledge Graph to make sure that they're SEO-ed, and then be able to put a true AI search box on top of the company's help site in order to meet that customer at their exact moment when they might have a question.

The result of that is reduced tickets, increased CSAT scores, and one single Knowledge Graph to power Answers on the company's help site, on their own marketing site and even in Google. One single Knowledge Graph to do all that, as opposed to keyword-based index searches, which simply look for literal string of equivalency matching in documents and don't help really truly answer a customer's question.

My take

Yext remains very much a company to keep an eye on. The pitch is practical and the being able to play more effectively in the Salesforce and Zendesk backyards is a savvy move.