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Article 5 min read

Reasons to get excited about Relate ‘23—here’s what you need to know

I'll be attending Relate in person, but first had the chance to connect with event emcee Nicole Saunders, director of Community at Zendesk, to learn more about what to expect.

Von Ken Jee, Data scientist, podcaster, and YouTuber

Zuletzt aktualisiert: May 17, 2023

Zendesk Relate is happening in just a few days. I’m attending in person on May 10 in San Francisco, and I’m excited to learn more about where the customer experience is heading. The great news is that you don’t have to be in San Francisco to join me—the opening keynote will be broadcast across five different time zones, so you can register for the one that works best for you.

I’ll be covering Relate for my audience, and in the final days leading up to the event, I had the opportunity for a quick Q&A with event emcee Nicole Saunders, Director of Community at Zendesk. Check out the video and read on for more of our conversation.



Before we really get started, can you tell me a bit more about your role at Zendesk when you’re not emceeing an event?

So as you said, I am the Director of Community at Zendesk, which means that I oversee the strategy, management, and implementation of our online discussion forums where users can come, ask questions, talk to each other, get help, or share product feedback. I also oversee our user group program, which are worldwide meet-ups held for users, by users on a regular basis. We actually just launched that in November, so it’s really cool to see that growing. We’ll introduce another new program—Zendesk Luminaries—at the event, so stay tuned for more.

That sounds really exciting. So, what are some things you’re most excited about at Zendesk Relate this year?

Well, I mean, first, just to be in person with our customers. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to get together with a large group of our customers, and it’s always so fun to put faces with names, especially when I get to meet people we’ve been interacting with online in the Community.

I’m also excited about the new AI announcements that we’re going to be sharing and I think it has so much opportunity to do so much for customer experience and customer service and support organizations. So I’m just really looking forward to a lot of great conversations there.

We’re going to share a lot about our product roadmap, which I know is always really exciting and important for our customers, and to hear directly from a number of our customers like AB InBev, Liberty London, Match Group, Squarespace, and more. There’ll be a lot of really cool opportunities to connect with people and talk about how Zendesk has impacted their customer experiences.

I personally am heavily invested in AI, as a data scientist, and I’ve definitely heard some whispers about big news that’s dropping. Is that going to have anything to do with maybe the recent announcement of your integration with OpenAI?

Well, I can’t give too much away yet. You know, we’ve got several big announcements for the official event, but we do have some big news and we have a lot of new AI-driven capabilities. We’re also going to do a follow-up event in the Zendesk Community a couple of weeks after around those capabilities.

I also hear you’re facilitating a conversation on delivering a customer-first strategy. What does that mean and why is it important?

It’s really just making sure that you’re always putting customers first along every step of their journey, focusing on their needs and interests—from thinking about how your customers’ feedback impacts your product roadmap to how you serve your customers when they reach out for support. This resonates with customers and is what keeps them coming back.

I’m super excited about this panel. We’ve got two of our executives from Zendesk, our SVP of Customer Advocacy and our SVP of Customer Success, along with leaders from Honeywell Connect, Medline Industries, and Dandelion Payments. I think it will be really cool to get different perspectives on this and understand how each leader thinks about implementing customer-first workflows and ideas in their companies.

We talked about AI, which is all the rage right now, but are there other trends in customer experience that you’re excited to learn more about?

Yes! So, our annual CX Trends report came out earlier this year, and one of the points that I thought was really interesting is that customers don’t mind so much that companies are collecting so much data on them. They kind of expect it these days, right? We all have that digital footprint.

But it’s with a caveat that companies are using that data to personalize their experience. So AI plays into this, and I’m really interested in understanding how all these different companies are implementing the use of data to personalize customer experiences, and how we can help enable that with our product. It’s about really knowing your customers and making sure that you’re serving them and interacting with them in the way that makes the most sense for who they are.

I love that. It’s really cool to think about the value exchange that the customer gets for their data. I know a lot of friends who definitely want to tune in for this. What can someone who’s attending virtually do to get the most out of the event?

Well, first, obviously, you’ve got to have your good snacks handy and be ready to sit down and watch. But one of the biggest things people can do is engage in the chat. We’ll have product experts on hand to help answer questions about the content. A couple of people from my team will also be online to help answer questions. We just want to stay connected and have conversations with our customers and our audience.

There will also be a lot of follow-up content coming out of the event that we’ll be able to share on demand—on our website and through the community in the coming weeks.

I’m excited to see everyone there, to meet in person, and also that we have this global virtual broadcast, where we can connect with everybody who’s not present in the room with us.

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