How Long Does it Take to Implement Zendesk?

How Long Does it Take to Implement Zendesk?
Databeys CRM Consultant in Dubai
Databeys CRM Consultant in Dubai
December 22, 2023
Databeys CRM Consultant in Dubai
10 min to read
Muhammad Ibtehaj

How Long Does Zendesk Implementation Really Take?

Zendesk is a popular customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps businesses track and manage customer interactions. If you're considering implementing Zendesk for your business, you need to figure out how long it will take to get up and running.

The implementation time for Zendesk can vary depending on several factors:

  • • The size and complexity of your business
  • • The number of users you need to onboard
  • • The level of customization you require
  • • Your existing IT infrastructure
  • • Your chosen implementation method

Before implementing Zendesk, it's essential to understand the implementation process and how long it will take. Databeys shares complete details about how long it takes to implement Zendesk for your business.

Planning the Implementation

The first step in implementing Zendesk is planning the project. This phase involves identifying key stakeholders, understanding business requirements, configuration needs, data migration requirements, and creating an implementation timeline. Most Zendesk implementations can be broken down into the following high-level phases:

  • • Planning and setup - 1-2 weeks
  • • Configuration - 2-4 weeks
  • • Testing and Training - 1-2 weeks
  • • Go Live - 1 week

Planning is critical to set proper expectations and clearly define all teams' roles. This phase alone usually takes about 1-2 weeks to complete. During planning, considerations include:

  • • Project goals, scope, and timeline
  • • Departments/teams using Zendesk
  • • Data migration needs from existing systems
  • • Customizations and integrations needed
  • • User access, roles, and permissions
  • • Testing, training, go-live plans

With planning complete, the implementation can move into the configuration phase. Overall timelines can vary depending on the complexity of customizations needed, but on average, planning and setup take around 1-2 weeks.

Zendesk Configuration

Once planning is complete, it's time to start configuring Zendesk. This involves setting up the core components like tickets, organizations, user roles and permissions, workflows, apps and integrations, and any needed configurations. Configuration is usually the most extended phase of an implementation, as this is where the bulk of the setup work happens.

Some everyday configuration tasks involved are:

  • • Setting up ticket fields, statuses, priorities
  • • Creating account, group, and organization hierarchies
  • • Defining user roles, permissions, and security settings
  • • Configuring email routing and notifications
  • • Customizing desktop and mobile app workflows
  • • Configuring SLA policies, triggers, and escalations
  • • Enabling and configuring apps, macros, and integrations
  • • Importing contacts and tickets from other systems
  • • Configuring admin settings like URLs, banners, views

Depending on the level of customization needed, the configuration phase for Zendesk typically takes 2-4 weeks on average. More complex implementations with many custom fields, apps, or custom workflows could take longer. The Zendesk configuration phase may only take 2 weeks or less for more straightforward implementations with more out-of-the-box configurations.

Testing and Training

Once the basic configuration is complete, it's time to put Zendesk through its paces. During this testing and training phase, several key activities happen:

  • • Functional Testing - The QA team tests configurations and customizations. Bugs are identified and fixed.
  • • Integration Testing - Third-party apps and integrations are tested to ensure they work as expected.
  • • Performance Testing - Load testing is done to ensure Zendesk can handle expected volumes.
  • • End User Training - All customer support agents are trained using Zendesk through online tutorials or instructor-led sessions.
  • • Go-Live Readiness - Final fixes are made, a knowledge base is imported, and security is validated before launch.

Testing can expose issues that need fixing which impacts timelines. Most implementations take 1-2 weeks for testing and end-user training. More complex configurations may require 2+ weeks to thoroughly test and resolve all issues.

During this time, the operations or product team should be preparing for launch by finalizing knowledge transfers, monitoring plans, and backup protocols before the Zendesk helpdesk truly goes live.

Going Live with Zendesk

The go-live phase represents the big switchover from the previous support system to the new Zendesk helpdesk. Activities involved in the launch include:

  • • Cutting over email routing from old to new system
  • • Importing any remaining data from legacy systems
  • • Switching over existing customer-facing endpoints
  • • Monitoring for launch issues and providing support
  • • Knowledge base and self-service pages go public
  • • Announcing launch internally and externally

The go-live week itself usually only takes about a week. Ensuring proper planning, testing and training helps reduce the risk of issues at launch. Around-the-clock support should be planned for the first few days to quickly resolve any post-launch problems.

Additional Phases Post Go-Live

After the initial go-live, most Zendesk implementations then enter additional optimization and improvement phases:

  • • Refinement - Further enhancements continue over weeks after launch based on usage insights.
  • • Continuous Training - Refresher training and access to guides/resources ensure all agents stay proficient over time.
  • • Expansion - Additional modules may be added on as comfort with the platform grows.
  • • Upgrade Cycle - Bi-annual/yearly system updates require planning and deployment.
  • • App Ecosystem - Exploration of new apps and automation to drive ongoing innovation.
  • • Reporting - Customized management reports evolve as needs change.

Ongoing refinement, training, and optimization are essential to fully realize the value of a Zendesk investment over the long term after the initial launch. Proper post-go-live support helps ensure success.

Implementation Timelines

To summarize typical timelines, here are some guidelines based on everyday project complexities:

  • Simple Implementation
  •         • Planning & Setup: 1-2 weeks
  •         • Configuration: 2-3 weeks
  •         • Testing & Training: 1 week
  •         • Go-Live: 1 week
  •         • Total: 5-7 weeks
  • Medium Complexity
  •         • Planning & Setup: 1-2 weeks
  •         • Configuration: 3-4 weeks
  •         • Testing & Training: 1-2 weeks
  •         • Go-Live: 1 week
  •         • Total: 6-9 weeks
  • Complex Implementation
  •         • Planning & Setup: 2 weeks
  •         • Configuration: 4-6 weeks
  •         • Testing & Training: 2-3 weeks
  •         • Go-Live: 1-2 weeks
  •         • Total: 9-13 weeks

As you can see, the more complex the integration needs, customizations or deployment, the longer the timeline tends to be. Setting realistic expectations is essential. Having experienced resources to execute the implementation also impacts schedules.

Zendesk Implementation Considerations

A few other key factors that influence Zendesk implementation timelines include:

  • • Organization Size - Bigger teams with more departments impact config complexity.
  • • Existing Data Volume - More legacy tickets or contacts take longer to import.
  • • Customization Scope - Unique config requests extend build times. Standardized is faster.
  • • Technical Resources - Dedicated, knowledgeable staff streamline tasks vs part-time resources.
  • • Testing Rigor - Comprehensive QA finds issues sooner but takes more weeks than limited testing.
  • • Change Management - Employee readiness through communication affects go-live risks.
  • • Vendor Support - Managed services implementations have vendor involvement impacting SLAs.
  • • Project Management - Strong governance tracking keeps work on schedule versus reactive approaches.

By planning thoroughly upfront based on these factors, you can arrive at realistic timelines, taking organizational specifics into account. Consulting Zendesk Partner implementation experts who are familiar with common scenarios can also help provide time estimates. It's also essential to build in contingencies for the inevitable unknowns or scope changes.

Ongoing Optimization with Zendesk Support

Even after launching, ongoing optimizations continue as customer support evolves. Thankfully, Zendesk offers many resources to ensure long-term success:

  • • Documentation Center for onboarding/deployment help.
  • • Support the Community for peer insights on best practices.
  • • Professional Services for experts to audit, refine and consult on deployments.
  • • Training Services to continually develop agent skills.
  • • App Marketplace for new ways to extend/improve solutions over time.
  • • Product Updates to leverage ongoing innovation from Zendesk R&D.
  • • Partners Ecosystem for fully-managed ongoing management when desired.

With the proper planning, accurate configuration design, thorough testing and training, as well as access to ongoing resources, the Zendesk implementation timeframe can be effectively managed for a smooth rollout and long-term optimized ROI.

FAQ’s About Zendesk Implementation Time

  1. How Long Does it Take to Implement Zendesk?

           Understand the factors influencing the implementation time of Zendesk, from business size to customization needs, and gain insights into planning for a successful rollout.

  1. What is the Zendesk Implementation Process Really Like?

             Explore the detailed phases of Zendesk implementation, from project planning and setup to configuration, testing, training, and the crucial go-live phase.

  1. How Does Zendesk Configuration Impact Implementation Timelines?

            Gain insights into the configuration phase of Zendesk implementation, including the setup of core components, customization tasks, and the average time required for this crucial stage.

  1. What Happens During Zendesk Testing and Training?

             Activities involved in the testing and training phase, including functional testing, performance testing, integration testing, and end-user training.

  1. How Can Businesses Optimize Zendesk Support Post-Implementation?

            Discover the ongoing phases, including refinement, continuous training, expansion, upgrade cycles, app ecosystem exploration, and reporting for long-term success with Zendesk.

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