Customer Experience and Design

6 Tips to Make Zendesk to Service Cloud Migrations Easier

Migrating from one technology to another always has its unique challenges, and migrating from Zendesk to Service Cloud is no exception. However, we’ve done a migration or two (more like 10 or more) and consistently get the same migration questions from clients. In case you missed it, we’ve already covered ten reasons why we see customers move off Zendesk and five primary benefits of moving to Service Cloud, so we thought we would round out this blog series by sharing some well-worn best practices to support your potential transition to Salesforce.

Be open to process changes – Zendesk provides a number of out-of-the-box support processes that are hard to avoid, and thus replicating them without due consideration can be disastrous. One area to avoid is trying to replicate Macros that were created in Zendesk. Since Zendesk typically is optimized for smaller support teams and may not be scalable for a growing service organization, do not try to recreate similar workflows in Salesforce just because agents are comfortable with it. Rather, take advantage of Salesforce’s native features built on industry best practices for maximizing agent productivity and running large, enterprise organizations.

Utilize native Salesforce – Leverage Service Cloud features that are straight out-of-the-box features such as case management workflows, quick actions, formula fields, and native functionality to support your business processes. Only use custom code for things that native and AppeExchange products cannot satisfy.

Customer Experience and Design - Build a Better Customer Experience with AEM on Microsoft Azure
Build a Better Customer Experience with AEM on Microsoft Azure

Businesses leveraging the two technologies together would now be able to harness their data for critical insights and predictions, connect customer touchpoints across their business, and drive brand loyalty and growth.

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Do what is best for the process – Let the business processes and agent workflows drive requirements and system design by involving your agents early in the requirements gathering process. Expose them to Service Cloud demos as you build the system and collect feedback to increase system ownership, buy-in, and acceptance of change. This will inevitably result in improved user adoption post-implementation.

Data migration can be complex – Data extraction can be difficult and often a slow and arduous process. Substantial time will be needed by clients to convert and map data to its future state so it can be imported into Salesforce. Start the data migration planning early executing tasks like obtaining extracts as soon as possible to avoid hiccups down the road that may delay the final rollout of Service Cloud. It is recommended to migrate only data that will truly be used by agents in Salesforce.  This includes open cases, contacts, and accounts. Then you can leverage a separate database for archiving things like old knowledge articles. Also, if possible, avoid migrating attachments to be conservative with file storage in Salesforce.

Knowledge article migrations can be tricky – Knowledge articles are often an essential part of a Service Cloud transition and they can be fraught with complex problems.  Articles with internal links, embedded images or help videos can be particularly difficult to quickly migrate. Depending on the size of images and videos, clients may want to secure a public server or repository to store these files. Clients should reserve time to validate each knowledge article prior to publishing since automated conversions will not fix all links or formatting, and agents or knowledge managers will be required to manually adjust articles.

Reporting on day one – Consider your reporting needs when migrating to Salesforce for go live.  By looking at customer service metrics you will identify key processes and information needed in Salesforce versus recreating information from Zendesk which may no longer match the solution or future state operating processes.

While the above migration best practices should get you started preparing  service agents, the technology environment, and the eventual service output and reporting for a successful rollout, don’t miss out on our Zendesk to Service Cloud webinar on Monday. While Zendesk migrations are tricky and difficult, the added attention and focus up-front from key stakeholders and IT can make all the difference with your Service Cloud implementation! By investing the time up-front and making key decisions on data, knowledge, processes, and leveraging native Salesforce functionality, your team can accelerate time to value for your new customer service solution.

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  1. I agree completely with the data migration points you have made. Data extraction is difficult and time consuming if done manually (using CSV files). It may not even be possible if you are on certain versions of Zendesk (see limitations for exporting data here: This is why we use API, so that data can be exported quickly and easily, without the use of files and therefore bypassing the user’s export limitations.

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