Customer service is a key driver of customer experience (CX), but technology silos often stand in the way of effective collaboration across CX and customer-facing teams. The recent announcement by Zendesk that it intends to acquire Momentive, parent of the well-known SurveyMonkey brand, has the potential to help users of both platforms break through this divide and provide deeper insights for improved customer experience.

The move makes sense. SurveyMonkey became one of the largest survey providers in the world by providing an accessible, affordable online survey tool. Similarly, Zendesk’s reputation for usability built a strong foundation with digital-first companies and smaller teams. Recently, with the Momentive rebrand and a number of Zendesk investments and acquisitions, both companies have made motions to move upmarket.

Bringing customer relationship management (CRM) and customer feedback together is in line with Forrester’s consistent guidance that companies need to leverage both structured and unstructured feedback to deliver actionable insights for business leaders. In fact, most other top CRM vendors have built or acquired similar customer feedback capabilities.

This acquisition will likely benefit customers of both Momentive and Zendesk in the near term. Zendesk customers should see opportunities to bring in more customer feedback for coaching and deeper customer understanding. Momentive customers with Zendesk should be able to connect survey data with other customer data and enhance their programs.

But some questions remain. The acquisition promises a new “leader in customer intelligence.” To deliver on this promise, the new Zendesk offering will need to:

  • Go to market with a point of differentiation. The customer feedback management (CFM) market has over 39 vendors, each touting a superset of capabilities encompassing feedback collection, feedback management, and analytics. Despite the range of vendors and capabilities available, 70% of companies don’t go beyond surveys to measure CX. Zendesk can create a point of relevancy in the CFM market if it is successfully able to surpass the traditional voice-of-the-customer program entry point of just surveys with a more holistic offering that seamlessly combines unstructured customer feedback and customer data with surveys out of the gate.
  • Invest in support and services. Delivering “customer intelligence” does not automatically translate to better customer experience without people and processes that can turn insights into action. While self-service is important, CX teams are often small, and many look to professional services to support their efforts — including program design, key driver analysis, and business-case calculations. Zendesk and Momentive will likely be attractive to companies interested in self-service. Simultaneously continuing to invest in strong support and success functions will help the new entity appeal to a wider variety of CX and customer service leaders.

Read Zendesk’s announcement here.