If you don’t care about copy, you’re probably not even reading this.
How to tell a good story
Your primary goal when writing for Zendesk should be to communicate the company’s mission, which is to improve the relationships between businesses and their customers. We use stories to do this. Stories allow us to put what we do into a format that sounds less like a list of buzzwords and more like a compelling narrative. You may be thinking, “like, a bedtime story? But we’re a tech brand!” This is true. But even tech brands have human employees, and humans connect when they can relate to things.

And if it’s really good, maybe you can use it as a bedtime story.
  • Clearly identify what should be communicated. Don’t use extra words just to sound smarter. Know what you’re trying to say, and get to the point.
  • Get a little creative. Think more about the context of what you’re saying and what will actually make people want to read it. Be honest, personable, and interesting.
  • Remember the key parts of a story. We all learned it in middle school, but here’s a refresher: Cause and effect lead to features and/or benefits. This format will result in more engaging content.

Less wait, more happy

Chat and messaging let agents help more customers in less time, which means happier customers more of the time.

This example is short and sweet and shows a little humanity.

Drive service costs down and ROI up

Boost agent productivity with a solution that lets agents manage multiple text conversations at once—which is all the context and intelligence they need to resolve cases and deliver an awesome customer experience, every time.

Too much jargon. Also, we avoid promising awesome customer experiences — that's up to the companies that use our products, not us.

The spectrum of tone and voice
Content marketing
Marketing communications
Internal communications
Social media
Brand Experiences
What is the difference between a spicy and mild tone?
The spicy side of the tone spectrum focuses primarily on communicating our personality through headlines, sub-headlines, and even body copy. We’ll use this tone for everything from high-level messaging with broad audiences to things that target smaller audiences and have more targeted end goals, like emails.

“Spiciness” does not mean in your face or crazy. It just means we want the audience to experience the Zendesk charm, rather than simply reading about the technical functionality of the product. If we do it right, they might even crack a smile.

Use spicy when you’re trying to make an audience feel something or to convey the brand personality.
On the mild side of the spectrum, we show personality through clear, human language. Typically, the audience is actively trying to do something within the Zendesk universe.

Use mild when you’re trying to help someone with a simple task or to put an audience at ease. (e.g., answering a ticket, attending a training session, etc.)
Our brand attributes in copy
We are warm and avoid using a detached tone of voice. We delight people with a little bit of specificity and surprise—it’s our way of inviting them into our world.
We’re aware of context and don’t presume that we know what’s on our reader’s mind. We gain confidence by understanding who we’re talking to and why we’re speaking.
Always be as clear and concise as possible. Don’t try to explain too much, all at once.
Leave your sugar coating at home, because not everything is pretty in the world of customer service. We keep things real so people trust that we’re in touch with reality, not software fantasy.
General guidelines
Connect your writing to a human experience, not just a business pain point.

Even good people can provide bad service. Sometimes it’s bad communication and sometimes it’s just bad luck. Things fall through the cracks.

Many agents and support leaders have had this experience. It opens the door to talking about how we can help.

Bad service experiences can lead to reductions in customer retention. Mismanagement and siloed communication are often the cause, although operator error is sometimes to blame.

R.I.P., emotions.

Show the right kind of personality
Funny, humble, and smart is the goal. It’s not a performance or a first date. Try to avoid sounding forced, chummy, or overly dramatic. Charm is memorable.

If you’re in town on March 10th, we’d love to hang out and meet your team. Bring plenty of business cards, your handiest pro-tips, and your most divisive table topics. Food and cocktails are all included, of course.

Be cool.

Ever wanted to show off your customer service super powers? Do you like strawberry-watermelon cosmos? Well then come to our ICMI networking event, and have fun sharing tips and faves with other awesome customer service pros just like you!

This is way too eager. It's a business event, not a birthday party.

Be direct, genuine, and honest
Don’t exaggerate when the facts are impressive on their own. Be respectful of people’s intelligence, time, and attention. Above all, be nice.

With over 500,000 paid customer accounts and 10 years in the biz, we like to think we know a thing or two about customer service.


Zendesk, the industry game changer of customer support software. We make every customer experience the best of the best. Our competition will never compare.

This is just bluster.

Don’t overestimate your importance
No matter what, business software is not the most important thing in your audience’s lives. (Or yours, for that matter.) “Humblident” is a mixture of “humble” and “confident.” While we know we’re great at what we do, we never shout it from a rooftop. Don’t assume that Zendesk is the center of anyone’s universe. Know your perspective, say what you want to say, and then GTFO.

Zendesk helps companies get more out of their customer interactions by making communication simple and seamless.

It's clear who benefits from using Zendesk.

We know you love Zendesk’s cool new automation features, but wait until you check out the latest update. Your agents will love them almost as much as they love delighting customers.

People generally don't "love" business software.

Jargon and focus
Avoid jargon and clichés. Jargon presumes that the audience understands the value of the thing you’re writing about. Clichés are phrases and words used so often they lose their power.

We try to explain the cause and effect of each of our features so that you know what it is, and why it’s useful. Then you can explain how it works. Pro tip: Read it out loud. Do you sound like a human? If not, check for robot parts, then try again.

We’re making Zendesk Message free for all Zendesk Chat users, so you can be available for your customers in real time or any time. Now go take care of your business.

Keeping it simple, and focused on our customers.

Since launching Message as a core part of Zendesk Chat, we've seen incredible interest, with thousands of customers taking advantage of our open period. Clearly, being available on messaging channels is critical to businesses of all sizes, and so we've decided to make Message free for all paying Chat customers!

This is a lot of talk about ourselves.

Be concise
‘Nuff said.
Technical rules
  • Use American English in marketing communications and product copy. Exceptions include communications directly from the founders, blog posts from international employees, or localized advertising.
  • English spellings should be localized according to region (or “localised” if you’re in the UK).
  • Always use proper grammar and punctuation.
  • We follow AP standards 99 percent of the time, so spell out “percent.” No “%” please.
  • Take it easy with the hyphen. 30 day trial, not 30-day trial.
  • Always use the serial comma.
  • All headlines should be written in sentence case. Also, no periods at the end of headlines or sub-headlines, unless they are more than one sentence.
Brand rules
  • Headlines don’t need to tell the whole story. Make them creative and intriguing so that people feel compelled to read the copy below.
  • Don’t use acronyms unless they are more common than the complete term or phrase.
  • Use the word “literally” correctly.
  • Avoid the use of passive language.
  • Don’t use rhetorical questions in marketing copy. Why? Because it’s a cheap trick, and it gives the reader an excuse to ignore what you’re saying.
  • Use exclamation points sparingly and only when conveying amplified enthusiasm or excitement. A good rule of thumb is don’t use exclamation points at all.
  • Don’t use an ampersand unless you’re talking about an episode of Mork & Mindy.
  • Make sure each word adds value.
  • Don’t restate what you’ve already said.
  • Avoid hyperbole. Don’t exaggerate when the facts are impressive on their own.
  • Your writing should complement other elements on the page. Be aware of context.
  • Don’t overwrite if an image or video can do some or all of the work.