Why Zendesk is a disaster for small business users

When your Zendesk Essential Support account gets hit by mountains of spam, Zendesk provides no feature to filter and delete those messages quickly.

You can delete 30 tickets at a time, and that’s it.

We got hit with more than 10,000 spam messages in early 2019, and then suffered a second, smaller attack in June.

So let’s say… 10 seconds to select all and delete 30 messages. Plus a few seconds to check whether you’ve selected any legitimate tickets. My rough calculations say it’ll take around 85 hours of manual labour to remove all of the spam.

You’d think that Zendesk support would be able to filter the messages and hit ‘delete’. Because all of these messages have the same contents, so it’d be easy, right? Just filter the database for ‘Offline Message from’, January 16th, and you’d capture all the problematic messages.


Yeah. They don’t do that. These are the options they’ll present:

  • Use their API. This assumes you have a developer, or sufficient free time to become one yourself. I have neither.
  • Pay for an add-on. To delete spam. Yes. Really.
  • Upgrade your account from Essential. This option entails paying Zendesk more money for something they are already doing badly.

Zendesk has sent a succession of impeccably polite but compeltely unhelpful emails, including one on how to set up new triggers. This feature is so limited in the Essential plan that we have given up trying to use it. (For example, we can’t alert people on new ticket submissions, because we can’t create the necessary trigger conditions. Alerting people of new tickets is a pretty basic and necessary feature of a helpdesk system. But no, we have to check manually.)

I’ve worked in IT support, so I’ve used dozens of different systems like Service Now, Freshdesk, Intercom, and so on. I’ve honestly never seen such a shambles as I have with Zendesk over the most basic of features, and I’d advise small businesses to stay well away.

Ironically, I can’t cancel my account because the Settings page creates a redirect loop.