Zendesk integration

Zendesk builds software-as-a-service products for customer support, sales and communications.

You can leverage Ortto’s powerful campaignreporting, and dashboard features on your customer support data from Zendesk.

To do this, proceed through each of the following procedures to integrate Ortto with your Zendesk service as a data source.

Zendesk prerequisites

This integration process assumes you have an operating Zendesk service, and a Zendesk user account with the Administrator role and its level of access to this service.

The integration is only available for Zendesk for service accounts, not for Zendesk Sell (Zendesk for sales).

Connect from Ortto

To connect to Zendesk:

  1. On the Data sources page, click New data source.
  2. Under Customer support or All data sources, select Zendesk, then Get started.
  3. On the Connect to Zendesk page, start by entering your Zendesk account name in the Account field, which is the first part of your Zendesk service’s base URL: https://<zendesk-service-account-name>.zendesk.com/
  4. While still on the on the Connect to Zendesk page, you can configure the following:
    • At Opt-in permission, select the checkboxes to automatically opt-in all your Zendesk contacts (customers/end users) to email and/or SMS. By doing so, you confirm that your contacts have given consent to be opted-in to these subscriptions.
    • At Data retention, select to either:
      • store only the last 90 days of activity data, or
      • select the time frame for the data stored, and the activities which will be stored.
    • If needed, select Advanced options to:
      • Choose which CDP fields can be modified from the Zendesk data source, or
      • You also have the option to automatically archive records in Ortto when they are deleted in Zendesk.
  5. Click Next then sign in to your Zendesk account (if required). Click Authorize to allow Ortto to connect to Zendesk.
  6. Click Done to exit the setup.

NOTE: The selection you make here will affect future contacts synced to Ortto. For example, if you choose not select the permission checkboxes, then all new contacts synced to Ortto (after the initial data source connection) will have their email and SMS permission set to false.

NOTE: It is recommended to set the data retention limits while setting up the data source. Updating the data retention limits in the future will require a resync of the data source, which may affect multiple audiences and campaigns within your customer data platform (CDP). Learn more about configuring data retention under Configuring data retention.


There is no option to select a merge strategy for syncing Zendesk contacts to Ortto, unlike other data source connections.

However, Zendesk contacts can merge with existing contacts in your CDP where your unique identifier rules permit.

How is the data merged into Ortto?

Data is merged from Zendesk to Ortto on the initial connection. Subsequently, newly modified objects are synced when they occur, as the connection is based on webhooks.

The Zendesk integration is initially configured as read only, which means that no data is sent from Ortto to Zendesk.

When a person is added to your CDP from the Zendesk data synchronization, if they do not already exist as a contact in your CDP, they are added as a new contact. New contacts will have their email and SMS subscription permissions set according to the selection you made when you connected Zendesk to Ortto. For example, if you selected to opt-in your contacts to email and SMS communications, then new users added to Ortto will inherit the same permissions.

Initial data sync

Data associated with Zendesk objects are merged into the Ortto CDP.

Ongoing data sync

Zendesk data is merged in to Ortto at different intervals depending on the activity.

For example, new contacts are synced to Ortto once every 24 hours, so if you added a new contact to Zendesk after the current day’s sync has occurred, it won’t appear in Ortto until the following day. However, if you create a ticket for the contact, they will be synced to Ortto shortly after the ticket is created.

Resynchronizing data

Zendesk data is resynchronized when the data source is reconnected and when the data retention limits are adjusted. The resync will not perform a full backfill of data, it will only import changes that occurred since the last Ortto request for Zendesk data.

A resync of the Zendesk data may affect the audiences and campaigns within the CDP by resetting the attributes for the person, and activities, causing a person to potentially re-enter an audience or campaign within the CDP.

What does the data source add to my account?

The Zendesk data source adds:

  • Zendesk Customer (or End user) records and their associated fields to your CDP, known as people or contacts in Ortto.

NOTE: Zendesk contacts are identified via a Name field in Zendesk (with no First name or Last name fields).

When Zendesk contacts are synced to Ortto, the Name field value will be split into First name and Last name field values in Ortto, according to the space in the original Name value.

For example, a contact with the name "HomerSimpson" in Zendesk, will be populated in Ortto as First name: HomerSimpson, Last Name: <blank>.

However, a contact saved as "Homer Simpson" in Zendesk, will be populated in Ortto as First name: Homer, Last Name: Simpson.

  • Zendesk activities from the last 90 days. In some cases, however, it may be necessary to store an activity and its attribute data for longer. Therefore, Ortto provides a mechanism for customers on selected Ortto plans to opt-in to selectively store their activity data for longer. Learn more about data retention under Configuring data retention.
  • The ability to use Liquid syntax in campaign messages to personalize your messages using merge tags for Zendesk person and organization fields, and activity attributes. Learn more about using Liquid syntax under Personalizing campaign content with Liquid.

NOTE: Deleting a Zendesk data source connection will not remove the current entries in the CDP for people or activities that were merged from that Zendesk connection.

View Zendesk fields in your CDP

Customize your CDP field visibility and add Zendesk fields by clicking the cog icon, then select or clear the fields you want to show or hide. Zendesk fields are indicated with the small Zendesk icon.

Access the Zendesk data source view

When a data source is connected, you are provided with a data source view. On the Data sources page, click the data source you wish to view.

A data source’s view is the administration page where you can:

  • view and manage the data source in the left-hand details panel, and
  • under the relevant tabs on the right-hand side, view:
    • an Overview of the data source,
    • an Activity feed, and
    • an Audience table, which displays the people imported from Zendesk.

In the details panel, you can give the data source a new name (this will not affect your Zendesk account settings). To do so, hover over the name and click the pencil icon, then type the new name and click on a blank area of the page to save the name. You can also disconnect the data source, and edit:

  • whether to modify system CDP fields, and
  • the data retention period.

Learn more about the data source view under Managing data sources.

Using Zendesk

Integrating Zendesk with Ortto allows you to import your existing customer, ticket, and satisfaction score data.

When you import your Zendesk data into Ortto, you can:

  • Use Zendesk contact to create highly-customized filters to find specific segments of people for campaigns and audiences. For example, create a filter to trigger a contact’s entry into a journey to receive a detailed customer service survey after the contact’s ticket has been closed.
  • Use Zendesk ticket data to create reports and dashboards to capture metrics like new number of tickets, number of closed tickets, satisfaction score ratings by agent (assignee), number of tickets assigned to a particular agent, subjects and messages relating to a particular word or phrase, and so on.
  • Create campaigns to educate customers about specific topics or features based on ticket data. For example, you run an insurance company that has many customers asking about travel insurance and what can be covered when they travel internationally. You could use ticket title, tag and message body data to create journey campaign with a series of messages to educate customers on the importance of travel insurance and how to pick the best coverage to suit their needs.

Troubleshooting Zendesk

This troubleshooting guide is designed to help you with common questions or issues you may encounter when using Zendesk as a data source.

For further assistance, please contact our Support team:

  1. In the left-hand navigation drawer of your Ortto account, click Support.
  2. On the How can we help? page:
    1. Under Quick links, click Chat with support.
    2. Type your message in the Talk messenger widget to start a conversation with our team.

Disconnect and delete the data source

You must disconnect and archive a data source before you can delete it.

Disconnecting a data source from Ortto will stop new data from the data source merging with the CDP.

Learn about disconnectingarchiving and deleting a data source under Managing data sources.

Data source already connected

Disconnect, archive, and delete the existing Zendesk connection before attempting to connect again; the existing data source must be deleted.

Connect more than one Zendesk account

Ortto can connect to only one Zendesk account at a time. To connect to another Zendesk account, you must first disconnect and delete the data source for the current Zendesk account.