For decades, ETL (extract, transform, load) has been a mainstay of organizations’ data integration workflows, moving information from various sources to a centralized data warehouse. More recently, however, businesses have been shaking things up with reverse ETL, which flips the sources and targets by sending data from your warehouse to third-party systems like Zendesk.

Related Reading: How to Operationalize Your Data Warehouse

Zendesk is a customer service software platform that helps your support personnel connect with customers across a variety of channels, from live chat and emails to phone, mobile apps, and social media. Robust customer service tools like Zendesk contain a wealth of valuable data — but this can be enhanced even more with reverse ETL, supplementing your Zendesk data with information from your data warehouse.

In this article, we offer five tips, tricks, and best practices for Zendesk reverse ETL.

Table of Contents

  1. Select Your Data
  2. Select Your Zendesk Reverse ETL Target
  3. Select Your Reverse ETL Transformations
  4. Select Your Queries
  5. Select Your Zendesk Reverse ETL Tool
  6. How Can Help with Zendesk Reverse ETL

1. Select Your Data

Customer support data, such as that collected by Zendesk, gives you more insight into your audience and helps you measure valuable metrics and KPIs. This includes:

  • Demographic, geographic, and psychographic customer data
  • Customer behavior (e.g. average spend per customer, satisfaction, pain points, etc.)
  • Net promoter score (NPS)

However, you can also enhance this information with other data from your warehouse, which has already been extracted from third-party tools. This includes advertising data, CRM (customer relationship management) data, marketing automation data, and much more. The very first step in Zendesk reverse ETL is to decide how you can augment your existing data with additional information from your warehouse. 

Related Reading: The Power of Customer Support Data for Marketing

2. Select Your Zendesk Reverse ETL Target

Next, you’ll need to choose the destination for your Zendesk reverse ETL workflow. Zendesk comes with built-in reporting and analytics software known as Zendesk Explore, helping you capture new insights by integrating cross-channel data.

Of course, you’re not limited just to Zendesk Explore for your reverse ETL target. Zendesk also integrates with third-party tools like Google Analytics and Zoho for additional reporting and analytics functionality.

3. Select Your Reverse ETL Transformations

In most cases, you can’t simply transfer data from your warehouse to Zendesk without going through the transformation stage (the “T” of “reverse ETL”). Rather, you need to alter this data in order to fit the database schema of the target location (here, Zendesk).

The transformation stage is also where you can augment the data you’re transferring from your warehouse. For example, you can perform data summarization, which creates new data points out of existing ones (e.g. calculating total annual sales by adding up sales figures from separate regions).

4. Select Your Queries

In step 2, you decided where you would send the data from your warehouse (e.g. Zendesk Explore or a third-party tool like Google Analytics or Zoho). But how exactly do you plan to use this data once it’s reached its destination?

When answering this question, consider factors such as:

  • Who will be accessing the data inside Zendesk?
  • What kind of queries do they need to run?
  • How will they use this data to inform their day-to-day activities and decision-making?

Your use of this data will likely differ based on which Zendesk destination(s) you have chosen. With Google Analytics, for example, you can track the traffic levels in your customer support center over time — e.g. measuring how long customers spend navigating your help center before they give up and submit a support ticket. Meanwhile, Zoho helps you build attractive dashboards for monitoring important metrics such as customer satisfaction and the workload and performance of your support agents.

5. Select Your Zendesk Reverse ETL Tool

Without a dedicated team of ETL experts on staff, you’ll struggle to implement a reverse ETL workflow manually. Instead, savvy businesses choose to deploy an ETL and reverse ETL solution that fits well with their existing tech stack.

For one, your ETL tool should include Zendesk (or whatever your reverse ETL target is) among its pre-built connectors and integrations. You should also look for a reverse ETL tool that prioritizes user-friendliness since many of the beneficiaries of reverse ETL are non-technical staff members who have trouble accessing the data when it’s inside your warehouse.

How Can Help With Zendesk Reverse ETL

Thus far, we’ve walked you through the steps of reverse ETL for Zendesk, from winnowing down your data to choosing the right reverse ETL tool. So how can you actually put these ideas into practice? For many businesses, it starts with choosing an ETL solution like is a powerful, feature-rich ETL and Reverse ETL tool for building automated pipelines between your data sources and your cloud data warehouse. With support for more than 100 pre-built integrations and connectors — including Zendesk — and a simple drag-and-drop visual interface, makes it as easy as possible to build enterprise-grade ETL workflows with just a few clicks.

Want to learn more about how can help with Zendesk reverse ETL? Get in touch with our team of data experts today for a chat about your business needs and objectives or to start your 14-day pilot of the platform.