Help desk software provider Zendesk has launched a series of partner programmes in Europe, allowing customers to earn money by encouraging new businesses to sign up for the service.

Zendesk offers a cloud-based help desk solution which brings together customer conversations from multiple channels, including phone, email, VoIP, instant chat, and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Customer service representatives have access to records all of previous interactions, meaning that customers do not have to explain the problem each time they get in contact.

The newest programme, called Zendesk Ambassadors, is open to businesses of any size and includes access to private forums and meet-ups with the Zendesk team. Members of the Ambassador programme can go on to become a Zendesk Authorised Partner, providing professional services, such as consulting, integration, migration services and training to Zendesk customers.

Authorised Partners also receive a referral fee for leads that become customers and in return receive leads from Zendesk customers in need of professional services.

“Zendesk partners offer a deep understanding of our products,” said Matt Price, the company's vice president and general manager for EMEA. “Whether you need consulting, technical assistance, custom development or any other services with Zendesk, you will find a knowledgeable partner to help you in our partner network.”

The Ambassador programme follows the launch of Zendesk's Incubator programme last year, which gives startup companies the opportunity to use Zendesk free for a year. Incubator partners include Team Europe Ventures, Le Camping, hackFWD, TechHub, Techcelerate and Seedcamp.

“Even small companies should be able to deliver great customer service, and it's a way for small companies to make sure they're professional and have a competitive advantage, because if you can take care of your first customers, that's going to help make you successful in the market,” Zendesk's chief operating office Zack Urlocker told Techworld.

The offer works out at about £2,000-worth of free software per company, according to Price. More than 100 startups are already using Zendesk’s free software, totalling more than £200,000-worth of investment from the company so far.

Zendesk also offers an option for startup companies that are not associated with an incubator. These companies can sign up to Zendesk's “Better than Free” starter plan, which encourages companies to donate $20 (£12) to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in exchange for free software for up to three agents for a year.

“Our offices in San Francisco are located not too far from the hospital, so we made a pledge to raise $1m for this local charity,” said Urlocker. “Because they do global research, we opened it up to people all over the world.”

Earlier this year, unveiled its own software-as-a-service help desk application called, that can also reach end users through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. However, Zendesk has been a longtime partner and its website describes the companies' relationship as “fantastic”.

Zendesk now have 65 million users in 137 countries, including some big-name customers such as Groupon, Dropbox, L'Oréal, John Lewis, Lonely Plant and Rackspace Cloud.