Powering multi-channel, multi-brand support
“Zendesk has really proven itself in a large corporate enterprise environment. It has shown itself to be a flexible and powerful tool for multiple uses, has a good price point and low overheads. Zendesk was easy to implement and use from the start, which delighted our senior management team. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Zendesk to others.”
Myles Lagolago-Craig, Product and Technology Director, Commercial Platforms, News Digital Media.
Zendesk powers multi-channel, multi-brand customer support at News Limited
News Limited, part of the News Corporation group, is one of Australia’s largest and most diversified media companies. As well as printing over 175 newspaper and magazine titles, its digital arm News Digital Media (NDM), delivers one of Australia’s largest and most innovative online networks – visited by around six million people each month Australia-wide.
A big challenge: multiple channels, brands and locations
When in 2010, News Limited wanted to roll out a paid, online-content strategy with the introduction of digital subscriptions for all its major national and metro newspaper brands, it recognised the need to increase levels of customer service and support.
Myles Lagolago-Craig, Product and Technology Director, Commercial Platforms, News Digital Media, explains, “Our subscription model focuses on delivering digital content to consumers wherever and whenever they want it. To support this, we needed an online customer service tool which could handle queries from a range of different sources including smartphone and iPad apps, direct emails and web forms, and then integrate them all into our customer service desk with minimal training and overhead with regard to maintenance. Not only would the solution need to span multiple channels, it needed to work across our different brands, as well as several support teams who operate from various locations.”
Providing this level of support presented a new challenge for the company, as News Limited’s previous customer support mechanism for online customers had been mainly confined to email. It was also essential to adopt the right approach first time as the roll out would begin with the company’s flagship title, ‘The Australian’, and would support its website, mobile website and tablet applications.
Searching for a solution
Existing internal systems were evaluated, but limitations were found around speed to market, their ability to adapt to this change, and to deliver quality online customer support. As a result, Myles looked outside of the company for the answer.
Putting Zendesk to the test
News Limited considered several internet-based solutions, including Zendesk.
“Trialling the Zendesk solution was very easy,” Myles explains. “It was probably the fastest and easiest ‘software as a service’ evaluation and implementation I have done. I set up a free Zendesk trial, which very quickly showed that it could more than satisfy the major requirements we had and scenarios envisaged. In fact, this free proof of concept turned into the real thing.”
As a result, the trial itself lasted only a matter of days, and News Limited’s Zendesk service was able to go live several weeks later in July 2010, initially supporting iPad applications.
Swinging into action
From October 2010, the Zendesk Plus+ plan selected by News Limited, was then rolled out in full across a number of business units. These included:
• The customer service call centres that support News Limited’s paid content initiative (supporting websites, mobile sites and iPad and Android applications)
• The internal web analytics team
• The mobile product team for the iPad apps
• An internal project team.
As a result of having Zendesk in place, News Limited’s customer support agents, who cover multiple brands and products at the same time, can now easily update and resolve support requests being submitted through various sources – including iPad apps, mobile sites, email addresses and internal tools.
Thanks to Zendesk, the team has simplified support workflows by automating business processes and rules via triggers and automations, and through predefined responses to frequently asked questions, known as macros. In addition, thanks to the comprehensive reporting functionality within Zendesk, the team now has a true picture of how efficient and effective both they and the system are, enabling them to spot areas that need improvement.
As Myles details, the feedback about Zendesk has been extremely positive from all the support teams, “My staff members say Zendesk is the best help desk solution they have ever experienced. In particular, they like the simple web-based tool for workflow, which is easy to modify, support and maintain. And, we are able to have the different teams using one tool so we can see a top line report of all of the activities and workflow. That is something an email based process just couldn’t do.”
Using own service
In addition to using Zendesk for external help desk support, News Limited is also utilising the system to provide customer service to internal stakeholders.
To support News Limited’s philosophy of treating employees as internal customers, some areas wanted to deliver a more cohesive and customer friendly internal helpdesk facility.
As with its external helpdesk facility, the internal solution had to be able to deal with enquiries coming from News Limited’s different areas and. A particular requirement of the internal system was ease of use, as it would be utilised by people from across the company, some of whom are not particularly tech savvy.
As with the external help desk, the internally-facing Zendesk solution was similarly speedy to assess and implement.
On top of this, as Myles explains, “Zendesk has provided us with exceptional customer support themselves. We have submitted tickets, chatted online, emailed and had phone calls with the Zendesk customer support team, and have been delighted with each interaction.”
For the future
Since the initial roll out, News Limited has continued to extend its use of Zendesk.
“We have added more teams, more agents, supported more products, and have expanded our usage of certain features like initial processing, tags, reporting and macros,” continues Myles.
When keeping it simple does the trick
73% improvement in first response time
Making support more collaborative and effective
Robust forums help customers help themselves
Automated responses save time and headcount
Maintaining a consistent level of service for all
Turning customers into advocates
Customer service that scales
Faster response times means happier customers