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Fender uses Zendesk for main stage CX and business support

Fender chose Zendesk to streamline operations and support communication across multiple teams. The guitar manufacturing company runs eight business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) teams on Zendesk from its UK office, supporting customers, Fender suppliers, and sales teams in nine languages.

“We were looking for a consolidated base that would bring all of our teams together and allow them to be able to communicate efficiently with each other and with customers to maintain that centralized knowledge.”

Darren Antram

Director of Sales Operations at Fender

“Anything that Zendesk offers that could be of interest in terms of functionality, we take seriously. We consider leveraging everything that makes sense for our teams.”

Stuart Tighy

Key Account Operations Manager and Zendesk Manager at Fender

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Founded in California in the 1940s, Fender is best known for its electric guitars, bass guitars and amplifiers, which are used and loved by musicians worldwide. As well as instruments and related accessories, the company also sells a wide range of lifestyle products and collectables, and teaches millions of guitarists through its online tutorial platform, Fender Play.

Fender customers aren’t just customers; they’re fans, which is why the Fender team is passionate about delivering great support to customers and vendors. In what is a unique configuration, Fender uses Zendesk both internally and externally to ensure everyone gets the help and information they need quickly. The company runs eight business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) teams on Zendesk from its UK office, supporting customers, Fender suppliers, and sales teams in a range of languages.

Addressing customer service challenges with Zendesk

Prior to using Zendesk, Fender delivered customer service via email and phone.

“Before 2016, we had lots of different offices around Europe operating separately. We brought all of those offices into the UK, consolidating them into one office. At that point, we were all using a group email address. People had to tag themselves on an email to say that they were working on it, and if they forgot to do that, you could have two people sending emails to the same customer,” explains Darren Antram, Director of Sales Operations at Fender EMEA.

The company was also dealing with issues around siloed information and tracking customer history. Agents could reply to customer emails from their own Fender email addresses as well as the group inbox. Working this way meant that customer responses could end up in an individual’s inbox, rather than shared, making customer context hard for other team members to follow.

Fender’s aim was to centralize communication across teams to create a more cohesive experience for both customers and team members.

“When we brought everything into one office, we needed to consolidate our sales and service departments and start supporting more languages than ever before. We needed a solution that allowed each of our different departments to communicate—with each other and our customers—from one consolidated base, where everybody could see the history of what everybody else was saying,” adds Antram.

Fender began looking for a customer service solution that could help streamline operations and support communication across multiple teams. Zendesk addressed all the company’s needs and was a natural fit for Fender’s specialist teams.


Increasing efficiencies with Zendesk

Today, Fender has been with Zendesk for seven years, using the full suite of tools on the platform to provide support for individual customers and Fender suppliers.

“We started off very heavily with support,” says Antram. “We introduced Chat to increase interaction between us and our customers. And we went to Explore to hone our skills and see where we can make improvements and increase efficiencies. Zendesk Guide is the next step, so we can help our customers help themselves, when that’s possible, and enable our teams to focus on other aspects of their roles.”

The ability to route inquiries to the relevant team is key for Fender. As well as supporting nine languages from its UK office (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, and Slovakian), Fender also has dedicated teams for Fender suppliers, ecommerce support, technical teams, and sales and service teams.

“Zendesk’s chat tool supports tag or skillset-based grouping, so we can separate and route queries to our different teams,” adds Stuart Tighy, Fender’s Key Account Operations Manager. “In terms of our B2B support, we have been able to consolidate, so we have just one sales email for the whole of Europe. We’ve simplified triggers within Zendesk through that process, which works brilliantly.”


Getting the inside intel with Zendesk Explore

Zendesk Explore enables Fender to gain valuable insights around customer and agent activity, so its teams can use customer service and sales data to inform decision-making and planning.

“We’ve built out multiple dashboards to support managers and team members. That’s been really useful for us. We get a lot of intel from the reporting tools. We can highlight the areas where we are performing well and identify any areas we need to strengthen,” explains Tighy.

Antram emphasises how valuable Zendesk’s reporting is for the C-suite. Analytics from Explore are shared with Fender’s SVP Managing Director for EMEA and the Vice Presidents (VPs) of Sales and Customer Service in the US to keep everyone informed.

“Stuart’s built out some great dashboards that allow us to look at key figures at a glance on multiple levels,” Antram explains. “We have multiple Zendesk teams and we can look at each of them individually, isolate a specific area of business, and set the timeframe we want to view. For example, we can look at the sales metrics for a specific dealer in the first quarter of last year and then compare that with their metrics for this year. And we’re able to pull those figures really quickly and easily, and report back on those numbers.”

Data reporting is also used directly by agents, via a customized dashboard, so everyone benefits directly from Explore analytics and insights throughout the company.


Supporting multiple teams with Zendesk

What’s so interesting about Fender’s use of Zendesk is how unique the company’s setup is and how well it uses Zendesk tools, particularly for internal teams and B2B support. The company appreciates that high quality collaboration, insights, and customer service can take many different forms and uses Zendesk to drive this as much as possible.

Fender uses Zendesk to provide B2B support to Fender stores, suppliers, and its ecommerce teams, as well as the company’s technical support team members and key team members who work with Fender’s custom guitar makers.

The company also uses Zendesk to communicate across teams. For example, the Sales and Operations department uses Zendesk to communicate when setting up prices and new deals, so all the history of those conversations can be tracked back, which keeps everybody in the loop and helps with future planning.

By keeping all of these conversation streams within Zendesk that span B2B, B2C, and internal channels, Fender has a central knowledge base that keeps everyone up to date on progress.

“At this point, we’re looking around to find people to pull into Zendesk so that we can make it even more efficient,” says Antram. “We are just trying to get as many different departments into Zendesk as we can.”


So, what’s next for Fender and Zendesk?

Using Zendesk Guide, Fender has been building specialized help centers for different aspects of the business, with a particular focus on B2B and support for internal teams.

“We’ve built a B2B help center to trial run with our dealers and collaborate on the expansion of the help center. This will include automated forms and articles to support dealers without the need to contact us,” says Tighy.

“We’re also in the process of creating an internal help center, which will support employees and set out our SOPs [Standard Operating Procedures]. Once we are happy with our help center set up, we plan to roll out something to the wider B2B network outside of our key accounts.”