Change Is Good at New Zealand Post

November 3, 2010

“After just three hours of using Zendesk, our customer support agents were already declaring their love of Zendesk. These are people who are quite reluctant about change, but they embraced the solution almost immediately. One of the customer service agents went so far as to send a note declaring how impressed they were: “I love it — simple and easy to use and navigate, very clear. The search function is brilliant and an absolute time saver!!””

–Rob Holmes, Strategic Analyst

New Zealand (NZ) Post is part of the national landscape – integral to the kiwi way of life for 170 years. Originally a traditional postal service, they’re also committed to being part of New Zealand’s future and are evolving and developing their business to meet the changing needs of our customers – online and off. This involves looking at how a traditional postal service can survive and thrive in a world that is increasingly moving to electronic forms of communication.

Two instances, two distinct use cases

NZ Post is currently running two instances of Zendesk. The first instance is used for an internal help desk which deals with the development team’s technical support issues such as APIs, mobiles apps, and blogging software.

The second instance is used for an internal Change Forum. This instance is private to employees across NZ Post Group and this is achieved by using a number of white listed email domains.

Bringing transparency and ease of use to the support desk

Previously, the teams were using a basic Gmail label workflow for ticket identification. This approach proved both extremely complex but also completely opaque in terms of giving people visibility over the data. With Zendesk the Change Forum was put in place from scratch within ten days, including both operational and technical aspects: training agents, configuration of triggers, automations, CSS work and setting up email.

Zendesk passed evaluation with flying colors

Prior to committing to Zendesk, NZ Post carried out an exhaustive evaluation of around ten different solutions. Each of the solutions was assessed against nearly fifty specific criteria. Some of these criteria were deemed to be of high priority, and if an alternative was lacking one of these, it was immediately discarded as an option. Zendesk came through that assessment with flying colors.

From a functional perspective, NZ Post’s top three requirements for a help desk solution are:

  • Ease of use for both customers and agents, throughout the ticket workflow and online FAQ/forum area.
  • Integrated email ticket management, FAQs, and forum capability.
  • Help resources should all be searchable in one place – whether they be official FAQs or contributions from the community.
  • Established, well proven, and well documented API – in particular a proven CRM integration.

“The evaluation concluded that Zendesk was significantly superior to the competition, not just based on our key criteria, and therefore clearly the best solution for our needs,” says Rob Holmes, Strategic Analyst at NZ Post.

Web based services poses a radical but hugely valuable change

NZ Post is making a radical move to web based services which offer a variable cost model. They recently have moved their office productivity to Google Apps and their telephony to a fully managed service. This allows NZ Post to ensure that its IT costs are closely tied to the business value they generate. Another benefit is that this allows NZ Post employees to enable their people to work securely from anywhere.

Despite this being a radical move for a large enterprise, the change to web tools has proved to be revolutionary. Rob Holmes, Strategic Analyst at NZ Post says, “We have adopted a large number of tools with similar characteristics to Zendesk – such as Wufoo, Fogbugz, Yammer, Campaign Monitor, UserVoice, Freckle etc. All of these are unlikely to be considered enterprise tools – but are far superior to the enterprise tools we were previously stuck with.”

Zendesk – reducing agent load

Before implementing Zendesk, NZ Post assessed that they needed to invest in 12 agent licenses for the Change Forum, as they were expecting a flood of support tickets. However, with Zendesk, they realized that two agents was all they needed in order to provide very fast response and resolution times. Rob believes that this can be attributed to the effectiveness of FAQs and community forums, where customers can find answers for themselves, instead of submitting a support request.

Enjoying the flexible ticket workflow

Thanks to the highly configurable nature of Zendesk, NZ Post has been able to customize the ticket workflow to match their needs. Now, the support team has the ability to automatically assign tickets to subject matter experts, instead of forwarding emails on a per ticket basis.

NZ Post is also loving the Zendesk integration with Yammer via targets. The integration enabled agents to request help from the Yammer community by simply tagging a ticket in Zendesk. An agent can also just push ticket information to Yammer as a FYI by adding a different tag. If a ticket is not responded within 4 hours, an alert is pushed to Yammer so other team members can respond to the customer request.

Affecting change in the organization

The Change Forum has been a huge success for NZ Post. Given the size and maturity of the organization, it’s not surprising that social media is still fairly new to most employees. However, within a couple of weeks, members of the NZ Post senior leadership team were signing up, uploading their photographs, and answering employee questions in the forums.