Article | 4 min read

Drive revenue during an economic downturn

Big box platforms are limited in their ability to fuel growth. Turn ordinary interactions into personal and extraordinary revenue-generating opportunities.

By Norman Gennaro, President Worldwide Sales, Zendesk

Last updated January 17, 2023

CEOs are getting nervous.

According to a quarterly survey of business leaders conducted by the Conference Board, 98 percent of U.S.-based CEOs say they are preparing for an economic recession over the next 12 to 18 months. European leaders are even more fearful—99 percent believe a recession is imminent.

“CEOs are now preparing for near-inevitable recessions in both the U.S. and Europe,” Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., Vice Chairman of the Business Council and Trustee of the Conference Board said. “While the vast majority still expect the U.S. recession to be short and shallow, nearly seven in 10 believe the E.U. will enter a deep recession with serious global spillovers.”

Whether the looming recession is a mere blip, or something more long-lasting—there are still opportunities for growth. This is an ideal time to review your company’s brand strategy. If your CX team isn’t leveraging customer data to create more personalized conversations, they’re missing out on an opportunity.

Grow revenue in any season

When companies provide exceptional CX, it can be an engine for growth. Integrating a support platform into your business applications gives you powerful tools to support live agents. Agents who are provided with context that a support platform provides are better able to resolve customer questions quickly. And this kind of proactive support can turn ordinary interactions into revenue-generating opportunities.

A customizable support platform allows you to quickly and easily add digital channels, like messaging, phone, email ticketing, and a knowledge base to deflect common questions. And these channels allow agents to hyper-personalize conversations with customers, boosting loyalty. Agents can recommend smarter upsells, launch new products quickly, and increase wallet share from high-value customers—all without heavy developer involvement.

The benefits of a support platform like Zendesk are calculable. In a recent study, Forrester Consulting found that a composite organization earned $31.2M over three years versus costs of $8.1M. This added up to a net present value (NPV) of $23.1M—and a return on investment (ROI) of 286 percent.

Build better customer solutions with new CX tools

Drills, sanders, and other power tools manufactured by Stanley Black and Decker have helped Americans with their home improvement projects for more than 100 years. But with evolving customer expectations, the venerable company needed a new kind of tool: customer service software.

Stanley Black and Decker has an international presence, and the company was able to use Zendesk’s Web Widget to capture sales that otherwise would have been lost during one particularly frenzied Black Friday.

“In Colombia, we ran out of merchandise in several stores on the first day—but we were able to redirect traffic to other stores using the web widget and chat,” Black & Decker’s After Sales Experience Manager explained. The integration of the software resulted in a 500 percent sales increase over the previous year.

Getting started was easy—even though Stanley Black and Decker’s support teams handle an average of 10,000 tickets every month. After just a single day of training, Stanley Black and Decker’s agents were running a full suite of Zendesk products, including Support, Guide, Chat, and Talk.

And even though leaders expect the monthly volume of tickets to double—they’re not worried.

“We’re confident that Zendesk will allow us to service the rising ticket volume,” Orlando Gadea Ros, Business Innovation Director at Stanley Black and Decker, said.

The race to boost sales

Founded in 2010 after 500 competitors raced an obstacle course in Vermont, Spartan Race is now the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand. With more than five million participants racing in events across the globe, Spartan Race also produces its own television specials, operates a gym, and offers a line of clothing and athletic gear.

A Zendesk customer since 2013, Spartan Race had been using a traditional live chat model for years with great success. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, Spartan Race was forced to cancel events and reduce headcount.

“We simply didn’t have enough staff to sit on a live chat during support hours waiting for messages—and we couldn’t support the volume that was coming in,” Aja Varney, Director of Global Customer Engagement, explained.

But after upgrading to Zendesk Suite, Varney and her team was able to offer omnichannel support through email, chat, phone, bot, social media, web form, and the help center. And with the Shopify integration, Spartan Race saw a 27 percent increase in sales.

“We’re getting through tickets faster, and customers are happier because we’re able to respond more quickly,” Varney said of the results from adding live chat to their online store. “Zendesk products have made my life much easier—it’s been a really positive experience.”

Calm before the storm

The economic picture may look bleak right now, but improving customer service is always in season. With some judicious planning, you can quickly turn CX into an engine for growth.

Check out other areas where you can see the highest return on your service investments to save cost and time.

Want to bring some sunshine to dreary economic conditions?

Here's a guide for CX leaders to adapt customer service when facing uncertainty.

Want to bring some sunshine to dreary economic conditions?

Here's a guide for CX leaders to adapt customer service when facing uncertainty.

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