What’s your type? 4 types of customer service operations

What’s your type? 4 types of customer service operations

February 4, 2015
What’s your type? 4 types of customer service operations

“Actions speak louder than words,” right? How you behave means more than what you say or what you look like. Turns out, this applies not just to people, but to sales, marketing, social media, and especially customer service management.

In our latest Zendesk Research report (released today), we decided to explore this idea by taking the time to look beyond typical industry designations (what your company “looks” or “sounds” like) in a search of a more relevant and accurate classification for benchmarking customer service performance.

The four types of customer service organizations
Using a cluster analysis process, we grouped customer service organizations based on similar operational and management traits and found that support teams fall into four main types that can serve as an alternative to more superficial industry benchmarking.

1. Relationship Builders. These small teams excel in relationship management and provide a personal customer experience that customers love. The culture could be seen as an extension of their marketing.

2. Masters of Complexity. Driven by detailed support requests, these companies have dynamic management structures and sophisticated customer service operations.

3. Late Bloomers. With an unbalanced approach to support management, these companies have yet to realize their full potential. They might be too focused on their sales or marketing departments (a common problem with start-ups) instead of supporting their users.

4. Captains of Scale. These teams value customer service management as much as they do for sales and marketing, and set the gold standard of customer support operations.

Cluster analysis from Zendesk Benchmark

How we got there
To conduct the analysis, the research grouped businesses and organizations together in 12 clusters based on metrics that revealed similar workloads, support strategies, and the resource availability of their customer service operations. Those 12 were refined further into four groups with similar operational traits and management maturity.

This focus on operational benchmarking in our Q4 report was more than just a fun data exploration—the report dives into each of the four types (and the 12 clusters within them) to provide insight and tips, as well as actual benchmarks for comparing organizations on a much more meaningful and relevant basis.

What’s your type?
Industry benchmarks—as well as company size and audience type—are still a big deal for many companies looking for comparison overviews. But as we discovered, many companies will better relate to companies that have similar operations and management, regardless of industry.

Zendesk research: operational benchmarking

Read the report