Growing the Customer Base, Not Customer Support Staff

October 26, 2010

“Zendesk has completely changed the way we run our business. Although our customer base has doubled over the past two years, we haven’t had to hire any additional support agents.”

– Alan Conroy, Owner, Support Solutions

Support Solutions was founded in 2001 in response to a critical need. When Integrity Software announced it would no longer support Legerdemain distribution software, Legerdemain dealers throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom needed an alternative. Alan Conroy and Betty McGivern formed Support Solutions to service these dealers. The company now maintains systems for some of Ireland’s largest office products dealers, and has formed key partnerships with BlueSky System Solutions and Net Junction.

Phone-based support process leads to slow resolutions

When Support Solutions began providing support, training and implementation services to Ireland’s office supply companies in 2001, the company handled 95 percent of support tickets by phone. Customers appreciated the ability to talk through technical challenges with an agent. But for Support Solutions, there was a downside.

“We liked being able to help our customers over the phone, but closing a ticket often required several days,” recalls Alan Conroy, co-founder of Support Solutions. “We couldn’t consider a request closed until we had a discussion with the customer, and it sometimes took multiples phone calls just to reach the customer to tell him that we had resolved his issue.”

Support Solutions aimed to close support tickets faster without compromising its personalized service, but its outdated help desk solution couldn’t support highly efficient online communication.

Side-by-side trial proves Zendesk as the obvious choice

Everything changed when Conroy saw an online ad for Zendesk. He signed up for a free 30-day trial and quickly became a believer.

“We planned to try Zendesk alongside our help desk solution for 30 days,” Conroy says. “But after one week, the improvement in efficiency was so great that we just shut down our help desk and moved all our tickets to Zendesk.”

Conroy’s first task was to convince customers to use online support rather than picking up the phone. Most customers gladly made the switch.

“Moving customers from phone to Zendesk was relatively easy,” Conroy explains. “When someone called in with a support issue, we would send them their resolution by email through Zendesk. Once people saw how easy it was, they felt very comfortable with email-based support.”

Today, when a customer emails a support request, they receive an immediate confirmation. Just minutes later, they receive another email with the name of the customer support agent who is working on the case. With Zendesk, Support Solutions has dramatically increased its responsiveness without losing its personal touch.

Maximized efficiency leads to cost-effective business growth

Support Solutions’ four agents now handle 70 percent of support tickets via Zendesk’s web-based help desk system — and close 95 percent within one business day. Zendesk’s predetermined answers, or macros, enable the support team to create and apply automated responses to commonly asked customer support questions. Another way to save time managing tickets is with the help of batch ticket processing, or automations. This makes it easier to prompt customers for more information, for those tickets that meet predetermined conditions. Unlike customer support agents who field phone calls, a Support Solutions agent using Zendesk can review multiple tickets at once. This efficiency has helped Support Solutions to grow its business cost-effectively.

“Zendesk has completely changed the way we run our business,” Conroy says. “Although our customer base has doubled over the past two years, we haven’t had to hire any additional support agents.”

Hoping to further enhance efficiency, Support Solutions implemented Zendesk’s LogMeIn Rescue integration — allowing agents to engage in remote support sessions with their customers. Now, support agents can what their customers’ see during support calls, therefore significantly diminishing ticket resolution time. At the end of each call, all relevant details of the remote session are embedded to the Zendesk ticket for future reference. LogMeIn Rescue for Zendesk not only reduces customers’ reliance on phone calls but also provides Support Solutions with new opportunities to upsell its training services.

“When one of our agents suspects that a customer doesn’t know how to use certain software features, we can proactively offer training that will increase their productivity,” Conroy explains. “This reassures our clients that we’re truly interested in their business success.”

Using Zendesk, Support Solutions can enhance a service it already provided its customers. The company installs software on customer machines that automatically sends an email alert to Support Solutions whenever there is a technical problem. These emails now come in through Zendesk, ensuring fast, accurate routing.

“We often receive an email alert early in the morning, address the problem on a customer’s server, and send a notification back to the customer through Zendesk — all before the customer has even come into the office in the morning,” Conroy says. “That’s just one more way Zendesk helps us to be an outstanding business partner for our clients.”