How Customer Service Teams Operate Can Matter More Than Industry Comparisons
BERLIN, GERMANY – February 12, 2015 – Overall global customer satisfaction remained high at 94.7 percent, according to the Zendesk Benchmark Report for Q4 2014. It declined slightly by 0.26 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. However, in contrast to the same period in 2013, customer satisfaction actually rose by nearly 15 percent. Nevertheless, in comparison to other countries, Germany only managed a mid-table position. With an overall customer satisfaction of 90,9 percent, Germany ranked 25 out of 38 countries examined. Belgium (97,1 percent), New Zealand (97 percent) and Ireland (96,9 percent) posted the highest customer satisfaction scores for the second quarter in a row.
When comparing the different industries, retail and travel once again experienced the biggest fourth quarter drops in customer satisfaction. This was no surprise as the Zendesk Q4 2013 Benchmark Report found that the decrease in customer satisfaction in the retail and travel industries can largely be attributed to increased customer service demands on those industries during their busiest, and most critical, time of the year. The industries of government and non-profit, IT services, and healthcare took the top three spots for the second quarter in a row.
“Saying a customer satisfaction of 91 percent in Germany is a bad result is certainly false. But of course we always see room for improvement“, says Steffen Teske, Director Central & Eastern Europe at Zendesk. “„Especially fully integrated customer service is still – unfortunately – rather an exception in Germany. However, today’s digital customers expect to find support where they are and don’t want to leave the app they’re using, for example, to ask a question. Our local enterprises should continue to focus on such service offerings, in order to compete against other international businesses in terms of customer service.“
The whole benchmark report is available for free at https://www.zendeskbenchmark.com/
The minor decline in customer satisfaction in the fourth quarter can be accredited to the fact that only four out of seventeen examined industries managed to increase customer satisfaction in this period. Only the education and real estate as well as web hosting and marketing & advertising industries could slightly improve their customer satisfaction levels compared to the previous quarter.
Support organization matters more than industry comparisons
When it comes to benchmarking customer service teams, operational traits can prove to be a more accurate and relevant point of comparison than common industry classifications. To conduct the analysis, Zendesk 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:
- Relationship Builders: These small teams provide a personal customer experience that customers love.
- Masters of Complexity: Driven by detailed support requests, these organizations have sophisticated customer service operations.
- Late Bloomers: With an unbalanced approach to support, these organizations have yet to realize their full potential.
- Captains of Scale: These teams set the gold standard of customer service organizations.
“It’s important to realise that regardless of whether teams or businesses are in the same industry, it doesn’t mean they provide a similar customer service offering. They’re not always comparable,” says Steffen Teske. “Customer service operations come in all shapes and sizes from small, simple and straightforward ones managing a low number of requests; to large, complex operations that have a much higher volume of enquiries. We identified the operational traits information to provide more relevant data for organizations to benchmark themselves against one another.”
Consider the example of the leading language app Babbel. It helps millions of people learn new languages through its software, but categorizes itself in the education industry. Yet, it handles more than 60,000 support tickets a month, well beyond the average of 79 tickets per month in the education industry. How Babbel compares to a similar group of high volume, 24/7 professional customer service operations with is a more meaningful comparison.
About the Zendesk Benchmark
The Zendesk Benchmark is based on actual customer service and support interactions between 25,000 participating organizations and their customers across 140 countries. Introduced in March 2012, it allows organizations to compare their customer service performance against industry peers. It measures key metrics around customer support efficiency, customer self-service behavior, and levels of customer engagement. Customer satisfaction is based on the percentage of positive responses to the question of whether or not a customer was satisfied with a customer service interaction. For a country to be included in the quarterly report, it must have a minimum of 10,000 responses during the quarter.
Zendesk provides a customer service platform designed to bring organisations and their customers closer together. With more than 48,000 customer accounts, Zendesk is used by organisations in 150 countries to provide support in more than 40 languages. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in San Francisco, Zendesk has operations in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. Learn more at www.zendesk.com