Element Electronics earns awards for CX success
Element Electronics turned to the Zendesk platform when it realized its customer service program was in need of an overhaul. In the first year, the company’s CSAT score soared 110 percent. Even with rising support volumes at the growing business, the CX team was able to decrease call handling times by 33 percent. What followed? Multiple business awards recognizing the company’s achievements in customer service.
“The Zendesk platform has played a big part in increasing our CSAT score, which has allowed us to better brand ourselves and build trust with our customers, which has positively impacted our revenue. Within the first year, the CSAT score increased 110 percent."
Customer Service Manager at Element Electronics
“Having Zendesk reporting to better understand our customers helps us realize what we need to tweak and improve, such as reducing average handling time, learning why customers are calling, and how we can continue to improve. That’s a major cost reduction right there."
Customer Service Manager at Element Electronics
Winnsboro, South Carolina
Started Using Zendesk
Decrease in call handling time
Decrease in chat handling time
Element Electronics started in 2007 with a simple belief – every home should have access to TVs with the latest technology. Today, Element has the only mass assembly television factory in the United States. The company’s Winnsboro, South Carolina, factory delivers more than 1 million televisions each year to consumers through major retailers.
Recently, the company has expanded its product range of electronics to also include home appliances. But one thing that has not changed is Element’s commitment to provide customers with products featuring the latest technology at the most accessible prices.
But in 2018, the executive leadership team at Element realized it had an issue with its existing customer service. At the time, customer service was being handled through one of the company’s manufacturers using a CRM platform. Things were not going well. Social media posts on the company’s customer service were extremely negative. Common posts included messages such as “Nobody answers the phone. Nobody ever gets back to me.”
CX in need of a major overhaul
To improve the situation, Element made the decision to outsource its CX to Goodbay Technologies, replace its existing system with Zendesk, and hire Kammie Larkin as customer service manager. With a strong background in help desk management, Larkin quickly went to work.
Shortly after joining Element, Larkin convinced company leaders to upgrade to Zendesk’s Suite Enterprise to get the most out of their customer service platform. “The existing CX ecosystem was extremely fragmented, so in looking at the benefits of the Zendesk Suite Enterprise, the decision was a ‘no brainer’,” says Larkin.
Larkin says Element’s top executives were committed to putting the customer first and delivering a high level of customer service. “If we don’t keep our customers, we don’t stay in business,” says Larkin. “I embraced the challenge to turn things around and work with the Zendesk platform to be our main source of truth.”
Nowhere to go but up
Today, Element offers numerous channels for customers to reach the company, including phone, email, Web forms, text, and chat. More than 86 percent of contacts are now resolved in one-touch.
Last year, the company handled nearly 700,000 customer tickets, an increase of 27 percent over the prior year due to growth from an expanding product line. Thankfully, CX agents are working more efficiently. The average handle time on phone calls has been reduced by 33 percent and chat handling times are down 19 percent.
“When I started, our CSAT was at 39 percent so we had nowhere to go but up,” Larkin recalls. “By the end of that year, our CSAT was at 68 percent, and the following year we reached 82 percent CSAT.”
And CSAT scores have continued to steadily climb since then, now clocking in at an impressive 91 percent. The amazing turnaround has not gone unnoticed. Element Electronics has won several Stevie Awards for customer service the past few years.
But Larkin is quick to give credit to others for her award-winning accomplishments. “Customer service can never be just one team; it’s everybody in the entire company. Our continuous efforts to improve technology, including Zendesk, has also been a contributing factor to our success.”
CX data helps drive product improvements
Implementing macros in Zendesk allows the Element CX team to put customer conversations in appropriate categories for proper tagging. These actions help deliver valuable reporting to understand why customers are contacting customer service. Insights are then shared with the leadership and engineering teams to improve the company’s products.
Another key area of value for Element is using Zendesk’s SLA feature as part of its CX workflow. Larkin is looking to improve the team’s use of SLAs going forward. For instance, plans call for putting an SLA on product safety and hazard issues or creating an SLA for customers that have more than five tickets to deliver efficient first response times on critical tickets.
“We’ve been able to recognize several quality issues that we’ve fed back to the engineering teams to share with the manufacturers,” explains Larkin. “So we really use the SLA feature as not just a customer service tool, but for extensive reporting to inform engineering and our leadership team of emerging issues.”
Automating to drive greater efficiencies
Element offers a free two-year warranty to customers who register their product within 90 days of purchase. Obviously, that is a great benefit to customers, but it drives a lot of traffic to the Element CX team. In fact, 24 percent of all tickets last year were related to warranty questions.
“One of my next tasks is to optimize and automate registrations because right now it’s very hands-on with agents to capture all the data to ensure the registration is complete,” explains Larkin. “I’ll be looking for features to help us get more of an automated resolve to free up agents for more engaging tasks.”
Additionally, Larkin hopes to integrate the warranty process with the RMA (Return Material Authorization) process. The current RMA tool and process is “clunky” and Larkin is counting on Zendesk to assist with an integration or solution to drive much greater agent and cost efficiencies.
Meeting the challenges of growth
As Element Electronics continues to grow and offer a larger array of consumer electronics and appliances, Larkin understands that the company’s CX strategy must leverage technology to an even greater degree going forward.
The next challenge for Larkin is standing up a customer service organization to support other new business developments. “No doubt, we’ll be relying on Zendesk to help us meet those challenges, as well,” says Larkin.