ShopBack + Zendesk: Automating 70% of customer success while empowering agents
ShopBack is the No. 1 rewards and discovery platform in Asia Pacific, enabling savvy shoppers to earn cashback while delivering performance-based marketing solutions to merchants. With an offer almost too good to be true, its customer service has to follow suit. ShopBack’s automation and AI integrations swiftly solve 70% of its customer queries, allowing agents to focus on dealing with more complex issues and to specialize in various customer care areas.
“From seamlessly integrating with our back-end systems to revamping our help center and inspiring us to pursue our chatbot initiative—our partnership with Zendesk has had a significant impact on our ability to scale. Despite a continuously growing customer base and ticket volumes, Zendesk has enabled us to maintain service quality while saving our agents months’ worth of time annually.”
“Our Zendesk Customer Success Manager is very thorough, result-oriented, and her guidance has helped us a lot in making the right choices. Two years ago, she mentioned how a chatbot solution could help us automate straightforward conversations and leave more complex issues to the human support team. Fast-forward to today, and chatbot resolves 41% of our customer queries.”
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ShopBack helps customers make better purchase decisions and be rewarded for it by earning cashback. Founded in Singapore in 2014, it now serves people across the Asia Pacific region. Its services today span online and in-store cashback, product comparisons and e-commerce vouchers.
As businesses launch and enter new markets, customer experience is often put on the backburner. ShopBack’s value proposition, however, required the company to do it right from the start, said François Picard, head of operations at ShopBack. “Our offer may look too good to be true—we promise money to people for shopping. That’s why, as new consumers join our community, they have to be served an amazing customer experience. If a merchant is late to validate cashback or other things don’t go as planned, people may think that our service isn’t legit. We need to be there for those customers, provide assurance, show that we are reliable, and quickly deliver on our promise.”
Better communication, better customer care
To move toward customer service excellence, ShopBack partnered with Zendesk from the outset in 2015. The company initially set up Zendesk Talk and Support to manage its call center and email inquiries. Serving its customers across an omnichannel environment, the platform provided agents with a single workspace to solve tickets while letting growing teams share key learnings and access guidance materials.
However, ShopBack strategically dropped its call center as new communication channels grew in popularity within the last two years. “We were quite deliberate in terminating the phone call channel because as we were rapidly expanding, it was no longer an efficient way to serve our customer base. Instead, we decided to invest heavily in our chat and chatbot through Zendesk to serve our customers with the highest level of quality across our channels,” said Picard.
AI and Automation powers efficiency and quality
ShopBack customers usually seek out the help center at first instance to solve issues on their own. With Zendesk’s knowledge management capabilities, their help center has various FAQs with more than 800,000 views on average every month. “Our helpdesk is the most self-service mode of supporting our customers. It is a site that features concise and easy-to-read information that enables our customers to find their answers within a few clicks,” said Picard.
It’s been a year since ShopBack’s chatbot (powered by Ada) works alongside the support team to solve customer queries. Picard was not a fan of chatbots at first. However, during a quarterly business review meeting with Zendesk, he was inspired by industry best practices and saw AI’s potential in enhancing ShopBack’s customer care. Afterwards, the team was ready to consider various solutions thoroughly, said Picard. “We approached companies that had already partnered with Zendesk to implement a chatbot and looked to set a benchmark for ourselves. After doing functional assessments, we made a precise commitment to our CEO that the integration of chatbot would double the ratio of customer service automation.”
“As we rolled out across nine markets, we reached our target automation of 70%. It makes us confident that with the additional integration of chatbot, other workflow automations and triggers, we can optimize the automation of even more processes,” Picard said.
Six months on from the implementation, the chatbot intercepts more than a third of the 170,000+ queries ShopBack gets every month. The channel’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores are also on a constant rise, shared Phoebe Hoang, Regional Chatbot Lead at ShopBack. “Although the chatbot instantly lifted a significant workload off our agent team, it is a technology that adds more value with time. As our business and ticket volumes grow, the chatbot is continuously fed new information—it helps the algorithms understand new types of inquiries and ensure our customers get served with the most relevant answers. It also needs to learn at which point to hand off to an actual agent. We’re essentially implementing the chatbot to deliver a seamless experience where our customer is understood and feels supported,” said Hoang.
“When rolling out a solution that significantly changes the customer experience and conversation flow, you have to evaluate the long-term benefits. We want to scale efficiently while providing our growing customer-base with the support they need. It’s important for the future that we invest time and resources to get the AI and automation aspects right. It is an ongoing process but as we feed the chatbot with more information, we observe weekly improvement on the CSAT for this channel,” Picard added.
Empowering internal workflows with AI
In addition to chatbot, ShopBack’s team has built an internal automated workflow that uses algorithms to make decisions on tickets that come through contextual forms. Thanks to Zendesk’s ability to integrate with ShopBack’s back-end systems, it automatically resolves predictable issues and intercepts 29 percent of tickets. “Missing cashback is the number one issue our customers face, and we use this solution to resolve these tickets more efficiently,” Picard said. The workflow relies on rule-based algorithms which replicate the decision-making process of the company’s agents to approve claims and issue compensations to customers who filled out a form and qualify for cashback.
The integration between Zendesk and ShopBack back-end services also helps agents deliver compensation to customers much quicker. “Our team doesn’t need to manually prepare the claim if a customer asks us for a cashback payment. Agents simply have to select the approval macro on Zendesk, and it will instantly call our back-end API to issue compensation,” said Picard.
Human touch where it matters
With AI and automation handling roughly 70 percent of ShopBack’s monthly ticket volume, the company’s 59-strong customer support team can now deal with more complex, higher value tasks instead. Each agent solves 60 to 70 tickets per day that require humans to exercise judgment and verify identities, or where security will be an additional concern. “It is not our goal to push agents to process more tickets. Quality customer service remains our priority. Zendesk helps our customer service teams meet their targets. Still, we yield the most results in giving agents extra time to focus on quality communication with every customer,” Picard explained.
That’s why, at ShopBack, you’ll find more dynamic customer service roles and progression paths than elsewhere in the industry, emphasized Desy Sievert, regional CS manager (People & Process) at ShopBack. “Our agents no longer have to handle simple, repetitive queries thanks to the help center, chatbot, contextual forms, and automated workflows. We don’t want our agents to do routine tasks; instead, we want them to focus on complex issues,” she explained.
As agents are empowered to make more complex calls, they are also able to progress their careers. “Over the past four years, I’ve seen how Zendesk’s learning platform has evolved, and upskilling is a key pillar in our partnership. We are leveraging the online training on the tracks that have been created to enable specialization across areas such as Admin, Guide or Explore flows. The platform enables managers to track what training sessions agents have completed and how curious agents are about specific Zendesk capabilities. It helps us identify people for promotions or to specialize in certain customer care areas based on their interests and strengths,” Sievert added.
As ShopBack looks to the future, the company values the partnership with Zendesk for new ideas and the collaborative culture. “We always look forward to our quarterly business reviews with Zendesk. The team truly digs into the data of ShopBack to give recommendations on how to further optimize our processes and usage, highlighting our strengths and weaknesses. We are committed to customer service innovation and trust Zendesk to share the best practices. Whenever we see an opportunity that aligns with our goals, we make big bets,” Picard added.