How Zendesk helped Skroutz handle a 10X increase in CX activity
When global events drove a 25X spike in business, Greece’s leading online ecommerce platform Skroutz had to adapt fast. With weekly new features, surging growth, and a growing backlog of support tickets, the company’s homegrown support system was simply not equipped to keep pace. The customer care team turned to Zendesk for world-class support experiences at scale for both retailers and consumers.
“We are now focused on providing agents with training in soft skills and critical thinking to take them to the next step in their careers, along with introducing ticket automation so that we can give all our attention to important customer questions and problems.”
“We aimed for operational efficiency for the agents and managers. Zendesk was easy to use and provided valuable analytics and reporting.”
Monthly unique visitors
Number of merchants
Increase in daily sales
Average monthly ticket volumes (10X increase)
First reply time SLA
Full resolution time SLA
Average first response time
What started out as a price comparison website for electronics sprouted into Skroutz, Greece’s #1 online e-commerce platform. Skroutz is now Greece’s fourth most visited website behind Google, Facebook, and YouTube, connecting buyers with more than 7 million products and 12,000 merchants.
While giant retailers Amazon and Alibaba concentrate on the global marketplace, Skroutz maintains its focus on growing a strong base in its home market of Greece. Over the past 17 years, Skroutz has been the point of entry into the world of online shopping not only for Greek consumers, but also for merchants looking to digitize with an online presence.
Massive growth highlights the need for a sophisticated ticketing system
2020 brought unprecedented changes to the online retailer. Skroutz’ daily orders increased 25X as consumers moved to buy products online during the pandemic lockdown. Meanwhile, shuttered merchants scrambled to quickly find a way to sell merchandise through online channels. During that time, Skroutz welcomed more than 3,500 new retailers to its marketplace.
Anastasia Tatarinova, customer care manager at Skroutz, came into the role in June 2020. “We had to adapt to new things every week – new features, tremendous growth, and more and more support tickets.” Things got really rough during the Black Friday and holiday season of 2020, and a huge, ominous backlog ballooned daily as more and more emails flooded the support team’s inbox.
The existing support system had been built by Skroutz’s team of in-house developers, but was not designed to handle the massive growth. Additionally, the dependency on the developer team for improvements and updates to the in-house support system proved to be a great challenge.
Turning to Zendesk for data, strategy, and efficiency
Luckily, Tatarinova had prior experience with Zendesk from a previous role. Her first plan of action at Skroutz was to advocate for implementing the Zendesk platform and getting it up and running quickly.
Setting out the CX strategy, it was clear that the agents needed an interface that would enable them to answer inquiries more efficiently. Agents at that time were generalists, but the management team was confident that Zendesk’s low-code business rules would allow them to create subject matter experts of them all, leading to smarter routing, reduced response times, and higher customer satisfaction.
The team was also convinced that the detailed analytics provided by Zendesk would be key to demonstrating short-term wins in agent efficiency, service quality, and self-service deflection. Beyond that, reporting would be crucial to evolving a long-term customer care strategy for Skroutz.
Like any customer support team, Skroutz aimed to increase customer satisfaction while reducing support costs. Key to accomplishing this mission was providing self-service options to the company’s online customers so they could easily find answers to their questions without contacting the support team.
Robust help center delivers support for consumers
Step one was to build a user-friendly, SEO-optimized help center. As there wasn’t much available data on customer inquiries, the team used qualitative analysis and feedback from customer care agents on common user questions to create multiple ticket forms that would make sense to the users. With help from the company’s Product team, the Help Center was up and running in only two months. Zendesk’s intuitive user interface enabled the team to move fast and be fully independent in creating and publishing help content.
Theodosia Deli, Skroutz’s customer education lead, combined support ticket forms and fields with Zendesk’s analytics to establish a customer feedback framework. By making it easy for agents to report on “Reason to Contact” and more specific subfields, the team was able to identify problems and patterns impacting customers.
Some of these insights drove knowledge creation, resulting in a living, breathing help center that was responding to the customer experience, as opposed to a static FAQ page. Other insights gleaned from the reporting are now being forwarded to product and partner teams to fix issues or drive future offerings.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure
The insights that Zendesk provided to the business helped craft the long term vision for customer care at the company. “We aimed for operational efficiency for the agents, leads, supervisors, and managers of the team,” explains Mariana Kolonia, Skroutz’ operations lead. “Zendesk was easy to use and provided valuable analytics and reporting.” The team built realistic KPIs and used Zendesk analytics to monitor team performance, assess process improvements, and manage workforce and hiring efforts.
The customer care team did lean on their engineering colleagues to build a sidebar app with Zendesk API and Apps Framework that taps the homegrown product system for the order information to help agents as they work on a ticket.
The engineering team also went a step beyond to code an iframe with access to approved customer data to address GDPR-related limitations that helped BPO agents access the information needed to ensure compliance with privacy laws. Having this information readily available helped to reduce the team’s first response times, average ticket handle times, and increase the company’s overall CSAT score.
Since implementing Zendesk and adding an additional 45 agents, the Skroutz customer care team has made impressive strides in delivering faster service. Now a whopping 91 percent of tickets are meeting the first reply time SLA, compared with just five percent the year before. Similarly, 78 percent of tickets are meeting the full resolution time SLA, compared to only 12 percent a year earlier. Overall, the average response time is now 2.7 business hours, compared to more than 82 hours when Zendesk was first introduced.
Elevating the customer experience
Having reduced the support backlog and daily influx to a manageable level, the Skroutz team now has more time to invest in areas related to agent well being and service excellence.
“We are now focused on fine-tuning our service and providing excellent customer experiences, rather than just trying to keep the backlog low,” says Tatarinova. “Zendesk also enabled us to smoothly onboard more than 50 BPO agents along with multiple internal teams that now use Zendesk for their own workflows, including the Partner Support, Community, and Content teams.”
A year into the company’s partnership with Zendesk, the customer care arm of Skroutz has successfully built a solid foundation for world-class customer experiences for both consumers and merchants. The team is now piloting the chat channel and evaluating an AI-powered, Greek-speaking bot to fold into the mix.
As Deli shares, “In a fast-paced company like ours, having the flexibility that Zendesk offers on so many levels is really the key to moving as fast as we need to.”
1 Preparing Skroutz for its next phase of growth | Macquarie Group
2 Interview: Skroutz CEO George Chatzigeorgiou on Greece’s ecommerce boom