At a glance
New bookings per day
Time to close reduction
Improved overall efficiency
As any rapidly expanding company knows, it’s challenging to scale customer service at pace with growth. Until November of 2013, agents at Tourico Holidays were handling all email support in Microsoft Outlook—some 4,000 emails per day.
It seems almost Herculean to manage that kind of volume through an email client. The support team, reporting to Steve Skidgel, Tourico Holidays’ Executive Vice President of Operations, used rules and manual deletion to identify the roughly 1,200 emails they needed to take a closer look at.
“We were spending our resources weeding through the haystack, looking for the nuggets we were going to work on,” Skidgel said. “It was organized chaos, really.”
Behind the scenes, the global travel distribution company manages upwards of 11,000 new bookings per day, supported by a team of 100 agents. Contact centers in Orlando, Florida and Hong Kong provide phone, email, chat, and social media support—all to the end of making the remote possible, whether it’s snorkeling with giant sea turtles in Bali or standing at the foot of the last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The company as a whole was in the process of selecting a CRM, but Skidgel couldn’t wait any longer. Managers were searching through agent inboxes. Emails were accidentally deleted or shelved in a folder. Skidgel decided to move forward with Zendesk Support because he knew the customer service software would be able to integrate with whichever CRM the company adopted.
Skidgel knew Support was flexible enough to integrate with tools used by the rest of the business.
Fast-forward six months and those 4,000 individual emails are now easily converted into 600-800 standardized tickets, a 600 percent improvement in efficiency. A much smaller group of agents is now dedicated to email, which has allowed Skidgel to reallocate as much as 70 percent of his email team resources to other areas of support.
Not only has the process become standardized and largely automated, the email team’s response rate and closure times have been reduced by over 250 percent, from an average of 84 hours to 20 hours.
“For a year and a half, I would just get torched about our customer service,” Skidgel said. “People were working quantitatively and not qualitatively, and just trying to get through the pile.”
As early as January 2014, Skidgel began getting positive emails from the global sales team and praise in executive meetings, where he now reports weekly progress.
“Zendesk Support allows us to really drill down to find our service success stories, as well as our weaknesses. There’s real value in that. Now we know a lot more about our customers—who our top clients are, and what their needs are. We collect their satisfaction ratings and have an accurate view of the service levels we’re providing, or need to be providing. We’ve even been able to identify suppliers in breach of contract.”
“Support allows us to really drill down to find our service success stories, as well as our weaknesses. There’s real value in that.”
The agent adoption rate was swift. From the beginning, Skidgel and his team worked with a Zendesk Support customer success manager, who answered their questions and kept them on track by meeting twice a week throughout implementation until they were able to phase down. Another reason they saw so much turnaround, so quickly, was that Skidgel took Zendesk’s Support Analytics Masterclass. “Before Zendesk Support, I’d have to wait for IT to build a report I needed. Now I can easily get information, faster, on my own.”
If one thing is safe to say, it’s that they no longer measure response time according to the oldest email in the box.
“With regard to our customer service processes, it’s just like Zendesk Support turned on the lights.”