Gartner Magic Quadrant
Note: The 2016 Gartner report referenced below is no longer available for complimentary download. But good news: the 2017 Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center is now available.

Effectively serving today’s social, digital, and mobile customers requires a customer-centric mindset—but that alone is not enough. You also need the right processes and technologies to consistently pull off a great customer experience.

In a new report, Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center 2016, Gartner examines the global market for customer service and support applications for organizations with CECs as large as 20,000+ agents.

In the 2016 report, Gartner moved Zendesk into the Leader quadrant, and we’d like to thank our 75,000 customers for that move. We believe that it was their selection of Zendesk over more-complex legacy vendors—plus our product innovations over the last year (like Satisfaction Prediction and Advanced Voice)—that propelled us into the Leader quadrant.

And while we don’t like to brag, we are proud to be named a Leader: a modern choice that gives organizations a competitive advantage by providing the agility to scale, evolve, and innovate in customer service.

The Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center 2016 report is available for complimentary download for a limited time. Read the full report to learn:

Gartner's 2015 Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center

  • How Gartner views the current ecosystem of CEC technologies
  • Considerations for businesses looking to implement CEC technologies
  • Vendor capabilities for addressing the needs of today’s CECs
  • How Gartner analysts compare Zendesk to other technologies

The Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center 2016 provides valuable information for business leaders seeking technology solutions for this critical part of the business.

Note: The 2016 Gartner report is no longer available for complimentary download. But good news: the 2017 Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center is now available.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Zendesk.

Customer service: turning transactions into relationships


Customer service has never been easy. Over the years it has only become more complex and demanding. Every person has different needs and wants you to meet them all. Some want access to information so they can help themselves. Others need a little hand-holding as you work with them to navigate a new product or service. Some customers even have different customer service channel preferences depending on their inquiry or mindset.

The people who support your customers—agents—are human too. They have their own ways of learning and communicating, and their own unique career aspirations to be developed and cultivated.

All of the above present myriad challenges, none of which have quick and easy solutions, and all of which must be solved if you want to provide great customer service.

And you do want to provide great customer service, because doing so leads to loyal, satisfied customer who tell their friends, family, and coworkers to do business with you. The result: Your company will move away from only caring about transactions—a nearsighted approach to business that focuses on the immediate—and towards caring about relationships, which focus on the full lifetime value of a customer.

But how can you achieve this?
Software is necessary for providing great customer service, but it’s merely a tool that enables your customer engagement strategy. The best tool in the world won’t help you provide great support if you aren’t committed to doing so. That’s because the best support is human support, and learning to provide that will be the biggest differentiator between you and the competition.

Zendesk believes that excellent customer service must focus on the customer experience, the agent experience, and the agent lifecycle. Each of these three pillars are the foundation of strong and long-lasting customer service. That's why we worked with customer service experts to create three guides, one for each pillar, to help customer service leaders like you help your customers provide great support.

The 3 pillars of customer service
First, we want to share with you the basic tenants of each pillar:

Customer experience
Customers are the reason we’re all here, so we must first and foremost try to look at everything through their perspective. Different departments frequently disagree on the right approach for important decisions such as how to best provide customers access to important information. Your sales department might have thoughts about how to do this, the product team has another idea, and marketing might want it done a completely different way.

But what’s best for the customer? What will provide the customer with the best possible experience?

Customer experience focuses on improving the way customers interact with your business. It’s one thing to talk about being customer centric, but doing so means putting the needs of the customer front and center, even when it’s at the expense of people within the company. Taking this approach might lead to some hard-fought internal decisions, but customer service isn’t easy, remember?

The thing for everyone to keep in mind is this: If you provide a negative experience to a customer, not only will they likely tell their friends and colleagues, they will abandon you for a competitor. This is bad for everyone, including departments who might wish you’d do things their way. The good news is that the opposite is also true: provide positive experiences and customers will tell others about and choose you over the competition, time after time. When this happens, anyone who advocated against the customer-centric approach will quickly forget they weren’t always in favor of it.

Overview: The Customer Experience guide will show you how to build processes and infrastructures that enable you to always put the customer first, building and constantly improving experiences for them.

Agent life cycle
No matter the type of business, customer service agents are very often the first people to interact with customers and prospects. Not only that, they’re usually the people who interact with customers more than anyone else. In that regard, they are the face and ambassadors of the brand. Every single interaction with a customer represents an opportunity to either create a brand loyalist or someone who will never do business with you again.

All of which is to say this: Customer service agents are very, very important for the success of your company. Time, energy, and resources must be dedicated to hiring, training, developing, and retaining the best possible talent to fill all the various roles in this department.

The way your business treats its agents can have a direct impact on how they interact with your customers, which in turn impacts the bottom line. Happy agents will not only provide a better customer experience, but also stay with your organization longer.

Overview: The Agent Life Cycle guide takes the long view of your customer service agents, showing you how to do everything from finding and training them, to developing their skills and value as they grow into more advanced positions within your organization.

Agent experience
In contrast to the big picture challenges of hiring and training agents, agent experience focuses on the day-to-day challenges of their typical workload. This includes everything from resolving support queries to writing knowledge-base articles to improving operational efficiencies. These tasks might not seem as inspiring as the work of building meaningful relationships with customers, but the agent experience is foundational to that work.

Customers want support to be human and personal, but they also want it to be fast and efficient. Agent experience focuses on improving the way agents interact with customers.

To effectively meet customers’ needs, support agents must be set up for success. That means making an up-front investment in tools and processes that enable support agents to not only provide the kind of support customers love, but avoid providing the kind of frustrating experiences customer hate.

Overview: The Agent Experience guide shows you how to setup your agents for success, and help them avoid the typical pitfalls of customer service, like taking to long to respond to a request of support or making customer repeat their issue to multiple agents.

One size does not fit all
No two companies are the same.

Within each of the three pillars lives an entire spectrum of strengths and weaknesses that will be specific to each organization. Maybe you’ve made a heavy investment in the customer experience but haven’t had the time to focus on your agents. Or maybe you’ve finally figured out how to onboard agents and have build satisfying career roadmaps for them, but still aren’t doing everything you can to keep your customers satisfied.

We’ve broken everything down into three segments:

High growth
As a high-growth support organization, something is clearly working. The support you provide resonates with your customers. But the demands are increasing. Time and time again you’re asked to do more, straining your support team and threatening your ability to not just maintain the same level of quality, but improve it.

Achieving scale
As a support organization looking to achieve scale, you have matured to the point that you are able to deliver quality support to an ever-increasing number of customers. You know that you are able to meet those needs, but as the company moves to another level of success, the deluge of customer interactions is just around the corner. As your support structure and strategies currently stand, you know there is no way to meet future demand without finding a way to scale and maintain a high level of quality.

Driving efficiency
As a support organization looking to drive efficiency, you have effectively overcome the challenges that typically plague less mature support organizations. You have a robust team with specialized roles that provides high-quality support. Even though you're experiencing great success, you can’t shake the nagging feeling that things could be much better. Maybe the support provided from a newly opened international office isn’t performing as well as you’d like, or change management still feels like it did during the startup days. As your support structure and strategies currently stand, you know you can’t rest on past successes, but instead must find a way to improve even further.

Conclusion
As stated at the beginning, customer service is hard. While Zendesk can’t make it easy (any software company that claims it can should be met with serious skepticism), we can make it easier. But we know from experience that software is a tool, and tools are only half the answer. The other answer lies in the people using them. That includes everyone from the agents who interact with customers to the designers who create experiences for them.

And Zendesk is here to help with that side of the equation too.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Why CX, Why Now?

Transforming customer experience (CX) is more important than ever. But despite growing interest in the discipline, most companies have a long way to go to accelerate their CX efforts.

Join Maxie Schmidt, principal analyst at Forrester and Roshni Sondhi, director of customer success at Zendesk, and learn:

  • What drives the urgency to invest in CX.
  • How great CX drives business results.
  • How to get buy-in and share the business benefits of CX.

 
Watch this on-demand webinar now and get access to Forrester’s full report, “Why CX, Why Now”.


Maxie Schmidt is principal analyst in Forrester’s CX research team and lead Forrester’s research on CX measurement and customer feedback programs.


Roshni Sondhi is director of customer success at Zendesk and has spent over the last 10 years partnering with various companies on how to effectively plan and execute against a customer experience strategy.

How to Deliver Better Customer Service This Year

Watch our recent webinar, featuring Forrester analyst Kate Leggett, that will offer concrete ways to assess your current customer service team and capabilities to find opportunities to improve. Learn how to gain executive buy-in, build stakeholder consensus, manage agents more effectively, and select the right technology to create loyal customer experiences.

Watch Now!


VP, Principal Analyst Serving Application Development & Delivery Professional. Kate is a leading expert on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, maturity, benchmarking, governance, and ROI. She is an accomplished public speaker and frequently presents at industry events such as CRM Evolution. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and industry publications such as CRM Magazine, KM World, and Destination CRM.

2017 retail and ecommerce customer service trends

In the ever-competitive field of retail and ecommerce, customer support experience can be the difference between earning a loyal customer or an abandoned shopping cart.

Join Daryl Unger, director of customer experience at Plated, a fast-growing leader in the subscription-economy, and Josh Frank, product marketing manager at Zendesk, to learn more about delivering a customer-centric service experience to meet the evolving expectations of today’s retail customers.

During this webinar we discuss:

  • How Plated’s world-class customer service experience contributes directly to the company’s growth.
  • How you too can deliver a seamless service experience that both improves customer satisfaction and increases sales conversion rates.
  • 2017 trends in retail customer service and staying one step ahead of customer expectations.

Watch now!

Daryl Unger is the director of customer experience at Plated, a fast-growing leader in the subscription-economy, that delivers chef-designed recipes to cook at home. Daryl is a business operations industry veteran. He has over 13 years experience defining better customer experiences across many industries, as well as both start-ups and large companies.


Josh Frank is a product marketing manager at Zendesk where he leads go-to-market activities for Zendesk’s products. He is passionate about helping companies build better relationships with their customers.

Zendesk research: analytics

analyticsHigh usage of analytics in customer service pays off: companies that depend more on analytics reports are shown to perform better than those who don’t. These metrics, which gauge important indicators like customer satisfaction and related efficiency factors, can help companies identify their successes as well as areas of improvement. How else can companies take a data-driven approach to customer service? This Zendesk research report explores:

  • Benchmark metrics for customer satisfaction
  • Results of high usage of analytics versus low usage
  • Rankings of the most data-driven industries

Download the full report for full details and insights

If you're a fan of metrics, analytics, and other things with numbers in them, visit the Zendesk Benchmark page to see how your customer support stacks up against the competition.

Zendesk research: retail and the holidays

retail and the holidaysThe holiday season does not bear good tidings for the retail industry’s customer satisfaction scores. As end-of-the-year shopping brings an influx of new customers, many companies struggle to keep up with the accompanying increase of service and support tickets. With retail customer satisfaction falling 6 percentage points this quarter, what are the reasons behind this seasonal dip in satisfaction? This Zendesk research report explores:

  • Year-to-year effects of seasonality
  • Ticket volume and agent workload during the holiday season
  • Benchmark metrics for customer satisfaction
  • How some retailers maintain high customer satisfaction when things get busy

Download the full report for full details and insights

If you're a fan of metrics, analytics, and other things with numbers in them, visit the Zendesk Benchmark page to see how your customer support stacks up against the competition.

Zendesk research: customer satisfaction

customer satisfactionCustomer satisfaction is a metric that measures how satisfied a customer was with a single support interaction. It seems like a simple thing, but there are a surprising number of factors that can impact whether a customer feels the interaction was negative or positive, and ultimately if they'll do business with you again. This Zendesk research report takes a closer look at customer satisfaction, including the:

  • Impact of first reply time
  • Customer’s use of various support channels
  • Correlation of customer tenure and customer satisfaction
  • Benchmark metrics for customer satisfaction

Download the full report for full details and insights

If you're a fan of metrics, analytics, and other things with numbers in them, visit the Zendesk Benchmark page to see how your customer support stacks up against the competition.

Zendesk research: customer self-service

customer self-serviceThe popularity of customer self-service is growing faster than ever. Increasingly, consumers are turning to their mobile devices to help themselves, leading to a decrease in direct interactions with brands and their support agents. As a result, companies are realizing that this trend toward self-service is not only cost-effective, but also leading to higher customer satisfaction scores. So how can companies increase the efficiency of their self-service? This Zendesk research report explores:

  • Self-service scores, a way to measure the impact of self-service offerings
  • The rise of the mobile consumer
  • Benchmark metrics for customer satisfaction
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    Download the full report for full details and insights

    If you're a fan of metrics, analytics, and other things with numbers in them, visit the Zendesk Benchmark page to see how your customer support stacks up against the competition.

Zendesk research: operational benchmarking

operational benchmarking Operational benchmarking has a long history in business: It’s natural for companies to want to compare themselves to other businesses to give context and meaning to their own performance—and to understand where opportunities for growth and improvement exist. But frequently, similarities among companies in the same industry are merely superficial and don’t offer a meaningful point of comparison for benchmarking customer service performance.

In this Zendesk Research report, we address this shortfall through a cluster analysis that reveals four types of customer service operations— and within those, 12 distinct clusters, each characterized by a unique operational pattern. Each cluster is defined by workload, strategy, and resources, as well as a typical level of support performance that the component companies can be expected to achieve.

The four types are:

  1. Relationship Builders: These small teams provide a personal customer experience that customers love.
  2. Masters of Complexity: Driven by detailed support requests, these companies have sophisticated customer service operations.
  3. Late Bloomers: With an unbalanced approach to support, these companies have yet to realize their full potential.
  4. Captains of Scale: These teams set the gold standard of customer support operations.

Read the full report to find out where you fit and what you need to focus on to improve

If you're a fan of metrics, analytics, and other things with numbers in them, visit the Zendesk Benchmark page to see how your customer support stacks up against the competition.