Forrester: Transform the Contact Center for Customer Service Excellence

The belief that “strong contact centers are an opportunity for success” has provoked shared sentiments amongst industry stakeholders. 67 percent of decision makers in customer service departments see customer experience (CX) as a top priority. Unfortunately, customer satisfaction (CSAT) levels have decreased from 2013 to 2016, in part because of the difficulty of setting a customer service strategy in motion.

Forrester’s report, Transform The Contact Center For Customer Service Excellence, includes a “Contact Centers For Customer Service Playbook” based on a number of their own client inquiries. Forrester's report can guide those who have asked questions like:

  • “What business and technology trends are important for creating a sound customer service strategy?”
  • "What's the direct impact that our customer service is having on our company's bottom line?"
  • “What should our contact center road map look like to ensure the success of our new customer service strategy?”

To discover the four critical steps that can help companies improve customer value and drive business, access your complimentary copy of Forrester's Transform the Contact Center For Customer Service Excellence below.

Customer Experience Guide

Customer experience
We all know that for any company to succeed, it must first and foremost focus on the needs of the customer. Then why are so few actually doing it?

Probably because it’s difficult. Zendesk is here to help. We believe that creating great customer experiences will lead to loyal customers, improved word-of-mouth promotion, and increased revenue. That’s why we wrote the Customer Experience Guide, to help you learn how to:

  • Build a customer experience brand
  • Provide multi-channel support
  • Collect and interpret customer metrics
  • Benchmark against your competitors
  • And more

Download this guide today and start offering a great customer experience.

Take our Maturity Assessment Survey to see what areas of customer experience you need to improve right now

Agent Experience Guide

Agent experience
Customer support agents have a tough job. They need to make sure customers are getting what they need—fast, personalized service—and their company gets what it needs—efficient operations and loyal customers. It isn’t alway easy to do both, but nearly impossible if you aren’t setting agents up for success.

Are you doing everything you can to make sure your agents have what they need to make you successful? Even if you are, you can always do more. That’s why we wrote the Agent Experience Guide. It will help you:

  • Create efficient workflows
  • Build robust internal self-service options
  • Establish an operations team
  • Develop a change management process
  • And more

Download the report today to start setting your agents up for success.

Take our Maturity Assessment Survey to see what areas of the agent experience you need to improve right now

Agent Life Cycle Guide

Agent life cycle
Your support agents interact with customers more than just about anyone else in your company. They understand what the customers need, what makes them happy, and what’s making them ditch you for a competitor.

Are you doing everything in your power to hire and nurture the best talent for the job? Too many companies aren’t, even the ones that are really trying. We understand that this is easier said than done, which is why we’ve worked with top experts to write the Agent Life Cycle Guide. It will help you:

  • Hire, onboard, and train new agents
  • Develop career paths
  • Create a quality assurance program
  • Provide agent evaluations
  • And more

Download this guide today and improve the way your business interacts with its agents

Take our Maturity Assessment Survey to see what areas of agent life cycle you need to improve right now

Multi-channel support made-to-order with Zendesk

customer satisfaction

We can't all follow the same recipe for multi-channel success. Every business serves customers with different preferences and needs, and it can be a challenge to find the right channel mix for your customers.

Fortunately, the Zendesk family of products are designed to work together to help you provide seamless multi-channel support, no matter which configuration of channels you choose. Use this ebook to guide you through the channel selection process, taking into consideration:

  • The type and complexity of customer questions
  • How convenient it is for your customers to find help
  • Context—who are your customers and at what point in the journey do they typically need help?
  • The cost of offering one channel over another, in the short- and long-term
  • How particular channels can help you achieve business goals
  • What you can accomplish with each channel using Zendesk products

Download the ebook to learn more about how you can provide multi-channel support with 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 tenets 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.

Schedules in Zendesk Support

With Schedules in Zendesk Support you can build workflows and analysis around the hours of your customer service operation. This short video shows two examples of how Schedules can improve your customer experience and team reporting.

Learn more about Schedules in Zendesk Support.

 

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.

Customer engagement with agile customer care

Every interaction with a customer provides companies with an opportunity to not only provide a great experience, but to gather insights that can be used to improve processes and provide an even better customer experience. Agile customer care enables companies to use customer insights to improve:

  • Self-service options
  • Internal processes
  • Customer experiences

Learn more about agile customer care, read the report: Happy customers, happy bottom line

Top customer experience with agile customer care

Customers have more options than ever before. So any company looking to build long-term relationships, and not just single transactions, must invest in providing the best possible customer experience. Agile customer care enables support teams to increase productivity, improve efficiency, and reduce training by:

  • Resolve customer issues more quickly
  • Deploy agents more efficiently
  • Onboard and train new agents with fewer resources

Learn more about agile customer care, read the report: Happy customers, happy bottom line

Increase revenue with agile customer care

Some companies look at customer service as a drain on resources. As a result, customer service is a department that is often hobbled by a lack of resources. But it shouldn't be this way. When the proper investment is made in hiring and training great agents, building out top notch operations, and improving collaboration across departments, companies can see support for what it really is: a competitive differentiator that can lead to increased revenue.

Thanks to agile customer care, more and more companies are reaping the benefits of investing in great support.

Learn more about agile customer care, read the report: Happy customers, happy bottom line

In good company: Expand support beyond customer service

Supporting today’s customers requires an “all hands on deck” approach. Customer service is no longer siloed from the rest of the company—or at least it shouldn’t be.

Today, customer service is more proactive, engaging, and transparent than ever before and providing that kind of support requires input and assistance from other customer-facing teams. Whether it’s sales, billing, professional services, customer success, marketing, or a product development team, each team has a hand in interacting with the customer, and the more you can capture all those interactions in the same place, the more cohesive the customer experience.

Learn why Zendesk customers have added additional teams to their instance of Zendesk Support, and what their customers and support teams have gained as a result.

Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends

Exceptional customer experiences have become the norm—these days customers expect seamless, helpful, and deeply personal service. In order to improve operations and deliver excellent customer service, businesses are taking on a customer-centric and technologically driven approach.

However, as self-service and digital interactions increase, it’s important for businesses to continue to build good customer relationships and foster lasting emotional connections.

Forrester’s report, 2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic (January 27, 2017), summarizes the top 10 customer service trends of 2017 that can help your business deliver excellent, human-centric customer service and, as a result, build customer loyalty, lifetime value, and advocacy—all of which positively affect top-line revenue.

Access your complimentary copy of Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends:
Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic.

7 Tried-and-Tested Tips for IT to Get the Most Out of Zendesk

Zendesk and BetterCloud

At BetterCloud, we know that Zendesk is a powerful tool for tracking, prioritizing, and resolving our support tickets. We wrote a guide to help you develop some creative strategies to leverage Zendesk automations (and other features) so your IT team can provide excellent internal support. Learn how to use:

  1. Triggers to automatically CC the whole IT team if a ticket is high priority
  2. Tags to auto-assign tickets based on form conditions
  3. Macros to save time
  4. Slack channels for updates
  5. Automated reminders
  6. Internal notes on a ticket
  7. Problems to link similar incidents and manage them together

Meeting Multichannel Customer Service Expectations

On-Demand with Billy Hamilton-Stent & Josh Frank

The days of businesses providing a single channel of support communication are gone and unlikely to return. Now, it's more likely they'll be trying to strike a balance between what customers are looking for—the warmth of human communication and the speed and efficiency of automated service.
This webinar, based on the findings of a recent survey conducted by Loudhouse and commissioned by Zendesk, illustrates this important and perplexing challenge faced by all companies.

We'll be discussing four key trends that the survey highlighted:

• Multi-channel customers are less patient and expect more than 3 years ago
• Multi-channel use had increased considerably in 3 years, with more
  diverse channels available to customers
• Customers are developing distinct expectations for each support channel
• Higher expectations are balanced by a more relaxed approach to sharing
  diverse channels available to customers
• Customers personal information—but only if doing so improves service


Billy Hamilton is the founder of Octopus group. His role consists of strategic planning, audience insight and brand development. Billy’s experience ranges from marketing communications to research, strategic planning and business development for B2B brands.

How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back

Think about your best relationships. Chances are, there’s a great deal of trust between the two parties, and there’s not a lot of ongoing drama involved. Very few relationships are totally drama-free, but if you’ve built up enough trust, you can usually get through the bumps and even come out stronger on the other end.

The relationship between a business and its customers is no different. To succeed long-term, companies must build trust with their customers and make their experiences as effortless as possible (no drama!).

It’s not quick or easy, but when you achieve both, your business is repaid with long-term customer loyalty. And when something inevitably does go awry, you’re more likely to get through it without losing the customer.

Creating an effortless experience and building loyalty, however, is anything but effortless. It takes work—lots of it. To help set you on the right path, we teamed up with our friends at HubSpot on a new customer loyalty ebook: How to Keep Your Customers Coming Back.

Download this ebook to learn about:

  • Innovation. It all starts with offering innovative products and services and continually improving them over time.
  • Communication. Clear communication that accurately represents your brand builds trust, and that goes for every channel and interaction—from support reps answering the phones to your website writers.
  • Education. Customers increasingly prefer to learn about your products and services—and answer questions and solve problems—themselves.
  • From that foundation, the ebook goes on to outline ways to build an effortless experience that will help you improve customer retention and stickiness, all drama-free.

    By supplying your contact information, you authorize Zendesk and/or HubSpot to contact you with further information. You further authorize Zendesk to pass your information to HubSpot for these purposes.

A Retailer’s Guide to Getting Omnichannel Customer Service Right

Retail Omnichannel eBook

With consumers shopping in more channels than ever, retailers have been forced to evolve. It's all about aligning your business to ensure the shopping journey is as seamless, quick, and hassle-free as possible.

Still, we all know there are going to be issues as consumers transition from mobile devices to in-store experiences to the web—and back again. That's when having the right omnichannel customer service program in place becomes so valuable. Being able to efficiently and effectively serve your customers in the channels they choose will make them happier, breeding loyalty in the long run.

Download this ebook to learn:

  • How to perform a customer service audit
  • Steps for executing and delivering an omnichannel strategy
  • Tips for optimizing omnichannel service levels
  • From brands doing it right

Nucleus Research: Zendesk yields high ROI for Trustpilot

Trustpilot and Zendesk ROI - Nucleus Research

Founded in 2007, Trustpilot is an international provider of user-generated reviews of online businesses with customers in more than 60 countries and users in twice as many locations. Trustpilot connects potential customers with the experience of others to help consumers make informed decisions. Prior to Trustpilot’s 2012 adoption of Zendesk, support staff was using information e-mail and Google Docs to track review-related inquiries and cases. They realized it was time to formalize and modernize their review process and chose Zendesk as the cloud-based solution that would help them improve the customer experience.

According to a report published by Nucleus Research, Trustpilot’s use of Zendesk has yielded a return on investment of 1272 percent and a cost benefit ratio of one to three. For Trustpilot, this means an average annual benefit of more than $428,000. How do they receive such a high return? This report includes:

  • Trustpilot’s story—from inefficient e-mails and Google Docs to the implementation of Zendesk
  • The reasons Trustpilot chose Zendesk to automate the help desk process, support multiple sites and languages, maintain the quality and reliability of their reviews, and sustainably scale for future growth
  • The key benefit areas, both direct and indirect, that lead to Trustpilot’s high return on investment
    Key cost areas considered in calculating Trustpilot’s return on investment

C-TRON, the face of old school customer service

Innovating is tough, but working with outdated technology is even tougher. CommunicaTRON (tenderly known as C-TRON around our offices) is a throwback to what old school customer service looks—and sometimes feels—like. C-TRON represents the outdated customer service technologies that many businesses still rely on, like impersonal message automation services or disorganized email management systems (we can help with that!). Without a unified system for customer support, unnecessary fires (err, problems) can sometimes occur, frustrating everyone. No matter how great your customer service agents are, they can’t reach their maximum potential with outdated technology.

Context matters: Strategies for empowering agents with more information

You probably spend a great deal of time thinking about how to make customers happier. But what about your agents? Customers may only submit a ticket every once in awhile, but your agents are spending their day in Zendesk. By empowering your agents with more context about customers up-front, they'll become more successful support providers and you'll have eliminated painful back-and-forth exchanges that frustrate everyone involved.

Join us for this on-demand webinar with Zendesk Customer Success Executive Audrey Griffith, who will share expert advice for agent empowerment that she’s implemented with our top customers at Zendesk, including examples from Squarespace. Audrey is joined by Zendesk Apps Engineer Jeremiah Currier who will showcase new apps for delivering customer insights directly within open tickets. No matter how long you’ve been using Zendesk, this webinar is certain to surface quick wins for keeping your support team at the top of their game.

Forrester Research: Use Digital Technologies to Improve Employee Engagement

How to improve employee engagement - Forrester

Increasing and measuring employee engagement is a priority for most companies, and yet how to achieve and maintain high levels of engagement remains elusive for most Human Resources (HR) teams. The pressure mounts as HR professionals attempt to sift through a rapidly-expanding vendor landscape of software solutions designed for this exact purpose.

Key to improving employee happiness, well-being, and commitment to a company’s culture and business objectives is a need to view employees as a customer of the business. At Zendesk we believe companies should ask: How are we serving our employees?

The great news is that by harnessing digital solutions, HR teams can improve employee engagement. In this April 2016 report from Forrester Research, Inc. by Claire Schooley and Paul D. Hamerman, you’ll learn why employee engagement is a corporate imperative today and why taking a digital approach will reduce employee turnover and lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction.

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. See below for more great insights from Forrester:

Forrester's Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens 

Forrester's Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2016 

Forrester Names Zendesk a 'Strong Performer' in Customer Service Solutions for Midsize Teams

ICMI report: Uncover the Hidden Profits in Your Contact Center

This whitepaper provides actionable insights on how to effectively deliver value in four key areas and highlights where the opportunities for an organization to profit are hiding.

Our findings uncovered key contributing factors as to why today’s contact center struggles to identify, demonstrate, and defend their strategic value, return on investment and overall benefit to the organization. This whitepaper reveals the key components to becoming a profit center and provides concise instruction and actionable ideas for overcoming the barriers in their way. You’ll discover the dangers of neglecting valuable data points including forecast accuracy, customer retention, and voice of the customer feedback.

Lastly, receive best practices for measuring, managing, and reporting the most important insights leveraged by leading profit centers.

More of a visual person? Check out this infographic for a condensed version of some of the findings and recommendations from the report.





6 Steps to Deploying Chat on Your Website

6 Steps for Deploying Chat on Your Website

Live Chat is a faster and more personal way to engage with customers. But to make the most of live chat, you'll need to learn how to properly deploy and manage it.

This comprehensive guide will provide the necessary resources for successfully implementing and deploying chat. You'll learn how to:

  1. Align chat goals with your business objectives
  2. Manage customer experience and chat volume
  3. Determine your staffing requirements
  4. Train agents to chat effectively
  5. Build a chat workflow
  6. Monitor and iterate on your success

The guide brings together the Zendesk Chat team's collective live chat knowledge and experience into one comprehensive resource, offering high-level guidance, as well as best practice tips for support managers and administrators implementing live chat on their site.

Forrester's Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens

As anyone who’s ever developed or marketed a website knows, the Internet can be both a rewarding venue to do business and a challenging place to pursue a dream. For B2C retailers that are more mature in the commerce space, the Web is about stealing share from competitors. For B2B companies that are still fairly new to eCommerce, digital is not a channel but a goal to which they aspire.

2016 will be the year when both B2C and B2B companies have the opportunity to advance beyond their peers—or fall irretrievably behind.

New insights from Forrester Research delivers valuable information on how companies can win, serve, and retain customers. In this report from Forrester Research, Inc., analysts Andy Hoar, Sucharita Mulpuru, and Patti Freeman Evans, share how eBusiness professionals can succeed with mobile strategies, while offering up advice for customer-obsessed B2B organizations to effectively engage buyers across all key customer touch points.

Access your complimentary copy of Forrester’s Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens (November 2015), and read top analysts’ recommendations on how best to address these areas:

  • Mobile becomes the primary computing device for many.
  • Digital assistants make a splash.
  • Self-service B2B eCommerce rivals full-service B2B commerce in importance.
  • Inside sales and customer service fill gaps created by internal B2B channel conflict.
  • B2B software vendors reposition eCommerce as "customer engagement".
  • B2B leaders still fail to accurately measure their omnichannel progress.

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