Customer feedback: how to hear the voice of the customer

Customer feedback
Imagine you spend weeks researching and drafting and double-checking facts for a presentation, and when you finally think it’s ready and ask a colleague to “just take a look” she makes suggestions and asks questions that never even occurred to you.

Sound familiar? We’ve all been through this, either at work, school, or with a personal project. The same happens with the products and services our companies offer. Because we help build them, we know how we use them, how to combine their most complex features, and how we want to improve them. But, there are many ideas we haven’t thought of, that never occurred to us.

It’s not unusual for those on Customer Success teams or UX designers to receive customer requests and think, “How did it never occur to us to use our product for this?” Even if you work on a big team and each team member has a different use for your product, it’s impossible to cover all your customers’ use cases.

Because we immerse ourselves in our work, it’s hard to take a step back and see it with fresh eyes. That’s why customer feedback is so crucial. Listening to the difficulties they have with the products can help you to better understand how to improve your products and make customers happier.

About this guide

At Zendesk and Typeform, collecting and using customer feedback is an important part of how we do business and how we build great relationships with our customers. In this guest article from Typeform, we explain the processes used to collect, analyze, and use customer feedback to build better products. We'll cover:

  • 3 types of feedback: given, requested, and observed
  • How to make sense of it all
  • Sharing your customer feedback with your entire organization

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 agents 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.

A Zendesk cheat sheet for picking your support solution

Cheat sheet
Choosing the right support solution for your organization is no easy task. There’s a surplus of products and vendors promising low-cost, high-performance solutions for agent efficiency, team productivity, proactive support, and more. You know the solution should be easy to use, scalable, and cost-effective. And the vendor should be a long-term partner in your customer support journey.

But how can you tell the reality from the rhetoric?

We’ve pooled our collective knowledge and put together a list of 50+ questions to ask your support vendor. From flexible APIs to agent knowledge bases, we cover common support solution requirements in the following categories:

  • Customer experience: multiple communication channels, self-service options, and CSAT surveys
  • Admin configurations: workflow management tools, ticket view control, and roles
  • Admin management: SLAs, permissions, language preferences
  • Cost & value: implementation, onboarding, and ROI
  • Useful support tools: macros, transcripts, knowledge base articles, and more
  • Agent interface: support performance, ability to escalate tickets to a manager, and ticket fields
  • Management tools: metrics and dashboards
  • Security & compliance: data encryption, disaster recovery, and HIPAA compliance

Print out the full checklist and take it with you when you’re kicking the tires on your new support solution. We know evaluating vendors can be overwhelming, but hopefully armed with this insider knowledge you’ll feel like a pro. And if you’d like to speak with someone at Zendesk, visit zendesk.com/demo to get started.

Download your complimentary Zendesk cheat sheet to choosing a support solution.

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

Happy customers, happy bottom line

Happy customers, happy bottom line

Agile customer service

With the rise of technology, companies are adopting better and better system solutions each year. Changing the tools your company works with can revolutionize the way you do business all the way down to how you interact with customers. Better tools mean better interactions, and better interactions mean happier customers.

These days, traditional customer service solutions can’t keep up. In order to exceed customer expectations, businesses need agile system solutions. Agile customer service tools can help your business save money, increase revenue, and keep your customers happy by increasing agent productivity, reducing training, and increasing self-service.

To learn more about the benefits of agile customer service, access your copy of the Happy Customers, Happy Bottom Line eBook below.

Getting started with Zendesk Talk: strategies and best practices

Talk

Getting started with Zendesk Talk will help you set up and make the most of Zendesk Talk, including tips for:

  • Developing goals and strategies for providing great support over the phone
  • Organizing and optimizing your phone support infrastructure
  • Finding and train the most talented agents
  • Measuring and improving the support you provide your customers

Summary

Even in the age of email, social media, and whatever new channel is just around the corner, customers still prefer to use the phone for communicating with companies. Whether it’s to resolve complex support issues or to receive personalized service, many people appreciate companies that make the investment in providing quality support over the phone.

Zendesk Talk is cloud-based call center software that helps companies provide more personal, productive phone support. It’s built right into the Zendesk Support multichannel ticketing solution, allowing teams to deliver phone support from the same platform they use to manage all other customer conversations. Easy to set up and use, Zendesk Talk helps organizations boost agent productivity, improve cross-channel reporting, reduce costs, and—most importantly—improve the customer experience.

This ebook is designed to help you successfully implement Zendesk Talk. It includes high-level guidance, as well as best practice tips, to ensure you and your team can provide—and continue to improve—great phone support to your customers.

Read Getting Started with Zendesk Talk

Looking for more technical details? Read the article: Getting started with Zendesk Talk

Customer Service's Role in Creating Excellent Retail Experiences

Given today’s evolving consumer expectations and the advent of new technologies, customer service is more important than ever. Simply put, customer service directly impacts customer experience and retail companies can’t afford to get it wrong.

IDC conducted a global survey to determine how customer service impacts every retailer’s bottom line. Download “Customer Service’s Role in Creating Excellent Customer Experiences” whitepaper to learn about:
 
● How customer service impacts your business
● Key characteristics of excellent customer service
● Metrics that matter
● Technology & analytics needed

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

Retail and omnichannel customer service

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

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.

Customizing Zendesk Insights

Customizing Zendesk Insights
Zendesk Insights is a platform for analyzing your team’s customer support interactions and their impact on your customer relationships and the health of your business. Because Insights lets you combine granular, down-to-the-touch support data with contextual information about your customers (like tenure, total spent, and Net Promoter Score—or just about anything else), your ability to create reports is limited only by your imagination.

If you’re comfortable using GoodData to create custom metrics and want to start designing actionable reports to enlighten and motivate your colleagues, this guide is for you. Customizing Zendesk Insights contains 14 examples of multivariate visualizations to provide you some business intelligence inspiration. You’ll see screenshots and read interpretations for sample reports that can be used for:

  • Optimizing support operations: fine-tuning processes for faster responses and happier customers
  • Root cause analysis: discovering what drives customer support costs
  • Proactive engagement: going to your customers first with product changes that could generate support requests

There’s something for everyone. Whether your team is 5 or 500 strong, Customizing Zendesk Insights will give you plenty of ideas for turning your business into a truly data-driven organization.

How to Migrate Your Help Desk System

How to Migrate Your Help Desk System

A data migration project is enough to strike fear into your heart, especially if you don’t do it routinely. When you decide to change a critical system like your help desk, how do you choose what information must stay and what should go? And after that, you have to actually move the data and keep it intact so those who rely on it can carry on with their jobs.

The complexity involved in moving help desk data from one system to another is undeniable, but with the right kind of planning and preparation you'll accomplish it—and see your fears should be reserved for something else, like...penguins?

Learn more about the four Ps of a successful migration strategy (and penguins):

  1. Planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Phases
  4. Post-migration

The Mysterious Case of Ticket X

Customer service can seem like a scary endeavor. There are ghastly tickets out there in the night, just waiting to strike at the very heart of your support team. Some suck up your time and energy. Others are known to take a vicious bite that festers, threatening to infect your entire team.

Within this tomeThe Mysterious Case of Ticket X are tales of some of the more devilish tickets our team has encountered. It is our hope that by becoming acquainted with these tickets—and the agents we dispatched to deal with them—you too will be prepared to face any monstrous ticket. Only then shall you earn the vaunted "Yes, I was satisfied" response from the ticket's creator.

How to Provide Great Facebook Customer Service

Scroll to the bottom to download our white paper "Tips for Providing Great Customer Service on Facebook"

People from all over the world have distinct interactions through Facebook. They can catch up with family members, share photos with friends, and engage with their favorite brands without email or a phone number. Many companies have had to rethink their approach how they handle their Facebook customer service. It's not enough to just have an account on Facebook and claim it as a tech presence, especially when that account is suddenly a hotbed for users to voice an issue or problem.

Companies can't skirt around it by only listing a phone number on their account. Facebook audiences aren't privy to calling a phone number to make themselves heard. It's now too easy to voice an issue or problem on a Page's timeline or through a direct message. The need for Facebook customer service can't be satisfied by encouraging users to call a company's Facebook customer service number.

Consider this: 47% of those surveyed by Edison Research said that Facebook, of all the social networks, had the greatest impact on their purchase behavior. A Facebook Page plays a big part in that. Forcing users to search for a Facebook customer service number, or any phone number for that matter, doesn't make for a positive impact.

With Facebook being the major tech company that it is, there's now plenty of research to help agents with the formidable task of providing great Facebook customer service. We've put together a tip sheet that clues you in to Facebook customer support (beyond just providing a phone number). We've included suggestions for:

  • How to keep agents from overlooking valid support questions posted on your brand's timeline (so they don't have to constantly search for an issue)
  • Utilizing features such as Page Insights, Messenger, and other integral features of Facebook customer support
  • Adding a support app or feedback tab to your page to optimize your Facebook customer service
  • and more!

Of course, you'll still want to provide a Facebook customer service number to go beyond the tech presence (sometimes a phone number and a chat with a support rep can't be beat). Go ahead and list the phone number and contact details, but remember: there's more to utilize with Facebook customer service. Our tip sheet is a great place to get started for providing great Facebook customer service.

How to Provide Global Support

How to Provide Global Support

When it comes to the management of customer support, organizations should be prepared to meet customers with access to their support information, no matter where they are and when they need a solution. It doesn't matter if it's a large corporate organization with plenty of resources, or a small technology company with a tight budget. In order to have a big impact, companies need to be able to give the information their customers are looking for swiftly and provide them with consistent access for doing so.

Our eBook, "How to Provide Global Support", gives management the information they need on the tools, practices, and services that will help provides solutions on a larger scale. They'll obtain a better understanding of the kind of systems they need, what kind of solutions they should provide, and learn best practices for providing a large volume of customers with the right kind of information. Management can heed the "Follow-the-Sun Support Model" to get their solutions, technology, and sales in line for a global stage.

Download the eBook below for more key considerations of how management can handle the systems and technology solutions for better global support.

How to Hire the Best Customer Support Reps

How to Hire the Best Customer Support Reps
A customer service agent is someone your customers are bound to have the most contact with, but finding the right candidate for the job is no simple task. And it can take time—time that isn't always available during a busy work day, week, or month.

Yet, it's important to take a break from your daily company work and make time to hire the right customer service agent for the job—one that is committed delivering an excellent customer experience.

Not only will this benefit your company's sales, but hiring a stellar customer service agent is also an opportunity to create a strong customer-centric work culture. While boosting sales is important, it's more important to have a customer service agent that contributes to a good work culture.

We created this step-by-step resource to help you attract and hire the best customer service agent candidates to be the face of your company's brand and keep your customers happy. And because working with someone awesome makes any job that much better.

Become an expert at:

  • Writing a job requisition
  • Reading a cover letter
  • Deciphering a resume
  • Conducting a job interview
  • Spotting top customer service agent talent
  • Making a decision

11 Steps to a Better Customer Support RFP Document

Industry watchers say that organizations change their customer support tools every five years on average. Whether it's a gentle migration or a more painful rip-and-replace, changing a business-critical system is never as simple as you'd like. It's also expensive, even if the ultimate goal is to save money. And let me repeat: Companies are going through this every five years.

Of course, there are plenty of legitimate reasons you could decide to change their customer support tool. Maintaining an in-house legacy system may have become too expensive. Perhaps the vendor is no longer supporting or upgrading your current solution. Maybe after a round of consulting and training expenses, it's become clear the existing tool really can't address your needs.

But before rushing into selection process for the next support system that you'll wind up abandoning in five years, why not stop and examine the selection process itself. A little up-front investment could lead you to a customer support solution that will last for much longer.

As you've learned, planning ahead can extend the life of your new customer support solution. Need help getting started? Flip through our new guide below.

Customer Service Advice - 16 Lessons Learned

We asked 16 customer service professionals what advice they would give to someone just starting out in customer service. Check out the SlideShare below we created from their responses. That's good advice!

Guide to Integrating Zendesk and Salesforce

Executive summary:

The Zendesk for Salesforce integration was designed to be flexible. Based on your needs, you can choose to implement only the functionality that makes the most sense for your business. The "Guide to Integrating Zendesk and Salesforce" describes common use cases and links to the detailed documentation you’ll need to complete the process.

You'll learn:

  • how data maps between Zendesk and Salesforce
  • what you can do with this integration
  • where customization is required
  • which use cases best meet your needs, with step-by-step instructions
  • more about data syncing
  • where to find additional resources

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