Fill the self-service gap

More often than not, customers would rather help themselves than reach out to a support agent. Offering a self-service service option can not only provide quick and easily accessible answers to customers, it can also reduce agent workloads. According to Forrester, the “use of help or FAQs on a company's website increased from 67 percent in 2012 to 81 percent in 2015 among US online adults.”

See what Zendesk Guide users had to say about the benefits of self-service and proper knowledge management:

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.

Meeting the fresh demands of multi-channel customers

Customers want service that is both fast and human. Those two ideas might seem at odds with each other, but achieving this is possible with a multi-channel support strategy that factors in the strengths and limitations of each channel, as well as how customers prefer to use them.

There's a chat for that [infographic]

In recent years, companies have realized that providing customers with greater engagement opportunities can increase overall satisfaction and make their brands more appealing. Indeed, according to a report from the Aberdeen Group, 94% of organizations provide service and support across multiple channels (including, email, telephone, e-services, Web queries, remote support, social media, live chat, mobile messaging, and forums).

The increase in engagement channels has also made customers more demanding. They want greater flexibility, require real-time interactivity—as opposed to the more static “send request and wait” experience—and seek ways to get service as quickly as possible. In fact, brands have begun to realize that the most effective tactic is to be where the customers are, rather than always trying to bring traffic back to the brand. It's no longer enough to merely provide support—a company also needs to be approachable and available on a variety of channels.

Today, live chat is becoming increasingly important and profitable as a customer engagement platform. In fact, in a survey conducted by Forrester, 44% of respondents said that having a live person answer their questions while they were in the middle of an online purchase was one of the most important features a website could offer.

Manners Around the World

Being polite might seem easy: Someone does something nice, you say “thank you,” right? As it turns out, that all depends on your location. Manners are different all over the world. So doing business—especially providing customer service—in a world brought closer together by technology can be a daunting task.

One thing is sure: you need to treat people with respect. We hope this infographic will allow you to do just that, by helping you navigate the world of global manners.

But be warned, even within many countries, manners will differ from region to region, neighborhood to neighborhood, and person to person. Always do plenty of research when traveling abroad or interacting with customers in countries outside of your own.

Manners Around the World

The face of your company: how to hire for client-facing positions

The employees that directly communicate with your customers ARE your business, as far as your customers are concerned. Hiring the right people in external-facing jobs like customer service and sales can have a big impact on brand perception, customer satisfaction, repeat business, and revenue. Our infographic explores the challenges companies face in hiring these key positions and what to look for in candidates.

The face of your company: how to hire for client-facing positions

Omnichannel customer service report

Consumers are becoming more comfortable interacting with companies across a growing number of channels, and as a result, they're demanding a seamless and consistent approach across all those channels when it comes to customer service.

How are companies around the globe doing in implementing omnichannel customer service and sales strategies to meet consumers' expectations? Loudhouse, an independent research agency, surveyed 7,000 consumers in seven countries (U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, and Japan) to find out.

Download the full report: The Omnichannel Customer Service Gap

More of a visual person? Check out our infographics:
Bridging the gap: Customer service omnichannel survey (global findings)
Australia omnichannel survey graphic
Brazil omnichannel survey graphic
Japan omnichannel survey graphic
U.K. omnichannel survey graphic
U.S. omnichannel survey graphic

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Winning Customer Service

Customer service can be like a game. If so, how do you win? There are many possible paths to take, and many decisions to be made. With your A-game, winning can be a reality. But customer service is also very serious. It affects your customers, team, and business. A single wrong turn can make your customers unhappy and cost your business money. Like an adventure board game, sometimes alliances — between you and your customers — need to be formed to get you across the finish line.

This infographic illustrates how the key to winning the customer service game is to think like your customers and provide a path of least resistance from problem to solution.

Winning Customer Service

Better service through self-service: The rising demand for customer self-service

Think about when your customers need help the most. Waiting in line? Watching TV? Cooking dinner? Last-minute gift buying? Did you know 45% of U.S. customers are very likely to abandon their online purchases if they can't find quick answers to their questions?

There are probably a dozen other instances you can think of when customers need help and they want it fast. Right-now service is the expectation of customers today — via smartphone, social media, or a company's website. They want to check their accounts, buy products, and find answers to their questions in a matter of seconds.

Companies that provide excellent customer service today are the ones that optimize their self-service to meet the rising expectations of connected customers. Our infographic explores the growing demand for customer self-service.

Better service through self-service: The rising demand for customer self-service

Companies Focus on Customer Retention

Consumers are using more channels and devices than ever to research buying decisions, make purchases, and seek customer service. Smart retailers that are focused on customer retention have responded by forging into new channels to meet their customers where they're living.

Now that shoppers have access to their favorite brands everywhere, their expectations are evolving again. The reality is that many consumers use multiple devices and channels at the same time or one after the other, and they expect their experiences with a brand to be consistent across it all. When retailers manage to pull it off, consumers reward them with their loyalty.

Our infographic examines how retailers are building a seamless customer experience by integrating across channels and how they expect their efforts to pay off in terms of customer retention and repeat business.

Companies Focus on Customer Retention

TOP O' THE MOBILE TO YA: MORNING TABLET & PHONE USAGE

To celebrate the release of our updated iPad app, Zendesk partnered with Business 2 Community to learn more about our evolving 'mobile morning' routines—asking the site's community members to tell us why and how mobile phone usage has changed their mornings. The responses ranged from almost compulsive checking of email to the creation of the 'bed office.'

Our latest infographic takes us into the bedroom for a peek at what our mobile mornings look like today.

TOP O' THE MOBILE TO YA: MORNING TABLET & PHONE USAGE

BYOD Support

Today, virtually everything that used to tie us to our desks at work now happens on the go, from signing a sales contract to responding to customer inquiries. Companies are embracing the BYOD (bring your own device) trend sweeping through today's businesses, freeing their agents and managers to provide customer service using the mobile devices they already know and love for their personal communications.

Our latest infographic highlights this mobile trend, showing that more than half of Zendesk customers are providing customer service via mobile devices.

BYOD Support

The Evolution of Phone Support

On a scale of 1 to 10, one being 'please, anything but that' and 10 being 'this is the best thing that might have ever happened to me,' how much do you like picking up the phone and calling customer service? We'd venture to say the majority of the answers would hover around the lower end of the scale (with some wishing that negative numbers were also an option).

Unfortunately, there's a bit of a stigma around being a customer service rep. Yet, a recent customer service survey conducted by callcentres.net and Forrester Consulting found that most folks pick up the phone more than any other channel when they need help. Even more compelling, 79 percent of those surveyed listed voice conversations among their preferred support channel (only 33 percent said email).

Clearly there's something about talking to a good ol' fashioned human being that's hard to beat. It's why Zendesk recently launched its Voice feature, which gives both customers and support agents a reason to pick up the phone instead of hanging it up.

It's phone support for the 21st century. Let's take a look at how we got here!

The Evolution of Phone Support

The History of Customer Support

There was a time when customer support meant you told a shop owner your issue with what they sold you, and they either decided the problem was for them to fix or your own damn fault. But then the telephone was invented and everything changed. Call centers emerged, phone trees were born, and suddenly there was no way around pressing '1' for one thing and '2' for another. It's actually pretty interesting stuff.

So when you find yourself wondering how on earth hold music came to be, and why it always seem to be smooth jazz, let this little history lesson fill in some of the blanks.

The History of Customer Support

Killing phone support can kill your business

No one relishes the thought of having to phone up a support agent to have their issue resolved. The long hold times, the endless maze of menu options, and the dread of getting transferred to a dizzying stream of agents and having to retell your story every single time. Ugh.

But guess what? Companies don't relish the thought of phone support either.

As the infographic below shows, the cost of phone support and building out traditional call centers is expensive. The average cost of an inbound call is $5.90. Sounds pretty low, until you consider that call centers on average field about 45.4 billion calls per year. And as their company grows and their number of support agents increases, it can be difficult to scale the kind of personal customer support they had at the beginning. Plus, building out call center can often take months to get ramped up and require and intense amount of training.

Yet, phone support continues to be the most popular support channel. Customers continue to have more faith that a live human being can help them more than anything else. And organizations know that phone support is a support channel they can't ignore. It's more trustworthy and makes it easy for customers to talk through what can be complex and technical issues. Fortunately, Zendesk Talk is resolving the decades-long battle of making phone support an enjoyable, efficient, satisfying, and even fun experience. Yes, we said fun. It might be the most traditional channel for support, but it's finally time for having an untraditional way of tackling the enigma of how to provide successful phone support. Because phone support isn't going anywhere.

Killing phone support can kill your business

How Your Company's Customer Service is Being Graded Online

In this bold new era of online support, companies have had to get much more proactive about customer support. It's why we launched our Customer Satisfaction Ratings feature which enables companies to collect feedback from their customers, analyze that feedback, and fix any issues immediately. In some cases, we hope it can help companies revamp entire business processes in order to meet the needs of their customers.

This infographic should also help you get an idea of what customers are looking for when they find your company's website and start clicking around. Print this out and grade yourself. Be honest! Have your employees fill out a card as well, especially your customer support team. Great support can only come with great understanding of your customers needs. And when it comes to this little pop quiz, anything less than A+ should be unacceptable!

How Your Company's Customer Service is Being Graded Online

Why companies should invest in the customer experience

Even if Don Draper himself fleshed out your latest ad campaign, nothing can replace the incredible value of providing customers with the best possible customer experience. Think about it, if you went to the fanciest restaurant in town and everyone treated you poorly, would you go back?

With peer-to-peer reviews carrying even more weight thanks to the power of Facebook, Twitter, and the barrage of other social media channels rising in popularity at breakneck speed, it's never been more important to invest in customer service. Because, hey, bad news travels fast.

Why companies should invest in the customer experience

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