Forrester: Win Funding For Your Customer Service Project

A winning customer service strategy can drive strong brand recognition, consistent customer loyalty, and a profitable revenue stream. But when it comes to putting that winning strategy into effect, convincing your stakeholders can be a project in itself.

Forrester’s August 2017 report, Win Funding For Your Customer Service Project, provides helpful insights for building a sound business case for an updated customer service strategy. It explores the benefits of providing a positive customer experience (CX) and why the initiatives towards creating one should be prioritized.

The report explains why it pays off to make modern adjustments to a customer service strategy. Some of their key findings include:

  • Companies with above-average customer service have fewer customers who churn
  • The revenue impact of a 1-point improvement in CX Index scores can help a company increase revenue by $175 million annually
  • Almost half of US online adults will abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their questions

These insights can help build a compelling total economic impact (TEI) study to propose to stakeholders. Build an effective blueprint that will benefit your customers and the company with Forrester’s Win Funding For Your Customer Service Project.

An example TEI study that outlines the potential for ROI with Zendesk can be viewed here: The Total Economic Impact of Zendesk.

Achieving consistent customer experiences

Companies aim to compete through multichannel engagement, and to provide consistent customer experiences, but often fail to meet customer expectations. A 2016 study by Ventana Research revealed several factors that diminish customer satisfaction:

  • responses are too slow (48%)
  • responses are not consistent across touch points (41%)
  • self-service technologies are too hard to use (37%)

On this last note, providing access to information is key to meeting consumers' multichannel expectations. The research also found that a shared knowledge base delivers real business benefits. When a company draws upon a central source of knowledge, customers are more likely to receive consistent, up-to-date, and even personalized information. The same knowledge base can serve each touch point, leading to a better overall customer experience.

Read Ventana Research's "Achieving Consistent Customer Experiences" report now to learn more.

Forrester: How to build customer trust more quickly

Talk is cheap. That old adage is never more true than when you’re talking about trust. Customers need something deeper than words to trust a business—and trust simply will not happen if your customers sense lip service. What’s more, some experts say that consumer trust is at an all-time low.
 
Savvy companies are not only capable of creating solid with customers, but they also know it doesn’t have to take years and years.
 
Forrester’s report, How To Build Customer Trust Faster: Why and How To Use The Customer Experience To Earn Customer Trust (June 12, 2017), delivers actionable strategies for helping your business understand and translate the mechanics of trust into meaningful long-term relationships.
 
Key findings include:
• The importance of understanding where your customer is coming from
• Why you should address trust issues throughout the customer journey
• How consistency with customers can build trust
 
Access your complimentary copy of Forrester’s June 2017 How To Build Customer Trust Faster: Why and How To Use The Customer Experience To Earn Customer Trust.

Gartner: Plan Now for Critical Shifts in Customer Interaction Patterns

Hindsight may be 20/20, but foresight is what gets you ahead in business. Are you dedicating enough time and resources to staying proactive? Tomorrow’s innovations are going to be filled with new technology, and that technology presents new challenges for how organizations will connect with their customers.

Gartner recently published a report on the anticipated (and critical) shifts in customer interaction patterns that will be occurring over the next five years. They’ve highlighted how emerging technology will enhance customer self-service and how that will reduce the number of interactions that commonly take place with human service representatives. The report includes advice on how to prepare for the shift in customer behavior as virtual assistants, IVR, and chatbots become the norm.

Some of their key findings include:

■ By 2022, 72% of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology such as machine-learning applications, chatbots or mobile messaging, up from 11% in 2017.

■ Through 2022, application leaders will face the task of onboarding 12 immature but rapidly improving customer interaction channels for CRM.

■ Though the proportion of phone-based communication will drop from 41% to 12% of overall customer service interactions, a human agent will still be involved in 44% of all interactions.

Stay informed on the latest trends affecting the customer service industry. Read more about how customer behaviors will change with new technology in Gartner’s Plan Now for Critical Shifts in Customer Interaction Patterns.

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.

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
  •  
    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.

Zendesk research: live chat

Live ChatThe popularity of live chat for customer service is rising fast. Increasingly, consumers turn to live chat when shopping online, and a growing number of consumers say it is their preferred way to engage with support. So how can companies use live chat to transform the way they engage with customers? This Zendesk research report explores:

  • Benchmark metrics for live chat
  • How live chat changes customer engagement
  • The characteristics of a great live chat experience
  • What to consider when staffing for live chat

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: Net Promoter Score® (NPS)

Net Promoter ScoreNet Promoter Score (NPS®), helps companies measure customer loyalty by asking a simple question: how likely are you to recommend our brand to a friend or colleague? This report looks at 103,000 NPS responses across multiple industries, and reveals what a good NPS number looks like and the type of customer feedback a company can draw from sending an NPS survey. In this report learn:

  • How to best initiate NPS surveys
  • What lessons can be learned from the findings
  • How to analyze qualitative feedback
  • The difference between Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction

Read the full report for these and more insights

Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.

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: behavioral cues

behavioral cuesIn this report, we take a closer look at behavioral cues of customers and agents to better understand how these correlate with increased or decreased customer satisfaction. We attempt to move beyond typical metrics like first reply time and explore the often overlooked components of support interactions, such as what words like “sorry,” “please,” and “thank you” by agents can have on customer satisfaction.

This report also examines:

  • Valediction: Do interactions with the sign off “Best Wishes,” in comparison to “Best Regards,” “Cheers” and “Yours Sincerely,” have a lower customer satisfaction score?
  • Word count: Can a wordier request for help in an online form leads to lower customer satisfaction? How about email?
  • Email address: Are customers with Yahoo email addresses more difficult to please than Gmail users?

Read the full report to learn more insights and how they might be used to improve the service you provide

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.

Streamlining Customer Service with In-App Support Solutions

customer support value

It’s no fun encountering a bug in an app when you’re in the midst of a battle or playing around with a snazzy filter. Unfortunately, that can’t always be avoided. App publishers, however, can be better prepared by offering in-app support so users can get help when they need it most.

According to an IDC report commissioned by Zendesk, as end users gravitate to mobile devices, customer service applications follow accordingly. IDC predicts that mobile-based CRM will reach nearly $830 million in 2020. It makes sense that as more customers rely on mobile apps, customer support will reach them in those apps. The reasons for this include the following:

  • Real-time response to customer requirements
  • Shift to interactions when, where, and how customers want
  • Multichannel support that is consistent across channels
  • Proliferation of mobile devices
  • Customer engagement through branded mobile applications
  •  
    In the report, Streamlining Customer Service with In-App Support Solutions, IDC lays out the how providing in-app support allows companies to provide customers with the quick, frictionless support they are increasingly expecting. The report also includes cases studies of how companies like Swiftkey are accomplishing this with Zendesk.

Uncover the true value of your customer support organization

customer support value

Uncover the true value of your customer support organization with the technology trends that matter most in 2017.

A recent survey by Gatepoint Research finds that 51% of Gatepoint survey respondents stated their leadership team views customer service as a potential competitive advantage. However, uneven service continues to be the main cause of customer frustration.

Download this free report to uncover key trends affecting your customer support organization and learn why:

  • Raising customer satisfaction scores is what matters most to them
  • Uneven service continues to be the main cause of customer frustration
  • Current customer support systems are hard to use and difficult to integrate

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.

The Multi-Channel Customer Care Report

Customers simultaneously want the warmth of human communication and the speed and efficiency of automated service. It’s a paradoxical challenge for companies, one brought about by increasing levels of consumer expectations and the fast changing technical landscape of customer communications.

Zendesk recently commissioned research firm, Loudhouse, to explore this important and perplexing challenge. The research conducted illuminates four key trends of which important conclusions can be drawn:

  • Multi-channel customers are less patient and expect more than they did five years ago.
  • Multi-channel use has increased considerably in three 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 personal information—but only if doing so improves service.
  •  
    This report explores these key areas further, providing deep insight for businesses keen to stay ahead of their competition through improvements in their customer service strategies.

Gartner's FrontRunners Quadrant for Help Desk Software

If you’re a small business software buyer, your decisions can have a direct impact on your company. It’s important to consider your company’s needs in addition to the value and capability of each software.

Gartner is known as a key source for enterprise decision makers when identifying, evaluating, and selecting business software vendors, however, there is a newly launched FrontRunners quadrant powered by Gartner Methodology.

http://www.softwareadvice.com/help-desk/#top-products
FrontRunners scores and graphic are derived from individual end-user reviews based on their own experiences, vendor supplied and publicly available product information, and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates.
 
The January 2017 FrontRunners for Help Desk Software is a data-driven assessment identifying products in the Help Desk Software market that offer the best capability and value for small businesses. That means no analyst interpretations. According to the FrontRunners methodology, “Data sources include user reviews and ratings, public data sources and data from technology vendors.” That way you can decide which help desk software system is best for your business for yourself.

To learn more about leading help desk software systems, access your complimentary copy of FrontRunners for Help Desk Software, January 2017.

Union+Webster: The value of conscious consumers

The common good is something we can (hopefully) all get behind. In an ideal world, everything we do as a society would be done with purpose and the good intention to improve the communities we live in. Think along the lines of Patagonia’s record-breaking effort to donate 100% of their Black Friday sales to grassroots nonprofits—nonprofits that work to protect our air, soil, and water for future generations.

While there is always room to improve the communities we live in, there has been a clear rise of more conscious consumers—people exercising their purchasing powers with purpose and good intentions for the common good.

It makes sense. Why not buy from a company that works to improve social, labor, and sustainability issues over one that doesn’t? According to Union+Webster’s In Good Company: the Value of Conscious Consumers, “77% of consumers prefer to purchase from companies that demonstrate community responsibility.”

As more and more people consume with care, it’s important for businesses to do good and improve the communities they operate in.

You can learn more about about the importance of the conscious consumer in Union+Webster’s In Good Company: the Value of Conscious Consumers.

Forrester TEI Report examines potential ROI of Zendesk

Upgrades, upgrades, upgrades. Everyone is doing them so you ask yourself, should your business upgrade systems too? It seems like there’s always a better version, or a better type of software. While implementing new and improved systems can help your business scale and save your company money, it’s important to know if new software is worth the transition.

Zendesk recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study that evaluated the financial impact of Zendesk on organizations. Forrester interviewed five customers and conducted a financial analysis. In this study, Forrester lays out the benefits and costs of Zendesk’s family of customer service products, with the analysis pointing to benefits of more than $3.8 million.

Benefits outweighed costs in the following areas:

Increased agent productivityDeflected customer interactions
Self-service interactions reached 20% of total interactions.

Improved agent experience and retention
Customers reported a reduction in agent turnover of more than 15%.

Avoided maintenance costs of previous platform
Consultants were no longer needed to support the previous agent platform, resulting in an average savings of $150,000 per year.

Make sure Zendesk is right for you. Read about the potential return on investment from implementing Zendesk’s family of products in Forrester’s The Total Economic ImpactTM of Zendesk, a May 2017 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zendesk.

Gartner: Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM

Odds are you've heard of Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Kik, Line, or Snapchat. Maybe you’re even an avid user of a few.

With the emergence of yet another form of communication, people are spending more and more of their time in social messaging apps. The Gartner report cites, “eMarketer projects that 2.19 billion consumers will use consumer messaging apps by 2019.” Social messaging apps are quickly becoming another space for businesses to meet customers and exceed support expectations, as well as to explore deeper and sophisticated methods to engage your customers.

Gartner’s report, Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM, offers the top messaging app use cases to learn from, the benefits of consumer messaging apps, and recommendations for businesses, including how to:

  • Increase brand recall with consumer messenger advertisements.
  • Deflect support costs by solving customer issues over consumer messaging applications.
  • Explore ways to generate new business using consumer messaging apps for digital commerce

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. Read more about this and other Gartner research on the Gartner website.

Gartner: Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM, J. Sussin, 3 August 2016.

Gartner Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support

2016 has challenged industry leaders to engage customers across all support channels, but the coming year, 2017, has taken a swift turn towards analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver better support interactions.

Customer service is going digital, and more and more customers expect seamless mobile support. With analytics and AI, support teams can tailor interactions to a customer’s needs and manage workflow and resource allocation. According to Gartner, “By 2018 50% of agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics.”

How will leaders in customer service improve customer experience with analytics and AI, and how will investments in these pivotal trends affect prospective employee skill sets and future roles?

Gartner’s key findings include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), a topic of interest for over 20 years, is at last finding rapid uptake as a tool to provide better customer service.
  • In addition to the power and productivity of AI harnessed for customer service, AI and automation will also disrupt the jobs of over a million customer service agents over the next four years.
  • Consumer messaging will overtake social media as the point of origin for customer support requests.
  • The use of virtual customer assistants (VCAs) will jump by 1,000% by 2020.

To learn more about Gartner’s predictions, analysis, and recommendations on using analytics and AI to deliver great support, you can access your complimentary copy of Gartner Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support.

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. Read more about this and other Gartner research on the Gartner website.

Gartner Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support, M. Maoz, J. Davies, J. Sussin, O. Huang, and B. Manusama, N. LeBlanc, J. Robinson, 7 November 2016.

Gartner: CRM Applications Will Fail Without Consideration of Customer Empathy

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are game-changing technologies, but they won’t help your business leap forward if you don’t also build customer empathy into your customer process design. According to a recent report* by Gartner, “Through 2020, businesses that deploy CRM technology in such a way that it reflects empathy toward the customer are three times more likely to fend off a digital disrupter.”

While it’s still early days for being able to measure the economic impact of empathy in business, it’s worth noting that companies that have successfully disrupted existing business models did so because of the empathy they felt for customers dealing with inefficient processes and experiences.

The report explains why it will be important for CRM leaders to:

  • Highlight the potential impact of empathy on existing business models and obtain support from executive leadership to make systems empathetic.
  • Focus technology and process investment on empathetic improvement.
  • Use the voice of the customer (VoC) initiative to glean a critical understanding of what will drive customer empathy.

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. Read more about this and other Gartner research on the Gartner website.

*Gartner, CRM Applications Will Fail Without Consideration of Customer Empathy, Michael Maoz, August 2016

Gartner's The State of Customer Experience Innovation 2016: Customer Analytics Gets Critical

There's no denying it, businesses that want to prioritize customer experience will need to make big investments in customer analytics solutions. In fact, according to a recent Gartner report, "by 2018, 50% of agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics".*

For organizations to make the most of the technology offered, they must understand which data strategies and metrics are most impactful for improving the customer experience. Gartner offers insights for improving customer experience:

  • Customer analytics has taken an important role in improving the customer experience.
  • A majority of businesses will invest in customer experience technology in 2016.
  • Measuring customer experience is an ongoing obstacle for many organizations.
  • Both predictive and prescriptive analytics are necessary for a thorough understanding of the customer experience.

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. Read more about this and other Gartner research on the Gartner website.

*Gartner The State of Customer Experience Innovation 2016: Customer Analytics Gets Critical, Nick Ingelbrecht, Olive Huang, Julie A. Meyer, May 2016

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