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

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.

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 $3.1 million.

Benefits outweighed costs in the following areas:

  • Increased agent productivity: Organizations reported a 15-second improvement in average call length each year.
  • Deflected customer interactions: Self-service interactions reached 20% of total interactions and for each self-service deflection, approximately $15 per interaction was saved.
  • 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 December 2016 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

Access your complimentary copy of Gartner’s Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM.

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.

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