Liberty sees Zendesk AI as key to delivering personalized service
Liberty London is an iconic UK premium department store retailer that leans on Zendesk AI to automatically classify and route incoming customer support tickets to the right team at the right time — allowing them to keep customers happy and manage through busy periods with confidence.
“Liberty is all about delivering a personal service. I see AI enhancing that personal service because now our customers will be interacting with a human who’s being put in front of them at the right time with the right information.”
Director of Customer Services at Liberty London
“With Zendesk AI, I'm seeing an exciting opportunity to streamline and be more efficient. That will allow our team to have more time to work on projects of importance to the business, be it driving revenue or new sales channels.”
Director of Customer Services at Liberty London
Decrease in ticket resolution time
Annual help center savings
Increase in CSAT
Decrease in first reply time
For almost 150 years, Liberty London has been giving fashion-conscious shoppers designs they love. Thanks to Zendesk, the company also delivers a premium customer experience across every conceivable channel. But it wasn’t always that way.
When Ian Hunt took over as director of customer services, Liberty was still running its customer service from a switchboard and a shared email inbox. But with online sales rising to almost 50 percent of total sales, operations urgently required modernisation to prevent repetitive work and wasted effort.
It was obvious to Hunt that the retail company needed a modern customer service solution that allowed them to provide great service befitting a luxury brand. That meant being able to provide service on all the channels customers prefer, giving agents easy-to-use tools (especially when they’re working remotely), and being able to analyze service data so they can continue to optimize and improve.
Modernizing CX with the Zendesk platform
Liberty’s goal is fast, friendly, and factual service. In 2015, Liberty installed Zendesk’s email management software. Emails that arrived in the shared mail inbox were automatically forwarded to the Zendesk inbox. Very quickly, Liberty realized that Zendesk’s features provided opportunities to incrementally improve the customer experience.
The next step was to integrate Zendesk’s Talk software. This allowed Liberty to manage its voice calls from the same platform it used for emails. This meant that all its contact data was captured by the same system. And that customer service agents could take calls on a range of devices, using the Zendesk Talk voice-over-IP phone.
“When I first suggested using a system like Zendesk, people were worried that it was something our customers wouldn’t like. They thought they’d always want to speak to someone on the phone. Because the system collects data and makes it available in a form that’s clean and easy to analyse, I have been able to prove that that’s not the case.”
Adopting AI to meet the needs of the business
Today, Liberty uses Zendesk to offer customers service over phone, chat, email, and WhatsApp. The CX team also leans on Zendesk analytics to understand performance. And they’ve started using Zendesk AI to automatically classify and route incoming tickets to the right agents at the right time.
With Zendesk’s intelligent triage, AI takes the pressure off when the team gets busy. It can identify and label customer intent, sentiment, and language — for example, if a customer has a problem with their subscription box — and get issues routed to the right place so they can get solved as quickly as possible.
Additionally, Liberty plans to use intelligent triage to deal with ticket backlog. Tickets will be routed and assigned based on agent skill and customer intent. The goal is to dramatically reduce manual triage and remove bottlenecks across customer service operations.
“Liberty is all about delivering a personal service,” says Hunt. “I see AI enhancing that personal service because now our customers will be interacting with a human who’s being put in front of them at the right time with the right information.”
Using AI has already translated to higher satisfaction and more one-touch tickets, taking work off the plates of agents and allowing them to focus on more meaningful tasks. Plus, it’s allowed Liberty to continue running efficiently even when tickets surge.
“With Zendesk AI, I’m seeing an exciting opportunity to streamline and be more efficient with the day-to-day stuff,” says Hunt. “That will allow for myself and others on the team to have more time to work on other projects of importance to the business, be it driving revenue or new sales channels.”
Zendesk flexibility and ease-of-use makes change much easier
When the pandemic hit, everyone on the Liberty CX team was sent home with a laptop and given a headset. “They could start answering the phone right away,” says Hunt. “Once we realised that this level of flexibility worked, we were able to take it to the next level.” Liberty now has people answering customer calls, not just from the London office, but also from their homes, as well as an outsource centre in Cape Town, South Africa.
Along with using Zendesk to manage its customer support tickets, Liberty also uses the platform to run its click-and-collect service. When a parcel is scanned into the store’s order management system, that data is passed via an API to the Zendesk software. This automatically creates a support ticket, which the team uses to manage communications with the customer.
“We also use it for internal functions,” says Hunt. “For instance, if any of our buyers need to request currency for a trip abroad, they can do that by raising a ticket on Zendesk. We also use it for internal incentives and for logistics. We even use it for lost property!”
A measurable improvement in customer satisfaction
Liberty has a simple and transparent means of determining success. The company’s KPIs are its customer satisfaction score, the average time it takes to answer the phone, the quality of the interaction (something it independently measures), and the average time it takes to resolve an issue and close a ticket.
With Zendesk in place, Liberty’s CSAT score is up 9% year on year. The time it takes to give a first reply to a query is down by 73%. And the average time it takes to resolve a ticket is down by 11%.
And by making self-service not only possible but also popular with Liberty customers, Zendesk has helped cut agent-related costs and freed agents to work on more complex cases. Self-service savings totaled $21,461 last year alone.
Using Zendesk allowed Liberty to automatically collect the data required to measure and improve these KPIs, for the first time. “The customer feedback we get is now 90% positive. We’ve set the system up so that when a customer leaves a comment, it’s emailed to my inbox. It’s so often something nice about either me or one of the team that, without wishing to sound too cheesy, it’s rather life-affirming.”
Asked how Zendesk helped make a difference to CSAT scores, Hunt referred to the three things that customers repeatedly say in their feedback. “The Liberty customer service team is quick to respond, pleasant to deal with and accurate in the answers it gives.”
All of these are assisted by the Zendesk solution, which helps agents deal with each call faster and gives them instant access to the customer information they need to find the right answer or resolution.