Today’s interview is with Sam Boonin, Vice President of Products at Zendesk, about their recently published Q2 Benchmark report that shows that customer satisfaction is on the rise globally.
This interview follows on from my recent interview: Employee engagement is about human relationships not human resources – Interview with Luis Suarez of IBM – and is number seventy in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things and helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.
I know Zendesk quite well and interviewed their CEO last year in The customer service revolution is here and now – Interview with Mikkel Svane CEO of Zendesk. But, given that the nature of the interview was centred around the release of their recent report, the write up of our chat is slightly different this time.
Anyway, onto the headlines of the report which are:
- Over the last quarter, customer satisfaction is on the rise globally
- New Zealand leads the world, followed by Canada and then Australia in customer satisfaction
- Education is the leading sector
- Self service is growing in popularity; and
- Depending on your industry, mobile is growing incredibly fast as an option for self-service customers
Now, you may be saying…..”Oh no, not another survey result! Big deal!”. However, what I find interesting and what I really like about Zendesk’s approach is that it’s not just another survey or expert opinion. The Benchmark is based on actual support and customer service interactions. Zendesk has approximately 30,000 customers, 25-30 million interactions per month and over 200 million end customers/users and 50% of their customers have ‘opted-in’ to their Benchmark process. That makes for a pretty huge, growing and interesting dataset.
When speaking to Sam there were a number of questions that we discussed concerning the results of the Benchmark.
1. What’s driving the upturn?
Looking at the data more closely it seems that customer satisfaction is correlated with overall consumer confidence. In discussion, we identified two possible explanations for this:
- Companies are starting to see returns from new or recent investment in improving their customer experience or customer service; and
- As confidence grows, overall consumer mood lightens and we, as consumers, become a little less stringent in our expectations.
2. What are the leading countries and companies doing differently?
This is a difficult question to answer but when Sam reflected on Zendesk’s customer base in those leading countries he came up with a few insights:
- Innovation plays a big role in explaining how Zendesk’s customers in those countries are differentiating themselves and making a difference to their customers. Moreover, successful companies in leading countries tend to be very innovative in the way that they interact and engage with their customers and the investment in this consistently pays off.
- Central to that is speed of response which has a big impact on levels of customer satisfaction.
- Finally, another crucial element is how customer service is viewed within the company and country….is it seen as a cost-centre or is it seen as an investment? Those that view it as an investment tend to get better results and generate higher levels of satisfaction.
3. What’s going on with self-service and what’s happening with mobile self-service?
Customer self-service, while not new, is growing in popularity. Zendesk’s research has highlighted a number of trends within self-service that are worth noting:
- Customers are increasingly starting to expect to help themselves before contacting companies and reaching out for help.
- Smart companies are realizing this and putting a lot of effort into their communities and self-service knowledge bases. Doing so and getting it right is having a direct and positive impact on customer satisfaction as well as lowering support costs.
- Companies that are “born in the cloud”, for example social media and software companies, are leading the way when it comes to self service.
- Across Zendesk’s customers the average ‘Self Service’ score is 4.1, meaning that for every four customers that choose self-service, one customer chose to get in touch with customer support directly.
- The percentage of customers accessing self-service content via a mobile device grew by a massive 50% compared to the same time last year. This is only an average number and the penetration of self-service via a mobile can top 80+% in some industries.
I hope you found that interesting. If you want to dig a bit deeper into the results, you can grab a copy of the report at: www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-benchmark
Before I finish, let me leave you with a couple of questions based on these results:
- Do the results reflect your own experience? and
- If you were to give yourself a ‘Self Service’ score what would it be?
Til next time.
Note: A large part of this post originally appeared on my new Forbes column: Zendesk’s Quarterly Benchmark Report Shows That Customer Satisfaction Is On The Rise Globally.