Only 20 percent of support teams provide self service and other customer experience trends – Interview with Jeff Titterton

20 percent

Today’s interview is with Jeff Titterton, CMO of Zendesk. Jeff joins me today to talk about the new Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019, the main findings of the report, what’s driving the widening gap between what customers expect and what companies can deliver and what can companies do to close the gap.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – Most businesses would be shocked to see the experience they are inflicting on their customers – Interview with David Cancel – and is number 298 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Jeff:

  • We were talking about the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019.
  • Data for the report comes from the 45,000 companies that are using Zendesk combined with results of a variety of surveys and focus groups gauging attitudes to customer service from around the world.
  • Customer experience has been radically changing over the last few years.
  • Customer expectations are going up and up and up and businesses are struggling to keep up with many trying to use technology to help.
  • Five key points that emerge from the report:
    • 1. Customers already expect seamless, fully integrated omnichannel support
      • No matter what channel customers are talking to businesses on (email, phone, web etc) they want to have one continuous, seamless conversation with the brand in question and don’t want to have to repeat themselves or replay what their issues are.
      • Customers are willing to switch channels very quickly if they’re not getting the response they need – 85 percent of customers said they use a different contact method if they didn’t get a response to their initial requests and 44 percent of those will wait less than an hour.
    • 2. Viewing support as an open platform powered by data frees companies to build better experiences.
      • This is really important as it is signalling that we’re moving from a world of siloed data to one of connected customer data.
      • This will help agents provide a really seamless personalized experience to customers and enable them to solve their questions quickly.
    • 3. Customers want proactive engagement, but companies aren’t there yet.
      • Customers are expecting proactive engagement and we are seeing companies increasingly doing that.
      • Customers are really open to this with 90 percent of customers saying they’re either in favour of this or they’re really neutral about it so they don’t mind being proactively communicated with.
      • However, while companies are doing this more and more they’re still not doing it as much when it comes to support and making it proactive.
      • The reason is that it’s harder to move from a ‘next best offer’ mindset to a ‘next best action’ mindset.
    • 4. For the best support teams, AI is already driving great customer experiences
      • High performing businesses are more than twice as likely as lower performing organizations to be using artificial intelligence.
      • This trend is really about how can we use technology to help agents focus on higher value and more complicated tasks.
    • 5. The right culture, process, and tools are critical ingredients for success
      • Here we are seeing a big focus on workflow and collaboration across teams.
      • The best companies are investing in collaboration tools so they can communicate and share data across departments to enable them to be much more successful in giving the customer the right response.
      • The best customer service teams are focused on their metrics and are using all their data and analytics to help them be better and to provide better answers to their customers.
      • They’re also heavily focused on their metrics so that they can continuously measure the progress and improve.
  • There were a couple of surprises in the report findings:
    • Continued underinvestment in mobile and social channels – Many companies are still too heavily focused on e-mail and phones.
    • Many companies have still not getting the value of proactive engagement and we need a step change in this.
  • The widening gap between customers expectations and companies customer experience performance is being driven by customers experiences with leading brands like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb etc.
  • That applies to every company whether you are selling T-shirts or you are working at a B2B company.
  • 40 percent of customers prefer to use search or help centres before contacting support. Yet, only 20 percent of support teams provide self service.
  • This is despite the fact that investing in self service will reduce the number of inbound customer requests and enable your agents to focus on answering tougher questions.
  • Companies that get self service right also get an uplift on satisfaction.
  • Many companies understand this but just haven’t gotten round to creating the right content as yet.
  • Omnichannel does not mean every channel.
  • Be on the channels that your customers are on.
  • Omnichannel is really about connected and seamless conversations.
  • There is little evidence of companies actively choosing to retire channels because they don’t fit anymore.
  • Customers want a personalised experience and the best companies are always acting with their customers best interests in mind when it comes to their data and privacy concerns.
  • Jeff’s best advice:
    • Immediately set up an omni channel experience as it’s now the baseline.
    • Use data and your own metrics to set a baseline and understand how and where you can and need to improve.
    • Think like your customer. Everything you do should be oriented around how do you solve your customers pain points. To help with that…..go and talk to your customers, survey them, have them in and learn where you’re doing great and where your biggest pain points are. Then, stack rank those pain points and knock off the biggest ones quickly.
    • Invest in technology, invest in automation, invest in self-service technologies and invest in bringing in data from disparate sources to free your agents up to focus on continuously improving the customer experience.
  • Check out Zendesk and all of their new tools including their Sunshine CRM platform.

About Jeff

Jeff Titterton_ZendeskJeff currently leads Zendesk’s marketing organization. He brings 18 years of experience leading marketing, product marketing, and conversion and retention optimization from early-stage startups to enterprise companies. Prior to Zendesk, Jeff led engagement marketing at Adobe. He has also served as CMO at 99designs and VP of Marketing at Zoosk and holds a B.A. in English and Economics from Cornell University.

Check out Zendesk and their Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019, say Hi to them and Jeff on Twitter @Zendesk and @JeffTitterton and feel free to connect with Jeff on LinkedIn here.

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Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

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