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Today’s interview is with Adrian McDermott, President of Products, Zendesk, a provider of customer service software. Adrian joins me today to talk about a new piece of research that Zendesk has recently conducted in partnership with ESG Research. This has allowed them to build a framework around CX maturity and CX success. The findings are summarized in a report: CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Raise Their Game Are Driving Business Success.
This interview follows on from my recent interview – On a scale from 1-10, how racist is your AI? – Interview with Jeff Gallino and Conrad Liburd of CallMiner – and is number 370 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 Adrian:
- Zendesk partnered with an analyst firm, ESG Research, to conduct a piece of research that looked at CX maturity and success. The findings are summarized in a report: CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Raise Their Game Are Driving Business Success.
- The research splits firms into three categories:
- Starters who are the least mature today when it comes to customer service and support maturity. They have adopted three or fewer of the best practices in Zendesk’s maturity model. Starters account for 48% of the UK & European market.
- Risers who are the organizations that have made significant progress up the customer service and support maturity curve. They have adopted four or five of the best practices. Risers account for 37% of the UK & European market.
- Champions who are the organizations that employ six or seven of the best practices prescribed by Zendesk’s maturity model within their service and support organizations. Champions account for 15% of the UK & European market.
- The UK & European region lags the rest of the world in terms of maturity, where 29% of surveyed organizations were Champions, 31% were Risers, and 39% were Starters.
- We see almost 60% of champions expecting to spend more on customer sprints, tools and technology and see that increasing versus a far smaller percentage rise amongst starters.
- All companies are assessed across 7 different characteristics that cover 5 areas.
- Here are the segmentation questions:
- Are service/support staff skilled up and trained appropriately?
- Does the organization maintain staffing levels needed to ensure non-disruptive service?
- How well does the organization use customer service/support learnings as a feedback loop to optimize products, services, and/or business processes?
- How quickly can the organization turn feedback from customers into action?
- Does the organization have all the customer service and support data and key performance indicators it needs?
- How real-time is the customer service and support data the organization possesses?
- What is the quality of the service and support tools provided to agents?
- To be ranked a Champion you have to be hitting six or seven of those characteristics.
- There are variations across sizes of business with more champions in the mid-size and up size bracket. That is largely put down to the level of investment required to achieve champion status.
- Nearly half of small businesses are still in the starter phase.
- There are variations across regions too with the percentage of Champions in Europe equaling 15% whereas in North America it is 27%.
- 21% of French companies actually identified as champions versus 16% in the UK and only 8% in Germany.
- But, champions in the UK tend to be significantly more responsive to customers. Their first response rate is generally under an hour which is almost three times faster than the rest of the world.
- It’s unclear why that is. However, what is clear is that what good customer service looks like can mean different things to different people in different countries.
- You can find out which category your business might be in by taking a quiz here.
- To move out of the starter category, there is a sort of a punk element to this where companies just need to do it.
- The pandemic accelerated moves between categories for many companies.
- Great examples are Mailchimp and Holland and Barret.
- We saw a triple digit percentage increase in the number of our customers that were communicating over messaging after the pandemic started and that is a shift that isn’t going away.
- The research shows that CX champions are growing faster.
- There is no magic bullet to building great CX experiences. It requires companies to make the decision to be great, to make a plan, to invest and then to do the work.
- Adrian’s best advice:
- Customer service is like building a forest and planting a tree. The best time to improve your customer services is last year. The second best time is today. The best thing you can do today is look at the resources you’re applying to the problem. Do you have the right tools, enough of the right people and do you have the right priorities?
- If the answer to any of those questions is no then you need to go back and change it.
- Adrian’s Punk CX word(s): Unencumbered.
- Adrian’s Punk CX brand: Zendesk.
Adrian McDermott is the President of Products at Zendesk and has led the product management and engineering teams at Zendesk since 2010. He is responsible for defining and leading global product strategy and product development.
Previously, Adrian served as chief technical officer at Attributor, where he managed web-crawling and content-identification systems for text, video, and images. Adrian was the first engineer hired by Plumtree Software and remained with the company through its IPO and subsequent acquisition by BEA.
Adrian is a Yorkshireman living in San Francisco. When he is not working, you can find him spending time with his wife and two children, or playing soccer.
Check out the report: CX Champions: How CX Leaders Who Raise Their Game Are Driving Business Success, say Hi to Adrian and Zendesk on Twitter @amcdermo and @zendesk and feel free to connect with Adrian on LinkedIn here.