CX-first businesses 10 times more likely to survive: Zendesk

Research shows that investing in customer experience maturity leads to better agent retention, productivity, and overall business resilience.

A joint study published by the leading customer support software provider, Zendesk, and ESG revealed that companies who invested in building a strong customer experience (CX) over the past year are 10 times more likely to increase their business resiliency and have positive growth in their customer base in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.

The 2021 State of CX Maturity Report surveyed over 3,250 customer service leaders and decision-makers to gain insight into the operations of successful organisations. It identified common themes and patterns in terms of attitudes, behaviours, and outcomes within these groups. The results of the survey were then measured using a CX maturity scale, with levels ranging from Starters, Emerging, Risers, and Champions. It also outlines what businesses need to do to move up the maturity scale.

“One of our key findings is the direct correlation between investing in CX and achieving business resilience,” said Malcolm Koh, Director of CX Practice, Global Customer Engagement, Zendesk. “In the APAC region, we found that midsize and enterprise companies that continued to invest in CX over the past year were actually 10.3 times more likely to have maximised resiliency. This is a clear and direct indication that CX-led innovation will lead a game-changing impact as it emerges as a competitive differentiator,” Koh added.

Zendesk’s research found that organisations at every level have now recognised the importance of the customer service function. Giving a great deal of importance to these matters is no longer considered a cost centre, but a revenue driver, and it is changing the way companies prioritise their business investments.

“With the customer service function as the hub of all customer relationships, that makes CX solutions, like Zendesk, essential to long-term business success. The Zendesk Suite and its various capabilities allow businesses to collaborate across teams, empower agents to provide the best experiences, and shows customers that brands are serious about connecting with them and providing the convenient, highly personalised experience they want,” Koh explained.

ShopBack, a leading rewards and discovery platform that helps shoppers make better purchase decisions, is an example of how a customer-first business could grow further. Zendesk first teamed up with ShopBack back in 2015. The company had initially set up Zendesk Talk and Support to manage its call centre and email inquiries. However, as new communication channels grew in popularity, ShopBack decided to drop its call centre and focus on AI chatbots and automation. Today, roughly 70% of ShopBack’s 170,000+ queries are now handled by AI and automation alone, allowing their 59-strong customer support team to provide the human touch where it matters - on more complex, higher-value tasks. 

“Great CX is seamless and personalised, with a complete overview of the customer journey, whilst continually prioritising preferred channels. This means that any CX strategy must include the advanced tools and technologies that unlock powerful capabilities: omnichannel communication, cross-channel agent visibility, and intelligent data tracking and analysis that can inform and enable continuous CX innovation,” Koh explained.

Agents also play a vital role in the whole customer service experience, according to Zendesk. Acting at the forefront of establishing relationships, agents are not only seen as the face of the company but must also be acknowledged as a pillar that supports the success of any organisation.

“Organisations that want to build powerful agent teams must invest in their training and equip them with the right technologies and skills to succeed. This starts with examining the business at its core to ensure that every department is aligned to be customer-centric, motivating all agents and employees to exceed customer expectations at every touchpoint,” Koh said.

Investing in the professional growth of agents is essential in equipping them with the right skills, as well as orienting them with the proper attitude and mindset to carry on with the tasks given to them. Koh believed that it is, therefore, important to give customer service agents ample technology to empower them with their roles and help them do collaborative work.

“Delivering on customers’ increasing demands can be difficult. A good agent would be attentive, emphatic, and responsive, with extensive knowledge about the company’s product and service offerings. A great agent would then be able to go a step further to create seamless customer experiences—but this is only possible where processes empower them and they are supported with agile technology enabling cross-team collaborations and cross-channel visibility,” Koh mentioned.

Apart from recognising the significant role of customer service agents in ensuring the successful output of the organisation, it is also imperative that companies place a premium on the human aspect of the individuals. Empowered people working in the organisation leads to long-term success for every stakeholder.

“Giving agents the best tools, customer visibility, and information to do their jobs not only helps them be more effective, but it ensures higher satisfaction, less burnout, and ultimately improved retention. Therefore, maintaining the well-being of employees should not be a stop-gap approach, but a long term investment,” Koh concluded.

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