Boosting Your Customer Support with Zendesk

Boosting Your Customer Support with Zendesk

January 30, 2017

In the coming months, we are moving all of our customer support to a ticketing system, specifically Zendesk. Many businesses still rely on using regular email to conduct customer support, however that will only work for so long. Take a look at what was happening, why we decided to switch, and how we decided on Zendesk.

What Was Going On

When we started out, it was just me. I handled all customer inquiries, I dealt with fires. You likely started out this exact same way. As we grew, we started to have multiple people chatting with clients, moved projects around, and delegated certain responsibilities. Emails to clients were now in multiple email inboxes, and reply all only works when it's used.

Another major factor was that we had duplicate efforts. We would have a request come into an email, then need to get a developer to look at it. That meant putting that request into our project management system, manually. This not only leads to errors, inconsistencies, and time being wasted.

Lastly, it is really hard to estimate a project's cost when 4 people have worked on it across multiple emails and systems. It's also difficult to tell how well we are supporting clients and if we are getting back to them promptly. If two people received the same email and assumed the other would respond, clients wait or worse, never get an answer.

While many of these issues have not come up for us, it is inevitable that they will if we coined on the path we were on. It was clear that as we grew, we needed a better solution, and implementing it early was smarter than waiting for these issues to creep in.

What is a Ticketing System

Think of ticketing systems as a centralized email system that all of your support staff can see. Tickets are created through different channels, mostly email though. A staff member can also create a ticket from a voicemail, a conversation, a Facebook message, or a tweet. The ticket then becomes the main problem or issue item that needs to be solved.

Tickets are assigned to a person or group and are given a status. Open tickets require a staff member to act, and when they do they can respond to the requester with additional questions, comments, or to let them know they are working on it. Tickets can then be marked Pending or Solved, with pending meaning more information is needed from the requester. Solved means the staff member believes the issue is resolved. Tickets that still require work remain open.

The beauty of ticketing systems is their automation. You can assign tickets to specific people, notify them, and ensure they are being taken care of. If a ticket is untouched for too long, the assigned person is notified. Administrators can report on ticket solve times. Macros can be used to answer frequently asked questions quickly. The possibilities are endless and help reduce support time.

Customer support working wearing headset.

How We Fixed Things

Ticketing systems do a few things that negate the issues mentioned above. Specifically, they remove silos and combine everything into one place for all support staff to see. They also allow for automation and analytics that typically are not available in email systems or are hard to set up and share. Lastly, they keep us on our game, as we can see all replies and notes as well as assign a status.

Using Zendesk, we now know a few things:

  • When a support request comes in
  • How long it takes for us to respond
  • The number of support requests we get a month in different categories
  • How active our customers are in terms of support
  • Where we can improve our support further

Each of these areas allows us to provide awesome support that never fails our customers. We have multiple automations in place to ensure we respond within our stated time frames, get things solved rapidly and are able to easily see other support staff's work.

It has also significantly reduced our time to complete small changes for our customers. Instead of reading an email, manually transferring it to our project management system, waiting for it to be completed, then notifying the client, it's now all in one place. A ticket needs development, we assign it to our developers, they take care of it and close the ticket, notifying the client. It has cut down support time by upwards of 75%.

Why Zendesk

Zendesk does all of these things pretty nicely. It has an awesome, easy to use interface. Their mobile app works very well, with push notifications and mobile ticket management. It is however not the cheapest solution out there, and there is a learning curve to using the interface.

Pros

  • Setup is a breeze
  • Configuration is straight forward
  • Host of apps to integrate other systems
  • Great documentation and an active community to answer questions
  • Help Center to build a simple customer support self-service portal

Cons

  • Higher cost than most other ticketing systems
  • Lots of functionality means a learning curve for the team (Some of our team members have previous experience with Zendesk, meaning the learning curve was as high as it might be for some, so that also helped in our decision making.)

Do you currently use a ticketing support system for your business? If not, we hope this article helped you in your ticketing system research!




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