Knowledge Bird

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Zendesk Benchmarking & Analytics Workshop

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Much like their blissed-out mascot, Zendesk have such a confident omnipresence on social media that I often forget they’re a startup. With over 15,000 users worldwide they’ve embarked on a lap of Asia-Pac with a series of bootcamp and benchmarking workshops. As the Knowledge Bird, I wear a few hats and one of them is as a Zendesk administrator and customer support manager for a client, so I thought I’d go along for a bit of schooling.
With a focus on benchmarking and reporting the Sydney workshop wasn’t so much a workshop as a presentation. And a short one, at that. I would’ve liked to have heard more from Sam Boonin, VP of Product Engagement, who’s out on the tour from the US. He presented some interesting stats collected from the impressive number of users and more than 65 million end customers. Boonin revealed the three metrics that matter most are customer satisfaction (CS), efficiency (measured as first time response or FTR), and scale (tickets/month); and that satisfaction can even be expressed as a formula:

F(x) = scale x efficiency x quality

where quality is measured as the percentage resolved.
Zendesk’s Benchmark program is an opt-in arrangement covering such a broad customer base that like-for-like comparisons are available for metrics by industry, by use case, or by company size. You might be pleased to hear Australia is doing quite well at a 93% satisfaction rating. France is not doing so well at 57%. (The US is 87%.) Even if the stats don’t interest you (there are more available at the website), it’s a pretty decent yardstick for individual Zendesk users to see how their customer support experiences rate in comparison.

Following on from Sam Boonin was local customer support representative Peter Godden, giving us a bit of a walk-through of some basic reporting features and some of the extensions available, such as Google Analytics and Good Data. You can report against tickets and forum data, which is terrific for keeping in touch with an active user community. If you’re interested in more of this how-to type stuff, then a bootcamp is what you’re looking for. If you’re measuring customer satisfaction in Zendesk and aren’t getting enough responses from your automated binary-option surveys, a tip from a couple of guys in the audience is to lower the time lag from the default 24 hours after closure to just one hour.

Being particularly interested in the forums and knowledge base side to Zendesk, I was curious to know if anyone had used the Zendesk API to build a gamification system to encourage the creation of good quality knowledge articles. Turns out Engine Yard have, and they’ve blogged about it.

As a user of Zendesk, I enjoy it for it’s sheer simplicity in handling and measuring customer support and the portability that the mobile apps provide, but it seems even Buddha might not be safe from The Good Books. The ITIL books, that is. There are rumblings of Zendesk taking on more than being just a basic helpdesk option. The great thing about Zendesk IS its simplicity and I fear that could get lost in the desire not to be ignored in a marketplace that seems to be automatically ruling out non ITIL-compliant solutions, even if it’s not a well-understood requirement. But one must remain competitive and time will tell; I can only suggest they remain transcendent and walk gently while they decide what to tackle first.

Have you seen Zendesk’s video Shit Support Agents Say? Go on. It’s funny.