Zendesk Illuminates Customer Data

Zendesk has rolled out a new analytics and data visualization tool that sits on top of its flagship customer service platform. Called “Zendesk Insights,” it is available to the company’s Plus and Enterprise users.

“One thing we have been hearing from our customers is that they want more access to the data and analytics that they produce by interacting with their own customers,” Sam Boonin, VP of product at Zendesk, told CRM Buyer. “That is what we have accomplished with Zendesk Insights.”

A Self-Serve Setup

Zendesk Insights follows the same installation path that the company’s main application does, Boonin said. That is, it is very easy to install and doesn’t require a company’s IT staff or an outside consulting shop to assist in the implementation or integration.

With Insights, “a company doesn’t have to set up a data warehouse or buy a reporting tool. We have brought the same simple approach to analytics that we did with customer service,” Boonin said.

The Insights

The tool provides a number of insights to users, but among the most interesting is the combined data from Zendesk’s users that is aggregated and then served back to customers as benchmarks.

Zendesk has about 40,000 customers, and about 25,000 have opted in to this program, Boonin said. What Zendesk Insights does is compare customer satisfaction rates against other companies that use the product.

“It gives you the metrics that matter and the power to benchmark against industry peers,” Boonin explained.

Google Adwords’ Optimizer tool is analogous, Boonin pointed out. “When you use it to buy a search term, Optimizer guides the user to buy the best word at the best price for its business. Google actually uses its customer data for that purpose. We are doing something similar with data about our customers’ customer support levels.”

Typical metrics might show the right level of staff for a particular retail market or how quickly an email reply must be answered for customer satisfaction.

One interesting metric the feature, which is called “Zendesk Benchmark,” unearthed was the importance of first-time reply to an email and its high correlation to customer satisfaction.

“You might think it is better to answer a customer’s question with the correct information, but in fact it is better to immediately respond with a ‘thank you’ and ‘I will get back to you ASAP,'” said Boonin.

Customer Context

Another attribute of Zendesk Insights is the context in which it provides its data and analytics findings.

“Not only do you see what the satisfaction level is, or say, the ticket volumes, but you also see how the actual support is performing,” Boonin noted. “The support team is able to say, using our application, that ‘we touched (US)$8 million of revenue through support calls this week,’ and ’30 percent of our customers interacted through the customer portal.'”

Measurements like that can be surprisingly difficult to come by in the service space, he said.

This information can be used through the app. For example, it can be embedded in the new prebuilt dashboards, such as the one for agent performance, to make hiring and staffing decisions.

Insights also provides context about the actual customers as well, capturing data from custom fields on tickets, users and organizations. Users can then drill down into specific segments of customers and find out, as one example, the number of negative reviews they received from their biggest-spending customers.

Erika Morphy has been writing about technology, finance and business issues for more than 20 years. She lives in Silver Spring, Md.

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