Help desk software doesn’t seem like a particularly sexy software as a service (SaaS) model, but the help desk/ support ticketing application has proven to be a winner. Zendesk has now joined the exclusive "unicorn club" of US based software companies with a valuation of more than US$1B. I recently read “Startup Land” by Zendesk co-founder Mikkel Svane, which charts the trials and tribulations of their entrepreneurial journey from a loft in Copenhagen to company IPO on the Nasdaq. And at the heart of Zendesk’s success is a story about customer relationships.
Relationships and Respect
Mikkel Svane discusses the ways you need to treat your customers with respect:
- Don’t overestimate your importance in the customer’s life. Listen, and be considerate.
- Consider the entire customer experience.
- Recognise the right relationships and adapt. Become skilled at reading people.
- Be something actual humans can relate to. Have personality!
- Be transparent. Be open and honest; establish trust and loyalty.
- Empower your people to do what’s best.
- Put a face on your customers. Customer relationships are a shared responsibility for all.
He sums it up nicely here: “Successful modern businesses put their customers at the center of their companies and ensure they stay in that priority position”.
We totally agree.
Growing a business
Do business owners actually need a dedicated customer support platform? I spoke to Chris Downs from Debtor Daddy, who is an enthusiastic Zendesk advocate. Chris also has experience with HelpScout, Freshdesk and Tender Support but Zendesk has his vote. According to Chris the main benefits include:
- Getting around email limitations and a swamped inbox.
- Automatic prompts for you to take further action as required.
- Being able to run rules behind the scenes - you can put a ticket to “pending” or assign to another person. Email is more cumbersome.
- Both parties have the opportunity to view the status of a task.
- You can connect your help desk system to third party applications - unlike email.
- Zendesk, Helpscout and others have a knowledge base so you can store commonly asked questions.
- You can set up open chat to respond immediately and open a support ticket from the same portal.
- Pull in your Twitter feed, Facebook posts, and even your phonecalls for a complete view of your customer interactions.
- Useful analytics tracking common themes.
Some of the criticisms of Zendesk relate to the required login, which can be an issue if you interact with multiple vendors requiring multiple logins and multiple follow-up email notifications.
The key to business success
For businesses scaling a platform like Zendesk offers a solid infrastructure for providing support. Client relationships are key to business success, and it’s important to address any pain points quickly. Zendesk actually provide a comprehensive operational benchmarking analysis which you can download here. We’re starting to see more accounting practices recognise the value Zendesk can provide to their business and uptake is increasing.
Here at PracticePlus we use Zendesk for our website support. Zendesk also integrates with a variety of apps - for example, we use Pivotal Tracker for our workflow planning so any support tickets we receive can be scheduled straight into our weekly sprint. We want to ensure our clients have a quick turnaround on any requirements, and we can also measure our response time and customer satisfaction. We’re always looking to improve our systems and processes, and the feedback loop this provides is very important to us.
So if you’re wanting to improve your client relationships check out the options for your business - a cloud-based customer service platform may just provide the solution you need.