Zendesk: Enterprises lack the agility needed to meet the post-pandemic CX challenge

New research from CRM software company, Zendesk, shows that whilst organisations clearly recognise the importance of anticipating and adapting to customers’ needs, there is a clear disconnect when it comes to understanding where to start in the post-pandemic agility journey.

The Agility in Action research, which polled thousands of consumers and CX professionals and used analysis from 90,000 Zendesk customers in 175 countries, offers companies a roadmap to navigate the road that champions good customer service at every turn.

Key findings from the report include:

Offer more choice, more often: In the UK, nearly half (47%) of customers are more or much more likely to buy from a company that offers their preferred approach to service. However, many companies are still missing valuable opportunities to hear from their customers where they are. Only 34% of mid-market companies globally offer three or more channels to their customers, and that number drops to 32% for enterprise outfits.

Put the customer first: Customer feedback can act as a warning sign for trouble ahead, or a crystal ball for future trends. Agile leaders are 4.7x more likely to report customer metrics in real time, making it easier to use CX analytics to recognise and respond to these shifts.

Empower your agents to embrace change: Leaders are consistently more flexible about changes in how customer service agents work. In fact, in the UK, 73% offer work from anywhere arrangements and 64% offer alternate work schedules, compared to 61% and 54% globally respectively.

Invest in smarter tools for support: Companies are already adopting a lean and flexible approach to both technology and its implementation. Globally, the main areas for investment identified are: expanding/adding business process automation (33%); investing in CX technology that easily adjusts to their needs (29%); and adding and/or expanding AI or machine learning capabilities (28%).

The research also revealed that businesses that have led in investing in the tools, process and culture for agility have seen positive returns. In particular:

Agility is linked to cost and time savings: Agile businesses were better placed to reduce service costs in the past year. In fact, nearly a quarter of business leaders worldwide report that having high agility reduced their costs by 25% or more.

Realising the potential for CX as a driver of revenue: Businesses are increasingly seeing the value of adapting to customer needs as the call centre takes on a new role. More than half (52%) of SMB business leaders view CX primarily as a revenue driver, and less than a quarter (24%) view it as a cost centre. That number goes up for mid-market companies, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of them viewing CX primarily as a revenue driver.

Customers are already looking beyond the pandemic and expect the challenges that it raised to be mitigated – they want their entire customer journey to be more convenient and simpler than ever, regardless of digital or in-person delivery. Investment in cultivating agile practices, tools and technology can make your business quicker to understand and respond to customer needs, remove internal knowledge gaps, siloes, and outdated processes, to set you up for long-term success.

Peter Lorant, COO EMEA, Zendesk