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Want to deliver great customer service? Follow New Zealand’s lead

15th May 2014
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Zendesk recently published the results of its customer satisfaction benchmark for Q1 2014, and discovered the leading nations for customer service are not exactly those that first spring to mind, with New Zealand businesses ranking the best, followed by Canada and Norway.

Surveying over 16,000 participating organisations and their customers across 125 countries, Zendesk ranked businesses in the US as 15th in comparison; with India, Turkey and Malaysia bottom of the pile, in terms of customer satisfaction.  

For industry-specific customer service within all the nations surveyed, the benchmark found that government and non-profit organisations were ranked the best, followed by IT services & consultancy, and then education. The social media industry ranked lowest, with just 69% satisfaction compared with the government / non-profits’ 95%. However, given the mostly faceless nature of the major social networks, as well as the barriers some put up against being personally contactable, this might not seem all that surprising to some.

Overall across all industries and nations, customer satisfaction improved by 1% in Q1 of 2014 over Q4 of 2013, to reach a ranking of 81%. Not as doom and gloom as so many other reports suggest, but backed by good post-holiday period results, according to Zendesk’s research lead and VP of products, Sam Boonin:

“The beginning of the year is known for the best travel deals, but it’s also the best time to receive the royal treatment when planning your vacation,” he explains. “The industry came prepared after dealing with the holiday rush and delivered for travellers in the first quarter of 2014.”   

Boonin also theorised that quality of data was increasingly becoming the key to businesses reporting better customer satisfaction, with organisations that take advantage of analytics reporting “providing faster customer service, with 12% shorter first reply time, while also resolving inquiries 16% faster.”

“Analytics reporting is necessary for any company to not only gauge the success of its efforts, but objectively understand what areas need improvement,” Boonin’s report specifies. “For customer service these metrics typically include customer satisfaction, as well as factors that contribute to customer  satisfaction, such as first reply time (how long it took an agent to respond to the end user), full resolution time (how long it took for the ticket to be solved), and percentage of one-touch resolution (the percentage of tickets resolved with a single interaction).

“This quarter, we analyzed a group of active Zendesk customers that have enabled analytics in Zendesk and broke them into two groups:  those who have high usage of analytics and those who have low  usage3. We then looked at some key performance metrics for each group and attempted to answer this question: Do companies that better utilize analytics outperform those who don’t in the above stated metrics? The results: Measuring performance pays big dividends.”

The Zendesk Benchmark was initially introduced in March 2012 as a way for companies to compare their support performance against industry peers, however, has grown to be a global study of how businesses deliver customer satisfaction in line with the technology they use to do so.

New Zealand’s success in this space isn’t as surprising as it may seem – the country has ranked top of the pile in Zendesk’s Benchmark for the last two years running.

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