Zendesk report shows that agility is the new customer experience priority for 56% of service managers

The pandemic has taught companies of all sizes that customer responsiveness is critical not only to business success, but especially to survival. Last year, organizations had to shift to new business models to quickly adapt to digital consumer behavior.

New data released by Zendesk shows that while organizations recognize the importance of anticipating and adapting to customer needs, only 9% of business leaders and 11% of managers and administrators actually demonstrate that they have the minimum set of necessary agility skills to be classified as “market leaders”.

However, it can be difficult for companies to understand where to start on their agility journey. As organizations around the world look to recover from more than a year of uncertainty and prepare to be ready for emerging trends, Zendesk’s Agility in Action research explores how organizations can adopt an agile mindset. Key findings include:

Offer more options, more often: The majority (75%) of Latin American customers are more or much more likely to buy from a company that offers the preferred approach to service, such as choosing the right channel, well above the global average (49 %). However, many companies are still missing out on valuable opportunities to listen to their customers where they are. Only 34% of midsize companies offer three or more channels for their customers, and that number drops to 32% for enterprise tools.

Put the voice of the customer first: Customer feedback can act as a wake-up call or a “crystal ball” for future trends. Agile leaders are 4.7 times more likely to report customer metrics in real-time, making it easier to use CX analytics to recognize and respond to these changes.

Be ready for change: Leaders are consistently more flexible about changes in the way customer support agents work. In fact, 61% offer remote working conditions and 54% offer alternative working hours.

The right tools to support: To be ready for an ever-changing landscape, companies are adopting lean and flexible frameworks for both technology and implementation. The main areas of investment identified are: expanding or adding business process automation (33%); invest in CX technology that easily fits your needs (29%); and addition and/or expansion of AI or machine learning resources (28%).

The survey also revealed that companies that led the way in investing in tools, processes and culture for agility had positive returns. In particular:

  • Agility is linked to cost and time savings: Agile companies were in a better position to reduce operating costs last year. Nearly a quarter of business leaders report that being highly agile has reduced costs by 25% or more.
  • The Potential of CX as a Revenue Driver: Companies are increasingly realizing the value of adapting to customer needs as call centers take on a new role. More than half (52%) of small business business leaders view CX primarily as a revenue driver; and less than a quarter (24%) see this as a cost center. That number rises for midsize companies, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of them viewing CX primarily as a revenue driver.