The 4 Types of Customer Success Organizations

Each quarter, Zendesk releases a Customer Satisfaction Benchmark to help companies build more effective customer support teams. The Q4 2014 differs from the previous in an important way. Instead of comparing companies in the same industry, for example, Education, Zendesk clustered companies with similar customer support characteristics, including ticket volumes, product support complexity and a few others, which revealed some important conclusions.

Zendesk found four clusters of support organizations listed below in increasing order of sophistication:

Late Bloomers - companies of all shapes and sizes whose customer support efforts need improvement.

Relationship Builders - small teams which respond slowly, but with personalized and detailed feedback. Relationship builders sustain high customer satisfaction scores because of the personalization.

Masters of Complexity - large teams receiving detailed requests with lots of back and forth between the customer and the team. These companies maintain higher customer satisfaction by maintaining a higher ratio of customer service reps to tickets, so each person can take their time and answer a question fully.

Captains of Scale - large teams facing high support volumes who use every tool at their disposal and do it well, so they maintain high customer satisfaction scores despite the deluge.

The main differentiating factors across these clusters are email volumes, inquiry complexity and response time. The best teams, the Captains of Scale, employ four tools to manage the support volumes and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction:

  1. Help Center - enables users to help themselves, which decreases support volumes and increases customer satisfaction because users answer their question immediately.
  2. Business Rule Automation - filters support email based on customer value, type of question or some other heuristic. Specialists respond to these questions faster, increasing customer satisfaction. This is particularly useful with very large support voluems.
  3. Ticket to Agent Ratio - more agents responding means faster response times, less churn, happier customers. Of course, a startup must balance this ratio with the increased costs.
  4. 24x7 Support - very few companies provide 24x7 support because it can be very expensive. But 24x7 support reduces wait times, because agents are constantly responding.

Zendesk’s reports are great tools better understand the relative performance of your startup’s support operations. Using the right tools and techniques, you can maximize your customer happiness and increase the likelihood customers refer other customers, helping your startup grow faster and more efficiently.

Published 2015-02-04 in Customer Success 


Tomasz Tunguz is partner at Redpoint. I write daily, data-driven blog posts about key questions facing startups. I co-authored the book, Winning with Data. Join more than 20,000 others receiving these blog posts by email.


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