The Digital Achievement Gap: Companies Struggle to Meet Customer Expectations

The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019 shows discrepancy
between what customers expect and what companies are able to deliver

(NYSE: ZEN) today released The
Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019
showing that
companies of all sizes across industries and geographies lack the
capabilities needed to keep up with ever increasing customer
expectations. The report is based on global survey results, focus
groups, and the Zendesk
, an index of product usage data from 45,000 companies
using Zendesk.

While good customer service outranks convenience and reputation when
people are considering which companies to do business with, according to
the report, there is a global dip in overall customer satisfaction. Over
the past five years, customer satisfaction is down 2.2 percent, from
94.6 percent in 2013 to 92.5 percent in 2018, decreasing nearly a full
percentage point in the past year.

At the same time, customer expectations continue to increase. Nearly
half of customers surveyed (46 percent) said their expectations are
higher than they were a year ago.

In the Forrester Research report, The Five CRM Trends In 2019 That Will
Shape Engagement, Relationships, And Revenue, analyst Kate Leggett
writes, “In the age of the customer, executives don’t decide how
customer-centric their companies are — customers do.”1

“We are seeing a widening gap between what customers expect and what
companies can deliver,” said Jeff Titterton, chief marketing officer at
Zendesk. “Whether you’re a 100-year-old financial services stalwart or a
fast-growing consumer tech startup, your customers are comparing you to
the best experiences they’ve ever had.”

According to The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019,
companies in travel, financial services, and retail industries are more
likely to be among the leading innovators.

Companies like Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb are built on an entirely new
kind of customer experience, raising the stakes for everyone. These
businesses stand out for their ability to simplify the purchasing
experience, communicate directly with consumers with digital tools, and
use powerful data analytics to improve operations.

For those companies still struggling to deliver the experience their
customers expect, the report identifies specific areas where businesses
of all sizes, in every industry, can close the gap between what
customers want and what they’re getting. According to the report, the
most successful companies do the following:

Invest in an open, flexible platform: The World Economic Forum
said earlier
this year
that fewer than 10 percent of business models are
economically viable as the world digitizes. Seventy percent of the
world’s top 10 most valuable companies (Amazon, Apple, Alibaba,
Microsoft et al) and 70 percent of the $1 billion+ “Unicorn” startups
(Didi, Airbnb et al) operate a digital platform business model, yet
fewer than 2 percent of other companies do. 2

Nearly 70 percent of customers expect support teams to collaborate so
they don’t have to start over when contacting the same company through a
different channel. This means companies need to manage customer data
across all aspects of the customer experience and ensure a single record
of the customer persists across channels, devices, and requests.

Pushing data in and out of support software using APIs, apps, and
integrations can help businesses see a complete view of their customers.
Companies using APIs resolve tickets 21 percent faster, and their
customers spend 35 percent less time waiting for agents to respond, all
while managing more than three times as many requests.

Meet customers where they are: The Zendesk Customer Experience
Trends Report 2019 findings show that 40 percent of customers prefer to
use search or help centers before contacting support, yet only 20
percent of support teams provide self-service.

When they do have to contact customer service, customers want to be able
to switch between channels and pick the one that best meets their needs.
A whopping 85 percent of customers will use a different contact method
if they don’t get a response from their initial request, with 44 percent
waiting less than an hour before doing so.

Lean in to proactive engagement: While 30 percent of support
teams are currently using proactive engagement for sales and marketing,
according to the report, there are key benefits often overlooked,
including reducing customer effort, preventing issues with a product,
and minimizing support tickets for customer service agents. The vast
majority of customers, nearly 90 percent, said they look more favorably
on or are neutral about companies that reach out proactively.

Bet on AI: High performing businesses are twice as likely to use
AI. In fact, companies using AI powered features by Zendesk have saved
225,000 agent hours and given 2,800 years back to customers. They’re
resolving tickets 21 percent faster while handling six times the volume
of requests. That said, 85 percent of enterprise companies aren’t yet
using AI.

To learn more about the most important trends in customer experiences in
2019 and beyond, go to
to download the report and check out the Customer Support Performance
Scorecard, a personalized rating to help companies assess their own
customer experiences.


This report combines data from the Zendesk Benchmark, an index of
product usage data from 45,000 companies using Zendesk, with the results
of surveys and focus groups gauging the attitudes of customer service
managers, customer service agents, and customers from Australia, Brazil,
Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

About Zendesk:

The best customer experiences are built with Zendesk. Our customer
service and engagement products are powerful and flexible, and scale to
meet the needs of any business. Zendesk serves businesses across
hundreds of industries, with more than 125,000 paid customer accounts
offering service and support in over 30 languages. Zendesk is
headquartered in San Francisco, and operates worldwide with 16 offices
in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. Learn more

1 The Five CRM Trends In 2019 That Will Shape Engagement,
Relationships, And Revenue, Forrester Research, Inc., January 22, 2019



Analisa Schelle, Zendesk

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