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Drive revenue during an economic downturn

Big box platforms are limited in their ability to fuel growth. Turn ordinary interactions into personal and extraordinary revenue-generating opportunities.

Por Norman Gennaro, President Worldwide Sales, Zendesk

Última actualización en October 9, 2023

CEOs are still nervous about the current economic climate. But with the right CX tools, businesses can turn customer service interactions into revenue-generating opportunities and make it through the storm.

According to a quarterly survey of business leaders conducted by The Conference Board, in Q3 of 2023, 84 percent of U.S.-based CEOs reported they are preparing for an economic recession over the next 12 to 18 months, compared to 98 percent in Q4 of last year.

“The gloom that pervaded among CEOs at the start of 2023 has lessened, but most are still treading carefully,” said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., vice chairman of the Business Council and trustee of The Conference Board. “Meanwhile, future expectations improved moderately, only 39 percent of CEOs in Q3 expected general economic conditions to worsen over the next six months, down from 56 percent in Q2.”

In Europe, CEOs are more optimistic. In fact, The Conference Board Measure of Confidence for European CEOs currently stands at 53 in the first half of this year, up 29 points from the second half of last year—where a reading of 50 reflects more positive responses than negative. However, only a quarter of these same CEOs are looking at the next six months with optimism.

The good news is that business leaders realize the importance of prioritizing CX, especially during an economic downturn. According to Zendesk research, 72 percent plan to invest in new tools to improve their company’s customer experience and service in response to the expected impact of economic conditions this year. So, if your CX team isn’t leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to create more personalized conversations, now’s the perfect time to seize your opportunity.

Grow revenue in any season

When companies provide exceptional CX, it can be an engine for growth, and investments in artificial intelligence will help you to take your CX to the next level.

Advanced chatbots are an excellent way to provide great service experiences, and as such, a great way to boost your revenue. These chatbots are pre-trained to understand customer intent, which allows them to deliver personalized and accurate responses 24/7—simultaneously empowering agents to focus on more complex requests and deliver better service experiences. Advanced bots can also proactively interact with customers by sending personalized promotions, recommending related products, resurfacing items abandoned in their carts, and much more. As a result, they can generate more revenue for your business.

You can use generative AI to enhance the quality of your customer service chatbots. Generative AI helps chatbots be even more contextually aware, enabling them to produce human-like responses to customer inquiries. This technology also allows your chatbots to reflect your company’s brand identity and respond to customers with more empathy, creating more opportunities to turn conversations into conversions.

Chatbots are especially impactful when they’re used alongside a customizable support platform that allows you to quickly and easily add digital channels—like messaging, phone, and email—and unify them in one place. When conversations are connected across channels, agents can deliver hyper-personalized experiences, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty. Agents can also recommend smarter upsells, and increase wallet share from high-value customers.

The benefits of using support software like Zendesk are calculable. In a recent study, Forrester Consulting found that a composite organization earned $31.2M over three years versus costs of $8.1M. This resulted in a net present value (NPV) of $23.1M and a return on investment (ROI) of 286 percent.

Boost sales with new CX tools

Drills, sanders, and other power tools manufactured by Stanley Black and Decker have helped Americans with their home improvement projects for more than 100 years. But with evolving customer expectations, the venerable company needed a new kind of tool: customer service software.

Stanley Black and Decker has an international presence, and the company was able to use the Zendesk Web Widget to capture sales that otherwise would have been lost during one particularly frenzied Black Friday.

“In Colombia, we ran out of merchandise in several stores on the first day, but we were able to redirect traffic to other stores using the web widget and chat,” recalls Carlos Jaimes, Stanley Black and Decker’s after sales experience manager. The integration of Zendesk resulted in a 500 percent sales increase over the previous year.

Getting started was easy, too—even though Stanley Black and Decker’s support teams handle an average of 10,000 tickets every month. After just a single day of training, Stanley Black and Decker’s agents were up and running with Zendesk.

And even though leaders expect the monthly volume of tickets to double, they’re not worried.
“We’re confident that Zendesk will allow us to service the rising ticket volume,” says Orlando Gadea Ros, business innovation director at Stanley Black and Decker.

The race to increase sales

Founded in 2010 after 500 competitors raced an obstacle course in Vermont, Spartan Race is now the world’s largest obstacle race and endurance brand. With more than five million participants racing in events across the globe, Spartan Race also produces television specials, operates a gym, and offers a line of clothing and athletic gear.

A Zendesk customer since 2013, Spartan Race had been using a traditional live chat model for years with great success. But when the pandemic hit in 2020, Spartan Race was forced to cancel events and reduce its headcount, leading the team to explore new CX capabilities.

“We simply didn’t have enough staff to sit on a live chat during support hours waiting for messages—and we couldn’t support the volume that was coming in,” recalls Aja Varney, director of global customer engagement.

After upgrading to the Zendesk Suite, Varney and her team were able to offer efficient omnichannel support through email, chat, phone, bot, social media, web form, and the help center. And once the team implemented the Zendesk integration with Shopify, Spartan Race saw a 27 percent increase in sales.

“We’re getting through tickets faster, and customers are happier because we’re able to respond more quickly,” Varney says. “Zendesk products have made my life much easier—it’s been a really positive experience.”

Calm before the storm

The economic picture may look bleak right now, but improving customer service is always in season. With some judicious planning, you can quickly turn CX into an engine for growth, especially when you start adding AI and the right customer service tools into the mix.

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