The global impact of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is being felt across markets by businesses and industries of all sizes around the world.
Companies and governments are increasingly seeing significant spikes in requests for support, for example the week of 15-22 March saw a 20% increase in global tickets compared to the same period last year, according to Zendesk Benchmark Snapshot.
According to Zendesk’s Benchmark Snapshot, which has been analyzing the support interaction data of more than 20,000 global companies weekly since the outbreak, the three biggest industries that have seen spikes in support requests over the past three weeks are remote conferencing and learning (216%), airlines (199%), and grocery brands (39%).
Global markets are also seeing vast changes in customer behaviour, with individual countries seeing a strong correlation between the reporting of new Coronavirus cases and spikes in support requests. In Europe, the biggest impacts have not surprisingly been seen in Italy, Germany, and the UK; while markets across the Asia Pacific region are starting to see tickets stabilize as the number of cases decline in major markets like Singapore and Japan. Latin America has seen a surge in tickets in the past two weeks as it also responds to the global impact of the virus’s spread.
“Things are changing so fast right now, and in ways that feel increasingly difficult to predict. Business simply isn’t business as usual, and we’re prepared for things to continue this way for many months,” said Zendesk chief customer officer, Elisabeth Zornes. “It’s obvious this has created new challenges for companies and their customer experience teams, making it harder to keep up with what matters most to their business – their customers and employees. We are rolling out a number of free software solutions and resources that we hope will take some of that pain and pressure away.”
Free Collaboration Software to Help Remote Teams
In response to these widespread service disruptions, Zendesk is launching a number of free resources and products for businesses including the Remote Support Bundle, a set of free software and resources designed to help distributed teams stay connected while providing their customers with the help they need. The Remote Software Bundle will be free for six months to both new and existing customers with no ongoing commitment. It provides businesses with the right tools to make fast, informed and empowered decisions as they establish new, remote-centric ways of working.
The Remote Support Bundle comes with some of the essential capabilities customer experience (CX) teams need to keep being there for and helping their customers, such as:
Collaboration add-on, which enables support agents to communicate seamlessly with other teams over channels such as Slack, all without leaving Zendesk
Explore Professional, reporting software that enables businesses to analyze and act quickly on emerging and critical trends in their customer data
Tymeshift, a Zendesk workforce management partner, gives teams the ability to track and manage the productivity of a suddenly remote workforce;and
Training Credits for businesses to ramp up new teammates quickly to keep up with increasingly unpredictable customer demand
“We are focused on helping people around the world adapt to remote work with free resources — and we’re also directly supporting organizations working on coronavirus research, response, or mitigation with free upgrades,” said Ali Rayl, VP of Customer Experience at Slack. “Now more than ever, it’s important that we continue working with partners like Zendesk on integrations that can help keep operations running smoothly.”
Zendesk is also working with business process outsourcers (BPO) to bolster businesses that need to quickly deploy additional resources to manage the latest spikes in support requests by providing access to Zendesk Enterprise Suite for BPOs at no charge for up to 90 days with no commitment or terms contract. Zendesk is offering this solution to give BPOs the ability to deploy Rapid Response teams using its enterprise-grade cloud customer and employee service solution. This solution is designed to help BPO’s meet the fast rising demands of companies who are transitioning their employees to remote work models, and quickly ensure continuity of service to customers during this potentially disruptive time.
Zendesk’s BPO Rapid Response solution comes with a number of benefits of its Enterprise Suite, including:
Knowledge base to allow customers to self serve most common questions
Live chat to allow customers to move seamlessly from web self service to a chat conversation with a live agent
Support solution to route tickets to appropriate teams for fast resolution
Answer Botfor ticket deflection
Explore for reporting and analytics
Boosting Support for Communities and Startups
In an effort to help nonprofits and community organizations impacted by COVID-19, Zendesk’s Tech For Good program is donating free software and support to help manage volunteering, relief efforts, home assistance, and more. In the past five days, more than 60 organizations from 18 countries have applied, and Zendesk has donated hundreds of agent licences to 20 organizations in collaboration with more than 40 implementation partners.
Zendesk is also continuing its commitment to startups by offering any qualified company, anywhere in the world, six months of free Zendesk tools through Zendesk for Startups. In addition, for startups specifically addressing COVID-19 response, Zendesk will provide startup experts ready to provide those companies with hands-on support with onboarding and implementation to get them up and running as fast as possible. Two startups that are already using Zendesk tools to directly respond to the crisis include PWNHealth, a national clinician network that provides safe and easy access to diagnostic testing; and MyCovidRisk.org, a collaborative platform that predicts the risk of COVID-19 exposure for individuals by applying AI to the geolocation history of users and officially reported cases.
Zendesk is also moving all of its business events online including its customer mindshares, user groups and startup community meetups to ensure CX leaders and their teams can stay connected with one another, share innovative ways of serving customers, and discuss unique challenges they are facing in the current market.
“As a cloud-based solution, Zendesk can be accessed anytime from anywhere, so companies can continue to provide great support to their customers as they begin to roll out work from home processes. Beyond that, we’ve invested heavily in building a robust infrastructure to ensure a high-level of consistent reliability,” said Zornes. “We hope that these new offers – along with a host of free resources, such as virtual events that can be streamed on demand, and new guidance and insight on our blog – will give companies a boost to get through these difficult weeks and months ahead, while keeping teams productive and collaborative in order to give customers the help they need.”