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Article 3 min read

Agile practices (2): Agility starts with self-service

Last updated November 3, 2021

Agile companies are pouring resources into online help centres, and with good reason. Content reflects the changing needs of their customer base.Anticipating and answering your customers’ most common questions helps to tame spiking tickets when teams are inundated or when staffing levels are low.

Europe and the UK had a 20% Increase in agents adding articles to the help center/knowledge base since the start of the pandemic. Those companies in the region that are responding to customers faster are have added help center articles at a 45% faster rate. Those European companies that are resolving customer issues faster have added help center articles at a 27% faster rate.

Fig. 1. Increase in the number of help center & knowledge base articles in Europe and the UK since the beginning of the pandemic


Those already using self-service are leaning in

In periods of volatility, regular updates to the content in your help centre can help answer common questions to your support team without the need for an agent to get involved. Companies that were more agile have even reduced resolution times during this period. They have relied heavily on their help centres, have either been adding new content or dedicated more resources to the effort. Likewise the use of internal knowledge base and community articles has increased considerably (fig 2.).

Notable standouts include:

  • B2B companies

  • Mid-sized (for new content) and larger enterprise companies (for increased staffing)

  • Digital natives like entertainment, gaming, and remote work companies

Fig 2. Community and knowledge base at digital natives, logistics and fitness companies (Q2 2021 benchmark update)


Also leaning in are sectors that predominantly live online, particularly those that have seen engagement soar during the pandemic (think entertainment, gaming, and remote work companies). Globally over 70 percent of these agile companies have added new articles to keep pace with evolving customer needs, and at least 1 in 5 have increased the number of dedicated agents.

New content creation is especially high in Asia-Pacific (up 66 percent), followed by Europe and North America (both up 63 percent). Latin America may lag behind in producing new articles, but it leads in assigning new agents; 1 in 5 agile companies in that region have boosted staffing on self-service channels.

Those who don’t have it, are getting it

When it comes to getting more agile, companies are turning to macros, triggers and automation. European companies that are responding to customers faster and resolving issues faster are both adding macros 20% faster than other companies in the region. And those companies in EMEA that are resolving customer issues faster are 22% more likely to be adding automations. They are also adding automations at a 27% faster rate, and using 10% more automations, on average.

Then there are triggers. These are business rules that you define and that run automatically when a ticket is created or updated, if certain conditions are met. This can include notifying customers when you’re out of office or sending customers satisfaction score follow-ups. They can also help get tickets to the right people, escalate certain issues, or route priority customers to a specialised support team. European companies that are responding to customers faster are embracing them and 13% more likely to be adding triggers compared to their less agile peers.

AI can help

AI can also be a useful partner by directing customers to helpful resources online, saving them (and your support team) valuable time and effort. Not only are agile companies adopting Zendesk’s AnswerBot faster than any other channel, but those that already had it are increasing their use at an equally rapid pace.

Fig 3. Number of resolutions by AnswerBot in Europe (including the UK)

The number of resolutions via Answerbot grew early in the pandemic across European companies and has slowed down. 
Growth came mostly from Enterprise companies (defined as 1,000 employees or more)


Adoption and usage has risen by 68.1 percent in Europe (including the UK), similar to other regions. But the number of resolutions via Answerbot has stalled after expoential growth at the beginning of the pandemic.

1 Building an agile support team
2 Agility starts with self-service
3 Customers are turning to messaging. Why aren’t agile companies doing the same?
4 Prioritising fast responses with live channels and social messaging