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Article 4 min read

Retain your customer base through a recession

During an economic slowdown, you can take specific steps to maintain and even grow your existing customer base. Deepen customer relationships by delivering seamless, personalised CX on all channels.

By Teresa Anania, SVP Global Customer Success, Zendesk

Last updated February 23, 2024

Nobody likes losing customers. And for many businesses that made the shift to operating online during the pandemic, it’s been a challenge to connect with customers on a personal level. We’ve learned that the tools we use to connect can either hinder or help us.

Fortunately, there’s a wide range of digital platforms that can help you understand your customers in a deeper and more meaningful way. And developing customer loyalty really pays off: according to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can boost profits by more than 25% over time.

It’s always a good time to make a connection

When communicating with a business, customers want their interactions to feel authentic and personal. They also want past interactions to inform future conversations. And just like any other relationship, customers hate having to repeat themselves – especially to customer service agents.

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a luxury brand synonymous with personal service, knows this all too well. Marco Trecroce, CIO of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, partnered with Zendesk to implement Sunshine Conversations, Zendesk’s advanced messaging platform. Now, agents at the Four Seasons are able to easily offer guests upgrades, spa visits and extra amenities based on their history – and in their preferred language.

“This is the one technology investment that I think has resonated with our guests”, Trecroce says. “That’s what’s lovely about messaging; it’s all about having a conversation. And once you’ve moved into conversational, it completely changes the dynamic and the interaction you have with the guests – and connecting is the key. Once you have a connection, customers stay very loyal to your brand and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Personalised messaging has greatly improved customer loyalty at the Four Seasons. Since implementing it, the brand’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) has increased seven points.

Retaining readers with AI

Winner of 27 Pulitzer Prizes and a New England institution for more than 150 years, The Boston Globe has kept readers informed since the paper was sold by newsies for less than a nickel. These days, most Globe subscribers get their news on smartphones and have come to expect a 24/7 digital experience.

The Globe’s CX team therefore implemented Ada, an AI chatbot integrated with Zendesk, to help transform the customer experience and better serve modern subscribers.

“A chatbot not only helps you optimise support for your customers but also helps drive revenue and growth”, Perri Chaikof, Director of Product Marketing at Ada, explains. “By helping the newspaper maintain subscriptions and promote upcoming events and digital offerings, the chatbot is actually driving revenue for the business.”

Since launching Ada, the Globe has experienced a 10% reduction in churn. With the new platform, 89% of chatbot queries never escalate to an agent, resulting in a 65% reduction in live-chat volume. Agents are now free to answer more complex queries quickly, offering the kind of experience that creates life-long customers. And with this increase in productivity, the Globe’s CX agents are better able to retain subscribers and increase customer lifetime value.

A better blend of CX

BlendJet, a portable blender that’s ubiquitous on social media, launched in 2017 and quickly became the #1 blender in direct-to-consumer sales. And with one blender selling every three seconds, the BlendJet customer service team has millions of smoothie fans to keep happy.

“We try to treat our customers the way we would want to be treated,” says Kathryn O’Malley, VP of Customer Experience. “Not everything runs smoothly all the time but it’s important to be there for them and resolve any issues as quickly as possible.”

BlendJet’s team has grown from three to 30 customer service reps in five years and collectively responds to more than 45,000 messages every month. With that volume of enquiries, BlendJet uses Zendesk to manage tickets coming from emails, contact forms, phone and social media.

Data is centralised across social channels, so BlendJet’s agents can instantly access detailed customer information and history. BlendJet’s agents also use TypeGenie, a smart AI autocomplete product that automates repetitive typing on email and chat by suggesting words and sentences.

“TypeGenie is very valuable for us; it helps us improve our efficiency so we can maintain our response time – even as demand increases”, O’Malley explains.

Thanks to TypeGenie, agents spend less time composing responses to customers and fixing spelling mistakes. With this increased efficiency, BlendJet has recorded a 30% boost in agent productivity.

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