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Sofa so good for DFS’s customer service support with Zendesk

Furniture giant DFS has gained better insights about its customers through Zendesk, which helped to serve them in a faster and more efficient way

DFS
“With Zendesk providing a more holistic view of the business, DFS can now more accurately monitor, measure, and improve efficiencies in its customer service systems. Having this data in granular detail is helping to form the roadmap for the next 12 to 18 months of where DFS needs to be focusing its efforts”

Liz Millington

Digital Transformation Manager, Ascensos at DFS

“Zendesk has allowed us to be both proactive and reactive where we have needed to respond to customer demand and business requirements. We’ve been able to create teams, workflows and automations in the platform quickly and easily due to the flexibility of the solution, meaning customers get the right answers from the right people more efficiently.”

Kai Bentley

Technology Business Partner at DFS

Number of stores

110

Years in business

50+

1,780

Agents

12hr/7day

Contact

DFS

Bringing together comfort and quality

Comfort and quality are often at the top of our lists when shopping for a new sofa, DFS prides itself on providing both. From humble beginnings above a billiard hall in Doncaster over 50 years ago, DFS has grown to become the UK’s largest sofa manufacturer and retailer, with more than 110 stores across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

As it is such a large business with many customers to support, DFS has over 1,780 colleagues using the Zendesk platform across its Customer Service, Retail and Delivery operations based all over the UK, with a number of agents based in the Doncaster Head Office. The largest customer support team is run in partnership with Ascensos, an independent customer management provider based in Glasgow.

To help provide a best-in-class customer experience, this sizable support team relies on a full omnichannel solution provided through Zendesk Enterprise Suite. The solution includes Support, Guide and Chat, as well as various integrations into the platform including the Ascensos telephony system and the DFS order management system.

Delivering a unified customer service experience

The main driver for implementing a new customer service solution was to offer agents quick and seamless visibility of data and existing contact across different platforms, to deliver a consistent and unified customer experience.

“One of the issues that we were trying to address was the modernisation of the customer support offering and reduction of duplication across the various teams and departments,” explains Liz Millington, Digital Transformation Manager at Ascensos. “We knew that moving DFS to a ticketing system, where there was visibility for anyone using the platform, would help drive this forward,” she adds.

It was important for both DFS and Ascensos to find a solution that would ensure efficiency and ease for DFS and its customers. Having partnered with Zendesk for many of its other clients, Asenscos knew the benefits this solution—and its ability to provide seamless support across channels—could offer a company such as DFS. DFS made the decision to implement Zendesk Enterprise Suite and began the rollout process, starting with the first-line agents.

Value gained from 360-degree visibility

The rollout process progressed across the support organisation, to offer all agents 360-degree visibility of customer data in one place. Having all customer data to hand means that agents can view all previous conversations between the customer and DFS and deliver support without having to jump in and out of different systems.

“That visibility enables us to see in more detail why our customers are contacting us and, wherever you are in the support organisation, you are always able to pick from exactly the same list of contact reasons. This enables us to track trends between each channel,” says Millington.

“Instead of sending an email, we now send a ticket, which provides us much more visibility in terms of monitoring the average age of tickets, ticket updates, and time since the last ticket update. We can also see how many tickets are going to our retail teams and our delivery business from the first-line teams. One of the benefits of having this visibility is that we can quickly identify where productivity in a team or department may be below the average or targets set and we can look at providing support to boost agent efficiency,” adds Kai Bentley, Technology Business Partner at DFS.

DFS is now also able to measure how its customers interact through various channels. “Having mapped the customer journey prior to our implementation of Zendesk, we knew the touch points that customers would frequently use for different types of queries. We’d then pass these queries to the relevant teams. The value that Zendesk brings is that we can now overlay customer data into that to see exactly what channel a customer chooses for a particular contact reason. This means that we can now see in greater detail how our customers prefer to communicate with us, when, and via which platforms. This means we can allocate resources in the right place to deal with that query and to provide the quickest resolution for the customer, and the greatest efficiency for the business,” describes Danny Mould, Continuous Improvement Project Manager at DFS.

“Another thing that Zendesk has allowed us to do is be both proactive and reactive where we have needed to respond to customer demand and business requirements,” adds Bentley, “We’ve been able to create teams, workflows and automations in the platform quickly and easily due to the flexibility of the solution, meaning customers get the right answers from the right people more efficiently.”

Insights drive the business forward

A key goal of implementing Zendesk was to improve the customer experience and journey; the results speak for themselves. Customers can now use Zendesk channels to interact with an agent 8am to 8pm seven days a week. Key benefits include the following:

  • DFS has increased its call answer rate to consistently hit targets set by the business

  • Call handling time has reduced, as agents are less reliant on outbound calls to other departments and inboxes

  • Visibility of open tickets for both agents and managers has reduced first response times for emails. Emails are also resolved quicker because it is easier for agents to pass tickets to second-line teams with the full context of the conversation attached

  • The team is meeting its SLA for response because multi-skilled agents can now work across chat and email on the same interface, helping them deal with volume of demand more easily

  • DFS have been able to resource Live Chat in a way that allows its agents to spend more time with the customers who need them most, and get to them quicker

  • The company has plans to roll out more integrations into core DFS systems that will provide further benefits in the future

“With Zendesk providing a more holistic view of customer contact with the business, DFS can now more accurately monitor, measure, and improve efficiencies in its customer service systems. Having this data in granular detail is helping to form the roadmap for the next 12 to 18 months of where DFS needs to be focusing its efforts,” says Millington.

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