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Freedom Furniture sees efficiency and CSAT skyrocket with Zendesk AI

When Australian retailer Freedom Furniture decided to make CX a key differentiator, the company ramped up its use of Zendesk to create a more efficient customer journey. Using Zendesk AI in a proof of concept, the company saw a 92 percent reduction in manual triage hours and ROI savings of 2 FTE. The next era of customer support at Freedom Furniture will involve conversational chatbot experiences with an AI Agent.

Freedom Furniture
“The Expand feature is great because our online agents may be chatting with up to seven people at once. They can just type in a few words and get a fully fleshed out response that is conversational and empathetic. That’s been a game changer for us.”

Stacey Zavattiero

Customer Experience Manager at Freedom Furniture

“Zendesk AI has changed the way we speak to our customers, because now we can actually match their tone in conversation, whether they like to have fun using emojis or prefer the conversation to be more formal."

Stacey Zavattiero

Customer Experience Manager at Freedom Furniture

Company Headquarters

Sydney, Australia





Company Founded



Reduction in manual triage


Decrease in first reply time


CSAT Improvement


Decrease in full resolution time

Freedom Furniture

Creating truly unique, high-value experiences for customers

After four decades in the retail business, Freedom Furniture has become a household name in Australia and New Zealand with 60 brick-and-mortar stores and a growing catalog of more than 30,000 online exclusive products. Freedom Furniture also takes pride in providing lasting, high quality products made from sustainably sourced materials.

“We want to offer products that customers can have in their home for 10 or 20 years,” says Stacey Zavattiero, Customer Experience Manager at Freedom Furniture. “As a brand, we are working towards ensuring that sustainability is a priority in the decisions we make, which includes several strategic initiatives.”

A commitment to sustainability is just one way that Freedom Furniture sets itself apart from traditional retailers and online competitors poised to disrupt the market.

“Customer experience is really the main differentiator between a customer purchasing our product and somebody walking away,” Zavattiero says. The company has spent the last five years getting its sales, store environment, and brand presence aligned with both product and marketing perspectives. “CX is the final integral piece of the puzzle which will help position us as a leading mid-market retailer. We want to create truly unique, high-value experiences for our customers.”

A better journey with omnichannel CX

When Zavattiero signed on to lead the CX team in October 2020, she helped Freedom Furniture put its strategy in action and transition to using Zendesk as a true customer service platform. Previously, the company had only been using the Zendesk help center for basic functions.

Today, there are 24 support agents using Zendesk Suite Enterprise to answer requests via web form, chat, and email. The omnichannel system provides a unified experience throughout the customer journey, from pre-purchase to post-purchase queries.

After rolling out Zendesk for customer support, the warranty department, and the loyalty program (My Freedom), the company started creating internal use cases and now has five departments on the Zendesk platform.

AI is the new differentiator

As a 40-year-old company accustomed to constant change and adaptation, Freedom Furniture jumped at the opportunity to add artificial intelligence to its CX toolbox, as well. “We started hearing about Zendesk AI and how it could better triage our tickets and help our team understand specifically what the customer is looking for,” recalls Zavattiero.

After using Zendesk AI in a proof of concept (POC), Zavattiero and her team members were shocked by the amazing ROI they achieved.

“With Zendesk AI, we were able to continue to provide positive customer experiences even when our headcount decreased,” she says. Despite having fewer employees, the support team was also able to respond to customer requests within the same day, which they’d never done before.

Zavattiero believes the value that Zendesk AI has brought to the business is “incalculable,” yet the impressive results just keep coming. Freedom Furniture has seen a 74 percent improvement in reply time, one of their primary KPIs. The team also reduced full resolution time by a whopping 92 percent, from 16.3 hours down to 1.3 hours.

“When I presented the Zendesk proof of concept results to our senior leadership team, the CEO replied, ‘This is a no brainer.’ And, our entire senior leadership team agreed this would enhance our customers’ interactions.” Now, Zavattiero encourages other companies to explore the benefits of using Zendesk as a CX platform and for AI.

Faster triage and agent onboarding

The team has come a long way since the pre-Zendesk days, when the biggest challenge was manually triaging support tickets. With the previous system, it took agents up to 20 minutes to action a claim and they had to consult multiple systems before contacting the customer.

With Zendesk AI, the team has reduced the total time spent on manual triage from 646 hours to 52 hours, a 92 percent improvement.

“Intelligent triage has not only changed how we think about triaging our tickets, but also how we group them,” says Zavattiero. “We’re working on having an escalation point, rather than routing a frustrated customer to an agent and putting them on hold. If the customer sentiment is negative, we’re going to automatically triage them to someone who will quickly reply.”

When agents follow up on complex tickets, such as a warranty issue spanning several months, they can save time with AI. “I no longer have to read every single part of the conversation, because now we can auto summarize,” adds Zavattiero. “With the click of the button, I can see exactly where the ticket is, understand the issue, and see what my next steps are.”

The gains in efficiency with AI have carried over to onboarding, too. “We’ve been able to quickly get new team members on Zendesk managing tickets, because macro suggestions can guide their responses to customers. It has reduced our onboarding time, instead of taking six weeks to fully train them and get them onto the system,” she says.

Empathetic conversations lead to higher CSAT

Every day, Zavattiero hears from agents how much they love using Zendesk AI. “The Expand feature is great because our online agents may be chatting with up to seven people at once. They can just type in a few words and get a fully fleshed out response that is conversational and empathetic. That’s been a game changer for us,” she says.

Meanwhile, Tone Shift helps agents draft more polished responses and establish a stronger personal connection with customers. “I deal with customer complaints and escalated customers on our legal side,” explains Zavattiero. “With Tone Shift, I can easily articulate what I need to say in conversational language, and it only takes one click to make it sound more professional.”

No matter what energy the customer brings to the interaction, team members can reply with a consistent brand voice. “Zendesk AI has changed the way we speak to our customers, because now we can actually match their tone in conversation, whether they like to have fun using emojis or prefer the conversation to be more formal,” adds Zavattiero. “Even if a customer becomes aggressive, Tone Shift allows us to take the agent’s emotion out of the chat conversation, which is amazing.”

That’s created another win for Freedom Furniture: conversational experiences powered by Zendesk AI led to a 17 percent increase in customer satisfaction.

Coming soon: AI Agent

In spring 2024, the company plans to introduce an AI Agent which will add the power of pre-trained intents and generative AI to the current bot. “Self-service is a very important piece in our ability to serve customers more efficiently and answer their questions faster. We’re excited to get the bot up and running, because we want to offer that amazing support to our customers 24/7,” shares Zavattiero.

Since Freedom started using generative AI for its knowledge base, the team has been able to identify gaps in help center content. “Zendesk AI has given us the tools to get the in-depth knowledge our customers are looking for, while also educating our bot on how to reply,” Zavattiero says. “That’s going to change how we communicate. Customers are not going to ask to talk to a human as often because the answer will already be fleshed out.”

Future integrations and partnership

This year, the company will also be rolling out Zendesk Talk across Australia and New Zealand, and integrating social media channels, including Instagram, Facebook, X, WhatsApp, and Google Reviews.

The ultimate goal will be integrating all customer-facing departments under one customer experience team, which will help eliminate silos across the business and allow agents to create the same on-brand tone and messaging.

Freedom Furniture’s experience working with Zendesk Assist professional services has Zavattiero feeling confident about future collaboration. “Zendesk’s partnership doesn’t just stop at getting the CRM platform set up,” she says. “They invest in your business and your brand to make it better, and they will be as passionate as you are about your customer experience. It’s the best support I’ve ever received from an outside vendor.”

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