HeliosX + Zendesk: Streamlining support and driving revenue
The consolidation of multi-brand customer support into one team powered by Zendesk had a dramatic impact for healthcare technology company, HeliosX. A 97% drop in first response time fuelled a 7 point CSAT improvement, while a new omni-channel approach increased sales by 20%.
“Zendesk has always been able to keep up with the changing demands of our customers which means we’ve been able to adapt easily, too.”
Global Head of Customer Care at HeliosX
“By consolidating everything into Zendesk, we’ve reduced our staffing costs by over 50% while increasing our efficiency, performance and CSAT.”
Global Head of Customer Care at HeliosX
Health, Wellness & Fitness
First response time
HeliosX’s mission is to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare for every person on the planet through innovative technology. As a multi-faceted company with a presence in both the UK and the US, it oversees the work of six distinctive brands: Dermatica, MedExpress, ZipHealth, PharmacyLab, RocketRX and The Skin Method. Each brand provides a unique service, from personalised dermatology products to prescription delivery, but always with the same goal in mind: making healthcare easily accessible and affordable for everybody.
To say that HeliosX is customer-centric would be an understatement. Customer satisfaction is their absolute number one priority. “In company-wide meetings, our CEO consistently makes clear that his priority is ensuring that our customers and patients are satisfied, that we’re working towards our mission, meeting our goals and staying true to our values”, Fabrice Dowling, global head of customer care explained.
The challenge: Managing customer support across multiple brands
As global head of customer care Dowling’s role is “to ensure that customer care teams are operating efficiently, maintaining high productivity and offering the best service available to each brand’s specific customers”.
This is a unique challenge at HeliosX, as each of its brands deals with very different issues and their customers have different needs. “The services and information we offer to the patients of each brand differs. So we have different guidelines, operating procedures and tones of voice”, he explained.
As a result, customer care had traditionally been managed separately by each brand. “They all had their own team with their own particular processes. We had about 4 or 5 different systems operating at once including Zendesk, HelpScout, Freshdesk, two different live chat services and a phone service, VoIP. There was very little cross-communication, no reporting, no high-level visibility and no tracking.”
While this siloed approach worked for a time, things came to a head after a period of rapid growth: “we had a constant backlog and our Trustpilot rating dropped to 4.3”, Dowling explained.
And it wasn’t just customers who were affected. The customer care staff at HeliosX were struggling to keep up with demand and provide the level of service they wanted to. Morale and workplace stress were becoming a problem.
Streamlining customer care with one do-it-all platform
Dowling knew that consolidating customer care for all four brands into one platform and one team would solve the issues HeliosX customers and staff were having. Streamlining would empower customer care agents to work flexibly across the different brands as and when needed to manage busy periods.
Now all six HeliosX brands are supported by the same team of 20 customer care agents working remotely in the UK and the US. “Although we have dedicated teams for each particular brand, if there’s one brand that has a spike in traffic, we can easily move resources around to cover”, Dowling explained.
When the time came to consolidate, HeliosX had a number of customer support platforms to choose from. Dowling was already familiar with Zendesk having used it to his advantage in a previous role. But that wasn’t the only reason Zendesk became the obvious choice.
Powerful reporting, quick and easy set up, and securing long term growth
First, Dowling explained “the reporting capabilities were far greater than the other systems. When I joined there was zero reporting, no visibility into performance, and no metrics. Zendesk's analytics offered us a really clear way to start making decisions based on data”.
Then there was the easy set-up. “The way we could just create flows and automations was so much easier than it would have been through Freshdesk or Help Scout. I wanted to get the system up and running quickly and Zendesk was the better tool for being able to make changes at speed. We completed the migration, including setting up automations, triggers, macros, multiple views and adding content to the help centre in about three weeks.”
Dowling also knew that Zendesk could help power HeliosX’s long-term growth and success. “We were focused on our email service first, but I knew we would want to expand with chat, voice and other channels. Zendesk was more cost-effective with that long term plan in mind.”
In fact, that cost-effectiveness has already come into play in a big way. “Over a period of twelve months, we’ve seen a 40% reduction in staffing costs for Dermatica and a 60% reduction for MedExpress. So by consolidating everything into Zendesk, we’ve reduced our staffing costs by over 50% while also increasing our efficiency, performance and CSAT”.
New reporting capabilities revealed room for improvement
When dealing with a patient’s health needs, providing a timely, reliable and professional service is crucial. So the ability to build custom reports was particularly important, especially when it came to monitoring performance. Prior to the company-wide Zendesk rollout, there was no way to monitor key metrics. With Zendesk up and running, the team were immediately able to spot the gaps in the customer experience and start to implement much-needed fixes.
“Reporting through Explore showed us that the average first reply time for Dermatica was around 75 business hours. For MedExpress, it was 11 days, and only about 10% of chats were actually being handled. So the experience was really poor.”
Dramatic improvements in response times, CSAT, and staff morale
The customer care team immediately saw the very real impact of the new consolidated system manifest across the different brands. “Within 24 hours, we saw a big impact and in about six weeks we saw our contact ratio drop from 17% to 8%. That was the result of having more content through the help centre, serving the widget to our customers and having chat available.”
Dermatica’s first response time dropped significantly from nine business days to less than seven business hours. The abandoned call rate which had been worryingly high at 35% dropped to just 10% of weekly customer calls. And MedExpress customers have benefited massively from a drop in first response time from 11 days to just 2 hours.
As a result, Dowling noted “our CSAT has risen from an average of 89% to a consistent 96%”.
Importantly, it’s not just the numbers that have improved. “We’ve been using Zendesk for twelve months now and the team is far more relaxed. They enjoy their work, they can manage their workload, and when people go on holiday or take sick leave, the system doesn’t fall down.”
The ultimate goal: turning customer service into a revenue centre
Dowling had always known that improvements in customer care would translate into increased sales and more revenue. And it wasn’t long before HeliosX began to reap the financial rewards of investing in customer support.
“The biggest impact we’ve seen with MedExpress is an increase in conversion rate. We’re now seeing around 20% of our customer support, chats convert into a sale”, he reported.
At ZipHealth, the clever use of SMS has also started to generate revenue. “As part of their purchase, customers have to verify their identity by uploading a selfie and a picture of their ID. We saw that people were struggling with this step and abandoning their purchase. Our goal was to convert pending orders and abandoned carts into sales by enabling customers to do everything they need to over text. As a result, we’ve seen a 20% increase in pending carts converting to a completed sale and a dramatic reduction in time spent handling those cases.”
The team have also started leveraging chat to provide a select group of Dermatica customers with a VIP consultation experience. Rather than having to wait for an email response to their question, these customers will be connected via chat to their dermatologist who can provide immediate advice and guidance. “The idea is that this VIP chat service will help improve retention rates and push CSAT higher, too”, Dowling explained. The early signs are promising with cancellation retention rates at around 20%.
Making customer care a resource for internal teams
With a large following on both Instagram and Facebook, HeliosX sees a large number of customer inquiries come in via social messaging.
By leveraging Zendesk’s integration with Sprout Social the customer care, marketing and social media teams are able to work together on monitoring comments and customer conversations. “If there’s a question that requires customer support, the social media team can quickly create a ticket and push it into Zendesk. From there a customer care agent answers the query and pushes the ticket back into Sprout Social for the social media team to use. It’s a nice easy flow that enables collaboration without the need for multiple channels.”
Dowling is also proud of the fact that his team have become the voice of the customer within the business. “We are the primary way in which customers interact with the business. We’re the first to hear about any issues and the first to act on feedback. And with Explore we can share that with the rest of the business. We’ve established a regular cross-functional meeting focused on the voice of the customer, where we share feedback, insights and sentiment in a very concise, structured way for the rest of the business.”
The substantial, proven impact of the consolidation project and roll out of Zendesk has empowered Dowling to pitch for further changes he knows will make a difference. “It has really opened the eyes of the leadership team. Now I can show them why monitoring metrics like first response time or CSAT is important for the business, for customers and for our customer care agents. So it’s been an education piece as well and that’s opened up more opportunities. Where before I would have struggled to get work done, now I can provide the data to back up our strategy and everybody understands the impact changes could have.”
Dowling has big plans for his team and is confident that they will soon become a reality with Zendesk. “We want to be looking at AI, the Zendesk bot, WhatsApp, and expanding SMS services. Zendesk has constantly been able to keep up with the changing demands of our customers which means we’ve been able to adapt easily, too.”