Mukuru cut its best query response time down to just 10 minutes using Zendesk

As Mukuru continues to expand and serve a diverse customer base, they chose Zendesk for its scalability. Using Zendesk Explore, the company now has an average query response time of between 10 minutes to an hour. With Zendesk Support Suite, they can now also offer more customers digital and self-serve opportunities than ever before.


“Zendesk offered us the best solution in terms of communicating to customers, and it also has the most integrations in terms of other tools.”

Mika Stuttaford

Digital Product Journey Manager at Mukuru

Products used

Customer since:


Headquartered in:

South Africa

Languages Supported:

English, Shona, Ndebele, Sotho, Chechewa, Urdu, Bengali, French, Portuguese, Mandarin

10 - 60

First Response Time in minutes


CSAT Increase

Migrant workers face many challenges. Not being able to access a bank account is one of the most pressing. Without bank accounts in which to have their salaries paid, they are forced to deal in cash only. This is where the financial empowerment offered by South African-based remittance company, Mukuru, comes in.

The company offers swift and secure money transfers from six countries – South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the UK and Europe – to 20 countries across sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. In addition, they offer a range of other products, from a Mukuru Card and Mukuru Groceries, to funeral services, and they have plans to expand into other Value Added Services, such as loans.

As Mukuru continued to expand across multiple time zones and languages, it partnered with Zendesk in 2015, attracted by the scalability of the software to support its progress. They were also keen to ensure that a best in class customer experience remained front and centre as it grew, while also needing to adhere to strict financial security and anti-fraud measures.

By using Zendesk, Mukuru has been able to boost its average customer satisfaction ratings from 67% to 72%. “Zendesk offered us the best solution in terms of communicating to customers, and it also has the most integrations in terms of other tools,” explains Mika Stuttaford, Mukuru’s Digital Product Journey Manager.

Mukuru is now able to offer its customers around the world a multilingual service. “Because we are dealing with so many languages, we have a language team,” says Mika. “That’s where Zendesk helps us a lot because we can quickly and easily filter tickets in different languages to the right team members to answer those queries, whether they are in Shona, French, Portuguese or Chechewa. We pride ourselves on the fact that we can truly speak the customer’s language.”

Boosting self-service options during COVID-19

As Mukuru continues to grow, they have recognised a need to expand their digital channels and offer more self-service sign up opportunities to ensure high quality customer support – across all regions, at all times. “At this point we’re increasing our digital offering and supporting our self-service channels as much as possible,” says Mika. “All of this is coming through Zendesk.”

This need became urgent at the start of the COVID-19 crisis when the company was suddenly unable to use around 850 of its field agents who had previously been working on the ground to sign up new users. With the support of Zendesk Professional, Mukuru was able to quickly start providing a self-service option. Now, more than 35% of customers sign up and support flows through self-serve channels – an increase of 22%.

“We have seen a significant increase in people signing up through our WhatsApp channel and the website,” says Mika. “Because of COVID-19, we had to do a very big push to quickly enable customers to sign themselves up at home, rather than having an agent take them through the process. We also had to change the workflows within our teams to support this digital process as opposed to teams on the ground.”

Mukuru is also using Zendesk Guide to empower customers with the answers to their most frequently asked questions. “We are building up our customer knowledge base and uploading a range of useful articles,” Mika says. “This should help our customers and also sharpen our response times.”

Harnessing data for rapid first response times

By using the data insights offered by Zendesk Explore, Mukuru can now answer customer queries in just 10 minutes to an hour, and its customer service workflow is far quicker and more efficient. It now monitors, for example, the different types of queries coming in and channels them to the appropriate team automatically. Whereas before, all queries would come in via one email address and the team would need to sift through each query by hand, before sending them on to the relevant departments.

“We’ve set up all sorts of rules and triggers within the software, so customer queries go to the correct teams immediately,” Mika says. “In this way, we’re able to answer queries within very strict, short time frames.” Using Zendesk’s reporting platform, the company is now able to pinpoint and troubleshoot any customer service issues extremely quickly.

“It’s much easier now to see whether we have an issue and where that issue is,” says Mika. “For example, we’ve had a problem before where one of our financial suppliers accidentally paid some of our customers twice on a card, and others not at all. There was a social media outcry. Now we can quickly see if there’s a red flag issue on Facebook and shift the team’s priorities to attend to that straight away.”

Continuing to expand and diversity

Three of Mukuru’s outbound countries use Zendesk, but the company plans to employ the Zendesk Collaboration Add-On to equip agents with the tools they need to collaborate efficiently across an increasing number of countries. The software will also help the business to prioritise the improvement of internal communications and education across the board.

“There’s so much potential to grow with Zendesk,” says Mika. “We now need to get all our teams on board and upskill them so they can make the most of the software. We also need to expand to other countries and make sure that all our outbound countries and agents make use of Zendesk. The Collaboration Add-On will really add value for us.”

The partnership with the Zendesk team has provided a level of support and guidance to us that goes above and beyond what you’d expect.Mika Stuttaford, Digital Product Journey Manager at MukuruThe company also intends to continue making customer support as workable and responsive as possible. For example, by leveraging the flexibility inherent in the Zendesk software to launch new service lines such as Mukuru Groceries and Customer Shopping coupons. “We’re launching an app very soon – we delayed the launch in April because of COVID-19,” Mika says. “We’ve identified a set of FAQs and we’ll definitely integrate Zendesk within that as well, with our app APIs. That will make a significant difference for us.”

“Zendesk has been an extremely collaborative and supportive partner, particularly during the current pandemic. The partnership with the Zendesk team has provided a level of support and guidance to us that goes above and beyond what you’d expect. It’s not just about the technology; they’ve helped us to stay on track with our expansion plans every step of the way, providing both advice and software-based solutions.”

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