Plesk + Zendesk: Advanced self-service for exceptional CX
Web hosting platform Plesk manages more than 11,000 articles using Zendesk Guide, allowing a third of its customers to find what they need without ever interacting with an agent.
“Zendesk simply was the best fit for us. It is a huge ecosystem with lots of integrations, reporting tools, and, most importantly, knowledge-centered support channels. And while it has all that, it is still easy to use and configure.”
"The data and customer feedback we gather in our support center is valuable information for our colleagues in the research and development team."
Canada & Switzerland
Help center article views per month
Ticket deflection rate
Tickets per month
< 2 hour
Avg first reply time
Meet Plesk—a truly global web hosting platform. Available across 140 countries worldwide, the platform automates more than 12 million websites and 16.5 million email inboxes. Needless to say, the company has quite a big and international customer base—and for good reason.
Founded in 2001, Plesk has remained focused on understanding its customers’ needs so it can provide innovative solutions and comprehensive support. In 2016, it separated from its holding company, Parallels, to become an independent business, a move that has allowed Plesk to intensify its efforts to drive customer-centric innovation. But before that could happen, another important change had to be made: Plesk had to find the right customer support platform.
Upgrading to a powerful, centralised, and flexible solution
The old support system was an in-house, on-premise solution that was used by all 14 companies under Parallels. Maintenance was expensive, and the tool lacked the flexibility Plesk needed to adapt to its customers’ rapidly changing requirements.
Anton Maslov, operations manager at Plesk, was the man in charge of finding a new, more flexible support system that would also be easy to implement and use. One crucial prerequisite was for the tool to include a knowledge management system. Plesk had realised that the overwhelming majority of its customers wanted to find solutions to their issues themselves.
“That’s why knowledge lies at the heart of our support strategy,” Maslov said. “Our task is not only to support our customers, but also to do it in the way they prefer. In our case, this means we need to provide all the information they need to solve their problem on their own—even for technically more complex issues.”
Maslov reviewed several support solutions and found what he was looking for in Zendesk. To this day, he does not regret his choice. The single, centralised solution significantly reduced maintenance costs, simplified processes, and made it easy to quickly add and remove any tools, extensions, and integrations as required. With Zendesk Explore, Plesk has the data to understand its customers.
“Zendesk simply was the best fit for us,” Maslov said. “It is a huge ecosystem with lots of integrations, reporting tools, and, most importantly, knowledge-centred support channels. And while it has all that, it is still easy to use and configure.”
When Zendesk was introduced at Plesk, two components were migrated from the old system: existing customer data and the knowledge base. Using Guide, thousands more help center articles have been added, updated, and edited. Plesk’s customers now have more than 11,000 articles at their disposal.
Plesk uses customer feedback to decide which articles to review or add. Customers can vote on articles and give feedback on why an article did not help them solve their problem or which issue is missing from the help center entirely. Plesk tracks all these statistics, reviews, and comments, and then regularly assesses them, using these insights to improve the help center.
Once an article has been updated or added, Plesk also proactively sends out notifications to customers who were looking for this information before. Due to the sheer amount of help articles and constant updates, it would be too time-consuming to translate each one of them. That is why Plesk built in a Google Translate function, which enables customers from all over the world access information in their preferred language.
Plesk also uses Guide to connect different people and departments within the company. Existing help articles are a great resource for internal knowledge sharing between agents. Having all this knowledge centralised enables agents to solve even the most complex problems quickly and effectively, since the solution is typically already documented.
Meanwhile, the product development team also benefits from the customer context it derives from Guide and Support. Maslov is proud that “the data and customer feedback we gather in our support center is valuable information for our colleagues in the research and development team. For example, bug fixes and feature requests are prioritised according to what customers ask for most often.” Maslov’s support team benefits from this exchange of information, as well; based on what the support team identified as the most common problems customers encounter, the development team built a “common repair tool,” which automates how issues are diagnosed and fixed. That, in turn, made life easier for the support agents because recurring issues no longer result in repetitive tickets.
This knowledge-based approach is Plesk’s key to success, for agents and customers alike. The company continuously measures not only overall customer satisfaction but also knowledge base satisfaction. Together with the deflection rate, calculated based on the number of knowledge base views, Plesk verifies on a regular basis that customers are happy with its self-service and that it is effective for both its agents and its customers.
The result? Plesk’s CSAT is at a phenomenal 96 percent, and 32 percent of all tickets are being deflected.
Dedication to customers makes everyone happy
In case customers do not find the answer to their problem in the extensive knowledge base, Plesk’s support agents are of course also happy to be contacted via web form, chat, social media channels like Twitter, or phone. Located around the globe, agents take a “follow the sun approach” to tickets so Plesk can offer 24/7 support and agents can work regular hours.
All support tickets that come in are automatically routed and prioritised in Zendesk. Triggers and macros help the team identify and prioritise tickets that are especially urgent. “For example, when a customer mentions that her website is critical for her business and there is a problem with it, Zendesk automatically puts this right on top of the list for agents to handle,” Maslov said. “This also frees up agent resources as they do not have to concern themselves with deciding which tickets to deal with first.”
Agents can then use these resources to fully focus on the matter at hand and provide excellent service to those who urgently need it. Maslov shared an anecdote that nicely illustrates this: He is based in Canada and once helped a customer from New York solve an urgent issue with his website. In the end, the customer was so thankful for the fast and friendly support that he invited Maslov to lunch, should he ever visit New York.
“Conversations such as these are truly rewarding,” Maslov said. “They show us that we must be doing something right, and they encourage us to keep dedicating everything we do to our customers.”