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Salling Group uses Zendesk to support new service offering and drive growth

Knowledge is power, and Salling Group knows this more than most. By using Zendesk, the Group was able to better understand the service it was offering to customers and help teams to collaborate on a new grocery delivery service.

Salling Group
“Now that we’re able to locate and structure our data, we’re also able to share it meaningfully with the rest of the organisation, particularly senior management. This means customer service isn’t just an expense anymore, it’s a huge knowledge driver that adds value.”

Simon Blouner

Product Owner at Salling Group

“Today, our main focus is on giving our customers the best experience, and with that, acknowledging that it might cost a bit more than it did three years ago. We regularly stop and ask ourselves: ‘would the customer like that?’ If not, we try something else.”

Marlene Harritsø

Customer Service Director at Salling Group




Since 2017


Savings per year through bot deflection


Reduction in enquiries per order

30 seconds

Agent handling time improvement per ticket

Denmark's largest retailer

The customer is the Special K for Salling Group

Salling Group is Denmark’s largest retailer, made up of multiple brands that operate stores, web shops, coffee bars and restaurants across Denmark, Germany, and Poland. The Group serves over 10 million people in its 700 stores every week.

In July 2023, the company appointed a new CEO, Anders Hagh, and his key area of focus was what he called the ‘5 Ks’. This translates from Danish into customers, colleagues, diversity, culture, and sustainability. This was a reminder for the organisation to prioritise the people it serves. For Salling Group, the customer comes first and despite its size, the company is always looking at new ways to innovate and provide a personalised experience.

Zendesk Guide provides a new home for Salling Group’s knowledge

A Zendesk customer since 2017, in 2021 Salling Group set about making a major change to the way it managed and deployed the solution. Previously, the Group had used a third-party partner to install and operate Zendesk, but it became clear that with an organisation with so many brands and service agents and so much data, Salling Group needed to switch to self-installation. Running the installation itself meant that the company could focus on its own specific needs and make better use of the functionality Zendesk could offer.

“We have achieved a simpler level of complexity,” explains Simon Blouner, Product Owner at Salling Group. “The entire configuration and use of Zendesk was always simple but it was set up in a highly complex way. And because we didn’t have enough direct sight of the setup, implementing and improving things was difficult."

The company’s internal knowledge, which includes knowledge base content, used to live in different places, meaning specific pieces of information were hard to retrieve. To address this, Salling Group carried out a cleanup operation to restore order. Now, Salling Group uses Zendesk Guide, which consolidates all the information in one place. Not only does this mean information is easier to find, but it’s also easier to update and keep relevant for everyone.

Added to this is the full customer view, which enables agents to see how often a customer has been in touch and the nature and status of the ticket, which helps to prioritise each case. Meanwhile, the Agent Workspace enables agents to see emails and chats in the same window, which has delivered a boost in performance. And with 200 working in the Salling Group customer service team, these improvements scale to make a real difference to the operation.

A new grocery service that delivers—literally

Salling Group long had plans to launch a grocery delivery service but when the pandemic hit, the Group’s plans had to speed up.

“We created a completely new customer service team,” says Simon. “We also built a rewritten help centre, which was used for customers and to contain internal guides and messages for agents. We put a lot of effort into creating customised apps for the brand, which all ran within Zendesk. In fact, the service agents could do everything they needed directly from Zendesk.”

Following this first iteration, Salling Group eventually created a refreshed version of the grocery service but the framework it built in Zendesk allowed a much easier pivot to version two. Although the logistics and deliveries for the second version were quite different, there wasn’t much that needed to be changed from a CX perspective.

“The open app framework from Zendesk was a huge benefit for us for the grocery service because it gave us flexibility with the apps we use in the Zendesk platform,” says Simon. “It also gave us functionality learnings for things we are in the process of building in other parts of the organisation.”

A new way to discuss KPIs

Zendesk has helped Salling Group to re-evaluate the way it looks at CX as a whole. The productivity features that the Group was able to unlock work in synergy with the renewed customer focus instilled by the new CEO.

“Before, CX was a very lean operation,” says Marlene Harritsø, Customer Service Director at Salling Group. “The main goal was how fast and cost-effectively we could deliver customer service. Today, the main focus is on giving the customers the best experience and with that, acknowledging that it might cost a bit more than it did three years ago. We regularly stop ourselves and ask: would the customer like that? If not, we try something else.”

Where previously, Salling Group looked mostly at customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores as its main measure of success, the company now puts greater emphasis on softer KPIs and sentiment scores. Nowadays, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the most important detail the Group considers, and the company’s CX leadership delves into the data on Zendesk to make sure the scores are trending in the right direction.

Salling group can already see a 30-second per ticket improvement in agent handling time, but the Group knows there’s a bigger picture.

“Does it matter if you get a response to your email in four hours or six hours if the longer wait time gives a happier customer because the answer was better?” says Marlene. “We’re trying to focus a bit less on the number of enquiries the agent can handle, and more on the customer experience.”

Deflecting tickets and finding answers—fast

Increasingly, customers may find that they won’t have to get in touch with a service agent at all. Salling Group’s use of Zendesk bots means customers can find the answers to their questions themselves, without waiting to be connected to a human agent. With knowledge base content that’s always available online, the bot builder enables Salling Group to roll out a conversational bot and easily configure it according to the company’s needs. After a year of using these tools together, Salling Group has seen significant improvements. Through bot deflection alone, the company has achieved€80,500 in savings per year.

Not every query is the same and each question requires its own type of answer. Salling Group wants to provide these answers in the most efficient and useful way. The company specifies the best communication channel to use depending on the type of query a customer might have.

“It’s not always helpful to show the customers all the contact details on each page of the website, so now we’re differentiating the best channel for them to reach us, on a per article level. That helps them to get the assistance that best suits the query,” says Simon.

By making it easier for customers to self-serve, Salling Group has seen a 10% reduction in order enquiries while making sure customers are happier than ever. What’s more, agent wellbeing has also improved because their workflow is more focused and they’re called upon less to answer common questions.

The AI-driven future

The future will see Salling Group call on AI technology much more to automate repetitive service agent tasks. Tools like AI-powered ticket summarization and bots for email will aid seamless interactions and deflect tickets in peak seasons such as Christmas.

Salling Group is on a voyage of discovery, and it’s one built on a solid foundation of CX improvements across the board.

“I don’t think there’s any functionality in Zendesk that we aren’t using right now,” says Simon. “Over the last two years, Zendesk has made the work a lot easier for our agents. Now that we’re able to locate and structure our data, we’re also able to share it meaningfully with the rest of the organisation, particularly senior management. This means customer service isn’t just an expense anymore, it’s a huge knowledge driver that adds value.”