More than half of consumers think service is an afterthought


Zendesk Annual Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report Highlights Customer Experience as a Growth Imperative

Over 70% of companies see a direct link between customer service and business performance

SAN FRANCISCO, January 18, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Zendesk’s landmark annual study highlighted the potential for businesses to drive business success by focusing on customer experience, as more than two-thirds of consumers (70%) say they make their decisions more purchase based on the quality of customer service they receive. The Zendesk (NYSE:ZEN) 2022 Global Customer Experience (CX) Trends Report shows that a majority of companies surveyed agree that there is a direct link between customer service and business performance. Despite this, many consumers (54%) feel that customer service is an afterthought for businesses, indicating a gap between consumer expectations and business actions.

“Companies can’t afford to take a transactional approach to dealing with their customers. Customer service is now a key differentiator, but this year’s report reveals gaps between expectation and delivery,” said Adrian McDermott, CTO of Zendesk. “Customers are noticing this discrepancy and voting with their business – and it’s perhaps the clearest signal to businesses that change needs to happen, and fast.”

The report is based on feedback from customers, agents, customer service managers and business leaders from 21 countries. Data was also collected from more than 97,500 Zendesk customers who participated in the company’s Benchmark program. As customers express heightened expectations and are ready to change after just one bad experience, the need to close the gap between those expectations and the customer experience delivered has never been more urgent. For many, the opportunity cost is nothing less than lost revenue and missed growth opportunities.

Consistent Truths – Customer Service Can Drive Growth

Nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) see a direct link between customer service and business performance, with two-thirds (64%) believing that customer service has a positive impact on business growth . The opportunity is not simply to provide a one-stop solution-based interaction with the consumer, but to use that point of engagement as an opportunity to deepen the relationship. Customer engagement increased 14% over the prior year, representing more opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to satisfied customers.

It goes both ways, however, and the insights reveal that customer expectations can drive or stifle growth plans. As consumers spend more online, a majority say their expectations for customer service have increased over the past year. Channels play a big role in meeting these heightened expectations and, in particular, being where the customer is. However, almost half of the companies surveyed did not have a strategic plan for customer service in the short to medium term.

Key ideas:

  • 61% of consumers say their expectations for customer service have increased over the past year

  • 90% of consumers say they are willing to spend more with companies that personalize the customer service experience

  • Only 54% of companies say they have a three-year strategic plan for customer service

  • 89% of consumers say they are willing to spend more to buy from companies that give them the opportunity to find the answers they need themselves

  • Companies are evenly split between those who still view customer experience as a cost center and those who believe it is a revenue-generating growth engine.

The agent’s X factor

Increased expectations lead to increased pressure on agents, who act on the front line. In fact, the study found that nearly three-quarters of respondents (71%) agree that customer service agents are key to driving sales.

When it comes to resolving issues, nearly half of consumers surveyed look for helpful and empathetic agents. If they have a good experience, customers are also more open to recommendations from service agents. However, many companies still need to recalibrate their view of customer service as a cost center. This means that investments in optimizing the function have not kept pace with growth, let alone rising customer expectations. While a majority of companies recognize that customer service agents are key to driving sales, a very small number of those same agents are extremely satisfied with their workload.

  • Nearly half of consumers say helpful and empathetic agents matter most when trying to resolve a customer service issue.

  • 63% of consumers are open to product recommendations from service agents.

  • 15% of agents are extremely satisfied with their workload

Agent empowerment is a priority area for 2022 as agent burnout continues to be a challenge. Only 20% of agents are extremely satisfied with the quality of the training they receive. Add to that the fact that 68% of customers believe companies need to improve agent training, and there’s a business case for investing in what agents need. These also include better performance metrics, clear advancement opportunities and, fundamentally, more respect.

Filling gaps and charting paths to growth

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of business leaders say their organization sees customer service as a key business priority, but 40% say it still doesn’t belong in the C-suite. a business case for investments in customer experience, this is not necessarily followed by executive sponsorship or the right tools or programs, such as agent training. Along with this, there is a need for customer service metrics to be mission critical and reviewed with appropriate frequency and severity. More than 74% of business leaders say the return on investment of their organization’s customer service spending over the past 12 months has been positive. However, only 30% strongly agree that customer service spending has kept pace with business growth.

“The business case for customer service is clearer than ever and getting management buy-in is an essential first step. Management commitment is built on the evolution of key metrics – look beyond CSAT and identify the broader business impact that can tell a compelling story,” adds McDermott. “This year’s findings highlight the need for a more concerted effort across the organization, including better systems integration and regular review of metrics. In short, let the insights guide you .”

Additional Resources

Download the 2022 CX Trends report here

Discover upcoming virtual events here


Zendesk’s 2022 CX Trends Report surveyed more than 3,511 consumers and 4,670 customer service managers, agents, and technology buyers from 21 countries and organizations ranging from small business to enterprise in July and August 2021. results from each survey were weighted to remove bias from the survey samples. .

Zendesk Benchmark product usage data comes from more than 97,500 Zendesk customers worldwide who participate in the Zendesk Benchmark. Zendesk Benchmark data is based on product usage from July 2020 to July 2021.

About Zendesk

Zendesk started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business in the world to take their customer service online. Today, Zendesk is the champion of great service everywhere for everyone and powers billions of conversations, connecting more than 100,000 brands with hundreds of millions of customers via phone, chat, email, messaging, social networks, communities, review sites and help centers. Zendesk products are made with love to be loved. The company was conceived in Copenhagen, Denmark, built and developed in California, floated on the New York stock exchange and today employs more than 5,000 people worldwide. Learn more about

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Kaylee Hill
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