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Zendesk Benchmark: Customer Satisfaction Falls During the Holiday Season

Overall customer satisfaction dropped globally by 2 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2013, continuing a yearly trend of performance dips during the busy holiday season, according to the quarterly Zendesk Benchmark report released today. The average customer satisfaction rating fell to 80 percent, and the travel and retail industries took the biggest seasonal hits with 7-point and 6-point drops, respectively.

The decrease in customer satisfaction can largely be attributed to increased customer service demands on travel and retail during their busiest, and most critical, time of the year. While the fall in the fourth quarter is to be expected, the decrease in 2013 was worse for retailers than in 2012, when satisfaction fell only 2 points. Other industries experiencing decreases in customer satisfaction for the quarter were software and healthcare.

“If you thought customer service was worse this holiday season, you weren’t alone,” said Sam Boonin, research lead for the Zendesk Benchmark and vice president of products at Zendesk. “Customer satisfaction took a hit across the board, and retailers felt more pain than usual. The holiday service woes serve as a wake-up call for companies to better anticipate and prepare for seasonal demands.”

The report is produced by Zendesk, a global provider of software for better customer service, and tracks customer satisfaction and service trends each quarter based on actual interactions between 16,000 participating organizations and their customers across 125 countries. Download the full Zendesk Benchmark report for Q4 2013 at:

Customer Satisfaction by Country: Norway on Top

Norway took the top spot among countries this quarter with 91 percent customer satisfaction. Canada and Denmark followed, each receiving 89 percent, well above the global average of 80 percent. The U.S. narrowly missed a spot on the top 10 with a 3 percentage point drop from a quarter earlier. India ranked the lowest with 54 percent customer satisfaction, a 13-point drop from the third quarter.

Best Countries:

· Norway: 91% (+1 percentage point)

· Canada: 89% (-2 percentage points)

· Denmark: 89%(+1 percentage points)

Worst Countries:

· India: 55% (-13 percentage points)

· Turkey: 61% (n/a)

· United Arab Emirates: 67% (+8 percentage points)

Customer Satisfaction by Industry

For all four quarters of 2013, the IT services and consultancy; government and nonprofit; and real estate industries have performed in the top three for customer satisfaction among the industries tracked.

Best Industries:

· IT Services & Consultancy: 96% (+1 percentage point)

· Government & Non-profit: 95% (no change)

· Real Estate: 94% (no change)

Worst Industries:

· Social Media: 69% (+2 percentage points)

· Travel Hospitality & Tourism: 75% (-7 percentage points)

· Entertainment & Gaming: 76% (no change)

Shopper Satisfaction Drops for Holidays

This quarter’s report examined the seasonal drop retailers typically experience in customer satisfaction during the holiday season. The 2013 season proved more challenging for retailers. Customer satisfaction dropped 6 percentage points to 76 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, far more than the 2-point drop in the fourth quarter of 2012.

What went wrong? The bigger hit can be attributed to a much greater seasonal rise in support tickets from customers and support agents handling more requests on average. The volume of support tickets rose 42 percent between the third and fourth quarters of 2013, compared to a 34 percent increase in the same period of 2012.

Overall, retailers did not appear to add enough staff to match the extra deluge of requests. Support agents in 2013 handled an average of 19 percent more tickets between November and December, the height of the holidays, for a total of 457 tickets per agent. That seasonal workload rise was only 6 percent a year earlier.

About the Zendesk Benchmark

The Zendesk Benchmark is based on actual customer service and support interactions between 16,000 participating companies and their customers across 125 countries. They are drawn from the more than 40,000 customers of Zendesk that use its customer service platform to provide support to more than 300 million people. Introduced in March 2012, Zendesk Benchmark allows companies to compare their customer service performance against industry peers. Its measures key metrics around customer support efficiency, customer self-service behavior, and levels of customer engagement. Customer satisfaction is based on the percentage of positive responses to the question of whether or not a customer was satisfied with a customer service interaction. For a country to be included in the quarterly report, it must have a minimum of 10,000 responses during the quarter.

About Zendesk

Zendesk builds cloud software for better customer service, bringing companies and their customers closer together. With Zendesk, companies engage directly and openly with customers, building more meaningful customer relationships that last a lifetime. More than 40,000 customers use Zendesk to provide service to more than 300 million people worldwide. Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, Zendesk has offices in seven countries and funding from Charles River Ventures, Benchmark, GGV Capital, Index Ventures, Matrix Partners and Redpoint Ventures. Learn more at

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