How Carsales lifted its CX game through a fresh voice of customer program

Digital company's customer experience management teams share how they've lifted customer satisfaction scores with a VoC approach

CX professionals may not like to admit it, but one of the benefits of a low customer satisfaction score is plenty of room for improvement and potential easy wins. But what do you do if your customer satisfaction is already high?

For Shaun Wilton, Deb Heaphy and the rest of the CX team at, being at the top of their game is no reason to rest on their laurels. Working with technology from Zendesk, the team has dug deeper into customer insights to create a voice-of-customer (VoC) approach that seeks to deliver the best outcome for customers in all instants.

“The two core things for us are about reducing inbound workload or inbound customer contact, and increasing the ability for customers to service themselves,” says Wilton, Carsales’ group manager for customer service. “Because ultimately that is where we find our efficiencies.”

One benefit from the use of Zendesk was the introduction of reason codes more than two years ago. Wilton says these help Carsales better understand and categorise why customers are contacting the company, and have uncovered a number of issues which that have since been resolved, such as customers’ frustration at being unable to change or update passwords.

“That was resulting in excessive workloads in the customer service department at the time,” Wilton says. “Utilising the data we had in Zendesk, we were able to build a business case and really humanise the problem to our product and technology teams, and make them realise this was a big deal.”

Wilton says that single change reduced inbound contacts to the customer service department by 30 per cent.

“What we realised was that the data was extremely valuable in relation to understanding what we now call voice-of-customer,” he says.

Hence Carsales created a dedicated VoC team, headed by customer experience manager, Deb Heaphy, to analyse feedback across all channels.

“We identified there were a number of feedback channels in the company where our customers were giving us verbatim comments that weren’t coming through customer service,” Heaphy says. “So we have expanded those listening posts throughout the company. And the Zendesk reason codes help us identify what those trends are, and then work with the teams internally to resolve those issues.

“We do a lot of reviewing of customer verbatims, and the key step is then closing the loop with those customers, so making sure that that end-to-end experience is a good one for them. And they are actually seeing the impacts of their feedback and it is not just going to some great void.”

The technology is also used to identify those articles that are most sought after by customers, and show that content earlier in their journey, such as in Carsales’ email welcome program.

“Rather than waiting for them to strike the issue and then contact our customer service team, we are pulling the content forward and delivering that,” Heaphy says. “And that is impacting the number of calls we are getting in the call centre.”

Live chat

A year ago, Carsales also introduced Zendesk’s live chat functionality on transactional pages. Heaphy says live chat now has the quickest end-to-end resolution time, with a 5 per cent better CSAT score than other channels. In addition, the company has introduced answer bot technology to surface help centre content to the customer more quickly.

“More importantly, we’re allowing the customer to close the ticket themselves,” Heaphy says. “In most cases, the ticket is closed before one of our agents even has an opportunity to look at it.”

Wilton says a key benefit of the program has been to surface small problems that have a big impact for the customer.

“At the end of the day we wouldn’t know any of this if we didn’t take the time to listen to the customer,” he says. “When you are presenting feedback verbatim to a product developer or a technical lead or a marketing manager, it is hard to argue, because it is actually the customer’s voice.”

Heaphy says as the product teams are now engaging with the CX team earlier in the product development workflow.

“They are asking what those customer pain points are, which is fantastic from a VoC perspective,” Heaphy says. “To have that voice-of-customer amplified right at the start of that product development lifecycle is exactly what we want.”

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