Neat + Zendesk: 24/7 omnichannel support for startups
Neat is a purpose-built, financial services platform that helps over 5,000 entrepreneurs worldwide. When customers need to track their money, time is of the essence. With Zendesk, Neat reduced its response time by 76%, boosted productivity 30%, and decreased ticket volume 33%, all while offering 24/7 support.
“Ultimately, customer centricity really drives each and every decision we make on a daily basis. Having a tool that maximizes and optimizes our ability to engage and communicate with customers is of key importance.”
“Zendesk is very powerful in terms of being able to connect every team and avoid silos.”
Zendesk Start Date
Reduction in response time
Reduction in ticket volume
As any entrepreneur knows, turning a great idea into a profitable company takes passion, know-how, and business acumen. But in today’s global economy, launching a smaller company has an additional complexity—finding a way to conduct business across borders.
During his 16 years in banking, David Rosa realized that financial institutions often favor established companies over entrepreneurs. Startups face lengthy paperwork and long wait times, creating a logistical headache that can slow the momentum of launching a business. “They are enabled by the internet to view business across borders,” Rosa said. But when it comes to transacting across those borders, “what you have is an extremely fragmented payment network.”
“Customer support is an engine of growth.”David Rosa, CEO at NeatIn 2015, Rosa started Neat, a fintech company that helps SMBs launch, grow, and compete in the global marketplace. By filling out one form, customers can incorporate in Hong Kong, open a Neat account that gives customers access to multi-currency wallets, and be up and running within a week, no matter where they’re based.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Neat is near the epicenter of some of the world’s most turbulent events, such as COVID-19. But those upheavals have accelerated the need for fast, secure, online transactions. Neat is uniquely positioned to help entrepreneurs take advantage of this digital landscape, but as customer activity increased, the company’s support operation struggled to keep pace. That led to a search for the right software to help Neat navigate this new world, a journey that took the business full circle with Zendesk.
A powerful platform and partner for Neat’s growth engine
Customers are integral to Neat’s core values. “To me, customer support is an engine of growth,” Rosa said. “Ultimately, customer centricity really drives each and every decision we make on a daily basis. So, having a tool that maximizes and optimizes our ability to engage and communicate with customers is of key importance.”
In 2016, Neat discovered Zendesk by word of mouth. But this initial partnership was short-lived. As a “bootstrapping” young company, Neat switched platforms. After trying Freshdesk, “We realized that there were shortcomings all around,” Rosa said. In 2019, Neat returned to Zendesk for “a deeper focus on the relationship management and willingness to help us grow our business.”
Henry Mackechnie, head of customer solutions, experienced that willingness firsthand. Neat’s customer experience manager at Zendesk sent him a 50-slide presentation outlining ways Neat could improve customer support. “It was a very nice surprise and a very detailed plan,” he said. Now, the two have monthly strategy sessions.
Zendesk integrations deliver faster responses
Neat wanted one centralized platform to eliminate silos and speed up response times. “The thing that I like with Zendesk is you strike a lot of partnerships with different solutions,” Mackechnie said.
One of those solutions is the communication tool Slack. Integrating platforms allows the three teams using Zendesk—support, compliance, operations—to collaborate on issues, like tracking a customer’s money through its journey. “A combination of Zendesk and Slack really maximize our response time on handling tickets and this can bring everybody in the loop when an issue is happening,” Mackechnie said.
Zendesk also integrates with review site Trustpilot, generating a ticket for every post. “When we have a good review, I can use some of the automation of Zendesk to automate responses,” Mackechnie said. These immediate replies have improved Neat’s Trustpilot score, boosting it from 2.2 to 3.9, with a goal of 4.5 by the third quarter of 2021.
Agile, data-driven improvements: Rolling out 24/7 customer support
Before Zendesk, Neat simply measured the number of customer contacts, but Mackechnie wanted actionable insights. Zendesk Explore delivers numbers that help him set goals. “With the data provided by Explore, I was able to change the whole KPI for the team, and now we are more focused on first replies and full resolution,” he said. So far, so good—Neat has reduced its response time by 76 percent.
Tracking metrics with Explore during the pandemic has helped optimize the customer experience in another way. “Explore and working closely with our data team really helped me pinpoint our customer behavior, when they would interact the most, or try to interact with us,” Mackechnie said. Based on that, Neat moved to 24/7 support as COVID-19 hit. That helped the company to “over communicate,” which Rosa calls the “secret sauce” in helping customers who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Neat found a BPO in the Philippines to help with this mission. Getting an external support team up and running can take six months to a year, but this rollout took just one week.
“Because Zendesk is cloud based, it made the whole onboarding very easy,” Mackechnie said. “I would say that was probably one of the easiest rollouts with a BPO I had in my career.”
Building trust and earning new customers with conversational support
With roughly 4,000 tickets a month, Neat’s 16 support agents use email, phone, chat, and self-service to manage customer queries. “When your main product is to handle your customers’ money, investing in omnichannel support is a necessity,” said Mackechnie. This approach “allows us to build trust with our customers, simply because they can reach us through whichever method they decide.”
Meanwhile, messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are also enabling quick, transparent communication. Soon, AI and chatbots will handle more of the messaging responses for time and cost efficiency. “Today, 70 to 80 percent of my incoming tickets are solved within one reply,” said Mackechnie. “The goal for this coming year is to reduce this by half. Customers will get faster responses and I’m reducing my cost. Everybody wins.”
With a new London office, a 33 percent decrease in tickets, and a 24 percent increase in one-touch resolutions, Mackechnie continues to hit his targets and set new goals with Zendesk. “This is the focus,” he said. “Zendesk and how Zendesk will help Neat do more sales.”
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