Automated responses decrease response times and raise satisfaction

Mailchimp handles 35K tickets each month. Learn how the company leverages automated responses to improve productivity and raise customer satisfaction.

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Increase in CSAT survey response

Even if you’ve never heard of Mailchimp, you’ve probably interacted with the company’s marketing products through its millions of customers. Mailchimp offers the world’s largest marketing automation platform, powered by its mission since its inception in 2001: to help small businesses grow.

“We aim to be the backbone for customer relationships—providing sophisticated marketing tools that anyone can use to grow their businesses,” said Dave Carr, assistant director of Tech Support for Mailchimp. “We aim to empower the underdog.”

Mailchimp has certainly found success in empowering the underdog. Its employee count is over 700 and its customer base tops 16 million, with over 50 percent of those customers based outside the United States. To support its customers, Mailchimp offers self help and 24/7 email support, supplemented by 24/5 chat support—all based out of its Atlanta office, to accommodate global time zones. In 2017 alone, around 100 agents handled approximately 35,000 tickets each month.

Mailchimp started using Zendesk to serve customers beginning in March 2016, after switching away from another large-scale enterprise vendor.

The team wanted a higher level of support and felt pressure from the vendor to move Mailchimp away from email-based support, something Mailchimp’s leadership was skeptical about; at the time, the team received over 13,000 email tickets each month. As the team began to look for a new solution, they wanted to choose a tech partner that better understood their specific needs and customer base, and software that wouldn’t require heavy lifting from Mailchimp’s developers when customizing.

With this criteria in mind, Mailchimp began an extensive search that led the team to Zendesk. Mailchimp decided to roll out both Zendesk Support and Zendesk Chat simultaneously, with the help of Zendesk’s professional services team. The customer service team was fully up and running on Zendesk within four months.

“We made that very clear to Zendesk that we were looking for guidance from a process standpoint, when it came to knowing the best way to rip-and-replace,” said Carr. “We worked closely with the Zendesk team to draw up a plan for implementation, and they did a really good job of holding our hand through the process. It was beneficial that we got to turn a lot of the wrenches ourselves, but they were there as a safety net to ensure that we followed the plan.”

After implementation, Mailchimp added several helpful productivity apps from the Zendesk Apps Marketplace, including Five Most Recent, to provide more context around a customer’s past support issues, and Answer IQ, to lean on AI to resolve some customer issues.

The agent onboarding process came with the same ease as implementation and agents were able to hit the ground running. After some initial classroom training about some of the more technical features in Zendesk, they began taking tickets.

Mailchimp’s configuration includes several specific functionalities aimed to help maximize agent time and improve the customer experience. For example, the team uses automations to trigger emails and chats after an issue has been resolved, but before the ticket is closed. This gives the customer a chance to ask any additional questions. By automating these follow-ups and check-ins for open tickets, Mailchimp saved a whopping 48,000 agent replies in 2017—allowing agents to focus their efforts on answering new questions, and empowering customers to use the Mailchimp app.

The team also relies on triggers and more than 1,000 macros to help keep customer response times short. Any ticket that sits untouched too long will automatically route to another agent. The first response to a new customer ticket is also an auto-response that requests some additional information. Once the customer replies, the agent has everything they need to resolve the issue. The team’s full resolution time for email is, on average, 24 hours and just over 26 minutes for live chats.

There has been a noted improvement in efficiency since switching to Zendesk. With automated routing based on a customer’s support topic, tickets reach the right teams, faster. Gains across the board were reflected in the team’s CSAT, which averaged 92 percent in 2017.

Business Solutions Manager John Turner explained, “The efficiency gained from the move to Zendesk has been the ability to pivot so easily in the system. Previously, there wasn’t a centralized way to move tickets—it was all hard coded and there was a lot of work involved. But now we have a system that integrates both chat and email, and we can easily change things. More than with our agents, efficiencies were made in our processes.”

Part of the team’s success with raising and maintaining customer satisfaction came from being able to more closely analyze data using Support’s analytics, and to make subsequent changes. The team also increased their CSAT response rate from 10 to 30 percent—a 200 percent increase—after switching away from their previous service provider. “We’re just trying to stay on top of the customer experience,” Turner said.

“Rather than being just customer number 5, we can actually contact people at Zendesk whenever we have an issue. We’re starting to see the results of cultivating that human aspect.”

– John Turner Business Solutions Manager

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