“Thanks to the knowledge base, we have managed to reduce the number of requests to the help desk by more than 12,000 per month.”
“In the early stages of testing, we realized that only Zendesk met all our requirements. We began to gradually connect our most popular help desk channels to the omnichannel solution. The implementation was easy and smooth.”
Tickets/month deflected with Guide
Alfa-Bank Belarus, a subsidiary of Alfa-Bank, is the eighth largest bank in the nation, serving 350,000 customers—despite operating in the Eastern European country for just three years. So how did Alfa-Bank Belarus grow its customer base to 350,000 in such a short time? By pursuing a strategy that prioritized its mobile application and innovative digital products, the company met a growing demand for fresh, convenient banking options.
That focus on mobile products has clearly struck a chord, resulting in 95% of customers seeking banking services online rather than in a brick-and-mortar bank branch. But for Alfa-Bank Belarus, the success of its mobile products is inextricably intertwined with the simultaneous development of the company’s help desk.
“Initially, customers who contacted us to get support through social networks were answered by employees who themselves liked to communicate online and were ready to help,” said Vyacheslav Skorbezh, director of communications for Alfa-Bank Belarus. “Over time, however, such requests were increasing on a large scale, and we realized that it was time to go for a professional help desk.”
Finding the best fit for mobile banking
The bank’s communications department set up test accounts of several help desk solutions in order to test them in practice. “We had several key requirements that our new help desk system had to meet,” said Skorbezh. “We were primarily interested in API capabilities and mobile SDK with a broad feature set.” As Alfa-Bank sought to take the lead in Belarusian mobile banking, it was of prime importance for the company to integrate all kinds of online communication channels with customers in a single help desk, from the built-in chat of the mobile application to the reviews in the apps marketplace.
It was also crucial for Alfa-Bank that the company providing the help desk system should comply with all the latest personal data storage safety standards. Bank customers often share important financial and personal information with help desks, so even a remote chance of a data leak is unacceptable.
“It was in the early stages of testing when we realized that only Zendesk met all our requirements,” said Skorbezh. “We began to gradually connect our most popular help desk channels to the omnichannel solution. The implementation was easy and smooth.”
Omnichannel: a game changer
Alfa-Bank Belarus works with more than 10 customer communication channels through Zendesk, with the mobile application’s chat accounting for around 70% of all requests to the online help desk. However, customers can also reach Alfa-Bank through multiple messaging apps (Telegram, Viber, WhatsApp), social networks (VKontakte, Facebook, Instagram), and chat on the website. Thanks to the omnichannel Zendesk solution, help desk agents can carry on conversations across the channels within a single convenient system.
Soon after adopting Zendesk, Alfa-Bank’s management realized that it was exactly what the customers needed, since the number of requests was increasing significantly month to month. Nowadays the online and the mobile help desk receives 30,000–35,000 tickets per month (the company’s call center, which doesn’t use Zendesk, handles about 60,000 requests per month). “The increasing number of requests was, truth be told, a little intimidating,” said Skorbezh.
Unlocking the power of self-service
Meanwhile, Zendesk Guide also helped Alfa-Bank Belarus cope with the inrush of requests. These days the company’s help center contains more than 500 articles that employees regularly update while analyzing user ratings, search queries, and stats of page views (the knowledge base gets roughly 70,000–80,000 unique visitors per month). To understand how the knowledge base helps the support staff, Alfa-Bank Belarus analyzes the number of customers who would be likely to submit a ticket if the self-service content were not available. “Thanks to the knowledge base, we have managed to reduce the number of requests to the help desk by more than 12,000 per month,” Skorbezh said.
Zendesk enables Alfa-Bank Belarus’s help desk to consistently maintain a high level of effectiveness, regardless of the bank’s development dynamics. Today, the first response time for chat does not exceed a minute. And the level of customer satisfaction with the help desk has remained stable at 93%. “We are constantly analyzing all negative feedback in order to understand what can be improved in our work,” Skorbezh said.
However, the communication style of its agents remains a key factor in the success of Alfa-Bank Belarus’s support operation. “The core principle of our help desk is to communicate with customers in a friendly manner, in a language understandable to them and around the clock,” said Skorbezh. “While we use standard answers and more formal language in the call center, communicating with customers online is a much more creative and interesting process.”
In Alfa-Bank Belarus chats, customers share new memes with support agents, tell them about their lives, and even ask for help with term papers. “That is why the full request resolution time is not part of our agent’s KPI,” said Skorbezh. “We value communication with our customers and do not want agents to rush to interrupt them just to improve stats.”
Alfa-Bank Belarus’s management keeps a close eye on the achievements of the help desk. Although only 14 people work on the help desk, those agents process more than a third of all requests received by the company. That helps management keep staffing costs in check, while also giving the bank a keen competitive edge. “The advantages of our help desk form the basis of the bank’s marketing strategy,” Skorbezh said. “We mention it in all advertising materials and on all pages of the website. Alfa-Bank is known as a bank that is easy and pleasant to communicate with.”