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18 & 19 MARCH 2020


A Retailer's Guide to Getting Omnichannel Customer Service Right

 No one knows better than retailers that transaction-based sales models have given way to a host of new models including subscription, loyalty-based, and buy-one-give-one models.

“Old retail was all about the supply chain and efficiency. The new generation of retailers are cultivating a tribe, or a community of customers…The new model is much more exciting,” explained Maria McCann former Global VP of Customer Experience for Spotify, who has worked with brands like Karen Millen and ASOS, and is now Chief Venturer for Joho Ventures, a customer engagement agency.

We think so too. These new models put retailers squarely in the relationship-building business, offering customers real value over the long term and creating brand experiences that are consistent and easy at every interaction point, whether in store, online, or on a mobile device.

Here, a member of our own retail and e-commerce customer community shares their story about using Zendesk in innovative ways to create simple, seamless customer experiences and to better bridge the omnichannel gap. We believe Zendesk is a great tool for building better customer relationships, but the truth is that tools don’t innovate—people do. A tool only becomes innovative when it allows you the freedom to use it in cool, new ways and to take the support you offered before and make it even better.

Rapha - Connecting All the Right Channels.

For Rapha, a sportswear brand that celebrates cycling, customer service means much more than just organizing product returns. Through cycling, the company strives to connect customers to beauty, art, and a belief in themselves.

The idea of a bike as a liberating force, an expression not only of man’s practicality but his connection to the sublime, existed before Rapha was founded ten years ago. But no company has done as much as Rapha to elevate cycling from a gritty mode of transportation to a powerful statement about simplicity and perseverance.


By October 2013, Rapha had grown into a well-respected international brand. Yet the tools the customer service organization were using were more suited to a local bike shop. Five customer service teams around the world used 21 different inboxes, and information about tickets was shared in Google Groups. Rapha’s ad-hoc system lacked reporting tools, and the end result manifested in the following ways:

  • Agent efficiency suffered

  • Some emails received duplicate replies by multiple agents

  • Tickets went unanswered

  • It was difficult to spot trends or gain meaningful insight into customers


After trialing Zendesk for two months, Rapha found a solution that allowed them to streamline and scale up global operations, with minimal help from IT. As they began shutting their inboxes down, replacing them with Zendesk, agent productivity soared. Macros made it easy for agents to handle standard tickets with ease, and dynamic content supported localized interactions. Rapha also chose to integrate Sprout Social with Zendesk to automatically turn interactions on Twitter and Facebook into tickets, and were early adopters of Zendesk’s integration with Google Hangouts.

“The insight we’re getting now from Zendesk enables us to be a better business and to improve the whole customer experience. Zendesk has allowed us to provide a high touch service experience for our customers.” - David Barnes, Head of Customer Service at Rapha

Zendesk made it possible for Rapha to:

  • Increase efficiency with macros

  • Avoid agent collision

  • Easily include content based on a customer’s preferred language


With Zendesk, Rapha has succeeded in providing a consistent and connected experience across channels and geographies. The customer insights gleaned from Zendesk are helping to improve operations. For example, the data provided through Zendesk illuminated inefficiencies in the returns process. They’re also now tracking customer satisfaction, spotting patterns, and growing closer to their customers.

With Zendesk, Rapha has realized the following gains:

  • Increased speed and reduced friction during the returns process as a result of customer service data

  • Massive increases in efficiency and transparency

  • Ability to track customer satisfaction per customer

 You can read the full Zendesk retail guide here