Two people tag customer interactions in Zendesk.

How to Better Tag Your Zendesk Customer Interactions

While tagging customer interactions might seem like a small part of your operations, it’s actually a vital component of running a productive contact center. Consistently tagging your customer support interactions in Zendesk — or any chat software — should be a top priority.

Why You Should Properly Tag Customer Conversations

Every customer interaction is an opportunity to learn more about your customers, understand how and why they use your product, and gain insight into how to keep them longterm. It’s also a chance to proactively uncover any issues and figure out how to fix them. When chat conversations are properly tagged, it’s easier for you to leverage interactions to mine insights. 

Here’s an example: customers who use the premium version of your product have repeatedly mentioned downgrading or canceling during the last few months in their chat conversations. If those conversations get tagged properly, you’ll be able to recognize that trend much faster. This puts you in a position to take action. If these conversations aren’t tagged, you could see higher customer churn than you expected and be left wondering why.

Finding issues faster matters. Today’s customers won’t hang around long if they keep experiencing the same issue — 71% say they would switch to a company’s competitor due to multiple bad customer service experiences.

How to Better Tag Your Zendesk Customer Interactions customer interactions

Creating a Zendesk Tagging Strategy

The team at Zendesk has assembled a thorough guide to the mechanics of creating tags and using them within your customer chats. 

But before you start on those steps, take the time to think about your tagging strategy overall and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Should my agents be manually tagging conversations or should I look for an automated solution?
  • Should we use a flat tagging taxonomy or a hierarchical structure?
  • What will I do with the insights I gather and how can I take action on them?

Related Article: Top 5 Chat Conversation Tagging Challenges

Manual Tagging vs. Automated Tagging

There are a few problems with manually tagging customer interactions. First, it can be inaccurate. Your agents are fielding a lot of interactions, and it’s easy to tag one interaction incorrectly. This will hurt your efforts to see patterns and trends in your customer calls and identify problems quickly. 

Second, manual tagging, even though it takes less than a minute per conversation, can actually be costly to your business. Those seconds add up across all of your agents and all of their conversations every day, taking time away from serving other customers. This ends up hurting your metrics

Automated tagging with AI picks up on the context and sentiment of a customer interaction so that tags are always accurately applied, fueling your customer research with the right data. Because agents aren’t spending time thinking about choosing right tag, they can move more quickly to the next interaction, so you reach your customers faster. 

How to Better Tag Your Zendesk Customer Interactions customer interactions

Flat Tagging Taxonomies vs. Hierarchical Tagging

A tagging taxonomy is the structure you choose to organize your tags. A flat taxonomy is simpler to use but less robust as it contains more general categories. A hierarchical structure has several layers of organization and allows more precise tracking and analysis of your tags.

Both types of tagging have their time and place. For a customer service center that gets hundreds of customer interactions per month, a flat taxonomy often keeps things simple for a smaller team. 

But for a growing support center dealing with thousands of interactions each month, a hierarchical structure will allow you to more precisely tag customer feedback and analyze it more thoroughly. 

A graph with "Data volume" on the x axis and "Number of tags" on the y axis. The graph displays when it's appropriate to use a hierarchical tagging taxonomy versus a flat tagging taxonomy.
Source: Playvox

With either tagging taxonomy, you’ll want to keep a tight grip on the reins of how tags are added. Letting agents add new tags during conversations can muddy customer feedback and make it harder to gain insights. 

Zendesk allows only administrators to add tags during chats — not agents — helping to keep your structure consistent and orderly without being overrun with on-the-fly additions. You’ll want to caution your Zendesk administrators to be thoughtful about adding tags as well. Even in a flat taxonomy, agents can get overwhelmed by a list of choices that’s too long.

What to do with the Insights You Get from Tagging

Proper tagging brings issues and opportunities to the forefront faster. But if tagging helps you uncover a product issue that needs to be corrected, it can be hard to make it a priority with the product team since they’re often overwhelmed with requests. 

The best way to move higher up the product team’s to-do list and get the attention of your leadership is to present the issue as a business problem. When you show that a customer issue is costing your company money, you’re more likely to get it addressed faster.

When you’re making a business case for a product change, be prepared with hard numbers, such as: 

  • Number of customers the issue has affected
  • Number and amount of lost deals because of the issue
  • Number of customers who have churned and amount of revenue lost because of the issue

Hard numbers have a way of getting attention from the right people. When you can assemble data easily thanks to your tags, you’re one step closer to getting things fixed.

How to Better Tag Your Zendesk Customer Interactions customer interactions

How Automated Feedback Analysis Helps You Manage Zendesk Conversation Tags

When you’re using a powerful tool like Zendesk to manage customer conversations across both sales and support, you’re creating a lot of data and insights to manage. And as you scale, creating more products and supporting more customers, it’s going to become hard to handle in a hurry. 

Besides volume, the context of how customers talk about their problems matters. Though Zendesk offers some automated tagging tools, they often won’t pick up on the many different ways a customer describes a problem. 

Customer AI uncovers actionable customer insights by analyzing conversations from every ticket, survey, and digital interaction. Through AI-driven customer feedback and sentiment analysis, you find out important information about your customers and your products — no matter what words they use  — with far less effort.

By actively monitoring customer sentiment and proactively seeking out ways to fix issues, you’ll see fewer repeated issues and less churn. You’ll deliver the right customer experience and make your own job easier at the same time.

Want to know how companies like yours are cutting out wasted time with automated tagging? Read our customer story from Stockpile on how they saved nearly 600 agent hours per year and uncovered an issue that saved $27,000 in operational costs. 

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