The Death of Tickets vol. 1: Make Friends, Not Tickets

The Death of Tickets vol. 1: Make Friends, Not Tickets

June 26, 2018
4:00 pm
3:00 pm
7:00 am

Everyday people use several different channels to communicate, switching effortlessly between them whenever they please. In this webinar Christian Colding will walk you through some key concepts to consider when building the foundation for interacting with your customers. The main objective is to ensure a personal and consistent experience for the people that matter most to your company–your customers.

You'll learn:

  • How to handle customer “channel blindness”
  • How to make sure you deliver personal and consistent support
  • How to break down silos in your communication infrastructure

Register for webinar


Hello everyone. Welcome to another Dixa webinar. Thank you
so much for attending. My name is Julie. I am in charge of organizing webinars
and events here in Dixa. With me I have Christian Colding, who is our VP of
Product. Christian will be sharing some tips on how to have more personal and
meaningful conversations with your customers today. Um, if you have any
questions during the webinar, you are more than welcome to use the questions
tab. It's right next to the chat tab. And I'll read out the, I'll read out loud
the questions at the end of the webinar for Christian to, um, answer, and if
for some reason we run out of time and don't get through all the questions,
I'll make sure to follow up by email.

Also, after the webinar I'll send a recording of the
webinar to all the participants in case when to rewatch it or in case you want
to pass it on to a colleague. I'm also going to make sure that, uh, our contact
details and website will be displayed at the end of the webinar in case you
want to get in touch or if you want to find out more about Dixa, ehm, just
really quick for those who might be unfamiliar with Dixa, we're a cloud based
customer service platform that supports chat, 
telephone and email, and um, yeah, like I said, you're more than welcome
to check out our website after the webinar. And that's all for me. Christian,
the floor is yours.

Christian: Thank you so much, Julie.

Hi everyone. I'm Christian. I'm the VP of Product here at
Dixa and I previously come from three years as a Senior Product Manager at
Zendesk. So I've, I've been involved in customer service for many, many years
and uh, and uh, I have some very strong opinions on how we do conversations
with each other.

How we communicate with each other

The first thing I wanted to start out with is actually a
little bit of an example of how a conversation goes. So let me try and go
through that and let's see if you can all recognize this. So I've, I've kinda
sketched this out, but I think you can all recognize it. So this customer, this
person is contacting another person asking "are you up for coffee later
this week?"

And in this case the person has a slightly odd way of
responding: "Thank you for your message. Your inquiry has been given
ticket number 1242232. We strive to handle your inquiry within 24 hours on
weekdays. If your inquiry is about hanging out, please aware that a longer
response time may occur."

So, um, seriously, uh, this guy is a little confused:
"Okay. I'll guess I'll wait until tomorrow". Tomorrow he gets another
answer. "Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I have reviewed your
inquiry and can suggest we meet up at one of these times. If none of the
specified times suit you, please get back to me. I appreciate your patience."
And then he's like "it doesn't really work. Can I continue this
conversation on a phone call? Can I call you?" And he's not currently
available via phone.  "If you do
call, you will be put in contact with another friend of mine will try and help
you. If that's not of interest you're welcome to specify your inquiry here and
I'll get back to you within 24 hours." And the friend gives up in the end
and the coffee is off.

Okay, how we really communicate

Obviously this is a bit of a square example. I'm sure none
of you have actually seen this. I think what you do tend to see is probably
more something similar to this:

"Are we meeting up for coffee later in the

"I'm definitely up for that. Do you know when we
could meet?"

"I'm not sure. I have a few open evenings. Any of

"You know what? Let me call and we'll take a look at

So instead of, uh, instead of trying to figure it out over
over texts, they find it, okay, let's talk about it over phone.

"Hey. So when are you game?"

"Well, Thursday and Wednesday are open the

"Okay. I'm actually busy with those days in the
afternoon, but I'm available late at night."

"Actually, I don't do late nights but I'm off

"Okay, sounds good."

"See you then."

"See ya."

So they kind of established very fast, through the phone,
they established, uh, how, when to meet and actually afterwards they also kind
of follow up: "Oh, I also added to my calendar."

"Yay. Me too."

So we definitely see that, uh, that communication, I think
you've all probably tried these types of examples where you're trying to
organize something or tried to do something, you call them up rather than
continuing the conversation on, on chat if that's where you've started it.

We continue our conversations where most appropriate. Continuously.

So what I'm saying here is really that, you know, we as
human beings continue our conversation where it's most appropriately and we
continuously do. So there's a reason why I say continuing continuously two
times. That's because we do do it all over again, like, we will switch to
another, to another place to continue the conversation. And next
time we talk, next time we meet up, we can reference what we've been talking
about previously. We can reference a phone conversation or a chat
conversation. So it kind of spreads across different ways of communicating and
talking to each other.

I wanted to, um, give you a little bit of a, uh, an
example, uh, with someone I've, I've grown very fond of by now. This is a
Chiara. Chiara is a Customer Support Manager at a company called Product Board.
Product Board, uh, they, built a tool that allows product managers and VP of
Products like me to keep track of features, where we want to go, strategy,
other things like that.  And obviously,
as part of using a product, a product that I'm, I'm, I'm very happy about using,
there's usually problems or things that we need to solve. So when I do, I reach
out to their support. I didn't choose to, uh, to be, uh, to be in contact with
Chiara. I think maybe she chose me, but, uh, but, uh, it's, it's interesting to
see how the conversation evolves. I'm going to try and show you a little bit of
how that works. 

Continuous conversations even happen in business...

So in the beginning, I, I tell her that I have a problem with,
with the how a feature works. She explains to me in the beginning exactly how
you do it. I say, "Oh nice. Thanks". And she sends a little smiley
GIF. It's not animated here, but it is in the conversation. I say, "No
problem". "Anything else I can help you with?", she asks and I
say, "All good".

Alright. This is one of our first conversations that we're
having. And even then she's, she's, she's very, I think she's very professional
in what she's doing here, but it kind of evolves from there. So in one of our
later conversations, um, the, you can see that now she actually starts to
recognize me: "Hello Christian, it's me again. Thank you so much for the
screencast as usual. This looks indeed strange, I'll report it right

So I've been reporting a bug, I've included a screencast
for her so she can read that over and she's very happy that I, that I, that
obviously did that and sends a little GIF of a running rabbit, I think it is.
Um, and again, my response here is "My favorite agent" because we're
starting to build some level of, of, of relationship with each other, some
level of talking to each other and have a conversation.

Um, I say "Thanks. I'll just keep reporting stuff
when I see it", and she sends a Simpson's "excellent" GIF.
"I'm hoping that there won't be anymore to report one day", and I
say, "Well, there'll probably always will be issues and it's totally

So that's another example of how you can see that that
conversation has evolved slightly. It's, it's gone into "Hello Christian,
it's me again", which I think is super interesting. And it, it kind of
continued from there. One of the problems that I had reported got fixed and she
gets back to me: "This is fixed". She's sending a dancing Carlton
GIF. And I reply with "WOOP!", because that's how I communicate
apparently. Um, and "We're getting to all of them slowly", she says,
and "I love it". So again, we're trying, she knows who I am, she's
following up with me, she knows that we had a conversation about this
previously, um, and she also has a certain way of communicating now that she
knows it's me.

And just a final example of, of how this conversation has
continued: I've reported another bug and she sends a dancing flamingo GIF.
"Yes, this is a concern that other customers have, and for now this is how
it works, but your feedback is very valuable as usual. And then, uh, "We
love you"-GIF. "Thanks a lot, have a great rest of the day". So,
you know, you start to see that we're starting to build a relationship or a way
of talking to each other, even though we're actually doing this in, uh, from a
business perspective. We're we're doing this because we're, we have, I'm using
their product, I am paying them money. But you can also see that, that we are
talking to each other in a certain way. What that means is that over time
we've, we've established a specific way of communicating between me and her. One
that fits me well and I think it fits her as well.  She knows my level expertise. She knows that
she can ask me certain questions that I can answer for you. I also know how to
report issues and bugs in the right way so that she can continue with them and
have them fixed. And generally I feel a lot more closer to the, to the product.
I want to continue being a, a customer of the product even though even if they
don't have all the features that I want. Just the fact that we're building and
building a relationship with someone on the other side is so important.

So our communication, the communication seen here, is
continuous. It's just like the example that I drew up of how we communicate
with our friends. It continues, it changes, it builds on top of the previous,
uh, previous interactions. So basically what we're seeing, and I think we see
this generally out there, is that customers' customer interactions are, are
becoming continuous, are continuous today.

Customer interactions are continuous - and business models are changing

We've seen it in friendships and we're seeing it in
business as well. So before they were a bit more transactional, um, you would
go into a store, for example, an online store, buy something and then leave and
maybe you would never come back. So they're usually very, they're very specific
and they end at some point. What we're seeing is that these are evolving into
what I call relationships, not of the romantic kind, but if the professional
kind. And those continue to evolve over time. So they, they are not just a
one-off thing that we do. It's something that we continuously think about,
something that we continuously try to nurture and what she's also doing with me
and the Chiara example.

We also see it from, uh, from, uh, the other side, so to
say. So one thing is that users and are becoming more relational and focusing
more on relationships. We'll see it from a business perspective. So we see that
business models are changing from a transactional to a continuous business
model. Um, if we look at Itunes, might remember a few years ago you would go to
Itunes, you would buy a song or an album and then you would own that. It would
be transactional. We buy one thing and then you could buy more if you wanted
to, but that was your, your one off transaction. Now that's changed to Apple
Music; you pay a certain amount every, every, uh, every month, and then you
have access to all this different kind of music. So we see that it's changing
from a transactional business model to a subscription business model, which is
a continuous as well.

We've seen it with Amazon. Amazon is still very
transactional in that you go to and you find something you want and
you order it and you hopefully get it delivered and you're hopefully happy in
the end. That's still very transactional. But they, Amazon, realized that that
was not the only way for them to, uh, to have a successful business. They also
needed a continuous relationship-building model. So they introduced Amazon
Prime. And Prime is a subscription that you pay monthly and that gives you, uh,
certain offers, it gives you the ability to have it shipped faster at lower
cost. So basically you're getting a lot of advantage out of, out, of paying
the, the subscription fee. So again, they're creating a relationship with the
customer in the other end.

We also see with Adobe, so for those of you who've worked
in Photoshop or Andesign or, or one of the many tools that adobe created, you
might remember the Creative Suite. Creative Suite works where you went to Adobe
and you bought one of these products or a suite of the products and you paid a
one-off fee, usually very, very high. Um, something that a lot of people
couldn't really afford. What we also saw, a lot of pirating of said software.
What Adobe to do is they wanted to change that into a continuous subscription
model instead. So instead of being transactional and paying one fee and then
owning the software, you continuously pay, and that's definitely had a huge
impact on, on the, their ability to make money.

Why don't more businesses do continuous conversations then? The answer is tickets...

So we see it in business models as well. They are also
changing, they also becoming continuous, both relationships and the business
models themselves. So why is it that no more, why don't more businesses do
these continuous conversations then? Why do they do these kind of weird
conversations where, that we saw in the first example that I, that I drew up
and I think the main reason for that is tickets, which is why we're here,
because I don't think that's the right way to go.

So the problem with, with tickets is that tickets lead
very separate lives. They are not, uh, they're not the same thing. They, they,
they, uh, are very separate from each other. So if I, if I have a problem and I
create a ticket, um, then that will be handled and solved on its own. I can
create another ticket at the same time. I have no guarantee that they will
affect each other whatsoever. They can be handled by different people. They
can, you know, so they're completely separate from each other and they're not
really interacting with each other, contributing to the same thing.

One channel per ticket... If you're lucky

Another thing is that, um, there's one channel per ticket
basically, if you're even lucky. Um, so for many emails, um, they are usually
converted automatically into a ticket, so that's fine. Great. But then what if
you have a phone call? What if you have a chat? What is that? Then you kind of have to make sure that a ticket is
created. Some tools allow you to do that automatically, but it's still needs to
create a ticket for you to get that full overview of what you're trying to do.
And again, it's still one ticket that lives its own separate life so they're
not contributing to the same whole in that sense.

What we see is that that out there, as we were looking at
products that do ticketing and the do customer service, there's also different
tools for different channels. For looking at, at Zendesk for example, where I
come from, you know, you have one tool, Zendesk Support for the for the email,
Zendesk Talk for phones,  Zendesk Chat
for chat. They're a completely separate product,  they're paid for separately, they have
different features and different workflows. It's the same with Freshdesk,
Freshcaller and Freshchat, which is part of Freshworks, um, they're also separate,
separated out and not part of the same thing. And even if you're that lucky, I
mean, in this case you, with Zendesk and Freshworks, you can have one company
that handles all of those tools, but you might have three different ones that
you try to integrate. So you have different tools that handle different
channels and that's causing quite a pain for customers in the other end.

Agent's are divided by channels

There's another problem and that is: Agents are usually
divided by channel. So in this example, um, we have agent 1 and 2 on email and
at the same time agent 3 and on phone and, uh, agent 5 is on chat. And you do
this because your tools don't allow you to do all of those three things at the
same time. Since they're three different tools you need to be in three
different places. You can't be on all of them at the same time.

So that's a, that's a, that's a big problem. Um, that
means that if I'm trying to have a conversation on multiple channels as in the
case of the, uh, of the, uh, of the friend who wanted to call the other friend,
then you need to, you can end up contacting, in this case, three different
agents, because if you need to do both chat, email and phone, you're going to
reach agent 1, 3 and 5 for example. Alright, maybe there's a way to solve that
and that is by potentially keeping agents on the same channel always. That
still has some problems. So while I could say, okay, I'm just gonna only chat
about this issue, I'm never going to use multiple channels. Um, that's, that's
fair. And maybe are a problem, there's a lot of different cases out there where
you would only use one channel.

But the problem with that is that people are still
changed, uh, the agents online still change depending on the channel. So even
though I'm doing a chat support, I might not hit the same agents because agent
number 5 who was there before has now been moved to another channel. He's on
email now. Again, we're back to the problem of having multiple, uh, multiple
channels separated it into multiple tools, meaning you have to kind of split
people, and you also see that you obviously want to give agents a varied work
day. So how do you do that, uh, if you don't divide up agents? So almost no
matter what you do, you're going to end up talking to a lot of different
people, even if you're just trying to solve the same, the same problem.

Tickets objectify people and disconnect customers from businesses

Also, I would say that the tickets, the ticket is just a
horrible way to describe your customer interactions. Really horrible. Um, the
word it, it sounds like something you file and then you leave. Uh, it's, it's a task that you check off. It's something that, okay, now I'm done.
I've filed a ticket and then I'm gonna leave. And you know, it's one of many.
It kind of says so, right? We know that when we're going to a concert, we
rarely have the only ticket that's very rare. So we know there's probably a lot
of those. We don't feel very special about it and it objectifies people into
data. It takes the humanity out of us. It takes, uh, takes, yeah, it takes that
out of us and objectifies instead. It makes us into data. I'm not data, I'm a
human being and I want to be treated like that.

And if we're looking at it from a ticket management
perspective; that almost implies that you're good at organizing data
efficiently, not to help people. Like we're, we're good at taking the tickets
that come in and make sure that you're efficiently organized. But are we truly
helping people. Do customers in the other end truly get the help that they
need? Are we focusing a little bit too much on, on our own needs in terms of
organizing our data?

Um, so as I said, you know, this creates quite a
disconnect between the customer and the business, because tickets lead their
separate lives, they only have one channel per ticket. Usually agents are
divided by channel and it's a horrible way to describe your customer
interaction. So you're just creating a customer experience that isn't the best.
It creates a disconnect and that's not what you want to do, especially as we're
moving into these new business model, models and continuous relationships that
customers want and that businesses want too.

There's another way of thinking about it: Conversations

So there is another way. And, uh, we call this
conversations. I think that's the right way to go and what are, what are
conversations? So conversations are very similar to what you, what you saw in
my, in my example in the beginning. It is an interaction between a customer and
an agent and it can happen on pretty much any channel. So in, in, in the case
of this one that I just mocked up a there's a phone call, there's a bit of
chatting, there's a phone call, there's an email, there's some chatting. But
the thing is they're all contributing to the same thing. They're all part of
the same conversation, which is very similar to what we do when we communicate
with people. Sometimes we talk on the phone, sometimes we chat with people,
sometimes we do even send an email and sometimes we do other things. We meet up
in real life and we build on everything that we've learned until then. And
that's the same with customer and agent and what you can achieve in a

So channels and, and tickets they kind of blend together into one
molecule. Basically you would stop thinking too much about the individual
channels and rather think more about the whole and and how they're all blended
together into one conversation.

So your customers, they don't really think in channels.
They don't think in tickets. And customers they think about how the best way to
solve their problem. You saw this very clearly in the, in the example that I
did. I think you've all done that where you've tried to figure something out.
You're like, okay, I'm going to call. That's an easier way to solve the
specific problem that I'm looking at right now. And customers do the same. They
also want to do that. So you should too. You should also start to look at that.

Tickets are dead. Long live conversations!

So it's very easy. Tickets are dead. They've, they've been
dead for a long time, probably. Conversations they are alive and they probably
have been ever since the dawn of humanity, so to say, because we have always
had conversations together. This ticket thing has become a little bit of an
unnatural way of, of talking about customer conversations. Um, we have
conversations with each other, we've had conversation with each other, we
continued to have conversations with each other. We just need to bring that
into the digital world as well.

So this was a little bit on, on just why tickets are wrong
from a more overall perspective. Uh, we do have a volume two coming up, um, and
we'll let you know when, when that's ready, but The Death of Tickets Vol. 2
will look a little bit on how you route and prioritize your customers. So when
they're split on different channels, when they're, when they're, when you're
using tickets, what kind of problems that create and how should you prioritize?
How should you ensure that the customers get the right answer from the right
people? So how do you create that connection? The connection that I've created
with, with Chiara as well at Product Board. How do you create that with your
customers? So a lot more to come on that in Volume 2. Yeah.

Julie: Thank you very much. I thank you for a lovely
presentation. I have to say I'm a huge fan of your quest to make the world a
friendlier place. It's very nice, it's very lovely. If you don't mind, I'm just
gonna jump straight into the questions. Is that all right?

Christian: Sure.

Julie: Perfect. So the first question is, uh, in the conversation
with Chiara from Product Board, you sent a lot of GIFs back and forth. Are you
saying that this is the new way of communicating?

Christian: To an extent... Yes and no to that question. I mean
obviously we do see GIFs is playing a larger role in how you communicate, but
that's not the point of what I tried to what, what happened between me and
Chiara. What happened between me and Chiara was that she read me. If she had
replied, if she had replied with GIFs and I had been very, I hadn't replied,
with the same kind of a way of talking or also replying with GIFs, then she
probably wouldn't have continued to do so. So it's about reading the customer
at the other end, personalizing that experience. So no, it's not about GIFs. I
know that there's a lot of people out there who don't appreciate GIFs, but then
you know. By creating that connection between people then there's a bigger
chance that you actually create a great experience for them, right?

Julie: Awesome. Thank you. And the next question is, what do you
see as the biggest blocker for businesses to adopt conversations?

Christian: Interesting. Conversations are difficult to adopt, uh,
mainly because of this, I think the main point which also made in the
presentation, but it is about the split of tools. Um, conversations are
multichannel. They're almost channel neutral is what I call it sometimes. We
don't care about the channel. The channel is a secondary thing. Um, and, and,
and the problem is that all tools are built with one tool for one channel and,
that creates a lot of problems. Then you can't really start using
conversations. You can't have that. You can't have that flow. You can't build
on top of that when you're splitting it out. And sure you might be able to take
some of these things and, and group them together in the end, so, okay, even
though you're using three different tools, we'll do one analytics module that
kind of ties them together, but it's kind of an off thing - that we're doing it
the opposite way. We should be thinking about getting all together. If anything
then let's try and split them if we need to. But, like, let's have that
conversation. I think that's the biggest problem is the tools are just not
built for having conversations as they are today, at least not business tools,
because use Facebook Messenger and you can chat and you can video and you can
call. So this is, this is new. This is something we're already seeing when it's
about personal conversations between friends.

Julie: Okay. Thank you so much. Um, I don't think there's any
more questions, but obviously feel free to keep in touch if you think of
something later on. Um, I think that's all for us. We hope you feel inspired to
take conversations with your customers to the next level. Stay tuned for Death
of Tickets Volume 2. That's all for us. Thank you very much and have a lovely
day.  Bye.

Christian: Thank you.

Christian Colding

Christian is the VP of Product at Dixa and believes in treating customers as friends, not transactions. He approaches Dixa's product development with this mindset every single day.

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