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Lincoln Investment Transforms its Customer Service with Zendesk

Lincoln Investment is one of the fastest growing full-service broker-dealers in the industry, with 1,100 financial advisors in the U.S. and more than 320,000 clients. Its financial advisors spend a lot of time crunching numbers, but its real business is building relationships with and between clients, advisors, and team members.

With fast growth comes growing pains, and in early 2016, the company reviewed its internal systems and its ability to successfully scale. Given the complexity of its offerings, service at Lincoln Investment goes several levels deep. To continue empowering its advisors to foster each client relationship with the highest quality of service, the company saw the need to move the company from its email-based advisor help desk to a more efficient, scalable enterprise-level customer service solution.

“As we started to grow, it was not possible to provide the same level of service to our advisors using email,” explained Vice President of Applications Development Guru Rao. “The first thing we needed was a solution that would provide better, more actionable insights, and the best platform to do that was Zendesk.”

Many businesses turn to Zendesk, a software company, to build the best experiences for their customers. Specifically, Zendesk Support, one of the products in its portfolio, is an online system for tracking, prioritizing and solving customer support tickets. It houses all of an organization’s customer support interactions in one place, so communication with customers is streamlined and timely. Once leadership saw how much they could accomplish with Zendesk Support, the firm chose to roll it out company-wide—not just as its advisor help desk, but also to replace 17 other internal help desks, ranging from information technology to human resources to sales, all stemming from a single Zendesk instance.

Lincoln Investment now measures its overall customer response time through Zendesk Support and has found that first-response and full-resolution response times have been cut in half for the more than 6,000 customer tickets submitted each month. It’s all a work in progress, Guru explained, as part of a larger effort to capture all customer contacts and to highlight the relationships with advisors as a factor in attracting new advisors and maintaining relationships with existing clients.

Zendesk has helped Lincoln Investment create an intentional “digital footprint” for its advisor and internal communications. It’s a major shift in mindset and the success of the solution’s adoption underscores the company’s commitment to putting its advisors and client success first.

Before the global rollout, Zendesk Support had to meet critical security requirements by providing encryption for advisor and investor data, as well as two-factor authentication. Lincoln Investment maintains a deep technology stack across multiple departments, and so also needed Zendesk Support to integrate with other tools, legacy systems, and Lincoln’s custom-built advisor portal.

“We’re not on the hook to solve everything within a stipulated amount of time, but we are on the hook to respond back to our advisors, saying, ‘Hey, we’re here, we heard you, we understand the issue, we’re working on it. We’ll get back to you,’” Guru explained. “That responsiveness element is why our advisors stay with us. We want to retain that level of responsiveness as we grow.”