How to fill millions of empty tables
OpenTable is a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners, and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants. OpenTable has more than 25,000 restaurant customers, and has seated more than 350 million diners around the world since its inception in 1998. The OpenTable service is available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
Cumbersome help desk process hinders sales force productivity
What’s the secret to OpenTable’s global expansion? A high-performing sales team. So when salespeople recently began requesting changes to OpenTable’s help desk processes, the company was all ears.
“In our customer satisfaction survey in the fall of 2010, our employees said it was cumbersome to submit support tickets to our internal help desk,” says Russ Gangloff, Director of Customer Support, OpenTable. “We take these complaints seriously, because so much of our employee base works remotely, and access to internal systems is key.”
OpenTable had been using a module of its internal CRM system as a help desk tool and passing the tickets into its JIRA bug tracking solution. End users who submitted requests had no visibility into their tickets – and no idea when an agent would address their problems. In addition, employees had to be logged onto the OpenTable network to submit a ticket. “But if you couldn’t get on the network, it was impossible to submit a ticket to get fixed,” comments Gangloff.
“To keep our employees happy, we needed to let them submit tickets easily through a variety of channels, and give them constant status updates on the progress of the support request,” says Gangloff.
Easy-to-use online support system rolls out in minutes
Gangloff and his team initially considered using a stripped-down version of JIRA as its new help desk solution. But he soon realized the company needed a true online support solution – and found Zendesk.
“The biggest point in Zendesk’s favor was its ease of use,” says Gangloff. “It took us 30 minutes to set up Zendesk and start using it. The way Zendesk lays out the admin features in the Settings Tab is fantastic and super intuitive.”
Currently, about 10 OpenTable help desk agents use Zendesk to handle 250 end user requests per week. The company has also integrated Zendesk with JIRA, which allows OpenTable’s IT operations team to share tickets with the bug-tracking system in order to process tickets on major technical issues. Employees can simply submit a ticket in Zendesk and let the system route it to the support agent with the most expertise in the topic.
“No matter what type of problem an employee sends, the ticket will automatically get to the right team,” says Gangloff. “Zendesk and JIRA work side-by-side, seamlessly passing tickets back and forth as needed until there’s a resolution.”
Revamped help desk operation draws rave reviews
OpenTable employees who run into common problems – such as a forgotten password or locked-out email account – can now submit tickets to Zendesk from any web browser, on or off the corporate network. They can also create a ticket by sending an email to a designated help desk email address. Once their tickets are submitted, the help desk team validates their identity, and employees receive continuous updates, via Zendesk triggers, until their issues are resolved.
“One of our favorite things about Zendesk is the ability to keep our employees in the loop,” says Gangloff. “The built-in triggers send email updates automatically as we process a ticket. We keep hearing that we’re so much more responsive now – but it’s not because the agents are doing anything differently, it’s because the system is automatically providing feedback to the employee, which we didn’t do before.”
Thanks to Zendesk, OpenTable employees can take advantage of help desk services during extended hours, and through a wider variety of channels. OpenTable has extended Zendesk access to its third-party tier 1 support provider, enabling this partner to handle password resets and account unlocks. OpenTable has also set up a toll-free help desk hotline for employees who are without internet access. And Zendesk’s self-service community support platform, or knowledge base, help more OpenTable employees find answers for themselves – within seconds.
“With Zendesk, we’ve revamped our entire help desk operation,” says Gangloff. “Employees are giving lots of feedback along the lines of, ‘This is so easy! Why didn’t you guys do this much sooner?’”
To make sure employees remain satisfied with the quality of support provided, OpenTable is using Zendesk’s Customer Satisfaction Ratings feature to poll users after each support request is solved, and is planning on using GoodData for Zendesk’s reports and dashboards to collect metrics on the overall effectiveness of its help desk.
“Our job is to keep our employees – happy and productive,” Gangloff concludes. “Zendesk has already solved so many issues for us, and has given us a holistic view of customer satisfaction so that we can keep improving on what we’re offering.”
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