How to centralize your support
REA Group began its path to operating Australia’s leading real estate and commercial property advertising sites in a garage in Melbourne in 1995. Seventeen years later, it is a $2.2 billion business and has over 500 employees across the globe.
“Zendesk helps us break down barriers and get things done more efficiently.”
-Damian Fasciani, IT service delivery manager
REA Group is a fast-moving, dynamic organization, and its priorities can change frequently. Flexibility is key to almost everything it does, especially as it relates to support. REA Group needed to be able to easily grow or decrease its support systems, without creating the overhead a data center requires. It needed its help desk solution to be flexible and fit with its broader IT strategy to embrace cloud computing across global offices.
Aggressive growth calls for scalable support
Ever since its founding, REA Group has grown rapidly. With an average of approximately eight new starters each week (including employees, contractors and role changes in our Australian and overseas offices), it was quickly stretching the limits of its previous support ticketing system, which couldn’t keep up with the growing demands of the organization’s internal support needs.
“Shortly after joining REA Group, I knew we had to look for a new support ticketing system since the one we were using at the moment was not meeting our needs. This is how I came across Zendesk,” says Damian Fasciani, REA Group’s IT service delivery manager. “Zendesk has been one of the most popular implementations at REA Group. We have expanded quite significantly from the original eight agents to 150 of them, and we continue to grow even more.”
Simple, powerful, transparent (and no need for ITIL certification)
What impressed Fasciani most about Zendesk was how easy it was to use and how much transparency it allowed across the organization. Anyone using Zendesk can see the ticket queue and easily identify solved or open support requests, as well as those requiring additional information or follow-up. “It’s made everyone feel like they are in the loop when it comes to support,” says Fasciani. “Also impressive was how quickly people could start using it!”
Users immediately began responding to employees using Zendesk’s most basic functionality, such as predefined responses called macros, or creating business rules with triggers and automations. In addition, REA Group found that Zendesk is not only scalable, in that it can keep pace with the organization’s growing needs, but also can scale according a user’s knowledge and familiarity with the product.
Zendesk’s simple interface has also been a significant time-saver. REA Group’s previous help desk solution required an intense amount of data entry before the ticket could actually be logged, taking agents approximately seven to eight minutes to log. With Zendesk, agents are logging tickets in seconds; new users don’t have to decipher what they need in a ticket.
Under the previous help desk solution, Fasciani’s team was dealing with between 350 and 400 tickets in their support queue at any given time. Now that his department has switched to Zendesk, agents are collectively closing 400 tickets per week and have managed to reduce the number of open tickets in their queue to approximately 70 to 85.
Popular features keep REA Group on its path toward maturity
When a company can distinguish problems from incidents it helps with allocating resources and prioritizing support requests, which can greatly increase employee satisfaction.
This is why one of the most popular Zendesk features for REA Group has been ticket-logging by type, where agents can select whether a ticket is an incident or a problem. REA Group has also successfully streamlined its help desk and boosted productivity with macros, which are predefined responses to frequently asked questions. Macros have also helped REA Group’s IT department better standardise its responses to recurring support requests.
Meanwhile, REA Group uses triggers to automatically modify tickets and send email notifications as they pertain to different severity levels. For instance, when a ticket is deemed a Level 1 severity, the triggers REA Group’s IT department have enabled will send an email to senior management on the progress of the ticket’s resolution.
Email notifications via triggers have greatly helped REA Group bring transparency to its help desk. It has also boosted the IT team’s productivity and resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback that has entirely changed the way people perceive IT.
“If you ask anyone at REA Group what they think about Zendesk, no one can say a bad thing,” says Fasciani.
REA Group also uses Zendesk’s JIRA integration for bug-tracking and website-related issues, and its more than 20 out-of-the-box reports and dashboards to gain instant insight into the support team’s performance and the quality of support they are providing.
Unified, centralized support
Zendesk’s ease-of-use has enabled a widespread implementation of the tool across its organization, paving the way for a more unified way of having people submit support issues. This all contributes to a more streamlined process for how the company as a whole manages support requests.
“We wanted to centralize all of our support processes so that everyone in the company has one single place to submit, receive and learn about support issues. This is exactly what Zendesk enabled us to do,” says Fasciani. “We’re all about bringing the whole company to Zendesk and saying, ‘This is your one-stop shop to collaborate, talk about incidents, and look at knowledge base articles.’”
Future support goals
There are plans in place to set up REA Group’s subsidiaries on Zendesk so that they can share information with each other and so that agents can have shared views of the support activity occurring within every global office. Fasciani would also like every REA Group office to eventually have access to the same support information, write on same blogs, contribute to the same knowledge bases so that REA Group’s headquarters in Melbourne can have a global picture of its IT support.
Fasciani has also implemented a new asset management system and would like to eventually integrate this with Zendesk so that it can deal with any incidents relating to hardware assets, such as laptops, desktops, and phones.
When keeping it simple does the trick
73% improvement in first response time
Making support more collaborative and effective
Robust forums help customers help themselves
Automated responses save time and headcount
Maintaining a consistent level of service for all
Turning customers into advocates
Customer service that scales
Faster response times means happier customers