Groupon: Defenders of the Customer Experience

January 27, 2011

“Zendesk’’s macros are incredibly easy to use and customize. We know how we’ll they’’re working whenever a customer writes back to us and says, ‘It’’s so nice to deal with a human rather than a robot!’”

–Joe Harrow, Director of Customer Service, Groupon

Launched in November 2008, Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat and buy in more than 500 markets and 40 countries. The company has thousands of employees spread across its Chicago and Palo Alto offices, regional offices in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa with local account executives stationed in many cities. Groupon seeks to sell only quality products and services, be honest and direct with customers, and provide exceptional customer service.

Explosive growth creates the need for a robust ticketing solution

Thousands of websites offer consumers big discounts on everyday purchases. Groupon’s founders set out to do something different: help customers have satisfying new experiences while saving money in the process.

“”Trust is the key to everything we do,”” explains Joe Harrow, director of customer service at Groupon. “”Our customers need constant reassurance that we’’re looking out for their best interests.””

Groupon’’s leaders foster this trust by making attentive customer service a priority. The company initially managed customer requests by email before becoming overwhelmed.

““Within a few months of our founding, our customer base exploded,”” Harrow says. “”At first, I was spending 10 percent of my time responding to customer requests. It gradually became a job for several agents. We realized we simply couldn’t go on without a real ticketing solution.””

Online support solution provides scalability for growing retailer

Convinced that Groupon’’s rapid growth would continue, Harrow researched several heavyweight support solutions. But he didn’’t find a good fit.

“”Those solutions seemed complicated and difficult to set up,”” Harrow recalls. “”They would have increased our efficiency, but at the cost of hampering the customer experience.””

Harrow then searched the web for online support software and found Zendesk. After a quick evaluation of Zendesk, Harrow knew he had the right solution.

“Right off the bat, Zendesk was intuitive to use,” Harrow says. “It seemed more powerful and robust than other online support solutions, and it had been rated very highly in reviews he’’d read. Plus, he knew that because it was a hosted solution, it could easily scale to support our increasing volume.”

Flexible solution delivers outstanding value

Groupon now employs more than 150 customer support agents, who handle nearly 15,000 tickets per day. Zendesk’s macros, which are predefined answers to FAQs, are Groupon’s favorite Zendesk feature. These macros help Groupon train its agents to deliver one of the company’s customer service hallmarks: one-touch resolution.

“”We expect our customer service agents to be able to resolve most issues on the first contact,”” Harrow says. “One of our most effective forms of training is to have them read all of our Zendesk macros and know exactly when to use each one.”

At the same time, Groupon urges its agents to get personal. By training agents to tweak macros to each situation, Groupon has succeeded in making customers feel that they have been heard.

“”Zendesk’’s macros are incredibly easy to use and customize,”” Harrow says. ““We know how we’ll they’’re working whenever a customer writes back to us and says, ‘It’’s so nice to deal with a human rather than a robot!’””

Groupon has also found it easy to integrate Zendesk with other solutions. By integrating Zendesk with GoodData, Groupon has extended and enhanced its reporting, going well beyond the limits of its old spreadsheets.

As Groupon continues to grow, the company will rely on Zendesk’s flexibility as it strives to keep customers happy.

“”With Zendesk, we can easily tweak the system without calling a consultant,” Harrow says. “”We can deploy it to new departments simply by flipping a switch. And Zendesk is always adding new features.””

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