o9 + Zendesk: Saving time & simplifying support in supply planning

Enterprise software company o9 is in the business of supply planning, and uses Zendesk to help support companies that require detection of market changes and accurate forecast demand. Zendesk has helped o9 to better support and proactively reach out to customers, increasing agent productivity by 40%, and reducing resolution time by 38%. This streamlined approach has been notably helpful as the global pandemic makes forecasting demand and planning a more difficult task.

o9

“The work we have done with Zendesk has been a highlight of transforming our CX - setting us up for success as an autonomous supply chain hub, and ensuring we can scale to meet our customers needs without compromising on the quality of support they receive.”

Parul Goel

Parul Goel VP of Customer Success, Global Head at o9

“Zendesk is so simple to use. There is nothing I need to teach my agents because the platform is so easy to onboard.”

Lohith S

Customer Success Director at o9

Products used

Staff

1,000

Agents

275

Headquarters

India & Dallas, Texas

Industry

Computer Software and Services

+74%

Improvement in first reply time

+40%

Increase in agent productivity

+38%

Improvement in average resolution time

94%

CSAT

o9 is an end-to-end decision-making platform that helps companies around the world with supply chain planning, with an aim to reduce organizational silos and increase productivity. Serving more than 100 customers globally, the company provides one single platform for commercial, forecasting, financial planning, Master Planning, Multi Echelon Inventory Optimization and Control Tower leveraging real-time data to identify opportunities and risks.

For any company competing in the digital age, fast response times and the ability to help customers shift their approach is crucial. o9 has been using Zendesk to improve productivity since 2014, and both companies have grown alongside each other – in fact, between 2019 and 2021, o9 has expanded from just 15-20 agents to a whopping 275, with Zendesk helping to make this fast growth a smooth process.

So when the global pandemic hit, o9 was well-equipped with the ability to support both its customers and agents with self-service knowledge, as well as powerful reporting and analytics capabilities to proactively support its customers.

Simplicity & fast response time is key for customer success

Although o9 was already utilizing Zendesk before Lohith S joined as Customer Success Director, he says the choice to go with Zendesk was due to the platform’s overall ease of use.

“Zendesk was chosen for its simplicity, which is what I like about it. I have worked with other tools but the simplicity of Zendesk means there is no steep learning curve. If I add a new person to our team, they can start utilizing Zendesk immediately – and this has been a key factor in our ability to manage the exponential growth of our agents and customers, within a short span,” says Lohith.

Due to the nature of o9’s business, most tickets require dedicated assistance to deal with issues or queries that are unique to that customer’s business. o9 has been able to better track these tickets by getting customers to log into a portal, powered by Guide, which plays a key role in the company’s CX strategy. Some customers use the email channel as well to create the tickets with a unique help center email address.

Utilising Explore has also helped o9 to track data and reporting metrics across the organization in near real-time, enabling the business to gather insights and build reports to analyze key information about its customers. Getting this complete view of their customers is essential to o9, and Zendesk’s APIs and integrations have allowed them to connect all customer data as they continue to work toward becoming an “autonomous supply chain”.

“We work with many large manufacturing industries and retailers that may have around 50 or 60 vendors managing their manufacturing, retailing and distribution, and they can’t log into 50 or 60 different ticketing tools when they need help, so this is where the integration comes in and the ability to sync multiple systems when there are changes in status, comments or new tickets,” explains Lohith.

Proactive customer support throughout the pandemic

Manufacturing, logistics and retail have been one of the hardest-hit industries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with supply chains disrupted and warehouses grinding to a halt alongside the rest of the world. While there is little to be done about what has happened, o9 has been able to utilize Zendesk to generate robust reports and identify which customers were affected around the world, and proactively reach out to them to offer support.

“We could easily find out from the reports where tickets were dropping – in some cases we would see one month where a customer would have 30 tickets, and the next month there would be just three – and this prompted us to reach out and ask how we can help them with our planning software. Zendesk played a big part in helping us to identify these dips and the entry point at which customers were affected,” says Lohith.

Due in part to this proactive approach with customers, o9 has been able to grow during the pandemic, adding 40+ new customers in the past year.

Measurable results for long-term success

Dashboards and real-time reporting and analytics with Zendesk has increased o9’s agent productivity by 40% over 18 months, which has been especially important during peak times. In line with this productivity, o9’s average first reply time has decreased significantly by 74%.

“While the first response time varies from customer to customer – some have a stricter 15 min SLA while others are a relaxed 4 hours – overall, we have reduced the time for resolution by 38%,” says Lohith.

The reports and dashboards have helped to keep o9 on its toes, Lohith says, as the business has created monthly KPIs around these results for internal stakeholders. If there is any significant shift in response time, it’s identified quickly and addressed.

Through Zendesk, the efficiency of o9’s approach to customer support is an integral part of the business’ vision to become a “digital brain” of the entire manufacturing, retail and logistics vertical.

“We are heading toward a place where we are the digital brain of the industry, whereby we can automatically collect data and information we need across all systems. No matter what good values and plans you can give to your customers, there is always scope for utilizing market intelligence and bridging that gap with AI and machine learning. That is the goal we are working to achieve.”