Polaris + Zendesk: How a rapidly scaling team supports 30% more accounts per agent
Polaris has been evolving its relationships with its consumer customers since 1954. With the launch of its subsidiary, Polaris Adventures, in 2017, the $8 billion public manufacturer ushered in a new era of approachability to the powersports world. With business doubling on a yearly basis, Polaris Adventures partnered with Zendesk to scale up their customer support and sales solutions. Now able to see the entire customer lifecycle at a glance, each agent is able to service 30% more accounts than before while maintaining impressive metrics, including a 30 minute average first-reply time.
“A unified customer view means richer customer conversations with deeper communications.”
“The Sell solution is so modern and simple, and it was intuitive for our account managers right out of the box.”
Manufacturing, Vehicle Design
Average first-reply time
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More business handled per agent
As a leader in the powersports industry, Polaris is known worldwide for its diverse portfolio of boats, off-road vehicles, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles. Built Minnesota-strong and with 60 years of industry experience, Polaris puts making memories at the center of its ethos.
In 2017 the manufacturer launched Polaris Adventures to connect more closely with their end-consumers and increase accessibility to their vehicles. The program provides a premium network of ride-and-drive destinations nationwide to create safe, memorable experiences with Polaris powersport vehicles.
“Polaris is taking out a lot of the complexity around engaging in powersports and providing a more accessible entry point for those new to the sport,” explained Gray Rentz, senior director for Polaris Adventures.
As Polaris Adventures began to take off, so did the volume of inquiries the team received from their partner network. As a result, the team started looking for a support solution that could scale with their changing needs and rapid growth.
Searching for the right solution during hypergrowth
Polaris Adventures found themselves doubling their business yearly, and the subsidiary wanted a scalable solution that could grow with them while improving the customer experience for their network of outfitters.
“As a digital-first team, our goal was to pick a tool that wasn’t just a stodgy, big enterprise solution. Instead, we needed a partner that was enterprise-grade but agile enough to grow with us,” explained Rentz.
Prior solutions had left the Polaris Adventures team with limited reporting and integration capabilities. Crucially, they were unable to process the high volume of tickets that accompanied their sudden jump in growth.
In 2018, the team chose to move their support system to Zendesk. And, as the Polaris Adventures team scaled and evolved, so did their customer support. They opened up more support channels to connect with their outfitters, expanding beyond basic email functionality.
Improved agent productivity
Moving to Zendesk’s support solution has greatly increased the team’s overall productivity. Each agent can handle 30 to 40 percent more business with Zendesk, even as their customer base has grown.
With all interactions happening directly within the Zendesk platform, agents can collaborate more effectively, even in a remote-first environment. Teams can join forces on tickets internally, and account managers can see the complete customer context at a glance.
Agents also have access to a Zendesk-powered internal knowledge base for easy reference to frequently asked questions. “Our internal knowledge base is a large part of our onboarding process,” said Nora Raisanen, R&D platform manager for Polaris Adventures. “New agents can get up and running quickly without having to comb through documentation on different platforms.”
Meeting customers with responsive support wherever they are
Polaris Adventures prides itself on building excellent relationships with its business partners through a smooth, responsive customer experience. Automating responses with macros empowers agents to provide their customers with fast replies to basic questions. Agents can also access internal documentation for quick answers, leading to happier customers.
“Zendesk doesn’t over-complicate customer support for our customers, many of whom are non-technical. The solution ensures we are very responsive to requests that come in, and that seems to be what our customers resonate with most,” said Rentz.
With their account-management model, a single customer inquiry may go through four or five departments. However, as a testament to the Polaris team’s responsiveness, customers still see an average first-response time of under 30 minutes. As a result, customers receive answers quickly and agents can work efficiently—a real win-win.
Keeping sales teams selling with a customer-first approach
In a move towards a B2C subscription business model, in 2021 the manufacturer launched Polaris Adventures Select. With the company’s offerings expanding, so did the team’s need to interact with members through a CRM. As the team researched CRMs, Zendesk Sell quickly rose to the top of their list.
“We wanted a CRM solution that would tie together the entire customer journey. With all of our customer interactions happening through Zendesk, Sell was a natural fit,” said Rentz. “Implementing Zendesk Sell became part of our go-to-market strategy, and today we are able to see the full life cycle of a customer and understand how consumers are interacting with us.”
The Polaris Adventures team was able to turn on Sell for their business in a single day. “The Sell solution is so modern and simple, and it was intuitive for our account managers right out of the box,” explained Raisanen.
Evolving towards proactive customer support
Next up, Polaris Adventures has set its sights on creating a proactive support environment. The team is working to evolve from a traditional, reactive support system to a comprehensive hands-on customer experience.
“We want our support to feel like a ‘concierge’ experience. Rather than just being a resource when something goes wrong, we are using Zendesk to help our partners and end customers proactively,” said Rentz.
Next-generation customer experience with a side of powersport vehicles? Sign us up.