Meet, Our 10,000th Customer

April 27, 2011 offers special deals on hotels and other types of lodging, in major cities in the US and abroad, in all categories from one to five stars. The company also offers a unique Unpublished Rate program that offers rates typically 10 to 20 percent less than other websites and is only available via its call center, reachable at 1-800-HOTELS (1-800-468-3578).

They are also our 10,000th customer.

We sat down with Jay Hogg, Getaroom’s director of technology to hear more about how they use Zendesk, the interesting twist as to how they became #10,000, and their thoughts and feelings on PDA.

How did you find Zendesk?
It’s not that simple. Our journey with Zendesk started in February 2010, when was less than a year old. Our rapid growth caused the incoming IT support email to become unmanageable. A couple of our providers used Zendesk and it was suggested by one of our developers. After some prodding, a demo account was setup and we started kicking the tires. Within two weeks we were sold and started using it exclusively for internal IT support. But we were not yet your 10,000th customer.

Round 2: Our accounting staff was well accustomed to working with Zendesk as an internal customer of our IT department, but had their own challenges with managing communication with hotels. They approached the IT group and asked to be added to our Zendesk account. After looking at their desired usage, it was determined that their customer group was purely external that would not share anything with the IT group. Meanwhile, their proposed ticket velocity was such that we didn’t want to absorb it into the IT group. Thus, they received their own account – #10,000.

We know you just started, but how’s it going so far?
The accounting staff hit the ground running, probably because they had experience with the IT account. Within a few hours of setting up the trial account, it was configured as a whitelabel site, along with the initial set of agents and triggers. After a little hiccup with having emails forwarded correctly, everything started flowing smoothly.

We allowed the accounting staff some time to “play” with Zendesk as an agent before implementing a formal training session and executed a “clearing” of what had accumulated. After turning on all the triggers, some close hand-holding the first few days, and some nervous agents, we experienced a relatively painless transition and are tweaking as needed.

An interesting twist that should have been anticipated but wasn’t, was how this would impact the customers accounting was trying to better its communications with. Traditionally, they had been sending in emails to specific addresses and receiving replies, which was the model implemented through triggers. The customers are now logging into their Zendesk accounts to directly communicate, which has caused us to review our routing triggers to make sure requests don’t get lost.

What are your primary support issues?
The Getaroom accounting staff is using Zendesk to manage Accounts Payable invoice submission, inquiry and verification and to keep things flowing smoothly. It is all about timeliness of responses to inquiries while maintaining the right size staff as the company grows.

Which features are you looking forward to digging into most with your Zendesk?
Reporting and SLAs are coming soon. Also, tying the ticket volume from some users back to accounts to see whether some accounts need more “touch” than others, or if there is an indication of other business-related issues that need to be addressed.

Given the name of your company, do you have any specific feelings about PDA that you’d like to share?
We like PDA, but at some point you really should get a room (.com of course).

At Zendesk, we have a reputation for sending cake to those customers with whom we achieve super cool or notable milestones. That means you are due for a cake. What is your favorite flavor of cake?
Let me get back to you later. We had birthdays and celebrated our 2nd anniversary of launch last week, “caked out” is the best way to put it today!

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