Zendesk Just The Ticket For Property Advertising Website REAOctober 04, 2011
by Jennifer Foreshew
REA Group had a helpdesk ticketing system and reporting engine with all the “bells and whistles”. But there was a mismatch between the tool itself and the company’s needs.
REA Group publishes digital residential and commercial property advertising websites in Australia, realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au.
From humble beginnings in a suburban garage in Melbourne in 1995, REA Group has grown into a multinational ASX 300 company with revenue of $238 million. It has a presence in Luxembourg and Milan and total staff of about 600.
“We weren’t utilising the tool we had at the time to the best of its ability. But it wasn’t for REA because our maturity level was quite low from a process perspective,” says REA Group IT service delivery manager Damian Fasciani, who joined the company last year. “I wanted something a little bit more simplistic that could provide transparency in IT. What we had was a big, bulky system and it took between six to eight minutes to log a ticket.”
Fasciani says the ticketing system created a disconnection between divisions in IT. “No one at any given time was able to produce a snapshot or produce metrics that showed how many tickets were in the queue, the workload we had then, the people that were waiting for jobs, the jobs that we had closed and reporting as well.”
The tool also created problems for REA Group’s customer care call centre, which operated outside of IT and was the first line of support for real estate agents or for anyone to call for general inquiries or technical issues with the websites. “If they (customer care centre) had technical issues they would escalate them into IT; we would log the tickets, but there was no transparency back into the customer care centre,” says Fasciani, who is based in the Melbourne head office. “It was essentially going into a black box.”
Fasciani favoured something more intuitive and simple in line with his IT strategy to embrace cloud computing across global offices. The company decided Zendesk, which uses a software-as-a-service model, fitted the bill.
“Working in Zendesk, to log a ticket, put in comments and filter that through to other areas was basic, simple to use, and people enjoyed the experience,” he says.
REA Group ran a trial last year from mid-August to the end of September and went live with Zendesk in October.
Fasciani says the biggest thing Zendesk provides is visibility between the areas outside of IT that want progress updates on their tickets and on the work they submit to IT. “So anyone at any given time knows what is going on inside of IT,” he says.
Under its previous ticketing system, REA Group managed between 320 and 350 open tickets at any given time. It has now dropped this to between 60 and 80. “So with the transparency that Zendesk gives us we can manage our workload and manage our KPIs a lot better,” Fasciani says.
REA Group has also been able to boost efficiency and productivity using Zendesk.
The company pays between $4000 and $6000 a year for the subscription-based product, compared with the previous system, which, when installed and built with professional services, cost more than $200,000.
The company plans to take it to its European operations, and to move to 110 Zendesk licences within the next month.