Driessen HRM brings everyone into the customer experience with Zendesk and Office 365 Groups

By Julie Barbezat

Published December 15, 2016
Last modified December 15, 2016

Sometimes, customer service agents receive complex questions from customers and they don’t always have the knowledge required to answer them. They need help and have to reach out to Alice in Accounting, Peter in Product, or Sam in Sales in order to get more information on a specific topic. Zendesk and Microsoft worked together to improve collaboration between teams. The Zendesk connector for Office 365 Groups allows agents to escalate a Zendesk ticket to an existing team created in Outlook. That way, employees that aren’t support agents, but are subject matter experts, can collaborate around customer inquiries without ever leaving Office 365. This integration allows teams to give quality support to their customers regardless of functional team.

We sat down with Patrick Adriaansen, Managing Director of the BPO unit at Driessen HRM, and asked him how his company uses Zendesk Support and groups in Outlook together to improve internal collaboration and deliver a better customer experience.

Hi Patrick, first can you tell us what Driessen do?
Driessen HRM, founded in 1993, provides human resources services to public non-profits primarily in government, education, and healthcare. Driessen has two large business units: HR and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). The first one connects people with jobs, the second one provides payroll and HR systems as well as financial services. Driessen works with more than 1,000 organisations and 15,000 employees.

How does your company use Zendesk?

We started using Zendesk in January 2016. Before that, we used our own help desk software but it wasn’t as great as what we have now. Now, all our external communications with our customers run through Zendesk. Every time a customer sends us an email or give us a call, it creates a ticket within Zendesk. We want to have great relationships with our customers and see them as partners who are key to our success. Zendesk’s focus on building strong customer relationships is ideal for our needs.

What do you like the most about Zendesk?
As a software company, we chose to start using Zendesk for two key factors: openness and extensibility. We don’t have to conform adapt to or fit to the product, rather we can mold Zendesk to the way we want to get work done. We can extend it and integrate it with everything that we use, and it works well and fast.

For us, Zendesk is the backbone of everything and we love the fact that Zendesk is an open platform. We built a product on top of Zendesk open APIs to send information from Zendesk to our own software application. We use Zendesk as our back office and connect it with our own frontend.

And Zendesk is so easy to set up. When the decision was made to start using Zendesk, we planned a four-week transition for our teams. We were very surprised by how easy it was to set -up and use after the first day. Our first reaction was: “Wow, this really works!”. And it turned out, we were done implementing Zendesk after the second day. Zendesk was so easy to set-up!

What about Office 365?
We’ve been using Office 365 for the past 18 months and we are heavy Office 365 users! We particularly love groups in Outlook. Everyone at Driessen can create a group and we now have over 200 of them. People create groups for everything, really! We encourage people to do so and we’ve seen a great adoption.

Can you tell us how you use the Zendesk integration with Office 365?
We started using this integration a few months after it was released. We were very surprised by the power of the two products combined. We love that Zendesk and Office 365 connect so well—it makes internal collaboration so easy! You can have a customer support related discussion with people that are not Zendesk support agents. This integration breaks frontiers for customer service; everyone at Driessen can help our customers.

For me, this integration is like the Egg of Columbus, do you know this story? Some people told Christopher Columbus that discovering the Americas was no great accomplishment so he challenged his critics to make an egg stand on its tip. After his challengers gave up, Columbus tapped the egg on the table to flatten its tip. Well the integration between Zendesk and Office 365 Groups may seem obvious or simple, but since it was released, it has had a great impact on our company.

That’s good to hear! Can you give us an example of a ticket that was escalated to one of your groups in Outlook?
Well for example, our support agents sometimes receive complex legal questions from teachers using our software, and they don’t always have the knowledge required to answers those questions. Teachers need answers from specialists, in this case our lawyers. In one click, our agents can escalate a Zendesk ticket to a group - in this case the “legal team” group - and all professionals that are part of this group can give their input and contribute to the discussion. Once a solution is found, it can be sent back to Zendesk in one click! We love how easy it is to implement the integration and how easy it is to escalate a Zendesk ticket to a specific group in Outlook.

What’s on your radar in 2017?
Looking ahead, we’re all very excited about the upcoming Microsoft Teams integration with Zendesk. As a manager, I am measured on four KPIs and employee happiness is the first, followed by customer happiness. We believe that happy employees equals happy customers. The integrations between Zendesk and Office 365 have been a great part of providing employees the efficiency and empowerment they want. We look forward to the continued innovation and collaboration!

You can find more information about Zendesk’s partnership with Microsoft on the Office blog here.