Freshly + Zendesk: Fresh with food and customer engagement

Freshly serves up speedy responses using The Zendesk Suite and relies on Zendesk Connect to keep a personal feel to its customer support.


“There’s an overall organic increase in the number of customers contacting us because we’ve now made it easier for them to do so. Zendesk has allowed customers to move away from other channels while also putting contacts into more efficient channels for us.”

Colin Crowley

Vice President of Customer Service at Freshly

“We couldn’t get to that degree of support, or at least maintain our SLA standards, if an agent couldn’t move between channels. Realistically, you need everything under one umbrella and flexibility to move between channels to reach efficiency.”

Colin Crowley

Vice President of Customer Service at Freshly

Products used


Cooking & Meal Delivery


New York, NY











If there’s one thing most people can agree there’s never enough time for, it’s meal planning. But thankfully, in today’s world where just about everything can be ordered online, from shoes to furniture assembly, Freshly added meal planning to the list of insanely easy things to outsource.

Freshly’s healthy, cooked meals right to your door

The meal delivery subscription service brings healthy, cooked meals right to your door, eliminating long checkout lines, confusing recipes, and the shame from throwing out last week’s spoiled produce.

“We give people fully prepared meals that are shipped fresh and arrive fresh. They’re literally cooked and then shipped in an insulated box for arrival within the following two days,” said VP of Customer Experience Colin Crowley.

CEO Michael Wystrach said the company’s mission is to help people solve a problem he once had: wanting healthy meal options while working long hours. Freshly rotates meals weekly and offers plans that are gluten, sugar, and artificial additive free. Customers can choose how many deliveries they want per week, ranging from 4 to 12. Since its founding in 2015, Freshly has received over $100 million in funding and is about to open up a new kitchen on the East Coast, allowing it to reach almost all areas of the continental United States.

Keeping customer engagement fresh with Zendesk Chat

As a customized service, Freshly has to stay aware of what its customers want and uses feedback to identify opportunities to improve. The customer support team primarily interacts with customers through live chat, the phone—including text messaging (as many as 400 per week, and growing fast)—and email. Freshly’s previous chat provider was unable to deliver the live chat experience the company wanted to provide its customers, and a positive experience with Zendesk Chat led Freshly to switch to Zendesk.

“There were times we had to shut live chat down entirely,” Crowley said. “We were attracted to Zendesk because it is a more robust chat software. After starting with chat, we then began a broader conversation about consolidating everything into a seamless omnichannel customer experience.”

Freshly went live with Zendesk Chat in June 2017 and saw volume rise from 20 percent to nearly 60 percent of all customer contacts. This customer adoption was hoped for, as Zendesk Chat, through the Zendesk Mobile SDK, allowed Freshly to provide live chat to its mobile users.

“Most of our contacts are support-based, not sales-based,” Crowley said. “Most people who chat with us have questions about their account, subscription, or about receiving meals. A lot of what we do is very time-sensitive, so people appreciate being able to reach us quickly.”

Zendesk Support, Talk, and Support moves Freshly from reactive to proactive

Since then, the team has also switched to Zendesk Support and Zendesk Talk from two separate vendors, bringing together all customer contacts into a single integrated platform. Through Zendesk, Freshly is also one of the few companies in the United States currently offering Apple Business Chat to its customers, a way for Apple users to communicate with businesses via iMessage.

Freshly’s success has allowed it to make the move from reactive to proactive support, aided by the company’s use of Zendesk Connect in partnership with Cx Moments, which the team uses to auto-categorize issues at a granular level, in real time and retroactively, to create targeted customer segments. Using Connect, agents have tracked cancellations and gathered data to begin real conversations about improving the customer experience. The team set up custom, automated messages at the point of cancellation and ran a controlled experiment to determine the best incentive to reactivate customers. For each cancellation reason, customers received a message with one of two invitations—an incentive to reactivate or the option to begin a conversation. The control group received no intervention at all.

The automated messages were successful—but only for specific cancellation reasons. And the prompt to chat generated 130 conversations the company would have otherwise missed a change to have. Customers provided insight that led to changes in messaging and early investigation into a new service offering. These learnings place Freshly’s support team ahead of the curve, driving customer retention from within the service organization.

Connect has also provided a way to help simplify the ordering process so that there’s less risk of losing a customer who is feeling momentarily indecisive or overwhelmed. Crowley explained, “It’s given us the option to say, ‘Hey, you’re spending a long time on our menu page. Would you like us to recommend meals for you based on what you value?’”

Unlocking even more efficiency with omnichannel platforms and partner integrations

Crowley’s team of 70+ agents are mostly based in Arizona, supported by a smaller team in New York that covers specialized tasks and creates help content. With Zendesk, 80 percent of the team is able to work across multiple support channels, and to switch in response to real-time volume trends. Zendesk’s omnichannel platform has enabled Freshly to unlock greater efficiencies across the team, allowing them to consistently meet impressive response time SLAs. The team answers emails within 20 minutes, chats within 20 seconds, and phone calls within 10 seconds. This effort is reflected in their CSAT rating of 96%+ percent.

“We couldn’t get to that degree of support, or at least maintain our SLA standards, if an agent was dedicated to email and couldn’t move back and forth,” Crowley said. “Realistically, you need everything under one umbrella and flexibility to move between channels to reach efficiency.”

Additional gains in time and process are achieved through apps and integrations like Round Robin to help with assigning tickets, User Data for creating a snapshot of each customer’s contact history, and Knowledge Capture app to direct customers to help articles housed in Zendesk Guide. The team also uses the Download Recordings app to share calls with others at the company who do not have access to Zendesk and MessageBird for sending out bulk text messages whose responses are then funneled back through Zendesk Support.

For fun, the team also uses the Emoji and GIPHY apps as a way to carry out Freshly’s brand personality and create a friendly and more personal experience for customers. “We try to instill in agents a sense that they can have engaging conversations. They don’t have to be too straitlaced,” Crowley said. “The apps make it easy to add a smiley.”

Across the board—or table—Freshly’s agents provide fast, proactive, and personalized support, turning hungry prospects into happy customers.