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OpenTable serves up seamless global support with Zendesk + Jira

Impressed by its versatility and scalability, OpenTable chose Zendesk as a cloud-based help desk solution to serve internal employees around the world. Integrating sales and support operations with Jira proved easy and intuitive with Zendesk. The reward? Smoother ticketing and happier customers.

“Zendesk Support and JIRA work side-by-side, seamlessly passing tickets back and forth as needed until there’s a resolution.”

Russ Gangloff

Director of Customer Support - OpenTable

“Zendesk Support has already solved so many issues for us and has given us a holistic view of customer satisfaction so that we can keep improving on what we’re offering.”

Russ Gangloff

Director of Customer Support - OpenTable


Hospitality, Restaurants, Internet


San Francisco, CA






Restaurants served


Patrons since 1998

OpenTable is a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners, and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants.

Since 1998, OpenTable has seated more than 830 million diners in over 34,000 restaurants. The OpenTable service is available throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

Sales influences help desk for superior performance

What’s the secret to OpenTable’s global expansion? A high-performing sales team. So when salespeople recently began requesting changes to OpenTable’s help desk processes, the company was all ears.

“In our customer satisfaction survey in the fall of 2010, our employees said it was cumbersome to submit support tickets to our internal help desk,” said Russ Gangloff, Director of Customer Support at OpenTable. “We take these complaints seriously because so much of our employee base works remotely, and access to internal systems is key.”

OpenTable was using a module of its internal CRM system as a help desk tool and passing the tickets into its JIRA bug-tracking solution. End users who submitted requests had no visibility into their tickets—and no idea when an agent would address their problems. In addition, employees had to be logged onto the OpenTable network to submit a ticket. “But if you couldn’t get on the network, it was impossible to submit a ticket to get it fixed,” commented Gangloff.

“To keep our employees happy, we needed to let them submit tickets through a variety of channels, and give them constant status updates on the progress of the support request,” said Gangloff. The team first considered using a stripped-down version of JIRA as its new help desk solution, but soon realized the company needed a true online support solution—and found Zendesk Support.

Zendesk Support revamps help desk to be versatile and scalable.

“The biggest point in Zendesk Support’s favor was its ease of use,” said Gangloff. “It took us 30 minutes to set up Support and start using it. The way Support lays out the admin features in the settings area is fantastic and super intuitive.”

Currently, about 16 OpenTable help desk agents use Support to handle 250 end user requests per week. The company also integrated Support with JIRA, allowing OpenTable’s IT operations team to share tickets with the bug-tracking system to process tickets on major technical issues. Employees can simply submit a ticket in Support and the system routes it to the agent with the most expertise in that topic.

“No matter what type of problem an employee sends, the ticket will automatically get to the right team,” said Gangloff. “Zendesk Support and JIRA work side-by-side, seamlessly passing tickets back and forth as needed until there’s a resolution.”

OpenTable employees who run into common problems—such as a forgotten password or locked-out email account—can now submit tickets to Support from any web browser, on or off the corporate network. They can also create a ticket by sending an email to a designated help desk email address. Once their tickets are submitted, the help desk team validates their identity and employees receive continuous updates, via triggers, until their issues are resolved.

“One of our favorite things about Zendesk Support is the ability to keep our employees in the loop,” said Gangloff. “The built-in triggers send email updates automatically as we process a ticket. We keep hearing that we’re so much more responsive now—but it’s not because the agents are doing anything differently. It’s because the system is automatically providing feedback to the employee, which we didn’t do before.”

Thanks to Support, OpenTable employees can take advantage of help desk services during extended hours, and through a wider variety of channels. OpenTable has extended Support access to its third-party tier 1 support provider, enabling their partner to handle password resets and account unlocks. OpenTable also set up a toll-free help desk hotline for employees without Internet access. And Zendesk’s self-service community support platform, or knowledge base, helps more OpenTable employees find answers for themselves—within seconds. Employees are giving feedback along the lines of, “This is so easy! Why didn’t you guys do this much sooner?”

To make sure employees remain satisfied with the quality of support provided, OpenTable is using Support’s Customer Satisfaction Ratings feature to poll users after each request is solved.

“Our job is to keep our employees happy and productive,” Gangloff concluded. “Zendesk Support has already solved so many issues for us and has given us a holistic view of customer satisfaction so that we can keep improving on what we’re offering.”