Flexible Zendesk Alternative Sets Off Company-Wide Adoption Trend

Railcars per year (with the capacity to build more)
of all railcars in North America (built by Greenbriar – Approx.)
Number of Employees (Approx.)


Global rail leader implements prioritized customer service management, with popular self-service capabilities – setting off company-wide adoption trend.

The Customer

Based in Oregon, U.S., the Greenbrier Companies is a transportation manufacturing corp. with over $3 billion in revenue that specializes in transportation services, notably marine barge and freight railcar manufacturing, railcar refurbishment and railcar leasing/management services.

The Need

After a negative experience with Greenbrier’s legacy customer-service management provider, Jamie Caldwell, the company’s Customer Experience Supervisor was seeking an alternative that would be more responsive to the company’s size and needs—including growing self-service capabilities to support her group and other divisions of the company in the future.

Caldwell also had a very aggressive timeline for implementation—which turned out to be a good gauge for the competing vendors’ approach to customer service (an important factor after her team’s past experience.) They were hoping that the first implementation for their group within Greenbrier would serve as an example for other areas of the company to emulate, thereby evolving the solution “organically,” and inspiring interest vs. forcing adoption.

“Vivantio is a tool we can use to help our teams track activity and productivity—which helps us to outline goals to increase employee engagement,” says Caldwell. “Now that we’re all remote, it’s challenging for everyone to adjust, and this is really helping. We’re tracking items like time to first-touch… customer satisfaction… It’s very attractive and a new way for our team to track performance.”

The Solution

Beyond Vivantio’s foundational commitment to above-and-beyond customer service—delivered by dedicated Vivantio employees—Caldwell and her colleagues zeroed-in on some of Vivantio’s advantages that were a great fit for their needs, including:

  • Being able to assign tasks to different people within the same ticket. Greenbrier would often require cross-team collaboration to resolve a complex issue, which Vivantio accommodates
  • The ability to tie-in tasks to established workflows
  • Robust—and easy-to-create—reporting capabilities

“I pay a lot of attention to customer reviews,” says Caldwell, who found Vivantio via the pcmag.com website. At the last minute, she added Vivantio to her short list of vendors to evaluate and scheduled a demo for her team. The simplicity of the interface, reporting, and robust task management capabilities caught her attention immediately. “I wasn’t expecting to be so impressed, honestly, but during that first demo, I put myself on mute and ran to a colleague’s office to say, ‘Are you hearing this?’ It was really cool. We were very excited.”

The Greenbrier team noticed immediate improvement, especially in the user experience.

“We were impressed with Vivantio’s feature set, and then the ability for our in-house team to configure the solution even further themselves was the icing on the cake,” Caldwell says. “We wouldn’t have to send in a ticket to make a little update. It was such a nice change of pace to have something that just looked like an email instead of this complex form or job ticket type of thing,” Caldwell explains.

Vivantio’s reporting has allowed Greenbrier to use new KPIs to better understand why certain teams feel so busy—and how they can adjust their activity to improve service—especially to high-priority customers with strict Service Level Agreements.

Here again, Greenbrier’s previous solution fell short for them. As Caldwell explains, “We weren’t doing much reporting with Zendesk’s canned suite of reports. They had a tool you could use to data dump, but figuring it out was difficult. Vivantio is so much more straightforward and actually useful.”

Another unexpected advantage of choosing the Vivantio solution was a jump-started ability to support additional customer self-service efforts at Greenbrier.

“We first thought that [self-service] might be a nice-to-have-someday, but that day came sooner than we expected,” explains Chris Bisnow, a Project Manager on the team who now serves as an internal ambassador as more service groups are evaluating and adopting Vivantio within Greenbrier.

Bisnow has been able to help bring new internal and external customers into dedicated self-service portals that give them access to custom-tailored information in one place.

“Now that we’re looking at self service, our minds are racing with additional possibilities for reducing volumes and addressing routine issues that people can resolve themselves with just a little support,” Bisnow says. “And I’m now getting people from other areas of the company asking me to tell them more about Vivantio because they think it will work for their areas. It’s exciting to see it, and I think it says a lot about the product that we’re getting the traction we are using this [organic adoption] approach.”

The Result

Almost six months in, both Bisnow and Caldwell remain enthusiastic.

“Things change really slowly in the rail industry,” says Caldwell. “But it’s been a comparatively fast process to get other people excited about using Vivantio and seeing the potential. I don’t think I’d be happy with any other system at this point.”

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