“…we pivot[ed] and took on extra customers in different industries, customers we weren’t getting before.”
– Director Business Systems, Scott Westbrook.

Software and technology
The Customer

Deputy delivers a cloud-based work scheduling platform.

The Challenge

Zuora successfully replaced Deputy’s legacy customer billing system, streamlining billing and invoicing processes. And then came coronavirus — Deputy needed to act quickly to control churn from an impacted customer base.

The Solution

Pre-COVID, Zuora's end-to-end subscription management platform streamlined Deputy’s entire billing process. Post-COVID, Zuora enabled Deputy to quickly make subscription pauses easy for their customers to reduce churn.

The Benefits

By making significant changes to their subscription model possible within a matter of days, Zuora helped Deputy do the right thing by their customers and their business.

“The scalability and flexibility of Zuora is what makes it so valuable for us. And it gives us a much better view into our revenue streams. – Chief Executive Officer, Ashik Ahmed

Established in 2008, Deputy provides a cloud-based work scheduling and people management platform that helps businesses streamline their staffing activities. Based in Sydney, the company is active in more than 30 countries across the globe.

For more than five years, Deputy has used Zuora to manage a growing subscriber client base of more than 200,000 workplaces across 30 countries. As well as helping to reduce back-end administration, Zuora supported Deputy’s rapid expansion into the US and European markets.

The company’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ashik Ahmed, says the switch to Zuora came after Deputy realised their legacy system wasn’t equipped to deal with their expansion. Their customer billing system, for example, no longer provided the flexibility and levels of customer service required.

“We recognized that, if we were to maintain our growth rate, we would need to critically assess our business systems and processes and look for ways in which we could make them more efficient.

“We use a metered billing system for our platform. This means our clients are charged based on exactly what they have used during the month. This improves flexibility but also makes calculating invoices a challenge,” explains Ahmed. “We were not able to do multi-currency pricing, and extracting reports from the system was quite cumbersome. We knew we needed to find a suitable replacement that could support our subscription charging model.”

After examining a range of options, Deputy made the decision to adopt Zuora.

Ahmed says Zuora’s end-to-end subscription management capabilities streamlined the entire billing process; customers could now receive bills that clearly showed their level of usage throughout the month.

Those capabilities were put to the test at the beginning of 2020 when the world was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Deputy’s customer base – the retail and hospitality sector – was one segment of the economy hit particularly hard by the worldwide restrictions imposed by governments.

Director Business Systems at Deputy, Scott Westbrook, remembers the immediate result.

“Back in March, when everyone was put in lockdown, it was pretty much ‘panic stations’ because the majority of our customers employ casual, or hourly paid workers. We realised quickly that we needed to do something about [these customers] coming onto our system and unsubscribing.”

That wasn’t just bad for business, it was a problem if those subscribers wanted to return in the future.

“When you set up a Deputy account, you’re adding tax rules, employee details, fair work policies… It takes a lot of time, especially for employers that have a lot of employees. If they churn, all that data goes,” Scott explains.

With this in mind, Deputy made it possible for their customers to pause – rather than end – their subscription.

“Our churn went down dramatically when our pause went up. A significant proportion of our customer base was on pause for a while, but in May, June and July a lot of them came back.”

Zuora allowed Deputy to make an additional strategic move in response to the dramatically changed market.

“In nursing, customer service, and logistics business was going through the roof. We targeted [these] different markets – we pivot[ed] and took on extra customers in different industries, customers we weren’t getting before.”

Zuora made both processes simple. The pause option, for example, took just five days from conception to implementation. And Scott says it began working immediately, dramatically slowing the churn rate. When combined with the company’s other adaptation initiatives, it made an enormous difference.

“We’re almost back to pre-COVID numbers,” Scott says.

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