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Disrupting Turkey’s travel ecommerce market with rapid business growth and multichannel customer service

oBilet has more than 150 bus firms using its ecommerce platform and covers over 40,000+ routes, as well as a number of international flight destinations.

"All these improvements have helped oBilet increase productivity by 10% and boost customer satisfaction (CSAT) by 8%."

Bilal Aşcı

Director of Customer Experience at oBilet


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With one of the largest young populations in Europe, Turkey is an attractive market for ecommerce brands looking to connect with its tech savvy, digitally connected young citizens. Thanks to the widespread adoption of mobile and digital commerce, an increasing number of millennials are now booking their travel online, a trend which is transforming the local travel industry.

Founded in 2012 as the first digital ecommerce platform for selling and buying bus tickets in Turkey, oBilet is now one of the biggest disruptors of the Turkish travel industry. It has more than 150 bus firms using its ecommerce platform and covers over 40,000+ routes, as well as a number of international flight destinations. Last year alone the company sold more than 10 million tickets with more than 100% growth rate and had over 160 million visits to its website.

“The travel commerce market in Turkey is very competitive, with many small domestic companies and big players such as Skyscanner competing for market share. Currently about 13-15% of all sales are happening online but this number is expected to increase to 30-35% over the next few years, so there is a huge opportunity to drive this growth. In this dynamic landscape offering excellent customer experience is extremely important,” said Bilal Aşcı, Director of Customer Experience at oBilet.

Driving business growth with scalable technology

However, finding a customer support solution which is flexible and scalable enough to support oBilet’s ambitious goals was not easy. Moreover, a lot of oBilet’s customers within the ground transportation sector were small bus companies with no prior online presence and old IT infrastructure, so it was difficult to integrate them into its ticketing system. Due to this, oBilet had to ensure its ecommerce platform could integrate with multiple ticketing systems to provide visibility into oBilet’s partners’ ticket inventory, including empty seats and branch sales.
To be able to support its rapid growth and consolidate all relevant ticket and customer data into one customer service platform, oBilet partnered with Zendesk.

“We chose Zendesk because it offered the needed flexibility and scalability to support our growth and we could easily add new channels and features to respond to emerging customer needs. Zendesk also offers integration with social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Chat is a very important channel for us as a lot of customers use social apps to interact with our customer service team, so having visibility into this was very important for us,” explained Bilal.

oBilet transitioned to Zendesk in 2015 and is currently using Zendesk Support, Talk, Chat and Guide as well as Zendesk Explore.

A 360 degree view of the customer

Moving to Zendesk has helped the company consolidate its customer service operations and achieve a 360 degree of the customer across all channels.

“Before we started working with Zendesk we didn’t have ticketing software for managing customer enquiries, so if a customer contacted us on one channel and then followed up on another, we didn’t have any visibility into that and we couldn’t handle the issue efficiently. Zendesk allows us to see all communication with the customer across channels and respond quickly and efficiently by taking into account all prior customer interactions,” said Bilal.
Another feature that Bilal and his team found very helpful was the ability to offer self-service to their customers using Zendesk Guide.

oBilet has two core customer segments – consumers purchasing bus and flight tickets and suppliers such as bus operators and airlines. To help reduce customer queries about basic customer issues, Bilal and his team created dedicated Help Centres and FAQs for each customer segment.

“A lot of our B2B customers are small bus companies that don’t have big customer support teams and don’t have a script to help them deal with unexpected issues and influx of customer enquiries. Our Help Centre provides answers to some of their most common questions and gives them guidance on how to get help from our team. We also use our B2B customer support team to amplify their own customer service operations. For instance, if a bus journey gets cancelled, we can call the passengers to let them know and check if they want to reschedule. We also help bus operators with IT issues related to online ticket sales,” added Bilal.

Using data insights to drive improvements across the business

Bilal’s team is using Zendesk data insights to analyse ticket volume and the nature of customer enquiries, as well as performance metrics such as ticket resolution time, first time response and where the requests are coming from. The customer support team is using Zendesk Explore to build reports that inform important decisions about how the customer support team should be organised and what improvements are required to streamline the support operations.

“Our peak times are usually during the summer and during winter breaks where we see 30% – 40% spike in customer queries. While we are planning to outsource the extra customer support required to external companies during peak time, we would like to use Zendesk to analyse how tickets are being handled and drive continuous improvements in our overall performance during peak times,” explained Bilal.

Expanding the customer support team without increasing demand for additional training

oBilet’s customer service team has expanded from 50 people in 2018, to 100 in 2019 and the company is planning to recruit another 50 agents by the end of this year. Zendesk’s user friendly and simple to use interface has helped minimise the need for staff training, making the Bilal’s team expansion easier.

All these improvements have helped oBilet increase productivity by 10% and boost customer satisfaction (CSAT) by 8%.

“We are really pleased with how we have managed to transform our customer service operations and we are planning to continue the integration with Zendesk by expanding our use of their analytics tools and reporting capabilities. We are also looking to automate the responses to basic customer enquiries by using chatbots and to integrate Zendesk into our customer relationship management system (CRM). Ultimately, our goal is to continue to be the leader in our industry and to help drive the growth of the travel ecommerce market in Turkey by providing the best online ticket booking platform and an outstanding customer experience,” explained Bilal.

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