Industry :

Advertising, Marketing

Location :

New York, USA 

Favourite Features :
  • Automation workflows
  • Priority Matrix
  • Team Huddle
  • Self-service 
  • Enterprise Service Management
About Essence

Essence is a global data and measurement-driven full-service agency with 20 offices in 12 countries and a staff of approximately 1,900. Essence specializes in strategy, digital marketing, digital creative, media planning and buying, mobile advertising, and analytics. Essence manages over $4B in annualized media spend globally, with clients such as Google, The Financial Times, Target, L’Oreal, and Tesco Mobile. 

Growing IT pains with a scaling business

The IT team at Essence had employed a shared inbox to receive and manage incoming requests. While this suffices the needs of a budding agency, it didn’t address the growing IT pains of Essence’s scaling business. The IT working environment had a lot of noise, with poor visibility into incoming requests, and agents often cherry-picking on them. To ensure no service requests fell through the crack, Essence needed a new IT service desk solution that would allocate tickets accurately, manage service requests efficiently, automate bulk activities, and inspire process adherence. 

Scanning the service desk market

Essence evaluated multiple service desks including, but limited to ServiceNow, Atlassian and Freshworks with the requirements of value, ease of use, and scalability in mind. Freshservice, Freshworks ITSM suite stood out because of its ease-of-use, speed of deployment and ability to scale. Colin McCarthy, VP of Global IT at Essence mentions, “ With an excess feature overload, there was a layer of complexity that was a red flag for us. Scaling these complex systems wasn’t going to be easy and would require additional resources that we wanted to stay away from.” 

On the other hand, Essence found value in Freshservice in starting simple and scaling as the business grows with the Freshservice suite. Its ease of use was attractive to Essence as it made room for Colin and the team to run high impact IT initiatives without worrying about patching stuff and maintaining systems. “The licensing and operating model of Freshworks makes it a valuable partnership for us. The other service desks we considered had a complicated pricing model with a pay-per-requester approach etc. which is rigid and cost-prohibitive in the long run.” Colin adds. 

Delivering value for all stakeholders with Freshservice

Moving from a shared email inbox to a modern, cloud-based service desk allowed Essence the opportunity to introduce new IT processes that deliver greater efficiencies, improved experiences, and business value for multiple stakeholders. 

For Agent 

1. Building domain expertise to improve service quality

When Colin configured Freshservice at Essence, he structured the IT team based on geography and product type. This org structure helped build the agent’s domain expertise in a particular product type, thereby improving the service quality. With rule-based automation, Essence then automatically routed tickets to agent groups based on this IT support model. 

2. Improved responsiveness

With offices across New York, San Francisco, Singapore, London, and more, the IT team at Essence needed a global SLA model and automation workflows to deliver round the clock support. If an employee on the West Coast has a problem late in the evening, the IT agent may not be on call to monitor and address incoming requests. Still, an IT staff based out of Singapore can pick up things and resolve it for the end-user. Thus, ensuring timely support for the end-user and at the same time, providing improved visibility, control, and IT effectiveness. 

3. Internal team collaboration

Agent collaboration exponentially improved with Freshservice. The ability to add private notes and update each other on a ticket improved agent productivity reduced duplicated work and fostered a culture of collaboration at Essence. 

For end-user 

1. Rising portal adoption

End-users at Essence were new to using and adapting to a service desk technology. Colin and his team wanted to ensure a seamless transition for his customers. Colin recalls, “Initially, we just focused on emails as a channel so that there was no sudden change for the employees. We then started to promote the portal where they could sign in with their Google account using SSO.” The IT team then witnessed a steadily rising portal adoption at Essence. Colin mentions. “I was surprised to learn that our users had an extra tab open with the IT portal loaded.” 

2. Building a culture of self-service

Password resets, and email signature changes were recurring requests, the IT team at Essence received. Colin mentions, “ In the beginning, people would email us for requests that are self-serviceable with the online help article. Now when they go to the portal and type in the subject, the article shows up, prompting them with a D-I-Y solution.” The powerful search in the integrated self-service portal has changed this behavior. Essence worked towards making it easier for end-users to find the information in the moments that matter. 

For Management 

The IT team leveraged Freshservice to ensure there was value creation for every stakeholder at Essence. Colin and the team run periodic reviews with the management to circle out the problem areas and bring out trends to optimize resource allocation. Data-driven decisions on technology upgrades and hardware replacement initiatives were made clear with specific reporting and advanced analytics. 

Non-IT teams

As Essence is expanding on the scale of operations, the number of requests that business teams receive increasingly called for improving internal productivity. On seeing the IT team’s success with Freshservice, other teams at Essence expressed interest in using an intelligent ticketing system in managing their internal operations and requests.

Finance teams: The finance team at Essence is looking to migrate to Freshservice to better manage SOX compliance, make data-driven decisions, and reduce back and forth chaos and communication with automated approval workflows.

HR teams: The HR team at Essence is also looking out for a ticketing solution that supports AI-based bots that ties into collaboration platforms such as Slack. Colin plans to configure Freshservice for the HR team with such specific use cases in mind. 

Colin mentions that his plan was to break silos at Essence and unify IT and business teams into a single platform. He recalls, “ When we were deciding the subdomain for Freshservice, we chose to make it non-IT specific with the plan to eventually onboard other teams. With this in mind, Essence calls its portal - HELP.” 

Winning with Freshservice

Essence believes that the agents now have greater control over the tool and processes than ever before with Freshservice. The unification of the request and self-service portal makes all IT requests easier to manage. But Colin believes that the three significant areas of impact with Freshservice have been: Time to value, Stability, and Mobility. 

1. Time to value: The deployment of Freshservice during the initial implementation and subsequent feature launches is rapid, easy and GUI-based. This has allowed Essence to ensure service continuity and scale, hiccup-free. 

2. Stability: “There have been no availability issues with Freshservice,” Colin recalls. “With  zero downtime and no glitches, it’s been a breeze to partner with Freshworks.”

3. Mobility: The user-friendly mobile with different interfaces for agent and end-user has allowed the IT team to operate quickly, whether it’s updating a user or adding a note to a colleague or assigning a ticket. It allows us to be responsive wherever we are. 

Future with Freshservice

Having the core functionality implemented rapidly, Essence is now looking to explore and establish AI initiatives with Freshservice. Colin mentions, “We do want to get to a point where we can enable an AI chatbot that can triage incoming requests and determine If the user needs a help article or an IT support agent to look into the matter. With a strong knowledge and user community, we are excited to partner with Freshworks.” 


“Initially, we just focused on emails as a channel so that there was no sudden change for the employees. We then started to promote the portal where they could sign in with their Google account using SSO. The IT team then witnessed a steadily rising portal adoption at Essence. I was surprised to learn that our users had an extra tab open with the IT portal loaded.”

colin mccarthy colin mccarthy
Colin McCarthy

VP of Global IT