How to Strengthen Affiliate Relationships using Zendesk

At the sales heart of many iGaming companies one typically finds an affiliate programme. It is fairly common to find that 40-50% of sales are nowadays generated by affiliates. This channel is an excellent one to utilise for player acquisition as it is performance-based (you only pay for what you get) and can provide significant reach and visibility to iGaming companies.

Considering the value that affiliates can bring to a business, it is essential that companies invest time and resources to create and maintain strong relationships with their affiliates – and communication is a key component in this respect.

At a basic level, affiliates expect companies to have a fast turnaround (usually of 1 business day) in dealing with their most common queries, such as:

  • Having their affiliate applications reviewed and processed
  • Receiving a friendly welcome email/pack
  • Receiving a reply to their calls, chats and emails

A fast, efficient service can greatly differentiate a company from its competition. In this article, we would like to discuss a case study showcasing Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN), part of Expedia Inc, and how, through Zendesk, they managed to achieve great success in the way they handle affiliate and partner relationships.


EAN were being faced with a situation whereby affiliate messages “languished in inboxes for far too long” and the affiliate team had to undertake a legal and site review for every affiliate/partner, a process that took close to 3 hours per partner.

EAN wanted to bring value to the business by tracking and prioritising requests. To do this, they needed a customer service platform, and selected Zendesk for its agility. They liked that they could see the entire customer story in a single ticket, from anywhere in the world.

Mike Cartwright, Chief of Partner Solutions at Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) reports that the “most impressive piece about Zendesk was how quickly we started getting value from it. In a little over a month, the team went from signing the contract to deploying the platform, including the training for account managers, sales reps, and support. We kicked on very quickly. And I think if we had another tool, we couldn’t have made the leaps forward that we made over the next few months.”

Onboarding new affiliates was only part of the team’s job. Yet it was so time-consuming that they were always behind. In this regard, time savings was one of the first returns they saw with Zendesk. New affiliates began submitting review requests through Zendesk, and automatically received a questionnaire. Their responses and photos then attached to the ticket, making it easy for the team to quickly review the details.

To handle a volume of nearly 1,000 tickets a week, EAN uses tags and business rules to allocate tickets based on a set of pre-defined criteria.


The team also started creating articles and building out a knowledge-base, which led to a massive decline in the number of incoming support requests. Affiliates and partners were getting the very best service – which is that they never had to log a ticket in the first place!

EAN went from having a constant backlog to being up-to-date, getting their partners up and running much faster. They can now complete reviews of new affiliates in less than an hour, roughly a 60% improvement.

The team also relies on data pulled from Zendesk to further improve operational efficiencies, and also to collect partner feedback. They’ve created a ‘feature requests forum’ that they review with the product team during bi-weekly bug review meetings. Any features worth implementing, are tagged. They also use the Zendesk JIRA integration to send problem tickets to development.

EAN is an excellent example of a company that is not only benefiting from Zendesk’s support functionality but are utilising the tool to its full extent in:

  • managing more efficient launches
  • speeding up the time-to-market for new affiliates
  • driving product innovation
  • improving product quality

If you’re interested in learning more about how Zendesk can help your company achieve similar returns for your business, we invite you to get in touch. iMovo is the official local Zendesk partner and has to date had a number of successful Zendesk implementations within the iGaming industry (see testimonials).

In the meantime, if you would like to try out Zendesk, we invite you to go ahead and take it for a spin – get a free trial here.

*For the full EAN case study please see:

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