A Little Expert Education Can Return Big Results

Posted by Andrew Ciaccia

Directly’s on-demand apps help companies scale customer support and improve the customer experience. Companies give our apps to their loyal and passionate customers or users who certify as experts. Directly’s routing engine sends the same customer support question to multiple experts, and the “wisdom of crowds” works well in terms of providing fast, good answers for certain kinds of questions. But customers can improve resolution rates and customer satisfaction while also opening up new question types to experts -- which frees up the internal customer support team to handle more complex issues -- simply by filling in educational gaps.

More Tickets, Same Internal Staff

For example, one customer service executive was happy with his experts on certain question types, but he could see that the experts bypassed other question types. The bypassed questions escalated back to his internal customer support center after eight hours. (Each company configures its own escalation time.) This escalation is by design: the Directly apps incentivize experts to skip questions they can’t answer well by only presenting rewards after a customer designates an answer as “helpful”. This customer’s business is growing, and he wanted his expert community to handle more volume to help ease the burden on the internal team without indefinitely adding new hires and new office space.

The solution: education for his expert community. We worked together to identify question types that didn’t require access to credit card or personal information. Over the next several days we posted education content to address these questions in bite-sized chunks to the experts’ dashboards. The experts opened, read and acknowledged the content, and, after flipping a few switches in the Directly dashboard, the new categories of questions automatically started flowing to those experts so they could apply their newfound knowledge and increase their ratings and rewards.

Elastic Front Line

Within a week of posting the educational content, the company was routing twice the question volume to the experts. After an initial dip in the first few days -- which I attribute to the expert learning curve -- the resolution rate and “helpful” ratings reached historical levels, and the volume of questions routed to experts has continued to grow. The whole time, customers received answers in 5 minutes average vs. the typical 24 hours average for help desk support questions. The expert community demonstrated its elasticity as well, with only 25 percent more experts handling the twice question volume increase.

The lesson? A little expert education can return big results.