Compass delivers white glove customer service at scale
As the leading tech-powered real estate brokerage in the United States, Compass serves more than 26,000 agents in 70 markets. With rising market share, the company’s support team leadership faces the challenge of delivering white glove service at scale. As a long-time Zendesk customer, Compass is looking to drive efficiencies through centralization and AI-informed routing of incoming tickets to the right specialists.
“We've implemented some natural language processing rules that help identify what the nature of the customer request is so we can get it routed to the right team for handling.”
Director of Support at Compass
“We want to create a single user interface that connects across different systems and can pull the necessary information so that agents don’t have to log into multiple systems to progress a ticket.”
Director of Support at Compass
New York, New York
Number of real estate agents
U. S. Markets Served
Principal real estate agent retention
Improvement in resolution rate
Number of customer support representatives
One-touch resolution rate
Buying a home is the largest purchase most people will ever make. Having the right real estate agent to handle the details of the transaction can make all the difference. As the leading tech-powered real estate brokerage firm in the United States, Compass is dedicated to providing a critical edge to agents in a hot market with ever more competition for talent, listings, and clients.
That edge is a proprietary technology platform that helps real estate agents grow their own business. In the past year, Compass added nearly 7,000 new real estate agents when the company launched in 25 additional U. S. markets. This high growth coupled with the complexity of real estate transactions left the Compass support team with the challenge of meeting continued growth in a cost efficient way without sacrificing a quality experience.
Delivering white glove service at scale
That challenge landed at the feet of Amy Velligan, director of support at Compass. Velligan had recently left the global retailer Walmart where she oversaw customer support for the company’s online grocery service. Starting with just a handful of support representatives, Velligan managed massive growth of the online grocery delivery service through the pandemic to the point where she was directing support operations with around 2,500 outsourced support representatives.
Today, Velligan finds herself in a familiar spot at Compass striving to deliver white glove service to a fast-growing portfolio of real estate firms across the country. She oversees five operational support teams at Compass, with most support representatives working remotely. Currently, Compass customer support representatives use the Zendesk platform to handle queries coming in through webforms, emails, and phone.
Those support representatives support a myriad of requests from real estate agents and their clients, agent experience managers at real estate offices around the country, as well as internal employees who have similar IT or product support requests. Occasionally, agents hear from general consumers who are looking at listings on a Compass website but are not yet connected to a real estate agent.
“We have a unique support model where we have boots on the ground in our offices. So oftentimes, we’re servicing the end customer or real estate agent, but through their agent experience manager who’s reaching out on their behalf to the centralized support teams at Compass,” explains Velligan.
Leveraging AI for smart routing of customer inquiries
However, providing customer support to such a wide range of stakeholders can be daunting, says Velligan. “We have a lot of specialists who can provide very high touch service, but that only works if you get directed to the right specialist. If a customer gets sent to the general queue or gets bounced around a lot, that can be really frustrating.”
To help solve the issue, Velligan says the company is implementing some natural language processing (NLP) rules that help identify the topic of the incoming support request for routing to the right team, which includes onboarding support, as well as product and IT support for both external clients and internal employees.
“We are trying to build a technology platform that’s going to be a single point of ingress and then expand the natural language processing rule set to help route things correctly,” explains Velligan. “Additionally, we want to ensure that the customer support representative has visibility into any past activity on the ticket. It’s really about knowing who your customers are when they’re contacting support so that you can get them to the right person and answer them the right way.”
Centralizing knowledge to power great service
In addition to pinpoint routing, Velligan is looking to centralize functions across the Support team to drive greater efficiencies. One key area of focus is centralizing and enhancing the company’s approach to its multiple knowledge bases and help centers.
Instead of staff updating and adding articles to the knowledge bases in their spare time, Velligan wants one individual responsible for the work to deliver a standardized voice and strategy.
“We need to look at all of our processes and contact types and make sure that every contact type maps to a knowledge base article, which then maps to an email or chat template,” says Velligan. “That way, we can pop up suggested verbiage or steps or even a guided workflow to provide the right answer.”
With the knowledge bases treated as a centralized function, there will be a rigor to the process that will help improve handling times across the team.
“Every action that reduces your handle times increases your capacity to assist more customers, which is particularly valuable when your company is growing quickly,” says Velligan.
CX data as an engine for growth
Currently, the Compass support team is enjoying a 98 percent CSAT score. But Velligan looks beyond the score and drills down to the voice of the customer directly from their comments and what they are saying about the company’s representatives.
“In customer service, data is your friend,” offers Velligan. “It can help you find and eliminate the defects in the customer journey and help you decide what to focus on to raise the quality of your service.”
Going forward, Velligan will continue her pursuit of centralization to gain even greater efficiencies for the Compass support team. “We want to be an engine to help the company grow. The best way we can do that is to focus on those areas that will have the greatest impact to help us scale, while still providing the white glove service our customers have come to expect.”