LendingClub

LendingClub credits Zendesk with providing a better experience for its customers

  • Agents 600
  • Light Agents 250
  • Tickets/Month 50,000
  • Answer Bot Resolution Rate 12%
  • Products Used

When Army infantry officer Andrew Jensen heard soldiers talk about their financial struggles, he realized the importance of empowering people to make strong financial decisions. So after leaving the military, Jensen joined LendingClub, a company whose mission of financial empowerment matched his own.

LendingClub connects U.S. borrowers and investors through an online marketplace that offers ethical and easy ways to access credit. The organization is inspired by the opportunity to help empower those who want to achieve financial success. This mission drives LendingClub teams to recognize the potential they have to deliver exceptional service and care to these strivers.

Providing an engaging and relationship-oriented borrower experience is key, and that goal was made easier once the company switched to Zendesk in 2015.

Jensen, who worked on the Zendesk implementation soon after joining LendingClub and is now the company’s Director of Payment Solutions, recalled, “The previous configuration was not conducive to agents focusing on the consumer during a call. Any time agents took a phone call, they had to create a new record, even if they’d spoken to the consumer before. It also required multiple clicks to work through and document a call.”

Getting meaningful data on customer satisfaction or agent performance was another challenge. Jensen said, “It was difficult to see work in progress or emails that had been assigned to someone to answer. We wanted to view, do, and queue more effectively.”

In pursuit of these goals, LendingClub began looking for a better support solution. The support team’s long list of evaluation criteria included cost, configurability, information security, and the ability to meet the company’s legal requirements as a financial services organization.

Zendesk came up the winner. Jensen noted, “The cost was good, and the configurability was very valuable to us. The fact that Zendesk offers the light agent role was foundational to our decision because it represented a significant savings.”

Jensen and his team were able to complete the Zendesk implementation in just nine days. He explained how they met the tight timeline: “We had an onsite, dedicated Zendesk representative with me all day and an organized process to go through and define the groups, user roles, and work queues we needed to get up and running.”

At the time, LendingClub had over 100 agents and 250 Zendesk light agents. Training them—and onboarding new agents since then—took little time, said Jensen, because the system is easy to use. He appreciates that handling work queues is just as easy, allowing him to set up triggers and automations to flag cases to support and train new agents.

LendingClub now relies on Zendesk’s Support and Guide products, and used the Zendesk API to integrate their Cisco phone system. Operations at LendingClub consists of approximately 600 support specialists, 120 of which focus on handling phone interactions with borrowers. Located in San Francisco, California, they work with entirely U.S.-based customers, providing support in English from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.

LendingClub is doing this with increased efficiency, said Jensen, crediting Zendesk’s streamlined user interface, eliminating extra typing and clicks. He said, “Previously, an agent would do 80 emails in a day. Now email agents can do 220 emails a day because of the one-click macros and other ways we made their work tool more effective. In a given month, we answer over 50,000 emails. It’s very important that we’re efficient and effective so that we can get to customer needs as soon as possible.”

“Answer Bot has been helpful in addressing some quick questions for our customers. We’re happy to see customers find the answers they need, when they need it. Answer Bot points them in the right direction to find solutions independently,” said Alina Doyle, a LendingClub specialist.

Using Zendesk has allowed LendingClub to create specialty queues and prioritize time-sensitive customer emails. Zendesk helps send automated follow-up emails to customers, so that LendingClub specialists can focus on tickets that offer the most value to customers and the company. Triggers and a report that Jensen calls “the ping-pong tracker” help minimize the number of touches on any ticket. This report uses Zendesk Support analytics to produce a list of tickets touched by more than three internal groups without any outbound email to a customer.

The goal, he said, is to do everything possible to “surprise and delight” customers. Jensen added, “Having great ticketing, workflow management, queuing, and grouping allows us to build a strong relationship with our customers and leave them feeling like we provided the support they needed, and more.”

The ease of LendingClub processes is not lost on customers. One commented, “Wow! That was easier than going to the supermarket through the self-serve aisle. The application process was straightforward and painless–it was easy to understand the tasks to complete.”

Apps also help strengthen customer support at LendingClub. The Zendesk-built Pathfinder app lets agents see which articles customers viewed before contacting them, reducing repetition, speeding resolution, and promoting higher customer satisfaction. And the Ticket Redaction App offers an extra opportunity to keep customers’ financial and personal data secure.

Customer self-service is another priority. “We put a premium on our help center,” Jensen said. “Allowing customers to get the right answer on their own is very important. We’ve invested a lot in making sure that we offer a robust help center, and we’re constantly revising it.”

The team uses the article rating feature to upvote articles to ensure that help content is meeting customer needs. A dedicated team regularly updates content—a task made trickier by legal compliance reviews and frequent investor audits—and pays careful attention to what search terms customers are using, in combination with Google Analytics, which the team uses to monitor clicks. As a result of this dedicated investment in content, LendingClub has established a self-service score of 11:1, meaning for every 11 visitors to the help center, only 1 ends up creating a ticket.”

To help surface help center articles and anticipate customer questions, Jensen adds some of the most popular articles to automated replies with Answer Bot. “We’ve found that this has been a big lift,” he said. “Customers email when they need a bit of direction, and sometimes we can get the answer to them sooner than they expected.”

LendingClub was early to adopt Answer Bot, eager to apply artificial intelligence. “LendingClub is committed to using technology to drive superior borrower experiences,” Jensen said. So far, the team has seen valuable cost savings when Answer Bot handles a ticket, with the potential for further savings month over month, and a resolution rate of 12 percent. Jensen noted, “We really like Answer Bot. It’s easy to configure and does a great job measuring the number of tickets it deflects. Even better, customers don’t find Answer Bot intrusive to their borrower experience.”

When it comes to measuring overall success, Zendesk’s analytics and reporting features allow LendingClub to extract valuable information, including a view of individual agents’ productivity, which is transparent to the team. Jensen noted that he also likes Zendesk’s analytics because they allow him to experiment.

Zendesk’s ease of use allows LendingClub to make changes and see the immediate impact. “We don’t have to submit a ticket to get something changed,” he said. “We can just go in and change something right away. It’s fast, immediate, and useful.”

For example, Jensen monitors the customizable contact forms, whose conditional fields help to guide agents through conversations with customers. He noted that he’s able to configure the variable fields to change in response to real-time customer satisfaction data. Add it all up, and Jensen believes Zendesk gives LendingClub the tools and agility to provide customers the support they need.

“Zendesk is great because it’s highly configurable, and the data reporting is easy to build, even if you’re not an extremely technical person. And whenever I had a request, I always felt Zendesk was willing to help me get to a speedy resolution.”

– Andrew Jensen Director, Payment Solutions