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Match Group taps innovation through conversational messaging

Match Group learned that its members wanted personalized, conversational support from the company’s online dating services. Partnering with Zendesk Labs, Match.com built a custom integration that enables “date experts” to provide a proactive, empathetic coaching experience within the app. Offering this bespoke service has increased match success rates, while generating positive brand perception and higher user retention.

Match Group
“The brilliance of what Zendesk helped us build is that we have all the information so we know when to come into the conversation. It’s that balance between the proactive automated messaging with the more personalized interaction.”

Alice Curry

VP of Member Services at Match Group

“It’s really helpful to have an asynchronous messaging option that allows members to take away feedback and jump back into the conversation whenever they want.”

Alice Curry

VP of Member Services at Match Group

Company Headquarters

Dallas, Texas

Online Dating Sites

35

Serving

24 countries/territories

Company founded

1995

85%

One-touch tickets

750M

App Downloads

40

Languages supported

2K

Global employees

When Match Group launched one of the first dating sites 25 years ago, it took a lot of work to convince people that it was okay to find a date on the internet. Today, relationships are built online, and conversations take place across multiple channels whenever and wherever possible.

Match.com now serves 24 countries and territories and hosts websites in 40 different languages, making it more convenient and accessible than ever to start dating online. On their mission to help people find meaningful relationships, Match Group is always looking for new ways to improve services and satisfy customer needs in a highly competitive industry.

“It’s a really crowded marketplace right now in online dating, so we’re focused on what we can do to stand out and who is our best customer that’s going to get the most out of the Match experience,” says Alice Curry, VP of Member Services at Match Group.

Getting to know customers

Curry is responsible for 35 different online dating sites and brands within Match Group including the customer care group, dating experts, and a team that supports 140 in-person events across the country. That provides tremendous insight into Match.com’s primary user base.

The typical member is in their thirties, forties, or fifties and looking for a serious relationship, but dating backgrounds vary widely. Some people grew up with online dating and are good at branding themselves, taking the right pictures, and talking about what they like. Others have been out of the dating world for 10 or 20 years and need a lot more guidance.

“We needed an additional layer to help people craft their experience online,” remarks Curry. “One way we could help was by providing date experts.”

Match

Conversational messaging is a great match

Match.com started offering date coaching over the phone. Members could review their profiles with a date expert, who helped them create better intro messages, understand how to connect with people online, and identify paths to long-term success.

“People who called in and talked to our dating experts loved it. We had great app reviews and saw all the success metrics go way up,” recalls Curry. However, the team saw low call volumes and started to re-examine the voice channel. “Being on a dating site can feel very vulnerable, so picking up the phone and saying, ‘I need help,’ was a big hurdle. Members were concerned about who was on the other end of the line.”

The team identified messaging as an alternate way to deliver quick, conversational support and a personal connection. With Zendesk Labs, Match built a seamless messaging experience that was easy, efficient, personal, and customizable. It allowed members to document advice, receive links to edit their profile without leaving the conversations, get updates in real-time, and pick up the conversation right where they left off. Match is now able to resolve 85 percent of tickets in a single touch.

Curry gives major props to the Zendesk Labs team, “who sat in a conference room with us for three days as we told them all the amazing things we wanted to be able to do via messaging, and they helped us bring it to life.”

Trust and human connection are key

Establishing trust with members was top of mind for Curry. “We wanted a partner who could provide solutions that would help us be more proactive, to communicate in a way that more people would be willing to hear the advice and act on it.”

To their delight, Zendesk’s custom solution helped bridge the gap between a human conversation and a digital experience.

“One of our concerns with moving from phone to chat is that people would think they were talking to bots. AI isn’t necessarily something you want when you’re looking for a date expert,” adds Curry. “To provide more human connection, we created profiles for date experts with a photo, a few details on why they became a date expert, and their area of expertise.”

Match

Say ‘yes’ to proactive and personalized messaging

Even with the expert bios, Match knew some members would still struggle to ask for help or create their profile. They might not respond to an open-ended chat prompt, ‘Can we help you find a good match?’

With Zendesk messaging, Match turned a user experience that was initially daunting into one that is easy and friendly. Date experts can take a more proactive approach, and members see more specific chat messages pop up: ‘Would you like me to review your profile and provide suggestions?’ or ‘Would you like me to help you write some messages that tend to get responses?’

“The idea is to bring people in with a low hurdle, where we provide suggestions and all they have to do is say yes,” adds Curry. “It’s really helpful to have an asynchronous messaging option that allows members to take away feedback and jump back into the conversation whenever they want.”

Match found that giving pieces of advice and letting people make small changes over time helped them feel more supported and significantly enhanced their profiles. As one member remarked, “I no longer have to text my best friend every 10 minutes to get feedback.”

Match

Where automation meets empathetic support

Match also worked on customizing the agent experience to give date experts more control over how they create rich, conversational experiences that are empathetic and helpful. Zendesk offers a clear view into member profiles, photos, and high level stats on messages sent. Curry’s team also built rich carousels where they can add photos and comment underneath.

“We did a lot of customization in Agent Workspace to make sure that all the key elements that come up in conversation are right at our fingertips,” Curry says. “If someone’s profile is missing a crucial detail, we ask, ‘Would you like me to make that change for you?’ It’s minimal effort for the member.”

A common tip from date experts is: Users who include their hometown are five times more likely to match. With Zendesk, it’s a simple change that can be automatically updated from chat prompts, so date experts can save time and work on more complex and nuanced support requests. The ease and customizability of Zendesk allows date experts to make profile updates faster, work more efficiently, and focus on what matters: creating a truly empathetic experience overall.

For Curry, “The brilliance of what Zendesk helped us build is that we have all the information so we know when to come into the conversation. It’s that balance between the proactive automated messaging with the more personalized interaction.”

The road to higher success rates and optimizations

Since introducing messaging, the team has seen success in member profiles getting updated and match success rates going up. “The more we can improve the quality of profiles for all our members, the more it helps everyone on the site and the overall brand experience,” says Curry.

Next on Curry’s dream list is the ability to co-create profiles with members, where date experts can provide suggestions and publish updates in real-time. The team also plans to start utilizing AI to better find matches based on compatibility. Date coaches already look for commonalities between member profiles and the profiles of people they are matched with.

Curry hopes to take AI-powered messaging “to the next level, where we can say, ‘I think you and John would be a great match. You both like dogs and live in San Francisco, reach out to him this way.’ Anytime you can create immediate connections, the chances of a successful match go way up.”