StashAway + Zendesk: Human communication builds trust with finance robo-advisor

Launching the region's first digital wealth management platform, StashAway’s main value proposition is robo-advising services. While carefully designed algorithms guide its user investment journeys, human communication is what builds customer trust. This trust has helped StashAway grow into one of Southeast Asia's largest digital wealth managers. Using Zendesk to deliver an omnichannel experience and integrate with local messenger apps, each StashAway agent can now process 80% more tickets every week.

StashAway

“Being able to integrate Zendesk with WhatsApp and local social messenger apps is key for us to provide customer communication that feels familiar and at home, in every market we enter.”

Michele Ferrario

Co-Founder and CEO at StashAway

“The support of Zendesk has been key to our success as they’re constantly providing suggestions for ways to potentially increase agent efficiency or new tools we could use."

Mey Chyi Wong

Head of Client Experience at StashAway

Products used

Number of Agents

55

Tickets Per Month

10,000+

Industry

Financial Services

Headquarters

Singapore

50%

Queries resolved via WhatsApp

95%

CSAT

+80%

Agent Efficiency

<8 seconds

Call pick up time

When Michele Ferrario couldn’t find an investment service that met his needs, he decided to build it. “When I was looking for the best way to manage my savings, I searched for automated, data-driven financial planning services at a low cost. But at the time, the nearest providers were across the pond in the US or Europe.” So in 2017, Ferrario launched StashAway, Singapore’s first robo-advisor.

The startup relies on investment and financial planning algorithms to build customized financial journeys, yet its client relationships are built by humans. To create outstanding customer service, StashAway partnered with Zendesk.

Robo-advisory means real people

“When people hear the word robo-advisor, they may not immediately realize that there’s a huge human element behind it at StashAway,” said Ferrario. “We understand that money is a very personal matter, and $100 to Person A may not mean the same as $100 to Person B. So we needed a platform that bridges the gap between robo-advisory and human services.”

This is where Zendesk comes in. “We want our customers to feel that we’re always here for them,” said Mey Chyi Wong, head of client experience at StashAway. “We want them to think, ‘This is a platform I can trust, I can let them make investment decisions for me.’ Zendesk helps us provide human communication whenever our customers have questions or need assurance.”

This focus on human connection is reflected in the company’s structure. StashAway’s client experience (CX) team is the largest function in the company, making up a third of its workforce. “StashAway is now more than 180-strong, and we’ve launched several new products in the last two years,” said Wong. “But even as we grow and go into new countries, as we continue to innovate and improve our products, our focus is customer experience.”

StashAway mobile experience

WhatsApp empowers agents and drives conversions

StashAway implemented Zendesk Support to connect with its customers. “We’re very proud to say that we answer calls in less than eight seconds, and have very strict service level agreements (SLAs) with emails. We make sure we answer them as soon as possible to give people reassurance,” shared Wong.

To further elevate customer engagement and increase agent efficiency, StashAway integrated Zendesk’s WhatsApp Business API in 2018. The move was akin to hitting a customer care jackpot, with users increasingly opting for the messenger tool.

“Everybody’s on their phone 24/7, which means customers are more responsive via social messenger apps they use for personal communication. It lets our agents address customer concerns a lot quicker and build stronger relationships as a result,” said Wong. “With Zendesk’s WhatsApp integration feature, we lowered agent wait times for customer replies by 50 percent over a period of 6 months. This increased efficiency, enabling us to process 80% more tickets per agent per week.” Today, WhatsApp inquiries make up half of StashAway’s incoming tickets.

Zendesk’s WhatsApp integration feature is also an indispensable customer onboarding tool. Pre-prepared messages on Zendesk are used to remind customers of incomplete applications, or anything else that customers need to share or submit. “It helps the conversion funnel and is an easier way to keep in touch with our customers,” Wong added.

The time saved with Zendesk allows StashAway agents to do a lot more. “Our agents can now bring customer feedback to the product team and discuss how we can improve certain aspects for customer experience,” said Wong. “Process automation is also enabling agents to take time to ensure accurate customer responses.” Because StashAway agents deal with sensitive information within a heavily regulated industry, communication needs to be extremely clear and precise.

Behind the scenes with Zendesk

StashAway operates in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region with its world-class omnichannel support. Its 55 dedicated agents work in unison to solve 10,000 tickets each month. “We have a very small team attending to a large number of tickets,” Wong began. “We use Zendesk to optimize processes and get things done more efficiently. The platform segregates workloads and provides consolidated tickets and questions in a single, unified workspace, allowing agents to respond to customers across all channels with the full context.”

“Having the customer’s history on one platform really helps,” Wong explained. “You don’t have to go to different places to look for information. For example, if I take a customer call today, I’m able to integrate that into Zendesk. If I’m off tomorrow and the same customer calls about our conversation, another agent can see the history and pick up right where I left off. With that, we’re able to create a smoother experience for customers, because it’s continuing the same storyline regardless of who’s taking the call. Zendesk has really helped us create a very seamless user experience for our customers.”

StashAway also uses Zendesk’s Explore feature to track customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores and feedback. “CSAT is a key metric for us. It’s the feature we use most on the Zendesk platform,” Wong shared. “Our CSAT is consistently higher than 95 percent, and a lot of it is because we are able to respond and quickly resolve our customer issues,” shared Wong. “But we don’t just look at the percentages. We take feedback from users seriously and explore it in detail. It enables us to continuously work with the relevant internal teams on product or platform improvements,” she added.

StashAway mobile experience

Proactive partnership

Wong appreciates the level of support they receive from Zendesk to ensure continuous improvement. “We have regular check-ins with the Zendesk customer success team. They take note of what we’ve been doing on the back-end and provide suggestions to further optimize our usage,” she shared. “Just earlier this year, the team guided us on how to categorize our macros better. We had many macros that were essentially the same, with some elements localized. It was very confusing for our agents and took a lot of time to select the correct macro depending on the customer’s location. Our Zendesk success manager shared that we could categorize macros in a certain way, by country, by use case. This small change helped us cut ticket response time by another 50 percent.”

When it comes to customer experience, one key success factor for StashAway is localization. “As we roll out our services in different countries, we also want to make sure that the platform we use has the language support that we need. Zendesk helps us make sure that we can integrate locally as well,” Wong said.

Ultimately, StashAway is on a mission to expand its digital wealth management services across the globe. To be successful, the team plans to integrate its services with local messaging apps as it enters new markets. “Our clients don’t meet us in person, so we need to make sure that they know we are there and that they have a smooth journey when it comes to reaching out to us,” shared Ferrario. “As we enter new markets, we know that Zendesk will be able to help us onboard and engage customers in a way they prefer to communicate, wherever they are.”