The Boston Globe + Zendesk: Lowering cost and keeping more customers with A.I.-fueled chat
Landmark newspaper The Boston Globe increases customer retention and a customer’s lifetime value by using A.I. to power smart solutions to common customer queries. Leveraging Ada’s chatbot and Zendesk, it takes an automation-first CX approach with great success: 89% of chatbot queries never escalate to an agent, which means a 65% reduction in live chat volume. Now, agents are free to answer more complex queries quickly, offering the kind of experience that makes life-long customers.
"We can now offer personalized, 24-hour support because the Ada chatbot, which we call GloBot, partners well with the Zendesk help center."
“The GloBot has truly enhanced the CX experience. It’s providing a window into people that we might not have been able to contact previously and help assist with revenue generation.”
Digital Only Subscribers
Pulitzer Prize Awards
Years in business
Increase in the save rate (churn reduction)
Reduction in live chat volume
Reduction in email first response time
A lot has changed in the newspaper business since The Boston Globe started publishing in 1872. Although the presses keep running each day to deliver a physical newspaper, more and more readers are turning to digital subscriptions to stay on top of the daily headlines.
This dramatic change in media consumption is also driving an entirely new customer experience dynamic. People paying for a digital reading experience expect a digital customer experience, too. Customers count on brands being available 24/7 across various channels and devices, as well as a personalized experience. But those digital service expectations also deliver significant potential for driving revenue and growth.
Changing with the times
As one of the largest and most influential newspapers in the United States, The Boston Globe is the proud recipient of 26 Pulitzer Prizes for news coverage. On the business side of the newspaper, the company is squarely focused on providing award-winning customer service.
Changes in the media landscape combined with consumer shifts during the pandemic have led to increased readership and a rise in subscriptions to the newspaper’s digital offerings. As a result, The Boston Globe customer experience team needed around-the-clock visibility and availability for its customers.
That challenge landed in the lap of Eric Witman, lead CX systems specialist for The Boston Globe. Already using Zendesk Guide for a self service center and a newly-hired third-party provider for call center support, Witman determined that he needed a way to deflect some of the call center traffic to lower costs while at the same time enhancing the customer experience.
An automation-first strategy
The solution: a Zendesk integration with Ada’s no-code brand interaction platform for an automation-first CX approach to help transform the customer experience for The Boston Globe’s readership.
“We can now offer personalized, 24-hour support because the Ada chatbot, which we call GloBot, partners well with the Zendesk help center,” said Witman. “Customers are calling less and chatting with GloBot more. In fact, we have seen a 25 percent increase in customer interactions with GloBot since the initial launch.”
“Shortly after implementing GloBot, we saw a noticeable reduction in call and live chat volume—reps were freed up to work on incoming emails because of an average 89-92% containment volume,” added Witman. “Conversations didn’t have to be escalated from the bot.”
Another positive benefit for the newspaper has been a 50% reduction in email first response time from 24 hours to under 12 hours.
More customer interactions
In building the GloBot with Ada, Witman and his team leveraged data collected from the Zendesk help center. Essentially, they were able to more easily build out answers to customers’ most frequently asked questions and iterate from there.
The Boston Globe’s Witman says the Ada team made the implementation seamless and have been a true partner every step of the way, providing support whenever it was needed, long after implementation.
In addition to implementation support, the Ada team sees its role as helping brands like The Boston Globe interact with their customers in a conversational way and to develop real relationships with them.
“A chatbot not only helps you optimize support for your customers, but also helps drive revenue and growth,” says Perri Chaikof, director of product marketing at Ada. ”By helping the newspaper maintain subscriptions and promote upcoming events and digital offerings, the chatbot is actually driving revenue for the business.”
In fact, the newspaper has experienced a 10% increase in the save rate (churn reduction), which means agents are driving more value to the business by retaining business and increasing customer lifetime value.
Driving customer loyalty with innovation
Chaikof also says Ada’s brand interaction platform and Zendesk are a great technology match, empowering companies like The Boston Globe to think differently about their approach to customer experience.
“The GloBot has truly enhanced the CX experience,” said Witman. “It’s providing a window into people that we might not have been able to contact previously and assist with revenue generation.”
The Boston Globe’s Witman and his team are now looking at how their new digital customer experience solution can authenticate users and send out proactive custom messages regarding newspaper subscription renewals, reminders about upcoming digital events and other tailored offerings for their subscribers.
Digital personalized customer experiences have proven key for customer retention, helping companies like The Boston Globe not only keep pace with sweeping changes in their industries, but also enhance interactions with their customers, lower costs, and optimize revenue.
“The Boston Globe is innovating, thinking beyond what Ada or Zendesk can do with each of our tools individually. They are looking at technology in a new way to help them stay competitive and build customer loyalty,” said Ada’s Chaikof.