Age of Learning delivers all time high CSAT scores + 30% efficiency increase
The leading education technology innovator and creator of the widely popular ABCmouse online learning program, Age of Learning wanted to deliver the best experience possible to its global audience with less friction and more personalization. But time was of the essence given the crushing demand for its products in the early stages of the pandemic. Age of Learning used Zendesk Suite to effectively scale and add support channels out of the box, in just a matter of weeks. Using a multichannel CX system helped the team provide more conversational interactions, deflect common questions, and improve agent experience, while increasing efficiency.
“In Zendesk, agents can see the complete history for each support ticket on one screen, which creates a seamless experience for customers and agents. Productivity has increased and agents have become 30 percent more efficient.”
“After using a homegrown system, moving to Agent Workspace in Zendesk was like arriving in the 21st century.”
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Increase in agent efficiency
At Age of Learning, the mission is to help children everywhere build a strong foundation for academic success and a lifelong love of learning. The company’s expanding portfolio of educational products includes Adventure Academy, ABCmouse English, and the personalized, adaptive learning programs My Math Academy and My Reading Academy.
Since 2007, Age of Learning has provided educational programming to more than 50 million children worldwide. Today students, parents, caregivers, and teachers can create learning experiences in the classroom and at home with Age of Learning’s innovative resources and subscription-based programs.
When the pandemic disrupted classrooms in March 2020, Age of Learning launched its School Continuity Initiative to provide teachers with free educational content to support remote learning. At the same time, the company’s core subscription business almost tripled overnight. The surge in business created a tremendous 1,500 percent increase in ticket volume for the support team.
Age of Learning was still using Zendesk a la carte at that point. Leadership made a quick decision to optimize its operations with Zendesk Suite and other support channels, creating a cost-saving solution that allowed the business to scale rapidly and drive greater efficiencies.
Innovations to support an agile business
In her seven years at Age of Learning, Sara Milton has focused on finding innovative solutions to help modernize customer support. As the company’s senior customer experience specialist, she valued the ease with which her team could implement new tools and optimize the Zendesk platform.
“We achieved 100 percent remote ramp up in just over a month with Zendesk Suite. As an all-inclusive system, it gave us the ability to scale quickly and the flexibility to add new features in the future,” Milton says.
After a smooth rollout of voice, chat, and integrations with Facebook and Twitter, Milton has her eye on a new channel. “We’re in the process of ramping up Sunshine Conversations to utilize messaging in place of chat so we can have an asynchronous model with more stable connectivity.”
Leading with self-service
In parallel to the technology upgrade and building out new customer-facing experiences, the team also needed to hire, train, and deploy new support agents.
Vice President of Customer Care Tim Rondeau recalls, “The Zendesk platform made it easy to roll out new self-service tools while training agents on help center content, policies, and workflows. Within a span of 6 to 12 weeks, we essentially tripled the size of our contact center operation and had a help center up for each of our major products.”
As the team was facing an unprecedented surge in ticket volume, self-service became a crucial tool to deflect common questions. Within three months of launching the help centers, 60 percent of support demand was contained within the self-service customer experience. Self-service continued to increase; in Q1 2022 it was 76 percent of the support channel mix. Integrating the Ada chatbot with Zendesk improved interactions on both the customer and agent side.
Milton adds, “We implemented a central knowledge base so agents can look up answers and relevant help center articles while simultaneously viewing customer data. Getting a 360-degree view while understanding the customer request allows for an exceptional service experience.”
Unified CX drives a 30% increase in efficiency
Previously, the team had been using Zendesk to route email tickets and track call records, along with a legacy system to provide phone support with limited hours of operation. “Managing multiple tools was ineffective and inefficient,” says Rondeau. “Using Zendesk Suite made us realize how integrated voice was in the entire platform.”
The support team noticed a huge difference after implementing a single ticket interface in Agent Workspace, which made it easier to handle calls and service asynchronous conversations. In the previous support model, one agent could only process 30 to 35 phone calls per day on average. Today an agent can handle twice as many customers in a one-to-one, personalized fashion across multiple support channels.
Rondeau credits the CX platform for streamlining workflows. “In Zendesk, agents can see the complete history for each support ticket on one screen, which creates a seamless experience for customers and agents. Productivity has increased and agents have become 30 percent more efficient.”
Instead of opening new browser tabs or switching channels, support agents can focus on addressing customer needs. “Zendesk enabled us to change the way we treat our customers. Now the support team has set a new baseline, committed to treating all customers in a truly personalized way,” Rondeau adds.
Sara Milton highlights another technological improvement that is powering the team. “Leveraging the Zendesk integration for the JIRA app has helped us streamline the ticketing process and close the loop on communications between the customer, support agents, and product teams.”
A future focused on customer experience
Seeking new CX solutions is key to Ellen Steuer’s job as senior manager of customer experience, so she’s optimistic about the team’s potential. “I’m always evaluating how we can use Zendesk to work more efficiently and seamlessly with other teams and improve customer experience across channels. Right now we’re partnering with the globalization team to translate help center content and workflows for other regions.”
Similarly, Tim Rondeau is looking forward to making self-service more automated in the chatbot and Zendesk platform overall. “From a support perspective, time equals money. The more we can get people engaged with our products, the more that drives retention,” he explains.
Rondeau estimates that around 90 percent of his team’s focus is on direct-to-consumer business (subscriptions) and 10 percent is on school partnerships. He’s committed to empowering agents with the knowledge and skills that support customer retention: learning about products in depth, understanding customer segments, learning how kids use products, and practicing empathy.
Rondeau adds, “We’re trying to build best-in-class service and build our business by engaging with a wider ecosystem of school districts. It’s our job to get customers excited as they adopt our products and get their questions answered easily. We want to be a source of delight in that customer journey.”