Case Study: Etsy Chat Support Improves Agent Performance by 14%

Etsy’s Challenge:

Creating a scalable training and QA process that elevates agent performance

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Negative Implication:

Simply ramping up a broken training and QA process could not make a lasting impact on customer satisfaction

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The Solution:

Data-driven coaching + agent certification programs based on QA insight

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Impact at Etsy:

66% reduction in multi-group solve rate, 1% lift in CES across all channels, 14% increase in agent QA performance

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Etsy is a global online marketplace where people connect to buy, sell, make, and collect unique items. Founded in 2005, Etsy has grown to become one of the world’s most recognizable eCommerce brands with more than 60 million active buyers and 3 million active sellers.

To ensure an amazing experience for buyers and sellers, Etsy’s team of 500+ agents provide support via phone, email, and live chat. Read on to learn more about how Etsy scaled their CX team with QA, or watch the entire webinar below!

Challenge: Elevating customer satisfaction with enhanced agent training and QA insights 

Etsy’s efficiency-based approach to CX—which relied heavily on email scripts and templates—was consistently leading to negative interactions and eroding customer satisfaction. It was an inconsistent experience given the marketplace’s eclectic mix of sellers—a “one size fits all” approach to CX just didn’t do the brand justice.

Realizing the need for change, Etsy’s CX team embarked on a dual-track initiative to tighten up their QA program and implement a formal training program for new agents.

“We moved from subject matter experts to a generalist QA model that allowed us to see blindspots and identify agents with low CSAT scores,” said Susannah Lescher, Quality Manager at Etsy. “But, we soon realized that our metrics were not reliable performance indicators because some agents just handle difficult subject matter.”

Etsy’s newly launched two-week training program for agents was starting to show potential, but correlating training to actual CX improvements was difficult.

“Our training org was super focused on increasing CX numbers, but we didn’t have a lot of experience for actually achieving that goal,” said Natasha Lende, Training & Support Content Manager at Etsy.

Despite internal requests from agents for even more QA and training, the team knew that accelerating their current programs would not deliver meaningful results. Etsy needed to revamp their approach to coaching + onboarding.

“On its own, QA does not lead to behavior changes—it’s just information delivery— and our training was more of a one-to-many approach“ Lende said. “Simply put, more training and QA was not the answer to our problem.”

Solution: Leveraging QA data as the foundation for agent coaching and certification

Determined to get to the root of the problem, the team realigned on CX best practices and identified an important gap that still needed to be filled.

“We discovered that direct supervisor coaching is the top driving factor for improving agent performance,” Lende said. “This makes perfect sense because coaching can be tailored to each agent’s needs in a way that training cannot.”

Etsy’s CX team turned to MaestroQA to surface data-driven QA insights that enable productive coaching conversations and elevate agent performance. 

“Insights picked up during QA lead to coaching opportunities about 98% of the time,” Lescher said. “MaestroQA surfaces issues that can be fixed at the agent level, such as CX skills and other behaviors that need to be changed.”

Using QA data to create a continuous feedback loop made it easier for the team to identify additional enhancements. It also helped them realize that they could nip issues in the bud.

“We had a great quality program, coaching, and topic-driven onboarding, but there was still an opportunity for earlier intervention,” Lescher said. “Implementing a certification program ensures the effectiveness of our training by assessing agents before they go into the live support environment.”

Integrating Lessonly with Zendesk and MaestroQA allowed Etsy to build a highly scalable and automated workflow for tracking agent readiness and certification. In addition to completing online lessons, agents are assigned sample tickets selected by the QA team to work through in a controlled and intuitive environment. New agents are given four to six weeks to learn Etsy’s products, policies, and QA rubric before undergoing certification.

“Providing agents with a longer timeframe to work on sample tickets without distraction creates a kind learning environment that leads to success for agents,” Lende said.

Agents who pass certification automatically get added to the queue of tickets in Zendesk that match their certification level, further streamlining an already efficient onboarding process.

Result: 66% lower multi-group solve rate, 100% certified agent QA scores.

Building a scalable certification program enabled Etsy to onboard more agents at a much faster pace. The timing couldn’t have been better--over the past twelve months, Etsy has doubled the size of its customer support agent team.

Speed of onboarding isn’t the only positive outcome. Almost immediately after implementing the data-driven coaching program, Etsy’s CX team began to notice positive effects on agent performance.

“I had a hunch that we were going to positively impact CX and quality, lower our resolution time, and lower our multi-group resolves—and we did all of it, which is amazing,” Lende said.

Among certified agents, Etsy’s multi-group solve rate is 66% lower than it was before, leading to faster answers with less operational overhead. Think of this metric as the inverse to First Contact Resolution—the lower the multi-group solve rate, the fewer support touches a ticket requires for resolution.

Certified agents also score 14% higher when graded for quality compared to uncertified agents (100% vs. 87.5%). Etsy’s Customer Effort Score (CES), which is the company’s leading indicator of customer satisfaction, has increased by one full percentage point across all channels. 

Etsy’s management recognizes the importance of the new certification and coaching programs, too.

“Management is totally on board because it solves more than one problem for them,” Lende said. “Our QA and CES scores make it clear that the process works and saves the company money.”

Streamline Your CX Program with MaestroQA

Need a better way to align quality, training, and coaching? 

MaestroQA provides a scalable solution for collecting and sharing QA data to enable productive conversations between agents and their managers. 

Request a demo of MaestroQA.

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