Ask.com, Oakland, CA

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: Ask.com, Oakland, CA
Entry Submitted By: Dotted Line Communications
Company Description: Acquired by IAC in 2005, Ask.com is a global service used by well over 100 million users, and ranks in comScore’s top US websites in terms of traffic. The flagship mobile app, available on both iOS and Android, has been downloaded almost 3 million times. Their quest is to provide users with access to trusted answers and great content.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year - Technology Industries

Nomination Title: Eric McKirdy, Manager of Global Customer Care

Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since the beginning of July 2013 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Eric McKirdy, Manager of Global Customer Care at Ask.com, has made some major strides evolving and improving an already stellar customer service team since winning the Bronze Stevie’s for Customer Service Manager of the Year in 2013. He has continued to lead the company’s customer service team with the Parature technology platform and has found new ways to deliver on the company’s promise of a more efficient, personalized customer service experience for its users.

After implementing the Parature platform and setting a baseline for future customer service reporting, Eric spent the subsequent months further building out the customer service platform and capabilities. Eric worked closely with Parature and successfully led rollouts of social media capabilities and new customer service products, including real-time foreign language localization/translation for knowledge base articles and live chat.

Eric oversaw the launch of Ask.com’s live chat feature, a new customer service channel for the company that already accounts for 40 percent of the daily customer service conversations. Eric also worked with Parature to beta test a new feature called International Localization, which detects a user’s default language and automatically sets the browser to their native language when visiting the Ask.com help page, making it easier for users to use the self-help features or to connect to an Ask customer care team member. Similarly, Eric helped add international translation to Ask.com’s live chat platform. This feature automatically translates chat conversations with Ask.com’s customer support into the user’s native language; all while the Ask.com customer support team member continues to see the conversation in English. As a global Internet company in more than 19 languages, these features are critical in ensuring a consistent customer support experience for all Ask.com users.

Eric was also responsible for strengthening Ask.com’s internal reporting and monitoring capabilities by shifting page feedback to the Parature platform. Parature’s reporting system now provides aggregated reports of product feedback for internal use, which help identify and utilize user complaints and praises. Eric and the whole customer service team are constantly updating, refining and optimizing the help center based on user queries and key words used. Eric also led the expansion of social media monitoring for customer service issues; the team now covers both Facebook and Twitter to provide help to users.

Eric has consistently delivered excellent customer service to Ask.com’s 100 million monthly users over the last year, going above and beyond to provide each user with tailored help. The team now only sees 300 tickets per day, compared to more than 500, because of the changes to the company’s self-serve platform. Eric’s actions and personalized help have even resulted in users going out of their way to thank him for his help via emails and social media channels about the great service he provided. Nearly 70 percent of people who engaged with the customer service team have come back to say “thank you” for the experience, an impressive feat for any company.

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