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Carbonite - Empowering Customers to Self-Serve

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Carbonite, Inc.
Company Description: Carbonite (Nasdaq:CARB) is a leading provider of hybrid backup (cloud and local) and recovery solutions for home users and businesses. Carbonite offers a comprehensive suite of affordable services for data protection, recovery and anywhere, anytime access.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: e-Commerce Customer Service Award - Computer Industries

Nomination Title: Empowering Customers to Self-Serve

Tell the story about your e-commerce-based customer service initiatives since the beginning of July 2016 (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:

Throughout 2016 Carbonite’s Content Management team revolutionized online self-service, becoming a world leader in facilitating outstanding self-help experiences for their customers. In addition to increasing visitor engagement by adding an online virtual agent persona, the team successfully absorbed and overhauled the Knowledge Base for EVault – a subsidiary acquired during the year – and aligned it with Carbonite’s standard of excellence. By the end of 2016, the deflection rate for Carbonite’s Knowledge Base had already excelled to 71%, smashing industry benchmarks. However, Carbonite does not rest on success.

Content Management’s mission in 2017 would be to achieve what others only dream. We introduced a renewed focus on the customer journey: understanding how and why the customer interacts with the Carbonite support site from walking through the front door to finding their answer. In examining the data pool, the team discovered that nearly half (46%) of visitor traffic to Carbonite’s Contact Us page was coming directly from non-Carbonite sources, such as Google. At the time, the Contact Us page highlighted the contact information for Customer Care. The only self-service option available was a Knowledge Base search embedded in a separate tab in the page. Further analysis revealed that only 48% of visitors from that group attempted to use the self-service option. This conflicts with current market research, which states that 71% of all consumers want the ability to help themselves. This examination into the customer journey exposed a new challenge: route these customers through the self-help option they want with zero negative effects.

The team understood that any changes had to be made to the Contact Us page itself: the page was the only opportunity to reach these customers before they entered a support queue. However, any change to an already high-performing site was inherently risky. A negatively-received update could easily result in a dramatic downturn of both satisfaction and deflection. The team resolved to implement a bold redesign using an A/B test, where half of visitors to the Contact Us page (randomly selected) would see the old design and half would see the new one. This allowed the accumulation of performance data on both sites concurrently, minimizing the effects of external factors.

The new design aimed to guide all Contact Us visitors into attempting the self-service option that most of them wanted without abandoning the visitors who preferred live support. It removed the Customer Care contact information from the Contact Us landing page entirely. Visitors were instead presented with the virtual agent persona, who encouraged them to type a summary of their issue into a text box. As the customer typed, matching articles appeared in a list. If the customer could not resolve their issue with the given results, a provided “I still need help” button would lead the customer to another page where they could select the nature of their issue or return to the virtual agent. If the customer chose an issue and proceeded, the Contact Us information was displayed.

The team launched the A/B test rollout of the new design in March 2017 and immediately laser-focused on the incoming data. Day-to-day results showed promise. Deflection data on Contact Us first-stop visitors from the new design were consistently ~25% higher than the old one. The trend continued through the summer and showed even better performance over the old design during higher traffic events, such as holidays and marketing promotions. Furthermore, there was no measurable impact to satisfaction rates, Carbonite trials started, or trial-to-paid conversions. With all metrics validating the change, the redesign was made default in late summer. The Content Team’s successful redesign boosted Knowledge Base performance by better providing customers exactly what they wanted. Deflection rates soared above 80%, saving Carbonite an additional 14-employee headcount and over $500,000 in annual support costs. It was an achievement that truly benefitted all.