Kreditech serves the underbanked with Zendesk
Kreditech has been able to provide support for 800K customers while decreasing average call time by 30% using a Zendesk omnichannel solution
For the underbanked—young people struggling to build a traditional credit score, the economically disadvantaged or immigrants getting acclimated to a new country—getting a loan can kickstart a successful future. But more often than not, the underbanked find the doors of traditional lenders closed to them.
Deciding who gets loans based on traditional credit scores might make good business sense to those lenders, but one forward-thinking, unconventional company views the underbanked as a missed opportunity rather than a liability. Founded in 2012, Kreditech eschews the traditional credit score in favor of big data: it uses GPS, social networking information, hardware data, and other online information to evaluate whether a loan applicant will be a safe bet.
The result? Kreditech has now served more than 800,000 customers and issued over two million loans, and it also offers services like a digital wallet and a personal finance manager that helps its clients stay fiscally sound. Since its inception, the company has raised more than €400 million in capital, which has given the Hamburg-based startup the means to do business in Spain, Poland, Russia, and, most recently, India.
As recently as 2015, the company employed 150 people, a figure that has now grown to nearly 400—and tellingly, about a quarter of those workers focus on customer service. “It’s a very successful company where the best finance and tech brains come together” says Pinaki Nanda, a Kreditech systems administrator. “We have people from almost 40 nationalities working for the company—it’s a very diverse culture.”
That diversity pays off for Kreditech, which is able to help customers in a variety of languages: Spanish, Polish, Russian, and Hindi (including various related languages, such as Urdu and Bengali). With operations spanning the globe, the company uses Zendesk Support, Guide, and Chat to ensure its customers get top-notch service.
“As we were growing, we realized that it’s better to have everything centralized, from a financial perspective, but also from a procedures perspective,” says Cosmin Uciu, head of Kreditech’s global service center. “It’s better to invest in these things for the long term.”
Because the company fields about 30,000 support emails per month—and half a million phone calls per year, integrated into Zendesk—having reliable customer support software in place is absolutely essential, especially when launching new markets.
“We wanted to minimize risk as much as possible when we launched our call center in India, to make sure the launch was super stable, that everybody loves what they’re doing,” says Uciu, who was drawn to both Kreditech’s mission of serving the underbanked and its innovative use of big data. “Everybody felt comfortable with Zendesk, which is what we needed.”
At the heart of the support rollout in India was a sense that agents needed clear, easy-to-use workflows that would help them respond to customer needs quickly and effectively.
“We spent a lot of time digging deep into the functionality of Zendesk to make this as cool as possible for our agents to work with, to provide as good as service as possible to our customers,” Uciu says. “Our support staff there was buzzing, because they were able to run with the customer through the entire process—see where they are, talk to them, call them at any time.”
The team has been very successful at streamlining operations. Kreditech has seen a 30 percent decrease in average call time. The team now resolves 70 percent of calls and emails on the first touch. They also meet their SLA for answering calls in 20 seconds or less 80 percent of the time.
Zendesk’s ability to centralize data, regardless of channel, has helped the rapidly growing company stay on track, says Nanda. “Nowadays with so many platforms a customer can reach us through—email, telephone, and Facebook—if Zendesk hadn’t been there, it would have been impossible for us to track all the leads coming in,” he says. “It helps that we have this one platform that speaks with other platforms like social media, email, and phone. That’s making a big difference, especially with the flexibility of integrating with China, with in-house applications, and with the telephonic providers. It would have been very difficult for a system administrator to imagine how we would have built this. That’s the beauty of Zendesk.”
When it came time to rapidly expand its support staff, Kreditech discovered that Zendesk made onboarding a snap. The software’s flexibility enabled the company to onboard as many as 60 agents per month. “We did a lot of hiring, and it was super easy with Zendesk,” Nanda says. “All we had to do was just buy a license for the region. It’s such a light application. You don’t have to install anything in your machine—agents just have to verify themselves to get going, and that’s it.”
Beyond agent onboarding, Zendesk has helped Kreditech meet new consumer protection requirements issued by the European Union. These stringent requirements include the “right to be forgotten” clause, which gives consumers the ability to demand companies scrub personal data from their servers. To ensure it adhered to the new regulations, Kreditech approached Zendesk about how it could use the API to build a custom compliance tool.
“My legal team was in touch with Zendesk’s legal team from the very beginning,” Nanda says. “From the get-go what I really liked is that Zendesk was really prepared. Everything was documented, and that makes our life much easier. You have all the APIs we need.”
Being able to customize Zendesk with hands-on support from its partner has helped Kreditech work more efficiently and harness actionable data—improvements every business seeks, but ones that prove particularly important for a lender that relies on big data to gauge whether a customer will be a safe bet or a big risk. “The main contribution of Zendesk is the efficiency gains you get,” says Uciu. “It provides us with data on a very extensive level—data that is well defined, which allows us to analyze it better.”
In the highly competitive lending market, solid customer service can mean the difference between building long-term relationships with customers and seeing clients switch providers. As Uciu sees it, Kreditech’s investments in its customer support team has resulted in recurring business. “A lot of our customers are returning customers, so that means that they were happy with us and that they’re gonna keep doing business with us,” he says. And for a company driven by data, the proof is in the numbers: customers have rated the support 4.2-5 and the team has a 36% NPS®.
Ultimately, Zendesk allows Kreditech to put its focus where it matters: on its customers. “Zendesk is one of the most solid platforms I have worked in, especially as system administrator,” Nanda says. “I can vouch for that.”