For people who need a loan, OppLoans provides a fast, affordable alternative to payday lenders. The Chicago-based firm has earned glowing reviews from its 100,000+ customers as well as an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
OppLoans’ five-person Training team educates and provides information to OppLoans’ Loan Advocates, the friendly and professional customer service representatives that handle loan applications. Advocates generate the bulk of the company’s revenue streams and have helped OppLoans earn a spot on the coveted Inc. 500 list two years in a row.
As a rapidly-growing startup, OppLoans struggled with providing consistent information for their employees. Critical documents were scattered across different platforms, including Google Drive, making resources difficult to access. The lack of a formal knowledge management system meant Loan Advocates weren’t getting the information they needed efficiently, or sometimes at all.
Supervisors attempted to answer questions using a dedicated Slack channel, which not only required significant manual activity, but also failed if a supervisor didn’t know the answer to a question. Further adding to the frustration, Loan Advocates might get a different answer depending on which supervisor they asked.
When Loan Advocates aren’t equipped with the necessary knowledge to process loan applications, it doesn’t just slow down revenue generation. It can also create legal compliance risks if an Advocate processes a loan improperly.
OppLoans wanted to empower Loan Advocates to get their jobs done efficiently and correctly. Temeka Cartwright, the Director of Training at OppLoans, explains, “One of our goals right now is to ramp up Loan Advocates more quickly, to give them the knowledge they need to get acclimated to their work faster, and to make sure they have easy, ongoing access to the information they need.”
“I evaluated many competitors in the knowledge base space, and askSpoke came out as the top performer.”
Amanda Ly, a Senior Associate on the Business Operations team, discovered that askSpoke solved the problems faced by Opploans in two unique ways. Not only did askSpoke include a simple, intuitive knowledge base, but the platform also featured an AI-powered self-service feature that understood natural language. Opploans Advocates could simply askSpoke a question and get the correct answer immediately, even if they didn’t use the exact language in the knowledge base.
Spoke’s easy onboarding process also appealed to the Opploans management team. While other knowledge base platforms required significant upfront fees and technical implementation, askSpoke included free onboarding help without any of the usual technical hurdles. Opploans Advocates could start receiving help right away.
askSpoke also presented an opportunity to bring a huge increase in productivity for the Advocate teams. Amanda calculated the potential ROI of using askSpoke to speed up ticket resolution and was blown away by the results. “Basically, the longer a Loan Advocate has free on the phone, the more loans they can close. By reducing the amount of time they have to wait to get answers from four minutes to just seconds, I projected incremental net benefit for 2018 of over $350K. That’s an ROI of 9160%,” Amanda explains.
Those compelling numbers made it easy to get buy-in for askSpoke from the leadership team at OppLoans. “At every single level, they were 100% on board. They were so excited about askSpoke. Once we showed them the numbers and what it could bring to our company, they said let’s go do it,” Amanda adds.”
“It was the easiest implementation ever. It was so out of the box, it was perfect.”
Spoke’s ease-of-use drove quick adoption across the entire Advocate team. As Mackenzie Saunders, Training Associate, puts it, “when I think of askSpoke, I think of simplicity. It cuts out all the fat of what’s not necessary and doesn’t overcomplicate things. It’s very streamlined and efficient.”
And unlike legacy ticketing systems, askSpoke fit perfectly with the communication habits of Opploans employees. In addition to askSpoke’s own web app, the platform easily integrates with email, SMS, and Slack. “The integration with Slack is huge. That’s our number one means of communication. That literally makes the difference between whether people use it or not,” Mackenzie continues.
Now that askSpoke is giving Loan Advocates quick, easy access to accurate information they need, Temeka has seen how askSpoke helps empower the Opploans customer service reps. “They’re really excited about it because it provides them with information quickly. They’re able to seamlessly complete customer interactions,” she says.
New hires have found askSpoke especially beneficial. With askSpoke, they can easily learn new definitions, specific loan terms, and difficult concepts at exactly the right time. “Because they can send a direct message to askSpoke, they don’t have to feel silly asking a question that they think that they should know the answer to. Now, they’re less likely tell the customer the wrong answer because they’re too afraid to ask,” Temeka adds.
And Advocates can be confident they have the correct answer. The Opploans legal and compliance departments vet every article that goes into the knowledge base, minimizing the risk for compliance violations and finally bringing consistency to the process.
Opploans supervisors have also loved the addition of askSpoke. Since askSpoke’s self-service tool can resolve roughly half of employee requests, supervisors have more time to develop and engage with their teams.
“askSpoke gave us a way to organize information and made it accessible for Loan Advocates when they’re doing their work.”
Not only has askSpoke given Loan Advocates easy access to existing information and resources, it’s also given the Training team clear insights into areas where employees need additional help. “askSpoke is helping us identify where we need to create materials or training sessions. From a training perspective, it helps us understand what needs to be covered and how we can also help to best service our customers,” Temeka shares.
Having found so much success with askSpoke on the Training and Loan Advocate teams, Opploans is now looking to use askSpoke to improve knowledge management for all of their employees. According to Amanda, “All of our HR stuff is already in there. We see so much potential across departments in the company.”
Amanda has been able to put her specific technical knowledge–like how the phone system works, for example–into askSpoke. So if Amanda is out of the office or busy, the Business Operations team can still get their questions answered without delay. “That not only alleviates the burden of one person having to answer all the questions, but also spreads knowledge across the team, which is always a good thing,” Amanda says