Raleigh-based ArenaCX Turning Customer Support Into A Profitable “Game”

The ArenaCX team gathers for a picture. From left: Bo Boyd, Alan Pendleton, Lokesh Singhal, Sarah Krawiec, Doc Shufelt and Amanda Quinn.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games may have been postponed for now, but competition is just starting to heat up in the Triangle. ArenaCX is using gamification to innovate the way customer support is handled at companies.

The goal of the new product out of Raleigh-based Republic Wireless is to bring down costs for companies, while providing better customer-support results.

It all starts with using machine learning to triage customer-support tickets, which is typically a job done by human agents. The machine scrubs the tickets and uses natural language processing to categorize them. This is the first step that saves companies time and money.

Next, ArenaCX (the “CX” stands for “customer experience”) has taken the usual structure of having separate teams of agents designated to one specific problem, and transformed it into a marketplace. That means that teams or individual agents—whether internal or external—compete against one another to see who can handle certain tickets the best. The software scores their performance based on criteria set by the company.

Then, the team that does the best with a certain type of ticket will receive more tickets of that category the following week. The best team will continue to receive a bigger and bigger piece of the pie until they stop outperforming the other teams in that category. This leads to teams playing to their strengths. ArenaCX has also built in queue-monitoring to prevent tickets from piling up.

“We’re really excited about what we’ve built,” said Amanda Quinn, Republic Wireless’ Director of Finance and Marketing and a member of the core ArenaCX team. “There’s no one out there doing this.”

The concept was developed and tested out at Republic Wireless, and in total it brought the support cost down by a third, while customer satisfaction rose.

In the current climate, with Covid-19 spreading across the globe, many companies are facing frozen budgets. For a new offering like ArenaCX, that presents a challenge.

“Companies right now hear the word ‘software’ and think incremental costs,” Quinn said. “What we want them to know is we are a cost-saving measure.”

ArenaCX also helps small companies by allowing them to outsource their customer service. Typically, you need to have a high number of agents or demand for outside centers to consider taking you on. ArenaCX plans to aggregate smaller company volumes into teams and funnel them to their partners, so that the smaller companies can still outsource while bypassing volume requirements.

Quinn, who has a background in corporate finance, left Wall Street for the Triangle and helped with the finance side of Republic Wireless spinning out from Bandwidth, which was completed in 2016. After the transition, she stayed on in a marketing role.

ArenaCX was developed out of a need that Republic Wireless had to get additional operating leverage from its support team. Although the company already had industry-leading support costs, they occasionally suffered the pains of ticket volatility—sometimes requiring the whole company to ‘swarm’ to answer support tickets, and other times leaving agents with less than a full workload.

Wanting to better match their supply with their demand, the Republic Wireless team built a solution that gave them improved control over their outcomes. They hope to apply what they have built to other companies via the ArenaCX platform. In time, ArenaCX hopes that it will find traction with a broad customer base.

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About Laura Brummett 27 Articles
Laura covers tech and startup news for GrepBeat. She is a business journalism major at UNC-Chapel Hill, minoring in studio art and history. Reach her by email at laura@grepbeat.com or find her on Twitter @laura_brummett.