How I Pendo Adoption

Chatting away the game of “telephone”

Learn how StrongMind used Pendo to launch and improve the functionality of their new Zendesk Chat feature—and deflect hundreds of time-consuming support tickets

Problem

When StrongMind first launched a new chat functionality in their product via Zendesk, they wanted to limit its access to just administrators and teachers. But they soon realized that opening up the tool to their student audience had the potential to dramatically improve efficiency and productivity—for both the StrongMind team and their customers.

Pendo'ing it

StrongMind turned to Pendo to help implement Zendesk Chat. They used a Pendo in-app guide with custom segmentation to ensure the chat module would only appear for a targeted group of users—and only when StrongMind’s success team was online and available to help in real time.

Payoff

Since its launch in November 2020, the guide has received over 50 million views and deflected almost a thousand support tickets from StrongMind’s team. This new chat functionality, powered by Pendo, has helped reduce StrongMind’s median ticket resolution time from 72.4 hours to just 1.4 hours.

Kaly Nasiff

Product owner

StrongMind

StrongMind is an education software and technology company built to enable hybrid, virtual, and remote learning. StrongMind provides curriculum, tools, and insights to help K–12 students and teachers succeed, no matter where learning happens.

Pendo’ing it means getting an accurate view of data and figuring out what you can do next.

The fragmented funnel

Building community is all about fostering connections. In the context of education, those connection points involve a lot of different user groups—from administrators to students. So much of the edtech experience involves managing access levels and workflows to ensure the right content gets served to the right people, at the right time. Pendo makes it easier.

StrongMind started working with Zendesk Chat in 2019. At first, they intended to only make this suite of help tools accessible to teachers and administrators. But they quickly realized that funneling support requests from the other groups StrongMind serves—including parents and students—through already-busy teachers and admins was overcomplicating the process. “If a student or a parent needed help, it would have to funnel through a teacher or admin,” said Kaly Nasiff, product owner at StrongMind. “So when a student had an issue, they had to reach out to their teacher, and then the teacher had funnel it to our customer success team. [It was like] playing telephone to solve a user issue.”

This fragmented workflow ultimately led to a large influx of tickets that needed to be addressed by StrongMind’s customer success team. “We went from a couple hundred tickets a month in 2019 to over 2,500 tickets a month in 2020,” Nasiff explained. “We realized we needed to offer schools with the highest enrollment access to Zendesk Chat—and we wanted to do it really, really quickly.” Nasiff and her team turned to Pendo in-app guides for help.

Hello, is it help you’re looking for?

Nasiff and her team decided to use a custom code block in Pendo to implement Zendesk Chat within their application. They also leveraged Pendo to create a custom segment to ensure the guide would only appear for the users they wanted to grant Zendesk Chat access to: schools with the highest enrollment. 

It was also important for Nasiff and her team to have a permanent version of the guide in their staging environment so they could adjust the configuration of the guide during school hours, while the chat module was available to users. “It’s also really helpful because it allows our developers to see the chat as they’re doing work on the product,” said Nasiff. “It ensures they don’t make any changes that could negatively affect that chat.” 

Another critical aspect of the guide’s functionality was to ensure it only appeared to users when StrongMind customer success agents were online and available to help. “The big thing we added was the option to ‘hide when offline,’” said Nasiff. “That means the guide only [shows up] for our students when we actually have agents online to respond to them.” This customization also proved useful to account for StrongMind’s customer success availability based on region. “We have agents in two different time zones,” Nassif explained. “We had to make sure that [the chat] is only there when users should have access to it. So if they’re contacting an agent on east coast time, for example, once five o’clock hits, that user in Arizona won’t have access to the chat anymore.”

StrongMind | Pendo Product Screenshot

Nassif and her team have seen incredible results so far. Since they implemented it in November 2020, the Pendo guide has received over 50 million views and deflected almost a thousand support tickets that would have otherwise been submitted by teachers and administrators. “The average length of our chats are about 11 minutes,” said Nassif. “And our CSAT (customer satisfaction) score is 87.8. Each of those chats is a ticket, or sometimes multiple tickets, that have been deflected. The data is crazy—it’s been really, really effective for us.”

This Pendo guide has also dramatically reduced the amount of time it takes StrongMind’s customer success and support teams to resolve user challenges. They’re now using their Zendesk Chat functionality to create tickets for users (which accounts for roughly 20% of the tickets they receive), which allows StrongMind’s agents to move through requests more quickly and efficiently. This change has reduced their median ticket resolution time from 72.4 hours to just 1.4 hours.

Besides the incredible numbers, Nassif also acknowledged the positive impact leveraging this Pendo guide has had on the learning experience for StrongMind’s users. “For teachers, as students are moving around in their course or they’re in the middle of a live session, they still have access to the chat. We’ve heard that’s helpful,” said Nassif. It’s also proven to be extremely helpful for students—from login issues to ensuring parents have the right levels of access. “It’s been really, really helpful with [eliminating] that kind of ‘telephone’ effect.”

Pro tips

  • Leverage your staging environment to make adjustments to your application’s chat functionality so you don’t interrupt a user’s ability to get the help they need, when they need it 
  • Use Pendo features like segmentation and scheduling to target and operationalize your efforts, on your terms
  • Search for creative solutions in Pendo user communities and docs—you don’t have to do it alone!