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Wave Financial saw 5x return on investment after only 12 months using Ada

Wave Financial offers a suite of products and services for small business owners including accounting, invoicing, payments, and payroll. They aim to provide best-in-class assistance to their customers should they encounter an issue or need advice.

A flexible ACX solution to handle seasonal brand interaction spikes

Wave considers CX to be a crucial part of their business, and has a team of 60+ associates—over half of their staff—focused on serving customers directly through support channels.

During the first quarter of the calendar year, Wave’s Customer Experience team ramps up for a mega spike in customer support volumes—upwards of 200-300%. Leading the charge is the Senior Director of Customer Experience Dennis Woo and Manager of Customer Experience Insights Katie Larson.

In the company’s early days, the two prepared for the cyclical nature of SMB finance by pulling in employees from different departments to assist and agents working overtime (and given lieu time in return). It was “all hands on deck” and unfortunately, an unsustainable approach for the growing company.

As Wave grows and matures, so too does their culture and their approach to CX. Responding to seasonal spikes—with agents struggling to respond to inquiries in a timely manner—became more difficult and the demand for higher standards for both the customer and employee experience became more urgent. Dennis and Katie needed a solution that could reduce wait times, negative customer interactions, and missed revenue opportunities.

They had a couple options. Dennis and Katie could hire more support staff to handle the mounting volumes during the busy season, forcing them to invest more in hiring and training and finding a flexible solution for when support volumes curtail after the first quarter. Or, they could find a more efficient, automated approach to their CX that provides customers with immediate and reliable access and resolution, with an escalation path for the more complex, high-value inquiries.

Wave needed a flexible solution to handle customer inquiry spikes during certain, more volatile times of year, but that also delivered meaningful ROI, given the seasonal nature of the business.

They decided on an automation-first approach, and Ada’s proven Automated CX (ACX®) framework and no-code features checked every box. Given Wave’s growth trajectory and unique needs, Ada was the perfect platform for ongoing success.

In our busy period, we’d have an extremely difficult time adjusting to volume and maintaining a reasonable service-level agreement (SLA). The benefit of Ada is that we are able to have an agent on 24/7 for our most common questions, freeing up our humans to engage with the customers we care about the most. Without Ada, we’d need to make tough decisions about taking longer to get back to certain customers.”
Dennis Woo
Senior Director of Customer Experience

Setup during the critical season

Katie and her team partnered with Ada’s ACX Consultants to start implementing Wave’s chatbot at the start of their busy season—in January, 2020. There was some apprehension in kick-starting a project at the height of the first quarter, but she was not alone.

Wave’s Customer experience team was already in full swing handling an influx of interactions, so Ada’s ACX Consultants stepped up to help, working collaboratively with Katie and her team to build out the bot’s foundation and automate the first essential flows.

Wave’s bot, Mave, launched in only three and a half weeks. The team was able to take advantage of the bot during their busy season and realize its value right away—the bot was able to contain on average 70% of the interactions during their busy season right after launch.

Along with the hands-on work, Ada’s ACX Consultants advised Katie’s team on CX and automation best practices and showed them how to make the most of their new platform. This partnership empowered the Wave team to become the brains behind making Mave’s tone and voice consistent with Wave’s brand and develop specific use cases that ladder up to the overall CX strategy—leveraging Ada’s capabilities and Wave’s investment in conversational AI to strategically improve the Customer Experience team and techstack.

“Ada's Professional Services Consultants that have been assigned to our account have been essential to helping us get the most out of Ada. With their guidance, our team has been empowered to go beyond simply creating content."
Katie Larson
Manager, Customer Experience Insights

Results that speak for themselves

Wave and Ada launched Mave during the busiest quarter of the year, and immediately saw reduced year-over-year support ticket creation—65% within the first month.

Mave works 24/7, answering redundant FAQs such as basic information about products and features. As a result, the conversations that are left for Wave’s agents are more complex and need a sophisticated human touch. Since the agents have been freed from mundane tasks, they could now invest their time helping customers with complicated inquiries or pressing concerns, and building valuable relationships with them through positive brand interactions.

We estimate that Wave has saved $1.20 million in inquiry deflections alone between March 2020 and March 2021—which is a 5x return on investment for Wave.

Personalized support

Wave offers 3 account tiers: free, pay-per-use, and monthly. Each tier offers access to certain products and features, and customers in different tiers are entitled to different types of support. In order to create an effortless experience for their customers, Katie and her team are using Ada to intelligently route different customers, based on their account tier and region, to different levels of support and different teams.

This way, Wave’s customers don’t need to know their tier or their support entitlement, and Wave’s agents don’t have to check those manually either. The bot takes care of the logic and simply sends customers to the right team and the right channel.

Not only does this provide personalized CX from the start, it also ensures that Wave can be confident that each customer has the appropriate access to their brand, and that the experience meets their brand standards regardless of the customer tier.

Growing Mave beyond support

Now that the immediate needs of the support team have been met, Dennis and Katie are looking at other aspects of their CX where they can apply Ada’s automation magic. They’ve created a new team within their Customer Experience department focused on building out new use cases and answer flows for Mave to continually make it smarter, more interactive, and more engaging.

Dennis and Katie are also working on leveraging the chatbot beyond just support. Their sights are set on proactive marketing, contextual assistance, and sales automation.

For example, Wave offers the ability to sign up for professional bookkeeping and accounting services. The marketing team plans to leverage Engage, Ada's marketing suite, to drive more leads, save time for agents, and increase conversion—even capture sales without having to involve sales reps.

They’re also looking to embed Ada into specific workflows and screens in their applications such that they are able to provide proactive, contextual assistance to predict what help customers may need in the moment. Using Ada, the different teams across Wave including sales, marketing, and support can drive customer behaviour, helping them onboard or take other sticky actions that increase customer lifetime value.

Ada has now become an extension of Wave’s CX operations, acting as an interaction layer between the brand and its customers. As Wave’s CX ambitions grow, Dennis, Katie, and other Customer Experience team members will be able to take better advantage of Ada’s capabilities to find new interaction channels and new opportunities to engage with customers and prospects.

“The reason why we love partnering with Ada is that from a collaborative perspective we work very well together. We share similar values and our working styles are very complementary. Also from a strategic standpoint with the growing number of customers we are fortunate to serve, Ada gives us a unique opportunity to shape and influence the products and features they are investing in to drive the most value for us.”
Dennis Woo
Senior Director of Customer Experience

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