Assembled, which bills itself as a workforce management platform for customer support teams, today announced it has raised $51 million in a Series B funding round led by New Enterprise Associates with participation of Emergence Capital and Basis Set Ventures. CEO Ryan Wang said the new capital will be invested in product development, including scheduling optimization algorithms and integrations with HR software, and the launch of an initiative, CX Scholars, which will dedicate a percentage of Assembled’s income to the ongoing training of support workers.
The pandemic placed a disproportionate burden on customer support organizations, which faced both increased customer demands and the challenges of working from home. According to a 2021 survey by tech provider Replicant – which has a horse in the race, okay – 71% of people think it’s harder to reach a real person now than when the pandemic started. . There’s probably some truth to that — the average annual turnover rate for contact center agents in the United States is now between 30% and 45%, report The Quality Assurance and Training Connection.
Wang doesn’t cast Assembled as a panacea, but argues that the platform can help ease some of the burden on overworked support workers. Wang co-founded the company in 2018 alongside Brian Sze and his brother, John Wang, whom he worked with at Stripe.
“While at Stripe, [we] observed that the support function quickly turned into a complex, geographically dispersed operation comprising thousands of people,” Ryan Wang told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The big resignation, staffing shortages, stretched expectations and shocking turnover rates have led to the recognition that companies must balance the needs of the business with the needs of their support teams. This has provided tailwinds to our business, as companies pay greater attention to how they employ, organize and provide greater autonomy and flexibility to their agents. The acceleration of digital transformation driven by the pandemic has also benefited us. we are seeing, on the one hand, a rise of new digital-focused brands and, on the other hand, traditional brands integrating e-commerce into their businesses.”
Assembled attempts to forecast and prepare for the influx of customer calls, texts and emails through a range of forecasting and planning techniques. For example, the platform leverages support ticket history and even Reddit activity to anticipate future volumes of customer inquiries (by queue, channel, and location). Simulation models project how things like email backlogs might change over time under different staffing conditions, while optimization algorithms create schedules – adhering to rules like duration shifts, the length of time between shifts and the degree of flexibility at the start of a shift.
Managers using Assembled can create schedules themselves if they wish and let agents request changes to those schedules. They can also view metrics such as response time and service levels, as well as comparisons to historical performance.
On the subject of analytics, it’s worth noting that some contact center platforms have recently been accused of coercive surveillance, such as forcing remote employees to install cameras in their homes to check if they’re staying on task. Assembled says it doesn’t offer such features and allows customers to delete all user data it stores, including basic credentials (names and emails), times, and login data. supporting activity.
With new CX Scholars program, Assembled seeks to encourage “aspiring customer experience leaders” to learn business fundamentals and other skills to advance their careers while benefiting their teams, according to Ryan Wang . Program details, including the selection and award process, remain somewhat unclear at this time; a spokesperson said, “We’re gathering information from our user community to get a better idea of what kinds of education and networking opportunities are most helpful for those working in support.”
Ryan Wang sees Assembled competing with solutions ranging from “legacy” spreadsheets and systems like Teleopti and Calabrio to pure planning tools like WhenIWork and startups like Tymshift and Playvox. Legacy tools, he argues, were “designed for another era,” while most scheduling tools are intended for simpler environments involving smaller groups of people than in customer support.
“The technology used to organize people in [the contact center] the industry is outdated and, more importantly, steeped in hierarchical processes and practices from over 20 years ago. How do you staff a phone line or email inbox that requires a quick response? How do you organize an operation that crosses multiple offices, time zones, or is perhaps fully distributed? The modern support team must answer these questions while providing flexibility and an environment of trust and empowerment for people representing their brands,” said Ryan Wang. “Customer experience is one of the most staff-demanding functions in any given company. In our overall clientele, it generally represents 30% of the workforce (up to 70% in financial services). In a world of understaffing and distributed work, we help companies solve the tricky people logistics issues associated with providing great support.
Assembled has achieved significant milestones over the past few years, including tripling its customer base to more than 180 businesses with brands like Etsy, Stripe, Zoom, TaskRabbit, Asana, and Restaurant Brands International (the parent company of Burger King and Popeye’s) and by forming partnerships. with customer experience providers Five9 and MaestroQA. To stay ahead of the pack, Ryan Wang says Assembled will create new products tailored to trust and security, execution and IT support scenarios and open an office in New York with plans to expand in the region Asia-Pacific and Europe, where over 60% of Assembled’s support agents are based.
“Assembled is 63 people, which has quadrupled over the past year. We plan to roughly double the size of the team by the end of the year,” revealed Ryan Wang. “We are not disclosing company revenue at this time, but it has increased 4x since the last [financing] round.”
To date, San Francisco, Calif.-based Assembled has raised $71 million.
NEA partner Vanessa Larco, who is considering joining Assembled’s board, said when contacted for comment: “With all the resources and effort the companies put into developing and selling of products, maintaining that level of focus on after-sales interactions is critical to customer loyalty and brand reputation, as more than half of customers are willing to switch to a competitor after just one negative interaction. Delivering an exceptional customer experience is an industry-neutral goal that more and more companies are paying attention to… Assembled was born out of direct experience with Stripe’s scaling support teams. Ryan Wang and his team are truly passionate about empowering and optimizing support teams. The team’s combination of experience, technical abilities and passion really attracted received our attention and believe it is the right company to help solve the growing challenges businesses are facing when it comes to customer experience management.