“Supporting our customers to ensure that they are successful and satisfied
is our top priority at Ellie Mae,” says Matt Kade, Sr. Manager, Tech Support
Service Management at Ellie Mae. “By investing in HDI certification training,
we’ve empowered our technical support team with the skills and confidence to
provide best-in-class customer support. And we don’t plan on slowing down any
Ellie Mae is a software company that processes almost a quarter of U.S.
mortgage applications. With an unwavering commitment to automate
the residential mortgage process, Ellie Mae ensures lenders achieve what
matters most in a hyper-competitive industry that demands compliance,
quality, and efficiency.
Pretty serious mission statement, and as you might have guessed, achieving their
lofty business goals is contingent on their running an exceptional support center.
With offices across the country and thousands of customers seeking their services
and technical support—it’s up to the Ellie Mae support organization to keep things
running smoothly, all day every day. A herculean task, but the 147 dedicated people
that make up the support organization are up to it.
Not Your Typical Support Organization
Working in the mortgage automation industry has its nuances when it comes
to technical support. Where most support centers focus on usability vs. an
incident—quickly resolving customer issues, that’s only part of the equation
at Ellie Mae. Within the mortgage industry are many compliance rules and
regulations, and often, extremely high stakes. The efficiency and reliability of their
technical support can have serious implications where even minor oversights and
inconsistencies can result in loans deemed unsellable, government fines, and big
time ramifications on their bottom line.
Align and Conquer
From the very beginning, the collective goals of Ellie Mae’s support team could be
summed up in three words: Best in class. Early on, they often didn’t document their
processes, and those that they did were out of date. But they knew that in order to
become “enterprise class” they needed consistency. They needed to drive metrics.
They needed to put a governance in place that would keep things up-to-date, and
they needed the technology and training to make it happen.
So as part of the Ellie Mae technical support organization’s efforts toward
continuous improvement, operational excellence, and staff development, the team
recently invested in several role-based training efforts through a comprehensive
HDI-led curriculum. For each role, HDI provided training, tools, and techniques to
make the individual, team, and customer successful.
Today, each of their ninety tier 1 employees have earned HDI certification through
HDI Support Center Analyst. This unwavering display of passion and commitment
has resulted in Ellie Mae receiving the HDI Team Certified Pinnacle of Excellence
Award—an honor acknowledging 100% staff certification.
Knowledge is Power
A little over two years ago, the Ellie Mae tech support team made a commitment
to Knowledge-Centered Support. Why? Because it was clear they were hoarding
knowledge. Nothing malicious, but the way in which individuals captured and
stored knowledge was a bit… tribal. This caught the attention of the vice president,
who quickly saw the need for the proper technology, methodology, and training—
to make knowledge management a priority throughout the organization.
It began with the leadership team. They became trained and certified in KCS
Principles. The rest of the support team soon followed with KCS Foundations
certification. Then they were ready to put the best practices and new skills to
work. They modified their knowledge base, enhanced their process documents,
and essentially created an organization-wide campaign around KCS. Posters and
other marketing materials stressed the importance of knowledge management
throughout the company. Training videos based on HDI’s KCS courses were
created so those unfamiliar with the process could quickly get up to speed. They
were all in on KCS. And before long, they were making significant, measurable
Linking, validation, and demand rates all skyrocketed. So did customer satisfaction.
Staffed and Ready For Continual Improvement
So how did they do it? How will they continue to do it? To quickly and effectively
train and certify their staff, create a seamless onboarding process, and ensure the
entire tech support team is up to speed on industry standards and best practices,
Ellie Mae invested in HDI’s Certified Instructor program.
They currently have two HDI certified instructors on staff who administer training
and certification courses at their facility. Knowing they wanted to achieve and
maintain 100% certification for their support staff, the HDI Certified Instructor
program was a no-brainer. It provides Ellie Mae with a scalable, flexible, and costeffective
way to achieve their goals.
They couldn’t track customer searches before KCS, but since implementation, these numbers speak for themselves.
ALL OF 2016
90,309 – Searches
59,954 – Views
FIRST 3 MONTHS OF 2017
90,029 - Searches
61,080 – Views
A clear indication Ellie Mae’s customers are gaining confidence and seeing the value in the knowledge they’re sharing.
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
What’s next for the Ellie Mae tech support team?
As you’ve read, all tier 1 analysts and technicians are certified. Now for tier 2. In
2017, Ellie Mae will put an emphasis on training and certifying all managers and
directors (currently about half have earned HDI certification). They’ll also be
shining a spotlight on problem management, vowing to become certified in this
critical support process in 2017 as well.
Ellie Mae has made an investment in their technical support team. An investment
that has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication, but one that’s
paid dividends. SF Business Times Bay Area recently named them among the
“Best Places to Work.” And for the past four years, they’ve been on the Deloitte
Fast 500 list.