STELLA CONNECT raises $11MM to engage and empower customer service teams
StellaService is today announcing an $11MM round of funding for Stella Connect, its people success platform for customer service teams. In 2016, Stella Connect launched as a SaaS solution for clients like Jet.com who needed a more modern approach for motivating its contact center agents and empowering its managers. With its growth and success to-date, Stella Connect is now becoming StellaService’s core product as the company sells its mystery shopping software to Chicago-based PowerReviews. The $11MM round was oversubscribed, and includes new investors Harbert Growth Partners and Zendesk.
“Stella Connect has always outperformed our expectations, so we can now exclusively focus on scaling the service as companies across all industries seek new approaches to motivating, managing, and improving the performance of their customer service agents,” said StellaService co-founder and CEO Jordy Leiser. “With clients like Mercedes-Benz, Quicken Loans, and Warby Parker, Stella Connect is already redefining how contact centers work, driving more efficient, more engaged, and ultimately happier and higher retention workforces.”
While contact centers are notorious for high attrition rates and scaling inefficiencies, Stella Connect addresses these issues by focusing on people, not just process. Through real-time customer feedback, recognition, and rewards, Stella Connect allows customer service teams to identify areas for improvement, enabling on-the-spot microcoaching and driving friendly competition through features like leaderboards. With the loss of each contact center agent costing a brand up to $15,000 as well as the high costs of scaling a contact center, Stella Connect can have a dramatic bottom-line impact by keeping agents happier and helping contact centers grow with fewer resources.
“High turnover not only drives up operational costs, it erodes the customer experience,” said Kelley Zaske, VP of Client Relations at Quicken Loans. “When we brought in Stella Connect, the light bulb went off for everyone. The software gives us real-time visibility into team member performance and allows us to deliver on-the-spot coaching. Team members feel like they are now understood. This translates into higher levels of engagement, improved service, and a reduction in turnover. We can’t live without the Stella Connect platform.”
Today, Stella Connect drives people success for hundreds of brands across industries including retail, financial services, travel, healthcare, and automotive. Clients range from fast-growing tech companies like Brooklinen and Earnin to established businesses like Sam's Club and Williams-Sonoma. For ease of use, Stella Connect integrates with all major CRM platforms such as Zendesk. Stella Connect produces millions of customer feedback data points on agent level performance each month, typically with a 30-50 percent response rate when asking for agent-specific feedback.
“There’s no question that the workforce in the U.S. is changing,” said Tom Roberts of Harbert Growth Partners. “Millennials and Gen Z need transparency, collaboration, and empowerment to be professionally fulfilled, and traditional methods of improving employee performance, particularly in contact centers, are outdated and ineffective. Stella Connect provides a modern approach to people success and the results really speak for themselves.”
"Zendesk always strives to continue innovating in customer experience, and the exciting thing is that we're not the only software provider trying out new ways of approaching old problems," said Ben Barclay, vice president, corporate development and technology alliances, Zendesk. "Stella Connect is a fantastic example of a company that shares our mission to help businesses build better relationships with their customers, and we are thrilled to be deepening our partnership with them."