Agent Motivation

Earnin & Stella Connect: Improving Customer Experience; Driving Agent Engagement


Earnin is a disruptive fintech company backed by leading VC funds including Andreessen Horowitz, Matrix Partners and Ribbit Capital. The company has developed an innovative mobile app that enables people to access their pay as they earn it, rather than on a rigid, two-week pay cycle. Customer experience is crucial when dealing with personal finances.

As a company focused on building a financial system that works for people, Earnin recognizes that it is crucial to build a close emotional connection with customers. The company sees its contact center agents as a central part of this process, which is why it continually invests in the team through coaching and financial incentives, as well as offering best-in-class technology platforms.

“At Earnin, we view customer service as an integral function that builds our brand, deepens customer connections, and acts as the tip of the spear for gathering feedback that we can use to enhance and develop our product. Companies that see it as a cost center are misguided.”
Ramon Icasiano
Vice President of Customer Experience at Earnin



Building the Tech Stack

Earnin recognized that choosing the right software for managing customer relationships was a must, which is why the company turned to Zendesk. Through Zendesk, Earnin ensures that its outsourced contact center team is highly responsive to all customer inquiries and deals with them efficiently and accurately.

Earnin realized that while Zendesk provided the best solution for improving customer experience, there was also need for a tool to improve agents’ experience and build morale in the contact center.

Enter Stella Connect.

Stella Connect works by capturing real-time, agent-level feedback from customers after every service interaction. Customers can rate agents, leave comments about their experience, suggest rewards for a job well done or make recommendations for areas of improvement after subpar interactions. Feedback is shared directly with agents, team leaders and company executives via streams, dashboards and performance leaderboards.

Stella Connect is tightly integrated with Zendesk. Through the integration, feedback requests are sent to customers automatically after Earnin agents close tickets, and interaction tags from Zendesk are automatically displayed alongside customer feedback to provide deeper context into agent feedback.

The Stella Connect and Zendesk Integration


“We required software that would improve both our customer and agent experience. It was also vital that we had a platform that was tightly integrated with Zendesk, so Stella Connect was the perfect solution for our specific needs.”


Leveraging Stella Connect to Build a Happier, Higher Performing Service Team

Earnin leverages Stella Connect to deliver value across its contact center in a number of key ways:

Humanizing the Customer Experience

Customer feedback requests include a photo and bio of the agent, which helps Earnin humanize its service experience and deliver against its mission to build deeper connections with customers.

Motivating Agents

Customer feedback collected through Stella Connect flows into real-time streams which Earnin agents have open in front of them throughout their day. The high volumes of feedback helps keep agents motivated and engaged, while performance leaderboards build a culture of friendly competition across the contact center.

Driving Agent Incentive Programs

Customer-directed rewards, which are part of Stella Connect feedback requests, are used to power a financial incentive program developed by the Earnin team. Reward votes from customers are turned into cash incentives, which are given to Earnin agents each week. These financial incentives help ensure agents are bringing their A-Game during every customer interaction.

Driving More Effective Coaching

Earnin’s team leaders have access to real-time feedback streams as well as dashboards for each agent they manage. Streams help team leaders to deliver highly valuable, in-the-moment micro coaching, while dashboards power more effective 1:1 meetings.

Encouraging Peer to Peer Knowledge Sharing

As well as team leader led coaching, Earnin uses Stella Connect to spotlight top performers in specific areas. These top performers are paired with agents who are struggling to help drive knowledge sharing. This combination of team leader and peer-powered coaching provides Earnin a more holistic model for driving continuous performance improvements.

Powering Product Innovation and Service Recovery

Earnin’s operations team continually monitors customer feedback to spotlight service issues in real-time. All negative feedback is reviewed to understand whether it was caused by product issues, tech issues, or agent issues. This view helps drive product innovation and highlights interactions where customers need to be contacted to make things right.

Driving Earned Media

As a last step in the Stella Connect feedback request, customers are invited to share their positive experiences. Earnin began by driving shares across Twitter and Facebook. More recently, the company has used this feature to encourage customers to leave a review on Google. With 45% click through rates on this last step in the feedback request, Earnin has seen its star rating on Google more than double.

“Before Stella Connect we were capturing basic customer satisfaction data and productivity data, however this data wasn’t actionable by team leaders or our operations team, and agents didn’t feel like their performance was being recognized. Stella Connect has been a game changer for us. The product has made our agents happier and more engaged and has empowered our team leaders and operations team like never before.”

What’s Next?

Earnin is committed to maximizing the combined power of Zendesk and Stella Connect. At the heart of this is better leveraging interaction tags within the two platforms to provide deeper, more actionable context into the customer feedback collected. By optimizing the tags being used, Earnin will be able to further enhance the coaching delivered by team leaders and will enable the operations team to more effectively leverage customer feedback to drive service recovery and product innovation.

The company is also focused on taking the incentive program powered by Stella Connect to the next level. As well as the weekly financial incentives currently in place, Earnin has also launched the ’Golden Ticket’, a new incentive program that will see the top-performing agent identified through Stella Connect win a weeklong visit to the company’s Palo Alto headquarters. This trip is designed to not only motivate agents, but also ensure best practices are shared from the company’s headquarters back to its contact center team.


How Stella Connect & Zendesk work together