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Match.com's Michele Watson Discusses Modern Customer Service

Guest Author

We had the opportunity to sit down with Michele Watson, senior vice president of customer care at online dating leader Match.com, where she and her team aid millions of customers across phone, web, chat, and social network channels. Michele shares her vision for customer experience (CX)—and how the Oracle Service Cloud solutions are helping her realize that vision.

Michele Watson, SVP Customer Care, Match.comQ. How do you define modern customer service and CX?
A. To me, modern customer service means providing members with self-help tools to solve as many of their issues as possible—and outstanding agent-assisted service when they need more help. It also means respecting the needs and preferences of each customer and interacting in a way that is meaningful to them as individuals. In other words, providing great service regardless of channel—including mobile channels.

Q. How is the growth of the mobile channel affecting the way you serve customers?
A. Mobile is huge for us. In fact, 50 percent of our customers access our services through smart phones. Oracle Service Cloud helps us serve these customers and optimize our apps across different platforms, including both Android and iPhone. With the Oracle solution, we can also deliver functions such as dynamic FAQs and agent chat on mobile devices.

Q. How do you balance the cost of serving customers versus what is best for the business?
A. Actually, modern customer service is all about finding that sweet spot where doing the best by your customers is also doing the best for the business. For example, chat is one of our lower-cost channels, but it is also the channel with the highest customer satisfaction.

We have also automated some of our higher-volume transactional services via interactive voice response (IVR) so our members can handle their issue quickly; however, if they prefer live voice support, we have wonderful care agents to assist them.

Q. How are you providing service across generations?
A. Our member base age range is diverse, so we encounter members who need a little extra assistance in navigating some features on our site. And since we know photos are important to successful profiles, we’ve had great success using Oracle RightNow Cobrowse Cloud Service to assist them in finding and uploading photos (a critical key to online dating success). And we’ve seen really great results. The customer satisfaction rates of cobrowse interactions average 98 percent.

At the other end of the spectrum, we are also empowering Millennials to interact with us on the channels they prefer—and in ways they think are cool. For example, they have a strong preference for chat, so we’ve expanded our ability to support chat with Oracle RightNow Chat Cloud Service—including chat via mobile devices.

Q. What are the next steps you’ll take to modernize customer service at Match.com?
A. Right now, we're piloting an exciting project that provides dictation and voice recognition technologies to our agents, which will reduce average call time as well as chat response times. In addition, it gives our agents a brief respite from continuous typing.

We've also had a lot of success with Oracle RightNow’s SmartAssistant that deflects about 38 percent of our e-mails, and we plan to implement a similar approach for chat.

Confusion using IVR systems directly leads to loss of revenue and member frustration, so we're working to provide visual representations to help our members navigate our IVR systems. We hope to make the displays interactive, so members can make selections right from their screens.

Oracle would like to congratulate Michele and her team on their success and thank Michele for sharing her time and vision. Learn more about Oracle Service Cloud.

Join the discussion

Comments ( 8 )
  • guest Sunday, December 15, 2013

    Live voice support? Try finding a number to phone if you have account difficulties. Email response is snail paced slow.

  • michele watson Monday, December 16, 2013

    I'm so sorry you were unable to find the phone number on our website. If you have a paid subscription, the phone number (along with chat support) is shown on the Help page which you can navigate to from our site's home page. If you don't have a paid subscription, email support is offered which has a response time (on average) of 13 hours; however, an automatic response may be sent immediately upon receipt to try to assist you more timely with your concern. I'm very excited to announce that live chat support will be extended early next year to all members, regardless of a paid subscription.

  • guest Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    Michele comments in the article above " It also means respecting the needs and preferences of each customer and interacting in a way that is meaningful to them as individuals."

    I just got off the phone with Match's customer support team in an effort to obtain a refund and the replies were robotic and scripted at best. Neither the agent nor her supervisor looked at the particulars in my case and simply read off company policy.

    As an owner/operator of a help desk company for over 20 years, the type of service provided was definitely not personalized or meaningful, but it was disheartening and uncaring from a customer's point of view.

  • Michele Watson Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    Regarding the quote mentioned, I was referring to the channels we use to interact with our members meeting their needs and preferences. However, we certainly attempt to treat our members as individuals while also understanding we need to adhere to corporate refund policies. I'm happy to take a look at your specific phone call - we record 100% of our calls for quality purposes. Please reach out to me at michele.watson@match.com with your identifying information and I'll see what I can do to assist.

  • guest Tuesday, January 7, 2014

    Match can try to spin the recurring charge for automatic subscription renewal as a "convenience" to the customer, but I'm (literally) not buying it. Not offering the subscriber the option to purchase a 6 or 12 month service ONLY smacks of deception and sleaziness from the buyer's perspective. I was forced to spend half an hour filing a claim for the automatic charge with PayPal and requesting a refund from Match.

    Incidentally, your customer service representative, Richard, was professional, alert and efficient. He also tried to retain me as a customer, persuasively but without being insistent. You in customer service are up against a policy (automatic charges) that reflects poorly on you as a company. I may have continued with Match if not for this.

  • guest Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    I'm surprised that match.com even has a customer service department - my experience with them has been so abysmal that I assumed that no one was home. I've never, ever dealt with a company that wanted to hear from customers less. Good luck trying to get an answer from anyone - you're shoved to FAQ after FAQ and then when you finally think you've cleared the hurdles in front of you and have actually hit "submit", you get what you think is a confirmation but it is really yet another roadblock. You have to tell them AGAIN that you have a question and only then does it send the email. Michele,you should be embarrassed.

  • guest Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    I agree. It's a cynical and greedy exploitation of people's lonliness. Michele won't be embarrassed by this, although she may pretend to be.

  • Michele Watson Wednesday, January 29, 2014

    I'm very sorry you've had a poor experience accessing our Care team - I'm unsure why you had the experience of going from FAQ to FAQ. When you access the Help page, the direct contact channels to access our Care team are listed on the right side of the page. Depending upon your subscription status and the time of day, you may see chat, voice, and email contact options. If you are not a current subscriber, you will see the email option which takes you to a contact form. Once you've entered the context of your issue, we will provide you with an answer that we feel matches your inquiry. This assists approximately 40% of our members with getting a "real-time" answer and eliminating the 13 hour average email response wait time. If the automated answer does not solve your inquiry, you have the option of submitting your email or chatting with a live agent (during available hours).

    Please give this a try and if you experience something different, I would love to hear from you directly to my email - Michele.watson@match.com so I can research your specific experience.

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