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Podcast 1 min read

Dispatch from the frontlines of critical customer service—with the International Rescue Committee’s Andre Heller

For World Refugee Day, we sat down with the IRC's Andre Heller to learn how his team uses Zendesk to scale their global response efforts.

Por Maggie Mazzetti, Staff Writer

Última actualización el June 25, 2024

Rarely is customer service a matter of life or death, but that’s not the case for those responding to urgent questions coming in to the International Rescue Committee’s Signpost project.

From connecting refugees with life-saving information to responding to survivors of domestic violence, Andre Heller and his team understand the critical need for a quick and accurate response.

“Our goal is empowerment through information, which is very similar to a customer service experience,” said Andre Heller, Director of the Signpost project. “It’s just that the stakes are totally different.”

Signpost launched its first project in 2015, when tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from the violence in Syria ended up in Greece. Using Zendesk, the team managed two-way communications across social media platforms to answer questions and help refugees navigate challenging processes.

“To meet them at scale would have required thousands of personnel” said Heller. “We were able to do that same work with a very small team…in the end [we were able to reach] 70 percent of the refugee population in Greece.”

It’s a hugely impressive feat, given the size of the team and the sheer urgency and magnitude of the problems faced. And it’s one loaded with lessons for other customer service teams.

Tune in to hear how Heller’s team boosted their efficiency “immediately and overnight,” what tips he has for CX leaders, and how AI fits into his plans for the future.

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