How Zendesk helps AMBOSS serve as THE reference tool for medical professionals
Founded in 2012, AMBOSS is an easy-to-navigate digital reference tool for medical students and professionals worldwide. Growth in the user base prompted the company to implement Zendesk to expand its CX support, optimize collaboration, and seamlessly respond to user inquiries across channels. The result: a CSAT score of 90 percent.
"Self-service enables our users to solve their problems on their own whenever possible. At the same time, high-quality self-service has the great side effect that ticket requests are reduced and we can concentrate on the really complex requests in support."
Director of Customer Support - AMBOSS
"Working with Zendesk is just relaxed and fun, because the software is designed with users from the customer support side in mind."
Customer Experience Specialist - AMBOSS
Number of users
Tickets per month
By 2012, Wikipedia had already made its mark as an indispensable and easy-to-use reference material; only in the field of clinical medicine did students and even skilled physicians have to deal with bulky reference books or databases that were difficult to access. Surely there was another way? It was precisely this idea that laid the foundation for AMBOSS , a platform that is now trusted by more than 2 million medical professionals in their professional, academic, and teaching lives in over 180 countries.
AMBOSS initially started as a reference tool and learning companion for students of human medicine on their path to completing the second German Staatsexamen (medical diploma). The digital library and the cross preparation tool for multiple-choice tests provided the foundation for the portal, which has since expanded dramatically in terms of content. Today, the mission statement of AMBOSS is: “To empower all Doctors to provide the best possible care.”
Striving to be the Google for doctors
The objective of AMBOSS is clear. The platform claims to be nothing less than “the Google for doctors.” Being a digital reference tool and learning aid for the demanding medical field, high-quality and reliable content is essential. More than 140 qualified medical editors, organized by specialty, produce this content.
“Our content is written by physicians of various disciplines and therefore also covers the required level of expertise in all aspects of the respective topic,” explains AMBOSS Director of Customer Support Roman Georgi. Highlighting the major advantages of AMBOSS, he says, “The digital solutions available on the market were hard to use. Our great advantage is the linking and specific presentation of knowledge, as well as cross-references to further information. This makes AMBOSS faster and easier to use than any book.”
That concept is appreciated by students and medical professionals in teaching and also by physicians in hospitals and surgeries. When you need information on possible diseases, all you have to do is enter one or more symptoms in the AMBOSS Knowledge app or on the website. Thus, users can confirm a diagnosis or receive information on other possible pathologies that can be checked.
Users love the AMBOSS product
“Users love our product. We get lots of positive messages and thank you letters, which we call ‘love letters.’ The tone of our support is just as friendly,” says AMBOSS Customer Experience Specialist Stephanie Ehret. AMBOSS has more than 100 triggers and macros in place with Zendesk, including routing positive feedback to a Slack channel to motivate the entire AMBOSS team.
A total of 21 people handle customer support at AMBOSS, spread across three offices in Berlin, Cologne, and New York. AMBOSS has long been positioned as an international entity. The English-language curriculum offers the best possible preparation for the U.S. examinations (USMLE). However, the learning content is also used in studies in many other countries. In addition, the platform is increasingly establishing itself as an easy-to-navigate reference tool for medical professionals worldwide.
“Unlike other companies, there are fewer typical support requests at AMBOSS. This limits the automation possibilities via bot,” Georgi says in explaining one of the challenges that customer support has to tackle. Although the AMBOSS support staff are also familiar with inquiries about user accounts, billing, or individual problems with log-ins, such inquiries represent only a tiny part of the 7,000 to 8,000 tickets that Customer Support handles each month. “We also receive inquiries about problems related to academic matters and the respective learning situation. This is when our psychological competence is most needed,” Georgi muses.
It is crucial for the support team to find the right tone when addressing the respective user groups. After all, it is not only students who rely on the platform, but also trained (specialist) physicians in hospitals or with their own surgeries and professors at universities. By now, virtually all German universities have an AMBOSS campus license in use for their students. “Obviously, those of us in Customer Support have to strike the right tone when interacting with people. Students expect a different kind of communication than staff in the administration department of a college or university. Our automated content also reflects that,” Georgi explains.
Help center is always open, but personal contact is available
The Customer Support Team’s experience is that students like to help each other. Therefore, the number of incoming service requests is relatively modest in relation to the number of active users.
Nevertheless, the Zendesk-based help center offers great value to all users, particularly those who prefer to help themselves. “Personal contact with the users is just as important to us. Our users can access the help center, but they do not have to. Self-service enables our users to solve their problems on their own whenever possible. At the same time, high-quality self-service has the great side effect that ticket requests are reduced and we can concentrate on the really complex requests in support,” Georgi explains. The help center is featured in a prominent position, with 40 percent of inbound inquiries originating from this channel.
AMBOSS offers a whole range of support channels to its users, including Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit. Without any major announcements, support was also launched via WhatsApp, which immediately met with a great response. The dynamically programmed Zendesk widget also allows live communication channels to be selected, but only if users can receive direct feedback. For example, the “Live Chat” option is only displayed if an agent is actually available to answer. The same rule applies to the callback function of Zendesk. This reduces frustration among those seeking help. It is important to AMBOSS that a wide variety of channels are available so that users can choose the channel that suits them best.
Not only support, but also a tool for editors
AMBOSS has integrated Zendesk deep within its system. Users can also provide feedback on an article or request further support via Zendesk from any article. The routing works in the background to ensure that the message reaches Customer Support or is forwarded to the medical editorial department, depending on the reason selected. In this way, editors receive direct feedback and suggestions for further content. As a result, AMBOSS has a far more comprehensive picture of its communication with users, as both support requests via all channels and all feedback from AMBOSS come together directly in one place.
“Of course, our Medical Team works in a different way than Customer Support. This is not about providing a quick solution to a request. Instead, the editors focus on creating new articles or revising the available content in their area of expertise. Employees can then use a filter to view all tickets and suggestions from users on the particular article or topic they are currently working on. This helps a lot,” Ehret explains.
Designed from the Service Team’s perspective
Ehret was also part of the team that guided the migration to Zendesk in 2019. And she doesn’t like to remember the times prior to that. “The user base and the company itself grew enormously at that time. And a larger user base inevitably results in more requests. However, we could no longer meet the growing demand with the software we had been using. It was folder-based and as a team we had to agree on who would handle which requests. That was cumbersome and we knew something had to happen to be able to grow further,” she explains of the change.
Migration to Zendesk was completed within six months, while the platform continued to operate. Georgi, who already knew Zendesk from other employers, praises the software’s focus on support. In his experience, many companies have become more focused on the topic of customer support. Today, many use integrated CRM platforms that offer an enormous number of functions, but do not focus on customer support functionalities.
With Zendesk, AMBOSS has been able to expand its support, optimize collaboration within the team, and improve overall quality. The confusing and difficult-to-use FAQ page has given way to the help center. Zendesk is the foundation for seamlessly responding to all concerns across channels. And the system is so closely integrated with AMBOSS that it all seems to come from the same mold.
“Working with Zendesk is just relaxed and fun, because the software is designed with users from the customer support side in mind,” adds Ehret. And this obviously also applies to AMBOSS itself, as the company wants to continue to grow and expand, while maintaining its impressive customer satisfaction rate of around 90 percent.