Cluey Learning Service Management

Employer: Cluey Learning
Role: Head of Product Design and Customer Relationship Stream Lead

Cluey Learning empowers school going children—and their parents—to make informed decisions about their education by providing learning programs which align with their academic needs. An experienced education team creates, curates and sequences content aligned with state-based syllabuses across Australia. Learning programs are guided by tutors, who pair with students as they progress toward their learning goals.

As a lean start-up, Cluey drove its early growth through synchronous customer service channels, such as phone conversations or email correspondence. Almost every customer query therefore, was addressed by an ever-growing customer care team. The demand on agents, and associated costs, grew with the customer base. The service management initiative sought do tackle this increasing impact on business sustainability.


The reliance on synchronous support was not only expensive, but also federated processes across individual support team members. This created a poor customer experience, and the processes didn't support the scale, leading to inconsistencies, complaints and escalations.

To address this problem, Cluey formed a "Customer Relationships" work stream with the intent to:

  • Increase customer engagement (by way of decreasing session loss).
  • Reduce customer support costs, without negative impacts on engagement.

Identifying core problems

By analysing reporting data, it was understood that the majority of support needs concerned "session scheduling" such as moving all, or some sessions to a different day or time due to household schedule disruption. These scenarios made up around 70% of total costs. Further to this, 66% of all service management was handled by care team members. Without changing customer behaviour and empowering them to leverage the Cluey Customer Hub—where they could manage their own scheduling needs—the volume of customers utilising the existing support channel would grow exponentially as the customer base grew.

While much effort had been made to enable self-management features for customers, the uptake was only 33% due to habits customers formed like replying to emails, or calling and having their requests managed—albeit with some friction—by care team members. By analysing support cases in more detail, however, four key contributing themes emerged:

1) Missing features

In this scenario, the customer visited their Cluey Hub to re-schedule a future session, however, changing sessions beyond the immediate upcoming one was not support and a support case was lodged instead. This resulted in back and forth communication with the customer later to clarify a new time for the session.

Diagram of a customer experience scenario flow

2) Replying to comms

In this scenario, the customer replied to past communications received from Cluey as a means to request schedule changes, once again creating a support case which required manual resolution from the care team.

Diagram of a customer experience scenario flow

3) Do it for me

In this scenario, a customer bypassed all available scheduling features in the Cluey Hub and found a "free-text" contact form to request a schedule change, which raised a support case that needed manual processing.

Diagram of a customer experience scenario flow

4) Policy confusion

We also received insight into why sessions were skipped rather than re-scheduled by utilising an end-of-flow questionnaire in the Cluey Hub. The reasons pointed to confusion about service fee policies, whether or not Cluey was open on public holidays and how many times a session could be re-scheduled.

Customer pain-points

By mapping out real customer experiences, listening to call recordings and reading through email correspondence chains, the various friction customers experienced became clear. These revealed the fallacy that synchronous support offered superior service. We highlighted the following pain-points for customers when interacting with Cluey:

  • Long wait times on the phone
  • Lack of visibility about when and how cases are managed
  • Delayed responses to email based cases
  • Discovering some schedule management features weren't available when trying to do it themselves
  • Finding they were better off skipping a session than trying to re-schedule it, especially if it was late notice
  • Losing session fees due to confusion around policies, and
  • Managing schedule change over the phone when calendars and tutor availability weren't visible to both parties at the same time.

The opportunity

A massive reduction on the "support cost targets" could be made by addressing customer needs in the following ways:

  • Direct inbound comms (sms/email and calls) to appropriate self-managed channels, and
  • Enable future session re-scheduling for all sessions within the Cluey Hub.

Transforming the customer relationship

While support cost targets were a starting point, the broader impact required re-inventing the relationship Cluey had with its customers. The workstream objective articulate this purpose,

"To build and maintain relationships with customers that produce positive learning outcomes"

The broad objective meant consideration was also given to providing clarity around how productive relationships were maintained, evidenced and what they resulted in. Along with this, it was important to acknowledge different relationship dynamics between customer types, for instance, household administrators (eg. a parent who manages the service) and learners (the student who attends learning sessions). Seasonal impacts on those relationships were also considered because education support is not approached universally as "always-on". Therefore, customer activation, learning activity, learning stops and customer re-activation becomes cyclic.

Diagram demonstrating the seasonality of Cluey household relationship considerations A timeline view of how a relationship with a household might evolve during stages of a school year.

Methodology and values

To drive more customer-led service management, Cluey needed to anchor decisions to tasks, rather than channels, and communication needed to be utilised more purposefully and deliberately. The way the service had operated was fundamentally not suited to scale, therefore transformation was required to drive more self-service. The transformation needed was from a channel-orientated approach (where customer inputs could come from anywhere) to a task-orientated approach, directing customer inputs to the appropriate channel.

Diagram demonstrating how task-orientated service management could work An example of how channel redirection would be managed.

To drive this transformation, the following values guided relationship considerations:

  • Tasks over channels: We use customer input to determine the appropriate channel for task fulfilment and guide them accordingly.
  • Commit to long-term relationships: Customers are not always fully committed to a long-term relationships with Cluey from the outset, nonetheless, we are committed to supporting their learning needs regardless
  • Leave no customer behind: As we seek to solve problems which impede us from building productive relationships with ALL customers, by default we consider ALL customer contexts.
  • Breaks are okay: Learning happens in blocks and we expect breaks in student learning journeys, or even the end of Cluey's role in supporting it.


To anchor customer experience decisions with the methodology values, the following principles were created:

  • Show that we know: Demonstrate that we know and care about a customer's circumstance; we start by contextualising conversations around their current state of configuration or progress.
  • No dead ends: Hone-in on precise service configuration changes through guided pathways which offer relevant, mutually exclusive recommendations and options.
  • Stay on message: Provide succinct communication of consistent policies, instructions and definitions throughout experiences.
  • Fair, without favours or favourites: Utilise a single application of policy across all channels and flows. Leave no room for hacks, workarounds, misunderstanding or incentive to run bespoke procedure.
  • Champion learning: Always offer an alternative way to configure the service which maximises learning outcomes.


To ensure the principles were applied in practice, from end-to-end, this framework was utilised for every initiative.

  • Promote: Raise awareness and educate customers on how to best manage their specific needs. Successful promotion requires adequate sign-posting and definition for actions affecting the state of the service. Successful promotion will change default behaviours away from reacting to Cluey reach out or using operationally heavy channels.
  • Direct: Encourage self management of the service by directing customers to the right channels according to their needs. Successful direction requires understanding potential customer needs AND their context so guidance is relevant. Successful direction will change behaviours through guided experiences which offer relevant options through the appropriate channels.
  • Enable: Configure the service through accessible tools and workflows. Successful enablement requires pathways and policies are consistent across channels. Successful enablement will ensure customers can actually make the adjustments they desire, easily.
  • Validate: Reflect service adjustments with clear sign-posting for confirmation of service change and visible follow-through. Successful validation requires the up-to-date reflection of the customer's service status. Successful validation will instil trust in our service management tools and workflows.

Dependancy and distribution

To ensure maximum business value was achieved through the customer workstream initiatives, a relationship foundation was built by addressing core sustainability problem areas, such as session scheduling needs. This is was a dependency because it disrupted the momentum required to achieve higher value outcomes.

Diagram demonstrating how solving fundamental user needs with build foundation for higher value initiatives Building a strong relationship foundation enabled higher value initiatives.

Imagining a new customer experience

Discovery research presented insight into the triggers for customer scheduling interactions such as, "Netball training got moved this week and therefore my child can't make their Cluey session". This understanding was the catalyst for mapping out how pro-active customers might behave from that point.

Forgetful customers were managed through other service flows, such as automated reminders and follow-ups.

Diagram of a customer beginning their interation with Cluey This basic trigger encapsulated a typical starting point, forking off in many directions depending on the customer default channel.

The mapping exercise considered all the ways a household administrator (e.g, a parent) might seek to inform Cluey of their schedule change needs, if not opting to make the change themselves. This map ensured all avenues included the promotion of, direction to, and enablement of the Cluey Hub as necessary to fulfil scheduling related tasks.

End-to-end customer experience through inbound channels with Cluey. The journey map demonstrated how Cluey would direct customers from inbound phone calls, email or text messages as well as direct Cluey Hub access if they sought to amend session schedules, temporarily or permanently.

Promote > Direct to hub

Utilising the Customer Experience Principles throughout, the flows leveraged information about the customer to contextualise phone call menu prompts with relevant options and provided instructions in accordance with customer needs.

By capturing a customer's intent accurately, the appropriate channel was determined for tasks where the Cluey Hub was most suitable and the call ended while further instructions wew provided via email or sms. Only a select few tasks led customers to synchronous support, such as those requiring technical help. This provided customers with better alternatives and reduced on-hold wait times for those in need of synchronous support. Customers seeking technical support were also much more likely to call when they were able to access their computer and troubleshoot issues, rather than while multi-tasking which often extended schedule change interactions because customer weren't able to view their calendar at the same time, for instance, while driving.

Similar rules were placed on incoming emails and text messages, which auto-responded with instructions directing customers to start their journey through Cluey Hub where they could easily manage all aspects of the Cluey service.

Diagram of inbound call flows The phone flow considered call routing based on known information about the incoming caller and then prompted them with applicable menu options.

Direct to feature > Enable > Validate

Once a customer accessed their Cluey Hub account, it was vital that friction points from previous user feedback were addressed. The design moved away from a category menu style information architecture (eg. your enrolments, upcoming sessions, need help) to one which offered situational sign-posts and signals (eg. today's sessions, can't make it, taking a break). The homepage was structured to provide clear starting points to meet customer use-cases, and then clarified specific intent on subsequent screens before finally directing customers to the appropriate content or feature.

Diagram of how the Cluey Hub was designed to support clear starting points, capture customer intent and then flow to appropriate features.

Managing schedules

For the specific scenarios related to managing schedules (for which there are many permutations and variables), the Cluey Hub signalled relative session time options, captured specific intent regarding the nature of the scheduling need (one time, recurring, break or complete stop). Once the nature of the scheduling need was clear, the flow automatically directed the customer to the appropriate feature for their type of enrolment (private or group) and context.

Cluey Learning Customer Hub home screen mockup The home screen signalled schedule change starting points and then captured more specific intent. Cluey Learning Customer Hub re-schedule session flow mockup To promote learning, when "change an upcoming session" was chosen, alternate time options would appear before a "skip" option. If skipping the session was chosen, clear policy implications were displayed.


Delivered from the first quarter of 2023, the initiative had significant sustainability impacts for Cluey on their journey to profitability by allowing support teams to cope with activity during the January-March peak period resulting from YOY growth. For customers, it began to offer much more streamlined service management.

The outcomes

  • Consistent experiences for customers regardless of their entry channel
  • reduction in synchronous support requirements for service changes
  • alternatives to skipping sessions that can't be attended at the regular time
  • more acknowledgement of a customer's unique circumstances, and
  • an experience which can be benchmarked against new ideas and refinements seasonally.

Initial impacts

According to the Cluey 2023 Annual Report, the initiative helped deliver a ~$2.0 million reduction in Cluey Learning’s operating costs compared to previous corresponding period, and that the full impact implemented in FY23 will flow in FY24.