The Development of my customer Support Staff

I like the book”Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos. It’s mainly about the culture of customer service which Zappos became famous for.

Among those throwaway anecdotes from the book had a major effect on me. It has been a few years since I have read it. Thus I might have a few details wrong.

But here’s the anecdote. Tony Hsieh is obsessed with customer support. (I’m obsessed with strength.) In the publication, Hsieh explains that one night he had been out late at Las Vegas with a friend. Hsieh explained to his friend about how exemplary Zappos’s service was.

I really like the book”Delivering Happiness”…

The friend wasn’t having it. So Hsieh tells the friend to call Zappos’s customer support staff and ask them to purchase him a pizza, delivered to his hotel room, at no cost. Hsieh bets his friend he’ll find a free pizza from Zappos. The friend did not believe him.

However he made the call, and soon enough, he and Hsieh enjoyed a pizza.

It’s a terrific story.

No free pizzas

I adore FringeSport’s customers. They deserve the very best customer support.

However, I don’t believe we should order free pizzas for them. I do believe our customer support representatives should help our shoppers enhance their own lives through strength. That is our”why” — the provider’s full reason for existing.

What this signifies is that our customer support people certainly help clients with shipping snafus along with the occasional guarantee claims.

However they also help with clients’ strength journey. Do clients need direction in how to train? We can help. Want a recommendation ? We will be there. Want to purchase a barbell? We’ll help with that also.

But using a dedicated customer care team did not happen overnight.

When Fringe began, all workers, including me, worked in customer service. When the telephone rang, most of us jumped to answer it.

We did not even have private email addresses until amazingly late in our business life. All of us just worked from the shared staff at Gmail inbox.

Eventually, we needed to concentrate, and we hired dedicated client support reps.

And as we grew, we needed to choose where in the organizational chart to place them.

Which department?

We originally placed the customer service representatives in earnings. They answered all of the emails and talked on the telephone with the clients and prospects. So we chose to align them with earnings.

This functioned for a short time. But then we realized that the skills of a successful salesperson and a successful customer-service individual were distinct.

We then moved customer support to the operations division. We were growing the organization. We had these interactions with clients to scale, also.

After a couple of years, the wear and tear started to show here, also. Our operations staff wants procedure, process, and predictability. And clients need empathy. We began to lose that compassion in favor of principles.

After a couple of years, the wear and tear started to show…

We switched the customer support team to the advertising department. After all, our customer-service reps were speaking with clients daily. They could easily report interactions and feedback directly to marketing employees.

This worked. But earnings from our customer support reps went down. And when we were short-handed, we’d have sales reps leap into chat to assist clients. And our sales reps frequently closed deals in conversation, while our customer service reps don’t, at least not as often.

So we’re iterating again.

Getting it right

We’ve kept customer support coverage through advertising, but we rolled their earnings through our sales department. That department has a revenue quota for our customer service representatives, and our sales division coaches our customer service section on selling.

I have talked with my entrepreneur friends about how to use customer support personnel. There are lots of diverse alternatives.

A favorite technique is to employ customer service employees from the Philippines. We have tried this. While there are lots of benefits, I don’t believe we’d ever shift the whole department there.

Another alternative is to outsource customer service to a business — at the U.S. or abroad.

Again, this option wouldn’t work for us, not the whole team. How do we really help our clients if our reps aren’t true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Fringers?

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A last solution is hiring distant personnel from the U.S. that operate from home.

I really like this idea.

A priority for us is to help individuals build amazing garage doors. So if our customer support team worked out of their homes — their gyms — it would be amazing. But we are not there yet.

I like customer service. Someday I may write a book on the process. Once we perfect it.

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