Among those throwaway anecdotes in the book had a significant effect on me. It’s been a few years since I’ve read it. So I might have a few details wrong.
But here’s the anecdote. Tony Hsieh is obsessed with customer service. (I am obsessed with strength.) From the book, Hsieh explains that one night he’d been out late in Las Vegas with a friend. Hsieh explained to his friend about how exemplary Zappos’s service was.
I really enjoy the book”Delivering Happiness”…
The friend was not having it. So Hsieh tells the friend to call Zappos’s customer service team and ask them to buy him a pizza, delivered to his hotel room, free of cost. Hsieh bets his friend he will discover a free pizza from Zappos. The friend didn’t believe him.
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However he made the call, and soon enough, he and Hsieh enjoyed a pizza.
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It is a terrific story.
No free pizzas
I love FringeSport’s customers. They deserve the best customer support.
But, I don’t think we ought to order free pizzas for them. I do think our customer service representatives should help our shoppers improve their own lives through strength. That’s our”why” — the supplier’s complete reason for existing.
What this signifies is that our client service people surely help customers with shipping snafus along with the occasional warranty claims.
However they also help with clients’ strength travel. Do customers need leadership in how to train? We can help. Want a recommendation ? We’ll be there. Want to obtain a barbell? We are going to help with that too.
But employing a dedicated customer support team didn’t happen overnight.
When Fringe started, all employees, including me, worked in customer service. When the telephone rang, most people jumped to answer it.
We didn’t even have personal email addresses until amazingly overdue in our business life. We all worked from the shared staff at fringesport.com Gmail inbox.
Eventually, we had to focus, and we hired dedicated customer support.
And as we grew, we had to select where in the organizational chart to set them.
We placed the customer support agents in earnings. They answered all the emails and spoke on the phone with the customers and prospects. So we opted to align them with earnings.
This functioned for a brief time. But then we realized that the skills of a successful salesperson and a prosperous customer-service individual were different.
We then moved customer service to the operations department. We had been growing the organization. We had these interactions with customers to scale, too.
After a few years, the wear and tear started to show here, too. Our operations staff wants process, procedure, and predictability. And customers need empathy. We started to lose that empathy in favor of fundamentals.
After a few years, the wear and tear started to show…
We switched the customer care staff to the advertising section. After all, our customer-service reps were talking with customers daily. They could easily report feedback and interactions directly to advertising employees.
This worked. But earnings from our customer service reps went down. And when we were short-handed, we would have sales reps jump into discussion to aid clients. And our sales reps frequently closed deals in conversation, while our customer service reps do not, at least not too frequently.
So we are iterating again.
Getting it right
We have kept customer support coverage through advertisements, but we rolled their earnings through our sales department. That department has a sales quota for our customer support agents, and our sales department coaches our customer support section on selling.
I’ve spoke with my entrepreneur friends about how to use customer service staff. There are plenty of diverse alternatives.
A favourite technique is to hire customer service personnel from the Philippines. We’ve tried this. While there are plenty of benefits, I do not think we would ever shift the entire department there.
Another option is to outsource customer service to a company — in the U.S. or overseas.
Again, this option would not work for us, not the entire team. How do we help our customers if our reps are not true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Fringers?
A previous solution is hiring distant employees from the U.S. that run from home.
I love this idea.
A priority for us is to help folks build amazing garage doors. So if our customer care team worked from their houses — their gyms it would be amazing. But we aren’t there yet.
I enjoy customer service. Someday I may write a book on the procedure. Once we perfect it.