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Building a Customer-Centric Company Culture

Hello, folks. I am Agnes, or Nessie Williams, as you prefer. Over the past 3.5 years, I have been working at Joomag as part of the Customer Care team. Climbing the corporate ladder ever since, I am now a Shift Lead.

When I first joined the team back in 2016, we were called Customer Support. And while we were always supporting our clients at the highest level, to be honest, it was not enough. At some point, to emphasize the new mindset we had and pass it along to our team members, the name of our team was changed to Customer Care. It might sound like a simple name change to some, but when you name something, the word gets might. Little by little, we came to truly appreciate that change because each and every one of us cares deeply about our customers.

I always remind my teammates that only a small percentage of our clients actually reaches out to us. Once they do, we should never take it for granted and do our best to make them not regret contacting us. Why? Because if they reach out to us, it means they do use the service! And that’s the goal of any company, ain’t it?

Now let me walk you through some key points that lay the basis of our mission:

Someone always answers our clients

Here the key word is SOMEONE. We offer live support and our replies are from real people, not trained bots. There’s even a simple trick I use for customers who doubt that I’m real. I’ll send them a message with an obvious typo, then apologize and correct it myself in the next one. Not a very bot thing, huh?

Exceeding the expectations

This idea was planted in my head since my onboarding days. If we can do one extra thing for a client — even if we weren’t asked to — then we should do it. We expect nothing in return, but quite often we receive long, heartfelt thank you messages. And moments like these let us know that we are on the right track. We go the extra mile for them, and they stay that extra year with us.

No canned messages

As part of the previous point, we avoid canned messages like the plague. Weird, right? After all, we’re a business, and we’re used to hearing the same questions over and over again. So why not have a list of canned replies that can be sent to customers instantly? They don't have to wait, and we don't waste our time. Seems like a win-win situation, right? No, it is not. Each and every case we handle is different. It might be the customers’ moods and lexica, for example, or they could be living in different countries. The integrity of these variables dictates how our messages are formed. While the core idea can remain the same, it’s the individual approach that shows we are fully invested and there for the client.

We’re fast, and we know it

There are loads of other companies who offer live chat services. You’ve clicked on those cute little chat bubbles before, right? A support rep pops up, says hi, and asks if you need any help. You reply accordingly, and then the rep says that he or she will get back to you in a second. “Cool,” you think to yourself. But then that second turns into minutes. And then those minutes turn into hours. Ugh.

That doesn’t happen to us. Our clients can rest assured that they’ll hear back from us within the first 3 minutes of asking their questions. This means that their concerns and problems are being addressed from the get-go. But 3 minutes is still way too long for us. And we’re always trying to get better. Our team is currently working hard to cut that time into 10 seconds! It sounds crazy, but who knows? We just might reach it one day. It’s a goal and it’s something we look forward to accomplishing.

We’re pros at multitasking

Recently, our team has been thinking about changing the helpdesk software we use with a competing one. So we contacted the latter’s live chat support team to learn more. The conversation dragged because the support rep we were partnered with couldn’t understand our situation. Under the impression that we were taking up too much of his time and energy, he told us that there were other customers who needed his help. He then abruptly ended the conversation without leaving us an option to continue the chat later. Lovely.

My coworkers don’t have 6 arms connected to a single brain like some corporate octopus hive mind, but they get things done efficiently. Our daily routine includes not only holding conversations (5 of them simultaneously on average), but also investigating and solving technical issues our clients are facing, conducting screen sharing sessions to better visualize complex problems (while having other convos), and finding and presenting ways to help individual customers use our platform. Thousands of B2B clients entrust their businesses to us, and being sure that we are there for them and their clients is an indicator that speaks for itself.

We don’t make clients repeat what they already said

I once ordered a laptop from an online shop that sold basically everything (seriously, everything). With my divine luck though, I of course ran into a problem with delivery. So I did the obvious thing: I contacted the shop's live chat support team. Working in the sphere myself, I made sure to describe my situation in great detail. But that didn't matter. My case was bounced between multiple representatives, from a supervisor back down to a Spanish-only speaker (which was weird because I don't speak it at all), exactly 13 different times. I was asked to repeat my story every single time. And not only was I repeating details which were included in my very first message, I was also filling each rep in on the conversation I just had with the previous one. Needless to say, my frustration levels were higher than the Himalayas themselves. Nothing like this ever happens at Joomag. When someone contacts us with an inquiry, we might already have the solution in the back of our heads. Nonetheless, we carefully check the back conversations they had with all the other representatives, to be sure we didn’t miss any aspect. We also summarize each case and include every snippet of information before passing it along to a teammate or a superior. Our clients know that we won’t waste their time by asking the obvious. There’s an explicit reason for every action we ask them to perform. Throw in our lightning-fast response times and you end up with clients who constantly feel like they are on solid ground with us.

We are the bridge between the customers and the product

One of the indispensable characteristics of a great customer care specialist is empathy. But it’s also important to stay realistic. Our Customer Care team doesn’t create the actual products themselves, of course, but we are the frontline fighters — the bridges — who stand between our clients and their goals. We listen. The ball comes to our court, and we either...

- give them a solution on the spot

- promise to further investigate the issue and follow up accordingly

- promise to pass their wishes/opinions to the product team

Here applies our slogan: "We keep our promise". It’s not enough to just let the product team know about a bug, missing feature, or a desired one. We should find a resolution with persuasion and ask the right questions with a bit of stubbornness. After all, people are counting on us!

And then comes the art of the follow-up

If you complete something just to cross it off your to-do list, you won't be a good fit for our team.

When someone contacts us for help, gets an answer, and says thank you, the case is not over. We always try to ensure that they used the information we provided to reach their goals effectively. This is what we call the follow-up.

In my experience, closing a chat session immediately after a customer thanks you isn’t a great idea. Why? Because you need to show them that you’re always there for them. That’s why it’s super important that we give our clients extra options to contact us in the future. They’ll have more questions for sure, even about the same topic. The harder companies make it for people to reach them, the less customer-oriented those companies tend to be.

Not us. Our customers can reach out to us whenever they want, but we also enjoy following up with them ourselves. We might tell something we might have missed earlier, ask clarifying questions to find better solutions for them, or simply check how they are doing and if they are on the right track toward their goals.

And when customers see a Support team that’s eager to talk, they don’t have any second thoughts about clicking the live chat button and reaching out. And that’s a victory for the company!

This list can go on and on forever. And I might even share some more insights with you in the future. But for today, I’d like to leave you with a quote that’s been stuck on the back of my phone for more than a year now:

"You can't teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them."

- Arte Nathan

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