I had two internal meetings today that reinforced with me how important it is to keep customer service simple.
The first one was with a long-time employee, a brilliant product person and people manager. We talked about a lot of things, but one thing she mentioned really struck me. She said that our current employee performance evaluation has so many facets and details that it has gotten away from what really matters – client satisfaction, client retention and campaign optimizations that make an impact. She suggested that we move to just those three competencies, and I loved the simplicity of her recommendation.
The second meeting was with an employee who recently moved into a new job. He told me that the new role was refreshing because he was able to really focus on helping clients and solving their problems from start to finish, rather than worrying about completing a specific number of tickets each day. While I loved his new perspective, it made me think that on his previous team, they were more worried about targets and productivity than actually helping clients. They were caught up in the complexity of our productivity formula versus thinking about client problems.
If you are running a service team or function, it can be easy to get obsessed with the metrics, productivity, targets and quality of client communication. It makes sense – that’s part of your job. But it’s also great to be reminded that service is simple, and sometimes getting back to the basics of just helping a client is incredibly refreshing and reinvigorating.
This is being reprinted in a few places, so I wanted to post it here too. Like I did in 2015, I started the year with a message to my team about continuing to improve our service levels.
In 2015, we talked a lot about service excellence and what it means for Indeed. We defined it as “making the most of every client interaction,” and shared stories of how we saw one another exhibit service excellence in our work and day-to-day lives.
In 2016, service excellence is our new baseline and expectation. To further differentiate Indeed from our competition and to deliver truly memorable client experiences, we need to keep getting better and finding new ways to wow our clients. We need service greatness.
When I think about service greatness, very clear things come to mind that I see you all doing regularly. To me, service greatness is:
- Personalizing the client experience
- Going above and beyond what the client expects
- Turning negative experiences into positive ones
It’s easy to reply to an e-mail or take a call from a client and not necessarily do these things. It’s harder – and thus great – to push ourselves to ask one more question, to take one more step or to investigate one more thing to make sure we are providing the best service possible.
In 2015, we took our service to another level, and I believe that we can do it again! Thanks for everything you do to deliver quality every single day, and please let me know if you ever hit a barrier when trying to deliver great service to a client – I’m here to help.
Thanks and happy 2016,
I started drinking coffee a couple of years ago. I’ve always loved and admired the Starbucks brand, so I started visiting a location near my office here and there, and then more regularly as my coffee addiction grew.
As I became a more regular customer, the Starbucks employees started recognizing me and began to know my drink order. Eventually, I didn’t have to order at all – the staff would see me walk in and start making my drink before I even reached the register.
One day, a barista made my drink incorrectly. When I mentioned it, another employee who I know well said, “That’s Jason, you know!? People are acting crazy around here today!” She then remade my drink herself.
While this one incident wasn’t a dramatic event – more of a little service victory – it reinforced for me that customer service is at its best when it’s personal. That employee recognizing me and taking responsibility for another employee’s mistake made a big impact.
What I took away from this experience:
- The best service is personal. This clearly is harder in businesses with high client volume and transactional customers like retail, but it can be done. Knowing even little things about your clients will improve your service level.
- The best service professionals cover for their teammates. I see this every day in my own team – top performers help the client in front of them, even if it’s not their mistake, their assigned account or their responsibility.
- Little experiences can have a big impact. Sometimes we underestimate what a small positive experience, personalization or win can mean for a customer. These do add up – service is branding.
Fred Wilson recently posted a piece called Be Nice or Leave. When I read it, I was getting ready to present to a room of Indeed’s biggest clients. But I was so inspired that I quickly wrote a note to my team. When I read it again today, I wanted to share it.
I have been away from you for a while, presenting to clients down here in Austin, and spending way too much time on planes. This morning (US time), I read this blog post and smiled:
We are nice in Client Services at Indeed. Nice to our salespeople who demand a lot, nice to our clients who need so much from us, and nice to one another. I see this again and again in your client and peer feedback. Every new hire class tells me how nice everyone is, and how welcomed they feel at Indeed. And it made me think that being nice is a big reason for our success.
It also made me think that anyone can provide service, but service + nice is a sweet spot where we excel. And it’s a big reason I prefer being with you all to being on a plane.
Thanks for being nice and have a great weekend,
I recently saw (and captured) this Starbucks ad in Time magazine. I really like how the “barista promise” – a consumer brand promise – is one of service. It so easily extends to the Starbucks employer brand. It says, not only will you get great service if you buy coffee at Starbucks, but we’re also a great place to work if you’re inspired by providing that kind of service. You can either experience the apron or wear it – the ad works both ways.
I thought a great way to start my new blog would be to share a piece I wrote to my team recently. I hope you enjoy it.
We all have service experiences every day. At the convenience store, the bank, restaurants, online shopping, almost every commerce experience has some element of service. When I have a positive service experience, I always stop to think about how it made me feel and why it was such a good experience. I encourage you to do the same. And they don’t have to all be dramatic events – sometimes it’s the smallest things that make a big impact.
A recent example I had was at a local audio-video store where I bought some new equipment for the Stamford office. I am not an AV guru, so I asked for help and Arturo talked to me about the different types of microphones and audio interfaces I could use. It was a good experience and I noted that his patience and willingness to take time to speak with a non-expert made me feel good. A few days after the purchase, I was surprised by an e-mail from Arturo:
“This is Arturo from Guitar Center just checking in to see how you’re enjoying your Scarlett 18i8. If you have any questions feel free to message me back. Have a great day.”
Simple, right? I love surprise as a part of service. When clients have a positive experience that they don’t expect, it makes it much more memorable. A question for you – how can we include surprise more at Indeed?
A company I am watching closely in the service space is Amazon. Often, Amazon is considered a low-service or no-service business because they make it so easy to buy things online. But I love the standards that Amazon is setting for service – some examples:
- I once downloaded the wrong song via the Amazon MP3 store. I wrote in to let them know, and they immediately provided me with a credit. No questions, no “proof” required. Needless to say, I was delighted by this experience and will never forget it.
- It’s been reported that Amazon’s Mayday support product, which allows a service rep to help Kindle Fire users by appearing on-screen, was delivering 9-second response times. This was right after it launched and during the holidays. I am always blown away by how Amazon scales its products, even in service.
- This story on 60 Minutes got a lot of attention because of the delivery drones that Jeff Bezos revealed, and the stir it caused in the FAA in the US. But what I took away from the story is that Bezos is obsessed with the client experience. I admire that obsession.
I really enjoy thinking about my own service experiences and why they were so impactful. Give it a try yourself. Too often, I feel like people dwell on negative service experiences. While they can teach us a lot about how to get better, I would much rather be inspired by the good ones.
Thanks as always,