Customer service is just a day in, day out ongoing, never ending, unremitting, persevering, compassionate, type of activity. ~ Leon Gorman
B-Stock’s Customer Service (CS) department is the backbone of our company and one we’re happy to spotlight. After all, it’s the CS team that speaks directly with sellers and buyers all the time: answering questions, quelling disputes, and letting people know that they are there to listen and to help as best they can.
Our CS department is currently made up of a frontline team and a dispute team, both lead by Collin Christensen, B-Stock’s Customer Service Manager. Collin’s primary focus is overseeing the dispute team, made up of five specialized agents who handle claims received from the private marketplaces. The dispute team focuses on mediation: advocating for the buyer while also being mindful of the client/seller’s needs and policies. In order to find solutions that are fair and equitable to both parties, the team must utilize outside-the-box thinking, this includes proposing alternative solutions if they believe the buyer’s concern has not been fully heard.
The dispute team’s work, partnered with the observations from the frontline team, provides CS keen insights on what causes pain points in a buyer’s life cycle. When these points are identified, they collaborate with the account manager team and their clients to implement a better buyer experience.
And that brings us to the frontline team. Working with Collin is Sonja Nitschke, B-Stock’s Customer Service Supervisor; Sonja runs a skilled team of frontline customer service agents who handle the inbound phone, chat, and email requests; and they also process registration tickets so buyers can start bidding.
Sonja describes her 12-person team as bridge builders or better yet, a filter: the team’s goal is to address and solve disputes or inquiries so there isn’t a need to escalate to Collin’s team. This requires her team to have functional knowledge of various B-Stock teams and departments so it can better assist the customer. Says Sonja: “Many times what might initially look like a dispute is something that could be solved with a simple status update.” Sonja encourages her team to ask the customer questions to get to the heart of the issue: Are you asking for an update? Are you upset? Do you need to vent? Sonja’s goal is to make sure the customer is heard in hopes the team can de-escalate the situation.
The primary goal for the customer service teams is to make people feel validated and heard. Collin and Sonja feel like they’ve done a great job when customers trust CS to handle their requests. “If there’s a call where there’s no update available, I at least want people walking away feeling validated and heard,” says Sonja. She always stresses to her agents, “Focus on being friendly. Focus on being empathetic. If the person is really upset, we actively listen to them before looking for a resolution.”
Collin and Sonja encourage and trust their agents to be problem solvers, this includes proactively reaching out to other B-Stock teams to help address customer inquiries or problems. This, they say differentiates their teams from other call center environments — where people punch in, do the job, and then leave. Instead, these guys are really empowered to make a difference and to think outside the box; that helps with employee satisfaction, retention, and overall enjoyment in the workplace. And all of that translates to a better experience for the customer.