One line of the Spring Venture Group mission statement declares our commitment to delivering world-class customer experiences in every interaction. This is a bold goal and one that we do not take lightly. How does this translate into reality? What is the actual difference between a customer care team performing adequately and one who leads the way in their industry?
We sat down with senior manager of customer care, Josh Holloway, and senior manager of customer retention, Andrew Pickle, to discuss the small shifts in their approach to customer care that can make massive improvements to the end result.
Customer care is all about people. How do you ensure that your team members carry out your departmental mission and represent the business well?
Josh: My team is mostly dealing with inbound calls. This means the person on the other end of the phone has a question or problem they need help solving. Framing this interaction as a human-to-human interaction really helps the team focus on treating people with the respect they deserve.
What do you think is the key to succeeding in customer care?
Andrew: All too often, customer service turns into a game of surface-level numbers. Teams run into trouble when their only goal is to meet a quota of calls throughout the day. This, of course, is vital but cannot stand alone as a metric.
Our most successful people understand the value of truly understanding the customer’s needs, diagnosing the root of the problem, and providing clear expectations and steps forward. They know that the only way to develop a long-term customer is by earning their trust and advocacy by being a valuable resource.
Many times, customer service teams operate from a strict script. What role does scripting play in customer care at SVG?
Josh: Scripts for us act as a way to keep conversations organized. This is to say that they help identify where the customer care agent needs to take the discussion in order to best solve the problem.
For example, an introductory script will help the agent identify if the issue is something that requires them to transfer the client to another part of the business.
Beyond the initial discovery portion of the conversation, our agents (and their individual personalities) take over and the personal connection with the client begins.
What steps is SVG taking to innovate in the world of customer care?
Andrew: We have such a large client base now (over 300,000 nationwide) that our ability to see and understand trends continues to improve. Our innovation, then, happens in two big ways.
First, our leadership is better able to predict personnel needs. We know that certain times of the year lead to increased customer needs, and we can now bring on new team members in advance.
Second, we are able to better align customer care agents and their time throughout the day with those clients who need us the most. While we do receive a good number of inbound calls, we also proactively contact clients based on the lifecycle of their policy. For example, many questions occur around the policy anniversary date. We like to predict this need and offer our assistance before small questions become large problems.