Jodi believes customer service exists not just outside the company, but inside, too. “Having excellent customer service skills and knowledge are paramount to creating strong working relationships, whether you are in an office or out in the field.”
With over 17 years in Marketing Executive roles, Jodi has dedicated her career to assisting companies to grow their brand presence and sales, and most importantly, their customer retention and satisfaction.
We know that the answer is often somewhere in between, but the fun of this section is that you have to pick just one!
Paper < Plastic
Personalization < Privacy
In-Store Shopping > Online Shopping
Transactional > Relational
Mac > PC
Customer Service > Customer Experience
Captain Kirk < Dr. Spock
Talk > Text
Dog < Cat
Movie Theater < In-Home Rental
What was your first job and what did you learn about customer service in it?
My very first job, which almost seems like it was in another life, was as a fashion model. I did it for two years while I was in high school. It was a fast world. As a model you had to be a good listener — people in charge didn’t have time to nurture or babysit, so they wanted professional people who could get to the job on time, know the ‘routine,’ and not ask a lot of questions of the client.
There was a lot of rejection. I had to learn that it wasn’t ‘personal;’ or better yet, it wasn’t really about ME, it was about what the client wanted, or what the agent was looking for.
At first I didn’t think relating this to customer service would be easy, but actually, it totally is! First, the customer experience world is fast. Customers are getting their information faster and faster every day. If we don’t keep up, we will lose their loyalty. Being a good listener is one of the top ten customer service skills, if not the number one skill to have.
And finally, the rejection… Customers get angry and frustrated and take it out on service agents. Learning to be empathetic, to not take it personally, and to have the soft skills to deal with a tough customer, are top skills to have as an agent and makes for great customer service.
Tell us how one outside influence impacted your customer service or customer experience thinking. (For ex. book, movie, sporting event, relationship, travel)
My parents got divorced, and my dad had me for a week leading up to Easter weekend. He wanted to take me to a fancy Easter brunch, but I didn’t have anything to wear. He wasn’t much in to shopping or understanding pre-teen girls’ fashion, but he still took me to Nordstrom.
We were looking at dresses and a female employee asked if she could help. My dad looked at her with relief. She helped me find some dresses and helped me get the right size until I tried on “The One.” My dad just stepped aside.
Then the women took us up the escalator to Shoes and helped me get a pair to match my dress. She asked my dad if I could get some earrings to finish the outfit, and my dad was so impressed that he didn’t flinch. We then went back down the escalator to look at Accessories. She was a god-send! I had a blast, and my dad was so relieved.
The woman’s fantastic customer service will never be forgotten! She set quite a high standard for me and my dad!
In your own personal experience, has customer service gotten better or worse in the past five years?
Can I say that it hasn’t gotten worse but not better either? Which isn’t a positive thing, necessarily. First, times are tough, so less people are doing more work. That makes for a tough day, which can make for a tough attitude and therefore difficult customer interactivity.
Second, training is paramount for successful and consistent customer service, and not everyone follows a formal training path. I believe companies and leaders are recognizing this situation and the Customer-Centric world we live in. So I do believe we are on the right path to customer experience improvement.
> I consider it a bad customer experience when I am placed on hold for more than 4 minutes.
> In five years, the most important social media channel for customer service will be Twitter.
> The best book I read in the last twelve months was Atlas Shrugged.
By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.