Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service Excellence’

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Customer Service Success Stories

Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes it is our fault, and sometimes it is, dare I say it, something the client did wrong. We are all human, and as long as humans have any part in controlling anything, there will always be human error.

The good news, however, is that we are always on alert when things go wrong. We have lots of tools at our disposal for mitigating problems, including creative ways to inject automation into the process, using our talented staff to take a second look at data processing, and simplifying processes. Above all, we are here to get our customers up and running, no matter what the origin of the problem.

Want some examples of how we execute where there is a problem? Let’s look at a couple of recent challenges we have worked on, and their outcomes.

The case of runaway transactions

What are runway transactions? These are transactions that get run up on a key for an unexpected reason. There are a couple of main causes for these situations.

First and most commonly, runaway transactions happen because of testing. This is usually okay, as most testing happens during the evaluation phase of onboarding with our services because there are strict limits placed on free trial keys. Often, however, organizations change their processes and those changes involve a new testing phase.

So from this perspective, it really depends on what is being tested. If they are testing a change to something in the process that doesn’t directly involve using a Service Objects’ license key, then a developer or tester can potentially forget that there is a license key involved at all. Then, without the consideration of the key, they go ahead and do some stress testing on their process and unwittingly run up a lot of transactions.

Another reason for runaway transactions is because of seasonal surges or some sort of promotional event. Imagine if you are having a promotion that brings in thousands or even millions of extra users to your site, where the call to action is to sign up for your latest and greatest product. Now your license key has run out of available transactions, and the form the users are using is no longer validating the data input from the visitors. As a result, dirty data is being added to your system.

You can sleep worry-free because we are always watching out for you in situations like these. First, through monitoring transaction fluctuations versus your historical usage and, second, through alerts we get when you exceed daily transaction limits and thresholds we set. Any of these alerts trigger our team to reach out and act to mitigate the potential problem. Or sometimes a client’s developer will quickly realize they just executed a process that was going to burn through a huge amount of transactions and will shoot us a desperate email to help them avoid an outage – in which case we spring into action very quickly.

How quickly? Here is what happened recently…we received a customer support email at 5:30 pm indicating that a client was going to run out of transactions because they were experiencing some unexpected volume. By 5:36 pm we already had a representative on a call with their organization working out a solution, and even though we couldn’t work out a completely new transaction agreement in the moment, we gave the client what they needed until we could work out the details. Including a couple more minutes to set up the temporary transaction increase, this was about an eight-minute duration from request for help to a solution.

You read that right, eight minutes – and better yet, this was during a part of the day when most of us were already out of the office. So, what happens when we are all out of the office? What happens at night? Those are great questions, and the next situation will help paint a picture of what we do.

The case of the canceled key

A good example of how we react to after-hours requests is a situation that happened in December of 2018. A client emailed us that they were no longer able to make transactions against their key at 8:20 pm. By 8:50 pm, 30 minutes later, we were already on it. And had this the request come in through our after-hours phone support channel, we would have been on it within minutes.

The person who started looking into the problem here at Service Objects was a developer, so he did not have access to all the data needed to diagnose the issue, but he did realize that the key expired and that this was a long-time client. He decided that the best solution would be to extend the expiration of the key for a couple of days, giving everybody time to track down why the key had expired. Soon after, at 9:05 pm, the problem was solved. The client was happy because they kept running. It turns out that management at the company with the issue did not inform their developers that the key would be turned off, since they decided to replace the service with another upgraded service from Service Objects.

This case was a good example of how fast we respond – a response time that is even faster through our phone channel. Moreover, it shows how we make choices on the side of our clients. We were not going to let a client, be they long-term or short-term, sit around until the next day wondering what is going on while we were troubleshooting it. In this case, we gave away several transactions that we didn’t have – because it was in the best interest of our client, which if you think about it, is really also the best for all of us.

‘Everything goes smoothly for us always,’ said no one ever. Like I said at the beginning, we are all humans and we will make human errors. But responsive service is in our DNA: here is another post that goes into more detail about our service standards. It’s how we handle our errors and, dare I say it again, your errors, that helps define us as a company ready to give you the best customer service.

Black Friday Neon Sign

Exceptional Customer Service Knows No Holiday

The four-day Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season, with Black Friday sales bolstering bottom lines and consumer spirits. Retailers, online and off, are expected to see another year of record-breaking holiday sales.

Live support when our customers need it most

Thanksgiving has been a source of controversy in the retail industry in recent years, with more companies opening their doors for blockbuster sales on Thanksgiving Day itself – and some companies vowing to stay closed through the holiday.

Our stance? When our customers are open, we’re open. During the busiest and most mission-critical times of the selling season, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s crucial that the businesses that support retail transactions are available if questions arise.

Our commitment to customer service excellence

Supporting our customers through the busiest time of the year is just one way that Service Objects is committed to customer service excellence. Our customers benefit from our sub-second response rates, 99.999% server uptime and dedicated 24/7/365 technical support. The entire Service Objects team takes pride in our customers’ success.

Record sales, record transactions

Loeb, Visa, and eMarketer predict retail sales will continue to grow, with holiday sales rising between 3.5-4.8% in 2018.

According to Geoff Grow, Chief Executive Officer at Service Objects, industry trends and forecasts predict that Service Objects will exceed transactions processed over the 2017 holiday, making Black Friday a prime day for a record number of transactions. He says, “Our services will continue to ensure that merchants can validate, clean and enhance their customer contact data in real time, backed by the support of our industry-leading technical team and extensive data sources.”

Services for busy retailers

While 2018’s projected growth presents an exciting opportunity for retailers, it is not without risk: with record sales come record opportunities for data entry mistakes and fraudulent orders.

Service Objects offers 24 different contact data APIs that validate a person’s name, global address, phone and email address against hundreds of authoritative data sources. Our tools can also append missing contact information or provide location intelligence about your contacts. We even have a service that provides sales and use tax rates based on a contact’s location. No matter what data quality challenge your business is facing, we have a solution that meets your needs.

If you have a question about how our data validation services can help your business, reach out to our team. If you’re a current customer with a support question, you can open a support ticket here.

Customer Service Week: More Than a Week to Us

This week, October 1-5, was Customer Service Week: a nationally-recognized event first proclaimed by the US Congress in 1992. It was designed to recognize the work of customer service professionals in the United States – over 2.5 million nowadays, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – and educate people about the importance of customer service in business.

This is always one week where you hear a lot of people talking about customer service. Let’s be honest, if you were to ask any business leader whether customer service was important to them, they would all reply “of course.” But to us, good service is a little like a good athletic performance: it isn’t just an attitude you can summon on command, but rather the end product of having the right culture and practices every day.

As part of our Customer Service Week, our own team made a list of traits that define our approach to customer service, using the letters of S-E-R-V-I-C-E O-B-J-E-C-T-S as a guide:

This is actually a pretty good summary of who we are. Let’s look at how these terms break down in terms of our approach to our customers:

Data Ninjas

This was our favorite. We’re good at what we do, and we take lots of pride in our expertise. We aren’t the only company in this space, but we’ve provided enterprise-level data quality solutions for over 15 years – and everywhere from our development team to our 24/7/365 technical support, people have a healthy “ninja” mentality about being experts and continually learning.

Customer, Friendly, Exceptional

Let’s face it, customer service tends to have this smiling-person-with-headset stereotype. But if you’ve worked with us, you’ve probably noticed: we really are pretty friendly, with customers and each other. Whether it is our knowledgeable, low-pressure approach to sales, our technical professionals, or even (in all immodesty) our marketing team, you can tell that we like each other – and like working with you, too. This starts with being a cool place to work, and also springs from supporting people to do the right thing with our customers.

Accurate, Precise, Exact

Every great company has a fanaticism about something. With us – being in the data quality business – it is accurate results. People depend on us to provide accurate leads, contact data, tax rates, and a host of other real-time, mission critical information. So much like the bakery that goes the extra mile to make the perfect croissant, getting it right every time is our particular fanaticism.

Innovative, Creative, Advanced, Insightful

This industry doesn’t stand still, and we have a lot of fun leading the curve with new tools and capabilities. This year alone, for example, we have rolled out everything from API and service enhancements to our bundled Address Insight capabilities, as well as educational white papers and articles ranging from GDPR compliance to email marketing.

Effective, Authoritative, Global

This is the part of our service reputation we eventually grew into. When our CEO Geoff Grow first started this company in 2001, to correct contact addresses and reduce the waste stream of direct mail, few people envisioned Service Objects as the global company we are now. Today we serve over 2500 customers – including major firms like Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon and American Express – and proudly wear the mantle of an industry leader.

These are some of the reasons that every week is Customer Service Week for us, and why we have built so many long-term partnerships with customers. Last but not least, let us know what we can do to serve you too!