Get your CEO on the phone!


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The CEO’s natural habitat may be their office or a boardroom but, once in a while, every CEO should spend some time handling customer service phone calls. It’s a jungle out there…

Let’s be clear. I’m not suggesting that your CEO should star in the popular CBS reality show Undercover Boss. But spending time on the phone with customers can be a useful and illuminating activity. Those at the top don’t often get an opportunity to interact directly with customers and hear their feedback and challenges.

That’s one of the key messages from a new case study by Zappos.

When a company is truly engaged with its customers—listening, learning and making it a priority for executives to talk with customers—the result tends to be a healthier company and happier customers.

This type of customer-focus and engagement has been talked about in numerous books and articles about Zappos. The aforementioned case study is by J.D. Powers, which designated Zappos as one of this year’s Customer Service Champions.

The study focuses on customer service as a company-wide focus, not just a departmental activity.

A few points of interest from the study:

  • Get execs involved: “J.D. Power finds that among company contact centers that receive high satisfaction scores, the contact center director, vice president of customer service, or the company CEO are frequently on the phone with customers.” (This is a great idea that I recommend to any company.)
  • Be ready to lead: “Members of the contact center leadership team should be well-trained so they will not only have the ability to set a clear vision and communicate that vision to customers, but also will be able to lead any change efforts.” (Great point.)
  • Elements of the experience: J.D. Powers points out that you need to integrate considerations of agent coaching and quality assurance efforts into overall customer experience and satisfaction. Meaning, if you aren’t supporting agents in terms of training or giving them feedback (from QA), then you aren’t supporting the best customer experience and the highest performance from your staff. Employees want feedback, they want to know how they are doing. Feedback is one of the critical elements to employee engagement – which feeds right into the customer experience.
  • Training: Zappos offers self-service training modules that let the staff set their own pace. And they reward employees with raises when they finish 20 skill set training modules. No more waiting for annual reviews, employees take responsibility for their training and for their advancement as a result. You can imagine that supports employee engagement too, again, in turn giving the customers a better experience with higher trained and higher paid agents motivated to be on the job.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kim Proctor
Kim has a passion for improving the customer experience and loves the online space. Having spent most of her career on the web, Kim is a consultant that knows how to grow web traffic, leverage social media and grow deeper customer relationships. She has consulted for a wide range of companies from small business to the Fortune 500. For more info, see


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