“Passion is the energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey
Because 99% of our team are college interns, the Flume Customer Support team must balance their school load along with supporting customers. College students have such a passion for life and what their future will look like. This passion drives their energy, which translates into how we interact with our customers every day. This team WOWs and delights our customers with their ‘can do’ attitude and willingness to go above and beyond.
Our team predominantly works with early adopters who are curious and intrigued with a new “gadget.” We need to be able to match that level of curiosity and be an innovative thinker to solve problems and provide solutions. The interns bring this to the table everyday. They have a fresh perspective on solutions based on the work they are doing in their classes. In general, more often than not, they just want to change the world for the better. Assisting customers allows them to change lives on a small scale everyday by helping customers monitor and save water. This could be as basic as answering questions on meter compatibility, or something more complex such as setting a custom leak rule.
Continuing on with a passion to change the world, the team is also very empathic towards the unique needs of our customers and our not-so early adopter consumers. One of the questions during the interview process is, “What is your definition of empathy?” It may seem like a silly question, however you can get a good gauge from someone who grasps empathy versus someone who is just trying to sound good in an interview. There are other situational questions in the interview process that pull out how a potential intern will interact with customers. Secretly, we also know that if they can show empathy to our customers, that they will have empathy towards other team members, too.
There are amazing customer support representatives out there across different industries and many who have been doing this role for years. They are genuinely unique individuals whose life purpose is to help others in any capacity they can. However, too many times support representatives become calloused by the company culture they are surrounded by. If they are always being told “the policy is the policy” or “so what if they have called 12 times, we need to follow the process,” or if they get treated as a number or a child being watched over, then their behavior towards customers begins to mirror that. It can be difficult to retrain culture, so using interns who may have only had a few part time jobs allows you to help mold the culture representative of your company.
Company culture and empathy start with leadership. It is nearly impossible to expect a healthy, happy, and positive culture to come from a strict, toxic leadership team. The best way to foster a healthy environment is to encourage a culture of zero egos. We work hard and enjoy life. This can be directly seen in how the interns are scheduled. School absolutely comes first and is by far the most important priority. Shifts range from 2 – 6 hours and are always scheduled around classes. Time is allotted for getting to class, getting out of class, and even getting some food before your shift starts. Some of the team participates on the interfraternity council for Greek life and we schedule around that, as well. It is a win-win situation – they have time to dedicate to school and thus feel less stressed and ready to help customers. Yes, it takes extra effort for scheduling but is offset by the amazing team environment and experience we provide our customers.
Recently we launched a Shift Lead program for the intern team to apply for. It has been a great opportunity to help members of the team develop their problem-solving and leadership skills, but most importantly prepare them for life outside of Flume. Some may stay and others will move on to careers in their field. Regardless, each and every one of them will take a positive working culture and professionalism with them. It is bittersweet when a team member graduates and moves on, as we hate to lose them and the knowledge they have learned, yet we are incredibly thrilled they can now go on to impact others. Basically, they are launching off the foundation we have helped them build to go conquer and change the world.
The energy and passion the interns possess is contagious internally and externally. Our customers love it and this goes to show by our 95% customer satisfaction rating and NPS score of 68. Internally, the full time team members love working with them and are interested in hearing their thoughts and ideas for improvements, and it doesn’t stop there. The interns love working here so much they are now referring friends when we have openings. The biggest form of flattery is recommendation, and wanting friends to be a part of something incredible says a lot. We are a community of passionate, energetic people who want to change the world and positively impact our customers in that process. And because of that we will continue to be flexible, and support our team however they may need. We all work a little harder knowing our interns will show up everyday putting their best foot forward for the customers!