Why customer service matters: Q&A with Copyblogger

Q&A with Copyblogger’s Director of Customer Support, Kim Clark

On Feb. 12, 2013, I did the unthinkable: I sent an angry letter to a poor, defenseless customer service team.

Okay, the letter wasn’t that bad, but it certainly wasn’t positive. A month before, I enrolled in what I thought was a free, one-month trial of Copyblogger Media’s Scribe service. I set up my account and began to explore the content marketing software, which is truly wonderful. But at $97 per month, I wasn’t quite ready to invest in the service.

Imagine my surprise when an email appeared in my inbox, confirming payment for my first month with Scribe. I was furious – but not enough to deal with the situation in a timely manner. Instead, I waited a full month to contact Copyblogger’s customer service team, at which point I had already been charged for the second month.

I finally explained the situation and demanded a full refund through a form on the website. Director of Customer Support Kim Clark at Copyblogger responded within a couple of hours. She politely explained the 30-day refund policy, credited my account with a full refund, and thanked me for trying Scribe.

Copyblogger Staff

Image credit: Copyblogger Media

Here’s a photo of the Copyblogger Media team.

My anger dissipated immediately. Great customer service is rare, especially among online providers. I was so impressed that I wanted to learn more about how the company manages to stay agile and focused on developing relationships with its customers.

Here’s what Kim Clark had to say.

1. What is your customer service philosophy?

The Copyblogger customer service mission is to foster loyalty in our customers by developing very helpful and real relationships with them. What does this look like on a day-to-day basis? We provide timely, professional, and positive support and learning opportunities for every one of our customers. In turn, we hope they become raving fans that help spread the word about our products and services.
2. What are the greatest customer service challenges you face as an online service provider?

Because we offer email-only support, one of our challenges is to make sure that customers get their needs met in a timely manner. We’re very fortunate to be a virtual company. This allows our Support department to work flexible hours, which helps the customer by providing around the clock support. We promise our customers that we’ll answer their emails within 24 hours, but our average response time is currently under 5 hours.
3. How is your customer service team structured internally?

Our Customer Service department is broken into two distinct groups: Account Support and Technical Support, but those groups work as one cohesive unit. We cross train our staff so that no single person is entirely responsible for a single product. We also communicate regularly through Skype, email, and Support meetings.
4. How do you use technology to make your organization more agile?

Copyblogger – as a whole – is a very agile company. We rely on email, Skype, and GoToMeeting to keep everyone in the loop with all of our different projects.  We structure every department to be flexible and turn on a dime if necessary. You never know when the next great product or service idea will flow down from our Copyblogger Partner team, so we always need to be ready to shift, change, and go.
5. Tell me about your alert systems. How does information flow between employees?

The Copyblogger Support team uses a help desk email system called Cerb. We have around 20 people working there, with an average of 7 to 10 working simultaneously at any given time throughout the day. Our help desk is the central location through which all product, training, and general questions flow. It also acts as the single point at which all of our support staff can communicate with each other about emails that come in.

6. What advice would you give to online service providers who want to improve their customer relationships?

Always focus on the customer.  You never know where a particular person is coming from in their day. Maybe they’re grumpy or something sad just happened to them. Our philosophy is “Be Nice.” Customers who get great service will talk about you. And word of mouth is some of the most powerful marketing your company can earn.

Madison Andrews
Madison Andrews is a writer, editor, and designer living in Austin, Texas. She is founder and editor of madskillsvocabulary.com.
Madison Andrews
Madison Andrews
Tags: Business,Business Management