At Lithium, we’re definitely #seriousaboutsocial. We don’t just advise our customers on best practices, we constantly evaluate our own business and make adjustments regularly. In a lot of ways, Lithium is exactly like our own customers. We’re B2B, B2C, B2E, B2B2C…at the end of each of these “business to” acronyms is a common thread: a person. When it comes to customer service, we are maniacally focused on Lithium value #1, “take customer success personally.” If our customers are successful, we’re successful.
At the front lines is Ron Uslaner, Director of Customer Support and his team. He says, “Where customer retention is concerned, there is no substitute for meaningful personal relationship. The key element of those relationships is trust. Trust is established by demonstrating reliability and genuine concern.”
We sat down with Ron and asked about some of the ways that his team is working with customers while staying #seriousaboutsocial:
(Lithium): Ron, last year, you saw Lithium’s NPS score rise to a remarkable 89% - what do you attribute that to?
(Ron): We attribute this to our genuine interest and deep relationships with our customers along with our passion for providing world class support. We have a review team that reads thru every transactional survey we receive. We use this as an opportunity to reach out to our customers and let them know we care. If they have new ideas they are affirmed – if they have complaints they are taken seriously and they see corrective action.
(Lithium) What is the most important thing you’re trying to communicate to customers?
(Ron): We want to demonstrate reliability. We all intuitively understand what that means. For example, during my recent commute the announcer on the train gave us all a chuckle: “FYI the refrigerator in our food car is malfunctioning today and we have a limited menu. Please lower your expectations before entering the car!” Using humor he effectively set our expectations and headed off potential customer frustration. When you make a commitment to a customer you set an expectation. One broken commitment means that you can break another one at any time. Trust is gone.
(Lithium) Where does social fit in to Lithium’s support processes?
(Ron): We want customers to trust that we’re there for them, no matter what channel they enter through. We think a lot about automation vs. authenticity because as a business, we have to focus on programs that scale but also make people feel like they’re getting the personal attention. It isn’t only about responding to everyone, wherever they are, but it is also about getting customers what they need, when they need it, as fast as possible. Some customer needs require a phone call and a few rounds of emails to get to resolution. But, the reality is that most of the requests we see have already been asked and answered in the Lithosphere or by an interaction we had with another customer. Now, instead of only answering questions and moving on to the next, we add all relevant information to our tribal knowledge base, easily accessible to anyone who needs the information online.
(Lithium) Looking ahead to 2013, what are some of the things your team is focused on to stay #seriousaboutsocial?
(Ron): We have implemented Lithium Social Web, the technology from our recent Social Dynamx acquisition. This is really exciting – instead of waiting for customers to find us in our “traditional channels,” we’re proactively reaching out to the needs they express in social. That gives us the ability to provide the right information where they are, as well as inside our own community. The first person gets an authentic, timely interaction and then we go on record with the right solution for others to find. This is social service at scale and we can’t wait to bring it to our customers.
Denise Jack is Lithium's Director of Customer Programs and is primarily responsible for showcasing Lithium customers’ success in social customer experience. She has more than 12 years of experience in customer marketing, technical sales and management consulting. Denise is a regular blogger for Lithium and in the Lithosphere you'll see her as DeniseJ. You can follow her on Twitter at @lithiumtech or @denisejack.