Defining and Delivering Next-Level Customer Care™: My Personal Journey

Sometimes I simply cannot believe that 30 wonderful years have already passed since my first day at InfoCision. Since 1985 I’ve been right here, honing my skills, satisfying my hunger to learn more and working with industry experts who, along the way, have successfully helped me define and deliver what I call “Next Level Customer Care™.”

One of my dearest industry mentors and comrades, Nadji Tehrani, founder of Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC), has been by my side throughout much of my journey. Together we collaborated and challenged one another to become more strategic in our dedication to deliver the highest quality of Customer Care™.

The result of our years of communication and brainstorming sessions led us to co-author our new book, titled “Taking Your Customer Care™ to the Next Level,” which I am deeply proud to present to my peers in the world of Customer Care™. View a clip of my excitement when the new books arrived by clicking here.

Taking Your Customer Care to the Next Level

“Taking Your Customer Care™ to the Next Level” is a compilation of industry insights and strategies, as well as memories of our own personal experiences. You can hear about my personal favorite Customer Care™ experience during my interview with TMC CEO Rich Tehrani by clicking here.

But despite the memorable Customer Care™ experiences I’ve had, the original idea for this book arose during a conversation Nadji and I had about the shocking prevalence of subpar service efforts displayed by many of today’s businesses, both large and small.

Each chapter, therefore, aims to instruct companies on how to improve their Customer Care™ strategies to retain more loyal customers, increase ROI and stimulate positive outcomes inside and outside of the workplace. We crafted this book because, despite all of the emerging technology at our fingertips—like customer relationship management (CRM)—and industry trends such as “customer experience,” many companies, to their detriment, just aren’t delivering top-quality Customer Care™.

If there is one objective I want readers to take away from “Taking Your Customer Care™ to the Next Level,” it’s that customer care means just that: caring. With every page turned, readers will gain an understanding of the importance of demonstrating empathy and understanding during each and every customer interaction, whether they are over the phone or by way of a digital or social channel.

Throughout our Customer Care™ journey, we’ve created a winning formula that we are pleased to share with our audience. As you’ll come to discover while perusing the book, it includes hiring the right employees, providing high-quality professional development, and putting more focus on retaining loyal customers than continually shelling out dollars trying to keep acquiring new ones.

In fact, I was recently interviewed by Customer magazine and got the chance to explain my point of view on the matter:

A company may do well financially in the short term without excellent customer service; however, when you consider the impact loyal customers and repeat business have on corporate financial success, those who make investments in Next Level Customer Care™ will benefit from greater ROI in the long term.

Each and every piece of advice I contributed in my chapters ties back to the lessons I’ve learned and the experiences I’ve had throughout my career at InfoCision. And I have to say, the incredibly talented individuals who I work alongside and the amazing clients we work with have impacted my life immensely. I wouldn’t have been able to compile this book without the people I’ve met or the moments I’ve had throughout my journey.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about the background and the creation of “Taking Your Customer Care™ to the Next Level,” please read my Q&A in this month’s edition of Customer magazine.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA, SOCAP, and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He is a frequent speaker for national events and has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry.

The Making Of A Customer Care Dream Team

Recruiting customer care professionals is no simple task. After all, the reputation of your contact center and the satisfaction of your customers are directly linked to the quality of customer care put forth by your employees. As such, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of the important characteristics that your potential new hires must demonstrate and the process that must take place to ensure you are choosing suitable individuals.

Assembling an exceptional team of customer care professionals takes time and dedication. I believe that certain individuals inherently possess the communication skills needed for the role. So contact center leaders must be strategic when interviewing and recruiting new talent. In other words, you mustn’t judge a book by its cover in this situation because someone might look good on paper, but it’s his or her ability to demonstrate superb interpersonal skills that matters most.

When you are interviewing potential candidates it’s important to dissect the interaction and reflect on it afterwards. It’s crucial that you leave the meeting feeling that this person exhibited a high level of social intuitiveness, understanding and professionalism.

Here are a few ways contact center supervisors can ensure they are choosing the right people to create the best possible customer care team:

  • Audit Phone Skills: Just because you have a wonderful conversation with someone in person doesn’t mean his or her conversational skills will translate over the phone. As such, before extending offers to potential candidates make sure you audit their phone skills. Create a hypothetical situation for the candidate that will enable you to make informed decisions based on their problem solving skills, professionalism and empathy. Perhaps proving more than one version of a situation will help you to gain the clearest understanding of their capabilities.
  • Set Goals: Before interviewing potential Communicators make sure you consider the gaps you’re looking to fill in your current customer care strategy. This way you will know exactly the type of individual you need to make a sound addition to your team. As well, it might help you to recognize an interviewee’s strengths that you might not have consider if you didn’t have a solid plan entering the meeting. For instance, contact centers work with a myriad of demographics and markets; as such it’s important to understand individual’s background and the markets that he or she might have an affinity for should they be hired.

Hiring the right group of professionals requires strategy and dedication, especially in this industry. So make sure you do your due diligence to ensure you pick the right employees the first time around.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.