Tag Archives: customer service

CloudTalk: Partnerships NOT Vendorships

Sean Flynn’s autumn beard is growing as fast as his wife’s disdain for it. He’s jumped on the Movember men’s health initiative and, frankly, doesn’t give a whisker. The three-year-long ReadyTalker begins and ends each day with a focus on customer connections — before, during, and after every sale. As an Account Director, Sean loves to give his clients the tools they need to succeed on every call and presentation.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Making a customer laugh on the other end of the line. Seriously, it’s about establishing trust and a relationship with prospects and long-timers. Beyond just getting them to buy ReadyTalk — I like being one of the company faces that represents who we are. It’s rewarding when our customers have the feeling that they can call me for anything and never hesitating. I would way rather build partnerships than vendorships. There’s so much more to it than the sale.   

Q: Do you get to work with any local Colorado companies?

Yes! That’s one of the cool parts about having a recognizable brand in the Denver community. Over the years we’ve put a lot of effort into public outreach and volunteering. That has definitely given us a strong footprint in Colorado. That said, as an account director I get to meet face to face with some of our local customers to talk webinars and web conferencing. This is especially helpful when we’re onboarding new customers. Sometimes I’ll meet up for drinks with the companies we work with just to get a pulse on their level of understanding. It’s always great to find out the creative ways that people are using our products and how we might be able to improve their results.  

Q: Can you think of a time you ‘saved the day’ for a customer?

Once in awhile we’ll have to arrange a fast turnaround on a high stakes event. I consider 24 hours to be fairly quick. A few weeks ago I had a call with a customer that needed an operator-assisted, all-hands webinar for their entire company. This call came in at 3:00 p.m., and the event had to take place at 9:00 a.m. the next morning. They basically said, “we need x, y, and z tomorrow, can you make this happen?” Well, (haha) I don’t think we had another choice. That afternoon I worked directly with our customer care and events department to get the ball rolling quickly — sent out invitations, coordinated the event moderation, and built all registration pages. In spite of the tight deadline, the webinar went off flawlessly. Like I said, we didn’t really have any other choice but to deliver on their request. However, it was so gratifying getting their praise and thanks after the fact — they realized we moved a mountain in a pretty short amount of time. That was a great day at work. HUGE kudos to customer care on their efforts. Teamwork is everything.

Q: When you’re not at work, what’s your jam?

Spend a lot of time with my wife and kids. We go camping as a family. I bike a lot. Love to go skiing in the winter.

CloudTalk: Navigating Customer Success

No two accounts are exactly alike — that’s why our customer success team thrives on supporting a variety of cases. Margaret Thomas is ReadyTalk’s Senior Customer Success Manager, and she has a knack for accommodating every buyer type on the cloud. Check out her thoughts on quality service and delivering creative solutions across all of our product lines.  

 

Q: How many years have you worked at ReadyTalk?

A: I’ve been here for seven years but originally started as a strategic account manager. But this isn’t my first rodeo in the web conferencing industry — I also worked for a larger corporation for 10 years prior to ReadyTalk.

 

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Every day is different. Every budget is different. Every person is different. I enjoy hearing about a customer’s needs, and then brainstorming with my team to develop the best ways to accomplish their goals. In other words, I offer consultation, training, and onboarding for our accounts so that they’re ready to host a meeting or event. There’s a bit of flexibility in my role because each company has a unique use for our platform. It happens a lot that a customer will say, “Hey Margaret, I want to do x,y,z,” and it’s up to me to figure out the best plan for them.

 

Q: What types of customer interactions motivate you?

A: Whenever I legitimately help a customer and make an impact on their experience. Sometimes a ‘thank you’ email from an account is one of the best feelings. An honest, genuine, appreciation of our work together really goes a long way. Obviously, that’s what I’m here for — but the acknowledgement means that we made a positive difference in their day. It means I didn’t let them down or leave them hanging, and that’s what they want. More importantly, for their sake, they were able to execute effectively based on our guidance.

 

Q: OK, where do you really love to spend your time?

A: The summer is consumed by baseball. Otherwise, I’m with my fam up in the mountains! My husband and our two sons love to get out of dodge on the weekends. We all love the outdoors and it’s why we’re here in Colorado! In the winter, they’re skiing while I read or hit the spa. No complaints! Haha.

Want to take your cloud services to the next level? Give our customer success team a call today!

Choose a Webinar Product

You’re investigating a new webinar product or switching from an old one due to issues. You already know webinars are incredibly beneficial for any company making product, business or general announcement to a wide audience.

webinarWhile you may know how much you need a webinar service at your organization, how do you select the right provider to partner with? Here are four ideas to get you started in the right direction:

1. Is easy to use

No matter what, you want to choose a provider that offers webinar services that are easy for you and your participants to use. Nothing will lower your webinar attendance rate faster than if the audience has to jump through several technical hoops to even view your presentation.

2. Is reliable and robust

While you might only plan to use a basic webinar tool, you also might consider choosing a provider that offers additional robust features. After all, interactive options such as polls can make even the most standard webinar much more interesting for your audience. Engagement is one of the key reasons why so many marketing departments use webinars.

Customization, add-on features and more can be considered under robust. Are these things important to you? If so, make sure you note that. It’ll help you pick the right tool.

3. Enables integrations

Do you need it to integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software? How about marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua and HubSpot? Integration extends your existing software and makes your webinar more valuable. It can also reduce errors and double work. For example, you may want to send out recorded webinars to your clients. Without this option, it will be far more difficult to make this happen.

4. Has great customer service

Did you know some companies charge for even the most basic customer service, like answering the phone when you need help? It’s true. Of course some companies embed great customer service into the overall price, like ReadyTalk. Depending on how comfortable your workforce feels with your webinar platform and what’s important to your business, you may need better customer service.

Speaking of customer service, we even send out proactive tips and provide additional concierge services (for a fee). Additional concierge services can be anything from helping with everything to ensure your webinar is flawless to handling the basics of the meeting, like the greeting.

5. Meets your SMART goals and budget

The price varies greatly among products. As above, consider everything in the package. For example, some companies charge for customer service … but it’s not listed on their base price. Webinars can cost anywhere from $10 a month to more than $1,0000.

But more important, is whether the webinar meets the reason you’re buying one. Are you getting the leads and revenue you need? Will you get the attendance you need? Will you be able to train people? Conduct demos? This is critical. SMART means specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. Ensuring your webinar platform’s success means taking the time to go over why you need one in the first place … and to get specific.

6. Has good reviews

Analysts research software all the time and provide reviews on that software like Aragon Research. Websites also have a number of reviews available, indicating what they like — and don’t like — about products. Don’t just trust testimonials on the company’s website. And if you need to, ask if you can get a reference. Most good companies will provide names to help you select the right software for your needs.

7. Enables you to try or demo

These days if you can’t try or demo a product, it’s probably not worth buying. Many companies, like ReadyTalk, provide free trials. You can decide whether it meets your needs or not. Of course, many companies have a limit to the free trial. And those same companies may extend the free trial if you ask them to.

And while we’re on free trial ….

 

Start Free Webinar Trial

Want to Improve Customer Service? Be Empathetic.

ReadyTalk is unique in the unified communications world. We have employees available 24/7, all located in Colorado and Canada, who want to talk with people. Our customers never go to a recorded audio with instructions; everyone gets a real person.

And real people are exactly what ReadyTalk has; Leah Niu is a customer care representative and one of those real people. In fact, she’s an expert on empathy and why it’s important.

What is empathy to you?

Leah: It’s understanding and being able to share someone’s feelings. It’s being relatable and relating back. Being present and in the moment. I put myself in other’s shoes.

How do you practice empathy?

Leah: When people call in it’s because they’re new to starting a meeting with our products. They’re usually calling when the meeting is about to begin and they’re stressed and frantic. They have something important happening and are unable to do it. That’s a terrible feeling! We’ve all been there. Everyone hates that feeling. I hate it, too.

My job is to do what I can so they leave the call being able to do what they set out to do and feeling better. It’s why we — real people — answer those calls rather than send someone to a user guide or knowledge base. When you’re at that point, you need a person to talk you through something. That’s empathy, too — knowing someone needs a reassuring voice.

I listen, understand the issue and clarify it, let them know they’re not alone through validation — that I’m here — and help them resolve that issue. Sometimes it’s a creative solution I come at and sometimes it’s something we come to together. That’s important — it’s a partnership.

After talking with me, they’re confident and calm, ready to take on the challenge that caused them to call. In fact, my hope is to empower customers, helping them know how to use our products better. I want them not to call, but for the right reasons — I want them to be expert users and feel confident.

But really, it all starts with, “I’m here with you and for you.”

Why is empathy important?

Leah: Our toughest calls involve people who are panicked and upset. Before we can even get to the issue, we need them to understand we’re here for them and we’ve felt that way, too.

It’s also important to me personally. I get emotionally invested in things. When I’m having a hard time, I don’t need someone telling me what to do. I need someone who listens and validates my experience in that challenging moment. I need to know that I can practice trust before I’m prepared to be vulnerable.

That’s true with others, too. When people call us, and can’t do something — they’re vulnerable! They need someone to say, “Thanks for calling us and trusting us. You’ll always be picked up by a real person. Now, let’s do this together.” What they don’t need is just someone telling them what to do.

Not being empathetic can hinder a customer from using our product. That could mean a lost customer or someone who’s complaining to friends about us. We don’t want that. We want happy employees and happy customers.

What happens when the call is about something we don’t offer in our product?

Leah: That happens sometimes and we’re open to it. I’m part of a group that follows up — taking customer service calls into product discussions. If one person is calling and asking for something, chances are good that others are thinking about it, but not expressing the request themselves.

How can you train someone to be empathetic?

Leah: Most, if not all of the time, you can’t. There are a lot of things you can train for, but empathy is one of the hardest, mostly because it’s often a personality trait. You can train people to be active listeners though; I guess that’s a good step toward being empathetic. But to have true empathy — that’s more than a skill; it’s innate.

Leah Niu is an expert at empathy, which is why she's so good at customer service.

About Leah Niu

Leah’s a Jill of all trades and has done everything from managing in retail to writing for the Motley Fool to running a nonprofit. She believes in the power of good service and investing in people, partly why she’s a good customer care representative. How good is she? Within here first 60 days at ReadyTalk, she received a thank you gift basket from a customer for her help.

Her advice: Stay open to being taught. In just every interaction there’s something someone can teach you as well as something you can teach.