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In this episode, Katalin shares her lessons learned from a storied career in customer support. She established shared service centres from scratch and lead some of Amazon’s world-leading customer service teams. She now applies this experience to grow Marley Spoon with a customer-centric service approach. This episode provides rich strategic advice as well as actionable insights on how to successfully provide customer-centric service.
Advantages of a centralised customer service department
- Marley Spoon chose to centralise all their customer communications teams in Lisbon, housing them in a “shared service centre”. This includes customer service and customer insights as well as some other teams relevant to customer activities. The shared service centre is a hub from which these operations are done.
- Marley Spoon was servicing their US, Australian and European customers from the respective local HQs in those areas. However now, all these customers are serviced 24/7 by the team in Lisbon. But why?
“Shared services [in customer support] is a concept that I very much believe in. There are so many additional benefits, so much added value to any operation and any company.”
- The first benefit was the ability to be agile. It is far easier to make a detailed plan, execute on it and quickly readjust if everyone applying the plan is in the same place. Most learning in life and business comes from trial and error. Therefore, being able to iterate quickly makes improvement more rapid.
- The second benefit is the experience provided to both customers and employees. Providing an exceptional experience to both is always a priority for Katalin. It is far easier to provide a coherent experience to the customer and make sure all the communications teams are happy if all employees are under the same roof.
“The cliche is very true: happy experts make happy customers”.
Katalin’s Lessons from Amazon: Be Customer Obsessed
- Katalin took some formative lessons working as Head of DE Customer Service Quality Assurance at Amazon. Namely, how exactly to implement a customer-centric service, and how to refine processes and concepts to their simplest, most actionable form.
- According to Katalin, it’s not hype. Amazon is a truly customer-obsessed company. It’s interwoven in their culture; as it is at Marley Spoon. Especially in the customer service teams. How is this achieved? By working according to customer-centric principles. Injecting the customer into every aspect of the operation- from internal conversations, values and processes to customer communication, incorporating customer feedback and adapting the product. The customer always comes first.
- At Marley Spoon, providing customer-centric service, keeping things simple and being innovative surprisingly starts with hiring. Regardless of role, every candidate undergoes a rigorous culture interview process. Directors and junior customer communications experts (cs agents) undergo the same vetting process. This ensures all new hires will always apply customer-centric thinking and aim to keep things simple.
“We don’t call them agents, we don’t call them associates. We call them customer communications experts and they are really looked upon as experts that the company can learn from”
- The customer service teams at Marley Spoon don’t hire based on experience. They hire based on potential and personal attributes. Innovative thinkers with “entrepreneurial” spirits can learn to provide great customer service at Marley Spoon.
- Katalin doesn’t need to force innovation on her teams. They are filled with innovative people already. Her aim is to support her employees so that their efforts and ideas provide maximum value to customers. Therefore providing maximum value to Marley Spoon.