Customer Service: Chilling with the "Coconut Tree" of goodr's Ecosystem
In season 3, episode 3 of CULTURE goodr, Elektra is unjustly arrested, and asks Blanca to get rid of a trunk in her closet that contains --- oh, wait, whoops. That’s the TV show Pose. Let’s try again.
In season 3, episode 3 of CULTURE goodr, Shaun and Stephen do a deep dive on Squawk & Awe, aka the goodr Customer Service team. Crafty, the flock leader, explains that in CS you can either choose to be right or happy, but not both. At goodr, they choose to be happy. If they choose to be right, it’s wrong, even if they’re not wrong, because the customer is always right, even if they’re wrong. Right?
THE EPISODE IN A VERY SMALL NUTSHELL:
Over the years, Crafty has taught Stephen how to read, starting with Dr. Seuss books, then moving on to Hardy Boys -- just kidding. Over the years, Crafty has taught Stephen how to meet people with empathy. Empathy instantly earns other people’s trust, whether you’re interacting with customers, team members, or Wu-Tang Clan members. SUUUU!!!
During the lightning round, Crafty spills the tea on…(record scratch)...HERSELF?!?!? She reveals the last song she downloaded (“Heat Waves” by Glass Animals), which chore is worse, laundry or dishes (laundry), and her spirit animal (flying pig, because it makes her feel like anything is possible). She also describes her journey to goodr, from a higher education company to a scary gap in employment to her friend April (a good employee!) giving her pair of Flamingos on a Booze Cruise and changing her life.
Crafty’s lame job title is Customer Service Lead and her real title is Pandemonium Pilot. She tracks performance data, warranties, refunds, CS feedback, and parrot KPIs, making sure everyone on the team has the tools and support they need. There are parrots on the retail side and D2C. 50% of what they handle is fan mail. The other 50% is requests for high quality photos of Carl The Flamingo’s junk. J/K. That’s a lie. HOW FOWL!!!!!
Squawk and Awe responds to customer and retail enquiries through email, social media, and carrier pigeons. Their job is to leave a lasting impression. And it’s not all electronic digi-messages on The Intertubes. Snail mail comes in. (And no, Gen Z, this is not mail from snails, although that would be freaking adorable.) For example, someone recently sent a love letter to Carl, while asking for another microfiber pouch for sunglasses. Squawk & Awe will hook them up with the pouch, plus swag, while singing Master P’s 1998 banger, I Got The Hook-Up. UHHHHH!! UHHHHHHHHH!! Still a bop.
Squawk & Awe’s flock values are teamwork and consistency. With hundreds of tickets in the queue, they have to work together to solve them and ensure every customer receives the same experience. To achieve that goal, their Areas of Focus are connection (curating relationships, which is challenging during a pandemic), problem solving (creatively improving experience), knowledge (keeping a sharp axe for all things goodr), and feedback (sharing customer service and data).
How does Squawk & Awe make sure every customer gets the same level of awesomeness? Weekly meetings, creating consistent fun and authenticity with each interaction, clear communication between flock members, and word cuddles. That’s exactly what it sounds like: A message that creates empathy, allowing the customer or retailer to know that we hear them. In other words, it’s a virtual hug.
Flock member (and SUPER talented singer) Jacob created the word cuddle. “Bad ratings to good,” says/sings Jacob. “Word cuddle salvation.” The steps are: give thanks, repent, inquire, postulate. During onboarding, CS shows a slide on empathy with Brené Brown’s Empathy vs. Sympathy video. Spoiler alert: The difference is getting down in the hole with others. Empathy is saying, “That sucks you don’t have your sunglasses yet, let me see what I can do, let me fix this for you.” Sympathy is saying, “Too bad, sorry.”
During peak seasons, Squawk & Awe relies on macros: canned responses explaining how they will solve your issue. That’s why the team members are called Parrots. They repeat themselves! However, they’re encouraged to add their own personality and Carl The Flamingo’s brand voice. The top macros are 1) Carl’s Infirmary (the warranty program, where the intro is that Carl never got his medical degree), 2) shipping delays/never received packages (blame it on alien abduction, or Brad, the neighbor in the complex who always wears sandals with sweatpants), and 3) responses to love letters for Carl and goodr. (Awww. We’re not crying. Our eyes are sweating, because, um, they’re working out, and, look, WE DON’T CRY. WE NEVER CRY, SHUT UP!!!)
Squawk & Awe tracks the weekly number of tickets solved on Zendesk, plus responses on social media. Their current range for customer satisfaction is 90-95% positive at all times. Meanwhile, the industry standard is 75% positive. (HA. Suck it, industry!!!) During a slow time of year, goodr receives 50-150 new customer emails a day. During peak season (like the summer, when people are outside wearing/damaging their sunnies), goodr receives up to 760 new customer emails a day. That’s right, 760! You’re getting anxiety just thinking about it, aren’t you?
The customer messages range from cranky to heartwarming. For example, last summer, Crafty was told via private message to go f*** herself with a flamingo beak. (Yikes.) She had already done everything in her power to help this customer, so she didn’t respond. For cranky messages that require responses, Crafty recommends an enormous amount of self-depreciation and a 100% guarantee to understand and solve the issue.
On the positive end of the spectrum, last year Crafty received fan mail about the SWEATgoodr initiative. A woman wrote in to say she loved this event. As an avid runner in New York City, she felt sad, scared, isolated and confused during the pandemic. However, SWEATgoodr inspired her to submit a Strava workout where she ran around NYC in the shape of a parrot. She thanked goodr for getting her out of her home. It was heartwarming. (Uh-oh. Our eyes are sweating again. DON’T LOOK AT US!!!!!)
For example, one woman said her sunglasses arrived covered in ants. (WTF?) goodr doesn’t allow food in the distribution center, so there’s no way the box was shipped with ants. However, the Parrots sent her a new shipment, AND an anteater plushie! The Ant Lady wrote back to say the gift was adorable and made her so happy. (Does she like that we’re calling her the Ant Lady? Too late, we are.) CS gives out 2-3 Booties a month.
What’s one thing the flock leader wishes people knew when they reached out to Customer Service? “We promise you that if you have received a shipping notification that the package has left the facility,” says Crafty. “Even if the tracking is not updating.” After packages leave the facility, there’s not much CS Parrots can do to speed their arrival, since magic is banned. Too bad, b/c teleportation spells are handy. Sigh.
Crafty says her biggest f***-up was not staffing enough parrots to meet the business needs of 2020. The biggest shift made was creating a structure to set the CS team up for success while celebrating everyone’s individual strengths. She’s most proud of the Parrots for their communication skills, dedication, and reliability. They always show up for each other, and for the company. Also, they always show up at parties they weren’t invited to. How do they find out about the parties? Nobody knows. Probably magic.
In closing, Crafty offers three cheat codes: 1) You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be right. Our team always chooses to be happy. 2) If you’re not writing a reply with a smile, come back to it later. And 3) Get as much info as possible in the first exchange, to decrease the amount of back and forth the customer has to experience.
Listen to the episode to get all the juicy details. See you next week for episode 4!
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