A few weeks ago I decided that I needed to get closer to the real action. No, not that kind of action. The action that really defines an organization - the customer service department. These are the front line individuals that are dealing with customers every day, typically when issues arise.
Billtrust is different than most companies in our industry. We typically don't require clients to sign long term contracts. Our theory is that if our customers don't love us, they should be allowed to leave, not be forced to stay because of a contract. That in turn keeps everybody in our organization on our toes to make sure that we're constantly delighting customers. So our customer service team has to do a great job and they do.
Back when Billtrust was getting started, I was the customer service department (and my alter ego Pete who used to answer the phones). I felt it was time to see how things were going on the front line.
So two weeks ago I packed up all my computer gear and rolled it over to our customer service bullpen (what our folks for some strange reason call "the shed" - still haven't figured out why). I'm not sure who was more surprised, the rest of the management team or the customer service team. I thought it was no big deal, this is the kind of thing that I've been known to do.
So what did I find out? Actually quite a bit. The obvious stuff I already knew - everybody truly cares about our customers and works extremely hard to make sure they get what they need. What I didn't really know was the Billtrust hadn't done a good enough job arming the team with the right tools to manage the case load and also answer some of the very detailed questions. We use a case tracking system but it clearly is running out of gas and it's time for an upgrade. We also have a CSR System that simply did not have enough information for the team so they had to often go to multiple people to get the answers they need.
The team seemed to like having me back there and peppered me regularly with questions. I think I'll try to make this an annual thing.
I'm glad I did it.