Meet the Customer Service Manager of Swagelok Northern California
by Jeff Hopkins, on 7/15/15 7:00 AM
Markisha Greggs is always looking for ways to make improvements
After 13 years with our company, our Customer Service Manager, Markisha Greggs knows that we're always making improvements to the way we do business. In fact, she's one of the ones who helps initiate change.
"When we hire people we talk a lot about change," she says. "We let them know right off the bat that if change is something they are uncomfortable with, this might not be the best environment."
A typical day for Greggs includes internal audits, checking our processes and procedures to make sure everyone is doing what we tell our customers we're doing. If something isn't clicking just right, she's not shy about making adjustments.
"We are constantly evolving and changing and improving. One of our core values and a big focus is continuous improvement," she says. Last year, for instance, we set up a way to automatically e-mail invoices to customers. This has several benefits, the customer always gets an invoice via email and since it automatically done, we don't have to do it manually which saves time and prevents errors. A couple of years ago we changed our phone system in an effort to keep calls from going to voice mail. If the customer service staff is tied up, we have two more layers of people designated to grab the phone in time. At the very least they can get the conversation started, and sometimes know the answers the customers need.
The Manager? You're talking to her
As a manager, Greggs has plenty to do. As her title implies, she manages our customer service staff and has been interviewing candidates for a new position. But she still interacts with customers every day.
"Sometimes it is as simple as picking up the phone or helping out at the Will Call desk. Sometimes it is more complicated, like helping to expedite something," she says. And despite everyone's best efforts, sometimes her job involves dealing with a customer disappointment.
"I see customer disappointments as opportunities to improve," Greggs says. "We are all human, and humans make mistakes. The only way we are going to get better and reduce errors is to learn from them."
Greggs will even call customers to get their feedback, which she can share with her group and with senior management. When asked how she prioritizes all the things she needs to get done each day, Greggs says, "I always deal with customer-facing issues first."
As good as our customers say
Greggs sends out customer surveys so we can track how well we're doing. After all, we are only as good as our customers say we are. We use a system called the Net Promoter Score. The customer simply rates us on a scale of 0 to 10, and is invited to write anything they want to explain the score. Keeping it simple makes it easy for the customers to tell us what's most important to them.
The score itself tells us a lot about our customer service. We tally the customers who give us nines and tens. Those are known as "promoters." Anyone who scores us at a six or less is a "detractor." The higher ratio of promoters to detractors, the better we are doing. We already know the average ratio that companies our size get, and we're proud to say that Swagelok Northern California is running ahead of the averages by many percentage points. Let us know how we are doing
Way back in 2001 when Greggs joined us, she went through two or three months of training in both customer service and on the technical side of the business. Later, when she was on the job, she came back to her trainer with a question. Instead of simply telling her the answer, he told her to look in her notes.
"What that taught me is that I can find the answer myself. In the long run it helps me," she says. "I've learned a lot of things that way, just looking up information out of curiosity instead of involving others."
Over the years, Greggs has seen a lot of the same customers over the counter, at events outside our offices, sometimes even at the grocery store.
"You end up having a relationship with them. It is one of the things that I value in being here so long," she says. "When I started, I was pretty young. Some of the customers at the time saw me as a kid. Now I have kids."
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