Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance Risk & Business Magazine Spring 2018 - Page 18

FEATURE STORY customer satisfaction as our ultimate barometer of success. I realize that every company these days has a mantra of customer service, but what does it take to actually make these words a reality? I called on David Bryce, the most customer-focused executive of anyone I knew at the time, to shepherd this change. He joined the company in 1999 as the vice president of customer care. Handing me a book by famed customer service advocate Leonard Berry, Bryce set the company on a brand new path, which he called “fanatical customer support.” In a nutshell, we did anything and everything to service our customers, as quickly and as efficiently as possible. When they called on us for help, we would be there. Period. Here are a few examples of how this new philosophy of fanatical support permeated every aspect of Rackspace’s corporate culture: COMMITMENT TO RESOLUTION No matter how complex the customer problem, it always had an “owner,” someone to coordinate the various support players to get the job done. No f lipping the account from person to person. The point person continued to claim ownership throughout the resolution period, vowing to own the problem until it was fixed. ELIMINATED FALLBACK POSSIBILITIES We decided to literally give our support staff “no way out” when it came to servicing our clients. We had installed a new phone system, but tough as it was, we disabled our voicemail and auto-attendant capabilities so it was always on us to answer each call. We had zero tolerance for the “I can’t get to it right now” mentality. Instead, you made it happen. ASSIGNED A TIME FRAME Time matters when it comes to customer support, so resolving problems quickly became a priority. Answering phone calls within three rings or fixing the problem within one hour became the standard. We created a “hustle” mentality and lived it each day. “YOUTUBE, WHICH FAMOUSLY CALLED ONE NIGHT DURING OUR EARLY DAYS, ASKING FOR OVERNIGHT INSTALLATION OF TEN NEW SERVERS FOR ITS FLEDGLING BUSINESS.” CONSIDERED CUSTOMERS BLAMELESS When a customer called, we did not spend precious time trying to figure out who caused the problem or play the blame game. We knew that this approach was counterproductive and would not help fix the problem any faster. We only cared about a quick resolution so that our customers could get back to work. CREATED A MANIFESTO Our mantra of “fanatical support” 18 became a way of life within Rackspace, and everyone who was hired understood that service was the name of the game. Our company culture was defined by it and became known for it, even after the company went public in 2008. Once we set these rules in motion, the marketplace responded. We grew by 50 percent a year for over ten years, adding fifty to one hundred employees a month. Our commitment to service was not an added expense that dragged us down but a tremendous motivator to help us always do better. THE POWER OF GIVING BACK These days, I spend most of my time consulting with budding entrepreneurs, and I recommend the above guidelines to virtually everyone in every industry I come across. I continue to be drawn to big, transformative ideas and finding ways to nurture the entrepreneurs that develop these ideas. In 2011, I cofounded Geekdom with Nick Longo, a former Rackspace colleague who is now Geekdom’s “mentor-in-chief.” In researching our initial concept, we found plenty of office-sharing setups, but we had never seen one quite like the one we were driven to create. Our goal was to develop a collaborative space that was about much more than shared physical resources like desks and meeting space. We also wanted to share the teaching, training, and tools that could help people be successful in nurturing their own entrepreneurial ideas. The ranks of members we admit are committed to this principle, whether drawing from populations of undergraduate students, basement inventors, curious entrepreneurs, or established small businesses. Geekdom was founded upon what I like to call “The Five Pillars of Geekdom,” which consist of the following principles (according to our