Hi Jeremy, tell us about yourself and share some background about NumberBarn’s CX team (and how you ended up joining NumberBarn)
Hi! On a personal level, I’m a husband and father of three living in San Diego, California. My first job out of college was customer service at a SaaS start-up. I was fortunate enough to work my way up to eventually manage the team. My passion for CX is born out of my love for interacting with and serving customers and helping to resolve their issues. Desiring something new, I worked in marketing roles with a focus on CX for about five years and that was just enough time to get me really excited to rejoin the SaaS world, leading the customer support and CX efforts at NumberBarn.
You are also a board member in the CX Accelerator, can you tell us about it?
CX Accelerator is an active, vibrant community of more than 2,000 CX professionals. The thing I love most about it is that I can go to Slack with a problem and collaborate with like-minded CX professionals on a solution. Did I mention that it’s totally free to join?
How has the consumer sentiments changed in the Telecommunications space during 2020? And how is 2021 going to look like (in terms of consumer sentiment)?
From a NumberBarn perspective, customers are still purchasing phone numbers and understand that a great phone number is still essential to a great marketing and business presence. Our research shows that this understanding continues to increase with younger generations. It’s been fascinating to see the way the pandemic has impacted certain businesses in different ways. While I think consumer expectations continue to increase, I’ve also seen many examples of consumers granting companies a bit of grace as we’re all adjusting to life as we know it.
How is NumberBarn using customer experience to drive innovation?
I get to work for an organization that cares for customers at all levels. We’ve had a big focus over the past several months on empowering our customer support team with new tools to do their job better and more efficiently — focusing significant development resources on this effort. In addition, we’ve significantly improved customer self-help, reducing overall case volume by nearly 10% while increasing customer satisfaction by 3%. We pay close attention to our common feature requests and customer satisfaction surveys and have some big things in store during 2021 for our incredible customers!
How much has the role of the Director of Customer Experience changed in the social distancing era – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?
This really depends on the company and the nature of your business. At NumberBarn, not a lot changed during the pandemic in the way we engage with our customers. It has been fascinating to see how quickly companies have had to adapt to enable remote work or to be able to deliver products and services to customers safely.
I will say that employee engagement has been a bigger area of focus than ever. When our entire staff has been forced to work at home exclusively, keeping everyone happy, healthy, and engaged is critical to the success of our customer experience efforts.
What was the biggest lesson you learned in 2020?
I started a daily video discussion on Twitter called #CXQOTD, or CX Question of the Day, where I post a relevant question each day. The engagement has been absolutely incredible. It reminded me of just how badly we need to connect with other human beings — and CX professionals are no exception.
2020 was the year of webinars and online events, what was your favorite one?
I’m always a fan of ICMI events, but I’ll be honest, I truly miss traveling to conferences and have found it challenging to carve out the time to watch and attend online events. I’ll try to do better in 2021!
It looks like working from home is going to stay with us for the foreseeable future, how should CX Executives gear up to the changing times?
Obviously, they should join CX Accelerator and engage regularly in the #CXQOTD on Twitter. Networking is such a great way to constantly improve the CX at your organization. Additionally, if you have nothing better to do, pick up the phone and call a few of your customers. Try doing it daily. It’s critical that we keep interacting with each other and our customers. What a terrific source of learning and inspiration this activity is!
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
I just love customer self-service! I’m not currently tracking how often customers are able to solve their own issues but I’m hoping to track that consistently by the end of 2021.
Jeremy Watkin is Director of Customer Experience and Support at NumberBarn and cofounder of the CustomerServiceLife blog. He has more than 20 years of experience as a customer service and contact center professional leading high-performing teams. Jeremy has been recognized numerous times as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, CCaaS, product marketing, social media, and more. When not working you can typically find him spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.