Mike Faith: CEO & Founder of Headsets.com – Part 2 of 3

Here is part two of the interview with Mike Faith, the CEO and Founder of Headsets.com. The first part is here. This part of the interview covers more about the company’s hiring and training, how they keep their customer service culture going, and common issues they run into.

Question 6: What do the voice coach and business psychologist cover?
Answer: The voice coach is really covering a lot of voice and tonality and speed and will go through some voice exercises to test the person’s ability to listen as well as use their voice well. The business psychologist is really just looking to chat generally with the person to find out his assessment of how well they would fit with the job, and with the team and with the culture that we’ve got here. Many people go onto use those two people as ongoing resources. We also have someone who specializes in neuro-linguistic programming. While it isn’t part of the interviewing process, we have it as a resource our employees can use for ongoing personal development if they chose.

We are pretty big on this kind of training thing after hiring as well to make sure people are willing to develop their skills for the job as well as their personal skills to the extent that they want to do that.

Question 7: What does Headsets.com do to encourage employees to provide great customer service?
Answer: I think there is a few things. The first thing is that giving great customer service is not negotiable – you just got to do it and you got to do it all the time. It isn’t try to do – you are either doing it or you can’t work here. Everyone knows it is an absolute minimum standard to perform at this level. In addition to that, we get employees to believe in the importance of customer service and that it is a great thing to do. We also have them listen to calls – good and bad phone calls. The good calls are the ones that work really well and we do things perfectly and the bad calls are where we may make a mistake and not really service the customer to the full extent that they deserve. By listening to those, we get them to really own a belief system about what is wrong and right in customer service. It tends to permeate beyond the job as well. People here start expecting higher service in their everyday lives and they come in with stories about how things weren’t right when they got served somewhere and how it really starts to become a challenge with them. In some ways, people are really happy working here and in other ways, we almost create a dissatisfaction in the terms of the service they get elsewhere sometimes. I know that is certainly the case with me. I get more and more distraught with poor customer service when I receive it.

Question 8: How do you ensure ongoing customer satisfaction?
Answer: It is a daily battle. It isn’t something you setup and walk away and say isn’t that great. You have to be fighting it and fighting to make it work everyday. I think that that battle is going to be fought throughout the company and not just in the customer service function – it’s going to be a company wide belief, a company wide philosophy and culture in order to make it work. Going back to the Tom Peters story, customer service is a differentiator because it so hard to do. Anyone can talk about customer service, anyone can get up and do it a little bit, but to keep it going day in and day out is a constant focus and a constant struggle. It is a worth while one, but I don’t think anyone can say it is easy or a natural thing to do, because its not.

Question 9: What are the most common issues that Headsets.com has to overcome when providing customer service?
Answer: Mediocrity. Staleness. Watering down of the message. It is like the frog in water – when you turn the heat up slowly, it doesn’t notice it and it will stay in until it dies. I think if you start slipping in your customer service, you can slip a little bit, but you can easily get to the point where the service isn’t really where it should be anymore. It doesn’t happen overnight, it happens slowly. If it happened overnight, you’d realize it. When it happens slowly, you get that shift, that drain in the wrong direction. I think that is the common thing I am working to fight everyday and energize against and be on the lookout for.

4 Responses to “Mike Faith: CEO & Founder of Headsets.com – Part 2 of 3”

  1. Brian said:

    Nov 15, 06 at 4:55 pm

    Code error- most of the post is bold for me. It is like this in firefox and IE.


  2. Service Untitled » Mike Faith: CEO & Founder of Headsets.com - Part 3 of 3 - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Nov 16, 06 at 8:34 pm

    […] Here is part three out of three of the interview with Mike Faith, the founder and CEO of Headsets.com. Part one is here. Part two is here. In this part of the interview, Mike discusses where Headsets.com still has room to improve, how they are different, how they gather feedback, and tips for other customer service organizations. […]

  3. Service Untitled » Not a revolt - a revolution. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Dec 12, 06 at 10:23 am

    […] Mike Faith used the metaphor of the frog jumping in war. If a frog jumps in boiling water, it will notice it and jump out. If the water slowly heats up to a boil, the frog will not notice and will die, unless rescued or somehow made aware of the problem. Louis didn’t realize the scale of the problem until something sudden happened (say if the temperature suddenly jumped 40 degrees) and by then, it was too late. […]

  4. Service Untitled » Fire Your Customers! - Part 1 of 3 - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Dec 20, 06 at 9:25 pm

    […] Web hosting giant Rackspace believes in it (see question #3 in Service Untitled’s interview with David Bryce of Rackspace), Mike Faith does (see question #8 – his company sells telephone headsets – pretty simple product), and so do other companies that have set themselves apart through customer service. […]