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

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.

Question 10: What parts of the overall customer service experience do you think Headsets.com still has to room to improve upon?

Answer: [laughs] I’ve got to say all of it. I think it is a journey, not a destination. You never get there, no matter how hard you try. I think that in every aspect of our customer service and our business generally that there is room for improvement. The moment we think we’ve arrived and reached the destination, I think that is when we got a problem. No matter how good we get it, we have to keep striving to get it better. That almost eternal struggle is what will keep the service levels going as we get bigger. As you get bigger, it does get harder. With five people, my influence is big, whereas, when there are 50 people (as we’ve got now), if we are not careful, I get diluted down. I need managers in place that are as passionate about it, or as detailed about it, or as obsessed about it as I am.

Question 11: If you had to name one thing that sets Headsets.com apart from other customer service-orientated organizations (besides the fact you sell headsets), what would you say it was?

Answer: I would say it is our passion as an organization. Our passion for the customer (we call it customer love). It’s not just in the customer service function – it permeates throughout the organization – everyone in our organization knows what we are trying to do and why in terms of customer service. The people in shipping will stop and call a customer if something is not right to check what is being shipped to them makes sense. The people in shipping will work hard and stay late to get everything out only because the customer ordered it and the customer is going to get it. I think that passion is the thing that sets us apart. It’s not just a one department thing. It is a company-wide belief system.

Question 12: From whom does Headsets.com seek suggestions as to how to improve the customer service experience?

Answer: We are always looking for ways to improve. We employ some external coaches for our business. We tend to read a lot. A book that I recently read and thought was great was Overpromise, Overdeliver, which I think says it in the title, is a just a terrific book and there are lessons to be learned there. From our customers is one of our biggest things. We have customer surveys that go out in every package and we also have the email address and phone number of myself, my shipping manager, and my customer service manager available for customers to use. The feedback that we get there is good. It is enough that you can hear something once and you aren’t sure, but when you hear something once and then again, and again. And whether it is real or not in actuality, it is real in their minds and that is enough to make change. We are always on the lookout for learning and on the look out externally to get judged because it is the customer judgment that counts. Some of the professional resources out there have been great for us as well.

Question 13: What tips do you have for companies wishing to improve their customer service and support?

Answer: I think it starts from the top. You can’t just say to someone in customer service or employ someone in customer service and say “go do it.” It’s got to start form the top and everyone has got to believe that it is a clear and consistent company-wide strategy, not just the latest fad that will go on for three months before it switches back to metrics like profit or how many calls per hour. I’m not against metrics or profits. In fact, far from it – I’m very pro-profit. I think profit is terrific and there is the edge of the business. But, it is my belief that customer service on a long term basis is a real great way for us to get profit. It can’t be this quarter’s objective is to get real great customer service and the next quarter’s objective is something else. That tends to happen and from what I’ve seen, there isn’t that long term commitment as a strategy, but customer service is thought of as more of a short term tactic, which isn’t effective.

One Response to “Mike Faith: CEO & Founder of Headsets.com – Part 3 of 3”

  1. Danielle said:

    Feb 03, 07 at 8:29 pm

    I can’t believe that my extreme agitation with poor customer service I’ve received is VALIDATED by the founder. I’ve been made to feel I’m crazy and dismissed for being upset! It just isn’t fair, or right or CONSCIONABLE to not make a business transaction right immediately. To know that the WHOLE organization is pro-customer service, 200%, makes it a heaven for someone like me, who on the front lines on the phone with clients, wants to do the right thing instinctively for the perplexed, angry, hurt client and then I run head-on into a brick wall called unenlightened management who under-responds or says “NO WE CAN’T DO THAT” When do I get to work at Headsets.com????