My entire career has involved customer service and helping companies find ways to improve it, and changing the game has been a passion I’ve been fortunate to share with Don Brown since 1987. That’s when I went to work as a support engineer at his first company, American Financial Resources, which wrote finance and insurance applications for auto dealerships. When Don started his second company called Software Artistry to develop forward-thinking helpdesk solutions, he brought me on board as his first employee. Or I should say, I was a jack-of-all-trades. At Software Artistry, I filled roles in everything from application development to being a technical instructor, field engineer, account manager and support services manager. They were all roles that taught me about working with customers and how to tune in to what they really needed.
I’ve worked alongside Don ever since, including the last 20 years at Interactive Intelligence, where I’ve led a number of customer facing teams. Director of Client Services. VP North American Client Services. VP Client Services, the Americas and EMEA. VP Customer Loyalty, VP Worldwide Services, VP CaaS Operations, and now my current role as VP of Client Success. All along the way, Don has allowed me to make a difference, both as an employee and as a chief ambassador for Interactive’s customers. He has encouraged me to fill my teams with innovators and “winners” who put customers first. He also has long advocated my philosophies on how to enhance the customer experience.
“Pam, you really should share what you know with a broader audience. Every company that’s ever had to serve customers can learn from it.”
Therefore, this book. With a focus on engaging and serving customers in total, I’ve highlighted various difference-making aspects of customer service that help companies successfully attract customers and then keep them. Game Changers as I call them, which have been proven in thousands of companies over the 20-plus-year history of Interactive Intelligence. On a broader scale, these differentiators point to the strategy we’ve termed C3—unified communications and collaboration (UC&C), and, in particular, customer engagement.
An approach like C3 helps our customers understand exactly what their customers expect, especially as the dynamics of customer service change. More so, our customers are able to constantly reimagine what the customer experience should be. Collectively, a C3 strategy and the Game Changers I discuss are products of the technology from Interactive. But they’re only tools. What’s exciting is how the businesses we work with use those tools to succeed at customer engagement and making customer service consistently world class.
Don was kind enough to lend his thoughts on customer expectations in the Foreword. As he and I have long agreed, the best way for a business to meet any customer’s expectation is to ensure that their service experience is easy, and that they receive the value they’re looking for. For the businesses that do this, it’s the ultimate game changer.
Fourteen companies we’re proud to call our customers are great examples. They each take very creative approaches to serving their customers based on their own underlying C3 strategy and the seven differentiators I’ve identified. And their success is evident. Today these 14 companies are all recognized for their customer service excellence, and the stories they tell are compelling. I appreciate each one of them taking time to share their story with me so I can share them with you.
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