Steve talks about the benefits of working in both call center and field service, his thoughts effortless experience and then closes out the episode by talking about how it is important to help your consumers help themselves.
Nick Glimsdahl 0:00
Welcome to the press one for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Steve Zannos. Steve is the Senior Director of service delivery at Electrolux. Steve, welcome to the press one Connect podcast.
Steve Zannos 0:13
Thanks. Good to be here. Yeah. And so, um,
Nick Glimsdahl 0:18
what’s one thing that people might not know about? Yeah, I try to ask this for everybody. And it’s always fun to hear maybe a little bit of a little nugget. And I think anything from classical music to adult hockey and others, but maybe one thing that people might not know about Steve’s Zanos?
Steve Zannos 0:36
Yeah, I think the one thing and it’s probably not as exciting as adult hockey or listening to classical music is my first job out of college was being a computer programmer in COBOL, which is probably an old, dead language that’s not used anymore. Um, and it’s been, it was something I did for six years. And at the end of it, I was just like, this is not for me, it’s not right. But the one thing that’s been helpful with that experiences, is, you know, almost anything we do now is related to programming in it and, and working with, whether it’s, you know, you’re outsourcing some SAS software or working internal with your IT department. So spending time, in doing that myself, it’s been really valuable for me to be able to relate and talk to our IT team or an outside software company and kind of understand what you know, what they go through, have some realistic expectations and views, and just have that experience, I will throw in. So I guess I’m using I wouldn’t say funny story, my first day after going through training and starting, and this will age me a little bit too. But my boss within the first day, kind of first half of the day, hands me this box. And then this box are like 1000 like cards. And he’s like, go walk into the IT department and have them run this job. So this was when we were literally still running jobs by feeding cards through an IBM card reader. And we pretty quickly moved into JCL. So you know the language where that runs the jobs. But that is literally one of the first tasks I had. And he’s like, just don’t fall because if you fall, you have to put these back in order one fell like 1000, whatever. So I’m, like nervously walking down to the computer room on my first day, like hoping I don’t trip on stairs or something. But so yeah, it was actually a pretty education and good baseline for all the projects and things that you know, you work with going forward. Yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 2:48
no, that is interesting. You know, being the new guy, you would assume that some of the other people would, you know, potentially put the foot out as you’re walking by or asking you to carry something else you like, please don’t like
marvels and banana peels on the floor. Yeah.
It’s like Mario Kart trying to get that’s really neat. Um, the one other thing people might not know about yen? And I think it’s fascinating, but you have the number one customer service group on LinkedIn. Yeah. What? How did that come to be? And we’ll start there. And then I got a couple of other questions based on that.
Steve Zannos 3:25
Yeah, yeah, sure. Um, so yeah, I started the customer service professional group, you know, a long time ago. And when I put it together, or was thinking about it, I really didn’t have any, like, major goals are, you know, this big grandiose plan of, you know, taking over the world or anything like that, but I was just looking for, because I was just starting to get into, you know, customer service and call centers and managing and working through that. So, I was just looking for a way to connect with other customer service people. And I didn’t have in the back of my mind, like, gee, it would be great to have, you know, a place where you could go and post jobs and look at that angle of it. Right, from a recruiting perspective. That never really, you know, panned out, but it has become a good place to have conversations discussions with, you know, anyone related to customer service, whether it’s the call centers or, or the field service side, and we’re up to I did check, so I’ll say it’s just a hair under 165,000 members, right now. Literally, two days ago, I think I checked Monday,
Nick Glimsdahl 4:42
165,000 members, that that is an impressive group, and it’s constantly growing and the beauty of it is from what I can see is it’s there are people that are consistently engaged in it. And I think maybe that’s the key to it is getting the people involved and engaged in having valuable content and not necessarily saying, hey, look how cool I am, you should do business with me, but adding value to those groups. So, kudos to you, I think that’s a real testament to what you built. And you know, the knowledge that you guys are sharing.
Steve Zannos 5:20
Yeah, no. And it’s, I think it’s a good thing, it’s to your point, it’s got a pretty good mix, there are the posts that are like, Hey, here’s our software. But usually, with that, there’s some white papers and some good information you get, and I’ve also seen in participated in a lot of conversations where it’s like, Hey, I just need to add this group, or should I do universal agents or have tiered and, you know, you just get into some really good discussions with people around the world? Right? It’s, it’s also pretty global, that you get a lot of discussions and inputs. So you know, you can post a question, and you’ll get a whole bunch of people that are just in there and, and share some thoughts.
Nick Glimsdahl 5:59
Yeah, no, that’s really neat. So I would recommend the customer service people that listen to this, jump on that and make it 167,000 here. So you would mention how you were kind of a programmer at the beginning carrying though the 1000 cards hoping not to drop them. And you so you have experienced both in the call center and the field service side? What has the combined experience taught you?
Steve Zannos 6:27
Yeah, so I think it’s been helpful to work on both sides. Because I do have a good end to end, you know, view of that customer experience. Um, and I think one of the keys is, we look at our eyes, think about this, you know, at Electrolux, we’re focused on the effortless experience. And when you look at that, to make that work, you’ve got to have that good communication between the customer support and the field service side. So having lived in both those worlds, and, you know, develop programs and projects in both those areas, it’s been real helpful for me, to see both sides and to be able to talk to both sides and understand both sides. And being able to balance any approach or project or discussion that we have to make sure we’re thinking about both sides, and how the information flows from one piece to the other, has really helped make sure that the businesses and both sides of that are working better together, the process is smoother, and that the information flows cleanly because that’s one of the biggest issues right, if a technician is going into a home, and they’re not even really too sure what you know, the consumer was complaining about because that wasn’t well documented. And being able to explain to an agent, why it’s important to capture, you know, the consumer complaint correctly and accurately and ask questions to dig in and help with that triage. And explain to them Now, why right down the path to the technician and how that benefits the consumer, but also to, you know, talk to the technician and let them understand that sometimes, you know, you’re, you’re talking to a consumer that’s at work, right, I’m not in front of my appliance, I can’t really tell you, I know it’s not working, or it made this random noise once that they’re not going to have everything. So, you know, really making sure that we balance and both sides understand the complexities and the difficulties and all the fun stuff that you have to do to accomplish the roles that you have. It’s been really helpful to know both of those sides and to have to be able to have those conversations, whether it’s, you know, being empathetic and understanding the pains that each side is going through, or, you know, helping to make sure those dots are connected properly.
Nick Glimsdahl 8:55
Yeah, yeah. Well, we’ll put I’m the guy and I want to talk about the customer or effortless experience here in a little bit, but I’m the guy that will talk to the technician and give it the Well it sounds like clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, in making all these noise. So I’m sure you guys have heard that you should create almost a soundtrack of people making noise of what your system sounds like,
Steve Zannos 9:20
I will say one of the cool things about now everyone having smartphones is we’re probably starting to get less and less of the blank, blank, blank, blank, and more and more of the I will send you a video of what it is. Whether it’s like, you know, it’s shaking or the noise. And and sometimes we just asked a consumer-like, Hey, you know, I’ve asked around no one’s really familiar with that. Can you record it? And usually, you know, it’s no problem. They’ll grab their, their cell phone, you know, sometimes it’s hard because they’re not really designed to capture these, you know, quiet or noises that sometimes come like the harm of a compressor. But you know, they get their phone pretty much into that appliance to record whatever they can pretty well. Nice.
Nick Glimsdahl 10:07
So in your current role, so the Senior Director of service delivery, explain a little bit about what you do.
Steve Zannos 10:15
Yeah. So I’m responsible for a couple of teams, right, our field service organization, and we have both w two technicians. So Electrolux branded service or Virginia factory service technicians out there, as well as a third party network of independent service providers and servicing dealers that we work with to provide that in home service to our consumers. Also have a technical training and technical support team. So you know, a team that’s out there, well, right now doing mostly WebEx is but also doing some face to face training. As we get back into the you know, travel and having big groups together, we’ll we’ll do face to face training, and the technical support is over the phone. So technicians in the home, working out a product he might not have seen before, or an issue that he’s not familiar with, can call in and we’ll walk them through it. And then there’s also the warranty administration and service or support side. So more of the nontechnical support and warranty side on claims and doing some analytics and kind of managing the store when it comes to our warranty spend and supporting services on anything from, hey, I can’t accept this dispatch for some reason, or I’m having trouble with a claim or, you know, I need a part and I can’t seem to find it. That comes out to my team as well.
Nick Glimsdahl 11:45
Sounds like a lot of responsibility and kind of a plethora of opportunity to help the customer.
Steve Zannos 11:52
Yeah, I think that’s the cool thing is we’re you know, in that space of everything, you know, in that service support outside of the call center, which we work with very closely, is kind of in our bucket. Right? Anything related to that service experience.
Nick Glimsdahl 12:12
Yeah, in when it comes to everybody talks about the customer experience and how you need to walk a mile in their shoes. But why is it important to walk a mile in your employee shoes, and what I mean by that is, you know, sitting in the call center and spending time with field service, because it’s their two different opportunities, but we’re understanding what they’re going through.
Steve Zannos 12:33
Yeah, I think I agree with you. 100%. I think it’s, it’s critical. And I even did a quick little article in the field service news on this exact topic, right? Why do you need to do it. And I think it’s just really important in particular, as you get to, you know, not just the line managers of I am a supervisor for the call center who clearly are listening to calls, right doing, you know, quality assurance on that side. But even as you get to, you know, the higher senior managers, directors in the call centers, and, and even, you know, high level leadership in in organizations, I think it’s critical that they stay connected with those frontline people in particular in customer service, right, it’s, it’s the only way to truly get connected and have that direct understanding of what the consumers are experiencing, and how some of the difficulties you know, we have in processing, and getting that information and connecting and we have a program. In our call center, it’s kind of the voice of consumer, right, which we have to write one is the output of, we send all the information to engineering quality, and every one about what we see in new products and all that but the other is a program that’s actually in our Electrolux University, you can sign up for it, where you go into the call center, and you do a quick tour. And we walk through all the different areas in the call center and what they do. And you know, people come out and they talk about here’s what we do in this group, we support this consumer or we work with this B to B customer and how we support. And then after all that of getting the understanding, you sit with a couple of those groups, you sit with some of the, you know, the consumer call center area, you sit with the b2b side and have that experience and I think it’s critical to really understand what we go through. And to your point, I think it’s not just call center agents, but it’s the field service technicians. We don’t have, you know, too many CEOs or SVP is wanting to drive around with technicians. But I will tell you, our engineering and quality teams go out there all the time and ride with technicians or will have a specific call or two or products that will work with them if we’re having, you know, an issue and they really want to see how it’s working in the field. You know, we’ll work with them to Set up a run of like three calls with the same product and the same error if we can, and they’ll literally fly out to, you know, somewhere remotely and jump in a truck with a technician and hit those three or four calls. and work through that. So I think it’s, it’s invaluable to understand it also, really, you know, nothing pumps up a technician more than them knowing they’re engaged in the quality of the product, right, that they see every day and touch every day. So it’s really good morale booster, even in the call centers, when we have, you know, the day after our CEO or Executive team comes down and sits and, you know, is humble and sitting with the the call center agents, their smile and their high, you know, they’re walking on the ceiling the next day knowing that, you know, it’s we do stuff that’s important enough that the CEO is going to come down and look at it. Um, and then the only final thing I’ll add to that, Nick, and you kind of mentioned it a little bit, um, you know, it’s getting in talking with consumers as well. I think that’s critical. And I know, you know, we have, you know, some executives that a consumer sends them an email, the first thing they do is kick in their email off, right? We have other executives, first thing they get an email like that is they’re calling the consumer, right. And they’re, they’re wanting to get engaged and wanting to have the conversation. And I think that’s critical, too, right? Because that’s what keeps all of, you know, all of the lights on for everyone, right is our consumers and our customers. And I think it’s critical that you get connected and stay connected with those end consumers as well.
Nick Glimsdahl 16:40
Yeah, yeah, constantly have that, listening to the voice of the of the consumer to understand where those pain points are. And it’s always funny when you hear the stories of the executives that jump into the call center, and they try to figure out ways the way that ways that it’s that they think that it’s going to happen, and they are unable to do the things that the customer service rep does, and then creates the the customer service rep feels like they’re on cloud nine, because they’re like, aha, see, I’m at the leadership. I can do what I do, but also the appreciation from the senior senior leadership team, because they’re like, man, I, I noticed that they’re working out of 11 applications, I noticed that here’s the pain point what the customer is feeling, and how that call center representative has to interact with them. So it’s a really cool exercise. And I recommend most or all organizations, kind of take that time and spend with or spend with the associate.
Steve Zannos 17:42
Yeah, I think to your point, every time we do that, the person leaves with a lot more respect for what those agents do every call and every day. So and the agents feel, you know, they kind of hold their head up a little higher for that day in the next couple of days.
Nick Glimsdahl 18:03
Yeah, so what does customer experience mean to you?
Steve Zannos 18:07
Yeah, so I think I mentioned Right, right. For us, it’s, you know, it’s not just the experience, but for Electrolux, and we’ve been focusing on it’s how do we make it effortless? Right, and what are we doing? So that’s really been our drive, and that’s, you know, and we focus on that, um, you know, from the consumers perspective, we measure that in the call center, we measure it in from the service call. But we also look at it from a support side, right. So, you know, on my team, we’re not only measuring an after service, experience, or satisfaction, or effortless score, but we’re measuring how we support our customers right now at the end consumers, but our customers, so in the tech support line, if a technician calls in after that call, they’re asked just three quick questions, right, we just asked them, like, was our tech support person knowledgeable? Was it clear to understand that, did we make this easier and help you? Right? So just three quick questions, but we start to measure that. So how do technicians feel when they’re calling us? And then the other side from the service or support, you know, we have servicers calling in for claims and other things. We do the same thing, just three or four quick questions of, you know, did the person you talk to understand your issue, were they able to help? Did we make it easy for you? Right. So we measure that not just from the consumer side, but from all of our customers as well. And, and it I think making sure that end to end process is effortless is is critical. And one of the things we’re really focused on?
Nick Glimsdahl 19:51
Yeah, yeah, it’s, if you can find ways to reduce effort. You know, there’s direct correlations of increasing the other metrics that you’re measuring. And, you know, when it comes to effortless experience, I think people have different definitions. But and it’s kind of like customer experience, but, you know, how would you define effortless experience for? You are or add Electrolux?
Steve Zannos 20:21
Yeah. So I think for us, it’s, it’s really how do we make it easier for the customer, right, and what we want to do is be the least disruptive on and as painless as possible for the customer. So you know, some of the key things that we look at, in terms of those metrics, and in connecting, you know, with the consumer, it’s, it’s one connect with them where they want to write. So if I want to call, make sure I have a phone number to call, if I want to chat, make sure we have a avenue for you to chat, that’s easy to get to, on the phone to send an email, right, there’s an email, we haven’t gotten to texting yet. But you know, there’s the text to chat kind of functionality that we’re kind of implementing and working through. So really being able to, you know, go where the consumer wants to go when it comes to the communication. And working through that, you know, I think the next thing is, is you get to the appointment. Um, you know, hold true and arrive, when you tell me, you’re gonna arrive, right, we have arrived one promise, right? So upfront, we’re trying to get an appointment that’s based on what the customer needs, not based on what we have. We’re not 100% their head. But because capacity is an issue, especially now, but we really want to focus on getting a time that’s convenient for the consumer. And then making sure we get there when we promised that we say we’re going to be there. So that’s critical piece to make sure that’s effortless, because the worst thing is, you know, you take time off, you’re waiting at home, and no one shows up, or you took all the F the morning and we show up in the afternoon and you’re like, Hey, I couldn’t take the whole day I took my time off. So you know, that’s a critical piece for us. And then the other thing is just, you know, driving the first call complete, right? The other thing that’s really bad is, you know, get there, and then now I have to take a second day off, because I have to order a part, I have to work through it. So those are just three kind of key metrics that help us you know, define what that is. But I think in general, it’s just making it easy, less disruptive, as I said, painless as possible, and trying to be as proactive as you can and thinking about, you know, not only what the customer, you know, needs now, but what they’re going to need in the future. And I think one of the examples that we’ve done, you know, this year in particular with, you know, COVID-19 is, you know, there’s all this focus on health and safety with COVID-19. And we started to look and say, Hey, as technicians, what can we do to help a customer? So we started to really ask the consumer, hey, you know, I’m here for your snow, but looks like you have a Frigidaire refrigerator. You know, do you have a backup water filter, do you need to change your water filter, because safe clean water is critical. Now, I’m and I haven’t a truck, I can get your water filter versus you, you know, going on Amazon and maybe buying some, you know, fly by night filter that’s got paper, you know, shredded in it, or you know, going to try to jump around those Home Depot Walmart to try to find a filter, and you’re going to get the right one. And you know, you’re trying to minimize your visits. So we really kind of looked at that as as a piece of being effortless, right? You know, I’m here, I can help you with this or that? Or can I look at some other products, we really started to stretch out more than just, you know, run in repair it and get the heck out. Right. So I’m trying to be a little bit more proactive, I think is a piece of that too.
Nick Glimsdahl 24:06
Yeah, yeah, that’s so always you add more value to because it’s not you’re not just trying to complete your task and get the heck out of there. And in the call center it’s you know, the average handle time Yes, you know, how do I solve my problem in our solve the consumers problem in the least amount of time and you know, not be courteous not have empathy, not do all the things you need to do but because I’m measured on it, but if you are not measured on something like that, you kind of take a step back and say, hey, let’s focus on the customer. And you mentioned that the timeframe as a consumer, regardless of what that if it’s hpac or anything and somebody’s like, Hey, I’m gonna come by to service here, your HVAC unit between eight and 7pm. And I’m like, okay, and they show up and they don’t have the right part in the Last thing you want to do is like you said, Take that second day. So doing what you say you’re going to do. You know, it’s it seems like it’s always the golden rule, but a lot of companies still are not doing it.
Steve Zannos 25:12
Yeah. And I think it’s, it’s, you know, having the communication, again, that we talked about before, to know when things are going, right. If we’re, if we are running late, when are we letting the consumer know? Is it when we arrive at the door and saying, sorry, we’re late. Or, you know, do I know my by third call that, hey, that second call was really longer than I thought it was going to be? So I’m going to be late, you know, how are we communicating that, right? We’ve got, you know, customer service, you know, a customer portal where we’ve got statuses of jobs, and we’re talking, we do text, right. So hey, listen, we’re running late, we’ve got that going. So it’s really, you know, because we’re not going to be 100%. That’s just reality. But when you’re not 100%, what are you doing to be proactive? Let that consumer know as soon as possible, and allow them to make the call and say, Hey, listen, you know, I can’t, I can’t push it to the afternoon. We’re gonna have to reschedule, if I’m telling you that at nine o’clock, or 10 o’clock, versus at two o’clock, when I show up calling you saying, Hey, where are you? Like, dude, I have to go back to work. Right? Um, you got I mean, consumers in general, are, you know, flexible, they’re willing to work with you. If they know when they don’t know, that’s when we get into really big, big troubles.
Nick Glimsdahl 26:36
Yeah. And when people don’t know, they assume. And you deteriorate, deteriorate? They’re, they’re trusting you. Yeah. Because they’re like, Okay, well, you’re saying you’re going to do it tomorrow, but are you really going to write? Are you going to show up on time? But so let’s transition to leadership buy in? When you’re trying to get buy in? How important is it to share that customer story?
Steve Zannos 27:04
Yeah, I think again, I think that’s critical, right. And I think it’s not only you know, with the leadership, I think it’s just other teams that you interact with, right, because as you mentioned, we’re changing processes, we’re doing things differently, we may need to change metrics in the call center, or I may need to have the product line engineering and quality be more connected to the consumer and understand that. So I’m sharing that and understanding how that all fits in is critical. And we’ve had some really good successes with our quality team in building better, stronger, you know, bonds and relationships and collaboration with the service team and the quality team. Because we’ve been more focused, and as we’ve done that the company has been more focused on the consumer view, right? So yeah, we still measure, you know, our service call rate or incident rate or failure rate, whatever you want to call it. But, you know, even our quality team now is focused on star ratings for products, right? What are consumers telling us about our products, and, by the way, the quality and star rating of a product could have nothing to do with the functionality, I mean, that product may be working perfectly, but you know, what the app you sent me to use, that you know to use with the product doesn’t work, or it’s a connected product, and I couldn’t get it connected, or I don’t even know how to use this function. And it’s not really working what and it you know, the function works. But the consumer just it’s too complex, and we didn’t simplify it. That’s how you can get a one or two star rating, right? It doesn’t have to be like, my oven broke down three times in the last month, one star, right? It could be working perfectly, and you could still get one star. So I’m going through that journey. Right. And we even journey map that process in a couple of different angles, I think is critical to share that big picture view, from everyone from the agents, to technicians to quality to leadership, and getting that going, you know, getting that shared and getting that view across the board with everyone. And I think that also helps us, you know, find gaps as we look at, you know, service to quality in our communication, we found gaps that we’re not really getting as many parts back as we should to the quality team to help them address issues right quickly. So consumers don’t have to sit there and wait while we’re trying to figure out you know, what’s really wrong with it. So there are those gaps that we have that are either internal as well as gaps that are external and you know, one of the gaps big external gaps we had was, we didn’t really have a way to communicate to the consumer about what’s going on with their job. Except for a technician giving them a call or, you know, technician calling us and some end around to call the consumer. So what normally would happen was, we’d see that, you know, for every job we run, we get 234 calls from the consumer, right? where it should just be the one call that consumer calling to, you know, tell us what’s wrong. And then we got it. And then we communicate. So I think I mentioned before we, you know, pull together a consumer service portal, kind of like a pizza tracker, right? This is stupid term for it. But you know, we’re just like, you know, Domino’s you know, what’s going on, I know that Sally’s putting my pizza in the oven, I know that, you know, Joe’s cutting it up. And now Sam’s got it, the car and he’s driving. So we’ve built that type of communication path, and texting and all the other things with consumers to keep them up to date. You know, you know, I had to order part, if it’s one of those, you know, tough situations. But let me tell you, when the parts coming, and after that’s coming, let me tell you when I’m going to be there. So you don’t have to call to say what’s going on with my part, where is it? You can watch that, you know, you can watch her the whole service call kind of evolve on a portal that’s specifically for you. Right, that link goes specifically to your portal for that job? To give you all the information you need.
Nick Glimsdahl 31:22
Yeah, no, I love that, um, you know, as I can always go back in every conversation is the, me as a consumer, I always feel like I’m not a very technical person, like I love, you know, trying to fix things or build stuff for you know, but inside the customer service I, I like to sell serve, instead of calling the right calling. That’s just my preference. Yeah. And the same is true, if I can find a way to fix something without having to call, I really would prefer that. So how important is it to help the consumer help themselves?
Steve Zannos 31:57
Yeah, I think it’s very important. It also goes back to, you know, you just described from your experience or what you want, right to go back to, you know, helping consumers where they want to, you know, go and be helped, right? And some people want to do that, right, the number one place, where are the number one way consumers get information. And we, you know, we’ve asked, consumers isn’t calling us, the first thing they’re going to do is they jump on the web, and they google it right? Or they jump in, they go to YouTube, right? To try to understand it. Um, they don’t call because they know I call, I’m going to wait, I’m going to talk to someone I’m going to pass around, right? There’s just this experience that you have. So and now it’s all you know, everything’s out there. It’s all digital, the informations readily accessible. So I think it’s critical that, you know, we create videos and content for, you know, not only DIY stuff, like you were talking about, but even kind of the use and care and how to use features. And, you know, why should we wait for a consumer or force or consumer to call us I have to reset my clock, right? times change, right? How do I reset my clock on my oven, sometimes there’s an easy way the buttons right there, sometimes it’s a little bit more buried in a menu of, you know, functions. And you know, want to have a quick video of, hey, here’s how you do it. It’s this menu, this function, boom, boom, boom, and you’re done. And I can figure that out, in you know, 15 seconds watching, you know, 15/32 video universes calling, waiting, getting to someone, someone having to look it up, and, you know, then go there because, you know, every product is going to be a little bit different. So, I think that’s critical. And, um, you know, we’ve set up a Frigidaire YouTube channel for consumers. And it’s got a you know, a bunch of videos, everything from you know, how to clean your oven, how to set your clock, all that stuff, to even recipes, right for, you know, I want to air fry some, you know, chicken wings, or I want to build an upside down cake or something, you can get recipes and the step by step for doing that. Um, but I do think the other thing for us was, it’s not just, you know, again, I go back to, we have consumers are in consumers. And then we have customers, right. And in this space, one of our customers are the independent technicians. So we’ve also done the same for our technicians where we have, you know, a mobile app now that has all of our technical information. It’s basically a knowledge management system. It’s got, you know, videos on special bulletins and you know, if we have a service bulletin or service flash tech tips, how to do diagnostics. So we now have tools to do the same to help a technician who is more mechanically inclined and probably does a lot more repairs in their house, you know, find that information. Same thing, right? Rather than them having to, you know, they don’t want to a lot of times they don’t want to call tech support when the consumer is there. So sometimes they look, I’ll have to go to my truck to get something. So I got parked outside, I’ve got to call in, I’ve got to be on hold. Now the consumer is wondering why you know, it’s 10 or 15
Nick Glimsdahl 35:19
minutes as a Why would he take a break? What’s going on here?
Steve Zannos 35:22
Exactly. So now, you know, he can get that and he’s on his phone, like right there. And you know, the consumer just assumes he’s looking stuff up, and he can get that information. Or I can be you know, I’m going into a dishwasher that I never worked on before. How do I put it in diagnostic mode, I can watch a video when I’m outside in the driveway, and feel a lot more confident when I walk into the home, that I know what it can do to figure out how that works. Yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 35:46
I love that in it kind of goes back to reducing effort on both sides. So really, really cool. And really appreciate that. So I wrap up every podcast with two questions. The first question is what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year? And then the second one is, if you could leave a note to all the customer service professionals, it’s gonna hit everybody’s desk, in a rate reach the hundreds of 1000s of customer service professionals, what would it say?
Steve Zannos 36:14
Yeah, so, um, I will plead guilty. I’m not a huge reader. But um, you know, one of the books that we’re reading right now, kind of as a team, is a book called The forever transaction. And it’s really focused on building those long term consumer relationships. And, you know, getting into kind of the subscription models type of service, and how do we add, you know, lifetime value to the consumer. And it’s been interesting, because as you know, we look at that and how that fits. For us in the service side. And how that translates, you know, we’ve really started to put a little bit more focus on the extended service agreements, preventative maintenance agreements, how do we get monthly payment plans for those to make them more accessible to consumers? Right, you know, especially if you look at, you know, younger consumers now. You know, it’s all about how do I get that monthly subscription, right? If I have my mobile phone, right, I have, you know, whether it’s through apple or through something, I pay a month, and if I, you know, lose my phone, I get a replacement, right? At the end of whatever time I you know, even if you have a phone through your carrier, right, you’re kind of leasing it and paying as you go. And at the end, it’s all paid for, and you can trade it in, sell it, do whatever, right, you’re not, you’re not putting up the $700 or 800, or 1000, whatever they are now, right? for the iPhone, you’re doing that in, you know, $20.30 $50 increments over the next two or three years, you can go by it, but there’s also on these other options. So we’re really looking at how we can do that on the service side. And really leverage the great relationships our technicians have built and are building every day with our consumers, right? How do we kind of turn that into, you know, the technicians saying and being confident saying, hey, if you, you know, do this or subscribe to this plan, you know, whenever you have a problem, I will come here and help you right to have that one to one relationship. So it’s been an interesting concept and an interesting read, and, and really fun to think about that, um, from the, you know, after sales from the service perspective.
Nick Glimsdahl 38:44
That’s awesome. And then the second one, if you could leave a note, all the customer service professionals, what would it say?
Steve Zannos 38:50
Yeah, I would say, um, you know, enjoy your time in customer service, right. I know, it can be challenging. Um, you’ll deal with difficult situations and difficult customers. But I think it’s also very rewarding. And you’re one of the few people in your organization that is directly connected and has that direct line, to the end consumer or direct to the customer. And that experience and knowledge is extremely valuable, and helpful, as you know, as you go on throughout your career, right. And always being able to point back in any given industry or any given country of a company, um, and saying, Hey, I understand what our consumers and our customers go through and what they expect and what they need. You know, I think it with that experience, it opens up a whole bunch of different opportunities within the organization. So I think, I think it’s really To me, it’s just enjoy it. Get ready to, you know, leverage and use that knowledge to drive change throughout the rest of the organization.
Nick Glimsdahl 40:08
That’s great, great advice. You want to connect with Steve, you can connect with him on LinkedIn. Steve xenos Steve STV, no ZANNO s Don’t forget the second end there. And Steve, what is the customers number one customer service group on LinkedIn, what is the official title so people can get at getting get connected?
Steve Zannos 40:38
Yeah, it’s just customer service professionals. If you’d search that in the group, or just Do you know any search it’ll it’ll jump up and and you’ll get it.
Nick Glimsdahl 40:48
That’s great. Steve, thank you so much for your time. It’s been great to hear what you guys are up to and your perspective on customer effort.
Steve Zannos 40:56
Yeah, no, great. Thanks for the opportunity. Good talking to you.