Sophie’s Voice: Scaling the Personal Touch in Customer Service

2/8/11

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need (or want) their problem resolved or question answered immediately, or if she can “get back to them” via e-mail. E-mail is the most scalable solution because it is completely asynchronous, and canned responses provide the base of most answers. Our customers have become increasingly comfortable with asynchronous communication because we have built a rapport, and they are confident that they will receive a timely response.

4) Hire for personality

One of the ways Zappos has scaled great customer service is by hiring great people, and giving them freedom to make decisions. If you trust your service reps, and they truly care about your customers, they will take it upon themselves to keep users happy and coming back. Empathy is probably the most important personality trait. If your customers have a problem, then your customer service reps should be fighting with you, not with your customers. They should empathize with the customer. If they do, they will be incredibly efficient when it comes to solving their problems.

Customer Service as a Competitive Advantage

We are lucky that one of our main competitors has a reputation for providing bad customer service.

Even though WePay raised money from the founder of PayPal, the comparison between the two companies was not made until PayPal decided to freeze the account of the Flux foundation—a non-profit arts organization—just a few days before the Flux Crew headed to the Black Rock Desert to build their famous Temple for Burning Man. The Flux Foundation and a ton of other people collecting donations for various projects and causes ended up turning to WePay in protest (and in desperation). That’s when people started comparing us to PayPal.

WePay was painted as the “friendly” PayPal alternative. CNN actually referred to us as the anti-PayPal. The comparison isn’t completely accurate, because WePay is focused on helping normal people collect money from others in their social circles, whereas PayPal is focused on helping merchants sell goods or services online. But it was great for us in terms of press and branding, so we embraced it: “Yeah, we are kind of like PayPal, but we love our customers, have great customer service, and try really hard not to freeze your accounts.”

For WePay, good customer service is a competitive advantage. It is one of our “killer features,” and the reason people increasingly recommend WePay when they hear somebody complaining about PayPal.

Rich Aberman is the founder of WePay.com. Follow @

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