Response Time Vol. 10

Response Time: Vol. 10

You satisfy your customers, but can you satisfy our curiosity?

With Rune Rødbro, Chief Success Officer at iPaper.

Please tell us a little bit about your company and what you do there.

iPaper helps retail and direct selling companies in 60+ countries turn their catalogs into an inspiring buying experience. Over the past eight years, I have grown iPaper’s customer care department from a single person to nine people across three teams. As Chief Success Officer, I am responsible for the post-sales customer experience.

In 2022, my team achieved a streak of 199 days with perfect CSAT, and ended the year with a CSAT average of 99.3%. This result was achieved primarily by my amazingly capable team, who come to work every day to create experiences of success and delight.

Which celebrity would be really great at your job, and why?

I feel Paul Rudd would be great at my job. He is a great communicator, and makes any topic digestible with wit and charm. He demonstrates problem-solving skills through his constant ability to think on his feet and deliver clever improvisations. He is a team player and can rally people to a shared cause. As I am writing this, I realize I’d really love to give him the chance for a week – Paul, you’re cordially invited to act as Chief Success Officer for a week. Let me know when best suits you 😅

“Focusing on the positive does not mean ignoring or dismissing customer concerns; it means acknowledging those concerns while also emphasizing the solutions”

What’s the most valuable thing that working in customer service has taught you?

Focus on the positive! This is one of our mantras in iPaper customer care. If you enter a conversation that has been waiting for a response with “I am so sorry for the wait,” you enforce the customers’ potential feeling of frustration and inefficiency. Instead, enter the conversation with, “Thank you so much for your patience 🙏” to disarm the situation. Sorry = negative; thank you = positive. This way, we can save the apologies for when we really need them! “Focus on the positive” can be applied to any communication scenario.

Remember, focusing on the positive does not mean ignoring or dismissing customer concerns; it means acknowledging those concerns while also emphasizing the solutions, benefits, and positive aspects related to your product or service. Striving for positive communication helps to create a customer-centric approach that fosters satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

What’s your greatest productivity hack?

More tools than hacks, I guess. I rely massively on TextExpander and Alfred (Mac) for all my daily tasks. TextExpander lets me write super fast by expanding a wide array of often-used text blocks. Alfred is my personal assistant and enables me to do almost everything with just my keyboard 🤩

What gif best describes your mental state right now?

Which movie robot would you choose as your AI sidekick and why?

I would choose R2-D2. Such a lovable and resourceful droid known for its loyalty, bravery, and technical expertise. It can navigate unknown terrains, hack into systems, and even project holographic messages (GIFs). R2-D2 would make my day, every day.

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to your peers in the customer service industry?

Ask the right questions to understand the underlying “why” or “what.” More often than not, customers will come to you asking how to do a specific thing. Not because they know this to be best practice, but because this is what they believe to be the solution based on their current experience and knowledge level. Instead of just providing what they are asking for, try to understand their goal. By understanding the customer’s goal – what they are looking to achieve – you are now equipped to provide the best course of action towards that goal, using your experience and knowledge level. This can dramatically reduce the customer’s perceived effort, as well as save them time, by doing it right the first time around.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I am re-reading (re-listening to, really) Alchemy by Rory Sutherland. It is such an amazing book, I would highly recommend it to anyone. The audiobook is narrated by the author, which is part of what makes it so awesome! Rory Sutherland explores how seemingly minor shifts in perception and approach can yield remarkable transformations. Through the lens of customer experience, he reveals how businesses can unlock extraordinary possibilities, turning constraints into opportunities and creating memorable interactions that leave customers delighted and loyal.

“Working in customer service provides you with a profound understanding of customer and business challenges, as well as how to help others succeed while working as a team”

What’s your most used emoji in customer chats?

I celebrate a lot with our customers, so definitely 🥳

Do you identify more with the title “customer support,” customer service,” “customer success,” or “customer experience,” and why?

Customer experience. All my teams are working towards creating a great experience, whether it be through technical help, outcome management, or enablement via great content. To us, the exchange or the experience we create is as much a product as our software.

What do you wish people knew about working in customer service?

It can provide an amazing career path if you take ownership of your role and remain curious (ask questions). Working in customer service provides you with a profound understanding of customer and business challenges, as well as how to help others succeed while working as a team. This experience and insight can give you a godlike advantage towards securing a role in customer success, product management, development, or management, to name just a few. For this reason, you see companies starting new hires in customer support for a week or month, regardless of the role they were hired for. You learn invaluable lessons that cannot be picked up elsewhere.

Conversation closed… for now 😏

If you’re interested in being featured in our Response Time series, you can share your insights on customer service – and movie robot sidekicks – with us here.