Response Time: Vol. 26

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

With Steve Tondé, Support Desk Manager at PayShepherd.

Please tell us a little bit about your company and what you do there.
I’m the Support Desk Manager at PayShepherd, and a significant focus for 2024 will be bringing scalability to the structure and sophistication of our support operation. PayShepherd is a SaaS business specializing in the heavy industry sector, encompassing mining. At PayShepherd, we leverage technology as a catalyst, empowering our clients to engage in transparent conversations with their vendors.

What word or phrase in customer service jargon should be retired?
“We appreciate your business.” While it may sound polite, it’s cliché. True appreciation is demonstrated through tangible efforts to enhance the user experience. Usually when I hear “we appreciate your business,” I can already tell the level of service and non-personalization I will be receiving from the organization.

“Kevin Hart would excel in a customer service role”

Which celebrity would be really great at your job, and why?
Without a doubt, Kevin Hart would excel in a customer service role. His charisma, positivity, and genuine interactions with fans make him a natural fit. Kevin’s talent for diffusing tense situations with humor would be invaluable, turning potential conflicts into moments of levity. Furthermore, his ability to connect with people from all backgrounds, evident in his stand-up comedy, enables him to understand and empathize with customer concerns on a personal level. Kevin Hart’s unique blend of humor, empathy, and relatability would undoubtedly elevate any customer service experience.

What’s the most valuable thing that working in customer service has taught you?
Working in customer service has taught me that there’s often more than meets the eye – to borrow from Optimus Prime in Transformers. When faced with a request for assistance or an escalated issue, it’s essential to dig deeper. By asking questions like why the issue was raised, where it originated, and if there are underlying issues such as documentation, training, or unmet expectations, we can uncover the root cause and provide more effective solutions. This approach not only resolves immediate concerns but also prevents similar issues from arising in the future, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience.

Describe the essence of great customer service using only three words.
Convenient, accurate, and personalized to the needs of the audience.

“No need to wait in line anymore, plus, he can fly!”

Which movie robot would you choose as your AI sidekick and why?
Easy question – for sure, Baymax! He is programmed with 10,000 different medical procedures and equipment, such as defibrillators in his hands and an antibacterial spray that is dispensed from his fingers. No need to wait in line anymore, plus, he can fly!

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to your peers in the customer service industry?
I would encourage my peers in the customer service industry to prioritize relationship building across all levels and functions within their respective organization. By fostering meaningful connections with colleagues from various departments – ranging from finance to product to customer success management – you not only enhance communication but also gain invaluable insights into their perspectives and priorities.

“As you strive to deliver exceptional customer experiences, the support and cooperation of stakeholders across the organization are super important”

Understanding the language and priorities of your colleagues enables you to effectively collaborate and contribute to their success, which in turn drives overall business success. As you strive to deliver exceptional customer experiences, the support and cooperation of stakeholders across the organization are super important. Therefore, investing in relationships and aligning your efforts with the goals and metrics that matter to your peers is key to achieving collective success.

What book are you reading at the moment?
CXOXO: Building a Support Team Your Customers Will Love by Mercer Smith.

What’s the best thing a customer has ever said to you?
“I want to work with you all, you are good people.” This is a clear example of taking a customer from detractor to champion. I have to share a notable moment from a previous organization – a customer, initially a detractor of our solution, transitioned into a champion within their organization. This transformation underscores the importance of excellent customer service.

What gif best describes your mental state right now?

Where do you get your support leadership news?
The Support Driven community, Neal Travis – Growth Support Podcast, and Stephanie Lundberg’s Support Human Resources.

If you wrote a book about your experiences in customer service, what would the title be?
That is a great question! What are the odds, I have a blog that chronicles my journey in customer service. Although not a book, The Customer Support Chronicles aims to keep track of lessons learned, tips, and tricks of the trade.

What’s the strangest thing a customer has asked you?
The customer did not want to deal with their lawyer and asked me if I could call their lawyer to help them with their affairs.

What’s your most used emoji in customer chats? 


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.