In times of the Sharing Economy, i.e. the common use of resources that are only temporarily needed, exceptional customer service is becoming more and more important to support customers in their effort to share efficiently, trustworthily and reliably.
Correspondingly the SELLBYTEL Group has just started to support an industry partner with pre and post sales services at our hub in Berlin. This includes the languages German, Dutch, Russian, French and Spanish. Here our sales and service experts take care of all questions concerning an international accommodation booking portal.
The German capital’s vast international character clearly benefits us in the recruitment for all these languages. In the city we find all languages in native quality needed for our services – on a mother tongue level.
In order to give you a better idea of what this is all about, the following gives you an insight into the essence of the Sharing Economy and its core target groups. This is followed by a discussion of SELLBYTEL’s unique solutions in the field as well as the challenge connected to it.
What is the Sharing Economy really about?
The Sharing Economy is principally a new lifestyle supported by companies providing a platform for people to exchange goods or services. In other words, a company uses a platform to help customers trade its goods or services. These might belong to all kinds of categories like mobility, food, fashion, finance, toys or real estate.
But: why exactly is this format so successful? It is pretty simple: a platform like that can easily and quickly connect millions of people across the world! It is truly scalable and can grow fast with the right user adoption.
The key idea is that people do not merely communicate via the platform, but that they are able to safely exchange their goods and services. The company providing the platform guarantees a safe and reliable trade and also offers the right search and match functionality. On top of that a user-rating for people transacting on the platform implicitly assures the quality of the transaction. Only well-rated users will be considered for transactions, while low rated users are neglected by the general audience.
What makes the Sharing Economy so attractive for business-makers?
There is a strong cultural aspect to making business in a Sharing Economy. With platforms like the ones introduced above, people have goods at their disposal that they want to take advantage of in the most profitable way. However, the Sharing Economy format is not merely about financial returns, but equally social aspects. By engaging with these kinds of platforms people simply get a good feeling because they benefit the society or the environment. This includes them buying lesser cars due to car-sharing or less accommodation being vacant due to house-renting platforms. After all, this cultural exchange leads to quicker, more efficient and resource-saving business-making. At the same time it decreases damage to the environment and most importantly connects people in real life again. In today’s hyper-connected times where everything is digital, people seek real-life contacts again to learn and experience more as well as make friends around the world – especially in the travel Sharing Economy. This is also a huge aspect of this type of Sharing Economy.
What is the target group?
The average Sharing Economy customer is definitely not a penny-pincher, boring or unattractive consumer. He or she is below 40, has a decent education, likes to spend money and enjoys a very dynamic and active lifestyle. He or she is also not a fan of status symbols and instead focuses on collaborative consumption à la rent, borrow and share.
As a result this type of target audience requires a wholly new quality of support. People not only expect to be supported directly by the platform, but also via all available channels, including phone, E-mail, chat, social media or apps. This multichannel approach requires a great deal of cultural and social understanding as well as the right management of customers across these channels. By that we mean support specialists showing great empathy regarding customer issues and requests, vast product expertise and emotional intelligence in spotting and meeting people’s needs. Of course this human factor needs to be supported by state-of-the-art technology to enable top service quality.
So what exactly are SELLBYTEL’s differentiators?
According to Philipp Grimm, SELLBYTEL VP Worldwide Sales, “what makes our approach so unique is our high level of emotional intelligence. Our service culture is very much based on the soft factors accountability, reliability and trust. “
This means we give our people the freedom to help the customer as much as possible. We give them empowerment and responsibility instead of a tight process framework. Everyone can decide by themselves how exactly they will help out. Hence people are being encouraged to think for themselves and find solutions to questions like: how will I tackle the challenge quickly and effectively? How do I go “above and beyond“, or how do I exceed the customer’s expectations? And, what could be the customer’s next question and how can I personally enlighten the service experience?
So to us it is all about delivering something on top! As a result we have been performing very well when it comes to our main KPI, the net promoter score (NPS) (= the recommendation rate).
Philipp Grimm explains: “To ensure this high level of service quality with our employees, our recruitment process is correspondingly proactive and innovative. We provide, for instance, our employees with business cards that include a QR code with a link to our client’s website application portal. They then distribute these cards to people who, in their opinion, delivered excellent service – be it in a retail shop or restaurant. This is how we make sure to address the right candidates with an extraordinary service orientation from the start. We thereby also ensure that we automatically exclude those people lacking a strong service idea.”
We have further developed new training suites that not only cover hard skills, process knowledge or general soft skills. We have also added cultural and awareness training as an essential part of every onboarding. Before people go into training, SELLBYTEL conducts workshops to motivate them to create their own set of values and mission. This includes how they want to run the service and how they will work as a team to become successful. This drives the motivation to excel. Moreover we run awareness trainings to show new staff how their actions will influence the different KPIs and most importantly the NPS or CSAT (= customer satisfaction). Here we focus on the fact that KPIs are not just about numbers. We demonstrate that these numbers have a real-life meaning for the SELLBYTEL client, their ecosystem and rhythm of business. So SELLBYTEL creates an environment of understanding for customer needs and what is important to reach top NPS scores.
What is the challenge?
Our client’s business has been growing rapidly. Yet this fast expansion also leads to greater service demands and to the need for flexibility and scale. So there is a big challenge connected to growth. The question is: how do we ensure a stable service quality when employee numbers are growing fast? We set our focus on three main things – the right location where talent is vastly available, the right recruiting approach to hire only staff that fits the cultural DNA for the service and a rigid training framework with extended incubation classes – in combination with more management resources per class. That means our staff will go live almost with the same NPS level as the existing employees.
Please feel free to get back to Ferdinand Grimm via Ferdinand.Grimm@sellbytel.de with questions or feedback.