Back in February of this year, the Stevie Awards were held in Las Vegas. The Stevie Award is a recognition presented by the American Business Awards for excellence in customer service (our team has won a few ourselves). Constant Contact won in all three categories that we were entered in and one of those winners was Barbara Frye, who won Gold for Front-Line Customer Service Professional of the Year. Barbara is a Process Improvement Analyst and heads our Close the Feedback Loop program. Have you filled out a product survey and left comments? Chances are that Barbara has probably read them!
I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with her and find out more about what she does and how important your voice and feedback is to her.
Barbara Frye has made measurable gains with our customers and the way Constant Contact gathers and manages customer feedback. In October 2017, Barbara took over Constant Contact’s Close the Feedback Loop program, which was previously handled by multiple employees. Close the Feedback Loop is our post-survey follow-up process which oversees customer responses throughout their time with us. This process identifies customers, based on their survey responses, who may be unsatisfied or have valuable feedback to share so we can connect with them and demonstrate that we truly care about their experience.
Since Barbara took over, Constant Contact now reaches out to 96% of all customers who give us lower survey scores. Prior to this, we were reaching out to an average of 61%. This has greatly impacted Constant Contact’s daily operations as she has helped identify defects as well as new processes that have allowed for new features to be built into the product in addition to specific practices to improve the customer experience.
Congratulations, Barbara! Thank you so much for talking with us today. We’re excited to get to know you, find out more about what you do here at Constant Contact and what led to your recognition as a Gold Stevie Award winner.
Q: To start, tell us what your role is at Constant Contact. Could you also tell us a little bit about your time here?
I started with Customer Support 3 years ago and then quickly moved to Customer Success. When the Close the Feedback Loop position became available, I was interested in moving to Process Improvement. Working with other teams in the past gave me a broad scope of what our customers were looking for. I look through surveys both in product and our surveys that are sent after an interaction with an agent. I review both the numbers and the comments and then reach out via both phone and email to these people and offer an appointment to discuss their feedback and what issues they experienced to impact their scores. A lot of it is explaining why we don’t have certain features or processes or sometimes explaining that we do. Most of the feedback we gather is product related and getting to the root issue of why a customer is looking for a feature we may not have.
Q: You won recognition as Customer Service Professional of the Year at the 2018 Stevie Awards. What do you think resonated with your work that has led to this recognition?
It’s a unique program that I don’t think a lot of other companies have, reaching out directly to customers to find out more about their feedback. It shows that we truly care about what they think and we want their input on how to be better. Most customers mention that they have filled out so many surveys and have never had anyone reach out later to discuss the feedback. My goal is to call out to 800 people per quarter. Overall with email and calls it’s about 1100 per month. This week I reached out to 451 follow-ups.
Q: Since you started in this role, how has it changed from when you joined the team and how we work with customers and their feedback?
The role has changed quite a bit. It started low key but we discovered it was really working so we keep adding volume. We also now have someone who can cover when I leave. That role was only developed because of how valuable the work we do is. I’m kind of on an island in that my role is much different from the rest of the Process Improvement team. We have been able to clarify expectations so that our management team can reach out to customers who may need some direct contact.
Q: How do you see your role evolving in the future?
The idea is for the team to grow and for me to possibly have a teammate so that we can reach out to more customers via phone where we get better and more personal feedback. We also want to be able to reach out on even more surveys and interactions, of course.
Q: What changes do you think could be implemented based on the feedback customers give?
We have found many issues that have since been resolved. Like an old link for email support that was impacting customers negatively because of course, they weren’t getting a response. Also, I have been able to provide and gather a lot of feedback on our Segments feature that customers can use for so many things. This feedback goes directly to our Product team so that we can make this feature more user-friendly. We also want to provide and also learn how we can get more information about Segments to customers so they know how powerful this tool can be.
Q: Can you give an example of feedback that was given that made it into the product?
Feedback was given about borders around blocks and vertical dividers and since then, these features have made it into our third-generation editor. How exciting is that?!
Q: What does winning a Stevie mean to you?
It means I blush a lot. But there is a lot of validation in that and the recognition that Close The Feedback Loop is a unique program and that we are growing. Recognition from the Stevie judges means that my role is unique and should grow into something bigger. Our customers are feeling listened to and that is creating such a positive influence on our customers.
Q: Anything on the horizon you want to share with customers?
A: The one I think people will be most excited about is that the Search Campaigns function is going to roll out to all customers. But please if there is one thing I could ask all of you for, it would be to please fill out your survey. It provides our team with valuable information to help improve our product and processes so that you, the customer, gets the unique service and product you deserve.