How “takes one to know one” works for a unique brand and its customers
ThinkGeek customers are techies who often ask questions that test a call center agent’s product knowledge. That’s one reason the company regularly sends its products to Global Response for agents to play with. “We make it a point to send the ones we get the most questions about,” says Brisbane Benedicto, Operations Specialist for ThinkGeek. “We’ve even designated a Global Response agent to be a Product Specialist for us. When other agents have questions, he will be the go-to guy because he’s a techie himself and a customer who already lives our brand.”
Having a Product Specialist also streamlines the escalation process. “If agents have a question the specialist can’t answer, he can contact the merchant, who can contact the vendor to get the answer,” says Benedicto. “He can take responsibility for coordinating the process and following through to make sure the customer gets a correct, timely answer.”
Returning to a U.S. Call Center
Before engaging Global Response, ThinkGeek was using an offshore call center. “Our customers tell us they love the fact that we’re back in the U.S. because they’re getting more complete and accurate product information,” says Rebecca Santiago, Operations Coordinator for ThinkGeek.
Santiago emphasizes that “many of our customers are repeat customers, who have been buying from us for years and years. Obviously, keeping them happy is really important.”
Serving a Connected Customer Base
ThinkGeek has a very connected customer base, which has a clear upside—they tell lots of people when they’re happy with products or service. “Recently a customer dedicated a blog post to the experience he had with us,” says Benedicto. “He had a problem with a product and the Global Response agent was quick to send a new one. The customer wrote a complimentary blog post about how happy he was with the service he received.”
That incident underlines the fact that for ThinkGeek, social media is a growing channel for delivering customer care. The company already has internal staff members with that assignment and may use Global Response to help out in the future.
Recent research has shown how important it is for online retailers like ThinkGeek to provide outstanding service to their connected customer base. The 2012 American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer found that consumers who have used social media for service wield the greatest amount of influence. They tell significantly more people about their service experiences, and say they’d spend 21 percent more with companies who deliver great service—compared to 13 percent on average.
ThinkGeek is an online retailer that caters to computer enthusiasts and other “geeky” social groups. Merchandise includes clothing, electronic and scientific gadgets, unusual computer peripherals, office toys, pet toys, child toys, and caffeinated drinks and candy. ThinkGeek was founded in 1999, is based in Fairfax, Virginia, and is owned by Geeknet. A majority of products sold on ThinkGeek are heavily related to (and sometimes only understood within) Internet culture.