Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Jeff Gonzalez.
About the interviewee
Jeff Gonzalez is the Customer Service Manager at Saddleback Leather and has been in the Customer Support industry for 14 plus years and enjoys working with teams who care enough to be the difference. Jeff works closely with colleagues on the leadership team with a focus on strategic and tactical initiatives.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Saddleback Leather just celebrated 10 years this past year and is excited about the future. Check out our website for details about the “The Saddleback Story”.
We are a virtual company with 42 employees located all over the United States and a few in Scotland.
Our partnerships include close working relationships with TrueBlue located in Leon, Mexico where our leather masters fabricate our products. We also work closely with CSI, located in Keller, Texas. They carefully ensure our products are shipped all over the world in a timely and efficient manner.
Tell us about what it means to you to “put customers first”?
Here at Saddleback Leather our focus is caring for people by building relationships and servicing them well. This has been Dave’s driving principle since starting Saddleback Leather. With that being said, we endeavor to treat each customer interaction as if it were a personal family member. Putting customers first here at Saddleback Leather means doing everything possible to “treat others as you want to be treated”.
This means listening well, seeking to understand and “then” offering recommendations and solutions based on their need. In other instances, this may mean simply sharing life stories together, praying for someone, laughing out loud and some cases even crying with someone. The bottom line for the Customer Service is WOWing customers beyond any other customer service experience they have encountered. Do we always get it right, honestly no, however we will go the extra mile to be honest and make it right.
A while back we asked our CS folks to come up with an internal nickname for their group. They chose “Leather Adoption Specialists” because they truly see our customers as part of the family and see themselves as facilitating adding to the family through our leather products!
What mistake do businesses make when it comes to taking care of customers?
Putting profit before people. Not investing in their own employee’s based on the values they endeavor to promote publically. Not caring for them as if they are family. Consequently this leads to customer service teams who are robotic, only following a script.
What is your firm doing to demonstrate your beliefs in this principle?
Making the investment in our hiring process has played a vital part with identifying the right people to join the Saddleback Leather family, specifically the Customer Service family.
While we make the investment to hire the right Guru’s we also endeavor to keep the right Guru’s by creating an environment in which employees are valued, given opportunity to share their ideas and contribute to the overall success of the company.
With the above being covered, we then entrust our Guru’s to carry out our principles in their everyday interactions with potential and existing Saddleback Leather family members. They are given liberty to be themselves as they interact with potential and existing Saddleback Leather family members.
This sometimes means working hard to apply some basic principles; listen first, listen second, listen third if needed, ask questions, get clarification and provide solutions in a very personal and warm way.
We have also learned the value in listening as some great ideas have come from customers which have added value to our products and in some cases how we do business.
Creating one of kind experiences is what makes our day, did I say WOWing customer matters? You betcha :).
We try to keep a record of the many glowing words about our CS Gurus sent in daily from customers all over the world. It’s a daunting task and there are just too many to share, but here are just few comments from our Saddleback family members (aka – customers):