How to Leverage Personalization to Elevate the Customer Service Experience

Prior to the pandemic, Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a division of Golden State Foods (GSF) that provides custom distribution services to iconic customers throughout the United States, had a transactional approach to customer service. However, with the pandemic serving as a catalyst for the return of more empathy, care, and a personalized touch, we began evolving our customer service with personalization at the forefront.

The first step in this transition was setting clear, internal goals. We wanted to target superior customer service standards and define quality objectives to design training and development modules to set the customer care team up for success.

The new modules featured certifications to keep the team engaged as ongoing learners, data trainings to show associates how they can leverage analytics to make better business decisions, learning modules for how to build trust and show empathy to customers, and more.

As far as rolling out the modules, we started small. We began with an intimate group of associates in a classroom-style setting, focusing on making it interactive, personal, and conversational. Additionally, we obtained feedback from associates about how to improve the trainings prior to expanding.

Customer Service Portal and Mobile App

As a big game-changer in our customization transformation and our second step, we enhanced QCD's customer service portal and mobile app. Instead of customers checking a range of apps and tools, we created a one-stop shop for all their individual needs across multiple aspects of the business, including delivery, ordering, and fulfillment.

The portal and mobile app empowered customers to track their calls, complete administrative tasks, adapt schedules, obtain real-time information and support, leverage the chat functionality, and share timely feedback on QCD's performance. Specific to the mobile app, the Where's My Order feature provides visibility to customers across all aspects of their order status, such as when it was received, picked up, shipped, and delivered, as well as the driver's estimated arrival time.

In turn, these new personalized tools brought in the missing convenience factor and paved the way for a two-way communication dynamic between the customer and QCD.

To continue providing personalized and quick service to our customers, we expanded our customer service team with new customer care roles. Additionally, we have enhanced our call systems by including caller ID to quickly identify customers and pull up their information to efficiently resolve their concerns within a single call with a QCD care agent.

In conclusion, by taking a nimble and flexible approach in a post-pandemic environment, we delivered a more elevated version of our customer service to our valued customers. Today, we teach our new associates this personalized approach to perpetuate positive results and mutual success with our customers.

Brande Bond is group vice president of customer service and development at Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), a Golden State Foods (GSF) company.