Response Time: Vol. 30 (2024)

You satisfy your customers, but can you satisfy our curiosity?

With Christian Sokolowski, Vice President of Customer Support at Rebuy Engine.

Please tell us a little bit about your company and what you do there.
I am the Vice President of Customer Support at Rebuy Engine, overseeing technical support teams and managing our help center’s knowledge base. I also lead app customer experience, using Intercom for support and enablement. Rebuy Engine is a SaaS product for e-commerce stores, offering personalized shopping experiences through AI and ML technologies.

What word or phrase in customer service jargon should be retired?
“Please remain on the line and we will be with you shortly.”

Which celebrity would be really great at your job, and why?
Tom Hanks would be great in this role. He seems to have an authentic kindness and easy approachability. Given these traits, I feel like he could effectively guide a customer support team with a genuine sense of empathy and sincerity.

What’s the most valuable thing that working in customer service has taught you?
A significant lesson I’ve learned from customer support is how to grasp and interpret emotions, while also developing patience in my decision-making and thought processes to react to any situation as well as improve myself and my team.

Describe the essence of great customer service using only three words.
Empathy, responsiveness, respect.

Which movie robot would you choose as your AI sidekick, and why?
If I had to pick, I’d go with Baymax from Big Hero 6. He is kind, curious, and is more like a friend than just an AI sidekick!

“No bot could truly grasp emotions on the same level as humans”

What can you do that a bot will never be able to replicate?
No bot could truly grasp emotions on the same level as humans, enabling us to learn from mistakes and evolve through personal experiences.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever said/done to a customer?
Years ago, during a call with a customer, I unintentionally did my best Batman impression, thinking I was on mute. To my embarrassment, everyone pretended it never happened and continued with the call as if nothing happened.

Do you identify more with the title “customer support,” “customer service,” “customer success,” or “customer experience,” and why?
I would say that I resonate most strongly with the phrase “customer support.” Our role is not just about addressing issues; it’s about genuinely supporting people by offering guidance, teaching, and becoming a trusted advisor in our business.

“Approach each interaction with compassion, kindness, and a sincere intention to assist”

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to your peers in the customer service industry?
The most important advice I can offer to my colleagues in customer service is to prioritize empathy. There’s a saying I once heard: “Everyone is like a dump truck and every once in a while needs to unload.” This means that even if someone is upset and directing their frustration at you, it’s essential to remember that behind every question or issue is a person with their own experiences and feelings. Approach each interaction with compassion, kindness, and a sincere intention to assist.

What’s the worst customer service you’ve ever experienced?
The most dreadful customer experience I ever encountered was with a moving company. Initially, they provided me with an underquoted estimate for the move. However, upon arrival, they suddenly tacked on an extra $2,000 to transport the furniture. Despite the increased cost, they failed to handle my belongings with care, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage. Resolving the issue dragged on for months, and in the end, I received a mere $96 as compensation for the damages.

What’s your greatest productivity hack?
I boost my productivity by first sorting tasks according to their urgency and importance. Then, I leverage various tools and streamlined processes to simplify the workload, resulting in increased efficiency for me.

What book are you reading at the moment?
CXOXO: Building a Support Team Your Customers Will Love by Mercer Smith.

If customer service was an Olympic sport, what would be the main event?
Chaos challenge – you must juggle multiple customer inquiries simultaneously while maintaining composure and professionalism.

What’s the best thing a customer has ever said to you?
The most heartwarming compliment I ever received from a customer was, “I appreciate your kindness and honesty.”

What gif best describes your mental state right now?
Response Time: Vol. 30 (1)

Where do you get your support leadership news?
I am very active in the Support Driven Slack community and also get information from LinkedIn regularly.

What do you wish people knew about working in customer service?
One thing I wish people knew about working in customer service is that there’s a real person doing their best to make things right for you. We genuinely care about helping and making you happy. Just like anyone else, we have our limits, so treating us kindly really makes a difference.

If you wrote a book about your experiences in customer service, what would the title be?
“Support Shenanigans: Funny Stories from the Customer Support Realm.”

What’s your most used emoji in customer chats?

😊

Conversation closed… for now 😏

If you’re interested in being featured in ourResponse Time series, you can share your insights on customer service – and what jargon should be retired – with us here.

Response Time: Vol. 30 (2024)
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