Shipshape customer service: A CX Moment with Auctane
Zendesk spoke with Auctane's Chief Customer Officer, Chris Karp, about how to craft a unified customer experience.
Last updated September 5, 2023
Auctane is a world leader in shipping and fulfillment software solutions, enabling hundreds of thousands of merchants to annually deliver more than $200 billion worth of products to customers around the world.
Auctane serves a wide range of businesses that rely on quick and seamless shipping to reach their customers. Everyone from small artists on Etsy to international corporations use Auctane’s software to meet their shipping and fulfillment needs.
Serving more than 500 million households annually means that you have to be hyper-focused on the customer experience. As part of Zendesk’s CX Moment virtual event series, we spoke with Auctane’s Chief Customer Officer Chris Karp about how he gives companies the tools they need to delight their customers—whether down the street or across the globe.
A unified customer experience
Auctane is a collection of 11 brands focused on shipping supply chain management, including ShipStation, stamps.com, and GlobalPost. The organization is designed around verticals that serve each major step of the customer journey.
“Our customers really span the entire spectrum, from a consumer that’s going to do a one-time use of a product all the way to a huge enterprise platform,” Karp explained. “And a lot of the focus that we have going forward is to build more of a persona-based approach to how we start delivering support. So, we can start to bucket customers—not just from a product perspective, but also who they are in the industry and how they interact.”
Karp’s vision is to create a unified customer experience across all of Auctane’s brands.
“Whether it’s a single consumer or enterprise business, I think customers want support to be responsive, solve the issue at hand, but also anticipate their future needs that might not be immediately obvious to them,” Karp said. “And then to make them feel like that the engagement is personalized—and not personalized just by using their name, but really knowing their history and weaving that into the engagement and making sure it’s customized for their particular situation.”
To accomplish this, Karp and his team create a “persona” for each customer—analyzing their recent experience and their product knowledge—to create meaningful connections. And these hyper-contextualized interactions create a unique customer experience that can be scaled across channels.
“We want to elevate what it means to be support within an organization,” Karp explained. “And really use our insights, because they are the heartbeat of the customer—and establish ourselves as that source of truth within the company.”
A “love language” that grows revenue
To secure strategy alignment cross-functionally, Karp explicitly aligns the success of support with Auctane’s business priorities.
“Figuring out the ‘love language’ of your senior leadership team—and what matters to them—is one of the first things you need to do,” Karp said. “Then, work backwards to understand how support or customer success and implementation—how do those then connect into what really matters?”
Customer experience teams can prove their revenue-driving value by aligning tightly to senior leadership’s overarching business goals: increasing revenue while managing churn.
Karp’s senior leadership teams are encouraged to give support agents the autonomy to solve problems. And when agents are empowered to help customers, it has a positive impact on morale—and the bottom line.
“The more empowerment that you give the team—the more they buy into the overall mission,” Karp explained. “Agents who have the autonomy to make decisions and apply their judgment based on the situation also have the ability to make things right for the customer.”
Karp also believes that agents who have an omnichannel view of cumulative data can ultimately provide a superior customer experience.
“(Agents) should be able to see that the last three CSATs or that the previous NPS was negative,” said Karp. “That should kick off a conversation that an agent can have with that customer to find out what’s going on and how we can help. Then, we can kick off an engagement that lets us get in front of it before the customer ever churns.”
Reacting to not-so great reviews
No one likes to get a bad review on a public forum. But bad reviews can also be an opportunity for companies.
“I’m super sensitive to reviews,” Karp admits. “I think part of the idea is that I want to hear from our most vocal critics because we’re not perfect,” Karp said. “And I really want to learn what we could have done better..”
And since Karp dedicated a team to respond to reviews on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—he’s been able to turn some bad customer experiences into positive ones.
“We’ve actually had instances where the customer would leave us one star out of five,” Karp said. “We go work with them, and we take care of it. And because of how we responded, they actually will go back and they’ve changed the review.”
By addressing negative reviews within minutes of posting—and ideally, taking the conversations offline—Karp and his team can respond to complaints compassionately. Karp has found that most of his critics just wanted a representative of the company to listen to their complaints with empathy.
“And now that they know that they’ve been heard, they’re a lot easier to work with,” said Karp. “What we try to do is have a closed loop process where each time we learn a little bit, we update our playbook—and we get better.”
In the next year or two, Karp will be investing in artificial intelligence, but no matter how advanced AI becomes—Karp’s number one resource will always be people.
“We’ve created a dedicated position just focused on the employee experience,” Karp said. “We believe that empowering employees is really the key to a great customer experience, because if you don’t have a motivated and engaged workforce that feels like they want to deliver that level of exceptional experience—you’re never going to achieve what you ultimately want in terms of great customer support.”
Missed our chat? Watch the event with Auctane’s Chris Karp on-demand.