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16 Mar 2015

How Grovo won me with customer service

No matter how logical and rational we think we are, very few of us are as dispassionate as Star Trek’s Mr Spock.

To varying degrees, most of us make all sorts of decisions based on emotion, and deciding whether or not to buy something is right up there.

Everyone in business is aware of this, which is why companies employ advertising agencies and marketing departments and dedicate resources and creativity to trying to get customers to have a positive emotional reaction and make a connection with their brand or product.

While that’s a proven concept when buying a car, a mobile phone, a pair of sneakers or a hamburger, it’s a bit harder to illustrate for a purely online transaction for a piece of software or something that you can’t hold in your hand and show off to your friends.

In this technological age, more and more interactions are happening impersonally, particularly transactions where you visit a website, assess its offerings, click something to add it to your cart and fill in your credit card details.

So I was more than pleasantly surprised when I had my initial contact with Grovo.

If you Google ‘what is Grovo?’ the first result tells you ‘Grovo is the world’s most effective training platform’. A big claim and probably more than enough for many people to ask “where do I sign up?”.

We were looking for a better support and training system for Podio when Grovo popped up, so we looked into it and it seemed to fit.

But it was the quite frankly surprising level of customer service that sealed the deal.

I emailed them asking what would be the best solution for us, then they initiated a phone call and I negotiated with them to arrive at a deal that suited our needs.

Even though they’re in New York and I was in Melbourne, we dealt with them on the phone as if they were local, so I felt that was a bit groundbreaking for an online service right off the bat.

There were a number of follow up phone calls and Skype calls, all the while making us feel as if we were important.

Bridget, our primary contact, clearly understood that customer service is all about treating people well, and I have to say her diligence and pursuit of excellence appeared to be a reflection of Grovo’s company culture.

But our story doesn’t end there.

Sure, we were sold on Grovo’s offering – a proprietary microlearning method covering more than 170 subjects – and we felt extremely comfortable dealing with them for our own needs, but then we started talking further and subsequently discussed the possibility of a joint venture using their white label product.

We were negotiating a major Podio implementation and Grovo came to the party by representing us as the e-learning partner in that proposal.

So what began as an unremarkable online connection had developed into a collaborative relationship, one which they didn’t really have to pursue but given their service-focused company culture appeared to be second nature.

But wait – there’s more!

After our first year, partly due to the fact that we didn’t win that contract they helped us pitch, I had to make a difficult decision.

When our subscription fell due, I decided that we couldn’t continue. It was purely a financial decision and I knew we’d be back with them as soon as the finances allowed.

Despite potentially losing us as a customer, their friendly, helpful, personal approach didn’t change in the slightest.

Fortunately it wasn’t long before our finances realigned and we were back on board.

Through the ups and downs, their customer service was exemplary, to a level even someone like me who is fully immersed in the online space found remarkable.

Of course I also believe that the product is great, but the customer service is what makes the difference.

Sticking to Grovo for e-learning is a no brainer for me based on how they deal with me as a customer.

SeeSharp Productions may be only a small customer in Grovo’s massive business, but Bridget and the rest of the Grovo team have been exemplary in treating us as people rather than a dollar sign.

Even though it’s a mantra that customer service professionals try to live by, it’s still refreshing when it’s put into practice.

Here are some tips to delivering customer service excellence, courtesy of the Australian Customer Service Awards website.

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