Usually we eschew titles at Appletree. Our Core Values, specifically ‘Take Care of Each Other’ and ‘Employees Are Critical’, speak to the fact that we are all in this together to deliver the greatest experience possible to our callers and our Customers. We strive more for the adulation from each other and our Customers, rather than our “bosses”. However, when it comes to our awesome people who answer the phones, we have felt for a while now that terms such as ‘agent’, ‘operator’ or ‘customer service representative’ were not appropriate due to the intricate nature of the service we provide. So, we set the task of deciding what to call the world’s best team of service representatives!
Dan and Chip Heath’s book, Switch…How to Change when Change is Hard was a big help with the process of renaming our frontline position. The Heaths discussed cultivating an identity in order to drive adoption and the importance of having people have a “feeling” of what they do. Culture is very strong at Appletree, and we wanted that same identity reinforced when our people answer every call, chat, or email. We started with a brainstorming session amongst several of our managers. Words like ownership, experience, expert, specialist, partner, and leader came to mind. We discussed hipper terms like ‘rockstar’ and ‘superstar’. Then we had our employee council, aptly named our ‘Culture Club’, start brainstorming. They came up with many of the same adjectives and descriptions. What a feeling! It is the best feeling in the world to be part of a team who is aligned and focused around the same goals.
After a spirited debate, we narrowed it down to three names which we felt best described the unique role that we play for the organizations who partner with us:
- Customer Experience Expert
- Customer Relationship Expert
- Customer Experience Enthusiast
We had a company-wide vote for a week to choose a result. We felt great since each of these titles would be unique to our industry, cultivate a feeling of ownership in our offices, and reinforce our promise to our Customers that we would represent their businesses with confidence, enthusiasm, and pride.
It was a close vote, but the winner is Customer Experience Expert!
While each of the finalists would have been appropriate, we are ecstatic at the choice of our people. We recognize that many of our competitors promise outstanding service, cutting-edge technology at cost-effective pricing, but we strive to make the experience of doing business with Appletree unique and memorable. We look forward to leveraging all of our expertise in order to do so!
Aside from developing an exciting and fresh new name for our staff, it was a valuable reinforcement: While a title isn’t important, a strong identity is paramount.