At Ally, our mission is to drive outcomes for our clients. eCommerce is complex and constantly changing, so we rely on a fast-paced, innovative culture to make it happen. We want to help you get to know the people behind your eCommerce engine, so today, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes with Rob DePaola.
Meet Rob: Q&A Lightning Round
Customer Service Manager at Ally
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got started with Ally.
At my previous position, I managed a customer service team that provided support for multiple brand manufacturers in the tech space. When Ally contacted me, it seemed fortuitous because there was so much overlap between my skill set and what they were looking for. Once I learned more about the company and what they did, I couldn’t wait to come aboard and help build out the customer service team.
Walk us through a typical day in the life as Customer Service Manager at Ally. What are the core components of what you do?
Our customer service team provides email, phone and chat support for our clients. Our typical day consists of handling these inquiries quickly and efficiently, while really listening to what the customer is communicating to us. We are constantly gathering data on what people are contacting us about, and then synthesizing that information and sharing it with the client to help them continuously improve their customer experience.
“It’s fast-paced and intense, but we have fun. There’s no shortage of Nerf guns, footballs and hoverboards in our workspace.”
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
At the end of the day, I really like helping people out. It’s easy to lose site of that in the customer service world. These people aren’t calling us just to say hi. They really need help with an issue. My job is to make sure my team is prepared to get to the heart of the issue and help. The team likes the difficult inquiries that give them an opportunity to go the extra mile and blow the customer away.
And the most challenging?
eCommerce is so dynamic. The rate of change is really incredible, and I have to make sure my team is up to speed. If a customer calls and references a sale from three weeks ago, my team needs to be able to speak intelligently on the situation. For me, that means working closely with Account Management to stay up-to-date on changes, and then putting that information at my team’s fingertips so they can solve issues quickly.
How does a quality customer service department fit into the eCommerce equation?
When you hear someone talking about whether a company is good or bad, a lot of times, they are basing that opinion on a single customer service interaction that they had. Customer services is the face of the brand. That’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to make an impact.
“I might be biased, but I think customer service is the MOST important part of the eCommerce equation.”
What does a highly functioning customer service department look like?
You want to have processes built for everything, but also want really sharp reps who are willing to think outside the box when necessary. No matter how much you plan, you’ll always have customers call in with use cases you’ve never seen before. Customer service teams need people who can recognize this and know when to push for a solution that exceeds the customer’s expectation.
As brands move towards a DTC selling strategy, how can they expect their customer service function to evolve?
Many of our clients are new to DTC and have never dealt with support for front-line type inquiries. In other words, they don’t really know the types of questions their customers will be asking when they call or write in. Building out a direct to consumer customer service department gives brands new visibility and insights into their customers. It’s incredibly valuable for our clients.
How has the evolution of eCommerce affected the customer service space most?
Time is such a huge factor. Now more than ever before, customer service departments need to resolve issues quickly. If a customer is actually taking time out of their schedule to call or email, they really need help, and we can’t take up any more of their time than necessary. This translates in so many ways: responding with shorter emails that can be read on mobile, having shorter greetings when they call on our customer service line, etc. Customers’ expectations are sky high and expect every point of the eCommerce transaction to go smoothly.
How does Ally approach customer service differently?
Customer service has a really bad rep. People assume it will take them 30-45 minutes to talk to a rep that may or may not be able to help them. At Ally, we’re completely turning that assumption on its head. If you call us, there’s a 99% chance that you will get directly through to a representative without waiting on hold, and our average call time is 2.5 minutes. We resolve issues quickly and don’t use any phone scripts. A natural conversation provides the best customer experience.
Want to learn more about working with Ally? Get in touch today.