Written by: Jennifer Pollard
Part of my job at Microsoft Dynamics is to find compelling stories of customers that are using our software. Many times companies’ customer evidence is driven by the desire to find a customer whose brand is instantly recognizable. However, instead of looking for a customer whose name you might easily recognize, I believe it is more important to find customers who are building their brands by differentiating their company based on providing cutting edge customer care. I simply felt this would speak volumes when talking about our Customer Care solutions.
That is when my friend Tim Bakke from Avtex, a partner of ours, brought the story of MyAssist to my attention. Based in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, MyAssist is the brainchild of John Noel. Sometimes referred to as the godfather of travel insurance, John Noel was the creator of TravelGuard Insurance which he grew to national prominence and eventually sold to AIG. On September 11th, John and his wife, Patty, who had planned to be attending a meeting and spending the night together in the World Trade Center, instead found themselves stranded on the tarmac in Newfoundland—unable to get to New York, and unable to get good information about exactly what was going on. Being stuck in this awful predicament during what was arguably one of the most memorable experiences of our modern lives, John recognized a need. At that moment, he repurposed all the agents in his contact center to take calls from people desperately trying to find their loved ones and get home safely. The promise of MyAssist was born that day, when John decided there needed to be a service that anyone could access whenever and wherever they needed someone’s help.
For me, MyAssist is the perfect company to profile. First and foremost, in what Forrester has identified as the age of the consumer, MyAssist recognizes that their business depends on their ability to develop meaningful and lasting relationships with customers by helping solve their immediate problems. And further, they realize that the key to success with their customers stems from their ability to enable the success of their people. This is where Microsoft Dynamics comes in. MyAssist looks to technology to put the information at their employees’ fingertips so they can not only quickly find the answers they need, but also—confident that the system will provide the right information—allow their employees to really focus on the quality of their interaction with the customer.
Let me share my MyAssist story. Ironically, it starts with the trip to Stevens Point to film interviews with the folks who make MyAssist hum in order to create a customer video. I travelled there with two colleagues and we spent two days with the MyAssist team. Everything we heard coming out of the mouths of the folks who manage the business to the people on the front lines granting the wishes of their customers reinforced that this was a great story to tell. We captured the footage needed for the video and packed up to go home.
At the Central Wisconsin Airport everything changed. Just following the departure of Leo and Scott who were flying on to Tampa for a subsequent engagement, my flight was cancelled. Luckily, Delta rerouted me out the next day and gave me a hotel coupon to comp my room for the night. I took the shuttle to the hotel. Trying to go to bed early in preparation for my 7:10 flight in the morning, I saw a strange number calling my cell phone. It was Delta, alerting me to a flight cancellation. I called the representative who told me not to worry, I was already rebooked and everything was fine. I hung up, only to have a second message come through about a cancellation. Once again I called Delta, and this time they informed me not to worry, my flight the next day had also been cancelled, but they had rescheduled me to fly out the day after that. So here I was, with my twin daughters expecting me home Wednesday but being told that I had a flight home Friday, which was, incidentally, when my husband had to leave on his own business trip. By now, as you can imagine, I was a bit flustered. I cannot possibly stay here until Friday. So I talk to the agent to understand what my options are. With a growing pit in my stomach, at 11:30 pm, I rebook my flight through Green Bay—a full two hours’ drive from the hotel where I’m spending the night. That meant that I needed to figure out how to get myself to Green Bay by 5:30 am. I called MyAssist.
“Hello, this is Vance. How can I help you Ms. Pollard?” I’ve called into centers like these before, but now I really get that this is a much different experience. In a strange twist of fate, I was able to see what the vision of John Noel and the words we had captured on film really meant when you are talking to the person on the other end of the phone. Vance was exceptional. His demeanor immediately put me at ease—he listened and he reassured me that he was going to solve my problem. And after the ten minutes he promised it would take for him to do so, he called me back with my ride not only scheduled, he knew the driver’s name, had gotten a referral from the front desk, he knew what it would cost me, and he was genuinely sorry about that. The result? At just before midnight, on what had become a frenzied evening, I was able to calmly relax for my three hour nap knowing that I would be home when my girls got out of school the next day. Just as I had promised them earlier that evening.
So, I am not only telling the MyAssist story from the point of view of the technology provider who is happy that this business who is branding themselves based on providing exceptional customer care has chosen our customer care product to support their efforts, I am telling it from having experienced what this can mean first-hand. Believe me, I will travel much easier wherever I go from now on knowing MyAssist is there when I need them. See for yourself at MyAssist.com.
Post originally written for Forbes.com: http://www.forbes.com/sites/microsoftdynamics/2013/03/04/when-telling-the-customers-story-becomes-personal/