Using customer reviews for excellent employee engagement with CITIG

  • Company culture among the best in their field
  • Net CSAT Score of 97
  • “SmileBack keeps us in tune with the relationships that need attention.”

‘So what is it you do?’ It’s a question we ask and answer so often that it’s become a staple of small talk. We might answer with the title of our position, a quick company overview, or the tasks we perform.

Not Ryan Newell, CEO of IT consulting firm CITIG.

“My job is to create an environment where our team can thrive and deliver the very best customer experience,” says Ryan. It’s a very deliberate choice to lead with employee and customer happiness, too.

“Hands down, the one thing we do better than our competition is customer experience. It doesn’t matter that we’ve steered them towards reliable technology, solved their problems quickly and kept their data safe, unless we have also taken away their anxiety, stress and frustration surrounding IT and made it an enjoyable experience,” says Ryan.

Where did this focus on enjoyable experiences begin? And how have customer reviews helped create excellent employee engagement?

A focus on being different

From the pictures of the office alone, it’s clear CITIG is a little different to most, in their setup and strategy.

“We are purposefully atypical in the MSP industry and focus less on recurring monthly revenue from Managed Services and more on customer experience and customer need.  Our clients span all verticals and range from government to commercial to nonprofit to white glove residential.”

Powering this atypical aim is a group of truly passionate engaged employees, all focused on delivering the best experience over and over.

“We are a tight knit group of 10 people who love technology, love our clients, and love supporting their technology needs,” says Ryan.

“But an aim and passion alone is not enough – you need to keep the workplace culture fun, exciting and innovative.”

In terms of customer feedback – and how it is used – CITIG certainly achieve that. One fun use of their customer reviews is the traffic light system. A green smiley submitted through SmileBack makes the green light glow, an average review sets off the amber light, and a bad review triggers the red one.

And with their customer reviews sent automatically to Slack too, the team are always aware how customers feel.

“Through the integration with our stoplights and Hey Taco on Slack, SmileBack lets us give immediate positive feedback to our techs,” says Ryan.

“It makes going the extra mile for a client that much more fun when you get publicly praised in Slack, or when the green light shines. It’s all about positive reinforcement.”

The power of negativity

Being positive and fun is certainly key. But there is a lot of power in criticism too, and customer reviews through SmileBack help shine a light on what parts of the customer experience need a little work.

“Although it feels great to be loved, we also want to know when we’re not loved,” says Ryan. 

“No one is perfect. There are misunderstandings, mistakes, and bad days. We want to know immediately when a client is even slightly frustrated or slightly unhappy. 

“That gives us the opportunity to understand the situation and to fix it – to move past it and to improve. Before SmileBack, reviews took a lot of energy. Someone had to be really happy or really upset for us to know about it, but SmileBack now helps us keep more in tune with the relationships that need attention.”

And this keeping in tune must be working. Since joining SmileBack in late 2017, CITIG have amassed over 450 reviews, with far more insight into customer feelings than through ConnectWise surveys used before.

Thanks to the BrightGauge and SmileBack integration, every technician has CSAT goals.

“The aim for each technician is a Net CSAT Score of 97 and above,” says Ryan.

“With BrightGauge, the color of the Net CSAT Score number changes based on whether the target has been hit or not, giving an easy way to track targets.

“That being said, we try to balance our emphasis on CSAT KPIs as to not dissuade feedback or view neutral/negative feedback as purely a bad thing. Getting the feedback is part of the system of creating a happy client.”

Keeping employees engaged through the good and the bad

Keeping customers happy is one thing, but keeping employees happy is another. Yet both are connected – something Ryan certainly understands.

“The first step to creating a happy workplace is in the hiring of employees who, in the first place, like people, like technology, and like helping people with that technology,” says Ryan.

“If someone starts out loving what they do it’s easier to keep them that way. Beyond that, it’s all about transparency and appreciation. Our team knows what is expected and why it is expected, from top down company goals of creating a terrific technology experience to their own personal development.”

Trust, transparency and openness go far beyond the realm of customer reviews. They are values every business needs to thrive.

“We’ve gone to great lengths to put data behind how well everyone is doing their job and what is required to get that next raise, or next promotion. This requires frequent honest bi-directional communication and feedback – listening more,” says Ryan.

“And it also means letting go and granting freedom for people to thrive in their field. If you’re doing your job well, we don’t care if that means you’re at your desk or by a pool with your laptop.”

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