A Chat with Passpack CEO on the Importance of Customer Service

Passpack CEO Interview

We sat down with Chris Skipworth, longtime CEO of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Passpack, a leading provider of secure password creation and access management solutions for businesses, to discuss the impact customer service has on the company’s success.

Q. Why do you place such a priority on customer service in the culture at Passpack?

Quite simply, because Passpack itself is a service. Poor customer service is the fastest way I know to lose business. If we can’t keep our customers happy, they’ll go to another provider that will. Outwardly, we position Passpack as a company’s first line of defense against cyberattacks. Internally, we position customer service as our first line of defense to protect our business and grow our user base.

Q. Why do you personally spend so much time in Customer Service as the CEO of Passpack?

Yes, it’s true each week I spend a couple of early morning hours manning the ticket desk and phones. The truth is you rarely hear from happy, contented customers. But you do hear from frustrated users with issues and grievances. It is critical to listen calmly and take notes so their problems can be addressed quickly to give callers a positive outcome. As the CEO, I like to hear some of these questions firsthand. Talking to front line users keeps me focused on issues most important to our customers and our growth strategies.

Q. Do you tell callers that you are the CEO?

Not usually. I just want them to have a good experience. It’s like that show where the CEO of an airline works anonymously as a flight attendant, or the owner of a restaurant chain flips burgers for a shift to get up close with customers and employees. I enjoy it.

Q. So you enjoy talking to customers with problems and issues using your product?

It’s not that I enjoy it, but I do get a great amount of satisfaction helping solve a customer’s problem in real time. Oftentimes it’s a quick fix, a feature or setting they overlooked, but other times it can take some digging. In either case it’s a great way to build customer rapport. After you’ve figured out the problem you’ve got a happier customer, and hopefully one who is a step closer to a future sale.

Q. What is the jeopardy of not offering high-quality customer service?

The easiest way to lose a customer is to not promptly respond to their issues, requests, or questions about requirements. Weve all had the experience of dealing with a company offering poor customer service. It leaves a bad taste and will likely make you choose a different provider next time.

Moreover, in the age of social media a poor customer service experience is no longer just between you and that one customer. They can leave poor reviews on your website and post negative comments to huge online communities and user groups that can impact your business reputation on a bigger scale.

Q. Are there any limits to the lengths you will go to satisfy a disgruntled customer?

Given the social media risks of customers broadcasting about their poor experience, my philosophy here is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unless the request is totally unreasonable, keeping one customer happy is worth the cost of having them tell millions of people that they’re not.

Q. What are the primary benefits of direct contact with customers and listening to their issues live?

The knowledge we gain from speaking with customers is invaluable. There is nothing like resolving a customer problem in real-time. It lays the foundation for a deeper relationship and plants the seeds for future opportunities. Beyond that, its a chance to hear firsthand how our customers are using the product in the field. It keeps us in touch with the latest support issues and once we’ve developed a solution or workaround, it becomes part of the knowledge base we tap to help other customers with a similar use case maximize the Passpack architecture.

Q. Do you prefer to handle customer service issues by phone rather than email or text?

Well, it’s always nice to have the communications trail documented, but I think talking directly to customers has its own benefits. They appreciate speaking to a live person who can help them in real time, not a robot. You can judge their tone, level of frustration, and get the customer to articulate the problem. If they just send an email this is not specific or not using the right terminology to allow us to diagnose the problem, we waste time chasing phantom issues.

Q. Are customers helpful in improving the quality of the Passpack product and service?

Absolutely. Customers are using the Passpack application 24/7, and if there are issues, bugs, or tweaks that need resolving with the product, our users will find them quickly and let us know about it. If I hear about the same problem multiple times, thankfully very rare, I know we’ve got an issue that requires immediate attention, and we respond as fast as possible.

Q. How does Passpack view the customer relationship? Do customers have a say in future product developments, features, and versions?

Customers are the lifeblood of the business at Passpack. We value our customers not just as users, but as partners who have a say in product development and the future direction of the business. That’s part of why we have a customer service line, not just for technical support, but to hear feedback from our customers on application performance and what they’d like to see in future versions. Very often, if the request is a product evolution, we can respond quickly to implement the enhancement, or at least shuffle it to the top of the development pile. Extensive feature upgrades take longer but we are happy to work with our customers to bring requested upgrades to fruition.

For example, Passpack can be programmed to timeout users anywhere between five minutes and one week of inactivity at their PC for security reasons. We had a customer request to automatically log off all users after 15 minutes of inactivity rather than manage user time-out periods individually. We were able to accommodate this request, and it is now a Passpack feature that we can market to other customers.

Send feedback to Chris and team at [email protected]

Q. Have business opportunities been derived from customer service activities?

It happens more often than you think, which is why we also train our customer service personnel on upselling skills. While on the phone working out a support issue, customers inquire about volume pricing, additional licenses, or learn about the existence of a new capability or service tier they want to add to their mix.

Q. Does Passpack support or compensate customers who promote the Passpack product?

We sure do. We have an affiliate program and soon we’ll be launching a customer referral program to reward customers who put us in touch with new accounts. We are also implementing a channel partner program that can be a great fit for certain customers like managed service providers and IT services companies providing solutions for their SMB customers. And we’re always looking for opportunities to share and promote our customers’ applications for Passpack through use cases and success stories.

Q. As CEO, do you have plans to step away from monitoring customer service activities?

Not in the short term. I usually learn something new on these calls as well. It keeps my ear to the ground about how our customers are using the application, the issues they face, and the solutions they seek, which in turn helps us improve the Passpack application.

Unlock the power of secure password sharing with Passpack

Passpack offers versatile plans backed by excellent customer service for businesses of every size to securely create, manage, and share digital credentials. Visit us at www.passpack.com and try our service risk-free for 28 days and see how easy and affordable it is to keep all your passwords safe with Passpack.

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