Small providers top Consumer Reports survey

Consumer Reports
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The annual Consumer Reports ranking of wireless providers is out, and we really love the headline: “Small Providers Top the Big Four in New Consumer Reports Survey.” You can see the full ranking here.

We care deeply about our members at CREDO, and we are proud to be joining other smaller wireless providers in changing the all-too-common assumption in the mobile phone industry that customer service can be an afterthought. We’ve made significant enhancements in 2015 to make the CREDO Mobile member experience even better, and we have even bigger plans for 2016.

Just after the new survey was released, I talked with Natalie Beckerman, our Vice President for Customer Service, to learn a bit more about what we’ve been working on and what’s in store for the new year…

Why is the Consumer Reports ranking particularly encouraging for the work CREDO has been doing to enhance our Customer Service?

Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit consumer advocacy organization. Their impartiality is central to their promise to put no interests above those of consumers. Because their rankings come directly from their independent surveys and research, without any commercial influence, there is a lot of respect for what they have to say about products (and even entire industries).

Although the ranking of wireless service providers is annual, it reinforces for us the work we do year-round to constantly improve our customer service and customer satisfaction, and particularly the projects we’ve been working on over the past year. We’re working on even more improvements for our customer experience this year too.

Some other folks in mobile have moved towards email-only or community-only customer service, with little or no ability to reach someone otherwise. Why is CREDO continuing to invest in delivering great customer service by phone?

We work hard to differentiate ourselves by truly connecting to and respecting our members because we share their passion for progressive change. We want to make great customer service available to our customers however they want to connect with us, whether that’s through email, chat, or on the telephone. Providing customer support and care over the phone, through social media, and now through live chat are, for us, critical to delivering the experience our customers not only expect but deserve.

CREDO made significant changes on the Customer Service front in 2015. Could you touch on some of those changes?

We’ve done some hard work and made good progress on nearly every touchpoint that our members have with us, from making it easier for customers to cast their votes monthly for the progressive nonprofits who’ll receive CREDO Donations, to making more self-serve options available for customers who prefer it, to relaunching our member services app. We also launched CREDO Voice our customer newsletter and the CREDO Blog last year to help keep our members up to date on progressive victories, the impact of their donations and how to get the most out of CREDO products.

The progressive causes that our members support are personal to them and we want them to know we are with them each step of the way – and that we’re eager to connect with them about the CREDO mission and values we share.

We encourage our advocates to take the time to connect with customers about the issues important to them and their personal reasons for joining CREDO Mobile.

And I know there are even bigger changes coming for 2016…

We have a couple of significant technical projects we’re working on behind-the-scenes to improve our systems, including the tools our customer advocates use to assist our members. We’re also committed to continuing to improve our self-serve options so that our customers can choose how they’d like to manage their CREDO Mobile services.

And on a more human note, we’re also making some changes to our customer advocate onboarding and training. In our industry, most customer service agents aren’t empowered, let alone encouraged, to have conversations with the customers they’re serving about important issues or social justice or progressive causes. But for us, it would be incongruous to sign up with CREDO and then not be able to share the causes you’re passionate about when you’re speaking with any member of our team, from a campaigner to a programmer to a customer advocate. We share your values, and we want that conversation to continue however you happen to reach us, whether it’s online, by phone, across social media, or by chat.

That sounds like a lot to tackle!

It is, but everything we do at CREDO is rooted in our mission and our commitment to our members. We have a unique model — fund and lead the fight for progressive change using our mobile service — but it always links back to our members and the causes and issues they care about. Every touch point with our customers is driven by our shared mission. And that also fuels the work we do to constantly improve our products and services.

That may sound a bit abstract, but it is made concrete every day. Whenever a customer raises an issue or asks a question, we investigate. CREDO may be thirty years old, but we are constantly learning, evolving, and adapting. It’s a very competitive market that we operate in, and we understand that our members expect even more from us than they do from our competitors. We give our members a forum to help drive social change, which is very meaningful for our customers — but we still want to deliver a great product, great service and an unparalleled customer experience.

We strive to do that each and every day!