Using Customer Engagement to Express Your Brand’s Values

Customer engagement is not only a way to support and connect with your customer community, but also a way to showcase your brand’s core values. Making efficient use of all the customer touchpoints through which you engage your customers (such as social customer support, moderation, and traditional customer service) provides a golden opportunity to go beyond sharing information about your products and services to convey your values. Therefore, you need a digital engagement strategy that encompasses social media moderation and customer support with a personal touch that expresses who are you as a brand.

Younger generations are leaning toward companies with values that reflect their own belief systems. Being public about those values with strong declarations about what you stand for was shown in a Harvard Business Review study to lead to better financial performance. And consider: If your company’s employees have shared values, you’re nine times more likely to have high customer satisfaction.

Here are four key strategies that will keep your messaging consistent and ensure that your values are effectively conveyed to your customers.

Don’t wait — take action. Effective interaction with your audience is all about being proactive vs. reactive. Think about your brand, its values, and how you want to treat your customers. Take the lead by jumping in early and often and steering your brand’s conversation and personality.

Customer care is not a silo. Engagement execution needs to dovetail with the overall brand/marketing strategy. Be sure that every public touch point reflects the same commitment to quality and your core values.

Deal with issues in open forums. Resist the temptation to resolve all matters via email or bidirectional closed conversations. When appropriate, share your customers’ relevant concerns with the larger audience and allow your community to understand how committed you are to properly resolving those issues.

React well to bad things. Unfortunate incidents occur, so it’s vital to proactively develop strategies to show your best side during problematic times. Whether it’s developing a crisis management plan that’s informed by your core values or simply rising above the trolls and working hard to keep the community conversation elevated, be prepared. As with people, companies are often judged by the character they display during difficult times. While not ideal, a crisis offers a unique opportunity for your brand to shine and rise to the occasion.

Ultimately, the goal is for your brand’s logo to be seen as a trust mark. With proper support, your customer engagement strategy can serve the dual purpose of better serving your audience and building the value and trust they place in your brand. This is done with every customer interaction, from support conversations to social interactions, and even through moderation. Excellent customer engagement should not be purely viewed as a method of brand protection; it provides a mechanism for enhanced, proactive engagement that can help you share your brand’s core values with the world.

Clive Jefferies
Sales Vice President

Mods at Play: What We Do in Our Leisure Time

When prospective clients ask us about ModSquad’s services, we have been known to say, “Our Mods do it all!” Of course, we’re talking in that case about our range of digital engagement services, but it also extends to our personal lives. If you’ve read any of our previous blogs covering our hobbies, volunteer work, and favorite vacation spots, you know we keep busy when we’re not hard at work.

Here are just a few of the hobbies some more of our talented, diverse Mods enjoy.

I love working with miniatures; 1/12 scale is my favorite. I have been working with miniatures since stumbling across it over two years ago. I used to think dollhouses were only for children, but that’s just a misconception. Being able to build your own scale house and add the decorations in any way you like is an amazing feeling.” — Jessica Dyer

My hobby is gaming in any form. I am an avid player of MMOs, MOBAs, and roleplaying games, depending on the day. I currently spend a lot of time on JRPGs, and I have been part of a Dungeons and Dragons campaign that we run within Second Life every Sunday.” — Michael McDaniel

I love making jewelry. In particular, I have learned how to sew beaded earrings. I discovered the method at a craft show from a vendor who was sewing beaded sleeves for pens. I took the idea home and started working on my first patterns to create jewelry. It takes a LOT of time and patience, as the beads are about the size of 1/4 of a grain of rice. But the outcome is just gorgeous!” — Jessica Wilkin

My hobby is running. I have been doing it seriously for about seven years now, though I picked it up purely by accident. I live in Canada and travel down to Florida for March break. I decided to do some running along the beach and found I enjoyed it. When I got back, a friend saw I had been running, and invited me to do a half marathon. I did it, and found it to be really relaxing.

“For me, running is very zen. After the first 1-2 kilometers, my thoughts go quiet, and all that’s left are my feet and the pavement.” — Marcel Beaudoin

My hobbies are reading and video games. I have been reading ever since I first learned to read, and I have been playing video games since around age 10.” — Cat Schenk

I create travel content for my blog, including photos and videos. I started doing this in 2015 when I went to San Francisco for an internship, and I have since been to many places in Asia and Europe. It’s a way to make tangible memories that aren’t just photos on a hard drive. Joining ModSquad has allowed me to pursue my passions and discover new places.” — Antoine Aarens

My hobby is Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve played it for 39 years, and everything good in my life, from making lifelong friends to all the great times, has involved this game.” — Michael Raper

Mod Holiday: Our Favorite Places for Adventure and Relaxation

The ModSquad crew calls various cities around the world home. Located in more than 70 countries and speaking over 50 languages, our Mods have quite an array of interests and hobbies. That’s reflected not only in the diverse array of projects at which they excel, but also in the impressive range of destinations they seek out when they’re not at work. From the Mayan Ruins to annual festivals, our Mods love to see and experience much of what this world has to offer. Join us as we hear from the Mods, who are eager to help us discover some exciting and exotic places that are perfect for rest, relaxation, and adventure.

We asked our Mods: What’s one of your favorite places to get away?

“My brother and my mom’s side of the family live there.”
— Nicole Moose

La Romana, Dominican Republic
“The people are extremely kind. The food is great and the prices are reasonable. La Romana also has some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean!”
— Miranda Halla

London, England
“I adore British history and culture, so London is the city of my soul! I see magnificent shows in the West End and walk along the south bank of the River Thames.”
— Christine Rose

“Swimming with sea lions, dune buggy riding, sand boarding, and white water rafting — all fun things to do there.”
— Matilde Sanabria

Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
“I recently went on a cruise. While in port in Progreso, we visited the ancient Mayan ruins. It was an awesome experience.”
— Stacy Long

The Bahamas
“I cruised here once, and it is so beautiful. I enjoyed playing volleyball on a private island with strangers and trying new foods.”
— Ina Witherspoon

“It’s so beautiful and the temperature is just right. I also get to spend time with my family and enjoy all of the fresh seafood.”
— Morgan Dalton

Dartmoor, England
“Badgers Holt is set in a valley amongst the rolling hills of Dartmoor, with little to no internet connectivity. The apartment I rent for the holidays there is just meters away from the banks of the River Dart. Waking up to the sounds of nature, the river, and having my morning coffee is a pleasure beyond compare.”
— Darren McGrory

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France
“This small town in the south of the France is known for its wild horses.”
— Charlotte Benoit

What’s your favorite vacation getaway location? Where do you go to recharge? Got a secret spot that only you and the locals know? Be a sport and share it with us in the comments section below.

Case Study: ModSquad’s High-Flying Customer Support Boosts Flybrix’s Sales and Revenue

Overwhelming customer demand is one of those double-edged situations. While you might be grateful for the success of your service or product, you’re also in a precarious situation. If you don’t live up to customer expectations, your reputation and sales might take a hit.

Such was the dilemma in which the founders of Flybrix found themselves. The hardware firm launched with a focus on combining consumer-oriented drones and computer vision technology. During the development of their product, they tried assembling a drone using popular interlocking plastic bricks. It was their hallelujah moment. Soon, the company was offering this product to the world, to a resounding response.

From the start, it was clear Flybrix had a winner on its hand. The company was inundated with customer inquiries and orders, and sold out of its inventory in 15 minutes. The Flybrix group quickly found themselves struggling to keep up, with the amount of back orders necessitating them to scale up by a factor of 10 in the four weeks before the intense holiday shopping period. While they were confident they could ship their orders in time for the gift-giving season, they knew they needed help with customer support.

That’s when Flybrix turned to ModSquad. With the help of the Mods, Flybrix saw ticket response time reduced by 75% during that period of 10x scaling. In just 10 days, ModSquad processed thousands of backlogged tickets and ultimately generated and processed 35% of the company’s revenue increase for 2017. For the behind-the-scenes look at how it all came together, read this new case study from ModSquad.

How Being Pop-Culture Savvy Helps Moderators

Over the past decade, pop culture has been remarkably influenced by the ways in which we receive and understand online content. From the development of odd languages to the prevalence of digital currency (and the diverse variations), the internet continues to redefine how we communicate and interact with our environment.

Even seemingly innocent emojis have double meanings, which certainly should not be used or endorsed by many brand pages (we’re looking at you, peach). Therefore, it’s important for those moderating content and managing social media and communities to understand these reference points.  Over the years, we have witnessed many examples of brands that have dropped the ball when it comes to using pop culture references and memes for their intended message. Fortunately we more often see brands really nail the use of memes to connect with their audience.

One notable example comes from a well-known travel company that caters to an 18- to 35-year-old audience. This demographic would seem to be more receptive to this type of marketing, particularly if the ad pokes fun at a very relatable aspect of the service they offer. I mean, who hasn’t got to the airport to find that their meticulously packed suitcase is well over the allowed weight?

When a brand shares funny, relatable material, it naturally lends itself to the consumer sharing back with the brand. That’s where intelligent moderation comes in. This a fantastic marketing opportunity for brands, but it’s vital for content moderators to be able to understand the content that’s being shared.

User-generated content (UGC) can be a powerful marketing tool, but it can also go wayward. Consumers and communities are more responsive to UGC than brand content because the independent, human element implies credibility. With that comes an allowance for the consumer to utilize pop culture references which a brand may not necessarily get away with. It’s essential that content moderators who happen to come across such content in their daily work have a good understanding of memes, emojis, and their particular audience. Without this understanding, potentially inflammatory,  inappropriate or even great content could pass by unchecked. Your team should constantly update their frames of reference to ensure they’re able to appropriately handle the next meme of the day.

The world of pop culture and content moderation is an ever-growing encyclopedia of delicate nuances, obscure jokes, and intricate reference points. In order to ensure that all content is understood, acted upon, or engaged with appropriately, it’s increasingly important for brand representatives to keep up with these ever-changing trends. Because even using a dated meme won’t put you in good light with the evolving crowd.

ModSquad and Extra Life: A Roundtable Discussion

As regular readers of the ModSquad Blog know, Extra Life is a fundraising event that’s near and dear to us. Gamers of all ages raise sponsorship donations in support of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals during a 24-hour gaming marathon. In 2017 alone, players raised more than $11 million. ModSquad has taken part in this annual event for the past five years, and we’re planning to go even bigger and better next time around.

This March, members of the ModSquad family joined hundreds of other charity gamers at Walt Disney World to participate in Extra Life United, a gathering that brings together fundraising participants from across the nation for four days of games, camaraderie, and fun. To get an inside look at the event, and at ModSquad’s ongoing efforts supporting Extra Life, we spoke with Amy Pritchard, ModSquad’s Founder and CEO; Matt Hostler, ModSquad Account Manager; and Mary Pritchard, avid gamer and Amy’s daughter.

How did ModSquad become involved with Extra Life?

Amy: It started with Matt Hostler. He is entirely responsible for bringing this amazing charitable organization to our awareness five years ago.

Matt: I’d watched game developers and communities participate over the years and always thought it looked like a fun, silly time. I thought, Why isn’t ModSquad doing this? I did some research and talked to people at the Sacramento office. Surprisingly, I found that a bunch of people were also crazy enough to stay up all night playing games!

How has the team’s participation with Extra Life grown over the years?

Matt: I really thought the first year was just going to be about the Sacramento office. Surprisingly, Mods from everywhere tuned in to our live stream to cheer us on. It was humbling. I knew we had to not only keep participating, but go even bigger. Since then, ModSquad has opened two additional offices, and last year we had video feeds from each one of the 24-hour Extra Life gaming marathons. We even had a satellite Extra Life party happening in Tennessee.

Amy: Again, all the credit goes to Matt. He started our involvement and has grown it over the years. This past year, we had a splash page and banner on the website promoting Extra Life. Matt said, “Wow, this feels so official now!”

What makes the Extra Life event stand out?

Mary: It’s a great excuse to be glued to a screen or a board for 24 hours! But seriously, the idea is genius. Who wouldn’t want to play video games for charity?

Matt: Extra Life is about playing games and helping kids. Game communities, developers, blogs, streamers, and everyone else in the industry all come together to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. And it’s a lot of money!

Amy: I met one longtime participant at Extra Life United. His team raised $180,000 last year. He said to me, “A bunch of middle-aged engineers aren’t going to run a marathon for charity. Playing board and video games? Now that I can recruit a lot of coworkers for.”

Tell us about Extra Life United.

Amy: Extra Life United is a game tournament held at Walt Disney World as a part of the Children’s Hospitals Week. ModSquad sponsored Mary to play and raise money. We met the most incredible children that have benefited from Extra Life fundraising and were completely blown away by the passion of everybody involved. We were asked extremely important questions at the beginning of the tournament. Like, is pineapple on pizza okay? (No!) We also had a huge, 200-person round of rock-paper-scissors. I actually made it three rounds in!

Sounds like a fun crowd!

Mary: Oh my gosh, everyone was so cool! I met a ton of new friends and friendly competitors. It didn’t matter that most of them were twice (sometimes thrice) my age.

Amy: I remember Mary’s first event was playing the board game Down Force. She sat down at a table with seven men between 20 and 60 years old. Oh, back up, Mary is 12. It was so funny at first, but they welcomed her as one of them and had a raucous time. The entire rest of the weekend was just as fun.

Meeting Victor and Jo Ellen Enmon was so impactful. Extra Life was started to honor their daughter Victoria, who passed away from leukemia in 2008. One particular friend was Jose, a teacher from L.A.; we still regularly correspond. But the best was meeting the Extra Life Champions. They were the rockstar kids that have benefited from care at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There was a really fun pin exchange, and Mary got photos with a lot of those champs.

What are ModSquad’s future plans for Extra Life?

Matt: Global domination! It was great to have all of the offices involved last year. But ModSquad is in more than just three cities. We’re everywhere! So now we’re working on how to include more people, play more games, and, most importantly, raise more money! Mark your calendars for November 3, 2018. ModSquad is going bigger than ever!

Mary: I’ll definitely come party with one of the offices come next year!

Amy: We are blowing it up.

Mod of the Month – April 2018

April showers bring May flowers… so it must be time to shower one of our Mods with praise and appreciation! It’s time once again to introduce one of our outstanding Mods, and we’re excited to shine to spotlight on our April 2018 Mod of the Month, Vicki Kocol!

Since starting with ModSquad in October 2016, Vicki has dedicated her time to one of our women’s fashion clients, providing customer service via phone and email. Because of the skills and experience she’s built over her time working with the client, she handles the more complex customer inquiries that come in, as well as returns and disputes.

Vicki is no stranger to working from home and has been doing so for the past 15 years. She excels at handling all sorts of customer service requests, from simple questions to frustrated complaints.

I always try to take a happy, personable approach when starting a call with a customer. The calls then seem to roll along nicely, and I challenge myself to end each call on a good note with the customer. I’m a firm believer that you need to have fun and share smiles when you help others.

Vicki loves working with numbers, so she excels in processing returns and handling disputes. She says her overall goal, both personal and professional, is to continue finding new challenges and learning all she can.

When she’s not assisting customers and wowing her client, Vicki can be found with her husband riding on their motorcycle around southern Florida, crafting, or spending time with her two sons. She has a few four-legged family members, as well: two dogs and a tortoise.

Vicki says that when she found out she was selected as Mod of the Month, she danced around like a little kid. Based on the fantastic work she’s done, we’re sure her Project Managers do happy dances all the time, too.

“Vicki is beyond amazing. She’s loyal and dedicated to our project and works so hard, often going above and beyond, to produce brilliant work. She’s a real all-star!”
—Cherise Verrett, Project Manager

“Vicki is very dedicated, has a great work ethic and a sharp mind. She stays balanced, and responds quickly and positively to new challenges.”
—Rabbit Korbin, Project Manager

“Vicki was always a “go to” person for the project I was on with her. She is an excellent resource and outstanding asset to any team that she is a part of.”
—Shane Beeton, Project Manager

8 Ways to Improve Your CSAT Score

A happy customer is a loyal customer. And in a business landscape that’s as competitive as ever, loyalty matters. It costs up to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, so once the sale has been made, it’s more than worth the effort to ensure ongoing satisfaction.

To understand their customers, many businesses measure the success of their customer relationship by utilizing a Customer Satisfaction Score, or CSAT. This key performance indicator illustrates how much the level of support that was experienced meets the customer’s expectations. If you’ve ever been asked to stay on the line after a customer service call and rate your interaction on a scale of one to five, your survey response has been used to measure CSAT.

In order to cultivate an audience of happy and loyal customers, you need to understand the most effective ways to move the CSAT needle in the right direction. We’ve compiled eight tips to help ensure that you’re taking the right steps to boost your company’s CSAT score.

1. Treat customers the way you’d want to be treated.

It’s called the Golden Rule for a reason. Anything you would expect when contacting customer support yourself should be provided to your own clients — and then some. Go as far as treating the customer as if s/he is your boss: with respect, full attention, and a commitment to providing top-notch quality. Act as though your job depends on it; ultimately, it does.

2. Minimize wait times.

This one should be a no-brainer, but we’ve all called support lines that “are experiencing higher than normal call volumes.” Whether due to an unexpected rush or understaffing, it’s the customer that gets the short end of the stick. Plan ahead and have a flexible support staff on hand for peak periods.

3. Offer multichannel support.

Many customers would rather have their issues resolved through methods other than a traditional phone call. If your audience is more comfortable communicating via chat, email, or social media, meet them where they are. In fact, providing positive support experiences through social media can help drive customer loyalty.

4. Empower your agents.

Allow agents to manage a customer issue themselves rather than needing to escalate up the chain of command. By empowering your agents, they’ll feel greater pride in their work while making life easier for your customers, who won’t have to repeat themselves to a supervisor or manager.

5. Survey says…

How can you make your customers happy if you don’t know exactly what they’re looking for? Read online reviews to discover what they’re saying about not just your product but your support team. Proactively resolve issues you discover through these reviews. You’ll also gain valuable insights by soliciting feedback through user surveys. Be sure to allow customers to explain their ratings and offer suggestions on how your customer service can be improved.

6. Follow up on the data you’ve gleaned.

Those surveys you asked your customers to take are filled with pearls of wisdom, if you take the time to look. Examine any complaints from your audience and follow through: act on them, learn from them, and acknowledge them with your customers. Identify and improve where your service is lacking and build upon the cited strengths.

7. Set expectations.

When can your customers expect to have an issue resolved? Will they hear back from a member of your team today? Is their feedback being directed to the right party? Let the user know exactly how you’ll proceed… and then raise the bar with a quicker-than-expected response or similar grand gesture. Exceeding their expectations brings you that much closer to winning their loyalty.

8. Your customers have a name… use it.

Everybody appreciates being recognized as an individual, rather than a customer ID number. Use your customer’s name in verbal and written interactions, and make that extra effort to make them feel special. Reward them on their birthday or on the anniversary of their initial purchase. It’s little things like these that can have a big effect on customer sentiment.

Keeping your customer top of mind is one of the best investments you can make in your business. Use your knowledge of what’s working and what isn’t with your customer service to make informed business decisions. In today’s rough-and-tumble marketplace, you owe it to yourself… and your customers.

Multilingual Mods: European Edition

Here at ModSquad, language is a key element of the services we provide. With clients around the world looking to us for outsourced digital engagement, our network of 10,000+ Mods in 70+ countries is ready to deliver, in more than 50 languages and dialects. When a project requires native speakers of a foreign tongue, we’ll locate just the right Mod to take on the role.

But who are the Mods providing customer support, moderation, social media, and community management services in nearly every nook and cranny across the globe? Let’s meet some of the Mods providing native-language services that extend beyond English and learn a little more about them. For this virtual meet-and-greet, we touch down in Europe to say hello to three local Mods.

Name: Tanya Brandi
Country: Italy
Provides Services in: Italian, English

Tanya is a lifelong resident of Livorno, near Pisa. She puts her Italian language skills to work doing customer support and English-to-Italian translation in the gaming arena. When she’s not working for some of our video game industry clients, Tanya loves to pack her bags and head out to visit the most magical place on Earth. “This is something my coworkers all know because I talk about it all the time, but I love the Disney Parks. I try to go often. So far I’ve only seen Disneyland Paris, but I want to visit them all.” Her journeys take her beyond the parks as well. “I love traveling in general, and want to see as much of the world as possible. It may be a bit cliché, but there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing different places and interacting with different cultures.”

Tanya interacted with travelers in an earlier professional capacity. “I used to work as a tourist animator [also known as an activities director], which definitely contributed to my desire to travel. It was a fantastic time and a great way to see interesting places and meet people. Unfortunately, I had to dance for kids every evening, and I’m a terrible dancer! But it was lots of fun.”

Name: Julien Voiry
Country: France
Provides Services in: French

Heading over to the Grand Est region of France, new dad Julien has had his world rocked in the best possible way by his son’s arrival late last year. “This is the biggest change I’ve had in my life; it’s like a new beginning. It’s an unspeakable joy to see my son evolve and do new things every day.”

In his now-limited spare time, Julien loves video games, which fuels the passion he displays in his French-language work assisting customers of ModSquad’s video game clients via email. “What I find very interesting in MMORPGs is the interaction between the players. You can find all the richness in personalities and styles that you see throughout the real world.” When he’s not immersed in a virtual world, he studies ancient mythological ones. “I read every book about mythology I can find. I have a preference for Greek myths, but am strongly interested in Celtic myths as well.”

Name: Valentina Lamusta
Country: Spain
Provides Services in: Spanish, Italian, English

Born and raised in Italy, Valentina moved to Spain 11 years ago. “I ended up living in Los Caños de Meca, a very small village on the ocean in southwestern Spain. Caños de Meca is best known as the location of the famous Trafalgar Lighthouse, where the battle of Trafalgar took place; Trafalgar Square in London commemorates the fight. This is a region of infinite virgin beaches and wild nature. My house is a small old-style cottage located in the middle of a natural reserve and only 2 km from the beach.”

It is from this locale that Valentina provides multilingual services for clients in diverse industries, including the tourism field, one of her passions. But with two dogs and eight cats, packing up and traveling is easier said than done. Fortunately, Valentina is content to practice yoga and play guitar in her hometown. “I love hiking and swimming in the ocean. I’ve literally found my paradise here.”