Taking the Sting Out of Customer Service

Parity is a challenge in business. When competing brands can’t create true differentiation, they struggle to stand out in customers’ minds. And in the telecom business — where the products vary little — parity is commonplace. But not for AB Sappa, the Swedish telecom company. In an industry where most products are the same, Sappa has found a way to differentiate itself – and it’s not with product, but with service… customer service.

“It does not matter what product we sell, what’s important is that we deliver world-class customer experiences,” said Hasse Svensson, CEO of AB Sappa.

That’s how you win against parity, and that’s what brings us to the crux of this story. AB Sappa employs Jacob Dalnäs, who is on the sales team, but also fills in for customer service when call volumes are high. One day, Jacob received a strange call from a customer, but it wasn’t about Sappa products. The call was about a wasp’s nest.

This customer was familiar with the amazing customer service that Sappa provided. So, when he failed to make contact with an extermination company to deal with the wasp nest on his balcony, he reached out to Sappa in desperation. Jacob was perplexed: Here was an AB Sappa customer asking for help with a wasp’s nest. He wasn’t having problems with his internet or his cable TV; he had an insect infestation and didn’t know where to turn. But this customer knew one thing: AB Sappa always answers the phone. So, what did Jacob do? He helped, of course.

Jacob didn’t know the first thing about wasps or insect extermination. But he had heard of a reputable extermination company with locations throughout Sweden. Jacob did a quick scan of the internet and found a location within this customer’s service area and called them on the customer’s behalf. Once Jacob had the extermination company on the line, he transferred the call to the customer. Connection made.

Jacob didn’t care that his customer was calling about wasps; what he cared about was finding a solution. That’s a philosophy that is practiced company-wide and encouraged by giving all customer service representatives the power to be creative and do what’s necessary to solve problems.

“I just put myself in their shoes,” said Jacob. “I may not always find a solution, but I try my best for each and every customer.”

And Jacob isn’t the only person at Sappa that feels this way.

“We have a different mindset toward customer service than other companies because we don’t see it as a outsourced  ‘cost center,’ but rather an inbound ‘profit center,’ which means that we don’t put any restrictions on what type of help we can offer,” said Patrik Jakobsson, Manager of Customer Loyalty Center and Jacob’s supervisor. “And we don’t measure how long our agents are talking to our customers in every call. All in all, to meet our vision as Sweden’s most customer-friendly company. We pay a decent salary and make sure that we have the best equipment to do our job properly. It creates an environment where people want to do well for each other and want to come in to work and do your best.”

The results are impressive. Since putting customer service at the heart of what they do, AB Sappa has been ranked highest in customer service among all telecom companies in Sweden — two years running.

Jacob didn’t wake up that day expecting to take a call about wasps. But it didn’t matter. With the support of a customer-centric organization and the right tools, Jacob and all the Sappa customer service representatives are equipped with everything necessary to make each customer experience amazing.

The Genesys Heroes program celebrates agents — just like Jacob Dalnäs — who go the extra mile for their customers. Nominate your company and customer service representatives for the Genesys Heroes program.