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Shiny, Happy People

American Way
Beth Snyder Bulik

With an increase in projected revenues from $3 million in 2000 to more than $16 million this year, owes at least part of its success to the popularity of headsets - and laws requiring their use while driving. Still, CEO Mike Faith considers a "fanatic" belief in Customer service to be the core of his company's prosperity. In fact, he's so sold on the value of Customer service that he's written a book called The Intelligence of Customers, which is due out later this year. We sat him down to get his take on the art of dealing with Customers .

American Way: Why is Customer service so important?
Mike Faith: Customer service people are the ones who make us money. Everyone else is overhead, including me.
American Way: How do you make Customer serv­ice a priority?
Mike Faith: We never flinch at spending money for hiring or training. We don't think of Customer service as a profit-and-loss item; we think of it as an asset. Only about 1 in 30 applicants is hired, and we spend a lot of time with them. They have three in-person interviews. They spend time on the phone with both a psychologist and a voice coach, and then spend half a day in the call center listening to others.
American Way: Is the Customer always right?
Mike Faith: I believe that the Customer can be wrong. But even if we don't agree with them, they still deserve our respect.
American Way: Any advice for others?
Mike Faith: Spend time and choose Customer service employees wisely upfront. If you treat them like a valuable asset at the front of the company, you will more than get back what you put in.

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