Our number one asset as a company is our customers. Customers demand integrity, excellence and quality from companies but more importantly they demand to be heard. Jessica Kristnofe, our Director of Customer Relations is the type of person you want listening to you. She is compassionate, creative, infectiously cheerful and will relentlessly fight for customer satisfaction. We sat down with Jessica to discuss how she has “ReVamped” the customer relations department as well her own personal growth and transformation as a leader and influencer.
What have you done to enhance the customer experience at ReVamp Electronics?
Enhancing the customer experience is the core of my position here at ReVamp! I got hired to build the Customer Relations department from the ground up. Initially, I was the primary person talking to our customers and because of that, was able to help grow the company in an exceptional way. Even though I rarely speak with out customers on the day-to-day level now, we still operate under the same notion that our customers shape our company. I also streamlined the communication pathways that make daily correspondence and conflict resolution more efficient.
How has your experience at ReVamp influenced you as a leader?
When I first started at ReVamp, I was in the early stages of developing my leadership style. Initially, my form of leadership was the kind I was raised on- the “throw your kid in the pool to teach them to swim” type. After hiring a team, I quickly realized that not everyone responds well to that type of leadership. I was very lucky to have David, Anant, Matt, and our COO Habib Baba, give me pointers and to bring out other aspects of my leadership style. Because of that, I’m more of the “firm but motherly” type. The interesting part is that my leadership here has carried over to the way I present my personal life. My motto is, “Keep your sweetness, but don’t take crap either.”
You write blogs, you paint murals, you read/write/and present poetry. How do you bring your creative mind into your job and your leadership?
I used to think that there was no room for creativity in a role like mine, however the longer I’m in it, the more I realize how heavily I rely on my creative brain at ReVamp! The cool thing about customer service, is that even with policies and procedures in place, each interaction with a customer is different. It takes creativity to tailor your approach to an interaction based on the needs of each customer, and to also find the best solution should any issues arise. I use this approach when I interact with my team on the leadership level as well.
One thing unique about ReVamp is our eye for innovation, which at it’s core is creativity. I’m often called upon in scenarios when thinking “outside the box” is vital in the progression of an idea, whether it be policy development, or even planning for CTIA. I’m grateful that I’m able to bring my creative mind to a company that I love working for. I feel very few people can say that.
What quotes or philosophies most resonate with your approach to Customer Service?
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”- Bill Gates.
I think many people view customer service as fielding complaints all day, and that’s not true at all. At our core, we are problem solvers, with the capacity to really enhance the lives of our customers with each interaction. Our unhappy customers help us address any cracks in our policies and the way we interact with them. They also give us the chance to learn more about them on a personal level, and as a result, help us develop our professional relationship with them.
How has social media and the overall booming digital age affected customer service and engagement?
Many people say that social media makes companies too transparent but I think that’s a good thing! Thanks to the digital age and social media, we are able to have fast access to feedback that we otherwise wouldn’t see. As a result, we are able to come up with solutions faster, and make customer engagement more efficient.
You moved from Boston to Chicago on a whim, why the move and what was that like for you.
I came out here on vacation in 2011, and I loved it so much, I told myself that if I ever moved out of Boston, it would be to go to Chicago. In the summer of 2013, the opportunity presented itself and I moved. I arrived here jobless, with minimal possessions and a temporary place to live. I was able to secure a job with my previous employer and find a more permanent place to live within two weeks. I still don’t know how I did it.
In retrospect,it was absolutely terrifying, When you make a move like that it’s because you have a gut feeling that it’s the best thing for you, though you don’t know the means yet. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade the choice for anything in this world. Chicago is home now.
Everyone describes ReVamp as a family. Describe your role in the family.
I think everyone would say I’m the mom of ReVamp Electronics. If anybody has a problem with anything ReVamp or non ReVamp related, or if someone needs a hug, they go to me.
What can customers expect next from ReVamp?
So much! We’re going to continue to make our blog more customer friendly by posting a combination of articles about us, our products, and interesting things going on in the industry. At CTIA, we will have more information available about our accessory expansion. You can also expect us to continue to work with you to be the best vendor we can be, so a lot of what’s ahead is ultimately up to you guys!