Tête-à-tête with GoDaddy’s VP of Customer Care

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I heard the rumor that a hotel guest once asked the concierge for a place with pizza delivery. The concierge provided no results, so he called GoDaddy. The gentleman who answers says, “Well, finding you a local place to deliver pizza isn’t normally what we do, but hey, let me take a look.” And the guest gets his pizza. ___________________________

15 years ago professors told us to invest in online real estate. If you could think of a name, purchase the URL. Hey, if I took them seriously I’d be rich!

Since learning to code and build sites, I’ve been marginally addicted. From little sites for my nephews and nieces to webpages for non-profits we support and hotel sites for clients. The sites change, but one thing remains consistent – no matter what the challenge is because I’m far from being a master coder, GoDaddy customer support has always come to the rescue.

GoDaddy. It boasts superlatives like being the world’s largest domain name registrar. This might mean as little to you as superlatives mean to me, but if you’ve ever built your own site, chances are you’ve used them to one degree or another. And if you’ve ever had any frustrations as an amateur site builder, you probably had to speak one on one with their support team in Arizona.

I’ve heard the rumor that a hotel guest once asked the concierge for a place with pizza delivery. The concierge provided no results. So he called GoDaddy. The gentleman who answers says, “Well, finding you a local place to deliver pizza isn’t normally what we do, but hey, let me take a look.” And the guest gets his pizza.

This might be an urban GoDaddy legend. But the support team is phenomenal. One might think IT customer support is an oxymoron, but these employees, better referred to as consultants, are sometimes better than the hundreds of hotel employees I come across in my travels. They’re human, they’re fun, they’re engaging, and they do everything to understand the problem and provide solutions so you can continue what you’re doing with confidence.

Blown away, once again by their support team, I finally decided to reach out for a tête-à-tête with Tyler Wirtjes, their VP of Customer Care, to figure out their secrets to great customer service.

Tyler Wirtjes, VP of Customer Care, GoDaddy

Tyler Wirtjes, VP of Customer Care, GoDaddy

This is what my business partner, Mark Somen, learned from an interview with Tyler:

Mark - Technology and customer service is like an oxymoron. But GoDaddy tech support is some of the best around. How do you hire?

Tyler - It doesn’t matter what industry you are in – staff members who want to make a difference are your core. We look for that fundamental principal about caring for someone/ looking after people – and that’s who we hire. Obviously you need some basics – phone skills, a good phone voice, ability to type – but after that it’s what makes them tick that is important to us. And do they buy into our 5 core values:

  1. Be extraordinary
  2. Own Outcomes
  3. Join forces
  4. Work fearlessly
  5. Live passionately

Mark - Can customer service really be trained? How much customer service training do you offer?

Tyler – We have Interview guides, but once we bring people in, we teach them about our customers. We must know the customer – what makes them tick, who they are – and build the training around them/the customer. Then we train our new hires for 4 weeks. We teach culture, teach about customers, then product knowledge. They become true consultants (GoDaddy refers to the agents as “inbound or outbound consultants”). The 2nd 2 weeks are practice practice practice. Then after the initial 4 weeks - training is ongoing. We have mandatory one on ones with supervisors for half an hour every week – and 1.5 hours every week to beef up product knowledge. We have 200 courses they can participate in – all done by our internal team of professionals. We approach the customer as though we are their consultant - our goal is to help nurture and grow their businesses.

Mark - Many hotels use scripts to provide consistency. I love that GoDaddy agents are naturally conversational. Do you have a script?  

Tyler - Not really … the foundation is their coaching – and training. Our consultants need to use their hearts and minds – with the training – then people can be themselves. We then create a lasting brand impression – and we give a heightened brand impression. We will solve the basic tech issue – but then we ask how we can help them in other things. The agent then goes home with more of a purpose – “I am helping small businesses be successful.”  We do create some boundaries in our training, but our basic tenet is “treat your customer the way you want to be treated.”

Mark -I read that your values help serve your customers. What are the values of GoDaddy?

Tyler - We are all about the small businesses. At GoDaddy we want to put our agents in the customers’ corner. We put the customer as our north star – it’s how we approach everything – and from there customer service becomes much simpler.

Mark - What are your favorite travel experiences?

Tyler - We go to Hawaii a lot – and there is this one hotel that knows exactly what we want. They know me and the family /engage the whole family – as though we live there. I am a Dr Pepper fan – and after a long flight, the first thing I do is go to the fridge; if I don’t see a Dr Pepper, I’m not happy. It’s the simplest things for hotels to take 2 minutes to ask me what I want and like before I check in. Our favorite Hawaii hotel knows exactly what we want.

Mark - Do you have a favorite haunt that you keep returning to because of their exceptional customer service?

Tyler - There is a little place called Postino in Gilbert that I love – it’s a simple wine bar. I love the way they treat you, and engage you; they want your business, but not just this time – they focus on getting you back time and again.

Mark - Any parting thoughts?

Tyler - One of the coolest things about GoDaddy is our philosophy of “living passionately.” If a team member works like crazy, we will give unlimited flexible time off. No limit. We really want to take care of our team.

Customer service is at the core of the hospitality industry, but this doesn't mean we can't learn from other industries that might approach it differently. Have you experienced or learned about great customer service values from other industries?