What Customer-Centricity Means to Us

I had the pleasure this week of participating in the 2010 Leadership in Customer Care Forum in New York. Argyle Executive Forum hosted the event, and I had a blast. On the listening front, hearing from so many distinguished peers was awesome. So much experience surrounded me—heads of customer service, customer success, and customer experience departments from companies like Delta, JetBlue, Avon, ADP, Weight Watchers, and Ceridian were there, to name a few. More than 50 companies all told. Rosetta Stone was probably the newest and smallest company there, which was cool. A bit of an upstart.

customer centricity


I took away a lot from the conference. Everyone recognized that service has renewed corporate focus. Some view it as a necessity—people expect it and you’d better provide it. I think that, as a company, we already view it as a differentiator of ours, and we’re fortunate in that regard! Most of the great people I met at the forum are trying and succeeding in bringing all the customer touch points to the forefront of company strategy.

The panel I was on focused on customer-centricity and was moderated by Jay Emmons, CCO for Voxify. I was joined by heads of service from Weight Watchers and Ceridian. (A special shout-out to Paul and Steve!) It was a great opportunity for me to weave in the Rosetta Stone philosophy on how we’re making our learners’ success a strategic differentiator. There are five points we live by and here they are:

  1. It all starts with our employees. (Thanks to Imani Breaker from Time Warner. We are aligned!) “Engage and succeed” are DNA components of every single person we hire worldwide, for both our consumer and institutional verticals. We hire on cultural fit, humility, empathy, and charisma—above all else.
  2. We meet you on your turf. You pick! Phone, e-mail, chat, or our social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Mail, fax, whatever! You come to us and we’ll deliver the best experience possible—and the self-help aspects of your language-learning experience will be sexy. (There was a great discussion on this!)
  3. Every customer touch helps form an individual relationship. No matter what. No matter how big or how small. Each interaction with a customer is as important as any other. Never forget that your three minutes are someone else’s day.
  4. We invest in technology. We keep it standard and simple, and get the data we need to, in turn, serve even better. To improve, be nimble, and move fast. I think my CIO roots took hold here. And, finally . . .
  5. We have fun! Our team of customer success and support agents, and our tutors, who are native speakers, are here for our learners. Together, we all want to have fun and enjoy life. Our product solution set, by definition, is to help you, our customer, improve—and, if you can have fun doing so, how cool is that? We have pajama days and skating parties, and—a secret for today—I’m bringing in a remote-controlled helicopter to the floor. Do I need to get people to sign releases?

Anyway, cheers to Argyle and Jay E. A great event, and I hope to be back!

Jay Topper

Jay Topper is responsible for the Customer Success organization within Rosetta Stone, including the support departments, language-learning coaches and the customer success team. Jay joined the company in 2007 as the chief information officer and held that position through the company’s April 2009 IPO. Prior to joining Rosetta Stone, Jay was chief information officer and SVP of India Operations for Seven Worldwide, a global pre-media company. Prior to that, he was chief information officer of PRG, a world leader in the entertainment technology industry. Jay holds a B.S. in Mathematics from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and an M.S. in Telecommunications and Information Management from the Polytechnic Institute of NYU.
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