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Learning Pool, Craigslist and the Importance of Customer Service

17 Mar

One of the great things about working for Learning Pool is the vibrant community which has developed and is getting bigger every day. The community allows our subscribers to connect not only with each other but also the Learning Pool team. It’s a great way for us to find out how they are finding our services, provides a platform for them to post any questions they might have and creates a direct two way conversation between Learning Pool and the people who make our work possible.  Listening to our community is an integral part of our Customer Service delivery.  Although we have a dedicated customer service team, we feel that each and every staff member is also responsible for this, no matter what their job title is.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and CraigConnects is somone Learning Pool and in particular Mary McKenna, the company’s Co-Director, looks to as a hero in terms of not forgetting the importance of customer service, something which online companies in particular can sometimes overlook. Despite having set up the hugely popular online classifieds site over 10 years ago, he still interacts with customers at a very close level, describing his roles within the company as customer service representative and founder; in that order.

The very modest Craig kindly answered some quick questions for Learning Pool just after this year’s SXSW Interactive on the importance of customer service, democracy and online engagement, which you can read below.

Q. You define your positions at craigslist as Customer Service representative followed by founder, why do you think it’s important to maintain such a front-facing role with users of craigslist?

Doing customer service seriously keeps me permanently connected to our grassroots community, permanently anchored to reality.

Also, I’m publicly committed to doing customer service only as long as I live. After that, it’s over.

Q. Trusted Online communities are at the heart of craigslist sites. Learning Pool also provide an online learning community for the UK public sector, which is extremely active. Why do you think that when managed correctly, online communities can be so powerful?

Anytime you have people of good will working together, it’s really hard to stop them. Doesn’t matter offline or online.

Q. Alongside Craigslist you’re involved with organisations which promote public diplomacy and transparency within government, why do you think this is so important?

It feels really good to make a difference, and these groups strengthen
democracy and help people who really need a hand.

Q. Do you think that government organisations should engage more online with citizens to help improve their own customer service?

Very much so, and I’m doing so with a number of agencies in Washington.

Lots more needs to be done by people smarter than me; my contributions are, at best, modest.

Further Resources:

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