Since OCZ became part of Toshiba as a subsidiary, named OCZ Storage Solutions, a lot has changed. During the past two years service and support haven been key factors in order to increase customer satisfaction. Today Nico Stamp, Technical Support Manager EMEA at OCZ Storage Solutions, is going to answer a few crucial questions, giving insight on what's important to the company regarding service and support.
You've been working for OCZ Storage Solutions for year Nico. Please let us know something about your professional background within OCZ, or in other words what exactly is your job and what do you do day in, day out? Apart from that what's your favorite beer?
Nico Stamp - Technical Support Manager EMEA - OCZ Storage Solutions
I've started working for OCZ in 2006. Back in the days I used to be a passionate overclocker and a very active member in the XtremeSystems community. It was then when I first got in touch with OCZ veteran Tony Leach and it didn't take us long to realize we're sharing the same passion for hardware and overclocking as well as sharing our opinions in discussion boards. I was fascinated that Tony actually managed to turn his hobby into his job. One day Tony mentioned that OCZ is looking for additional manpower regarding the German speaking area and that's how one thing lead to the other. In the beginning I solely focused on the OCZ forums and it was at a later stage a technical support team for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region was formed, which offered support through the forums and a ticketing system. Next to the usual support channels we meanwhile also offer customer support on social media in several different languages.
Talking about beer ... well you're catching me on the wrong foot with this one ... I don't drink any beer at all, but I do cherish my addiction for coffee by drinking way too much of this delicious beverage on a daily basis. I especially have a thing for coffee from illy.
Looking back, how did your job as a Technical Support Manager change? Are there events you’d consider milestones?
Since 2006 a lot has changed but most of it happened during the past two years after OCZ Storage Solutions was founded. In the early days it was most important to solve issues as fast as possible as well as to customers/partners highest satisfaction. Meanwhile we've moved on and one could say we're reaching a point where we're conducting market research. As a tech support team we're the closest to our customers. We receive feedback for improvement on a daily basis and we get a good feeling what our customers like and what they dislike. Apart from that we see which service channels are popular and which are not. We also hear and read what our customers wish and expect from our SSDs. Every day we receive constructive feedback, which we forward to the corresponding engineering teams or from which we derive desired service features. To mention three examples: adding Acronis TrueImage cloning software to the bundle, developing the SSD Guru utility as wells as the ShieldPlus warranty package, that’s all based on customer feedback.
I noticed that OCZ is striving to be as close to the customer as possible. What have you done during the past years to reduce the distance between company and customer? Apart from that what are the most frequently asked questions you're answering?
During the past months we've opened several new communication channels next to phone, ticket and forum support. Meanwhile we also talk with our customers via Facebook, Instant Chat, Twitter and our Customer Service Center. These days the trend points away from the classical channels towards social media, which is actually where people are day in, day out. It is our goal to make it as simple as possible for the customer to get in touch with us.
When it comes to the most frequently asked questions we've just introduced a new FAQ system, which is available in German, English, Russian and Chinese and there are the classics like "How do I clone the data on my HDD to my SSD?" or "How do I upgrade the firmware of my SSD?".
Checking the OCZ Facebook pages, the OCZ Website as well as your forums, I see that you're communicating in a transparent manner. What happened, what are the reasons for this policy?
There is no resource more important to us then the customer and that's so not only in terms of sales. As OCZ Storage Solution we try to be on the same page with our customers and transparent communication is crucial to do so. This is actually how we're trying to win back trust we might have lost in the old OCZ Technology days. What's also important part these days is after a support ticket has been closed, the customer is asked to participate in a survey, rating our products and services. The feedback we're receiving is then published unfiltered on our "Voice of the Customer" page. We believe that it’s not just important for us to know what our customers think about our products and services. It’s actually even more important and more credible if customers provide feedback directly to other customers. In the end we’re building a trustworthy relationship, which is crucial and at the core when it comes to storage of personal data or even more so if a large partner plans on relying on our storage solutions. We even communicate the return rates of our products on our quality page. As a subsidiary of Toshiba we’re in no way afraid of that, since we have secured access to premium NAND from the parent company, which makes us fully confident that we're capable of maintaining a high level of quality.
Let's have a quick glance in the crystal ball; what do you think OCZ Storage Solutions customers can expect from the service and support department in the future?
Our ShieldPlus warranty plan was a big step for us into the future of customer service. Products covered by this warranty plan are going to be exchanged in advance. The customer receives a replacement product and the delivery contains return papers for their defective SSD. This ensures minimum down-time on the customer side and it makes sure there are no additional costs. What's of ever increasing importance to us is our understanding of the customer. More or deeper insight allows us to tailor products, services and support to our customer’s needs. These days we're working hard on making ShieldPlus available in as many countries as possible. After we've successfully introduced our new warranty plan in the USA and the EU we most recently added beautiful Switzerland to the list. What will also be of major importance in 2016 is SSD Guru, which is our extensive SSD management tool. This year we're going to introduce a bunch of exciting new features (but unfortunately it still can't brew your coffee - just kidding).
Thank you very much for your informative replies Nico. We're rather curious to find what OCZ Storage Solution is going to do this year to improve service and support even further.