Behind the Scenes: Talking Customer Care with Lucy McDonald


Cornerstone is rapidly growing, with new members being added to the team every month. As such, we’ve gone from Oliver Bridge, our founder, being the only team member to now having specialized roles. Thus, this week we sit with Co-Head of Customer Care Lucy McDonald to get some insights into how she ensures every one of our members gets the best service.

Good customer service is key for a growing a startup like Cornerstone; so how do you go about hiring the amazing Customer Champions?

Recruiting the customer care team is all about personality! You need to have the right one for the job. But you should also be able to express it in how you write. We want our members to know that there is a team of individuals responding to them, not an automated or corporate response. As such, the care team do love to squeeze a good pun or cultural reference into conversations with members. Do keep an eye out for that!

Primarily, though, our Customer Champions are motivated by helping our members out, and get a kick out of solving problems for them. The desire to make things right, and to always provide fantastic customer service are attributes I always look for in new champions. The feedback we get from our members is our most valuable resource. So as well as responding speedily to all our enquiries, the champions make sure our members’ voices are heard throughout the business. We don’t call them Customer Champions for nothing – championing is a key part of their job.

Hiring and onboarding is a key process; how else do you ensure members receive the best possible experience? 

As well as managing the team and making sure we pass all feedback to the team, I also do weekly analyses. I look at why members have been getting in touch with us. A rise in emails might suggest a bug has cropped up somewhere, or some user experience design may need improving. Keeping an eye on these trends lets us know what to prioritise and what to work on next as a business, to ensure the customer experience is always improving.

I also spend time working on the future vision of Customer Care. How do our members want to contact us? Where do they want to find information? And how can we provide that for them? Is all the information we’re giving up to date? There’s a lot to keep me busy!

Outside of work, how do you start your day right?

To start my day right, I don’t do an awful lot during the week, I’m afraid. It’s mostly drinking tea and talking back to the Today programme.

That said, the morning is my favourite time. I’d much rather wake up early and have a nap later than have a long lie in. If I’m away from home, I like to have a short morning jog to explore where I am. When I’m in London, I like to walk for a couple of hours with my camera, headphones and a podcast on. However, if I could choose how to start my morning every day, it would definitely be a wild swim and a hot shower.

So that’s Lucy’s day-to-day role, but you can find out what our founder Oliver days here and here, and check out how we run operations at Cornestone.

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