“Have you heard the one about the jeans?” Jacob Goodstein asks. “Or the one about the keyboard? What about the pizza?”
As site director at Chewy’s call center in Dallas, Texas, Goodstein has plenty of customer service success stories to tell.
“We’re the most prized, the best, the most incredible customer service in all the land. I can’t speak for any ocean,” he jokes, “but in all the land, it’s us.”
Take, for example, the story about the jeans. One day, a customer service team member answered a call from a woman who ran a rescue for Greyhounds. She’d been a Chewy customer since 2014, Goodstein recalls, and joked with the employee that she’d spent so much money at Chewy that she couldn’t afford a new pair of jeans. “Wouldn’t it be cool,” the employee later mused to Goodstein, “if we could send her a pair of jeans?”
Goodstein’s response: “Why not?” Shortly thereafter, that customer received a new pair of jeans in the mail.
Every leader at Chewy has a story like this, Goodstein says. But as a leader in the company’s famous customer service department, Goodstein doesn’t just witness these acts of kindness for customers—he leads a team that makes them possible.
Goodstein starts every workday the same way: with a 9:30 a.m. meeting with every department in the center, from human resources to operations to tech support. “This is Texas, so we call it the Roundup,” he says. Together, the team discusses the tasks at hand for the coming day, any new projects on the horizon, and checks in on each other to make sure every area is running smoothly.
“That’s probably the best way to start your day—with your team,” Goodstein says.
Throughout the rest of the day, Goodstein works to anticipate the needs of the department’s employees—and that’s a massive undertaking at a center housing 550 people. He connects with site leaders at Chewy’s other customer service centers to discuss shared programs and plans. He checks in with human resources to make sure employees are satisfied. He meets with call center managers to field requests and spot opportunities for improvement.
“If my job were a basketball position, I’d be a point guard,” he says. “I’m bringing the ball, I’m passing, I’m running, I’m moving”—leveraging the strengths of his colleagues to guide the entire team to the next customer service win.
Goodstein also works on his own ideas for amplifying joy around the Chewy office, including the “fishbowl,” a process through which any employee at any level can submit an idea for improvement. One recent initiative to come out of the “fishbowl,” he says, was as successful as it was simple.
“It was stretching,” he says. “We set up a time for employees to stand up and stretch, arms over their heads and everything.” Call center employees can stand up and stretch whenever they want, of course, but implementing a reminder to do so helped them get out of their heads and reset. “Basically, they can take a few minutes and get a little adrenaline in the middle of the day. It’s good for everyone, and in addition to that, when a customer calls, they’re going to get someone who’s more refreshed, feeling happier and more pleased to work with them.”
Goodstein’s job, in a sense, is to provide customer service to the customer service employees themselves. His favorite part of his life at Chewy, he says, is listening to his employees’ requests and offering them ways to resolve their issues or improve their workplace environment or culture.
“Having the opportunity to … drive people to feel more productive and be happier—I directly influence that as a facilitator,” he says. “That’s a major draw to wanting to be here, waking up every day and being excited to roll into work.”
And by supporting his employees, Goodstein allows them to best support, surprise and spread joy to Chewy customers with the incredible acts of service that have made the team famous. Acts like, as Goodstein recalls, when an employee realized the customer he was emailing had been typing on a broken keyboard and sent him a new one. Or when a representative ordered pizza delivery to an elderly customer’s home so that the delivery person could help bring a heavy Chewy delivery inside, he adds.
“Every one of those stories is true,” he says. “Our team members are really creative. We have the power to empower our customers.”