Baker dialed into customer, call center relationships

Marta Baker is senior marketing manager for International Customer Management Institute.

Marta Baker is senior marketing manager for International Customer Management Institute.

Marta Baker’s heroes are real-life problem solvers — ordinary people who go above and beyond to overcome barriers. And based on her list of accomplishments, she’s flexing plenty of her own problem-solving muscle.

The senior marketing manager for the Colorado Springs-based International Customer Management Institute has already lead an initiative to fine-tune ICMI’s online brand and role as a training and “solutions” resource for the call center industry.

“We’ve zeroed in on specific issues — “pain points” — like helping them reduce headcounts or save money on software and technology as well as on traditional ‘customer service’ training,” she said, adding that one of her latest goals is to show call center managers how to maximize social media as part of the customer service mix.

“Say your client is a help desk. If customers calling in can’t get through and end up an IVR (interactive voice response) queue, you run the risk of losing them — creating a negative perception. But if they can post on the Web, maybe in a chat room-type of program, then you’re likely to solve their problem sooner. We’re also teaching companies how to be more customer-centric.”

While Baker has only been on staff at ICMI for two years, she says she feels lucky to be on “a fast track,” based in large part on her comfort-level with the Internet and technology tools gained while working for MP3 player pioneer, Creative Labs. Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree in management information systems from Oklahoma State University, she expects to return to school next year to pursue a master’s in business administration degree.

She describes herself as “passionate” about quality customer service and is anxious to use her tech-savvy background to empower ICMI’s business-to-business customers, whether through a podcast webinar or a traditional hotel-hosted training course.

“Even as a junior and senior in high school I enrolled in e-commerce classes through Vo-Tech. I’ve always been very focused,” she said.

While her work keeps her on the road or out of town one week of each month, she does find time to connect with family and friends, even in far-flung locations.

“I use Facebook to stay in touch,” she said, describing how before a trip to Miami she posted the dates she’d be there and sent it out to a list of friends. “A woman I hadn’t seen in six years responded that she’d be in town for her job at the same time so we got to meet for dinner. I really enjoy the travel.”

Her reading list varies and includes biographies of business icons like Sam Walton or Bill Gates. Currently she’s reading “Waiting for the Cat to Bark,” a primer on how to put oneself in the customer’s shoes and to understand how clients perceive products, services and the buying process. One thing is for sure. Change is on the horizen for the customer management industry.

“The call center field has only been around for more than 25 years — and ICMI — was at the forefront. Brad Cleveland, ICMI’s founding partner, has been a critical part in ICMI’s success.”

“We just moved to Colorado Springs two years ago — and will continue to evolve … Our core principles will stay the same: get customers to agents in a timely manner and be accessible; resolve their needs in a timely manner; provide a good customer experience and provide strategic value to the organization,” she said.