Hoomans of Itch:
Nicky, Head of Customer Service and Deanne, Customer Service Specialist
The Itch customer service team is not your average customer service team.
From sticky bums to icky fleas, our specialist agents know everything there is to know about fleas and worms, and there’s nothing they haven’t heard before.
As well as handling all the typical aspects of customer service, some of our agents are also SQP-qualified.
This means they are legally recognised by AMTRA (the Animal Medical Training Regulatory Authority) as knowledgeable animal health experts, and they’re sharing that specialist knowledge with Itch customers every day.
We’ve caught up with Nicky, our Head of Customer Service, and Deanne, a Customer Service Specialist, to learn more about their day-to-day roles, and why they love being part of Team Itch.
Tell me about your career to date… how did you get into your current line of work?
Nicky: I have worked in Customer Service for many years.
My first job was at a company called Grattan, as a Customer Service Adviser, and I worked my way up before moving into financial services.
Deanne: I’ve been studying, so I needed something that I could do alongside that. So that’s why my first job was in customer service, I worked at Vodafone.
Across your career to date, what’s the biggest achievement that you’re most proud of?
Nicky: I think throughout my career, my proudest moment would be passing my exams to be a financial advisor. And successfully becoming an Itch employee!
Deanne: Mine is probably being the first customer service agent at Itch. Being here when it launched, seeing that whole process through and then seeing where we are now.
How did you come to join Itch?
Nicky: I worked in financial services for a long, long time, but I was looking for a new challenge.
Then, the opportunity to set up a new call centre came up, and I thought, ‘how amazing would it be to put my own stamp on something new?’
So I applied, and look where we are now!
Deanne: I was at drama school in London. I’d just moved back to Leeds, and was looking for something that was customer-service based.
How long have you been at Itch?
Nicky: I’ve been here nearly two years. It’ll be two years in February.
Deanne: I’ve been a year and a half, I started in June 2019.
What’s been your most memorable moment at Itch, in that time?
Nicky: For me, it was launch day. The excitement and passion for this new concept and finally gaining customers.
Deanne: My most memorable moment would probably be in the little room that we used to dispatch packs from when it first went live. We didn’t even have a team dispatching, it was just us guys doing it!
Tell me a little bit about your role at Itch.
Nicky: Customer Service is the most important department within Itch (in my opinion!).
I’m the Head of Customer Service, so I oversee the day-to-day running and the forecasting, planning. It’s mainly analytical.
We are the customer’s eyes and ears, and we help everybody else in the business stay up to date with what’s going on.
It’s a really, really important department – a really passionate department.
We love our customers, we treat them how we would like to be treated, and they’re always at the forefront of our mind.
Deanne: My role is to deliver excellent, personalised customer service.
When we first started, it was on email and phone, but it has since expanded out across all social platforms, too.
When you think of customer service, what three words would you use to describe it?
Nicky: If I had to pick, it’d be: honesty, empathy and passion.
It’s just about getting it right for the customer, and putting yourself in their shoes.
We have to put them back in the situation they were in before things didn’t go to plan.
Plus we have to make them feel good and be thankful that they tell us when things go well. (Or, equally – when they tell us things haven’t gone so well!)
Deanne: I would say: authentic, trustworthy, and fun.
Just making sure that if something goes wrong that we own it, that we deal with it as quickly as we can.
And, making sure that every interaction is as fun and as positive as possible.
What makes Itch stand out, in terms of our customer service?
Nicky: We’re not just a customer service team.
We’re so knowledgeable it’s unbelievable – there’s nothing that we don’t know about fleas and worms!
We offer a gold-standard flea treatment, so we have to offer gold-standard customer service.
We’re there to give advice – we’re not just here to solve problems. We’re here to have a chat, we don’t mind taking the time to talk about your family pet.
It’s about listening. Listen to what your customer is saying, and then respond accordingly.
And, for Itch, how it stands out is that it’s not robotic. They can actually speak to us. Yes, we have to have templates and certain things that we have to say from a regulatory point of view, for instance.
But it’s meeting the customer at their own level and speaking to them in a language that they understand. Changing your tone of voice, and just being really down to earth.
Deanne: I think what sets us apart is that Itch isn’t just providing a service, it’s providing an experience.
Something comes through your door every month, and you look forward to it.
We’ve taken something quite mundane, and we’ve made it into something exciting.
For my role, I think what sets us apart is how accessible we are, and how quickly we respond.
Our SLA’s are some of the best you’re going to find, in terms of customer service.
During our opening hours, we reply to your email within two hours; we WhatsApp within 30 minutes. And we’re only a small team, so the fact that we achieve that, in my opinion, is outstanding.
Nicky [agrees]: It is outstanding. We’re just personable. We’re a really close-knit team, and I think that comes out when we’re talking to customers. And they’re important! We wouldn’t be here without them… simple.
What do you envision for the future of the customer service team at Itch?
Nicky: Obviously our customer base will grow, and customer service will naturally have to grow with that.
We’ve already gone from it being just me and Deanne on calls, to now having a team of 14.
So for me, the future is just unbelievable – there’s so much that we can do to meet what our customers need.
There’ll be some really exciting times going forward.
Deanne: I second that. I see the future of the company as a whole becoming a household name.
What advice would you have for anyone who’s thinking of coming to work at Itch?
Nicky: Absolutely go for it. I’m older, been there, done that.
You won’t find a better company to work for, and I’m not just saying that because I’m here.
You’re looked after, you’re allowed to spread your wings and have an opinion. You’re allowed to have a creative mind and pass on your ideas.
It’s quite a collaborative working environment to be in.
Deanne: I’d say, you’re never going to work somewhere where you feel more appreciated and listened to.
For instance, I have very good relationships with the people that created the company, and you wouldn’t really see that in most companies.
I speak to Andrew [Pinnington, Itch CEO] & Jonny [Gould, co-founder and Head of Growth & Innovation] every week, and they’re always happy to listen to my opinion.
I think they understand here that what everybody does is important, and that all the pieces make up the jigsaw. Without one piece, it’s not a full puzzle.
Nicky: That’s it, we might all have different job titles and different roles, but our common goal is to make Itch absolutely phenomenal – and we’re well on the way to achieving that!