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Lawyers Love Our Customers – Chat with Raj Malik, Sr. Director, Legal & Business Affairs, Network Solutions

by Steve Fisher on July 21, 2008

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Lawyers Love Our Customers – Chat with Raj Malik, Sr. Director, Legal & Business Affairs, Network Solutions

Raj Malik is Sr. Director of Legal & Business Affairs here at Network Solutions. He is a friendly and very conversational person who is passionate about social media. As a matter of fact, he was the one who suggested to Shashi, our fearless Editor, that he should become the Social Media “Guy” at Network Solutions. Eventually, marketing and other departments agreed and Shashi moved the mountains that needed to be moved to become the Social Media Swami. Meanwhile, Raj continued to be a sounding board for blog topics and great content finds for the Solutions Are Power blog. He has even posted a few items on the blog himself and hopes to do more in the near future.

I was able to spend some time with him recently and here is a transcript of our interview:

Steve: Before we get into your role at Network Solutions, tell me something that a lot of people do not know about you.
Raj: I have had some of the coolest jobs……For a summer right after college, I had the honor of being probably the youngest Wal-Mart greeter in North America. I greeted customers from 6am-3pm every day for a summer. It was great until they sent me out to Lawn & Garden near the end of summer…. When I was actually in college, I worked as a Sandwich Engineer at Subway (think my title was actually a Sandwich Artist but like this title better) and once had to cut a 40-pound bag of onions.

Steve: You have a very fancy title. Beyond the “lawyering”, what is it that you do in your role here at Network Solutions?
Raj: Beyond the legal and operational work and providing support for the business units, I, along with the other attorneys in our department, get to work on really cool stuff. Some of these items include helping product managers create and structure partnerships and advising on new offerings really from the inception of an idea or product through to launch . Recently, I have really been involved in helping out on our social media strategy and that team which has been a lot of fun. Shashi and I have been known to work an entire weekend posting responses and follow-up responses to various blog and twitter posts. Our team also manages all of the disputes for the company so we get to speak to customers and other folks who may be complaining about our customers. One of the most important and probably the best part of my role that I really enjoy is engaging our customers on all types of issues they are having, good and bad.

Steve: You mentioned in your role that you occasionally get to talk and communicate with customers and really enjoy it. You told me that are a big proponent of stellar customer service and are proud of the best in class customer service we have here at Network Solutions. You like to say “we make sure the customer is happy even in the face of when they threaten to sue”. What is your approach to customer service and how do you feel that your involvement adds value?
Raj: We, in the Legal Department, try to take a proactive approach to dealing with customers. Our department gets a lot more calls than you would expect from Network Solutions customers. Instead of taking an immediately adversarial approach to these customers that one would expect from most Legal Departments, we really try to engage the customer and find out what is their issue. We have had instances when a customer initially was threatening us with a lawsuit due to an issue with their services and after we took the time to engage the customer and drill down on the customer’s issue we were able to fix their problem. Many of these times, we have worked very closely and in consultation with our Customer Service department to help our customers even in instances when they may initially be threatening to sue us.
I think that fact that we have members of the Legal team that are actual customers of Network Solutions helps us to really get into the shoes of our customers. We try to treat customers who contact us like we would want to be treated if we called. I have been a customer of Network Solutions since I joined in 2005 and it really gives me a different perspective for doing my job here on a daily basis.

Steve: You mentioned that you pushed Shashi to grow this blog and eventually become the “Social Media Swami”. What are your feelings about how Social Media can help or hurt companies?

Raj: Shashi’s launch into Social Media and what we have done in such a short period of time is frankly amazing. It has been wonderful and a lot of fun (and stressful at some times with the round the clock responses to bloggers and customers!) to be a part of it from the ground floor. I really enjoy working closely with Shashi and his team on all of the posts for solutionsarepower.com.

I think Social Media could potentially hurt companies when 1) they do not take it seriously and 2) they use it solely for a sales tool. On the other hand, if companies approach it as Network Solutions has which is we truly are interested in engaging our customers and the community to get their feedback while also providing helpful information that is beneficial to our industry and our customers, companies can really provide some real value and help.

Steve: What is your favorite Network Solutions offering and why?
Raj: At this moment, it probably has to be our e-commerce online store because my wife just purchased the product last month and I think it is really pretty cool how quickly someone can start selling products online. I think some of my favorite offerings are going to be some of the new products and services we will be launching soon! Our small business customers are really going to be excited about some of the new offerings we have in our pipeline!

Steve: Since you have been with Network Solutions for a while, where do you see Network Solutions in 18 months?
Raj: Doing everything possible for the small businesses so that we can help them succeed online and providing them with even more tools as they grow and expand their businesses. It is really exciting how the world is exploding with small businesses and Network Solutions plans on being there providing support and tools to ensure their success.

Steve: Is there anything else you would like to share with current and potential Network Solutions customers about us?

Raj: My wife, just a month ago, started her second business and she uses Network Solutions to start selling furniture online. Her website is 17thandRiggs.com and she used Network Solutions e-commerce package to launch her new site. It is still very much a work in progress, but I just would love for our customers to know about her experience. She would admit herself that she is not a technologist so she had lots of questions early on and throughout the process of building her site. Nearly ever day for a month, I would get home from work and she would mention how helpful our Customer Service was that day in solving issues that she was having or answering questions that she had about how to do something. I really think our Customer Service is fantastic for our customers and especially for those small businesses that are just starting out online like my wife. It is the reason why we win so many awards year after year.

Steve: Thanks for your time today. We enjoyed the conversation and perspective.

Raj: You’re welcome, anytime.

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