30 June 2021
Interview with Mark Fazio, CEO, MATE about their 2020 ASEA’s Customer Service Team of the Year win.
MATE is an NBN internet and mobile plan provider which strives to make connections with customers that go beyond just supplying a service. MATE, headed up by general manager Mark Fazio, was the winner of the 2020 ASEA Customer Service Team of the Year award. They then went on to win the 2020 International Service Excellence Award for Customer Service Team of the Year.
For MATE co-founder and general manager Mark Fazio, family and connection are at the heart of everything he does.
Developed and founded by Mark and his twin brother David, the highly successful telco provider was conceived in their auntie’s backyard and MATE’s first 19 employees were family. The pair’s younger brother, niece and nephew still work for the business and their auntie cooks for the MATE team at their Greater Western Sydney office every day.
And that family focus is exactly what Mark believes makes MATE such a successful company; everyone – customers, clients and team members – are treated like family.
“That's our cutting edge, right? We started a business as a family from the ground up,” Mark says. “This business has meant way more than having a job or having money in the bank. It meant that by being successful, we could help support our family. And that’s now the culture that we deliver in the business. We like to say that we are a customer happiness’ business that happens to sell telco products.
Mark says MATE’s focus is simple – providing excellent service and doing everything they can to keep customers happy.
“That's what we do; we make sure the customer is as happy as possible,” he says. “Then we sell them the telco product, because if they're not happy, then no matter what they buy, they're never going to stay and it's a waste of our time, right?”
The MATE team now comprises around 70 people, and they’re looking to expand with an eye out for people with the right attitude, motivation and determination.
“Those are the first things we look for,” Mark says. “We feel like the rest can be taught, especially when it's servicing NBN and mobiles. We also look for those who are able to have a conversation with people. Customer service is all about a conversation, and if you can't hold a conversation, then you can't service people.”
MATE’s positive workplace culture is something Mark is extremely proud of, and one of the many benchmarks set by the company.
“I'm on this phone call now in the boardroom, and I'm staring out at the office and everybody's giving each other high fives. They've got music on, they're dancing around while they're servicing customers. That's that vibe. That's something that humbles you,” he says.
“And our ultimate motivation is our parents. From the struggles that they had, to what they gave us, to what we've been able to achieve is the biggest motivator. They're retired, and whether it be cooking us food to putting modems in the warehouse or whatever it is, they're all involved; we don't forget where we come from.”
The MATE team was truly humbled by winning the 2020 ASEA Customer Service Team of the Year award, an achievement that Mark says was shared by all who work there.
“For me personally, it means that the blueprint for our service that we put in place, works. For the business, all the hard work the guys put in, it gives credibility and validity around what they're trying to achieve every day.”
And his final advice for those in a customer service industry?
“Make sure you always check in with customers, it’s as simple as that,” he says.
“Things always change, and you have to do regular checks to make sure that the customers are still finding what you're delivering is valuable to them.”