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Navigating the Customer Experience

Join host Yanique Grant as she takes you on a journey with global entrepreneurs and subject matter experts that can help you to navigate your customer experience. Learn what customers really want and how businesses can understand the psychology of each customer or business that they engage with. We will be looking at technology, leadership, customer service charters and strategies, training and development, complaint management, service recovery and so much more!
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Aug 27, 2019

Josh Kelly is the Co-Founder of RevuKangaroo, the world’s leading reputation management system, an automated SAAS business that has helped generate countless reviews for businesses on places like Google, Yelp, Facebook and more as well as growing actual revenue for clients, sometimes in the tens of millions of dollars.

 

Before devoting his work fulltime to RevuKangaroo, Josh had an extensive background in marketing, working at companies like Bonneville international, Parker and Sons, Dial (DMG) Inc and Clover Marketing.

 

He helped his own family business, a local heating, cooling, and plumbing company in Phoenix, grow from $7 million in revenue to over $100 million in just over 14 years and he has been featured on stages with the Zig Zigler Foundation, Dave Yoho and EGIA as well as major platforms like CBS, Fox, and NBC.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
  • Could you share with us how you think customer experience is going to manifest an grow over the next 5 to 10 years versus where we’re coming from in the last 5 to 10 years.
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated everyday?
  • Can you share with us what isone online resource tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business or even your personal life?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you either in a professional capacity or a personal capacity?
  • Could you share with us what’s one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you are working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • During times of adversity or challenge is there a quote or saying that you have that kind of helped you to refocus or just to get back on track so that you can feel energized towards what you’re working on?

 

 

Highlights

 

  • Josh shared that it's kind of a weird story, like everyone thinks he did this purposely, but he didn't. He kind of tripped into reputation management truth as he has tripped into most jobs and most businesses he has owned literally, it was a problem he had with his own business; with clients he was already working with. He works in what he would consider a grudge industry for the most part meaning like a plumber, no one wants to do business with a plumber, no one's excited to see a plumber, you only see a plumber when something's gone wrong and there's water all over your floor. And it's not a positive experience no matter what no matter how great a job you do, you could save the day but you're still walking into a bad experience and because of that it's really hard to get good reviews. No one's excited to do business with you, no one's happy that they did business with you ultimately. So, it was an issue he had, it was an issue a lot of clients he worked with had and he tried to buy it, a system, he tried to hire consultants, he tried to hire software and he couldn't find anything that actually worked. So, he went to a partner of his who was a good back then who runs a large team. And he (Josh) essentially explained the issue, what's going on, he literally locked a whole bunch of business owners he knew and good friends within a room and they started spit balling ideas what it could look like, what it should look like and been running ever since.

 

Yanique shared, so, it's fair to say then that you ended up in this business because of a pain point that you were experiencing, and I mean I'm sure many of our listeners, this will connect with them. Generally speaking, people typically end up in an entrepreneurial position many times because of some pain or discomfort that they felt that they could definitely find a solution for and of course a solution for other people who were experiencing the same pain and discomfort.

 

Josh agreed, literally, in their business like the plumbing HPC company is his first business. They were working their butts off to get reviews and to be positive and they have won awards, they've been recognized by Congress, they won the BBB Torch Award for Ethics, they were doing amazing quality customer service and great work but they were getting like 10 to 12 reviews a month and they're turning hundreds of calls. Now he gets 10 to 12 reviews a day and all are positive, it's totally transformed the business because it doesn't really matter as weird as it sounds you can have amazing customer service, you can have an amazing product, you can have amazing system, you've got amazing software, and if no one knows about it, it doesn't really matter that much. So, they had to find a way to let people know about it and the best way to do that right now is reviews.

 

Yanique reiterated, so, you were saying that you ended up in the reputation management business and it's not very easy.

 

Josh agreed and stated that it's easy now that they have a system and they have software to follow it and they have really simplified procedures it's really almost fully automated. Now, they have ton of reviews and they literally get millions of reviews a month for clients, all positive, driving them out to third party sites like Google, Yelp, Facebook, depends what business that you're in and actually literally driving real revenue and real customers to you. So, now it's easy but it took a long time to get there, not like a month of development work, he’s talking years of development work and then years of refining and then talking to clients and figuring out, so it was not an easy path but now, if you join your RevuKangaroo, it's pretty turnkey. It's pretty simple, pretty fast and their average client grows about 18 percent in revenue with the first six months in the program specifically from them.

 

Yanique stated. So, this particular platform organizes your customers reviews of individual employees and pushes positive reviews to major websites and those websites include Google Plus, Yelp Facebook, Twitter and more. So, pretty much if I let's say I wanted to visit a restaurant that I'd never heard of before that maybe I was out and somebody said, “Oh, there's a new Mexican restaurant that opened up on X street,” and I decided to go on Google and I saw like a Google review, your platform allows that restaurant to be able to have people rate their restaurant to get a good Google percentage rate.

 

Josh agreed and stated that that's the way consumers work right now. So, if you're to go to a restaurant or a hotel or hire a service, the vast majority of people about 87% of people look you up online beforehand. That's the current statistics it's actually growing. And the first thing they look at is reviews, actually 87 percentage people that looked at your reviews. So, restaurants are a great example. If you've never been to a restaurant and you're trying to find a specific type of restaurant, most people are going to google it and or go on Yelp depending on where you're located in the world and look at the reviews. Now here's the problem with that system as a business if you just allowed it to happen. Customers are fickle, they just are, if you had a really great experience at a restaurant and the food was really good that's what you're supposed to do. So, it's actually pretty hard to get positive reviews, however, if you've made a mistake which happens, if someone had to wait or the spice level was off on that dish or whatever it is, any single dish that can happen. It's way easier to get negative reviews and it's just a hard thing, like you have to drive a lot of reviews for it to really make a difference too. If you're a restaurant and you've got 15 reviews that doesn't make him feel really comfortable, he’s sure you're the same way. So, it's a numbers game too. So, what they've essentially done is if you need reviews on Google what they're going to do is they create an online funnel for you on your website. They automatically email and text message all of your customers asking how your service was and they actually tie it just like you said to a team member. So, what he means by that, if you're a restaurant, they're actually going to write a review on your server or maybe a bartender and the reason they do that is it tends to skew a lot more positively and they get way more feedback. It's really hard to get a review on the ambiance of a restaurant or how nice the tablecloths are or whatever. It's much easier to get review on, Jennifer the server because you had a relationship, you talk to them, good or bad right. And they say, “Hey, how is your service with Jennifer from 1 to 5 stars?”If it was an amazing experience they automatically drive it out to those third party sites, they pre populate the stars, they make sure it's landing where they can actually drive business for you. They had a bad experience instead of right now them going out to Google and become a permanent mark on your business, they're instead going to collect that customer's information, find out exactly what happened, find out which team member it happened with and send it to the management team and say, “Hey, this customer had an issue with this team member, here's exactly what happened, why don’t we reached back out to them, make it right.”

 

So, you're getting a chance to recover that negative experience before it kind of firestorms and gets out of control.

 

Josh agreed, and here's what happens, let's say that customer you turn around and now has an amazing experience, if that one-star review is out on Google, good luck changing them. The truth is that customer totally turned around now loves your business, it happens all the time but that one-star reviews stays there and other people they're looking up your business, they don't get the context to that, they don't get to find out that you turned around amazing service or that was a one off or was a weird experience or that's not normal. All they see is a one-star and a bad description. So, it's really important that you take control of your online reviews because the truth is your online reputation is happening with or without you. The customer is in control and they should be, but he thinks you should have a say in it. If there was a bad experience, he would want to know about it and he wouldn't want it to be permanent, if he could fix that and turn it around then leave him a review then. And truthfully, if they had a really bad experience and then you followed up with them and the customer hates you even more because you did a really bad job of following up then that's understandable, then ok maybe this isn't a one off, maybe this is just a bad business. Then it's going to show up on Google anyway, but for so many businesses they do great business and they're great people with great products or services and you look them up online and it just doesn't show it and he doesn't think that's fair.

 

  • Josh shared that he has been in entrepreneur more or less right after college. He has always been in the customer experience business. Anybody who tells you differently like they just don't understand. He guesses there's some commodities like if you're selling spoons, customer service is probably not, and customer experience is not as big a deal. He has never been in a commodity business where he’s selling widgets or spoons or toothpicks or whatever it is where it's just price conscious and nothing else matters. He has always been in service or product businesses where having a good product, having a good service, having great experiences is very important. As far as where it's going, he thinks they're a perfect example of exactly where it's going. There was a time where people spoke to each other face to face, you get to learn what businesses were good for referrals and you talked to your mother about company before you hire them, you called friends, that doesn't really happen anymore. What's happening is your customer experience is moving almost entirely digital, more and more and more there's businesses that are holding out from this and some will always hold out, a lot won’t. So, a good example would be like their customer service experience if you were to join RevuKangaroo, you are going to get a constant touch points always from them and it's an automated system they're reaching out to you by email, by text message but they're checking, it's a combination you can go too far where hey it's only automated and you're like a software company or everybody's dealt with those phone calls where you call in to a robot, he doesn't like that, that's bad. However, he does love the customer experience where you're calling in and they have the menu and that kind helps short cut what you're going to talk about depending on the business or everyone's had that service where you press 5, if we want if you want them to call you back when it's your turn. He thinks that improves the customer experience significantly, you're not sitting there waiting on hold annoyed as annoyed anyway. And that's like an automated system that's drastically improves the customer experience, it's all about automating what you can, handholding what makes sense and then bridging the gap between the two and really, it's also about setting expectations. So, a good example is like when you join RevuKangaroo or do business with Parker and Sons as the home service company or Clover Marketing or Pulse or any of those businesses he’s a part of. Let's say I know on day three for RevuKangaroo, people tend to ask where can I see reporting on email and text messages that are set up so, he knows that they've had a system of this, he knows it comes up often enough, so, day two at the end of the day he sends out an email with a video walking through exactly how they pull that and letting them know if they have any questions let him know, that's proactive customer experience and customer service. So, he thinks the automation side of it and the handholding needs to be combined and he thinks that's the way things are going and he’s actually really excited. Obviously, he’s in that business but even if he’s not, every business should be in that business.

 

Yanique shared, it's interesting you mentioned a little bit of digitization and a little bit of humanization and how I ended up in this business of doing podcasting was, I am a customer service trainer, that's what I do for a living. And so, I figured podcasting would be a great platform for me to reach more people and build more awareness around customer experience but one of the things I've found over the years is I really don't think people are going to want that fully digitized experience at some point. They still want to deal with another human being. I think technology is great and it does definitely help to accelerate the process to make things much easier, it definitely makes your life more convenient freeing your time to do the things that clearly brings you closer to your goals. But for some things especially when you're feeling a pain like as you said there is a plumbing situation or your cable breaks down or there is an issue with your kid at school, you will have to have some interaction with another human being. How do you see that manifesting with this whole digital revolution with chat bots and everybody trying to technologize their businesses? But at the same time as you mentioned still handholding and having that human element in the business that people still feel like they're not a transaction but they're a person.

 

Josh stated that he actually thinks this really kind of depends on your business and your industry. Like he said if you're selling spoons you could pretty much automate stuff. A school is a great example, like that's a personal thing, it's important. That would be in his opinion really horrible to digitalize, that's much more handholding than most others. You could make the argument, “Hey, you could put kids in school, and you make them watch videos and that's consistent.”But he doesn’t think anyone wants to do that. But some people think of business like that, and they shouldn't. He thinks digitizing and systemizing and automating is a beautiful, wonderful tool and he thinks more and more people should use it. He thinks it's like any new technology though, what's going to happen is people are going to overuse it at first, they're going to get excited about it, they're going to go too far which is kind of what people are starting to do now. And then once they go too far, they realize, “Hey, that was too much,”and they'll start dialing back. A good example is like smartphones, everybody loves and uses a smartphone almost across the world. Children are given smartphones now at a young age, he didn't have that technology when he was growing up of course. But now like it was essentially they gave them the phone and they have free access, now parents are very aware of what's happening on their kids phone or more so, they're more restricted, they have hours that they're allowed to be on their phones and they’re not, they're adjusting backwards right and realizing a natural balance, everything works in balance. So, he thinks short term, he thinks more and more businesses are going to move towards automation as a way to save money and then over time they'll move back from the automation some to improve their customer experience.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that everything should be done in balance because at the end of the day we're still human and connectivity is so important. As you mentioned earlier because I'm the mother of a 13 year old and you're right, you give them the phone and you give it to them with no restrictions, no boundaries are set when the phone was presented to them but then over time you recognize that the phone is not taking precedence over the things that will really help them to be more successful. So, now you have to put boundaries in and clearly Apple realized that because they created Screen Time where parents can no shut the phone down, shut down their accessibility to certain apps without even having to have that interaction with the child because they would be on an app or a playing a game and at 9 o'clock the phone shuts down, it's bedtime because failing that you can tell them to shut the phone off but unless you're going to stand over them physically, how do you know that when you close that bedroom door and going to your room to sleep that they're really shut the phone off and they're not playing that game. So, balance is very, very important.

 

  • When asked how he stays motivated, Josh stated that it depends somewhat but he’s a little different than most people. A lot of people are motivated by money, there was a time, fairly recently, within the last few years; he has heard this like a thousand times, he’s sure you've heard it too. But if you chase money, you become its slave, if you let money chase you, it becomes your slave. He really didn't fully understand that until probably a couple, maybe three years ago. So, he’s not really driven by money really at all anymore, he’s driven by helping people. So, his biggest goals in life are really to help other people achieve things that they couldn't do without him, that's his Why. That could mean team members buying a house they never thought they could afford, taking that trip that they always wanted to, buying that new car that they always want and it could be clients sending their kids to college and being able to more comfortably afford it or be able to retire earlier, that could really depend a lot on who he’s talking to but what motivates him is changing the world is such a broad thing, what does that mean? He could change in the individual people's lives in a significant way every day. And that's what excites him and gets him up in the morning and it's why he does everything.

 

  • Josh shared that his business, he’s a big fan of having a CRM, he uses HubSpot, he uses it every day. He’s ridiculous with it, he loves it. He doesn't think Hubspot is the end all be all. He thinks you just have to find a way to organize yourself, your team, your customers in a way that makes sense. So many times he sees businesses and they don't have a CRM and he instantaneously like, how much money and effort and everything you’re leaving on the table, always have a system set up. Some cool systems he uses regularly, Grammarlyis a big deal to him. There is some really cool YouTube stuff if you're posting YouTube. Hemingway Appis amazing if you write any scripts or copywriting, it's a really, really cool app. He would suggest everybody who writes. So, he writes a lot of copy, he writes scripting. He helps people build websites, design emails, text messages Hemingway app is such a cool app. There's a lot of technology he uses every day like he’s in a software business so, he’s probably over the top with software compare to most. But he's sure he could list all day if he wanted to, but he doesn't know if there's one that everyone should be using this. He doesn't think there's a silver bullet for anything in life. It depends on what you're looking for, where you're at, where your business is at, where your personal lives at. It really, really depends, the only one he does suggest everybody be doing is reading books and he doesn't actually read books, he hates reading but he’s done a business book a month since he was 15, he uses Audibleevery day.

 

 

  • Josh shared that there's a lot he’s excited about and it just really depends. He’s not this gigantic goal person, he doesn't think that way, he thinks of goals like a ladder. So, he needs things he needs to reach up and be able to grab and pull himself up, he’s not this big audacious goal guy where he wants to conquer this gigantic thing, that's just not how he works, he just keep climbing and eventually he gets there. So, for him the thing he’s really excited about is just helping individual people, he talks to business owners literally every day, there's a chance when you call on RevuKangaroo you'll get his team for the most part but you can get him and he loves having conversations with people and sometimes when you get an outside perspective and you can see things more clearly and sometimes those 15-20 minute, hour conversations, he could change the whole business, he could change the whole perception. That's what really excites him, it's not like he has this brand-new software that they're building, yeah, they're building really amazing software that he’s excited about but that's like a way for him to help people. So, the helping people is what actually excites him.

 

Yanique mentioned which dovetails back into the things that motivate you when you mentioned it's all about helping your people to grow and develop and help them achieve their goals and if they're able to do that then you feel like you've been motivated and it kind of pushes you forward to go on to the next day.

 

  • Josh shared listeners can find him at –

josh@revukangaroo.com

Facebook – Josh Kelly

LinkedIn – Josh Kelly

 

  • Josh shared that there's not necessarily a quote and there's probably a series of quotes and depends what it is. For a business owner, he has a good friend named Ellen Royer, she's actually really, really amazing and a great speaker too who once told him that, “Businesses are like vehicles.”So when his business becomes overwhelming he thinks about that business are like vehicles and what that means is, a business you could sell, you could drive your vehicle, you could sell your vehicle, you can abandon your vehicle, you aren’t your vehicle. So, if that business fails, it doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means that business fail. So, putting some context and perception into that actually helps him a lot. It helps him that nothing that he does is an emergency, no one dies if they don’t get enough reviews today, that’s just not how it works. He’s not a doctor, he’s not working in an emergency room, things he does aren’t emergencies and when he puts that in context it helps him a lot both personally and professionally. Another one he uses all the time is, “I don’t sweat the small stuff,”and in context, it’s all small stuff.

 

   

Links

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 20, 2019

Nick Mehta is CEO of Gainsight, the Customer Success company. He works with a team of nearly 700 people who together have created the customer success category that's currently taking over the SAAS business model worldwide. Nick has been named one of the Top SAAS CEO’s by the Software report three years in a row, one of the Top CEO’s of 2018 by Comparably, he was a finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and holds one of highest Glassdoor approval ratings for CEO’s. On top of all that, he was recently rated the #1 CEO in the world (the award committee was just his mom, but the details are irrelevant). He also co-authored “Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue,” the authoritative book on this field. He is passionate about family, football, philosophy, physics, fashion, feminism, SAAS customer success and people have told him it’s impossible to combine all of those interests, but Nick has made it his life’s mission to try.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
  • Could you just explain a little bit more about what Gainsight can do for their company? And you can just use an example, maybe you pick an organization and tell us if they had that type of company, as a client of Gainsight, what would that add value for their company?
  • How do you see customer experience evolving in the next 5 to 10 years versus where we're coming for from in the last 5 to 10 years?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated everyday?
  • Can you tell us if there isone online resource tool, website or app that you absolutely can’t live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • Could you share with us one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that you kind of revert to, to kind of help you to refocus and get back on that path to what you’re workings towards?

 

Highlights

 

  • Nick shared that he is very excited to be in this journey and be with here today. He has been working in business for a few decades, so definitely dates him a little bit. His journey into kind of customer success actually started way back in his childhood, because he does have a memory when he was a kid, he grew up in the East Coast of the U.S in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and his dad was an entrepreneur, but this is back in the days of selling big computers and software that was running on people's servers and all that. He remembers him saying that, if you ever go into business, one of the things you need to do, this was when he was little kid is make sure you're either the person building the product or the person selling the product because once you sold the customer then your job is over, you can move onto the next one. And those two, building and selling are kind of what a lot of companies really focused on for a long time. And in his early part of his career, he worked at a large traditional enterprise software company, a great company but at that time the company was very much focused on building and selling and so the idea of the customer experience and customer success, it was certainly something people would talk about in speeches and you'll say nice things about but if we fast forward into 2008 when he took his first CEO job where he was running a cloud SAAS company. A company called Live Office and he didn't know anything of the new cloud worlds, so he came in with that old playbook of building and selling and just really focusing on sales and kind of customer success, customer experience honestly was more of a necessary evil. Came into this company and ended up with the power of subscription, allows all to come or go anytime they want, every month or every year. He actually as a CEO, his whole schedule changes where he needs to spend the most time on customer experience and customer success and so he got very passionate about it at his last company and actually he got quite curious that nobody's solved this problem. And obviously that inspired Gainsight with customer success, they've been doing this about six and a half years and it's been real joy to see many CEOs kind of wake up to the idea that on nowadays, when you think about the growth of your company and the core of your company, customer success and customer experience is right at that core.

 

  • Nick stated that many folks that are listening probably have had experiences with customers where sometimes your clients are so happy and everything you're doing is great and other times they are not happy and sometimes they leave you or they say not nice things about you and review sites or social media. And so, the question is fundamentally how do we drive customers to be more happy, more successful, and then spend more money with you over time either by coming back to your business or buying more from you or recommending you to a friend. That's what we all aspire to. And the real question is, what's the difference between those ones that go great and the ones that don't, and he'd argue that a core difference is - “Are you waiting for a customer to come to you with their issues, with their problems or are you analyzing and anticipating their needs and are you proactive with that customer?”And in the old world of business, when we didn't have, online interactions and we didn't have a lot of data about our customers, it was hard to be proactive because frankly you couldn't guess what your customer was thinking when they weren't in your store. But nowadays with all this stuff, whether it's loyalty programmes or ecommerce sites or your customer relationship management systems, or maybe a mobile application they're using, there's so much more that you can be seeing about what your customers are doing so you can actually anticipate their needs. That's the core, can you anticipate their needs and be proactive with them. So, Gainsight is all about taking the data that you have about your customers and really anticipating where they are in their journey with you and doing as much as you can to be proactive so that they're likely to stay with you and spend more money over time.

 

  • So, giving an example. Adobe is a big customer of Gainsight and many people on the call probably have used Adobe Photoshop before, which is like the world's leading photo editing software. And Adobe has hundreds of thousands of small businesses that use Adobe's Photoshop in a suite they call creative cloud. Creative cloud is a suite of solutions for designers to basically be able to build better products and experiences. And creative cloud is sold as a subscription, so you sign onto it and you pay a certain amount per year based on the number of people in your company and Adobe had a challenge. We'd said, okay, we sell them that subscription and then at the end of that term, they either stay with us or they go and how do we anticipate how they're doing and what more we should be doing for them. So, they created a team that is working with these customers, looking at the data about how often they're using their software and whether they have kind of gone through the training or not, things like that as kind of signals, think of them as like kind of a footprints of the customer's body language. And you're basically figuring out, okay, where are they in their journey? And then in some cases, do we need to intervene? Do we need to reach out to them and say,

 

…………“Hey, can I help you learn about the product?

………….Can I help you learn how to use this new feature?

…………Can I be more proactive with you?”

 

And so, Gainsight's all about helping our customers use data to be proactive with their customers, to basically help them be more satisfied but also spend more money over time. They do that in a lot of different ways, they can do that if you've got big customers and where you're like managing them in a more kind of a human fashion, they can also do that in a way where Gainsight can be kind of embedded inside your website or your experience kind of like nudging the customer to do the right things in a more digital way. “Humanizing the Digital Experience!”

 

  • Nick shared that there's a few different things that have changed the expectation of customers and that's kind of continuing to drive evolution in their thinking. He thinks comes down to at the end of the day, what people experience in their lives as consumers and kind of that sets the bar for everything we all do. So, obviously when we use applications online, those applications are very personalized to our needs, they're automatically anticipating our needs, they're delightful to use and they have to watch out for privacy, which is obviously the modern issue but they really use data to the advantage both of the company as well as the customer, personalize what you see and what you do. And he thinks that's what we experienced when we work with the big tech companies, whether it's a Lyft or an Uber or it's an Airbnb or anyone else and that sets the bar for a while. “Everyone I work with should know what I need, they shouldn't be asking me, they shouldn't have to ask me how happy I am, they should know that. They shouldn't have to ask me for what products I bought, they should know that.”And so, that's one thing is kind of their expectation on the experience. The other thing is and nowadays when we buy new products and services, at the end of the day we're buying, we'd argue not a product or service, but an outcome.

 

Outcome meaning, “I have a goal, I'm trying to achieve something.” And you can think of car ride as an example. He’s not trying to buy a car, he’s not even trying to rent a car, he’s trying to get from place A to place B, that's the outcome. And Uber, Lyft, other companies helps him achieve that outcome. With Airbnb, he’s trying to have a great experience with his family on travel, Airbnb delivers that outcome. And so, he’s not thinking as much about booking a hotel or booking reservations, he’s thinking about getting this outcome. And so, that concept of the vendor, the company being responsible for both a very personalized experience as well as owning the outcome. And think of the old world with the car, you buy a car and you buy a physical car and at the end of the day, it's your job whether you driving it or not, whether you know how to get to place A to place B, whether you get lost, whether you take the right route, it's your job. But when you hire Uber, Lyft, anyone else, it's their job to own the outcome, they have to make sure you have a good experience, they have to be price competitive, but they own the outcome. So, the thing that's changed is vendors are expected of very personalized experiences and to truly own the outcome in this new world.

 

Yanique stated that that's a mighty revolution there that were experiencing.

 

Nick stated that it’s huge and he thinks it's actually hard because it's a totally different mindset. You used to say like, “Hey, I make this widow, I deliver this service.”But now it's like, “No, I deliver this outcome.”And it's a higher bar, it can be stressful sometimes, but also very rewarding if you do it right.

 

Yanique agreed. Because the flip side is if you're really doing what you're doing right, then it means that your customers will walk and speak great things about you and they're going to talk about their personalized experience, they're going to talk about from top to bottom and everything in between and a lot of times none of your marketing captures all of that.

 

Nick agreed and thinks that that's so much bigger now because that advocacy, that informal word of mouth and because of social digital, it's everything. He'd argue nowadays it's very unlikely that a customer's going to buy from you without having talked to somebody who's worked with you before, either informally or through a review site, like a Yelp or something else. So, your customers are your growth engine now in this new world.

 

  • When asked how he stays motivated, Nick shared that number one is of course is a big pot of coffee, which is on his desk right now. There's no substitute for that. There's a few things that for them keeps them motivated he thinks are probably true for a lot of people. Number one is he does think that there's a lot of purpose in this philosophy of like humanizing business and really not thinking of your customers as a transaction, but thinking of them as a human being on the other end and how you can have a mutually beneficial relationship, a lot of companies do that with their customers. So, there's sort of two layers of that and that's definitely the purpose is very motivating. Now when you talk about our customers and like you said, we have to do all practice what we preach. What motivates him is a few things. Number one, on the constructive side, he loves hearing the feedback on what we can do better because to him, when a client tells you what you can do better versus be silent, they believe that you can be better. It's like anyone that gives you feedback, the thing that they're telling you as well, you can be better. It's actually sad if somebody doesn't give you feedback because they're saying implicitly you can't be better. He thinks that what's motivating, if you listened to it the right ways,is feedback is a gift that's saying that you have a chance to be better, you're not your best yet and he hopes that throughout his life he’s never at a point where he’s at my best because that means there's all this better to be come in the future. Now on the flip side, he thinks it's important to also recognize that the job of working with customers can be tiring and especially if you're in a call center or you're dealing with a lot of customers in some way, it can be tiring to only hear those constructive feedback. So, it's nice to also hear some of the good things that you're doing and that's why he encourages his team and customers to also spend time with customers, their clients that they are doing well because you don't want to get an artificial sample of the challenges. So, he thinks it's really coffee, it's some constructive criticism and it's compliments every now and then. Those three things can, can keep you motivated.

 

Yanique mentioned, customer service, I've picked up what you said a while ago in terms of it's really hard and how I even got into this whole podcasting thing is that I'm a customer service trainer and I figured, okay, podcasting is really becoming popular and so this is a good way for me to have a platform where I can reach more people and bring greater awareness to customer experience. And so, one of the things I say to my participants in the training is customer service is one of the hardest jobs that you can ever do because the biggest part of any organization is the people. And it's funny because yes, data is so important and we're driven by data nowadays and things are digital, but I just don't see us getting to that point in customer experience where people aren't going to want to deal with another human being. Even with the rise of digitization, what's your thoughts on that?

 

Nick agreed, there's these sorts of two trends that are happening that can be kind of at odds with each other, but he thinks they're synergistic. There's this obviously amazing data and automation version of the future where we don't have a role on the planet anymore or we're merged with the robots or whatever, maybe that'll be fun who knows. But he thinks that with any trend, there's a countertrend the end of the Yang and the Yang is that people actually value human connection maybe more than ever, perhaps because it's a little bit more sparse nowadays because he has young kids at home and his oldest is 13, and just as is well documented, you'll see how little time they spend with people face to face anymore and so there's this sort of pure digital experience, which is great, but it means that all the human experiences are so much more special. And so, to him what that means in the field that folks in this podcast are in is that job of humanizing the experience has never been more important. Now you start to leverage the data, leverage the automation, you don't have to do all the busy work anymore, but your ability to put a human being in front of that is he thinks it's still as important as ever and he thinks one of the things that's interesting is as you probably see in your work too, call centers, some of them are switching back to like, “We're going to put a human on that first ray.” The automated stuff is great and sometimes some of that automation is allowing us to have certain customers that we're going to just put a human being there so they can have that human experience and he thinks that that's never been more important. He also thinks that on the flip side, we need to acknowledge that for our workforce, because frankly, otherwise these jobs become super demoralizing and he thinks we have to acknowledge the humanity in our workforce and leverage that and really celebrate that, not just treat them. The expression he loves to try to eliminate is employees are our greatest assets, which is implying that their assets, which they're not, they're not on your balance sheet, they're human beings and so really kind of trying to humanize the relationship with employees, which he thinks in the last 30 years as a society predicament America, we've gotten wrong where we've sort of thought of the employees much more as just a cog in the system.

 

Yanique agrees. Without the employee, the business really cannot function because you need people for the business to function.

 

  • Nick shared that for work, as much as it's sometimes gives him funny and annoying, because you get a lot of spam messages, LinkedIn is actually a really powerful tool because you're talking about human connection and all that. And he thinks it’s allowed a little bit more humanization in business. The reality is that we can kind of look each other up on LinkedIn, understand a little bit more context of who you are, who I am. We can have a better conversation that way, we can find common connections. LinkedIn actually tends to be as a businessperson, a great way to engage socially with your customers, they get a lot of engagement when they post on LinkedIn. So, LinkedIn is probably the one that on a work setting, is sort of invaluable. Of course, I couldn't live my life without my ride sharing apps I also use Uber and Lyft but for work, it's on LinkedIn.

 

  • When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Nick shared that there's a great book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fableand it's pretty interesting because he’s sometimes skeptical of business books, we both had that experience that they can be very high level, you can actually pick up a lot of the information in 5 minutes in a summary and so he gets a little bit skeptical of, “Okay, is this really going to be worth my time?” And so, with some trepidation read this book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team recommended by a friend, is a very famous business book and it's about this kind of a parable about a management team and isn't able to connect, it doesn't really have trust, that's the foundational issue. And it's funny because you start reading this, “I'm the CEO, I run a 700-person company and I'm like, oh great, this is going to be cool cause I get to see a company totally different from mine.”And he started reading it, he’s like,“Oh my gosh, this is like us. It's not just us, it's not 100 percent us but there's so many parallels.”They had their management team read it and they all felt the same thing, they're like, wow, there's so much we can learn by looking at it, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration, but there's so many things that without trust in a team you can end up really struggling with. And so, that's the one that he thinks is for him, it really stuck with him.

 

Nick shared that he highly recommends it, it's a quick read, but definitely an eye because you realize how much more you can do. He thinks if you open your eyes to how you can create trust in your team. The second book he'd recommend, another one that was very influential from the business side, it's called The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answer, it's by a venture capitalist named Ben Horowitz, who is a CEO as well previously. And it's a great book because he realizes there's not any like book you can write about just being a CEO or being a leader that has transferable lessons because every situation is different. So instead, he talks about basically how everything is hard, and you have to sort of accept that and maybe there's some kind of therapy and he'll talk to you about the challenges. So, he talked about all these challenges in his company as it almost fell apart but ended up being very successful. So, those are two he thinks on the work side that he'd recommend. On the personal side, he will say, admitting something about himself, he’s big on vulnerability and he'll say that one of his many flaws is he has a massive fear of missing out. He’s always wondering what somebody else is doing right now at any given point, whether it's at work or otherwise and FOMO as people call it and there's a very funny book by Mindy Kaling who's a comedian in the U.S called Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)and it absolutely captures his sentiment at most times, which is, “Is everyone doing something fun and I'm not invited?”So, that's a little bit more into the window of who he is.

 

  • When asked about something that is going on that he’s really excited about, Nick shared that he'll share both. At work, one of the things he really believe if you're a leader and he thinks especially if you're a CEO, but he thinks true for any kind of leader or the leader that the organization needs this year, whether it's a small business or it's a big company is different than the leader it needed last year because every year your business evolves, your strategy evolves, your goals evolve and Gainsight, every year has different goals and strategies. So, every year Gainsight, his company needs a new CEO and he hopes it can be him. So, he hopes that he gets the job again. Now, that's not a formal thing that they do at review every year, but he thinks about it himself, what kind of CEO does our company need now? And they are kind of going through some exciting new things. They've moved into kind of a multiproduct strategies, they have multiple things they do for their customers and they are about 700 people and so, there's a general question of how do you run a company that's almost like a portfolio products instead of just doing one thing or doing multiple things and so, that's something he’s working on is what does it take and how can he learn from other companies to make that transition, that's on the work side. And then on the personal side, he'll say with the three young kids, their daughter literally today just started high school. So, he’s learning what it's like to be the parent of a high schooler, their oldest is a high schooler and that's absolutely a big joy but also a little bit of melancholy at the time passing by.

 

  • Nickshared listeners can find him at –

www.gainsight.com

    Twitter - @nrmehta

LinkedIn – Nick Mehta

 

  • Nick shared that he loves the philosophy that many boxers have espoused of, “It's not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s about how many times you get up.”That concept of resilience is very powerful. So, he thinks that that is probably something that does motivate him and sort of like when you're in those times of challenge that later on you're going to look back on that challenge as one of the proudest moments when you overcame it. And actually, he was talking to another CEO, much, much bigger company, very successful CEO and he said, despite the fact that his company's very successful, the most fond memories he has in the history of the company are the times of challenge because you all kind of work together and hunker down. And so, he thinks that's one of the biggest things that motivates him. And then the other one, which is always remembering that these are the good times, like right now, these are the good times that later on in life we'll look back on and some times in the moment you don't appreciate that, but kind of doing that thought experiment of being 30 years older and hopefully still being around and you're looking at weeks and months, which sometimes can feel like a grind and remembering that those are going to be the things we look back on with fondness and really appreciating that.

 

Yanique re-confirms, so, basically gratitude to appreciate what you're going through and also just to be persistent and resilient in anything that you're doing and just never give up.

    

Links

 

 

 

 

Jun 18, 2019

Inthis episode Yanique Grant, I am speaking specifically about a topic that I think is relevant to helping leaders in an organization to help their team grow and develop. And it has to do with honing the skills and building the potential of your existing team members that you have working in your company.

 

Now potential is someone's capacity to develop their skills with effort and coaching over time. And that's just the point, how can we know where effort and coaching will take someone over a period of time if you don't actually take the time to invest and identify if your investment in this individual will be successful?Now the first step in helping to develop or helping to grow someone to identify their true potential is you have to help them identify the best version of themself. And so, conversations with your employees, one on one conversations where you help them to identify where their strengths and their weaknesses are and what their values are. You can help them write this down, so they have it as a focal point, this is like the foundation of how they are going to move from one step to the next. Then you need to ask them questions, like, “Is there something that they've ever really, really wanted to do and achieve and accomplish?”Such as, you know, if they had a great passion to dance or they had a great passion to speak a second language or they had a great passion to play a particular sport. So, you have to ask these questions to identify what is really in their heart. The next thing is you have to ask them, is there any thing that they think is preventing them from reaching to that milestone?So, do they think they need to be a more assertive person, do they feel like they lack confidence? You have to ask them these questions and read their body language, get them to a place where they feel very comfortable sharing this information with you because it means now, they have to be very vulnerable to share this information. So that's the first step. You want to get them to really identify where they fall in terms of setting themselves up for success.

 

Then after you get to that point, we have to now help them set goals. One of the things that we consistently promote or encourage persons who are in our workshops is the number one rule of a leader is to help people grow and develop. So, if the people grow and develop, then the organization would grow and develop because in every company, the organization is the people. It's not the tagline, it's not the logo, it's not the uniform, it's not the equipment, it's the people and without the people, the company cannot grow and develop.And so, you have to help them set goals. Setting goals is an important part of helping them to achieve success and not success in terms of your financial statement for the business, success in terms of what they view as success. Now, research shows that setting specific goals will help people to get what they want. So, you write it down, and this is where you're going to put in a step by step, strategy, day to day activities that you're going to employ to achieve the overarching goal so you write a list of everything you want to achieve, check over your list and seriously consider what you've written down is realistic.

 

Because sometimes we're so bold and audacious, the goals are amazing and you should reach for the stars or even beyond the stars! I completely support that, but we have to think realistic at the same time. So, let's say the goal is to lose weight, for example. There's no way that you will lose 50 pounds in two weeks, it's just, I mean, maybe you could lose it, but it wouldn't be the healthy way and it wouldn't cause the weight to stay off. So, in setting the goals, you want to ensure that the goals are realistic. When you're setting the goals, you also want to affirmatively or positively affirm in your mind and on paper how you want the goal to be manifested, “I want to be less worried about my appearance.” “I want to be confident about my appearance.”So clearly the former statement sounds a little rocky and you don't want to sound rocky. You want it to sound affirmed, you want to sound confident, you want to sound fulfilled that you believe in what you are saying. In setting the goals, you must also be specific and specific means you have to set down certain timelines. So realistically, “I'd like to lose 50 pounds in the next six months to a year.”So, you give yourself enough time because when you research weight loss, the healthy way to lose weight is one to two pounds a week. So, if we go with the one pound a week, and there are four weeks in a month, realistically you can lose, let's say a minimum of four pounds per month and there are 12 months in the year, so, that's 48 pounds for the year. However, you could accelerate it, there are cases where people lose up to 5 pounds per week, and if you're losing five pounds per week, then that's now 20 pounds per month. And that 20 now is multiplied by 12 months for the year. So, you want to be very specific, but also be realistic in helping your team to set their goals.

 

Now, you set the goal, but you can’t just set the goal and the goal is going to achieve itself, you have to put in the work. So, once you have confirmed your goal is achievable and it's realistic, now is when you have to get to work, so you have to commit to the process, focus on the process rather than the end point. You know what the desired result is, which is to be 50 pounds less than you are now, or to own that home or to own that motor vehicle or to rise to that managerial position, whatever it is that your goal is. Note in your mind though, and also on paper that your long term goals, they don't have to be set in stone word for word because in the process of you achieving this goal, things will change, people will change, even you may change and your goals may change as well and it's not an exact science, so you don't need to treat it like one, just allow yourself some room to grow. Create a checklist, so important, so you can know where you're going and this is what is going to help you stay on track on a day to day basis towards the goal ahead and do those things every day without fail because the biggest thing or the most important thing in goal achievement is consistency. So, it's small incremental steps that you do consistently, regardless of how you feel, regardless of what challenges you are being faced with, you're doing it all the time.

 

So, we move on to we start the journey now, we've set the goal, we have things written down, we have our checklist. Now, we have to put some inspiration in place, we have to align ourself with people who we know will help us to achieve the goal. And this is why as a leader, you have to help your employees. Maybe there's another employee in the organization or another leader in the organization that you could bring in and this person could help this team member that you're trying to grow to achieve that goal. It can be a person, it can be a landmark, we want to help people to find inspiration so that in challenging times or times when they feel overwhelmed there’s something that they can connect to. And that's why it's so important to have some inspiration. A lot of persons nowadays, they try to achieve their goals, they have a vision board and on the vision board they would have the things that they want to achieve. So, they're constantly being reminded of the path that they're on, they don't get deterred and you position vision board somewhere that you can see all the time. It could be a case where you have somebody in your home that you know is going to be the reminder for you or at your office who's going to be a reminder for you or it could be the case where you may be have a coach and that's what we are as leaders.

 

Leaders are coaches, we’re mentors were, we’re there to help people achieve their desires. So, you've set these long-term goals, but you also have to set some short-term goals and short-term goals are the things that you do on a daily basis, on a weekly basis. We have to be confident because believing that we can do it is really a big part of the psychology of whether or not you're going to be successful. And so, negative thoughts will slow down once you're fully confident, you're fully in control of your thoughts, you don't let anything deter you, you focus on what you want to achieve. You have to take care of yourself, dress well, ensure you look good, groom yourself, think positively. When you have a negative thought, rephrase it positively, don't compare yourself to others, everyone is running their own race, we're not in competition with anybody, we're all here to collaborate and compliment each other. So, try not to get into the habit of comparing yourself to others and we can fall into that very easily. Social media, unfortunately, this is some of the negatives of social media that you’ll watch and see what other people are doing and you'll start to compare and think about where you are in your life. But we're all in our own lane, we're running our own race, we're not trying to compete, we're trying to collaborate and compliment. So just change up your mindset and how it is that you view certain things.

 

The next thing is you have to accept changes as they happen because in working to achieve the goal, you will buck upon some obstacles and you have to focus on the things that you can influence, you have to remember that you are engaging in a process, so, it's not about the end results, it's the journey. You have to adapt to new circumstances by setting new goals, so, if a pothole comes up or a little obstacle or hurdle comes that you have to jump over, think about it as, yes, it might be a setback, but the set back is there for a reason and what are you going to do with that to make it better.

 

And always be open to learning new things, even as the coach or the mentor that is helping the employee to grow, you yourself have to be open to learning new things from that individual as well. I do believe it's a two way street for both persons involved, so we really have to be focused on ensuring that we support each other, in support, you want to let your family members know, your friends know what journey you're on so that they can help you. Remember the people in your life - your circle of your friends, your tribe, your circle of greatness. Those are the people who are going to help you, they're going to keep you accountable, they're going to help you to achieve the goal. So, you always want to ensure that you get support.

 

You have to trust your intuition or your gut, that little feeling that you get inside your stomach sometimes when you feel like, “Oh, this is the right thing to do.”Or that little feeling that you get sometimes when you’re in a situation and you say, “No, I don't feel like I should go there, I feel like everything is telling me that I shouldn't go there today.” “No, I shouldn't eat that, no I shouldn't eat it.”Follow your gut because 9 out of 10 times your gut is so correct. Journaling also helps you to trust your intuition. You want to keep a list of the items, the times that your intuition helped you, reference your journal when you're working through a problem because it will help you to refocus.

 

And through it all, never give up. Focus on the fact that it's a process. You're going to achieve many goals along the way. Stay committed to achieving your goals. Be that encourager, be that motivator, be that mentor, be that coach, be the inspiration in that person's life, that when they do achieve that overarching goal, whether it was to sing or to dance or to speak a second language or to move up in the organization, they look back and say, I could never have done it without that manager or that supervisor who was coaching me, always believed in me, never gave up on me, even on days when I never believed in myself, they were my biggest cheerleader.

 

And that's what I want to encourage you as leaders is everyone has potential, there's always potential and you have to believe that a person has potential and you have to encourage and motivate and inspire them to believe that they have the potential as well. We're all working towards the same goal to help each other be better, to help each other do better and the more we can really invest our time, time…..the most precious commodity that you could give to another human being is time.So, when you invest your time and energy into building the potential of another human being, it's priceless. There's no dollar figure that you can put on that. And I'm telling you that the person will value that time and energy that you've given to them to help them be greater and better and you would become great and better as a result. So, I encourage you to be a great motivator, be a great encourager and try to really seek the potential in others and build the potential in others because we all have potential to be great.

 

I believe that these things that we've shared today will help to create that culture in an organization. And remember, service starts from within. If you can build your team members potential from within then it's so easy for them to help to build potential and success in your clients and customers in the interactions that they have with them.

 

Again, if you'd like to follow us on Twitter, feel free it's navigating CXand please feel free to join our Facebook group, Navigating the Customer Experience Podcast.

May 21, 2019

 

Rochelle Gapere is an Attorney, Happiness Coach and Entrepreneur, known for bringing her charismatic personality and share joy for living to every experience and individual that she encounters. She has mastered the art of living life fully and passionately. The release of her first book, One Happy Thought at a Time: 30 Days to a Happier Youcements her lifelong practice of adding more happiness to this world by empowering others with the tools and techniques that help them lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Rochelle believes in living a life that is engaging at every level and utilizes practical techniques to teach audiences her unique approach to living a happy life.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
  • What are some of the maybe three top things that you would share? Would a business owner and entrepreneur, whether in an online space or in a space where they actually have an environment where customers come in and interface with their employees as to how it is that they can use some of these disappointments to propel or pivot their business to the next level?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • How do we get our business owners to the point where they're a little bit more understanding to the fact that it's not just about the profits because the profits have to come from within first in terms of developing the people and if you profit with developing the people's minds and the goals that themselves want to achieve on an emotional, financial, physical level, then it will manifest into financial for the business in the long term.
  • Could you share maybeone online resource tool, website or app that you couldn't absolutely live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that I've had the biggest impact on you?
  • Could you share with us one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity, you draw on this quote or saying to kind of rejuvenate or to just get back on track?

  

Highlights

 

  • Rochelle stated that she would say she has always been a very happy person, as a child she wasvery free spirited, very optimistic and that followed her throughout her life to this point. She practiced law and she’s still practicing law, actually next Wednesday will make it 14 years since she graduated from law school. So, time definitely has flown and so her entire life she has always wanted to be an attorney. She went to school in Jamaica, she went to St. Andrew Prep. School and then she went to Campion College and she left Campion College and went to Nashville for Undergrad, Tennessee State University and then she came to Miami to law school in 2002. She went to the University of Miami School of Law. She remembers being a child and people asking what do you want to be when you grow up? And for her, she always knew she wanted to be an Attorney and even her yearbook, it's written in there, “Oh Rochelle is going to win cases by dancing for the judge or something crazy.”So, it's interesting that even as a 16-year-old student, she was very clear. And so, she always had laser focus on her goals and she knew that was it, nothing could pretty much hit her off course and it wasn't anything that her family told her she had to do, it truly was something that was a deep desire in her heart. When she got to law school in her first semester though. Just to interject a little bit, she graduated a semester early and when she graduated from college, she worked at her aunt's law firm, she was a partner at the law firm. So, it was just like the perfect pairing. She went there bright eyed, bushy tailed and so there was something about that energy in that big law firm setting that was very off putting to her. She would wear very colorful clothes and she was extremely up beat and very happy going to work in the day but the whole environment was just kind of melancholy, just sad. Of course, it was a big firm, they were doing really well, they had excellent cases, but the energy on a whole just was not really light, not what she would have thought this whole law firm experience would have been. And so, from there it shaped her mind that one, she didn't want to practice in big law, at least she went into law school knowing that and one specific really, really resonated with her and it stayed with her pretty much for the rest of her life actually. One afternoon, like a Thursday or Friday, it was a second-year associate and she was scheduled to go to Italy on a vacation with some friends and she was very, very excited, really looking forward to the vacation. And so, when she (Rochelle) was leaving work on a Thursday evening, because she didn't go in on Fridays, she told her to have an amazing trip, hope she has fun and it was her first vacation she was going to take as an associate in a big firm in two years and that's typical. So, on Monday she gets back to work and she's at her desk and Rochelle is like, “What are you doing here? I thought you're supposed to be going to Italy on this long-awaited vacation.”And she pretty much said on Thursday when she was about to work, one of the senior partners came in her office and said to her, “Oh, you need to work on this motion that needs to be submitted.”And she told him, “Yeah, but I have a prescheduled vacation I needed.”And he said, “Well, you could either choose to have your job or to go on this vacation.”And so that was something that stuck with her for a while and she wants a life, she wants work life balance, she knows she wants to have meaningful work, but for her happiness would mean having time to be able to go and be with her friends and family on a vacation. We have 365 days in a year, so for her it only made sense that if she’s going to be working hard, she also would need some balance. She went into law school with that at the forefront of her mind. First semester of law school she realized, “Oh, maybe I don't want to be an attorney, I like the knowledge of law. I'm not necessarily sure if I like the practice of law.”And at that time, she was 21 years old and had no other idea of anything she could possibly do. She wasn't going to drop it to law school, she’s a Jamaican, you start what you finish and not only start what you finish, you have to do it excellently. So, she was just like, “All right, well it's 3 years, I'm just going to do it or whatever.”So, her whole law career, up until this point has been very balanced where she practices, but she has always had a side hustle. So, she has curated and created a life, work life balance where she does law and she enjoy law and the practice of law. She loves the knowledge of it, but it isn't the thing that wakes her up in the morning where she’s justbursting with excitement to go and practice law or research legal matters or whatever. So, the happiness journey, it really is organic because it's who she is truly. She is asking the question why? There has to be a bigger purpose, a bigger purpose, a bigger purpose. And it was in 2016 and she really was getting a little bit, it wasn't anxious, but she was agitated a little bit, when you get to that space where this is just not enough, and she just needed more. And so, life is so incredible how sometimes the things, the doors that close are the doors that sometimes propel us to our purpose, which is what happened to her is that she was in a long-term relationship and she thought she was going to marry the person she was with and the relationship ended. And it was through that relationship ending and friends and family asking her how she was doing, and she told them, “Well, I am sad and I'm disappointed that the relationship ended because of course I'd been with the person for five years.”like up until that point, she had envision and pretty much created a future where he was an integral part of it and he would be an integral part of the actual work aspect of it. So, when that pretty much blew up in her face, it was one of those things where obviously she has had to press forward. And she got to a point where she was just like, “What now?”As she has come in contact with friends, they would ask her and she would tell them, “Well, one area of my life being bad doesn't mean my entire life is bad. I still have a career. I still have family and friends who love me, I still have my health most importantly.” And as she tells people that, they kept saying to her, “Wow, you have a very refreshing perspective. You probably should write a book.”So, she had an Aha moment and she was like, “Okay, maybe I should write a book about this.”And she loves books, she’s obsessed with learning, she still has a library card, she goes and pick up books every week, she reads voraciously, and she has always known she wanted to write a book, but she just didn't know about what. So, the Aha, the bell went off and so that's how she ended up writing the book. But in writing the book she realized she still wanted to dig deeper, why was it that she had this perspective that people kept telling her was refreshing, why wasn't it just something that comes second nature to people on a whole? Aren't we all on this earth wanting to be happy? Most of the things that we're doing, it's because we think it's going to add to our joy, whether it's buying a new car or going on a vacation or dating that person or whatever it is, buying the purse, that is what it is, that constant want or seeking happiness and fulfillment. So, she started studying the science of happiness to get deeper and in studying that science of happiness and just researching, she came across the School of Positive Psychology and she was a psychology major in Undergrad, but at that time, 1998 to 2001, the psychology was more based on, “Okay, what is wrong with you? How are we going to fix it?”But now, this school of psychology, which was birthed within the last 10 years, it's more of a “No, what's right with you? Let's figure out ways to even enhance it.”So, when she’s doing the research, she was just like, “Oh my God, I love it.”She could not stop learning. So, she went along, she got a Positive Psychology Certification through University of Pennsylvania and so from that point on, she has just been studying the science of happiness, she became a Happiness Coach.

 

Now, she coaches people, businesses how to add more happiness in their workspace, individuals how add more happiness in their day to day lives. She has written a book, she’s one of the cofounders of a woman empowerment summit they are called ‘Women Winning Now’where she speaks about happiness and teach audiences how to add happiness into their day to day life. But it truly is a closed door that got her here and so now she jokingly tells people when they tell her, “Oh my God, I'm going through the breakup.” or“I got fired”or the rejection or whatever. She says, “You are in the absolute best place you could be because now you get to create a life that you want, so you take the disappointments or you take the wisdom that you've gained and you now have this blank, clean slate and you could create from that space, which is what I did.”So, she is a walking billboard of how a plan that you have for yourself, the plan A sometimes may not bethe best plan and that you just have to be open to pivoting and just being open to learning some more. She is just using the rejection or the disappointment to propel you in a grateful, more amazing existence, which is truly her story.

 

Yanique stated, this is just truly amazing and it dovetails nicely into the whole podcast theme of navigating the customer experience because I find a lot of businesses, they have people who work with them, they have leaders in organizations, but at the same time they're not using the negatives or the disappointments as positives and pivoting them to a realm where they can really shine.

 

  • Rochelle shared that she thinks of course it depends on the company culture, so, whoever is at the top, the energy trickles down. So, she thinks what has happened, and traditionally so is that people view work as just survival. So, for like somewhere between 55% to 80% of people, it's normal to see work as something to be endured, and not something to enjoy. So it's interesting because we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so you'd think that you would want to create a company culture where work life balance would be something that you'd make a priority and not only that, we're dealing with human beings, so you have to think the people who work for you, they also are going through their own human experiences before they ever show up in the building. So, for one, of course it's the company culture that you're creating, and everybody definitely has different leadership styles, but there are companies now that realize the happier employees are, is the higher the work productivity. Google is one of those companies that's very, very forward thinking. They have implemented mindfulness programs because the more mindful you are, then you show up at work and you're able to focus on the matter at hand as opposed to coming to work and then you just have a whole million, trillion other things that you're focusing as opposed to what you're supposed to be doing in this space. So, for one, of course a company culture, for two, she thinks it all just keeps going back to the environment and the whole company culture. Have you ever shown up in a review, your performance evaluation and your supervisor or your boss have ever asked you, “Are you happy?”

 

Yanique answered, I don't think so. And I don't think in any of the organizations that I have worked with, they actually have that question in an appraisal.

 

Rochelle agreed. She is going to say what she defines happiness at work to be. So, it's a feeling of overall sense of enjoyment at work. Being able to gracefully handle setbacks, connecting amicably with colleagues, coworkers, clients and customers and knowing that your work matters to yourself, your organization and beyond.So, with that definition in mind, why wouldn't you want to know if the people who are working for you are happy and if they're fulfilled. And so sometimes people just want to know that you that they matter and that you care. And so, it's not that you're saying are you happy and then they are coming and telling you all their life story, it’s just, “Are you happy? I see you; I'm affirming you. What could we do in this environment to make it better?” And a lot of companies, they're just telling their employees want to do, they are not creating a safe space where people feel vulnerable to tell employers what could be better. It's a, “This is the way and you should just operate in our systems.”At the end, everybody has a vision for what it is the business that they're building. But listen, the people who are working for you they are the best parameters of telling you what is working because they are literally on the floor, they're on the ground, which is why that show Undercover Boss works so well because lot of times when you're sitting in an executive office or whatever, you are not necessarily connecting with the person who is really and truly handling your day to day operations. So, what you may think looks good on a manual doesn't necessarily translate to real productivity or an actual experience. So, you would literally have to get down and dirty and on the floor sometimes with your employees and find out what they're thinking. And so, one simple thing to implement to help this is that you could just have an anonymous suggestions box. So, you could just say, oh well, you may not know that, “Okay, you would give us a 35-minute lunch break but then the closest restaurant is 17 minutes.”So, you start building in those kinds of things and you are like, “Okay, this is why that's happening,” or all of a sudden, a couple of people have been showing up to work live, why are they showing up late? Oh, maybe because now what they are doing like construction on the highway that's really like, so now they have to build an extra time. These are just little questions because this is day to day, it's human dynamics. But if you're not asking the questions, how do you know? And so, it's communication and it's not just top down communication, it's also bottom up communication because you need to know what people are feeling. She’d say the communication aspect of it. And another thing is just implementing team building exercises. So, one thing that she does enjoy about her legal space that she works in, they make it a point to celebrate everything. And so, this month, she just got an email this morning they're doing Asian Pacific celebration. They celebrate black history month, Hispanic heritage month, there are always some little celebrations, whether it's ice cream day, it doesn't take anything out of a business to bring in three tubs of ice cream. Maybe everybody won't participate but guess what? When your employees are now seeing each other, not only as my coworker and they have an exchange, how is your mom doing or whatever, you feel more comfortable asking them. One, “Okay, do you have a template on this legal case that I need?”It breaks down the whole just competitive nature of any space and it makes it more familiar. So, that's also an aspect, but lots of times people are thinking, well, the one hour that we take to do this every month, they could be doing more, they could be answering phones. Actually, maybe not. Sometimes that one hour that they use increases the productivity more because now one, they feel more affirmed in the space, they feel like they matter, you did something nice to acknowledge them, it makes them want to be loyal, want to work harder for you. So little things like happiness workshops, building emotional resilience, you asked me, okay, “How is it that you translate the rejection or the failure into productivity?”People don't know what they don't know, they don't know. Rochelle stated that she’s a psychology major and she never even knew the school and positive psychology existed until she went seeking that thing two years ago. So, think about all the employees within your environment that literally just don't know. And so, a lot of us stop formative learning at around the age of 21 to 24 years old, let's say you graduated from Undergrad at 22 years old, 24 let's say you, as an attorney, you have this additional three. So, let's just say most of the formative learning, 25 that’s it, you stop learning if you're not forced to learn. So, all you're doing day to day is the exact thing that you have known before you showed up at this job.Why wouldn't you want to help people expand their minds, bring in different speakers?

 

Just the little things to challenge people, to open their mind, one hour of how to increase productivity chat today. One hour of building emotional resilience, one-hour of becoming a better communicator, but even employers, a lot of them don't even know that these things exist. So, they would not even see the importance because she’s very, very clear when she presents, when she talks about happiness, she’s always very clear that the things that she talks about are rooted in science, it's not just “wooo….woooo….woooo.”That's so fleeting. There's no subjectivity but no, there is tons and tons and thousands of research studies about happiness in the workplace. Employers need to be made aware that these services are available and really the importance of equipping themselves with the knowledge in order to help their employees become more productive. Because guess what? That's the point to work. People are at work for productivity, to make money, to get returns on investment, if you're not doing that, then you're are just having a hobby. You want to have an impact of course. So, there are certain deliverables that you know you need. So, if in being there are standard things that you could be doing to get the results that you need for your business. Why aren't you doing it?

 

Yanique stated, lots of powerful nuggets there. Keep happiness workshops, talk about the emotional resilience, having a culture where people feel comfortable and the feel at home at work. Very important to ensuring that you have a strong service culture. And a lot of what you touched on focused on the fact that at the end of the day when a customer has a bad experience is really symptom of something that's happening internally, which means that the staff is not happy, the energy flows from the top down, so probably the leaders themselves have no sense of direction in terms of their own happiness and if you don't know where you're going, then there's no way you're going to be able to lead other people.

 

  • Rochelle shared that there are days when she doesn’t feel motivated. She’s human, so that's one of the things that she is very vulnerable and very clear about. She wakes up and she choose to act. So, sometimes you have to get past the emotion of things, but then there are days when she literally says, “No Ro, you need to just relax because you can't pour from an empty tank.”And she said earlier, work life balance. She is a better Rochelle when she gets adequate amounts of sleep. She is a better Rochelle when she is working out. So, motivation comes for her, comes from the fact that she’s actually doing work that she loves, work that she knows she was put on this earth to do, even when she’s tired, she could talk about happiness. She can teach people or motivate people about ways to infuse their life with more joy. She loves to inspire people to become the best versions of themselves. So, she truly believes that she’s operating in purpose, but it doesn't mean that every day is just wake up and bounce off the wall with energy days. It just means that she makes the choice because one thing that she’s keenly aware of is that our time is finite. And so, she doesn’t know if she’ll have tomorrow or if she'll have next week or the week after that. So, one thing that really keeps her going is that she lives everyday as if it's her last day because it very well could be her last day. And so, with that at the forefront of her mind, it helps her to one, not get bogged down in the small things that really are not edifying or not helping her become better. And then it also helps her get through and process negative emotion sooner. Cause she’s like, “Well, if I only have a finite amount of time, do I really want to spend my energy on this negative thing or this negative person or I'm I going to use my energy to be more solution focused or solution based.”So, it really is a mindset matter for her. So, she renews her mind like in the Bible it says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”She literally tries to renew her mind every morning. One, she doesn't really dwell in the past because she can't change the past. And so that is what a lot of us do as humans, they're just scientific concept rumination where you will just get stuck and bogged down in this thinking and rumination coupled with regret causes us to just be crippled. And we'll just keep thinking, “Oh, I should have done this better.” “I should have done that better.”“If I could just change this.”But really you can't change it, all you have the power to do is changed your present. With that in mind, she’s like, “Okay, I'm going to use the lessons of yesterday and the past to propel me into a greater future and a greater presence.” For her, everything starts in your mind, if you conquer your mind and your thoughts, then it's just sets you back. It sets you back.So, for her, she’s huge on affirmations, she wakes up in the morning, she affirms herself, even when her energy's low, “Ro - You woke up this morning. That's a blessing. You can do it.” And by the time she kind of gets herself hyped up with her affirmations, she feels better and then she also uses different inspirational tools. She reads success magazine, there's an Instagram page that she loves before 5:00 am by Joe Duncan, he always has really good energy. So sometimes the inspiration may not come from her internally, but she knows the sources that she needs to go to get inspired. She’s keenly aware that she’s a human being and that everyday she’s not about to be on firing at 100% cause she’s not that. She gives herself space for that, there are days that she just decided today she’s just going to wake up and if all she did today was survive then that's enough and she celebrates that too. Every day doesn't have to be a winning day, some days she literally woke up, she made it through the today, here she is and she’s alive and some days it’s just sits in the bed and read a good book and have passive thoughts because you need silence in order to activate your creativity.If you're always doing something, then you don't just have the time to just let your mind be clear enough to be able to have creative thoughts.

 

Yanique agreed. As a leader in an organization, you also have to have some of these conversations with your team members whether it’s in group or one on one to kind of get them to that place because the reality is we're all socialized differently and it's clear your parents did a really great job in getting your mind to that point where you are able to just turn yourself around and you know exactly what to do to get to that point. But that's because you've been cultured that way, so it's very easy for you to connect that way. But in an organization where you have so many different personalities, let's say you're leading a team with 50 people. I was at church yesterday and Father said in church, statistics for Jamaica is one in every 40% of Jamaica he said, or one in every five people that you meet are suffering from some psychological disorder. It’s resounding, it would mean then that if you have an organization, it's quite possible that 5% to 10% of the people that work with you are having psychological issues. But do you know, and then mental health is not something that we're just feeling very comfortable to talk about.

 

  • Rochelle then stated that this is where she mentioned earlier about the company culture and it's the feedback. So, this is a thing, when you said you stand in your truth, you liberate others to stand in their truth.She’s speaking generally, but let's say for a business specifically, your employees are going to react to the environment that you have cultivated for them. Which is why she said if you are saying in performance evaluations are you happy or you are also sending out email databases, let's say, you have your company email and small implementation, every month you may have a newsletter. All of a sudden someone reads that and they're like, “Okay, they care about this.”you're not going to hear someone saying, “Hey, do you have mental health issues?”But no, you have now made it okay to talk about these things because you have presented it in the newsletter or you put up a flyer in the lunch room that says that, so now people are assumed that and they're like, oh, they have this in the work room or you may have books in the office library that some are on whatever, like happiness or bipolar disorder or feelings of depression. People want to start seeing that in the environment. They're like, okay, we could talk about this thing and the mere of fact that they put this in here, it means that somebody is one, made aware, two, that we could maybe talk about it and three, that now it's in their conscious mind, but that's the problem is that nobody is really talking about it so, it’s just like if you're in a group full of your friends and you said, “Oh, you know, I went to therapy this week.”All of a sudden we were like, “You went to therapy? I didn't know you go to the therapy girl.”You will make it okay to go to therapy because you have liberated them, “If Yanique can go to therapy and Yanique looks like she has it all together, then I can go to therapy too.”And she says to people, if your tooth is hurting you, you go to the dentist. So, if you're not feeling mentally good and in a good place or you're having thoughts of suicide, seek the help, but you will only seek help that you know is available to you and she thinks that is one of the main things in Jamaica is that we are a society where we don't really talk about mental disease or mental illnesses, it's still very taboo, so, as a result, nobody feels safe to say and speak up because they will feel judged and stigmatized. Whereas now in America, it is very, very, very prevalent for you to talk about it and she'll even use the example, she took 7 weeks off of work, I went on a sabbatical and how that manifested. In 2016 when she went through her breakup, she decided, “Okay, what now?” 2017 she went to her boss and she (Rochelle) has always been a really good employee, high performer, very well-adjusted happy person. And she went to her and said, “I need to have a really honest conversation with you. I'm in a space where I don't know what's next. I feel confused. I feel totally like just underwhelmed. I just don't care about work, you know, it's just like I don't want to be here.”And so, she said to her, “Oh, um, maybe you should move to our DC office or our Irvine Office?”And she was just like, “Oh, I don't think that would help because I'm just going to take the same Rochelle to all these spaces. I truly need a 5 week.” And she went and asked for unpaid leave. She didn’t want to have to think about work. She just wanted to check out of her regular environment, go away somewhere and just be able to be one with her thoughts and just think about what she wanted to do next. And so, Rochelle uses that example all the time because she had a supervisor who was empathetic and understood what she meant by saying, “I needed a moment.”So, imagine if she went to her and she’s just like, “Oh, we don't care, get back to work.” But she felt safe and her workplace created an environment where she felt comfortable enough to go to her to say that. And she ended up getting 7 weeks paid vacation and in those 7 weeks she traveled all over Europe. She was based in Oxford with a friend who was a Dean at Oxford University. She was based there and then she traveled around, that's where she wrote her book and she came back to work feeling one, rejuvenated, refocused, renewed and so, everybody won't necessarily have the opportunity to do what she did but what we hope people have the opportunity to do is feel safe to say that to their boss. That's why she’s a firm believer of allowing employees to have a mental health day, it doesn't necessarily mean that all you have to be sick with chicken pox or the flu. No, you literally took the day off because you just needed to be off to whether you go to the therapist or whether you went to the beach just for a moment to read, re-gather yourself. And so, that's what she’s saying, the conversations just need to be had so people feel safe to be able to talk about it but it’s just little clues that you could start incorporating, the flyer in the break room, the asking are you happy in this performance evaluation, putting the books library at the office, sending out in the newsletter. Maybe just including a positive quote every month, asking employees to submit a positive quote, to be included in the newsletter so they feel like, “Okay, they want to make an effort at this.”Sothen people want to speak up.

 

Yanique agreed. So, we have to have more leaders who are open to being vulnerable and being empathetic and caring enough that you feel safe and you can share information with them. You were speaking a while ago, you reminded me of one of the people that I look up to so, so much. She helped me so much during a time in my life when I needed to get through some family issues. Brene’ Brown and I did a course with her. I can picture the two of you on stage, I think you should. I think you should try and partner with her to do something because I can see the two of you are clearly aligned, I get the same feeling, I get the same message, I get the same connectivity when I hear you speak and when I hear Brene’ speak.

 

Rochelle asked if Yanique had watch Brene’ Brown’s documentary The Call to Courage? People need to feel safe to just be themselves. And so, this is another thing she'll say is it starts honestly with you. When she goes to work, she doesn’t care about the energy that is in the office, she shows up as her happiest, best Rochelle self. She tells everybody good morning, she gives people compliments, people want positive feedback. She tells her coworkers, “I appreciate you.”She brings maybe a $5 Starbucks gift card every once in a while. It's just little things because happiness truly starts within yourself. If you are not happy internally, you will not be able to go to work and just miraculously be this happy employee. No, you have to be happy within yourself and then what you show up as it is what's coming out of you. So, she always, good morning, she talked to the Security Guards at work, every person wants to be seen and feel that they matter. And so, when your boss looks on you and says to you, “How was your weekend?”You feel good because it's not, “Where's the report? What did you do?”No, it literally is, how was your weekend? It took one second and it's your boss so you're not going to sit there and say, “Oh wow. I went to the club and then I got drunk.”No, you probably stop and say, “It was great. How was yours?”That's it. It just like a co-worker last week unfortunately her sister had a stroke and ended up passing. Should come back and it was so sad. And so, she came back to work, we had flowers on her desk, like succulents. So, she'd have to water it and nurturing, that literally didn't cost anything other than $10. But you could tell the gratitude on her face when she saw that we did that and signed a card for her. It's the same, it's little things, it's just being kind. Every person wants to be in an environment that's one, positive, two, where you just feel like you could go there and not feel judged or overworked or overstressed and people actually will work harder for you if you treat them well and it doesn't take a lot to treat people well. She'll use this as an example. Last week she had a rash on her arm randomly, had to go to the doctor on Wednesday and there was a case that she worked on that was time sensitive and she needed to bring it to work. But her boss said to her, “Oh, I know you're having this rash as long as you're okay, don't worry about the time sensitivity of this file.” She ended up going to work Thursday at 2:00 pm to drop it to off.

 

Rochelle made that extra effort because her boss treats her with respect, and she cares about her. When she saw her in the office on Tuesday, she actually saw my arm and she's like, “What's wrong with your arm?” So, it didn't take anything out of her (Rochelle) now on Thursday to go out of her way to go there with this rash still on her hand to drop off this time sensitive file. Before she left the office, she came by and she said to her, “I appreciate you for coming to do this because I know you didn't have to.” And that makes a difference. She will show up for her again and again and again and again because not only does she just look on her as a worker, she looks at her as an actual human being because we can all get a rash, we could all be sick, we could all have a sister who had a stroke.

 

Yanique agreed. And that's what you want. You want bosses are people who you work with who can connect with you on a human level, who care. And they don't just take for granted that because you're being paid, you have to do it. You don't have to, and you have a choice. And the fact that you made the effort and then she actually recognized the fact that you made the effort, you definitely appreciate the fact that she values you.

 

Rochelle stated, exactly and that's what she keeps saying. People just want to feel valued and they'll do more if you are just a kind person. It's small things, when you're in the office, stop pushing the closed door on the elevator, hold the door for somebody to come, just basic things. If you see somebody walked in with the box or the bags I the vows, the little 10 seconds that you will use to open the door for them. It's just the little things, it's not a big thing, but it all starts within you. So, each individual as you show up as your best self in the office, people will also want to show up as their best self.

 

  • When asked about a tool that she couldn’t live without in her business, Rochelle stated Google. Google is every single thing. There is nothing you cannot find out on Google. Simple things as how do I put this new column on a Microsoft Excel Sheet, let's use that as an example. Google, there's a video to show you how to do it. There's an article and a video, whatever your learning style is, it's there for you. But you know what it is, we live in our society now where people don't really want to seek a lot of knowledge, they want you to tell them so it's like our curiosity is just going down, but we have more access to information than we ever had in history. There's no reason why you shouldn't be seeking answers, just like, okay, if your boss says, “Oh I need you to do this one thing.”you don't know how to do it, you don't have to be waiting, you need to be very self-motivated, be self-actualize, be able to find things for yourself. People don’t have to spoon feed you knowledge, go and look for it as simple as Google because guess what, Google will give you the research article, but it will also give you the easily digestible information too, and we all have smartphones. So, gone are the days where like, “Oh, I can only go on the laptop.” No, it's right there at your fingertips. So, for her, she would say Google is one of the things by far every single thing that you need to figure out, it’s there. Even her as a lawyer, she looks up stuff all the time just to get your pulse of what it is, like okay contracts on Blah Blah Blah. Oh, what happened in this circuit court? Easy. But obviously they are the legal databases that have the knowledge, but in Google she gets a wide variety of information, articles, news articles, interviews from people that talk to issues that matter to them. What she will also say that we have to start doing as individuals on a whole, stop seeking information from the same exact sources. So, for instances, open your mind, so if you are someone who watches CNN all the time, why not watch BBC? Or if you always read Huffington Post, why not just go to Fox News to see what they're talking about? So, what happens is that we become so insular sometimes and we just stick to what we know that you're not learning about anybody else or what other people are thinking. How are people doing your exact business in India? Have you thought about that? You could become more efficient. You don't know, let's just say there's really no new, new, new idea, so there’s somebody doing exactly what you're doing somewhere else in the world. But have you ever even taken the time to see what they're doing, what’s the digital agency doing in Russia right now, what’s the digital agency doing in Pakistan, they have a digital agency there. Have you ever thought to research what they are doing? Maybe you'll have a couple of Aha moments.

 

Yanique agreed. Even from a customer service perspective, customers don't benchmark their customer experience and much same businesses anymore. So, you have local companies in Jamaica who are being compared to Amazon even though they're not in the same space. But that's because people are having different types of experiences and they're expecting that, if that company can do it then why can't you?

 

Rochelle agreed and stated that the thing she will say, people are not open to criticism. This is the issue because people take criticism as a reflection of who they are, they get defensive. You could have a $20 bill and you could crush it, you could step on it, whatever, it's still a $20 bill, it doesn't change its value because you crushed it up or threw it against the wall or whatever. So, what a lot of employers could do, especially when you're in a customer service-based industry, you need to be asking your clients and your customers on a regular basis, what could we do better? She'd be open to what they sell. She’s not saying you're going to ask them every day or every week whatever, but you literally can just be like, you know what, April I'm going to have a What Could We Do Better Campaign twice a year. And then whoever you send it out or you ask them and nowadays you have Instagram, it's so easy. And you could easily say, “All right, well when I come in to Tastee or Sugar and Spice during 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm rush hour time, I would hope that you'd have minimum 4 cashiers because I need to get in and out.”But that's just simple. So, all you do is know that during that time you are going to do that, it's not hard, it's not rocket science but you don't know because you're not asking because now you're taking the criticism as an affront to you as an individual and becoming sensitive to the feedback, not realizing that feedback is literally what makes us better. And she has had to work on that because it's easy to be in your head thinking that,“Oh, I have it all figured out.” But guess what? You also only have your point of view and your view of the world. So, you could teach me certain things, you could say, “Rochelle, how have you ever thought about doing it that way?” And all of a sudden, her mind has now expanded, and she could do it that way.

 

And so, with customers, because you're dealing with people on a day to day basis, it is imperative, and it is so important that you ask what could I do better? Where could I improve? And you know what too, you'll start seeing trends, you'll see like 10, 12 people say the same exact thing and then you're like, oh whoa or you may even get really good ideas. It's interesting that recently she announced that she’s going to launch an online course called Happily Single and she has put it out there just randomly, haven’t given much of the course details or anything. She has had so many people one, send her direct messages about little things that they think she should include. She did her filming in two different sittings, so she took their feedback and she implemented some of that and then one random girl said, “Oh, do I smell another book coming?” And she’s just like ding, ding, ding, because she thinks she’s going to write a book about this. But she would never have received that feedback if she wasn't a person who always, when she communicates with the people, her audience, she always ask them, “What do you think I could do better?”or “What do you want to learn more about?”and she doesn’t take it as an affront because guess what? She’s not every single woman living in the world, nor is she every person seeking happiness in the world. So, she needs to know what people need to hear from her, to become successful.

 

Yanique agreed. So, feedback is very, very important and it's not even just from a customer experience perspective, it's just generally speaking. It's funny you mentioned that because I find a lot of businesses and even people generally when they do get criticism, they do get defensive and they get defensive in the weirdest ways. I remember a couple of years ago I went to a fast food chain and I found a cockroach in my box. And the first thing the cashier asked me when she opened the box was if the cockroach was dead or alive. I'm not sure how that question was even relevant because whether or not the cockroach was dead or alive, the point is that the cockroach was in the box. So, the questions that we ask, I'm assuming the question was probably going down the avenue of well maybe if a cockroach was alive, possibly he crawled in there at a different venue not at the venue that they had presented me with the box. But regardless, we do get defensive as people and I put myself into it as well. Sometimes you think, as you said, it's a personal attack against us as a person and if you really just try to take the emotion out of it and look objectively at what a person is saying and just look at the fact that maybe there is some merit in what they're saying and maybe that's something that you could change or do better.

 

Rochelle agreed and stated because how do you become better if you aren’t learning? And a part of learning, it's just like when you're a child, if you got a math problem wrong, then you knew it was an area you probably needed to study more. You didn't study the things that you got right all the time, you tried to also correct the things that you got wrong and it made you better, so the next time we took the math test, you got the question right.

 

  • When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Rochelle stated that The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz, she will not talk stop talking about this book. The Four Agreements, it is tiny and it maybe short read, but it is the gift that keeps on giving because it's literally 4 topics and her favorite isDon't Take Things Personally, that's agreement number 2 and it goes right into what we just spoke about, about getting the feedback and not making that be a reflection of who you are. It's not a reflection of who you are, it's just information and so, The Four Agreements, it's one of the books she tells all her clients to read it, she tells every friend to read it. She kind of can’t stopped talking about this book. She has a mini version on her nightstand and then the original version on her nightstand also but it's such a good book. So, she would suggest that each person read that book. It's an older book now, it is Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. So that's one of those books that she really loves and her book One Happy Thought at a Time: 30 Days to a Happier You. But she loves about Outliers is that it's just the truth, it's not rocket science, what you practice and what you do over and over again, you become better at and you're just not going to cheat the system. You're just not going to cheat the system, every single successful person who is operating in a spirit of excellence they’ll tell you, they practice, and they practice more. So, let's even talk about Beyoncé, she recently released her Coachella performance on Netflix. She said she practiced for 8 months for a 2 day; 2 hours isn’t that wow. But people would just look on Beyoncé and be like, “Well, it's Beyoncé.”No, she is Beyoncé obviously because she has natural talent, but she is also Beyoncé because she’s putting in those 10,000 hours. So, Rochelle says to people, you have to do the work, you're not going to cheat the system, you have to do the work. Usain Bolt, he trained hard. Michael Jordan, he trained hard. Lebron James, he trained hard. You know what, at the end of the day things may not go your way and you get back up again, and you keep training hard and you keep working hard. And so, she would say you just have to put in the work, want to accomplish your goals, to accomplish your dreams. We all start at different starting points in life, so it's not saying that, oh, the person who started with the private school education and the access to tutors and all that, may not have more assets up front to mobilize but it just means that you may have to work a bit harder, but nothing is really out of your reach but you have to just try it. So many of us, we just get bogged down in trying to see the entire story and how we're going to make it work rather than just taking the first step. And so, she always says, small wins are still wins and those small wins build the momentum for the big wins. So, she tells clients, so you have a business idea just buy the domain name, you'd be surprised what that $9.99 investment on GoDaddy does for your self-esteem and for your confidence. But if you sit down, you're like, “All right, I have to writing the 20-page business plan, get the funding, build the website that Dah, Dah, Dah.”By the time we think about all the things that you have to do, you just are kind of demotivated, you kill your spirit, but if you just start operating, just putting one foot in front of the other, you'll be surprised and that's why she likes to talk about little tools to help you, which is why she said you'll be surprised what that flyer in the lunchroom does.

 

Are you happy? How could we make the workplace better? Here's the anonymous box, putting your feedback. We just want to hear from you. We value our employees, literally just having even a wall with some positive posts in there, positive quotes on the wall. You may have it in the bathroom stall. So, you walk in and you're like every day you may not feel like being here, but you show up every day, that quote, all of a sudden you see, you're like, okay, I got you. That's true. Every day I don't feel like being there, but I'm showing up, and you reading that, it just triggered something in your brain so it's not big, big things, it's just little things that ultimately that we just all have to start doing individually and then of course as a group that will help increase the customer experience and just ultimately enhance all our environments because a happier employee goes home as a happier parent, as a happier spouse.

 

  • Rochelle stated that Women Winning Now, it is on June 9th in New York, they are so excited. It's a month away. And they're in the throes of planning and the thing about Women Winning Now, for those who don't know, it's a woman's empowerment summit and she love it because she became so much better after each one. So, they've had Miami, Toronto, London so far. And they have all sold out and what is beautiful about it is that women come in that room and you can tell the trepidation, and everybody comes in with different stories. Some women they want motivation to start a business, some people just want to know that they're just not even alone and so, by the end of the day, the transformation that literally takes place in that small amount of time, it's incredible and she always tell people, the best investment you could make is an investment in yourself. So, as much as she imparts knowledge into those ladies, every time she leaves any Women Winning Now, she’s a better Rochelle for having experienced the people, having heard their stories and having their knowledge imparted on her. So, she’s really, really excited about it. Her business partners Rachel and Nicole, all of them, their missions in life is to truly impact others and just make them see that they too are capable of creating the life that they imagine and that they dream of and not only are they able to do that, but to see that it just is a work in progress because we don't have it all figured out and she thinks that's one of the things that most of the women realize is that, “Oh, they're also trying to figure it out too.” Because as long as you're living, you're always growing, and so you'll always be figuring something out. So, if it's not okay now I'm a single woman, but then I'm going to transition hopefully one day into being a wife and a mom, I'll have to figure that out. So, it's beautiful being around other people, hearing their stories, she'd go back to the vulnerability aspect of things when you see other people as confused as you or trying to be great, you don't feel as alone anymore and you're like, “Whoa, she was me 2 years ago. I was, Rochelle went through the breakup, was trying to seek my purpose and here I am. Now, I'm clearer. It doesn't mean I know everything, but I'm a little bit clearer and so now, I share my wisdom.” So even if she could prevent another woman from getting as stuck as she was in that season, that's a huge benefit to her.

 

  • Rochelleshared listeners can find her at –

Instagram - @rochelle.gapere

Twitter - @RochelleGapere

Facebook - @RochelleGapereHappinessCoach

Website - www.rochellegapere.com

 

  • Rochelle shared that her quote is Romans 8:28, “I am a Believer.” That verse has literally sustained her, and she may even get a little teary eyed saying it, “All things really do work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” So, the good things of course, when they are good, it works for her good and she is able to really just appreciate that. But when it’s bad, that’s the hard part and just knowing and repeating that that yes, it may be bad right now, it may be bad in this moment but in the grand scheme of things Rochelle knows that God is using it for the betterment of her in fulfillment of her purpose and so, no matter what season she has ever been in her life, that bible verse it has sustained her. It really keeps her grounded and it just makes you know that no matter how disappointing today may be that tomorrow can always be better and that if she has the right perspective, she knows that it will all be blending together, the good, the bad, the not so good, as this incredible cake and she gets to choose the ingredients that she wants to put in that cake in terms of the memories she attached to the good things or the bad things and she knows it works together for her good and it just really keeps her going. So, even the bad things really, truly aren’t that bad.

 

Links

 

 

Apr 24, 2019

Sandy Rogers is one of the most prolific minds on the topic of customer and employee loyalty. He will change the very way your organization views the topic and will help orient your company towards winning loyal customers and employees for life. Sandy Rogers is a leader of FranklinCovey’s Loyalty Practice, a FranklinCovey offering which helps organizations increase customer and employee loyalty. He was previously the senior vice president at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and during his 14 years there, Sandy managed the turnaround of the London, England, operation and led the teams that developed Enterprise’s marketing and fleet-services strategies, the advertising campaign “Pick Enterprise. We’ll Pick You Up,”and the system for measuring and improving customer service across all branches.

 

Before Enterprise, he worked in marketing at Apple and brand management at P&G. He has a bachelor's degree from Duke and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
  • Could you tell us a little bit about this loyal to practice? What does it entail? If a company wanted to take on this venture in their organization, what are some of the things that would have to happen?
  • I want you to talk to us about why it's so important to have a healthy internal customer service culture.
  • Could you share with us, you've been in the customer experience realm for quite a bit of time, how do you feel about customer experience on a global level and where do you see it 5 or 10 years from today?
  • What are some important considerations person who operates in the online space should consider to improve on their customer experience, especially seeing that they're lacking that human element?
  • Could you share maybeone online resource tool, website or app that you couldn't absolutely live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us some books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What’s one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Could you tell our listeners where they can find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge in your life, you tend to revert to that quote or saying to help you to refocus?

 

Highlights

 

  • Sandy shared that he spent most of his career with Enterprise Rent-A-Car and he joined the company and one of his first challenges was to figure out how to help grow the business faster, in the position of leading marketing and they figured the best way to do that was to provide an experience that would get everybody to tell your friends about Enterprise, so they would come back and help the business grow. And they had no measure of customer service, they thought they were pretty good, across the 3000 branches, they had back then, but they had no metric and so they early on measured it, figured out that they're good overall, but there was huge variation across the chain. And over the next 10 years he and his team, the whole group in Enterprise figured out how to dramatically improve customer service and as a result of what they did, Fred Reichheld at Bain wrote up a book and introduced this whole idea of the Net Promoter Score. And so, at Enterprise he had a lot of different jobs, but when he retired about 10 years ago, Franklin Covey, he got in touch with him about launching a loyalty practice under their umbrella to help other companies build a culture like they had at Enterprise that was really focused on delighting customers to help the business grow faster.

 

  • Sandy shared that they do two things. They first help organizations measure the loyalty of their customers today and learn specifically not only what they need to do to improve, but equally important, who on their team needs to improve. They have a real passion for the importance of people in taking an ordinary experience and making it extraordinary. So, you got to know who on your team is terrific and should be studied for best practices and who needs coaching. So, beyond the metrics, the second part of what they do in the Franklin Covey Loyalty Practice is provide training and a method that enabled teams to get better at earning the loyalty of their customers faster.

 

Yanique asked, if you could share with us what you think that difference is between satisfaction and loyalty and why is it so important?

 

Sandy shared that just thinking about our own experiences as consumers, we may be satisfied and said, “How was everything?” “Oh, it was fine. Yeah I was satisfied.” But the difference between that and the loyalty that every organization wants from its customers and its employees is huge. With loyalty, not only are customers giving you all of their business, but in addition, they are enthusiastically talking you up, singing your praises, recommending you to all their friends. You have the double impact of their business plus the business of all the people they talked to.

 

Yanique stated, so loyalty is something that all organizations should aim for?

 

Sandy stated that he thinks almost every organization that is serious wants loyalty, they want loyalty from their customers. And they've learned over the last 25 years working with hundreds of different organizations that the key to increasing customer loyalty begins with improving employee loyalty.

 

Yanique shared that she’s happy he touched on that. As a Customer Service Trainer, because that's how I got into having this podcast in the first place. Companies hire me to come in and train their staff in customer service, leadership development employee and team building. And I have found over the years and I've had it reinforced by so many guests that we've interviewed on the podcast that at the end of the day when your service is poor, it's usually a symptom of something that's deeper within the organization and it stems from the employees and of course leadership.

 

  • Sandy shared that the customer experience rarely exceeds the employee experience. He actually agrees with Yanique’s thought that we've got to, as an organization, treat employees in a way that they will in turn take great care of our customers. And back to his Enterprise experience, Jack Taylor, the founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which is the largest car rental company in North America and perhaps the world now when you combine Alamo and National, which they also own. He said it's really simple. When people walk out of one of the thousands of Enterprise branches, they should feel like, “Wow, that was one of the best experiences I've ever had.” And we realized that that's all about our people and how the people are treating those customers. So, when Jack would go with him to visit some of the branches that he was overseeing in London, England, he would ask the employees, he'd meet, “Are you having fun?”And he (Sandy) would say, “Jack, why are you asking them if they're having fun? Talk to them about their sales, about their customer service scores.”He called him and many other Sport, he says, “Sport, if they're not having fun, nothing else really matters.”And so, when we think about how do we create an environment where people are having fun - very simply, we believe it's putting them in a position to enrich the lives of other people. Not just the customers, but each other, the people they work with every day. And that's what they talk about in this book through these three core loyalty principles.

 

Yanique shared that the book focuses on three core loyalty principles and the book is going to be called, as Sandy mentioned prior to the interview, Leading Loyalty: Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion.

 

The book is going to focus on:

 

  • How it is that you can infuse empathy, responsibility, and generosity into every interaction. Make those interactions warm and authentic.
  • Ask the right questions
  • Listen to learn
  • Discover the real job to be done
  • Take ownership of the customer's issue
  • Follow up and strengthen the relationship
  • Share insights openly and kindly
  • Surprise people with unexpected extras and the bonus, Model, Teach and Reinforce these Essential Behaviors Through Weekly Team Huddles.

 

So, what I'm getting is the book is not only focused on teaching the three principles, but it also is providing the how to as to how you're going to maintain consistency, because that's the challenge in customer experience. So, you go a company and you have a great experience today, but you visit them next month when you travel, if we're to use Enterprise as an example, and the experience you had last month is nothing compared to the one you had this month. And so, how do they maintain being consistent in their behaviors regardless of the location that you've gone to, regardless of the employee that you're dealing with.

 

Sandy stated that that is such an important observation. Every company in the world has pockets of greatness, where you'll get good service. The difference between a good organization and a great customer service organization comes down to the consistency of great experiences across, every week and all their different locations and people in call centers, etc. And to drive that consistency, we believe you've got to do these two things. One, you've got to have good measures that are telling you every month who's doing a great job and who needs coaching. And second, what they talk about in the book Leading Loyalty is a process to make sure that people understand the principles essential to earning loyalty, to bring those to life each week. So, in the book they talk about having a 15-minute huddle each week with your team and first celebrate the people who are living the principle you talk about last week. Then learn the nuances of how to apply the next one over the following week and then making a commitment to each other to do these things and come back next week and talk about what was successful and what didn't work as well.

 

Yanique stated that it's definitely having more conversations and helping people to grow and develop because the more robust your team is, the more knowledgeable they are of their shortcomings and limitations, then the better they'll be able to work at improving on those interactions and not repeating the negative behaviors that will create negative experiences.

 

Sandy agreed and stated that just simply modeling the behavior you want is the first step, but then calling up. We don't need to wait a week to point out, “Gosh Yanique, I just want to tell you. I just saw how you interacted with that customer. That is absolutely fantastic. We just talked about how important empathy is and that was a perfect example.”So, we've got to celebrate every time we see the behaviors that we want to happen more consistently.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that when you do that, it makes people aware of what it is that is correct and they'll want to repeat that behavior because people love recognition, it's not just about the dollar in terms of getting more money, but it's also about how you made them feel in that experience.

 

Sandy stated, underline, underscore, it is not just what we measure that drives improvement, it's what gets celebrated. We want to leave our work each day and feeling like, “Wow, I had a good day. Why was that? Cause I made a difference. I was recognized for doing something great for one of my teammates or one of our customers.” And so, the more celebration the better.

 

  • Sandy stated that in his own experience as a business and a consumer, sometimes it's absolutely dreadful and we all have those stories. And occasionally it's incredible. And when we think about those incredible experiences that each of us have as customers, we're all customers, it often comes down to the people and how they made us feel. Our behavior delivers the emotional experience essential for earning the fierce loyalty of other people. And so, they really talk about in the book Leading Loyalty that you've got to have a loyalty leader mindset. You've got to begin with this idea that “I am responsible”regardless of what your job is in the organization. You can be the CEO or you could be the assistant or the frontline person, you can choose to be a loyalty leader and adopt a loyalty leader mindset, which simply says, “I am going to earn the loyalty of everybody I encounter by having empathy for them, taking responsibility for what it is they're trying to get done and I'm going to be generous with them.”

 

Yanique agreed and stated, I had also asked, apart from how you feel about customer experience, where do you see it 5 to 10 years from today? Do you think it's going to change very much? There's so much technology that's being introduced now, there's chatbots, there's so much things that are replacing that human interaction, but I personally believe that at the end of the day, even though these things are there to aid in the client experience, I think still people want to deal with another human being. Do you think that will change much 5 to 10 years from now?

 

Sandy shared that he thinks increasingly we will see technology used in both positive and negative ways in our experience. If the people designing the technology are doing it with the loyalty principles in mind, if they had empathy for customers, technology is great. We've all learned how to do online banking, we've learned how to check ourselves in for flights, we've learned how to order things from Amazon and when those things are working well, it's terrific. But there are times when we need a human being. He had a problem one time with the Amazon and he actually got a human being and he was blown away by how well that they handled his problem and it gave him tremendous confidence that “Wow, not only did the people who design all of us have empathy for me, but when I do have a problem, there's a human being there that will care and will take responsibility for getting it sorted out.”

 

Sandy thinks it's going to be both over the next 10 years. It's going to be increased technology, but there will always be that human component that Yanique alluded to.

 

  • Sandy shared that every person has a customer, whether they're inside or outside the organization and all of our work directly impacts their experience. The people behind the online customer experience need to ensure that it's fully aligned with the core loyalty principles. So, if he uses whatever brilliant app that has been designed as a customer do you walk away and feel like, “Wow, that was so easy. Whoever designed this is like, they’re a genius. This is so great,”and that comes from having empathy for them as the user. Now, if on the other hand, he’s typing in information that the company should already know, then he’s feeling like, “These people have no empathy for me. What's with that? I've been doing business with them for five years.” So that these principles of empathy, responsibility and generosity have to come through regardless of whether it's a human being interaction or we're using technology to connect with the organization.

 

  • Sandy shared that the online tool that he couldn't live without is Google Maps, that's how he gets everywhere.

 

Yanique shared, this is the first time I've been doing these podcasts as the first guest I've had that said Google Maps.

 

Sandy stated that in the old days they'd say, “Oh, just go take a left here, drive three blocks, take a right here, take a left there.”  Now, he’ll just put in Google Maps.

 

Yanique agreed, Google Maps is amazing. And that's very true. I even use it here in Jamaica if I'm going out of town to somewhere that I'm not very familiar with and I'm just amazed at how well it works. It's really accurate to the point, “You've arrived at your destination on the right,” and when you look over, it's exactly where you're going. So, I totally agree.

 

  • When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Sandy shared that the book he read back when it first came out, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. That book has just such an enduring value and to just keep revisiting, my children tease me about the seven habits and reminding me, “Oh dad, that doesn't sound very win-win.”You have to live the advice you're preaching to your children.

 

Yanique agreed, and we all need people in our corner, in our tribe to help keep us accountable because we're human and yes, we read these books and we do our best to try and live these behaviors and attitudes on a daily basis, but sometimes we mess up. That's the truth. So, if we have people in our corner that know what those things are and they can call us out on it, it makes us even more aware and just keeps us aligned.

 

Sandy shared that that's one of the things they teach in Leading Loyalty. There are three core loyalty principles. The third one is generosity. You got to have empathy for people, take responsibility for helping them and then be generous with them. And one of the ways that we're generous is we share our insights openly. So, if you see something as my coworker or my friend that would really help me, we have a huddle in the book, chapter nine, which describes how do you share insights with and think about millennials and generation z where we've got a lot of confidence about how to share feedback online, but we want to have just as much confidence doing it face to face, in person where we let people know, “Hey listen, I think you're terrific. Can I just share this thought with you?”And we haven't practiced this one that we're teaching in the book.

 

Yanique stated, a lot of what you've stated since we started this interview has to do with practice and I just want, know if you could emphasize for our listeners how important it is regardless of the industry that you are in or the profession or the roles that you practice on it. You engage in on a daily basis, but in order for you to really master a particular skill or talent, practice is required, that's what builds the consistency.

 

Sandy stated no question, practice what we learn as kids, practice makes perfect. And when people hear things like empathy, responsibility, generosity, they'll say, “Well, come on. I learned that stuff in kindergarten,” and his response is, “You did. We all did.”And hopefully it's ingrained in our psyche, but just because empathy, responsibility and generosity or common sense, unfortunately they're not common practice in so many of my interactions. And so, to practice and to reinforce, they say, have a huddle once a week, bring your team together for just 15 minutes and celebrate the people who are doing these things, teach them in detail and the nuance is “How can I really discover the real job to be done for somebody,”which is our responsible practice, for example. And then challenge everybody to go try it this week and come back and share. And so, they're creating space within the whirlwind of our busy lives to practice these things so that we get better and better.

 

  • Sandy shared that he is really excited about all the feedback they're getting from different organizations running these huddles. Ah, I'll tell you a story. They recommend this huddle process, there's 11 different huddles, 11 chapters in the book, and they had this group of Auto Repair Shops and when they described the empathy, responsibility and generosity, they looked at him like, “Are you nuts? I mean come on. I mean this is, this, that, lovey, dovey, Covey's stuff.”These guys, they have been under the hood of cars, you really expect them to get together and talk about this stuff. They ran these huddles for six months and they had their customer service scores because they were providing metrics and both them and Sandy’s team were very pleasantly surprised by how dramatically they were able to improve their customer service. People get stuck in a rut, they want to get better at customer service, but they don't know how to do it. They get frustrated and for these Auto Repair Shops, they improve their scores by more than 10 points on average. The top three or four shops improved by 20 points. So, he gets excited about working on something that makes a difference.

 

Yanique stated, and so when the book is released, now people will have a how to process that they can have, a physical, Bible that they can work with that will help them to achieve those kinds of results.

 

Sandy stated that this is what's different between this book Leading Loyalty and all the other books on Loyalty, which are great by the way. He loves Fred Reichheld’s work on the Net Promoter Score, “The Ultimate Question,” most of the books up until now, talk about the theory of loyalty, about the economics, about what’s the return on investment is by improving. This book talks about a process, they give you the principles, the practices and a process to actually earn greater loyalty. And it's not just from your customers and employees that the principles apply to your personal life too, apply these things to your spouse, your kids, your family and friends.

 

Yanique agreed and stated, as a matter of fact, there is a principal, I think it's from The Eighth Habit. It's called the 90/10 principle that Covey speaks of and regardless of the workshop that I'm doing, whether it's a leadership workshop or it's an employee workshop, it's for low level employees versus in a C Suite employees, at the end of the day I always introduce the principal at the beginning of the workshop because I think it's so important and it ties back to your initial introduction when you spoke to the fact that in order for people to be loyal, there has to be some emotional engagement and connection there. So, if you're familiar with the principal, Covey says that, “90% of everything that happens to you, it's based on your response and your reaction and 10% you have no control over.”And I think as customer service, people, leaders, employees, frontline people, regardless of where you are in the company, if you remember that fundamental principle that customer comes in blazing, mad, steam coming through their ears saying things that are just unconscionable, you're like, “Oh my goodness, why is this customer saying this to me?” If you can think in your mind, just put yourself in a frame of mind where 10% is that customer, I have no control over their own behavior, what I control how I'm going to respond, I control what I'm going to say, I control the thoughts I'm going to have about this customer, it can really transform that whole interaction.

 

Sandy agreed and stated that that's taking personal responsibility. You get to choose your response; you carry around weather to use the Stephen Covey phrase. But that's such an important paradigm or mindset to adopt before that nasty customer comes in the door and yells at you for something that you really had nothing to do it. If we've got that mindset, we can say, “You know what, this is not about me.”And I can have empathy. I can say, “Oh my gosh, wow. That is incredibly frustrating, I would be really angry too, tell me more about this.” And just letting people talk about. Enterprise, one of the best ways to create a fiercely loyal customer is to find a problem and then just hear him out. Just say, “Tell me about what happened.” Offer a sincere apology, say, “Oh my gosh. I mean, I totally get that. It was incredibly frustrating,”and then ask in a very sincere way, “What can we do to make this right for you?” And you know, more than 90% of the time the customer will say, “Nothing,I mean wow. I thank you for listening.”A heartfelt apology.

 

Yanique shared, there are times, as you said, the customer just wants someone to listen, someone to pay attention, someone to not discount or discredit what they're saying by just moving onto the next thing but actually paying attention to this moment now that I'm sharing this experience with you.

 

Sandy loves that the Chinese character for listen, it contains the symbols for the ears, the eyes and the heart. So often we just use our ears but if we're not listening with our eyes, we're missing the emotion that's being expressed through that clenched fist. And if we're not listening to him with our heart, we're not sensing how upset this person really is. Using all three and so much, it's interesting the word listen and silent, they're the same letters.

 

Yanique also shared that then there's also the fact that God gave you two ears, but he only gave you one mouth. So, I'm thinking, maybe there is some reason behind that. And it could be that we really need to spend more time listening and less time talking and unfortunately in our society, people do the opposite. There's lots of talking and less listening.

 

  • Sandyshared listeners can find him at –

Linkedin – Sandy Rogers

Facebook - @SandyRogersFC

 

  • Sandy shared that his stepfather told him when he was in high school, “No risk it, no biscuit.” Whenever you're feeling comfortable in the shallow end of the pool and feel like you've got it under control, throw yourself in the deep end of the pool and keep going deeper because that’s the only way that we grow as people.

   

Links

 

 

Apr 9, 2019

Nathan Hirsch is a serial entrepreneur and expert in remote hiring and eCommerce. He started his first eCommerce business out of his college dorm room and has sold over $30 million dollars online. He is now the co-founder and CEO of FreeeUp.com, a marketplace that connects businesses with pre-vetted virtual assistants, freelancers and agencies in eCommerce, digital marketing, and much more. He regularly appears on leading podcasts, such as Entrepreneur on Fire, and speaks at live events about online hiring tactics. 

Questions

  • Couldyou share with us a little bit about your journey?
  • Could you share with us maybe one to three top tips that has really helped you to choose the right people for these organizations that you recruit for and why do you think it's important to be consistent in these attitudes or behaviors that you look for in these individuals?
  • Could you share with us how you stay motivated every day?
  • What are some important considerations for an entrepreneur or an online business owner to be successful?
  • In an online business when you're not having that interaction with someone face to face. What are some of the tools or things that you need to do differently in an online space when you're not seeing the person?
  • Could you share with us what’s one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services, but for some reason they lack the constantly motivated human capital, the people. If you are sitting across the table from some of those persons, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • What’s one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge times, you revert to that quote?

 

Highlights

 

  • Nathan shared that he started off as a broke college kid. His parents were both teachers and he always had the mentality that he would go to school, get a real job, retire and that was going to be his life. And when he was a little bit younger, his parents always made him have a full time job, all of his friends were outside playing during the summers and he was inside working and he was learning customer service and marketing and management and all the things that go into running a business. But he also learned that he just hated working for other people and he really wanted something better. So, when he got to college, he kind of looked at it as a ticking clock, he had four years to figure out how to start a business or he was going to get thrown into the real world, get a job, and never looked back. So, he started buying and selling people's textbooks, he uses that summer money and the money he made during his summer vacations to buy people's textbooks at the end of the semester and sell them at the beginning of next semester. So, he started a little business there, created a referral program, before he knew it, he had lines out the door of people trying to sell him their books to the point where he actually got a cease and desist letter from his college because he was taking up so much of their business. So, that was his first glimpse into being an entrepreneur. And this was back in 2008, Amazon was just becoming more than a bookstore, no one really knew what Amazon or eCommerce was. There were no gurus or courses or anything like that. So, he started to sell other products on Amazon, and he tried sporting equipment and video games and typical college guy stuff, and he just failed over and over and over. And it wasn't until he branched out of his comfort zone and found the baby product industry that his business really took off. So, if you could imagine him as a 20-year-old single college guy selling millions of dollars of baby products on Amazon, that was him. And he really scaled that business using remote freelancers, remote workers. He remembered meeting with his accountant and him asking him (Nathan) when he was going to hire his first person and he kind of shrugged him off and thinking, “Why would I do that? That's money out of my pocket. They're going to steal my ideas; they're going to hurt my business…”all of that. And he just kind of laughed in his face and said, “You're going to learn this lesson on your own.”

 

  • So sure, enough and before for his first hire, he posted a job on Facebook and this guy applied and he barely interviewed him and he hired him and it worked out great and he's his business partner today, amazing hire hard worker, learned quickly. So, there he was thinking that hiring was easy, that you post a job and someone shows up and your life gets easier and he proceeded to make bad hires after bad hires using a lot of the different platforms out there, the up works and the fivers and he just wanted something better and faster. So, three years ago he had the idea to launch his own marketplace FreeeUp where they vet applicants before they get on the platform, they only let the top 1% on, they make them available to clients whenever they need them, with a no turnover guarantee, if they quit for any reason, they cover replacement costs and get them a new person right away. So, that's really the evolution of him working a summer job to go into college, starting his book business, started his Amazon business and then starting FreeeUp.

 

  • Nathan stated that just to clarify, they're not recruiting, it's not like they tell them what they need, and they go find it. They’re building a network of virtual assistants, freelancers, agencies that are all the similar mold that they know will do a great job for their clients. And you're right, that vetting is so important. He learned a long time ago that when you've vet someone just for skill, a lot of time it blows up in your face. You hire someone with a five-star review or 10 years of experience and two months later you're like, “What happened? This was awful.”And so, what they realized is it's a combination of all three, you've got skill, you’ve got attitude and you’ve got communication. So, when you're dealing with skill, you don't need everyone to be a 10 out of 10, they can be a five out of 10 or three out of 10, what you care about is that they're honest about what they can and cannot do and they're priced accordingly. On the attitude side, they do one on one interviews, they look for people who are passionate, they do don't get aggressive the second that something doesn't go their way, people who can take feedback and handle it professionally. And then on the communication, obviously you want someone that speaks your language on a high level, but it's so much more than that, it's being able to get on the same page quickly and hitting deadlines and being able to respond within a business day and use whatever clients communication method that they care about. So, they really looked for that trifecta and it's very rare that you hire someone that has all three of those and then down the line, you're like, “Wow, that was a bad hire.” Usually if you get all three, it turns out pretty well and he only hires from his own platform, his internal team is all virtual assistants, freelancers that got through their vetting process, the same people that are available to his clients.

 

  • Nathan stated that motivation for him, it's funny, with his Amazon business he kind of grew up in a place where his dad taught in the high school next to him. And he lived in East Longmeadow and his dad was in Longmeadow, so, he went to high school in Longmeadow and all those kids, their parents were doctors, lawyers, dentists, business owners and so money was always a motivation because he was never poor, but he was middle class and he was always hanging out with kids that had so much more than he did. So, at first, money was that motivator and as you get deeper in that entrepreneurship and the honeymoon period kind of ends as he calls it, you realize that money's not everything and the Amazon business he lost passion for because of that reason, he wasn't helping anyone, he was just helping himself and he was helping his manufacturers and maybe his team. And, with FreeeUp, what motivates him is he gets to help business owners from all around the world achieve their dreams and scale their business. And on the flip side, freelancers who are also business owners, he gets to help them scale and provide for their family and do what they enjoy doing instead of having to get a nine to five job, so, for him, that's motivating. He’s a hardworking person regardless, it's tough to say like what is that thing that drives him, but he really found that within FreeeUp just the fact that he gets to help so many people on a day to day basis, that keeps him going. Even on days like today where he’s a little sick and he’s got three podcasts scheduled.

 

  • Nathan shared that his mentality is you can't compete with big businesses on everything, you can't. There are always going to have bigger marketing budgets, bigger software budgets and all of that. But what you can always compete is customer service and that's something that he’s always been passionate about and you can always compete with the big players on customer service, treating clients like gold and they kind of take the mentality that 99% of the freelancers do an amazing job on their platform. He spent very little time dealing with issues, but these are human, stuff happens, they're startup, things just happen when you're dealing with businesses, so, when things do happen, they jump in quickly, they don't make excuses, they take responsibility and they just make it right and then they move forward and they built a lot of really great relationships that way. They have lots of clients that come in and have a great experience right from the beginning and that's obviously what they shoot for but they've also had a client that came in and maybe that first hire didn't turn out the way they want and they were so impressed by how they handled it and how they made it right quickly that now they are lifelong client and they got them someone else and now they love that person. So, for him, that mentality that the customer isn't necessarily always right, but it's in your best interest to make the customer happy at the end of the day, if you have that mentality, you can go a long way no matter what business you're in.

 

Yanique shared - I'm glad you brought up the point that the customer is always right because the statement itself is really incorrect as I'm sure you would have figured out because customers are not always right, we are human beings and we do make mistakes. However, one of the things that we teach in customer service training is that as employees in an organization, it's not our responsibility to prove the customer wrong. I love the saying, “The customer is always right,”and it's a wonderful guided principle but I do think as business owners, managers, leaders, coaches in organizations, we have to get the employees to that understanding that it's just a principle and a guideline because there are times when the customer is incorrect either in what they see, what they do, how they manage a particular process. But our responsibility isn't to say, “Hey Mr. Customer, you are wrong.”It's more to guide them to the correct way of how they are going to achieve success.

 

  • When asked about tips for having that interaction with persons in an online space, Nathan shared that it took him years to figure out how to work with people remote. It's a totally different mindset. Some quick tips are using stuff like emojis to actually portray how you're feeling on a day to day basis in different conversations because words get misinterpreted. People fire off emails, he’s guilty of that too and you don't realize how that gets interpreted to people on the other end. So, anything you can do to actually relate to people, not losing the small talk and being able to express how you're feeling and being directed and getting clarity all goes a long way. He likes to keep everything in writing and make it super clear, exactly how he’s feeling, what he likes, what he doesn’t like and that's how he has been able to build relationships. And the other side of it is when he dealt with people remote for the first time, he asked them, “Hey, how can I communicate better? Tell me about your best clients and the relationships you had. How did they talk to you? How did they communicate? How did they build the team?” And he learned from that and he took that information and he feels like most people; they don't go that extra mile to learn from the people that they're working with or to learn a new situation like working with someone remote.

 

  • Nathan shared that he uses Skypeevery day, using it now for a lot of podcasts. He slowly moved to Zoom for a bunch of them. He group chat with all his different teams, with freelancers and agencies that he uses. That's how he communicates with his business partner. He does phone calls with clients. It's such a great free tool and it just kind of goes to show that you don't need the most expensive software in the world. He works with 40 people and thousands of freelancers and his business partner and he uses Skype to connect with all of them. He uses other programs like Trelloto keep track of projects, but his primary communication channel is Skype.

 

 

  • Nathan stated that there's never been a better time to start a business. And he would never say an easier time because starting a business is not easy. But if you go back 20 years, you needed $100,000.00 or more to start a business. Now you can do it from your laptop with a few thousand dollars. So yes, obviously capital gives you a big advantage but he started his Amazon business with a few thousand dollars, he started FreeeUp with $5,000 so we're not talking huge amounts of money and there's so many opportunities out there to make money online without making a big investment. So, he would get out of the mentality that you need a lot of capital and he would focus on learning skills that actually help you start a business with very little besides your laptop and some strong internet.

 

Yanique stated - if they have people that work in their business that lack constant motivation, because you said what motivates you is you like what you're doing, you love what you're doing, that's what gets you up going every day. What if they don't know what they like or they're doing it just because they need to collect a paycheck, they have to pay bills. How are we going to get them to be constantly motivated so the business can grow?

 

Nathan shared that he’s in the mentality that you can't change people, here and there you can, but it's just not worth your effort on a big scale to go around trying to change people's mentality. Not that you shouldn't motivate people, you can meet with them, you can find out what does motivate them and that's where being a good leader is. He thinks this is where he and his business partner were for years, they were on different pages because he would find someone that was weak at something and try to turn it into their strength. And for him, he was trying to find people, what people's strengths were, and he was trying to get them to do that strength more, he wasn't trying to change people and the same thing with motivation. He can only spend so much time trying to motivate other people, if he realizes they're not motivated, he knows there's tons of people out there that are, and he'd rather work with those types of people. So, he doesn't have any quick fast hacks to make the light bulb go off it and motivate people, he can tell you that a lot of times it's not just money, it has to do with your leadership style and sharing goals and making them feel a part of something. But at the end of the day, he doesn't go around trying to change people or forcing people to do things and they don't want to do. He surrounds himself with people that want to be where he is and want to work with him.

 

Yanique reiterate - so then basically you're saying in summary, as a business owner, you have to quickly realize if your time and effort is worth to be invested in this employee and if after trying for so many times it's just not working, you'd probably need to channel that energy into someone else that would be able to yield you that success you're looking for.

 

Nathan agreed that it's not just employees, it could be freelancers, it could be agencies that you hire and he has an agency that runs his Instagram every month and they're running a business and if he can tell that they don't care about his account or maybe they care about someone else's more than his, then he’s going to find a different agency that will. So, it goes across the board that not just internal employees in your office, it could be virtual systems or freelancers that you're one of 10 clients or agencies too.

 

  • Nathan shared that he has been traveling, so let's kind of back up. At the beginning of last year, he had been on a lot of podcasts and he really wanted to get into guest speaking and then by the end of last year he was pretty exhausted by getting into guest speaking. So here we are, that's not for me. But he still enjoys talking with people, he still enjoys kind of having that stage. So, this year he’s actually launching his own podcast called the Outsourcing and Scaling. He’s recording, he has probably about 10 episodes recorded as we talk right now and that'll be launching in the next week or so. So, it's kind of a passion project of his, he’s not sure exactly the business ROI on it, although he thinks they'll have some great guests and it'll lead to great connections. But it's something he has always wanted to do on some level, and he thinks podcasts is a perfect channel to do it.

 

Yanique shared that now is a great time to be launching a podcast because so many people utilize this platform as an opportunity to learn and grow in different realms and genres and just different topics. You can consume this content while doing so many other things and it's just an amazing time for you to break through into this area. So, I congratulate you and please share with us the podcast name, what platforms are you going to be available on so that at least we can, if when you're launching or one once you've launched, our guests that are listening to this podcast can definitely head on over to those platforms and have a listen in on your podcast as well.

 

Nathan shared that it's called Outsourcing and Scaling, it'd be available on iTunes, You Tube, and a lot of other channels as well. It will be an audio Podcast and the video will be on You Tube.

 

  • Nathanshared listeners can find him at –

www.freeeup.com

FreeeUp Blog

Youtube – FreeeUp

Facebook - @nathan.hirsch

Twitter - @realNateHirsch

 

****Special Note: If you go to www.freeeup.comyou can create a free account, mention this podcast and get $25.00 credit.

 

  • Nathan shared that when he was little, his mom always said, “Work hard, play hard.”So, he kind of take that in all parts of his life. When he’s playing sports, I'm going all out. When he’s hanging out with his friends or his girlfriend, he’s focused there. When he’s working, he’s going all out every single day and that's kind of the mentality that he has taken.

   

Links

 

 

Mar 19, 2019

Jennifer Brown is an award-winning entrepreneur, dynamic speaker, diversity and inclusion expert. She is the Founder, President and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting (JBC), a strategic leadership and diversity consulting firm that coaches business leaders worldwide on critical issues of talent and workplace strategy. Brown is a passionate advocate for social equality who helps businesses foster healthier, more productive workplace cultures. Her book Inclusion: Diversity, the New Workplace & the Will to Change will inspire leadership to embrace the opportunity that diversity represents and empower advocates to drive change that resonates in today’s world.

 

Questions

 

  • Couldyou share with us a background of how did you end up in this arena of diversity and inclusion, what was your journey like?
  • As it relates to diversity and inclusion, could you share with us some of the issues that have been may be barriers to preventing a fully diversified and inclusive workplace based on your experience?
  • As it relates to diversity and inclusion, could you share with us maybe one or two strategies that you think small and medium-sized business owners could employ?
  • Now in terms of how this impacts the customer experience, could you share with us some of the best practices that you've seen in organizations and how it has translated into retention and better customer experiences overall?
  • Could you share with us how you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you share with us what’s one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in business?
  • Could you share with us some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What’s one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to that quote to help you to become refocus?

  

Highlights

 

  • Jennifer shared, as we like to say in this field not a lot of standard paths towards a career in diversity and inclusion. In fact, if you try to find academic programs that address or degrees that address this topic you probably will come up empty-handed. We all come from different places, for her,she was an activist in nonprofits in her 20s, but she was also always a musician and it was sort of an amateur pursuit in those early days in her life, but it was a huge passion. So, she decided to make it her profession and give it a shot, she moved to New York to become an opera singer and study at a conservatory and get her Masters in voice which was really exciting and heady times for her.But unfortunately, through the course of training she injured her voice and ended up having to get several surgeries on her voice to repair it but ultimately, she realized it wasn't going to work, her voice just would not be an instrument that she could count on for a career where she could make her living.

 

  • It was heartbreaking but it's led her towards where a lot of theater people go because they love the stage and they're so good in front of people, a lot of them become trainers and educators. In fact, we find a home in leadership in the whole kind of field of leadership whether that's as consultant or a learning and development person. So, she ended up getting a second Masters in Organizational Development/ Organizational Change, it goes by a lot of different names but it's basically the HR education realm and she was a corporate learning and development, training and development leader for a while as an employee and then she got laid off and she said, “I think I can have more impact from the outside if I became kind of that third party, that expert.”That really appealed to her, it still appeals to her to this day, it's the best role for her to play which is that agitator, but not the employee which helps give her some authority, gives her some distance, gives her some credibility earned or unearned or deserved but it is what it is. People tend to want to listen to people who've written books on things and people who are external when they don't do a very good job of listening to their employees, which is another maybe we'll talk about that. So she ended up hanging her shingle out about 12 years ago and doing leadership and team development and morphing into DNI because she felt pulled in that direction to specialize because she’s a member of the LGBTQ community and she has been out since she was 22, and yet she had really struggled with being out throughout her life and even in the nonprofit world certainly in the opera music world and then as an entrepreneur where she felt very exposed to bias if she were to be honest and authentic about who she actually is and it's a huge part of our lives to deny and to walk around and do business without talking about it, without kind of leaving that hole and not feeling it's going to be accepted and it's also going to hurt your ability to make a living which is really problematic.

 

  • So, now they do specialize in Diversity and Inclusion, and she’s fully out all the time, you could Google her and it's very plain.It is actually, she considers part of her secret sauce, it's part of where she has cut her teeth on developing her own voice, her bravery, her courage, her resilience has a lot of that has come from that identity and the pain of some of the painful lessons of exclusion that that has allowed her and enabled her to feel, to think about, to empathize with and hopefully made her a more inclusive leader, not just because she’s LGBTQ, but for all communities that needs her voice as an ally. So, it's a very cool place to find herself where she gets to write books and speak about all this stuff and it's particularly timely because the topic is, she would say, there's never been more attention on the topic than there is now.

 

  • Jennifer stated that it has a lot of reasons and a lot of factors, it's rather complex and yet it's kind of simple at the same time because the mandate is simple, the need to reflect your customer base which is diversifying quickly who has the spending power for example that non-white communities are the fastest growing consumer communities with the largest spending power.She thinks the gay community now has a trillion dollars of spending power. So, consumers are getting smarter, they're getting organized, they're finding their voice, they're using it to hold brands accountable which is exciting and make spending choices that reflect their values. And yet companies in terms of their employee mix particularly in the top half or third of organizations really don't reflect that diverse world and companies structures are old school, there is no better way to say it, they have been unchallenged and they haven't challenged themselves in terms of the makeup of their senior leadership in particular and many companies not all but many companies have kind of gone about their merry way trying to make money and really not focused on anything larger than that, whether it's how employees feel, who's succeeding and feels they can thrive in the organization, who may be reaching senior leadership roles and who's not and why they're feeling thwarted in that process up the pipeline. And so, she thinks there's this business as usual, we're here to make money, we’re here to generate shareholder results and there's not been a lot of attention paid to values, the importance of the workforce and what they want and need in order to stay and thrive and there is honestly a lot of bias around, “Well, I worked hard and all you need to do is work hard too and you'll achieve what I've achieved.”So, this belief and meritocracy and it's really easy to believe in meritocracy when people that look like you have benefited from that, it hasn't been a challenge, there haven't been stereotypes that have affected you, you have been pulled forward by others that look like you without even knowing it sometimes, and so there's this willful blindness to the difficulties that are faced by anyone that is not of a certain demographic in workforces, it’s sort of, “I write it off. I don’t take it seriously. I don't listen to it. I don't even know it honestly.”So, there's a lot of education that's needed around micro inequities, unconscious bias, HR processes that are so critical like recruitment, retention, promotion and advancement, all those moments in the employee life cycle where bias occurs, it's in a large part still allowed to kind of continue and so what their job is to interrupt those things and come in as a company and build strategies that help companies wake up, get educated, care about it, honestly have empathy for other people which you shouldn't even need to say but it feels that it's hard, it feels that if I explain something to you and you don't care and then you don't take action, that hurts, there's a ton of research on this it's not even like this is a mystery. It's right there and so the best leaders and the best companies are really forward, they're asking all these great questions, they’re humbling themselves to their own learning, to their own mistakes, they're publishing their data and saying, “Hey, here's our data and I know it sucks and we're working to change it.”That's what courage looks like, that's what leadership looks like these days and she wish she saw more of it.

 

Yanique shared, I like the fact that you mentioned that it's not something that people are accustomed to and change is hard. Unfortunately, human beings don't adapt to change very readily, and I don't think it's based on the geography in terms of where you're from in the world, I think it's just general human nature. So, it would mean that you have to put yourself in a place of being uncomfortable in order to move from one stage to the next.

 

Jennifer agreed and stated that nobody wants to be uncomfortable, but the flip side is it makes you so much better of a leader and a better team member, better colleague and by the way better parent, better community leader, all of these. There's a reason that you open a paper today and diversities in every headline, it's everywhere because institutions are really struggling with it of all kinds for profit, nonprofit,community organizations, church leadership, so there is probably, no area of your life where you can afford to not understand and embrace this conversation and do your work, your kid could come home tomorrow and say, “Mom, I think I'm transgender.”You would be completely ill-equipped to deal with that and to be fair most parents are, it's something that is life and does not prepare you for that but at the same time don't you want to be ready? Even if you're interviewing for jobs, even if you're leading teams at a company that values diversity and you don't or you haven't paid attention to it, you've assumed it's somebody else's job to care about it, none of that is going to work for you in the long run, it's a little bit of a scare tactic but she has to use every tool she has to convince people that this is important which is really tiring and honestly kind of depressing sometimes because you're wondering how they don't get it, “Please have empathy for people that haven’t had as easy of a road as you.” It's just that and then she doesn't know why we have to ask and convince and scare, how many different techniques do we need to basically talk about something that's such a human right and is all about the dignity of everyone in this world to do their best work and to feel their sense of purpose every day.

 

Yanique agreed and stated, and to feel appreciated, a lot of people work in organizations and they just don't feel appreciated and I think they've lost the purpose if there was even a purpose from day one, they've definitely lost it. It comes out in the interactions that they have with customers, it comes out in how they relate to their team members sometimes unconscious of the fact that the customer is observing you in every interaction once they're standing in front of you or you’re on the phone and you ask them to hold but you didn't actually put the phone on hold, so they're hearing everything that's happening in the background.

 

  • Jennifer shared that small companies have a great opportunity, it's actually much easier to shift things than for large organizations, and certainly remembering that if you build it right from the beginning, you will have a much easier time down the road. So, it's very important to think about how you are recruiting and retaining all kinds of talent, how comfortable they feel once they are in your organization and really being open to feedback about when that inclusiveness, the desire for inclusiveness is actually though being interpreted and the impact of an intention is one of exclusion. She thinks that sometimes we don't want to know the answer to that question so we don't ask and so it's very critical, particularly, if you're not a person of a marginalized or underrepresented background yourself, you're going to have some blind spots, your network is going to look a lot like you so you will tend to recruit from that network. You will have blind spots around how people perceive your brand and by even blind spots probably about your desired customers so that to the extent that you can ensure your team that you build reflects the world that you're doing business in, it will allow you to resonate and to see around that corner and to anticipate that audience and that customer and gear your communications accordingly and have kind have a check in balance on how are we coming across in the marketplace and like you said, we're being observed all the time, so your future talent is looking at your current organization and looking at your website and thinking about, “Would I be comfortable there? I don't see anyone that looks like me there.”That's something that's hard to fix in some cases because when you're an entrepreneur you're grabbing warm bodies, you're trying to get work done, it's very fast, you are going to pull from your own network because it's most expedient and that network is going to tend to look like you and so you've got to actively counterbalance that in your outreach, in the talent pools that you're seeking, in the way you talk proactively and very overtly about your commitment to inclusion.Shewould really recommend you have that in all of your marketing materials, it doesn’t matter what business you're in, there's always a way to talk about what inclusion means as a value to you and to what you're trying to build and to the customers you're trying to serve, there are ways to do that and she would recommend you do it because it's a beacon, not only for talent you hope to recruit and to say, “Hey, this is a safe place for you.This is a place that you are wanted and needed not just tolerated or accepted. We need all of you to bring your full self to work, this is a place in which you can do that.”Then we want to best serve the customer and their needs and wants, and companies are at real risk of missing some key….There's just a lot of mistakes that are made because diverse talent is not at the table when creative decisions are made or marketing collateral is designed, we've seen very high level mistakes made by brands like PepsiCo with the ad that they had where there was like a mock black lives matter march and one of the Kardashians was handing a Pepsi across the police line, it’s a nightmare and they pulled it immediately. And it became a kind of a case study that a lot of us talking about where we wonder who was at the table making those decisions, and if they were at the table, were they listened to, were they really considered, was that feedback taken into account?So, she doesn’t know where the error happened in their process because she doesn't have the inside look into them but at a smaller scale this stuff can happen all the time and she thinks you've got to make sure your mentored and coached and you run things by people, you think about the nuances of the diversity conversation because it is really nuanced, languages changing all the time and she gets a lot of complaints about are trans and gender non-conforming friends will say, “Yeah, I identify as they, them.So that's my preferred pronoun.”People will literally say, “Well, I don't feel comfortable referring to you as that, it's grammatically incorrect and I feel uncomfortable.”It's just amazing to her, to the point earlier, it’s a small action on your part that allows somebody to feel seen and heard is that so much work, she thinks it's such a red herring, it's just an excuse to not grow and she doesn't understand it. Jennifer thinks if you're in business, you should want more language, you should want more ways to talk to people in and resonate with them, that's what you should want.

 

  • Jennifer shared that she thinks that companies that are designing products for example for different communities, some of the larger organizations she worked with literally have something called Employee Resource Groups or they're called Business Resource Groups, but they are diversity networks, maybe they're a multicultural talent network, maybe they're a black employee network, maybe there are an LGBTQ network and most companies are trying to reach those diverse demographic so they can sell more to them, but they realize that they don't have the intelligence on the inside to really do this well and effectively, the smart ones realize that so they have these groups or these networks for a lot of reasons, these networks serve a lot of purposes in organizations and these can exist in small companies to by the way. She has worked with 200-person companies that have a full diversity committee, they have several Employee Resource Groups that are literally playing kind of this market intelligence role for the company so you don't have to be big to access this idea and they are at the table informing product design, informing marketing strategies, informing sales, educating the sales team and anyone that's external facing around cultural nuances and behaviors and language.In banks and financial services, a lot of the financial advisors are tend to be white and to be male and yet the biggest growth and wealth is in diverse wealth holders, female heads of households, people of color and yet you have a financial advisor community in all the big banks and insurance companies that doesn't really look like that and they're struggling to diversify those ranks on the inside.So, literally there are certifications you can get for example as a financial advisor, you can get certified in selling to the LGBTQ community, selling financial products to that community and you go somewhere, and you get a designation that you can put after your name and yes, you're an ally, you're a straight ally, you're not in that community but you know and you're investing in how to be culturally competent when you are selling to that community. So, you're listenership probably selling a lot of different kinds of things, we're all in sales all the time, we all have customers and it's all about resonating with them and making sure you're staying up to speed on what their care abouts are and how they talk about themselves and how they kind of getting inside their lives and anticipating what they want and need.It's just that awareness and there's just a lot of examples of brands that have done this really well. Heineken had a great ad that aired a Super Bowl ago that she would encourage everybody to go look at where they introduce people to each other without providing a lot of demographic information about the person and they give them some questions to talk about and they pair somebody who might have very conservative views with somebody who's in the military and who identifies as transgender.But they don't tell them any of these things and then they encourage some conversation and then they kind of reveal later on, “Well, actually this person that you've bonded with, this is who they actually are and how they identify and are you surprised and do you feel your bias is being challenged?”It's really, really neat and there's a lot of interesting ads, Gillette just came out with an incredible ad, she would encourage everyone to go and watch it on masculinity, it was so good and there was a lot of threatened boycotts and she watched it with her partner and they literally cried and it was so moving and to think that something that could move us and touch your soul could make so many people angry is really indicative of the polarized times we live in but by the way, Gillette's sales went up after that ad, by a considerable amount.So, threatened, boycott or not, anger or not and social media, they correctly diagnosed the bump that they would get through putting their values out there and saying, “Here's what we want to be about and we know that as a brand we haven't always been all that hip to the issue, so, we're trying to be.”She thinks it really worked.It definitely burnished the brand for her and a countless other potential customers.

 

Yanique stated, so this is definitely something that's new and of course it's definitely going to continue into another couple of years as you said people are trying to flesh out what does that mean for them based on their organization, based on where they operate in the world, based on who they are trying to target and as you said, how much sales they're trying to increase in what community and if they can connect with these people because as you stated at the beginning of our conversation, people are now buying from brands that represent the values that they hold near and dear to them and sometimes that's very hard to find and it's amazing that consumers are taking this stance because it just goes to show that the power is really in the hands of the consumer and it's going to be continuing even more, social media has given themso much power in terms of the things that they do, the comments and the feedback that they give and so it's not so much about what the brand says about themselves, but what the consumer has to say based on their experiences with the product or the service.

 

Jennifer agreed and stated that it goes beyond the four walls of the company, there is no such thing anymore, there's total transparency as you said, there's a lot of accountability and a lot of communities are diverse communities who are questioning - Do we want to work at a place like that? Do we want to patronize a place like that? What do they stand for? People really now want to hear what do you mean and are you walking the talk?And she’s really excited to see this accountability and the visibility that they have, they can peer into how companies do business and employees are finding their voice and really being public about it like the Google walk out of a couple months ago had 20,000 employees all over the world walking out and protesting their whole process that they handle sexual harassment claims and pay equity.They had his whole list of demands and it was really inspiring to seeing Google had to pay attention. They just had to and they've been kind of on a journey of addressing some, not all of the requests/demands that the employees had, so, we're going to see this is not going away, this accountability and it's exciting because brands have gotten away with a lot in the past, they've gotten away with unfair workplace practices, they've protected their data, they haven't been forced to admit where they're board is entirely white and male but it's never been talked about in the news before, those days are over and if you're in a company where you haven't been called out publicly, it will happen.And so, a lot of their work is actually these days about helping brands and companies make sure they're doing their work internally, and so hopefully that day never comes, hopefully they never mess up but that accountability is fierce and swift and she almost feel like we need to start teaching the art of the apology to our customers because they're going to make mistakes, they are absolutely going to and so the question is, how do you come back from a mistake? How do you apologize, own what happened, say you're learning, talk about what you're going to be recommitting to, what are you going to do differently in the future, even that as something you're prepared for, that's a new idea but she thinks it would behoove all business owners and even all managers to think about when I say the wrong word, do people trust me enough and they know that they can come to me and tell me, that's what you really want, you want to ask for that, you want to earn people's trust because by the way, you can't just one day and once only say, “Hey, can you let me know if I ever make you feel uncomfortable?”It's not a one and done. So, you've got to earn that trust that somebody then will trust you enough to be honest with you and say, “Hey, that joke you say or that saying you say or you know that you stole that person's idea in the room or assigned it to, you took it and you attributed it to somebody else or did you realize that men did 90% of the talking in that meeting?”We've got to be sensitive to these things and we just haven't been in the past and we need help to learn and so it's not just something you do need to do a lot on your own, you need to educate yourself, you need to read a lot of books about bias and team dynamics and being an inclusive leader, her book is helpful she has been told by a lot of people, she hopes it's helpful, so read these books, but they commit to making behavior change in yourself and inviting feedback and then act on that feedback, adjust, be humble be resilient, have that growth mindset which is failing forward.You know you're going to fail, it happens to all of us, we're all bias and it's hard to keep up with this, but you just have to try, that's huge points for trying.

 

Yanique stated, I like the fact that you made a point to the fact that the change starts with you because I find in a lot of organizations, the managers or the leaders are quick to say well they need to do so and so and they're not including themselves in the process because it all starts with them as well and as a leader or a manager, if I'm in an organization, I'm looking to see what you are doing because I'm taking lead from the behaviors that you've demonstrated, the attitudes that you've demonstrated and yes, I may have my own values but in an organization people kind of watch what's happening and they kind of conform to the culture that exists and if they do anything out of the norm, it means that they're going to stand out and because most people don't want to stand out, there kind of just going to go along with whatever is happening there, whether it's good or bad sometimes.

 

Jennifer agreed and stated that the best example of what Yanique is talking about is watching how many men take paternity leave or parental leave. We don't get a lot in this country, some companies are really trying to become much more generous around leave and actually going as far as requiring some employees to take leave because there's such a stigma around taking leave and particularly for men and male parents in any family configuration, it is particularlyshamed to take. Even the leave that's provided, take all of that leave, it's not viewed as a positive, you get pressure, it's spoken and unspoken pressure and men follow other men and follow what they do and they decide what the norms are based on what they see particularly senior people doing so you're right that we take our cues from everyone we watch above us in a way and we say, “Well, that's acceptable, that's not acceptable, that's a boundary I can cross or that's a boundary that I shouldn't cross.”This is why it particularly would leave and also vacation interestingly, there are some companies that are starting to require vacation because we don't take all the vacation we haveand that’s not because we don't want to take the vacation, it’s because we don’t think it's going to be okay to do. So, the norms that are communicated through behavior of others particularly senior people, we are watching, and we are then deciding, “What should I do that's not going to hurt my career in this particular culture?”So, she wouldn't encourage people to think about, it almost needs to be mandated because until such time as we can change this dynamic of pressure and peer pressure and watching these role modeling behavior happen and kind of employees not taking care of themselves and not really doing what they need to do to have a balanced life, we may need to mandate some things. She just interviewed this woman, Erica Keswin, and she really recommend her book called Bring Your Human to Work  and she has so many examples of what companies are doing in this vein to encourage leave, to encourage parenting and to encourage balance and flex and literally power to the employee to really have that balance that is the theme, the theme of women's month is how do we achieve this?But remember men need balance too, we single parents need balance, people without children need balance who are caregiving, we may be doing none of those things, but we may need just balance for our time off. So, let's not be biased in terms of how we set systems up as well and assume that only one group of people needs to manage their work-life balance, but traditionally was spoken of as a sort of women's challengeand that's really changing, and she hopes it's changing. She hopes men are thinking about what they need and they're advocating for themselves, younger men, she has a lot of hopes for millennial generation to say, this is what I need and want whether that's a sabbatical, whether it's flexible work assignments and arrangements, whether it's different career opportunities and moving around a lot more often and she just hopes that employees are in the driver's seat, it's time to assume our more powerful position as you mentioned earlier.

 

  • When asked about how she stays motivated every day, Jennifer shared that she calls it self-care and when you do diversity work, it has to be radical self-care because it can get kind of depressing to have to have these conversations over and over about why empathy matters. We have not succeeded in building healthy workplace cultures and that is wearing us down, it's tiring us, it's actually making us physically ill from stress-related issues when you can't be yourself, it’s harmful. So, talking about this all the time as is equally inspiring and also kind of depressing and makes her angry and frustrated and she has days when she wants to give up but that's also entrepreneurship. You have this passion, you're trying to raise money, you're trying to hire your team, you're trying to get contracts signed. So, how she fills her cup is gathering with people that care about what she cares about and just being able to let her guard down and be real about the frustrations and how it feels every day and for her, that might be in a room of women entrepreneurs as it fills her up to think about how are you growing your business?Just to see herself in them is a way of finding that space where you can say, “I'm not alone.” As she thinks isolation is really dangerous for us. So, who your community, where can you be real and let your hair down and let your guard down, be honest. Where can you go to feel re-inspired to realize the size of the community that's trying to do similar things or that shares your values.There's a lot of conferences on conscious capitalism and so, it's not just diversity conferences, it's conferences about values at work and culture conference, which is about why workplace cultures matter, there's a lot of great HR conferences that are talking more and more about what she does. So, it's this incredible convergence that she’s seeing in her conversation to many other sort of parallel worlds, which is a really cool thing to see. So, she would just recommend find your community, gather with them, put yourself around people that are having the highs and lows and everything in between, find folks you can be really real and honest with where it's off line and so nobody's watching and people who will hold your confidence. But ultimately, to her that has really sustained her. She has an amazing team as well, she doesn't try to do this alone, she has always wanted to build this beyond herself because she knew she wouldn't be able to touch all the lives that she wanted to without a team of people that could be going out and being in those classrooms and building those strategies for the companies and bringing those practices back to their group, so that they could do more of it. So, she has an incredible consulting team that does client work but also has a great marketing team that feels like they are all very aligned in terms of how much they believe in what they're doing every day and they're all sharing articles all the time, they're sending inspirational stuff to each other, they're sending discouraging new data to each other which just fuels the fight. So, she’d say if you're the kind of person that for maybe a team would feel that it would help you do the work and get up every day for a reason, then you might want to build a different kind of organization.There's a lot of us that just want to do it alone and that takes a certain kind of personality, it was never really her so, it's important to know what kind of leader are you? What do you need around you? Who do you need around you to be able to do your work and really find your sweet spot and your voice in that work and then who needs to surround you to enable that so that you can focus on what you do best.

 

  • When asked about an online resource, tool, website or app, Jennifer stated that it's such a hard choice, there is so many, she has her favorite podcasts, she has her favorite research institutions.She really relies on research by McKenzie and Deloitte are probably her favorite things, her go-to resources for data on the way the workforce is changing. So, there are these amazing think tanks, they very well resourced, they are very cutting edge and a lot of that information fuels their consulting work, they just take that to clients and they hadn't seen it, it's compelling data about the future and they can help kind of flush it out because of their expertise, so it really works well. And then on the personal side, she really loves this woman who runs a daily Facebook live called, Resistance Liveand that's more of a sort of for her personal fuel.It talks about what's happening in our political system, the new generation of democratic leaders and candidates and the whole developing conversation around progressive values is exciting to her and again, kind of feeds her the certainty that she’s going in the right direction and that there is a big community that is asking the same questions that she’s asking so, but there's so many women's podcasts that she listens to, so many where she also gets her education around difference.She listens to code switch which is an NPR Podcastabout race and ethnicity and code-switching which is a critical foundational principle in terms of what we talk about diversity and all of us are code-switching all the time around a variety of aspects. So, that's one of her go to podcasts to learn about how other people experience code-switching and how she can be an ally to lessen some of what people feel that need to code switch every single day, how she can lessen that need and support people to bring their full selves to wherever and not have to put all that energy into hiding and minimizing and shifting and speaking a different language to different people, it's exhausting stuff and we shouldn't have to do it.

 

  • When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jennifer shared that she has many favorite authors that are difficult to narrow it down as usual, but there's a new book called Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplacesby her friend Karen Catlin and literally she's a woman in Tech.She was a VP in a technology company in a technical role and today she's an author and keynoter and she has a million ideas for how to be a better ally. She's got a hashtag and a handle on Twitter called #betterallies, which she really recommends everybody follows but she has a new book that literally pulls all that together in one place which is so helpful.So, that's one book that she would encourage reading. She doesn’t think there's a lot written on Allyship, so, this is an emerging area. Her new book coming out in August does talk about this a lot as well and sort of the allied journey, how you can get on board, how you can put one foot in front of the other and whether it's adopting one new word and trying to understand what it means and using it all the way to kind of advanced Allyship, which is she’s an advocate in her organization, she’s a big-time voice, she’s challenging the system and everything in between so, Better Allies is great. David Smith wrote a book called Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Womenabout why men should mentor women and she really pays a lot of attention to men and there are not many men who are writing about inclusion and men who speak on it because it's so important in so many ways. The (a) that they're involved but (b) other men are going to listen to them and read them in a different way and she thinks maybe many people are used to people who look like me and you speaking about all these things but for a man to speak about it is powerful.So, those are two amazing books she would point people towards that are great reads and full of practical advice.

 

  • Jennifer shared that they are embarking on a big shift in their business strategy at her company, they've been highly like white glove bespoke consulting has been their bailiwick and then she gave a lot of key notes, which is great, and she loves, and she just plan to do a lot more of them. She thinks it's really her sweet spot honestly, but she thinks they're moving into the online product arena and they've launched their first online program in the last couple of months and have their first cohort of students and thinks their programs could be so many things. They're going to launch a new assessment behind the second book that's coming out in August around how inclusive of a leader are you and actually give people a score and then kind of break down their score within 6 different domains. And so, it’s the first assessment they've ever really had like that as a company. She thinks it has a lot of potential because people want to know where they are and then they want resources and tools whether it's a quickie online program that's really affordable or whether it's much longer, six months multi-course program where they can really do a deep dive. They're starting to build all those things on the back end, to get access to their knowledge, you don't need to hire them to come into your company basically, there's going to be a whole way to access what they do online. So, she’s just really excited to investigate that, it's a great revenue generator for them, a different kind of workstream business unit and who knows what's in store for them with the economy, but it's been a long time since they've had a correction and corrections and recessions are really difficult for consulting companies, a lot of us don't make it through and she thinks they're recession-proof now but it's very important and every entrepreneur that listens to you will know this, that we must diversify your revenue, spread out the ways that you make money in as many ways as you can to protect yourself against downturns particularly if you are a service company, and you're attached to corporate budgets.And diversity has been viewed as a nice to have traditionally and so, she thinks a lot of us, it really would behoove all of us to think about how are you going to weather storms? Because we know storms are going to happen and so that's another aspect that she’s really excited about having these online offerings.They're more affordable, they are something that people can do even with in a recession environment to invest in themselves, continue to learn and grow and prepare for the upswing, not to be morbid but it is something that has crossed her mind and she’s sure has crossed everyone's minds that are listening to you if they run a business.

 

  • Jennifershared listeners can find her at –

info@jenniferbrownconsulting.com

Stitcher Radio – The Will to Change: Uncovering True Stories of Diversity & Inclusion

Twitter - @jenniferbrown

Instagram - @jenniferbrownspeaks

Facebook – Jennifer Brown Consulting

LinkedIn – Jennifer Brown Consulting

 

****Special Note: the book is available for pre-order on Amazon in order to get into the flow that way

 

  • Jennifer shared that she likes to think about the quote that was on President Obama's rug in the Oval Office. It says, “The Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”You talked about like an idea that keeps you working and getting up in the morning and thinking that what you're doing is making a difference, there's no better quote than that. I think Martin Luther King originated it, but she thinks about it a lot because it is a struggle, because progress can feel slow, sometimes it's a real galvanizing idea for her and many others who do the work that she does.

   

Links

 

 

Mar 12, 2019

Sarah E. Toms is an Executive Director and co-founder of Wharton Interactive where she has built award-winning EdTech teams that develop highly engaging games and simulations, which are played by tens of thousands of students globally. Her drive to modernize, transform, and democratize education led her to co-invent simpl.world, an open-source simulation framework. As an entrepreneur for more than a decade and a demonstrated thought leader in the technology field, Toms has founded companies that build global CRM, product development, productivity management, and financial systems. She is dedicated to supporting women and girls in technology through her work with the Women in Tech Summit and techgirlz.org. Follow her on Twitter at @SarahEToms.

 

Peter S. Fader is the Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2015, Fader co-founded Zodiac, a predictive analytics firm that was acquired by Nike in 2018. More recently, he co-founded Theta Equity Partners, which focuses on customer-based corporate valuation. His expertise centers on topics such as customer relationship management, lifetime value of the customer, and strategies that arise from these data-driven tactics. Fader is also the author of Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage and he has been interviewed in The Wall Street Journal, APM’s “Marketplace,” NPR’s “Planet Money,” ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Forbes, and more. Follow him on Twitter at @FaderP.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you tell us some of the things that really propelled you to take it a step further especially focusing on the difference between customer centricity and customer lifetime value and how an organization can really identify what that is for them.
  • In the book you also focused on the difference between customer centricity versus product centricity. Could you share with us a little bit about that?And do you find that organizations are shifting more towards customer centricity and less in the product realm?
  • Could you share with our listeners what are some necessary elements that help to support customer centricity in an organization?
  • How is it that you integrate the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) and align the customer service strategy with a proper CRM solution?
  • Could you share with us a little bit about the loyalty programs in terms of does every organization need a loyalty program in order to have an effective or have a true reflection of what their customer lifetime value is to understand the whole metric process?
  • Based on your experience, your research, your exposure, different interactions that you've had with different people. How do you view customer experience today and what do you think it will look like 5 to 10 years from now?
  • Could you share with us maybe one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your day to day operations?
  • Are there any books that have had really great impacts on you that you'd like to share with our listeners that you think will help them in their own journey?
  • Could you share with us, maybe one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to that quote to help you to become refocus and to get back on track?

 

Highlights

 

  • Peter shared that they build a bridge from the first book to the new one and to the simulation that was mentioned that Sarah has developed. So, the first book was about this radical idea that a company can potentially make more money and have more sustainable, defendable success by focusing more on the differences among its customers by celebrating heterogeneity, that if we can figure out who the right customers are and kind of double down on them, enhance their value, find more like them, that that could do better than just obsessing over version 2.0 of the product. But the thing about the first book, it was good, and he hopes that if people haven't read it, they will but it was more definitional, motivational, aspirational, here's this concept, here's what it can do for you, here's the problems with a lot of companies out there that are failing to go in this direction. So, it was trying to get people to kind of wake up, but it didn’t really give them specific guidance how to put one foot in front of another and that's one of the things that he and Sarah have tried to do with their simulations and this new book basically takes a lot of those ideas and kind of crystallizes them, goes beyond just the simulation, makes them very real, talk about real companies, real actions.

 

Sarah shared that what was interesting to them was when they started writing the book they actually started to create sort of this Frankenstein, it was a combination of a simulation manual and some interesting stories and interesting content about customer centricity and how to actually put customer centric thinking into action and they brought it to their publisher and they said, “Get rid of the simulation stuff, flush out more about the book, make it a standalone piece if people want to run the simulation and read the book. That's fantastic.” But they really need something that engages folks who are working in the trenches day in day out and give them a clear guideline for how to become customer centric.

 

  • Peter stated that it goes back to some of the concepts in the first book was taking conventional business practices that they just accept as this is just how you run a business, you put the product first, that's all about what product should we develop, how do we fine tune it to meet the needs of the customer, distribution, promotion all about the old four P’s that we talk about in marketing. And we're saying, “Well no, actually let's build a business around the customers, the more valuable customers and have that.”And sort of say what product features will be most appealing, they say, “Here are the most valuable customers, what is it that they want?” And so, they start looking at product development and product management quite differently. Again, when he wrote the first book it was more about just this provocative kind of let’s do a 180 on the way we think about business. But they still stopped short of actually saying, here's an overall playbook which of course is the name of the new one to begin to not only embrace the metrics and all the “mathy” stuff that he likes to do but the thing more about how to build the right kind of organization, how to send the right kind of message, how to establish the right kinds of principles. Again, tremendous credit to Sarah for taking some of the best practices from the software world and bringing them over.

 

Sarah stated that at the end of the book they have a manifesto which really comes from her experience in technology and software development, where she experienced something very similar to what she’s learned now with partnering with Pete over the last four years…..five years that's happening in the marketing science world as well. And that is it, they're being inundated with all this data, there's data insights and data collection and it's becoming cheaper and easier and faster to just collect swathes and swathes of information about their customers and how they behave and what makes them buy etc. And the problem is that a lot of it is garbage and so we had something similar happen in the software development realm in the dot.com heydays where they had this tremendous capability with technology and the problem was they were really weighed down by old bureaucratic bloated software processes, she’s talking about waterfall where they had to write reams and reams of documentation and they weren't able to work leanly and be able to keep up with the technological advances in a way that was in line their our customers and their business users and what they actually wanted from the software that was being developed. And so, this sparked an idea as she was having these conversations with Pete and she said, I think what we really need for customer centricity is we need a manifesto as well. We need something that will really focus business people, it will give them just simple clarity around what is important and what they need to double down on with regards to customer centricity.

 

Yanique mentioned that the book is a playbook, anybody in an organization in a leadership role or non-leadership role can pick up the book and they will be able to have a guideline like step by step as to how they can really master customer centricity in their business, whether they're an organization that has customers that come in or they're an online business.

 

Sarah stated that the way that they've laid out the book from the playbook perspective is to really think about those different functional areas. Our goal with this to most definitely make sure that this was a cross-functional conversation. This playbook is not just for the sales person or the marketing person, this is for the data person, it's for the finance people, it's for the folks in H.R., the folks who are developing the products are indeed, this is for everybody. And it's really again pivoting and pivoting so that your customers are at the center but understanding that this heterogeneity at play within that customer base and how are you really going to focus in on what you need to do. So, when you're thinking about acquiring those customers, when you're thinking about retaining them and developing them, when you're thinking about having conversations with those in your technology team on how to tag them and track them and understand what information is actually important when it comes to figuring out who's valuable today, who will be valuable tomorrow and when I'm acquiring new customers who's more than likely going to be valuable to the organization and then taking all of those conversations and making sure that folks in your finance team understand what that means from the customer lifetime value standpoint.

 

  • Peter stated just to add one other example to that, he thinks Sarah mentioned that one of those elements being retention and development, they look at the array of new tactics that are available to either make your customers more valuable and have them stay around longer. So, things like a loyalty programme or a premium offering or customer experience or strategic account management and the problem is a lot of these tactics are so new, they just weren't done. They didn't exist a generation ago and so, companies don't really know which one to use when. When should be lean towards the loyalty program versus the premium offering? You really need a playbook to kind of lay out all these tactics and come up with a solid framework to give companies guidance about, don't invest in all of them but think strategically and have a good idea of would it makes sense to start one or pivot to another. So, that's just one example where they're starting to get much more tactical and starting to deal with issues that just aren't in what say your traditional marketing one or one type course.

 

  • Peter shared that for him, a big part of it is all about Customer Lifetime Value. And again, he acknowledged it's a bias because that's the kind of research that he has done, those are the kinds of models and activities that he has commercialized in a couple of different ways but to do customer centricity right, you have to be able to have that CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) magic wand, you have to be able to look at a customer's past interactions with you and say here's my best guess about what they're going to be worth in the future and to line up customers in that future looking way and to use those numbers and those differences across customers to really drive all these tactics. So, a lot of companies are eager to get into the tactics, they want to do that customer experience campaign but they're saying it won't be nearly as effective if you don't have a good quantitative assessment of the value of customers before and after you do that kind of campaign.

 

Sarah shared that one of the shining examples that they use a couple of times in the book is Electronic Arts. So, Electronic Arts is really one of the most mature organizations that they've seen with regards to customer centricity. Every day as players are playing their games they are collecting data about behaviours about what they know about who's more than likely going to be a high, medium and low value customer and they're feeding that information back to the game studios, they're letting them know, “For our high value customers, did this part of the game work the way we thought it was going to, did we see this as high engagement as we were hoping and if not why not and what do we need to do to pivot in the actual game development.” They're using information about these customers with how they advertise to them. So, not just saying, “All right well, here's our advertising campaign for this game, we'll put it out there, it'll be out there for a month, three months, five months.”They're using that information about their customers to actually fine tune how they target and attract the customers that they're looking to seek.

 

Yanique mentioned that it is definitely a combination of many different things all in one in terms of an organization looking at how the customer is interfacing with their product or their service, the frequency of them utilizing that product or service and of course to spend.

 

Sarah agreed and stated that RFM (Recency, Frequency, Monetary) is still key. RFM is a marketing technique used to determine quantitatively which customers are the best ones by examining how recently a customer has purchased (recency), how often they purchase (frequency), and how much the customer spends (monetary). To build on what Peter was saying about customer lifetime value in chapter 1, they spend some time delving into problems with CLV that they see that are common out there and mistakes that are being made with the calculation itself. So, CLV itself can be quite complex and there's lots of open source ways to leverage and create CLV calculations within your organizations. But they do spend some time going through the mistakes which should hopefully shine some light on how to be tracking and calculating CLV correctly in your organization.

 

  • Peter stated that on the CLV side, he learned so much not only from the research that he does and interacting with students and executives but through his first startup company called Zodiac where they were working with a wide variety of companies calculating the CLVs for them. And it was surprising because he really thought he is just bringing you the CLVs, “I am the expert here, take the CLVs and make money rain down from the skies.” But it was a great learning exercise for him to see the kinds of use cases that companies would come up with and actually, Sarah basically gave the list of them a few moments ago and she was talking about all of the different tactics that you need to understand and align and do in an accountable way - customer acquisition, retention development, with that customer experience campaign, it's not enough just to give people glasses of champagne when they walk into your store, you have to do the CLV calculation, you have to say how valuable were they before this campaign started, how much more valuable are they afterwards or better yet, more realistically, how many customers meaningfully increased in value and how many of them are the same as ever before. So, CLV gives us a really good lens not only to make decisions but to evaluate decisions after the fact and so again, just seeing the way that companies have been using it very creatively as far as he’s concerned across a wide variety of functions and by the way that includes getting outside of marketing and maybe in a bit we could talk about the idea of customer based corporate valuation. Let's get the CFO into this party as well so we could talk more about that but to the other part of the question, it also goes to having really good CRM systems which is a big part of Sarah's expertise.

 

When asked how do you know which one is the right CRM to go with, Sarah mentioned that unfortunately there aren't any great additions to CRM yet that they've seen. In her conversations with a number of the companies that appear in the book, L.A. Dodgers is a great example, they have had to build their insights outside, so they use salesforce and they're then doing the analytics sort of outside, their tracking all of their customers in their CRM but then they're running a different algorithms etc. in other systems which is unfortunate. So, she thinks Peter would agree that a lot of the companies that he has been working with they're having to kind of roll their own if you will because there isn't a good solution out there yet.

 

Peter agreed and stated that that is unfortunate. They were in the process, they were creating that solution through his company Zodiac, but Nike bought that firm which was of course a wonderful outcome but now it's all under the swoosh. So, he really hopes that companies can learn from those experiences. And again, a lot of that through that they're trying to convey in the book both laying out these frameworks as well as these specific company profiles that Sarah has been referring to.

 

Sarah stated that just to go back to the original question there was the whole point everybody thinks, “Okay well, customer service, it's to turn ugly ducklings into beautiful swans.”This is another point in the book is really think and this was to Peter's earlier point, we've got all of these sort of ways that we engage with our customers, ways to increase CX quality, ways to increase hopefully customer loyalty but it's very rare that you take somebody from your bottom tier from a customer lifetime value standpoint and boost them all the way up to the very top. And so, rather than think that you can do that and expend a tremendous amount of energy trying to achieve that impossible dream, just look at what you're doing and understand who you're serving from a CLV standpoint. So, customer service is really for your lower value customers and the same with loyalty programs like understand that that's who you're really targeting those types of programs to.

 

  • When asked if all organization needs a loyalty program - Peter stated no and a lot of companies are finding that the hard way because there's this lemming like behavior out there that, “Oh, we've got to have one too. It's a box that we need to check, some of our competitors have one.”So that's why they really try to come up with a framework that says, “Under what circumstances do you really need a loyalty program?” Sarah just said, if you think about it logically, a buy nine get one free just kind of a basic loyalty program, that's not appealing to your top platinum customers, they're going to buy from you all the time anyway.They're looking to deepen the engagement not necessarily just to buy more stuff.Whereas for those middle to lower customers if we could get them just to buy a little bit more often that that's how we can create more value out of them. So, a big part of it is that loyalty programmes are aimed more at the middle to lower tier of your customer value pyramid. And if that's where your main strategic focus is at a given time then great, that's the way to go but too often companies are thinking about the loyalty programme as something that would be appealing to or aimed at the tippy top customers. And again, they're with you not because of points, not because of bonuses, put it this way if that's why they appear to be really valuable customers, if it's all because of the goodies that comes from the loyalty programme, then they're not really loyal, then you're kind of bribing them to be with you. So, you want to find ways to appeal to the high value customers that's just a very different kind of thing, something like a premium offering where it's not a matter of giving them stuff, it's actually a matter of getting them to actually potentially pay a little bit more to kind of show their loyalty, to show that they want to have a different kind of relationship with you, that they want to have that kind of badge of honor to show that they're different than most customers. So, they're trying to bring some logic and discipline to things like loyalty programs and customer experience and customer service that they feel just doesn't exist anywhere out there to date.

 

  • Sarah shared that they actually have a new blog post or article coming out very soon that talks about customer experience and the fact that it is not customer centric.And they outlined this in their upcoming article. There are just a few small steps that organizations could be taking to become more customer centric when it comes to see CX. She alluded to this earlier in the conversation when they're talking about CX, they're looking at different ways to really reduce the friction that their customers feel when they're interacting with them, with their brand etc. And there are many different ways to measure CX and how they're doing with respect to CX, whether it be CX quality which is measured by effectiveness, ease and emotion or customer loyalty which is measured by advocacy otherwise known as a Net Promoter Score, enrichment and retention. And one of the problems that Sarah and Peter have is that these CX measurements, these metrics are one dimensional, they don't really tell them anything else that's happening with respect to their customer and that interplay with the brand. And so, what they've done with this article is they've created another framework where they're looking at the CX metrics, again switching costs and switching costs as they know are a way to measure another form of friction that their customers are experiencing. And so, what they've done in this new framework is they've said okay if they're looking at high switching costs against their CX metric and they're doing really well with customers, they've got caged customers but they're very loyal and they're happy to be with them. What they should be doing with them versus customers who have got a low CX metric and low switching can cost. So, those are their revolving doors if and that's where something like a loyalty program might come in. They don't have a lot of friction from the standpoint of staying with them, they want to try to raise that a little bit so they do stay with them more and they can extract a bit more value from them so a loyalty program would be perfect for them and then for anybody who is kind of stuck with them because of high switching costs but they've got high value, let's look at making them happier while they're kind of stuck with them. They want to keep them engaged and then hopefully once competition comes in or those switching costs may be lower, they still are able to retain them as high value customers.

 

  • When asked about tools and apps, Sarah shared that for her and her team, she’s still a technologist, she has had the absolute pleasure and honor of being able to write this book and really double down on the way she thinks about her customers that she’s designing technology for. Agile is what she lives and breathe by. So, she works with teams that are international, she brings the best of the best to the table and she doesn’t really care where their brain is as long as she gets to leverage their brain and being able to run lean teams is very important to her. And so, Slackis her go to and this is a way that she’s able to communicate very quickly and rapidly with her teams. And then also where she’s actually tracking software changes and her sprints and that kind of things, so they use GET Laband Jirato do a lot of that management. And that kind of approach, that lean approach is something that again they talk about in the playbook and the importance.

 

Peter shared that he’s addicted to Twitter, but whether it's for news, sports, entertainment but also just a whole bunch of people that he follows who are always looking for the best practices of how companies are using their customer level data. So, just the million anecdotes a day some good, some appalling but it's just a great way to learn a lot of different stuff and then make up your own mind about which is good, and which is not so good but good to have that kind of broad exposure. Peter shared that he doesn’t read books anymore, Twitter is the firehose that really keeps him attached to the world.

 

  • When asked about books that have had great impacts, Peter stated that he has a couple, but he’s actually very interested to see what Sarah has to say because as she was starting to develop this simulation and then write the book, she took a whole bunch of books off his shelf and kept some of them a little too long actually. So, it would be interesting to hear which one she said were the ones that really shaped her thinking the most, but he'll share which one is at the top of his list. It’s an oldie but a goodie and it’s really one that got a lot of these ideas started, it's a book called The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value by Frederick Reichheld. Kind of interesting, he's a Bain Consultant, not an academic and this was a book he wrote back in 1996 which is ‘500 years ago’ for all intents and purposes and basically laid out this idea that not all customers are created equal and if we could figure out who the just right ones are then all of these great things are going to happen, there will be this virtuous cycle once we find those customers because they'll will stay with us longer, they'll buy more often, they'll be cheaper to serve, they'll be strong advocates for us, they'll make a lot of referrals. And so, it was laying out this idea that loyalty manifests in lots of different ways and provides this kind of multiplier source of value, it's just a matter of figuring out who those just right customers are and they kind of stopped short of that, they didn't talk about lifetime value and so on. But he thinks it really was something that started this conversation and a lot of us today especially the younger generation thinks that we've been talking about these ideas forever but really until the mid 90s they were just not part of the conversation.

 

Sarah agreed with Peter and stated that she did so much wonderful reading and thanked Peter for your amazing library and contribution to that. She mentioned at the beginning of the interview that their guiding goal with this book was to land in that cross functional space and to really try to ignite a conversation about really the organizational and cultural changes that must happen cross functionally in organizations in order for customer centricity to really take root and she stumbled on this book called The Silo effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers by Gillian Tettand it is a fantastic book, it's one case study after another of where breaking down the siloing effect that happens in organizations where that has been good for some organizations and where it's existed, where it's been really perilous and difficult. So that's one book she most certainly recommends. The other book that she recommends is The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, but this gentleman has it right, you shouldn’t be trying to overdo it with every single customer, and he has written some incredible books in the CX space as well.

 

Yanique shared, I am familiar with Frederick Reichheld, I read a couple of years ago when I just started this business, The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth, I haven’t read The Loyalty Effect but he definitely opened my mind up when I read the Ultimate Question.

 

Peter stated that he’s glad that Yanique made the connection. He (Fredrick Reichheld) laid out these ideas but in 1996 but it wasn’t until 5, almost 10 years later that he kind of translated them into the Net Promoter Score, this is the metric that’s going to help us identify companies that have been doing a good job at finding those customers and deepen those relationships. So, a lot of people think that Net Promoter Score just sort of appeared in the early 2000s, but it was really decades of work and thinking and just careful consideration by Fredrick and his colleagues at Bain that made that possible. And again, that revolution he thinks sparked a lot of the work that we’re doing and great admiration for the folks over there and enjoy his own collaboration with them.

 

  • Peter shared that he’s super happy to talk about his new startup.He mentioned the idea of customer based corporate valuation, let's get the CFO involved in this customer centricity thing. So, he has a new company called Theta Equity Partners, thetaequity.comand that's exactly what they're doing. It's a finance play, they're actually working with a bunch of private equity firms, Late-Stage Venture Capitalist, talking to some Hedge Funds to basically say, “Let's value your company from the bottom up, let's look at how many customers you are acquiring, how long are they staying, how many purchases are they making, how valuable those purchases, add all that stuff up and say that will give us more visibility and more understanding of the value of a company than the traditional Wall Street approach.”So, they're doing this for real and it's really working and it's actually creating a meaningful dialogue between CFOs and CMOs that has just never existed before, so it's been just a thrill to expand the conversation in a direction that he never thought he’d even be capable of doing but to see how receptive the finance and investment audiences for the stuff.

 

When asked if there was anything is there anything, she’s working on to develop herself or her people - Sarah shared that she is. About a year ago she launched a new team at the Wharton School called Wharton Interactiveand they are building platforms to transform education. So, when you're looking at creating experiential learning in classrooms, it's expensive, it takes a long time, it's hard to change and fine-tune once you've launched experiences and really what she has discovered over the last six years being in this niche in EdTech is that platforms provide a way that forward where we can start to build truly transformational experiences for less cost and ones that we can then fine tune and learn from and so they're leveraging ultimate reality gaming,they're leveraging even smaller things like text messaging and social media patterns to really create social learning and don't democratizing that educational experience for the learners. So, a lot of the work that she has been doing with Peter in understanding and fine-tuning folks’ eyes to heterogeneity with customers, she has been starting to think about how they bring that into learning space and creating more fine-tuned and tailored experiences for the learners knowing that not everybody learns the same way. So, that she’s very excited about, very proud of you can find out more about what they're doing at www.interactive.wharton.upenn.edu.

 

I'm especially intrigued by Sarah's approach to education, I do think it's something that will definitely impact customer experience in the long term. When I think about my daughter who is 13 years old and some of the challenges that they have in schools, trying to get through to these children with the information that they're trying to simulate. I find that we're teaching children in 2019, but we're using methods that were applicable in 1975 and it's clearly not reaching the audience that we're trying to reach now, they just need to be stimulated in a higher way. And so, I hope some of the work that you are doing, it materializes that it can stretch to different parts of the world like Jamaica. Because I don't know what it's like in the USA, I'm sure you probably have you greater exposure to better opportunities, but here, I can see that the methodology that they are using is definitely not as impactful and I think based on what you are saying if hopefully that can become more widespread in the long term these children who will become business owners or employees in organizations that we’re all going to have to be customers of it would be great for them to have that experience from early, Yanique mentioned.

 

Sarah shared that she has a 10-year-old son, she also has 3 teenage daughters and we're not just teaching the same way we did in the 1970s, we're teaching the same way we did in the 1900s, so there is a lot of work to be done in moving the needle and with a lot of pride.They're doing some amazing work at the Wharton School and it's with great partners like Peter Fader who are willing to take the leap and who are also pushing and challenging teams like hers to think outside the box and bring something new to the table for the learners.

 

  • Peter shared listeners can find him at –

www.petefader.com

www.thetaequity.com

www.customercentricitymanifesto.org

 

Sarah shared listeners can find her at –

Linkedin – Sarah Toms

Twitter – @SarahEToms

www.interactive.wharton.upenn.edu

 

When asked if there is a possibility for the playbook to be developed into an online course, Peter shared that he has some older online courses that are more about the kind of original aspirational, definitional, motivational stuff. The best thing that they have is the new customer centricity simulation, that really brought them together.

 

Sarah shared that they've got the existing simulation, it's usually played in teams and usually played with faculty or teachers who are facilitating the experience and so they've got that experience. Her team is also starting to work on a steam-based game, so folks who are interested in learning can just go to steam and they'll be able to download a single player game from that marketplace. And then she also has designs to work with Peter on creating something in the alternate reality gaming space on their arc platform and that will be a massive online offering, hopefully not too far down the road from now.

 

  • Sarah shared that she has a quote, and this is from the founder of the University of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin. This is a quote she loves, and it is her world, it's “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”

   

Links

 

Mar 5, 2019

Karen Millsap, the CEO (Chief Empathy Officer) of Egency and Founder of The Groflo, began her career in human resources and talent acquisition where she led countless training, new process, and change initiatives. At a young age, she suddenly became a widow when her husband was tragically murdered which completely changed the trajectory of her life. After experiencing a domino effect of other losses, she became acutely aware of the overall lack of support in our society for grieving people. We are all connected through our struggles, from the death of loved ones, to life-altering illnesses, divorce, even job loss. This realization ignited Karen's desire to turn her pain into purpose and pay it forward to help others.

Egency is a leadership development and training firm that helps organizations create a human-centric culture with compassion and empathy. The Groflo is a community that shares mental + emotional growth tips and positive lifestyle inspiration.

 

Karen's client list includes NBC’s Golf Channel, Hubspot, Universal Studio Resorts, Sprint and many more! Her work has been featured in Forbes, SHRM Magazine, on Good Morning America, MSNBC, and many others! She's also a regular contributor to Arianna Huffington's THRIVE Global community.  Karen is a TEDx keynote speaker who inspires audiences to embrace compassion and empathy to help alleviate other’s suffering by becoming advocates for their own adversaries.

She received her undergraduate degree in Communication from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. She is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute in Los Angeles, California.

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey?
  • Could you share with us a little bit about empathy?
  • Where does compassion come from?
  • Does compassion come innately?
  • A taboo topic that is found in Jamaica is incest and abuse. When I hear people talk, especially when you're talking to young girls to help them to move from that trauma and that experience because it's something that stays with you for life, how do you respond to them in terms of, you made it through, everything's going to be okay.
  • Do you think that traits of empathy and compassion are required more than the traits of technical competencies of doing the job because those things had to build had to build the relationship?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • What's the one online resource tool, website or app that you couldn't absolutely live without in your business or life?
  • Could you share with us any books that have had the greatest or biggest impact on you?
  • What’s one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity you tend to revert to that quote or saying to help you to refocus or recenter so that you can move forward?

 

Highlights

  • Yanique mentioned, I first phoned Karen on Good Morning America when Robin Roberts was interviewing her a couple of weeks back. And I was so impressed that we actually have people out there that are called Grief Consultants. And it was amazing to hear that she was using her pain, she's channeled it into good to go into organizations and train leaders on how to effectively communicate with their team members and build better teams.

Karen shared that unfortunately, this knowledge and this passion came from the tragedy when her husband Richard was killed and at the time she was working in Human Resources and recruiting for a national home building company. So, her background up to that point had been in HR but touched in different pieces of recruiting and training and leadership development and all of that good stuff. So, after her husband passed, when she transitioned back to the workplace, she found that there was just this huge disconnect between the expectations of corporate America and humans, what we are capable of doing and how we process in the midst of such a delicate time. And so, when she experienced this firsthand, her immediate response was, “How can I use this to help other people?”Now, part of it was helping individuals because we definitely need help in navigating grief. It's such a complex journey and it doesn't look the same for everybody, but we also need help interacting with people who are going through their own grief journey. And so, that's where her heart was initially led, although there were one off individuals, who she was helping along the way, she really honed in on creating workshops or training and leadership development tools that would help people to manage grief in the workplace. So, her company, they develop The Four Pillars of Practical Empathy and those are Awareness, Communication, Support, and Productivity. And so, as she started down that journey of talking about grief in the workplace, there was a lot of resistance as you can imagine. First of all, people don't want to admit that there's this elephant in the room, everybody is going through something, grief is a universal human experience. The biggest myth about grief is that we think it only occurs because of a death, but it actually comes from different losses or changes. It could be from becoming a caregiver to an elderly parent or finding out that somebody in your family or even yourself is diagnosed with a terminal illness, there's so many different things. But again, it comes because of a change or a loss when we expect things to be different or better or more and it just doesn't turn out that way. So, as she started to just kind of break down all of these barriers and these myths that are surrounded with grief, again, corporate America was not really receptive because by saying you want grief training would be admitting that you have a problem because brief is kind of looked at it as a problem. And so, she recognized this resistance and most of what she was teaching was really surrounded around compassion and empathy in the workplace. So, she decided to just adjust slightly and instead of leading with the problem, she led now with the solution which is compassion and empathy. And as she was pulling different resources and research articles and studies and all of this that just helps us to create a basic framework for human interaction in the workplace. As she was pulling that, she recognizes, well, it still touches on grief in the workplace because if we are operating with compassion and empathy on a day to day basis, that's mastery preparation for the time of crisis. We're already connecting in this space that's just really vulnerable, we've established trust and respect through kindness, so when somebody does hit a tough life situation, which inevitably happens to all of us, then at least your work family is prepared to walk through those tough times with you and handle that because you guys have already established this kind of workplace. So, it's been a journey to get to this point but she’s super grateful that she learned all that she did throughout this journey because it's helped her to serve her clients at a whole new level, not just the basic leadership development, it really is taking it up a notch.

Yanique shared, I like the fact that you've mentioned that you started to lead with the solution, and you focus on empathy and compassion. And one of the things that we have identified in the whole client or customer experiences, people are driven by how they feel, their emotions play an integral part. I think even more than the intellectual because the emotion drives how the intellectual will respond. 

  • Yanique shared, I personally think that it's not something that you're born with, it's a learnt behavior and it's all dependent on how you're socialized, what you're exposed to, the behaviors that you see, both from your environment that you're in as well as maybe even from things that you're exposed to are stimulated by like the television or even social media. But not everybody knows how to be empathetic.

When asked about empathy, Karen shared yes and no to Yanique’s statement. Yes, it is something that can be learned, but no, it's not something that people are only inheriting that ability through a learned environment. That's not the case. People are born with empathy. There are people who are born with a lack of empathy. As a matter of fact, there's a chemical in the front part of our brain, in our amygdala that triggers our emotions and so you could live and be raised in a very compassionate home, but you were born kind of without feelings, you don't get too riled round up but that doesn't mean that you didn't have an environment that included feelings and emotions and conversations around that, it really is how we're born. But even if people are born without or with a lack of, maybe they don't have a lot of empathy, you still can adopt behaviors and skills and habits that bring empathy into conversations and interactions so that way the person who you are interacting with feels valued. And so, empathy is really being able to feel and understand another person's emotions and respond with care. So again, that feeling part may not be natural for some people, but you can try to understand where they're coming from and respond in an empathic way. So that's how it looks and so as it pertains to their customer experience, you may not be able to completely resonate with where this customer is coming from. And she gave you an example, it's a personal example. She bought a new car at the end of last year and the sales team, they weren't that great but she needed to get out of her car, it had 140,000 miles on it, it was just not safe anymore. Karen said she was kind of in a rush to get into the car and didn't do her due diligence on a few things that she noticed within 24 hours of driving off the lot. So, she immediately contacted the sales team, they were not very responsive. So, then she looked online for customer service team, they were not very responsive. So, being the person that she, she’s just saying, well this isn't okay. So, she’s going to do her due diligence. She contacted the corporate office to say, “Listen, there are a couple of defects and this is actually not safe. So, I just purchased this car and we need to figure out a resolution.”Now up the chain of command, the customer service sucked, it was terrible. And she was telling them like the rear-view camera is not working, that is a safety issue. If she runs over a kid, do you think they're going to say, “Oops, that's our bad, we should have responded quickly to that email.”No, she’s going to be the one who is dealing with the legal ramifications. So, she’s pushing forward and say, no, this is not okay. She felt like there was a disconnect between kind of the first level of customer service and then once you get to the executive office, once she got to the executive office and there was an individual who was assigned to work with her, he followed up, he was patient on the phone, he made sure that the service manager they got her in touch with was timely in his response. He kept Karen in the loop, even if there was going to be a waiting period, he communicated that to her and what he did that was different than the first level of customer service was he empathized with the fact that we have a single mom here who has made a very large investment and she’s not saying she got anything fancy, but when you purchase a car, lease a car, that's an investment, you are putting your credit on the line and all of that. So, it's not something to be taken lightly and so because of his understanding of where she was coming from and her position and her worry and concern, he made sure that he saw it all the way through. Where on the front end, that didn't happen. Now what did he do differently than the first people who may be answered a call or answered an email? He didn't do much in the practical sense, except for the fact that he took his time to patiently understand where she was coming from and communicate in a way that made her feel like she was being heard, that her purchase was valued, her position as a customer was valued and he wanted to make sure that we found a resolution, he responded with care. So, it didn't take him much, but just the way that he was on top of it made a world of difference because she was ready to just blast this company, don't ever buy from them and that's not her character. But she felt like they did not care that we had such a major issue and it was only because, and she told him on their last call, she said, “It is only because of you and how you resolved this, that I feel satisfied.”The first three months of this process, which she didn't mention, it took a long time to get to that point, but the first three months was treacherous and because of this one person who showed compassion, who interacted with empathy and who made sure that a resolution was done in a caring way, she felt like, “Okay, I'm okay. I could come back and buy another car from them.”She knows that sounds bad because it was such a crazy, but he did resolve it with empathy.

 

Yanique stated, so it's more about listening to what the person is saying to you, understanding where they're coming from and why this is a pain point for them. And as you said, responding in a way that, “Oh well, no big deal.”Instead in a way that, “I understand where you're coming from and what can we do to make it better?” Because it would seem from the first level of customer service that they were more concerned about making the sale and less about providing after sales support to you.

Karen agreed and stated that it doesn't take a lot of time, it doesn't even take a lot of effort, you are on the exact same call with the exact same person and literally your tone can change, and your active listening skills can change the trajectory of that outcome. You just have to decide while you were in the midst of that, “How am I going to show up for this person? Am I going to be caring or am I going to be short and curt? Am I going to listen or am I just thinking about the next thing that I need to get done? Or Am I be grudgingly going through the motions?”Either way you have a choice and the energy level is the same.

  • Karen shared that she believes that the major difference between empathy and compassion is one word, Action. We are meant to put compassion into action, it's how you are showing up for people, whether you're showing up for a colleague who's going through something that's difficult or the way, for example, this gentleman responded to her. He made sure that he was calling every four days with an update to let her know what was going on because she was really left in the dark and that was frustrating. So, compassion is what you put into action. Empathy really is kind of the starting point, like she said, being able to feel and understand and then choosing to respond in a certain way but that response is your compassion. Now, one thing that she’s done through agencies, they created a Compassion Action Plan. And what it does is it addresses, if you know somebody who has experienced in the organization, who's experienced a major loss, and they just touched on five because this is usually an activity that they do in workshops but for this eBook, what they did was, they just put five in there. And so, divorce, I'm becoming a caregiver, death, we identified those and how can you put compassion into action?So, if you just thought about it for a second and you thought about, okay, I know a colleague lost their spouse, what is a way that I can show up for them? What would be one or two ideas that come to your mind?

Yanique shared, so they've lost a family member and seeing that I experienced at similar situation last year, what I looked for in people who showed compassion were people who came, they were just there, they were there to support me, it’s simple things like just coming over and sitting and talking just to have the companionship at that point in time because you don't want it to be alone because it's an experience of trauma and being alone, your mind wanders all over the place and you feel more lonely. So, you kind of just want somebody to be there and you want them to know that you want them to be there without you having to tell them, I want you to be there.

Karen agreed and stated that she’s going to ask Yanique for another example but pausing there for a second. That is another example of how it does not take much for you to just show up for somebody, does it? She remembered at my husband's funeral, Karen looked, and she saw at least 20 people from her office who were there, and that just made her feel so supported because you're right. When we go through a major loss like that, somebody close to us, somebody within our inner family, our intermediate family, then we usually go to this place of isolation in our minds because you get on this emotional rollercoaster and there's so many complex feelings, it's hard to keep up with those thoughts. So, you really feel emotionally and mentally drained and so when you have people around you, as you mentioned, they help you to stay connected to life, so you're not just completely caught up in your head, you're not isolating yourself and end up on this negative thought cycle and start spiraling downward but you have somebody who's just present. And she had somebody, her name was Jamie, she actually mentioned her in her Ted Talk because she mean this, she would just show up and just lay on the floor with her or lay in her bed or they would like walk around Target, she is one of her closest friends and she told Karen later after hearing Karen’s Ted Talk, so this was four years after this happened, but she said, “I admitted to my husband almost every night when I came home. I don't know if I'm doing enough, I don't know what else I'm supposed to do.”So, for four years as she is relishing this friendship and it anchored in her mind is something to teach other people, just show up. She didn't even realize that it had made an impact on her healing journey, it made a huge impact. So, you're right, she always tells people, we all need a Jamie. So that's good. So, the first thing is show up, be present but what's something else that you can do for a colleague?

Yanique shared that when she lost her dad last year, it was also important, and I guess that would link back to being present. To assist me with anything, low hanging fruits that would distract me or make me feel not supported.

Karen shared that the difference there is, is that what they did was they stepped in to respond to your basic needs because it could have been like handling bills, it could have been like handling other logistics that when you're in that mental fog, you don't really have the capacity to do so. And so, if you have people who you trust, who are near you, this could be different for colleagues. For colleagues showing up and responding to basic needs is like making sure you have food. Creating a food calendar or just saying, “Hey, it's okay if you need to take longer than five days.”because usually that's the bereavement period, it’s like five days for somebody in your intermediate family but they can say, “You know what? I know you have this project going on, I'll help you with that. What's your client's name? Let me step in, just give me a couple of details and I'll go into the system and I'll figure out the rest. But you don't worry about it.”That's responding to a basic need that's helping them to keep their life afloat and that is putting compassion into action.

  • When asked if compassion come innately, Karen stated that in our world, in our society, it's just awkward. Grief is just awkward, and some people feel like, “Oh, I don't know if I'll say the right thing. I don't know if I have enough time to be there.”We come up with all of these different barriers in our mind and the difference between holding onto those barriers and acting like Jamie will say as a reference point is she just leaned in without knowing if what she was doing was enough, but her heart just led her to do that. What happens is we stop our heart from responding naturally because then our mind starts to take over to think that we need to say the right thing, we have to be perfect on how we show up, what if it's not enough? Our heart and mind starts to battle. But you're right, it is an innate response. It's just our mind can start to suppress that response because we start to feel awkward and that's her mission is to make grief less awkward, let's talk about it. Let's talk about all of this because again, it is a universal human experience, we are all going to go through it. Karen thinks if we have these conversations, for example, Yanique having her on the podcast again, thank you because it's helping to reach different people and to open up a different mindset so we can respond differently. Because right now, we're perpetuating suppression and isolation and that's what's making our journeys unhealthy. If we just opened our heart up to respond in a natural way, that doesn't look perfect and here's an example. If somebody at work tells you, “I just found out that my spouse has cancer, or I have cancer.”Instead of not knowing what to say and then not saying anything, which is actually worse. If somebody didn't acknowledge or say it’s the first time seeing them that Richard had died, she felt like, “Well wow, that was kind of a big deal. Like we're not going to say anything about it.”We don't have to go down the rabbit hole. But anyhow, if somebody shares some tragic news with you, you can say this, you can say, “I am so sorry that you're going through this. We don't know what is going to happen at the end of the day, but I know you are strong. I know that you have this light inside of you that you can just push through and I'm here with you, like anything that you need work related, if you just need to take a walk, if you need to get out of the office or if he just needed somebody to talk to for a few minutes, just know that you're not alone.”That's not giving false hope, that's not saying everything's going to be great or just pray on it, it's not giving any of that. It's just saying, “I'm meeting you where you are and yeah, this is hard. This suck, but you're not alone.”That is enough.

Yanique asked, what do you think about situations when someone shares with you for example, that they had a tragedy and they’re going through grief like a death for example. And the person responds and says, I know exactly what you're going through because I find that grief is different for everyone and you may lose someone, and you respond in a different way. It impacts you in a different way and I may lose someone, and it may not impact me in that way, or it might impact me worse or less. Do you think it's a safe to say, I know exactly what you're going through? How do you know? 

Karen shared that she thinks that this is another uncomfortable yet common response because it's true, it's a common response only because people feel uncomfortable and they're just kind of like, “Ah, what do I say?”And it just comes out so naturally and that's not really what they mean. They're not saying, I know exactly what you're going through because somebody has said that to her and she’s like, “Oh, your husband's been murdered. I didn't know that that happened to you.” And not to even downplay it, because some people will compare losses, they'll say, “Oh, well I went through a divorce and so I know how that feels.”Again, no, you don't know how it feels, but their heart is in the right place. So, the first thing she would say is if you're on the receiving end of that comment is to give that person a little bit of grace because at least they're trying to be there. Do not take offense to that and kind of see through their words to see their heart and their intentions and their heart and their intentions is to comfort you in the moment. But Karen’s advice to the person who wants to say that and guess what? Karen has said that to people before in a different light. And before all of this happened, before she became more aware of some of the myths that we use to comfort people. But if you are about to say that, hold your tongue real quick and then just think about saying something along these lines.

Again, “I don't know what you're going through, but I went through a situation and I know that pain is real. I know that those hard times can come in waves. I know that sometimes it can just feel really consuming and so if you feel anything that is just so painful and it feels hard for you to manage, you can come talk to me. I don't know what you're going through, but I know what pain feels like and I'm willing to just be here for you.”

 It's authentic in the sense that she can relate to your pain even though she hasn’t experienced the same loss. And here's the thing, two siblings could lose the same parent and feel completely different about it. So, imagine the differences of somebody who says, “Oh, I went through a divorce too.”or “Yeah, I also had a miscarriage.”or “Oh, when my mom was sick.”We compare them but there's so many different factors that make that situation so different and unique, but at least being able to relate through the pain, Karen thinks that's the authentic place to be.

  • Karen shared that there are pains like that where, for example, she has a friend and her parents were not kind growing up, they just weren't, and she doesn't have a relationship with them now. Now she doesn’t know that she's experienced any kind of sexual abuse. She knows that has had happened in her family, but it did not happen to her. However, the abandonment of your parents and them not wanting to be with you, it's a pain that stays with you through adulthood. A physical kind of trauma is also something that stays with you through adulthood and sometimes you have to see your abuser. And so, it's like how do you live in that space? So, what she encourages people to do is to create healthy boundaries, they can't always be physical. A lot of times they have to be mental and emotional.So, the person again who is hearing something like that, they're on the receiving end of that comment, you have to create an emotional and mental boundary just knowing that whatever they're saying to me, if it is not resonating with my heart, with pure comfort and peace and, and even empathy, than I'm not going to receive that, you choose if you're going to receive their words are not. Now for the person who is trying to comfort or build them up because a lot of times they're thinking if you've been a victim, what I need to do is pour into you that you are strong, pour into you that you have gotten over it, kind of build up your confidence and resilience but again, sometimes we just fumble over those words and so instead of saying something that is diminishing their past, meet them where they are. Again, the same starting, 

“I can't imagine what you have gone through, but I see who you are today and I see that you are a fighter, I see that you are a survivor and even if those pains are still being held with you, which I'm sure that they are, I can only imagine that they are. There is something in you that is not giving up and I admire that in you.”

That is truth. That is absolute truth. It does not diminish the pain that they have experienced, but it is uplifting them to say, I have seen that you did not give up. And I applaud you for that. But it is okay if you're still feeling and battling all of the wounds, the emotional wounds and mental wounds that you carry with you, but it's still, it uplifts them and it builds them up and that's at the end of the day, what we should be doing for each other is to build one another up so we feel safe, so we feel protected.

  • When asked about traits of empathy and compassion that leaders should have in order to build a team. Karen agreed and shared that one of her favorite Richard Branson quotes is, “When you take care of your people, your people will take care of your business.”And that is the absolute truth. A lot of times leaders are driven by the numbers and the data, but you have to remember there are people behind those numbers and that data it didn’t just magically appear, this is coming from somebody’s knowledge capacity, their relationship building, their goal setting. There are people who are driving these numbers and so you have to get to the source of your success, the source of your success is your people and how you treat people is how they produce at work. Now, a lot of times people, Karen kind of hears two things most often. One is, leader say, “I want to be a better leader, I want to connect with my people, I want to help them in a different way. Basically, build up their personal success but I don't know how.”And that's because we have to kind of get past that old adage of leave your personal stuff at the door and so, she thinks that again, leaders want to, but we are shifting society and we're shifting how we show up at work. So, that's why it's such a great time to really live out her passion because people are more receptive to this message and they need just some structure, some framework behind it. That's the first thing, but then the other thing is there are leaders who are naturally showing up with kindness and they are seeing just amazing, powerful results.

An example of this is, uh, one of her clients from Sprint, this gentleman is the general manager of one of their four business units, and they have been the number one team for the last 15 years straight. Fifteen years they have consistently outperformed the rest of the company and when she met him, she asked him to come onto her podcast, Invest Humanand she said, we just need to talk about what this is and he said, one word, “Kindness.”It is all about how you treat your people. Now when she goes into organizations, she breaks this down through like communication, interactions, conflict resolution, like how do we bring it into that. But it really all has to do with kindness because when you treat people well, then employees become more enthusiastic about their work and if they are enthusiastic about their work, what happens to their performance, it improves. What happens to the customer experience because of the person that they're interacting with. It’s like again a no brainer, it should be a no brainer, but she thinks what the shift that's happening is that people just kind of need permission and they need that framework because for so long we've lived in this space of kind of being robotic at work and only expecting or evaluating someone's performance and not opening up the experience, the actual employee experience.

Yanique shared that the interpersonal skills, the soft skills, showing kindness and ensuring that you exercise empathy and compassion, those are definitely characteristics and traits that as a leader will take you much further than any technical competence.

  • Karen stated that that is such a good question – how she stays motivated daily. She doesn’t live in a constant state of motivation. She has learned through different personality tests and stuff, she does have a natural personality that is drawn to the silver lining. So, she doesn’t stay in a dark place for too long. However, and when you've experienced this kind of tragedy, you can't help but to be in a dark space for a while. So, what she learned during that time, her most trying times so far in her life, it's absolutely critical for us to build a foundation of healthy habits so that we can navigate any hard time when it comes. Life isn't fair so you're not going to go just through one thing, it's not a one and done. And there are every day stressors that we have to work through, relationships, traffic, personalities that are not meshing. There's just so many different stressors that can make us feel weary and burnt out. So, it's not that you can live in this constant state of up because what goes up must come down, but you have to learn to find that balance when you do come down and how do you take care of yourself. So, for Karen, whenever she’s going through a challenging time, smaller or large, it's just a matter of tapping into those habits that she established when she was in the midst of her darkest hours with grief and she wasn't intentional then, she was very set on her why, her why was her son. She knew that she wanted to be a good mom for him and didn't want to be living in this state of like brokenness and in this victim mindset, like it wouldn't have been healthy for him in the long run. And so, as she focused on him, then she started to create these healthy habits that just made a huge impact on her total wellbeing. So, when you are feeling down, take a break, that's okay. Go for a walk, do a breathing exercise. There’re so many different habits on your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical wellbeing that once you know what those habits are, then you can tap into them regardless of the low that you're feeling because they are tried and true. They helped you in a dark, dark place or they help you in a, I'm frustrated and burnt out place as well.

 

  • When asked about an online app or tool that she couldn’t live without, Karen stated that she thinks she would have to answer two ways. One is she really strive for strong organizational skills. She has very strong organizational skills, but she does that because she has a bad memory. She’s just going to be vulnerable here for a second, but Karen recognizes that her mind being an entrepreneur, being a single mom, having experienced trauma, she just has a bad memory and so she compensates by having really strong organizational skills. And one of the tools that she loves is Google Keep, it helps her because it just allows her to brain dump and when she is able to brain dump all of the different distractions that come into her mind, she’s creating that space of mental clarity so that she can stay focused on her priorities. So, Google Keep has been really helpful. But there was also an app that helped her early on in my grief with mindfulness and meditation and that was called Headspace, and she just signed up for the free version because she wanted to see what it was about, and it helped her because a lot of times we get into negative thoughts cycles at night before we're going to sleep. Our mind is just racing and then we start feeling like, I don't have enough time. What do I do tomorrow? Did I not do this today? And so that on top of any kind of trauma that you may be working through, Headspace taught a breathing pattern that she was even able to teach to her son, that at night if she can't fall asleep, it works wonders. And so it's really simple, it's just a matter of counting your breaths when you inhale and exhale, when you inhale, you count one when you exhale, two inhale again, three and so on up to 10, you don't change your breathing pattern, you're not, you don't have to take long, deep breaths, but when you get to 10 you start back at one and there's something about that Karen said she could do that three, maybe four times at the most, and then she pass out, she’s knocked out. It's taught her such a powerful breathing technique that she shares that with almost anybody she interacts with because she thinks we're all a victim of those nighttime blues when it's kind of hard to fall asleep. 

Yanique then stated, that seems to be a popular app. I've actually downloaded it on my phone, but I haven't clicked on it because things have been so busy. But I had a guest that was on our podcast and maybe two, three weeks ago and that was one of his recommendations. I find it interesting that shortly after, I'm getting the same recommendation, so that app must be really good. So, I think today I'm going to make sure I click on the app since it's on the phone and I haven't actually used it yet to see what it's all about. I have no problems falling asleep though but sometimes I do get distracted, like I'm doing something, and I start thinking about something else and I jump from one thing to the next. So, if Headspace can help me to refocus at times, that would be wonderful.

Karen stated that she thinks that it definitely, what she liked about it most was in the free version, it teaches you where some people just embark on this meditation journey and you're like, “Ah, how do I do this? I'm falling asleep. No, wait, I can't stop these thoughts.”There are so many barriers and she liked how in the free version it actually teaches you some of the techniques that are helpful.

  • Karen was asked about books that have had the biggest impact and she stated that there is a lot. She shared that she was not a reader until she was 30 years old. She hated reading growing up but after her husband died, she became obsessed with reading about heaven because she just needed that confirmation that he was okay, and she would see him again. And that's what kind of got her down this journey. So, she’ll say the two, there really are so many but to that she thinks made such a huge impact one was Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. It teaches you how you can change your mindset from being a victim or living in a fixed mindset to having a growth mindset. And again, it gives applicable takeaways on how you can teach even children, how you can teach, whether you're a teacher, a parent, a coach, it just helps in that state, how you can also use it in the workplace. So, Mindset by Carol Dweck was amazing. And then also it's kind of a tie between these two, Life's Golden Ticket: A Story about Second Chances by Brendon Burchardbecause it's a fiction book, but it gives you this visualization of you having a choice and kind of revisiting different people or moments in your past that have led you up to where you are today and accept where you are today so that you can move forward. And then the other one is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which she knows is a lot of people's favorites, but it's one of hers particularly because it was suggested to her probably almost three years ago now, but she just read it at the end of last year and she believes in just divine timing and at the time it came to her life, she wasn't ready to read it, but when she read it, it was exactly the time that she was supposed to just digest that. So, it's a great book again for people who are just wondering, “Man, does all of this mean something? How do I know I'm headed down the right path.”So, that's why she loves that book so much.

 

  • Karen shared that she’s super excited about launching her new group coaching program. She’s going to be doing a group coaching and it is called, “Soul Care Coaching with Karen”and so she wants to create a network, this specific offer is for women, but she wanted to create a network for women where they are able to just grow, they are able to find healing and just become the best version of their self. And so, just sharing herself and stories but also sharing other coaches along the way. So, she’s really excited about that. But then she also launched her first eCourse, Heal Forwardand that's for anybody who has experienced a major loss or a hardship or they're just feeling depleted in life and they want to heal and move forward. It's a six-week series that just gives a whole bunch of selfcare habits and tips, worksheets, videos, all that good stuff. It loads you up so that you can build that foundation that she talked about of healthy habits. So, she’s excited about those two. The eCourse just launched and the coaching will launch in March 2019.

 

  • Karenshared listeners can find her at –

www.karenmillsap.com 

  • Karen shared that regarding quotes or sayings that she tends to revert to, that ironically, it's like a little plaque that she found and it's on her desk as she’s looking at it right now. It is her favorite, it says, “Everything's going to be all right. Yep even that one thing.”Bob Marley said that. But she likes how it says, “Yep”, even that one thing because it's like yeah, you can get really stuck on something, it's like no, no, no, everything is going to be okay. Even that one thing, and she loves her some Bob Marley, so it resonated right away.

Links

 

Feb 12, 2019

Jon Ferrara is a successful serial entrepreneur, he's top 10 Social Service Salesperson according to Forbes and renown CRM pioneer with a knock for building authentic relationships with customers. Given his shared passion for creating genuine connections and making a positive impact on the lives of others, I believe he would be a very interesting guest for this podcast. And so, he's going to dive in and share with us some of the journeys that he's taken. He's going to share with us some of his core values building products that help others achieve their passion, plan, and purpose and we're going to identify what are those success indicators.

Jon shared that he thinks our purpose on this planet is to help others grow and we do that by giving a little of value to one another. And through this conversation he hopes that we're able to add value to your audience and the people who listen. 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Could you share with us three things that you think help to really build a strong relationship?
  • With things being so technologies, do you still believe that the human experience is still necessary?
  • How do you stay motivated everyday?
  • What is one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you in that journey of growth for yourself?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to this quote to kind of helps you refocus and push forward?

Highlights

  • Jon stated that these are all great questions and it really starts with him in some respect his childhood. He grew up with his first computer when he was 16 years old in 1976 and through his journey of understanding technology and his passion for people and relationships, he found himself struggling in his first job in sales, trying to build connections and conversations that drive results and there was no contact management, there was no outlook, there was no CRM, there was no salesforce. In fact, there was no tool that integrated email contact and calendar with sales and more coordination. So, at 29 years old in 1989 he quit his job and he started a company called GoldMine and GoldMine was the first programme that integrated email connected calendar and team relationship platform, they were outlook and salesforce before either existed. He started the company on USD $5,000.00 in his apartment in Los Angeles and grew to about USD $100 Million Dollars in revenue. They're at about 10 million customers worldwide and he sold that when he was 40 years old and retired for 10 years and raised three babies and in that journey, in that experience of entrepreneurship but more importantly as a present father and husband, he came to really understand and value the gift he got of being able to be a present father and husband and how it helped him grow because he thinks if you're present with the people around you, they will reflect your weak points back at you and if you're willing to work on those in life you can grow as a human being. And he thinks that's what we're on this planet to do, is to grow our souls by helping other people grow theirs and the process of social media evolving in 2006, 2007, 2008, he started to use it and he saw it was going to change the way we work, buy and sell and he started looking for a relationship manager that integrated social and he couldn't find it. And then he started looking at CRM systems and he saw they really weren't about social media, they were really about or even relationships, they were really about reporting and commanding control and so he set out to build a new platform, a relationship manager that incorporated contact management and CRM and social sales and marketing and it would be different in the way it would be different is that you don't work for it, it works for you by building itself in the data you already have in your business and everybody has contacts and email and calendar as well as contacts and all kinds of business apps like customer service accounting, social media, sales and marketing. And it would derive the contacts by unifying them all together from all the disparate places from the separate departments so that the company would have a unified relationship manager so that no matter who picks up the phone they know who they're talking to, what's happened, who's done it, what's going to happen, who's going to do it, who is this person, what is your business about, so they could provide the optimal experience and most importantly to follow up and follow through and that that contact would be available to them in all the places that they work so that no matter who touches, no matter what you touch in a company in sales, in marketing and customer service, in accounting that everybody's on one page with that customer and in that you can provide the optimal experience. And so, we called it Nimble and so he seems to be back in the saddle in the relationship management game.

Yanique stated, so you're basically able to have everything all under one roof allowing people to pull information from different sites and being able to connect and also it helps with the sales process.

Jon agreed because he really believes that service is the new sales, that your job as a salesperson is to help other people grow and to do that you need to develop intimacy and trust with that person and so you need to build a connection, a relationship before you can ever get them to open up to you about their business issues which as a professional you can then solve. It's always easier to build a connection with somebody when you share some commonalities. So, you don't typically start a phone call with, “Did you sign the contract?”You start it by, “Good morning” “Good afternoon” “Good evening”how about, “How's the weather in Kingston today?”or some areas of commonality, if he was going to talk to you, he'd talk about some common experiences and he'd share that he saw Bob Marley play when he was 18 years old at UCLA Pauley Pavilion and it was the most wonderful experience he had ever had because he grew up listening to his music and he was inspired by his marching to a different drummer and teaching people to seek out truth in life and freedom and the struggles that people were going through around the world not just African-Americans and that it all unites us, this struggle and this desire for peace and freedom and we would connect on some area of commonality and then we'd dive into learning more about each other, finding ways to add value in business is secondary to all that. So business is just something that we do but friendships last a lifetime and they will get you through any business hiccup and in all businesses hiccups happen but if there's a relationship, there's a tendency for more empathy and more forgiveness and more gratitude in the connections and the interactions and that's really the philosophy behind Nimble, is that relationships are critical to your life’s success and that your network and your brand are so important to that success yet most of us don't really manage our golden Rolodex and Nimble is a tool not just for businesses but for every individual because every individual's life success will be through the connections and conversations, relationships that they develop too.

 

  • Jon shared that he thinks that a company's brand is built on the promises that it makes and the experiences that it delivers. And if you can align those two, you could build a goldmine and a lot of that experience is delivered to your customer facing team members and so you need to empower each of them to deliver optimal experience at the point of connection and conversation whenever they're interacting with the constituency and he says constituency because he thinks that most companies think about prospects and customers and they think about sales and marketing people but ultimately, there is a team of people at your company that's interacting with the constituency around your business and you need to unify all of these people into a team and to empower them to make decisions in favor of the customer. How many times have you gone into a business where we the people just say no that's just the way we do it, we can’t do it. So, he’s going to share an example of that. He was trying to send a gift to somebody who did something wonderful for him, it was a Microsoft team member, they did an interview with a Forbes writer and they talked about how Nimble has evolved into the simple CRM for Office 365 where Microsoft has actually recently Nimble with office globally through all their distributors and resellers and she gave this wonderful interview, she didn't have to do it, she's a very busy person and he wanted to do something special for her. So, he looked all over the Seattle area for a particular bottle of champagne, it's the champagne that he took to dinner when he proposed to his wife 30 years ago. And it's a special bottle to him and he only had it twice when he proposed to his wife and when they celebrated their anniversary 30 years later and so he found a store that had it and he spoke to the store manager he said, “Yes, I have it. I can send it, but you need to call our customer service phone number.”So, he called them, and they said, “Well, you could just go to the app and order it.”So, he went to the app and the app said it wasn't available, it wasn't in. So, he called back to customer service and they said, “Well, our systems don't allow us to sell when there's one bottle. We can only sell if there's more than one. The last one we can't sell online.”He spent four hours that day trying to get somebody to override the system and make a decision in his favor to actually ship the bottle. And they finally got somebody to do that after five hours with them and then when they went to send it, they couldn't deliver it, they could only FedEx it and then FedEx the next day wasn't able to deliver it because the door that FedEx went to was a secure door, they couldn't get through. And the whole process was so painful. And that's an example of a customer cutting their hand on the journey through your company and he thinks that to every customer that your business engages with the person they're talking to is the company, they need to empower team members to make decisions in favor of the customer and he thinks the Apple Store is an example of that. At Apple, he has rarely left the store unhappy, they typically take care of whatever he needs and they're empowered to make those decisions and so, from his experience in building two global technology brands, he thinks that you have to instill a desire of care, of empathy, of the team members to the constituency and he’s say that because it’s not just prospects and customers those influencers and resellers and other people at touch are involved the customer but they need to really care about the customer, the product, and the company and to be able to make decisions in the time that they're engaging with that person that leaves that person not only delighted so they come back and buy again but so that they drag their friends with them.

Yanique stated, I have so many experiences myself as you describe, it's such a painful part of the journey that when you're finished you don't even want to have to call the company back again because when you think about the headache that they put you through it just deters you completely. So, as a business as you mentioned in your experience that it's important to map and to empower the employees. Empowerment is a very, very, big word and it can be a simple act if people know exactly what being empowered means. So, as a leader let's say you went to this wonderful leadership workshop and they brought in Jon and Jon spoke about empowerment and so these leaders go back to their organizations now and they're like, “Okay, I'm going to empower my team members.” What are some of the steps that empowerment entails because it's not just about going back and saying you're empowered there's more to it.

Jon agreed and stated that some of it is empowering them to make decisions even when there's a policy in place that is set. So, he doesn’t think any process should be so rigid that the customer is left unhappy or unsatisfied in some way.Jon thinks that the customer may not always be right but they're always the customer, so, if you have to let a customer know that you can't do a particular thing, let them be wrong with dignity and respect. In other words, part of it is the way you communicate and the attitude that you have, and you felt it before, you could feel him on the phone right now and you feel that customer service person when they're communicating with you, that's why they put mirrors in front of customer service cubicles because people can feel your smile, people can feel your heart and soul. There's an energy that interacts between human beings and he thinks that you need to start by hiring people that have a positive energy, good human being, that are good cultural fit and you need to treat them good because if you don't treat the team members good, they're not going to be able to treat the customers constituency good. So, it starts with hiring great people and then building an amazing culture and then making sure that they're empowered to make decisions that leave the customer satisfied and that might even mean them recommending a competitor's product, it might mean making a slight change in a policy to facilitate a customer in that moment, it might mean taking the feedback from where customers are constantly cutting their fingers on their customer journey with you and making recommendations to change it. So, that connected to your customers journey that they're collecting feedback just like his journey with this liquor store that has a policy that says, “We don't sell the last bottle.”Why is that the policy, that doesn't need to be the policy, that policy could change, it changed by human being making the change and actually selling him the bottle but it could change further by changing the system itself. And so, he thinks it really starts with the people, but he also thinks that our world is getting so automated, it's getting so digitized and he thinks that the more digital we get, the more human we need to be, and it really takes a human touch to create that experienceand he’s going to share a human touch story. Jon asked Yanique if she has ever shopped at Nordstrom and if she likes shopping there?

Yanique replied, it's not something that stands out like when I shop with Apple for example. It just seems like another department store they haven't done anything that really wows me. But yes, I've shopped in there before.

Jon mentioned that one of the things that Nordstrom's does when you buy is, they wrap up your package in the bag and they walk around the counter and they hand you the package, what they're doing, and everybody's caught this. What they're doing is they're entering your space and creating a momentary connection and he thinks in this over connected, over communicated world a simple human connection can work magic and it's a simple gesture but it creates a more human experience as opposed to go to Macy's or someplace else May company but they basically literally fill the bag over the counter at you and that's a completely different experience than shopping at Nordstrom and it's the little things that add up to the ultimate experience. Jon thinks that companies that could instill more humanity in the interactions will stand out and he thinks that there's a lot of companies that do stand out in that experience, certainly Apple Store is one of them but even on a digital basis he thinks that there are companies that have created an experience that really wows him and he thinks Netflix is an example of that. They kind of revolutionized the way we get DVDs and it started with mailing them to you in the way that they did but he thinks their software creates an experience, it just makes it easy to find shows you like and to watch them easily and to catch up where you left off almost to the point where he thinks it's too easy to binge watch shows.

Yanique agreed, they do make it easy and I love the fact that you say we should keep the human side of things because we actually did an interview last week with another guest for the podcast and that's one of the questions I had actually asked her which you tapped into before I even got an opportunity to ask is, with things being so technologized do you still believe that the human experience is still necessary and I mean from my perspective for example, let's take for example the IVR system when you call a company, press one for this and two for that and three for this. And I think at the end of the day when somebody calls whether they're making a request or they're making a complaint they really want to speak to a live human being when the phone rings one time without pressing three, four, five, six, seven and then being disconnected and have to do it all over again.

 

  • Jon agreed and stated, how about when they ask you to enter in your account number and you get to somebody and they ask you for your account number. It's little things like that. There's a lady named Maya Angelo who said, “People will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”and he really believes that, another friend of his Shep Hyken. He said, “The greatest technology in the world hasn't replaced the ultimate relationship building tool between a customer and a business, the human touch.”And so, he thinks that customer experience is the differentiator, it is the thing that will set you apart from your competitors and he thinks that the more businesses look at the entire journey that customers have with their business and to find that the more they'll grow, and the experience doesn't just happen when they're buying. He’ll tell you a journey out of him buying a TV set recently. So, he had a TV set that died, it was a Sony TV and it was the second Sony product that died, he had a receiver that died six months before. And so that was the trigger that started his journey and so he went and did a selection set of what he might consider and he didn't do that like going to the websites of the TV companies or even the stores, he started to look online and he read reviews of people that are like him or people that are trusted reviewers or advisers, people that review these things, third party people. He built a selection set and only then to actually go into a store because a TV set needs to be seen and then while looking at the TVs, he saw that Sony actually had the best picture, the best features, the best price and he ended up buying it even though he set out not to do that but after that buying, there was a post purchase experience where he kept looking at reviews because he want to make sure he had the made the right decision and he kept looking and he was using the TV and making sure it was the right thing. Jon then asked, “Have you ever done that after you bought something you continue to read reviews?” So that's the post purchase experience and it wasn't until you get to the point where you have decided that this is something that you really like that you essentially become an advocate and a whole lot of this that he’s talking about is documented in something called, “The McKinsey Customer Journey” and it's a PDF that you can put in this show notes that you can share with your audience. But there is a beautiful diagram that talks about the trigger, the initial consideration set, the active evaluation, the moment of purchase, the post purchase experience and then the loyalty loop. So now he’s in the loyalty loop where he now only tell other people how much he dig the Sony team but he bought two more and he has them in his house and that's what you want to do with your customers is to become a trusted advisor to that entire journey not just in the purchase experience, not just in the post purchase experience but to be involved in the loyalty loop by becoming a trusted advisor to inspire and educate them about how they might become better, smarter and faster because he thinks people don't buy great products, they buy better versions of themselves and that's what you want to be able to do is to communicate your brand story about how you put your customer at the center of that hero story and you can then not only get them to come back and buy from you but to drag their friends with them in the loyalty loop.

 

  • Jon shared that when he was 41 years old, a year after he sold GoldMine and he has been so blessed and successful in selling this large business and his second baby was born the day he sold the business and his life was blessed and he found that he had a head tumor and it was pretty serious, he had to do some very severe treatments and lost a lot of weight. He thinks you don't really value how great it is to be healthy until you're notand it caused him in the process of getting healed to really go on a spiritual journey and in the process of that he really developed a sense of gratitude and empathy towards others that he hadn't had as deeply in the past. And also, a sense of purpose of his life and that purpose is as he shared before that we're on this planet to grow our souls by helping other people theirs, that's it. And so, he does his best on a daily basis to be as present as he can with the people and places around him, to be mindful as much as he can and to try to give something of himself to anyone he’s interacting with even if it's just a smile because the person in front of you deserves your attention even if you're in the grocery line put your phone down and connect with that person for a moment, they're serving you and you need to connect with them. So, whenever he’s interacting with people especially customer service people even salespeople, he tries to connect with them and to just have a moment because we’re all human beings and we're all just doing our best, and so the thing that motivates him every day is that it's another day that he might connect with another human being, to learn enough about them that he might blow a little wind in their sales and when two humans connect there’s an energy that connects and he loves that energy, he loves that connection and he must share another story with you. So, the doctor that saved his life, his ear nose, and throat doctor, the one that found his tumor. He happens to be the ENT to the biggest stars, so he was Whitney's doctor Frank Sinatra’s doctor, Bono's and he also tweets ordinary people like him. He was walking out of his cubicle, the doctors shoving all those little rooms and he bump into this little man and he looked down and said, “Dang, you're Mick Jagger.”He didn't say that to Mick Jagger, but he thought it. And at the same time, he thought, “Gosh, your short and old.” And at the same time, he thought to himself, “Why does this guy get on an airplane 50 times, 100 times a year and go and do a show. He certainly doesn't need the money?.”He does it because he loves to dance with these other human beings, that he loves to give in what he gets is an energy. He gets empowered, he feeds on this. And so, Jon feeds on growing other human beings through the connections with them and he thinks that's all we leave this planet with is the moment we've been truly present with others and places around us and the ripples in the pond that we create through some type of connection and value-adding, so that's what gets him every day.

Yanique stated, I mean it's just like music to my ears. I mean, it's so good to talk to someone who they're deeply connected with connecting with another human being because the reality is many of us go through our days in our businesses, in our personal lives and we are not present like fully present. I mean physically, our body is there but is our mind there, are we fully concentrating on the individual that is standing in front of us whether it's our child or significant other. And I'm guilty of it sometimes, I'm not going to lie, I'm going to stay here and tell you the truth. So, it's good to hear that you're really dedicated to being present, that's a reminder that you tell yourself every day because that's how you get up and push forward.

Jon agreed and told Yanique that it's not her fault, our minds are like little puppies and you know how if you try to teach a puppy to sit and what does a puppy do, you tell to sit on the paper, stay and it goes and runs away, it would skip away and you have to like your mind and your thoughts because you're always thinking about the past or worried about the future instead of being present and that's your little puppy, your mind and it throw these thoughts at you. And so, you can get angry with yourself and say, “Well gosh, why wasn't I present with Yanique, I could have had a better experience. I was thinking about my mortgage or my wife,”whatever it is, you just with kindness say okay, come on back, just come on back and eventually if you learn to put a seat in the room in your mind to observe the thoughts that you have, focus on your breathing and learn to enable those thoughts to go by without getting caught on them because typically thoughts come and you get caught and you get strung away on this thought about the past or the present, if you could just learn how to do that on a daily basis and there is process to do that to meditation, you can learn to be more present and he actually recommend an app called Headspace that does that so you can load that on your phone and it’s free for the first lessons, practice with that, it has this thing where you do 3 minutes a day and he recently got back from a retreat in a place called Big Sur.If you ever come to California, you have to check out Big Sur it’s the coast of northern California and there's a retreat there called Esalen and it's where the native Americans, the Indians used to gathered for this hot spring and it's been there for 10,000 years and you go and he went to this mindfulness meditation retreat for 3 days and it gave him enough tools to get started with this, it's always been something he has been interested in, but he hasn’t made it a daily practice of meditation and mindfulness. So, he’s starting the new year with this to try to make that a daily practice and so he wanted to share that with you and maybe you might find that interesting and practice it yourself.

Yanique then stated, I have heard of the concept of mindfulness, there are people here in Jamaica that I communicate with who actually practice it, but I've never actually engaged in it myself but I'm definitely going to check out Big Sur. I've been to LA once, I used to be a Flight Attendant with Air Jamaica, which was our national airline before I started my company. And I spent a Christmas and New Years in LA and unfortunately because we were laying over for such a short period of time, I didn't really get to enjoy the city that much, but I would definitely return for sure.

Jon shared that if you are interested in exploring mindfulness, that app Headspace is a really easy way to try it out and he highly recommend that you load that on your phone in and give it a whirl.

 

  • When asked about the one online tool that he uses every day, Jon stated that he thinks we all live where we're communicating with other people and that's your inbox but for him, he loves to inspire and educate other people on a daily basis because he thinks that's our purpose in life is to add value to other people's journey. So, he curate content on a daily basis that is in and around the areas of his passion, plan and purpose in life, not just his business stuff, but his personal as well because he thinks that people connect to your heart and soul as much as they connect to your business passions. And then he shares that content on a daily basis. Think of it as dropping fishing lures into the social river around your business to begin connections and conversations that ideally results in relationships. And so, the tool that he uses to queue up content is a tool called Buffer Buffer app enables him to take whatever he’s reading and to share it across his personal and professional identities and he thinks that the biggest struggle that most business people have, whether they're individuals or a business itself, is to be seen because if you aren't seen, then people won’t think of you. And there was an actress who happened to be an entrepreneur, her name was Mae West. She said, “Out of sight is out of mind and out of mine is out of money and honey.” So, you need to be seen to be considered and how many times have you walked by a business and looked in the door and somebody sitting there behind the counter and God forbid on their phone and there's nobody in the shop, you've ever seen that? It breaks his heart because he knows how much it costs to open a store and to pay the rent. What about people? He thinks that your network is your net worth, you branding your network will help you achieve your dreams, yet most people don't really manage the brand in the network effectively.And what he’s talking about is sharing content on a daily basis will help you to build your brand and your network personally or professionally or for your company and so I use buffer to do that but the most important advice he has in regards to content is engagement because imagine if you're dropping fishing lures, which is content, to connections, conversations in the river and somebody bites on it if you don't pull the hook, if you don't wheel it in, then it's just pointless because you're not fully finishing the process and so you need to respond to people responding to you and start conversations and the conversations shouldn't be about your products and services, it should be about how you might add value to that person and if you enter into every connection and conversation with the attempt to serve that other human being, then you can't but help succeed in life because another great that he loves, Zig Ziglar said, “The more people you help achieve their dreams, the more you will achieve your dreams.”He tries to give his knowledge away on a daily basis, so people see him as a trusted advisor, so when they need his products or services, they pick up the phone and call him and drag their friends with them.

 

  • Jon shared that there's one book he read early on which was a book called Siddhartha: A Novel and it's the book of Buddha's journey. It had an impact on him in regard to seeking your own truth. Another one was a book by Thoreau Walden, and it taught him to march to his own drummer and he thinks that if he hadn't marched to his own drummer as a young man that he probably wouldn't have retired at 40 years old. But then beyond that, there's a book called Think and Grow Rich: or Men and Women who Resent Poverty by Napoleon Hill that taught him to figure out what his passion, plan and purpose in life, which is what is your passion? Are you building a plan to achieve it? Are you making it your purpose on a daily basis? And that's what enabled him to build Goldmine. Another book is Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries because ultimately a perception is reality and you need to be able to build a brand and create the perceptions in people's heads, so people see you and your company and your business and then How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, because ultimately relationships are key to life.

 

  • Jon shared with us his journey on mindfulness and meditation, it really helps him to focus. The other thing is his relationship with Microsoft, which is really incredible and if you think about it, Microsoft is a huge company with billions of customers and hundreds of thousands of resellers and to have evolved their platform as the simple CRM for office where Microsoft signed a resell agreement and is selling Nimble globally through their distributors and resellers to the customers as a bundle with office, and how they become strategic to not only help sell office and make it sticky, but also as a gateway to Azureand dynamics was quite a feat that took their team years to build the relationships. And interestingly enough, it parallels the journey of Goldmine, so Goldmine started, they were able to start that without any venture capital or any bank loans because they figured out who is the trusted advisor for their customer and back in the day it was the Novell reseller. Now you may not remember Novell, Novell was the network operating system that businesses use to tie together their PCs and hard drives and printers and to share a network business applications. There was no Microsoft network operating system or even windows back in the day. So, businesses used Novell and we were a network application to ride on top of that when they got the Novell resellers to use Goldmine and then start reselling it, but then Microsoft came out with anti-servers, sequel server, an exchange server and they hate Novell and we basically partnered with Microsoft by requiring a GoldMine license, a license of anti-server, sequel server, exchange server, and thereby becoming strategic to Microsoft as well as solving our customers' needs of a more scalable business solution and that's how they got to USD $100,000,000.00 in. Interestingly enough, history is repeating itself because they started with Gmail, Gsuite which was the Novella, but if you have PCs and you want to tie them together in the cloud. You started with Gmail and Gsuite, office wasn't there, office 365, but Microsoft came out with office 365 and when they saw the writing on the wall, they built integrations with that and have basically replicated becoming strategic with Microsoft's Office 365 with Nimble the way that Goldmine became strategic with anti-server and sequel server and he thinks that if you understand history, you could understand the present and more easily predict the future. And he thinks it's because of his experience in the past that he was able to see the writing on the wall and to be able to leverage Microsoft in this new era.

Yanique stated, we just crossed over ourselves. We hosted with GoDaddy and they now sell their products with office 365 integration and it was actually a very easy migration and I actually prefer the interface, I was a bit hesitant when they said, office 365 because I'm a Mac user but it works brilliantly with my iPhone and it syncs across all devices. And if I send an email from my phone, I'll see the same sent message from my MacBook Pro or the same sent message from my iPad. So, I don't have any issues with it, I'm actually quite pleased, it's operating better than the platform that GoDaddy had before this integration with Office 365.

Jon stated that before GoDaddy sold IMAP email and before IMAP was pop, these are protocols and most of your listeners today have as their email server, pop or imap, or Gmail or Gsuite or iCloud and maybe a combination of all those things, but ultimately you need a cloud based solution that unifies emailed contacting calendar into a thing that can synchronize across phones, iPads and computers and desktops and both Gsuite and office do that. But he thinks Microsoft has the edge because we all grew up with MS Excel and MS Word and we used to that and so it's easy to sort of pick office because it comes with those things and works well with those things. But there's even better reasons for the office in the future, if we think about traditional businesses, they have servers in closets and those servers, have to be updated with the software and firewalls to protect them and he thinks that there isn't a business today that isn't, hasn't been hacked or won't be hacked if they continue to try to manage all their own IT and that most businesses are going to the cloud. It started with moving their exchange and outlook to the cloud with office, but soon all the other servers well in Azure is a great place for your business systems in the future and that's why they're just so excited to partner with them and in fact GoDaddy is a Nimble customer, they use it for their influencer, marketing, outreach and engagement and they're actually talking to them about bundling Nimble with their office solution sales, when they sell you a domain, they sell you office, the next thing they'll sell you on top of that will be Nimble.

Yanique shared, I love GoDaddy, their customer service is amazing, totally amazing and one of the things I love about them from day one, when I started this company was when you call them, you can actually get a live person. I remember a couple of years ago I had redone my website and the web developer, even though I recommended that he use GoDaddy, you chose to use a different company, I think it was Blue Host or something, but I had an issue with the website and when I tried to call Blue Host, apparently they don't have a telephone number, so you have to go into a live chat and one of the most frustrating things that you could ever do to me is send me to a chat room for me to explain to you in words what I could have done if I was talking to you in a voice call. I find it way more stressful to sit down and type out my issue than if I could just explain it to you verbally and I think I spoke with them maybe twice and I just closed the account and I moved everything over to GoDaddy. I don't know why he didn't take my recommendation in the first place, but it was extremely frustrating, that's another issue I have with Magic Jack to this day. I don't understand if they're a telecommunication company and they provide services for people to call people all over the world, why don't they have an actual phone number when you're having an issue with your Magic Jack?

Jon stated that that brings us full circle to customer journey and experience that we need the human touch because it's just so much more effective and personal.

 

  • Jon shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter – @Jon_Ferrara

Website –www.nimble.com

Code: Jon40 for 40% to sign up for Nimble

 

  • Jon shared a quote, “This too shall pass.”He really believes that life is like a Beethoven symphony, that there are high and there's low notes and that you can't really value the high notes without the low notes and that all of those notes will pass, so don't get too connected to the highs in your life because they won't last forever and don't be so worried about the lows in your life because they won’t last forever too. And he thinks you could learn more from struggles than you can from successes. And so, life is like a Beethoven symphony, don't let whatever is happening to you bother you too much. This too shall pass, you could learn so much from those moments in your life and he thinks that the biggest cause of pain or suffering is grasping onto highs or resisting or averting low's, and if you just accepted them both as part of your journey, that you will be more balanced and happier in your life.

 

Links

 

 

Feb 5, 2019

Highlights

 

In this episode Yanique Grant would like to take a little bit of time and just share with you some key important nuggets that she has gained over the years in the category of commitments. So, we're at the beginning of a new year we're still in the first quarter and in customer experience and customer service when we make promises, or we make commitments to our internal customers or external customers, a lot of time it's because of broken promises, commitments that have not been fulfilled why people tend to have negative feelings towards each other and this may cause them anger, frustration, upset, it may cause a myriad of negative emotions.

 

So firstly, a commitment or promise is not easy in Jamaican terms, when I do customer service training and people will say, “A promises is a comfort to a fool.”No, that's not any definition of what a promise according to any formalized dictionary globally. A promise or a commitment is your verbal word or written word where you say that you are going to actually do something or carry out a particular task. So, for example, you could tell a customer, “I'm going to call you back.”even though you didn't say, “I promise I'll call you back,” their expectation is you will call them back or you tell a co-worker, “Sure, no problem, I'll take care of it,”it could be to complete a bill for a customer, it could be to give a message regarding a customer's order or delivery, that message is going to impact the customer's delivery or order being on time and you didn't deliver that message. Again, it's your word that you've put into it and so people believe that you're going to complete it. Now, if you don't follow through on a promise there are a lot of negative things that come out of it, people don't  trust you, you're deemed as unreliable, you're not dependable and because of that, then less of your co-workers will have faith in the fact that when you say something you're actually going to do it. Now some people in organizations tell you that they are going to do something just because they want to get rid of you or because they really didn't hear what you said, they were not paying attention to when you were asking the question or requesting a particular service or product and so they went ahead and made confirmation with you verbally or in writing that yes they will go ahead and have this done but they didn't really think about whether or not that commitment was realistic. So, one of the things I would like to encourage people in organizations who work as well as business owners, managers, supervisors, everyone from top to bottom, when you make a promise, or a commitment ensure that your promise or your commitment is realistic because if it's not realistic then you are setting yourself up for failure. Let us say with your current responsibilities and your current workload, the person has asked you to do something and it is just humanly impossible for you to complete it, if you have all those other competing activities to do. However, the person doesn't know you have those other competing activities so the responsibility would be on you to ensure that whatever information you are giving to them is realistic. Sometimes it's better we say no and sometimes it's hard to say no but at least when you say no, 1) you're being honest, 2) you’re giving the person that you are making a commitment to or you're telling that you're not able to commit to that you are not able to do it so it willgive them an opportunity to seek someone else who actually can do it because let's say you commit to them that you're going to have the report delivered to them by Monday for example, and they commit to someone else for a meeting they're having on Wednesday that, “Well, I'll have the report by Monday so I'd be able to dial down on those figures by Tuesday and by Wednesday in our meeting I'll have feedback for you.”However, you don't have the report ready for them on Monday, you got caught up over the weekend and you weren't able to complete it and you won't be able to complete it until Thursday but the person who you made a commitment to, their meeting is Wednesday and so your commitment that you made to that individual impacts other people and other decisions and other meetings and other things that have to be happening. So, we have to think carefully about the commitments that we're making, we have to be realistic in managing the expectations of those with whom we make these commitments.

 

I know a promise seems like a simple thing but when you look at organizations and hear about customer service challenges internally and externally and you do the investigations to find out why it is that this person feels this way or why it is that that person is so anger and is so frustrated, when you really get to the root of it many times it boils down to communication and many times it boils down to lack of communication because of a broken promise, a commitment that was not fulfilled, a promise that you made that you were not able to keep…..so it's not hard. Commitments are not hard to be fulfilled but when we're making them, we have to be realistic. In my customer service trainings, when I engage with participants from different industries - health, telecommunications, banking and finance, government, really doesn't matter what industry you’re in, one of the key things that I encourage participants to do is if they must break a promise because the reality is we're all human and we make mistakes and sometimes because we're so overwhelmed with personal obligations and we have professional responsibilities and lots of things that are going on in our life all at once, we may genuinely forget that we made a commitment or a promise to someone else. I know for sure that I fall short where that is concerned many times both in my personal life and my professional life. However, the key to ensuring that when we do break the promise, is to ensure that we communicate with the person that we've broken the promise with or we're going to break the promise with whether it's that we won't be able to do it at all or we're delaying the expectation of the delivery of that promise. And so, two rules that I always encourage participants to employ if we must break a promise include the first rule is an acronym and the acronym is K.I.S.Swhich basically stands for, Keep It Short and Simpleand all I mean by that is, if we must break a promise try not to get into too much detail as to why the promise was broken especially if the details that you are revealing to the customer and this is if it's an external customer, because if it's an internal customer then clearly the quality of theinformation that you release to them is confidential because they work within the organization and so you can share the mishaps with them. However, if it's an external customer you want to keep it short and simple, don't give the customer too much information because if the information that you are giving to them is not relevant to the solution, it can actually be detrimental to your organization. Simple thing, an example, let us say a delivery was to be made and the customer came to pick up their delivery, they were told that the item would be available for pickup on Friday, however, unfortunately the truck that was coming to make the delivery was stopped by the police on the road and the police seized the vehicle because the carrier license on the vehicle had expired and you go now to tell the customer that I'm so sorry but the item isn't here because of all of that, now that makes a company look very inefficient and it makes the team in the organization also look very incompetent. So, think carefully, if the reasons for the problem or the promise not being fulfilled is relevant and if it's not relevant, it doesn't need to be mentioned. A simple statement like, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, unfortunately I'm so sorry.” And of course you say it with a level of engagement that shows that you are apologetic for the fact that there is a delay and you're calling ahead to let them know so that they can probably put other things into play to prepare that they're not going to receive this item or if they were travelling from far they wouldn't need to come to pick up the item because that item would not be there for them to pick up. To take it a step further, if it is that clearly in the example the fault it would be on that of the organization not having their internal business in order, in a case like that probably some compensation could be, “Instead of you coming to pick it up from us, we are going to deliver it to you because we messed up, we made a mistake, the circumstances that are beyond our control are things that we could have prevented from occurring but because of the great inconvenience it's causing you and because we're breaking our promise to you, we're going have it delivered to you.” and you give them a new expectation with a new date and a new time for the time that they can expect the delivery. So, the first rule is K.I.S.S, Keep It Short and Simple if you must break a promise.

 

The second rule is you want to ensure that when you are breaking the promise you are not pointing fingers and casting blame on other members of your team or other departments in your organization. We all work for the same company, if that's X company or Y company or Z company, whichever company you work for, casting blame or pointing fingers and saying, “That's how they are in the accounts department, they're always late, they have no urgency.”or “That's how they are in the sales department, they drag their feet, they take forever.”Whatever the reason is that you believe is the core of the reason, even if you know for sure that your team member messed up, it's not your responsibility to cast blame and it's not right and it doesn't help the solution because the customer when they’re arguing with the company and they're getting upset with the company, many times when they're doing that, they're not casting blame on that one individual or that one department, they're casting blame on the entire organization regardless if that department or that person was even a part of the issue or the problem.

 

So, a promise is a very important practice, it's a very important part of an organization, everybody has to make commitments and promises to each other in an organization and to your customers. So just remind yourself as you embark on 2019 as you are working to exceed your customer's expectations and you're working to map out your customer journey and you're working to satisfy and exceed the expectations and go above and beyond….that a lot of times the reasons why we're not able to achieve these high goals that we've set for ourselves is because of some of these simple little activities that happen day to day in the interactions between employees and customers is that there is dissatisfaction, why it is that there is discomfort, why it is that there is unrest, why it is that our customers and sometimes our employees do not feel completely at ease in an organization where the culture and everyone is pulling their weight in an organization where people are doing the best to ensure that the quality of the experience that they have with each other as well as with the customers are ones that are of quality, are ones that are of care, are ones that really go above and beyond to make sure that your client or your customer leaves feeling good. They feel like you're working with people who care about them, they feel that they're working with people who are ensuring that whatever they said they're going to do they actually do it and if they can't do it they have the courtesy and the decency to pick up the phone or grab their computer or their phone and communicate with them to let them know that unfortunately we're not able to deliver, we're not able to call, we're not able to do whatever it is that's going to be broken so that you can know how to put things in place on your end.

 

So, I encourage you as listeners of this podcast to really think about the promises and the commitments that you're making for 2019 and ensure that whatever you put out there that you verbally speak or that you write as said before, you don't have to say I promise for the person to view it as a promise and even if you say, “I'm going to try,” psychologically most people interpret that as it's going to be done. So, think realistically about the promises that you make:

 

Are they realistic?

Can they be done?

 

Ensure that you follow through and you communicate, communicate, communicate,because people are not mind readers, they don't know the challenges that you have on your end and if you don't tell them that something has changed in that process, they're not going to know. So really think about what I have shared with you and I hope that you will embrace this whole idea of making realistic promises and I hope that as you go through 2019 in your organization that the quality of your experience is improved because your promises are realistic, your promises have people who communicate, communicate, communicate and your promises are ones where you're not blaming your team members and if it's issues that show the organization up in a negative way, you're ensuring that you manage that information by keeping it short and simple and just releasing the information that is relevant to ensuring that you get to the solution which is to satisfy that customers need. So, I hope that this information will help you in 2019. Again, if you'd like to follow us on Twitter, feel free it's navigating CXand please feel free to join our Facebook group, Navigating the Customer Experience Podcast.

 

 

 

 

Jan 29, 2019

Emily Rasowsky Show Notes

 

Emily Rasowsky is Customer Experience Lead for Spark Fund and Spark Fund is an organization that helps companies to upgrade energy technology. So, because that's not really an area of expertise for Yanique, she will allow Emily to explain in the very simplest of terms as we welcome her, what it is that her company really does do and how does this really impact a customer's experience regardless of your business type or industry.

 

Emily shared that Spark Fund and what that actually means, in layman's terms, our job is to make it as easy as humanly possible for energy managers and financial leaders to update their energy technology. So, things like lights, a jack, chillers, boilers, refrigeration, anything that goes into your space and consumes energy. We work with a lot of large organizations that don't have the same sorts of incentives or access to resources to upgrade their technology to be energy efficient. And it's crazy because buildings emit more OCO2 than cars. So, this is a huge problem. And our job, we have an integrated a team of engineers, project managers, and financiers, people who provide everything you would need to do a project. So, we take it off your hands. In essence it really is meant to be a company that makes the experience of owning and operating energy technology no longer an issue because we do this whole process on a subscription. So, we own the technology, people get out of the business of ownership which causes so much heartache and pain and bad experiences. So, we own it and they no longer have to worry about taking care of it.

 

 

Questions

  • Are you the only type of company that offers this service?
  • Could you share with us a little bit of some of the things that your customers have shared in terms of benefits that they've gotten in utilizing the way how your program is set up and structured, both from a financial point of view as well as an emotional point of view, do they feel less stressed, has it improved their productivity?
  • In terms of customer experience innovations and new technologies, is there anything on the brink that Spark Fund is looking to tap into for 2019 or even in the next two to three years that you think will help to revolutionize what you're doing even more?
  • As a technology company and you are in charge of customer experience do you find that you may hire people who are competent leaders in the technical areas that they've been hired to perform in but for some reason they lack that human side. They're so focused on the technicality of a job, they lack the interpersonal side, and do you find that hinders from that whole framework that you're trying to achieve?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • What's the one online resource tool, website or app that you couldn't absolutely live without in your personal life or your business?
  • Could you share with us what are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to this quote to kind of help you to push through on those days that are challenging or seems a bit overbearing?

 

 

Highlights

 

  • When asked if they are the only type of company that offers this service, Emily stated that right now in the market they're the only one that's integrated in all of the unique ways that they are. So, there are certain types of offerings out there that provide, let's say financing so that you don't have to worry about finding money for it. There are companies out there that provide general contracting so someone to manage the installation of a new piece of technology. But they are the first that does all of these things together. And they are definitely the first that does it on a subscription contract. So, there's also things out there that are similar they look kind of similar, but nothing is quite the setup in the same financial structure that we are.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that because when you do it on a subscription basis it makes it more affordable for the organizations because they pay on a month to month basis.

 

Emily agreed. So, the thing that we're really taking away a lot of financial pain with is when you have a piece of aging technology you never quite know. Even think about even yourself in your home when HVAC unit starts to go you don't know how much that's going to cost or what's going to be wrong with it. We take care of all of that - complete lack of clarity. For example, we have a customer, they're a school and they had to shut down an entire part of their school district, an entire part of their school facility because the heating wasn't working. So, we obviously work with them, they don't have that problem, but you think about all the pain that comes down later down the line. So yes, you're reducing your maintenance costs, you're getting energy savings but you're also reducing these costs that you can't even forecast for. And some companies that are really sophisticated have a budget for that and some companies don't have any budget and that hits them somewhat by surprise. So yes, in a lot of ways we are we're keeping it much more predictable and lower cost which is behavior science tells us when we know what to expect, it feels less painful.

 

  • Emily stated absolutely. So, the way that we work with our customers is that essentially, they can write this off of their to do list maintaining their equipment, managing their equipment. They don't have to worry about that anymore. So, what we really boil this down to and what we've experienced in the market is our customers are seeing and financially they're seeing three core benefits that are aggregated into these themes. One is they're saving money, in most cases we are not pricing in when we share our proposals with them the energy savings they're going to receive because it's very hard for us to predict those. And in the air of transparency we don't want to force them to be tied to those savings which is how a lot of people do that in the market. So, it's based off a function, they don't have to worry about is it going to work or not. We guarantee its function, so it always gets fixed and it always has something, you have a support team behind you. So, you're saving money which is obviously a huge benefit and you're getting energy savings. But emotionally you're saving time because now you don't have to worry. For example, we had one customer who showed us before working with us these are a lot of kind of pre-customers conversations. He said, “How do you know who to call when you're HVAC unit or your backup generation or your lights they break? Who do you call?”He literally pulled up his phone and goes to his contacts and types in HVAC, eight people who could potentially solve his problem. So, right there you have an overload of information, an overload of choice when all the customer wants, truly, think about getting any renovations on your home, you just want it fixed and you want it fixed well, in a timely manner and in a way where you get clear communication on what's happening in your space. So, that is one just small example of something that we do. We are a single point of contact that aggregates all of those key players, so you don’t have to figure out who you call in that situation, we are your point of contact and then we take care of all of that back and forth in detail. So, they're saving time and they're also reducing the risk because when something breaks that's often on the risk of the company, they're actually tracking that financially which we take all of that risk off of their balance sheets literally. So, with schools for example that have certain debt limits right you can't upgrade a building if you have a debt limit or debt ceiling and how much you can borrow being an institution, we can reduce that risk literally off their balance sheet and we make it because it's in a subscription you pay like you would for Netflix or Uber or any of those. It's coming out of your operational budget not your capital budget, so it provides a lot of little flexibility and ease for customers that they're not getting in other financial models.

 

Yanique stated that she thinks it's a wonderful idea. And she like the fact that as Emily said it's aggregated all under one roof and as a customer, I don't need to contact that person and this person because you are the point of contact and then you take care of everything from there and when you really think about it that's what people want. They're willing to pay for convenience and ease of mind and just to know that a responsible organization has this covered, and they can take that as a responsibility off of their plate.

 

  • Emily stated that what's interesting she thinks about the ways CX (customer experience) works at Spark Fund is that they are a relatively small startup. They have about 50 people who work for them and when she thinks about what's happening in the market and the types of technologies people are innovating within. She has two ways that she basically will answer this. One is of course they are investing in technology and in particular in the energy side, monitoring technology because for Sparkfund, they can understand absolutely everything that's happening in someone's building without them ever having to pick up the phone. Then they can deploy a maintenance team. They never have to tell them that there's an issue, they tell the customer, “Hey, we noticed that your machine might need a little tune up. We're going to send someone out, tell us which day in time works most effectively for you.” That is a tremendous pain point that we can alleviate. And something that is tremendously challenging if you are a segmented organization. So, you have monitoring with one company, and you have maintenance with another, you still need that human to call them from the maintenance to the vendor to connect to those two. So, we are to get off of our customers plate with things like monitoring technology and we'll only get more and more sophisticated as that technology gets more and more sophisticated. So yes, absolutely we are investing in full structural changes and by the way, that includes creating an entire new platform, a digital platform that our company will maintain and manage that doesn't give you a crazy chart. So, if you look at with monitoring companies and you're an energy manager you will get a log in that shows you all sorts of numbers and charts and so much information that some people enjoy but others it's a lot to take in and when you’re really are just going from one point to another and you're managing let's say 900 locations which is not a typical, you just want to make sure everything is running okay, nothing is a big flag you got to take care of that morning. So, we're literally on top of these technologies building a very seamless, very easy to understand customer platform and portal so those are some tech staff things that we're investing in but the other side of that is we are really investing a lot of time in and have invested a tremendous amount of time in making our company have some baseline understanding of what it means to really be a CX forward organization and I think that alone is what is driving our innovation. I can't be in every single product meeting, I can't be in every single monitoring meeting but we have people on the organization who understand this is where we're going as a company and they can innovate with this framework of understanding the baseline of behavioral science and how we use it here so this human side is so important and to be honest, one of the biggest challenges she has heard and seen in other organizations is when you don't have that organizational alignment that really moves things forward.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that everybody has to be aligned, everybody has to be singing the same song.

 

  • Emily stated that she thinks that's definitely natural, you have people who their strengths are in different areas of course. But she does feel that one of the things that we truly invest in at Spark Fund is making sure that people we bring on have this vision for where we're going. And one of the biggest reasons that she can say that with confidence is because their product is not just an online product and in fact, it's even more salient than that is an in-person product because you have to go to someone's space and install a piece of really big equipment that requires a huge human element. And so, anyone who is going to come and work for Spark Fund must understand just kind of as a prerequisite that you have to be very aware of what that in-person element is going to do for an online tool. Now, she thinks the benefit of having a very CX forward company is that their hiring structure is one that values obviously people who have specific expertise in particular types of code or particular types of technology build but mirrors that with a product team that understands the customer experience tremendously well and is invested in making sure that that moves forward and a user experience team. So, UI and design team that actually understands how to make these things come to life and they have repeatedly gotten very positive feedback on the experience that we've built because it has a heavy design and UI element. They never build anything that isn't collaborative between both tech and design and experience which she thinks is the benefit of having a small company and you see this in big organizations too. But they have a team that's distinct and aligned and where it needs to go and they wouldn't push something forward if it didn't have that checkbox of thought, Hey, we did think through the experience and how things are actually going to be taken in by the customer.”

 

Yanique added, you've taken it on from a recruitment aspect which is very important. One of the things that she has been hearing buzzing around in the last six months or so is that technology is great, and it has advantages and disadvantages and as a business owner herself, she finds that technology does help to ease the process, increases efficiency, frees up your time, it just makes you a little bit more productive in your day because there are so many hours and the reality is you can't be everywhere at every moment but one of the things that she would love push more for 2019 or she'd like to see organizations push more. Technology is important but do you believe that at some point the human element fades or do you think the human element is always going to still be a part of the customer experience because she finds that human beings still want to speak to another human being especially when something goes wrong?

 

Emily agreed with that sentiment and stated that technology is huge but one of the things that is so clear to her is that as a consumer herself and also someone who really truly cares about customer experience journeys is that she thinks we get too caught up in one singular journey and we don't take a step back and look at all the different journeys that a customer is going through in order to engage with your product. An example with Uber, Uber obviously is a tech platform and they have a tremendous amount of money and resources into building that tech platform. But she thinks the people who are going to win, the customer not just that discrete experience which is one element of technology, but the actual customer are the ones who are going to sit back and think, “Okay, what did the customer have to do to get into the Uber? Where is the customer going when they leave Uber? and how are they going to connect all these experiences together?”And the reality is you do need that human element because she thinks inherently, we are people, we are connected beings, we can't just interact with our phones all day, every day but there is a lot that supports that sentiment that we need this human connection. So, there is this reality that fusing those two worlds together will lead to the winners, what she thinks is most interesting and she have experience with Spark Fund as well and kind of how they've navigated that technology heavy lense. But first start with a bigger picture. So, Amazon obviously has invested a tremendous amount of money in an online platform, but she’s based in DC and they just opened a store, a physical store with actual people who check you out at the front desk and answer your question as you're walking through and reading the titles of these books. So even though they have this amazing online platform they're also investing in in-person experiences and she thinks you're going to see that more and more. She thinks it's dangerous to do too much in tech and not also think about where the human side is and the Spark Fund, they are a small company, she mentioned this a few times and she thinks it is important to note that a lot of CX out there is focused on these big organizations that have processes and lots of resources to make widgets and all that. For Spark Fund, they experienced this very intimately with their proposal process. They were scoping out what platform that would help their customers have better and more seamless experience. And as they were doing the exploration process, the information gathering, customer conversations, one of the things they realized was their goal is to create trust with their customer and also a seamless pretty easy experience where they get the questions they have get answered right away. In talking with financial leaders and the folks that are actually decision makers on these projects, one of the things they realized was that they don't need a tech platform, they have a million of these, what they need is a spreadsheet and she doesn’t hire 6 developers to build a really good spreadsheet that they can toggle and understand how to customize based off of the numbers they want to see in front of them so that has created a lot of trust with their customers and helped them ease a lot of pain in the sales cycle. So, you don't have to always just go to high tech too, she thinks there's a low-tech version that is accessible for companies no matter how big you are, there are two ways to look at it.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that it's in the conversations that you have, are you really listening to what they're saying, are you just trying to sell them something that's just really out there or are you trying to actually meet that immediate need that they're indicating that they're having to you and soothing that pain that they're feeling.

 

  • When asked how she stays motivated every day, Emily stated that for her, she is constantly inspired by companies and organizations that she interacts with on a day to day basis who gets the experience right. She is a big fan of this one solid place that's nearby in DC. called Sweet Green, she's giving them a them a shout out of course. And she sees that every time, so these small things in her personal life that she seeks out because she genuinely cares about the experience and the companies that she’s going to pay money to, they inspire her. She has an insurance company that she loves, she loves the experience they create, and they have this app that when she opens up the app it shows a picture of her apartment, something so small that inspires her to keep going and keep thinking about how she can apply those things to Spark Fund. Sometimes it’s a challenging industry to be in because people are unpredictable but there are things that are universal and for her it's those moments of delight when she can speak to a customer and hear how they really alleviated their pain. Recently they created a little Spark Bot, it's a little robot. It's this little guy that follows people around and it's fun for her to think through, “What are the cute little ways that we can delight our customers?”and something so small like that and she gets that inspiration from other companies that she admire but also this idea that we really can make a difference in someone's day. She experiences it when she gets a salad, you walk out feeling better and happier. So, for her it's making sure that she is surrounding herself with the right types of companies that she wants to emulate and really have be a part of the whole fabric of this CX program at Spark Fund so it is really external for her and of course she has got an amazing team who is constantly thinking about how we can change stuff and move forward in a more positive direction. It helps to have a very customer forward, customer motivated company.

 

  • Emily stated that at Spark Fund they are a huge, huge, huge Slack company and so she would say to her if she didn't have Slack connected with her all the time, she would have missed so much but she also have to say it's allowed her to have a lot of flexibility in the way that she work because it is something that she can access any point in time and she really loves it. It allows her to be autonomous, work from home if she needs to, work at the office if she needs to and constantly being in contact everybody so she really just like the platform they've injected quite a bit of delight into it which is quite fun. And the other thing she'll say is she knows she has to address some of the personal side as well is Evernote. She is obsessed with Evernote, it is her lifeline, she has everything in there, from her to do list to her grocery shopping to little voice notes that she left to herself and if she did not have Evernote with her all the time she thinks she would be a mess because she would never know where she’s supposed to be or what am she’s supposed to be doing. So, a notes platform, a place where I can jot down ideas and it's searchable so she can pull up those things that she forgot about, that she thought of last week.

 

Yanique shared that for those of you that are not familiar with Slack, it's a cloud based a proprietary team collaboration tools and services. So, it's where everybody gets to connect in the organization and you're able to track projects and see how things are going throughout the course of the day even if you aren't physically in the office.

 

Emily agreed and stated that they have a really simple user interface. A lot of community groups that she’s a part of also use Slack.

 

Yanique also shared that Evernote is a note platform and it's brilliant. And it's grown so much, they've really developed that platform so much that it has way more features than it had 5, 10 years ago. You can take pictures as you said, you can send yourself a voice note, you can do scanning and send it to yourself.

 

Emily stated that she has had Evernote since maybe 2015 and to be able to go back that far in time, she has old notes from things she'd never thought that she would need to resurface but when you search for something and it comes out to the same, it's been so cool for her to have all that creativeness in one spot.

 

  • Emily shared that the book that really, truly made CX the thing she wanted to go into was hands down The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. This book when she read it revolutionized the way that she thought about her own life but also her background is in marketing and communication, so she came from a digital background and also in-person previously helping companies try to move to Washington, DC. “So how do you make that experience something super seamless?” And as she was reading this book it not only had so many “aha”moments from her personal life and personal experiences but also because they talk about how you set up habits for yourself and how you create a good space and habit in time for your own personal life but also in marketing and they have some amazing examples in there like the Febreze, she’s not sure if you read this book and if this is going to go too into the weeds but they talk about this whole theory of how people are emotionally attached or they use their senses to drive emotions towards certain things which is a good argument for creating multi-sensory experiences for companies that they're not just something online to that point earlier. We've even talked about having a certain scent, like can we have people come with a certain sort of cologne or perfume when they come to install something to have a consistent experience but that they talk about Febreze and this is one of the most interesting stories anecdotes around CX stuck with her for a while that they couldn't quite figure out how to get people to adopt this cleaning product, they tried so many different types of messaging, different images, research groups subjects, all of this. And one of the things that they found after many years of this work was that people weren't necessarily interested or addicted to using a cleaning product but what they were most interested in was that sense of relief and release after they cleaned the space so the smell of Febreze and that Ha” moment you see it in the commercials now and they were like “mmmm…..Ha”, it was the “Ha” moment that people were looking for.

 

Yanique shared that's how she feels when she sprays her Febreze.

 

Emily agreed and stated that they nailed it and it's been a very successful product for them comes in all sorts of scents now. Now you're never going to be able to un-see it when you look at those commercials, they always end with the big inhale and the sigh out through the mouth, so it's a relief.

 

Yanique shared that one of the things that she teaches because she’s a Customer Service Trainer and that's what inspired her to start this podcast was that customers have two needs and regardless of the industry, you're in or the product or service that you sell or your ethnicity or whatever your background is. Those two needs are their intellectual needs and their emotional needs. And through the research that she has done, books that she has read, people she has spoken to locally and internationally, people she has trained, it really boils down to how you make people feel and if you can find a way to have your product or your service connect to people emotionally, Febreze clearly figured that out as you said the relief and that's the emotional component. It will tie them to your brand, and they become so loyal to your brand that now they become your brand advertisers.

 

Emily agreed and stated that she thinks we try to figure out ways to do that most creatively and part of that, our structural changes, how do we create ease in the process of course investing in different technologies like monitoring ease is an entire thing. But to your point earlier there is something really important with the human element and something as small as an installation is happening in your space, can we make sure that our vendors show up with a cup of coffee, “Hey, we brought some coffee for you just to make sure that you’re caffeinated and feeling okay throughout this experience.” And obviously we try to use behavioural science any time we can and finishing really strong is something we care a lot about. So once something is over, and it sounds a little old school, but can we send them like a handwritten note and something that's thoughtful that makes them understand that we've been caring about them throughout this process.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that it's really the little things as you said handwritten note a while ago. There is an activity that I do in my training sessions is called a gratitude letter and it's a framework that we created where the participant has to choose an employee in their organization that they’re writing them a letter to tell them thank you for something that they've done for them. It could be something work related or something personal and it doesn't have to be anything big, I've had participants come and say they did surgery on their co-worker came to their house and washed their clothes for them or their kid was sick and they gave them some very good tips or it was the beginning of the year and your co-worker brought him a copy of a daily bread and the daily bread has really helped them to overcome some of their personal challenges, but the reason why she thinks the letter has been so impactful to the point of tears, the way how the letter is designed it forces you to pull details out of the experience, it forces you to choose adjectives to describe how it is that this person impacted you and to really show gratitude and appreciate because one of the things she has found generally speaking is that people complain a lot in life but they don’t actually take time to show gratitude and nobody writes letters anymore, it’s all about the tech, so I’m texting you to say, “Hey, thanks a mil,” through WhatsApp or whatever messaging app you use or through an email but I’m not actually handwriting you a letter or a note and it makes a very big difference.

 

Emily agreed and shared that we get more communication feedback responses when we take the time to write something out than we do, when we send out a mass email, so you can't discount those things. Emily truly believes in the offline experience just as much as the in-person and the more you can create a connection with the organization, the more you're going to have loyalty and for them, they measure that, they look at how many people are coming back and using them for more or more subscriptions and more different technologies they want to procure so for them it is something that they have honestly invested a lot of their marketing in because it's very high touch. They are working with big companies and it's no longer enough just to have one casual conversation, you need to really permeate an entire organization and make an impression. So, she loves that Yanique do those gratitude letters, she feels like she needs to make that a monthly sort of practice.

 

Yanique stated that the gratitude letter is really an amazing activity and every time she does it with an organization over the years, she’s just amazed at how the participants really take it and run with it. She has had one doctor that said the letter meant more to her than her degree as a doctor and she framed it and she put it up in her office because she said nobody has ever done anything like this for her before. So, you'd just be surprised to know, that didn't take anything, it cost nothing just to sit down and write out how you feel about what the person had done for you that you're showing appreciation for.

 

Emily share that what's interesting about this too is we care so deeply about these sorts of moments that we are finding ways to systematize these things, so it just becomes a no brainer, it's just a part of our process and for her they use tools to track customers and their emails and their names and all of that. But there is a note section that they are actually working on building out that has personal details there like a customer who has a daughter who recently has this particular interest or is on a soccer team, so we know these things that we can really customize small things like maybe over the holidays we send them a little ornament with a soccer ball something that is seemingly small but really does matter.

 

  • Emily shared that there's a lot of different things. She’s very excited because at Spark Fund they are beginning to look very intimately at each of the sales and accounts that they have, their customers intimately. They are really big organizations, they're working with Fortune 100 companies that have a thousand, couple thousand people who work with them and one of her jobs at this point is to look at those companies and try to understand the people pretty intimately. So, they’re doing things like elevate the sort of customer intelligence and customer experience to make it really personalized. They talk a lot about personalization and technology but what she is talking about here is personalization in relationships and those in-person relationships and she really thinks it will transform the way that their customers look and engage with them. So, things like mapping out the customers and where they sit in the organization, taking those notes and doing it on a customer and organization to organization basis. So, that's something that they're working on now and it's a slightly hybrid approach to CX, it's definitely not something that she was able to read anywhere that people were doing. So, she’s really excited to figure that out and the other side that she’s most excited about outside of her work with Spark Fund and she also lead a technology, Women in Technology Organization and they're launching a new set of programming around diversity and inclusion, so how do you get people to feel safe and secure in their environments and they are really tied CX and inclusion. She believes this to her core that if people don't feel like they are safe or that they can speak up or that they are valid, or points are valid in a company, you're not going to get really good ideas and you're certainly not going to be able to connect with different types of customers. You can't relate with somebody on a different level, then you're missing out so there's a huge component of how do you actually internalize safety within a company so that people feel like they are equal and she can connect people who have similar values and similar backgrounds with the customers that they do feel like they have someone who's rooting for them and understands them deeply within an organization. So, she’s really excited about both of those things and a lot of it goes to this idea of getting really connected with not just one person but multiple people so that you can create that surround sound experience that everyone's raving about in a company.

 

Emily shared that it’s called Women in Tech Campaign but one of the things that they're doing is these events that we're bringing to folks that help people physically reduce their barriers to conversation so people can relate to one another who are different from them and that's a huge skill and customer service, customer experience especially if you're getting someone who's calling and they're not happy how do you break down those barriers and open that up regardless of background and so that's really what they're focused on. And of course, tech is a very broad term, it's not just developers, it's people who are using tech like we're doing now.

 

Yanique agreed that stated because we're using the podcast to reach out to many different people and share all this amazing information, so yes, technology really does work, it definitely has given her a platform as customer service is something she’s extremely passionate about to reach and connect with people from all different parts of the world. And even though we’re as small as we are here in Jamaica, some of the expectations that our customers have here are no different from the expectations that a customer would have if they were in Paris or if they were in China or if they were in DC., at the at the end of the day we're all human beings at the core with emotions and we do have certain expectations.

 

Emily agreed and stated that to be fair these big companies Amazon, Google all of them that are international, they are training us all to expect a certain level. And it's the companies that really take that on and you don't have to be big, you don't have to be Amazon to care about it in this way. And like I said we are not an Amazon but we've made some strides and investments in making it from the very beginning work and make the experience valuable for customers and she truly believes that the innovators and the disruptors in the market are the ones that are going to look at these tried and true systems and apply a positive experience because as you said at the very beginning, people are willing to pay for that, they're willing to pay, not a huge premium but a premium for service and it's not a new concept, think about how airlines are priced, people are willing to pay for business class. And the more you can make that accessible, the more you can have those intermediate tiers, you see them get leverage and use so there's truth to all that.

 

  • Emilyshared listeners can find her at –

www.sparkfund .com

LinkedIn – sparkfund

Facebook – @sparkfund

Twitter – @sparkfunder

Instagram – @emilyrasowsky

Twitter - @ERasowsky

LinkedIn – Emily Rasowsky

 

  • Emily shared that one the thing that she constantly repeats to herself or when she’s having a moment, it's not necessarily a quote but it's almost a reminder, it's that, “You've been through challenge and you always will get to the other side, that this too will pass.” You will have a moment and then it'll end and it's a reminder of how she has gotten through things that have been challenging before. So, it's less of a quote and more of a reminder, our grounding. “Okay, you've gone through worse.” And to Yanique’s point about gratitude, she finds in those moments to bring up something that she’s really grateful for even if it's really hard to do because sometimes it's really hard. It can just automatically take you to a different space, it’s like things are kind of going awry but it can't be that bad there are people in this world who don't have the same privileges and luxuries that she has right now and that's enough to be grateful for.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that we do need to remind ourselves of that sometimes because we do get caught up in everything that's going on and we're complaining, and we're just frustrated, and things didn’t go the way that we planned but sometimes God has a bigger plan for us and when one door closes another one surely opens. So, we just have to be open for that.

 

   

Links

 

Oct 23, 2018

John Formica, the “Ex-Disney Guy”, is a highly sought after internationally known speaker and author of the top selling book, “Making the Customer Experience Magical Now! - How to Succeed in Business and Beat Out Your Competition Today”.

 

John has appeared on the NBC Morning Show, ABC, CBS, FOX, Univision, numerous business journals and recently featured in the Virgin Atlantic In-flight Magazine, after completing five successful speaking tours in Australia and being named “Australia’s Best Customer Experience Coach.” John has inspired audiences with over 3,500 keynotes and seminars throughout the United States and all across the globe. 

 

Today, John is the leading authority in the service industry, small business growth and team culture environments. He has successfully coached hundreds of small businesses, cities, tourism communities, healthcare professionals, universities, schools and teams to build customer loyalty for life, attract and keep more customers and create “Whistle While You Work” Team Environments.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • In your book, you talk about the Disney philosophy of people management. Could you share with us a little bit about the philosophy and purpose.
  • Could you share with us what is Disney’s purpose statement?
  • What are some online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services but sometimes they lack the constantly motivated human capital. The people are just not motivated. Now, if were sitting across the table from that person, that business owner, manager, that CEO, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business.
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to this quote to kind of helps you refocus and keep you on the path?

 

Highlights

 

  • John stated that he spent his entire career in the service industries. He managed hotels, resort properties and even assisted living communities and truly believed in that service mentality of really taking care of people and in hospitality field, that's what you do, you take care of the guests and treat them just like there’re family. And he did that for many years with some pretty big companies and then he got a call from the Disney Company to help the Disney organization during their huge expansion in the resort division. And it was a dream come true because there's no better company he thinks as far as hospitality and what they offer. And so, when he got to Disney, they had 4 hotels and a campground but there were 16 brand new hotels on the drawing board and his role was to open up each hotel, hire the staff, develop the staff, training staff, and more importantly, create a Disney Resort experience that would differentiate the Disney hotels from everybody else. And he absolutely loved that because with Disney focuses on we all know is they we provide all of us an incredible experience. So, just imagine in any business regardless of what it is, even if it's a nonprofit organization. Could you imagine if you could go beyond just providing service and create an experience that is memorable that people will talk about, that people become loyal to in any manner, how magical could that be and that's what Disney does, and he gets the honor of traveling around the world, sharing Disney strategy is so that any business could create that same Disney like culture and incredible magical customer experience.

 

Yanique reiterate that he’s doing things that people would want to be doing on a regular basis and having fun while doing it and he’s also creating value in people's lives.

 

John agreed and stated that he loves helping people, he’s a server. He just wants to serve people in whatever we can help them. In his world, it's really helping them as leaders, help them as tools, help them in their business by the result. Changing people's lives and there’s not a noble cause in that.

 

  • John stated that everybody has a product or service and we all do our best to provide a very good product or service, but Walt Disney was an incredible person, an incredible leader and philosophy. You can build and create the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make that dream come true. We know that in in any business, even in the great high-tech world where technology is really taking the place of many people, we are all in the people business and we will remember customers, consumers, we will remember people over a product or service. And so, we have to make sure we focus on the success in training and developing and motivating people. And one of the things that Disney does, Walt Disney created an incredible purpose statement and a purpose statement is not a mission statement because the mission statement is geared towards the company or organization of what they're trying to accomplish, with this purpose statement it's not what, where, how, when or who you’re going to do it to. It's the big purpose statement of why. Why do it, if you think about it, we all should be doing things because we want to not because we have to and if you can create a culture around an organization where people believe in the purpose and they do it because their heart is in it, we all know that they'll do a better job. And so, Disney focuses on that purpose and he shares in his seminars and in his keynotes that we really have to boil down to and make sure people know why, and once we do, now we have a better understanding and vision to where we want to accomplish.

 

  • When asked about Disney’s purpose statement, John stated that it's really simple. It's to make people happy. And you think about it, when he asked that question during his programs, he’ll ask, “What do you think Disney's purpose is?” a lot of people say create memories, entertainment, provide quality, some people even told him to make money. And all those things are great purposes, but they are the result of making people happy because once Disney stops making people happy, you and I are not going to go there, we're not going to buy their products and services and it will not exist. So, the focus is to make people happy. To give an example, it's not a marketing statement, it's not something that you'd find on a commercial or a sign in a park that says we make people happy. It's for the internal customer, in other words, it's the people that work there. So, they truly understand why, and he gave a great example, before you even fill out an application at Disney to work there no matter whether you are applying for a job as a manager, or bus driver, housekeeper, somebody to operator the rides or sell tickets or work in food and beverage, it doesn't make a difference. You watch a video and, in the video, they talk about that if you are lucky enough to work for the organization, the reason why they're going to hire you is to make people happy and you're going to work when other people play. And then they will talk about that you’re going to work weekends and you're going to work holidays and it's not going to be easy what you're doing. And they talk about the structure and some of the high grooming guidelines that they have, the strict guidelines and they’re not trying to scare anybody to apply, what they're trying to make sure you understand that if you work there you have to believe in it because Disney doesn't hire anybody that needs a job. They hire people that believe in what Disney believes in. And you think about it, if we believe in it, our heart’s in it and we’ll do it because we want to not because we have to. Many organizations don't focus so much on that. And like you said, then the employee does what they're told and nothing more. They do it 9:00 am to 5:00 pm but they won't do it 5 minutes after 5:00 pm because they don't understand the “Why” and all the things that we will do, the extra things we'll just do what we do or what was supposed to do but we won’t go extra, we do the extra when our heart’s in it.

 

Yanique stated that in the book it also says our purpose is more important than the job and while you're doing your job, you're always having your radar up, looking for ways to make people happy. For example, taking a picture of a family in front of the castle. Now in a regular organization let's say for example, a supermarket, you pack the grocery bags for the customers or you work at an automotive company that sells cars so you're a sales representative, your purpose statement is clearly going to be different from Disney, but will you also apply that same technique with the purpose being more important than the job.

 

John agreed and gave an example from an auto service repair. Many of them are his clients and many of them are mom and pop establishment so he’s trying to help them to build that culture and if you ask them what their purpose is, their purpose is to fix the car or make sure the car is running properly or make sure all the maintenance is done and make sure they use quality parts and make sure of all those things. And that's not their purpose, that's their job, that's what they do. But in reality, if we boil down to what's the purpose of an auto service repair shop in reality, it's to give him the consumer a peace of mind knowing that the vehicle is safe on the road, it's going to be in working order, it's going to be reliable when he has to get up to go to work in the morning or his kids’ cars are safe, his wife's car is safe. It's that piece of mind he’s getting. So, when you think about it, you have to do the job, you have to mechanically do all those things correctly but when he says to himself, wait a minute, he’s going to make sure that he’s going to double check to make sure those bolts tightened because he know he wants his client to have a peace of mind knowing that they did the right job, they didn't just do it halfway, they didn't just do a quick job, they go in, get this thing turned around, make money and move on to the next one. He wants to give them a peace of mind so when they drive off after getting their car serviced that they feel good, so, every decision is based on did that give someone a peace of mind. And that's the decisions that they make based on that. And it’s the same thing of a grocery store, again, maybe not a piece of mind of course but it's providing a great experience because they can go anywhere in grocery stores but knowing that that person who stacks the groceries in the bag doesn't just throw them in there and says, “Who cares, you need the groceries in a bag, I did it for you,” but takes good care knowing that they provide a great service in the food industry for people, making and sure you continue to think that way. So, everybody believes in it whether you're just a baggar or you're the manager of a grocery store. Everybody's going to do everything they can to make sure that that food is great quality it is not damaged so when they go back they can have that great experience.

 

Yanique stated following up on their point as it relates to the purpose, in the book it also shares that when you’re creating this magical purpose for your company you should get as many people involved in developing this statement, the owners, the managers, the supervisors, the front team, the back-office team. Don't be afraid to also get feedback from your loyal customers, ask each other why it's important, make it clear, short and easy, make it emotional, make it visible and memorable, reward and recognize people when it's carried out and post those accomplishments everywhere and discuss them at meetings and also celebrate successes and have fun. Why do you think it's important to do all these things just to create the magic in the purpose?

 

John stated that your purpose statement has to be an emotional connection between staff, managers, and the people that have carry it out and of course the organization. In many companies like he shared, they kind of lose sight of the why and they focus on all the other things on what, where and what he has seen many businesses small or large is that the CEO and the Presidents and executive team and the board of directors and maybe even the H.R. folks, they’re the ones that create the purpose statement and then all of a sudden it gets introduced to the entire organization and says, “By the way, this is what you're going to do now.” And the staff sitting there going, “What was wrong with the other one that we had?” or “I'm so busy, now there's more things you want me to do.” So, if you get everybody involved, you create the buying, you get everybody's opportunity to express their own thoughts of why they do what they do. It doesn't mean everybody is going to have a perfect answer to all of it but at least people have ownership and then a buy in that I'll do it because I had a part of it, when it's just top down, it's just becomes another thing and the interesting thing about a purpose statement, is that you’d never ever going to achieve it. So, it's not something that, “Okay, we did it. Now what else is next?” Your purpose statement has to be something that you're always going to be striving every single day, day in, week in, month out, year out, 10 to 15 years from now. It's not something you change because you're always striving to achieve it. An example of Disney making people happy. Every single cast member at Disney and there are 75,000 of them that work at the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida alone, every single one of them know that today when they wake up, before they go to work, they got to say to myself, “Man, today I'm going to make someone happy.” And they're always striving to do that, well guess what, “Tomorrow’s another day, I have to make someone happy again.” And there are people that have been at Disney for the first time, got to make them happy. And there are people who have been at Disney 50 times, got to make them happy too and you’ve got to make kids happy, you’ve got to make adults happy, you're going to make seniors happy, you’ve got to make each other happy. So, it never ends, you're always striving to reach that so when you get everybody excited about it, that's what he wants you to post things, he wants you to talk about it, he wants you to reward and recognize people because then becomes a living thing not something that the flavor of the month or we have a new H.R. director or we have a new CEO, that's their idea of what the vision of the company.

 

  • Yanique stated that it really does tie things in together. To ensuring that you're striving to do it every day, it's also important to ensure you have the right people. And so, one of the things that she has found over the years as a customer service trainer is that she thinks a lot of the customer service issues in organizations apart from the fact that it's highly driven by leadership. She thinks that who you recruit and if you're getting the right person to suit that particular role is very important. And one of the things that really struck her in his book was one of your suggestions is to get out of your office to interview and in it he gives mention to the fact that you should walk the person around, see how they interact with fellow employees and customers, do they have eye contact, do they open up doors, are they willing to stick their hand out and say, “Hi, my name is Susie, I'm applying for a job here.” Do they pick up pieces of paper, do they have energy and enthusiasm? So basically, he’s saying on the first job interview this is some of the strategies that you should employ instead of keeping them in an office and asking them the same monotone questions over and over.

 

John stated that what they’re trying to see if they’re a good fit and the best way to see it is to actually watch it in action rather than when they interview people in an office they say things like, are you energetic? Are you a people person? Do you like working with others? Do you have a lot of enthusiasm and energy? And what are the typical responses, “Yes” So by walking around they actually get to observe them and see are they and he always have this great saying that during an interview that's the best the person is ever going be is during an interview, it goes downhill after that. So, if they're not enthusiastic, if they're not helpful, if they're not friendly, if they're not showing you eye contact, if they're not enthusiastic about the possibility of working for you during that interview, you don’t think it's going to happen once you hire them, do you, of course not. What he tries to do is get people out, some organizations are really small, there's not any place to go, maybe a small office cubicle they’re working in but then get him outside, take them to a coffee shopp or something like that. Now, if you want somebody to punch numbers on the computer and sit in the back office and not talk to anybody, maybe that's not exactly necessary but in the customer service world that we live in where it's all about creating those experiences, you cannot hire somebody to change them into your culture. If you didn’t see it during the hiring process, as you should. He shared a story about his hotels, he used to get his front desk staff involved in the interviewing process. Whenever he was hiring a front desk person or a concierge guest services person, he would walk them around the hotel and do all the things you just suggested seeing how they react and he would take them to the front of the front desk at the hotel on the other side of the desk, not on the guest side but he would take them on the side that the workers are and he would all of a sudden say, “Oh, wait a minute I have to get this question. I'll be right back.” And he would leave them with his front desk clerks and at his front desk clerks would be, “Hey, how are you? You’re looking to work here? What are you doing now?” They would go through a little mini interview, what was interesting about it was he got feedback from them, many of them said, “Oh, this girl Susie, she's awesome. We really like her.” Or other times they would say, “I don't know. George has a personality of a dead fish, I don't think he's going to work.” And he would get feedback from his own team, guess what it created. One, it was great because he got a great perspective but then they had ownership in who we were hiring, and they had ownership of what they felt was a good fit and it was remarkable when you can do those sorts of things because now you're really seeing the person's true colors during that interview.

 

  • When asked about some online resources that he use in his business, John shared that he’s like a sponge so he’s constantly learning, growing from that perspective. He’s a voracious book reader, he’ll listen to podcasts, he’ll explore the internet and webinars, he’s always striving to get better and he may not learn from everything that they say but he’s just looking for one or two great ideas that he can incorporate, that he could share, that he could fine tune to tailor to maybe a client of his that he’s working with or an upcoming speaking engagement. So there have been some great mentors in his life that he says were there physically with me. These are mentors that were his bosses or people that would help him along the way but there were also a lot of authors and people like Stephen Covey is probably one of the most original first person to affect him when he would listen to his C.Ds in a car or he would read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People or The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen Covey. He kind of molded him through his career. People like Jack Canfield who wrote all the chicken soup books has a great book, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and he would highly recommend that to help you through it. He was a big Zig Ziglar fan and Zig Ziglar was the best motivator because he made him laugh and on the things that he would talk about and John would say, “Gosh, that was so funny but had such great merit.” There is John Maxwell who is another one, but he has always thought that through networking, through masterminds, through attending conferences…..again, you can pick up a lot of gold nuggets from people that you wouldn't think were very knowledgeable or maybe you thought they weren’t at the top, but they would just tell you some really good things and he has a lot of respect for people like Yanique and others who are there sharing their ideas. He’s a big sponge from getting it from a lot of different resources not just one.

 

  • John shared that as it relates to motivating people, the first thing he would tell them is to stop motivating people, stop trying to motivate them. He would look him in the eye and he would say, “Your heart is in the right place, but you cannot. I don't care who you are, you can't motivate anybody.” The key is to help create an environment will then motivate themselves. What he means by that is this, leaders always and he gets people all the time who come up to him, “How do I motivate my staff?” “How do I get my people to be so excited like you? I wish I had 10 people like you in my office.” “How do I get people excited?” The key is that's really hard to do but what we have to look at whether you're a manager or a business owner is instead of trying to figure out ways to motivate people, he wants you to think of the reverse strategy and try to figure out making sure there's nothing going on that is demotivating your people because when you demotivate your staff that's when people start to go in the wrong direction and there are so many things that can demotivate a staff member and everybody is demotivated differently. One person might say, “Well that's not a big deal.” Another person might say, “That was the toughest thing I've ever heard, and I don’t want to work for you anymore.” And you’d go, “What's the big deal?” Everybody is motivated differently, and everybody is demotivated differently. He gives an example, growing up in his career, he was a go getter, he wanted to be the best general manager that Hyatt Hotels ever had, and he was driven by trying to do that. What he meant by that was he didn't want anybody to hand it to him, he wanted to earn it but to earn it he went to every single Hyatt Hotel that he worked at and he would speak to their top managers and say, “What do I need to learn? What can you do to teach me so that I can be better prepared on my journey to become a general manager?” And that's what drove him. So, when he had opportunities to learn, when he had a mentor that would sit down once a week, they would have lunch together and that mentor would share the good, the bad and the ugly about John Formica to make John Formica better, those are the things and sent him to seminars or suggested books to read, to him that manager motivated him because he knew that that's what he wanted. And he also worked for organizations where managers say, “You don't need that, we don't send you to training, we don't send you to seminars.” And those are things that you don't need any of that kind of stuff. That means they didn't give him an opportunity to learn and grow, that was demotivating. You could bring balloons on his birthday, you can give him oatmeal raisin cookies every day, you could send him home early, you can give him Starbucks coupons for free coffee, you could do those things, that's good, the intentions are good but that doesn't motivate him. What motivates his giving him the ability to learn and grow and what demotivated him the most, when he had leaders that didn't care about any of that stuff.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that especially if you know what specifically you're looking for as an individual. You knew what your personal purpose was which kind of dovetails back into what we know when we started the interview. The purpose statement that should drive the employees but even as an individual you knew what drove you as a person and so you're looking for characteristics and character traits of leaders that would be able to basically mold and drive that purpose for yourself.

 

John shared that as a manager and a business owner, the best way to find out what’s demotivating your staff is not looking at it as a general statement but it's a one on one. He used to always have one on ones with every single one of his direct reports and they just talked about the good, the bad, the ugly, what is it that they like what he’s doing, what is it that they want him to stop doing and what is it that they want him to continue doing and they talk about it. Sometimes he got some brutal honest input from a co-worker that said, “John you’re try to micromanage us. We can do it, or I can do it.” And he would say, “But you haven't shown me. Every time I've asked you to do it and I let you go, you didn't take it seriously enough or you didn't follow up.” But that was good it made him think, “Okay, am I micromanaging and maybe I shouldn't micromanage.” So then micromanaging was a demotivating thing for this particular staff member or maybe he didn't appreciate them, maybe he thought he said thank you, but he really didn't say thank you one on one, he kind of thanked the whole team. Again, find out one on one what motivates and what demotivates individuals. He loves this statement and knows the familiarity with it, “There's no I in team.” Guess what, teams are made up of a bunch of I’s, individuals, so we have to take care of individuals as well not just looking at the team's perspective.

 

  • John shared that he’s really fired up about a new coaching program that he developed in partner with a writer in Australia. He gets a lot of people where he speaks at events and then people ask him to come in at events and speak, whether it’s training, whether it's leadership or hoping to create a better experience or hiring and all those things. He loves to do that but they know that not everybody has the resources whether it's financially or time to do that, so they put together and it’s not finished yet but we put together their great online coaching program where you will be able to get twelve webinars once a month, you're going to get unlimited access to both himself and his partner to help you not only market, to attract customers that you'll have more customers than you can ever dream of but then he’s going to help you keep the ones you have. It's a great combination because it's going to be able to help the “ma and pa” business owner and those are the ones that we all know need a lot of help, we want them to be successful. They don't have a lot of resources, don’t even have a lot of knowledge, there jumping into their business with good faith hoping that it will work, he wants to do everything he can to help them work. So, he’s really fired up about that but he’s also doing a lot of international work as well. He shared earlier that he just got back from Romania helping their small businesses at an incredible global summit. He thinks his messages can be used in lots of different organizations and he just want to do whatever he can to help.

 

  • John shared listeners can find him at –

www.johnformica.com

 

John shared that you can sign up and get my new training videos for free. You can download them, it's just his way of giving back. They are only about eight minutes long but it's a good understanding of the philosophy of what they talk about. But the neat thing is you get every week a newsletter which is basically a tip to help you create more magic in your business and it could be a leadership tip, it could be a relationship tip, hiring, it could be the customer experience and it's a great way of staying in touch with him and you will have all the contact information as well but you will also have access to his library of other articles that he has posted over 100 articles that you'll be able to use but that's a great way of becoming part of his membership free, it doesn't cost anything. But then you'll get access when they’re ready to roll that out, they will send everybody that information, so if it's something of interest, it will be extremely affordable, and you'll be able to use that. He suggests that's probably the best way to be in contact, all his contact information is on that so if they want to reach out to him for a speaking event or perhaps helping their team, they can just go to his contact page and start that process. But he does a lot of free discovery calls just to see if he’s a good fit and see what if they can do anything they can to help you out.

 

  • John shared that he has a couple of quotes, there is one, it's a Zig Ziglar quote and he thinks this is just a great quote in life as well as in business and he said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” And in leadership, help your staff achieve the success they want and of course as a leader your success that you want in your career or in business. And he thinks if we just treat people like that, we do whatever we can as givers and serve others in and even just making someone smile today that might not be a big deal, but it could be a big deal to them. It will come around, you don't worry about the results, we all want things instantaneously, we want to be successful right now, it's a journey but it's a great journey that he thinks that if you're a giver like, you'll get the reward.

Links

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

 

Oct 4, 2018

Lavois Cruickshank, a simple yet ambitious young man Lavois has the incredible dream of positively impacting and inspiring a nation. The Spanish Town native lives by a philosophy posited by Jared Kintz, “Whether you live to be 50 or 100 makes no difference, if you've made no difference in the world.” and with this as his motivation. Lavois aims to use his abilities, gifts and skills to make a difference. He is currently serving as a Jamaica House Fellow at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston, Jamaica. Lavois prides himself in excellence, committing wholeheartedly to any duty or task. With his deep interest in Finance, Economics and Strategic Planning, Lavois pursued a BSc in Economics and Banking & Finance at the University of the West Indies. He also holds an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of Birmingham. With an immense love for tennis and a passion for nation development, Lavois actively serves as a math tutor at his alma mater, Calabar High School in Kingston, Jamaica; as a volunteer with the Jamaica National Foundation as an ambassador of the Governor General’s I Believe Initiative (I.B.I).

 

Just to give a little background to our listeners. Yanique was privileged to have the opportunity to hear Lavois speak in front of an audience of 300 plus last week around this time as we celebrate National Customer Service week, he was invited as a special guest on a panel of people who are probably twice his age, but he really commanded great attention and was able to really wow the people who are listening including herself, hence, why extended this wonderful invitation for him to join us on the Podcast

 Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • What is your view on customer service and customer experience?
  • As a customer yourself could you give one to three things that you maybe experience whether it be locally or internationally of a business that really made a difference for you?
  • What are some tips that you would recommend to businesses that would help to make experiences effortless for their customers?
  • How do you stay motivated everyday?
  • What if you have employees in your organization who don't have that natural drive that you have. And there are certain goals that you have set for a company, but they are not pulling their weight. They’re not creating that level of culture where your customers are feeling satisfied and so your internal customer culture is not where you want it to be. What advice would you give to a business owner who had that kind of dynamic?
  • What’s the one online resource, tool, websites or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your own business or your own way of operating daily?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are working on to develop yourself – something that you are really excited about?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to this quote to kind of help you to keep centered and to focus on your path or goal?

 

Highlights

  • Lavois stated that he grew up in a family that encouraged excellence, excellence in the sense that going through school you were required to just do well, it was not an option, it was just mandatory. So, he grew up with two teachers as parents and he grew up with church parents as well, so there’s the balance of the academics and the balance of the school and spiritual part of it as well and so, he had to just focus during school. So, he started off in primary school, Calabar for high school and then it was just a natural transition in tertiary education at UWI. He just always had an interest in finance, he grew up watching TV particularly Owen James’ On a Personal Note and he just thought finance is probably something he wants to get into and then it was about money. So, it was just very interesting. He knew from then that he would want to be working at a bank wearing a jacket suit something of the sort and that was what really motivated him at the time but then growing up in Calabar, he was inspired by his economics teacher who just had so much passion in sharing her knowledge with them. And so, he thinks it was because of her why he chose to do economics at UWI and then he did well at UWI surprisingly. He was not the amazing student in interpreting but because he loved economics so much it became just second nature and he just did well at it and now he’s serving as a Fellow at the Office of the Prime Minister. What they do is that they're pushed into different projects to assist wherever they can. And he’s actually assigned to the National Export Import Bank of Jamaica which is the EXIM Bank working in strategic planning just assisting where he can in the bank achieving its goal.

 

  • Lavois stated that when he got the invitation was when he actually knew that there was even a Customer Service Association existed, so much so a Customer Service Week. He thinks that we are transitioning as an economy from just a manufacturing point of view and we have now transition to services, where are in a service led industry, our economy where services are really taking up a large portion of what we do generally. He finds that as well that service has become almost as a sign, it is what differentiates you because everybody offers pretty much the same goods and services and if you're not able to differentiate yourself in this very competitive market it is difficult for you to survive. So, he thinks service excellence and just the service that you offer is key in the longevity of a business is.

 

  • Lavois stated that he’s a little different, he doesn’t like interaction that much which is a sad case in some senses, but he likes being able to just go in and get what he wants and leave. And so, the easier you make that process for him is the better. So, if there is no hassle in getting what he wants, there's no long lines, if there is no long amount of persons to speak to in getting whatever he wants from you as a company, then it makes it easier for him. He actually remembers studying in the UK and it's not particularly one provider of a service, it's just how easy it is to do anything that you want to in that. If there's something that you want, you can always know that the option is online and that is what he found was the difference between the UK and Jamaica. Everything is so much easier to do because it's online and he find as a young person and especially as a tourist somewhat because he was a student. It would be not have been easy for him to find certain places or to know where to look for certain things, he just had to google it and it made sense because he could just purchase it there online and have it shipped to him. So, he thinks that was what made the difference between Jamaican experience in terms of shopping and a UK experience, everything was just there for him to find online. So, that was one major that has caught him with shopping or purchasing anything.

Yanique stated that one of our guests a couple of months ago wrote a book called The Effortless Experience and it's really been something that she has thought about for a very long time in terms of what customers are looking for and a lot of times not just yourself even other people that she has interviewed are just generally having conversation. People are actually looking for as you said an experience that requires them to put as little effort as possible which is why the online is such a remarkable experience for most people because if you can do the transaction literally at your office desk or while you're sitting in a doctor's office with your kid waiting to see a dentist or while you're sitting in an airport waiting to catch a flight. It makes your life that much easier.

 

  • Lavois stated that it's a little bit difficult particularly because in the locust fair we're not necessarily at that place where we could market online things. We are somewhat behind the world in that particular sense, but it wouldn't hurt for us to still push to get there. He thinks if we can market our things online and allow transactions to happen, he thinks the Prime Minister himself is trying to get us to that place where an economy meaning we're just doing everything digitally and for transactions to be easily done, quicker and that transaction cost being safe and that's us being more efficient. Apart from being online you want to be everywhere, your customers are everywhere, you want to be on all social media networks as well and this links back to the presentation that he did at the Customs Service Association. What it speaks to is us as millennials being your major target markets, we are reaching or spending peaking year and so we're going to be in your faces, we are going to be your customers. And so, what you have to do as a strategy to reach us as millennials is to just be everywhere. Twitter, Instagram, social media, anyone where you can possibly be that you know your market will be, you should be. You can provide a self-service service if there is something that you can implement in your organization that allows that customer to just go in and to come out as quickly as possible, to just get what they want from you and leave he thinks that would be very good to implement. Probably just be personal, understand that each customer’s need is probably different. And so, how you interact with each one of us will make a difference as well. And then answer quickly in case we have any queries are not, just be very quick about it because we are very impatient and as customers we want it and we want it now. So those are probably just one, two, three tips that he could probably offer with any organization that wants to just make it effortless for their customers.

When asked about why he thinks people want things now versus 10 or 15 years ago. Lavois stated that’s just how we are. He thinks that's just the general nature. Instant gratification is what we desire or want something that is just very natural. We get that satisfaction from having it now and the impatient is not something that we can work with. He thinks that technology has definitely helped to propel that desire. Technology has allowed us to access things very quickly than, quicker than we thought possible, initially and because we are now used to technology granting what we desire quickly, it has now become second nature that we just want it because it can happen, it has propelled us to that kind of mindset where it needs to happen, and it needs to happen now. Which can also be a bad thing, but it is a good thing in a sense.  

Yanique agreed that stated that the reality as she say to people generally customer experience is constantly evolving so we're here discussing what customers want now, about five years from now it's probably going to be completely different from what we're discussing. The customer is driving that whole change, back in the day when there was no social media you basically had to just probably complain via writing or state any challenge you have by writing, you really didn't have much power because nobody knows that you wrote the letter but a customer has so much power now with social media, they can blast a company whether they're doing well or they're not doing so well, on any of these platforms and it literally reaches millions of people in seconds.

 

  • When asked about staying motivated, Lavois stated that how grew up and he thinks this is how he ended up in strategy planning because he just always had a plan in his head and he doesn’t know what drove that plan but there was always something in the back of his head saying this is what I want to do next. So, he remembers going to high school or going into UWI, he would simple plan out the courses that he wants to do from that first year, he would know what he wants to do in second year, what he wants to do in third year, what’s he’s going to do after the degree and so there's always a one-year, two-year, five-year plan. But there was something in the back of his head where he sees himself. He sees himself being successful, as himself making some impact in Jamaica locally and probably even the world. He just sees himself doing things and because that in the back of his head, he knows he gets up every day knowing that this is just my next step towards getting where to go. He doesn't think he’s satisfied with where he is, so he believes that this satisfaction somewhat is what drives him. At the same time, he grew up with parents who gave everything they had for their kids. He has seen his father work with entities that he did not like, that he did not enjoy, he endured jobs that he probably wouldn't have wanted to do just because he had children to see through life and so this is a contribution for his parents, he could not take that for granted. So, he knows that there is something for him to do to allow his father and mother to enjoy the life they wanted. At the same time there is so much that we can change and there's so much that we can impact. He feels like work in itself is not necessarily what you bring to the table but how you make people feel and so there’s so much that we can do and that keeps him motivated everyday.

 

  • Lavois stated that he thinks he has probably experienced that before where there's some internally or people internally who don't necessarily have the same drive that you have. And he thinks from his own experience, what you need to do is to understand your own employees first of all because it's not that it might be eluding them it's just that you're probably not bringing the same message across very well. And so, what he encourages people to do is to look internally to see if there's something else that you can do to make that difference. So maybe it's that you just need to find out who that person operates and then do something else out of the ordinary that would probably get the reaction that you want and that kind of energy going forward with the business strategy and if that doesn't work. It's how you interact with them as well, it is that your own enthusiasm about it cannot bring out that same enthusiasm in them, he’s not sure what else can be done but he thinks there is an internal approach that needs to take place first to kind of look at who the person is, how they operate and then try your best to get that same enthusiasm out of them. And he thinks everybody has that side to them and it's just how you unveil it.

 

  • Lavois stated that Whatsapp is a very good tool and it's not only for personal social media vibes, it's also his way of finding out information, this is how you keep current and it's surprising, a lot of people would not even realize that a lot of the information that you hear or find comes from social media platforms. He thinks WhatsApp, Facebook, all of these social media platforms allows us as millennials in a sense or even everybody to kind of keep up to date because the news is always there. And so, us as millennials don't necessarily read newspapers. He has to do it and ensure that he does to keep up. But at the same time the same news that would be translated into print is on social media platforms, so it forces us to kind of be up to date with information. So, he thinks any social media platform is definitely necessary for him.

 

  • Lavois shared that he’s not a fan of reading, he’s not surprisingly. One particular book that has had some impact on him is a book that he actually read a long time ago, it’s called The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren and it's a more spiritual side in terms of reading. It was just him trying to find out what is it that he was here to do, what was his purpose here and what impact he could make. Apart from general reading, he loves reading quotes and inspirational messages and the one that he has put before mentioned in the bio was Jared Kintz and what Jared Kintz said was, “Whether you live to be 50 or 100 makes no difference, if you've made no difference in the world.” And that has hit him so much because he realized if you are just here on earth and I'm not really making any difference then your life really makes no difference because you’re not impacting anybody's life and he feels like we are here and we're here to make so much of a changing in this world that we should just always attempt and aim at that and so if you're not making a difference then what purpose really does your life serve.

 

  • Lavois stated that for his recent birthday, he decided to create a theme for his birthday which was “No fear, no pride, no compromise” and what the theme tried to do was basically to encourage him to go after everything he wants to do. He grew up with a lot of pride in a sense which kind of hindered him from doing a lot of things because he was afraid of what people would say and how they would see him, at the same time that was the fear component, that was the pride component and there was no compromise meaning he would not give up who he was to achieve anything that he wants. He has so many goals but there are so many roads to get there but he doesn’t want to give up who he really is and he’s not going to compromise who he is to get there. So, he’s very excited about the journey, he has executed a few things that he really wanted to do, and he has gotten over the fear of doing them simply because he thought people would see him in a particular light and feels very good to just go after your dreams. So, for this birthday he created that theme, no fear, no pride, no compromise and he’s just trying to accomplish whoever he wants to be in this life.

 

  • Lavois shared listeners can find him at –

Facebook – www.facebook.com/lavois.cruickshank

  

  • Lavois Lavois stated that it is not necessarily a quote, it’s just something I use to refer to when times get really hard because these things happen. It's probably in a quote somewhere, it says “What man has done before, man can do again.” which pretty much speaks to us being able to overcome any particular situation. What he does in his very difficult times is to think about other people who have overcome the same struggle or the same situation and then draw strength from that and it makes it easier almost because it gives us a certain level of courage to kind of still go through with this particular battle that we're having. So, if you're going through something very difficult, if you’re going through something that is very challenging, he would encourage you to think about people who have gone through the same struggle and how they’ve overcome and draw strength from them as well.   

Links

 

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

 

 

Sep 18, 2018

Kenneth Burke is the marketing director for text request a B2B text messaging software company in Chattanooga. He runs a boutique marketing agency where he helps many companies of all sizes with their marketing and content strategies. And he's been awarded for work in psychology research and sales.

 

 Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • On the website textrequest.com, and it says text messaging for small businesses, start texting with your current business number and you can reach four times more people and get more leads and increase revenue. Could you explain to us how that really works?
  • In the 3 to 4 years that you said your startup has been in operation, can you tell us some of the industries that predominantly tend to use your service?
  • What are some everyday solutions that you believe can help to improve customer experience in small business?
  • As a consumer yourself, what’s one thing you look for when you shop with a business, what’s your number one thing you’re looking for a business to have?
  • What’s the one online resource, tool, websites or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your own business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services but somehow, they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you were sitting across the table from that person, what’s one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business.
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to this quote to kind of help you to keep centered and to focus on your path or goal?

 

Highlights

  • Kenneth was asked to share his journey and he started by stating that Text Request is a startup. It's about four years old now, three and a half and he got into it because one of his good friends was one of the people who helped to start it. So, Kenneth was at a sales position somewhere else, he was looking to get out of it, just wanting something new and different. And his friend was super excited about this idea and the concept and starting things off and he thought you know what, I want to be a part of that. So, that's how he got here from his previous job. Before that, he has a degree in psychology with a focus on experimental research. And that's how he got here, and he has done some consulting on the side as well.

 

  • Kenneth explained how “Text Request” basically works as he stated that it starts with a basic concept that these days most people are thinking consumers, most people don't answer their phone calls and don't reply to e-mails like they used to. So, depending on what industry you're in and then even within what company rates for phone calls are anywhere from 5% are answered to up to 20%. Twenty percent is definitely the high bar there. And then according to “Constant Contact” the average e-mail open rate is only about 18%, that's not even including responses or click through’s conversion. So, there's clearly room for engagement there and what we found is that most people in their studies and stats to back this up, most people want to text with a business.

 

  • So, what we do at “Text Request”, we give people a platform or a dashboard where they can text back and forth with customers really easily. But the reason it's so successful or why it works so well is because people actually read their text, so 99% of texts are read, the response rate is about 90 seconds on average, so the reach rates four times that or maybe five times that of e-mail and then you're actually going to get engagement and get responses because it's what people want these days.

Yanique stated that it's interesting the way it’s explained because most businesses are also on Social Media. Social Media also has a platform for texting, so Facebook as Facebook Messenger. Instagram has Instagram messaging where you can directly message the business or the person depending on the type of business they are. So, why would they choose this platform versus those platforms that there's already interface of what the business is about, the products and services they have to offer, maybe even read feedback from other people who've interfaced with that particular product or service.

Kenneth stated that in general mobile messaging, any message you get from any platform is huge these days, it's just what people prefer. Facebook Messenger is kind of its own thing; a lot of people use it and it works really well. Text messaging is the basic communications tool and it works really well or meshes. It can work with your Instagram, it can work with your Google business listing and your search ads. And with your website or anywhere else online where you can control phone number. So, that's a big part of it, from the consumer side, they can go to your website search for you online and if they're on a phone they can just click and send you a text pretty quickly. And all of it comes to the same place which is easy for a business to manage. And then a lot of times too a business they're the ones trying to initiate the conversations. So, for them there might be a few dozen or might be several thousand customers or members or volunteers whoever it is that they're trying to keep up with and communicate with and text which is one place to do that's really nice as opposed to going to all of your individual apps to message someone.

 

  • When asked about the industry that predominantly tend to use his service, Kenneth stated that there are a bunch of them. Everyone texts for 100 reasons, so, every business can find a way to text. Staffing is a big one, so staffing agencies have hundreds if not a few thousand employees on their roster so to speak that they're communicating with and trying to fill positions with clients and things like that. So, texting everyone is a lot easier or sending one message to everyone even is a lot easier than individually calling each person on the list and leaving a voicemail etc. Home service companies is another big one, so you think of maid services, cleaning or plumbing, electricians, companies like that - they are always needing to check that the person is going to be home or at their business for them to come by and make sure the doors are unlocked and even that quick scheduling of an appointment. A lot of times it is easier for them because a consumer a lot of times can't answer phone calls during the day while they're at work but they can send a quick text so that ends up working out really well.

 

Yanique stated that is sounds like it’s predominantly more service-based businesses rather than product-based business to which Kenneth agreed. Yanique also shared that in Jamaica where she lives, 74% which was the last statistic of GDP comes from service-based businesses. So, a lot of organizations are not necessarily into new products or manufacturing per say but more the core of their business has to do with providing a service to the consumer. Would you say where you are in the in the part of the United States that you are that maybe most of the businesses are also in that same realm or would you say it's the opposite?

Kenneth stated that it's hard to say. He doesn’t know the stats on it. The people he comes into contact with professionally day to day, week to week - most of them provide some sort of service. They might be accountants or a home service industry or something. Their particular area does have a lot of industry manufacturing but most of the small businesses around here are service based.

  • Kenneth stated a few of the basics a business owner can utilize as everyday solutions to improve their customer experience, a fast and accurate website. Most people are going online to find out who you are, information what are your business hours, what are your reviews. So, making sure that it’s easy for them to find and that all the information is up to date is really important, particularly if you have specific business hours, there’s a lot of times with holidays or things change where there is something inaccurate on your listing and that turns away business. So that's a big one that a lot of people particularly they work with a marketing agency for their listing that they just overlook. Another one he thinks is just talking to your customers. It's simple, it's even obvious. A lot of times businesses and business owners particularly entrepreneurs, they get started and you have this idea of here's who might our customer is and here's what exactly it is that they need. But then you get into it and you find out that people aren’t flocking to my service or my new product as much as we thought they would. Our marketing must be wrong or something or these people must just be dumb but it's usually that there's just the disconnect between what you're providing and what your customers actually want and so, in their experience, having conversations day in and day out with dozens, hundreds, thousands of people helps you to really internalize what they're trying to accomplish and the way they want to go about it. And then you build those relationships and once you have those relationships you begin to empathize with them, you begin to think the same way that they think. And from there the service you offer, the customer service you offer, specific services and the entire experience starts to really come together.

 

  • Kenneth stated that for him, it’s what's going to be easiest usually. There's always so much going on, there's always going to be someone who has a cheaper option, there’s always going to be someone who has a better option. So, for him it's just what's the quick solution I know he’s not going to regret.

Yanique reiterated that as a consumer, he’s looking for something that requires him to exert as little energy as possible but something that won't cost him too much in terms of that it's quick but it's also efficient. Yanique also mentioned that over the years in interviewing different people in different industries across the world for this podcast, she really has found that most consumers nowadays are seeking an effortless experience, they're looking for that organization that can take the effort out of the experience. Because there are so many other competing activities that you have to do on a daily basis. Take the effort out but at the same time ensure that they are achieving the goal that you've set in terms of achieving. So, whether it's buying a shoe or getting your carpet cleaned at home or getting a room painted or getting your website with a web developer, it's efficient. But you have to exert as little energy as possible because this person is just so able to meet your needs in such a very easy and effortless way.

Kenneth agreed and stated that it's the people who make it effortless are the companies who make it effortless are the ones that stand out.

  • Kenneth stated that for the online resource or app that he couldn’t live without in his business, it's hard to say because he uses so many. It's kind of like if one was gone, there would be another one to take its place. He stated that their content management system is the biggest one, so WordPress for a while they just switch to Umbraco. For them that's the biggest thing because they’re always adding pages and changing copy and adding sections to our website and customer profiles, case studies and all these things. So just for him to just be able to jump in and make those changes 18 times a day is really helpful. Aside from that he would say probably the Mozbar Chrome extension. So, that basically it's a browser extension for Chrome where you can click on it while viewing any other website and see what it's domain authority is, how it kind of its backlink profile and some other search engine optimization key metrics which for a lot of what he does is crucial.

 

  • Kenneth shared that it's always hard to pick books because there always so many and whenever you read one thing it tends to build on something else you’ve read. Tim Ferriss' The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich for him was huge. It was it was kind of the first book on entrepreneurship run anything related to life and work that didn't involve just being in a corporate office all day, that he read which for him at the time he read it was really impactful for framing how he wanted to go about his day to day. The book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang was really big for him. In America in particular we have this mindset of like “Oh, you have to hustle, hustle 24/7” if you’re going to give anything, it's kind of, he calls it the “Gary V approach” and so this book is a scientific very well documented account of how the most successful people in history or at least some of them have prioritized rest over the grind. So, some people who are included in it are like Thomas Jefferson and Bill Gates and it talks about whenever you focus on rest and not just like vegging out in front of a TV or getting a lot of sleep although sleep is important, but rest as in doing other activities that stimulate different parts of your brain. So, even in college this was common, people would say, “Every 45 minutes you study, make sure that you spend 15 minutes doing something active.” It's kind of that back and forth of activity switching without trying to multitask. So, that was big and it kind of put some thoughts he had been having and some things he’d experienced before in one book that had all the references, all the resources, all the studies and the big names in it. So, I recommend that to everyone. And then the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson. For listeners they don't know, Erickson is the same one who did the research that Malcolm Gladwell ended up coining into the 10,000 hours. He loves the book because it's like a 30-year history of everything this man's done and everyone else in his field has done in just a few hundred pages. But he loves the concept in it that the brain really never stops growing, that it's incredibly elastic and that counter to the current believed your brain is done developing by the time you’re 25. You can keep pushing and keep growing and keep improving in different areas. You can't really teach an old dog new tricks.

 

  • Kenneth stated that the one thing he would say is you can often do more with a few people who are really invested than with a lot of people who aren't. Jim Collins particularly in his book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t talks a lot about the concept of getting the right people on the bus. You need to get the right people on your team and you need to get the wrong people off of your team before you really start driving it. So, if you're in a position where you already have a great product, great service, you kind of have the customer experience over the product market fit. Tie it up and the problem is personality, sometimes you might not need to keep that person but on the other hand there's always more you can do as a leader. So, you need to evaluate how are you compensating them, are you giving them the intangibles that any reasonable person would want such as autonomy to do their job well, trust, listening to their ideas and actually acting on them and trying to encourage engagement as opposed to just saying, “Well, you don't know anything. So, we're gonna pass on you.” There's two sides, you can always be a better leader, you can always do more but at the end of the day you can't make somebody want to get up and help your business grow.

Yanique agreed with that point and stated that it's something that we speak about a lot in their customer service workshops, leadership workshops that attitude is something that comes from within and you can bring in the greatest trainers, the most expensive consultants, the best of the best that the world could ever provide. But at the end of the day if that person is just not wanting to do what you want them to do then you aren't going to get much further.

 

  • Kenneth shared that right now they have a pretty small team and they're really tight knit which is convenient if nothing else. But also, practical and great and all those things. As a startup they just a few months ago hit the milestone of a Million Dollars in annual recurring revenue. And so that's very exciting by itself. But they also have what he thinks is a really good plan in place to at least double that in the next 12 months. So, that's exciting, he’s more intrinsically motivated but that helps him wake up in the morning.

 

  • Kenneth shared listeners can find him at –

Facebook – www.facebook.com/textrequest

Twitter – www.twitter.com/text_request

Twitter – www.twitter.com/BurkeWriter

Instagram – @text.request

Instagram - @kennethburkewriter

 

  • Kenneth shared a quote from William Faulkner, he was actually joking with one of his writing buddies and wrote in a letter and said, “I only write when I'm inspired. Fortunately, I'm inspired every morning at 9 am.” Kenneth loves that because a lot of times he finds that the discipline or the habit is more important than motivation or whatever challenge is going on. If you wake up every day and you say, “Okay, I'm up, here’s what I'm going to do towards my work, my goal, my passion.” It becomes a lot easier to just do the work but to see results over time.

 

   Links

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

 

Jun 19, 2018

Joey Coleman helps companies keep their customers. He is an award-winning speaker. He works with organizations around the world ranging from small startups to major brands such as Deloitte, Hyatt Hotels, Zappos and Whirlpool. His first 100 days methodology fuels the remarkable experiences his clients deliver and dramatically improves their profits. His Wall Street Journal number two best-selling book Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days offers strategies and tactics for turning one-time purchasers into lifelong customers. When he's not speaking to audiences around the globe, Joey enjoys spending time with his amazing wife and two young sons in the mountains of Colorado.

  

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Could you shed some light on what you wrote in the book as it relates to the eight phases of customer experience, the assessing, the admitting, the affirming?
  • As it relates to your different trips and travels all over and being a subject matter expert as it relates to customer experience, how do you feel about customer experience on a global level?
  • How do you stay motivated everyday?
  • What are some of the online resources, websites, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your own business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services but somehow, they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you were sitting across the table from that person, what’s one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business.
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What’s one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you revert to this quote to kind of help you to refocus and just get back on track?

 

Highlights

 

  • Joey stated that he has a really eclectic background which he supposes is the polite way of saying he has done a lot of completely random things that made no sense to the outside world as he was going through it. But now with hindsight looking back there's a common thread. He was a Government International Relations Major in College then went straight to law school where he studied Litigation and National Security Law and International Law. He worked for the CIA, the White House and the Secret Service. He was a Criminal Defense Lawyer. He taught executive education kind of nighttime NBA type courses. He ran a division of a promotional products company. He ran an ad agency for over 15 years and now he’s a full time Professional Speaker. So, he travels around the world giving speeches, leading workshops and consulting with clients to help them keep their customers. The thread that ties all of these crazy different jobs and careers in this life that he has had the blessing of leading together is the fact that in each of the positions he held, the way you excelled was to have a keen understanding of the human condition. Why do people do the things they do and what can we do to make them do the things we'd like them to do? And so that's kind of the common thread and that's really what led him to this world of customer experience. He was running his ad agency and of course they were very focused on helping their clients develop websites and ad campaigns and brand identity kits that were designed to bring customers into the fold. But the more he did this the more he realized that customers were running out the back door as quickly as they brought them in the front door. And he quickly realized that focusing on customer retention was actually a more valuable and more important practice than focusing only on customer acquisition.

 

Yanique agreed that his background is eclectic as it is sure to form great stories when he’s speaking to these different people throughout the world being able to draw on different experiences from different industries. Because it kind of pulls it together because at the end of the day even though he has worked in so many different areas we're still human beings regardless of where we're from or what we do.

 

Joey mentioned that he is a big believer that regardless of whether you see yourself in a B to B (Business to Business) or a B to C (Business to Customer) or a B to G (Business to Government) environment, whether you're an entrepreneur or a business owner or an employee no matter where you fall in kind of the different things you do as part of your job or career, you're interacting with other human beings and the better we can understand the journey that our fellow humans are on and meet them where they're at the more we will be able to achieve the goals that we have for our business or for our life or for our growth.

 

Yanique mentioned that she was lucky enough to be one of the persons that Joey sent an advanced copy of his book to Never Lose A Customer Again and she has been reading it and it's been so amazing because it feeds her soul because this is all that she cares about. She’s passionate about customer experience and customer service and there's some valid points that he has in it.

 

  • Joey stated that in the book he outlined his way of thinking or kind of the way he has developed in coordination with his clients of thinking about the customer journey and he believes there are eight potential phases that your customers have the ability to go through if you're willing to hold their hand and help them navigate them. All eight phases start with the letter A. He spent enough time working in Washington D.C. and Government not to give an acronym that he was expecting people to remember so he made it easy. The goal is to get your customers to give you straight A's on your report card. All of the phases start with the letter A. The first one is Assess, this is Phase 1. This is when a prospect is considering whether or not they want to do business with you. In common parlance we call this marketing and sales. Then we go to Phase 2 Admit, this is day one of the first hundred days of the customer relationship in the admit phase, the prospect acknowledges that they have a problem or a need that they believe you can help. And so, they transition from being a prospect to being a customer almost as quickly as that happens, they enter Phase 3, the Affirm phase. In common parlance this is buyer's remorse. This is where the customer begins to doubt the decision that they just made. And your job as the business is to counteract those negative and doubtful emotions by reinforcing the wisdom and the benefit of their purchase decision. We then come to Phase 4 Activate. This is the first major experience the customer has with your brand after the sale. So, if you sell a product this could be the unboxing experience or when they get the product home. If you sell a service this could be the kickoff meeting or the first time you start to deliver on the service. He calls it Activate because he thinks it's important to energize the relationship when you formally start working together and are really set the tone for what the interactions and the relationship are going to be going forward. So, we're halfway through the eight phases. Then we come to Phase 5, this is where most businesses start to fall off the rails a little bit. See most businesses deliver the product or service and then they're kind of done and they miss the opportunity in phase 5 to Acclimate the customer to doing business with you. Most businesses have sold their product hundreds, thousands maybe even millions of times. But to a new customer it's the first time they've ever had an interaction with you, so you need to hold their hand and get them familiar with your way of doing business. After that we come to Phase 6 Accomplish, this is when the customer achieves the goal that they had when they originally decided to do business with you. Every customer before they make a purchase decision or when they make a purchase decision has a goal in mind of what they're hoping to accomplish. If as the business, we don't track that and measure whether we're making progress towards succeeding at achieving that goal and then celebrate with the customer when they accomplish that goal we miss the opportunity to validate the original purchase decision. And if you don't successfully acknowledge the accomplished phase you can't get to the last two phases. Okay so the last two phases are Phase 7 Adopt, this is when the customer becomes loyal to you and your brand. They're only going to do business with you, they will happily buy whatever you create. They've definitely become a big supporter of yours. And then last but not least we reach Phase 8, the Advocate phase. This is one that adopting customer becomes a raving fan referring their friends and colleagues to you. So, these are the eight phases that a customer as he said has the potential to go through regardless of what business you're in, regardless of whether your product or service - domestic or international, small, medium or large. All human beings have the potential to go through these phases. It's just a question of whether as organizations we want to help them do it.

 

Yanique mentioned that she liked the fact that Joey noticed this straight A’s theme. She thinks it's so important to recognize that they cannot become evangelists or advocates of our business unless they've gone through some process. She stated that people think that people are going to walk and speak great things about our organization just because we've sold them an item once or we've sold them an item twice. And it's so much more than that, there's a process that goes through that will convert that person from just feeling like, “Okay, I just did business with an okay company” versus “I just did business with a great company and I need to tell everybody else and I want my friends to shop from them and I want my family members to shop from there.”

 

Joey stated that all too often he thinks we ask for those referrals too early in the process immediately. For a while it was very popular especially in e-commerce settings when you bought something online for after you went through the checkout cart, they would hit you with a pop-up screen that said, “Who else do you know that would be interested in our product or service?” And they wanted you to enter an e-mail and he’s thinking to himself, “I haven't even received the product or service that I signed up for and you already want me to be sharing it with other people.” It's way too soon. It's kind of like being on a date with someone and you go on a first date and before the waiter takes your order for what you want for dinner your date says, “So, I'd like to meet your mom and dad.” It's too fast it's going to make me anxious I don't want to order then. It’s too early in the relationship. He doesn’t think you should be asking for referrals until the customer has accomplished their goal. That phase 6 level where they achieve the goal they originally had when they decided to do business with you. He thinks after that is when you start to ask for referrals and additional business because they have proven that their investment has had a nice return.

 

  • Joey mentioned that one of the things that Yanique probably had learned from some of their exchanges back and forth before scheduling this conversation, he has a tendency to be pretty direct pretty blunt in his feelings and his beliefs which sometimes can get him into trouble but that's the way it goes. He believes it’s a general rule the bar for customer experience on the planet is lying on the ground. He thinks that most businesses do very little to pay attention to customer experience. He’s in this space as well as Yanique and he knows the people that are in this space we work very hard at it. But he thinks globally, it is not nearly given the priority that it needs to be given. He thinks more often than not customer service gets attention, but customer experience doesn't. And he sees a distinction between those two phrases. He defines customer service as something that is more reactive, solving the customers problem, helping them to navigate using your product or service, whereas customer experience he thinks is proactive, it's all the perceptions that your customer has based on all the touch points and interactions they have with you. So, he thinks most companies that are doing anything are just kind of in triage reactionary state. A customer service state as opposed to thinking more holistically, how can we create the most remarkable interaction possible that is going to catch our customers off guard, is going to surprise and delight them and is going to leave them wanting more.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that it's definitely more of a proactive approach as it relates to customer service and of course customer experiences taking everything into account, more of a holistic approach and not just from a face to face point of view but just every possible touchpoint or channel that the customer could possibly have an interaction with you.

 

  • When asked how he stays motivated, Joey stated that he loves what he does. It's pretty easy. Being on stage is such a pleasure and such a delight. He takes very seriously his role and responsibility to educate an audience, to entertain an audience, to keep them engaged. He just absolutely loves it so every day he’s on stage is fantastic and the days he’s not on stage, he’s preparing for the days that he will be on stage. So, it's just absolutely incredible. He also really connects to the message that he’s trying to promote which is we need to care more about each other as human beings. Our businesses have a responsibility to not only take care of our customers but to take care of our employees and those two things have a tendency to feed upon themselves. The better experience you create for your employees, the better experience they can create for your customers, the better experience you create for your customer, the better experience it creates for your employees. It's just a nice little loop that feeds on itself.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that internal customer service is very important. The health of your organization not just the health of the employees but how they feel about the business is so critical. One of the things that we say in workshops or she’ll ask the participants if their company sells a particular product or service, I always ask them if they're actually a user, do they actually consume this product or service because that to me is a key indication if they believe in the company that they work for.

 

Joey agreed and mentioned that it's shocking how rare it is. In his experience he asks a very similar question and he’s always amazed at how few of the employees use the product or service and what he’s even more amazed by is that the businesses don't make it easy for their employees to use the product or service. For example, because he travels a lot, he finds himself in restaurants often and one of the things he always like to ask the waiter or waitress when he’s in a restaurant getting ready to order is, what are the two or three things on the menu that are your favorites, what do you like here, what do you recommend or what are the best things. And it never ceases to amaze him how it's very clear the way they describe things that they haven't actually tasted the dish they're recommending. If he ran a restaurant he would have it set up so that every employee in their first month on the job sampled every single dish we serve. And then they had a context and then about every three or four months he’d run them through that cycle again. And he’d give them the chance to try the specials and to try the regular items and to develop kind of their own palate as it related to the menu. It's not just restaurants, this can apply in every business on the planet, “Are your employees actually users of your product or service and customers of your business?” And if they are, what are you learning from them and creating opportunities for them to speak more intelligently about what you offer.

 

One of the interesting things is we ask our employees to create remarkable customer experiences but many of our employees have never had a remarkable customer experience. He explained that he was at an event recently doing a workshop for a company and the CEO told him, “I want to have first class service. I want to have Ritz Carlton service. I want to have white glove service and create those type of experiences for our customers.” He said, “Okay.” So they got the whole company together and he said, Here's the deal, how many of you have heard the CEO talk about the importance of a Ritz Carlton first class, white glove experience?” and every hand in the room went up, he said great. Let me ask you a few questions. Number one, “How many of you have ever flown first class?” and the CEO proudly raised his hand and the CFO raised their hand and no one else in the room raised their hand. And I said, “Okay, how many of you have ever spent the night at a Ritz Carlton?” and the CEO proudly raised his hand, the CFO put his hand down and still none of the other people in the room had their hands up and then I said, “Okay, one last question. How many of you have ever eaten a meal that was delivered by waiters wearing white gloves?” And no one put their hand up. And he turned to the CEO and said, “It's really difficult to expect our employees to deliver a world class customer experience when they've never had a world class customer experience.” So, if there were one piece of advice that he would give to business owners listening it would be make sure that your employees have a context and a framework for the type of experience you're asking them to provide for your customers.

 

  • Joey stated that he is probably one of the least online connected individuals that has ever been on Yanique’s podcast. He uses online resources but they're not very complex, he doesn’t have a huge presence on Social Media and he doesn’t use a lot of different tools but one that he does uses, and he finds to be incredibly effective and has helped his business dramatically is a tool and a service called Mixmax. Mixmax is a scheduling tool, it's kind of an add on that you can connect to your Gmail account or your e-mail account that allows you to click on a little link and offer available appointment times when scheduling, that has made my life so much easier because then when people get that email I can say I’m available at these three or four times. When they click on that time link it automatically books it on his calendar and if he gave the same time as a potential slot to two people when they click on it, it will tell them that that slot is no longer available and offer one of the other ones. It just has taken the 17 e-mails back and forth to do scheduling and really reduced it dramatically and I actually like Mixmax better than some of the other calendaring services because some of the other ones it gives you access to the person's calendar and you can see a bunch of things but you kind of have to figure out where to insert yourself. Whereas this one he feels like proactively says I care enough about you, the person he’s sending the e-mail to say, “I've allocated these particular windows of availability, which one works for you?” and they can focus in on it a little bit more than looking through all of the available times on the calendar.

 

  • When asked about the books that have had the biggest impact, Joey mentioned that this is a really challenging but fantastic question because for context, he’s in the process of moving right now and so he just recently packed up their books and they have north of 5000 books in their house. He loves books, he has read a ton of books, he loves being surrounded by books. There are so many books that have had a tremendous impact on him. He thinks back to some of the first business books he read which included Harvey Mackay's Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You the Shirt. Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty by Harvey Mackay, Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Tons of the writings of Tony Robbins Awaken the Giant Within and just lots of books that he read kind of back in the day when he first was starting. Then there's a bunch of business books that he read kind of as my thoughts around customer experience were evolving. His good buddy Shep Hyken has written a number of fantastic books on customer experience as well as Scott McCain and Jay Baer and mutual friend Dan Gingis. A number of folks that are kind of write more specifically in the customer experience space. He also tried to read fiction from with some regularity because he thinks if we're really looking at the human condition reading fiction helps us to understand people as well. So, he reads everything from science fiction to fantasy to kind of pleasure reading, fiction in the kind of espionage and spy novel space so he tries to read across a really wide swath of genres and topics.

 

  • When asked about advice he would give a business owner who lack the constantly motivated human capital. Joey stated that this goes back to that story he told right the best way to motivate your employees is to make sure that they're having an incredible experience. As the business owner, the manager, the executive, your employees are your primary customers. You need to be taking care of them, you need to be holding their hand to navigate them through the 8 phases, you need to be making sure that they're having a remarkable experience when they come to work. And so, he thinks if there was a question around, he thinks there are a lot of business owners that say, “Well our employees just don't get it, they're not motivated, they don't come with the kind of excitement that I need them to come to work.” He usually would ask those type of executives or owners. “Are you excited about the fact that those employees come to work? Do you let them know that, do you show them that in your words and in your actions and in your behaviors?” and usually by the time he gets to that level of questioning they're like, “Well, maybe not as much as I could.” and I'm like great, so there's a huge opportunity for us to improve the employee experience.

 

Yanique reiterate by saying that the gap that exists why there's constantly motivates human capital is the leadership influence that drives that whole engagement. So, recruitment is critical because you have to hire the right people. But after hiring them, there are things that you need to do to sustain their interest in what they're doing everyday so that they can be motivated.

 

Joey agreed and stated that you need to sustain your interest. He thinks part of the challenge we have in HR is that it's run like many businesses are run with their external customers. We spend all this time courting, marketing and selling, filling the funnel trying to convince someone to come work for us, trying to get them in the door and then they start, and they show up for their first day on the job and we don't have a desk for them. They don't know what they're supposed to be doing, they don't know anyone to go to lunch with or maybe if we do an onboarding program it's a day or two and then we kind of leave them to fend for themselves. We need to hold our employees’ hands, especially through the first 100 days of the employee relationship. What are we doing to make sure that they're achieving the goal they had when they came to work. Lots of times we don't even ask our employees, “What's your goal? Is your goal to get a cheque? Is your goal to grow a career? Is your goal to explore something new that you haven't thought about before? Is your goal to put to work the things you studied in school and have that be compensated for what you learned?” Every employee has different motivations and by the way those motivations change, they evolve over time. And so, what did motivate them to take the job in the first place six months in might not be the motivation anymore. Employers and managers need to have a finger on the pulse as to what's going on with their employees and that's how you get motivated employees.

 

  • Joey stated that there are two things that he’s really excited about right now. One more professional and one more personal. On the professional side, he’s thankful and appreciative of the tremendous support for the launch of the book, when we’re recording this, the book has been out for about 2 months now. They had great success as not only during the launch but since then. He continued to get wonderful feedbacks and reviews on Amazon from people and people sharing how they have been able to put the principles that are outlined in the book into practice in their own business and they are already seeing huge results, so, that’s been super exciting, the book culminates and kind of represents, he would say 20 years of his professional career but it’s really more 45 years of his entire life/career because it’s all the different things that he has been involved with and all the things that he has learned about human beings and trying to put that down on the paper as a way and hopefully provides some value to other people that helps them understand themselves and their customers and their employees better, so that’s been really exciting. On a personal note, in a few days of recording this episode, he will be moving from his home in Evergreen, Colorado which is high in the Rocky Mountains about an hour west of Denver. I'm moving up the state and down the mountain a little bit to Boulder, Colorado where they’ll be a little bit closer to civilization and the wonderful things. Their neighbors will be humans as opposed to bears and mountain lions. They'll will have the chance to kind of have a new chapter and a new experience for him and his wife and their two young boys, so excited about that. Moves that he thinks are a great opportunity to recommit and rejuvenate and set new habits and new practices and so he’s really excited about what this transition offers for his family and their personal lives but also for him and his professional life.

 

  • Joey shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter - @thejoeycoleman

www.joeycoleman.com  

 

  • Khashf Joey shared that it's both an interesting and a timely question because as you might imagine with the travel schedule he keeps being on the road about two and a half weeks out of the month and just getting back from a trip about a week ago. He was on the road for about three weeks, his family got sick while they were on the road, so he had to reschedule the recording and that's just never fun to have a sick family especially when you're not at home. That makes it even worse and then they get home and they’re moving in two days. So, his quote would be from the incomparable quote master Winston Churchill who said, “When you're going through hell keep going.” That's kind of what he’s been trying to do as of late and he doesn’t want to be overly dramatic, his life is very blessed and he feels very fortunate but there's been a lot of stress lately with the travel and the move and kind of the craziness of the book launch and a number of things and so his goal has been just to keep putting one foot in front of the other, trusting that this will all eventually work out beautifully.

 

Joey also mentioned that the Nike tagline “Just Do It” is probably if not the best one of the best taglines in the world. He’s not a big fan of taglines because most taglines are watered down platitudes that could easily be given to any company, you could take the tagline and apply it to another company without anyone missing a beat. But he always points to Nike's Just Do it as one of the best out there.

Yanique agreed and stated that it can be applicable to any industry or any area, even in kids going to school who are trying to advance themselves athletically or academically, just let them know that at the end of the day the only thing that's holding you back is your own fear. So “Just Do It.”

   

Links

 

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

 

Mar 20, 2018

David Durham is a mindset and self-mastery business coach, speaker, author and trainer. Before coaching David had the opportunity to build a six-figure business his first year in real estate at the very young age of 20, he is also the author of his first book, “You Must: World-Class Principles for Success” which he is so excited to launch in March. David now helps other self-employed entrepreneurs between the ages of 30 and 50 who have been in business for less than five years to build a thriving business by helping them step out of self-sabotage and step into their success.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • What are some of the top three suggestions or tools that you provide to your business owners or entrepreneurs to ensure that they maintain that level of self-mastery and emotional intelligence so they can lead a team that is all so positive minded?
  • We have a lot of small to medium sized business owners that listen to this show across the world in different countries and many of them have to do their own sales. You know they have to pick up the phone and they have to make sales calls. And as you said when they get rejected sometimes they do attach it to their identity. How do you get rid of that fear before you actually take the telephone up and call someone to tell them about a product or service that you have to offer to them? And of course, to pitch it in a way that it comes up as being authentic in terms of your product or service adding value to their life and providing them with useful benefits. But also in a way that you are able to utilize the skills that you are best suited for, to marry what you are offering with what their business has to offer to their customers.
  • Apart from taking a different perspective, are there external stimuli that you could probably expose yourself to that will help you to change your mindset or at least maintain somewhat of a positive mindset throughout the course of your day?
  • What are some of the books that you’ve read recently or maybe in the past that has really helped to grow and develop you as an individual and make you a better person?
  • What is one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

Highlights

 

  • David stated that emotional intelligence and a business is huge, especially for entrepreneurs, self-employed entrepreneurs that have been in business for less than five years. One day you're on top of the world you're ready to conquer everything and then like three days later you're questioning all the moves you've made in the past six months and is this the right choice. It's going through the ups and downs that are extremely hard and emotional intelligence which essentially boils down to your mindset and how self-mastered you are is how resilient can you be when you're facing adversity. People are doubting you and telling you, “You can't do it.” Which he has so many stories around that and just struggling. How are you to persevere through that. Because he believes everyone typically knows what they need to do to get the business where they want to go. Yet many times they're just in their own head and they're in their own way and if they could get out of their own way and out of their head then they could have the success. So, when it comes to mindset and self-mastery, it's about being resilient and being able to face anything with a positive perspective that empowering rather than a perspective in their business that's disempowering and has actually holding them back.

 

  • David stated that this is an amazing question because it's like being a leader in how you lead by example for anyone that works for you which then directly correlates to customer service and the one of the first things he teaches and a certified coach almost finishing the certification of what they teach is seven levels of perspective and when you understand these levels of perspective then you can actually decide how you want to show up each moment, every day you can understand which perspective helps you and how, some of them help you in this situation and other perspectives on the seven levels help you in something else and so one of the tools that he teaches which is going to be hard to get in just on this call. But it's the seven levels of perspective so no matter what happens to you, you can adopt a perspective that's actually going to empower you and help you move forward. So, what that looks like as a leader is when you're implementing the seven levels of perspective, naturally everyone following you, everyone that's looking up to you and you are leading by example sees that and they respect that and then they can grow from that themselves. When it comes to mind and self-mastery, when it comes to the way you think number one's perspective, that's what's going to keep you going and two is how do you overcome fear that’s huge, just fear in general, fear of rejection, fear of failure, feel fear of the unknown and so how do you overcome that. And that's a huge step getting in your business. So, self-employed entrepreneurs that have been in business for less than five years and many times fear rejection, they fear failure and here's where it boils down to. The reason why these fears are there is because they're attaching their identities to results. And so, whether they do great then that means they're great and if they don't that means they don't, so when they fail they take it to mean that their failure. And so, when you feel like a failure then naturally and the thoughts going through your head is “I'm not good enough” when I'm not good enough shows up for you then you're naturally going to feel disempowered, you're going to feel bad about yourself and when you have the thoughts of I'm not good enough. You don't feel good enough then who in their right mind is going to want to take action. Then they let fear overrun them, they let fear overrun their business and now they wonder why it's so hard to take massive action, they wonder why they are procrastinating so much but it's because of that. So, when you can start shifting that perspective it all ties together because you shift the perspective then you start having different thoughts, thoughts that are empowering with those thoughts that you have, you have different emotions. So, now you have a different perspective, different thoughts, different emotions, naturally you are going to take different action because thoughts and emotions equal action. That's a really encompassing of like coaching because many times like his clients would come to him and it's with these stories but all they really need to do is shift the way they're thinking ask themselves better questions and quit identifying with their results as to who they are. Being able to stand in their own skin and say, “I am enough as I am no matter what happens in my organization, no matter what happens my identity isn't attached to this outcome, my identity isn't attached to the failures and it's also not attached to the winds. It just is and I'm enough as I am.” which really allows one to adopt the right perspective an empowering perspective to move forward.

 

  • David stated that everyone listening right now, wants to be able to make those sales calls and prospect and come from a place that's genuine and not feel salesy, like they can make the calls and know that “I'm only here to help, I don't want to feel salesy.” A lot of people don't want to make those calls because they have that fear of rejection and the fear of “What are they going to think about me and if I call people that know me, what are they going to think, they going to think I'm selling them.” how do you overcome that. First thing first, you've got to be 100 percent confident in what you do, your product or your service. Reason being if you are 100 percent for example as a coach, “I knows I can help transform businesses. I know I can help them get out of the way double or triple their income. I have created the results multiple times.” So, when you are 100 percent confident in that then when you reach out in prospect to these people you know, people you don't, whatever it might be, you come from a place of contribution, you come from a place of, “This is what it can do for you. I want to help you because I'm so confident in what I have and I'm so confident that it would help you. It would actually be more an ethical for me to not reach out.” When you can get to a point like that in your business where you can genuinely come from contribution things will start changing because now you're making the calls when you're on the call. Another huge obstacle business owners have is overcoming objections when they say I want to think about it so many business owners say, “Great, when would you like me to call you back?” Rather than digging in, “Well, what is it you want to think about, its financials. Great, tell me more about the financials. Is there anything else other than the financials?” X Y and Z digging into it. Because if you are to come from a place of contribution and you do truly believe in your product and service then you should have no problem overcoming any objection in realizing that an objection is just a request for more information. So, when you're hunting that you're actually coming from a place of, “I just want to help you understand more of how this product or service can best suit you.” And from a customer service standpoint they go hand in hand because you're doing what's best for them. Now on the flip side how do you overcome the fear of making the calls. How do you actually do it? And the first thing first is realize you attach your identities to your outcomes, realize wow OK now I see that when I get hung up on told no hundreds of times, I'm attaching that to me, no one wants to talk to me. When you can just start making that distinction then you can start changing it. Here's a fun story, when he hopped into real estate his first year, he was 19 years old in the business, he got told by everybody that there's thousands of other agents, “What makes you any different, you're not old enough, who's going to trust you with the sale of their house and so much more.” And so, he would literally call over 700 people every single day. He would talk to over 100 people every single day. He got told no, he got told you’re a low life, you're a bottom feeder. Go get a real job and get cussed at. He’d get hung up on every single day and then he would go on the appointments that he did create for the first few months, he lost the client so he felt terrible about myself. All he’s getting is rejected, all he’s getting told is no. “Oh my gosh, what in the world.” So, he kept pursuing that to overcome the fear of calling and the fear of reaching out as realizing one, they're getting hung up on, what are three perspectives that he could adopt that mean nothing about him, 1) They could have just gotten into a car crash, 2) Their dog just died. 3) They're going through a divorce. 4) He interrupted them during dinner. 5) They are sick. Great, he just created five reasons of why they hung up on him, didn't answer whatever that meant nothing to do with him. So, if you can do that in business rather than saying they didn't answer so they clearly don't want to talk, they didn't call me back, so they clearly don't want to talk. They hung up on me. They clearly are not interested. I've called them four times they haven't responded. Rather than taking it to mean they don't want to talk to me, they don't want my product, they don't want my service, maybe I'm not good enough, thinking “Wow, well they could be really busy in their business, they could be going through some really tough times and haven't had a chance to come around.” You have a choice to adopt other perspectives.

 

Yanique then stated that's a very good perspective to look at. So, it's kind of like you're projecting that clearly just as how your life has challenges and obstacles and hurdles that you have to overcome every day, they're are human too and they probably have their own obstacles, hurdles and challenges and maybe their obstacles and hurdles are way surpassing what you are actually going through. So that's why you weren't able to get in touch, so then you don't take it personally and absorb all of the negative energy that you're getting from the nos.

 

David also mention that in realizing that you're making assumptions and you’re making interpretations, you're assuming that it's about you in your interpreting them not calling to mean something about you. That assumption, interpretation has just as much validity as saying they got in a car accident has nothing to do with you. It has just as much validity of saying I might have caught them in between work or when they were at dinner. You don't know the real answer, so which perspective are you willing to adopt that's actually going to help you move forward in a positive light. And to add to that really quick, David mentioned that he called one of these prospects, he called her over 26 times in less than 3 months, that's a lot of phone calls and she never called him back, she never texted him back, she never got back to him via e-mail and one day she called him, “Hey David, I need you to come list my property. I'm so sorry I haven't gotten back to you, things have been crazy on my end. I've been going through so much but I appreciate your follow up.” That goes to show we can't assume and interpret it to mean things about us.

 

Yanique mentioned how puts a nice spin on it. In all the years that she has been doing customer service training on workshops with customers, one of the challenges or one of the comments that she has gotten from participants in workshops is when the customers come at them so angrily, they're disrespectful. As David mentioned a lot of it. They told you you're a bottom feeder, you were worth less, you should go find a different job. So, in a customer facing environment the customers are going to tell you a lot of things if their product or service isn't working and if you are not responding to them in a way that they expect you to respond, they're going to actually start attacking you. And a lot of the employees take that attack as a personal attack. Her approach with them is don't take it personally because a lot of times these customers don't know you personally and they're really hurting because of the issue they're having, maybe before they came to your business place they had a bad argument with their kid or are with their boss or maybe someone bad drove them on the road. So, they're frustrated, they're angry, so they come into your business place already with a negative mindset.

 

Yanique then asked why is it that as human beings when people start to say things to us that we don't want to hear we assumed the negative and not the positive.

 

David stated he’s not a scientist to say well this is why according to X, Y, and Z. He stated that there are studies to show how strong, it's easier to be negative than it is positive. We are human beings, we jumped to the worst-case scenario many times we may make it to believe something about us we take it personally. Everyone listening that is facing that struggle, it's not your fault. It's being human, it's not your fault. And now it's your responsibility to choose to not take it personally, it's your responsibility to realize, “Wow, the assumption is that I'm making is that it's about me when in reality well why could they be acting this way. Maybe they got cut off when they were driving to work and then the coffee spilled on them when they got their car. They stub to their toe on the curb, they rolled into the office five minutes late, got yelled at then called you, maybe that happened.” So, it comes back to what interpretation, what assumption, what story in perspective are you going to decide to roll but realize it's totally human nature to get upset to take it personally. And now it's your responsibility to change that.

 

  • In order to change or maintain your mindset positive throughout the course of the day, David mention that you have to take note of the conversations that you're participating in. It's the people that are around. So, even if you're at work, if you're a business owner typically you can kind of choose who you're around and if you're employee maybe you don't. But you can choose the conversations that you engage with. There's that quote that he finds very interesting is that “Small minded people talk about other people; average minds talk about events and brilliant minds talk about ideas.” And it just comes down to like what kind of conversations are you having. Because most people are talking about other people and they're talking about events and they're complaining and they're being negative. If you're around those conversations then you can't adopt that different perspective. You can, it's going to be really difficult too. Yet if you just start controlling who you put yourself around and what conversations you're engaging in then things can really shift for you, the conversations that you are having could really change your life, they can become much more empowering, you’re going to start putting yourself around more positive people. So, every time you're engaged in a conversation ask yourself, “Is this a conversation worth having, is this moving me forward in any kind of way or is this gossip, is this negativity, is this complaining?” And that little awareness that you have can significantly make a difference.

 

Yanique then reiterate, so matters not where you are in the organization whether you are the employee or you're the boss. Think about who you're speaking to and what kind of conversations you're having. There's a quote that says, “You are a combination of the five people that you spend the most time with.”

 

David agreed 120% and said that elevating your peer group is huge, it's consistently have to edit it if you want to take your business to the next level. Look who you are around, you’re the average of the five people you’re on the most. Yanique mention if you're going to move forward you clearly need to look at who your circle of influence is and try to position yourself where people who can actually help you move forward mentally, spiritually, and emotionall

 

  • David mention that there's so many different types of books and so many different kinds of genres. So, he actually got three that he’s going to share that he thinks made a really significant impact for him. One of them is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. It's huge, it has played a big role in his life and he kind of knows it like the back of his head and it's implemented now in his life and in his business. The second book is something that's really going to help someone show up emotionally in a great way every single day. This correlates to customer service because it's a sense of controlling how you feel and how you think so and so when someone's yelling at you, how are you going to give them the best customer experience. So, this book's Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Tony Robbins huge book. It is a long book but it is a powerful, powerful book. It's something you definitely want to read. And then the third book is The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone. He stands by that book because things really do take ten times the amount of work that we expect. You want to raise your level of customer service to a high level, it's going to take more work than you think, you might need a 10 x action plan that you have. You want to build that business so you can have more business and still give them the same experience, you're typically going after 10x your efforts and so he goes into depth about that in that book.

   

  • David stated that the beauty of his business, he keeps it very simplistic. Like all these crazy apps, all these crazy tools, he doesn’t use that. So, to answer the question, there isn't one. What he would say that helps him deliver the highest level of customer service, to be able to engage with his clients and his tribe and things like that to give them a great experience would be their customer relationship management system that I use which is Ontraport, it’s one of his favorite ones just from marketing being able to engage with them. That's my favorite but as far as like a tool, website, app, I keep his Google Docs everything centralized in one place.

 

  • David shared that something that he’s pumped about is his first book. You Must: World-Class Principles for Success. It will launch in March and he’s just thrilled to get this out to the world. Got his final round of editing complete, getting his author copy and it's going to be released to the world in just a couple of short weeks.

  

  • David shared listeners can find him at –

www.davidwdurham.com

Facebook – david.durham

Instagram - davidwdurham

www.therocketentrepreneur.com

   

  • David shared that he has many quotes and he can give a couple. One of them is, “I am enough as I am.” in all transparency he thinks no matter what level of business you get to talk to millionaires that sometimes they wake up and they feel like they're not good enough and so no matter what happens in life, no matter what happens in your business, you are enough as you are. And the second one is, he really looks how far he has come and never how far he has to go. Being an entrepreneur we're also hungry, we are business owners, we have these huge visions and as we grow the vision just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. And sometimes we forget how far we've come. And we only look at how far we have to go. One of those reminders is he always look how far he has come and never how far he has to go.

 

Yanique mention that it's like you're reviewing all of your accomplishments so you can be proud of yourself and give yourself a pat on the back and some level of recognition versus, I have so far to go and you're beating yourself up for not maybe meeting a deadline or doing something within a specific period of time but rather focusing on the things that you have done well and that you have accomplished so that it can propel you to move forward.

 

Links

 

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

 

Feb 27, 2018

Highlights

 

This episode Yanique Grant is going to talk about how do you strengthen a business that is struggling and how does customer service play the role in that business. You have a business and whether it’s an online or a brick and mortar business where you have customers physically coming into your location, at the end of the day you have customers. Let’s say your business is one in which it was really doing well, there was a time when every month sales was booming, there was not enough hands to cover the amount of business that was coming in and for some reason, things start to struggle, there are many different reasons why your business will start to struggle, however, Yanique thinks that before you decide how you’re going to approach fixing this challenge or moving forward as it relates to getting your business from struggling to getting things right, one of the main things as a business owner that you really should do is review what worked well when things were good, so it’s always a great place to start. Look at your sales and marketing initiatives when your business was good, how are you retaining and servicing your existing customers, how are you attracting new customers, was your product adding value at a time when it was needed most, has the market needs changed since then, if it has, what have you done to adapt and adjust your own product offerings? Look at your team, did you have key team players that are no longer there, have you been working with your team to ensure that they are fully equipped with product knowledge, so we know in the sales cycle product knowledge is the first step but there are many other things that create that or build that relationship with the customer and because it’s so expensive to acquire a new customer and it’s much cheaper a customer that has done business with you already, it’s important to recognize, “What did we do well, what were the key indicators that would have identified that this relationship went well, the customer got value out of the experience, how can I repeat that so that the customer will come back again?” If a once successful business is struggling, it’s almost always a people related issue, not financing, not capital, it’s always an employee issue, a management issue or even the owners, somewhere along the way something broke, now there’s a disconnect between the owner’s concept and what people did that with that concept, the problem maybe entitlement, complacency, laziness or even ego, eventually between the reality of the market place and the company’s ability to act within that reality something fractured until it was too late, so always start with the people because it’s always about the people. As the business owner, you should always be reviewing what works well and what does not, auditing your best practices and making sure that they are aligned with your goals and of course ensuring your clients are satisfied and will return again, it’s just so important.

 

Customer service is so important in a business, whether you’re a small business, a medium business or a large business, your customer can make or break your business. From the owner to the employee that is the first point of contact, everyone should be operating with the customer first in mind. The customer service landscape is constantly changing and now a day’s customers are very informed because of this age of information, right now whether you have tablet or a phone or you have a computer, the information is right at the tip of your fingers. Everyone in the business needs to have clear understanding of the customer lifetime value, the CLV and what it means to lose one customer, how much money are you throwing away when the customer never returns and tells 50 or more people which will influence their decisions for future purchases. The reality is if there is no customer, there’s simply no business, even if it’s an online business or a face to face business, you need the customer for the business to operate, you need somebody to buy your product, you need somebody to buy your service. The experience that the customer has is critical for the revival of any business, so if you’re struggling and you’re not focusing on customer service, you’re not focusing on the experience, you’re just focus on collecting the money and you’re not focusing on whether or not what the customer is getting is actually what they want then you’re actually creating more problems for the business. Customers want to be business with companies that make it easy, they all desire an effortless experience, so as a struggling business, one of your most important matrix should be customer service and some simple reasons why you should pay keen attention this includes: 1) Customer retention is far less expensive than customer acquisition, on average it cost approximately 5 times more to attract a new customer to your business than it cost to retain an existing customer. 2) Existing customers are more likely to buy from you than new customers, the probability of selling to new customer hovers in the range 5% to 20%, whereas selling to an existing customer resides in the range of 60% to 70%. 3) Excellent customer service improves public persona and strengthens your brand; the reputation and strength of your brand is highly dependent on a high level of customer service. 4) Word of mouth advertising is the best kind of advertising that money can’t buy. So, you want your customers to be selling your business, the reality is to get a 30 second advertisement during primetime is extremely expensive, to put a full-page advertisement in your local newspaper is as expensive as TV if not more and so if your customers can leave and they can tell 5 people about the great experience they’ve had and how your product is amazing, if it’s a hotel, “Oh my goodness, I would go back again.” If it’s a phone, “It’s amazing, it’s really good, the battery last long, the service is good when I call the manufacturer, they’re very receptive, they answer my questions, they are able to fix my issue in short frame of time.” If it’s your web developer or your web hosting provider, if your website goes down or if there is any issue you can call them, they answer the phone, you get live person, it’s not a situation where you can only speak on web chat which is so frustrating because you have to be typing out everything that you’re experiencing and you’re not actually physically speaking with a live person in a voice call, all of these things contribute to the customer’s experience. So, you cannot buy word of mouth advertising, the kind that can have a monumental effect on a business because it’s priceless, people are considerably more likely to listen to advise of a friend than they are to heed the guidance from some online reviewer and advertisement that you paid for. 5) Great customer service will open doors for new partnerships and other opportunities, treating your customers like gold is infectious it opens the door for new partnerships especially when other businesses see just how well you take care of your existing customers, you’re setting the mark, you’re being the innovator and people are going to want to emulate you and follow what you’re doing. It says a lot about a company and what they value when they care deeply about their customers and not just their external customers but also their internal customers, their employees. It’s something that you rarely find in businesses these days but it most certainly paves the way for powerful partnerships, collaborations and other opportunities. So, these are some basic things that you can do if you’re a struggling business and you’re really trying to revamp and re-engage and come back out into the market place and bring your business to a level where it can survive. Customer service is not for the faint of heart, it requires a lot of energy, it requires a lot of engagement and it requires you to be authentic and genuine. The customer can sense if you’re just there to collect money or if you’re really there to be there partner so that you can help them grow and you can look for opportunities to give them suggestions, you look for opportunities to save them money, you look for opportunities to make them money, it’s a partnership, they help you, you help them, it’s not a one way giving activity, it’s a 2-way street where people give and people receive equally and we just have to be focused on that. Your business can be revived and customer service plays and integral role in strengthening your business if it is struggling. One of the things that Yanique wants to challenge you from this episode is, we’re just moving into the end of the first quarter of 2018, think about the customers you’ve serviced since the year as started, have you added value to that experience? will they come back and buy again? why will they come back and buy again? and would you consider yourself to be a market leader in your industry, one that innovates, one that creates an effortless experience, ask yourself these questions, really think about when you were doing well, what you were doing well, is that you had a team member on board that was there that’s no longer there, can you invest more in the teams members that exist in your organization currently, what can you do differently to create that experience that will cause your customers to leave and say good things about you and come back again because service is the back bone for the survival of any business, especially a business that is struggling.          

 

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

 

Feb 23, 2018

Highlights

 

This episode was inspired by a recent TV interview that Yanique Grant completed. Yanique will be speaking about the growing power of the consumer which important in customer service. In the interview, one of the main things that the interviewer asked her was, “The conscious customer, why is the customer so conscious and how is that the consumer holds the power in this whole buying process of customer service?” The customer holds the power in the market place probably for the first time and it’s all because of the internet, consumers are very well informed before they do business or they buy from you, they engage in extensive research from your website, to your social media pages where products and services are available for them to get a temperature of what it’s like to be your customer and how the product may or may not work. They’re going to ask questions from their friends, their family members and of course the feedback they get from those persons will determine whether or not they will continue to do business with you or if they’ll even become a customer for you. It is so important to ensure that the experience that the customer has with you is one which is positive and that the reputation that your brand has in the market place is one that is positive. Consumers are so aware and conscious of trends, for example in the health care industry, many businesses such as restaurants and even fast foods chains have had to modify their menus and have an option that has less calories or is gluten free or promote eco friendliness and protecting the environment because consumers are looking for businesses that are aligned with the things that they value the most. It’s also important for the brands and the companies to ensure that they are very transparent in their interactions and their activities, according to a Deloitte study, “The way how the shift has occurred is consumers prefer to pull information rather than have business push it to them.” so consumers and very conscious these days, they’re aware of what’s happening and as the business you have to be aware of this and be very knowledgeable. One of the challenges business face, is how are they going to close the gap when they are dealing with millions of individual expectations, so the business needs to invest in developing capabilities to integrate and track every individual journey and offer a targeted response in real time if they want to continue to grow revenues and profits while also improving customer satisfaction. Consumers have always had the ability to vote with their feet and their wallets, they can walk in to your business and spend lots of money and they can walk out of your business and spend money elsewhere. While the digital revolution has handed the additional power to the consumer, including more information and more choices, we are now in the information age, you can basically google, research anything on your own, there’s no need for you to try to figure out, “How am I going to know about this organization or this individual?” because the information is right there at your fingertips and it’s also a very good point or indication if you’re researching someone and you’re not able to find any information on them because that also gives you clues as to how recognized they are and what is their credibility in this particular field, the consumer has way more choice but consumers have found ways of dealing with this choice issue and many now use tools such as social media or price comparison websites to perfect their choice and exert their power, so the ability of consumers to distribute information using a variety of networks, digital media devices and platforms not only lets them connect with their peers, it also helps to enrich the information shared.

 

There are so many ways that you can share the information for the consumer to know what’s going on in your business, there are the social media pages, there’s Twitter, there is Facebook, there is Instagram, there is your website, you can have a blog, there is a lot of ways you can get information out there so that you can be more accessible to the consumer. Customers are very concerned about what their family and friends say, and according to Deloitte study, it shows that for the majority of consumers, families and friends consumer reviews and independent experts are the most trusted sources of information, only around 1 in 10 customers find product and manufacturers or service providers to be their most trusted source, so there is no doubt that the consumer has become a professional shopper, their confidence has grown along with a better awareness of their rights. The consumer’s ability to exercise this power has also reduced their perceived level of risk and with consumers increasingly knowing where to get the information they need, more preferred to pull information rather than have the business push that information to them. This is just to broaden your mind and open your scope in terms of how you think about your business, why the consumer has so much power and really think about how you can empower your employees so that they can handle situations, they can provide good, quality information to your customers, they can create value in the life of your customers, because the more value you create, is the more loyal customers you’ll have. People like to know when they’re doing business with you, it’s an effortless experience but in addition to it being an effortless experience, it is also one that is adding value to their business or life depending on whatever service or product you provide for them. Yanique wanted to take the time and share some of the highlights that we really got out of the whole experience and overview of the conscious consumer and consumer’s power and if you’d like to learn more about this particular study that Deloitte did and also gain some understanding of why the consumer has so much power and why you need to equip your team members with has much knowledge and power so that they can serve your customers better and that you can have more business and create greater loyalty and have a better brand image in your market and just dominate.  

 

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course 

 

Deloitte Study – The Growing Power of Consumers

Jan 16, 2018

Joshua March is the founder and CEO of Conversocial a cloud solution that enables businesses to deliver customer service over Social Media at a large-scale. Conversocial is used in the contact centers of hundreds of major retailers, banks, telcos and other brands to enable them to manage the high volumes of complaints and questions they're receiving through social networks like Facebook and Twitter, including Google, Hertz, Tesco, Barclaycard, Hyatt hotels and many more. 

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Your company caters more to organizations that are serving customers on a large scale, can the service also be provided to persons who are not serving customers on a large scale?
  • What are some of the things based on the line of business that you are in that you see coming into play in the near future in terms of customer service and what do you see coming as things that we need to prepare ourselves for more as businesses?
  • Is there a formula that exits out there to measure effort?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What is one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

Highlights

  • Joshua stated that he has been working in the social media space for many years. His previous company was called iPlatform and they were one of the first ever companies building applications on top of Facebook for brands back in 2007/2008, the early days and while he was really excited about the use of the app platforms which you may remember back then like Farmville and stuff like that. He was really excited about how those platforms could be used by brands to engage with their customers. What he pretty quickly realized was that the really, really big change that was happening wasn’t in just how people were communicating and that there was this big shift going on which pretty much happened now but it's continuing to happen away from other types of digital communication and into Social Media and mobile messaging primarily on And the he included mobile messaging within the Social Media, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, now What’s App, coming up We Chat, so it's not just the public, it's the private side as well. He really saw that as the future of how everyone individually would be communicating with each other and he really believed that as these channels became the dominant communication channels then that would change how businesses had to communicate with their customers too and it would be really important to customer service and that suddenly happened. The start of that was really people turning to the public side of Social Media to kind of escalate complaints about a business and get a response. And while that still goes on it's actually transitioned now to be much more about businesses just investing into the private side, private messaging with these channels. The preferred customer service channels and that's all the reasons for that. A - It's much better from a consumer side, it's so effortless and easy for someone to pull out their phone and message your brand, it means that you get really high customer satisfaction if you promote it as a service channel and from a business perspective it's great to get that customer satisfaction but it's also a great efficient channel, you can manage these digital messaging channels and in an asynchronous way that’s highly efficient from an agent workflow perspective. And with the launch of the bot platform is much easier to automate and so it's just become this channel that is really much better than anything else out there from a cost perspective and customer satisfaction perspective.

 

  • Joshua stated that the background to that was that they’ve been going 5/6 years now and their (Conversocial) software is from real customer service software, they spend a lot of time building a real case management system into the ability to have automated routing and workflows dashboards where you can see exactly what your agents are doing. Now all of those kinds of functionality become really useful as soon as you have a team of agents. Now if you go back 3, 4, 5 years ago, the volume of people who were coming through and complaining through Social Media and mobile messaging was only really a couple of percent of all of your inbound volume. And what that meant was that for a small, medium sized businesses, it was it really wasn't a lot of volume and it was something that probably just some agents or have a couple of agents maybe they're just doing that on the side. But if you're a big business even 2% it's still a lot. And so, the big businesses even in those early days were still setting up 10, 20, 30 full time agents to do customer service through Social Media and mobile messaging. And they are really kind of catering to that audience. Now today it's actually starting to shift a bit because as you start really promoting, if you stop promoting like message us as your main customer service channel or if you're using the new Facebook Messenger customer champ plugin which allows you to actually paddle Web chat on your site using Facebook Messenger. They have customers who are doing that and Facebook Messenger is now responsible for 44% of all of that service volume including phone Nino and so once the volume start getting that high which they do if you're promoting it, even if you have a much smaller team of agents you're still going to need multiple agents just handling social messaging. And then a platform like Conversocial becomes extremely valuable. So, you still need to have a team but the companies that need a team of that size for social messaging becoming smaller and smaller as the volumes keep getting bigger and bigger.

Yanique mentioned that his business caters to the type of customer that needs the information now. Gone are the days when you'd write a letter and submit it to the organization through the mail and a couple of weeks or months later you get back our response plans. The clients that we're dealing with nowadays there’re in the now age.

Joshua agreed and stated that we live in an in the moment world where people are expecting almost real-time response to everything. And if you're going to take days to respond, they're probably just going to phone you at that point, people need an answer or they'll just go to a competitor, that's the reality. But on the flip side, one of the great things about digital messaging and asynchronous messaging as opposed to traditional web chat is that it's more like texting a friend and texting a friend it's pretty much real time that they're responding in 5 minutes. And if there is occasionally a message it takes a little bit longer and some are shorter and that's fine. And the traditional web chat world that doesn't work because the web chat world is like sitting there with the chat box open when waiting for a response and so you have to have current agents online responding within seconds. But with an asynchronous messaging you can even out those bums most a lot more easily and you can have a smaller number of agents handling a much larger number of customers as a result. Because as soon as you respond that pops up as a notification on their phone, they don't have to be sitting there paying attention all the time. So, it's very convenient for both the customers and for customer service agents. 

  • Joshua stated that messaging is really what's growing, it’s going to dominate the industry and depending where you are, there are different messaging platforms. Now the one that's very exciting from people in many areas of the world especially Europe, U.K, South America is WhatsApp. WhatsApp is just such a dominant messaging platform that has completely replaced SMS in many parts of the world via internet. They're just starting to experiment with business accounts and the word on the street is that some point this year probably early this year. They're going to be releasing business tools and releasing an API which allows platforms like theirs to help their customers manage them. And he thinks that as soon as that happens it's going to become a huge, huge business to consumer channel. He thinks a lot of businesses are desperate for it, a lot of clients, customers would love it, it’s super convenient. People are using all the time already, so, he thinks that's going to release load this year. There is one which is very interesting, probably not going to explode in the same way because they're going to be much more careful and constrained about how they release it is Apple Business Chat, so this is Apple's business chat solution built on top of IMessages. Apple's nesting system is completely integrated with text messaging, so it’s used on iPhone and it goes blue and that's with IMessaging and getting more capabilities so that they're enabling brands to have business accounts. And what's exciting about this, there are two main exciting things. One is security, they're very well-known for privacy and security similar to WhatsApp in that regard. The other thing is discoverability and this is where they're going to really have a very interesting advantage over other messaging platforms. And there are two parts to it, one is in maps. So, if you are in apple maps looking at a local restaurant or a coffee shop there will be a button that says message them and you'll be able to just message them straight away and be like, “Hey, I want to order this or I want to order that” tightly integrated with Apple Pay, you could pay seamlessly and then go pick it up or they deliver it. And that could actually act as a kind of intermediary problem like the kind of post mates and stuff like, where at the moment of sitting in between and potentially this can make it super easy to go straight to a restaurant. And that's one area of discoverability and the maps the other area is with Siri the voice system. And this is where it gets really cool especially for big brands. We will acquire hotels, if you want to like message them saying you want to extend your stay for the night, how do you do that today, you have to look them up. You could message them on Facebook if you know about that and you have the app, you could DM them on Twitter there is always things that they're promoting in interesting ways but with business chat you’ll just be able to say, “Hey Siri, message Hyatt tell them I want to stay another night.” It's done, no app needed. Nothing else. It just like sends that message and Hyatt can respond over text, you can even pay using Apple Pay on your phone if you wanted. That's a pretty cool and like seamlessly integrated experience and will potentially bring voice assistance into like how people are into engaging with businesses for the first time. Apple is going to be very careful in how they roll that out and the brands they work with, they want to make sure they create really nice experiences. He thinks there's some really exciting stuff with that and could be pretty meaningful.

Yanique mentioned that a big part of what she heard in a lot of what Joshua said was convenience. She thinks convenience is definitely one of the key differentiators that businesses who are disrupting the whole customer experience platform, they're really killing it in that area and making life more convenient for their customers because that to her is just a very convenient.

Joshua stated that there is a huge amount of data which talks about the benefits for this, his favorite book on this subject is The Effortless Experience : Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon, Nicholas Toman and Rick Delisi of CEB, who is now part of Gartner and it's a book that’s given to lot of a lot of his clients and Effortless Experience costly had a huge amount of data from years like large studies and it shows that the most important thing that affects customer loyalty after a service interaction is the effort that they have to put in to getting their true result. When someone has a problem or a complaint or an issue, they just want that issue to be solved as soon as possible, as easily as possible and it's very hard to increase their loyalty following any service interaction even if you really go crazy go above and beyond. They had an issue and you solved it great, they're not going to be ecstatic, maybe they'll be a little bit happier, what happens in the majority of cases, is that their loyalty is reduced and the data shows that if you do anything that makes it harder for them to get their issue solved; it has a massive negative impact on loyalty. If you make them jump through any hoops to speaks with an agent that they have to repeat themselves, they have to tell one person one thing and then they have to speak to someone else and tell them the same thing again. Anything like that which is just annoying and hassle or puts a delay, puts them on hold has a really, really negative impact. And so, if you can just reduce that effort, then you could have a massive impact on Customer Loyalty. He thinks this is the core of what makes social messaging so powerful is that it’s just so effortless. He spent the last year writing a book as well which is going to be coming out this quarter which he’s excited about and it's going to be called “Message Me”, it's all about the future of customer service and looks at the impact of messaging and he talks a lot about effortless experience in that book because he thinks that in many ways they kind of figured out the foundation and they could have asked this question, “How do you make it effortless?” And he doesn’t think that technology was really there at the time when they wrote book to actually implement it. But he thinks that with messaging, we finally do have the technology to implement a service channel which really can be completely effortless for consumers and that's super exciting.

Yanique stated that one of the things that she’s most amazed about as it relates to customer experience as well is regardless of where you are from in the world or however you are socialized, whether you're from Europe, North America, South America or the Caribbean, at the end of the day because we're all human beings, we're all yearning for that connection we're all yearning for some basic needs to be met. As Joshua said, she agreed that if you have to put in less effort you are more likely to go along with that particular service provider because they make life much easier for you. You have so many hurdles to jump over on a daily basis, whereas, if you're running a business, you're a family maker, you have a husband to take care of or a wife, kids up and down, just so many things pulling in all different directions. So, if you can do business with an organization that is looking out for you in that aspect and they're pulling you in less directions and they make it super easy kind of like Amazon, you can sit down in the convenience of your own home and basically order whatever you'd like to order and it's delivered to you, you don't have to go into the store and stress yourself out walking up and do figuring out which aisle it is in. Everything can be purchased with the click of a button, it really does definitely drive you to be loyal to that organization because you look back on those experiences and that's what would make you continue doing business with them.

Joshua agreed and stated that it’s important and he thinks not enough businesses really pay attention to it today. People are used to the point of looking at measuring customer satisfaction and empty apps. I actually love to see more and more businesses measuring customer satisfaction and NPS but he would actually love to see more and more businesses people measuring effort and measure how convenient, how effortless was it for them to get help, he thinks that would be really impactful for a lot of businesses.

 

  • Joshua stated that in measuring effort, there isn't a standard kind of well-known way in the same way that you have NPS for example. There's a great case study from one of their customers British Telecom, telecoms company in the UK where they took this pretty seriously and they created what they call a Net Easy Score and very simple, they just asked people after service interaction, “How do you find that experience? How hard or easy was it to resolve the experience?” and it was just three answers. It was easy to resolve, it was it was difficult or it was kind of mutual. So, super simple question and they rolled that out across all of their service channels and they started tracking customer retention and the retention of the customers who'd reported that they had an easy service experience versus the customers that said they had a hard service experience and they found a huge difference. They found the customers who'd had a hard service experience were difficult to resolve their issue was 40% more likely to churn over the next three months, 40% more likely which is a huge number. So, they made a massive impact on whether those customers would stay as customers or not and when they actually looked at the different kind of Net Easy Score as they call it for different channels they found that social media and messaging and webchat that were the easiest channels by a long way, they were easier than phone by 4 to 1 and they were easier than email and cell service by 2 to 1. So, a huge impact for online business from understanding that and these are pretty simple way of asking a question.

Yanique asked if this question is asked after every interaction with their business or is it a question that they ask maybe on a yearly basis based on the customers who are their clients. 

Joshua stated that they did the actual, so, before they started working with them so he doesn’t know exactly how they do it. The way that they help their clients do surveys today through social and messaging is that your after-service interaction has been closed and resolved, then they send out an automatic survey inside the messaging thread from the Facebook Messenger or Twitter that ask them whatever question they want to have set up. So, it's after every service interaction, he thinks that's the best way to get that kind of data.

Yanique agreed and mentioned that people do remember the experience that they have had within the first 24 hours and then after that if it's not super great or really bad, they really don't remember the details. So, that question should be asked after each interaction.

Joshua mention that they see that the faster you get out after the issue has been resolved, the higher the response rate.

 

  • Joshua stated that he is a pretty highly motivated person in general. His overall motivation is really about the stuff that they want to achieve as a business. And when he set out starting the business, he had this kind of very clear vision, he was like, “There's a reason that everyone is switching to these channels from a consumer perspective.” That's because it's a better channel, it's more efficient, it's easier, it's more convenient, it’s on everyone's phone, the way the messaging organizes communication which is by people instead of subjects is more natural, this is just a better way of communicating. And he really believed and still believe that if companies switch to these forms of communication then it's better for them and better for the customers. And they kind of set out their vision and they set out this clear mission of saying, “Yes, we want to really build the next generation of customer service software.” It's all focused around these new channels which they really believe are better. He gets a huge amount of motivation from seeing them and make that vision become a reality. Every company that they sign up has a customer who then starts more actively promoting these channels and increasing the volume of service issues that’s dealing with messaging instead of phone and email. All of that really gets him excited. He loves to see that continuing success and performance and the things that they’re achieving as a business. He’s kind of prepared to do whatever it takes to help them make that vision become a reality, he doesn’t really think too much about specifically what he enjoys doing during the day or not, it's really just about what he needs to do in order to help them be successful and that's what really gets him excited.

 

  • Joshua stated that the app that we cannot live without would have to be Twitter. They have to use lots of different technology in the business, they love of using different technology. Twitter has this incredible network and he uses it a lot personally, tied to it for the news these days. But they use it huge amount for business as well, they connect with a lot of their customers on there, we connect to a lot of influences, a lot of thought leaders, they do a lot of thought leadership and share a lot of thought leadership through it. So, it's just added such value to his life and to the business.

 

Yanique mentioned that reading Sci-Fi is a very unusual genre of books to read but she can see where Joshua is coming from with it because it kind of opens your mind to the impossible and that's where we're heading.

Joshua agreed and stated that if you're interested in customer service, the future of customer service, you should read his book “Message Me” which is going to be coming out pretty soon which he mentioned earlier as well.

 

  • Joshua stated that something that he’s excited about right now, the book Message Me was the kind of his main passion project over the last year. He really wanted to kind of get down on paper two things, both his thoughts as to what businesses need to be doing today to really benefit from messaging, benefit from automation, how they really need to structure customer service teams, how to train agents how to promote these things in the right way. But then also, his vision for how messaging and automation intelligence are really going to change customer service in the years ahead. So that's been a big labor of love actually he just went to the printers a few days ago. So, he’s pretty excited about that, so that's a really big one. Outside of that, he’s also a big fan of personal development, he’s been getting more and more into meditation over the last year and in a few weeks, he’s actually about to go do his first Meditation Retreat where he’ll be on a silent meditation retreat for 10 days. So, he’s excited about that and slightly nervous.

 

  • Joshua shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter - @joshuamarch

www.conversocial.com

Twitter - @conversocial

LinkedIn - Joshua March

   

  • Joshua shared that a quote that comes to mind is the quote from Winston Churchill, “When going through hell, keep going” he really loves that quote, the key for any entrepreneur but is really true for anyone trying to achieve anything big in life is really persistence and grit, whatever you do and whatever you try to do and the bigger the thing you trying to do, the more ambitious it is, the harder it’s going to be. The more road blocks you’re going to face, the more mistakes you’re going to make and failures you’re going to have, every single person no matter how successful has those failures, in fact, the more successful you are, the more failures you’ve had and the key throughout all of it is to never give up and to keep going, pick yourself up, learn from your mistakes, keep evolving and that’s really the only thing that will get you anywhere in life.

Links

 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Jan 9, 2018

Dan's 20-year career has consistently focused on delighting customers, spanning multiple disciplines including Social Media, Customer Service, Marketing, and Digital Customer Experience. Dan is the author of the new book, Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media, which is available on Amazon. He also co-hosts the Experience This! podcast, a weekly look at what’s working – and not working! – in the world of customer experience. Previously, Dan hosted the Focus on Customer Service Podcast, where he interviewed nearly four dozen brands which are renowned for outstanding customer service in Social Media, garnering tips and best practices. The podcast was named one of "The 50 Best Customer Retention Podcasts to Help You Attract, Engage and Retain Customers" by NGDATA. A frequent conference speaker, at conferences such as: Social Media Marketing World, Social Shake-Up, Corporate Social Media Summit, The Customer Service Summit, The Secret Service Summit, and more, Dan has also been named to several notable industry lists, including:

 

  • "The 30 Most Influential People in Social Customer Service" by Conversocial
  • "The Top 15 NPS & Customer Service Thought Leaders to Follow in 2017" by CustomerGauge

 

Dan has also been responsible for Social Media, digital marketing, and customer experience at several Fortune 300 brands, including being the Senior Director of Global Social Media at McDonald’s Corporation, Head of Digital Marketing at Humana and Head of Digital Customer Experience and Social Media at Discover. He played a key role in Discover winning its first J.D. Power Award for “Highest in Customer Satisfaction.” Dan also holds a B.A. in Psychology and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and he has an M.B.A. in Marketing and Strategy from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He resides in Chicago with his family and is an avid Cubs fan.

 

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • What are some tips for an organization who is now embarking on using social media as a part of their marketing tool or their marketing strategy?
  • What are some of the main things you have noticed over the years as being in customer care on social media? Why do you think people tend to flock to social media?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What is one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

 

Highlights

 

  • Dan Gingiss has been a marketer for more than 20 years and the role that really pushed him into customer experience was at Discover Card. He was recruited into a role in the digital team and asked to lead Digital Customer Experience and it was interesting to him because the guy that recruited him there who is the Chief Digital Officer noticed something about him or was able to verbalize something about him that he had not actually figured out about himself yet and he said that the reason why he wanted him to lead this with very little digital experience on his resume was that he had a unique ability to always be wearing the customer hat in almost every meeting he was in. And so, as he thought about that he was like, “Yeah, that actually is me.” He loves to put myself into the customer's shoes and try to be the customer so that he knows what it is that he’d like to see or what he’d like to experience and that helps him to design better experiences so that was a really fun role for him because his team was leading the website and eventually the mobile app. And just to give an idea, Discover which is not even one of the biggest Credit Cards in the U.S. gets almost 50 million logins a month on their website. So, it is the key way that customers engage with their Credit Card company. And so, there's so many opportunities to improve and develop new experiences as they do that. So that was his role. It also got him into Social Media and in Social Media as a marketer, the thing that interested him the most was that it's the first and only Marketing Channel where people can actually talk back to you. So, every other Marketing Channel the brand gets to have a megaphone and kind of shout its message at people and people either have to listen or perhaps they can turn off or change the channel. But this is the first channel where people can talk back to and that was immediately fascinating to him because he knew that companies that engage with their customers were going to be differentiated and that in itself was a way to improve the customer experience. So, that's kind of how he got into this and from there it's just been something that he has been fascinated by. He has written about it, he has been podcasting about it, and it continues to be a topic that he thinks is absolutely critical for virtually every business out there.

 

Yanique mentioned that the whole platform of customer experience over the years clearly has changed as indicated in the introduction where Dan said before traditionally marketers would be using a megaphone and kind of shouting their messages to the customer. A big part of customer experience now especially with Social Media is that the customer now has a platform by which they can express their voice and so testimonials have become such an integral role in terms of customers making decisions. It's no longer what you say the brand is but it's not what your customers say the experience and the brand experience is like.

 

Dan agreed and stated that we all expect that when we go to a business's website, that website is going to tell us great things about the business because it's speaking, so we're used to that. And that's a good first step to figure out what it is we're getting ourselves into but with almost any product or service the very next step is to figure out what other people are saying and whether that's a ratings and reviews site or it's looking up the company on Facebook or on Twitter. These are really important steps in the buying journey. And so, the extent to which companies can ensure that as prospects go through that buying journey they're hearing good things about their company or if they're hearing complaints that they're seeing a company that cares enough to listen to those complaints and respond to them. That's becoming really critical and he thinks the companies that are figuring it out are the ones that are getting more business because people are taking into consideration besides price and product, they're taking into consideration the willingness of the company to engage with me if I have a problem as a as a big part of the decision.

 

  • Dan stated that when social started that's exactly what brands did is they said, “Hey, this is another way for us to shout our message at the masses.” It's a cheap way for us to do that especially back in the day before it became mostly a paid channel. And he thinks that they quickly figured out that this was a different kind of channel and that customers were not going to stand around for just hearing marketing messages. If you think about it, what's amazing about Social Media is that all the power has shifted from the company to the customer, the customer at any time can unfollow a company or just not pay attention to it anymore. And as we all know when we look at our streams and Facebook and Twitter we're seeing a lot of content. So, it's very easy for us to just scroll past it if it's something we're not interested in but he does think that more and more customers as they're evaluating companies they want to do business with are looking at their social presence to make sure that it isn't just marketing and to make sure that when people do bring questions or complaints to their attention that that company is engaging back. It is a new world in which consumers want to have a relationship with companies and that relationship is two way and it involves being able to have a conversation with the brand. When I want to and where I want to. And so, looking on the Twitter feed or the Facebook feed to make sure that a company is willing to do that as he said he believe is becoming more and more part of the decision-making process.

 

Yanique mentioned that one of the things that her customers sometimes ask her and as an expert in Social Media Customer Care, she would love to hear his feedback on it. Typically, what do you think is the global standard or do you think it should be a standard based on the industry that you are in if you post complained or comment on someone's social media page. What is a standard time within which they should get back in touch with you. Is it immediately? And when we say immediately, what do we define that as, 24 hours, an hour, 30 minutes?

 

Dan stated that the time to get in touch with a customer after a complaint or comment was posted does differ slightly by industry. He would say that best in class is 15 minutes or less. He doesn’t think that people expect instant yet unless they're on a channel like a live chat. But he thinks 15 minutes or less is considered best in class. Now there are some caveats to that. If you are an international airline that operates 24 hours a day you know the expectation is that you are available 24 hours and that you're responding quickly because your customers might be stranded in an airport having just missed a flight and they cannot wait for a response. If you are a mom and pop retail store that has one location that's open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day, there's probably not as much expectation that you are responding 24/7. And into that kind of a company he would advise that as long as you are upfront with your customers about when you're available and you set expectations properly it's absolutely fine for you not to be available all the time. The challenge is that more and more consumers are evaluating every company they do business with in comparison to every other company they do business with. If you are a restaurant, you're not necessarily being compared to another restaurant, you're being compared to Amazon or Sprint or Comcast or whatever company. I just had a really great experience with on social media and who answered my question in 15 minutes or less. So that's the challenge is that you don't get to say, “Well. I'm just a small restaurant.” And so, my customers’ expectations aren't as high because unfortunately you're being compared to all those other companies. Now the good news is those other companies are also being compared to you. So, when he goes into a restaurant and he has a really nice waiter or waitress and the food is delicious and the overall atmosphere and experience are fantastic, the next day when he walks into the Sprint store or some other place, he is comparing that experience to what he just had at the restaurant. So, he thinks that the short answer to the question is, he has always tried it at the companies he has been at to aim for 15 minutes or less, that is best in class across all industries but certainly depending on the size of your company, the size of your customer base and your hours of operation. There's flexibility there.

 

  • Dan stated he has an easy equation that he has in his book and for those of who don't like math don't worry you're not going to be overwhelmed. The equation is that expectations plus emotions equals a willingness to share. When companies exceed customer expectations we make them happy. And unfortunately, today they're still surprised at that because companies don't exceed expectations very often and when we have a great experience we are more than willing as customers to share that publicly because it is still a unique thing to have a great experience. When companies only meet expectations or barely meet expectations, you created a motion that's really blahhh, nothing and an okay experience, there's no reason to share that. Why would anybody want to tell their friends about an OK experience. But when companies miss expectations we make customers sad or worse angry. And unfortunately, there's a very high willingness to share there as well. So, his advice to companies is to make sure that your positive experiences outweigh your negative experiences and you will have more positive sentiment on Social Media than negative because your fans will be louder, your lovers will be louder than your haters. And that's hard to do because especially as your business gets bigger you are going to make mistakes, you are going to miss customer expectations. But even then, you have such an opportunity in a public space like Social Media to show that you care, to show that you have empathy and to make it right. There's countless occasions where he has seen companies turn negative detractors into positive advocates just because they are responsive and willing to help.

 

Yanique stated that Dan mentioned one very important word that she thinks is critical to achieving customer experience and building loyalty. And that's empathy. And asked if he could just share with us what are his views on empathy and why is it even necessary in our customer service environment regardless of the industry that you're in?

 

Dan stated that it goes back to what he was describing before is the ability to step into the customer's shoes. He thinks that very often companies create products and services and even worse processes that they haven't actually as consumers gone through themselves. So, they make a lot of sense to the company but as a consumer you're stuck going through a process that is difficult or time consuming or doesn't make sense. And when you have a complaint, what you want is somebody to listen to you and to believe your complaint and to be willing to help and all of that kind of gets wrapped up into empathy and the best customer service agents are the ones that are able to step into a customer's shoes, understand that they're frustrated and be willing to try to help them. When people ask him what kind of people you look for in Social Customer Care. He always says you want to look for the customer service qualities first among which empathy is one of the top things to look for because you can teach almost anybody how to do Social Media. It's very difficult to teach empathy and it's very difficult to teach someone to be great at customer service, to want to solve customer problems, to be willing to listen, to be willing to remain objective and not get emotional when a customer is upset. These are things that are really tough to teach and they're kind of innate in people. But when you find those people that are good at that you can teach them Twitter and Facebook, that's pretty easy. He believes that empathy is one of those things that customers are looking for when they're frustrated and when they find it, it eases their frustration and again can make them actually turn the negative experience into a positive one.

 

Yanique reiterated by saying you take the same approach that you would take to employ someone that you are putting face to face in front of your customer with the right attitude. And then you can teach them the technical skills but that same characteristic that you're looking for in that individual that's who you're going to put in front of your Social Media as well.

 

Dan agreed stated that when you've got people answering in Social Media they are the face of your brand. The other thing he advise for social agents in particular is to make sure that they're good writers which is something that you don't need necessarily in a phone agent but when you see companies responding to customers and there are spelling and grammar errors that's a reflection on the company and so the people that you select for this really important role, they've got to be good writers, they have to be able to show empathy and patience and caring and a willingness to solve problems because all of that is reflective of your brand.

 

Yanique stated that the book actually covers a lot of the areas that Dan speaks to. She is encouraging listeners that are going to have the opportunity to listen to this podcast. This book was actually written by Dan and Jay Baer wrote the foreword to the book. Jay Baer was a past guest on our podcast couple months back so you can always archive one of those podcast episodes and listen to Jay. But it's important and just wanted to emphasize to our listeners that this is an awesome book. It focuses on a lot of areas and questions that Dan may not be able to fully answer in this podcast, he's only touching on little areas but he goes deeper in the actual book Winning at Social Customer Care. So, she would encourage all of you and have the opportunity to listen to this episode to head on over to Amazon and purchase this book because this could be your winning tool for 2018.

 

  • Dan stated that he stays motivated because he thinks that customer experience is still in its infancy. He thinks we've been talking about it now for a couple of years as being important and you see all the surveys that say that CEOs and CMOs know that it's a key thing to focus on. But he still thinks we're not quite at the point where customer experience is going and thinks that it will be the last true differentiator among brands. Think that the industries that compete on price find out very quickly that that's a very tough way to make money. And we know that most products and services can be copied in some way. And so, the real distinction that companies have is the way they treat their customers and that is very difficult to copy because it is made up usually of human interactions. And so, he has talked before about hiring the right people and having the right front line, that's very difficult to copy and that's what motivates him because he looks around and his podcast is all about great experiences that he and his co-host have had with different companies or that their listeners have had with different companies but it is amazing just waking up every day and living your life and interacting with brands. It is amazing how few of those there still are, as often as we've been talking about customer experience and Yanique has this great podcast and other people are talking about it, it is amazing still how many companies don't get it or aren't executing on it. So, to him that just means opportunity and he thinks that a day is coming where all companies are going to have to prioritize it and that will be exciting because as customers, that is going to make our lives a lot easier.

 

Yanique mentioned that it's interesting that Dan said that because we are all customers regardless of the businesses that we interface with or the lives that we lead but a lot of the challenges that we face in life that contribute to our stress level being high which leads to chronic illnesses. It really boils down to the interactions and the relationships that we have with people and a lot of it boils down to the services experiences that we have, how we treat each other, how we respond to each other. If more organizations could make an effort to understand how important this is to their business it would actually improve the quality of life not just in the business but generally how we relate to each other in the world, it would improve the world overall.

 

Dan agreed and said that Jay Baer was on a previous podcast and Jay wrote a terrific book called Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer and one of the key takeaways there that he loves is that people who complain about your company, complain because they care. The ones we need to be worried about are the ones that have already picked up and moved to our competition. But the ones that are complaining actually care about our brand and want us to be better. And again, there's a sort of a human nature to that that if we're just willing to listen and hear out a customer that has a complaint more often than not we're going to realize that that complaints are valid and that that customer might actually be suggesting ways for our experience to be even better. And as long as we're open minded about that we shouldn't be afraid of complaints, in fact we should welcome them because it's feedback and feedbacks a gift whether you are a company or an individual, getting honest feedback is a real gift. It's what we do with it that matters and he totally agrees, if we had fewer bad experiences with companies we'd probably all be happier as a population.

 

  • Dan shared a tool that he cannot live without and stated that he’s going to probably choose the obvious one and go with Twitter and the reason is as much as Twitter has struggled as a public company, he thinks that Twitter is still the place to listen to what your customers are saying about both you and your competition and companies that are not paying attention on Twitter to the conversation about your industry, about your company or your competitors are just missing so much rich data that can help you improve your business. He thinks he’s two angles and both of which he talks about in the book. One is identifying the pain points that your customers are having with you and fixing them. It's one thing to respond within 15 minutes and help that individual customer but you need to take it to the next level and actually fix the underlying problem so that you don't have repeat complaints that actually will end up saving you money because your customer service expenses will go down. The other thing though is that there's so much opportunity to grow your business with new products and new innovations that are suggested by your customers. One of his favorite examples is the company Otterbox which makes cases for mobile phones and just from listening on Twitter they figured out that a lot of their customers were bringing their phones into the shower of all places in order to listen to music and this was a use case that they had not considered previously. So, they took this information and the data and they brought it back to their R and D (Research and Development) team and they ended up creating their first ever waterproof case which turned out to be one of their best sellers. And that doesn't happen if they're not listening to the conversation on Twitter so to him that is the absolute must have. If you're not paying attention get onto Twitter, you don't even have to tweet if you don't want to. You just have to create some lists, follow some people and listen to what's going on to what the conversation is about and you will learn a ton.

 

Yanique mentioned that she is an Otterbox user, she didn't know they had a water proof case, that's awesome. Listening as Dan said is so important and it's not just about going on Twitter and hearing information or looking at what's there but actually using that information, providing it to the people in the business that can actually do something with that information. So, it's good that they listened, they took it back and the team actually did something by creating a product that customers actually wanted because a lot of times in a business your customers are telling you what they want, it's just if you're really listening to what they want or are you just giving them what you think they want.

 

  • Dan shared a few of the books that have had a big impact on him and stated he would go with two of them. And one of them is going to bring back his friend Jay Baer, Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers by Jay Baer was a book that he thinks was a real turning point because Jay for most of his career had been a marketing expert. In fact, Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype by Jay Baer his earlier book is also one of his favorite books and he shifted over to the customer service realm and Dan looked at Hug Your Haters as and Jay actually sort of wrote this in the foreword to his book is that Hug Your Haters really outlines the why of why it is that we have to engage with customers in Social Media and in all other channels and then his book tried to be a follow on to kind of say here's the how into the social media space specifically but he thinks Hug Your Haters is an absolute must read. He's got great examples from lots of different companies in there. And then another book that he’s a huge fan of is called They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan who is a wonderful guy. Marcus is the single best speaker he has ever seen in public at a conference and his book really talks to making sure that your company is the source of the best information about your product, service, industry anywhere on the planet. And he tells a wonderful story about his own company which was a swimming pool installation company and how he turned his website into the number one swimming pool website in the world in terms of people asking questions about installing swimming pools into their backyards and his company is just this little company on the East Coast of the U.S. It doesn't even service the world but it has become the go to resource and that book is really important because it shows the overlap between marketing and customer service and he thinks that there is a huge overlap there. He talks a lot about the sales process and how having all of this information will draw in prospects but it also can be used for servicing perspective because the more we can get our customers to self-serve with great content the less they have to call us and frankly create expense in a call center. And so, he thinks that book is a terrific one as well that he would highly recommend.

 

Yanique mentioned that she liked the fact that he linked marketing and customer experience because she thinks there is a lot of organizations that have these departments and the departments aren’t even speaking to each other so they’re collecting, doing their own thing but they are operating in silos and she’s not sure if marketing has recognized that what they’re doing connects directly to what the customer is experiencing and of course whatever it is that the customer is experiencing needs to filter back into what marketing is doing on their end to ensure that they’re actually meeting the customers’ needs, that’s powerful and that’s like a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) that a lot of organizations that light bulb has not gone off in their business as yet for them to recognize that those departments really should be working in tandem with each other.

 

Dan agreed and stated that how many of us has gone on to a website and have been greeted with an obnoxious pop up ad from the marketing department, the problem is those ads tends to work which is why companies do it but they work at the expense of annoying the 90% of customers that don’t click on it and that’s frustrating and marketers have to be way more aware of the overall customer experience and their contribution to the customer experience than they are today and he believes that silo busting is going to continue to be a theme in 2018 with companies, the ones that are figuring out to get silos integrated with each other instead of separate are going make great strides towards improving the entire customer journey.

 

  • Dan stated that right now he is thinking about what’s next for him and his career and looking at whether he wants to continue speaking and writing and kind of making a go at it independently or whether he wants to continue working at big companies. He sort of had this rare combination over the last few years because most of the folks that are speaking in podcasting and writing books are doing it independently or they run their own consultancies versus working for big brands. He has been trying to do both for a while and he’s really trying to think inward now and figure out what makes him happiest and what he wants to do next, that’s probably what’s on his mind right now and as we turn into 2018 and he’s excited for whatever lies in the future.

 

  • Dan shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter – @dgingiss

LinkedIn - @dangingiss

    www.winningatsocial.com

   

  • Dan shared that a quote he leans one that he talks about in the book. When he was introduced it was mentioned that he is an avid Cubs fan and the manager of the Chicago Cubs name’s Joe Madden and Joe has all of these great sayings and great quotes that are meant to be about baseball but Dan actually thinks that when Joe retires from baseball, he’s going to become a business consultant because almost everything he teaches his players is very applicable to business. His favorite one of his is, “Do simple better.” He loves that because it in itself is very simple, it’s three words. When he’s talking about baseball, he’s talking about making sure that you always run out a play or the simple ground battle or the short stop that those are not the ones you make errors on. But in real life and business it’s such a good mantra to live by because so many companies make things overly complicated for customers and if you can figure out how to do simple better, generally you’re going to get to a much better outcome for both the customer and the business. When he struggles at work with some sort of complexity or the legal department wants this or government regulation wants this or the PR department is asking for something, again, it’s about putting that customer hat on and saying, “What’s the simplest route for our customer? How do we make it as simple as possible and do simple better?” There are some great examples in the book and elsewhere about this. One quick one that he gives which is one of his favorites and talks about in the book about this company that does conference calls servicing and we’ve all been on conference calls where we’re waiting on hold and we listen to this awful music and this one particular company hired a guy who actually now works for Facebook to record a song with his guitar called “I’m on hold” and he would encourage listeners to go to YouTube and look it up by Alex Cornell, this song is absolutely amazing and as you’re listening this song, it’s just this nice guy strumming a guitar, and you find yourself realizing you don’t want the person on the other line to actually join the call because you want to listen to the music instead and that is doing simple better, that’s taking a very simple experience of waiting on hold and making it memorable and remarkable instead of either annoying or unremarkable. He thinks that when companies can find opportunities to do that at every step of the journey, you really make things much better for your customers and you can really change the whole perception of dealing with you as a company.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that even though it’s just three basic words, it’s not so much the words but it’s the meaning and the purpose that’s in the depth of those words that you really should extrapolate and try to inject into the DNA of your employees so that they can really function from that mindset because you’re right, sometimes things are very simple and we find the most complicated and complex routes to frustrate the poor customers who kind of want to get in and out in the shortest possible time whether it be online, face to face, over the phone, “It’s just a simple question I want answered” and somehow it’s just a very discombobulate way that the organization has put in place for this. If we could really start with that in mind, do simple better, it will definitely improve the quality of all of our lives.   

Links

 

 

Dec 27, 2017

Catherine M. Mattice is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and she has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Chevron, the American Red Cross, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and non-profits. She has been published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared as an expert in major news outlets including NPR, FOX, NBC, ABC, USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Washington Times, Psychology Today and Bloomberg. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter, and one of the founders (and current president of) the National Workplace Bullying Coalition. In his foreword to her book, Back Off! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying @ Work, Ken Blanchard said it was “The most comprehensive and valuable handbook” on workplace bullying. BACK OFF, and her second book, “Seeking Civility : How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying”, are both available on Amazon.

 

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Can you talk with us about some of the things that help to create that positive work environment and is it only up to the employees or does leadership play a big role as well?
  • How do you feel about customer experience on a global level?
  • What are some of the things you encourage organizations to do to create that kind of culture where people are feeling positive, where the energies are consistently up?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What is one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • If you were sitting across the table from another business owner and they said to you that they feel they have great products and services but they lack the constantly motivated human capital, what’s the one piece of advice would you give them to have a successful business?
  • What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find your information online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

 

Highlights

  • Catherine Mattice shared that she was the director of Human Resources for a non-profit organization and found herself working with a bully and this guy and herself were both directors. They both reported directly to the President of the organization, he was not her manager. He was her peer but he was definitely a bully. He was an uber excessive micromanager, he yelled, he made it very clear if he didn't like you, he was very difficult to work with. She personally felt bullied by this person and that was very exhausting, it was like every interaction with him was frustrating. It took a lot of courage to interact with them because you figured you're going to be yelled at, it was just a very emotional experience. And then also as the director of HR she dealt with all of the organizational problems that he created as well so his particular department had a crazy turnover. She spent a lot of time counseling his employees in her office and also spent a lot of time talking to the President about this person's behavior and sort of begging the president to solve it. And the president would always just say, “That's just how he is. I don't know why it bothers you. Be the bigger person.” Which was of course frustrating to hear her pleas for help to just sort of be ignored. And then during all that time she started getting her Master's Degree at San Diego State University and she decided to write a paper for one of her classes on this topic of sort of toxic work environments. And during that paper she came across that phrase, “Workplace Bullying” and she has been obsessed ever since and have continued to scramble to learn everything she possibly can about workplace bullying and she created a business around helping organizations solve that problem.

 

Yanique shared that the issue of bullying seems like something that's not affected by a lot of organizations but it really is a widespread issue.

Catherine agreed and stated that they call it the silent epidemic in the U.S.A lot of other countries actually have laws around workplace bullying but America does not. So, it's just as pervasive if not more so than harassment and discrimination because it's really equal opportunity harassment and so there is a lot of it. A lot of people feel bullied at work, in fact research puts that number at around 30 to 50 percent of people have been bullied at some point in their working life.

Yanique stated that it's interesting that Catherine mentioned that it's such a high percentage and asked if she believe that it filtrates out of the education system because a lot of kids are bullied in schools as well.

Catherine stated that she thinks that we are all mean, the society at large is mean, look at TV, it's all full of mean drama. Reality TV is mean, politics they’re mean, we're mean when we’re on the road, we can be uncivil if someone's going too slow or cut us off. We tend to have this propensity to sort of lash out and we live in a high stress environment because we're always on our phones, we always have someplace to be and so she thinks it's harder to be kind and to take a step back and be nice and take a breath and focus on civility. It's easier to let your frustrations get the best of you. And in school certainly bullying happens and there is some research that's found that if you bully as a child you probably bully as an adult. And also, if you're a target as a child you may be a target as an adult.

  • Catherine Mattice stated that leadership absolutely is the biggest player in the culture so leadership has to decide, “This is the kind of culture we want” and then putting things in motion to create that kind of a culture. Bullying is an organizational problem and culture is an organizational problem and it has to be solved by the leaders so leaders really have to say, “We want a positive work environment because we know it impacts internal and external customer service. We know it impacts innovation and decision making and people's ability to learn.” so when you have a savvy leader who knows that positive relationships and positive feelings about your organization impact the bottom line then you're lucky and you get a positive work environment. But bullying is absolutely an organizational problem not an employee problem.

Yanique asked what if the leader is a bully himself?

Catherine shared that she gets that question a lot. She stated that she honestly hates to give this advice but you have to leave. If the CEO or the leader is a bully, there probably isn't anyway that leaders going to hear anyone out if the leader is told people perceive you as too abrasive. Sometimes an HR professional or maybe someone close to the leader in the C-Suite depending on their relationship can have a conversation with the leader and maybe able to be heard. But in her experience, leaders believe that sort of abrasive aggressive leadership style has worked for them and so they're not going to be interested in changing unless you can really show them the damage they're causing. People can change, she coaches people who are bullies all the time but the CEO or the leader, unless somebody is close enough to that person to have that conversation she would say you may want to consider leaving because the culture is not going to get any better.

Yanique mentioned if the leader is a bully as Catherine said and she recommend that they leave. Do you feel that even though you said you believe people can change but a big part of change means that they have to become self-aware that something needs to change because many of them would be like, “Well the problem isn't me, it’s them.” She has heard that so many times in organizations when employees make complaints and a lot of times that the complaints are being made, they're not willing to accept that sometimes the issue is not necessarily with the other person but sometimes we need to look internally and look at how we could be doing things differently because maybe if we take a different approach you will get a different result.

  • Catherine stated that she recognizes that because of Social Media and the Internet that company is there maybe more focused on customers than they used to be but it's more about the branding than really caring about customers and you see that with all of the negative things that go on. United Airlines being an example, they had this big media problem when they had the police come and remove a customer but that was a culture problem, that's the reason that happened, that the people who worked for United actually thought to themselves, “We are going to call the police and have this customer forcibly removed.” That's a culture problem with United Airlines. She thinks that customer experience and customer service boils down to culture as well and having a positive work environment as they've talked about.

 

  • Catherine stated that she thinks a big thing that she sees with her clients is that when companies call her because their culture is negative, one of the things they're not doing is living their core values. So, she has really come to see the value in core values and she has seen it firsthand that if you can live your core values and make your core values part of everything you're doing day in and day out then that would really affect the culture because then everyone is very clear on how they're supposed to act. Going back to the United Airlines example, United versus Southwest Airlines which always wins customer service awards. Their three core values are servants heart, warrior spirit and something about having fun. If an employee is making decisions in the context of those three core values, they would never ask Police to forcibly remove a customer's not doing anything wrong. So, United Airlines wasn't living their core values and that's how things like that happen. A lot of companies don't see the value in core values until something awful happens and then they realize, “Oh, we've got to get back to our core values.” 

Yanique mentioned that some companies have core values that their employees don't even believe in.

Catherine agreed and stated that that goes back to it though, she sees this all the time, companies have core values and they're on their website and maybe they're on a sign somewhere in the lunchroom and that's the extent of it, so how can employees believe in those core values when they're not part of their day in and day out life. It's up to the organization to say, “Here are our core values. This is how we want everyone to behave.” And then the organization has to find ways to advertise those core values regularly and ensure that employees know them and live them regularly.

Yanique mentioned that it's like you're basically trying to find new and innovative ways to reinforce and basically have lots of repetition. So, now it becomes a part of their DNA. So, if courtesy is one of your core values, in everything you do you try to effect courtesy that way when you're dealing with external customer it's not something that you're trying to put on, it comes so naturally because it's something that you practice every day anyway.

  • Catherine shared that she thinks it's all of the negative stuff that she sees really fuels her fire and makes her work even harder to make a dent in all of the negativity. It really pains her to see employees unhappy and what you do for a living is such a big part of your self-esteem and your self-concept. It's a huge part of who we are as people, what we do for a living and to have that torn down and have somebody like a bully clawing at your identity and your self-esteem and yourself concept day in and day out. It pains me to know that there's people out there who experience that and that's what motivates her. She is driven to touch the lives of as many employees out there in the world as she possibly can. And also, she has been through some things that have made her angry at the right amount of angry where she has submitted proposals to work with a client and the stories they told her were absolutely awful and then she’ll submit a proposal, she work with a charter to try to solve it and then the leader comes back and says, “I don't think this is important enough to spend that money.” That makes her angry and that anger fuels her too. It makes her want to work harder.

Yanique stated that she knows exactly what she means in terms of them not seeing the value in it. And as Catherine said, it really boils down to the value system of the individuals that you're dealing with and what they deem of importance.

  • Catherine mentioned that one of the app is LinkedIn that she uses regularly to make connections. She uses HubSpot to manage her customers and interactions. MailChimp that she’s using for email management. She stated that there's definitely a lot of tools out there that she feels like she couldn't live without that help to keep her basically organized and having everything just flow.

 

  • Catherine mentioned some of the books that have had a big impact on her. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, that was her very first personal development book so that one has had a big impact on her. She has read a lot of books on workplace bullying, one book she mentioned a lot that had an impact on her is a book called Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance by Kim Cameron. He is in the positive psychology space and he talks a lot about essentially how to create a positive work environment too and he has very specific action items in that book that she actually offers up as advice quite a lot and it's a short read, she highly recommend that book. That's probably one of my favorite sort of business books.

 

  • Catherine stated that one piece of advice that she would give business owners and managers is that they should help their employees find meaning in their work. Help them find a profound connection to everything that they’re doing and that the company is trying to accomplish and your company will flourish if you do that.

Yanique reiterate, help them find meaning in what they're doing. Therefore, there must be a direct link between what the company's goals are and what the personal goals of the employee is because if those two things actually have some congruence then both entities actually have a win-win situation. 

Catherine agreed and gave an example of that, she was doing some training for a company that kills mosquitoes, that's their business. She was doing some training and on a break, she just sort of asked the trainee sitting next to her, “Tell me more about your business, what you do?” and she said, “Well, we killed mosquitoes. That's about it.” That's all she got. And this other person sitting next to her says, “Is that all you think we're doing here? We are saving this community from West Nile Virus.” He was offended that she thought all they did was kill mosquitoes and so he believes he's saving the community from this horrible disease by killing mosquitoes and killing mosquitoes was a means to the end goal of saving that community. So that's what she’s talking about, help reminding your employees that there's a bigger picture beyond their tasks.

  • Catherine shared that they just finished up all the quality issues today. She just released an online course that is essentially her consulting methodology. It's a way to help organizations that can't afford expensive consultants but they need to change their culture. This online course takes them through that process and it has a whole bunch of videos and worksheets and checklists and job aides and literally somebody could take her course and change their organizations culture using the tools in the course, so that is the thing she is super-duper excited about right now. She mentioned that the course can be found at civilitypartners.com/makeover 
  • Catherine shared listeners can find her at –

LinkedIn - Catherine Mattice Zundel

    Twitter - @CatMattice

    Facebook – Catherine Mattice Zundel

    Facebook – Civility Partners

    Website – www.civilitypartners.com

  • Catherine shared that there is a quote that she always reverts to and it's by Viktor Frankl who was in the Holocaust and suffered some horrible things and one of his famous quotes is, “The last of any human freedom is the freedom of choice.” We get to choose our attitude in our circumstances and it's really important to keep that in mind. We can't be victims of circumstance, we have to take charge of how we react to the circumstances and only then can you overcome adversity.

Yanique reiterated, basically freedom of choice is something that we all have regardless of the situation that we're in. And that's a great privilege. So, we should definitely try to exercise it as much as possible. 

 

Links

Dec 19, 2017

Alexander Genov but will be affectionately refer to him as Alex for the purpose of this interview. Alex is an experienced Customer Research Professional who applies his Experimental Social Psychology background and his passion for research, design and innovation to solving important customer and business problems. His professional goal is to help teams create remarkable products and services which make people's lives easier and more enjoyable. Currently, Alex is Leading Customer Research for the Zappos Family of Companies. In previous positions, he was responsible for research and usability of the products and services for companies like Turbo Tax also known as Intuit, State Farm Insurance and the Active Network, he has over 15 years of relevant experience, 5 years of academic research and over 10 years of customer research in the software industry. Alex received his Ph.D. in Experimental Social Psychology from Clark University and his areas of research include defining and measuring emotions, individual differences, usability and consumer segmentation.

  

Questions

 

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • What is does Social Psychology mean and how does that connect to customer experience?
  • Talk a little about your research that you have found, what works, what doesn’t as you pointed out individual differences and that customers are the same.
  • Why do you think it’s important to invest in research to help you grow your business and become more customer centric?
  • What is one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is the one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

 

Highlights

 

  • Alex Genov pointed as it says in his bio that his background is in psychology, that his passion is understanding people. And more specifically his specialization is understanding emotions and how we define emotions, how we measure emotions, how people experience emotions, the area of emotions is not as simple as it sounds. On the face of it we all experience emotions, we all talk about it but what I found through many years of deep research and study of emotions is that it differs not only how we talk about emotions but how we experience them and measuring them is a tricky thing. That's his specialty and also another area of expertise he brought from said psychology was individual differences and that's something he believe deeply in which is that not everybody not all people are different. And by the same token not all customers are different. In his career, he has been trying to help companies understand customers as people and understand the individual differences that are important for each specific industry and in each specific product. He was initially headed to be a Professor but soon gave up the idea because he didn't want to be poor for many many years. He kind of sold out to the software industry but he has no regrets. It's been an interesting challenge and a lot of fun experiences trying to bring rigor to research in the industry but also to make it practical. So, that's been the biggest challenge for him all along is to make it to kind of walk that fine line, keeping that balance and keeping the organization honest in terms of research but also being practical and not being too academic and kind of obstructionist in that way.

 

  • Alex Genov stated that there are many areas of psychology when you start specializing in it. So, one area for example is, Social Psychology and other area is Personality Psychology which is a bit more focused on the individual and other area is Clinical Psychology so these are people who help people with mental problems and so on. He picked Social Psychology because it was the most interesting to him and when he was studying it all the really fun experiments from the 50’s and 60’s that really kind of make jaws drop nowadays but they were all designed to understand people in the sense that how is our behavior determined and motivated by the real or imagined presence of others. That's the definition of social psychology. The methods that he brought with him to the industry or essentially the methods of scientific psychology which are based on the empirical method of research. And the most kind of defining feature of that is the question “How do you know?” When we talk about something and we say, “I believe this and that to be true” some people may be fine by saying, “I feel it in my gut and that's what I believe” or they say. “I know from experience and I know it to be true” but an empiricist will say, “Well how do you know?” “Do you have the data to look at and to measure?” An empiricism is basically this belief that we all have to have some kind of shared experience to be able to determine that something is the case. So, for example, if he asked you what the temperature is and you tell him 72 degrees then you can both look at the thermometer and agree that that's the case. When it comes to emotions you can see how becomes tricky to say ok how do you feel and then you feel happy but many times we don't have direct access to our emotions or we cannot articulate them or we don't want to share them. So that's where it gets tricky how do you measure, how you define emotions. For example, you can define them by the facial expressions which is a behavioral indicator, you can define it by overt behavior, are people jumping with joy literally right or are they running away? Also, you can always ask them how do you feel but again one of the principles of research that brought that led him to the industry was to measure the same thing using different methods and to triangulate the results so that we have a higher degree of confidence that what we're saying when measuring is exactly what we intended to measure. He doesn’t want to get too technical but that's basically the background.

 

Yanique mentioned that we talk about Zappos all the time in workshops and people think about Zappos as the Customer Experience guru in the Retail Market especially in the online space. They basically came in and they transformed how retail business is done online. The fact that they have a 365 day return policy, if you call them somebody is going to answer the phone even when you go on their website, unlike other websites, every single page on their website has their telephone number at the top. So, at the end of the day when somebody has an issue or when a customer has an issue whether it is to make a request or it is to query a product or service that they have already engaged you for a lot of times they want to speak with a live human being and sometimes it's so hard navigating on these organizations websites some of them don’t have a phone number, they have this contact us page where you have to type out your entire request or issue and then wait for somebody from their company to respond to you. So, the fact that Zappos actually makes themselves available by providing a telephone number on all their pages really sets them apart.

 

  • Alex Genov agreed and stated that he joined Zappos about 4 years ago and he can take absolutely no credit in it's incredible success over the years. He has contributed something in the past 4 years but indeed the company was formed early on based on the belief that it will be successful only if they make their customers happy, employees happy and the vendors happy. That was the focus. When Tony Tsheish started investing in the company, basically he was intensely focused on the customer experience and on making this very new behaviour which is buying shoes online as easy as possible. We're talking about 15 - 16 years ago. They realized that in that kind of business things usually will sometimes go wrong and you cannot prevent that but what you can do is to do everything to make it right by the customer. So, one of the initial defining moments was one day something went wrong with an order and a customer was not happy but then they went out of their way to make it right and then that person wrote an e-mail and in the subject matter, she started by using the word, “WOW.” Bear in mind, this is 15 - 16 years ago. Now everybody's talking about wowing customers. But that was so long ago and then at that point they realized this is going to be our defining characteristic, is going to be customer service and at a time when everybody is considering service a cost to be cut. Zappos said, “That's who we are and we're going to invest in that.” That's really counter-intuitive in a way thinking has let it success because the whole belief is that we're selling shoes that are also available in other stores or in other places. And if we do all the same things that other retailers do and if we compete on price and we can be done on cutting costs then we're just going to be another retailer. And you know what's happening with retail nowadays, this was decided so many years ago. Sometimes it's really because he’s a proponent of the online experience. Sometimes there's intense focus on customer service is going to be a point of frustration because he’s thinking can we focus a bit more on the website. But then you'll realize what the roots are and also, we have a saying at Zappos that “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes right now.”

 

Yanique mentioned that if businesses looked at their companies like that, “I'm just an airline” or “I'm a customer service company that just happens to be in the airline business transporting people from one location to the next for all different reasons, weddings, business, vacation.” And they realize that their focus is on service because without these customers we have no business. I think it would really change the mindset and propel, it would be like a paradigm shift in how we as customers experience business.

 

Alex agreed and stated that it will help to have some competition, some industries are more much more like monopolies right. And they have less choice than there is much less pressure to not be customer centric in general. One question in the outline about what business owners can think of and what's going to make them successful - it's very simple, it's just focus on the customer and of course you have to have your business plan and you have to have your operations to be excellent. You cannot be focusing on the customer and giving away free product and you know you're going to be in business for maybe 3 days, you will have very happy customers but very short-lived success. You need to have your financials work but beyond, he loves Zappos because it's a company that's focused on purpose before profit. And it’s a very subtle but very important difference, if you say that you’re in there for the profit then you’ll be making all those decisions that ultimately end up hurting customers. If you are saying that you’re here for that purpose then but also make sure that you are making profit. Ultimately, if you're making customers happy they will be loyal customers and they will be telling others about your business. Alex stated that another thing that sets them apart is that they don't do a traditional advertising. They don't pour billions into TV ads for example, but people know about Zappos from word of mouth, from things that they do that benefit the community. And they have a very strong Social Media Presence. So that's another lesson for entrepreneurs and for business folks. Focus on the customer, focus on the community, do good things for the community and for the customer and then you're going to have those customers that are not only customers but they're going to be your ambassadors they are going to spread the word about you. So, it's going to be saving a lot of money on advertising essentially and marketing.

 

  • Alex stated that if you're a small company you cannot really afford PHD’s and specialist to do this for you but you can do it yourself to a large degree and then why is it important? If you want to make some customers happy, now we talk a lot about personalization, a lot about meeting the customer needs or the jobs supposed to be done then you don't know your customers. You're probably going to be basing decisions on your own experience and if you are lucky to have a lot of customers just like yourself, so be it then you have to do any research. If you want to differentiate yourself you need to understand a little bit of the competition but mostly the customer. There are different types of businesses, for example, we are a corner coffee shop, then you're going to be providing the staples, you may walk around the neighborhood see what the other coffee shops charge and you're going to price your offering accordingly and then there's not much to research about, what people need is coffee, pastries. Alex stated that one of the books he read recently that influence him is one from Harvard professor called Clayton Christiansen and he's been talking about jobs to be done for a long time, customer jobs to be done and it's a variation of user needs or wants but it's much more specific in the sense that he's saying customers are hiring you and your product to do specific jobs and if you do the jobs, they'll continue hiring you, if not they are going to fire you and your product. So, the example he gives is a big breakfast chain here that they wanted to grow their milkshake business. They were getting a hard time selling more milkshakes so they hired this company to really observe people and how they buy milkshakes and then they talk to people and all they found was that the same person stopping by in the morning and stopping by in the afternoon had different needs when it comes to milkshakes. So, in the morning they were on their way to work, pretty long commute and they needed a little bit of nourishment like breakfast but also, they needed something to keep them occupied in the car sitting there bored. And so, they designed these milkshakes with something to do with nutritional value but also with some chunks of stuff in the milkshake so that you know people would just drink the milkshake and have something like some more sensation in their mouth. In the afternoon, when the people stopped by after picking up their kids from daycare and so we had kids in the backseat making noise and shouting, angry and so So, they are buying milkshakes for them and the job to be done was to give them some nutrition but also to keep them quiet back there. They were designed not only the milkshakes but also the straws so that they're thinner so the milkshake last longer. And you understand the whole point of this is that if you didn't observe people in action and didn't talk to them about why are you buying this and what are you trying to achieve with that milkshake, then you will be in the dark. Some things are pretty straightforward like opening a coffee shop with the staples but even then, if you're really customer focused then you'll know your customers and when they come in you know that this person, they have their usual and you offer them that. Or maybe they're upset, talk to them about what’s bothering them, bartenders are great at that. They solve these emotional jobs to be done like a friend for somebody who is a little bit down maybe or doesn't get anybody to talk to at the moment. The point is all of this is based on knowing people understanding people and if you're just focused on your business and your numbers and you don't see your customers as people but just as walking wallets then ultimately, they'll find another place that treats them better. So, you have those basic needs and wants. When he was talking about individual differences is when it gets to be bigger businesses that now start serving millions of people or different types of customers for example, if you are a B2B business and you're selling something to a company, you have different interactions, for example the CEO who is going to be signing the cheque ultimately. And interacting with some procurement person who is responsible for implementing the system. And then you may or may not interact with the end user but they're all different user groups and they all have different mindsets and they're going to have different interactions with the system. So that's a very simple form of segmentation based on role in a company. For Zappos for example, to some extent gender plays a role of course because all men's shoes are different from women's shoes, clothing. They dress somewhat differently. When he was working for Turbo Tax for example and it's a financial, Do-It-Yourself financial product. Gender made no difference in terms of how finances are kept, if anything women are much better at keeping finances than men but when it came to how we understand the product you think about finances there was no different so for each business it's going to be a bit different. Just to finish the coffee shop example and maybe some of the audience have some customers that are vegan now so you have the vegan customers and you have the ones that are not. So that will be kind of a surprise and delight for your customers to say, “Do you want regular milk? or you want soy milk?” But that's another example of maybe your segment based on taste and health preferences and so on.

 

  • Alex shared that in his tools of the trade like analytics programme. He uses SPSS too because everybody at Zappos does hands on work. And there's no more managers there now and it's a different self-organization kind of environment. A lot of his work is hands on work. They have a really powerful survey tool, they do a lot of surveys with our customers and with prospects - general population, US shoppers. They collect information that way and then he uses an analytics tool called SPSS to do the analysis. They also collect a lot of text data and it's very challenging to analyze sentiment and he’s talking about large volume. Like 600,000 reviews on the website or even they do a survey when they get to 2,000/3,000 verbatim comments from customers in text form. It's very difficult to analyze, now they’re starting to explore a tool that is a very powerful text analytics tool developed on technology from the MIT media lab and so you have the best scientists there working to develop this kind of artificial intelligence to extract meaning for example from text. And it's not as simple as just counting the number of times a word appears. That’s extracting meaning what the word is connected to water. He mentioned that Google is amazing, Google is like this really powerful software company if you have to find anything you Google it and find it right away.

 

  • Alex shared that one of the key influences for me is this Italian designer called Roberto Verganti. He wrote several books but one of his key books is called Design Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating What Things Mean and his main idea is that you need to understand customers as people and that's been his kind of mission in the past couple of years as don’t really just study customers as shoppers in the process of shopping or in the process of calling but understand them holistically as people. He has been advocating for this sort of radical innovation which is that a dual meaning of what things mean for people and that's very hard to do but it's going to guarantee the biggest success. One of his examples is this company that was the leader in candles, a few centuries ago. A couple of centuries ago they were there for a hundred years, they were the best, made candles and then electricity came along. And instead of them changing the meaning of what they were doing they continued to focus on the light, how long does the candle was lasting, how safe it is. And then of course they disappeared, they went out of business. Alex asked – “Can you guess one Candle company that is thriving right now?” Yanique replied – “I cannot…” A candle company that is thriving now is called the Yankee Candle Company, it's very big in the United States but the reason why they're so successful is that because they change the meaning of what a candle means, it's not used for light but it's used for mood and they made it smell good but you see how they changed the meaning because the other company was focused on safety and they didn't want the candle to smell right and then it lost its purpose. That’s all he talks about, understanding what things mean for people. Another example is this kettle for boiling water and they made this kettle that looks pretty cool but also was emitting the sound when it was ready, it kind of whistle and the meaning there was not only was it a tool for boiling water but it’s a signal for the family to gather around the table. You would think it’s a simple object and then people pay US $500.00 for this. It’s the shape, the meaning. A good question for all the listeners is the business they’re in, are they innovating on that level versus just making things better the way they are, keeping the same meaning but making it better. “Are you innovating or are you making things better the way they are?” [Question to ask yourself as a business owner]

 

  • Alex stated that at work he is excited about a couple of big programs they are doing which is the Voice of the Customer, they are enabling their customers that go on their website and don’t call on the phones to give them feedback and for the organization to be able to consume that feedback, so they are working hard on that. Again, exploring text analytics, it’s going to open their eyes, it’s just a ton of data that has been left unexplored. In his personal life, he went back to a passion of his which is Martial Arts after many years of not doing much and in Las Vegas there are Shaolin Monks teaching and that’s super exciting for him. There is one authentic Shaolin Monk visiting to hold a seminar and he’ll be taking some time off work to do that.

 

  • Alex shared listeners can find him at –

LinkedIn - @alexgenov

 

  • Alex shared that what inspires him in times of adversity in his professional life is thinking about the customer and Zappos is a part of Amazon and Jeff Bezos is talking about customer obsession and then in his personal life, is this idea of no hacks, it’s just perseverance and hard work.

Links

Dec 5, 2017

Jeff Toister Show Notes

Jeff Toister helps customer service teams unlock their hidden potential. He is the best-selling author of The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide To Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service. More than 140,000 people on six (6) continents has taken his video base training courses on LinkedIn Learning aka Lynda.com. Jeff’s 15 training videos on LinkedIn Learning include Customer Service Foundations and Leading a Customer Centric Culture.

Jeff was named one of the top 30 customer service professionals in the world by Global Gurus. He was also named one of the top 50 Thought Leaders to Follow on Twitter by the International Customer Management Institute. Feedspot has named his Inside Customer Service Blog one of the Top 50 customer service blogs on the planet.

Jeff holds a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) certification from The Association for Talent Development.

Questions

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey
  • Can you tell us about your journey in writing the book – The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service?
  • What is culture? As entrepreneurs, what are some of the things they should be thinking about?
  • What are some advice you would give to an employee or a business owner who is trying to sustain a service culture and with growth they have not been able to manage the culture with the massive growth that they have experienced? How do they scale but at the same time maintain that same service culture and experience?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • What is the one online resource, website, tool or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are some of the books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What is one thing in your life right now that you are really excited about – something that you are working on to develop yourself or people?
  • Where can our listeners find your information online?
  • What is one quote or saying that you live by or that inspires you in times of adversity?

Highlights

 

  • Jeff Toister stated that what compelled him the spectrum of customer experience was the very first customer he served. He would love to say that it was a success story but it wasn’t, he didn’t do a good job and that changed things for him. He was 16 years old, he was working in a retail clothing store and he had gotten about 15 minutes of training and the person that was supposed to be training him said, “I’m going on break, good luck, here’s the key to the dressing room. Do the best you can, I’ll be back.” He was nervous as young kids often are and I didn’t know what he was supposed to do. A customer comes up to him and he’s just thinking, “Oh no, I don’t know anything” and that’s obviously the wrong mindset but that’s the mind set he had. The customer asked, “Do you carry Dockers?” it’s a brand of khakis and he knew what they were, he had no idea if they carried them or not and so he’s looking around the store and he’s hoping that there’s a big neon sign that says, “Dockers right here” but there was not. And being 16 years old and being inexperienced, the first words that came out of his mouth were, “I don’t know” and without getting a second chance to recover, he got angry and he said, “Wow, this is terrible service” and he stormed out of the store. He knows that that was the wrong answer, the challenge is when you’re employee in that situation how do you stop yourself from giving that wrong answer, that comes with experience, life experience and training knowledge and so in that moment he knew it wasn’t the right answer, he knew he didn’t do well and he never wanted to feel that way again, that was many years ago but throughout his entire career, he has always gravitated towards 2 things: customer service but in particular, What makes employees tick? How do we help our customer service employees perform their very best? And how do we remove these obstacles where we put them in a position where they are not as able to be successful? He has always been fascinated with customer service, he has always been fascinated with training and all of his jobs have focused on that and for the last 12 years he has been a consultant who helps organizations tackle these types of problems.

 

Yanique stated that she finds it interesting that it was a not so positive experience that propelled you into this because as a consultant that many times when a customer becomes loyal to business, if you track back the root cause, it’s usually a dissatisfied customer who dealt with an employee who was able to turn the situation around and just because of how it was handled, now every time they come back to that business they only want to deal with that particular employee, they’ll even wait sometimes if they’re on vacation to come back from vacation to transact business with that company and it all came out of a negative experience.

 

Jeff mentioned the “Peak-End Rule” (Psychology Term), he stated that it explains what Yanique said is true. It’s about customer perception or perception in general that we tend to not notice things that are normal. We tend to notice things that are different than normal and what really stands out is the thing that is most different and so the bad experience if you kind of think of that as the heartbeat of customer service, the bad experience is kind of like this really bad deviation from our normal experience and then a really good correction, really good fix is a huge difference. So, it stands out because it’s such a leap from a horrible experience to this great experience, it becomes imprinted in our memories and that’s the peak part, if it’s the last experience we had with that organization or that person, that really gets imprinted in our memories. So, the Peak End Rule kind of explains why that big gap, it’s so true when we recover from a bad experience, that’s what really sticks in our customers’ mind.

 

  • Jeff Toister shared that he’s glad that Yanique’s impression of his book was that it’s a practical guide and he really appreciate that because that was the goal in writing it. He found a couple things and one was that he consistently had this theme with his client which was culture, “How do we get our employees obsess with service?” and the other thing he found quite frankly was that companies tend to have money to invest in technology, they often don’t have the budget to invest in people and he thought, “If I could put this into a book and make it a practical step by step guide, maybe they can’t afford to hire me or you to come in, we wish they would. If they don’t have the budget for that, this book will give them everything I’m already sharing with my clients.” That was the starting point to say he’s going to make these ideas available. So where did they come from, they came from work he was doing but then he wanted to profile companies that were successful, and one of his biggest challenges in writing the book was, he didn’t want to include some of the usual suspects - the Zappos, the Southwest Airlines, the Nordstrom, the Disney, the Ritz Carlton, not to take anything away from those organizations, it’s just that we’ve heard their stories so many times, there are other companies out there that are delivering amazing service. So, you ask where did those stories come from? He started researching what other organizations have a strong service culture where they’re known, they have the reputation, maybe it’s service ratings, maybe it’s stories written about them, they’re known for having employees who are obsessed with service and then he started researching, what do they do and it was amazing to him that there was a consistency across all of these companies, in terms of how they approach it and so he was able to pull his own work and in the research he did into these companies and put them into the step by step guide and say, “Hey, there is something here. There’s a process that all of these organizations are following and we can give this recipe to anybody who cares to follow it.”

 

Yanique agreed that he tries to look at a very practical, operational way that any business, even if it’s a small business with just 5 employees would be able to extract that information and run with it in their own company.

 

Jeff stated that even a team because one of the biggest questions he gets is that people say, “I read the book but I’m not the CEO and I don’t even think my CEO cares too much about service, she says it important but I know she really cares about the budget.” And that’s fine, you can still use the book. He has examples in there with specific teams or departments, so whatever the size, whether you’re the CEO or you’re just leading the small team within a bigger company, the goals and the ideas that you can use these tools to create a service culture in whatever you control.

 

  • Jeff stated that he thinks sometimes culture is one of those words that we take for granted, we all say, “Culture is important” but maybe we mean different things. To him, culture when we’re talking about an organizational perspective, it’s a system of behaviors and beliefs, it’s how a group of people act or thinks and understand the world. Sometimes we think culture is a statement that says, “This is our motto or these are our values” and that’s not quite accurate. Culture is what people actually do, so if people are living those values each and every day then those values are accurate and they reflect your culture, if not, then they’re pretty empty. He gave an example, there was a bank in the United States about a year ago, there was this huge scandal because what they were doing was opening accounts for customers that didn’t request them. Millions of accounts were affected and the reason it was happening is because there were a lot of pressure for the individual employees to meet these very aggressive sales targets, so that’s what led to this huge scandal that the CEO resigned, there was a lot of fines, the Federal Government started to look into it. What was interesting though was that the CEO even in the moment when it was announce that the scandal broke and the CEO still had his job and he was announcing this scandal and this big settlement of a lawsuit, he still pointed to their culture as being customer focused and to him, that’s the perfect example of Your words doesn’t really matter if they’re not backed up by your deeds. How did people actually act? In that organization, the culture was about sales pressure and doing anything at all cost to sell a product. That was their actual culture. So, when you think about organizations and one of the organizations he wrote about in the book is a place call REI, if you love the outdoors, that’s the place to go for your camping equipment, your hiking equipment, bicycling, whatever. REI is an example of culture that really matches what they say. For example, if you go in and you’re looking for camping equipment, you’re not going to have somebody just kind of point you to the camping equipment aisle, the person who works there who’s going to help you is an avid camper, they love camping and they can’t wait to share with you what they know so that you can love camping too and that’s by design because they purposely stated that their goal as an organization is to help us all enjoy the outdoors. That to him is when culture matches what we’re saying, that’s pretty healthy but at the end of the day, culture is what we do, it’s how we perceive the world, it’s what we actually believe.

 

Yanique agreed and stated that in her process of dealing with some businesses this week, she called a company that deals with cooking gas and their office is not located in the city, it’s located on the outskirts of the city so it’s a 20-minute drive and she asked them if didn’t have any other mode of payment because she told the sales representative before they came that she will be paying by card and she specifically requested that the gentleman coming brings the card machine. He comes and he didn’t bring the card machine and of course he now informs her that she needs to drive all the way to the location to make the payment. So, she called them and said, “Can the payment be taken over the phone?” “Oh no, we just changed out our card machines and that’s not possible anymore.” Yanique called and ask them, “Do you expect me to drive 20 minutes outside the city just to get to you to make a payment for a service that you provided, I think you really need to talk to your finance department and think about a more customer friendly way to accept payments from your customers.” And it’s interesting because they were voted one of the best customer service organization in their industry and that left a bad experience. Even when the guys came, the service was good but then the payment part is a part of the service as well.

 

Jeff agreed and stated that whenever that happens, he always wonder why does it happen and is it that the person doesn’t want to do their job, sometimes but often it’s that they are put in that position or no one shared with that driver that Yanique had had that communication or that driver was specifically told, “We’re not doing cards so this is what you have to tell people.” Those employees are often put in a bad position where they almost can’t win.

 

  • Jeff stated that maintaining the same service culture and experience is a big challenge for a couple of reasons. One is that keeping culture exactly the same is impossible because culture changes, every time you add a new person to the team, every time you add a new product or a new line of service or a new channel, it changes just a little bit. He doesn’t know if it’s possible to keep culture the same but maybe consistent and have it grow and evolve in the right way, that’s maybe the goal for those businesses. The other challenge is scale, as businesses grow it becomes necessary for the business owner or the business leader to trust more people to do the work and that business owner can’t be in all places at all times, they can’t talk to every single customer and so the process of building a service culture really is about that scale question, “How do I instill in my employees what I believe in my core?” and the way to do that is that you have to make it clear, you have to articulate it. Just like how he was asked, “Let’s define service culture.” In these organization you have to define, “What does our culture look like?” and the tool that he uses is something called The Customer Service Vision, it’s a very simple statement, it could be something that you already have like a Vission or vision statement for your company but it’s very simple statement that says, “This is what outstanding service looks like.” And every employee in the organization has to understand what that vision statement is, what does it mean and most importantly, how do they personally contribute in their role and once you achieve that, then you can scale using that vision as a guide and that’s the first step, you’ve got to have that vision. The second step is employees all have to understand it and the third step is that you have to use that as a way of doing business, one thing he sees that business owners/ business leaders do that really hurt that effort is that they treat culture as a separate project, so people will maybe take time out of their normal job to do some cultural things, maybe on a culture committee or we’re doing culture as the theme for this year strategic planning and then we go back to work and just do our jobs, that’s not how you evolve culture, culture is our behavior so we need to use culture as a guide for making all decisions, it’s how we create strategy, it how we invest in technology and processes, it’s how we hire, it’s how we train people, it’s how as a leader you’re deciding what to put in front of your employees and talk about every single day and if we are not talking about culture and how outstanding service should look like then your employees are not going to believe that it’s important, they’ll focus and what you talk about and that’s the biggest challenge for leaders. Jeff also hear a lot of companies say to him, “We’re just so busy, we’re too busy to deal with culture.” And he would say, “No, you’re not because what you’re really doing is you’re still creating a culture, it’s just not the culture you need.”

 

Yanique agreed that with the point that even though they’re not focusing on culture, every organization has a culture but is it the culture that they really want and so if you don’t have intentionally activities, whether it be meetings, conversations, group outings, strategies built around what you’re trying to achieve, then the culture will emerge on its own. And so, you’d have a culture you don’t want all because there was no intentional act but not because you didn’t put any attention there doesn’t mean it’s not formed.

 

Jeff mentioned that often when you don’t put the intention there, it goes in the direction you really don’t want it to go.

 

Yanique mention that the take away from this interview is culture is not something that just doesn’t happen, it happens even without your intentional behavior behind it, it’s going to manifest and this is why you really have to intentionally work towards the culture you want. It’s like eating because we have to eat every day but if we don’t intentionally make an effort to eat healthy then we’ll eat anything and of course the body will just consume whatever you put inside of it and if you’re consuming negative thing then it will lead to disease and chronic illnesses versus taking an intentional approach towards eating, ensuring you do your meal preps, you exercise 3 to 4 times a week, you’re getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night, those are things that are intentional activities you schedule into your life to ensure it’s done every single day.

 

  • Jeff stated that he really likes this question because motivation is a part of something he looks at all the time, not just his own motivation but employee motivation. He thinks we often look at it the wrong way, we look at how we get motivated versus how to not be demotivated and so for him, motivation is easy, he does what he loves. He finds the inner section of what he loves to do and what he can be successful doing and where he has a little bit of skill. Jim Collins’ Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Other’s Don’t’ Built to Last : Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, one of his landmark books. He talked about this head shock concept for companies, it’s an inner section of what you love, what can you do well, what can you get paid to do and he takes that personally. And so, he gets up every day excited because he loves this. The demotivation happens not just for him but for everybody where we perceive that there’s obstacles that stand in the way of doing what we love. In a service environment, referring to his story about his first service encounter, that happens to employees every single day where they want to provide great service, almost every employee wants to provide great service but there’s some obstacle that they perceive is standing in their way and that’s what’s demotivating them. Every day he works on himself but he helps organizations and employees work on finding what are those obstacles and they can remove those obstacles, motivation becomes really natural.

 

Yanique stated that it’s interesting because she does workshops for organizations and a lot of questions that she hears from employees is that sometimes you can’t do what you love because you have bills to pay but then, if you have that kind of mindset which goes back into your attitude. Is it your motivation that affects your attitude or your attitude that affects your motivation?

 

In reference to Yanique’s question if motivation affects attitude or attitude affects motivation. Jeff stated that he is a big sports fan, so the team that’s winning, are they because they are motivator or are they motivated because they are winning. He thinks success breathes that and those two go together. Doing well, we feel good, we’re motivated and if we’re not doing well we feel bad with a bad attitude, we feel demotivated. There’s a concept called, “Learned Helplessness” that a lot of employees’ experience. What it is that over time they feel like they failed trying so they just stop trying. It gets really bad is a lot of times they stay in the same job, not every job is right for every person and so they’ll stay in the job or maybe they have those bills to pay and they don’t feel like they have another good option and so they kind of give up but they keep coming to work everyday and that makes it so much worst because it’s defeating.

 

  • Jeff stated that the tool that he uses every single day is a website called Highrise, it’s a way of keeping track of clients and projects all in one place. One of his core value is accountability and he believes if you say you’re going to do something, you do it. As an entrepreneur, you have a million things going on and trying to meet deadlines and maintain commitments and do what you say you’re going to do is extremely difficult. So, he uses that through every single day to keep track projects, initiatives, people and making sure he maintains all of his commitments but he also uses it to not just look at an individual commitment but how does that connect to all the other commitments he has made so that he’s not overloading his plate. He uses LinkedIn and Twitter every day as well and primarily to connect with other people and learn from other people and see what other people are doing as he thinks we are definitely in a relationship business. As someone whose passionate about training and adult learning, he’s always learning as well and that’s often where he finds “What are people doing that’s interesting?” So those would he his second and third picks.

 

  • Jeff shared that he loves to read and is sometimes reading 2 to 3 books at a time. He thought about and said, “What are the books that stick with me?” and that’s the challenge with the book, that we read a book and say, “Oh it’s good” and then you ask, “What have you used from that book?” Jeff shared that these are some book that he uses a lot. One is called Street Smarts by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham and what he loves about it is that it’s an entrepreneurial perspective on the business side of running a business and he thinks in the world of customer service and customer experience, too many of us are unfamiliar or tentative around the business side, the number side. He had a discussion online with someone the other day where they were upset that executives only care about the budget and the point he tried to make and comes from this book is, the way to get executives to care about customer service is you have to translate customer service into numbers because that’s their language and if we’re not doing that or if we don’t know how, we’re only hurting ourselves. The next one is a book called Getting Things Done by David Allen, it’s a system for managing your time and commitments and it’s a principle based system rather than go out and buy this portfolio and you have to use this specific software, it’s more about principles to use whatever you feel comfortable using. He uses those principles to do things that allow him to keep on top of things. For example, at the end of everyday he has zero messages in his email inbox and for most people that’s unbelievable but it’s because he has these set of principles that David Allen shared with him in his book that he uses every day. The third book is a book that really made an impact on him, it’s called Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Phillips and what he did was he studied the United States’ 16th president which some people would say would be one of their most amazing leaders in history and he looked at some of the things that Abraham Lincoln did as a leader that we can pull from today. One of his favorite examples that he uses as a consultant and trainer is Lincoln was really the first president to spend a lot of time going to people rather than expecting people to come to him for a meeting or a conversation and the reason he did that, it’s management by walking around which we know now but the idea was, if you approach people in an environment where they feel comfortable and make them feel like we’re on an even keel and you’re not trying to intimidate them then they’re much more likely to open up to you and have an honest and frank conversation and he learned when he’s working with a client and he meets with their front line staff and ask them about their job, they are always ready to tell him exactly what is working well and exactly what they think is going wrong and he thinks it’s because of that principle of coming to them and making them comfortable.

 

  • Jeff stated he has this thing where he realizes that his audience doesn’t have a lot of budget to spend on customer service maybe technology but not on people. So, one of the things he has been trying to do is transform his own business where he can make resources, tool, concepts available to people at little to no cost and somehow still get paid. A few examples are his book, the investment on the book is USD $14.95 for the paperback or USD $9.99 for the kindle, that’s a pretty low investment yet he puts all the tools he uses as a consultant in that book so you don’t have to hire him because you probably have USD $14.95, you may not have his consultant fee. He has training videos on LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com and he has learned that a lot of his clients and companies that he works with already has a subscription to one of those platforms, so you can get his training without having to pay for him to come in, the video is right there, it’s available to you and if you don’t have a subscription, it’s fairly inexpensive and then things like this podcast, he loved this opportunity and really appreciate it because it’s a chance for them to have a dialogue about service but it doesn’t cost anything to subscribe to the podcast and learn from it and learn from not just himself but from some of the other amazing experts that Yanique interview. Those are free resources that anybody can take advantage of and he’s really excited about the opportunity to help people wherever they are in their journey.

                                                                                        

  • Jeff shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter - @toister (www.twitter.com/toister)

Customer Service Tip of the Week – www.toistersolutions.com/tips

Insider Customer Service Blog – www.toistersolutions.com/blog

 

  • Jeff shared that he’s not a big quote person, the reason he’s not a quote person, the first reason is because he sees quotes and they sound great but then what do we do with them. He’s more of an action person and the second reason is he has done research on some quotes and he has been disappointed to find that that person never said that or that’s not what they meant. He gave an example, the quote, “The customer is always right” no one said that and it bothers him that we have accepted this as some mantra in customer service and he did some research on where did this come from, why do we believe this and there is not really an agreement but it came from a few places. One possible source says Ritz Carlton and he said, “The customer is never wrong” and the context was that even if the customer is wrong, of course they are sometimes, you don’t argue with them, you just find a way for them to help them become right. Marshall Fields who is a famous retailer, he said, “Right or wrong, the customer is always right” and his point was the same thing that the customers will of course make mistakes but we don’t argue with them, our role here is to help them become right, to help them succeed. He wished he had a great quote to share but when he finds those quotes and he found out no one ever said that but the story behind the quote often is much more interesting.

 

Yanique mentioned that in most of her workshops towards the end of the session, she always explains to the participants that the customer is always right literally is not a true statement because there are times when the customer is wrong but what we should be guided by is the principle that as employees, we are not here to prove the customer wrong, we are here to help them, they are wrong but we are not here say, “Hey Mr. Customer, you’re wrong and we are going to punish you.” But more like, “It’s okay, let’s work back to how we can undo what’s happened and find a solution so that you can leave here feeling good, let’s make this right.”

 

Links

The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service by Jeff Toister

Sep 26, 2017

Yanique Grant Show Notes

 

This episode with Yanique Grant will be speaking about customer experience and convenience as it relates to customer experience. Over the last few months I have been doing a lot of workshops locally and I have been advising the participants and the organizations that "CONVENIENCE" is the next big thing in Customer Experience and those organizations that really recognize it are definitely setting themselves apart and making themselves or creating that competitive advantage for themselves.

 

Highlights 

The most valuable commodity in the world is "Time" and if you are in business, competing on price is just not enough; you have to find a way to set yourself apart from the competition. Many will argue that convenience is apart of customer service or the customer experience and I will definitely agree with that but it is becoming so important that I am willing to tell you that it is definitely a sole competitive differentiator.

Let’s think about convenience and what it really means, convenience is the option that you give the customer to get more than one item or to have more than one channel by which they can communicate with you. Let’s take for example Amazon, Amazon has created a market place where you can basically lay in your bed, you can be in the airport using your phone, you can be sitting in a parking lot using your tablet and order anything you could possibly think of, you can place an order for a DVD you can place an order for a phone, you can place an order for a book, Amazon is right there at the tip of your fingers, you can even buy a part for your motor vehicle on Amazon, it’s just that simple, it’s just that easy. They’ve found a way to really set themselves apart as it relates to convenience, they broke out of the low price and big selection game with convenience and they‘ve even made it so much easier, they created the Amazon Prime programme that gets the merchandise shipped to you without shipping charges in 2 days or less and it works! I am an Amazon prime customer and it’s like magic!!! They’ve created the Dash Button that allows you to purchase merchandise with the simple push of a button, they wanted to eliminate steps, as many steps as possible from the time a customer is thinking about purchasing a product until that product is delivered. They are also setting up distributing centers throughout major cities that can get merchandise to you in 2 hours or less, speed and simplicity is exactly what it is about.

To take is a step further there is Uber, Uber managed to create a system where you can just have this app on your phone, you can pay for where you want to be transported to right there through the app and you can see that motor vehicle or driver coming from whatever point to come and pick you up. I was on vacation in Chicago in August of this year with my daughter and we were taking an Uber and my friend purchased the Uber for us from his office, which was maybe 5 or 10 minutes up the road from us and he was able see the car on the road and advise us exactly when to go downstairs to the front desk and the vehicle will be right there. We were able to know that it was a white vehicle, a Toyota Corolla and the guy’s name is Dennis, I was like, “Wow, this is amazing.” So convenience is the next big thing in customer experience, it makes things so much easier.

I was also visiting some friends for my daughter’s friends birthday over the weekend and of course there was no coffee and I am a big coffee drinking and when I went to the supermarket, which is located at the entrance of the complex, upon completing my purchase and leaving the store, the gentleman walked me outside with the cart and preceded to take the things and put them in my vehicle for her which I was very grateful for and I told him thanks. He went further to say, “The next time that time you would like to make a purchase, you could just go online or you could email us your items and we will just deliver it for you and you can pay for it when we come to deliver it, just so easy and convenient you don’t even have to come out of your bed.” Those were his exact words and I was like, “This is amazing.” It doesn’t matter how small your business is, it doesn’t matter how large your business is, look at Amazon, they are serving millions and probably billions of people globally, so you could be serving 10 people, you could be serving a 100 people, you could be serving a billion people, convenience is the next big thing in customer experience and if you con figure out a way in your business to make your services more convenient for your customers, you’re definitely creating a competitive advantage.

Another big organization that I would like to mention here in Jamaica is First Global Bank (FGB) and they have this amazing machine call the Video Teller Machine, it’s the first of its kind in Jamaica as far as I knows, it’s the only bank in Jamaica that offers this service. This Video Teller Machine opens way before the bank opens like at 7:00 am and they close pretty much after the bank closes, you can do a lot of transactions at the Video Teller Machine and it’s not like an ATM machine, you can do cash deposits, you can do can cash withdrawals, you can make cheque deposits, you can do cheque encashment for their (FGB) cheques, you can do denomination exchanges, you can do credit card payments, you can do fund transfers and it’s basically a machine and you’re speaking to the Teller, you pick the phone up, you have the option of seeing the Teller or you have the option of not seeing the Teller and you tell them what you need to do and you insert your payment or whatever transaction you need to do through that slip section and you get your receipt, it’s amazing and you don’t have to join the main line because many times you enter the bank the main line has a good amount of people and you kind of want to do a quick transaction, there’s no need for you to have an extensive interaction with someone and so the Video Teller Machine has really been an amazing convenient experience, so I have to big up First Global Bank for really being the innovator and the trend setter in that department in the banking industry in Jamaica. You have to think in terms of “How can I make life easier for my customers? What do my customers want?” If you start thinking in that frame of mind, she guarantee that you’re going to be at least 5 to 10 steps ahead of the game and in this global competitive marketplace that we’re all operating in, convenience is the one thing that is going to set you apart from your competition.

Thank you so much for joining me by just taking some time to listen on customer experience and innovative convenience. I also want to state basically and quote you some basic statistics just to let you know how important convenience is. There was a survey that was conducted by LPSOS and in that survey they found that 80% of the respondents stated that new payment methods such as prepaid cards, electronic transfers and even mobile devices have made the buying process easier, this is forcing businesses in the B2C (Business to Customer) market and B2B (Business to Business) market sectors to look at their point of sale technology for potential improvements to meet customer expectations especially as ecommerce continues to grow in popularity.

Again, Amazon is a great example of ecommerce, look at Netflix, Netflix is definitely another great innovation in terms of people used to rent DVDs and now with Netflix you just pay this very minimal fee per month and you have at the tip of your fingers....TV shows, you have different genres of movies and all of this you can access through your tablet, you can access through your phone, you can access through your smart TV or your computer. So convenience is really the driving force that customers are looking for, so my challenge to you is to go back into your organizations and maybe do a mini survey and find out what kind of convenience your customers are looking for, better yet you could even ask your customer facing employees to pay attention to things that customers ask for the most and try and find unique ways to embed or to introduce these things as a natural part of doing business with your organization, if you take this mind set and if you take this approach, you’re definitely going to see a difference in your sales because convenience will cause people to do business with you over another organization all because it’s so much easier, because time is the greatest commodity in this life that we are operating in and it’s the most valuable commodity.

If you can figure out a way to save your customers time while ensuring that they’re still being provided with the best quality service in the most easy and convenient way, you’ll be surprised to know how your bottom line would tremendously increase because you’re making things so much easier for them. Customers like to know that they’re doing business with an organization and that the organization has taken the hassle out of doing business with them. If you have to go somewhere and you have to figure out what to do, where to go, how to get this done, why is it so complicated, why is it taking so much time, why do I have to follow up with them much, it’s so frustrating at times, you’re going to look for an alternative that’s going to cause you little or no stress, so the aim of an organization is to find unique ways to reduce the stress and basically improve on the convenience, improve on the hassle free experience, ensure that when the customer has finished completing the transaction they feel like it was so easy they could do it over and over and over again because it literally takes nothing out of them to complete the transaction, that’s the mind set you need to be in, Convenience is the next "BIG" thing in customer service. 

What are you doing in your business to create convenience?

 

Mastering Customer Experience and Increasing Your Revenue Online Course

 

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