Sky Jarrett is an executive coach and pioneer of 21st century leadership. She has a passion for unlocking human excellence and specializes in using researched-based and neuroscience techniques to support leaders in improving their effectives and thriving in the digital age.
As a leadership and organization development consultant at one of the world’s largest consulting firms, Sky has 12+ years of specialized expertise in large-scale transformations helping organizations transform their culture, leaders, and performance from within.
Sky is also a certified instructor, advocate, and change agent for mindfulness and has been instrumental in bring mindfulness to Fortune 500 companies. She is committed to growing the reach of mindfulness across industries and geographies as a way of expanding the human capacity to deal with the relentless and fast-paced challenges of life in the 21st century.
Transcend, LLC is an organization aimed at supporting individuals, groups, and organizations in helping them transcend barriers to maximize their greatness and achieve extraordinary results. Combining unparalleled expertise in Leadership Excellence, Human & Organizational Development, Brain Science, Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, Performance Excellence, and Inclusive & Diversity principles, Transcend specializes in curating experiences, program, and talks designed to inspire and transform.
Yanique shared that the program is called Navigating the Customer Experience - And I remember in some of our pre conversations you are just trying to align to make sure that you know, what you had to offer would align very well with our audience. Now, leadership is a very big part of customer experience as you would know based on the work that you've done with all of these large organizations. And if the leadership is not mindful and basically not leading their teams in a way that is going to yield the greatest level of productivity in all the dimensions that your life needs leading in, not just in terms of work, but health and wealth and spirituality and emotionally then you're really not going to have a truly successful organization.
Sky also mentioned, specific to having that customer centricity, she thinks more than just the awareness, but the capacity to sort of think from a systemic perspective, especially in now a 21st century. When you think about the impact of globalization, we're so much more connected now than we were before. And so, you hear the buzzword of thinking about the ecosystem and thinking about all the players, the market landscape is just so much different now than it was before. So, she thinks also having that capacity, obviously awareness more than the awareness, having the capacity to think on that many dimensions. In her world you talk about increased complexity, the more high you get as a leader, the more complexity you have to deal with, thinking about stakeholders and your customers on that many levels. And when you think about how you engage with those customers and the ecosystem that's involved in that engagement, it's not so much indirect, one-to-one, um, business to customer or customer to customer relationship anymore. It's so much more dynamic. So just having more of a capacity to navigate that complexity I think is really important. And a lot of the work that I do with leaders is to help them scale that capacity to build more capacity to deal with more of the complexity that I believe is inherent in the 21st century. So, she would say those are the three things for her. The awareness, cultivating a capacity for empathy and having the capacity to deal with more complexity, to be able to navigate that she thinks is really important.
Yanique agreed and stated - I liked the fact that you touched on authenticity. I think it's so important. I read a lot of Brené Brown's books and 've been following her for maybe about seven, eight years now. I did a workshop with her a couple of years ago that she did read Oprah on scrapbooking, kind of helping you to fine yourself and just talk about shame on the things that we take for granted in our lives that we think other people don't suffer from. We're all actually suffering from some of the very same things, just maybe different experiences. And one of the very strong characteristics or traits that I will speak about in our workshops that we do here in Jamaica is I personally believe that the most important role of a leader is to grow and develop people. Would you agree? And if so, why is it so important? And I guess you'd have touched on it when you mentioned capacity for the leader to ensure that he grows and develops the people around him or her.
Sky shared that this point is really near and dear to her heart. It's sort of the bread and butter of why she do the work that she does, is to help people to grow, to develop, to be their best self, to be their authentic self. And she thinks as leaders we have a responsibility to do that for the people that support us and the people that we support. And one of the things that she thinks is most important part of that journey is to give ourselves and each other the permission to be human because so many of us going to a work environment and we have this expectation of who we want to be at work, the image that we want to project at work as if we're living two different lives, we have a work life and we have a personal life, two different people going to show up for each of the life and we are one person. And the more whole we can be, the more authentic we can be is the more fulfilled we will be. There is a thing of living in congruence, that’s a psychological term where you're living this ideal version of yourself, but it's not who you feel you are meant to be or you're living out of obligation but you're not really connecting with who you are at your core and who you are in your true authenticity. And so, the more misaligned we are, the more misalignment we have between who we want to be and who we're actually showing up as is the more unhappy we are. And that can lead to burnout, it can lead to anxiety, depression, and for sure if not all of those things, you just won't be as happy living that life. So, for her, helping people to create that space, she thinks as leaders we have a responsibility to create that space of safety where people can show up as they are and close that gap of in congruence.
Yanique agreed. It’s awesome that your company is dedicated to transforming that particular area because a lot of organizations need that message, that reinforcement to recognize that their role is to help people really grow and align themselves to who they're truly, truly meant to be and sometimes that requires some soul searching because some of us are working in jobs 30, 40 years and we really don't know what we want. We kind of just on that treadmill going everyday, not really sitting down and questioning ourselves and giving ourselves truthful answers, what really, really makes us happy.
Sky shared that she calls it living by default versus living, but we're just living life by default, just whatever comes our way, we'll go at it versus being intentional about one, getting clear about what we want for our lives, what we want for ourselves, how we want to spend our time, the difference we want to make in this world. She had a moment she was robbed at gunpoint in Jamaica, December 2015. And the thing that she walked away with was thinking, “Okay, so this happened at three o'clock in the afternoon, broad daylight. The gunman knows that I saw his face.” So, really and truly, he had no reason to let her walk. And she walked away thinking, “What if he made a different choice? And he ended my life in that moment. So, what that I'd have lived. So what? What difference have I made in the world that would really warrant the life that I lived up until that point?” And many of us don't have those experiences to help us think about those types of questions. But if you think to live your life with the end in mind, rest assured you're going to be more inspired to be more intentional about how you live your life, the difference that your life makes, the impact that your life has made on this world. And really getting behind that and being more intentional about designing your life in such a way that you can live out the best version of your life, she strongly believes in it. Get off the damn treadmill and live by design, don't live by default.
Yanique mentioned that Sky shared one of the oldest types of advertising for any business and it's really what all businesses should aspire for, true word of mouth advertising in terms of really being able to speak about the value and the greatness or impact that on an organization or an individual is able to help them overcome. Because the reality is all businesses go into business to make money, but usually they going to business to solve a problem. So, what problem are you solving for that individual or that company or that set of people and are you consistently doing it? Are you looking for opportunities to make it better each and every time? Are you flexible? Are you accessible? those are all the things that customers are looking for, ease of doing business, convenience. So, I think once you can ensure that you're doing that consistently and your customers can say it for you, not you saying it for yourself, then it speaks volumes to the impact that you have on people's lives.
Sky agreed and stated that here is the dilemma that we're all faced with, every single one of us living in this day and age is that life has changed, the pace of life is so much fast now then it has ever been and sadly is the slowest it will ever be. Listeners thinking about that, that manifests in each of our lives in a very different way. Like for her, it just feels like life is on a rapid seriously and she thinks it creates a very difficult space for many of us to kind of feel like we're keeping our head above water, constantly feeling like we're sinking, constantly feeling like we're falling behind, we may suffer from information overload because news is coming from every which direction, we have news coming out of our ears, we don't know which news platforms to keep up with and, “Did you hear about that? No, you're too lie. What's going on over there feeling?” feeling like we’re always out of the loop. FOMO is so real because there's so many different information platforms and we want to keep track of everything so we don't have FOMO and we keeping up with the Netflix and just keeping up with life in general and the responsibilities and how difficult it is to navigate life. And you think about things land like Airbnb and Uber and social media and how it's changing how we live life. So, to her a lot of people are bringing in 20th century lifestyle skills to the 21st century and it's not going to work. So, that for her is the problem that she’s helping people figure out how do I navigate this new way of living? How do I navigate this new way of living in business and in their personal lives so that people can, to your point, go through life with more of a feeling of ease, much less anxiety, much more fulfillment, being more effective in our personal lives and in our work life and have this general feeling of, “Man, I'm thriving, I am flourishing.” which is very difficult to achieve, more difficult now than ever before. And so, that's what she seeks to offer my clients and she does that in different capacities, both on an individual basis, but also in the corporate context. She works with teams to do that kind of work, so you talk about flexibility, accessibility, those are all things that she brings to the table, she doesn’t do cookie cutter solutions, she does very tailored solutions for her clients and really meet them where they need to be met.
Sky shared that the program is expected to release at the end of November, so in advance of the new year so people can get their engines revving and they're ready to go by the beginning of the new year.
Instagram - @transcendllc
LinkedIn – Transcend, LLC
Suman Sarkar has more than 20 years of international consulting experience. He has a proven track record delivering innovative and strategic approaches to the supply chain and sourcing practices with outstanding results. As an author, he understands the power of creativity that will be unleashed if businesses can harness the talent they already have in-house. He's a partner with Three S Consulting and he holds a Bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from ITT Kharagpur, India and a Master's in Industrial Engineering from NITIE in Mumbai, India graduating at the top of his class from both schools. And he's also a holder of an MBA from UCLA in Strategy and Finance. The author of the very popular book, Customer-Driven Disruption: Five Strategies to Stay Ahead of the Curve.
Yanique stated that Suman mentioned personalization and the fact that with the generational shift in terms of how baby boomers performed or bought or interfaced with businesses versus millennials and gen Zs. Now, a lot of companies are of the opinion that it's okay if they lose one or two customers because they can attract new ones. What are your thoughts on trying to just keep the ones that they have already happy?
Suman shared that this is also kind of a talked about in the book, focus on your current customers before you focus on new. Yanique pointed out a very traditional thinking in business. It's okay to lose in current customers which continue to fill the funnel and that is completely nonsensical because if you look at the research, research shows that current customers are likely to spend more and they are much, much more profitable than the newer customers. And you can look at industry after industry. For example, there was a great article on WSJ on Whole Foods, Whole Foods has grown, what's unique about it is they increased their customer base, but the profitability and sales per new customer has declined quite significantly. And that's true for most businesses, if you look at existing customers are likely to be more loyal and likely to spend more and be more profitable because you're not spending money to acquire them than a new customer. But companies actually do complete reverse way. If you have ever signed up for an internet service in the U.S, you would know the internet companies will give you a discount to the new customer, whereas they will try to increase prices for their existing customers, which is essentially encouraging them to switch or move away and this dislike or dishonesty towards the existing customers is a problem because that kind of creates a disconnect and once the customer moves away, try somebody else's product, they're not likely to come back. And there lies the challenge, keeping existing customers happy first should be the first focus before companies spent a lot of money on acquiring a new one. Having a hole in the bucket is not going to help you, the first thing you should do is to patch up the hole before you pull more water.
He shared that Isaac Asimov had a huge impact when he was a kid and he wrote a series of books about the future and how the future society will evolve, how technology will evolve, and we do see a lot of things he said is coming true. So, he has been a great, great influencer on him. The book he really like lately it's called, Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by a group in the University of Chicago. They talk about how economics affects all parts of our society. When we think about economics, we think business, but really that drives everything, whether it's people who are in gangs, whether it's prostitution but they use the concept of economics all throughout the society and how it impacts every aspect of the society was amazing to him. He really liked that book; he was very interested in thinking outside the box and then thinking of the threads of societal problems and how do you go about solving them was very interesting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Facebook – Josh Kelly
LinkedIn – Josh Kelly
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.
…………“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!”
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.
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 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.
Twitter - @nrmehta
LinkedIn – Nick Mehta
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Instagram - @rochelle.gapere
Twitter - @RochelleGapere
Facebook - @RochelleGapereHappinessCoach
Website - www.rochellegapere.com
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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****Special Note: the book is available for pre-order on Amazon in order to get into the flow that way
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah shared listeners can find her at –
Linkedin – Sarah Toms
Twitter – @SarahEToms
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twitter – @Jon_Ferrara
Code: Jon40 for 40% to sign up for Nimble
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yanique agreed and stated that everybody has to be aligned, everybody has to be singing the same song.
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.
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.
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 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.
LinkedIn – sparkfund
Facebook – @sparkfund
Twitter – @sparkfunder
Instagram – @emilyrasowsky
Twitter - @ERasowsky
LinkedIn – Emily Rasowsky
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twitter - @thejoeycoleman
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.”
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.
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.
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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twitter - @joshuamarch
Twitter - @conversocial
LinkedIn - Joshua March
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twitter – @dgingiss
LinkedIn - @dangingiss
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
LinkedIn - Catherine Mattice Zundel
Twitter - @CatMattice
Facebook – Catherine Mattice Zundel
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Website – www.civilitypartners.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
LinkedIn - @alexgenov