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Navigating the Customer Experience

Join host Yanique Grant as she takes you on a journey with global entrepreneurs and subject matter experts that can help you to navigate your customer experience. Learn what customers really want and how businesses can understand the psychology of each customer or business that they engage with. We will be looking at technology, leadership, customer service charters and strategies, training and development, complaint management, service recovery and so much more!
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May 17, 2022

We have a return guest Jason Ten-Pow. Jason was on our podcast last year September and he has returned. Jason is the son of immigrants, moved to Canada with his family when he was seven years old. His passion for customer experience was sparked as a teenager while working behind the meat counter of a carnival-themed grocery store in Toronto, Ontario. From there, Ten-Pow co-ran a niche computer technology company, Visionary Enterprises, that built and installed computers and networks.

 

This venture taught him the basics of running a business and his commitment to customer service sparked the confidence to found ONR, his CX consulting firm in 2001. As the founder and president of ONR, Ten-Pow has expanded his lifelong passion for creating unbreakable customer relationships into an organization with more than 20 years of experience helping renowned brands evolve their customer success stories.

 

Questions

 

  • What is Blockchain? what are you talking about? So, could you share with us a little bit about what Blockchain is and how that even can impact customer experience?
  • Could you give me in real life terms like, I'm a business; let's say, for example, I own a retail outlet, how does Blockchain affect me, I'm selling stuff online, I have a retail store where customers can come in face to face. What does that mean for my customers?
  • Who do you see adopting Blockchain in terms of customer?
  • Could you expound for us as it relates to data transparency and consumer loyalty?
  • Could give them maybe one or two CX tips that you think will allow them to really connect with their customers, build better and stronger and deeper relationships. What would those two tips be for 2022?
  • Could you share with our listeners, what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you get derailed? Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

What is Blockchain?

 

Me: So, we're having Jason back on our podcast. As I mentioned, he was here with us last year September talking about his book Unbreakable: A proven process for building unbreakable relationships with customers. And today he's here to share with us a little bit about his release that was released earlier this month. The title of the article was Wider Blockchain Adoption Will Impact Customer Experience. And so, my question to you Jason is for those persons that are listening to me are probably saying to themselves, what is Blockchain? what are you talking about? So, could you share with us a little bit about what Blockchain is and how that even can impact customer experience?

 

Jason stated that Blockchain can be many things, but at its core, it's the ability of information to be transferred either by the customer or by a product. So, information is tagged and carried along a pathway that can be picked up and shared, but it's also a very secure way of sharing information. And at its core, the value or the benefit for businesses is that it allows them to acquire a lot more information about their customers and more holistic information about the customer. And for the customer, the benefit is they can have a much better understanding of the product itself, where it was created and where it was manufactured and how it ended up in their hands.

 

So, Blockchain is really about a safe way of transmitting information back and forth amongst various sources. And the benefit for CX is that it allows businesses to have to acquire much deeper knowledge about its customers. And for the customer, it allows the customer to understand the product they're purchasing, and where it came from in a much more deep and meaningful way.

 

And this is exceptionally important today because, well, you think of movements such as ESG, which is Environmental Impact, Social Responsibility and Governance, which is very important considerations for customers that are purchasing a product, it's good to have an understanding of who's manufacturing, where this product is from, and if it was manufactured in an environmentally, with minimally environmental impact, and in a socially responsible manner. And so, these are very important bits of information that are being transformed.

 

How Does Blockchain Affect a Retail Outlet Owner?

 

Me: All right, now, you kind of gave us the book definition just now of Blockchain. Could you give me in real life terms like, I'm a business; let's say, for example, I own a retail outlet, how does Blockchain affect me, I'm selling stuff online, I have a retail store where customers can come in face to face. What does that mean for my customers?

 

Jason stated that what that means for your customers is that you have a lot more information about your customers when they make a purchase. And you'd mean, not just simply their transaction information, but you can have depending on what's in that Blockchain, you can have much deeper information like their age, if they share that with you, like a whole host of very important demographic information that is now connected to the actual purchase of the product, which allows you to know the customer in a much deeper way, in a much easier manner than you've ever been able to before.

 

Me: Now, what are some of the industries that you see adopting this new method of payment?

 

Jason stated that it's funny, he thinks any industry that is transacting online, this will be huge for, financial institutions are going to be right on top of this, retailers are going to really care about this. Why? Because it's an easier way to acquire knowledge, and to know your customer. Now, for example, the types of customers that will care about this, especially customers that are trying to be socially responsible, making sure that their products that they’re purchasing are having minimal negative impact on the environment, or that the company that's building this product is being inclusive in their hiring practices, all this type of information can be shared across this Blockchain.

 

And so, at the end of the day, that's the overall sort of long-term benefit. Now, we're right in the infancy of this new technology so that's what's very exciting. But at the same time, we're seeing a lot of changes in how customers make decisions, where price used to be the primary drivers, and even for companies, revenue used to be their sort of main goal that they wanted to achieve. Now you're seeing much wider, sort of the range of metrics that companies measure themselves against for success, including things like environmental impact, social responsibility, and governance, which the short term for that is ESG, which is a really hot topic right now, because customers are very interested in understanding the impact their products are having, both socially and on the environment.

 

Customers Who Are Adopting Blockchain

 

Me: Now, in your release, you had mentioned that Blockchain Adoption has highlighted some customers, how some customers are looking for new different offerings, it's new, and you know for example, as it relates to the different types of buying personas, if that's the best way to describe it, you will have like the millennials, you have the Gen z's, who do you see adopting in terms of customer base because for example, I don't see my mom engaging in this.

 

Jason stated no, absolutely. This is definitely for the next generation. We know the up-and-coming generation, the young folks, they are much more cognizant of the environment, and of social justice and equality and those are the customers and the ability to have this information will really benefit, not only because they're more likely to purchase online, but also because they care about these things when they're making the purchase decision much more so than previous generations have.

 

Me: Okay, and when you say they care, is that kind of tying back into where you said, emotion will now take an even larger role in decision making all because of the fact that they're concerned about equality, justice, fairness, those are things that are high on reasons why they buy from a company?

 

Jason agreed. You better believe it. You're absolutely right. And what we're seeing more and more today is that it's not simply a price comparison, a lot of the products that the younger generation are purchasing, there's deep reasons behind why they're purchasing that's very different than previous generations. And so, absolutely, that's a huge selling point. And that's just literally where the marketplace is going in the future, because at the end of the day, why do companies care about ESG? It's because the customers are demanding that brands be socially responsible, take care of the environment and that has to be taken into account when you're looking at whether your brand is profitable or not.

 

Data Transparency and Consumer Loyalty

 

Me: Now, you also mentioned in your article that there in this whole process, it's important for the companies to adhere to industry regulation and improve supply chain management and there are three things that you touched on industry regulation, data transparency, and consumer loyalty. Could you expound for us as it relates to data transparency and consumer loyalty?

 

Jason shared that this is where you intersect a lot of different new trends that we're seeing. So for example, if you want to be considered environmentally friendly, the government has set up regulations and standards of which to measure your level of environmental impact the company's having, and in the USA, it's now starting to roll out and become more adhered to. However, other standards around for example, social responsibilities really haven't been set. So, how you measure a brand's level of social responsibility is really up in the air.

 

And so, right now you're having different ways of measuring it. But what is going to happen eventually, is that there's going to be a standardized way of measuring it and this is where it comes back to customer loyalty. Because if these customers care about these things, they'll be looking at these indicators to understand how the brand they want to purchase from measures up across these very important dimensions.

 

Me: I get you. So, it's all connected. And then the general supply chain, how does that tie back in?

 

Jason stated that supply chain exactly, where are your products coming from? Is it being manufactured in a place that is not setting socially responsible markers for how they treat employees, there's in terms of wages, in terms of environmental protection in all of these different areas. So in the past, a company could afford to just measure where they're going to manufacture a product simply on which is the cheapest location - that is going to change as well. Because if that information becomes freely available, customers will be thinking, “You know what, I don't want to purchase this shirt that's made in this part of the world where they're using child labour. I would prefer to pay a few dollars more to purchase it from a brand that's socially responsible.” Does that make sense?

 

Me: Yes, it does, it totally does. But it also, I think, will require a lot of research on the part of the consumer or the way how the Blockchain system is set up now, they will be able to delve and capture that information readily when they're making the purchase.

 

Jason stated that that's the future and that's the sort of Holy Grail is to be able to look at the product, scan this code, be able to understand exactly where all this information about the product and it's all at your fingertips. So, the customer can make a much more informed decision than they ever have been able to do before.

 

Me: Over the years I've definitely seen customer experience evolve, at one point, if you look back at how customers made decisions before, it was heavily driven by what the organization told them, especially before the age of the internet where you could do your own research. And it's like the tables have totally turned Jason where I mean, the ball is fully and even more so as you mentioned, this new technology, this new way of decision making, as we go forward, it's even more in the court of the customer, because the customers are given so much more ammunition now and they should be, because at the end of the day, they're the ones that are opening their wallets, and spending to create these astronomical profits for these organizations globally. So why not put the decision-making capability in their hands, so they can really make a choice for the product or service that they want to purchase holistically.

 

Jason agreed, absolutely. And what it's going to put a lot of pressure on companies to really deliver a bespoke customer experience that's unique to the needs of every customer, so it will be slightly different. Why? Because that's what customers are going to demand, “You're going to care about the things I care about, right? And you're going to tell me exactly how you are manufacturing these things, and you're going to deliver a shopping experience the way I want a shopping experience to be delivered.”

 

And what that allows companies is to actually be able to build a more customized experience, because they will have that information readily available. And so, the transparency that will be possible will benefit both the brands if they take advantage of it. But it's definitely going to put a lot more power in the hands of the customer especially because it's exactly you said, knowledge is power and the more knowledge the customer has, the more informed decision they can make.

 

CX Tips That Will Allow Businesses to Connect and Build Better and Deeper Relationships with Their Customers

 

Me: Now, Jason, I know the first quarter of the year has passed, but we're in the beginning of the second quarter. But could you give our listeners maybe one or two CX tips that you think, outside of this new technology, because as you mentioned, it's still in its infancy stages, but let's say where they are currently in their business, they're just not there yet clearly. But they're looking to ensure that they employ maybe the best, if you could give them maybe one or two tips that you think will allow them to really connect with their customers, build better and stronger and deeper relationships, what would those two tips be for 2022?

 

Jason stated that 2022 is the year of Listening and here's why, the marketplace has changed coming out of the pandemic, customers have different expectations for shopping and purchasing experiences and it's different than ever before. And the customers are really going to dictate how they want to shop and how they're going to purchase moving forward. There's a lot of companies out there that are just thinking to themselves, “Oh, I'm just going to hold out until we get back to how things were before.” And the truth of the matter is, things are not going to go back to how they were before, things have changed, and they are different.

 

And unless you start listening more closely to your customers in every interaction, whether you're a restaurant listening to your patrons and their feedback in terms of what they want, and how they want it delivered, to major brands who are selling investments in ESG, stocks and ETFs, all and everywhere in between.

 

If you're not listening to your customers and understanding how their wants, needs and desires have evolved, you are going to be left behind and that is really his encouragement to companies coming out at the pandemic to start listening to your customers more closely than you ever have before. Because their opinions and their values have changed.

 

Me: I've heard some organizations say that they think customers are way more sensitive, they complain about the least little thing since the pandemic, what are your thoughts on organizations that view their customer feedback as customers being too sensitive and it's almost like they're not open to being flexible or being adaptable to take the feedback that the customer is giving them.

 

Jason shared that it's funny, the brands that they work with that they hear this from are brands that are stuck in the past. And he often hears, “This is the way we've always done it.”

 

And so, those are the brands that that may have been the way you've done it in the past, but if you don't change your focus from short term financial, quarter over quarter goals, to a longer-term view of what success really means beyond just simply your short-term financial metrics, you're going to be in big trouble. And this is really the tug of war that's going on, it's the old sort of dynamic of, okay, near term profits at any cost versus taking a longer view of your brand, and your brand's health. And let's be honest, public corporations are the ones that have been most guilty of that and those are the ones that he believes are going to be at biggest risk if they don't adapt themselves to the evolving customer.

 

What Jason is Really Excited About Now!

 

Jason shared that they’re working to develop a better understanding of the impact ESG is going to have on decision making over the next 12 to 24 months. So, over that time, they'll be speaking to investors and customers, as well as business leaders to understand who is driving from an organizational point of view, interest in ESG. And what measures companies are taking to implement tactics that address customers ESG concerns? And how important is ESG becoming in the decision making of customers? So, those are the three angles they're looking at. And so, it's going to be quite interesting, because he thinks what we're talking about Blockchain is just one aspect of the bigger evolution that's taking place.

 

And so, it's going to be interesting to see how these things evolve together, because there's still many that think that this is a fad, it's going away. They're betting against that, they're saying no, these things are here to stay, and these are the changes in evolution and how business is being conducted. So, it'll be interesting to see what business leaders are thinking in terms of these new and various approaches to thinking about the company's success.

 

Where Can We Find Jason Online

 

LinkedIn – Jason Ten-Pow

Website – www.onrcx.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jason Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Jason stated yes. First thing is, “Stop” whatever you're doing stop, take a deep breath. If you have a big problem, the first thing you want to do is you want to cut that problem into smaller chunks that are manageable, that are solvable, and then create a pathway ahead, don't just see a problem and dive in and try to solve it. Because that's the biggest issue that companies and that's why they hit the wall, “Oh, I want to improve customer experience. Great. I want this metric up 10%. Let's throw money at the wall and see what sticks.” No, that's never the right approach. You have to take a very strategic approach to these types of problems and these types of challenges, and you have to always have a plan. So, make sure you stop and take the time to plan.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

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Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

May 10, 2022

Matt Young is the CEO of UserVoice, the first (and we think best!) product feedback and research tool for software companies around the world. Matt started his professional career as a software developer, right when web browsers were released. He developed innovative solutions on the web well before SaaS and Product Management were the ubiquitous terms that they are today.

 

Over his career, he has pushed for better ways to build software. And through all the changes in development methodologies, he has put the customer at the centre of everything his teams have built. This is what attracted him to UserVoice - an opportunity to make sure that teams building complex software solutions have direct access to the intended users - to make sure that the problems any company or development team are solving are actually worth solving.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share a little bit about your journey with our listeners, in your own words?
  • Could you tell us a little bit about UserVoice? To the average listener that's listening to this podcast, a little bit about the company, what does the company do? And what types of businesses do you primarily service?
  • What about tips for improving feature request responses?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Can you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently that has really impacted you in a great way.
  • If you could choose the best customer service or customer experience tip to give to our listeners who are business owners, what would be the most important tip that you would give them to ensure that their business is successful?
  • Could you also share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can they find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for whatever reason you got derailed or you got off track.

 

Highlights

 

Matt’s Journey

 

Matt shared that he had a pretty ordinary software development career starting off as an individual software developer, and then moving into management. The thing that he had experienced while doing all that was that he would notice that product teams would ask engineering teams, which are big and expensive and complicated to build things and didn't really have a good way to justify the reasoning behind that. He was really interested in hearing why customers thought what they were being asked to build was important, why it was an important problem to solve, why the solution they had in mind was a good one for them. And he just was really passionate about companies being connected to the users that they serve.

 

So, that's kind of what brought him to UserVoice. He started out as the VP of Engineering at UserVoice but over the years, they've spun out a couple of other products and other companies, so the original founder is now the CEO of a sister company of theirs, it's working on some parallel products, and UserVoice is his to run and build and all the responsibility and fun that comes with that.

 

What is UserVoice and What Does the Company Do?

 

Me: Could you tell us a little bit about UserVoice? To the average listener that's listening to this podcast, a little bit about the company, what does the company do? And what types of businesses do you primarily service?

 

Matt shared that UserVoice is a software as a service product and it's all oriented around making sure that you can gather any feedback that comes your way about your product, and that that feedback is available to the entire organization and can be analyzed and used to make products better. So, you guys have probably seen somewhere in your professional lives, a place where you had the opportunity to tell a team how they could make their product better, and that's evolved over the years and the way that that happens. There are annoying ways to do it, like with pop-up windows and there're really common ways to do it, like with surveys. But whether you've got a system in place or not, like people are providing feedback all the time, they're doing that in the middle of a sales demo, for example, they're saying what they do and don't like about the product, they're showing. They're doing that through support tickets, by asking about a thing they want to try to accomplish that may not be supported yet.

 

So, UserVoice the product makes it really easy for anyone who's in any position to hear customer feedback, either an employee of the company and support sales or success, or the customers themselves, have the ability to send whatever it is that's worrying them to the company and then gives the product team the ability to aggregate what is usually a pretty big mountain of data into something that helps them relate their product development plans to the goals that the company currently has. So, the short story is they're a software as a service product, but it's a business analysis tool that's built around product feedback.

 

Me: One of the things I was intrigued in getting your feedback on is, do you think customers should be driving the product roadmap?

 

Matt stated that that's a question that they get asked quite a bit and the funny thing about that is that a lot of the traditional like stereotypical personality type of a product manager is a very creative type person and he thinks they can feel a little bit threatened by saying, “Hey, your customers should drive your roadmap.”

 

And they think, “Well, what about me? What about the innovation and creativity that we have to bring to bear?”

 

He thinks it's a mistake to think of it as a black and white question like, should customers be driving a roadmap? “No.”

 

Should companies be creating a roadmap without customer input? “No, neither one is quite right.”

 

They need to use each other to really understand each other and meet to find common ground about the real problems that they're trying to solve. So, he basically views customer feedback as research inputs into a roadmap that's getting created. Not customers, like actually prioritizing things and steering the ship directly but they do have a lot of really valuable information for companies that can help them go to market with much greater success.

 

Tips for Improving Feature Request Responses

 

Matt stated that the typical product manager is getting asked to do a lot of things, they're getting asked by their co-workers to change the product to close a deal, for example, customers obviously have a lot of input. One thing that really makes a lot of product managers nervous is the fact that they know that they need to say no to a lot of these things just because of resource constraints, or that what they're being asked for doesn't necessarily fit the vision of the company. But getting comfortable saying no to people, he thinks it's just a matter of being more transparent with them. The customers of software, especially these days are getting more sophisticated and understanding how software is developed, how hard it is to make it perfect and do all the things that you want it to do.

 

So, he thinks transparency goes a really long way so when you do get feedback about your product, acknowledging the people that you're listening, making sure that they feel valued, and that the time they took to give you that feedback is something that you take seriously and find value in yourself, acknowledging that is important.

 

But then being very frank with what's the process, what's going to happen next. He doesn't think most customers would expect, “Okay, great, we're going to get to work on this right away.” That's not the way that software gets developed. But if you can explain to people like, “Hey, cool, thanks. I've made a note of this. We're going to talk about it with the team; we're going to keep our ears out for other customers like you who might need a similar kind of thing. And is it okay if we come back to you and have a conversation about this topic later when we decide to dig into it some more and get some more specific feedback from you about how your point of view has changed, about different solutions we're considering and all those things.” So, using customer feedback as an invitation to engage with a customer base, he thinks is a really good way to look at it.

 

Me: Now, as it relates to product development, a lot of a lot of customers I believe have challenges sometimes trying to identify what's the right type of product that they may need for their business. The customer feedback, it's definitely something you should get ongoing once you actually sold a product, or you've had an idea of what the design is going to look like and how it's going to affect the customer's life. But let's say you're at a developmental stage where you're not sure exactly what the market needs, how do you gather feedback at that point?

 

Matt stated that the best way to do that is through one on one interviews. And he thinks them being a one on one, he'd say in person, but more often than not, it's something like a Zoom call or a Skype call or something like that, where you're talking to people.

 

You want to get as high fidelity information as you possibly can from people and that usually requires a conversation, asking people to fill in a form, it's kind of a boring activity. You can't ask follow on questions, etc. And when you're just in that early stage of developing your product, you want to be able to interact with that customer and maybe observe how excited or indifferent they are about what you're building. Are they just eager and jumping out of their seat at the opportunity to use something like what you're describing to them? Or are they more middle of the road.

 

Most people are very polite, so they're not going to tell you that it's a bad idea or anything like that but they might not be excited about it and that's a pretty good sign that you might not be on to something that's truly differentiated in the market for you. So, they always say like, until you have 100 or so customers, doing interviews in person and not getting software systems in the middle of that connection between you and a customer is really important to do, where once you cross a threshold of a 100 or so customers, you need to have systems that can scale because your time is limited, and you couldn't possibly have conversations with every single one of them.

 

Me: Agreed. So feedback, your whole solution is built around feedback. And I think feedback is so important. How is it that you handle dealing with some of your clients? For example, here in Jamaica, I found that sometimes when organizations get feedback, whether it's in like in an electronic format, or it is submitted to them in a verbal conversation, sometimes the organizations get defensive and it comes over in their tone and their language.

 

Matt agreed and stated that if you think about feedback, when was the last time you went out of your way to go tell someone they were doing a great job? “Everything that you are doing, and your product is awesome, and I love it, don't change a thing.” That just doesn't happen. You might occasionally get a compliment about something they do like, but it's always going to come with something that people want to be different.

 

So, as a company who provides a product to people, get into the mindset that they're not judging you, they're not trying to tell you you've done a bad job, they're trying to express to you what problems they think you might be a partner to them and help solve are and if you view it that way, then it's a whole lot less threatening, you're less likely to get defensive.

 

It's never going to be all good news, it's mostly like, “Here are deficiencies that I think you have in your product and ways that it could be better.” But don't take it that way, take it to mean like, “Okay, these are opportunities that we have, that are potential improvements that could not only benefit our business, but really benefit these customers and what they're trying to do in their lives.”

 

They get a lot of people who come to them who are pretty nervous about opening up the door to get feedback about their products, because it does seem like a little bit of a bad news train that's going to come your way. But they always try to coach them that like, “Okay, well, would you feel better just doing this blind, fumbling around, building software hoping that you're right. Or would you rather have actionable real information from people, even if it is a little bit tough to take at times?” And inevitably, when you think about it like, “Yeah, I know need the information, it's just we've been working so hard, and everyone's poured their hearts into it and I don't know if I can take hearing all the ways that people don't like it.” But it's okay, you'll get through it, we're all tough human beings. So it'll serve you well in the long run.

 

Me: That's really, really good advice. And it's good to know that even though you're an organization that's focused on feedback, you do offer some form of coaching with your clients, to kind of get them in that mindset to change your perspective, because you are correct. If you change your perspective and look at it as an opportunity, which generally speaking, I don't think the customer would come back to give you feedback if they didn't want to continue using your product.

 

Matt agreed. They wouldn't bother, the fact that they spared some time for you is a really good sign. It shows a degree of passion. As he’s thinking about this, he’s thinking about the world's most successful companies and you might in your mind, say, “Well, they've got it made, they've got these huge customer bases that are rolling in money.” But if you think about their world, they have even more feedback coming their way that's even more critical coming from all different directions in the world, because they are so popular. So it never ends, you're always going to get advice either unsolicited or solicited about how it could be better. So use it, use it to your advantage, make it a tool, not a threat.

 

App, Website or Tool that Matt Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without, Matt shared that the app for him, it's Superhuman, the email client. They, like a lot of companies when the pandemic started shifted to working remotely and so even more than ever, his world is driven by email. So having a very efficient system in place that drives the mountain of email that shows up in his inbox every day, you can pry Superhuman out of his cold dead hands. And one of the things he likes about Superhuman also is that they're very public about the way that they do assess its value and build it. And Rahul Vohra who runs Superhuman, is a really interesting resource to look at from a product management perspective. So on two fronts, it's a great product and the way that they work on it is really interesting.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Matt

 

When asked about books that have impacted him, Matt stated that he’ll share two because there’s just one very old one that he read a long time ago and there's one relatively newer one that he thinks is really important. The older one is an old favourite that he’s sure you've all heard of, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. And the reason he likes it so much is that he’s an introvert. And introverts are not shy, they're not afraid of social interactions or anything like that but it drains energy to have a lot of interactions with people.

 

And How to Win Friends & Influence People was really to him the beginning of understanding behavioral psychology and learning how to do that on a person to person basis really set the foundation for thinking about how to build software products that speak to the psychological motivations behind what people do and don't do. So to him, it was kind of like the impetus to get started with what turned into a much bigger thing so they study psychology to try to make sure that their products are really good too. And it's a very approachable thing, especially if you listen to the audio book, whoever they got to narrate; it just feels like a warm blanket on a cold day, that guy's voice is great.

 

The other one he'd recommend, it's along the same lines, there's a book by Yuval Noah Harari called Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and it's this very interesting discussion about the evolution of mankind and the various phases that it's gone through, even going back to like cavemen. But looking at the Iron Age, the Stone Age, all the different ages that we've gone through, and even more recent history. It even looks at things like religion through the lens of all the different eras. There was a time in history where multiple Gods was the norm. And the days we live in today, one God is the norm. And by looking at things way zoomed out like this, and humankind, you start to see the patterns of what changes and what stays the same with all of us over time and it's just this fascinating, very unusual perspective on humankind that he thought was really interesting.

 

Important Customer Experience Tips for Business Owners to Ensure That Their Business is Successful

 

Me: Now, Matt, could you also share with us and this is a bonus question. It wasn't in the conversation flow, but I feel like you give us an amazing answer. So the question is, if you could choose the best customer service or customer experience tip to give to our listeners who are business owners, what would be the most important tip that you would give them to ensure that their business is successful?

 

Matt stated that he’s going to say something that is a variation of like, make sure people aren't just the numbers to you and to put that into very tactical terms, call people by their name, and view them as an actual human being. If you're answering a support ticket, it's very easy to view things as an email that's coming through without a person behind it, who's having an actual problem, or having a good day or a bad day or frustration or excitement about what you're doing.

 

But if you can always be visualizing the person behind it, and the fact that they go beyond this relationship that you have with them about your product, and they are a human being that is just like you in terms of their hopes and dreams and fears and the lives that they lead, it's going to make you a much more empathetic provider of services and that goes a really, really long way in the success of businesses.

 

What Matt is Really Excited About Now!

 

Matt stated that this is actually something he’s really, really excited about. They just switched to a four day workweek, UserVoice did. And he thinks it's common in some areas of Europe, Scandinavia, in particular is kind of leading the way on it. But not a lot of American companies have tried this out and he thinks that's born of a few things and it's conjecture on his part but he thinks it's just lack of trust that a lot of companies have in their workforce, which he thinks is a huge mistake. But they're a relatively small company, and they try to be very experimental in what they do. And in doing so, they started a four day workweek experiment about six weeks ago. And they laid out what their goals were, their goals were concrete, they wanted to make sure that their output was just as good as it is with a five day work week. But they wanted to make sure that people had more time to pursue their lives outside of work.

 

And it's been an epically good experience across the board, he’s sent out a survey every two weeks since they started asking people if they would continue if they had to decide today, and then asking about what some of the pros and cons have been. And people will tell you, like, “My days are busy, but they're very engaging. And I feel like this scarcity of time makes me choose my battles really carefully.”

 

And then, the one thing as an example, a guy named Tori, who's a product manager on their team, he has date morning with his wife every Friday morning, because the kids are at school, and his wife’s favourite thing to do is to go have breakfast at a restaurant. And so, they just do this every Friday, it's like, “My marriage is better, my connection to my wife is better, and I enjoy my job more.” So this is something he thinks more companies should look into. It's been great for them.

 

Me: I totally agree. Lovely, I love that. I really, really love that, I'm sure your employees must be totally excited that the organization is taking this leap forward. And you're doing it in a country or territory where it's not widely adopted as yet, hopefully, it will be eventually, as you had mentioned.

 

Matt shared that he has a hard time imagining going back to I five day workweek, it's only been a month and a half after working professionally for 35 years.

 

Me: I've spoken to so many people that said that they don't know what it would be like to go back into the office. And like here in Jamaica, we were kind of emerging out of the pandemic like a lot of other countries are, but there are a lot of organizations who they just can't see and I think it's because they don't have the systems and tools in place, really but they just can't see their business operating with their team members, majority of them operating from home, and some of them in all honesty, really don't need to be in a physical space, in a building, in a business district area to come and get the job done. I think if they had the right productivity tools to kind of measure and as you said, they were able to clearly identify what their goals are, and are still able to achieve those goals with their team members working from home, it's very doable.

 

Matt stated that it does take trust on the part of the leadership of the organization, that you've hired the right people and that a lot of companies say this, but he thinks a lot of companies, it's lip service that, “I don't care what you do, as long as you get your work done.” There are other companies that if they find out, “I took an hour long walk at lunch, because I wanted to, they might get judgy about that,” which is why if you're getting good stuff done, it doesn't make any sense. So, he agrees. It's very similar to the remote versus office problem, and he doesn't need to watch someone work to know that they're doing a good job; he wants to see the results of what they do.

 

Where Can We Find Matt Online

 

LinkedIn – Matt Young

Email – matt@uservoice.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Matt Uses

 

When asked about quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Matt stated that he doesn't have a quote; his mind just doesn't work that way. If people ask him about like people that he follows and all that stuff, he tends not to do that, he tends to just assimilate his worldview into something that is influenced in small and big ways by all the different things he’s read or all the different people that he interacts with. But he thinks that the most important thing that he tries to keep in mind, especially these days, it was highlighted by the pandemic happening is that your life is not your job.

 

To him, the most important thing is the positive impact that you have on the earth in the time that you're here. Most specifically, the people around you. He grew up outside New York City so sometimes his language can be colourful, so he won't say it; don't be a you know, what is, the thing that drives him all the time, other people are just as stressed as you are, they're less privileged than you are, just have a bit of empathy for them.

 

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Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

May 3, 2022

Dr. Anna Harrison is a top ranked Digital Technology Advisor, Product Expert and Author. Anna’s work has helped New Zealand's best exporting and emerging brands create strategic and measurable plans to accelerate growth in new markets. Supported by successes across Europe, Asia, and the USA, Anna's work will help you remove your reliance on luck in the future success of your brand.

 

Questions

 

  • We always like to give guest the opportunity to kind of just share a little bit about their journey in their own words.
  • Your book Digital Brand Romance, could you tell us a little bit about the book?
  • Could you explain to our audience what customer expectations are versus what customer satisfaction is?
  • Could you define for our listeners what a promise is?
  • So, that dovetails us nicely into the core of your book is based on the ADORE Process. Could you take our listeners through what that process is and what are the milestones in the journey of that process?
  • Could you also share with our listeners what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a book that you read recently, or even one that you read a very long time ago, but it still has had a great impact on you.
  • What's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you got derailed or you got off track?

 

Highlights

 

Anna’s Journey

 

Anna stated that we are in for a treat. So, probably the best way to describe her journey is that it is non-standard and very nonlinear. She’s lived on four continents and done a whole bunch of different things. And probably if you look back across the last sort of two decades of work, the only common thread amongst it all is that she’s done interesting things and she’s worked with great people, and that really is something that drives her and motivates her to seek out new challenges and look for different things. So, loosely speaking, she’s worked in product design and product development, started in IT and so back in technology, work a lot with customer experience, and the drivers that help people to make choices and help brands to sell more stuff to loyal customers.

 

What is Your Book Digital Brand Romance About?

 

Me: So, our podcast is all about Navigating the Customer Experience. As you can imagine, when your email came across my attention, and I saw that you wrote this book called Digital Brand Romance: How to Create Lasting Relationships in a Digital World, I said to myself, this sounds very interesting and then I read a little bit more and it really got me intrigued. And so, I'm sure just as how I was intrigued, our listeners will be just as intrigued about your book. So, could you tell us a little bit about the book?

 

Anna stated that Navigating the Customer Experience just to sort of jump out and big picture, it's her passion, it's what she thinks about at 3:00 am in the mornings. So, lots of mutual interest and overlap and she’s excited to share some of the things she’s learned in her life with our audience today.

 

So, Digital Brand Romance, it's the combination of about a life's work so to say, and it looks at the factors that influence us as human beings and propel us to be loyal to a brand or not. And the cool thing about the book is that it breaks all of that down into really easy steps. And she thinks if we look at digital experiences and customer experience, and all of that, and it's all in a digital space, very often we get a little bit scared, and we think, “Oh my God, what do we know about this space?” And we kind of forget that always at the other end of the computer, the person buying your pair of shoes, or the person buying the handbag that you're selling, or the SaaS product that you're selling is a human.

 

And as humans, we form relationships, and we make decisions in really predictable ways. And so, we remember this when we have relationships with other people in real life but as soon as we go to digital, we just forget everything we learned and we make things very transactional in our digital spaces, and we just hard sell the consumers.

 

And then we wonder why things are not working and why most of our marketing budget is being spent on Google AdWords and our conversion rates are super low, like 1% or 2%.

 

So, the book really explores what are the levers that we can pull to help us understand how people make decisions. And then how do we apply that to our digital assets, like websites, like email marketing campaigns, like our sales process, to really build strong relationships and a loyal customer base.

 

What Customer Expectations Are Versus What Customer Satisfaction Is

 

Me: Now, one of the things that came across my attention when I was reviewing your book, I like the fact that you spoke about customer expectations, you spoke about customer satisfaction, and you spoke about why they were very different. Could you explain to our audience what customer expectations are versus what customer satisfaction is?

 

Anna stated that it's an interesting distinction here and when we think about customer experience, this is an interesting study that was done by Forbes a few years ago. So, Forbes interviewed a whole bunch of brands. And they said, “Hey, how would you rate your customer experiences?” And 80% of the brands said, “They're excellent, they're awesome, we're doing a great job, our customers are happy.” They interviewed those brands, customers, and only 8% of people said that they were really satisfied with the customer experience. And so, that's a really big kind of discrepancy there. Most brands think they're providing great experiences, and most customers think they are not getting a great experience.

 

And so, this is the difference between those two things is customer satisfaction, and satisfaction; it's a very personal and subjective thing, she may satisfied with something, whereas someone listening to this podcast might say, “No, that's terrible, I'm very dissatisfied with exactly the same thing.” And so, understanding customer satisfaction and how we can affect it is really the most powerful lever that we have in curating experiences for our customers.

 

So, to answer the question succinctly, satisfaction is the difference between what you expect and what you receive, or what you perceive of the experience. So, if you're expecting to wait in line for a meal for half an hour, and you get your table 15 minutes in, you're going to be delighted, you’re going to be like, “Wow, this is fantastic. I was expecting to wait half an hour, and we're in early.”

 

Whereas conversely, if you're expecting to get seated at a restaurant straight away, and they make you wait 15 minutes, you're going to be very, very dissatisfied. And so, the same exact experience is delivered by the provider, you get seated in 15 minutes. But in one case, you're satisfied, and you're delighted, because your expectations were that it could be longer. And then the other case, you really disappointed because your expectations were that it would be shorter.

 

And so, as a brand, and this is where all your energy can be very effective if focused right is, all you can do is set your customers’ expectations at the right level and through that you affect their satisfaction. That might be a bit too textbook nerdy, so she can give some examples if you prefer.

 

Me: Yeah, I think an example would be good to kind of just cement it for the audience so that they really understand. I got to reading the theory part of it totally and I thought it was a brilliant definition. I just really wanted you to share that, but if you could give us an example, that would be even greater.

 

Anna shared that there are tons of examples. So, let's say you buy something online. And she bought a bar fridge recently. So, she bought a bar fridge, and it said it will be delivered in two days and so, her expectations are that in two days’ time the bar fridge will arrive. And then she got a message saying, “Please schedule your delivery.” And the only dates available were next week. So, 7 days from when she bought it, not two days. So, straightaway, she’s like, “Hey, I'm not happy with this, because I was expecting, and you told me that the fridge would be delivered in two days.” So, the only change that needs to happen there is that the brand selling the fridge should just tell her that the fridge won't be available for a week or perhaps even 10 days. And then her expectations are set at the right place, and she’s delighted with the outcome.

 

Me: Yeah, I suppose it's kind of like when we train our employees in organizations, and we’ll say that we should under promise and over deliver. And one of the things that I think impacts customer expectations greatly is what we communicate. And sometimes what we communicate - it's not the truth, or I don't know. Sometimes I think organizations communicate information that is incorrect intentionally, like it is their intention to exceed the customers’ expectations. So, they give them a reasonable time in their mind but then, when the actual experience is realized, what was communicated and what actually occurred, they're not correlating.

 

Anna stated that that's an excellent example. And to dig a little bit deeper into that, she thinks setting your customers’ expectations that are realistic or perhaps a level under which you know you can over perform is a really good strategy, with a little asterix on that, as long as you're doing that in an authentic way. Because consumers are smart and as soon as your consumer feels that you're trying to deceive them, that opens another can of worms, they're going to run for the hills because no one likes the feeling that they're being lied to.

 

However, as a brand, you have the ability to authentically communicate and to deliver information and this is something that's super interesting that there was a lot of research done in the 80s by Don Norman, if you know him, he's like one of the godfathers of design and have written amazing books over the years. But what came out of his research was that people are really open to changing their expectations when you provide them with authentic information.

 

So, coming back to our restaurant example, if she’s waiting in line for a table, and she’s expecting it will take a couple of minutes, but it's going to be 15. If the restaurant gives her authentic and clear information as to why it will be 15 minutes, and then perhaps a gesture to compensate her for my trouble, that negative experience or what could have been a negative experience actually shifts to being a really positive experience.

 

So, with the fridge, if someone simply sends an email and says, “We're really sorry, we typically try to deliver things in two days. But you've had public holidays and long weekends in Australia and so that's pushed out delivery times out, and it'll be a week, very sorry.”

 

That information, when it's communicated authentically has the power to reset her expectations as a consumer. And so, it's not about getting it perfect every time as a brand, you don't have to get it right every time.

 

It's like parenting; we're often so hard on ourselves when we do something kind of not quite right by our kids. But you can make it right, you can have an authentic conversation and provide the information with clarity and with transparency and that will have a really powerful effect and reset your customers’ expectations so they can still have a really good experience, even when it falls short of what they originally expected.

 

What is a Promise?

 

Me: Another great insight that I took from reviewing your book was there's a point in the book where you say the only reason anyone buys anything is to make their life better, which I suppose is almost the equivalent of people go into businesses to solve a problem. Most businesses were created with the intention of solving somebody's problem, whatever it is that your business solves. But what really intrigued me further to what you said in terms of making their lives better, is that the challenge to sell more reduces it down to two things showing the buyer that you're going to make their life better and delivering on your promise.

 

Now, could you define for our listeners what a promise is because I've been through many different customer service trainings in different industries, and I find that people are not clear on what a promise is. And they don't realize that you don't actually have to say the word I promise for the customer to view it as a commitment that you're making to fulfill something that they're requesting.

 

Anna stated that is such a great question and such an interesting pathway to explore. So, a promise is certainly not a contract. So, without even whether you explicitly and overtly know that you're making a promise to a customer or not, you are even if they don't sign a contract with you.

 

So for example, things like if you think about someone coming to your website for the very first time, in the first 10 seconds, that site visitor gets a sense of what your brand promise is, and that's made up of a few ingredients, it's made up of the styling on your website, your choice of imagery, your choice of font, your choice of colour, your logo, your hero value proposition tagline, all of those things combined into effectively, very quickly delivering a snapshot of what your brand promise is.

 

So maybe to correlate this to an example we'll all be familiar with. When you meet someone in person for the very first time, your subconscious mind processes a whole vast range of variables and you make a snap judgement, you go, “Yeah, this person is the kind of person that I would like to have a conversation with and maybe if that goes well, we'll go out for a coffee and maybe we could be friends.” Or “This person is just creepy; I'm going to run the other way. You know what I'm not having that this, a cup of coffee is not in our future.” And so, your subconscious mind is really good at doing that when we meet people in real life. And whether we think about it or not, we do exactly the same thing when we see a brand in a digital space.

 

And so, the brand promise is really the combination of all of those things and when you start looking for it, you'll notice it. So, when you go to a brand like Porsche, the imagery on the site, the particular choice of fonts and colours and the logo design, all look like a very expensive and exclusive brand. When you go to something like Kia, it's a much more approachable brand and this is all done through very subtle things like fonts and colours and the brand promise.

 

She works with high growth brands in Australia and out of New Zealand, and where they often will spend a lot of time and it's an easy thing to talk about, and a hard thing to execute on, is refining the value proposition. And so, that value proposition is the explicit articulation of how you're going to make someone's life better. And she finds where brands often get stuck; they get stuck in two ways.

 

One is that they think about the features of their product and don't recognize that features don't make someone else's life better. No one has a pair of Jimmy Choo heels because they have a high heel stiletto on them, they buy those heels, because of how those heels will make them feel, and how they will be perceived when they own that particular item.

 

And so, we forget this when we design our websites, and when we design our electronic marketing campaigns, and social media campaigns and so on, and we talk about features instead of what is the feeling? How really do you make someone's life better? She doesn't choose Skype or Zoom because they have a particular telephonic service with some grade of how fast they transmit her voice. She doesn't even know the details. So, she doesn't know what the technical specs for Zoom.

 

She chooses Zoom because it's easy to use and she can click one button and connect with someone on the other side of the world. And so, Apple is probably an amazing example of at scale when we first stopped talking about features and started talking about how the product makes our life better. And so, to come back to the original question, what is the brand promise that we make? It's all the subconscious things that someone will experience in the first 10 seconds on your website and that's made up of fonts and styling and colours and imagery, and also your value proposition that you articulate in that hero part of your website.

 

What is the ADORE Process and the Milestones in the Journey of That Process?

 

Me: So, that dovetails us nicely into the core of your book is based on the ADORE Process. Could you take our listeners through what that process is and what are the milestones in the journey of that process?

 

Anna stated that the ADORE Process and a few people have asked her what does ADORE stand for. And again, she’s like; actually, it stands for nothing. But in technology, everyone needs an acronym and so here we go, we've got an acronym called ADORE.

 

So, the ADORE Process looks exactly at how we form relationships as humans. So, as soon as she walks you through it, she'll be able to map that to, “Oh, yeah, that's exactly how I form relationships with anyone I meet in real life.” And it translates it into milestones which we can affect and tune in digital, and also milestones where you can measure the performance for your particular brand against each of the milestones.

 

And the milestones and there is six of them. The very first one is zero seconds. So, zero seconds is simply the opportunity to have a site visitor come to your website. So loosely speaking, it's all of your marketing activities, all of your social media, everything that you do to drive a stranger to your website, the moment that they land on your website, that’s zero seconds.

 

Then that first impression moment is the first 10 seconds that they're on your site and this is where they make a snap judgement, whether you like the fact or not people make snap judgments and they'll decide whether they're going to spend more time exploring your brand and getting to know your brand, or whether they're going to go to the next tab, and your closest competitor is always only ever in the next tab and sort of say, “No thanks, this isn't the brand for me.” So, 10 seconds is that first impression sort of moment, first date, if you like.

 

And another thing which she often sees when she works with brands is that they want to tell you their entire life story on that first date. You're like, hang on, I'd never do that in real life. But how is it okay in digital, or they'll lead with something like a “Book a call right now,” and ideally one that pops up on the way upside the moment that you land there and you're like, hang on a second. If she was meeting someone for the very first time and they went on a first date, and she said to the person sitting across from her, “Hey, you seem kind of nice. Do you want to move in and have seven kids together?”

 

So again, in person, we know how to moderate this, we know that relationships take a certain cadence, and we don't violate those things in real life. But we do on a website, we're perfectly happy to put a pop up that says, book a call right now, the minute that she lands on a website she’s never been to, like, “Hang on a minute, let me get to know your brand first. And once I know your brand, a little bit better than ask me that question.”

 

So, zero seconds, the arrival, 10 seconds is your first date, then three minutes, is that moment where someone has taken the time to actually get to know your brand a little bit more. So again, in human terms, it's probably that three to six month mark, where you're like, “Yeah, we've got to know each other a little bit, it feels about right, maybe now we'll have a conversation about moving in together.” But don't do that on the first date. And so, that three minute mark is that moment where someone has explored your brand. At this point, maybe they've looked at your features. At this point, maybe they've looked at, can I make this work for me. And if you've positioned those first few elements on your website in the right order, and in the right way, and you're respecting how someone forms a relationship with your brand, the very natural next step is for them to want to sign up, they'll want to try your product or service, they'll want to perhaps buy the first T shirt that you're selling, they're ready for that next step.

 

And so, that sign up moment, it's like moving in together, it's a definite sign of commitment. And it's super, super important to take note of that, because your customer is now saying, “I am making an active commitment to your brand.” And so, when you've got that, you know for sure you've got someone who's interested, someone who's spent the time getting to know you, they're a captive audience. The rest is easy, assuming that you've got a really good product or service, which most brands she works with have amazing products and services, and they are just not sure how to develop that relationship with their customers.

 

And so, to give an example, she had a brand that she was working with, and they literally after the signup process, they were losing 95% of their people. So, they were spending all the money on marketing, all of their branding and their brand promise and the way they told their story was all done super well, they were getting a lot of customers to sign up each month. And then it was like a 95% drop off. And it was like, “Oh my God, what's happening here.” And they changed a couple of really small things. And so, if you look at this part in the book, it will actually give you tangible tips for what to look for when things are going wrong, and what you can change. And this particular brand, they increase their revenue by $50,000 a month by changing a couple of buttons. So, these things do make a difference. And whether consciously or subconsciously, we do respond to digital, and to the formation of relationships with brands and digital, much like we do in real life when it's a human and a human interacting.

 

But we've got zero seconds, the arrival, we've got 10 seconds, which is your first date, we've got three minutes, which is where you've told your brand story, sign up, which is your first moment of active kind of commitment. And then after that it's easy street, all you then need to do is build into your product the right levers to create an upgrade, to create a repeat buy, to get the customer to pull more money out of their wallet and experience more and more of your product over time and so that's upgrade. And then ultimately where you want to drive your customers to if your growth strategy is based on forming relationships, and that loyal customer base is to get referrals. And referrals are really important because a referral from someone that you trust shortcuts that whole customer journey by about 60%. And so, people will take shortcuts on the getting to know you part and go straight to sign up if the recommendation comes from a trusted party.

 

So, that's basically the steps and in the book, in the ADORE Process part, which is the middle part of the book, it shows you for each of those steps, how do you measure success? So which of your website metrics do you look at to see whether you're performing well or not performing well. And that's important because when you make a change to your website, or you hire an agency to make some changes, you want to have tangible and objective proof that whatever updates you made are actually creating a positive effect on your conversion rate so that you're getting a good return on the investment that you’re putting in to developing those digital assets that you own.

 

App, Website or Tool that Anna Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business

 

When asked about an online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Anna stated that she was thinking about this the other day, and really, honestly, the thing she can't live without is probably email but that's not going to be much help because everybody uses email. So, something she’s gotten into recently is a product called Shortform. And Shortform gives you a summary of some of the best books on the planet and the summaries are just fantastic. So, if you're starting out and you haven't read any books at all, Shortform might not be for you but if you've read a bunch of books, and you've got an interest in business books, or how to grow businesses, and you've read a few things, Shortform is excellent because it fills in the blanks, and really tells you very quickly what the difference between this book is, and other things, which you may have read.

 

So that's something she enjoys and they're always adding new books into their library there. And so, in like 10 minutes, you can get the gist of someone's amazing new ideas without reading a whole book so it's a little bit of a hack and that's something she’s enjoying. Other than that, she listens to podcasts, typically podcasts that are recommended by other people. So again, showing that once we get a good recommendation from someone, we do shortcut that whole decision making process and just go straight to, “Yes, this is the thing for me.” Probably, that email and Shortform would be her indispensable tools at the moment.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Anna

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Anna shared that she’s definitely been very impacted by books she read early in her career and these would be the classics, things like Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not by Robert T. Kiyosaki, the idea that things that you buy are either an asset or they're not an asset and the idea that you can actually design your life so that you're not dependent on a paycheck. So, that was super influential for her.

 

Other than that, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert Cialdini, she thinks if you're an entrepreneur, and you're designing product, and you're selling product, and you have an interest in understanding how do people make decisions and how do I, what levers do I have to influence them to make the decision that I want them to make? This is indispensable. And so, Robert Cialdini wrote the first edition of the book in the early 80s and it's still true today. And it's a fantastic book.

 

Other than that, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert is a really, really beautifully written book, and it personifies ideas and it talks about concept that as people, we inhabit these human forms, but ideas are these organisms that float around us, and an idea might come and tap you on the shoulder and if you're not ready for it, it's going to go ahead and find some other human hosts that's going to bring it to life. And so, when an idea pops into your head, it's really up to you to take that idea and nurture it and grow it into something that becomes a business. And if you're not prepared to do that, don't be surprised that someone else halfway across the world seemingly has the same idea and brings it to life. So, she just thought it was a beautifully written and lovely book. Heaps of others, but those are probably her top three picks for the moment.

 

What Anna is Really Excited About Now!

 

Anna stated that the biggest thing that's happening for them at the moment is that they're taking Digital Brand Romance and they're converting that into a SaaS product called Rammp. And so, people love reading books, and so on, but what she finds is that most people want a solution that is automated and that they can deploy to their business that will work for them when they're focusing on the other important things in their business.

 

And so, Rammp does that, it takes the principles that are outlined in the book, those six milestones and it connects to your website statistics and then it will show you each month what are the most impactful and lowest hanging fruit that you can address to improve the relationship with your customers, and thereby increase your conversion rates. So they're bringing that to life. If you look at the website today, it's still a landing page but they should be launching that at the end of June. So, that's definitely a very, very exciting thing that's happening.

 

The other very exciting thing, which is possibly only exciting to her is that she has finally found another gym that she’s excited to go to because she’s been in fitness limbo for the last couple of years, just kind of on maintenance and alive, she’s really looking for something that's going to be inspiring and she did that this morning. So, she’s super stoked about that.

 

Where Can We Find Anna Online

 

LinkedIn – Anna Harrison

Website – www.rammp.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Anna Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that she tend to revert to, Anna stated a 100% and you could see her right now, you’ll see that it’s written on a card and stuck to her computer and the quote is, “Merely do the work.” Some days you’re super motivated and you’re excited and everything is going really well, on those days it’s easy to do the work.

 

But some days, whatever, the stars have not lined up and you might feel a bit naa and you’re like, “Why am I even doing this, there’s so many competitors that are better, etc, etc.” And on those days, just put your head down and do the work, you started the business that you’re doing for good reasons, there is no one else in the world who is more passionate and better position to be working on what you’re working right now. And on the tough days, just put your head down and merely do the work. Life and business and pretty much everything we do is a marathon, it’s just a marathon and you’re doing a marathon, it’s just put one foot in front of the other and eventually, things brighten up, you got your inspiration back and you finish the race, or the run, or whatever it is that you were working on. So merely do the work.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Apr 26, 2022

Eric Vermillion is the CEO of Helpshift, a San Francisco based company that develops mobile customer support software that helps companies provide better customer support in mobile apps. Before Helpshift, Eric was instrumental in advancing BlueCat to one of Canada's most notable software exits, and also helped grow revenue at NICE Systems to over $1 Billion. He has also held sales and leadership roles at PTC, Tecnomatix and Triad Systems Corporation. Eric holds a Bachelor’s degree in management from Purdue University.

 

Questions

 

  • We like to give our guest an opportunity to do their own introduction in their own words, can you just tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today?
  • Can you tell us a little bit about what Helpshift does?
  • Do you see mobile applications advancing even more in the whole development of customer experience on a global level? Or do you find people are looking for more opportunities where they can have more face-to-face interactions and less interaction with the digital or the technological side of things?
  • Metaverse, there are a lot of people who still have a little bit of apprehension in relation to that whole emergence of that, what it represents, how to interface with it. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it's something that will become the norm? How do you think people can adjust to it feeling more comfortable because it's so different and generally speaking, human beings just don't adjust to change very readily.
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website, or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with our audience, maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read recently, or even one that you read a long time ago, but it still has impacted you in a very great way.
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers, who feel they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you were sitting across the table from that person, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • What's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you got derailed or just kind of helps to get you back refocused.

 

Highlights

 

Eric’s Journey

 

Eric shared that he spent his entire career in the world of software, pretty good chunk of it on the sales end of things. He kind of got lucky coming out of Purdue University, when all his friends were taking jobs at places like John Deere and Caterpillar and Anderson Consulting, I found the Bay area software company to join and kind of fell in love with technology and software. So, he’s spent his career helping people use technology to create value. And he’s spent a big chunk of it in the world of customer service, he was at NICE for 8 years and got to be a part of things when kind of this whole omni channel trend happened. After he left NICE, he did a couple of other software plays in the world of identity management and IT security with blue cat, he found his way back and spent the last 3 years in Helpshift trying to really redefine what good customer service looks like for mobile apps and using more mobile devices more effectively.

 

What Does Helpshift do?

 

When asked about what Helpshift does, Eric shared that if you think of the your mobile phone, you probably engage with a lot of mobile apps on a day to day basis. Most people do and that's a trend that is rapidly increasing. They help brands use that mobile app to create essentially an orchestration tool for consumers to drive a very elegant customer experience. So, when you're in the mobile app you got typically it's the mobile app knows who you are, there's some context to the situation. And so, their customers are able to really provide their consumers with a much more elegant logical flow within the mobile app, allowing them to really self-serve much more effectively and by the time they actually get to an agent or human if they need to, because it's a more complex problem, or they’re a blue-chip customer. A lot of the problems already been solved, the context is there for the agents, so they can become a bit more like a concierge or a personal assistant than then the traditional view of what we would think of as a customer service agent.

 

Mobile Applications Advancing to Develop Customer Experience

 

Me: Do you see mobile applications advancing even more in the whole development of customer experience on a global level? Or do you find people are looking for more opportunities where they can have more face-to-face interactions and less interaction with the digital or the technological side of things?

 

Eric stated that those are two separate interesting questions. He thinks after what we've all been through in the last couple of years with COVID, he'd be surprised if there's anyone in the world that isn't craving a little bit more face-to-face interaction. So, he does think people want that, but he’s not sure that customer service is the place where they're striving for more kind of face to face, human to human interaction.

 

People are busy, people's schedules have changed and evolved a lot over the last couple of years, people tend to do a lot more working remotely, they tend to have schedules that are not very standard and typical, so they want to be able to find resolution to their problems whenever they want, wherever they want, at whatever time of day they want and that's something that he thinks companies are going to have to continue to adapt to.

 

And one thing that we know is true is that there were 2 million mobile apps that were created last year and there'll be more than that that are created this year. People tend to carry their mobile device with them, all the time 24/7, for most of us it's sitting next to our bed even at night. And so, it is this tool that's on our person 24 hours a day and when used properly, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for accessing support and creating a support engagement that really fits your needs and your schedule as a consumer, whenever and wherever you want.

 

He also thinks that when you think about some of the other trends that are going on in the world, like the emergence of this thing, everyone's calling the metaverse, other kind of distributed commerce technologies, like blockchain and web3, and other digital commerce trends that are happening in the world, most of those actually are accessed through mobile devices and through mobile apps as well. So, it's a trend that he thinks would be hard to find any reason that it's not going to continue to grow and kind of grow exponentially.

 

Metaverse, How Can People Adjust to it Feeling More Comfortable Because It’s So Different

 

Me: I'm glad you mentioned the metaverse, because there are a lot of people who still have a little bit of apprehension in relation to that whole emergence of that, what it represents, how to interface with it. What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it's something that will become the norm? How do you think people can adjust to it feeling more comfortable because it's so different and generally speaking, human beings just don't adjust to change very readily.

 

Eric stated that all very good and fair points. He thinks that a lot of people's view of the metaverse is driven by the images, or the headlines that they see about broken virtual reality experiences, they think the metaverse as kind of a 3D VR kind of gaming environment and to a certain extent, it largely is in 2022, but the evolution of it is happening very, very fast.

 

And for him, he envision this world, not so many years from now, the technology is there to make this happen right now, where maybe he has a meeting with someone who is sitting in Japan, speaks only Japanese, someone who's in Brazil that speaks only Portuguese, someone in France who speaks only French, and himself in a room having a meeting, in a virtual environment in real time collaborating on some project where they all understand each other, and they can effectively communicate and collaborate in a way, that's just not possible today, and kind of a purely physical world.

 

And so, he thinks there's just so many applications for it like that really impacted us in a positive way, in a professional environment, in an educational environment, from a healthcare perspective that gets taken granted a lot today when people just think of the metaverse is kind of this scary 3D video game. And all of those things that he just described, of course, are also going to have commerce that comes alongside of them and ownership and digital rights that around and a lot of that is being handled today or will likely be handled through blockchain technology.

 

And so, you have this kind of parallel digital existence that happens with all of this commerce, would be naive to think that that's not going to create a lot of support issues and a lot of support challenges. And jumping from that world, out into the more physical world to pick up the phone and make a phone call or send someone an email is highly impractical when you think about it. So, he thinks support tools are going to have to evolve as well to be able to handle some of those changes.

 

App, Website or Tool that Eric Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Eric stated that it's probably pretty boring, but he spent a big chunk of his day in G Suite, from kind of managing the calendar to all the collaboration that happens over the tools. So that's a pretty boring one because they spend a lot of time talking about mobile apps, he would maybe add a bonus that he travels a lot and he'd really struggle if he didn't have his American Airlines app, that's kind of how he gets from place to place anymore. So that's one that he tends to use a great deal as well.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Eric

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Eric stated that he’s a big fan of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins, that's just that's one of those timeless books, the concept of the whole hedgehog principle and really having that one thing that you're laser focused on, and the whole organization is laser focused on, that you want to be known for. As well as the concept of having the right people on the bus, even if you don't know where they will sit. Those are just concepts that resonates with him very well with him, and philosophies that he tends to use and in his own management style.

 

On a more kind of non-business level, he’s a big fan of Bob Goff as well. He's got a very fascinating story. His first book, which is called Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, is still his favourite of the ones that he's written. He's written a few since that he thinks that was probably 10 years old at this point. But he tends to really love experiences, he thinks Bob does a great job sharing interesting experiences and the lessons you can take from each one in an extremely interesting way.

 

Advice for Business Owners and Managers to Have a Successful Business

 

Me: We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers, who feel they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you were sitting across the table from that person, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?

 

Eric stated that you know that you're a coach, you're not just a manager. He saw this clip in the last few days of Nick Saban, the Alabama football coach that's highly regarded and very well known. He stepped in and prevented a player from sharing a piece of cake with another player. So, they have this spring game every year, where they play against their own teammates, and the losing team gets beans and franks and the winning team gets a steak dinner with chocolate cake. And the winning teammate wanted to share a piece of cake with his really good friend that was on the losing team and Saban saw it and shut it down.

 

And he just loves that because losing hurts, and it should hurt and that's how you know you don't want to do it anymore. And he thinks people sometimes need to realize that they have an obligation as a leader, as a manager, to also be a coach and not just a manager. His job is really to help everyone who works for him to perform at a high level, and to help prepare them for their next job or even help them get their next job. And he thinks too many managers forget that often. And you can't buy your way out of that responsibility no matter how much you're paying for someone.

 

And then in this world where human capital and good human capital is very hard to come by, and often very expensive, losing sight of that responsibility to really coach and help a person be prepared for whatever's next, it's one of those things you take for granted if you're just trying to sometimes pay top dollar for people because you think that'll automatically make them the best at things, which is not the case.

 

Me: I totally agree. One of the things that we talk about a lot as well as a customer service trainer is that the most important role of the leader is to grow and develop people because as you mentioned before, you want to have people around you who are robust, who are efficient, who are intrinsically motivated to do what they're employed to do, but at the same time, they feel like they have some purpose and for them to feel like they have some purpose, they have to feel like they're a part of a bigger goal other than collecting a salary. So, I do quite agree with you that leaders are coaches even though a lot of them may not look at themselves as a coach, I like that phrase that you put it as.

 

What Eric is Really Excited About Now!

 

Eric shared that from a people perspective, the pandemic has created a lot of confusion around what work looks like and you hear a lot of companies talking about they're going to be remote only or they're going to be office only or they're going to be hybrid or like lots of different things that people are calling this thing. He spent most of his career as a remote employee and it's hard, it is not something that there's a kind of a playbook or a handbook out there to do. And it was harder before Zoom and messaging and always available internet, but it's still hard.

 

And he believes very strongly that companies need to have a framework for expectations and that's something that they've been continuing to work on a lot as a company. Expectations on what's expected of you as an employee, and that is independent of physical location, that is just what's expected of you as an employee, he doesn't really care where you sit, if you're doing those things, he doesn't care where you sit. He doesn't care if you're physically in an office or remote. If you're following those guidelines and principles of what they stand for as an organization and using the technology to do that, if you're doing it like that, he doesn't really care where you work from. He thinks a lot of companies think that they can kind of hand you a bag of cool technology and software, and it will make you a great remote worker but it just unfortunately doesn't always work that way, you have to teach people what's expected, inspect it regularly and then drag them back into the office when it's too hard or people are just not able to kind of cope with that very unstructured environment that you have at home, not everyone can do it. And frankly, not everyone wants to and so that's professionally.

 

On a personal level, he did get a Peloton a few months ago so he’s been loving that and trying to take off his own COVID-19.

 

Where Can We Find Eric Online

 

Website - www.helpshift.com/

LinkedIn – Helpshift

LinkedIn – Eric Vermillion

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Eric Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Eric shared that his favourite quote is the Wayne Gretzky quote, or at least he thinks it's widely attributed to Wayne Gretzky, which is “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.”

 

Me: All right. And that's a good one. How do you think people can apply that in this whole environment that we're operating in? As you mentioned, we're emerging out of this global pandemic, even though we're not fully emerged out of it, people are trying to just kind of get their life back into some form of semblance. So, with all of that in play and there's also I think a lot of people are still experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety because they don't know what to expect. How do you think that quote can help people to really raise the bar?

 

Eric stated that he thinks it can be a motivating factor for you. He’s definitely a person that's fairly easily amused and he’s very much an experience person, he doesn't particularly care about stuff and things, and he thinks for a lot of people over the last couple of years, they've had to figure out more interesting ways to entertain themselves versus going out and kind of buying stuff and looking more for satisfaction through material things. Every day is really a new opportunity to learn something, pain tends to create intelligence, practice creates perfection and that kind of galvanizes you.

 

He thinks that every person that he meets is a new lesson, every person that he has had an opportunity to help in some way is literally currency for him, it makes him feel wealthy, even if it doesn't add a penny to his own bank account. And every time he gets a chance to experience a new city or a new restaurant, or make a new friend, it makes him feel wealthier than the day before. And he think that's one of those things that every one of us can remember, every one of us that's above ground and breathing has all those opportunities every single day to like add those experiences, add those things that do make you wealthier in a non-monetary way, and never miss a chance to take one of those shots and being aware of that he thinks is an incredibly motivating thing.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Apr 12, 2022

Ernie Harker is a creative branding mastermind. He recently published “Your Brand Sucks,” a book that reveals why most companies get branding wrong and reveals the step by step formula he has used to assist dozens of companies define a clear image and personality for their brands. One of his greatest successes was to help revitalize an old-western retail chain into a $3 billion high-energy adventure brand. He leads workshops, gives presentations, and offers an online masterclass to help organizations define and develop remarkable brands.

 

Self-diagnosed with Hyperactive Productivity Disorder, Ernie loves to draw, trail run, compete in triathlons, wake board, do yoga, lift weights, camp, mountain bike, watch movies, eat junk food, and spend time with his family and 7 brothers. Asked him what his real life allergies to exercise on the TV travel show he hosted.

 

Buckle up because his dynamic personality and passion for brand development will have you racing to build your brand. His friends call him Ernburn, so call him Ernburn!

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share little bit about their journey and how you got to where you are today. Could you share that?
  • Could you maybe share with us three important things you think our company needs to have in order to really have, at least gives off the impression of being a brand that is for their customer?
  • Are there maybe two or three personality traits that you think an employee or a leader needs to have in an organization in order to really develop a brand that is highly associated in a positive way?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you read recently, but it has a great impact on you.
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel sometimes that they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you're sitting across the table from that person, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • Could you share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you back focus if for any reason you get derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Ernie’s Journey

 

Ernie shared that like most of our guests, they always start on the path that never seems to be like, if I were to rewind my life; I never would have thought I would have ended up where I'm at. He wanted to be an illustrator or an animator when he was a kid. And so, he was an illustration, he drew all the time, and studied illustration at the university. And when he got out of university, he got a job for an Ad agency. And he was doing concept development and that's just pre visualization of either TV commercials or print ads, or online ads or whatever. He would sketch out what a creative director or an art director would have in mind and then they would show those drafts, those pieces of art to the client.

 

And what he learned is that he learned to become really good at visualizing language. He wasn't a writer and so he had to clearly communicate and very quickly communicate an idea visually. And so illustration led to storyboards, which led to TV commercials, radio commercials, interactive design, then print design. And so, now he was all over the place doing all kinds of creative development stuff. But that led him into brand development because branding is such a visual experience, we often think of branding as like colours, and logos and graphic design and things like that. But it's also a lot more personality conveyed through language, visual language, and verbal language, tone, vocabulary and things like that. And so, that's kind of how he started as an illustrator, and developed into a branding guy. So it took a while.

 

Three Important Things a Company Needs to Have That Gives the Impression a Brand is For Their Customer

 

Me: Now, branding is very important to customer experience and your brand as you said, it's not just from a marketing perspective, the image that comes out in your advertisements, or any form of posts that you put up on any social media platform, but could you maybe share with us three important things you think a company needs to have in order to really have, at least give off the impression of being a brand that is for their customer?

 

Ernie shared that he’s so grateful that Yanique is championing the customer experience because so many businesses focus on their business and not the customer experience, their business will be fine if they just focus on the customer experience. And so, congratulations and thank you for doing that.

 

There's a singular lens. Every brand should have a singular lens that they use to focus the customer experience and those are all the touch points that a customer would see, hear, read, notice, anything like that. So, those are all touch points. Well, the customer experience is a conscious decision to filter all those touch points to reinforce a specific personality of the company.

 

So really, we're trying, with all these customer experiences, we're trying to engage and attract a customer, make them fall in love with a business, you can't make anybody fall in love with the business unless there's a personality associated with that business. And so, defining what your brand lens or personality is really about, will then help you choose the visual elements, the pictures, colours, textures, all those kinds of things.

 

And the verbal elements, the language, vocabulary, the tone to give that customer the glimpse into the organization's personality, they go, “Oh, my gosh, I love this company,” not just “Oh, I recognize the company.” which is a lot of branding oftentimes, as he can differentiate between one company and another company, visually, but it needs to be more than that, it needs to be more of a personal, emotional connection, like “I really am attracted to this company.” And that's done like for a convenience store chain.

 

He was in involved a convenience store chain business for a long time. And what's neat about the convenience store business is that it's one of the very few businesses that have customers come in on a daily or multiple times per week. Like banks don't do that, retail locations don't do that. Even McDonald's, well, maybe some people that go every day, but convenience stores like they're buying fuel, customers are buying fuel, they're buying snacks, they're buying drinks, whatever.

 

And so the environment needs to be inviting. What is it about the walls, the floors, the interior design, the extra design that reinforces the personality of the business? And then of course, you have the person behind the counter, that Maverik, the convenience store that he was developing a brand for. They called them adventure guides because they had an adventurous personality; they wanted to make it feel like people were going to the great outdoors when they would come to a store. And so, they'd call them adventure guides.

 

So titles, the way customers were greeted. So you have this visual experience when people come in and then you have the vocabulary of like a greeting and you meet somebody who is an adventure guide instead of a clerk, or a teller, or a whatever. And then of course, all the marketing and advertising goes on top of that customer experience. I hope that answers the question in a roundabout way.

 

Three Personality Traits an Employee or Leader Needs to Have in an Organization in Order to Develop a Brand

 

Me: Oh, definitely it does. So there are quite a few things that you mentioned that I am definitely 100% on board with. I think sometimes also when people hear the word brand, it's like brand is highly associated with marketing, not necessarily customer experience. Are there maybe two or three personality traits that you think an employee or a leader needs to have in an organization in order to really develop a brand that is highly associated in a positive way? Because your brand can have a negative image and your brand can have a positive image. But what are some key things that you would need to ensure or would you say it should be linked to your core values? And if that's the case, what should be your strategy where recruitment is concerned?

 

Ernie stated that there are 3 things he’s going to say off the top of his head. One is Humility. And what he means by humility is oftentimes organizational leaders or employees think they know best. They have their own personal opinion and they think their personal opinion is stronger than anybody else's opinion or research. So, humility.

 

Curiosity is the second one. Like he wants to know what their customers really think. He wants to learn as much as he can. So, humility gives us opening in our brains and our hearts for change and curiosity leads us to find the material to fill in that empty space that's relative, that's applicable.

 

And then the third thing is, he thinks Passion. There's so much boringness going on in the world today. He wants to be surrounded by people who are enthusiastic about what they do. It doesn't matter what they do, he could care less, but he cares about the enthusiasm and the passion by which they're engaged. So, there's too many retail locations or retailers, with employees who are completely disengaged, they are there counting the minutes between breaks, can't wait to get home and so the customer experience is a huge, like empty space in those locations, those businesses. So enthusiasm, he just wants to feel some love, some passion. He doesn't care if he’s ordering a Big Mac, he wants someone to be excited about it for him. So those are the three things humility, curiosity, and passion or enthusiasm.

 

App, Website or Tool that Ernie Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Ernie stated that Photoshop. He’s learning to use HubSpot because he’s been terrible as a CRM guy. He needs to do a better job with that. But he does so many things in Photoshop, because he’s image oriented, whether it's illustration or even graphic define online, banners, video thumbnails, and all those. If he didn't have Photoshop, he'd be a stick in the mud.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Ernie

 

Ernie shared that the book that has had one of the most profound impacts on him is The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss, and he has referenced it so much that his wife gives him a hard time about it. On his nightstand, he has a set of Scriptures, the Bible, this is his go to, that's his big go to book. So, he got his scriptures, and he’s a faith based person, very religious. But next to that for years was Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek and so he would wreck ideas from The 4-Hour Workweek and his wife would say, “Oh, are you quoting brother Ferriss again?” Because it's like he's almost like a prophet. But some of the things that he talked about that are profound to him is the Pareto principle, the 80/20 rule, becoming more efficient with your time.

 

He also talked a lot about multiple careers instead of retirement, and working for the future, we're designed to be very creative people. So, why do we work like crazy in one career, and then hope one day we'll retire and not have to work, that's crazy. He doesn't ever want to stop working; he wants to keep doing fun, cool stuff. And so, the idea of multiple careers and mini retirements. Well, he could talk for a whole hour about Tim Ferriss and his teachings. But that was the most profound book.

 

Advice for Business Owners and Managers to Have a Successful Business

 

When asked about advice he would give to business owner or manager to have a successful business, Ernie shared that he would love to be able to incorporate employee compensation with customer experience so that the employees are rewarded, their compensation is structured on  how much the customers enjoy their interaction, how much they appreciate the interaction. So that instead of like sales based, like always commissioned based, play the long game of, “I want to hire people that are compensated when customers or potential customers have a really good experience with them.” And then also provide that employee with the resources to wow their customers. Like being able to send a note, being able to send a very small inexpensive gift, things like that. So they're empowered and they're compensated based on their customer experience, because he knows that there will be people, that the customers will always come back to a really good experience.

 

What Ernie is Really Excited About Now!

 

Ernie shared that he has been going bonkers over a YouTube channel that teaches kids to draw. So he created a YouTube channel, he spends way too much time on it. But he gets to produce, he gets to do the drawing, he does the lesson. And then he edits the video. And so all the fun things and creative production that he enjoys, as well as kind of inspiring and igniting the excitement of drawing which is affordable to everybody. It's within the reach of the poorest of poor people, get a piece of charcoal and a log, and you can draw. Pencil and paper, it's super, super inexpensive. But the ability to express creativity with pencil and paper, and an iPad and procreate or whatever is just so empowering for him. And so, he’s done 100 episodes in the past 2 years and the channel, it's like 4000 subscribers, it's not very big but it has been so much fun to make these videos and just have fun being creative in the YouTube world.

 

Where Can We Find Ernie Online

 

LinkedIn – Ernie Harker

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Ernie Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Ernie shared that he was writing his book, Your Brand Sucks, which was very, very hard for him, he has ADD and so kind of staying focused on that was really, really challenging. And he'd often want to give up. He’d been involved in multiple businesses, a lot of entrepreneurial businesses, and none of them met the financial goals that he had, like he wanted to build these businesses and have it sell millions of dollars worth of product or whatever, but most of the time, they just kind of broke even.

 

And while sharing his disappointment, his frustration with a co-worker of his, an executive with him. He was listening to him (Ernie) talk about like his TV series didn't work out; he took longer to run his iron man than he thought he should, his children's book didn't sell very well. He like looked at him like, “Dude, you get credit for trying.” “You get credit for trying.” And what he thinks is impactful to him about that little mantra is that it kind of reshapes his definition of success, of not relying on success of things he can't control.

 

Like, for example, if he wrote a book, he has very little control whether or not it sells a million copies, if it gets popular, if Oprah loves it. But he has 100% control whether or not he finishes writing the book. So, if he were to focus his success, his definition of success on things that he can control, then he could be very productive, he can write the book. Because the temptation is he’s going to give up because nothing that he’s done so far has met his definition of success so why even try? Instead, he did that. And so, he can do it again. Even though the sales or whatever, the financial numbers aren't spectacular, he can look back on his life and go, “I did a lot of really great stuff that I was passionate about whether or not it made money or not.” So, you get credit for trying.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Apr 5, 2022

Anyone working with customer journeys will deeply resonate with a struggle to align everyone around a shared understanding of the customer experience. As Co-Founder and CEO of TheyDo, the customer journey management solution for enterprises, Jochem van der Veer is pushing the boundaries of modern CX management, enabling true cross-team collaboration in today's increasingly virtual world.

 

Having worked in interaction and UX design for 10+ years, Jochem is well-versed in the power of truly walking in your customer’s shoes and passionate about helping companies transform towards a customer-centric way of working. His latest SaaS venture, TheyDo, is a platform that enables companies to visualize, standardize, and scale journey management so that their business goals align with customer needs.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today?
  • Could you tell us maybe one or two things that are key performance indicators if a company is trying to let's say, do a remap or maybe they've never done it before they're trying to figure out what is the journey of their customer? What do they want the journey to be?
  • Have you found that things have changed a lot, especially in terms of customers’ expectations since the pandemic? What are some of the things that your organization is doing that helps to help organizations kind of emerge out of this global event we all had to experience.
  • Could you give me an example, you can use any random industry, but just give us an example of what are some of the things that you do as an organization that can help your clients to master their customer experience and increase customer loyalty?
  • Could you share with us what is the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you share maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently, but it has had a great impact on you.
  • Could you also share what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenging you tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you back refocus if for any reason you got derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Jochem’s Journey

 

When asked about his journey, Jochem shared that it ties into what we brought or speak about when we talk about customer experience. He has a background in interaction design, UX design and before they started TheyDo, they were consulting services, and basically helping big companies and Fortune 500 kind of like size to transform their way of work and really bring customer experience, which usually happens or was an add-on for customer service. But bring it to the front and allow everyone to see how their work impacts the customer experience and set up processes like design thinking or instill the way of working around journeys in a company so that everyone can participate in customer experience.

 

And what they noticed was there wasn't a good solution out there to turn journey maps, or insights that you got from let's say, customer service or your voice of customer programme into all your journeys and make sure that everyone could stay aligned other than journeys that are usually created as flat maps to understand part of the customer experience.

 

So, that's when they started to build something on their own, for them, for their little consulting firm, which they use to do for helping their customers until some of those larger firms like today, they have Johnson and Johnson, NCR, those big firms that really want to deliver a great customer experience across the board, wanted to license their product. And today, they are an enterprise solution and they are just getting started on their growth trajectory.

 

Key Performance Indicators for a Company to Find Out What is the Journey for Their Customer

 

Me: Now, customer journey mapping is very important for any business. It's definitely something we talk about all the time. Could you tell us maybe one or two things that are key performance indicators if a company is trying to let's say, do a remap or maybe they've never done it before they're trying to figure out what is the journey of their customer? What do they want the journey to be?

 

Jochem stated that in terms of performance indicators, he likes to think about like what is the maturity of an organization as a whole, how they can actually work, let's say journey centric or customer centric, but customer centricity is really like a no brainer today, it's really about how to set up a process that works for you as a company and they typically see that comes in stages, you start with like, there's a bunch of teams doing some journeys, figuring out the customer experience through the lens of a customer journey, on a project level, but at some point, to start to bring these things together and start to align across different teams using journeys as the way to do that.

 

And that's the early sign of, hey, the company is starting to get ready to get basically reorganized around the journeys, around the customer experience and that happens naturally, and that's the moment that they start looking for tools like them or platform like them. But the performance indicator really is about we want to deliver a great customer experience, whatever that means, like Amazon has maybe speed and low prices is their differentiating customer experience where others might go really into the feeling, the part of the experience. So, that is the highest strategic goal of a company, then you need a process and a way of working around your journeys that unifies everyone to work as one.

 

Things that Your Company is Doing to Help Organizations to Emerge out the Global Event

 

Me: Have you found that things have changed a lot, especially in terms of customers’ expectations since the pandemic? What are some of the things that your organization is doing that helps to help organizations kind of emerge out of this global event we all had to experience.

 

Jochem shared that a funny story is that they incorporated, or they started TheyDo right before news started hitting, they are based in Europe. But before the news started hitting there, so they weren't really aware of what this was going to be and they were building a journey management solution to align across the silos in the organization, and across the different teams and keeping everyone in sync with the customer journey.

 

So, in one way COVID was a great opportunity for them to understand if they were on to something, because if there's one thing that happened in a lot of organizations that the silos that typically are because they have divisions, and each have their own KPIs and focus areas. And we all know that and don't want to work like that, but they do.

 

But the pandemic showed that within those silos, there were islands, people were forced to work from home if they weren't doing that already, and found it even harder to stay aligned and use more meetings, more PowerPoints, more dashboards, more whiteboard collaboration to stay in sync.

 

And they actually saw was that lucky for them, this problem became so apparent that it propelled them into a more rapid growth than they expected because people understood that to stay in sync, they needed better tools to align around the customer experience then their dashboards or their whiteboards could offer.

 

Helping Clients to Master Their Customer Experience and Increase Customer Loyalty

 

Me: Okay, so we were kind of talking about the KPIs as it relates to customer experience and the journey mapping process. So, I was about to get into asking you what would be some of your recommendations, if a company really wants to, you speak about in your bio that your organization TheyDo, focuses on that whole journey mapping strategy and standardizing. Could you give me an example, you can use any random industry, but just give us an example of what are some of the things that you do as an organization that can help your clients to master their customer experience and increase customer loyalty?

 

Jochem stated that let's take banking as an example and they believe like the best and the modern companies of the future, they will work journey centric, and to work as one focusing on improving the customer experience. And what that basically means is that they're providing a platform so you can not only map out all their journeys, design them, maintain them, manage them, basically. But also create a unified framework where all these journeys add up to the customer experience, and then start to work from insight to implementation. And he'll get to that in a second. But let's take banking for an example.

 

So, let's say you’re a big bank and you have all these different products, you have mortgages, you have personal loans, you have bank accounts, of course, and you have all these different financial products.

 

So, looking at the customer experience, you can imagine for all the different products, there are so many different journeys that you can understand or try to understand how people, customers, non-customers are trying to solve their problems by products or in the case of a mortgage, for instance, get a mortgage. But as you would understand, you want to build a system that actually is scalable, and the customer experience should really be something that you can do together. So in any product the bank offers the user, the customer, the non-customer becoming a customer probably needs to identify herself. So, who are you and what are you doing?

 

So, let's say they do that digitally so the journey of online identification, that's a little journey, it has a few steps, do this, do that, customer experience this, they confirm, they upload a passport, and they feel happy that they've achieved something. It's a very basic example but it's a journey. But in the customer experience, from the bank perspective, whether a team is focused on mortgages as a product or on personal loans, they're typically not talking to each other, not even connected. But as you can understand the journey of online identification impacts the customer experience in all these different departments.

 

So, if the bank can then set up a journey framework, unifying all these journeys through the lens of the customer experience, but also dissected through all the different products or domains, or maybe even the regions they are servicing, you can actually create that unified framework. And they're basically providing you with the building blocks and the frameworks to set up a journey management system, and then basically, manage your journeys the way you manage products.

 

Me: Thank you so much for that example. I think it's important for us to give practical examples so that our listeners can really navigate and marry what you're saying into their own businesses so they can get a better understanding of how this works.

 

App, Website or Tool that Jochem Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Jochem stated that that's a very good one. He’ll be a little bit transparent here. So, what they're doing is they are the core users of data; they have a journey management setup on their own. But they're actually building a tool for the largest organizations across the globe, enterprise. But they are scaling, so, they're a little bit smaller than the enterprise. Now they're the core users of their own platform. So, they have their journeys mapped out, their journey hierarchy, they prioritize within them.

 

But they also use Notion and he thinks that is like the shared brain in their team where they document align on a more granular level, then he would say on the journey, really go into details of certain aspects of what they're building, how they're building it, their processes live there, way of working, part of their HR, their company handbook, all that stuff that's living in Notion, and that's the place to go for a sync communication for them when it gets more detailed than the opportunities in a customer journey.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Jochem

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jochem shared that there's a few that comes to mind. So, what has very big impact on him or had a big impact on him, and it was when he was still a student, he was like, 19, or 20 years old, and he read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial Mordern Classics from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. And even though it might be a little bit outdated today, there are so much new theories about getting into that flow state and what it means and how to experience that or how to get into that flow state.

 

For the first time in his life, he realized like, hey, there's this mind of mine that is like a muscle and you can train it to focus it on specific parts and really enjoy the process of doing and as a designer, and today, as a CEO of a company, he still believes that getting into that flow state and really enjoying the process of making, of manifesting, of creating is something he learned from that book and he holds very dear. So, that is one that comes to mind a little while back.

 

And more recently, he’s really into productivity as a leader of a company you have to manage so many different things, juggle a lot of balls at the same time, also have a family of two kids, maybe there will be a third at some point in time, so a lot of balls in the air. But all the getting things done or other productivity methods seem to fail, take into account that there's always more to do and time feels as there's more time available to do more things. So, he’s reading now Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Morals by Oliver Burkeman. And that basically takes a different status as you have basically 4000 weeks to live give and take……weeks to live in your life.

 

And it's okay to let go certain things and really enjoy the moment and take a different stab at productivity. And he really likes to read that because it gives him peace of mind. So, that's another one, it's doing good for him today.

 

What Jochem is Really Excited About Now!

 

Jochem shared that the most exciting thing that's going on right now is making the transition from being a designer, he loves to observe how people behave, especially in a large organization, how they collaborate and how we can improve that, especially from a customer experience standpoint that has been his focus for the last he would say more than a decade almost. But for the first time in their company, they now have a full fledged product team that also includes a designer, product designer, and his role is not in the product anymore, it's really on the business itself, more than it was ever. And he’s transitioning in that role, learning, trying to become that support for the whole team, for not only the managers, but also for everyone in the company to say, “Hey, we're going to do this together and I have your back.” And that role is entirely new to him. So, figuring it out as they go. But that's the exciting part of creating this journey management business.

 

Where Can We Find Jochem Online

 

LinkedIn – Jochem van der Veer

Website – http://www.theydo.io

Website – http://www.theydo.io/podcast/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jochem Uses

 

Jochem stated that he’s not always thinking about quotes, but one that comes to mind often is and he thinks it was Picasso, it's attributed to him most is like, “The meaning of life is to find your gift, and the purpose of life is to give it away.” And he loves that phrasing.

 

Me: The meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away. It's really profound. What is your interpretation of that quote?

 

Jochem stated that you can say it in the altruistic way but as everyone is today, also working in business, he takes it a little bit differently. He really enjoys being good at some stuff and he also knows his own limitations. But bringing out what you're really good at to the world is such a nice way to enjoy your days, instead of being only goal oriented. We have to perform, we have to deliver, we have to drive revenue, we have to create customer experiences that people love and enjoy is actually the act of doing every day waking up, getting to do the work, whatever the work is you do and enjoying that, enjoying the process of doing that is amazing. And if you found your gifts, whether you're working in CX or customer service, and you really love what you're doing, then basically you are giving away your gift. And he thinks that's an amazing way to go about your day.

 

Me: It's like you're living a life that is filled with passion. And you're passing that passion on to others.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Mar 29, 2022

Gadi Shamia is the CEO and Co-Founder of Replicant, a conversational AI platform founded on the belief that machines are ready to have useful, complex conversations that will transform the way they interact with the world. Prior to Replicant, Gadi helped take Talkdesk, a $10B contact centre software market leader from a seed-stage company to a Unicorn startup as its COO, and played a key role in architecting and executing its 20X growth in people and revenue.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with our listeners a little bit about your journey?
  • Can you share with us a little bit about how organizations are using AI to enhance customer experience? And have you seen that change more drastically, especially in the last 2 to 3 years?
  • Could you also share with us how the intelligent voice automation is helping to improve business outcomes for companies who don't have enough manpower to keep up with demand?
  • What's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a book that you read a very long time ago or even listened to, or one that you have engaged with recently, but has really left a big mark on you.
  • Could you also share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote are saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you got off track, or you got derailed? Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Gadi’s Journey

 

Gadi shared that he likes this question because it gives him an opportunity to share with people that a lot of one's journey is luck, and maybe early smart decisions. But some of them in some cases no way to predict how one decision will lead to the next opportunity.

 

He got into tech as an accident actually, he studied accounting and economics. The tech industry at the time in the 90s was not really evolved actually even studying computer science was one of the easiest degrees to get to. And accounting economics management type degrees were really hard to get to at the time, really reverse from what is today.

 

And he got into tech because his university was on strike, because their tuition was increased. So, all the students went on an almost a semester long strike. And back in Tel Aviv, and a friend of his said, “Hey, you seem bored. Somebody's looking for a quality assurance person, a tech company.” He said, “I don't know what quality assurance is, don’t know exactly what tech is but let me give it a try.”

 

And he jumped in, he really liked it and they really liked him and his journey in technology really started because he was bored during a strike in university, he could have been an accountant by now.

 

And then from there one thing led to the other, joining a tech company was great, it later on split into two. I stayed was one of the two sides is a Co-Founder and build an ERP and accounting software that is still used today. It's called SAP Business One it was acquired by SAP back in 2002. Had a chance because of its acquisition to spend 6 years as senior executive at SAP. And really one thing led to the other in a way that eventually led him to do what he does today. So, some luck, some hard choices, some easy choices, and you can find yourself in a great career.

 

Organizations Using AI to Enhance Customer Experience

 

Me: Now you have a lot of experience working with AI. And of course, there's a growing demand for it globally. Can you share with us a little bit about how organizations are using AI to enhance customer experience? And have you seen that change more drastically, especially in the last 2 to 3 years?

 

Gadi stated that yes, they actually at very beginning of wider adoption of AI in organizations, AI has been here as an option for several years, but we're just seeing it become more mainstream because in any area, any new technology, the first generation tend to not be great.

 

If you've compared Google Maps to some of the older versions of navigation software, in almost all cases, the first generation paves the way to better products that are using more advanced technology and some of the learnings of the previous generation. So he thinks we're in the first era of wide adoption of AI because it finally works.

 

And we see AI used across multiple use cases. The first adoption of AI was actually for quality assurance and call analytics. Traditionally in contact centres, calls were this black box and you record them for quality assurance and training purposes but really no one ever listens to them because the time it takes to listen to a phone call, the time the call takes. So it's pretty hard to listen to call especially on mass.

 

So what we see is more and more companies were adopting call analytics as a way to listen quote unquote, to many calls at the same time and derive insights but also training materials back to the agents. And this is really helpful because it allows us to train agents and help them learn faster. But it actually doesn't solve the fundamental issue we see today in the customer service space, which is lack of agents.

 

So it's great that we can train agents better but over the last couple of years, we've seen a problem, it used to be pretty bad becoming almost catastrophical. Agent availability was always an issue in the contact centre space and the pandemic made it much worse. We all heard about the great resignation, where more and more people choose not to participate in this type of job, tends to be entry level, mundane and repetitive. So the available pool of agents decreased quite dramatically.

 

And an added disruption that the pandemic added was childcare, was people becoming sick themselves, people caring for maybe older parents, and agent availability dropped even further.

 

So if you talk with customers today, the question they’re asking is not how we train agents is how we hire more agents if it's even possible. And then can we train them and onboard them faster, but more importantly, can we start using AI to automate some of the most mundane and repetitive work of those agents, so we can free up these agents to do more meaningful work.

 

And the reason he’s so excited about this change is that it's a triple win to everyone. If you can take away from the agents the most menial, repetitive tasks, their work is going to be more rewarding, companies are going to be inclined to pay them more, they're more likely to stay longer in their jobs, and customers are less likely to wait hours to speak with an agent. So it's a pretty interesting intersection where AI can really create a relief for the first time in a meaningful way.

Intelligent Voice Automation Helping to Improve Business Outcomes for Companies

 

Gadi shared that this is the core of what Replicant does. And they have many, many examples of what the impact of that and he’ll give a couple of examples. As he said, they hear constantly from their customers that hiring became their biggest challenge. And they hear quotes like, “I now try hiring 9 people for every five roles because I know that in the first two months, 4 will leave.” So you have to hire more people for the same exact number of openings. People stay for a shorter period of time, it used to be a year to year and a half. Now agents will call it quits after 6, 7 months. So that's an ongoing problem.

 

And couple of interesting examples. One of them was one of their customers ECSI in a financial service area. So they deal with student loans and other payment products and their hot season is somewhere between January and tax time, which last year was May, this year, hopefully will stay April.

 

And the first four months of the year, they get the majority of their calls around student loans, tax forms, and so on. So every year the ritual was similar, you have to go and hire extra 20, 25, 30 agents to just help with the seasonal increase and this is a very hard task. Everybody high season agent knows that you have to hire people for a short period of time, they're less committed to the business, they come there to plug a hole, if you train them but then the whole thing goes away at the end of the season and you have to repeat the whole thing every time you have a predicted increase in call volume.

 

So, for ECSI, this is the first year when they don't have to hire seasonal agents to deal with the tax issues because they're able to automate a majority of their simple calls and repeatable calls around tax and tax forms, “I didn't get the form, please send it again to me.” And so on.

 

It's created a really interesting experience, for the callers, it used to be or this is the hot season, I have to wait more to speak with an agent just to get the form I probably lost in the mail. Now they get an answer within seconds and the solution was in 2, 3 minutes.

 

For the company, they don't have to go through the rigmarole of starting somewhere in October to identify, interview agents, hire them in December, train them over the holidays, and make sure they are ready to take calls in January, just to let them go in April.

 

So, the win here is both on the customer side where the calls don't have to wait on hold anymore. But also on the company side that doesn't have to go through this process which takes a lot of time, effort and energy from management, instead of focusing on continuous improving of customer service. So, that's one example where it's really helpful.

 

Another one, which he really likes is one of their customers in the roadside assistance space, they are serving large areas of Canada, Canada has a pretty hard winter this year and literally they told them they could not have answered all the emergency roadside service calls they got in some of the coldest days.

 

Because as you can imagine, a cool day and people try to start that car and they can't and they need roadside assistance and when a day like this happen, all of a sudden, instead of getting X number of calls, 100 calls, you get 300 calls and it's really hard to summon up enough agents in a day like this. Also, because the agent might be stuck at home with a dead battery.

 

So, the ability to answer any number of calls that came their way and be able to help all their customers in the coldest, hardest days was a big, big change from previous years for them, where some calls had to wait for 20, 30 minutes on hold, sometimes stuck out of the car in 5 degrees weather.

 

App, Website or Tool that Gadi Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Gadi shared that he thinks for everyone it would be Google. He really forgets how he looks for information and either way, Google became this notepad that allows you to really get quick answers for questions. But then also got kind of deepen your research. This is one that comes to mind first, but he will say that it's so much easier to consume information today that he can't really name one tool, he thinks if he had to, it's Google.

 

But he learned a lot from Twitter because of the randomness of that. He follows an interesting selection of people that covers a lot of areas of his interest. And it helps you learn from a less structured way, in Google, you go and seek an answer to a question, in Twitter in a way, you stumble upon topics you may have not thought of often and kind of open a new way of thinking for you. So, he likes the randomness of Twitter, but also a huge fan of audiobooks and podcasts.

 

And he constantly listened to at least one audiobook and maybe a couple of podcasts that he’s excited about and it's interesting. His style of doing that, he likes to walk the dog and listen to a podcast and it helped him think freely about some other areas which may not be directly related to what he does, but can lead to interesting thoughts and solutions at work. So, just a way to provoke thinking much more than maybe learn something new. So if you look at what he's using every day is Twitter, Audible, Google and whatever his favourite podcast platform. Currently, he’s using Spotify, but it changes over time.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Gadi

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Gadi shared that he wants to give credit to Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey Moore, which was one of the first technology books he’s ever read. And he’s not sure that if the impact of this book, the book is amazing and impactful, he will explain why. But also it was one of the first books that he read so it may have been the transformation he went through was more impactful because it was just one of the first books like the first call you may have had on cell phone in the middle of the desert, it’s always more impactful than the new version of the iPhone that seems a little bit more of the same.

 

But he read the Crossing the Chasm, he worked on his first ever product that eventually is the one that was acquired by SAP and now turned to BSAP Business One. And they had this classic crossing the chasm problem. They launched this product and the first day they launch it, it literally was on DVDs, this is this was mid 90s and literally, they couldn't print enough DVDs to deal with the demand they had. And 30 days later, everybody returned the product, not everybody but 80% of the customers use the 30 days money back guarantee and return the product. And it became much, much harder to sell to mainstream customers and it took them 3 years to kind of crack the code of what a robust ERP product needed to look like until they're able to get to the mainstream and start getting wide adoption that eventually led to SAP acquiring a company and taking this product globally.

 

And he thinks the reason the book was so impactful was one, it came at exactly the right time, he was in a chasm was his company unable to move from early adopters to more mainstream buyers. The second is, it provide reusable useful tools that he use actually across his career. There's a concept of nine point checklist of product launch that he’s still using today even as Replicant, one of the first exercise they've done as a leadership team is use the nine point checklist from this book that he read in 1995 to define the target market, the focus customer, the problem they're trying to solve. So having a reusable tool in the book that you can use 25 years after you read it, is just unique. There are so many books that just talk about small specific topic and they're really no more impactful than an article. And he thinks this book having this long lasting impact on him, is very unique. Now, he has read hundreds of books after that, each one of them left a small mark but this is definitely the most impactful book he has ever read in a business sense.

 

What Gadi is Really Excited About Now!

 

Gadi shared that it's a really interesting time when it comes to people development; it's something that he cares about greatly. So, as you said at the beginning, people can start calculating his age just by his years of experience and work in different companies. And his perspective, not shifted but evolved to really believe that the most important thing we can do as business leaders is be accountable and responsible to help our own team develop and grow. When you work in technology, especially when you're young, at least his perspective was that was really cared about the product he built and technology he built and he got a lot of traction from building a product that sold a lot of customers, like he still gets a lot of traction from it. But when you look in retrospect, he doesn't miss the products and now own and run by other people, he misses the people he works with and he feels most rewarded by seeing their career.

 

The intern that worked with him at ASAP and now CEO of a company that is probably going to be lasting for generations. Or the product manager that he hired 20 years ago and now is a Senior VP in a large public company running their entire product line and she's now by the way, a consultant and helping Replicant as kind of part of the give back programme in the Silicon Valley. So, if this is the most rewarding thing for him, he wants to make sure they as a company, continue to help their team launching their careers and make their stay at Replicant maybe 5 years or 10 years or 20 years a meaningful stop in their career.

 

So a lot of what he’s focused on right now as they kick off 2022 is how do they provide this type of support to their team, being a remote company having people in Canada, in the U.S, some people in Europe. How do they create a platform that allows everybody to launch and improve their career and find Replicant to be a learning and growing experience.

 

Another area where he’s really excited about is finding ways to support people in a more personal way. Companies traditionally stayed away from anything mental health or too personal especially in the U.S culture, we supposed to kind of keep things separated, you only work here, let's not talk about your emotions. And he thinks now, and maybe the pandemic helped with that, it became more normal to talk about mental health in the workplace and the impact of the pandemic and the impact of isolation and the impact of working remotely. So, he’s excited to kind of tackle this relatively new problem and find ways to define a new SAT score between companies and its employees, about how might they support people also in their mental health journey and in their mental well being, maybe better than mental health, but their mental well being.

 

Me: All right, sounds good, very good, very forward thinking of an organization because you really have to take care of the person as a whole.

 

Where Can We Find Gadi Online

 

Twitter – @gadishamia

LinkedIn – Gadi Shamia

Website – http://www.replicant.ai

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Gadi Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Gadi shared that he doesn't have a quote, but he has a story. Early on in his life, he served in the military and he was in several situations that were really complicated, it's not necessarily a matter of life and death, as much as they were just complicated, where it looks like everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong, and then another time over and another time over and another time over. And the stress was real, and impactful and physical.

 

He used to remind myself a story a lot when he was younger, and just the fate memory of the story is very helpful by just remembering being stuck in the mud without being able to move at night far away and having series of issues happening one after the other. And then after a couple of days of intense work being able to get out of this mess. And he just reminds himself that, “Most of the issues he faced today are not at the scale.” And they're not really life and death and they could be resolved in different ways.

 

So, when he feels like he’s overwhelmed mainly, he remembers the feeling of being overwhelmed when he was 22, much less experienced with much more severe consequences of a mistake. And he just says, you know what, we can just go through it and just having this peace of mind that he will be able to navigate it because it’s not going to be as bad as that helped him a lot, especially early in his career.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Mar 22, 2022
Stuart Leo is the founder and CEO of Waymaker.io – an intelligent business management platform that helps leaders build a better business in 30 days.

 

Stuart is a global thinker in strategy, systems and leadership development. As a founder of Waymaker.io, he has led the creation of Waymaker’s Leadership Curve - a revolutionary way of building clarity, alignment and remarkable results for any organization.

 

Questions

  • Could you take maybe one or two minutes just to kind of share with us a little bit about your journey, even though I did read a very short piece on you, it's good when we ask our guests to express in their own words, how they got to where they are today.
  • What are three keys to growth for any organization?
  • Now, strategy is very important for business. Why do you think for some businesses strategy tends to be confusing? And how can leaders become more strategic in their decision making?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read or listen to many years ago or even one that you've engaged with recently.
  • Could you share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote are saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track if for any reason you got derailed or you got off track.

 

Highlights

 

Stuart’s Journey

 

Stuart shared that the journey is much like many other startup founders. He loves business, he loves working with people. He loves serving others in business, that's why we all do what we do. And for a very long time, he worked in corporate life and jumped out of corporate life to get out and do his own thing as you always are inspired to do.

 

And then for about 10 years he ran a consulting company, working in strategy and brand and sales tech and mar tech. And obviously, customer experience was a huge component of that. And then, along the way, they started seeing and observing problems that their clients would have, that they realized could be best solved with some software, as opposed to just some advisory services.

 

And so, they ended up pivoting which is always a fun journey, and developing a platform they call Waymaker.io, which at the end of the day is there to help you build a better business, and they help people get unstuck in their business, they help people find breakthrough and they help leaders put the leadership and management operating systems in place so that they can step back from their business and enjoy all the things that their business should provide them in terms of lifestyle and freedom.

 

So, a very traditional way of doing a startup, the more he listened to other startup founders, everybody comes from another business, you see a problem and you jump in, and you want to get in there and solve it. And that's really his journey.

 

Three Keys for the Growth of any Organization

 

When asked what are the three keys to growth to any organization, Stuart shared that number one, you must, must be clear on the problem you're solving and if you're not, then you would have lost focus. So number one, what is the problem we're solving, and that is the ultimate underlying purpose of the organization.

 

There is no other purpose outside that organization but to solve the problem, you exist to solve for your customer. It's very easy for organizations to get lost when they lose focus on their purpose and their purpose is their problem, we exist to solve X problem for a customer. And that's number one.

 

Number two, you must build people by building skills. Fundamentally there are two things you must build in every organization. The first is skills and the second is systems.

 

So number three, the third key to growth is the implementation, development of systems. There's a bit of a myth sometimes out there in business world that he thinks exists and that is that you must systemize everything. And he thinks that's actually a fallacy, you're only telling half the story.

 

You must build people who can be supported with systems and as we build people through skills and leadership development, and then support them with great systems and process then they can do amazing things.

 

So three keys to growth, number one, must, must, must be really clear on the problem solving, never navigate away from that. Number two, build people. Number three; build the systems to support those people.

 

Me: Do you think one is more important than the other, people versus systems?

 

Stuart shared that he always thinks people are more important than systems when it comes down to an organization and he thinks that's a philosophical answer versus a practical answer.

 

We should value a system for the return it makes on a business and we should value a human because they're human. And he thinks often we get that bit round the other way and systems become more important than humans. And so, that's when he thinks humans feel like they're cogs in a machine, whether they be a customer or an employee.

 

And he thinks that's that the underlying secret. He’s a big believer that that skills, which is ultimately building people far more important than the systems. Because the systems won't work if you don't have people with the skills. He always say this, there's no point putting in amazing systems, they're like Ferraris in your organization and sticking learner drivers in them, all they’re going to do is crash on the first corner.

 

Leaders Becoming More Strategic in Their Decision Making

 

Me: Now, strategy is very important for a business. Why do you think for some businesses strategy tends to be confusing? And how can leaders become more strategic in their decision making?

 

Stuart stated that that is such a good question. He actually wants to step back and really challenge this idea of strategy. And he’s a big fan of big thinkers and one of the biggest thinkers in the world in this space is Michael Porter from Harvard, who wrote the book on it.

 

And he loves his statement that everybody in the world thinks that strategy is a set of actions. In fact, if you Google the word strategy, Google's going to tell you, it's a set of actions. And that's in a business context, that's actually wrong, that's not what strategy is.

 

And strategy is a position that we hold in the marketplace. And it's psychological first, and practical second, and he thinks that's the big mistake we all get wrong in business.

 

If we get the strategy right, i.e., the position we hold in the market, this is why the customer aspires to buy from us, and to experience our product. If we get that right, then the practical actions fall into gear.

 

So, strategy is first and foremost, a psychological moment, it's a position in the mind of the customer, in the mind of the marketplace that we pursue or hold and defend.

 

And then it's a set of actions to either build it, hold it, defend it, or grow it. And that's what strategy is, strategy isn't an action plan and we've got to get that thinking out of our heads in the business world, and go, our strategy is to be this kind of business, for this kind of customer, for these reasons, that’s strategy.

 

And when that's really clear in an organization, you can be strategic at every level of the organization; a frontline customer service person can go, yeah, I get it. I know that this is who I'm meant to be, because this is what the customer expects of us, the brand. Boom, great. They're now strategic. Does that make sense?

 

Me: It does definitely. So there's a book as you were talking about strategic thinkers, because there's a book, it talks about what kind of thinker you are. I'm trying to remember, the book is actually called What kind of thinker Are you? Have you ever heard of that book before?

 

Stuart stated that he’s going to plead ignorance. He’s not exactly sure but give him some more information.

 

Me: In the book it talks about like strategic thinkers, bottom line thinkers, possibility thinkers, it's a really, really popular book, but he has a workbook for that book that you would do with leaders to kind of figure out their thinking style. I use it a lot sometimes, especially when I'm training leaders because I find some people think that everybody thinks the same way. And I think in an organization, we all can’t be thinking strategically, right?

 

Stuart shared that if we put it in that context, of course, yes.

 

Me: So I just wanted to know what your thoughts were on the different thinking styles. I can't remember the name of the book, it’s going to come to me before I finish this conversation with you but it popped in my head just now when you said it. The book is by John Maxwell How Successful People Think.

 

Stuart shared that he loves John Maxwell. He has inspired him in so many occasions, wonderful guy. To answer your question, can everybody be a strategic thinker?

 

Well, it comes down to the context of the roles and responsibilities. But everybody thinks differently and that's a good thing. If we're not thinking well together, then we're not working well together.

 

And in fact, if he’s remembering rightly, one of the great things that John Maxwell says about thinking is that when we think we connect facts and feelings, and we pursue the truth out of that process. And he actually love that statement coming from John Maxwell. And he thinks if we just dwell on that for a moment, we can't do that as teams, if we don't have a diversity of thinking styles and that's just really obvious, if we're all thinking in the same way, the same thoughts, from the same context, and not critically challenging each other around what is the objective truth in the situation, then, groupthink will set in and groupthink is cancerous to any strategic thinking. And we've got to get that out of our organizations.

 

And so, he thinks, absolutely, they want that constructive thinking. It reminds him actually of an old CEO he had when he was in corporate life, which he’s talked about on podcasts before.

 

As a very young guy growing up in business in the corporate world, a big urban renewal, an urban development company and the kind of work they did was very complex, redeveloping town centres or master plan communities and neighborhoods. And so, around the table, you had engineers and planners and finance people and social community development people and marketers and sales people and lots of different types of thinkers. Engineers are very analytical, logical, rational, marketers, crazy, conceptual, off the wall, community people are touchy feely, social kind of minded, there's a catalyst of different types of thinkings in that room, and you've got to come together, and you've got to agree on a plan, what's this neighborhood going to look like? What's the urban design, what's the layout? What’s the look and the feel?

 

And he remembers he embedded into that organization, this wonderful principle of working together, which he called “Arguing gracefully.” He’s carried it with him for 20 years ever since. And the big idea he was really trying to get into the culture of the business was that when you get into that boardroom and you're a bunch of people sitting around a table, you want to fight for the best outcome, you want to create a place that's worth living in, something that's special.

 

And to do that, you've really got to let the sparks fly, nothing great happens without a little bit of friction. And you can either walk out of that boardroom hating each other, which is not conducive to great teamwork. Or you could walk out of that boardroom after a really challenging workshop, still friends and colleagues.

 

And so, he instilled this wonderful principle of culture of arguing gracefully, which meant, go for it, when it comes to the debate, die in a ditch and go for a challenge, bring new ideas to the table, argue your point, debate. But do it with a measure of grace so that you argue the point, not the person, and so that when you walk out of that room, you're still a team, and that team can execute.

 

And that's always stuck with him. And he thinks that really hits on your point. People with different thinking styles, can they think strategically? Absolutely. Because when we think strategically together, it requires those different thinking styles to come together and argue what matters most, to come up with the best plan, walk out of the room and still be a team and be better for the argument. And he thinks that's a skill lost, not just in business but in society, that's a very precious skill to hold on to in building teams in today's world.

 

App, Website or Tool that Stuart Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Stuart shared that he would be wrong if I didn't mention Waymaker.io right now. It is a daily tool in their business because it not only helps them think strategically, but execute on a daily basis towards the goals that they're going to hit. But hey, enough of the shameless plug.

 

The other number one software tool that he can't live without, gosh, man, there's so many. He doesn't know if it's a device. He couldn't live without his iPhone and iPad, that kind of runs his world. But on top of that, he thinks the number one thing he just could not live without, he’s going to be really, really boring now. And he’s going to say Apple Notes because that is where everything goes. And it's the most simple, practical note taking tool you're expecting, that is where everything goes, and everything lives. And it's so practical and helpful.

 

Me: I use Apple notes a lot too. And it has really come out far away over the years. You can literally dump anything into it and then because the Apple ecosystem is also integrated and connected, it doesn't matter which device you're on, you can pull up the note wherever you are and kind of just continue that conversation.

 

Stuart shared that he used to be a prolific user of Evernote, and because he didn't think Apple notes was that great when it first came out. And so, for about six or seven years, everything went into Evernote. And it just got bloated; it just got too big and too complex. And he loves the simplicity. So, it's one of those classic things, he and his wife, they run their renovation at their home through it, they captured notes in his work account. With some activities if they go camping, they're going to put up a camping list and organize, they will share stuff with friends and families and colleagues. Beautiful, simple and powerful.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Stuart

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Stuart shared he will give two. He was given a book by a really good friend of his when he first went into business by a guy called Guy Kawasaki called The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything. And he just loved that book. He loved it because it was at a time in his life when he was starting something and you've got to start it, you got to pitch it, you got to grow it. And so, that book, he thinks was just one of the best books of the last 10 or 15 years for anybody starting something, it's a great inspirational book, gives you some really good practical tools. And Guy Kawasaki is just one of those really simple but very insightful business leaders. Have you have you read that?

 

Me: I haven't heard of it. But I know Guy Kawasaki. But that's definitely one I’ll be putting on my list to check out.

 

Stuart stated that it's an oldie but a goodie. More recently, his favourites has been Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink, which is the story on how U.S. Navy SEALs work together with discipline and achieve amazing results or whatever the subline is, but Extreme Ownership is the idea of owning your team, owning your outcomes, being accountable and responsible and leading others effectively through this discipline of extreme ownership. He has given that to almost every person in his world, he thinks it's a great book.

 

What Stuart is Really Excited About Now!

 

Stuart shared that they're a classic startup, so they're in a startup journey. What's the one thing going on that he’s super excited about first them and their people; it's the foundational steps they’re taking as a business as they put in place the things that he knows are going to be here for years to come.

 

They spent about 12 to 18 months working on their product and business, doing some testing and pilot work and MVPs. And they really only launched their product six to nine months ago, they're very young. And so now they're securing their first customers around the world and working with them and seeing the company come alive.

 

And so, the most exciting thing that's happening for them right now is learning how to deliver excellence to their customers. They don't always do it perfectly and when they don't, they want to learn and they want to know we want to get it right. And secondly, how do they develop that employee experience well, and how do they build team well. So those two things are the two really exciting things going on in their world right now, growing customers and growing team members.

 

Where Can We Find Stuart Online

 

LinkedIn – Stuart Leo

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Stuart Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Stuart shared that might give two. One in business is the realization or the saying is that, “The business you start is never the business you run.” And he thinks that's a really healthy thing to remember because businesses grow and mature and adapt and tweak and sometimes we have an idea of the business we're building and we get frustrated sometimes because it's not what we wanted originally. But it's not what we want in a business; it's what our customers need. And so, more often than not, the business we start is never the business we run and that's a really healthy thing to remember if we're feeling frustrated, or have some kind of dissonance or friction going on in the business. And we've always got to come back to:

 

  • What's the problem we're solving?
  • Are we solving effectively?
  • Are our customers getting value from the way we're solving it?
  • What do we have to think about changing in ourselves and in our business to make that more effective?

 

And that's a really healthy thing to come back to.

 

The other is one he and his wife always say to each other which is, Life is an adventure. And life is an adventure and it's just that recognition that in an adventure, you have a lot of fun, you have a lot of challenges, you get a bit muddy, you get a bit wet, sometimes you fall down the hillside, you get to have great campfires, and look at the starry nights.

 

And life is an adventure it. It has some surprises around the corner. And when you kind of just step back a little bit, not try and control the world, but kind of fall in line with God's good design and order, you realize that life is a wonderful adventure and it's there to be enjoyed. And we're tatting but life is an adventure and it's a wonderful thing to be a part of.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Mar 15, 2022

Jose Herrera is the CEO and co-founder of a Horatio, a Customer Experience company for today's fast-growing brands. Jose sets the strategic vision of Horatio and leads all growth, sales, and marketing efforts for the company.

 

Prior to founding Horatio, Jose was the Vice President at Morgan Stanley, overseeing the Latin American Investment Management institutional sales group. Originally hailing from the Dominican Republic, Jose and his two co-founders, Alex Ross, and Jared Karson, were inspired to create a company that provides tech-enabled customer support for North America's biggest brands while also creating opportunities locally on Jose's native island.

 

In 2021, Jose was named by Forbes Magazine on the Next 1000 list of today's entrepreneurs, redefining the American dream.

 

Questions

  • Can you share with us in your own words, a little bit about your journey and how you got to where you are today. So, could you share that with us?
  • Could you share with us a little bit about Horatio? And what Horatio does? What are some of the brands that you support? And is it industry specific? Or do you cut across all different industries?
  • What are customers’ expectations now in terms of a company or a brand’s response time?
  • What are maybe two or three other key performance indicators that you think are critical for a company to truly attract customers that will remain loyal to them?
  • In your opinion, do you think if your satisfaction score is high that that guarantees the customer will remain loyal to you?
  • Now, could you share with us Jose, what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without you in your business?
  • Could you also share with our listeners maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read recently, or maybe one that you read a very long time ago, but it still has a very big impact on you.
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two emerging trends that you see in customer experience for 2022 and beyond? Anything that you think is coming up that you think brands need to definitely pay attention to?
  • Could you also share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote? It kind of helps to get you back on track or get you back refocused.

Highlights

 

Jose’s Journey

 

Jose shared that he grew up in the Dominican Republic, and he pursued his undergraduate career in the United States. And after he graduated from college, he spent almost 10 years in the financial services industry. And he then pursued my MBA at Columbia Business School, which is where he met his co-founders, Alex and Jared. And after they graduated from Columbia Business School, they started Horatio as a way for them to, number one, generate meaningful job opportunities and improve the working conditions of the Dominican Republic, which is where he grew up, and also redefine what it means to provide an amazing customer experience working with some of the fastest growing e-commerce companies in the world.

 

What is Horatio and the Brands That Horatio Supports?

 

Jose shared that Horatio mainly provides omnichannel customer support across chat, email, SMS and social platforms. And they integrate the latest technologies to provide that service on behalf of their customers. They provide dedicated teams that are proud to represent your brand values and voice, they don't share resources between brands and clients and their main expertise is working with ecommerce companies across all industries within ecommerce. They also work with financial technology companies and cryptocurrency companies, as well as health tech. So, he would say their main expertise is providing exceptional omnichannel customer support for all these different industries.

 

Customers’ Expectations in Terms of a Company or a Brand's Response Time

 

Me: Amazing. Now one of the things that your website says is that you help your customers to improve response time. And one of the statements on your website is “Our average first response time is two hours.” Can you share with us how customers’ expectations have changed I would say over the last maybe two to three years, especially since the pandemic? What are customers’ expectations now in terms of a company or a brand’s response time?

 

Jose shared that he thinks that the pandemic definitely accelerated customers’ expectations and their needs, primarily through social media and live chat. That is the simplest way to answer customer inquiries and questions. And it's very important for you to understand the value that comes with being able to provide fast responses to your customers, because there's a direct correlation between how quickly you get back to your customers, and your customer satisfaction. And we all know that providing an amazing customer experience generates long term value for the enterprise and for your company at the end of the day.

 

So, the way that they do this is building out a framework that can allow them to quickly understand what the brand value and their proposition is for their customers. And then dive deeper into how can they seamlessly answer any potential customer inquiry across any platform and the way that they do that is, number one, learn the brand inside out and integrate the latest technology that can make their team more efficient.

 

So, a lot of people think that artificial intelligence is going to replace humans, in their experience, artificial intelligence actually helps their team be much more efficient and they integrate different tools to automate those easy questions that can be answered by AI and then allow their team to focus on those more complex issues that actually require their expertise and their knowledge to go above and beyond and provide an amazing customer experience.

 

So, they use a lot of software. Obviously, Gorgias is one of their biggest partners. And they love using that tool to automate a lot of things and to also derive a lot of interesting data and analytics that can make their team even more efficient as time goes by. And then also incorporating some other interesting technological tools that can allow them to overall provide an exceptional experience without compromising those response times that you outlined.

 

Key Performance Indicators That are Critical for a Company to Attract Customers That Will Remain Loyal

 

Me: So, response time is critical to the customer's experience. What are maybe two or three other key performance indicators, especially seeing that that's something that your company consistently tries to deliver through on the brands that you represent that you think are critical for a company to truly attract customers that will remain loyal to them?

 

Jose shared he thinks surprising and delighting your customers throughout the customer experience journey is critical to create loyalty, and to also build referrals.

 

Nowadays, marketing expenses for, particularly for ecommerce companies is extremely high and he thinks that by delighting and surprising your customers, whether it's sending an additional product for them to try or providing them an extra coupon or discount for their families or relative to also try a product, like those are things that made the customers very happy and loyal to the brand.

 

And obviously, over communicating goes a long ways. So, he thinks that a lot of customers nowadays, they love when the company provides tracking information and feedback as to where is the order, right, because after a while, if you don't receive your product, you grow frustrated and when you contact the brand, you're already a little bit annoyed with the experience. So, over communicating and being proactive instead of reactive is the way that they like to think about things and ensure that the organization that they work with always have the customer experience journey top of mind, across all the divisions within the company. Because in their experience, customer experience is not only the responsibility of the customer experience department, it’s the responsibility of everyone across the company.

 

Me: Amazing. So, there are two things you said a while ago that truly resonate with me one was over communicating, because I tend to say quite a bit. I think a lot of brands forget that or they think that customers know exactly what's going to happen. A lot of times we don't know what's happening on the back end in your organization and it's critical for you to not just communicate something one time, but for you to communicate it more than one time so that the repetition is there, at some point we should be able to get the message or the information that you're trying to get across. So, I thought that was brilliant that you said over communicate, because I think it's so important for you to over communicate, well it’s way better than under communicating for sure.

 

Jose said definitely. And he actually had an example of this, that happened to him yesterday. He purchased a product a couple of weeks ago and they were very good about over communicating, and telling him that the package was on its way, that the package was set to be delivered on a particular day.

But then all of a sudden, the package was not delivered and no one communicated that to him and he was expecting to receive that package.

So, when he got to the mailing room, he saw that the package is not there, he had to go into the system and he noticed that it was incorrectly delivered to someone else and the brand didn't catch that.

 

And so, his experience already is impacted by this negative situation that he had. And then he reached out to the company and he gets an automated response back from the brown saying, “We have a huge backlog. We're sorry, we'll get back to you within 72 hours.”

So, that already ruined his perception of that brand and he will probably not buy from them again because now he has to wait 72 hours to get a response. So, he thinks it's very important that you have the right data set to make those decisions and to be able to proactively reach out to your customers and understand what's happening and how can things break throughout the entire process of shipping an order right.

 

So, he thinks a lot of companies haven't put a lot of focus and understanding that data comes from customer experience. He thinks they've placed a lot more emphasis on other areas of the business. But really understanding the data that you can derive from your customer experience team and figuring out how you can continue to make improvements so that you improve that first response time, that you increase that average response time and that your overall satisfaction score continues to increase is critical for the long-term stability and growth of any enterprise or any brand.

 

Does a High Customer Satisfaction Score Guarantee Loyal Customers?

 

Me: As it relates to customer satisfaction, there's an author that I follow for many years, his name is Jeffrey Gitomer. And he wrote a book, but one of the things he said in the book was customer satisfaction does not guarantee loyalty. You do a lot of customer satisfaction scores for organizations, and I'm sure there are certain key indicators that will determine whether or not a company has a high CSAT score as you mentioned, communicating, response time, fulfilling promises, and many other I'm sure indicators that will help to give you a really good CSAT score. But in your opinion, do you think if your satisfaction score is high that that guarantees the customer will remain loyal to you?

 

Jose said yes, in their experience and with the brands that they've worked with, they have noticed that having an increased customer satisfaction score does lead to repeat purchases and overall loyalty and obviously, that also results in client referrals. So, he thinks that it's very important to understand how to actually use the CSAT metric, because obviously depends on the type of customer.

And you have to really understand like when you should actually rely on CSAT and when you should not use it. And so, in their experience, it's very important and it leads to at least a from what they've seen, having an amazing CSAT score does result in at least a 30% increase in in customer loyalty and engagement with the brands that they've worked with and that's what they've seen in terms of like conversion.

 

So, he thinks it all depends on a lot of different factors. But overall, they've seen that it does lead to an increase in loyalty and additional revenue generating opportunities for the brands. So, it does depend on how you measure it and what industry you're in, of course, if your product is not unique and that's definitely a different metric. But he thinks that if you have an interesting value proposition and your product is unique, and you provide amazing experience, then it should lead to an increasing in customer lifetime value.

 

App, Website or Tool that Jose Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Jose shared that he is a big user of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the biggest tools that he uses to network and stay in touch with his network. That is one tool that he checks and uses every day to communicate with prospects and potential partners. And he also is a part of an organization called Entrepreneurial Organization or EO, which has been an invaluable network for him to bounce off ideas outside of a business setting and that has allowed him to think strategically about things that he normally wouldn't think about when running this business.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Jose

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jose shared that his favorite business book is Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. He thinks it's very cliche, but he thinks that the overall conclusion of that book is find self-motivating people that can lead on your behalf so that you don't have to micromanage. And he thinks that that is something that they have top of mind at Horatio, is to find people that are really driven to succeed, and they can count on to lead and continue to carry their culture. So, that's typically how they think about when running this business is being surrounded by amazing individuals and letting them grow and lead their teams.

 

Emerging Customer Experience Trends for 2022 and Beyond That Brands Need to Pay Attention to

 

Jose shared that he thinks one of the biggest trends that we've noticed over the past couple of months is, there's been a growth in terms of personalization of your support interactions. He thinks that over the past couple of years, we've relied a lot on canned responses and macros. And we've also relied on chatbot automation and a lot of templates and that has cost the brands a lot of money because customers can read through the lines and understand that you're not really taking the time to answer their questions and you're not really personalizing your interaction to accommodate their needs.

 

So, they've been starting to see a trend where, the majority of their clients wants them to go a little bit deeper when interacting with their consumers and eliminating scripts and using them as a support tool, but overall, trying to be a little bit personable and human when providing communication to their customers. And so, that is one of the trends that they've seen over the past couple of months, that's working a lot. And he thinks that the other trend that they have seen in terms of customer experience, is also understanding how to leverage the latest technological tools that are out there to make your customer experience team more efficient.

 

So, it's not about replacing the customer experience team, it’s about helping them leverage all these technological tools and platforms to make the right decisions for the business and the right decisions for the customers. So, they've seen a lot of interesting technological integrations happening over the past couple of months that have helped them make the different teams that they manage on behalf of their brands are a little bit more efficient.

 

Me: So, personalization and an integrational of technological services to enhance better decision making where customer experience is concerned.

 

What Jose is Really Excited About Now?

 

When asked about something that he’s excited about, Jose shared that they launched the company in late 2018, early 2019, so they've grown a lot over the past couple of years from a small team of 20 in 2019, to almost 800 in 2022. Something that is really exciting is developing leaders within the company and making sure that they have the right support to grow within the organization. So, they’ve spent a lot of time on making sure that their culture remains intact despite the growth that they've experienced. And so, they've implemented a lot of different interesting initiatives in place at the company to make sure that their leadership team understands how valuable they are to them as an organization and the importance that they have to carry the culture of their team overall within the company.

 

So, that is something that he’s really excited about is to continue to develop the future leaders of Horatio and ensuring that they're all achieving their goals and their career pathways is moving forward in the right direction as the company continues to grow.

 

Where Can We Find Jose Online?

 

Website – https://hirehoratio.com

Twitter - @hire_horatio

Instagram - @hirehoratio

Facebook - @hirehoratio

LinkedIn – Hire Horatio CX

 

And something that he gets a lot of people ask him like why Horatio and Horatio was Hamlet's only trusted friend in Shakespeare, so they wanted to convey that message of trust and using a partner that you can really trust and rely on as you think about outsourcing your customer experience support.

 

Me: Ah, I thought of it originally when your portfolio was presented to me to have you as a guest and I said to myself, I wonder why the name Horatio so I'm so happy that you decided to share that with us in the interview.

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jose Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Jose shared, “Keep calm and carry on.”

 

Me: Short and sweet. “Keep calm and carry on.” And could you share with us how that helps you to get back on track.

 

Jose stated that it just makes sure that he doesn't lose sight of the big picture and stay positive in the midst of adversity and turmoil. It grounds him to understand the position he has at the company, to continue motivating the leaders within the company and keep pushing towards the end goal that they have at Horatio, which is to, number one, provide an amazing employee experience to their team members on the ground, which in turn provides amazing customer experience for their customers and they continue to deliver in that high quality that everyone expects from them.

 

Me: Awesome. Keep calm and carry on. Well, thank you so much, Jose for taking time out of your very busy schedule for hopping on his podcast today and basically sharing with us emerging trends that are coming up in customer experience, what are some of the key performance indicators for you to ensure that you can retain and sustain a high customer satisfaction score, and even looking at response time, some of the things that are critical to ensure that your customers’ expectations are exceeded and you do consistently deliver on that experience that your customers become loyal and they’ll walk and spread good news about your business. So we really appreciate all the wonderful information that you shared with us today.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Mar 8, 2022
Welcome to navigating the customer experience, Happy International Women's Day 2022.   We have been podcasting for almost 6 years, and we are already 158 episodes in, like, Wow. Thank you so much to every one of our listeners that has ever taken the time to listen to our podcast. And we really hope that you are able to get some value out of our conversations.

 

Today, I want to spend a little time and talk about a few customer experience trends for 2022. Let's first begin by defining what our customer experience is. The term customer experience describes a customer's overall impression of your business throughout the course of their customer journey. From first discovering your brand to using a purchased product or service.

 

There are many strategies a business needs to invest in to create fantastic customer experiences. These of course may include offering stellar customer service, driving proactive customer engagement and building positive customer relations, solving your customers problems and issues and communicating with them often. All of these things can potentially be brand differentiators for customers in their own right.

 

Now, some big ticket item trends that we have seen emerging and developing further in 2022 and beyond include:

 

  • Social Media as a Primary Service Channel - Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have become vital elements of the customer journey. A 2019 survey revealed that 85% of contact centre leaders say that social media is a simplest way to support customers. Customers are increasingly discovering brands, browsing products and making buying decisions on social media. As a result, they expect to be able to ask questions and get help on the same channels. However, in 2021, only 14% of consumers strongly agreed that companies are effectively combining newer channels such as social, digital and mobile and traditional ones like email, telephone, paper mail to provide a positive customer experience. Many companies may be struggling to bring the same standard of service to yet another channel. But as I've mentioned before, social media represents one of the most effective channels to provide your customers with timely and easily accessible support. In 2022, it's definitely worth prioritizing your social media as part of your omnichannel service strategy.

 

  • Abundant Self-Service Options for Customers - Many customers do their own research, conduct their own analysis, and many times may even proceed to purchase even without speaking directly with a representative from a company…. you may ask WHY? People enjoy serving themselves, and this allows them to be in control of their experiences and control the pace. A Harvard Business Review found that a whopping 88% of U.S customers expect organizations to offer a self-service support portal. Things like this may include an FAQ page (frequently asked questions), chatbots or even a comprehensive knowledge base. In addition to meeting these customer expectations, providing robust self-service tools reduces the burden on your customer support team. With the right resources, customers are empowered to successfully solve their enquiries, often in less time than a representative can. And of course, this will free up your customer service team to focus on more complex and hands on items or issues with customers.

 

  • Increased Communication - According to Salesforce, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. And two- thirds of customers say they're willing to pay more for a better customer experience. One way to deliver on this expectation is to use customer service automation. Automated customer service tools powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence are excellent for improving the speed and effectiveness of your customer service team. Autoresponder emails, for example, allow you to offer a better first response time to customer queries and assume and assure them you're working on their issue. Chatbots are another example of automation that leverages artificial intelligence to walk your customers through solving common issues without the help of live customer service representative. Chatbots can provide blog links, drop-in prewritten answers to frequently asked questions or even connect your customers with a representative if necessary. In addition to assisting customers in a hands free manner, automated tools can be used to help your customer service team collect and analyze customer data, segment and prioritize tickets based on your criteria, and of course, effortlessly assign representative to tickets. If we do all these things combined, then we're going to be able to increase the frequency and the level of communication that we give to our customers.

 

  • Shorter Response Times and 24/7 Access for Customer Support - Customers are looking for lightning-fast response times now more than ever. Although survey results have varied, they all point to our need to respond quickly and effectively. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate this: 90% of U.S customers rate an immediate customer service response as “important” or “very important.” 60% of people who needed support defined “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. 71% of customers expect companies to communicate with them in real-time. And 31.2% of customers want a response to their email in one hour or less. I continuously tell my clients and even my participants in training sessions that the global standard for email correspondence used to be 24 hours, it has now been reduced to one hour or less. Customer service software has made it possible for more and more companies to offer 24/7 real-time support across a variety of channels. And as these real-time interactions become more common, more customers have developed an expectation for them. Once again, automation can go a long way toward helping your company reduce its response times and provide all our support without the need to hire more customer service representatives. From live chat tools to automated emails to chatbots, there are many tools available today that can help your company meet these rising expectations. In my own personal life, approximately a month ago, an object still unknown to me, fell on my windscreen and cracked it - a very frightening experience for me, however, after calling my insurance company GK Insurance in Jamaica, the agent was extremely responsive, she felt my pain, discomfort and the grave inconvenience this was for me and she was able to issue me an authorization letter within two hours of the incident occurring and I was able to have my windscreen replaced within 24 hours. The only reason the replacement was not completed on the same day was simply because the Windscreen Replacement provider had a cut-off time of 2:30 pm and so on by 8:00 am the following day, my car was there and by midday my windscreen was replaced. What started out to be a horrible experience turned out to be very manageable after dealing with a representative and seeing the level of urgency, and how quickly she was able to turn around an authorization letter. I will forever remember this experience.

 

We have merely touched on the critical areas that I believe if implemented consistently, will propel your company or brand and set you apart from your competition. Focusing with a clear intention to master Social Media as a Primary Service Channel, Increase Access to Abundance of Self-Service Options, Increase Communication and Reduce Response Times and Create a 24/7 Access for Customer Support are guaranteed to help your business offer a fantastic customer experience and create loyal customers for life.

 

Disney is absolutely one of the most magical places on planet earth and in his very own words, Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”

 

Follow us on Twitter @navigatingcx or join our private FB group Navigating the Customer Experience Community. Until next time, I’m your host Yanique Grant.

 

Link -  https://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/how-quickly-should-you-respond-to-email

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Mar 1, 2022

Adele Spraggon is an award winning author, a thought leader and an international speaker and trainer. She has been awarded 2020, Woman of Inspiration Award and in 2021, she was recognized as a Top Behavioural Expert of the Year. Her book Shift: 4 Steps to Personal Empowerment has won three awards and is sweeping the globe, transforming how people are setting and achieving their goals. After decades of feeling stuck in patterns of procrastination, avoidance and quitting, all of which had her living her life below her fullest potential.

 

Adele set out on a journey of discovery and learning.

Her inquiry?

Why the personal and professional methodologies she was following did not work for her. The result is a creation of her proprietary 4 Step Repatterning Technique, which she delivers through a member portal called the Pattern Maker Hub. Today, she supports thousands globally to achieve extraordinary levels of happiness, peace of mind, prosperity, goal-achievement, and life fulfilment.

 

Questions

  • Could you share a little bit about your journey?
  • Could you share with us how your brain is making decisions on your behalf and how to change your underlying decision-making patterns so that you can achieve any goal that you set for yourself.
  • How do you change your brain to kind of just reallocate how it is that you approach that activity?
  • What do you think is the root cause for stress, anxiety and overwhelm? And if you're looking at your situations, and you're looking in the wrong place, could the solution be found in our brain patterns? And how do we tap into that?
  • Could you share with us what is the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • What are maybe one or two books that you could recommend? It could be a book that you read recently, or even one that you've read a very long time ago, but it's definitely still had a very big impact on you.
  • Now, we have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital. And if the people aren't motivated, of course, you know the quality of service is going to be diminished. If you were sitting across the table from that person, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • Can you also share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you are really excited about, it could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to maybe get you back on track or get you refocused if for any reason you got derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Adele’s Journey

 

Adele shared that her background is Personal Development. She has been in that field for over 35 years now. But an interesting thing was happening in the first 15 or so years of those. She was a lead coach at one of the leading top personal development industry corporations. And at the same time, she was really, really struggling to achieve her goals, she had a terrible pattern of quitting. So, she would quit things each and every time. And she also had a very high level of anxiety. And despite following all the personal development methodologies that she was teaching and had been taught, she stayed inside myself. So, she really felt like an imposter, which many people feel. And so after she tried a whole bunch of stuff, and she tried everything from meditation to proper goal setting to everything under the sun, she finally woke up and she went, “Wait a minute, is this me? Am I the problem? Or is the problem the methodologies that we’re being taught?”

 

So she enrolled in university, and she wanted to study how the human brain makes decisions, and how the human equation works in comparison to what we're being taught. And sure enough, she discovered that much of the methodologies she was trying to follow went against how her brain was actually working. And it was causing a real conflict internally. So, she created new operating instructions and that's what she now teaches. She teaches how to change the brains patterning, which is giving rise to our actions, behaviours, beliefs. And the results are tremendous 87% of the people that she works with achieve their goals, and at the same time achieve extraordinary levels of happiness and peace of mind as well. So when we work with the brain, as it's designed, it works beautifully to advance us in the direction we want to go.

 

Me: Totally agree and peace of mind is so important.

 

Your Brain Making Decisions on Your Behalf

 

Adele shared that it's an interesting development in neuroscience in the last 20/30 years, so before that we really lacked the modern brain scanners to peek inside the human brain in a non-invasive way. And so, we didn't know much about our own brain and how it was working and the findings are absolutely extraordinary.

 

One recent study by John Dolan Haynes that was done in the early 2000s, he discovered that a brain scanner can see the decisions we're about to make a fraction of a second before we consciously know we are going to make that decision. Now that's extraordinary when you think about it, so the subconscious regions of our brain are actually driving our decisions, not our choices in life.

 

So, she likes to say to people, do you want to know why your hand is in the cookie jar, it's not because you're choosing to take the cookie, it's because your brain has a pattern which is moving you in the direction of that cookie. And when we try and work with willpower and goal achievement and control, it really goes against the way that brain is working.

 

So, she likes to say, so the train’s left the station, and now you're holding on to that Caboose, trying to pull it back rather than reflecting on what you're doing? And asking yourself, okay, does this work for me? And does it work that my hands in the cookie jar? And if the answer is no, then let's change the pattern, let's change where the decision is originating, instead of fighting ourselves.

 

Changing Your Brain to Reallocate How You Approach an Activity

 

Me: Amazing, truly amazing. Now, lots of people procrastinate. So for example, even in school, you'd have an assignment to do and you literally wait until two days, a day before to start the assignment because some people believe they work best under pressure, they push out their best work under pressure. But then, let's say you got this assignment, three, four, six weeks in advance, and instead of kind of just pressuring yourself like that, you could literally pace yourself in terms of the chunks of work that you do towards completing that assignment in a more manageable, structured way rather than pressuring yourself within 24 hours, how do you change your brain to kind of just reallocate how it is that you approach that activity?

 

Adele shared that she loves this idea of procrastination because the brain doesn't actually procrastinate, it avoids, so there's a big difference.

 

And what it is avoiding is actually the uncomfortable internal experience that comes about when we think about doing that assignment.

 

So, let's take that example that you just gave of a student in school, and they're trying to write an essay. If they tune in and look at their own personal experience, they'll see that internally, there is a lot of uncomfortable feelings going on, uncomfortable thoughts going on, such as “I'm not good enough”, or “I don't know what to write”, or “I'm confused” and all of that stuff.

 

And so, it's that that we actually avoid, and we keep putting it off, putting it off, putting it off, because we don't want to actually experience that.

 

What we need to know is that, that negative experience is driven by a pattern in our brain. And when we think about it, the human brain isn’t born with patterns, as we enter this world, pretty much a blank slate and we very quickly have to form patterns.

 

And when we first form a pattern, it works to get us through the situation, but then the brain simply stores it and holds on to it. So, when you were five, six years old, and you first start school, highly likely that you weren't good enough at certain things, right? Highly likely that you did feel uncomfortable when you went to write an essay, you wouldn't be writing one at six. But when you went to write your name on a piece of paper, you'd probably feel a little bit uncomfortable.

 

And so, it's that that pattern that just keeps presenting itself every time we go through school and that's why we keep avoiding.

 

So, what we do is we change the pattern, once you change the pattern and upgrade it, then all of that avoidance, that need for avoidance just melts away and you'll actually start to enjoy the process of writing the essay, you start to enjoy the process of learning and studying.

 

Because every part of the human brain is actually trying to guide you to success, it's just a misunderstanding of how our brain works. So, the only question we need to ask ourselves is when I'm suffering internally, if you know that, that suffering is the result of a pattern that needs upgrading, then all you have to do is change the pattern and boom, you're no longer procrastinating, you no longer suffer, you're just at ease doing what you need to do.

 

Me: That is so true, so true. And that's kind of where I think most people want to get to at some point, right?

 

Adele agreed and shared and the brain is designed to do that. The brain has what is called plasticity, it is constantly attempting to rewire itself. It gets trapped in those old patterns, just simply because that action to the brain feels safe.

 

So, even though it doesn't work for you to be procrastinating, even though it causes suffering, causes misery to be procrastinating, because that was the same action that the brain took yesterday it will continue to rely on it thinking that it is safe because it is the unknown that the brain fears. So, it would rather you suffer than be in the unknown, that's a funny little blip in our brain maybe. But once we change the pattern and create a new known, then the pattern in the brain just readily goes along with that new action.

 

How the Solution of Stress, Anxiety and Overwhelm can be Found in Our Brain Patterns

 

Me: Now, of course, our podcast is about navigating the customer experience. And we found over the years, just different persons that we've interviewed at different levels, as well, from my own training sessions that we have. You can't deliver an amazing experience if it is that you are stressed. And I mean, the number one, I believe cause why people have so many chronic illnesses globally is because of stress. Stress leads to hypertension, stress leads to diabetes, stress leads to people getting a stroke, I mean, so many different things that stress can lead to, so what do you think is the root cause for stress, anxiety and overwhelm? And if you're looking at your situations, and you're looking in the wrong place, could the solution be found in our brain patterns? And how do we tap into that?

 

Adele shared that she would say that the number one cause of stress is this. And when we think about how the brain works, this makes total sense. A long time ago, when the world was more simple than it is today, more predictable than it is today, the patterns that a brain created in its youth. So patterns are created primarily throughout our childhood and adolescence is a massive other stage of pattern creation, and then it slows down into adulthood.

 

In a world which is predictable and dependable, those patterns created when you're little would continue to work quite effectively, all the way through your adulthood. Today though, the world has sped up, and it's sped up to the point where those patterns created even five years ago, even last year, let's just think about this pandemic.

 

And patterns that you created before the pandemic no longer navigate you through the pandemic because the situations required by the pandemic are totally, totally different than who you were before.

 

And so, it's adaptability today that is absolutely essential. But when the brain is locked into those old patterns that it created in its youth, and doesn't know how to change those patterns, like we haven't given it the tools to upgrade those patterns, then, of course, it's going to be stressful, because there's a misalignment between what action your brain is taking and the action that you need to be taking today. Make sense?

 

It's not that there's anything wrong with you, it's not that you can't function properly, it's not that you yourself is stressed, it's the pattern that is trying to take the action on your behalf is not actually in alignment with the action that needs to be taken and hence the disconnect, and hence conflict.

 

Me: A whole lot of stuff to really take into consideration as it relates to stress.

 

App, Website or Tool that Aaron Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business

 

When asked about an online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Adele shared that today, you'd have to say Zoom. She used to do all live events, that was the only way that she would work. So, kind of do some online content but mostly, she would run full year live events and they would rent rooms and do these big, huge events, she would sell from the stage, she did everything from the stage primarily. And then the pandemic hit, and boom, all of those live events went away overnight, and you talk about need to be adaptable pretty quick, that was like, “Whoa, things are changing now.” So, she had to embrace them. So, that's one of her one must have. The other one is Kajabi. So for her, when she puts all her training onto an online platform, she uses the Kajabi app, which is a training source, she can hold everything in there. So, those are the two that she totally rely on today.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Adele

 

When asked about books that have a big impact, Adele shared that for her, some of the latest findings in neuroscience are very exciting. So, if people really like to read and they're really interested in how the brain works. Then Iain McGilchrist book, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World is excellent.

It dives into the difference between the brain hemispheres and how the right hemisphere is functioning different from the left hemisphere. For her, that's super exciting.

Another one is Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a neuroscientist who actually had a stroke in her left hemisphere, and came back from that to talk about the difference between the hemispheres and she's got a brand new book out too, think it's called Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life. So, those two books, she highly recommends if people geek out on the brain like she does.

Another great researcher for brain research is Dr. Andrew Newberg, and he looks at the brain and enlightenment from the perspective of neuroscience. So again, anybody who likes to geek out on that, great author.

 

What Advice Would You Give a Business Owner or Manager who Lacks the Constantly Motivated Human Capital to have a Successful Business?

 

Adele shared that that’s a great question. So, motivation, let's just look at these new operating instructions as she was saying at the beginning of this podcast. The old operating instructions with this, set a goal, and then determine the steps that you need to take to get to that goal. And it's all inside of striving, it's all inside of trying to figure out what is right, what you shouldn't do, what is wrong and it creates a lot of stress and a lot of demotivation because internally, it's creating so much conflict. So, here are the new operating instructions, set a goal, instead of determining the steps to get there, ask yourself, “What is preventing me from being there now?”

 

You will notice as you ask that question, that a whole bunch of actions, behaviours, and beliefs bubble up to your mind. So you might say, “Oh, yeah, I should be picking up the phone and calling clients but I'm not.”

So that's an action you're not taking, you want to write that down. You might notice “Oh, yeah, like, I really feel nervous when I talk to new clients.” Great, write that down. Your belief might be, “Oh, gosh, I'm really bugging people like sales is slimy.” She’s just making all of this up, but write down all of those things that are preventing you from being at that goal today.

Imposter syndrome, that was one of her big ones. She was a big people pleaser, that was a big one for her that was stopping her. So, you'll start to see yourself in a whole different light. Under every single one of those actions, behaviours and beliefs know that there lies a brain pattern, which is giving rise to that action, behaviour, belief.

 

Your next step is not to try to fix that brain pattern, it is instead to remove it. And, she’d love to gift to all of anybody listening her book, they can get a free copy, all she ask is that they pay for shipping. In that book is the four steps to remove that brain pattern. Once that brain pattern is removed, your brain will do what every brain does, it will create a pattern, it will create a brand new pattern.

 

And that brand new pattern is going to take you automatically in the direction of that goal. That new banner is going to take the action needed to take why?

 

Because like she said before, your brain is always striving to always trying to get you into alignment with what is going on in this present moment. And if the success of your business depends on you taking that step, then your brain is going to create the pattern to take that step. You don't have to worry about that. Your job is to remove what doesn't work. She cannot tell you how effective this method is, it truly is something that every person needs to experience for themselves, it is not based inside of knowledge, it's based inside of experience. Once you experience that though, it's like night and day, it's like oh my gosh, bring it on world. I don't care what the problem is. I know I can solve it because you've got a brilliant brain that can solve it on your behalf.

 

One Thing Going on In Your Life to Develop Yourself or Your People

 

When asked about something that she is excited about, Adele shared that she just started when the pandemic hit, she moved everything to an online platform, and she started a membership site. And it is very exciting what's happening in that membership site. So there's a lot of activity there and she keeps adding new content. So, that's her primary focus at the moment. She’s building out all the content that she used to teach in live events into an online platform like Kajabi and supporting those members. 

 

Me: So, you said you started a membership site? 

  

Adele shared that she’s putting all the content in there. So, there's lots of classes in there which is really exciting all around the brain and different things. So, she has leadership classes in there, relationships.

So people who are in conflict, she’s finding that a lot of people probably because of the pandemic trapped inside of addiction patterns.

So, she’s working with people with addictions now, so there'll be a class on that. Peace of mind and stress, as you were saying before, that's a massive thing.

So all of this content is going in there and people, they're just loving it, like the members in there, they're just really eating it up and really gaining valuable information and valuable tools and resources for today's very complex planet.

 

Where Can We Find Adele Online

 

Website – https://www.adelespraggon.com/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Adele Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that she tends to revert to, Adele shared that she would say her quote is always, “I created that.” And she'll have to explain that one more. So, as she was saying before, patterns are created in our youth then they continue to inform us about the world today. But everything that we see about ourselves and about the world, about the situation is driven by our pattern that was created in our youth. So when she finds myself in a situation that doesn't work for her, she just gently reminds herself of that, “Oh, yeah, that's a pattern. I created that.”

And that just helps her to position it and then she can apply the four step technique that she teaches in her book and remove the pattern.

 

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Jan 4, 2022

Aaron Thompson is a Chief Revenue Officer at SuccessCOACHING, the leading provider of Customer Success training and education. He is a connector, educator and public speaker with over 20 years experience helping companies improve retention rates, increase recurring revenue and recoup customer acquisition costs. Aaron enjoys skiing, kayaking and golfing with his family and friends.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey?
  • What customer experience is and then what customer outcomes are and maybe give us a practical example of that.
  • Could you maybe share with us maybe one or two drivers that you think can help organizations to try and stay ahead of the curve as it relates to anything that may be impacting them as a result of the pandemic?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently that has impacted you.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote; it kind of helps to keep you on track or get you back on track if for any reason you got derailed. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Aaron’s Journey

 

Aaron shared that every job he’s had his entire life has been customer facing. The first job he had was working at a health club, helping the members check in as they came in the front door, cleaning the club, etc. And he had a job all the way through high school, all the way through college, all customer facing in different regards, call centers, customer service, little retail here and there. And then about 36 years old, he actually got laid off for the first time in his career. And he had been down a technical track as a software programmer, he had been an implementation consultant, he had been a trainer and instructional designer and most recently was working in customer support at a SaaS company and they laid off about 100 people.

 

And for the first time he found himself without a job and he didn't know what he would do next. And so, he started looking at other kind of pivots in his career and thought maybe he would go into a sales track, he looked back into kind of the technical side. And long story short, there was this company in Portland, Oregon, where he’s based that was looking for a new Head of Customer Success, that was going to be tasked with fixing the churn problem. See, they had a 40% year over year churn rate. And obviously, that was preventing them from growing. And so, they wanted to bring someone in to fix that hole in the bucket. And with his support background, he was able to get that job. And he tells this story when he does my classes now and his certifications in customer success.

 

His first day as the Head of Customer Success, he came in and again, he’s tasked with fixing this churn problem. And he thinks he knows what customer success is at this point, it's like support on steroids or kind of account management 2.0.

 

And he came in on day one as the head of CS and he thinks, “Well, you know, what I've never actually Googled “What is customer success?” And long story short, he finds the industry, the technology players, the books, the authors, Jeanne Bliss and CCO 2.0 is really critical at the beginning of his development, of his strategy. And so, in a 12 month window, he was able to go and create his own customer success strategy, implement that strategy at that company, and take a 40% churn rate down to 8% in 12 months, by really doing some really foundational customer success practices, and starting to really, do quote unquote, customer success, not just customer support.

 

And so, at that point, he actually exited that company and founded his first company and at 38 years old, he became an entrepreneur for the first time, and not exactly how he would advise his son to do it. A seven year old son at 38 years old, to just kind of take that leap of faith, but alas, that's what he did. And he was an independent consultant, implementing that same strategy at some other SaaS companies. And then he met Todd and Andrew, the co-founders of SuccessCOACHING and they had the beginnings of this certification concept. And they were looking for another partner; he was kind of a lone wolf looking for a pack. And long story short, the three of them now own this business https://successcoaching.co/  and they have 4 levels of fully accredited certification in the discipline of Customer Success.

 

They work with B2B enterprise companies all around the world through an online learning management system. And then they also deliver live events. As their Chief Revenue Officer, he get to travel around, well, pre COVID, he got to travel around and do a lot of keynotes and meet with people in person. And for the last 18 months or so, he’s been doing the same thing, but virtually, primarily into cameras, and then on the podcast like this.

 

So, he just loves to talk about customer success, he loves to learn from others and find new ways or better ways sometimes of doing things. And then they baked that into a certification. And then now like he said, they have multiple levels of it live, and they've certified about 7500 people around the world, they have nearly 10,000 on their platform today. And it's just been amazing to see this industry grow exponentially year over year, ever since he found it that first day when he Googled, What is customer success?

 

What is Customer Experience and What are Customer Outcomes

 

Me: So, one of your formulas for customer success is customer outcomes plus customer experience. So can we break that down, tell us exactly what customer experience is and then what customer outcomes are and maybe give us a practical example of that.

 

Aaron shared that he loves that formula. When he found that formula, he thought, okay, he can understand this just as a consumer and as having 20 plus years working with customers, it broke it down into such a simplistic approach he could wrap his head around it.

 

But, the customer's definition of success and when he says customer, he means human. And he means holistic human who has a personal life and a professional life and if they can impact them on the personal side in a positive way, by way of our professional relationship with them, so save them a little extra time, and they can now get home earlier or get off Zoom earlier, and spend some time with their family will profoundly affect their holistic life in a positive way that transcends their value proposition and B2B relationship, etc.

 

And so, for these holistic humans, keeping in mind what they want to accomplish, that's the CO (Customer Outcome).

 

So, CS (Customer Success) = CO (Customer Outcome) + CX (Customer Experience), the customer's definition of success, CS. And again, the human, accounts don't buy things, businesses don't buy things, make decisions, people do.

 

And typically speaking, we make business decisions based on personal preference. And so, there is a true blending both from the psychology as well as just building relationships and deepening and maintaining those with humans. And so that person's definition of success will always come down to what they want to accomplish, that's the CO (Customer Outcome). So what am I hoping to get whether it's time savings, and he oftentimes say that outcomes, the CO.

 

And they really come down to two kinds of outcomes, almost every outcome of any customer is either a pain to relieve or a gain to achieve, it's one or the other, I either got a pain point I need someone to solve it, or I'm looking to get bigger, faster, stronger, etc.

 

And so, when we can deliver what they want in terms of that outcome, and then we can do that how they want it, and that's the CX side.

 

And so, if we can deliver the same or better outcomes than our competition, and do it by way of the same or better customer experience than our competition, we will have delivered a higher volume of their definition of success.

 

And so, what that requires of us is to define what that definition looks like for that person, it's going to be different for your executives, stakeholder, then your subject matter expert, then your end user, then your system administrator, all the different roles have different definitions of success, but our job as CSMs is to define what that is for them, deliver on that, and then demonstrate to them that we've done so. That's where business reviews and reporting and benchmark data etc comes out.

 

 And when we do all three of those, that then leads to renewal and expansion and advocacy from them in this concept of a customer success qualified lead, which is net new business coming into our funnel by way of the customer asset, as opposed to just filling the top of the funnel in sort of typical marketing approaches.

 

And so, when we do all of this effectively, we can grow our business from the customer asset outwards, we can unlock exponential growth because our acquisition costs go way down and our customer lifetime value goes up, either through renewal expansion, or like he said, advocacy which would be bringing us a net new lead, because we've made their lives so wildly successful. That's kind of the definition.

 

And that was when he found that, that was a big aha for him, because he thought he can wrap his head around this, he wasn't much of a math major growing up and so, to have a very simplistic CS = CO + CX, it allowed him to wrap his head around it and really start to use that as the North Star. And it's what they teach in their level one certification program as well.

 

Drivers that Can Help Organizations Stay Ahead of the Curve as it Relates to Anything that May Impact Them as a Result of the Pandemic

 

Me: So, a lot has been happening globally as it relates to different businesses and different industries and I'm sure it's become even more difficult to achieve customer success because I do believe that COVID has caused the bar to be raised for customer experience, especially for those organizations where there have been delays or I find a lot of companies sometimes are using COVID as an excuse as to why they're not delivering excellent service. So, could you maybe share with us maybe one or two drivers that you think can help organizations to try and stay ahead of the curve as it relates to anything that may be impacting them as a result of the pandemic?

 

Aaron stated that that's a really good point, actually. And he thinks Yanique is absolutely right when it comes to using COVID and quarantine, and everything that happened in March of 2020, as almost a cop out now. He feels like any company that is still revelling in, “Oh, well, we're still trying to figure out what the future looks like.”

 

And really kind of harkening to those early days of COVID, he genuinely just thinks it's a cop out at this point. Because we've been in it for pushing two years now and if you can't iterate, adjust, adopt new ways of doing things within two years, that says something about your company well beyond just this particular instance of COVID, and those early days of quarantine.

 

But the good companies, the agile companies, and he see this all the time. He watches Shark Tank a lot being an entrepreneur, he loves that show. And entrepreneur, after entrepreneur comes onto the carpet and tells their story about brick and mortar, this kind of products, direct to consumer, and then immediately having to shift and do that digital transformation to be completely digital because there was no other way to sell their products. And many of them were able to thrive in that scenario because of their ability to iterate and adopt.

 

He thinks it's probably trickier, he doesn't know if it's easier or harder for an early stage versus the later stage company, because you have more resources later stage, of course, as well. But he thinks that's the key is really making that digital transformation over to direct to consumer, if that's your business model. And if it's B2B, you still had to make a digital transformation, he’s not going to be flying and taking you to dinner, and doing a business review in a boardroom with you, he’s going to do it on Zoom and becoming adept at that, and really being able to pivot into that.

 

Like their business, they had the same problem. He was actually in London on March 12, 2020, speaking at a customer conference. It was crazy. And so, he’s flying from Seattle to London and then he’s going to do a keynote in London and a level one certification while he’s there. And then he’s going to hit New York City on his way back for the level one certification and then he’s going to go home to Portland where he lives. And as he’s getting on the plane from Seattle to London, this is March 9th, that's probably more like March 7th of 2020. His contact in New York emails him and says, “I'm sorry, we have to cancel the event because we just can't host people in one place.”

 

And he thought this is crazy. Like what are you talking about? This is nuts. What do you mean? you can't bring people together like this, it's just insane.

 

And so, he said, alright and he gets on the plane from Seattle to London now without needing to stop in New York on his way home. So he didn't have a direct flight back yet. And he'll always remember this Instagram post he made that day where it was the weirdest feeling to get on a plane headed out of country during a global pandemic without a return flight figured out yet. It was completely insane.

 

So he goes and he does the London events and about 25% of the attendees for this customer conference in London, about 25% actually came, 75% of them, their company said you can't go, a lot of the speakers had to pivot to a Zoom delivery, the conference company, Congress Geeks out of Israel did an amazing job of pivoting so that the speakers could do it virtually on Zoom, but he was there anyway. And so, he went ahead and did it.

 

And on March 13, he flew home and they had on Monday, the following Monday, the 13th was the Friday was when he was supposed to do his New York event and he immediately just pivoted to a virtual delivery. And they sent everybody a Zoom link and said, “All right, well, you're home. Now, I'm home. Let's see how this goes.” And now here we are 18 months later, that's how we will do it forever now.

 

Because he no longer has to take the time out of office to travel, he no longer has to find people in one given city; he can sell tickets around the world for any given event. They actually get more attendance and have a lower overhead for their business and so their margins went up and it's a delivery mode that they will forever do now, it's not to say he’s not going to pick and choose different places to go in person. But they had to do that on a dime. And luckily, they were uniquely positioned, he thinks, to be able to make that digital transformation, literally overnight. And not every company could do that. But he thinks there's a lot of companies that have just used it as a cop out and haven't adopted this new world and kind of keep waiting for things to quote, go back to normal, as opposed to understanding that this is the new normal, and then using this to actually improve their customer experience and ultimately their customer success.

 

And just one more point on this, the difference between customer experience and customer success in that formula. Obviously, the CX is part of the CS formula, but how he likes to think of it and he did a keynote actually not very long ago on this. The customer experience is about the journey, it's about everything they do from the top of your funnel in marketing through the sales channels, to everything with on boarding and optimization and renewals, procurement, how easy it is to pay you, etc, etc, etc. All of the things of the journey from soup to nuts, from start to finish, that’s CX it's all about the journey.

 

Customer Success is about the destination. It's about did we get you what you want, how you want it, and that how you want it is the CX side.

 

And so, he thinks a lot of companies haven't focused on that journey well enough and said, alright, now that we live in this COVID world, what can we do?

How can we differentiate ourselves from a customer experience perspective?

 

While still delivering the same or better outcomes than our competition, iterating on the CX side is what ultimately creates the winners coming out of this pandemic.

 

And then, he doesn't like to say losers, but the not winners coming out of the pandemic. And so, he thinks that's a really good point and a good question. And that's a very long answer but he thinks at this point, if you haven't adopted or you're not in the process of adopting to this new life, this new way the world works, you're not going to succeed maybe how you did before the pandemic, and certainly not as well as the competition if they are able to iterate and adopt this new way of life better.

 

App, Website or Tool that Aaron Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Aaron stated that that's a good question. So much of their business is online; they have their learning management system and that's obviously where they make revenue is selling access to that for people to become certified. The typical collaboration tools are very critical in their business; they run a pretty lean shop and so, to be able to use something like Slack that is just so widely adopted by this point.

 

Zoom he thinks would probably be one that he would be chagrined to not include it because he’s on it almost all day long now. There's this new product, actually, that's super fascinating and they're going to be rolling this out as part of their live virtual events. It's called Class and it's built on top of Zoom, but it creates a true classroom experience, but virtually and so there's a ton of functionality in there and they're just getting started, they're looking to roll this out for their business in Q1, probably mid Jan. But that's one that's actually really intriguing.

 

You talk about a company that's been built in the pandemic, these founders, similar to rocketlane, these founders saw an opportunity, they saw this pandemic as an opportunity not to take advantage of people, but to capitalize on in a positive way.

 

There are new pain points; there are new outcomes that people are going to have out there. How can we deliver those outcomes in a enjoyable frictionless customer centric experience, and they can start to build and grow and just like rocketlane, go to market, just in the last 18 months, they went from not existing to now they're in the market because of this shift in this digital transformation classes a similar approach.

 

And it's so super impressive to him as an entrepreneur, when people can see that pain, see that opportunity, that window and just jump at it and then it create something that is as high quality as rocketlane or Class, for example.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Aaron

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Aaron shared that Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine by Jeannie Bliss that was kind of his mantra as the first time he was the head of CS. When he did that Googling and he thought he knew what he was talking about and realized he doesn't know what customer success is, he better learn, that was a really critical book to doing that. And it's just so customer centric, the whole concept of earning the right to customer driven growth by making people's lives better, she really touches on that holistic human concept that he started the podcast with. So, that's a big one.

 

He’s trying to think of another one that he’s read that isn't customer success that has been critical, recently. Over the summer, he was doing the poolside reads, those are always nice. The Technology-as-a-Service Playbook: How to Grow a Profitable Subscription Business from TSIA, it's been out a long time, he got it for free years ago at a conference, they were just handing them out on a table. That was really big for him to understand the subscription economy and the shift in the business economics from the product era when we sold physical products that would then wear out or require the customer to go back into the market.

 

And now you shift over to selling the use of the product as a service, thus, it never wears out for the customer now because they never own it. And how do we get a little bit of revenue over time, instead of a whole bunch of revenue up front. Technology-as-a-Service Playbook is really critical as well.

 

And then there's some great customer success books out there, there's also some great leadership books that are out there as well. Another good one that he likes to recommend to people, Red Ocean, Blue Ocean – Blue Ocean Strategy, if you are an entrepreneur or even just have an inkling of an entrepreneurial spirit, that is a really profound book. It's all about when you find yourself in an ultra competitive environment, that's a red bloody ocean and you're really competing on price and kind of having this race to the bottom as they say, how to then innovate, how to pivot, how to adopt a new approach to break out of that and create and find yourself in a blue ocean that is wide open for you to fish within. They use the example of Cirque du Soleil.

 

And when they found in Cirque du Soleil, they thought why would you ever create a new circus company? That's insane. There are tons of circuses out there, and a lot of them are getting attacked or protested because of the animal rights and there's just so much gray area in there. And why would you ever do this? And so, what they do is they go and they create a circus that doesn't have any animals, it's all people and all of a sudden they find themselves in this blue ocean and they've got Las Vegas and all around the world, they're selling out these tents, like Barnum and Bailey's used to do back in the 70s, and 80s. But they're doing it without any animals; it takes all of the risk away and all they did was just take a very old concept, iterate it, take a new approach to it, and it just exploded worldwide. That's a perfect example of Red Ocean, Blue Ocean. And he thinks it's a good business book for anybody, even if you don't know what you want to do, but you want to be an entrepreneur, it can help you kind of see things in a more innovative way.

 

Where Can We Find Aaron Online

 

LinkedIn – Aaron Thompson

Website – https://successcoaching.co/

                https://successhacker.co/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Aaron Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Aaron shared that he wished he can show it because it works a little better with visual. So he'll try to talk it through here. But think of whether it's customer sentiment, and you've just brought on a new customer or a personal relationship, or whatever it is, and everything goes as you expected. And you've got a pendulum and whenever they goes as expected, the pendulum kind of swings back and forth, right there in the middle, and everything, is fine, it's not crazy, it is what it is, no surprises, etc.

 

And on one end of the spectrum, you have good, happy, pleased, satisfied, whatever. On the other end of the spectrum, you have bad, mad, angry, frustrated, confused, whatever, offended maybe, etc.

 

And we're swinging that pendulum right in the middle. And then something bad happens, whatever it is, and it moves this pendulum all the way out to the bad, mad, angry, frustrated side of things. And we find ourselves in that situation, that time of adversity. And in that moment, it's really easy to ourselves get mad, frustrated, etc, disappointed, etc. And really kind of relish in the moment. And what he tries to do is to remind himself that, “Now I have the opportunity to create enough momentum with that pendulum, that I can move it on to the good, happy, pleased side, to a degree that I never could have had I not found myself on the bad side.”

 

And so, it's really just a visual of with, “Every challenge presents an opportunity and when we find ourselves in these challenging times, we just want to focus on the opportunity that's presented by it, not the challenge that's presented by it. See these times of adversity as gifts and opportunities to create momentum and swing that pendulum to a place on the good side that it never could have been had you not had to go through that difficult time.” So that's kind of the like he said, it's a little easier if he’s got a visual, he’s a big whiteboard person, a lot of webinars, podcasts are a little tough for him. He talks with my hands a lot; nobody can see him right now. But hopefully they can visualize that a little bit, but it's really just “Every challenge presents an opportunity.”

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

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Links

 

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Dec 29, 2021

During the Iranian Revolution of 1978, Shaahin's family had to escape to survive and ended up finally migrating to Los Angeles, California. At 15 years old Shaahin left home with nothing but the clothes on his back and created over a BILLION dollars in revenue by inventing the legendary smart drug known as Herbal Ecstacy. These childhood experiences had a major impact on his perspective of freedom, hard work and entrepreneurship. Later Shaahin went on to invent Digital Vaporization (the forerunner to today's vapes) and start a number of successful businesses with a couple of notable failures.

 

Today, he is the Founder and CEO of Accelerated intelligence Inc, a major Amazon FBA seller with millions in sales, the lead coach at Amazon Mastery where he teaches entrepreneurs how to CRUSH IT! on the Amazon platform and an active YouTube creator.

 

Shaahin is considered one of the leading global minds on what's next in e-commerce, Amazon and the internet. He is described as the “Willy Wonka of Generation X” by the London Observer and Newsweek and is one of the most forward thinkers in business - with his Amazon Mastery Course he acutely recognizes trends and patterns early on the Amazon platform to help others understand how these shifts impact markets and consumer behaviour.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share in your own words, a little bit about your journey and how it is that you got to where you are today?
  • Could you share with our listeners for those persons who may be new to this whole Amazon reselling? What are some key things that need to be present for you to be successful in this channel?
  • So, tell us a little bit about the book Billion.
  • What are some things maybe that you've experienced that has helped to kind of manage the customer experience because that does form parts of the customer journey when their expectation is x, but the actual experience is y, how do you go around that? How do you navigate that to kind of come up with still a very good experience?
  • Could you also share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us what are one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago or even one that you read recently that has left impressionable mark on you.
  • Could you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote? It kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused if for any reason you got derailed. Do you have one of those?
  •  

 

Highlights

 

Shaahin’s Journey

 

Shaahin shared that they moved to the United States as refugees, political refugees in the 1980s. By the time he was 15, he had started his first business, he left home, left family, no friends, basically sleeping in abandoned buildings, abandoned cars, trying to figure out what to do with himself. He got involved in the electronic music scene, he found a mentor and he invented an alternative to a drug that was very popular at that time called Ecstasy. It became a global phenomenon and by the time he was still in his teens with a grade school education, he had 200 employees, and it created over a billion dollars in revenue.

 

And so, he had 200 employees working for him, he had a lot of customer service people, he knows it's a show about customer service, he knows a lot about that. And from there, he went on to inventing Digital Vaporization technology, all the vapes and eCigs that you see came from technology that he developed and invented and patented. And from there, he went on to master the Amazon landscape. And so, now he teaches people how to create recurring revenue streams by starting Amazon seller accounts, and selling products through the Amazon platform through his Amazon Mastery Course.

 

Keys that Needs to be Present for You to Be Successful in this Channel – Amazon Reselling

 

Shaahin shared that interestingly enough, he thinks one of the things that's important when you're selling on the Amazon platform, is that you have to know how to tell the right story. One of the things that they learned from platforms like Amazon, is that the form of marketing as it was known in the past as disruption marketing, changed dramatically. And whereas in the past, marketers were disrupting you to get your attention, Amazon changed that game.

 

So now, instead of being disruption marketing, we are permission marketing. And not only that, when you sell something on Amazon, when you're a seller, you have to know how to speak the language of conversion for that platform and it's very different.

 

And so, the work they do is based on the work of a guy named Professor Robert Cialdini, who wrote the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and another book called Persuasion. And what they do is they teach people how to use influence in creating their listing, how to become Decision Architects so that when people arrive at your listing, they're already sold. He likes to say often that the sale is made before the person even lands on your listing. And that's so true. So more true today than ever.

 

Me: Amazing. I like the phrase or the coin that you just term decision architects. It sounds so eloquent.

 

About Shaahin’s Book – Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult

 

Me: So you have a book out or is it out yet, Billion?

 

Shaahin shared that the book just dropped called Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Cult, it's available on Amazon Kindle, Apple, and you can get the audio book now. The audio book just dropped too. So it's called Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult, he’s super excited about that, they just got to film deal for that.

 

And then anybody that's interested, he has an Amazon course where he teaches people how to start Amazon businesses from anywhere in the world. He’s got people in Africa, people in Saudi Arabia, people in the United States, Canada.

 

And for any of your listeners, if you guys mentioned Yanique, he will give you that program for free. It's a $200 program, it's a one hour course A to Z, how do you get reviews?

How do you do great customer service?

How do you do all those things that go along with finding a product and selling it on the Amazon platform?

How do you start a seller account?

And anybody that wants to can reach out to him, his email is darkzess@gmail.com.

 

Me: Amazing. So tell us a little bit about the book.

 

Shaahin shared that the book basically just goes through his journey and his story that he told you now that was basically going from being broke and sleeping where he could lay his head to creating over a billion dollars in revenue. And there were some very exciting times during that period of time, but he was a kid and he didn't know much about business. And all the lessons he learned he kept in a journal and he has those in the book, so it's very interesting. The book is part autobiography and part personal development, where he teaches and coaches people how to become the best versions of themselves, using lessons that were hard fought for him.

 

 

Things That Helped to Manage Customer Experience That Forms the Customer Journey with Their Expectation

 

Me: Now as you mentioned, our show is about navigating the customer experience and I know Amazon is a brilliant platform, really, really great. Of course, I'm sure everybody in the world uses it. But a lot of industries that maybe tapping into the Amazon platform I'm sure are affected by let's say, the shipping and logistics issue that has been impacted by the world globally because of the pandemic. What are some things maybe that you've experienced that has helped to kind of manage the customer experience because that does form parts of the customer journey when their expectation is x, but the actual experience is y, how do you go around that? How do you navigate that to kind of come up with still a very good experience?

 

Shaahin stated that this is really interesting. And he’s glad Yanique brought that up. So, he'll say this, he thinks there's a couple things that have happened. So Amazon, this company that was started by this little guy, Jeff Bezos, little at the time, now he's huge, disrupted the industry of commerce. And he did this very similar, he (Shaahin) likes to use the example of Piggly Wiggly. Piggly Wiggly was a disrupter.

 

Why?

 

Well, back in the turn of the century, if you wanted to buy something in America, you'd go into a store and the man would say, “What do you need today Mr. Jones?” You'd say, “Well, I need some bread. I need some beer. I need some sundries. I need some rubber bands, whatever.” He’d put them in a bag, he tells you how much it was and you would leave, you would have no choice.

 

So this guy comes around Piggly Wiggly, he goes, we're going to disrupt this entire industry. How are you going to disrupt it?

 

Well, we're going to build these things. What are these things, they're called aisles. They're going to allow us to have more than one brand, allowing competition in the marketplace.

 

And we're going to allow customers to come in and pick whatever they want and bring it up to the front and check out. It'll give them an opportunity to see touch and feel the product. Not only that, we're going to have these things called carts where people can go through the aisles, put stuff in carts, and then check them out. It changed commerce forever.

 

Similarly, Jeff Bezos has done the same thing with his marketplace. Now what's the important thing from a customer service standpoint that he's done is that he's taken the friction out of the sale.

 

In the old days of the internet, we tend to forget, especially people who are his age, he’s 46 now and he remembers the first days of the internet, younger people might not remember it. You didn't know who to trust, you felt more secure going to a brick and mortar store where you could touch and feel the product and buy it. You didn't know if you bought it on a website, if they would take your credit card number, if you'd never see the product, if you'd see it in three weeks, all those variables have been taken out.

 

So again, Jeff Bezos is being proactive with his customer service, the best customer service is done before the consumer ever even buys the product. He made sure that the products on the site were of high enough quality, he made sure that there was plenty of selection, and most importantly, the lowest most competitive prices, which he realized was very important, people wanted to save money. Now, from a customer service standpoint, what Jeff Bezos did was he said, “You know what, we're going to let the customer handle their own returns.” Insane, nobody had ever done that before.

 

He said, “Yeah, we believe that customers can handle most of their issues, and they don't need us. And besides, the cost for us to pay a representative, whatever it is $5, $10 an hour on the end of the other phone to deal with a customer for an hour or two may be more than the cost of the goods.” So what he did is he created easy returns. If you go on to Amazon to this day, you'll see easy returns. If you buy something and you don't like it, you go into the app, or you go into the back end, and you click return, it says what's your reason, you say other, you're good to go, they refunded right back to your card. In many instances, you don't even need to send it back. So it's a form of efficiency.

 

Now, it's a dual edged sword because it has also created greed within customers. People are needlessly returning things, and people are more expectant now for the silliest reasons. Somebody might order a can of a food product, eat the food product, and then return the tin because it has a dent in it, half empty and this is much more commonplace.

 

Now Amazon, interestingly enough, doesn't care, unless it's their own product and even then they don't care because they've got such higher margins. But if it's a third party product, Amazon just builds the third party company, it becomes the sellers issue that their product was returned and they handled the customer service from that end.

 

And nowadays, when they do customer service, he has a policy where they just refund people's money. But every once in a while, every occasion, when they get a ridiculous customer, somebody who is absolutely ridiculous, he will personally call them up himself and they're always shocked that the President of the company is on the phone. And not only will he get them on the phone himself, he will let them know how silly they are being, in a very polite way and this goes against everything in customer service. And then he will sell them something else, he will make it a point not to leave the phone call without having sold them something.

 

And it always leaves a great experience, a great story that they're going to tell people. And, he doesn't do this with reasonable customers. So if you get a product that's bad, or you have a bad service experience, or there's an employee that maybe treated you unfairly, then of course, they just refund your money and they take care of you the best that they can, always.

 

But occasionally, you will get somebody who's being unreasonable and the best way to approach somebody who's being unreasonable is to confront them with their unreasonableness and to just call them up and have a real adult conversation. And more and more he’s finding that that's a very effective tool because people who are trying to cheat the system, people who are trying to take advantage are generally cowards.

 

So when confronted, you can come across that. Another issue that they have is reviews. So this is one of the big things, Amazon has one of the largest blog networks in the universe. Why? Because they've got you and me buying things on there and writing content for them in the form of reviews, making videos in the form of reviews. That's all searchable content, though you're producing for free and giving to Amazon as their property. They own that work that you just created and put on their site and for it, they give you back nothing.

 

Now, reviews are a dual edged sword. So, you get some people leaving honest reviews, and you get some people leaving fake reviews, some competitors may leave reviews for your product because they don't like you and they want people to think that your product is bad. They've had competitors leave reviews saying, “Hey, there's a fly in the product. Literally, there's a fly in the product, there's a this or that.” They had one guy putting magnets inside some tea and being like, hey, look, it sticks. We're like, static electricity, it's a thing. So, there's a lot of that going on. But at the same time, consumers are now learning that they can use their reviews, their social proof against the companies as a tool for them to get free things.

 

So what they will do is they will leave a bad review, and then sit back and wait. People do this on Twitter, they do it on Facebook, that's why they take to social media. And they'll just sit back, maybe they'll do something weird. He heard of a guy who tore his shoe laces or tore the soles off his Nikes and posted it on social media and was waited for Nike to call him back and give him a new pair. But it's this ecommerce 3.0 that has spoiled the consumer at the end of the day. And it's for those ridiculous types of things where he feels compelled to call those people back. Now, he doesn't encourage anybody to do that because you'll never get what you want if you're trying to cheat them. And it's unfair to other people that have legitimate grievances. But there's a whole faction of people that leave negative reviews for other people just so they can engage them, and then get a free thing or get a refund or not have to pay for their product.

 

And as any business, especially a small business, you have to have a way to address that in your business. And his way is just have the CEO call them, you won't get very much of those kinds of calls, but you got to call them. And sometimes you just have to reason with people because people are unreasonable in general with their expectations.

 

So, they have another brand of glasses that they make of sunglasses, and it's a special type of lens that you wear at night, and it blocks the blue lights, and it's one of the best in the marketplace. And with that product, they offer an unlimited money back guarantee, they're called Sleep Doctor Glasses. And the website is sleepdoctorglasses.com and they offer an unlimited warranty. And the reason why they did this, and it's not just a defect warranty, it's a run your car over warranty, it's a grab a hammer and drill holes through it warranty, whatever you do, run over it with your truck warranty.

 

And the reason they do this is that most people don't want to damage their personal property, most people love the product so much that they don't want to damage it. But if you're one of those people who does, they're going to use that as a story and they're going to tell that story. And not only are they going to tell that story, you're going to tell that story to everybody that you know, you're going to go, “Man, I bought these glasses for $40 bucks, $50 bucks, from sleep doctor glasses, and my 400 pound gorilla that I keep as a pet sat on them and smashed them. And they just sent me a new pair. And they said as many times as he sits on them, I'm going to get new pairs.” And that creates more marketing, more promotion, more social proof than any marketing that they could do.

 

So you can't do that for every product, especially if you have a product that's not as high quality, but it's a great hack to offer that to them. When he was in the vaporizer business, they offered extended warranties, electronics, a lot of companies make a lot of money on the extended warranties, and they actually made more money on the extended warranties than we did selling the product because what's your cost on an extended warranty zero, and you get $100, $125 bucks on a $400 product is 25% pure profit that you're making with the product.

 

Yeah, you're selling it for $400 but you got parts, you got to manufacture. So warranties are beautiful, and rarely, by the way for you guys who are watching this work in the favor of consumers. So if you just always say no to any extended warranty, and at the end of the day, you use that money to fix the thing that breaks, once you'll be in a better place. So the rule of thumb is do not buy the extended warranties, they don't work in the favour of the consumers.

 

But they had these vaporizers and they had this guy who and remember these are the first vaporizers, they were huge, they were not the eCigs that we see today, this was the original stone age vaporizers.

 

And they had this guy who bought the extended warranty and then he bought the additional, he wants to say slip and fall, he bought the original water damage, they had different levels of the warranty. So one level was just protects you against defects and other one was drop it in the pool and they cover it. And he bought the extended warranty and he would do crazy things, he would drag it behind a car, he would light like all kinds of objects inside of it, and make them explode. And he would call without fail every month and be like, “Hey, I broke my device, time to send me the new one.”

 

And finally, he called him personally, he was shocked, again that the CEO was calling him, he said, “I love this. Thank you for making these videos, people love them on our website, here's what I'm going to do for you. Anytime you want a new device, just call me. I've refunded your money, I've refunded you for the extended warranty, you no longer have an extended warranty but here's what you have. Call me anytime, here's my cell phone and anytime you break your device, for whatever reason, I'll just send you a new one. You don't even have to send it back.”

 

And he was so pleased, he did it maybe three more times after that. They never heard from him again but he continued to make videos about how great their device was.

 

And so, it's another great practice he thinks that people don't do specially CEOs of companies or people that are running companies, even if you're a mom and pop is that we lose touch with our customers, we lose touch with the people that are paying our salaries, people that are paying for our livelihoods.

 

And he thinks it's great to reach out and get to know them. He knows it's taboo and if you're a hothead, you probably shouldn't be the one doing that, somebody else on your team should be doing that. But if you're cool and you like people, you like humans, what a great thing to do, not everybody likes humans, depends on the day he’s talking to people, his patience runs thin.

 

App, Website or Tool that Shaahin Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

Shaahin shared that he uses lots of great tools. So, he loves Evernote, which he thinks is fantastic, he uses Evernote. He loves 1Password, they use that company wide to maintain passwords, which he thinks is really useful. They're big fans of Asana as far as task management for his managers that he does. He loves the website Upwork and Fiverr, they're big fans of that, and they use that in their FBA seller course. So if you guys go to www.fbasellercourse.com or if you email him, darkzess@gmail.com, he'll give you the Amazon Mastery Course for free the one hour crash course.

 

So, those would be probably his top tools as far as like personal productivity. He loves a VR app called Tripp, it's awesome. It works on the Oculus ecosphere. So if you use the Oculus VR headset, it's a fantastic app that gets you in a flow state in under 10 minutes. And it's one of the most beautiful meditative apps; he thinks out there, it's really a game changer. So, he really recommends the Tripp app, he thinks it's really fantastic. And he also loves the Muse Headband for meditation as well; those two things are really great.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Shaahin

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Shaahin shared that he’s going to say his own book Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult. Again, available on Amazon and audible check it out if you guys liked his story, if anything he said here inspired you or rang true with you, check out his book and leave him a review. But he’s a big fan of David Allen Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, he thinks he's an amazing, probably the best person in personal productivity if you're in customer service, that'll be a great book. I like Richard Koch, The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More, which would be great for anybody who's managing customer service people or managing any people of any kind. Unreasonable Success and How to Achieve It: Unlocking the Nine Secrets of People Who Changed the World by Richard Koch as well. And always the books by Robert Cialdini Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

 

What Jeff is Really Excited About Now!

 

Shaahin shared that he wants to come to Jamaica. He has been many times. He’s been to Negril, he’s been to Montego Bay, he’s been all over Jamaica, actually. He loves the island, loves the people, and loves the culture. Such an amazing place, he’s been to Kingston, he’s been up in Strawberry Hill.

 

Me: You are a Jamaican veteran. Well, the next time you come to Jamaica, make sure you hit me up. I am in Kingston.

 

Shaahin stated that he loves that, they can drive up to Blue Mountains, get some of that coffee. It's such an amazing place right now.

 

Right now he’s busy teaching people, inspiring people how to get out of the grind. The greatest crime that has been done to the average person in the last 100 years is this concept that you have to sell your hours for money. And they're changing that now, they're changing that paradigm with the work that they're doing on Amazon, anybody can start an Amazon business for little or low cash, very little money, and to grow that business to a seven figure business in a couple of years by following some very simple paint by number recipes that they teach you. So, his goal for the next year is to inspire 1000 people to start 1000 Amazon companies, becoming a seller on the platform, creating great products and selling them and then creating amazing companies in the next two years and selling those to create recurring revenue.

 

Where Can We Find Shaahin Online

 

Shaahin shared that if you guys are interested in this content, and by the way, they’ll rebroadcast this on their channel, they're up to about 67,000 subscribers now. So they'll share this and they'll try to send some subscribers to Yanique’s show. He knows they have a lot of customer service people who watch their show, who would be very interested in the content Yanique is putting out. So with your permission, they'll do that as well.

 

So they have a show called Hack and Grow Rich, it's available on Stitcher, Spotify, Apple podcasts, wherever podcasts are found, and also on YouTube if you prefer video content. So make sure to check them out on those channels like subscribe, dislike, put rude comments in the comment section whatever you want to do.

 

Also, his book once again Billion: How I Became King Of The Thrill Pill Cult is available wherever books are found and on Audible. And additionally, if you're interested in that course, reach out to him by email, that email is going to be darkzess@gmail.com and to learn more about his course, you can go to www.fbasellercourse.com FBA of course standing for Fulfillment by Amazon.

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Shaahin Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Shaahin shared that he’s got two going through his head. His intuition tells me go this one.

 

Why do angels fly? Because they take themselves lightly. “Seriousness is a disease.” And he’s noticed Yanique laughed a lot during this show and you laugh and you smile, and that's great.

 

Well, we all have to remember, this is not serious and business is not serious. Customer service is not serious, none of this is serious. Seriousness is a disease of the ego, so when you get that angry customer on the other end of the phone, when you get that disgruntled employee, when you get that person who you have to deal with, remember to smile. And remember why angels fly.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Dec 22, 2021

Jeff Rosenblum is a co founder of Questus, a digital advertising agency that has worked with many of the world's most influential brands, including American Express, Apple, Capital One, Disney, The NFL, Samsung, Starbucks, Universal, Wyndham and Verizon. Jeff created a groundbreaking documentary about the advertising revolution called The Naked Brand and the book Friction which explained how passion brands are built.

 

Jeff has lectured at some of the top universities in the world, including Yale, Cornell, Columbia, and the London Business School. He has won some of advertising’s most prestigious awards, and presented at many of the industry's largest conferences.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey?
  • Your Book Exponential, could you tell us a little bit about what the book is about? Who is the book geared towards helping and what do you mean by empowering? And what do you mean by interrupting?
  • What does empowerment really mean in practical steps or practical implementation? When you say you employ your team members, what does that look like? Could you give us maybe one or two examples?
  • How do factors like culture and transparency help companies to build exponential growth?
  • You mentioned that there are multiple channels that exist nowadays. Let's say a brand is looking to be present on all channels, but they just don't have the resources to be active on all channels. What would your recommendation be to them?
  • Could you share with our listeners what is the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with our listeners maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you read recently. But it definitely has left an impressionable mark on you.
  • What's one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online if they wanted to follow your journey or even to get in contact with you?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote; it kind of helps to get you refocused or get you back on track if for any reason you get derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Jeff’s Journey

 

Jeff shared that he took a pretty unique path to where he’s at, he didn't necessarily go to some of the finest educational institutions in the world, he was a pretty crappy college student, to be honest with you. And when he graduated school, he had to beg his way into an internship at a research company and they gave him a three month shot and he applied a philosophy that he continued to apply every single day now three decades later, which is “First one in, last one out, every day.” First one in, last one out.

 

So eventually, that internship turned into a full time job and this was around the birth of the internet. And as a researcher, his job was to collect data and they had very traditional ways of collecting that data, it was through the mail and through the mall surveys and phone surveys, in focus groups. And his job was to figure out how he can collect the highest quality data possible at the lowest price. And then when the internet came along, he had this crazy idea, which was why can't we start collecting all of that data through the internet, which seems grossly obvious now. But really, nobody was doing it at that time, or very few people were doing it at that time.

 

So, he was lucky enough to be one of the few people pioneering the field of internet research. So, he’s still like a 25 year old zit faced kid, and next thing you know, he’s got Microsoft, Netscape, Sun Microsystems, Walt Disney, Levi Strauss, all as his clients, because he was one of the very few people who knew how to collect data via the internet. But what was interesting is they didn't just want data, what they wanted was to understand the implications of the internet for their business. And what he quickly realized is that everything about business strategy was about to be revolutionized. And perhaps even more importantly, from his point of view, everything about advertising was about was about to go through a complete and total revolution.

 

So at that point, he realized he no longer wanted to simply collect the data and tell brands what to do with the Internet, what he wanted to do is actually do something about it, he wanted to blend the world of data and creativity under one roof and create the next generation of advertising agency. So, his college roommate was a world class artist, he had art gallery openings, celebrities, like Johnny Depp were buying his paintings and he had shifted a lot of his focus into the world of digital design. So the whole idea was to take a team of outsiders, him (Jeff) from the data and analytics background, ‘he’ from the creative background, and start an agency that's focused less on interrupting people through traditional media and more about empowering people through digital media.

 

Jeff’s Book Exponential: Transform Your Brand by Empowering Instead of Interrupting – What the Book is About – Who is the Book Geared Towards Helping

 

Me: Amazing. So, you really got into it. And you've been in it even before a lot of the organizations that are currently trying to tap into that feature, have been into it. Now you have a new book, Jeff. That's the things that really, really sparked my interest, your book and it is entitled, Exponential. I love the name. So, could you tell us a little bit about that book? I know subtitle for the book is Transform Your Brand by Empowering Instead of Interrupting. Could you tell us a little bit about what the book is about? Who is the book geared towards helping and what do you mean by empowering? And what do you mean by interrupting?

 

Jeff shared that he’s always been fascinated by brands that absolutely dominate the competition, brands that grow exponentially in size, in influence, in financial performance. Brands like Warby Parker and Sweetgreen, and Apple, and Google, and Amazon. So, really what he’s done is focused in on how advertising has gone through a revolution and we can no longer rely upon interruptions, meaning buying 30 seconds spots on TV ads, buying full page print ads in magazines, buying pop up ads, and banner ads, in pre rolls.

 

All of those tools are fine, there's nothing wrong with them, the data and the mathematic show that they work. And as an agency, they leverage the hell out of those techniques, those are very powerful techniques.

 

But what they drive are good results, they don't drive exponential results and what they realized is brands that move beyond just interrupting and expand into empowering people, improving their lives one small step at a time, giving them the content and the tools to move their lives forward, those are the brands that drive the exponential results. So, that's what the book is about is how data and creativity, how content and technology can be used to empower an audience and dominate the competition.

 

What Does Empowerment Mean in Practical Steps or Practical Implementation

 

Me: Now, you also have in the book that empowerment drives exponential bottom line results. For a business, empowerment, it embodies a lot of different things and I would just like for you to break down to our listeners, what does empowerment really mean in practical steps or practical implementation? When you say you empower your team members, what does that look like? Could you give us maybe one or two examples?

 

Jeff stated that that's a great question. Because empowerment really comes in two sides of the equation, how do you empower your customers in your target audience? How do you give them the content and the tools to make sure that they're getting more out of the products and the services that you create?

 

But also to the question, empowerment comes in the form of culture, how do we help people on our teams do the best work possible? And he thinks a lot of people have confused culture to mean fun. In Silicon Valley, where their headquarters are out in San Francisco, there was the trend of foosball tables and ping pong tables and bars and right in the office and there's nothing wrong with those ideas. Having music and some beers and some games is certainly fun. But that's not culture. And that's not empowerment.

 

And what they've realized is great culture is really just about putting people in position to do their best work, that's what people want. If you hire the right people on your team, what they really care about is how can they advance their career as effectively as possible? How can they advance their entire team as effectively as possible? So, great culture is really about giving people those tools, giving people the tools to do their best work.

 

Me: Amazing. So, we're giving our employees the tools to ensure that they're doing their best to work.

 

How Factors Like Culture and Transparency Help Companies Build Exponential Growth

 

Me: Now, you spoke a little bit about culture, and you made reference to the fact that a lot of organizations mistake the whole process of culture as being fun and as you said, pool tables and lots of other things that they may attach to the whole vibe of culture. How do factors like culture and transparency help companies to build exponential growth?

 

Jeff shared that the world is just much more complicated than it's ever been before, at one point you could get by by having some really good TV ads to drive awareness and interest and then you can have a good retail store with some good retail staff members to turn those people who are interested into customers. But the world just really exploded. Now, you don't have just those two critical channels and maybe a couple other channels, the world has literally dozens and dozens of channels where you need to not only communicate with your audience, but actually transact with your audience.

 

So think about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, your desktop website, your mobile website, your mobile apps, your retail stores, which should be connected to all those digital touch points, as well as all those traditional tools like TV, radio and print, and that's just a few. By the time we're done with this podcast, there's going to be three or four emerging new, great tools and channels.

 

So, for brands to really succeed, they need to be able to break down the silos that exist internally. You can't just have great creativity sitting in one silo to create a great 30 second spot. And then great salespeople in another silo who are converting folks.

 

You need technology and creativity and data and analytics, and project management and finance, all to work together seamlessly. And the only way to do that is build great culture, which is based upon safety of communication, which is built upon process with communication, which is built upon tools for communication, ultimately, breaking down those silos that exist, recognizing that the world is just so much more complex than it's ever been before.

 

And the target audience is more demanding than it's ever been before because although things get really complex in the way that we want to tell our brand story, in the ways that we can tell our brand story, the target audience ultimately, really wants simplicity, they will not stand for any friction in that purchase journey.

 

Recommendations for a Brand to be Active on Multiple Channels

 

Me: Now, you mentioned that there are multiple channels that exist nowadays. Let's say a brand is looking to be present on all channels, but they just don't have the resources to be active on all channels. What would your recommendation be to them? Because I find that a lot of brands are everywhere, but they're not responsive everywhere and of course, that will impact the whole journey if it is I'm trying to get in touch with you and it's just a dead end.

 

Jeff shared that that is a really great question. And that is the question that all marketers are going to be faced with in perpetuity. And it's why we also see this addiction to TV in other traditional forms of advertising, because it's just so much easier to say, “Look, all we need to do is be great at TV, and then maybe great at retail, and we're done.” But that's not consistent with the way that people shop nowadays, the way people conduct research, the way they interact with brands and obviously, much more so with a younger audience.

 

So to answer your question, it really does come back to that culture question, which is, are you breaking down silos so that you can communicate internally, share the data that you have internally, and ultimately, leverage the channels that are most effective for you.

 

So, the beautiful part of everything that we're doing right now is we've got more data than ever before, unprecedented and unparalleled levels of data.

 

The problem with data is you can really have information overload, you can really have paralysis by analysis.

 

So the key is to really streamline your data down to the key performance indicators, there's probably only one, two or three really critical KPIs that you need to track and through that have honest conversations about where you want to be and what's most important for your brand and your target audience.

 

There's really no reason to be mediocre at Facebook, mediocre at Instagram, mediocre at Twitter, mediocre at LinkedIn, when you can be really great at one or two of those channels.

 

So data is going to be the answer and understanding that target audience from not just a data standpoint, but also a qualitative standpoint so you understand what is your target audience really value and then couple that with the data to show what's driving your business results.

 

App, Website or Tool that Jeff Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without, Jeff shared that he doesn't know if he has one. But he'll tell you he thinks the key to their success is based upon a few things and one of them is education, they really preach collaboration, celebration in education.

 

So, he thinks the apps that enable them to get educated are probably the most important. And there are just a few content sources that he thinks are really powerful. He’s just a huge believer in reading the Wall Street Journal from cover to cover every single day, particularly in the world of advertising, where it's too easy for us to get caught up in Ad age, in Ad week and other stuff that really just talks about their own industry.

 

But he thinks as advertisers and marketers for them to be most effective, they need to step back and look at the overall business experience and the overall business strategy because that's what marketing really is. So, he thinks reading the Wall Street Journal cover to cover is one of the most important things that anybody can do. But there's also some great newsletters out there, he’s a huge believer in Allen Murray, from Time Inc., from Fortune, he has a world class, daily newsletter. But he thinks for anyone who's listening, you got to find two or three resources that you can go to, not occasionally, but virtually every single day so you can watch how these stories unfold and how these trends and metrics unfold. But you can never be too educated in a world that's as dynamic as it is today.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Jeff

 

When asked about books that have had an impact, Jeff shared that that's also a great question. He’s a pretty voracious reader, if he’s honest with business books, he very often will just hammer the first three chapters and find that books often get redundant so he doesn't make it all the way through. And that's one of the things they tried to do with Exponential, is treat it like the layers of an onion and make a key point, but have every chapter deal with a new topic as it relates to leveraging the consumer journey or leveraging culture so that the book continues to unfold.

 

And he thinks a couple of books that have been really influential for him is one of them, which was written by Bill Walsh, posthumously, meaning after he passed away, his family took his notes and the name of the book is, The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership. And he's one of the greatest football coaches ever; he was the single greatest coach ever until Bill Belichick came along. And his idea was really based upon the concept of putting the ball where the other team isn't, which really is a great business strategy, meaning don't follow what everybody else is doing, find that whitespace and let that dictate where your business strategy goes.

 

But the bigger thing about The Score Takes Care of Itself that you can get from the title is, he really focused in on culture and when he first took over the 40 Niners, before he won a bunch of Super Bowls, he was focused on all these little things like how do secretaries answer the phone? And everyone was like, “What are you doing your football coach? And why are you worried about how people answer the phone, that has nothing to do with what we're trying to accomplish here.” And he almost didn't make it, they almost fired him. But his point was like, “We're going to take care of all the little things, we're going to take care of the culture. And when we do that, per the title, the score will take care of itself.” And that's just an absolutely amazing book.

 

Another great book is a Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart, which has been really influential for him. And really what he gets down to is this point about culture. But culture really starts with one thing, which is hiring the absolute best human beings possible.

 

You can't really build culture, unless you first build a team of A+ players. And the point of the book is, if you want to get A+ players, there's a process that you can follow, it's not just a goal, it's not just a philosophy, there's a methodical process that can be used to find those A+ players. And to be honest with you, they don't always nail the process and you can never be too process oriented for things like that. But it was a real game changer for them in regard to how they approach recruiting and bringing on world class talent.

  

What Jeff is Really Excited About Now!

 

When asked what is one thing that he’s really excited about, Jeff stated that that's a great question. There's probably two things, the obvious and maybe the less obvious, but much more important, which is, from a business standpoint, this idea of marrying together data and creativity, this idea of building brands through empowerment, instead of interruptions, they started their agency 23 years ago based upon this principle, and now the whole world, the whole business world is really waking up to this is it, this is the model, this is how great brands are going to be built now and in perpetuity. In a lot of ways COVID didn't change business, he thinks in a lot of ways COVID expedited business and advanced it about seven years forward.

 

So one of the really exciting things for them is that tons of amazing brands are reaching out to them and they're in conversations with some of the biggest and the best brands in the world who are really excited about this concept of looking at the entire consumer journey, creating content and tools and empower people rather than just building brands through interruptions. But really, the less obvious, and perhaps even more exciting thing is, as their business grows and they take advantage of these opportunities, the exposure on getting to world class team members and the opportunities they're creating for their team members is probably the most rewarding and exciting experience he’s ever had in business, just watching young folks on their team take on bigger challenges, get promotions, do some of the best work he’s ever seen in his career, fundamentally and completely outperform him in every way, shape, or form, and then recruiting in new incredible team members who are starting that journey also, that to him is so incredibly rewarding, fulfilling and exciting.

  

Where Can We Find Jeff Online

 

Website – https://www.questus.com

Instagram - @thejeffrosenblum

Twitter - @JRQuestus

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jeff Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Jeff shared that that's a great question. But no, not really, he doesn’t think there's any quote that he rely upon that becomes a mantra for life in general. It's, “If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.”

 

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The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

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Dec 14, 2021

Ethan Beute is the Chief Evangelist at BombBomb and he is a co-author of Rehumanize Your Business and of Human-Centered Communication, his newest book. He is also the host of The Customer Experience Podcast. Ethan Beute has spent the past decade helping business professionals be more personal and human through simple video messages.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with our listeners, those who have not tapped into your awesomeness as yet, a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got to where you are today?
  • Could you share with us maybe, I would say the main pillars that that book is built on? Who is the book for? What is the book about? And how can it really help you to up your customer service game?
  • What does a company need to be to be customer obsessed and cult followed that people want to follow that brand? How can you really get your customers to want to be intrinsically loyal to you?
  • Are there maybe two or three indicators as a representative or a manager or an employee in an organization that will kind of guide you to know that you're truly connecting with someone?
  • Could you share with me why video is so impactful? How does it work? And what kinds of messages can you give with a video? Is it only for tutorial based kinds of conversations? Or can it just be simple responses and messages instead of actually written communication?
  • Can you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without and your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently that has left somewhat of a memory or good memory or an impact on you?
  • Could you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote; it kind of helps to get you back on track or keep you refocused.

 

Highlights

 

Ethan’s Journey

 

Ethan shared that he built a career in local television, so he ran local marketing teams inside local TV stations like your local ABC, or NBC or Fox station, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in Chicago, and out here where he is now in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And he was kind of bored of the work; he had been doing it for some time. And so, he started doing project work with a variety of different people that he knew, including the two co-founders of BombBomb and he just really liked what they were up to, he thought it was interesting. And so, he joined them as the first and only marketer over a decade ago as you were kind enough to mention in the introduction.

 

And in that time, just the growth in team size, customer base, revenue, it's been this dramatic journey of transformation and that's been happening at the same time that he’s been really in a front row seat of this movement to replace some of what is typically faceless typed out text, think about emails, social messages, text messages, Slack messages, all this faceless typed out texts that we rely on every day, replacing some of that with simple personal video messages.

 

And so, he’s done a lot of learning, teaching practicing, he’s sent more than 12,500 videos himself now, as you already mentioned. He’s written a couple of books on the topic. And it's just been a joy because as it says in the title of the first book Rehumanize Your Business, this really is about restoring some of the missing human elements that have been so useful to all of us for so long, that have gone missing as we've increasingly gotten digital and virtual.

 

Ethan’s Book Human-Centered Communication – What the Book is About – The Main Pillars the Book is Built on and How it Can Help Up Your Customer Service Game

 

 Me: So, your most recent book, Human-Centered Communication, that was released in September, right?

 

Ethan shared that in October, they were definitely telling people about it a lot in September, and it started shipping in in early October.

 

Me: So, could you share with us maybe, I would say the main pillars that that book is built on? Like, who is the book for? What is the book about? And how can it really help you to UP your customer service game?

 

Ethan shared that if you rely on connecting and communicating in digital, virtual and online spaces, then this book is for you.

 

He knows that's really, really broad. But really, it is loaded with philosophy, and then more practically strategy and then more practically tactics to help anyone connect and communicate more effectively in the face of ever increasing digital noise and pollution.

 

So, we all know that these spaces that we operate in are noisy. Inboxes are overloaded, message boxes are overloaded, and we’re getting spam texts and spam calls now bleeding into pollution.

 

It's difficult to know who and what to trust, we feel some sense of overwhelm, just keeping up with all the notifications, but he’s in like five Slack channels and they always seem to be loaded with more new messages than he can possibly keep up with.

 

And so, this is obviously unsustainable for individuals and for organizations. And so, Steve, who is his long time friend and team member, their Chief Marketing Officer at BombBomb, his co author on Rehumanize Your Business, wanted to take this on directly.

 

Obviously video does play a role in it, we can get into the nuance there. It specifically helps fill in the void of the visual and emotional impoverishment of so much of our digital communication in addition to the layers that it adds in terms of communicating your identity and verifying it because it's you on the screen, there's no one that can fake being you, at least at this point.

 

And so, they roped in 11 of their expert friends, they have a number of sales and marketing leaders, they have a marketing futurist from Salesforce, they have an emotional intelligence expert with seven US patents in the analysis of facial coding data, they have just a number of different people that they brought into this conversation, to figure out how to make sure that the way they're reaching out and engaging people puts those people's needs and interests first in order to generate better results for everybody.

 

And so, that's what they're doing. They're blending human centered design with their daily digital communication, it does rely on Steve's and his (Ethan) expertise and experience, but they also involve many other people in the process. And the feedback so far has been very, very positive.

 

How Can a Company Be Customer Obsessed and Get Customers to Want to be Intrinsically Loyal

 

Me: Very nice. So, one of the terms that you use in your book, customer obsessed and cult followed. Apple came in at 7.8, the most human brands across all industries. And then you had USAA a nearly 100 year old financial services organization with a score of 9.4.

 

What does a company need to be to be customer obsessed and cult followed that people want to follow that brand?

 

And then I'd like you to also talk a little bit about loyalty. Because I know a lot of companies have loyalty programs, but to me, they're more like, I don't know, I just don't see them as true loyalty programs, because what they're doing isn't necessarily making me want to be loyal to them.

 

So how can you really get your customers to want to be intrinsically loyal to you?

 

Ethan shared that these are great questions. And the answers to both are remarkably similar. So, he'll put them together.

 

For folks who are listening, what Yanique is referring to is a study that he and Steve leaned on; he thinks it was in chapter two of this book. But it's the Lippincott Human Era Index or something like that.

 

And it was a survey of hundreds of company leaders and 1000s, if not 10s of 1000s of consumers. And they were trying to identify the most human brand and he doesn't remember off the top of his head and he doesn't have the book. But they asked three particular questions. But really, he can answer both questions without listing those, is a really interesting study.

 

If you just search Lippincott Human Era Index or something, you'll find it, it's not hidden behind a gate, you don't need to type in an email address or anything to get it, it's a really interesting study.

 

 It really comes down to how we make people feel.

 

And he’s going to go to Shep Hyken, who they featured in chapter 11 of Human Centered Communication, he's a customer service and customer experience expert. And one of the things he's been talking about lately is the difference between repeat business and loyal business. And the primary difference is the emotional connection that we feel.

 

Now, the emotional connection, one of the reasons that he thinks USAA that 100+ year old financial services business beat out companies like Apple or Southwest Airlines, or some of these brands that people really, really like, and respect and feel connected to, and would rank as human is that they, this is an interesting one, this isn't the only way to do it, but they answer their phone. He’s actually a USAA customer, their hours are pretty broad, so if he wants to call them at 6:00 am in the morning while he’s drinking coffee before he gets into the work of the day, or if he wants to call them in the evening or any point during the day, you can actually talk to somebody and they’ll answer your questions and they won't rush you off the phone and they're just very available and approachable online and on the phone etc.

 

They also have an interesting thing where the only way in to being a USAA customer and he say he’s getting a little bit too specific about their branding and positioning. But it's for US military and their families. Now, his father was in the Air Force, he (Ethan) has no military experience himself but because he is his direct descendant, he’s able to be a USAA customer. But they have this other layer of in and out and it doesn't have to be as clearly defined as being a military member for example, or a formal member of a group but the more you can create this kind of in group, out group scenario, the more people who are in feel like they're a part of something, the more you treat them as individual human beings as opposed to sources of revenue, the more you treat them as human beings rather than as numbers, customer numbers, account numbers, the less you make them restate themselves over and over again. The less you make them verify their identity over and over again, because they've already done at once.

 

There are a lot of things you can do to make people feel valued and appreciated, like you respect their time and attention and like you see them as a partner in success, whose questions you want to answer and problems you want to remove and opportunities you want to help them capitalize on.

 

It really comes down to how we make people feel, how we make people feel about themselves, how we make people feel about us, and our sales reps, or our service reps, or the other humans, they come into contact with, the way they feel about their problem or opportunity, the way they feel about our product or our service, the more we can keep in mind as we're making decisions as we're designing systems and processes. As we're designing messages and digital experiences, now he’s getting into kind of the what they take account in Human-Centered Communication, the more we can keep people's needs and wants and the way that we make them feel, the emotional resonance that they leave each of these individual experiences with, the better off we're going to be.

 

Indications in an Organization that Will Guide You to Know that You’re Truly Connecting with Someone

 

Me: Brilliant. So, that definitely answered both of my questions. And I'm so glad that you've been touching so much on emotional connection, and authenticity and just being really connected with another human being.

 

Are there maybe two or three indicators as a representative or a manager or an employee in an organization that will kind of guide you to know that you're truly connecting with someone?

 

Because I imagine connection looks different depending on each individual, it's not the same; you wouldn't connect with each person the same way. But is there maybe some guiding principles or triggers that you could use possibly as indicators to know that you're on the right track to connecting with this individual?

 

Ethan shared that a number of different people will do it in different ways. Some people do it through survey mechanisms and other feedback, NPS and going beyond just the number but getting to kind of the scores and the sentiment.

 

Some people use retention or expansion, or other financial measures to suggest loyalty. There's no foolproof answer to this, he wished he had something better and more concrete for you. But he will give you some concrete steps that he knows some people he really likes and respect are taking which big idea here, it is difficult to create customer loyalty. He will add it is difficult to create a remarkable customer experience without creating a remarkable employee experience and without employee engagement and employee loyalty.

 

So, something that he’s heard from a number of people is that they do some form of course, (a) being very thoughtful about what it's like to be on the team. What does it feel like to be a team member here? Do I feel valued? Do I feel appreciated? Do I feel like I'm making a contribution, not just to the world at large, but am I making a contribution day to day, week to week to the improvement of the business and to the improvement of customers lives.

 

And so, something that he’s heard really good, thoughtful, engaged managers and leaders doing is that as part of their meetings, let's just assume you have like a daily or a weekly stand up, or some kind of a team meeting.

 

They'll come up with different questions but they're all kind of around the idea of tell me a story that happened this week where you're able to solve a customer's problem or answer a customer's question. Or maybe where you broke the standard rules of the playbook, where you went a little bit out of your way, or where you got an amazing piece of feedback. And you know what you're looking for there isn't those amazing over the top surprise and delight stories. What you're trying to do is just create this culture where there's an ongoing internal conversation about putting other people's needs first, sometimes people are asking needs about helping out your fellow team members as well going out of your way to save someone time or to pick up where they left off or maybe a team member had a personal challenge or a personal crisis during the week and you filled in for them or covered for them or that kind of thing.

 

The more we can keep this top of mind by asking people to share stories, either in a one on one or a group setting, the more we're establishing that other people matter. And that the feedback people provides us matters, the way that we make other people feel matters. And so, it's a very simple practical thing to do.

 

And he thinks for maybe a hard driving, hardcore manager, it might feel like a waste of time, but he promise you, you will have a much more engaged team, one month, one quarter, one year into a habit that looks something like that.

 

Me: So, we really need to ensure that we are truly having those kinds of conversations that we can connect to people. And I love the fact that you mentioned that it's all about having a remarkable internal employee experience, because everything starts from within.

 

Why is Video so Impactful and What Kinds of Messages Can You Give With a Video?

 

Me: Video is something that is mentioned predominantly, of course, because BombBomb is all about video messaging. But let's say our listeners that have tapped into this episode didn't hear your previous episode with us last year and they're not too familiar with video messaging and how it really works.

 

I can attest, give a testimonial in this interview and say, each time that I interact with Ethan and I send him an email, he responds with a video message, and it blows me away every single time.

 

So Ethan, could you share with me why video is so impactful? How does it work? And what kinds of messages can you give with a video? Is it only for tutorial based kinds of conversations? Or can it just be simple responses and messages instead of actually written communication?

 

Ethan shared that this is a really good question. It's a big one, too. So he'll take it on. He'll start easy and try not to go too deep, and then let you redirect me as you would like. But in general, anyone listening can imagine how many times they receive or send a typed out message during the day. Usually, it's in the dozens or so. And so much of what we're trying to do, some of these are important and valuable messages and yet, we're restricting ourselves because it's just become normal to a form of communication that isn't ideal for many of those messages. And he’s talking again about faceless typed out text, the same black text on the same white screen that doesn't differentiate you, doesn't build trust and rapport and doesn't communicate nearly as well as when you simply look someone in the eye and talk to her or him.

 

And so, this video messaging movement is just looking for opportunities to record a simple video, it might be 27 seconds, it might be two and a half minutes, and sending it to one person or more people in order to do one of three things in particular.

 

One, establish or re- establish personal connection. So him and Yanique have never met in person, he hopes to one day. But in the meantime, you can feel a little bit like you know him, because he’s sending a full version of himself, the next best thing to being there in person. Because they don't communicate all the time, they've been privileged to communicate back and forth quite a bit over the past year or two. But it's not like they talk every day.

 

And so, it's been a while since you heard from me or since I've heard from you. So he’s going to initially establish and then now it's re-establishing some degree of psychological and emotional nearness, you feel a little bit connected to him. And this they can do this with their team members. So many people are working remotely; they can do this with their prospects and their customers. They can do it with their partners, their vendors, their suppliers, integration partners, all kinds of different people in their business ecosystem can feel like they know them before they meet them, or be reminded of what it's like to be with them. There's just a simple joy and benefit in that. So, number one is personal connection.

 

Number two is managing our emotion or our tone. There are so many things we try to do and typed out texts that are just really, really hard to do. Because text doesn't capture the richness of human communication, it doesn't connect; it doesn't capture subtlety or nuance. It doesn't capture excitement, or sincerity or gratitude, or concern or appreciation; all this kind of soft, wonderful human stuff, if we need to provide corrective feedback to a team member and we don't want to wait until the next one on one because that's scheduled four days from now, we need to provide that corrective feedback sooner than later.

 

So much better to do that when you can communicate it in a way that your intent and your sincerity and your interest cannot be confused. If you type out a message and send it to someone, it's up to them to determine, do you really mean it in a positive constructive way? Or does it come across passive aggressive, it doesn't really matter, you can try to control it the way that you write it, but it's really up to the other person to make the decision. When you send a video, there's no mistaking it. This is how humans have been communicating for millennia. We express emotions through our faces, and we read emotions from other people's faces. As a parent, or as a leader, or manager, you've probably had some version of this conversation with your child or with your direct report. No, it's not what you said, it's how you said it. And so, we all know that the way we say something matter. So, number two is emotion or tone.

 

And number three is detail or complexity, there are a number of things that we try to explain whether we're answering someone's question, whether we're just adding an attachment to the email, and pointing someone to page 12 to look for something in particular, we can break down detail or complexity, we can explain things in laypersons terms, we can show and tell with a screen reporting, we can walk with a screen recording where we can put ourselves in a little box or a circle and put a document or a report or a contract or a proposal on the screen, and walk and talk someone through it. And so, whether you're in sales, whether you're in marketing, whether you're in customer service, whether you're in account management, whether you're in leadership or management, no matter your role, or function, there are opportunities throughout your day, and throughout your week to do these things. You can still enjoy the benefit of the asynchronicity of digital communication. 

 

He clears his inbox when it's convenient for him and some people are getting his message and engaging and responding immediately, some people are doing it an hour later or a day later, sometimes even a week later, whenever it's convenient for them. There are a number of benefits to all of this digital communication, but we need to look for the spots to restore the real human to human elements and the human to human qualities that make the communication, this is the key, more effective. This isn't about video for video sake; this is about using video because it's better at certain jobs, in terms of helping other people out, making ourselves clear, etc.

 

Me: Amazing. Love those three points that you brought across why video is so important and we will definitely have them highlighted and singled out in the show notes of this episode so our listeners can really gather and gain and feel the impact of what video messaging can really do for your business.

 

Ethan shared that simple, casual, conversational, this is just you and your webcam just like if you're getting on a Zoom call or a Skype call or a Microsoft Teams call or a Google Meet call, this isn't fancy, this isn't scripted, this isn’t edited.

 

This is just you talking to other people or kind of showing and telling what's on your screen, this is very approachable. You can do it in email, you can do it in LinkedIn messages, you can do it in Slack messages, you can do it in all kinds of different places. He just want to walk it down so that anyone that isn't familiar doesn't think, “Oh, I need fancy equipment, I need to edit video, this is going to be really slow and cumbersome.” This is just quick, easy, lightweight video communication for the benefits we already described.

 

App, Website or Tool that Ethan Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Ethan shared there are a number of things that come to mind. Some of the easy ones that are kind of like layups, obviously email, he knows that's really old fashioned and it's silly to say, but there's just so many benefits to it and I find it so manageable. At some level, he uses it as a to do list at some level. He uses his phone as the screening tool, so he can swipe and delete the emails that aren't so important or that are there quick to deal with. And so, when he gets to his laptop, he only has the good ones. So that's kind of an old fashioned one.

 

LinkedIn is obviously super useful for meeting people and exploring ideas and even exploring your own ideas and creating conversations around them. In terms of a hot app or a hot tool, he’s not really a tech gadget app person so he’s not really looking to stay on the edge there. He keeps it pretty simple and whatever his team is using, he’ll wind up using. One of the tools they're using more and more is Miro. It's kind of a visual collaboration tool, think of it like a Google Doc or a Google Sheet but with a lot more different, unique, collaborative functionality. And again, it's a bit more visual, so that's one he'll offer.

 

Books that Have Had the Biggest Impact on Ethan

 

When asked about books that have had an impact, Ethan shared he reads a lot; he'll go with an old one and a new one. He doesn't remember what he mentioned the last time Yanique asked him this. So hopefully, the old one is not a repeat, but a book that he just absolutely loves; he found it in a used bookstore in the mid 1990s.

 

It was printed in 1973 and it literally fell apart in his hands finally. As he was doing the research for Human-Centered Communication, and this book is called Small Is Beautiful and the subtitle is Economics as if People Mattered. So, it's a human centered approach to economics in the financial system at large. It's actually a collection of essays by a gentleman named E.F Schumacher, Ernest Schumacher.

 

And he was writing in this era where people were really trying to figure out how do we evolve out of this industrial mindset of mass markets, mass production, and anonymity, inter changeability, standardization, a lot of dehumanizing work for the people executing it. And so, he found that really inspiring and informative. Again, he’s read it several times. But he reread it as he was doing the research for Human Centered Communication. So, that's an older one.

 

And then a much newer one is called Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data by Rishad Tobaccowala. And he gets into the same divide and he speaks to a really current tension that we would all recognize is what is the proper place of people? And what is the proper place of machines? How are we to work together?

 

It has echoes back into this kind of industrial revolution, industrial mindset that was dehumanizing. And of course, now, it's manifest again between robotics from a physical standpoint, automation and AI from a thought in an analytics standpoint. Just wrestling with what makes humans uniquely powerful, what brings humans to life? What do people find engaging both on the employee and on the customer side. And so, the more recent one is called Restoring the Soul of Business by Rishad Tobaccowala. And love that book, too.

 

What Ethan is Really Excited About Now!

 

Ethan shared that they're doing kind of a hard reset on a lot of their training. And so, right now he’s in this mental state where he’s taking this broad sweep of all the things that he’s learned and taught over the past decade at BombBomb. And it's a lot obviously, and it includes two and a half books. There's a half book in between these two, that turned out to lay out in about 128 pages and just updating it, making it more contemporary because this opportunity is for everybody as he already mentioned.

 

It's easier to do than most people think there, are 10s of 1000s, if not a couple 100,000 pioneers actively engaged in this and it brings him to life every day to know that he can help more people (a) Understand the opportunity. And then (b) Start going down this road where they actually try it, “Am I doing it right?” People don't seem to be responding or people are responding incredibly well and just getting people on the right track and moving them forward.

 

And so, he’s just kind of in this reflective review state in order to update and recreate, along with some team members, it's exciting and encouraging. And if anyone ever has any questions about any of this, he’d love to hear from them directly.

  

Where Can We Find Ethan Online

 

LinkedIn – Ethan Beute

Instagram - @ethanbeute

Twitter - @ethanbeute

Instagram - @bombbomb

Twitter – @BombBomb

Website – https://bombbomb.com/book/

Podcast - The Customer Experience Podcast

Email – ethan@bombbomb.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Ethan Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Ethan shared he doesn’t have any, he probably shared a philosophy that they developed internally at BombBomb which is, “Be of value and abundance will follow.” This idea that the more we lead in a spirit of service and support and help, the rewards come subsequently.

 

Another one he’ll add, this is just a mantra sometime. He runs, walks and hikes a lot and often times he’ll listen to music or listen to a podcast but he will also take the airbuds out for extensive periods of time just to be with his own thoughts.

 

And sometimes he’ll just cycle on a mantra which is, “Being kind to myself and being kind to other people.”

 

He knows it seems simple, but it’s so easy to get caught up in what other people need, what other people want, the pressures you’re putting on yourself, different things that are on your calendar and your schedule. And things can feel busy and overwhelming and if we stop and think about why we’re really here, it is to be in a relationship with other people and he thinks leading with kindness is not a soft thing to do, it’s actually a very challenging thing to do and it is foundational to all good things.

 

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Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

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Nov 30, 2021

Fred Reichheld is the creator of the Net Promoter system of management, the founder of Bain & Company's Loyalty practice and the author of five books including The New York Times bestseller, The Ultimate Question 2.0. He is currently a Fellow and Senior Advisory Partner at Bain, where he has worked since 1977. Fred is a frequent speaker at major business forums and his work on customer loyalty has been widely covered in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Fortune, Businessweek and The Economist.

 

His upcoming article to be published in November marks his 15th contribution to the Harvard Business Review. In 2012, he became one of the original LinkedIn influencers, an invitation only group of corporate leaders and public figures who are thought leaders in their respective fields. In 2003, Consulting Magazine named Fred as one of the world's 25 Most Influential Consultants.

 

According to The New York Times, he put loyalty economics on the map. The Economist refers to him as the “high priest” of loyalty. Reichheld graduated with honors both from Harvard College (B.A., 1974) and Harvard Business School (M.B.A., 1978). He's based in Cape Cod and Miami.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share a little bit about your own journey? How is it that you got to where you are today?
  • Could you explain to us what the Net Promoter system is and how companies should really be using it to yield the best results?
  • Could you share with us maybe two or three things that you believe are contributing drivers of loyalty?
  • What are some things that companies should look at in trying to enrich the lives of your customers? Do they need to understand what type of customer they're serving and does the generation matter?
  • Could you share with us what is Customer Capitalism exactly? And how does that impact the consumer?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • Could you share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to keep you on track, or at least get you back on track if for any reason you get derailed. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Fred’s Journey

 

Fred shared that early in his career at Bain & Company, he noticed companies similar to us all, some brand new, some quite mature, but they were all outperforming all of the things he learned at the Harvard. Some were crushing it and a good example was enterprise Rent-A-Car, who started out as a tiny little rental leasing agency in St. Louis, and has grown now to become the largest car rental company on Earth without ever having to tap public equity markets, it's still a private company. And you think, Gosh, what I learned at Harvard was a capital intensive business, low growth industry, low margins, there's no way that you could grow on internally generated cash.

 

So, when he went to meet with Andy Taylor, their CEO, he said, “Fred, there's no secret, there's only one way to grow a successful business sustainably.” And so, he was listening for this great secret. And he said, “You treat your customers so they come back for more and bring their friends.”

 

And that basic idea changed his world because that's what he now understands is the key to success. If your customers are coming back for more and bringing their friends, your economic flywheel will crush the competition.

 

What is the Net Promoter System and How Companies Can Use it to Yield the Best Results

 

Me: Amazing. So I had an opportunity to get an advanced copy of your book Winning on Purpose: The Unbeatable Strategy of Loving Customer. I really, really love it. I haven't finished reading it as yet, but I've gotten quite far in it. And so, I just wanted you to share with us.

 

Fred, in the book, especially in the preface and the foreword, you kind of mentioned that you have this net promoter system, but people are not actually using it the way how you created it to be used. Could you explain to us what the Net Promoter system is and how companies should really be using it to yield the best results?

 

Fred shared that he’s long been troubled by the fact that financial accounting is how we run our businesses. And while financial accounting is very good at telling us when we've extracted a million dollars from our customers wallets, it does nothing in helping us understand when we've enriched a million customers lives or when our teams have done work that's meaningful and toward an important purpose.

 

And Net Promoter was his attempt at helping companies measure that important idea of all the lives you touch, how many are enriched? How many diminished? And that evolved into Net Promoter Score is based on one question, how likely you’d recommend us to a friend, 0 through 10.

 

And it turns out that when someone gives you a 9, and especially a 10, you've enriched their life, you've lived up to the golden rule of loving your neighbor.

 

And 0 through 6, you failed, you diminish their life. And so, this notion of Net Promoter Score is just keeping track of all the lives touched, how many enriched, how many diminished, and how many promoters, how many detractors, it's very practical for running a business because your promoters are your assets, who come back for more and bring their friends. But also, it's a little bit inspirational because putting your teams to work, and enriching lives and measuring that outcome and helping them learn how to do better, that's really helping them live the right kind of life.

 

The Contributing Drivers of Loyalty

 

Me: So, at the end of the day, we're all trying to build better relationships with our customers. Now, in your book, you also said that loyalty means investing time and resources in relationships.

 

Do you know maybe could you share with us maybe based on your experience and your research, you've definitely been in the thing way longer than I have; maybe two or three drivers that you think contribute to loyalty.

 

And this is loyalty in general, which I'm sure impacts business relationships, because I mean, loyalty is something that as human beings, we do link it to a person. For example, if you have an animal, your dog is loyal to you as the owner, in a relationship; you're loyal to the other person that you're in the relationship with, whether it's a personal or professional relationship. So could you share with us maybe two or three things that you believe are contributing drivers of loyalty?

 

Fred shared that he thinks it's quite poorly understood in this day and age when people are demanding loyalty and trying to get loyalty through gimmicks and marketing, so called loyalty programs. So, he thinks it does make sense to get back to basics.

 

He thinks loyalty is an investment from you and another person in a relationship. And you think, “Why would I invest in someone else?” Well, it's because they stand for what you believe in you.

 

You believe that they'll reciprocate and treat you reasonably and not abuse your trust and that you're in a position to actually do something to make their life better. Otherwise, you're just wasting your time.

 

A lot of people think about loyalty as, “Oh, I want them to be loyal to me.” He thinks the way to start is, “How can I invest in this relationship and love them, make their lives better?”

 

And that's what great companies’ do, that's what great leaders do, they inspire their troops to find ways to enrich the lives of customers sustainably, of course, profitably. But the whole goal in a business is making your customers lives better. Because when you do that, you’re investing in the right relationships, they come back for more, they bring their friends, they say great things about you, they become your public relations force, that's how great business works.

 

And he thinks we get drawn off center a little bit because the larger our company is, the more it’s run through financial mindset. It's our accounting numbers that we seem to view as the framework of success, when in fact, no, it's this golden rule ideas, it’s love thy neighbor as thyself. And when you do it, you'll see the results because when customers feel the love, they are loyal and that's at the core of loyalty, it's earning loyalty by enriching customers lives. And loyalty from employees, by putting them in a position to earn lives of meaning and purpose, by enriching the lives of customers that they touch.

 

Me: I like the fact that you mentioned that it's not just about loyalty in terms of you getting the person to be loyal to you, but it has to be earned and it's not something that can be bought. So I'm glad that you mentioned at the beginning that a lot of these loyalty programs and marketing initiatives that organizations have that they dub as loyalty programs are not actually programs that will make or even influence your customers to be loyal to you. So it's good that you identified for us that loyalty is something that is earned.

 

What Companies Should Look for to Enrich the Lives of Customers

 

Me: Now, in terms of showing your customers or enriching their lives regardless of the industry that you're in, whether you're a financial company, you sell insurance or you have credit cards, or you're a retail company, what are some things that companies should look at in trying to enrich the lives of your customers? Do they need to understand what type of customer they're serving and does the generation matter?

 

Fred shared that of course it does. And yet, he finds that the most successful businesses, whether dealing with teenagers today or octogenarians, it's understanding how to communicate effectively, how to always act in your customers best interest, to listen very carefully to how you're doing and what they need. Because at the core, a business is trying to solve the customer's problem, it's trying to turn a frown, into a smile, and the human process of understanding that, he doesn't think that's changed in thousands and thousands of years. Of course, the technologies we use, the innovative approaches, those open up wonderful new opportunities, but the basics, they haven't changed.

 

One of his colleagues at Bain, they joined about the same year, Scott Cook, who's the founder of Intuit, who has built TurboTax, and other very successful business, huge, huge success.

 

And he said, “Fred, you want a big business, solve a big problem for your customers.” And that's the right way to think about it, “I am going to be a reliable resource that is going to make a real difference in your life by turning that frown into a smile, and I'm going to measure my success that way.”

 

Obviously, profits are necessary but those who think of profits as the true objective, they're not going to grow a very big business very long because that's very selfish, “How much money can I extract from your wallet, get away from me, I'm not going to tell you anything about myself for what I need.” If he has someone who actually acts in a loving, caring way, they're a mutually beneficial relationship affair. But that's the kind of person he’s willing to actually share his information with and give constructive feedback to because he wants them to succeed, he wants them to succeed in helping him solve problems.

 

What is Customer Capitalism and How it Impacts the Consumer?

 

Me: So, while I was reading part of your book as well, I bucked up on a term, Customer Capitalism. Could you share with us what is that exactly? And how does that impact the consumer?

 

Fred shared that he thinks people have a framework in their heads about capitalism that's just dead wrong, that maximize shareholder value as the underlying concept. Through the years, whether it's Milton Friedman, or Adam Smith, there's an ancient and an out of date framework that people call capitalism, that without giving it this name, it's financial capitalism, because it's based on this idea of profits and shareholder and investor is the king. He thinks that has changed over the last few decades, at least, to where now, there's so much capital in the world; you can raise millions and millions if you have a good idea.

 

What there's not infinite amounts of are good people with good ideas who are willing to work together in a team framework to serve others.

 

And the real capital in that system, our customers, all the cash flow comes out of customers’ wallets.

 

So let's keep track of how many customers you have, how many are coming back for more, how many referrals you're getting, that was the basic, those are the keystone metrics in customer capitalism.

 

And more than anything, it's being clear about the purpose. If the purpose in the old school capitalism was maximizing profits and shareholder value, in customer capitalism, the purpose is to enrich the lives of your customers.

 

Bain did a survey of a couple 100 Senior Executives around the world, C suite executives and they found that only 10% believe that the primary purpose their business existed was to make customers lives better. They thought it was about profits or great place to work or balance duties to shareholders, stakeholders. He just thinks that is dead wrong. A good business, a sustainable business has to have a primary purpose of making their customers lives better.

 

Me: Amazing. One of the companies that you mentioned in your book when I was reading was Chick-fil-A and I absolutely love Chick-fil-A, both me and my daughter. But one of the things that I really love about Chick-fil-A was the fact that I remember I traveled a few years ago and my daughter wanted to get something from them on a Sunday and they're actually closed on Sundays and I thought that was awesome, from what I read that was a principle that their organization had and they've lived it up to this day and they've still been very successful even though they're closed on a day when they could be making more profit, as you mentioned.

 

Fred stated that the purpose of Chick-fil-A is certainly to enrich the lives that it touches. It's interesting, the founder, Truett Cathy was one of his early teachers in his business career, and they're totally different people. He's a Southern, he was a Southern Baptist, very, very conservative point of view. He (Fred) lives up in New England, Unitarian Universalist, you couldn't be more liberal in your religious thinking. And yet they had enormous overlap at the core, he picked a proverb from the Bible, that essentially, it says, “A good name is worth more than silver or gold.” Or in other words, your reputation is everything, which he thinks is so true.

 

And this notion of net lives enrich and Net Promoter Score, you think about when you enrich a life, you're living up to the golden rule, you're loving a neighbor, when you diminish your life, you're failing.

 

And so, the reason Chick-fil-A has been very interested and supportive of Net Promoter is because we're trying to achieve the same mission, this is back to Truett Cathy’s words, he was inspired to turn frowns into smiles on his customers’ faces and that is the purpose of the business.

 

So, then you mentioned Sunday, he asked him why he closed on Sundays and he said, “It's not a religious thing, Fred.” He's a very religious guy but he’s not preachy, their business does not put biblical quotes at the bottom of their cups, and they're not proselytizing in the parking lot. They try to be models; they try to help their people live up to this standard of loving your neighbor. And closing on Sundays, he just knew that you could not run a restaurant and have the manager there 7 days a week, you’ll kill yourself. And he said, “Given that, and I definitely want my store operator there running the place not delegating to an assistant.” He said, “We have to close a day and closing Sundays gives this signal that we care about our people, and we care about golden rule.”

 

As he said, “But you know, Fred, I go to other restaurants on Sunday, it's not like it's wrong to go out and eat at a restaurant on Sunday. It's just wrong for us to try and have our managers running a business 7 days a week.” And he thinks it's brilliant. And it is a signal. He thinks it reminds people that they're different. And you're right, their productivity, they have far higher sales per unit than any of the competitors. And those competitors are open 7 days a week. And it shows you when you get the purpose right; your business can crush the competition.

 

App, Website or Tool that Fred Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Fred shared that it's a new one for him, he discovered a company through one of his Bain partners, it's called BILT. The reason they were intriguing to him was their goal is to help their customers, their customers tend to be consumer brands, like Weber, who makes grills and place at manufacturers and so on. They try to help them build promoters among their customers, to create more promoters.

 

And what they've done is just taken one of the most painful steps in every customer's journey episode, which is assembly and first use, using paper instructions, which these paper instructions are horrible, let's be serious, they're written by engineers whose English is certainly their second language and they're just totally unintuitive.

 

So, BILT takes the 3D CAD drawing from the manufacturer, and then turns it into great little 3D instructions on how to assemble and use your product effectively and it's free to the consumer. So you go to a Home Depot or Costco and you'll start to see BILT on the packaging, and you know that you're going to get that home and you'll be able to put this thing together quickly and you'll feel great about yourself or Home Depot will have their faucets or ceiling fans, things that are really tricky to install, or garage door openers, and you go to BILT and you put the product in it and it downloads up to date information about how to put it together in a very intuitive way where you can zoom in and pinch out and rotate upside down and voice activated to help you guide you through your journey, it's just brilliant.

 

Me: Nice, very good. They obviously saw a need in the market, as you said, a problem that people were having challenges with and complaining about and created a product that would be applicable to make people's lives easier.

 

Fred stated that try ordering a bicycle online, you get it back to your driveway and then you try to put it together using paper instructions and he thinks you'll see why BILT is so successful.

 

Me: Yes, I can just imagine and my coordination of doing things like that are extremely poor, so I'm sure I'd benefit from using BILT.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Fred

 

Me: Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? I'm sure you have many because you've been around for quite some time and I'm sure you've had to read and engage with a lot of authors over the years that have definitely helped enrich your life and the lives of others. But is there maybe one or two that have definitely had a great impact on you over the years, maybe something you read a long time ago, or even something you read recently?

 

When asked about books that have had biggest impact, Fred shared that he read a lot of books. Actually, he listens to them now; his eyes are so strained from working at his computer and writing a book, he can't read in a relaxed way so he listens to Audible. Probably the most impactful book in the last 10 years was written by a guy who passed away, Clayton Christensen was a business school professor, who he got to know, he worked briefly at Bain and then worked at an entrepreneurial thing and ended up at Harvard.

 

He wrote a book called How Will You Measure Your Life? And he (Fred) thinks he's just absolutely right. And the reason that helped him is, he thinks you do need to measure a life carefully, that's what a Net Promoter Score is, of all the lives he touched, how many enriched, how many diminished?

 

That's how you measure a life. And he thinks Clayton put this in very human terms, and thinking about that, not just in a business sense, but all of your relationships in life, how do you think about investing in those relationships and being loving and loyal in a way that's not just correct in your mind, but you know the other party felt the love, you have to get feedback on how you enrich their life. So, How Will You Measure Your Life is a big one.

 

There's a recent book by Adam Grant called Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, that he thinks is quite good. Adam is a guy that they must think along the same lines, because it was an earlier book that he wrote about it’s called Give and Take. And he just makes the case that the world is full of people; there are some people who are givers, there are people who are matchers, they want a relationship to be in balance and then there are takers. And he said, one of the keys to life is avoid those takers, they’re sociopaths, you can try and change them, but good luck.

 

And he thinks this is important and living a golden rule existence. Not all people want to be part of a community where people are treated with love and care, they'll abuse that community and he thinks if they can't be fixed, they have to be excluded. And then Think Again, Grant just says, we have these mindsets that are fixed, and he thinks of financial capitalism as a fixed mindset for 90% of the world and he needs to change the way people think about the purpose of business and how to enrich a life.

  

What Fred is Really Excited About Now!

 

Fred shared that he got the paperback galley of Winning on Purpose just a week ago and he can't take it off on his desk, but very pleased with the way it's come out. And that's going to be every day of his life for the next probably 90 days is how to get people to see the relevance of this book to their personal lives, not just their business lives because the subtitle of Winning on Purpose is “The Unbeatable Strategy of Loving Customers.” And loving customers, it doesn't sound like it's a business book, he doesn't know what it sounds, just a little flaky but it’s not because this notion of loving thy neighbor as thyself is the core, it's the highest standard in human affairs. And what he’s arguing and Winning on Purpose is that, that is how you win.

 

When you enrich lives, you have to do it sustainably, and you have to do it profitably, but that's not the magic, accountants can do the profits for you. The magic is figuring out how using your energy and ingenuity to love your customers and have them come to trust you and come back for more and bring their friends but it goes so far beyond business.

 

So, the great challenge he’s got is getting people to recognize, he wrote this book for his granddaughters, infants who he wants them to see how you live the right life. And it sets out a way of measuring progress that he thinks is consistent with what Truett Cathy had in mind of building a reputation that you'll be proud of, and investing in relationships where you can earn people's loyalty.

 

It's probably a good rule of thumb anywhere to just don't spend time with a person unless you can figure out a way to make their life better. And by the way, the good news, chapter two and five of the book, demonstrate that companies that do this, they're the ones that get rich.

 

It's not clear from reading the Wall Street Journal, but every company, every industry, where they look at the Net Promoter Score, versus the competition, measured carefully, correctly, not just some self reported vanity metric, but real apples to apples.

 

It's the company with the highest Net Promoter Score who is growing faster and delivering better total shareholder value. And that's really good news.

 

But people are the mindset is fixed, they just don't get it. They say, “Oh, that's just some industries.” No, every time they're finding it, how did Andy Taylor grow to be the biggest car rental company on earth? How did Apple become one of the biggest companies on earth? Because they built a set of customers who are Promoters who are out there buying more stuff, and referring their friends and giving good feedback because they trust you, and making your employees feel special and loved, that's the flywheel that's going on. So, he’s trying to convince the world that business works in a very different way than they probably learned in business school, or if they read the Wall Street Journal and The Economist.

 

Me: And you know, one of the things that kind of came in my head just now when you're speaking in terms of what we were taught in school versus what is reality, the reality is, a business isn't a static thing, it's made up of people and without people in the business, there is no business and people are human beings with feelings and emotions. And you get more out of people when they feel loved, when they feel listened to, when they feel heard, as you said, when you enrich their lives. So, if you really do live that principle, I'm sure you'll win in all aspects of your life.

 

Fred shared that he’s worked at Bain & Company since 1977. So what is that 43 going on 44 years now. And they've been through good and bad times. For the last 10 or 20 years, it's been good times. If you look on Glassdoor, the place that rates businesses as great places to work, Bain, this year, it's the best in the world according to Glassdoor, it's always been one of the top several since Glassdoor started. And Bain hires lots of different kinds of people. But these are really ambitious, talented people. And even with that slice of ambitious people, when you look at what makes a person happy at work at Bain, they want to feel loved; they want to feel like they're a valued member of a team that wins with its customers. So it's an act of service and if you ask, remember he said the typical business person in the world, 10% of them think the reason their business exists is to enrich customer lives, at Bain, if you just ask everybody through the company, you find 60% to 70% of the people think the reason Bain exists is to make their clients more successful.

 

It's a servant culture where love is at the core, helping people succeed and putting smiles on faces and that's what makes it a great place to work.

 

And the irony is, he knows what makes, at least he thinks he knows what makes Bain a great place to work, it's that they are dedicated to helping their teams make a difference in their clients success, and be recognized and rewarded and part of a team that helps achieve that.

 

And it's financially successful but that's not the purpose, the purpose is making their customers lives better. And he thinks most great places to work lists, completely ignore that. They think it's refrigerators full of beer in the break room, pool tables and ping pong and cool fringe benefits, that's the fringe, the core is being on a team where you're playing a valued role at really making a difference in a customer's life.

 

Where Can We Find Fred Online

 

Website - https://www.netpromotersystem.com/

LinkedIn – Fred Reichheld

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Fred Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Fred shared that he wished he did. When he’s preaching to whether it's at the dinner table or elsewhere, he goes back to this idea of how important loyalty is. You got to understand what your life stands for, what is your purpose as an individual and then the way you live that purpose is to invest in relationships with other people who share that purpose. And it's how you can invest and help those people succeed that he thinks helps you achieve your mission. So, “Choose your loyalties wisely, they guide your life and they define your legacy.”

 

Me: Love it, choose your loyalties wisely, they guide your life and define your legacy. Amazing. Love it, absolutely love it. And I'm sure every person on the face of this earth that wants to do good, wants to leave a good legacy behind. So the only way to do that, I believe, as you had said was to try and live by doing those actions on a daily basis, do it consistently because that's the only way when you leave this world you'll be able to leave that legacy.

 

Fred stated that and measure, so many people would say, “Oh, I can't measure love.” And he would say, actually you can, you can get feedback from your customers in a systematic Net Promoter framework and understand how many lives you've enriched and that is your legacy. And then you should be measuring your way toward the kind of life you want to lead.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

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Links

 

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Nov 23, 2021

Dan Gingiss is an international keynote speaker and customer experience coach who believes that a remarkable customer experience is your best marketing strategy. His 20-year professional career spanned multiple disciplines, including customer experience, marketing, social media and customer service. He held leadership positions at McDonald's, Discover and Humana.

 

Dan is the author of The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can't Wait To Share, which was released in September 2021. And he's also the author of Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media. He also hosts the “Experience This!” show podcast and “The Experience Maker Show.”

 

He earned a B.A. in Psychology and Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A. in Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share a little bit about your journey? How it is that you got to where you are today?
  • Could you share with our listeners, Dan, a little bit about this book, maybe share with us maybe three to four pillars that the book is built on? And why a company would need a tool like this to enhance our customer experience?
  • Could you maybe give us one or two examples of maybe companies that you know, that have demonstrated an immersive experience?
  • You mentioned that word of mouth is the best type of advertising for any business. How can we get our customers to the point where they want to share their experiences with us and it's not just a mere experience?
  • Have you found that customers expectations have changed somewhat, since the pandemic? Do you find that they're more sensitive to customer experiences, their expectations are higher? What has your experience been as a customer experience specialist in this area?
  • In this whole digital transformation space that companies are going through, how do you think we can re humanize the customer experience, even though we're using digital to support that whole transition and make things easier for customers?
  • Can you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Can you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you read recently, but it still had a great impact on you.
  • Can you also share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now, something that you're really excited about? It could be something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to this quote; it kind of helps to keep you on track or get you refocus if for any reason you got derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Dan’s Journey

 

Dan shared that he started out in a marketing role right after college, even though he had never taken a marketing class; he was a psychology and communications, undergraduate major. And he realized once he gets into marketing, that's basically what marketing is, it's psychology plus communication. So, it turned out to work out pretty well. And he held that job for about four years, he really liked it. But he ended up going to business school, where he really formalized the marketing learning. And he learned that everything he had been doing had names and frameworks and all that sort of thing.

 

And then he spent another 15 - 16 years in corporate America, in financial services, healthcare, and eventually McDonald's, learning all sorts of marketing channels, but also evolving into customer experience, and really falling in love with CX and its power to impact the bottom line, to obviously make customers happier. And so, the book is really a summary of everything that he’s learned, put into a simple framework that allows companies to create remarkable experiences for their customers without spending a lot of money.

 

“The Experience Maker, How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share” - The Pillars That The Book is Built On

 

Me: Amazing. So the book is really, really an awesome tool. So, for those of our listeners that are not familiar with Dan's book, it's The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can't Wait to Share. So, could you share with our listeners, Dan, a little bit about this book, maybe share with us maybe three to four pillars that the book is built on? And why a company would need a tool like this to enhance our customer experience?

 

Dan shared that he’s a believer as a marketer, that the single best way to do marketing today is to get our customers to do it for us. And it's called word of mouth marketing; it's usually been considered the holy grail for marketers, and something that's been on attainable until now.

 

And really, what we're finding is that the companies that create great experiences don't have to work so hard at marketing, because their customers are doing it for them, they're sharing these experiences, because people like sharing positivity. We know that people share both negative experiences and positive experiences, but what they don't share is an average experience. Nobody ever has said; “Let me tell you about the perfectly ordinary restaurant I went to last night.” That's not something we care to share. But man, we will talk about it if it was amazing, and we will talk about it if it was terrible.

 

And so, the idea of the book is to teach companies, how do you create those amazing experiences and how do you create them in such a way that customers can't help themselves, they reach into their pocket and grab their phone and take a picture and share it and say nice things about you.

 

So, the framework that he introduced is called WISER. And it's so that you become wiser than the competition when it comes to customer experience. The first four letters wise stand for Witty, Immersive, Shareable, and Extraordinary, which are four different elements that help to create the kinds of experiences that are remarkable or worthy of remark, worthy of talking about.

 

Now you can use one of them, or you can use more than one of them. And the more that you stack them, the more powerful they are. But even just using one is going to start to change how your customers perceive the experience with you.

 

The R in WISER then becomes about being Responsive. And when people are talking about us, especially on social media, we've got to be part of that conversation. After all, if somebody gives us a compliment, we ignore them in real life, that's pretty rude. They don't think really highly of us and yet brands do that all the time in social media, where customers are complimenting them, but the brand is nowhere to be found.

 

Me: So, one of the things I really liked about the section on Witty, so you kind of explained that a little bit for us, you indicated that it wasn't so much about being humorous, because not many brands can carry off humour, depending on what their brand, reputation or image is. But more so, being very clever and creative in the messaging that you put across. And there was one that really caught my eye in the book when I was reading; the gas station one where it said customer service is priceless and I thought that was really cool. Because at a gas station, typically, rates are not necessarily the best. So, that kind of caught my eye like if I did see two gas stations, as you suggested in the book and said customer service is priceless, I probably would go to the one that said that versus the one that didn't have anything that would have caught my eye. That was really cool.

 

Dan shared that one of the ideas there is that competing on price is a loser's game, and all you got to do is talk to that gas station owner because he's got his competitor right across the street selling a very similar product for the exact same price. So, competing on price isn't going to work for him. Now competing on product is also difficult because they're both selling gas and inside their stores, they're both selling basically the same convenience items. So, what's left is customer experience and if this particular gas station can differentiate based on the service that you're going to get, that is a reason to choose one over the other one across the street.

 

Example of Companies that Have Demonstrated an Immersive Experience

 

Me: So, the next part of your book talks about delivering an experience that is immersive. Could you maybe give us one or two examples of maybe companies that you know, that have demonstrated an immersive experience?

 

Dan shared that immersive is really about the continuity of the experience and creating something that is consistent and fluid in the customer’s eyes. And that's difficult as companies get bigger because they tend to have silos and everyone in each silo is responsible for one part of the experience, but nobody's responsible for connecting those experiences together.

 

So the poor customer ends up with this very choppy experience moving from part to part in your company. So, one of the examples that he shared in the book is about a company called Imperfect Produce. And they're a company that takes strangely shaped and sized fruit and vegetables that don't meet the cosmetic standards of a grocery store. And they box them into a subscription service that you can get a box every week at your doorstep.

 

And what they do is play on this idea that their fruits and vegetables sometimes look funny, they're sometimes too big or too small, or they're dented, or they're just shaped weirdly. And so, they actually lean into that and they have these characters that appear throughout the experience that are these vegetables and they have googly eyes.

 

And you see these characters in their marketing, on the box, really throughout the experience. The other thing that they really lean into is this idea that by buying their fruits and vegetables, which otherwise would have gone into the landfill, you're doing a good thing, you're saving waste from going to the landfill, you're saving water and CO2 because of the farmers not having to replant so often and they track this on the website.

 

So, every time he goes in to pick his fruits and vegetables, he’s reminded of how much he has saved from the landfill and he noticed the other day he just crossed 1200 pounds of produce that he’s gotten since he’s been a customer. And these are the kinds of things that keep people coming back for more because of the immersive nature of them; he’s much more tied into this brand than he would have been if they weren't immersive.

 

Me: It's almost like you feel like you're a part of their journey in whatever they're doing and because of that, it's much more difficult for you to walk away from them. And now it becomes a real relationship, because there's value being given on both ends of the spectrum.

 

How to Get Customers to Share Their Experiences With Us

 

Me: Now, you also mentioned that your experiences must be shareable. And I remember you used this word in the book, where you said customers have like a “Meh” experience, which is, I guess, just a mediocre one. I guess if we were to compare it to NPS, it would be like persons who scored seven and eight, because they're not really wowed, but they're not disappointed either, so they're kind of in the middle. So, what I really wanted to ask was, we have customers who we want to share our experiences and you mentioned that word of mouth is the best type of advertising for any business. “How can we get our customers to the point where they want to share their experiences with us and it's not just a “Meh” experience?”

 

Dan shared that the best example that he thinks really epitomizes this is the story that he tells in the book of taking his son for his birthday to a restaurant called Fleming Steakhouse.

 

And they walk into the restaurant, he had already told them ahead of time that it was his son's birthday, and the Maître d’ hands him a birthday card that is signed by the staff. And he was pretty impressed with that, he had not seen that before.

 

And they're sitting in eating our dinner and the discussion turns to and this may just happen in families where dad is a customer experience guy. But the discussion turns to his daughter actually brought up and said, “Hey, if they brought us a birthday card, I'll bet they're going to do something pretty special at the end of the meal.”

 

In the US, you often get a slice of cake and a candle when it's your birthday, and it's a very nice gesture, it's just that every restaurant does it, so it doesn't necessarily stand out.

 

And sure enough, Fleming's did not disappoint, they came out with a box of handmade chocolates that was sitting on a plate, where Happy Birthday was spelled out in cocoa powder. And instead of a candle, they had a sparkler and the sparkler is so much cooler than a candle.

 

Now, there are four people at the table and without being told to and without coordinating, everybody immediately grabbed for their phones. And they took a picture of this dessert.

 

And the parent shared it to Facebook, and the kids shared it to Snapchat or Instagram, and just like that, Fleming's had four different shares of an experience at their restaurant, all because they decided that a slice of cake and a candle while a nice gesture, is just not going to stand out enough for people to want to share it.

 

Now, he'll bet that box of chocolates and the sparkler doesn't cost them much more, it might even be around the same price. But the idea is that it's so completely different and it stands out in such a way that people can't help themselves, they want to take a picture of it.

 

And so, he uses that as a metaphor for companies to think about, “Where do you have a candle that you could turn into a sparkler?” Because that's the difference, that's what makes it shareable.

 

Me: That's amazing. That was really out of the box thinking that that restaurant did for your son. And you're right; every restaurant does just give a cake and a candle so if you're doing something different then I guess that's where the extraordinary in your wise acronym comes in because that experience was definitely extra ordinary, it was definitely out of the ordinary.

 

Dan stated that extraordinary just means a little bit better than ordinary, it doesn't have to be a private firework show and a Beyonce’ concert, that's extraordinary too.

 

But nobody has that kind of budget to do. And so, it's just about figuring out somewhere in your journey, where let's say you're doing something the same way that your competitors do it, that's a pretty good bet that that's an average experience, because your competitors are not delivering extraordinary experiences most of the time. So if you're doing it like everybody else is doing it, do it differently. And that's a great way to go from ordinary to extraordinary, make it stand out by being a little bit different and that is another element that causes people to want to talk about it.

Since the Pandemic, Do You Find That Customers Are More Sensitive to Customer Experiences?

 

Me: So Dan, a big part of customer experience now, I know it has definitely changed a lot. I know a lot of customers are paying so much more attention to it now since we're all going through this global pandemic. But have you found that customers expectations have changed somewhat, since the pandemic? Do you find that they're more sensitive to customer experiences, their expectations are higher? What has your experience been as a customer experience specialist in this area?

 

Dan stated absolutely. He thinks we as customers really took note, especially early on in the pandemic, of which companies were there for us when we really needed them, and which companies weren't.

 

And the truth is, is that a lot of companies did a very nice job at especially at the beginning of the pandemic, responding, reacting, and innovating. And then other companies really did not a good job of this. And basically checked the box, and didn't particularly do anything different.

 

So, an example of that is when the pandemic first started, most of us got a lot of emails from companies that were telling us about their enhanced cleaning procedures. And he loved that everybody called them enhanced cleaning procedures, they weren't ever better or improved, or anything other than the word enhanced because somebody started using the word enhance, and then everybody else copied that word.

 

And they also sent us, at least in the US, they would send us to the CDC website, which is the Center for Disease Control, he’s sure other countries have a similar organization. And what he found was that all these emails basically said the same thing, they were totally uncreative, unremarkable.

 

And then I got an email from his investment broker Charles Schwab and their email didn't say anything about cleaning procedures, or the CDC website. Instead, their email said, “We understand that you must be very nervous about a volatile stock market. And so, we want to make sure that you know all of these tools and benefits that you have available to you that you can use to help you through this difficult time.”

 

And for him, that was exactly what he needed from his investment firm. He didn't care about their cleaning procedure, that wasn’t important to him. But he certainly cared about a volatile stock market. So that's the difference between companies that cared, and that were really trying to deliver what customers needed at this difficult time, versus what everybody else was doing. And so, that is something that customers remember and they've seen lots and lots of customers switch brands during the pandemic, because they realized that the company they were doing business with just wasn't going to be delivering the experience that they wanted.

 

Re-Humanize The Customer Experience Even Though Using Digital to Support that Whole Transition and Make Things Easier for Customers

 

Me: Amazing. So, that's definitely some other ways that our customers’ expectations have changed. I think also Dan, since the pandemic, I get that digital transformation is super important and it definitely makes life that much easier for the customer and can create that effortless experience for them and seamless experience, especially seeing that you may not want to physically go to the business place. But I get a lot of questions from time to time from companies asking me questions like; “Do you think human beings are going to become obsolete totally in the whole realm of customer experience? And of course, my answer is always no. But in this whole digital transformation space that companies are going through, how do you think we can re humanize the customer experience, even though we're using digital to support that whole transition and make things easier for customers?

 

Dan shared that he totally agrees with Yanique, humans aren't going anywhere, we're not going to be replaced by robots.

And the reality is that customers today crave human interaction and the pandemic actually exacerbated that, especially the time that we were all stuck in our homes for so long, we wanted human interaction.

And so, there's a time and a place for both human engagement and technology engagement within the customer journey. There are times where we just want to self serve, and we just want to go online and see our balance or pay a bill or whatever and we don't want anybody to bother us, we just want to do it ourselves.

And then there are other times where we really need to talk to someone because we have a problem that we don't think we can solve by ourselves or that might have too many layers to it. And so, we don't, at that point, want to talk to a computer, we want to talk to a person.

And he thinks that companies that are getting it right are figuring out when do we deliver self service and when do we deliver human service. But those two things are always going to exist; one is not going to replace another.

 

App, Website or Tool that Dan Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Dan shared that he would say right now it's actually LinkedIn and the reason for that is just that it is the place where he network, where he share content, where he consume other people's content. And where he meets people that want to do business with him. And he thinks that is the space right now online that he can't do without.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Dan

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Dan shared that one of his favorites is They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing and Today’s Digital Consumer by Marcus Sheridan. It's a marketing book and it teaches you how to create content around the questions that your customers ask you, or that your prospects ask you. And so, although it's a marketing book, it actually takes a lot of customer experience themes into it and he thinks it was one of the most valuable books that he has read, and has used in his own business and actually has used with clients as well.

Another one that he would pick, he’s going to go with one of Jay Baer’s books, because he loves him as well. He really loved Utility, but he’s going to go with Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers. And much like his (Dan) first book, being about social media, customer service, this is really a book that tells you to embrace complaints, and to learn from them and to treat them as gifts, because they can help you not only be responsive to customers, and maybe turn them from detractors to advocates, but also to go back to your business and find what's actually wrong and try to fix it for other people. So, Hug Your Haters is another one that definitely changed how he thinks about things.

 

What Dan is Really Excited About Now!

 

When asked about something that he’s really excited about, Dan stated that you’re asking a guy that just spent nine months launching a book; he’s now kind of just coming off of that. But he'll say that he’s super excited to be back speaking on stages in person. He had two keynotes this week in two different cities, it was so nice to be with people again, yes, everybody's being safe and wearing a mask where appropriate. But there's just something as the speaker to talking to people in real life and seeing their eyes and seeing their reactions and hearing them laugh and clap and what have you that just doesn't happen on Zoom or in digital channels. And so, that's something he’s really excited about is the fact that live events are coming back and are back in some places. And he really looks forward to doing a lot more of those in 2022.

 

Me: That's brilliant, love that. So simple. And pre pandemic, we probably would have taken these very simple things for granted. I'm sure we never would have imagined a time when we were locked up in our homes and everything had to be digital. So now, as you said, we're getting back out there, and we're still being safe. But you really appreciate the very simple things in life that as I would say, we may have taken for granted; we wouldn't have realized how important or how valuable those kinds of experiences are.

 

Where Can We Find Dan Online

 

Website - https://dangingiss.com/

LinkedIn – Dan Gingiss

Twitter - @dgingiss

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Dan Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Dan shared that this quote, believe it or not comes from a fortune cookie. He got this fortune that he was so excited about and he taped it up on to his camera right behind his laptop screen.

 

So, since the camera is always facing him, he can always see this. And it says, “Never mind tomorrow. Today is the day.” And he loves that because there are days where we want to procrastinate, or there are days where we just don't have the energy. And he likes reminding himself that today's the day and today is the day that he can move his business forward, he can help a customer out, he can do something nice for somebody, and you never know what tomorrow brings, or even if tomorrow brings and so that's a quote that's definitely stuck with him for a while.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Nov 16, 2021

Nathan Foy is founder and CEO of Fortis, nine-time Inc. Magazine honoree as one of America's fastest-growing companies. Fortis provides over 25,000 private, secure trips in 114 countries per year to clientele worth more than half a trillion dollars. These clients routinely ranked Fortis on Gallup surveys as the best in the industry. With offices in Greenville, South Carolina, and Hong Kong, Fortis offers ground transportation to more private jet owners than any other service in the world.

 

Nathan's first book, What Rich Clients Want: (But Won't Tell You), translates the Fortis experience into a replicable, scalable business model any service provider can recreate. Nathan lives in Greenville with his wife, Pam and their four children.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with our guests a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got to where you are today?
  • Could you tell us a little bit about that book? Is there a particular strategy or approach that you take to serve rich clients versus clients who are not rich, you want to share with us how it is this book can be applied to everybody in business?
  • Can you share with us maybe what are maybe two or three things that you've seen emerge as needs that customers are looking to be even more fulfilled since the pandemic?
  • What are some of the approaches that organizations need to take maybe leaders, in order to ensure that your team members are practicing these behaviors or competencies, especially if it doesn't come naturally? Let's start maybe with the first two, professionalism and problem solving. How can you build strengths or strengthen the competencies of your team to ensure that they're demonstrating these behaviors with the customers?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you also share with our audience what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with our audience, maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently, but it really has impacted you.
  • Could you share with us what's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote; it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused if for any reason you get derailed?

 

Highlights

 

Nathan’s Journey

 

Nathan shared that it was not intentional in its original conception. So, Fortis as a company began as a prepaid taxi cab card for college students. That was his original idea, was to create a card that students could use for transportation, this was in 2000 and this was the era when prepaid phone cards or prepaid meal cards were all the rage.

 

And so, he raised money from friends and family, he went up and down the East Coast, he built a network of taxicab companies. And their launch was for the Fall moving season of 2001, almost exactly 20 years ago. And it was going pretty well and then, unfortunately, 911 happened and everything changed. They ran out of money, people weren't visiting their kids for college anymore. And so, they started to adapt.

 

They sold their cab cards to companies. And then shortly after that, they found their first private jet company and they said they wanted chauffeured cars. And then they adapted into that really in the beginning of 2002. And that's really been their niche ever since.

 

Your Book, What Rich Clients Want - Strategy or Approach That You Take to Serve Rich Clients Versus Clients Who Are Not Rich

 

Me: So, in your bio, I read that you have this amazing book called What Rich Clients Want: (But Won’t Tell You). So, could you tell us a little bit about that book? Is there a particular strategy or approach that you take to serve rich clients versus clients who are not rich, you want to share with us how it is this book can be applied to everybody in business?

 

Nathan shared that it's really the result of 20 years of doing this and understanding that the most discerning clients that spend the most never actually tell you what they want, it's on you as a customer service person to discern that. And he thinks while this is a book that could be used to serve rich clients, he thinks the lessons here could apply to anybody in the service business.

 

So, what the book does is, it outlines basically that there's five steps that one has to proceed two, and two has to precede three. And if those are all there, then you can have a system of service that really leads clients into more than they expected they could get. And he thinks when you have that, then you can really create loyalty that lasts.

 

Me: Alright, you want to share with us what those steps are?

 

Nathan shared that the first step is “Professionalism.” And so, just kind of owning the introduction, owning the beginning of a relationship, the first impression is super important. And they give a lot of practical tips to that.

 

And then the second step is “Problem Solving.” So, actually taking a problem that they have, seizing it and acting as if it was your own and solving it so that they can see that you have competence in what you're doing.

 

The third step is “Concierge.” So, that's actually not just solving the problem, but anticipating even unspoken needs, so that you can see around a corner and make something happen proactively.

 

The fourth step is “Security.” So, having a layer of security that complements all of those things, but not at the expense of all of those things is very, very important. And these days, it's more about information, reputation, security, those kinds of things than it is physical security in most instances.

 

And then the fifth level, the highest level is really “Elite.” And that's when you start to begin to push out the boundaries on what's even possible. You'll know you're at this level when the client starts to refer to your company as a verb, they have clients that call them and say, “Can you just “Fortis” this, whatever that is that you do, can you just do that to this?” And that's a really good sign, they don't know the secret sauce, but they just want you to apply it to what's in front of them.

 

Me: I like that. I like the fact that you gave that analogy just now that they coined it as a verb. It's almost like Google, like before the age of the internet; Google wasn't even a word, let alone a verb. And now, when people want to find anything out there, like just Google it. I mean, it's just so amazing that 10 - 15 years ago, that word, it just didn't exist, it's just not something people would say.

 

Needs of Customers That Have Emerge That Customers Are Looking to be Even More Fulfilled Since the Pandemic

 

Me: Now customer service has been really impacted, customer experiences across different industries, across the entire world, all seven continents have definitely been impacted by the pandemic, can you share with us maybe what are maybe two or three things that you've seen emerge as needs that customers are looking to be even more fulfilled since the pandemic?

 

Nathan stated that the original environment of it, he thinks really led to us creating not just the standard things, masks and things like that, sanitization of surfaces. But we really tried to say, “Okay, what is kind of a level above that that might be unspoken, but that our clients might desire?”

 

And the thing that they arrived at was, particularly in the pre-vaccine environment, having a chauffeur contacted two or three days after the trip, for a principal, just to make sure that in the intervening time the chauffeur hadn't experienced any symptoms.

 

And so, the clients, there are many clients that said, I love that you do that, everybody's got testing, and everything, we've got temperature checks, and all those things. But the one thing is that the person could be asymptomatic and a day or two later get symptoms. And that's kind of next level.

 

And they had a lot of clients that really, really complimented them on doing that. Practically, another thing that they've implemented as partitions are just a much bigger thing in vehicles now than they used to be. And so, they wanted not only to provide that, but they had to kind of stand up, how do we do this so it doesn't look like you just ran to Home Depot and put it together and make that standard across the 1000 cities that they serve. So that was a fun challenge as well.

 

Professionalism and Problem Solving, How Can You Build Strengths or Strengthen the Competencies of Your Team to Ensure That They’re Demonstrating These Behaviours with the Customers

 

Me: Now, Nathan, one of the things that your book mentions as it relates to professionalism, you had mentioned the five tiers that are required for you to really deliver that supreme or extraordinary level of service. What are some of the, I would say approaches that organizations need to take maybe leaders, in order to ensure that your team members are practicing these behaviors or competencies, especially if it doesn't come naturally? Let's start maybe with the first two, professionalism and problem solving. How can you build strengths or strengthen the competencies of your team to ensure that they're demonstrating these behaviors with the customers?

 

Nathan shared that it's a great question. So, he would say before we get into the behaviours, it first begins with mindset. And the mindset has to be that you are honing your craft and not doing a job. And what he means by that is that if you want to make customer service into a career, then you have to make it uniquely yours and be a student of it so that the service Yanique offers is completely one of a kind over time, and only you can be you. But you also have to do that in concert with an overall brand that you're continuing to hone and refine to.

 

So, they have chauffer partners and they have conferences twice a year, they host them and go over kind of just aligning and making their services better. And that's one of the first things he does is just say, “Are you doing a job? Or are you doing a craft?”

 

Because, quite frankly, if someone's just doing the job, and this is just here to pay my school bills or this is just something I'm doing in between gigs, they don't really spend a lot of time with them. They don't really seek them out because they're not really going to want to ascend to elite status. So, he thinks that's a pretty important thing, just to begin with.

 

So, really practically professionalism, there's a lot of basics of how someone presents themselves with posture, appearance, confidence, handshake, eye contact, not just being early to do the job, but actually being early and ready to do the job early. Those are things that he would just say, they don't presume that people know and scold them if they don't know; they kind of assume that they don't know those things, and start training them on it. And that involves extensive use of checklists. And again, they're looking for people that are not offended by checklists, it's not saying you're incompetent, or you don't know what you're doing, it's just if you have the basics completely nailed down, that gives you the freedom to move up to higher levels and a checklists, especially the first level is essentially great for that.

 

If a client, especially a rich client doesn't like you, they're not going to tell you why they don't like you, they're just going to text their assistant and say, “I don't want to use this person again.” And you'll never know why. And so, the idea that you're going to be assessed on professionalism or clients going to give you input on how to be more professional, they don't have the time, they don't have the desire and it's really got to be on you to own that initial bit so that you can kind of get permission to move up to higher steps.

 

On problem solving, a real quick and easy way to begin with that is to just look for the most common problems that your clients encounter, and build systems for that so that you can be really ready when they have that. A quick example of that, they have a five star chauffeur for them in Miami.

 

And over the years, he's noticed people enter the airport, they want to go to a drugstore and then there's a core list of things that they're getting at CVS or Walgreens. And he's created what he calls his magic toolbox, but it's basically in his consoles. So, now when somebody lands and they say, “I just need to go to CVS.” He says, “Well, if you don't mind me asking, what is it that you need because I may just have it here.” And then they asked for one or two items, he has it. And he's immediately established competence with them that goes to a deeper level of trust. And now the whole world of what's open to the client, and what this person's capable of doing has really opened up.

 

Me: That's brilliant. I love that. That's like giving them what they need before they even know they need it.

 

How Nathan Stay Motivated Every Day

 

Me: So, could you share with our audience, how do you stay motivated every day? I can imagine that dealing in a business that is catering to clients who are rich, because of course, rich people clearly, yes, they have choices. But I'm sure their choice of business is a little bit different than a person who is probably on a budget. And so, with that in mind, maybe their demands are higher, their standards are higher and it can be frustrating sometimes I can imagine, especially when you're dealing with somebody who the average person would deem as difficult. So, in managing this business and running it for the many years that you've been in it, how is it that you stay motivated every day and you don't get discouraged by comments or just things that customers may see that makes you even wonder, I don't know if it crosses your mind. But do you ever get to the point where you say, “Why? Why am I doing this? Why am I serving all these spoiled, rich people?”

 

Nathan shared that a mentor of his once told him that if you're hard on yourself, the world is easy. And if you're easy on yourself, the world is hard. So, he would say it begins with the mindset of he’s his own biggest critic. And then they as Fortis are their own biggest critics. And they really lean into those challenges that clients give to them. And then every week they have a company meeting, and they gossip good news about each other, they do recognitions and they're saying not just good things that each of them has done, but really, they're kind of taking the time to go through each thing that's been done that they want to congratulate, and tie it to one of their five core values. And then that just helps to recenter them and “Oh yeah, we do value that. And that's an example of that. And I can learn from that. And if I did something like that, then I'm going to be recognized for that too.”

 

The second bit, he would just say is that he’s a firm believer in making your goals for the year, they actually break them up into six month periods, and making them known because every week or two weeks as a leadership team, they're going over their goals for the semester, it's a great way to just recenter you on, it's not about how he feels, or about this one service issue that they had. Overall, there are these big things that they're gunning for and they're doing that as a team.

 

App, Website or Tool that Nathan Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Nathan stated that it's a good question. He would say for them LinkedIn has been extraordinarily valuable to connect with their partner chauffeurs and to their clients.

And so, particularly when there was just recently the COVID outbreak, that was a terrific way to communicate up to date information and then vice versa for them to get up to date information. And one thing they learned through that, which, he kind of already knew, but they found that it was even more true than he thought was their global network of service providers are some of the most important people in each location. So, people were like maybe thinking about travelling to Paris, and a phone call to a chauffeur security person in Paris would tell them way more than you could just get on the internet. So, staying connected through LinkedIn was really helpful for that.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Nathan

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Nathan shared that the summer after 10th, grade, he had knee surgery and he loved to play sports, he played a lot of basketball during the summers. And he had surgery right after school was out. And everybody told him, “Oh, it's going to be three to four weeks, and you'll be back on your feet.” And it more or less put him out for eight weeks or most of the summer. And so, he’s laid up in bed, this is pre internet and he’s getting tired of watching TV and just being lazy and thinking about all the things he’s missing out. And so, he got a book that's called Made in USA and it was by Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. And he just devoured that book. And he thinks that was the book that kind of sparked in him an interest in being an entrepreneur and actually understanding what that could look like and what that can be. And because he had a lot of time to think, set his mind racing that summer when he had nothing to do.

 

What Nathan is Really Excited About Now!

 

Nathan shared that he’s really excited about the book in the sense that he’s not pretending that any of the foundational things that he has in What Rich Clients Want are novel. In fact, he gave a huge amount of credit to Horst Schulze, who is essentially the founder of a lot of these concepts for Ritz Carlton he would say, especially level one and level two things. They lean a lot on the Ritz Carlton experience to learn from that. But then he thinks the neat thing is, is that over 20 years, having learned and distilled these things, and now being able to talk with them, with audiences like yours, he just find that really rewarding, really gratifying.

 

And in fact, tomorrow night, at their headquarters, they're having their book launch party and he’s got old team members driving in from other locations to come in and celebrate. So, it's fun to share the information and also celebrate the hard work that kind of went into making the book happen.

 

Where Can We Find Nathan Online

 

Website – www.fortis.co

Website – www.nathanfoy.com

LinkedIn – Nathan W. Foy

Twitter - @nfoyal

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Nathan Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Nathan shared that there's a famous quote from Teddy Roosevelt that he will try to quote, but it says basically, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who even if he fails, he fails while daring greatly, so that his place is not among those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

 

Me: Lovely, I love it. And how does that quote help you?

 

Nathan shared that it tells him it's not about only winning; it's just being in the arena and if you're in the arena, you're going to get bloodied; you're going to have discouragements, you're going to have disappointments, but you are daring greatly. And that's something that he thinks is worth doing in our professional lives and in our lives in general.

 

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Links

 

 

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Nov 2, 2021

Becca Ribbing is the author of The Clarity Journal and has been a coach for over a decade. She's on a mission to help people break out of the cycles of uncertainty and struggle that hold them back. She helps women going back forth and with the big, seemingly endless question of what to do next so they can stop going around in circles and finally figure out what they truly want and create the clarity and momentum they crave.

 

So many people find themselves stuck and unsure of their direction. Using journaling prompts and helping people become more honest with themselves. She moves her readers forward gently and empowers them to embrace their strengths while letting go of any negative self-talk that has held them back in the past. She's been on many podcasts, including “What to Read Next” and “Say Yes.”

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with our audience a little bit about your journey? How did you get to where you are today?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners or managers in businesses, females, males, how would this book really help them? Could you share with us just how this all comes together?
  • What are maybe one or two things that you would recommend that they could employ in order to just be more confident or have a greater conviction or assertion in whatever they're thinking of doing or not doubting themselves or be so fearful?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with our audience, maybe one or two books that you've read, could be books that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently, but it really has had a great impact on you.
  • What's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about, either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you'll tend to revert to this quote or saying, it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused if for any reason you get derailed?

 

Highlights

 

Becca’s Journey

 

Becca shared that about 3 years ago, she was going back and forth about her next career move, she had just had her second son and she had been a coach for a while. And she had also been running a mindfulness website that she had to let go when her son was born, her son had a bunch of medical issues, none of them were huge, but they all were very time consuming.

 

And so, about 3 years ago, she was going back and forth with a friend of hers about what path she wanted to take next. And it was so funny, because she stopped her and finally she said, “Hey, Becca, you are a coach, you've been a coach for a long time, what would you tell your clients in this situation?” And she stopped, she was like, “Oh, what would I tell myself?” And she got off that call and she wrote down all of the questions she asks her clients to help them move forward.

 

And as she was writing these questions down and asking them of herself, she started getting more and more and more clear. And the thing that came up for her is that she really needed to get back into writing, even though it was difficult with the kids, writing was really truly what she loved doing. And so, this ended up becoming her first writing project. It was just so powerful to have the questions asked that she wanted to make sure they got out to the world.

 

Your Book, The Clarity Journal - Find the Clarity and Momentum You’ve Been Searching For! – How This Book Can Help Business Owner or Managers in Business

 

Me: So, your book, as we mentioned prior to the actual recording starting is entitled, The Clarity Journal - Find the Clarity and Momentum You've Been Searching For! So tell us, we have a lot of listeners who are business owners or managers in businesses, females, males, how would this book really help them? Because I know, for example, there are people who are in their 20s and their 30s, sometimes even in their 40s, who still have not figured out if what they're doing is what they really want to do. And so, where do you start? Do you start just by having a conversation with yourself in your head? Or do you find journaling helps more? And is there a scientific proof that supports that? Could you share with us just how this all comes together?

 

Becca shared that the main thing, is to start getting yourself out of the question and moving towards an answer. So, she finds a lot of times when someone comes to her and is really stuck, they are just constantly asking the same question over and over again, “What do I do next?” Or “What is my passion?” And they really just get so fixated on the lack of what they don't know, that they have a really hard time branching out from there.

 

And so, she would say she loves journaling, you can also hire a coach. She thinks that a lot of us get stuck and we don't even realize it though. We get stuck in this single train of thought where we're looping back over and over. And so, she would say that the very first step in her mind is recognizing when you are stuck, being mindful about being stuck and recognizing that you are not going to be able to really move yourself through it, doing what you've been doing up to date.

 

So, she believes journaling helps a lot, she thinks that hiring a coach helps a lot and some of your listeners may not be stuck about what they want to do, so much as like stuck about exactly how they want to do it, or exactly what the career path should look like for them.

 

And she runs into this a lot with entrepreneurs, especially very small business entrepreneurs, where they really aren't as clear as they think they are about their mission and what they are doing, and so it just muddies the water so much because every time they start something new, every time they go to do a blog post, or every time they start working on a new product, because they are not clear, they have a really hard time diving into it without an awful lot of second guessing at the very beginning.

 

And so, she doesn't really have scientific proof that journaling works, she can't off the top of her head think of a study and now after she gets off of this call, she’s going to go look and see what scientific studies there are for journaling. But she thinks the real trick of all of this is to just be honest with yourself about where you are.

 

Because we also oftentimes want to push away that indecision, push away the fear; push away whatever it is that's causing us discomfort. And so, if we don't actually shine a light on it, if we don't really look at it deeply, then we're going to be stuck in that same cycle and she thinks that really comes clear when she’s talking to her clients that are managers and are in this realm, because they aren't clear and they're muddying the waters for their employees. But also, a lot of times, they're not clear about what they want in terms of employees.

 

She runs into a lot where someone's been dealing with a bad employee for a very long time, and speaking of scientific studies, there is a really interesting study a couple of years ago, the statistic she’s going to be a little bit off on because she can't remember what exactly it was. But basically, if a team had a complainer on it, that the entire team's productivity went down by something like 30%. Isn't that shocking?

And so, really getting clear about what you want your management style to be, really getting clear about what it is that you need to be successful can also be extremely powerful.

 

Recommendations Persons Can Employ In Order to Be More Confident

 

Me: So, persons who suffer from like low self esteem, or their confidence is not as high as another person, what are maybe one or two things that you would recommend that they could employ in order to just be more confident or have a greater conviction or assertion in whatever they're thinking of doing or not doubting themselves or be so fearful?

 

Becca stated that that's a great question. She feels like a lot of times people don't really recognize their strengths. When we have a strength, it usually comes really easily to us and so we discount its value, because it's not hard.

 

And she finds especially people with low self confidence, they haven't really embraced the strength that makes them really unique and valuable, and so they're constantly using things that are actually their weakness at work.

 

And so, she would say that her first priority when she gets a new client is actually to help people see their own strengths because if you can't see it, then you're not going to try to design your life and your job around using your strengths.

 

When we're in school, all of our teachers and our parents usually do this thing, if we get a report card and we have an A in writing and a C in math, they don't focus on how great the A in writing is and what they could do with their life with the A in writing. What they do is they focus on that C in math, “Oh, you need to work harder; you need to work harder, like what is going wrong that you don't understand this?” And there's a lot of blame, and the kid feels bad.

 

And so, we have been trained as kids to focus on our weakness, to focus on fixing our weakness, to focus on what our weaknesses are and that she feels like really does not help you in the real world, because in the real world, the more you can bring in your strengths into work, the better off you will be.

 

So, if you were having low self esteem right now, you were actually trying to do this, one of the things that she would do is actually ask, if you have a really close friend who's a co-worker or even just your family or friends, the ones that are really positive and supportive, when you ask them, “Hey, what do you see my strengths as being?” really listen to what they say and try very hard not to discount it. Don't tell yourself, “Oh, well, everyone has that,” because they don't, not everyone has that strength. And the people that don't have that strength, that kind of means that it's a weakness of theirs, it's okay to value it even though it comes easy to you.

 

Me: It's so interesting that you brought that up that they focus on the negative it's so true. Even as a parent myself, I have to kind of retrain myself as an individual in terms of focusing where my daughter is concerned. I remember growing up, ever report that I got from I was in kindergarten come all the way up to university said, “Yanique is our great student, but she just talks too much.” I love to talk to this day, clearly. That's why I have a podcast and interview people. And that's why I'm a Customer Service Trainer and my voice is now how I express myself in so many different areas, like different platforms, and to contact and connect with people. So, I think you are right, you should focus on what your strengths are, and don't negate the fact that you're good at something, even if you're not so good at something else, because we all have strengths and some of them won't be similar. So, we all for example, can't be a lawyer or a doctor.

 

And then that's the next thing too Becca, I find that traditionally, especially here in Jamaica, we're not training our kids to do careers that are not the normal careers, because I'm sure that there are careers that have emerged since the pandemic, that if we were to ask somebody if they would go into that profession 5/10 years ago, they wouldn't, they would have been like, “No, that's probably never going to exist.” But so much has forced people to just do different things differently and technology has increased so much that professions that didn't exist, all of a sudden, because of the pandemic, and we're all forced into the digital so quickly, it just has really emerged. What are your thoughts on that?

 

Becca stated that having a career now versus say in 1950, just requires so much being willing to be flexible. And she thinks that one of the things that goes along with that is recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, because you will make better shifts if you can really analyze what it is you want to be using within yourself.

 

And she has to say, she laughed as Yanique was telling the story about everyone saying that you talk too much, because of course, it's actually a beautiful strength, it's just not a strength if they want you to sit still at school for 6 hours a day. She thinks that something that's been really hard for her is also what Yanique was talking about with the kids, because you want them to be persistent, you want them to try their best and you want them to really flourish. And the way that they're going to flourish is to like find their joys, find their strengths.

 

And so, when she’s working with people about, back to the original question about how do you do this going forward, the thing that she has noticed the most, especially with older clients, and we will all eventually be older is that they hit a certain age and they start not wanting to learn new things. And she should back preface for anyone who is like 50 or 60, 70 even, not everyone does this, but she does notice a big trend with older people where they're not going to learn the next app, they're not going to learn the new computer programme and they fall off a bandwagon at some point where they're not going to do anything new because it's not useful to them, it's too complicated, they just don't have the brain space.

 

And she would say that when you do that, you end up limiting yourself because as you start to insulate yourself from the new technology changes, you are inherently going to limit your potential 5 years from now because you didn't keep up with the times.

 

And she thinks that there's a lot to be said for that that happens a lot in business too where you have a slightly older manager and what's working right now is working and so we don't have the bandwidth as a company, especially as a small company to add something new. And then all of a sudden, what you have been doing has been working, and it might work for another year or two but you're going to end up running into a brick wall if you haven't been consistently changing with the times.

 

Me: So, really being adaptable and being flexible, and just being open to learning new things regardless of your age. And you are right, I do notice it myself but I don't think it's everybody. But I do believe that the older persons tend to be a little bit less willing to embrace something that they're not familiar with, or they feel like it's just out of their comfort zone. I remember my dad died about 3 years ago, and he was a business owner for many years. And of course, just to make deposits at the bank for his business or anything, he would still physically drive to the bank and have to stand up in front of a physical person even though the technology exists for online banking, or even just going to an ATM and using a debit card, he never had a debit card. If he needed cash from his account, he would go to the bank physically and stand in front of someone because that's what he was so accustomed to and it's just amazing. Even when you said to him, “It's so much easier, Daddy, you could try it this way.” It was just not something that he was willing to embrace. And then the flipside is I've met persons his age, and they're fully with technology, they probably use social media way more than me, I guess they have more time on their hands. And they really and truly embrace it. So I guess it depends on their headspace on how open they are.

 

Becca stated that also she’s actually run into it with younger people, too. She once had a client who was 24, who was a graphic designer who hated Adobe. And she was just like, you're fighting a losing battle, you're going to have to use Adobe in any job you have, you're a graphic designer. So, she doesn't want to stereotype too much but as we get older, it becomes easier to get into the status quo. And it's almost always going to hold you back.

 

App, Website or Tool that Becca Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business

 

When asked about an online resource that she cannot live without, Becca shared that she has been really loving this programme called Ommwriter. And it is this very streamlined writing software that has like this beautiful background and it has music that pipes in that flows, that's very flowy music and it also sounds like a keyboard, like a really nice old fashioned keyboard.

 

And she has found that when she’s using it, her writing speeds up, she probably writes about twice as fast as she normally do because something about it just helps her flow through and write really fast. The picture on it naturally draws your eyes to the bottom and she just feels like the whole UI is so great.

 

It's not great for editing so she usually copy and paste whatever she’s writing into a Word document to actually do the like the spell-check and the grammar check. But it is amazing. She thinks a lot of people have this experience, even if they are not writers, where they have to write an about page or a page for new sales for a new product or just even a really long and complicated email where just even getting it out is hard. And so, she knows a lot of people have actually switched back to pen and paper because of that. So she would say if you ever have a hard time or you're writing long length things and you find yourself getting stuck a lot, then definitely download it, it's only $7 or $8. Her new favorite toy.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Becca

 

When asked about books that have had a great impact, Becca shared that she is loving Burnout. It's called Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski PhD. And it really speaks, she thinks, mostly to women but it is all about why we get overwhelmed, and why we get stressed out and frazzled, and very practical little steps you can take to help combat that. And she thinks that anyone listening to this, especially anyone with kids, or a really intense job can relate to feeling burnt out, and feeling stressed. And so, if you are in that space right now, she highly recommends the book.

  

What Becca is Really Excited About Now!

 

Becca shared that she’s working on her next book. So, she just got started on writing the next book, her kids just went back to school and it's been a little hard in the States, I assume in many other places where people are listening with COVID. So, the kids have been with her for a very long time.

 

Me: And what state are you in?

 

Becca shared that she is in Washington State, she’s in Seattle. And so, she’s working on her next book. And the working title right now is called Mindful Procrastination.

 

Me: When are you expecting and is that book going to be similar to The Clarity Journal, like a working book? Or is it more of a reading book?

 

Becca stated that it's a book, book, and she’s hoping that it'll be out within the next year. But this will be her first book, book so she’s cautiously optimistic that it will take her about a year once everything is said and done and the editing process is all finished.

 

Where Can We Find Becca Online

 

Website – www.beccaribbing.com

Twitter - @beccaribbing

Instagram - @beccaribbing

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Becca Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that she tends to revert to, Becca shared, “Be here now.” Very often times when she’s stressed out, it's because she’s thinking of 100 things and it helps really centre her on the one thing she needs to do right now. Whether that is family or work, it just helps clear out the clutter because yes, we all have 100 things on our to-do list, but you can only do one of them at a time.

 

Me: Very true. You really can only focus on one thing at a time. And I think many years ago, I read an article that said that it's not humanly possible for you to be doing two things at the same time and be doing both of them at 100%. So, it's like driving and talking on the phone or driving and eating, something is going to not be done at its highest level of efficiency because it's just humanly impossible for you to do both of them at 100% capacity.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

  

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Oct 26, 2021

Lucas Root is an accomplished speaker, entrepreneur, author, business success mentor, and founder of SGIC Consulting, which works with clients to build a high-performance strategy and implement that strategy across their businesses to achieve the maximum growth potential possible.

 

With over 19 years of success across banking, technology, investments, health and wellness, athletics, and interactive media (gaming), Lucas helps identify roadblocks to success and where his clients could be heading toward failure. He specialises in speaking to entrepreneurs and business owners on getting their strategy on track for success and massive growth.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share in your own words about your journey, and how you got to where you are today?
  • Based on your experience as a consultant in the last 6 years working with these different ranges of companies, what are some of the key things that you have coach them on as it relates to strategy to ensure that they are increasing their earning potential, retaining their customers, having raving fans who will spread good news about your business?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you were sitting across the table from one of those persons, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • Can you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with our audience maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently that has really had a great impact on you.
  • What's one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? Either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Lucas’ Journey

 

Lucas stated that he did what he thought what the normal person supposed to do, he went to college, and he got a good degree. And then as he was getting out of college, and this is two decades ago, at this point, as he was getting out of college, he got a degree in mechanical engineering and physics and he decided he didn't want to go wear a lab coat, then obviously, there are plenty of people that are engineers or physicists that don't but that was the picture he had in my mind. And so, he went to Wall Street instead.

 

And the critical thinking component of a science and mathematics based degree made it easy for him to move into the projects world on Wall Street, which very quickly turned into the mergers and acquisitions execution groups. So that's the team that puts together businesses on a merger. And so, he spent more than 17 years putting together businesses on the backside of a merger. And over the course of that time, he got really good at understanding what makes successful businesses work and what creates the opportunity for somebody else to gobble you up, which is what a merger is.

 

It's one successful company grabbing another company that maybe is less successful and there are significant opportunities for the bigger company to turn the smaller company into something great, or at least they think.

 

So, after 17 years, he figured he knew a thing or two and he decided to launch out into the world and share the thing or two that he knew. And the truth is now 6 years after launching his consulting business, he can tell you with that absolute certainty that learning really started after he left Wall Street.

 

He did know a thing or two, but really only a thing or two. But the journey has been incredible. Learning from amazing, incredibly smart, really successful business leaders on Wall Street set him up for the learning that he was going to do afterwards, the learning that he’s done since leaving as a consultant, as a business coach and as a mentor.

 

And he continued to learn with smart, talented, capable, hardworking, successful business leaders. And he’s delighted to say that among his clients is the Pokemon Company, which is the largest and longest relationship that he’s had as a consultant. So, he’s been with them since the beginning, 6 years now.

 

And he has 13 other companies of various sizes, ranging from a few 100,000 in annual revenue to 10’s of millions. And then, of course, there's the Pokemon Company which is much, much larger than any of the rest.

 

And his learning, again, the real learning started after he left Wall Street, when he started working with the Pokemon Company, when he started working with smaller businesses, he’s loved every step of it, and he’s come to experience the market in a very different way than what he expected.

 

Strategies to Ensure That Companies Are Increasing Their Earning Potential, Retaining Customer, Having Fans Spread Good News About Their Business

 

Me: Alright, so you work with businesses and strategy, just in terms of listening to you speak just now, in terms of how you describe the companies; you describe them based on the amount of revenue that they were earning.

So, our podcast is Navigating the Customer Experience and of course people listen to this podcast primarily to figure out what are some new innovative, different ways that they can utilise to ensure that you're retaining their existing customers, as well as attracting new customers, but actually getting customers who will remain loyal to them, because I think that's what every business ideally aims for, loyal customers who will spread great things about their business.

So, based on your experience as a consultant in the last 6 years working with these different range of companies, what are some of the key things that you have coached them on as it relates to strategy to ensure that they are increasing their earning potential, retaining their customers, having raving fans who will spread good news about their business, which will help them to save less money on marketing and advertising, because their customers are the ones who will be spreading that news about them, what's been your experience there?

 

Lucas shared that he loves the whole premise of this show, because he thinks people spend far too little time thinking about their customer experience and you're 100% right, that's the place people should be focused.

 

One of the reasons that he really enjoys the Pokemon Company is because of how focused they are on their brand, and on their customer, who their customer is, how they interact with their customer, what the customer wants out of the brand. One of his partners inside the Pokemon Company, his sort of most exciting story to tell on a daily, weekly, monthly basis is when he gets a customer service call of somebody who's dissatisfied and he can turn that person into a potentially a raving fan, he can take that unhappy customer experience, which doesn't happen very often, of course, and turn it into somebody who's absolutely delighted.

 

So number one, the first piece of the answer to your question is, make sure that your customer service, so when people call in, make sure that your customer service is absolutely top of the line. He started out with an answer from the Pokemon Company, but his smallest client is a few $100,000 in annual revenue and they told him a story last week, actually last week where a potential sale called in and they answered the phone.

 

And the first thing out of this guy's mouth was, “You're already a step ahead because you answered the phone.”Now, he doesn't know about you, but if somebody is calling him to buy from him, personally, his priority is to make sure that he answers the phone. If that was his response that tells him that other people in that area, in that industry were not answering the phone, he was being sent to voicemail.

 

Why would you send a person who's ready to buy from you now to voicemail? Why would you do that?

 

So, step one is make sure that you give your customers who are reaching out to you the best possible experience they can possibly have every single time, so it doesn't matter where they're reaching out to you chat, email, calling into your customer service, walking into your storefront.

 

He realised that the industry is pushing harder and harder to have everybody move into automated response scenarios. So, your emails are automated, your Instagram or LinkedIn or Twitter responses are automated.

 

So, if somebody reaches out to you, they get an automated response and he understands why because in general, the customer service industry believes that him the customer wants an answer fast. But the truth is, that's not actually what he wants.

 

He’s here to tell you as both a consultant and a consumer, he’s both, he doesn't stop being a consumer as a consultant, he doesn't stop being a consumer as a business owner, as both a consultant and a consumer, what he wants is the right answer. And he wants the right answer with the minimum possible work from him to get there. The easier it is for him to get to the right answer, the more satisfied he’s going to be and he has yet to encounter an automated response line that gives him the answers that he wants easily.

 

So, number one, make sure that your customers are getting the best possible service they can and if your automated responses are not the best possible service, then move away from that. Counter to business strategy 101 in the world right now, and he understands that, but trust, big companies, small companies, every single person who is moving into automated responses are risking their customer relationship and the more that your customer believes that they themselves are unimportant to you, the more that you as a brand are going to become unimportant to them.

 

Number two, and he puts them in this order intentionally. Focus on what your brand delivers and be great at that. And this, again, goes back to his experience working with the Pokemon Company, if there is one thing that they do, and by the way, the Apple company does the same.

 

If there's one thing that Pokemon and Apple do that makes them exceptional in the world, it's that they're willing to say no to all of the potential distractions, so that they can stay super duper focused on what it is that their brand delivers and trying and continuing to improve what it means to them to be great at that. Right now, most people think in the reverse, be great at what the brand delivers, and then deliver a great customer experience, he doesn't agree. He worked with some of the largest companies in the world, be great at the customer experience first and then be great at what your brand delivers.

 

Me: Interesting, that theory. At the end of the day, a lot of times customers will I primarily believe your customers only reach out to you for two reasons. So, they're either calling because they have a problem and that could be a problem with an existing product or service that you deliver. Or they're calling because they're trying to make a request, it could be a request for additional services or products because they're an existing customer, or it could be a new customer who is trying to make a new request for a new product or service. So, other than that, people aren't calling to say, “Hey, Lucas, what's up? What are you doing? How's the sun going in your part of the world?” They're calling because they have a genuine need and I think all businesses go into business for a particular reason to solve a problem. I'm sure you became a consultant because you saw businesses having a need and you could help them solve a problem based on your years of experience and your expertise in a particular area.

 

Same for me, when I started this company as a Customer Service Trainer, customer service is very bad in Jamaica, and I really wanted to contribute to enhancing the quality of the experiences that we had. And I said, instead of complaining about it with everybody else, why not be a part of the solution and help organizations, both public and private sector to really enhance the quality of the experience that they've had. And I mean, since I've been in business, 12 years, I've seen great improvement, it's not where I want it to be, but it's definitely much better than where it was when I started. So, I think we're all solving a problem, every company, Pokemon is solving a problem, all of your other clients their businesses are solving a problem. So if you're solving a problem, then how do you want that experience to be for those problems that you're solving for customers?

 

Lucas stated that's 100% right. And do you want to be memorable or forgettable? And if you're memorable, what do you want them to remember? Because you could be memorable in a bad way, which is not what you want.

 

Advice for Business Owners Who Lack the Constantly Motivated Human Capital

 

When asked about advice he give to a business owner who lacks the constantly motivated capital, Lucas stated that that's a fun one. He treats it like customer service actually.

 

He thinks that most businesses have lost track of helping their employees connect to their mission, connect to the values that the company is working through to deliver the service.

 

And the more that people inside the business and remember, as a business owner, often you have employees and often your employees are the ones that are interacting with your customers.

 

So, previously, we talked about customer service, it's probably not you, the business owner who's answering the phone; you probably have somebody else answering the phone. Now, to some degree, they'll do what you tell them to do and that's cool. You tell them to smile while they're on the phone, and they will smile while they're on the phone. But at best, if they're in a situation where they're just doing what you tell them to do, at best, what they're going to do is somewhat mechanically execute your orders, and that's good.

 

But if you want great, you have to be better than just someone who can execute your orders, if you want great, what you need is someone who can execute your orders the way that you would if you were in their shoes, if you were in their, seat if you were the one on the phone.

 

And the only way to create that is by creating a culture that is connected to the mission of the company. Now, there are a lot of different ways to create a culture that's connected to the mission.

 

For better or worse, when you start trying to do this, you're going to find that some of the people that are employees right now and maybe even some of your better performers might decide they don't want to be connected to the mission and that might result in you making changes in your staff and that's okay. Because the end result of this and this isn't just coming from him, by the way, you can look up some of the top business strategy, speakers in the world like Gary Vee, who says the same thing. The culture that you create inside your company is the most important thing and it doesn't matter what you have to do to create the right culture and protect that culture.

 

So, in terms of creating the opportunity for motivation inside your company, for him, the most important thing you can do, the best thing that you can do is to give your employees the opportunity to connect with the mission, or the purpose of the company.

 

Now, maybe you haven't thought about what the mission or the purpose of your company is, now's a good time to start.

 

Think about what it is that you're trying to bring to the world through service. Because if you have a product or a service, you're trying to serve a customer, you're trying to serve somebody needs, you're not looking to just sell you're looking to serve. So get focused on what it is that you're trying to bring to the world through service.

 

Are you trying to bring smiles?

Are you trying to bring ease of transportation or ease of communication?

Are you trying to bring amazing meal experiences for your food service listeners?

Are you trying to bring incredible experiences throughout the islands for your travel listeners?

So, what is it that you're trying to bring to the world through service?

Is it experiences?

Is it satisfaction of needs?

Is it satisfaction of desires, like whatever that is connect to that.

 

And then spend time with your team, helping them connect to that because their primary job is to serve that need, is to serve that customer through that need.

 

App, Website or Tool that Lucas Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Lucas shared that these days it's Zoom.

 

Me: COVID has certainly changed our priorities.

 

Lucas agreed that it really has. Before Zoom, he would have said Microsoft OneNote, or for people who want to use a free version, both Google and Open Office, they both have a tool that's similar to Microsoft OneNote.

 

He uses OneNote for everything, truly, from keeping track of the things that he owes his employees on a daily basis. And yes, he said that intentionally. He worked for his employees as much as they worked for him.

 

So, keeping track of what he owes his employees, his sort of let's call it his management dashboard and by management, he means managing himself, keeping track of the different engagements like working with Yanique today, that all happens in OneNote and notes about what he’s doing and how he’s going to show up.

 

Keys, thoughts about what he needs to be thinking about while he’s going through this interview. His morning routine and things that he does in the morning, the things that he needs to accomplish throughout the day, week, month, all that happens in OneNote.

 

And he’s writing articles in OneNote, this is actually true. He’s writing a book in OneNote, his previous book, which you can find on his website, he wrote that in OneNote first, and then moved it into an editing tool like that one particularly was in Canva, but he wrote it in OneNote first, it's a simple, incredibly powerful tool. And he thinks he uses it fairly well.

 

Once he turned his wife on to it she actually has up levelled and uses it even better than he does because she speaks to it. He does everything typing, she actually speaks to it so she uses Microsoft speaks to text in her OneNote, so she'll take voice notes while she's working, she'll record things, OneNote is an amazing tool.

 

And before Zoom changed the world because of COVID, OneNote was his absolute number one go to tool anywhere ever. And now that we have to use Zoom to do business, or Skype or Go To Meeting, whichever one we're on Microsoft Teams, those are kind of ruling his day, but OneNote is still a very close second.

  

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Lucas

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Lucas shared that he’s a big fan of the Dalai Lama. One of the lesser well known books that have come out of his writings is called The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which he thinks is just an incredibly wonderful book. And it's on his annual reading list. So, he picked that up and touch up on it again, at least once a year, every year.

 

In addition to that, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferriss, he thinks that a fairly significant portion of what's in there was actually out of date before he even published it. So, the notion of being able to automate your way into a 4 hour workweek while you have a normal job, even when he published it was already reasonably out of date. But what he thinks that people missed in the book, and he’s read it several times now, that's really important, is thinking about your life that way. Thinking about what are the things that I can change the way that I do them, so that they have a less significant impact on my time, on my life, on my energy. And or what are the things that I want to be impacted by and I can change the way that I do them so that they have more impact on me.

 

So, things that people don't think about are things like a nap, he love naps, really love naps. And if he’s going to take a nap, he doesn't take a nap every day, but if he’s going to take a nap and because he loves them, he wants that to be impactful. And people don't think about a nap in terms of it being impactful but he likes his naps and when he takes them, he really enjoys getting into it, he enjoys taking the nap, he enjoys the way he feels when he’s done with it. He wants that to be an impactful experience.

 

And the way that he thinks about everything he does all day long, including the nap and the reason he brought that up is because he thinks most people like try to minimize the impact of their naps on their day and he disagrees. If you're going to take a nap, maximize the impact it has, again, enjoy it, get into it, savour it. The way that he thinks about that came out of reading The 4-Hour Workweek because that's the way that he puts together his thought process and he doesn't share it in that way, but that's what he took out of it is, think about the things that you're doing in terms of minimizing, or maximizing the impact that they have, so that the day feels the way you want it to feel.

 

What Lucas is Really Excited About Now!

 

Lucas shared that the first is he got involved with a not for profit at the beginning of the summer called the Jericho Centre for Medical Diplomacy, which is focused on bringing truly cutting edge, amazing medical technology to the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in Jordan because breast cancer right now is one of the biggest impact factors of cancer in that population.

 

So, he got involved in that because he’s deeply and passionately involved with creating and deepening the experience that he has and that women have around him in the world and supporting women and becoming a much more clean and balanced society with respect to the  role that women choose to play.

 

And so, that's just this little piece of what he’s trying to do to open that up, open the world up. If a woman dies of breast cancer, she doesn't have a choice anymore, she can't play any role anymore, like that's done. And so, bringing really cutting edge medical technology to the Palestinians, which is a population that has limited access to medical technology in general and specifically for this stuff, is one of the things that he’s really excited about. And so, they did a couple of galas over the summer to raise some money and they're going to do a really big one in October or November to raise a lot of money and really start moving this forward in a big way. And that's something he’s very excited about.

 

And then the second piece, they're two totally separate things, but they're both like really exciting to him is, he’s working with the credibility nation, which is a brand that's trying to bring credibility to humanity. And he’s partnered in with them to do a five day challenge, which is in a week and a half. And for the listeners who want to hear more about this, they can find it on his socials. So, in a week and a half, they're going to do a five day challenge where they train the joiners on how to show up in the world with credibility and how to deepen their connection inside themselves with credibility.

 

Where Can We Find Lucas Online

 

Website – www.lucasroot.com

Instagram - @lucroot

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Lucas Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Lucas shared that he does and it's not just during times of adversity, he keeps this in the forefront of his mind more or less all of the time, as much as he can. “It's in the midst of chaos lies brilliance.” And to him, what that means is that the more that things get challenging, the larger the opportunity for something amazing to happen.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

  

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Oct 19, 2021

Darin Dawson is the Co-Founder and President of BombBomb, a Human-Centered Communication Platform that enables users to use simple, personal video messages to leverage their best asset – themselves!

 

Darren leads all sales, marketing, customer success and product development at BombBomb, a fast-growing, Colorado-based software company. He's on a mission to re-humanize the planet and he wants to start with your business communication. He believes that human beings have intrinsic value and that every person deserves to be seen, heard and understood. That's why he co-founded BombBomb.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey in your own words and how you got to where you are today, could you share that with us?
  • Could you share with our audience for those who may not have listened to Ethan's episode last year or never heard of BombBomb, what is it that BombBomb does and how can that help a business?
  • Why video, why should we use video to connect and communicate daily with people?
  • What is customer experience and why do you think it matters?
  • Could you share with us maybe some of the values that BombBomb is built on that has helped BombBomb to really be able to realize fulfilling those needs for your customers? And why do you think an internal culture needs to be very impactful in order to execute a strong external culture?
  • Could you explain to us in very layman terms, what does it mean to re humanize people? What are we lacking that we need re humanization? Could you share with us what does that really mean?
  • Could you also share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or even one that you've read recently, but it still has had a great impact on you.
  • Could you also share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that you use in times of adversity or challenge? This quote kind of helps to get you back on track and get you refocused if for any chance you got derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Darin’s Journey

 

When asked about his journey, Darin shared that he feels like it may be a little bit non typical, so for instance, he never graduated the university, so he didn't go to college, he did but he didn’t graduated as his father said very good advice to him at that age, “Maybe college isn't for you.”

 

He was always entrepreneurial, he saw that in him and thought that he should pursue that and kind of get after doing his own thing. He grew up on a farm, hard working all his life, got given a good what they call there a Midwestern work ethic and ended up moving to Colorado in 1995 when he was 21 years old and have been there ever since.

 

So, then graduated school but then started this kind of painting business out in Colorado when he was young, he grew that business, it was actually successful. But then in the late 90s, early 2000s he started being interested in all things to do with internet marketing, Pay Per Click strategies, On Demand strategies, things like that and he got involved in the marketing business, was lucky enough to get ownership in that business, to sell that business and then do that again with another marketing company and then ended up working at a TV station actually running online, marketing the website salespeople for that, also content creators for that and he learned a lot about mass media marketing and really led him to think about what he didn't like about that led him to create BombBomb which he does today.

 

What BombBomb Does and How Can That Help a Business

 

Me: Now, we had the awesome pleasure of interviewing one of your employees, Ethan Beaute last year, we had him on our podcast as well as on a Facebook Live and I was supremely blown away by how he responded to my messages through video, I thought it was just brilliant. And so, of course when you reached out to me and I was like, “Oh my goodness, another person from BombBomb but even the person who created it, this is amazing.” So, could you share with our audience for those who may not have listened to Ethan's episode last year or never heard of BombBomb, what is it that BombBomb does and how can that help a business?

 

Darin shared that first of all, he loves that guy (Ethan). And actually Ethan is a dear friend and he convinced him to leave that TV station where they worked together and come to BombBomb with him.

 

And so, he's been there over 10 years, he couldn't have done it without him, he's fantastic, he's their Chief Evangelist, he's a good friend and a valued, valued person to him. He believes and we at BombBomb believe that all human beings has an intrinsic value, that we are special, that we are unique, how we communicate with each other is unique.

 

And the software that they enable you to use is sending video messages to the people who matter in your life, which could be the people in your life, personal life, it could be colleagues that you work with, it could be your prospects, it could be your existing customers.

 

So, you can send yourself video messages so they can see you, know you, and understand you in that way, so it's very simple to do, takes no time at all and they allow you to do in every message platform that you may be using.

 

So that could be your email, that could be in social media messenger systems, it could be in LinkedIn for example, so anywhere you're saying a message, they allow you to use a video as well.

 

Why We Should Use Video to Connect and Communicate Daily with People

 

Darin stated that if you believe, like he just mentioned that we are unique human beings, the way we talk is unique, then you should be considering video. And here's a very good example, if he was to ask 10 business owners:

 

“What is your most valuable asset in your business?”

 

He believes at least 9 out of 10, maybe 10 out of 10 would tell him that their people are their most valuable asset. But more often, what we're doing is we're hiding these best assets, the ones that we spent a long time interviewing, if you're interviewing a salesperson, you're trying to say, “Are they good with people? Are they good at presenting passion and enthusiasm for your product?” You're trying to assess all these things about people, and then we hire them and then we make them look like and feel like everyone else with text email, texting, phones, all that stuff, phone’s better.

 

But behind these technologies that we have chat, we're just like everyone else. He thinks we're removing the most uniqueness that we can bring in our people, our diversity, how they interact, and all the things that we want in our culture, in our business, we're withholding from our customers in a lot of ways when we don't put people in front of people more often.

 

What is Customer Experience and Why it Matters

 

Me: Now, as we talk about video, and connecting with people daily, and really seeing the intrinsic value in a human being, in your view, Darin, what is customer experience and why do you think it matters?

 

Darin shared that he believes the customer experience is every touch point that you have with either potential customers or existing customers, anything that could be an in person event, it could be a podcast, it could be a webinar, it could be when he calls your business, and what’s the experience he gets when that phone is picked up by someone who works there, that's it.

 

So, let him frame it this way. If there were two businesses that did the exact same thing, they sell the exact same service, for the exact same price, how do you decide which one to choose if they're very much the same?

 

He believes you choose the one you like and that could be for a lot of different reasons. But the experience that you bring ultimately becomes your unique selling proposition that is what makes us unique in a business. 

 

He has a software business, he competes against people who do similar things to what he does, he has some features they don't have, they have some features that he doesn't have, but they are basically the same and at the end of the day, people are going to choose who they know, like and trust, he still believes that that's what they do.

 

So, in that case, his customer experience has to be better, he wants to deliver on that more over than anything else. It matters in the product, it matters in all these motions that we look at in a business, but to him, again, customer experience is your unique identifier.

Values that BombBomb is Built On

  

Me: I totally support everything that you just said. And I think a lot of businesses lose focus of that. Now, in trying to deliver that customer experience as you mentioned, is your unique proposition. I think it's important; the organization has to have a really good culture, because customer experience starts from within, how you deal with your employees, how responsive you are to them, how you support them in whatever initiatives they're trying to accomplish. And of course, all businesses came into existence because we're all trying to solve some problem for customers that have a need. And so, could you share with us maybe some of the values that BombBomb is built on that has helped BombBomb to really be able to realize fulfilling those needs for your customers? And why do you think an internal culture needs to be very impactful in order to execute a strong external culture?

 

Darin shared that they have five core values at BombBomb, they are Relationships, Humility, Flexibility, Service, and Fun.

 

So, those are five core values and he thinks that really, businesses need to give the people that work there a reason to work there, that's beyond money, that's beyond the work necessarily. Because you can go answer the phone anywhere, you can go do customer success service anywhere, you can do sales anywhere, you can run these teams anywhere now and from anywhere for that matter.

 

He believes that we want to give people a purpose behind why they do what they do at BombBomb. So, they do that in a few different ways. First of all, their book is called Re humanize Your Business and that's what they want to do with their product but their mission at BombBomb is to humanize the planet.

 

And this is what he means by it has to matter more than the word. And locally, they support a few organizations, one is called Dream Centers in Colorado Springs, it actually provides free health care for women and also it provides homeless families off of the streets of their city and into a safe place where they can thrive, where they can go to school, where the mothers can get an education.

 

They have the women's clinic and they have a thing called Mary's Home and they're fantastic. And those are two organizations they support and they support them financially, but they also support them with their time. So, every year they do a trunk or treat for the children at Mary's Home.

 

And another organization they support is called the Springs Rescue Mission and it's in Colorado Springs, and they support the homeless population, helping them to get out of homelessness, a cycle of homelessness, help them to get food to eat. Just last week, he took about 30 BombBomb folks down there and they did a barbecue where they cooked burgers, he smelled like Burger King when he got back.

 

They grilled like 300 burgers and hotdogs and they serve those people. So, it's beyond money, why do they do what they do?

 

Because they're humanizing your business but they're also trying to humanize the planet and that planet starts right their own backyard in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

What is Means to Re Humanize People

 

Me: You spoke a little bit just now about rehumanizing your business. And when we read your bio, a big part of BombBomb’s mission is to re humanize the planet. And so, could you explain to us in very layman terms, what does it mean to re humanize people? What are we lacking that we need re humanization? Could you share with us what does that really mean?

 

Darin shared that he thinks its two things in your business it may exist that he thinks participating right now in this insanely, it's like nuclear proliferation but it's different, it's this digital pollution.

 

So, after he gets off of this call, he will have no less than 30 unsolicited emails in his inbox, LinkedIn will have a few and people are just being bombarded. And so, we need to get back to building know, like and trust with the people that we want to work with.

 

We need to communicate in a way that solves problems for people we know that we can solve problems for. He thinks the problem right now in marketing and sales is that we're just holistically blasting everyone to kingdom come with unwanted, unsolicited messaging. And frankly, he doesn't even believe it's from real people anymore. So, all we're doing is we're desensitizing people, nobody believes that you actually wrote the email anymore, actually wrote the LinkedIn messenge, they thing it was written for you, sent by some sort of system and what that does is it takes away the idea of reciprocity on his part.

 

Five years ago, even three years ago, if you sent him an email even if he wasn't interested, the reciprocity effect says, “I'm going to respond to you even if I'm not interested.”

 

Now, we've made it so very easy to ignore everyone, everyone is complicit in this digital pollution that we're all participating in, we send too much of stuff that doesn't matter.

 

Therefore, the stuff that does goes by the wayside. So, he believes using personal video, personal messaging to people succinctly for them, to them, from human to human, to solve the problem that you very well solved for this type of business. So, you have to have that figured out. What's the problem I solve?

 

How do we succinctly solve it in 20 seconds, deliver a video for that person? Or in the customer experience, side, if it's retention. Don't make him feel like just another number of your business. How many customers do you have? Don't make him feel like number 569, make him feel like the only one.

 

And so, how do you do that, you do that by taking time and sending personalized communications whenever possible, doesn't have to be every time but he calls them “Moments That Matter.”

 

What are the very important moments that matter when he knows? Easy way to do this is to say to yourself, “Would this be better said face to face? If so, send a video.”

 

So, that's re humanizing your business. We’re re humanizing the planet or humanizing these things, he believes people have intrinsic value, he believes all over the world people are being dehumanized right now probably more than they ever have been, ever.

 

We have more slavery, we have more sex trafficking, we have more abuse, we need to get in front of that. And to him, we need to do our part here and so that's why, as he mentioned, they support these local organizations.

 

They actually even support a community in Africa, where some kids in Africa got to adopt BombBombers, it was amazing. So, the kids got to look at pictures of people who work here, choose them to be someone they want to communicate with and then, of course, they help the organization but they help with food and medical care and things like that. But he’s got to tell you, some of the best joy happens from these kids sending letters to people who work here. And that's a connection that they build.

 

So, they're now we're re humanizing the people of BombBomb by doing that, just as much as they are those kids in Africa. So, that's a big part of their mission. He just believes that the world we live in, if we just want to turn a blind eye to it, that's not responsible as a business owner.

 

App, Website or Tool that Darin Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Darin shared that it's a pretty generic one, but it's Spotify. What couldn't he live without; he can’t live without a podcast. He listens to podcasts like crazy, he got a bit of a commute, and he enjoys it. His kids play soccer 4 days a week, so when he’s waiting for them to be done; he’s on the podcast. So, he’s trying to build himself up to that. So, he’s going to say Spotify.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Darin

 

When asked about books that have the biggest impact, Darin shared that Seth Godin was a very much a part of the foundation of this business in early 2000s. He has read every Seth Godin book he’s ever written. And so, he’s just going say Seth Godin. So, Seth Godin Podcast, Seth Godin Books. The early ones, he thinks it was even Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable it was really transformational. Just about being unique and how you stand out. And I believe the book, he might get this wrong is 1000 true fans, it might have been one of his earlier books is the idea if you have 1000 fans, that you'll never have to work again. He thinks we're seeing this, he was an early projector of this, this influencer movement that we see very common today and that's exactly what he was talking about in that book. And that's how they thought about sending video messaging that you could be this influencer.

 

And then he’s going to say, Verne Harnish wrote a book called Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) and then Scaling Up 2.0 and it's about mastering the Rockefeller habits as he calls it. And these are just these business motions that has made them very successful at BombBomb, how to run the business, how to plan for the business, how to do stand ups in the morning, all these things are very fundamentally ingrained in who they are at BombBomb. So, Seth Godin and Scaling Up 2.0, those are his two recommendations.

 

What Darin is Really Excited About Now!

 

Darin shared that he’s really excited about this growth team that they have put together, he gets to lead, it's fantastic, it's a cross functional team many people coming from lots of different parts of the organization are focused on how do they get after better growth for the business? So, that means acquiring new customers, better keeping the customers that they have, making the product more aligned towards those things. So, it's been a lot of fun and he loves that team.

 

Where Can We Find Darin Online

 

Website – www.bombbomb.com

LinkedIn – Darin Dawson

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Darin Uses

 

When asked about quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Darin shared that it's Peter Drucker and the quote is, “Focus is the key to all economic success.” So, if he needs to get refocused, if his team does, he brings that out. Focus is the key. So, are we focused? Do we need to get more focused? Are there things that we should stop doing so we can start doing the right things?

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

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Links

 

  

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Oct 12, 2021

Michael Arnold is the author of the book, Slacking Off: A Successful Way to Work from Home and he wrote it especially for those who are considering to work or are working from home and are seeking a work life balance.

 

He has been a work from home entrepreneur for over 15 years and he's worked with major corporations such as Cox Automotive, Verizon Super Pages, and Major Commercial Finance companies. His journey wasn't a smooth sailing one since he is also human just like us and he made many mistakes along the way. But he has lived to share some wisdom from his own experience to help people on their work from home journey to create successful actions on their own.

 

Questions

 

  • Can you share a little bit about your journey?
  • In your book Slacking Off a successful way to work from home. Could you share with us maybe in five to eight or nine minutes, just what the book is about? Who is it targeted for? And how can it help our listeners.
  • Could you share with our listeners since you have so much experience working from home, this was quite new for many people last year March when the pandemic just hit. Could you share with maybe our listeners maybe 1 to3 things, competencies or behaviors that you think someone who is working from home needs to embrace in order to be successful?
  • Have you seen customer experience change much since the pandemic as a consumer or even as a business owner?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you also share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with our listeners maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read recently, or a book that you read a very long time ago, but it still has had a great impact on you.
  • Could you share with our audience, what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to refocus you or get you back on track.

 

Highlights

 

Michael’s Journey

 

Me: Even though we read a little bio about our guests, we always like to give them the opportunity to kind of just share with us a little bit about their journey. How is it in your own words would you describe how you got from where you are now to where you were before? How did you get to where you are today?

 

Michael shared that a lot of ups and downs and experimenting in different industries led him to be a work from home entrepreneur and a father and let's say, contributor to the community. And he thinks ultimately, like most of us, he started out trying to be everything he could be at a young age before he was 18.

 

Work normal jobs like McDonald's, Christmas tree lots, doing landscaping and lots of different things at a very, very young age. And still was looking to find what he enjoyed and that became understanding businesses really fast and sharing, whether it be speaking, or presenting or consulting and he thinks ultimately, when we learn from our mistakes, and we're better people for it, and we've survived the misses, the bullets that fly our way, metaphorically and can live to tell about it, he thinks that's essentially what's brought him here, is his ability to survive through all things or persevere, if you will.

 

Slacking Off: A Successful Way to Work From Home What is it About and Who is it Targeted for?

 

Me: So, in your bio, we read that you wrote a book and we were having a brief discussion about this prior to actually starting the recording. And so, for those of our listeners that didn't catch the name of that book, it's Slacking Off: A Successful Way to Work from Home. So, could you share with us maybe in five to eight or nine minutes, just what the book is about? Who is it targeted for? And how can it help our listeners.

 

Michael shared that he wrote this book because he’s been working from home for 15 years, and he’s worked for himself, he’s worked for other companies, major corporations, very large corporations that have 1000s and 1000s of employees. And he’s been mostly in either a sales role or a strategy role or a management role and what he found over the years is that basically people around him, including himself were struggling a lot with work life balance and usually the really successful guy or gal that's really good at work is missing out at home and very rarely are they balancing between the two and it doesn't necessarily mean these people don't exist, but it's just rare.

 

And a lot of times people who are putting themselves into work obsessively are successful, but again, not happy. And so, he created this book to help people who want to actually take that obsession which is amazing, it's not a bad thing; it's a great thing when you're doing it in the right ways.

 

And just get a little more time for themselves and help them invest more in themselves, whether that's with time and effort or even money.

 

Of course, if they find something that's good for them, because themselves, actually they are the most valuable product that exists, you can buy a car, you could buy a house, you can buy nice clothes, you can have all these things. But unless you're investing in yourself, it really isn't going to pay off as big as it would be if you did invest in yourself because that's what ultimately this book is to help you invest more time, effort into yourself and do it in a way that's unique. Pun intended.

 

Competencies or Behaviors Needed to Be Successful When Working from Home

 

Michael shared that he’s using his book as the foundation here for this question because this is exactly how he set this book up was exactly the things you need to know and the things that you should have in place when you work from home, whether you're experienced or not. And that is one; you should recognize what you do when you're not working.

 

It sounds so obvious, most people are like, “Yeah, of course, I know when I'm not working.” But do you really because what he found over the years is that even for himself, which he uses himself as the example here is that sometimes what he actually considers not working for himself is different from what he considers not working for somebody else.

 

And he'll just very lightly explain a little more in that so there's no confusion there, nebulousness. Basically, what he would look at you and say, you're working when you're doing this and not working when you're on Facebook or Twitter or whatever, versus him might be different.

He might judge himself less than he judges, or more or less than he judges you.

 

And so, what he did is he put himself up on the microscope and said how much scrutiny, all unbiasness, just straightforward, looking at himself, what's actually working, and what's not considered working.

 

Is being on Facebook for 5 minutes a problem, probably not that big of a deal in the middle of a work day.

 

But it's not technically working and it doesn't matter that your boss or your company or yourself, it doesn't matter what your employer says, what matters is actually how you feel and usually when people aren't doing a task as they are paid to do, eventually they start to, let's just say, have more problems, it starts very small.

 

So, ultimately, everybody starts off with what's called a slacking off day, which is you take one day and you just slack off, you actually avoid work the entire day, on purpose, and you just slack off, that's it.

 

And so, the only caveat or disclaimer to that entire thing is that you write down what you do, if it's reading a magazine, reading a book, on Facebook, watching TV, exercising, whatever it is you do to slack off, it's important to recognize that first and foremost, before you do anything.

 

Then you carry that into your work day and you have that list, whether it's digital or on paper in front of you to actually help you recognize when you're actually starting to slack off so that you (a) recognize that the next chapter of what you need to do, which is start to actually make time for yourself to slack off.

 

Why is it that some of us slack off? There's probably hundreds of reasons.

 

But he thinks fundamentally what the purpose and confidence that you need, or the let's just say consistency you need to have is being able to move throughout your day, and do it in a way that you're happy with. Do it in a way that keeps you going and if you have time to slack off in the morning or in the evening, or whenever, you'll probably slack off less during the times that you probably shouldn't be.

 

And so, ultimately you want to make sure that you recognize for yourself and keep yourself accountable because it doesn't matter if your boss is mean or not, doesn't matter if you're being watched or not, you're in an office or you're not in an office, the end of the day, the only person that judges you, is you and God. So, at the end of the day, you need to be right with yourself and God more than you need to be right with other people.

 

And of course, you should be respectful and ethical but that's kind of the gist, that's just a little piece. There's obviously a lot more but that should answer the question.

 

Changes in Customer Experience Since the Pandemic

 

Me: Could you also share with us as an entrepreneur yourself, there's a lot of things that have changed since the pandemic and you are a consumer yourself, you mentioned before we started recording that you were in an Uber for the first time in over a year. Have you seen customer experience change much since the pandemic as a consumer or even as a business owner?

 

Michael stated of course, it's consistently changing and something he wanted to say early on was that forgive him for not coming out with this book before the pandemic, because he started writing in 2019. But he thinks ultimately, it's a dream for most people to work from home, so, the fact that the businesses that are existing now are tailoring work from home experience and making it easier, it actually pushed a lot of people on the fence of making their employees work from home, making their businesses more work from home friendly, making their products more work from home friendly, and all the technology that comes with it.

 

There's a lot of reasons why working from home is beneficial and there's a lot of reasons why in certain jobs, they're not. But ultimately what we're finding, and please chime in here if you have something to say about it. But is that it's actually not as hard to work from home for a lot of these businesses, or even these services to provide work from home experiences as we thought.

 

Look at the weather channel people who are giving you the weather forecast from their home office, it's not that hard.

 

Me: I agree with you. But I think as you said, a lot of people were forced to embrace the whole work from home as the pandemic came, they were forced into it, if it was a choice that they had to make, and things were operating normal and we weren't going through a pandemic, I highly doubt that many companies would have even thought of implementing it.

I've met with many business owners, or even senior managers who when they look at their balance sheets, in terms of so much savings that they've made as an organization, productivity has actually improved with employees working from home. Of course, with everything there are advantages and disadvantages, because I'm sure there are some other things that may still suffer as a result. But it still doesn't mean that there are a lot of industries where people were working, that they couldn't have worked from home and been productive and created the same or even better results.

 

Michael shared that there are a couple reasons for him, but he’s curious, what's Yanique’s thought about why somebody who's working from home is producing more than somebody who's in the office?

 

Me: Well, I worked from home before the pandemic, so I'm not even sure if I could compare myself. But if I use persons who I know personally, I have a friend that works in an insurance company, he works in the pensions department and one of the things he said to me why he feels he's more productive is he works many times way past 5:00 pm, because I guess when you're at work, when it's 5:00 pm, you get up, you pack up your stuff, and you head home, but because he's home, he just keeps working and sometimes he works until 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm, it’s when he looks at the clock, he's like, “Oh, my I’m still working, it's time to shut the computer down and just kind of unwind.” So, I don't know if other people fall into that category but that was his experience. And I was like that wouldn't have happened if you were working in the office unless you were working on some special projects and it was required for you to stay back late. Ordinarily, people would just leave at the time that work ends and they go home.

 

Michael agreed and stated that that is exactly what occurs, we're our own worst critic and we're our biggest driver. So, it's like we're not only our own worst critic, but we're also our own motivator, that kind of leads into to what he was saying earlier, it's like that's exactly why he wrote this.

 

He wrote this for Yanique’s friend, he wrote this for him, because and of course, anybody else who is like so happy about working from home that they're starting to form these habits that they're not paying attention to of overworking to the point where eventually, it doesn't actually produce much.

 

Now, he wants to say something, he’s very much for somebody putting everything they got into something and he definitely don't advocate people being lazy. The point of the book being slacking off is actually to appeal to the person who is struggling because maybe they're slacking off too much or maybe because you want more time to yourself, but ultimately recognizing that it's okay to work 12 hours and 15 hours a day, it's actually not a problem.

 

He’s doing business 7 days a week and he still always use his own book as a tool and a roadmap for himself to make sure he maintains a work life balance. But ultimately, you just you want to make sure you're taking care of yourself and you want to make sure that you sustain properly, because at the end of the day, you cannot not invest in yourself whatever it's nutrition or exercise or reading.

 

There are 60 books a year are some of the top CEOs in the world, 60 books a year is what they read while managing their own work and life, and he’s sure they have their ways of doing it.

 

But ultimately, a year after doing that, working 9 hours a day until 10, o'clock at night, or whatever, eventually it becomes “Either I'm doing it because I'm great. Or I'm doing it for different reasons, or whatever.”

 

But as long as they don't have built in time for themselves, eventually, they're slaving away to a job and doing way more, and getting paid hourly, that's great. But it's like it may not be worth it.

 

He knows people, they get paid $1,000 to $2,000 an hour, and they work nonstop but they spend time with their family, they spend time for themselves and everybody's happy, or at least happy enough. And so, there's a difference.

 

So, that's really ultimately he thinks what's happening too which Yanique totally hit the nail on the head, what occurs we overwork ourselves, because we're like, that's what employers who are experienced in working from home, having worked from home people, that's what they know, they know that ultimately, you may get a lazy guy who will manipulate people or gal who manipulate people and you work very little but you'll get in majority people who will overwork.

 

How Michael Stays Motivated Every Day

  

Me: Could you share with our guests; how do you stay motivated every day? You work from home, what are some of the things that you do to kind of motivate yourself? Because the reality is we're human and even if you really enjoy what you do, which I do, personally. And so, there are days when physically, I may not feel as enthusiastic but there are little things that I'll do like maybe exercise or listen to some music to kind of just get my mood or energy up, what are some of the things that you do to kind of keep yourself motivated?

 

When asked about how he stays motivated, Michael shared that another part of his book is on this, he totally understands, some days you are less motivated than others. There's actually a lot of reasons for that. What he personally do is, he raises his purpose, if he’s feeling less motivated today for whatever reason, he increases his purpose. So, if his purpose and this is another chapter in his book is to have you look at the reasons you're doing what you're doing…

 

Why do you work?

 

“It may be paying my bills?”

 

Don't be general, let's be specific.

 

Why do you do it?

 

“I do it to pay for this, I do it to pay for that. I want to go on vacation. I want to do this, I want to have that. Oh, wow, I didn't realize I expect to have a raise in the next year, or whatever it is.”

 

But your purposes are what drive you and we forget about those purposes if we've been doing things for a very long time, unless we're so successful that we're building new purposes.

 

But a barrier, whether it's personal or outside of yourself is something that is raised up in front of you, it's anything, it's unmotivated, it's problems, it's lack of winning, whatever it is. He just increases his purpose.

 

He says something's holding me back. Listen, he’s facing something right now that's stopping him or attempting to stop him from doing things. He won't necessarily get into details, but he'll just say, every day he'll reach a point where it's definitely a little bit frustrating because he wants to go do one thing and he’s got all these other things trying to get in his way.

 

And all he remembers and know is that as a being, nothing stops him ever. The only thing that actually stops him is him, that's it.

 

There's no one and nothing that's ever truly ever stopped him from doing or getting what he wants ever.

But as a being, what you're talking about is motivation that does stop you.

 

So, just remembering like, if you can't figure out your reasons for why you're doing what you're doing, or you can't increase, add more reasons, add more things if you're unmotivated, that's what he does, he adds more things.

 

And he says, “Okay, I want all these things and that's why I do what I do. I now want double that, triple that.”

 

And he adds, he adds and he adds and he adds, give him more reasons why you do what you do. If you're unmotivated, add more reasons why you want to do more, you want more, you build more, not less.

 

A lot of people have a tendency to get lazy and downtrodden when they're not getting what they want himself included, and you just have to remind yourself, you're a producer and producing is what makes us happy when we're moving and shaking no matter what that is we're doing. So, increase your purposes is the simple answer.

 

App, Website or Tool that Michael Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Michael stated that he'd say just honestly, the calendar, Google Calendar, Apple. He uses the calendar a lot, he thinks if he didn't use it digitally, he would use a planner.

 

He thinks back in the old days, people used to use the book planners is just what they were with little calendars on them and that's how they wrote their appointments, and they look at their schedule.

 

Whether you're drawing it on a piece of paper, or you have it digitally, those calendars are everything. At the end of the day, time is all we got, that's really what we have, and we're either selling our time, or we're buying it. So, that should be the first thing that you teach your kid is about how to manage their time, that should be the number one thing other than obviously, how to survive of course.

 

But time is important, calendars are important for you, they are tools for you to use. He also wrote this book for the person that was like him, who, for years, refused to use a calendar, because he didn't want to be predictable, he did not want to be predictable for himself or anything.

 

He likes the adventure of spontaneous movement and things. He was that guy that would just barely make it to the deadline, but he wasn't ever late, he would just barely make it to the appointment, wasn't really late and he liked that and he could manage it very well. And he became very good at shooting from the hip and winning but when he actually started doing things on a calendar, goodness, then he was dangerous.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Michael

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Michael shared that there's a couple of books one he would say, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, that's a great book on negotiating. He'll share 3. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone. The 10X Rule, he was very surprised how good that was, he's a great guy (Grant Cardone), everything he stands for has been tremendous. And then there's another one called The Reluctant Messiah, which has been a really interesting book, it's more of a kind of a fictional. It's called the Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It's kind of a book that takes you on this journey of a guy trying to coach another guy to help him through his life and it's just very metaphorical. But man, is it huge, it's such a great book. And he’s not a big fiction guy, so when he looked at it, he was like, he read it, but it blew his mind. It was very, very cool.

 

What Michael is Really Excited About Now!

  

Michael shared that he’s really excited about Slacking Off, he’s excited about the book. Excited about getting this out to as many people right now during their work from home all over the world.

 

He created this book because he saw so many people having problems and becoming unhappy in their life and he created this to help those people, whether they looked at one chapter or all of them, it's a very simple, easy book, you can read it in like an hour and a half it's very, very simple, but it's full of stuff.

 

Other than that, he works currently in a medical technology field where he’s trying to help a company name ROM Technology, essentially just develop business with them and help them grow as a company and continue to just progress, he supports them through a lot of different efforts. But it's mostly focused to help people get better after surgery and rehab, their legs or knees or hips, so they don't necessarily have to leave their house to do a certain amount of rehabilitation.

 

It also helps lower narcotic usage so that we have less people taking pain pills, it gets them better faster. So, a lot of time is dedicated to that too and he’s very excited about it because it helps people and It costs less money and it drives down their narcotic usage, which he’s not a fan of people taking pain pills unless it's absolutely necessary. So, it's a really, really great product and great company and they have such a great team and there are so many people supporting, so many doctors of specialties that doesn't even have anything to do with rehab, love it, and are supporting it. And he’s been spending a lot of time trying to help them grow and do everything he can to play his part for sure.

 

Where Can We Find Michael Online

 

Facebook – SlackingOff

Twitter – @SlackingOffBook

Instagram – @slackingoffbook

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Michael Uses

 

When asked about quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Michael shared that he uses so many quotes. This quote came from Sir Winston Churchill, “Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” Doesn't mean rebel against everybody but what it means is, do what you do and if you believe in something go for it. Doesn't matter if people say, don't go this way or you can't do this, or you can't create a podcast, you can't do your own business, do it. Do it, jump, take your risks and you'll surprise yourself, you'll very much surprised yourself.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

 

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Oct 5, 2021

Jason S. Bradshaw is a global strategic adviser to C-suite executives and start-ups, a keynote speaker on customer and employee experience, digital transformation and leading through crisis.

 

He has led transformative change with some of the most recognizable brands like Target, Fairfax and Volkswagen. Delivering phenomenal customer-centric growth including over 200% increase in lead generation, $36 million in e-commerce sales in year one, and decades of customer and employee metrics improvements.

 

He is a best-selling author on customer and employee experience, recipient of over 40 industry awards and voted 1 of 30 global gurus on customer service and experience.

 

Questions

 

  • In your own words, can you share a little bit about your journey, how you got to where you are today?
  • Can you maybe share one or two examples of just experiences you've had either working in an organization where you saw that the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience or even in a capacity where you played a leadership role and you saw that it really played an impactful part?
  • What are some areas that you think organizations have had to maybe give a little bit more emphasis to, especially in light of this global pandemic?
  • Could you share with us maybe what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could have been a book that you read recently, or maybe a book that you read a very long time ago, but it still has had a great impact on you.
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who definitely feel that they have great products and services, but sometimes they feel that they lack the constantly motivated human capital, so constantly motivated human people. If you were sitting across the table from one of these persons, what is the one piece of advice that you would give them to have a successful business?
  • Could you share with our audience, what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quarter or saying, it kind of just helps to get you back on track or get you refocused.

  

Highlights

 

Jason’s Journey

 

Me: Even know we read your bio and it really does sum up all you've done in your lifetime. We always like to hear from our guests, in their own words a little bit about their journey, how they got to where they are today. And I have quite an idea because I've read about half of your book, it's all about CEX so I do know a little bit, but maybe you could just share that summary for us so that our guests can get a great understanding of who you are.

 

Jason shared that his journey started at the age of 14, like so many young teenagers, he wanted to buy stuff and he could have gone and worked at a local store or he could do something different, he went down the path of doing something different and started selling his own telecommunication and computer hardware and software.

 

And it really came about because he had this undying curiosity of this thing called business, his parents had side hustles, his grandparents had their own businesses and he just thought, there’s got to be a smarter way than just going to work at the local supermarket and getting minimum wage was not the fast track to get the nice shiny gadgets he wanted to buy.

 

So, it all started at that first business, but at the age of 12, he can remember saying to dad, “Can you buy me this business magazine?” And he looked at him like he was some crazy kid, but he did in a way. And when he was interviewed at 14 years of age, he said, “I can't compete on price, but I can compete on the service that I deliver.”

 

And that has been the hallmark of his career. For over 20 years, he’s worked with some of the world's largest brands, helping them significantly improve the experiences that they deliver through caring about their customers. And this is a journey, not a destination.

 

So, certainly over the 20 years, the way he talk about it, the things that he’s done and the results that he’s delivered has improved, but it all comes down to those very early days where he was curious about business and at the same time of having that curiosity, he wasn't just reading about how to sell stuff but he was reading people like Tom Peters and his book The Pursuit of Wow!: Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times, and about how you can differentiate yourself in more ways than just through product and price.

 

The Importance of Employee Experience and Customer Experience

  

Me: Now, as I mentioned earlier, I started reading your book, It's All about CEX!: The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience. And I just want you to maybe share one or two examples of just experiences you've had either working in an organization where you saw that the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience or even in a capacity where you played a leadership role and you saw that it really played an impactful part. Because as you mentioned in the book, there are times when you said some senior leadership persons see customer experience as a feel good type of thing and they don't necessarily see the bottom line impact of it.

 

And you gave quite a few examples of if you take care of people inside of course, they will take care of external customers, and that will create loyalty and retention. But just give us maybe two examples that you've had, as I said, either as a leader or just working in an organization as an employee.

 

Jason shared that he can remember starting a job with a telecommunications company as the National Customer Service Manager of an enterprise team and he didn't know it at the time, but sometime after starting one of the people more senior than him said to him, “The reason we gave you the team that we gave you was because we figured it's been broken for so long, if you get it wrong, what's it matter?”

 

It's been broken for so long. And what he walked into was he thinks he would call it the departure lounge, because people were leaving the team, leaving the business just as fast as you could recruit them when he turned up. And you can imagine what that's like, you've got new people that are worried about getting through the trial period, of their probation period, you've got new people that absolutely have not got the skills or the ingrained training around what they're meant to be doing.

 

And then the only tenured people or the majority of the tenured people within the team are there because they're fearful that they can't get another job. And so, you don't necessarily have the talent, you have what you have.

 

And every metric and they were serving corporate customers, every metric that there was, was failed.

 

And wind forward just six months, and every metric was being achieved, they were no longer being referred to as the departure lounge, because they had some turnover when he first started, but that was intentional turnover as they rebuilt the team.

 

And rebuilding the team was about really being clear with their team members about what success looked like, about providing them with regular coaching bites. So, not expecting someone to know everything from day one, or trying to train them everything from day one, but consistently improve their skills.

 

And then the third thing was bringing humanity into the team. So, if someone made a mistake, not using that as a reason to chastise them, or belittle them, but rather using that as an opportunity to help them learn and grow.

 

Now, there is always a limit to that one, someone can't make a mistake, the same mistake every day for 50 days. But if you take it a genuine approach that people turn up wanting to do a great job, and you enable them to do so and when they have a misstep, you walk them through that, the results are phenomenal.

 

And like he said, in 6 months, in under 6 months, we went from meeting no metrics to being the only team meeting all the metrics. And those metrics, importantly, weren't just organizational metrics, they were every month judged by corporate performance of their customers.

 

So, the customers that they were serving had contractual service levels that were different to each other, and they had to meet them all. And so, he thinks that's a real testament to what can happen when you actually start caring about the employees.

 

And, of course, it's not just in contact centres where that may makes sense, it matters everywhere. And equally, not caring about your employees can have the opposite effect of what he was just explaining.

 

He worked for a company where there was a new senior leader joined the leadership team and that individual believed in one thing, cost cutting.

And if you had a conversation around, “Do we have the $2 biscuit or the $2.10 cent biscuit in the lunch room, in the break room?”

Well, then the first response was, “Can we get the $1.90 biscuit and we're going to limit the number of biscuits we put out each day because people can't have two biscuits.” And when you have someone come in and disrupt a culture in that respect, what ends up happening is a whole lot of inefficiencies because people spend their time talking and gossiping around how things have changed for the worse and inevitably start looking for work elsewhere as opposed to being focused on the mission of the company.

 

Areas Where Organizations Have Place Emphasis in Light of the Global Pandemic

 

Me: So, the employee experience is just as important as the customer experience. I know you're in Australia, I guess you could share a little bit about how COVID has impacted customer experience in your parts of the world. But are there some areas that you think organizations have had to maybe give a little bit more emphasis to, especially in light of this global pandemic?

I know a lot of people have to be working from home, have you seen any trends where people had to make a change or shift in terms of their approach to employee experience and customer experience since the pandemic versus pre pandemic?

Have people had to exercise a little bit more empathy and compassion towards people and is it a case where employees are less tolerant if organizations are not extending these types of behaviors to them, and does that impact the external customer?

How have you seen it playing out on your side of the world?

 

Jason shared that across Australia and North America where the majority of his clients are, the number one thing that he knows the pandemic has impacted organizations is the level of trust that they have in their employees.

 

And he means that in a really great way, think of the organizations 13/15 months ago would have never considered letting people work from home. And through necessity, they had to, and they had to also trust that their employees were going to do the right thing when they were working at home and he feels that that trust has been paid back 10 times by employees.

 

The real challenge now as different parts of the world open up again, is will that trust be extended, was it a situational trust?

 

Or was it really the turning point that led to trusting and we've certainly seen a lot in the media around different companies and how they're embracing or not embracing a flexible work environment.

 

But definitely, he sees that on the main there is a greater willingness to have that flexibility with employees, which ultimately leads to a better experience for customers and that's because if an employee feels empowered and trusted to do the right thing, then they're going to do the right thing more times than not.

 

The other thing that has occurred is and he loves the word empathy that Yanique mentioned, is that to an extent, customers have become certainly in the early parts of the pandemic, that they themselves have had more empathy towards who they were doing business with because everyone was in this together, nothing more like a common cause to bind people together, whether it be customers or employees.

 

The real challenge though is what companies have done and learned through the pandemic. So, at the very beginning of the pandemic, you had empathy from customers, because they were living the same pain that the people that were serving them were living them regardless of socio demographics, everyone's lives got disrupted, some more than others but everyone’s lives got disrupted. The real challenge though is that we're 18 months in some countries, we're 18 months into the pandemic and there are companies still using the pandemic as an excuse for bad customer service.

 

There's a telephone company that he won't name names, but the telephone company is a very large company and when you contact them today, whether it be via telephone, by web form, via online chat, the very first thing that they say to you is that, “Due to the pandemic, there we are experiencing significant delays.”

 

Now, they have a large outsourced operation that, yes, 18 months ago was having some problems, but they've also had 18 months to find a solution to that problem. And organizations need to move beyond the pandemic as a reason for not delivering a great experience for customers.

 

And the research is there to back that up, 30% of consumers will now leave a business after just one bad experience and it's easy for them to do so. There are companies that are doing things today that they just 2 years ago would have never thought they would be doing but they're doing it because they have to survive.

 

And that becomes the customer's new expectations, once you start doing home delivery because of the pandemic, as soon as your country opens up, or your city opens up, that doesn't mean the customers just suddenly doesn't enjoy the benefits of home delivery.

 

And so, he thinks the real challenges that we've had this is massive injection of empathy up front on every side of the coin but organizations are not taking the lead during the pandemic to reinvent, to fix their broken things that were broken in the beginning so that their customers don't have a reason to look elsewhere.

 

Me: So, those are really, really good things that you brought up and I'm happy that you were able to show us where it is that customers have been placing an emphasis on especially since the pandemic as well as where organizations have been putting their emphasis on.

 

App, Website or Tool that Jason Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business

 

When asked about online resources that he cannot live without in his business, Jason shared that he’s going to say the Qualtrics Learning Network. Qualtrics is a large software company that provides research solutions in the experience management space.

And whether it's Qualtrics, or someone else, what he’s saying here is, and the reason he says Qualtrics is because there is almost every day new case studies, new thought leadership, new information to help individuals in small businesses or in large enterprises grow their practice, their intentional practice on delivering great customer and employee experiences.

 

And so, he thinks the best online resource for any entrepreneur out there or leader is one like the Qualtrics Learning Network where you can constantly get fed new thought leadership and new ways of doing things and not because you have to change what you're doing every week, but a healthy curiosity and openness to see what is class leading today will help inform your decisions and ensure that you continue to grow forward.

 

And he thinks that's the biggest challenge that most companies have, especially small businesses have is that they start with this really great ambition to be better than the store down the road and perhaps at first they are but they fail to continue to evolve and innovate so that they stay competitive and mindful that today their experiences that they're delivering are being judged not based on the last time he had his car serviced, or the last time he went to a bank, it's been judged on the best experience, his last best experience regardless of the industry. So, something like the Qualtrics website where you get exposure to the evolving nature of business globally he thinks is really great.

  

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Jason

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jason shared he’d already mentioned Tom Peters The Pursuit of Wow!: Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times, it was one of the very first business books he ever read, he thinks everything in that book still plays through today, anything by Tom Peters will certainly get you thinking. But let's move to today, there are three books:

  1. ICONIC: How Organizations and Leaders Attain, Sustain, and Regain the Highest Level of Distinction by Scott McKain

2.The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty by Shep Hyken

  1. Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones

 

He mentioned those three books because any of them will absolutely help you start to get clarity and start to move forward in creating a better experience for your customers and your employees. But here's the thing, none of those books are about hugging your customers, it's about making really strategic steps to improve the commercial viability of your business, while also differentiating your business through the experiences that you create and deliver.

  

Advice for Business Owners Who Lack the Constant Motivated Human Capital

 

Jason shared that the first thing piece of advice that he would give is ask your employees “When was the last time they had experienced achievement in your business?”

 

“And what's preventing them from having achievement more regularly?”

 

So, humans, employees, measure their experience and their engagement with us is really impacted across three lenses, did they have success or achievement in their day, everyone wants to go home or in their working day by feeling that they actually were useful, that they achieved something, that it wasn't just the same old, same old.

 

They of course, want things to not be handed to them on a silver platter, but they don't want things to be difficult for the sake of being difficult.

 

And the third thing is that they want to feel a human connection with their leadership and with their business.

 

So, if you ask your team members, “When was the last time you had achievement and tell me why you aren't having achievement more often?”

 

You will start to unearth the real challenges in your business and if you turn around and start taking action in small ways, and big ways to remove those barriers to achievement, your employees will start to see that you genuinely care, they'll start experiencing more achievement, because you're removing the roadblocks and through that, you'll build engagement and loyalty and motivation.

 

What Jason is Really Excited About Now!

  

Jason shared that the number one activity that he’s working on right now is finalizing his manuscript for his next book. So, he has a new book coming out in quarter 1 - 2022 and this book has completely changed in direction at least two or three times as a result of the pandemic.

 

And he’s really knuckling down to finish it off, because this book will really help organizations and leaders in businesses of all size, take their business to the next level, and be really practical, and filled with great case studies to help organizations in any industry move forward. And so, he can't wait to have it finished but he also can't wait for people to get it in their hands, and importantly, taking action as a result.

 

Where Can We Find Jason Online

 

Twitter – @jasonsbradshaw

LinkedIn - Jason S Bradshaw

Instagram - @jasonsbradshaw

Facebook - @jasonsbradshaw

Website – www.jasonsbradshaw.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jason Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Jason shared, “The standard that you walk past is the standard that you accept.” We can all get so wrapped up in the busyness of the day, of the crisis, of the moment, but the moment we start walking past people in our organization, or start letting ourselves slip in our standards, and then we start to dilute the overall experience of our customers and employees. So, the standard that you will past as the standard you accept, let's lead by example and set the standard.

 

Please connect with us on Twitter @navigatingcx and also join our Private Facebook Community – Navigating the Customer Experience and listen to our FB Lives weekly with a new guest

 

Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners

  

Links

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

The ABC's of a Fantastic Customer Experience provides 26 easy to follow steps and techniques that helps your business to achieve success and build brand loyalty.

This Guide to Limitless, Happy and Loyal Customers will help you to strengthen your service delivery, enhance your knowledge and appreciation of the customer experience and provide tips and practical strategies that you can start implementing immediately!

This book will develop your customer service skills and sharpen your attention to detail when serving others.

Master your customer experience and develop those knock your socks off techniques that will lead to lifetime customers. Your customers will only want to work with your business and it will be your brand differentiator. It will lead to recruiters to seek you out by providing practical examples on how to deliver a winning customer service experience!

Sep 28, 2021

Dr. Kaliym Islam is a former Wall Street executive where for over 20 years he led global learning businesses. New York Times best-selling author, Kevin Kurse (The e-Learning Guru describes him as a fresh voice among the usual author Guru crowd…, “who” …brings the credibility of someone who makes a living DOING, rather than TELLING.

Teams under his direction have been:  1. Named learning elite organizations by Chief Learning Officer Magazine. 2. Won International Society for Technical Communication (STC) awards for innovative learning content. 3. Cited by HR Futurist Josh Bersin as best practice learning organizations.

He's written thousands of industry and academic articles and a number of books that focus on leadership, strategy, organizational development, and training and development. His most recent book, The 12 Inch Rule of Leadership: Proven Strategies for Career Success highlights how leaders in industry, government, higher education, k-12 and entrepreneurship utilized a common framework (The 12 Inch Rule) to achieve career success.

He's currently an Assistant Professor of Practice at Southern Illinois University where he helps develop tomorrow's educational leaders.

 

Questions

 

  • Can you tell us in your own words, how it is that you got to where you are today? Could you give us a little bit of insight on that?
  • Your book, The 12 Inch Rule of Leadership: Proven Strategies for Career Success, can you summarize for us in the best way possible, just for our listeners to get an idea of what its framework entails and who is it really targeted towards? Is it just for persons who are new and emerging leaders or people who've been in leadership roles for years? Is this something they could take on to maybe sharpen their leadership skills?
  • So, let's break it down. I listed the 12 principles. I just want you to maybe just give me a one to two cents summary of each one. So, let's start with time value, what does that mean to a leader?
  • Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, but it still has really resonated with you to this day, or maybe even one that you've read recently that really struck a chord and you would want to recommend it.
  • Could you share with our listeners what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you are really excited about, either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused if for any reason you get derailed? Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Dr. Islam’s Journey

 

Dr. Islam shared that he looks at his journey, he’s got to go ahead and cite his inner Steve Jobs, you can't connect the dots forward, you can only connect them backwards. So, if he looks at his journey, he would sort of summed up in two words or two phrases, innovation and taking chances.

 

So came out of the military, spent some time in the military after he screwed up in college for the first time and wanted to change the world. So, his plan was to change the world one child at a time.

 

So, he went into K-12 education and he started working, at that time, poor community of Bushwick, Brooklyn is now a destination place but at that time it wasn't. It was one of those neighborhoods where you see the car panned by, you see the burnt-out buildings and graffiti on the wall and you hear the statistics about single mothers and drugs and AIDS and these types of things.

 

And what he did, he started teaching school there and he brought his military background, he brought his college fraternal background, and his love for technology into the classroom. And at that time, his customers were essentially the students and the parents and the administration. So, they put all those things together, being innovative and taking chances. And then students who really had not been successful in their academic careers, but suddenly started to achieve success. They had tremendous improvement. I leveraged that success and started writing curriculum, helping teachers use technology in the classroom.

 

So, he left his technology background, he left the classroom because he realized that in the classroom, he can only help probably 30 students at a time but if he was in a more of an administrative position, he could impact policy which could impact more students. So, he took a job as an assistant principal at an alternative high school in Manhattan, overseeing their technology and basically migrating them from at that time was an Apple Mac environment into a PC environment.

 

So, his interests started getting more and more toward technology and how technology can help people learn. Well, it was about that time that his wife informed him that the salary of a school teacher did not afford her the life that she felt that she deserved.

 

So, he started looking at other opportunities and he actually went to Wall Street, initially to do some technology stuff and they were actually deploying a new technology system. And he was in a meeting, the teacher in him never left so he asked what was a dumb question back then, he said, “Well, what's going to happen on Monday morning, when you deploy a brand-new email system on Friday afternoon?”

 

And they said, “Well, we're going to get a lot of calls to the help desk, and there’s going to be problems.” And he said, “So are you positioned to support that?” Well, they said, “Well, look, No, we're not.” And he said, “Well, what should we do?” He said, “You should train people, you should give them an education program. What you should do is, rather than teach everyone at the same time, you rotate and bring one department into the training, while they're in the training, you deploy the software to their desktop. So right after having been trained on it, they can use it right away.”

 

Next question was who can develop the training?

 

He was a school teacher, had a degree in instructional design. So, he went home that weekend, wrote the training program, and they deployed and it was very successful.

 

Fast forward a few months later, they were deploying another software system, same situation occurred. He was in a meeting, they said they're going to deploy it, he asked a dumb question, “What's going to happen when you don't train people?” Same scenario occurred. He went home, built the training program and did the training, they had success. And then they had a third software system that they were deploying, everyone looked at him and said, “Kaliym, can you do the training?” He said, “Absolutely not. No way. No way, Jose.”

 

And they said, “Well, why not? You did it before.” He said, Yeah, but we're playing whack a mole here. We're just reacting, we need a more strategic approach to go ahead to doing this training. He literally went home that weekend that was refused writer, he wrote a strategic training plan for the company with, of course, him at the head of this technical training department. He walked in on Monday morning, gave the president of the company his proposal, he looked at him and said, “Well, start hiring your staff.” So, that was his full foray into sort of corporate supervision and corporate training.

 

So, they had a lot of success there, he had responsibility for employees. And then they realized that what they were doing for employees could be extended to clients. And so, they said, “Okay, Kaliym, you now have responsibility for customer training.”

 

And when he looked at the landscape, he realized that it really didn't make a lot of sense to build a staff of 50, 60, 100s of trainers to train customers, because when the need and you got to look back that was sort of late 90s, where people were just learning how to use Microsoft Word, learning how to use Excel, and all these other productivity programs.

 

So, they realized that okay, once everyone is taught, they don't need all these trainers. So again, in the spirit of innovation and taking chances, they started working with what at that time was called CD ROM training. So, they'd actually program the training on a CD ROM, you would send it out to the various locations and that's how people would take their training. So, he left there after doing some good stuff there, another company asked him to come in and oversee or bring in technology.

 

So that's what they did, they brought in technology for another firm. He just basically kept on sort of ascending up the ladder, and all these experiences, whether it was bringing in a new technology or different approaches or bringing in learning management systems. He always wanted to help people, so he would write about it in industry magazines and then he got started being asked to speak about things like that.

 

And at some point, after a bunch of years, and this is something that he’s neglected to say after his wife let him know that a school teacher didn't make the money that afforded her the life that she thought she deserved. Dr. Islam leaving education K through 12 education broke his mother's heart because she thought he had a gift. And he promised her, he said, “Mom, I promise I'll go back at some point.”

 

So, after 20 years of doing that, and having a lot of success, he said, it's time for him to fulfil his promise to his mother. And he left corporate America, and started doing what his mother asked him to do was going back into education. So, he took on a job as a professor at Southern Illinois University and opened up a small boutique educational consulting firm and now he’s sitting here having a great conversation with Yanique.

 

Summarizing Dr. Islam’s Book – The 12 Inch Rule of Leadership: Proven Strategies for Career Success and Who is it Really Targeted Towards

  

Me: Your book, The 12 Inch Rule of Leadership: Proven Strategies for Career Success, could you share with our listeners what that whole framework is about? I'm aware of the fact that it consists of time value, best performance of duty, perseverance, the worth of example, the virtue of patience, talent, expression, economic wisdom, the value of character, kindly attitudes and pleasure in work, and the worth of the organization and the dignity of simplicity. So, it's a lot but could you summarize for us in the best way possible, just for our listeners to get an idea of what this framework entails and who is it really targeted towards? Is it just for persons who are new and emerging leaders or people who've been in leadership roles for years? Is this something they could take on to maybe sharpen their leadership skills?

 

Dr. Islam shared that it's certainly something that anyone can take on to sharpen their leadership skills. So, the background with The 12 Inch Rule, he is a member of a historically black fraternity or sorority, Phi Beta Sigma. And he’s sure that all fraternities and sororities have these types of things where essentially, there are things that you have to learn to become a member, things you have to memorize.

 

And one of the things that he had to memorize when he was going through his process was The 12 Inch Rule, and that was close to 40 years ago. And like you said, The 12 Inch Rule time value, best performance of duty, perseverance, the worth of example, the virtue of patience, kind of expression, economic wisdom, the value of character, kindly attitudes, pleasure in work, the worth of organization, the dignity of simplicity, he can't tell you what he had for breakfast this morning. But after close to 40 years, he can rattle those things off like it's nothing. And what he started to observe over the years is that folks who joined this organization fell into two camps, those who, like him could remember it and rattle it off and those who would say, “Hey, that was a long time ago, I don't remember it.”

 

And what he observed was that the ones who remembered this rule, and these principles, the 12 principles of the rule, their career trajectory seem to be steep. Whereas the ones that didn't remember that I said it was a long time ago, not that they all didn't have successful careers, but their trajectory wasn't as steep.

 

So, the academic in him try to understand why is this happening. So, he actually set out to do an academic study, his plan was to do research and get this published in a peer reviewed journal to solidify his academic chops. Now, after about the third interview, it blew his mind. He said, oh, my God, the stories that he’s hearing from these members in terms of what they did, how they applied the principles and how it led to career success was mind boggling. And he said, “Well, I can't leave this in an academic journal, there's got to be more of a wider distribution of this information, because it can help a lot of people.” So, they became agile and they basically stopped on a dime and said, “Okay, listen, we're not going to write this in a language that's geared toward academics, we're going to write this in a language that's geared toward playing people who are trying to reach their full potential in terms of their leadership potential, who want to be able to communicate their value, who are tired of being looked over for promotion and who are trying to become better as leaders.” And that's what they did.

 

And they interviewed 14 different members in a variety of industries, from K-12, to higher education, to entrepreneurs, to people who are working in financial services, people who are working in government.

 

The tips and tricks and recommendations that they put out there was helpful to him, it reminded him of a lot, it taught him a lot, it helped him become a better leader. And he knows it's going to help other people.

 

Just tell one story. His son, he’s got a 21-year-old, who he can never get to read anything, ever. In fact, when he was a kid, he tried to pay him to read books, wouldn't happen. He picked this book up and said “Dad, wow, this is pretty good, this is going to be helpful for me, some of the recommendations that they're talking about in the book, I can use on my job.”

 

He gave it to some of his college friends. Now these are after millennials, Gen Z? They don't read anything, except Snapchat. But his son started sending him pictures of his friends that they were sending him pictures of them reading the book, because they were so excited by it.

 

So, to your question, he thinks no, it's not just the new and emerging leader, he thinks sort of old folks like him can learn from the book also. Younger folks who really haven't necessarily gotten to a position where they're supervising, he thinks they can get something out of it, he’s seen it from his son's friends. And he’s got a bunch of folks who in the middle, in between who have read the book and said, “This has really been helpful to me.”

 

A Breakdown of The 12 Principles

 

Dr. Islam shared that he’s going to do that but he wants to take a step back. So, the beauty of this is, is there are no operational definitions. So, time value, it's something you need to measure yourself by, but the fact that there's no operational definition really gives you the opportunity to apply it in a way that makes sense for you. So, time value as an as an example, it's just that valuing your time. So, if you show up late or his interpretation of it, if you show up late. Number one, you're not valuing the time of the person who you're supposed to have a meeting.

Number one, if you're not spending your time on the right things, okay, you're not valuing time. So, one of the contributors in the book, his name is Jean-Guy Lauture, and he's the Chief Learning Officer for the city of Bloomingdale or township of Bloomingdale in New Jersey. So, he tells a story about how when he showed up at the City Hall one day, and he was working on one problem, one technology problem that was happening while he was visiting.

Now, while he was there, he got wind that they had been experiencing some ransomware. So, some bad actor threw some ransomware on the computers of the township that will put a lot of other things in jeopardy. Now, the issue that he initially came to deal with was important, and that he initially expected to spend his time. But as soon as the other issue came up, he realized his time is better served addressing the ransomware issue and, on a dime, he shifted his resources. And all the people who contributed to the book have different stories about how you can value your time.

 

Number two is best performance of duty. It seems simple enough, but how do you do your best when you don't feel your best? That there in is the challenge. And he tells a story in the book, one of his experiences was, someone in his organization quit relatively quickly, they actually lost two levels in organization, and he had to step in, and basically perform as a technician and a project manager sort of well below his depth, out of his depth.

 

He’s more of a strategy guy, so that sort of level of detail really killed him. But if they didn't do a good job for the client, they were not going to take on some additional business. So, even though he hated the work, even though it was out of his depth, even though it was something he really, really, really did not like to do, he had to perform his depth, he had to perform his best at all time. So, that's just one story.

 

Perseverance, how do you keep fighting through when things get rough?

 

Me: And I think that's applicable to anybody. I mean, not even leaders, just human beings, because things don't stay easy all the time.

 

Dr. Islam agreed. That's the point. He tells the story in the book, there was a time when he initially came to Wall Street to do technology stuff and he was overseeing, at that time, they call it desktop support. So, this is before all this remote stuff where you can just take over someone's computer.

 

Back then you literally had to go to the person's desk and install the software and plug everything in. So, that was his job, he oversaw a team to do that.

 

And they had a project to install it in a place within financial services called the cashiers, they call it the king, that the terminology that if you're on Wall Street, because the only people that go into that department are the people that work there, they really don't get visitors.

 

So, if a strange person comes in, all conversation stops, it gets really quiet, and they watch as you walk across the floor. So, his job was to deploy some PCs to that organization and to do it, he had to get the blessing of the guy they call the King of the Cage, his name was Fred Quiñones, he was an executive VP there, worked his way up from the mailroom, and let everybody know that he enjoyed his position, he was the kingmaker. So, he sent an email to Fred trying to set up a meeting so they could schedule the deployment of the PCs, it went unanswered. Left a voicemail, went unanswered, so he did what he used to do back then. He would do what he calls a drive by, he would just stop by his office and start a conversation.

 

He walks into the cashiers and there's silence, everyone watches as he walked across the floor. And he gets to the corner office, and in front of Fred and he's got a glass office so you can see he's in there reading his newspaper, and in front of his office is his assistant, his gatekeeper, Ann Galante. And he introduced himself, and said he'd like to speak to Fred. She says, “Well, he's busy.”

 

Now mind you, he’s looking at the guy reading a newspaper. She says, “Well, he's busy, come back later.” So, he goes back, another email, another phone call.

 

He figured let him show up at a different time of day. So, he showed up maybe 12 in the afternoon, same scenario, get into the cashiers, noise stops, he walks across the hallway, or across the room, look at Fred reading his newspaper, he asked Ann if he could speak with him, “He's busy.”

 

So, this happened three or four times and now his boss is saying, “Hey, when are you going to get those PCs deployed?”So, he’s feeling some pressure. He said, let me just try one more time. So, he shows up again, same scenario, he’s walking back dejected and a gentleman pulls him aside.

 

He says, “Listen, you're disrespecting Fred. He's an important man, he's a busy man and you show up here in the middle of the day, he doesn't like it.” Fred shows up in the morning at 7:00 am, he likes jelly doughnuts and he likes his coffee sweet and light.

 

So, the next morning, he shows up at 6:45 am with jelly doughnuts and coffee, Fred walks in, he’s sitting outside of his office, Fred walks in and he said, “Hey, Fred, I hear you like jelly doughnuts and coffee.” He said, “Come on, Kaliym. Come on in.” He didn't even know he knew his name.

 

Long story short, they did the project, everything worked out well, they were successful. And at one point, during the middle of the day, he needed to meet with Fred, he couldn't wait till a 6:00 am jelly donut meeting.

 

So, he goes across the cashiers and by this time, no noise stops, everyone keeps working, they don't even notice him. He walks across the floor, Fred is in his office, obviously in a busy meeting, he’s looking at Ann saying, “I really need to meet Fred.”

 

Fred looks up, he walks out of his office, he says, “What do you need Kaliym?” He lets him know. He tells other people in the office, “I got to be with Kaliym.” And he kicks them out. So, the tide certainly changed. So, he’s walking out of the cashiers’ area and this guy Ron Kowalski, certain names you remember in your career. He says, “You know, Kaliym, most people stop after the second effort, I'm glad you kept going.” Perseverance.

 

The worth of example. They have Joe West and he's a Harvard trained epidemiologist in the book, and he runs a small boutique consulting firm, he happens to be African American.

 

And he tells a story of before the advent of the internet, we can just go online and see anyone's name, he was working on a deal with a client and things were working well. And he actually got the opportunity to go to the executive offices and meet with them.

 

So, he goes to the offices and Secretary puts him in the room and the executives come in and as soon as they walk in, he could see from the look on their face that they didn't expect that Dr. Joseph West from Harvard was an African American.

 

So, there's an awkward moment in the beginning, but then they start to make small talk and then they realize that Joe West, he likes a lot of the same things they do, he likes to golf, he likes to smoke cigars and guess what, he loves Ronald Reagan.

 

Long story short, Joe gets the job, his team does a phenomenal job for the client. And then the client asked him, “Hey, do you have any of the firms that are just like you who can do some other work for us?”

 

So, of course, Joe goes and recommends another firm, they happen to be African American also. So, he tells a story of how joyful he was when he came back to do a report for these executives and he sees the firm that he recommended in the hallway or outside by the Secretary is waiting to meet with the executives. And he believes it's because of the example that he set as a business owner and how he presented himself. The worth of example.

 

Next one is the virtue of patience. So, they have a story in the book, Michael Dove. And Michael Dove is an executive at PCSU, which is a financial services firm, he's actually located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

And he tells a story of how his team used to get frustrated because they would make recommendations to the executives and the executives wouldn't act on them.

 

And what he had to instill in his team was, if you have a good idea, that idea is going to remain good, you've got to be patient, don't discard everything that you've done, because they're going to come back around and they're going to use that idea.

 

So, what he did he, he made sure that anytime one of his team members made a recommendation that was rejected, that they kept all the documentation. And what they started seeing was that a lot of times they would make these recommendations and while they were initially rejected, sometime 4 or 5, 6 months later, they would be accepted.

 

And had they not learned to be patient, they might have gotten rid of all the documentation that was associated with some of those recommendations of those projects. And that's really about making sure folks understand what you can do, what you're capable of and sometime that's also tricky, because sometimes when you let people know what you're capable of doing, they look at it as bragging. But if you don't do it, it could cause some other issues.

 

In one of the organizations that he led, they had a woman who she was a documentation specialist, but she loved doing voiceovers and she did that on the side to make money.

 

And they were having a lot of trouble finding affordable voice over talent, they tried to outsource stuff to different countries, but the accents just didn't work out.

 

And he remembered one day in a skip level, he thinks was a two-down meeting, they're having some conversations about where she wants to go in her career and what she does when she's not in work and she mentioned, “Well, I do voiceovers.” “Like, wow, we need voiceover talent here for some of the work that we're doing.” So had she not spoken up and talked about what she's good at, she would never have had that opportunity, she parlayed that into a bunch of other great personal and business opportunities.

 

Economic wisdom. So, they have a story in the book, Nigel Coelho, and he works for the folks that make the coffee for Starbucks and these other sort of coffee houses. And he speaks to, “I always have to remember, hey, this isn't my money, this is the company's money.”

 

So, he has to look at it like that, he can't spend it in the wrong way. So, they had to make a decision at one point about whether they invest in a $50 million project, which was in one area versus a $30 million project, which was in another area, and the more expensive investment would have been great for his organization, but not for the company. So, using this economic wisdom, he made the decision to do what was best for the best for the company.

 

The value of character they have this individual, Reverend Dr. Tyree Anderson, and he tells the story of how he took over as the new Pastor of a church in Alabama. And the old Pastor would let anyone walk in at any time. He didn't want people walking in to cause disturbance with the sermon.

 

So, he implemented a rule that if you weren't there when the sermon started, there were certain times during the service where people could come in. And so, this was new to some of the older parishioners. So, there was a woman, when she was able to come in, they were having sort of meet and greet when he walks around and greet the new visitors, and she literally cursed him out as he was walking on the floor in the church, and he talks about how it took everything in him to maintain control and maintain good character, even though his character was being assaulted in front of everyone.

 

Kindly attitude. So, they have Kobina Thomas, who was an executive for UPS United Postal Services in New York. And he tells a story about how he had to let someone go but he had to do it in a way that maintained respect for the person who he was letting go and maintained respect for him.

 

Pleasure in work. They have a lawyer, Cedric Ashley, who is the editor of one of these legal associations, a Quarterly Journal. And he speaks to the importance of finding something in work that gives you pleasure or else it's all agony.

 

And he tells a story of helping a woman who was terminated unfairly and the joy that he got from doing that, not because she compensated him, and he did get compensated well, but just to see how relieved she was when the stress of everything was happening in her life, how he was able to take that off of her shoulder and the pleasure that he got in that. And he also speaks to that what you consider pleasure in work changes over the cause of your career. So, an 18-year-old who’s going to look at it differently than a 15-year-old in the workforce.

 

Then we have the worth of organization. They have Will Worley who is a principal at a school in East Orange, New Jersey, and he just tells a story about just being organized and making sure everyone is on the same page and how he was able to leverage that to provide educational services to his students and his community during COVID.

 

And then lastly, the dignity of simplicity. So, they have Jerome Evans, and Jerome is a former National Championship for the University of Florida Gators football team. But he's also an executive at a company that sells industrial materials to big construction firms.

 

And he just talks about the importance of treating everyone with dignity and speaking in a way not to show us how smart you are, but speaking in a way that people get it, and how he speaks the same way to his billionaire clients as he does to the people that clean his house and how that's impacted his leadership.

 

So, we've got a lot of stories. But again, these principles are ones that individuals can interpret and use in a way that works for them.

 

App, Website or Tool that Dr. Islam Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Him Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Dr. Islam shared that Basecamp is essentially a communication tool. So, he knows a lot of companies are going to sort of agile project management tools, whether it's monday.com or Plutio or Xero, those types of things.

 

But Basecamp, for him is a great tool for project communication so it allows any documents, you can upload it, if there's a communication, whether it's through email, or you type it directly into Basecamp, all the communication comes there. So, for him in terms of staying organized and knowing what's going on with projects that he’s working on, clients he’s helping, Basecamp is required.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Dr. Islam

 

When asked about books that have had an impact, Dr. Islam shared that he’ll give a couple. So, one is Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter, phenomenal book, most people are familiar with Who Moved My Cheese. And that book is about basically show up and things have changed, so you have no choice but to react to it. Our Iceberg is Melting is a story of a colony of penguins believe it or not, and this one penguin Fred, he's friends with everybody else, but he likes to go off and learn things. He likes to dive underneath the iceberg and at some point, Fred sees a bubble in the bottom of the iceberg and it hits him, “Hey, I think our iceberg must be melting.” Now, he doesn't have a lot of evidence and from the story, Fred is really a junior person. But he's got to now convinced the entire colony of penguins that they've got to change their way of life, because if they don't, they're going to die because the iceberg is melting. And he has to do that with just a little bit of evidence that's below the iceberg that's really inconclusive.

 

And to him, that's the job of a leader, that you can't just focus on the here and now, you have to be looking at what's going to happen, what are some things that may cause your business to demise?

Or what are some opportunities you need to take advantage of that's going to help your organization be successful and a lot of times you don't find those things at the surface, you got to dive underneath the surface to find those things. So, that book is tremendously important to him, has been helpful.

 

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard, because that's all about supervision and communication, and doing it in a way that allows you to maintain first principle, 12 Inch Rule, time value.

 

Another one is Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow by Tom Rath, so rather than forcing people to do things they don't do well, why not put them in a position where they can spend most of their time doing the things that they're naturally good at? So, those are the three that he would share.

  

What Dr. Islam is Really Excited About Now!

 

Dr. Islam shared that what I'm really, really excited about now, he’s actually has a presentation scheduled in South Carolina for a large international organization, and they're doing a session on how do you take your organization from good to great. So, he’s really psyched up about that, they've sent out a bunch of surveys to get a sense of how individuals who are going to be at this conference, how they feel about it and after looking at these surveys, they're going to be really surprised that they're not as good as they think they are. So, he’s really excited about helping them figure out, “Okay, how do we take ourselves from where we are and get to the next level?” So, he’s really looking forward.

  

Where Can We Find Dr. Islam Online

 

Company Website – www.thetrainingproacademy.com

Personal Website – www.drkaliymaislam.com

Twitter - @thetrainingpro

LinkedIn - @thetrainingproacademy

LinkedIn – Dr. Kaliym Islam

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Dr. Islam Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Dr. Islam shared the term it comes from a poem that from Muhammad Ali is called, “Impossible is nothing.”

 

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Links

 

 

The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Do you want to pivot your online customer experience and build loyalty - get a copy of “The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience.”

 

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Sep 21, 2021

Shep Hyken is a Customer Service and Experience Expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepherd Presentations. He is a New York Times bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for a lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of five books. He is also the creator of The Customer Focus™, a customer service training program which helps clients develop a customer service culture and loyalty mindset.

 

Questions

 

  • Your new book is called I'll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again. And so, could you share a little bit about the book, what inspired you to write this book? How can this book help organizations? What are the core pillars or themes that the book is built on? Just give us in your own words what it's all about?
  • You mentioned in the book, the concept of being nice. The behavior or personality of a customer service employee versus the technical side, I wanted you to expand on that for us on what is the importance of that? And what does it really mean to be nice?
  • In the book you also mentioned to create real customer loyalty, we first need to understand the difference between loyalty programs and marketing programs. Can you explain to our audience what you mean by that?
  • A lot of organizations clearly having to pivot over the last year and a half since the pandemic, trying to look at their customer journey, trying to incorporate digital even more, even those organizations that didn't have a digital as part of their whole process. What are your thoughts on organizations looking to do all those things, but still create that amazing experience?
  • Can you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you also share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • Can you also share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused?

 

Highlights

 

Shep’s Journey

 

Me: So, I'm going to piggyback off of your last statement, “It's great to be back” because your new book is called “I'll be back.” And so, could you share a little bit about the book, what inspired you to write this book? How can this book help organizations? What are the core pillars or themes that the book is built on? Just give us in your own words what it's all about?

 

Shep shared that the full title is, I'll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again. And he joked about the accent, but whenever people say I'll be back, they kind of tried to do that Terminator, Arnold Schwarzengger impression.

 

And originally, when he started writing the book, he hadn't even thought about that, the tie into the Terminator movie and then about three hours in the starting his outline, he’s going “Yeah, I'll be back. I bet I can play off of that.” So, while it really doesn't have anything to do with the Terminator, he does mention it a few times and the goal is to get your customers to say, I'll be back and you want them to not only say it, you want them to actually do it.

 

So, there's all kinds of tips, tactics, ideas, and strategies just for the idea of getting your customers to come back and understanding the difference between repeat customers, loyal customers, how to create a more customer focused culture that delivers that experience that gets customers to come back, so it's really about that.

And the really cool thing is, he believes, even with this crazy COVID variant going around, the Delta, he gets the feeling that a lot of the world is starting to feel like they're coming back. So, there's a double message in there that he didn't even anticipate was going to happen.

 

The Concept of Being Nice: The Behavior or Personality of a Customer Service Employee Versus the Technical Side

 

Me: Now you mentioned in the book, the concept of being nice. The behaviour or personality of a customer service employee versus the technical side, I wanted you to expand on that for us on what is the importance of that? And what does it really mean to be nice?

 

Shep stated that being nice is a foundational concept and there's a story behind it that's pretty funny. The idea behind it was, he was asked to do a speech and he was the closing keynote speaker, the last speaker of the day, he had to end exactly on time, because these people had to go to another event and they were all being picked up by buses. So, his client said, no matter what happens, you finish on time.

 

And ultimately, the speakers ahead of him went longer and longer and longer, and by the time it was his time to speak, there was two minutes left, not the 40 minutes that he was supposed to do. So, he said to the client, “Don't worry, I've got this.” And he gave him this weird look but he walked on stage and the first thing he said was, “Thank you for that wonderful round of applause. I realized that we have to be out of here in less than two minutes. And I promised everybody, the client especially that that would happen. So, we're going to start over and I'm going to give you the shortest customer service speech in the world.”

 

So, he’s introduced quickly, the applause is here, he’s now standing center stage. Are you ready? Here it goes. Be nice. Then he started to walk off stage and the audience, he stopped halfway through and he goes, “I know it's pretty easy, isn't it.” But think about it for just a moment, he’s still got about a minute or so left.

 

So let me tell you about being nice. Being nice is foundational, it's fundamental. If you're in a restaurant and they have great food, but the server is so mean to you, you're never coming back, it's that simple. But I want you to realize that being nice isn't always easy, it's simple, but it's not easy.

 

And you need to think about it because there's going to be times that you're going to be distracted that you're going to be busy that a customer or an internal customer, one of your own team members is going to come and talk to you and you're going to be interrupted, and you're going to be a little snappy, you can't do that.

 

Foundationally, you must be nice. Now, nothing's changed. He always joked about nothing's changed in customer service and they talked about that in the book. But really, that's a fundamental, people don't want to be treated the wrong way, they want to feel appreciated, they want to feel like it's a place that wants to do business with them.And if you aren't at least nice, well, think about you don't want to put yourself behind just because you weren't doing something as simple as being friendly and nice.

 

And by the way, they surveyed over 1000 consumers, and one of the most important top three qualities they want in dealing with somebody related to the areas of customer service, sales, whatever, is that they want somebody number one that's knowledgeable and number two, that's nice.

 

Me: So nice is like, good morning. Nice is, how are you doing today? Nice is the softer side of your personality.

 

Shep agreed and stated that it's just a soft skill and it is exactly that it is a skill. And sometimes you need to work on that skill, you need to be remembered, and it's a little bit of a smile, it's a little bit of a friendly attitude. And when you combine those together, that's what your customers want and expect from you. Doesn't that sound so simple.

And by the way, they don't spend a lot of time on this in the book, but it's important, he talked about foundation and really what is the underpinning of all the experience you want your customers to have.

And even if you're in the business of an eCommerce company that it's almost all automated, you still have to create this feeling that you're friendly, it's the images, it's the simplicity of how the website works and if they ever do, in fact, call you, if the customer ever does call you, it's how they're treated.

In a B2B environment, maybe business to business, they say is different than B2C and the reality of it is, it's not much different today, because your B2B customers are comparing you to the best service experiences they've ever had. And that could include a retail store, it could include Amazon, it could include a restaurant, it doesn't matter, it's the best service they've had and that's what they expect from everybody.

 

Me: What if you have an organization where it's just not in the character of the person that's interfacing with the customers to be nice. Generally speaking, in their own personal lives, they're just not nice people, they have a very unpleasant countenance, they're not very welcoming, or approachable, and you feel very uncomfortable around them because of their demeanour and your facial expressions. How do you get that person to be nice?

 

Shep stated that first of all, he wouldn't have hired that person. So, part of creating a culture that's customer focus is making sure the right people are on the bus and that means you've got to hire right. Now, there are some people, they can still be nice, but they're not cut out for being on the front line, great. Put them in another job somewhere else in the organization, they still have to be nice. But again, being introverted may be awkward for somebody, and we don't want to put anybody in that situation.

 

But he'll also add that if you've got somebody in the warehouse and their job is to pack boxes with product based on what the customer orders, and by the way, this is a little bit off of the concept of being nice, but that person has a great responsibility to the customer. Because if they receive that box, and it wasn't packed properly and the items inside are broken, or whatever, that's going to reflect on the entire company.

 

Now back to this employee that never sees the customer in the warehouse, in the accounting department, whatever. If you are going to create a culture that's focused on the customer, there has to be a personality to that culture and the people who are hired have to be in alignment with that personality.

 

Now, again, being nice means friendly, it doesn't mean overly friendly or overly gregarious, it is really about the fundamental concept of just being friendly and nice to your colleagues and your customers, not overly so that's why even behind the scenes, they still have to have a little bit of something going on there, they just don't have to be quite as dedicated to it as perhaps somebody on the true front line.

 

The Difference Between Loyalty Programs and Marketing Programs

 

Me: Now in the book you also mentioned to create real customer loyalty, we first need to understand the difference between loyalty programs and marketing programs. Can you explain to our audience what you mean by that?

 

Shep stated that let's just take frequent flyer miles for a moment, they call that a loyalty program, the airlines do and the reality is it's a miles program, it's a points program.

In other words, it's a marketing program. In a sense, it's kind of a discount, you buy enough airline tickets, and you fly in the airline long enough, you get a free flight, just like if you go to a restaurant and they punch your card five times, the sixth sandwich might be free.

So, his question is, and he doesn't know if Yanique fly a lot or not, but I talked to people all the time he goes, if the entire airline industry were to take away the miles program, would you still fly on the same airline that you're currently spending most of your time on?

Because most people will try to accumulate miles on one particular airline and he’s surprised it's split. He hasn't done a formal survey, but he’s going to say it's approximately 50/50 from the people that say, “Oh, I'd stay here.” or “You know what, I'd fly a different airline.” And it's that simple. The reason they're staying on the airline is because of the points, not because of the airline itself, take that away, and it's gone.

 

Now, the other thing they talked a little bit about related to repeat business versus loyal business, is that sometimes-repeat business is due to maybe it's a better price.

 

“Why do you love doing business with them? They have the lowest prices?”

 

“What if you found somebody with a lower price? Well, then I'd go do business with them.”

 

So, the customers loyal to the price, not the company. And the same thing with convenience.

 

“Why do you go to them? Well, they're the closest one.”

 

“What happens if a competitor moves closer? Well, I'll probably do business with them.”

 

So, what you need to do in those situations, if price is how you're competing, or convenience is how you're competing, make sure you deliver a level of service. And when given the opportunity, try to connect with that customer on some kind of an emotional level, make them want to not only do business with you, because of whatever reason they have in their mind, but also make them like doing business with you.

 

Me: Yeah, I totally agree. So, you're saying then that most loyalty programs or that they dub as loyalty programs are actually marketing programs. So, what really makes a customer loyal, as you said, is that emotional connection. 

 

Shep shared that it often is, he will add that there are certain programs, like Nike has a loyalty program, it's actually a membership program, it has really nothing to do with points, it has to do with, “Hey, you're a customer and we're going to give you great information about what you're interested in.” So, if he just bought some golf shoes from Nike, and he’s never bought golf shoes from them and since that time, he’s received a couple of really interesting emails, not just about product, but about how he can improve his golf game, and what the new technology and the shoes are.

And so, he learned about these things and he thinks to himself, they know who he is. But what they don't send him is they don't send him information on soccer shoes or football as you might call it in other parts of the world, because they know that's not something he’s ever bought from them and he’s never indicated in the interest.

So, he considers that type of program more focused on gaining the customer in other ways than just giving them true incentives to buy.

So, he thinks that's an important delineation between membership programs and marketing. Now, one other thought before we jump off of this is that some people refer to the Amazon Prime program as a loyalty program and he even thinks Amazon refers to it as the Prime membership program, not a loyalty program and if they do, it's okay. But here's what happens when you're willing to spend $120 a year and it might be $129 a year, you want to get your money's worth out of it so you're going to try to use them as often as possible. That's the idea is give them, the customer, a reason to come back and that's because you spent money with them and you want to make sure you get good value for that.

 

Organizations Looking to Incorporate Digital Even More But Still Create An Amazing Experience

 

Me: Now, the book also mentions, it piggybacks a little bit on some of your principles from your previous book, The Convenience Revolution, that was such an awesome book. And it talks about self-service, technology, subscription delivery, access and reducing friction. And I've seen a lot of organizations clearly having to pivot over the last year and a half since the pandemic, trying to look at their customer journey, trying to incorporate digital even more, even those organizations that didn't have digital as part of their whole process. And sometimes in doing that, it actually creates a lot of confusion and friction for the customer because there are so many steps that you have to take, and you're so frustrated and a lot of times you'd want to serve yourself but you can't, you have to end up reaching out to somebody either through their contact center, or even physically visiting their location. What are your thoughts on organizations looking to do all those things, but still create that amazing experience?

 

Shep shared that there's a lot going on there, he wrote an entire book on the concept of convenience and there's no way he couldn't reference this in the new book, because this is what drives repeat business is frictionless, easy, the company that's often easiest to do business with is the one that wins that means it makes price a little less relevant, so that may not be as important to the customer when they say, it's so easy, it's worth paying for.

 

And he'll give a quick example of this. Prior to the pandemic, when he wrote the book, by the way, The Convenience Revolution, in his mind it was somewhat of a breakthrough in the thought process, nobody had ever written a book about this. There was an author, actually two authors together wrote a book titled The Effortless Experience, but it was all about the getting customer support and making that easy. This is about everything related to your business, now back then it was breakthrough, then it became trendy and now it's become an expectation, especially with COVID.

 

So, he’s thinking, well, that's the big change that's happened in this, so we've got to be more convenient. He doesn't spend a ton of time on it, he has two short chapters on number one, the self-service route, because that's what you're talking about is going digital and getting your customers to think digital first. How can I get the information that I need to have without having to talk to somebody, without having to wait on hold? And for the company, it's how can I make sure that our people are handling customer issues that are of a higher level rather than dealing with things that are so simple like, can you check on my order? Can you see if it was shipped? Can you see if the payment went through?

 

Insurance companies and banks, financial institutions are really making it easy for you to check balances and make claims and that type of thing. So by going digital first, if you do it right, you create this great, easy frictionless experience and when there's a problem, you need to make it seamless for the customer to transition to the human to human connection to get their help. And that's where a lot of companies fail, they actually fail in two areas.

 

Number one, they create a process that's not always intuitive to the customer and the good news is the design, the user experience, or the UX as they call it today. And that design is getting better and better and people are recognizing how easy it is.

 

Think about when you go on Netflix once you register and you're in how easy it is for you to find the different movies genres that you want okay. When you go to Amazon, the entire buying process, you have total control over and they make it so easy. So, they become like the poster children of what convenience and easy is about. And so, when you do that the right way, you create really a little bit more distance between you and your competition but he digress.

 

Back to what happened in the pandemic and why people are willing to pay for it. If you think about it, delivery is a great convenience. He used to have his food delivered from different restaurants, they never charge for it, once we got into the pandemic, they started charging. And he’s not saying we're completely out of it, but we're out of it enough that everybody's back to somewhat business is normal like it used to be. And guess what, they're still charging, and nobody is complaining, they're willing to pay for convenience.

 

Last year, they did a study and they looked at over 1000 consumers and they found that, he believes it was 60%, this year was just a titch different, but it was around 60% of people were willing to pay more, they want a great service experience but they'll pay even more for convenience. And that number goes up to almost 90% when delivery is actually part of that convenience.

 

Me: I think a big part of it also, well at least for me personally is safety, with the pandemic and people are so concerned about being exposed, especially as we're clearly going through another wave a lot of countries are going to another wave now, people want to be safe. So if that means I can stay in the convenience of my home and place an order and it can be delivered and the only exposure I'm having is to physically come to the door and just exchange money or if I paid through the app and it's just to get the bag from the delivery person, then I'll definitely rate you higher because I feel safer and I think safety has been definitely something that customers look for that is included in the whole convenience, all because of the pandemic, at least I view it as important. If I don't feel safe in an environment, it's highly unlikely that I'm going to return to the business unless I absolutely have no choice.

 

Shep shared that 100% safety is of the utmost concern of some people, and you know what it's like, “I'm going to order it, set it at the front door and leave. I'll pick it up when they're gone and they're not there anymore.” But you're right and the digital experience that companies are creating that are making customers feel better about doing business with them, he thinks is a really important piece of building that trust and creating a connection. He might have been doing business the old way with somebody and they knock on the door, and they'd say, “Hello” but if the new way requires or his desire is to have that door stay closed, yet they create a system that allows him to still get everything done easily, he’s still going to be appreciative that that company took the effort to make that happen.

 

Now, long term, you can't automate or digitize a personal relationship, you still need to create some type of connection. Just before they came on together and they're recording this, he got a call, he won't tell you the name of the airlines, but their initials are American Airlines, AA. And you know what they were doing, they were just calling to number one, say, “We saw that you flew last week and you've been flying a little bit more regular, we just want to thank you for that.” Every one of his flights is booked online, he put his boarding pass on his mobile phone. And other than dealing with flight attendants and people at the gate, he doesn't ever talk to anybody from American, they're losing that connection with him. So, what did they do? They picked up the phone and they made an outbound call just to check and say thanks for business, that's how you humanize the automated relationship.

 

Me: Amazing. And I'm happy you touched on that because that was actually a question I was going to ask because I get asked that question quite often, with technology and automation and artificial intelligence and chatbots and all of these things that companies are doing to enhance the customer experience. Do you feel that the human interaction is going to fade away?

 

And I always think, no, I think at the end of the day, human beings like to deal with human beings because at some point, that robot or automation can't answer your question. I've had the personal experience myself, it's like they're automated, they ask you a question, you log on, and they say, what's your name, and you put in your name, you put in your account number, and you tell him the issue that you're having and it seems like the robot is just regurgitating the same information to the point where I have to say, “I would like to speak with a representative.” Then it says, “I don't understand what you are saying.” then I change up how I say it, I say, “I would like to have an Agent.” And then it gets what I'm saying.

 

Shep shared that he gets it. And that's so frustrating and it should seamlessly take you there, there should be an easy way to get there. But that to your point, it's very difficult if all you are is a digital last company, you're not going to be able to compete with the people to figure out how to create the balance. And the magic happens in the balance and it's different from one industry to the next. And even from one company to the next but they figure it out.

 

App, Website or Tool that Shep Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Him Business

 

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Shep shared that that is a great question. He loves his travel apps, he travels so much, so it's very difficult. So, he’s looking at his phone going, what is it that he can't live without? He loves the communication apps, he’s on WhatsApp a lot and they do a Zoom. How about LastPass. LastPass, which is so important, he has a virtual workforce, and they all have access to different websites, yet they have no idea what his password is, he loves that.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Shep

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Shep shared that one of the books that is probably his favorite aside from I'll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again & Again by Shep Hyken and other books that he’s written. He loves The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage by Joe Pine and James Gilmore, it's one of the greatest books written on customer experience. And even though it was written over 20 years ago, and they did come out with an updated version, he believes that it is as relevant today as it ever was. So, love that book. He loves the Tom Peters book from the 1980s In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies. And even though many of those companies aren't around, which is by the way is one of the reasons he likes it, it shows how the most excellent companies, some of them are out of business, some of them were bought out, you cannot ever rest on your laurels but he loves the lessons that it teaches. That's a great book. So, he loves The Experience Economy, probably number one business book in his choice.

  

What Shep is Really Excited About Now!

 

Shep stated that he knows he sounds like a broken record but the book just came out, I'll Be Back. So very excited about that. But you know what else? He has a report, it's called the 2021 ACA Report Achieving Customer Amazement.

 

He did the 2020 last year. So, the 2021 he was going to put out earlier this year, but he felt they were still so deep in the COVID dealings that he thought you know what? He wanted to wait. So, he waited until June to do the research and they just came out with the report. So, just go to his website, www.hyken.com and you'll see the link to get the report.

 

Me: Awesome. I will definitely be accessing that. I thought the content that you put out last year from the 2020 report and I shared it with a few of my clients, I thought it was really, really great. So, I'm happy that you have an updated one this year.

 

Shep shared that his favorite stat is, again, by the way, he mentioned a couple of these stats before where they interviewed the consumers. They asked, “Would you rather go to the dentist or call customer support?” 48% of the people said, “I'd rather go to the dentist.” So, it's a great report, it's free. And he thinks there's a lot of great information that would compel a company or an individual to say, you know what, if I don't deliver service, I'm going to lose my customers. This is a reason that I need to keep at the top of my game.

 

Where Can We Find Shep Online

 

Me: So, our guests, our listeners would have tapped into this episode when it's released and they are super pumped about your book, I'll Be Back. How to get customers to come back again and again, because I think that's what every business wants, not just to do a one-time sale, but to actually have their customers come back over and over again for their lifetime of that product or service that they're using.

And so where can they find you online, they want to download this report, they want to tap into the book, they want to tap into your journey, see what you're up to? And just really be in touch with you. Where can they find you online?

 

Website – www.hyken.com

YouTube – ShepTV

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Shep Uses

 

When asked about a quote that he tends to revert to, Shep shared that this is one that he have come up with on his own. And he doesn't know if he’s ever shared this but “Bad days only last 24 hours.” And here's what happened. He took a daily pocket planner where you write out like what your plans are, it's a calendar. And instead of planning, he reflected at the end of each day, what happened today that was good, and on a weekday, it was business and personal and the weekend, it was pretty much just personal because he tries not to do too much business on the weekends. And he found that within a very short period of time, he realized that even on the worst days, good things happen. So, it was very, very motivational, inspirational, if you will. But it was really inspiring to realize that as bad as the bad day is, it's really not all that bad.

 

Me: True, very true. I do something very similar as well. But it's more like a gratitude journal, it’s digital actually. I just like have a note, I use the Notes app on my devices a lot, it's so amazing. And you can lock the note if you don't want other people to access it if they're on your phone. But I'll type out 10 things that I'm grateful for that happened in that day. And sometimes I have more than 10, I'll end up writing like 15 or 18, or 20. But then there are other times that I really have to like dig deep and things that I think are simple, I really have to give thanks for and it makes me just realize that, as you said, even if things didn't go your way, or you didn't get the contract you were looking for, maybe you weren't feeling well, or you weren't able to accomplish certain goals that you had set for yourself, there are other things that happened that makes you feel good, especially when you give thanks for them, or show gratitude for them because it really goes a very far away.

 

Shep agreed and stated that he likes that. It's an attitude of gratitude and that's part of what his little journaling does and you've experienced that same thing.

 

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