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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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Jan 5, 2021

Jim Freeze is the Chief Marketing Officer, and he focuses on brand strategy and awareness, thought leadership, product marketing, demand generation, creative services and public and analyst relations. Jim brings more than 25 years of experience leading marketing teams at Fortune 1000 and other enterprise technology companies, a history which includes proven success in all aspects of marketing, sales and business development.

 

Most recently, Jim served as a Chief Marketing Officer at Aspect Software, where he was responsible for all aspects of global marketing, including product management, product marketing, branding, advertising, customer experience and demand generation programs.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you just take a little time and share with us how it is that you got into what you are doing today, brand strategy, thought leadership, just tell us a little bit about that journey to where you are now.
  • You were talking a little bit about Conversational A.I and this has been a very unconventional year no matter which country you’re living in the world, everybody's impacted by this pandemic. How do you see, just almost like a kind of prediction for 2021, if you could maybe share some insight with us, maybe based on data or just insights you've garnered from conversations that you've had with other people, Conversational A.I really flourishing in 2021 and do you see changing just the landscape of how customers interact with different businesses?
  • Customers focus a lot more on the quality of service that they're getting than before. Would you agree? Do you find that as a result of the pandemic, there's just more emphasis on how people are being served, are they exercising empathy, are they exercising care, customers are just more aware of those softer skills in the interactions that they have, especially since this year.
  • So we spoke a little bit about Artificial Intelligence. What are some other insights in terms of, like customer service trends that you've seen for 2020 that you think will definitely accelerate in 2021? And let's say a lot of our listeners are small business owners. They may not necessarily have the big budgets like some of the bigger organizations. Are there any trends that came on board that you think they could possibly take on a small scale that would make a difference in their customer experience?
  • Could you share with us what is 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 that still has a great impact on you or maybe a book that you read recently that still resonates with you.
  • What's the one thing that's going on in your life right now? It can be something that you're really excited about, either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Where can our 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 can help to refocus you or get you back on track in terms of any form of backtracking to you may have been experiencing.

 

Highlights

 

Jim’s Journey

 

Jim shared that he had a little bit of a kind of an unusual journey to be honest. He finished his undergraduate and graduate work and graduated back in the late 80s with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. And his first job out of college was actually as a computer programmer. It's kind of an interesting background. And he wasn't actually in marketing, but through a number of things that happened in his first position within the first 6 months, he was actually put in front of some customers for a number of reasons and the sales and marketing team thought he was quite good in front of customers. So they said, “You're wasting your time programming, come over and join us on the marketing side.” And that started the marketing journey. Along the way he picked up his Law Degree as well. So he actually practiced law for 2 years and 2 years was enough practicing law to convince him that he wanted to go back into to marketing.

 

So he came back to after his stint in law, came back to high tech marketing and has been doing it ever since. And it's been fascinating. The first company her worked for was a company that some listeners may have heard of called CompuServe, it was kind of a pioneering company that was one of the first companies to allow people to use their home computers to go online, a proprietary online service and then eventually became an internet service. And he has watched the advances in technology from 9.6 dial up modems to where we are today.

 

So it's been quite a journey, but one he has really enjoyed. And in particular, the last almost 9 years of his career have been spent in the customer service/customer experience base. As mentioned, the previous company he worked at, Aspect Software, was kind of traditional software company that focused on delivering ACDs and IVRs and workforce management software to enterprise.

 

As he was there for 6 years as the Chief Marketing Officer, loved the company and loved the space. And for the past 2 ½ years, he has been the Chief Marketing Officer of Interactions, and his attraction to interactions was understanding the customer experience space and understanding kind of legacy technology that is primarily still used today for delivering customer service and customer experience. He was really attracted to new contemporary solutions that were based on Artificial Intelligence that had the potential to dramatically change the customer experience in a very positive way and at the same time helping companies drive cost out of their businesses.

 

So, that's what really drew him to Interactions, Interactions as a leader and conversational A.I, a very unique solution that combines their Artificial Intelligence stack that is once again called Conversational A.I. with real time human understanding. So, it's humans and Artificial Intelligence working together and as a result of that, they deliver extraordinary human like conversations for their customers to their customers and help them dramatically improve customer experience and drive cost out of the business. So, it's a fun company where they're truly transforming the contact center and they're excited about it. They're a late stage startup, well over one hundred million dollars in revenue and growing, so it's a fun time to be in the customer service/customer experience space.

 

Conversational A.I Flourishing in 2021 and How Customer Interactions will be Impacted Across Different Businesses

 

Jim stated that this year has been profound in terms of changes that we're seeing. And across the tech landscape, what we've experienced because of the pandemic has really accelerated a lot of initiatives, specifically those that relate to Artificial Intelligence, that relate to automation.

 

And part of the reason for that and this is based on actual conversations they've had with customers of theirs, it's pretty clear that business continuity plans that companies had in place didn't envision what ended up happening as a result of the pandemic. And he'll give a couple of very specific examples.

 

So, they certainly have had customers who in the March timeframe of this year had to basically send employees to work from home and in some cases, their contact centers, that meant sending contact center agents at home. And they thought a lot of companies that were not prepared for that, their business continuity plan didn't envision something like that happening. Now, the assumption is, well, that we can just transition to home and set something up so they can work from home over their Internet connection. And in many cases, that worked but if you think about many companies rely on offshore agents, a lot of agents who are in Southeast Asia, and the assumption that agents in Southeast Asia have high speed internet access at home is a bad assumption.

 

And so, they saw a lot of companies struggle. They worked overtime, 24 hours a day, really trying to help some of their customers address some of the challenges that he thinks that they hadn't necessarily anticipated. And as a result of that, they think there's a new set of priorities that are coming out for enterprises that they think about customer experience and certainly one of those is increased use of technology to enable automation, but enable automation in a way that's not robotic but truly human and delivers a good customer experience. So there's no doubt in their mind, based on what they've seen with their customers, that there is a significant acceleration of Artificial Intelligence initiatives and there's very much a mandate now.

 

Emphasis and Importance of Quality of Service as a Result of the Pandemic

 

Me: Amazing. So, customer experience has definitely forced us to transform. And I personally think that as a customer myself since the pandemic, that customers focus a lot more on the quality of service that they're getting than before. Would you agree? How has it been where you are, where you live? Do you find that as a result of the pandemic, there's just more emphasis on how people are being served, are they exercising empathy, are they exercising care, customers are just more aware of those softer skills in the interactions that they have, especially since this year.

 

Jim shared that he thinks the emphasis and the importance of that has come to the forefront. And part of the reason for that is once again, when the pandemic hit, a lot of companies were not necessarily prepared for how they had to change. And as a result, many of these companies, their service levels relative to how they deliver customer service, really started to drop off. And, he saw that personally and in the companies he as a consumer do business with where in the past, if he had an issue, he could maybe get it resolved after waiting in a queue for 5 minutes. And, there were companies he was doing business with where he was in a queue for an hour waiting to talk to somebody to resolve an issue.

 

And he thinks those companies had good intentions to try to be able to resolve that. But they didn't have the infrastructure, the technology, and certainly not the people in place to address it. So this pandemic has demonstrated how fragile some of that infrastructure is. And so, there's a heavy emphasis on trying to fix that. And there's no doubt, especially in this environment that customer care, customer service, customer experience is becoming a huge differentiator for businesses. If you think about it, if you pick your favorite cell phone carrier, they use the same 5G, 4G technology, it's the same, iPhone or pick your favorite Android phone and there's not a lot of differentiation in terms of the actual service and the devices that are used. And you got to try to find a way to differentiate some other way and customer experience is a great way to do that.

 

Same thing with airlines, they all fly the same Boeing planes, they all say the same Airbus planes, the same seats, the same routes in many cases, they've got to find a way to differentiate. And you can do that with price but nobody wants to do a race to the bottom on price. So customer experience, delivering a terrific customer experience is a great way to differentiate. And it's more important now than ever.

 

Me: I totally, totally agree with you, Jim. And as you said, we're all competing. I think I was talking to an entrepreneur recently who said she was a little discouraged and she was saying to me, “Oh, but other people do the same thing I do.”And I said, “Well, yes, I think every industry has competition. There's no industry that you are in, whether public or private sector, that you don't have somebody else that's doing the exact same thing that you are doing.” I think the only thing that differentiates you is how it is that you deliver that service. Are you flexible? Are you available? Are you giving great value, depending on what value is to the customer that you're serving. And so, that to many people is different things, depending on what is important to me or to you. And, of course, convenience, people will pay for convenience. Over the weekend in Jamaica where I live, we have almost the equivalent of Costco that you guys have in the States. It's called Pricemart here in Jamaica.

 

And Jim, the line it took me almost an hour just to get from the main road just to get into the company's parking lot. I'm not talking in the building where the actual products are. Just to get parked on their compound, it took over an hour and this was on Sunday morning. And I had a brilliant idea. Okay, if I get up at 7:00 am in the morning and to get there by 7:30, I'm sure I can get in and out before 8:30 am. I didn't end up believing that to close to 10:00 am. And it was after I left, I was told by a few friends that they often deliver services now, they don't go there anymore because they just delivered to them, and it’s so much easier. Now that I'm thinking of it in hindsight I'm saying, “Boy, that would have been a much better experience than me sitting in traffic for over an hour, then going inside and joining these elongated lines that was just so frustrating.” So, convenience is something I know customers will pay for because time is money.

 

Jim agreed and stated that there's plenty of research from many different companies and research firms that suggest that consumers will absolutely pay a premium for good or great customer service because of the point you're making, which is, time is money and people don't want their time wasted. They want companies that they do business with to respect them and one of the ways you can respect them is to respect their time. He'll share a story that happened to him recently.

 

He was calling a company he does business with and it was on a Saturday and the service he was getting wasn't working. So he went through their frustrating menu tree and finally got into after about 5 minutes into it, into what he thought was going to be a queue to wait for somebody to come onto the phone and after basically 5 to 6 minutes of finally getting to the point where he thought he was going to go into a queue and wait longer, they come back with a message, “We value you as a customer. Please call us back on Monday at 9:00 am. He’s like, “No, you don't value me as a customer; you just wasted 6 minutes of my time. You could have told me that from the beginning.” And as a consumer, he’s like; “Do I really want to do business with this company?” So it's he couldn't agree with Yanique more.

 

Insight In Terms of Customer Service Trends to Accelerate in 2021

 

Jim stated that one certainly they just hit on, which is that differentiation; customer service is a great way to differentiate. Second, the enabling self-service for customers. And there are lots of different kinds of technologies that can help with that. He thinks the assumption that some companies have certainly a lot of some larger companies have this assumption, but smaller ones as well, is that when there is a contact from a consumer that consumer necessarily wants to speak to a human.

 

And that's actually not true, at least from his experience, it's not true. What consumers really want is to be able to resolve their issue; they want quick and effortless answers to questions. And that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go through a human to do that. So if you can enable self-service in a way that's effortless and quick, that will lead to really satisfied customers, if you make it available 24 by 7 on a channel of choice, that also will really help, having it not be robotic but truly conversational and just having it personalized.

 

A lot of companies, if you call in with your mobile phone and they have that number or your landline, if they know who you are, why go through an authentication if you can say, yeah, we know who it is and personalize the experience of that. So, he thinks that one of the trends we're seeing is that companies are starting large and small alike questioning really what their customers want and not necessarily just assuming they know, but questioning it and having a good understanding.

 

He'll give a great example based on their experience, it's very common for them to go in and displace at their customers legacy technology. A legacy technology would be something like an IVR, when you call in, it says press 1 for this, press 2 for that or you can say things like billing. It tells you how you're allowed to behave. And it's a terrible customer experience and customers don't like it, it's very frustrating but one of the things they've seen with a number of customers they've dealt with is that they assume that they know the 4 or 5 reasons that customer are calling them.

 

So, they'll present those 4 or 5 options in a menu, 1 for billing, 2 for technical support, or whatever it is. So, they assume they know. And one of the things that they've found is that and they counsel their clients to do this is take a step back and say, what are your customers really trying to solve here?

 

And sometimes they'll do something where they call an intent study where they'll inject themselves. And instead of saying you can press 1 or 2; they’ll do this brief, intense study where they say instead of all that, they just say, “How may I help you?”

 

 And the consumer tells you and they do that over the course of about a short period of time, you come back and you realize actually your customers are calling 4 different reasons than you thought they were. So he thinks it's really important that companies focus on understanding why their customers are calling them. And as a consequence of that, you can enable much better automation and self-service that ultimately delivers a much better customer experience.

 

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

 

When asked about an online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Jim that that's a tough one. He doesn't necessarily know that there's just one single site, but he thinks it's a combination of news sites, research, financial and analysis tools that kind of allow him to gain customer insight, competitive analysis and keep himself current on technology. So, he has some go to sites.

 

They as a business, they subscribe to some research from analyst firms, he finds that very helpful. Find some on his own and there are certain news sites that he also finds really helpful. So it's tough for him to say one site because he thinks there's a combination and that's the beauty of the web, you don't actually have to rely on a single site, but he has some go to sites that and research and analysis that he finds really helpful in keeping him current and helping him better understand kind of what's happening in the market.

  

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Jim

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jim shared that a year ago, he might have answered this differently, but he'll tell you what which kind of resonated with him recently and he did read this probably, 8, 9, 10 years ago. There's a book by Doris Kearns Goodwin, who's a presidential historian, and she wrote a book called No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. And it was about kind of the 1930s through the 1940s through basically the Roosevelt administration in the United States. And it was an extraordinary time that the country was going through, a depression, trying to come out of that depression and then rolling into World War II.

 

And the reason he thinks that book was so impactful for him was thinking about this notion, he put together this idea of Roosevelt, of a team of rivals, where he realized that he needed people who had a different perspective than he did to navigate through an extraordinary time. And part of the reason that book really is resonating with him so much today is because of what they've all been through since March with this pandemic. The world is so different than it was in February, just 8, 9, 10 months ago; it is a very different world. And he thinks of how we could all benefit from that notion of coming together and focusing on tackling very large issues, not in a partisan way, but in a kind of a way that brings us together. So that book has been on his mind recently. And he thought the current circumstances remind me of that.

  

What Jim is Really Excited About Now!

 

 Jim shared that it relates to their company, but it's another result of the pandemic. He'll tell a little story, which is kind of interesting. They at Interactions, they were in February, March, about to sign a new 11 year lease on a brand new corporate headquarters, it was like 55,000, 56000 square feet.

 

They were going to spend millions of dollars in renovating and it was a dedicated building. Early March hit and the pandemic came and they started working from home and they were literally within a week of signing the agreements and the lease for that towards the end of March. And they took a step back and they said, “What are we doing? We've been working at home for 3 weeks now and everything's working great. Maybe we can learn something from the current circumstances.”

 

So they went from in the course of about 6 weeks from about to sign a new lease, 11 year lease and spend millions, millions of dollars on a renovation to making a decision to become a full time work from home company. And when they've seen other companies do that as well and talk about lots of companies are doing that and very profound in for them as employees, for him personally, that meant that he had flexibility to work from wherever he wanted.

 

They were headquartered in the Boston area and he lived in Boston and but he has a second home in South Florida. And so right after Thanksgiving, he has moved to South Florida and he’s talking to Yanique from South Florida right now.

 

And this is his new home and it's exciting for him because he has tremendous personal flexibility now that he didn't necessarily have before. They've seen that with a number of their employees, it's impacted their business in that they were recruiting for new employees and they're hiring right now. So, it's another example of how the pandemic has accelerated decision making and thinking among companies and how it impacts individuals personally, he’s super excited about that. He’s really excited about the fact that he can live in a place where he didn't think he'd be living for another 5 or 6, 7 years. So, there are some benefits that are coming out of what we've all been through.

 

Me: Definitely. It's so interesting that that's what you shared, because I recorded a solo podcast last night, Christmas Edition that we want to release hopefully for tomorrow. And in doing my research, it said that according to a PWC report, it said 82% of office workers would prefer to continue working remotely, at least part of the time, even after COVID-19 has subsided. And a whopping 73% of executives say working remotely has been a success. Here in Jamaica, there's a client I have and one of their business lines is pensions and their entire pensions department has moved to work from home and manager for that department has said that she doesn't think they're actually going to go back to in office because she's actually seen the team be more productive since they've been working from home and they've saved so much.

 

Jim stated that well, it's interesting, they obviously spent a lot of money on a facility and they do still have a facility that they'll meet occasionally face to face, but it's been scaled back dramatically. So, if somebody is in town on business, they can go work in the office if they want or if they want to have a department meeting, they can do that. But to the point about productivity, he used to drive to the office in Boston; it was an hour drive from, to work. And then based on what traffic was coming home, another hour, typically an hour and 15 minutes, that's over two hours of his day that now he can dedicate to work as opposed to being behind the wheel of a car. There are so many more productive things to be doing than sitting behind the wheel of a car.

 

The impacts of this are pretty profound. And it's not just obviously in the U.S., it's everywhere, the impacts are profound. What does this mean for the commercial real estate market? Office space? He thinks a lot of large towers or office spaces now are having to rethink, what are we going to do with this space? There may not be that much demand for it. We're all using less gas because we're not going as many places; we're changing everything about our lives. And it has impacts all the way down the supply chain. It creates opportunity for many and in some it’s forcing businesses to change and adapt. So, it's a scary and exciting time.

 

Me: Yeah, it is so true, because even as you mentioned, in terms of traveling, you're spending less on gas, as you said, one person maybe benefiting in one area, but then the persons who benefit from certain amount of gas sales, they are definitely not benefiting as much because people's cars are clearly parked more than they would be driving on the road back and forth. So, yeah, there are definitely advantages and disadvantages.

 

Jim stated that hopefully when we get back to 6 months from now, hopefully, people across the world have been vaccinated and this thing by virtue of herd immunity goes away. But he thinks we're never going back to life the way it was, it's different, it's going to stay that way.

 

Me: I was listening to a podcast yesterday, funny enough, and the lady said something. I thought it was so hilarious. She said we're never going to go to a birthday party again and you're going to see a bowl full of MnM’s, as in, for kids to dip their hands in, for parents dip their hands in, so everybody's not going to start buying the packaged Eminem’s or anything that you would have shared communally, you're now going to ensure that each person has their own individual packet and all of that was born out of COVID. I just think certain things will change for the long term. People are going to be so much more conscious of just touching and sharing in terms of different things. And they won't be as open to just doing things that we would have taken for granted before.

 

Jim stated that he was thinking about this the other day. He hasn't shaken somebody's hand since mid-March. He stated he is a business executive and he meets people and nobody does that anymore. And he kind of wonder if we're going to go back to that or if we're going to adopt much of what's done in Asian cultures, which is bowing, which is kind of interesting, maybe that's what we all do. So, everything is changing. And some people hate change, he loves change. He thinks change is exciting and so he tries to embrace it when it happens. But the world is going to change.

 

Where Can We Find Jim Online

 

LinkedIn – James Freeze

Website – www.interactions.com

 

 Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jim Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that helps him to refocus, Jim share that he does and talk about it being very pertinent to the current days. It’s from Maya Angelou; she is a wonderful writer and poet. And she has an expression that he has used a number of times over the course of the past few months and it is kind of instructive to him personally and she said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And it’s a constant reminder to him especially in times of adversity for the people he deals with, he kind of want to leave them with an impression about he makes them feel. It’s so instructive and he thinks it’s a very powerful statement.

 

Me: That’s actually one of our favorite quotes for Navigating the Customer Experience and one of my personal favourites as well. And it’s so true Jim, you being in the technology and data side of customer experience in terms of Artificial Intelligence, I am sure at the end of the day, even though technology is there to assist us in delivering or solving our problems for our customers, at the end of the day, people still want to be treated well, they want to feel good after they have done business with your company. And that feeling can’t come if you’re not being responsive, if you’re not fixing the problem, if you’re not giving them what it is that they are seeking in that moment, they are not going to want to spread good news about you and your company. And so, it’s really about how you make people feel, their emotional needs.

 

Jim agreed and shared that just being honest with people and being understanding and being transparent and just being cognizant of how somebody feels when they walk away. They may not even get the answer that they want but if you’ve treated them respectfully and you’ve been honest, people will remember that even though they didn’t get the answers. He just thinks especially in our current times, it’s really important and it’s something he thinks about a lot in terms of the way he interact with others as well.

 

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 29, 2020

Claire Boscq Scott is a wonderful entrepreneur and she is a mystery shopping and Customer Service specialist. Claire lives to inspire global businesses to thrive by delivering exceptional customer experiences in measuring and improving employees’ performances.

 

No. 5 Top 30 Global Customer Service Guru, UK Top 10 CX Influencer and CX Thought Leader 2020, with three decades of expertise in mystery shopping and customer service, Claire, AKA The Busy Queen Bee, is an authority in the Customer Experience industry. She brings a more holistic and comprehensive approach to employee and customer experience.

 

She is a Keynote Speaker, Consultant & trainer specializing in retail and hospitality. Author of 3 books, Thrive with the Hive, Thriving by Caring and launched in September 2020, No 1 Amazon Best Seller and Hot New Release in customer service; The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper. Her online Learning and Development platform BQB CX Institute offers a wide range of online and onsite training and has developed her Caring Service Culture Leadership Programme a game changer for many organizations who want to become truly customer centric.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share a little bit about your journey for us? I know that I read your bio and it was just amazingly fantastic. We like to hear from our guests, a little bit about their journey, how it is that you got into what you're doing today, into mystery shopping, into being a customer experience thought leader, a little about how you got to where you are today.
  • You have quite a few books as it relates to customer experience and mystery shopping as we read when we're reading your bio. But your most recent book that you published earlier this year right at the onset of COVID is The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper. So could you tell us a little bit about that book? Who is it for? And also, I think it's important to also if you could share with us, persons think mystery shopping is only for companies that are big, large organizations. What is your idea on that? Do you think everybody needs to do mystery shopping? And can it be done on a small scale versus a large scale? And how do you approach it?
  • How have you seen customer experience evolve or not evolve? I've seen that and I think it's gotten worse as a result of the pandemic. I think customers are paying more attention to how they're being served, especially how they're being treated when they enter your establishment, and the pandemic has brought that more to the forefront. Of course, I know it can be more cultural in some countries or in some regions. What has it been like in your areas?
  • 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 share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • Could you share with us one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about? It could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or something you're working on to develop 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 focused or just get you back on track if you feel like you are getting derailed.

 

Highlights

 

Claire’s Journey

 

Claire mentioned that the similar background as Yanique. Her dad had a restaurant, so she kind of grew up in that environment and when you're in that environment, you either love it or hate it, so she loves that. She loves the interaction with customers. She loves seeing people having fun. And so she did her catering school, hotel and service management hospitality in Nice, down the south of France. And so she’s French originally.

 

And then she knew she had to speak English. She had to be able to speak better English if she wanted to do something with her life. So, she made it a mission to try to find a job somewhere she could speak English. And she found this little tiny island right across the Somalo between France and England, which is called Jersey. And that was her very first time in Jersey when she was just 18 years old, young girl, just coming out of catering school. And so, she did a few seasons. She was doing the ski resort seasons in France and then Jersey in the summer. And then she went and work at Disney World in Florida.

 

So that was 25 years ago, that was her very first serious approach on customer experience and what truly the word means about customer experience and employee experience. And anybody who's worked out there, 25 years ago seems like it was a couple of months ago. They had such an incredible time in terms of the training and terms of the environment, in terms of everything that is done in the organization, it really is to put the customers in the middle of everything that they do. So when she came back from America after a year working there, she knew she wanted to continue in that path. And so she continued in hotels and started managing hotels. And she moved back to Jersey on this little island when she first came when she was 18 to actually run the hotel, she went there to be a little receptionist a few years before, which was interesting.

 

So very much in the receiving end of the service industry, very much in the receiving end in trying to help their customers and really kind of delivering those great service. And about 11 years ago, she used to work in a hotel which was a UK group, and they had mystery guest and those guests had to be flown over from the UK to actually be able to perform mystery guests.

 

And she was thinking, “Well, surely we should be able to do that locally.” and she realized that at the time there was no one on their little island which was doing the mystery shopping, so the measurement of customer experience. And that's all it all started really, a little idea thinking, “Well, perhaps I could do that.” And so, she handed her notice in, she sold her house, she got divorced and she started her own business and that was it. Well, if you're going to do it, you may as well do everything at once.

 

The core of the business was measuring the customer satisfaction and the employee performances, of course. And as you do the measurement and as you help the companies, your clients to analyze results, you realize there's a lot of gaps in the businesses. So you realize that really they haven't got some great standard, they don't really understand what the customer experience is about or the customer journey. They have no employee experience mapping in their toolbox. They’re training the staff, but they're not really training them regularly or consistently or with the right materials. So, there's a lot of work needed to be done before you could actually measure. And so, over the years, from really doing the mystery shopping, which is almost the last part of it, she started helping the businesses throughout the whole employee and customer strategy. 

 

Who is Mystery Shopping Really For?

Can It Be Done on a Small Scale vs. Large Scale?

 

Claire agreed and stated that she thinks that's mystery shopping is probably one of the easiest way and quickest way to really realize where you are at this moment in time is in terms of your performances in your business.

 

You could pull CX strategy, it could take four months, six months before you start embedding things and implementing trainings and new strategies and you start seeing some changes. With mystery shopping, it's a measurement, so you're creating a questionnaire where you want to really see what the objectives of these are about, were you're trying to achieve. And then you're sending out mystery shoppers, they're answering the questions and there you go. 

 

Within 48 hours, really, you can have some results and you can start being able to improve areas, celebrating success of course, you always want to celebrate success, but improving areas which are potentially being identified as needed a little bit of TLC.

 

So, mystery shopping, yes, very much. For a very long time, it's been seen as a large organization and possibly also bricks and mortar, so retail industry rather than anyone else. Potentially, yes, hospitality as well, you got the hotel inspectors kind of things, but it has very, very much grew, and especially with this year a huge boom into different communications, because suddenly we were not face to face.

 

Suddenly we were all online, suddenly we were using WhatsApp, suddenly we were using some new communications channels that we never had before or very, very small amount of people were.

So it really started to think, “Well, actually, well, if we are communicating with our customers this way, we also need to measure this way. So, your website needs to be looked at, when is the last time you've actually read your website? When is the last time you've actually pressed on the buttons of your website to see what is working, what isn't working? And how long does it take for an inquiry to come to you? How do you answer to the customers? What are the words you are using?

 

And so, all those things which are the journey mapping and when we talk about journey mapping, whether it's online, on the phone or face to face, it's exactly the same. And whether you’re soloproneur or a large organization, you need to know what is happening in your business and how you're delivering the services or the promise of your services. How is it fulfilled?

So there are a lot of new areas, which is a reason why she has published a book as well. Claire stated that she guess Yanique has got quite a few stories as well in her little handbag of good service, bad service, those kinds of things.

 

So, she has had this book, she has been keeping stories of mystery shoppers been incredible over the years, so she thought, isn't it just a perfect opportunity that we have the pandemic and businesses are looking at what they're doing and how they're doing it, to give some ideas on what is good, what doesn't look good, what you should be doing and what you shouldn't be doing.

So, The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper kind of says it all on the title. They are true stories from mystery shoppers, some stories were from people who had given her some stories of good service and some stories are the bad stories and also the exceptional stories, because she believes positive breeds positive.

So, it show things are going well, you can show things where they've done an amazing job here, give people the ideas and thinking, “Oh, well, if they can do it, I can do it, too.” So, that's why The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper was published and very, very quickly it was in her head. She’s seen, she’s written, she’s seen herself on stage doing that keynote and talking about it and doing that. She even thinks it should be a great series.

 

So, you learn by stories better because people can relate and use that as well on your website, we connect on an emotional level. And so, if you're connecting with customers, whether it's a good emotions or whether it's bad emotions, your customers will remember you for sure.

 

Me: So, basically, to sum up what you've said, you're basically saying that mystery shopping is something that all organizations should do. And even if you do it on a small scale, just to get an idea of what is happening, because I find a lot of executives are totally disconnected from what's happening on the ground with their actual customers, especially if they don't make it an intentional act of theirs to interface as a customer themselves, whether to call the business as you said, or visit the website and click on a few buttons or even shop with the business, go in as a regular customer to a branch that you probably would have never visited before to have that experience yourself, because then you'll understand why your customers complain, what are some of the pain points they're having and where are the opportunities that exist that could be improved? Maybe some are low hanging fruit things that you could change effective immediately and so may require a little bit more investment and thought.

 

Claire agreed and shared that one thing that she has done as well during the pandemic, obviously with no face to face, she has created an online course on how to set up a mystery shopping program because she has seen a lot of clients locally, smaller businesses who they had conversation with and said, “Clair, I'd love to do it, but I can't afford your pricing. I can't afford to get an organization to do it for me.”

 

And so they go off and then they put a little questionnaire together, they’ll ask their friend and family to do it. And then it comes back with not very good responses, they come back with moans rather than objective responses. And so they think, “Oh, well, that thing doesn't work.” And then they let it go and they're not getting the right information.

 

 

So, she put that program together to actually help the smaller organization, so they can do it right and they can follow the steps. She gave templates of a mystery shopping questionnaire, she shows them how they should train their friends and family if they're going to use friend and family, there's a little video on how to be a mystery shopper. And so those kinds of things are important, you need to know what is going on in your organization otherwise, how do you manage it? It's an important part of that customer experience strategy. Absolutely.

 

How Has Customer Experience Evolved or Not Evolved as a Result of the Pandemic?

 

Claire shared that she thinks the first thing that it has brought to the company; they straight away got into a fire fighting mode where everything gets dropped off. So, for her, she lost all her clients in three days and it was quite remarkable and quite a shock in thinking, actually. Is it really what you should be doing?

 

When there's something where people are going to need more help and support, should you be letting go all the training, should you be letting go all the exercises and the help, the support you're giving so you can actually give even better customer service during a pandemic? But, you can understand people, and she thinks that's the biggest problem in a kind of a bigger challenge is really, it's that CX or EX employee experience and customer experience isn't seen as a benefit, but as a cost.

 

So, a company will stop that because they see it as a cost rather than seeing it, wow, our employees are going to need more support, they need more training on how to handle those customers who are scared, how to handle customers who are going to be shouting, how can we give them some emotional intelligence training? How can we teach them a bit of resilience? How can we teach them a bit of mindfulness so they can actually feel better in themselves?

 

So, there are a lot of things that really could be done and should have been done and some companies have been absolutely incredible by the way they've turned things up and certainly have moved from the customer experience being in the forefront to the employee experience coming at the forefront. And that for her is an important part of it, because if we have no employees, if the employees aren’t feeling well, if they're not happy, if they're not content, if they don't feel valued and cared for, they won't care for your customers.

 

So businesses need to bring more care into what they do, they really do need to bring more care into the organization. And she always talked about the Yin and Yang so she always has a bit of a holistic approach to CX. And the Yang energy, it's not, “Let's do it. Let's go, let's go, let's go. More figures, more sales, more this, more that.” Whereas, we need to bring a little bit of that Yang energy where we actually pause and we actually ask our employee how they feeling today, we go and see our customers and we shake their hands and we remember their names and we connect with them on an emotional level. And that's really the difference between the Yin energy and not caring energy and that Yang energy, which is all that pandemic scarcity and anxiety, then everybody's trying to fire fight against.

 

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

 

When asked about an online resource that she can’t live without, Claire shared that her personal business, she uses OneNote, which is part of Microsoft's 365. And she has been using it for quite a few years now. And she walks a lot in the morning, she goes for almost 45 minutes, 50 minutes walk in the morning so she can make some notes, she can copy paste, and she can write a speech. OneNote has been something really, really incredible. She uses it absolutely every day. And the last few months, obviously with a pandemic as well, she has been doing a lot of videos and a lot of video recording and she has been using a software called Camtasia.

 

So, she’s going to send Yanique The Queen Bee Christmas message that she just recorded and then you'll see how she actually have done with that on Camtasia. And she’s really getting the hang of it and thinks videos are very, very powerful way to get ourselves more visible, more credible, more likeable, people relate to you when they see you and you're able to share message. And it's that visual and you can also add a bit of music and all that kind of thing. So, there's a real something about video that makes it quite powerful.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Claire

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Claire shared that the obviously The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper, pull that one in. Claire shared that she is a Feng Shui practitioner. So for her, just the same for her, but she brings Feng Shui into the environment of their clients. So, again, the environment will affect where people perform, if you feel good in your environment, you will deliver great, amazing service. If it's dark, if there are no colours, if it's cluttered everywhere, no one's going to perform the way they should be.

 

So, she discovered Feng Shui probably about 10 years ago now. And one of the books that really got her going was Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect, and Happiness by Karen Rauch Carter. And it was very simple, so it was more of a European Weil Feng Shui. And then she went on, she had got trained with Davina McKale, who is Feng Shui Master. And so she has developed quite a lot of the Feng Shui in her leadership program. When she does a big program with organization, they will look at the culture, they will look at the environment, they will look at people and they will look at a customer. So those are the four areas where she really, really focuses when they do a big program on CX. So it's a great book to read. So, started with the Feng Shui, that's a really simple and really easy way to get started.

  

What Claire is Really Excited About Now!

 

Claire shared that the idea that The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper was kind of a catalyst to start for her, a repositioning in terms of her keynote speaking, in terms of her consultancy, because there's quite a lot of CX experts out there and everybody seems to be doing CX at the moment, which is great. It's really good because you kind of bring a whole new forces and a whole new energy in terms of people wanting to help.

 

But she really wanted to reposition the mystery shopping as the key part of what she does. So her new keynote is can you afford to be clueless about your customer service? So, she’s doing a new keynote with the book, she’s preparing next year, possibly doing a audible book with a new story, more stories. And the idea is also to share the book, translate it in different countries and actually add more stories with the different countries that they talk to. So, there are a few things that are in the pipeline that she’s got for next year.

 

Where Can We Find Claire Online

Instagram – @claireboscqscott

Twitter - @cbsbusyqueenbee

LinkedIn – Claire Boscq-Scott

Facebook - ClaireBoscqScott

Website – www.busyqueenbee.com

 

 Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Claire Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that helps her to keep focus, Claire shared her kind of strapline is bringing more care into what you do, bringing more care into your employees, your environment and your customers, and you will have a thriving business and she thinks that's an important part. We do get busy, on the busy, busy side of it but if that pandemic has showed us something is, if we don't care for our employees, well, they're never going to perform, they're going to be working remotely and not feeling any love from anybody. And so it’s really important that we really care for our environment, for our people, and then our customers.

 

Me: It’s funny you mentioned that because when I started this business, the vision for the company is “To Create a More Caring World” but the reason why I came up with that tagline is, when I was a little girl, I used to watch this cartoon on Disney Channel called the Care Bears and they all have these little different care symbols on their tummies and when they shine their light on everybody, it transforms them into being more kind or more generous. And that was my vision for when I started business that at the end of the day, whatever I’m doing with a business whether it’s through market research, mystery shopping, customer service training, leadership training, it all should be with the mindset that I’m trying “To Create a More Caring World” like a care bear. So, it’s really nice to know that we may not have thought of it from the same perspective, but we definitely have the same goal in mind.

 

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 24, 2020

Welcome to Navigating the Customer Experience Christmas Edition

 

Thank you so much for supporting our podcast over the past year. We have had so many fantastic guests even in this oh so unconventional year.

 

Even though the world has been overwhelmed with a pandemic and there have been a bunch of negative things occurring - there have also been lots of wonderful opportunities that many people have benefited from.

 

According to PWC, 82% of office workers would prefer to continue working remotely, at least part of the time, even after Covid-19 has subsided. And a whopping 73% of executives say working remotely has been a success. 

 

Every business small, medium and large has been forced to transform how they approach business. When I think about all the companies I have been interacting with since the pandemic I believe this new way of wearing a mask, sanitizing our hands and the installations of plexi glass will be something that will never go away.

 

Many companies have to be putting their employees and customers above profits in order to ensure the safety and protection of all stakeholders. If you have not yet started doubling down on your customer experience - focusing on convenience and how can you can make the life of your customers easier. Now is the time!

 

eCommerce and touchless customer experiences are what most customers have gotten used to since the pandemic and it is highly likely they will never go back to what it was before. It is also important to note that many trends that have been created since COVID will become standard expectations - such as delivery, curbside pick up, orders being placed by phone. 

 

While it is inevitable that commerce will partially shift back to brick and mortar once things go back to “normal,” there is now a massive new pool of consumers that are comfortable shopping online, and the volume of e-commerce and digital inquiries is expected to continue. Consumers that perhaps would walk into a store to ask a question, or  call a customer service number for assistance, now may find it more convenient to click on a chat widget or read an FAQ article while they browse your site online. In fact, according to recent consumer research, live chat continues to grow in popularity with consumers, now ranking as the second most popular channel to get customer service problems solved. Incorporating digital-first support strategies into the overall online customer experience will make a huge difference when it comes to brand equity and loyalty for 2021 and beyond. 

 

Many customers are getting smarter - they are learning about fantastic services from other great companies like the Amazons, Zappos and so many more. Our customers are willing to pay more for a convenient experience

 

I am sure many of our listeners can remember the comedy “Cheers” and their theme song “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” All customers want to do business with companies that remember them, remember their preferences and take time to understand them.

 

So as we close the chapter for 2020, let’s think about a few things that we should consider doing consistently for 2021 to ensure that we dominate our customer’s experience

 

  1. Exercise Empathy with your employees and your customers - be mindful of the many challenges that your customers have been facing during this pandemic and exercise as much flexibility where possible. According to a Covid-19 research, CX teams reported that customers valued empathetic service above all other customer service attributes during the pandemic. Consumers want to be treated like a valued customer, with real thoughts, emotions, feedback and values
  2. Have multiple platforms and outlets that your customers can reach you through and ensure these platforms are being monitored consistently. Organizations should look for technology that allows for collaboration between remote team members, providing agents with the freedom to move between channels, and brings all the data about a customer into one place to help deliver a more efficient and personalized experience
  3. Practice gratitude and appreciation with all your stakeholders - managers, employees, customers and vendors. Always remember that as human beings we still have the ability to choose who we want to do business with. Your customers will remain loyal to companies that make them feel valued and appreciated. Your business will thrive and flourish abundantly in 2021 and beyond if you provide an experience for your customers that makes them feel like they are not just a transaction rather a key partner that you value and appreciate.

 

Think about all these great insights that I have shared and start 2021 ready to satisfy and exceed your customer’s emotional and intellectual needs.

My book the ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience is a great gift to give to a client, colleague, employee or even a friend. 

Here is a snippet of one of the reviews from Amazon

 

Just finished my second run through of The ABC’s of a Fantastic Customer Experience - It is really an Operational Manual more than just a guide for an employee, even the business owner. I appreciate the hands-on approach to enhancing the customer experience. Very useful and timely as we all seek to overcome this pandemic. Great resources!!! I recommend this jewel to all levels of management.

 

The book is available on Amazon in Paperback and eBook and if you reside in Jamaica, it is available at Fontana on Waterloo Road, Barbican and Montego Bay

 

Wishing all of you fantastic listeners of Navigating the Customer Experience - a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

As a quick reminder, please feel free to join our FB group Navigating the Customer Experience Community on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @navigatingcx. Until next time, I’m your host Yanique Grant.

 

Dec 15, 2020

Dr. Jackie Noelke Show Notes

 

Dr. Jackie Noelke is an online entrepreneur and digital marketing strategist who helps entrepreneurs and naturopathic doctors start, grow, and scale their online courses, services, and memberships so they can have the freedom they crave. She's also the founder and CEO of Grateful Ads Co. who helps brands grow their influence, define their voice, and scale their offers through innovative digital ads and sales funnels.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your history, how you got into what you're doing today and just a little bit about your journey to where you are now?
  • In light of COVID, a lot of businesses have had to pivot and go online whether they're let's say for example, they're selling physical items or maybe they're more of a service oriented type of business. How do you balance all of that? How do you know which new business lines you should take up? How do you know which platform is best for your audience, whether it be Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn? As a marketing strategy, how could you help our audience to get a clearer view of where they should go?
  • Now, COVID has also caused people to be very anxious. And as a result of that, as an entrepreneur, there is no safety net, you're not working for company, although to some extent, when you work with an organization, you don't necessarily have a safety net, especially in this economic environment. So if you're suffering from anxiety, what are some things that you would suggest as an entrepreneur, if you're experiencing these kinds of emotions to help yourself really overcome it and just be focused on what is important?
  • Can you share with us how do you stay motivated everyday?
  • Can you share with us maybe 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 long time ago, or maybe a book that you read recently that really has impacted you.
  • What's 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 a saying that during times of adversity or challenge you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to keep you focused and get you back on track?

 

Highlights

 

Dr. Jackie’s Journey

 

Dr. Jackie shared that she’s not an overnight success, she actually caught the entrepreneur bus about 11 years ago when she was getting her master's in education and she decided she wanted to start up a private school and that's when she first kind of dip her toes into entrepreneurship. She was just kind of toying with the idea and she put up a website, she actually got a lot of people interested in this school, people were wanting to give her money, all this kind of stuff, which is awesome. And then she pivoted a little bit, they wanted to make a move so that didn't work out. But that kind of is what got her started online because she was playing around with the website, all that kind of stuff, she loved it. And then, she was teaching at the time and then a few years later she started to get really bad anxiety.

 

And she actually was diagnosed with agoraphobia, which a lot of people think of agoraphobia as you won't leave your house. But actually what the doctor just told her was that it's when you're looking for exits all the time, you always have an escape route wherever you are.

 

And so, that led her because honestly, it was getting hard for her to even go to work as a teacher, that led her super into personal development. And so, she started her own personal development company at that time to help others go through the journey that she was going through simultaneously and she was very transparent about that. And through that she busted through, she’s now completely anxiety free, there's a lot, she was going to a doctor and stuff, there's a lot more involved in that. But she was also getting my doctorate in leadership and she really fell in love with the business side of what she was doing in the personal development space and also what she was learning in my doctorate.

 

So, she switched gears, did a pivot like a lot of entrepreneurs do. And since her husband was in naturopathic medical school, she decided to start a marketing membership for naturopathic doctors, and that went well, she still has that. And then through that, she fell in love with digital advertising, so she invested thousands and thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours at learning Facebook and Instagram ads and that's how she ended up co-founding an ad agency. And then just last week to add onto that, they also launched an e-commerce store called The SheEO Store for women entrepreneurs that has all kinds of swag for entrepreneurs, office decor, even some digital downloads, all that stuff. So it's a bit of lengthy road but with lots of different parts, but, thinks it's important for other people that are in the entrepreneur space to know that that happens a lot and a lot of times it's not just overnight success, there's a long journey to get there.

 

Knowing the Best Platform for Your Audience

 

Me: It says here that you are a marketing expert specifically with Facebook and Instagram ads and building sales funnels. Let's say especially in light of COVID, a lot of businesses have had to pivot and go online whether they're let's say for example, they're selling physical items or maybe they're more of a service oriented type of business. I know a lot of people are also looking into doing online courses and more people are doing webinars and then sometimes you have people who do paid webinars versus free webinars. How do you balance all of that? How do you know which new business lines you should take up? How do you know which platform is best for your audience, whether it be Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn? As a marketing strategist, how could you help our audience to get a clearer view of where they should go?

 

Dr. Jackie shared that what she loves about Facebook and Instagram is there's no other platform has the ability to target as specifically as they do on Facebook and Instagram. So, they're able to get very specific with the people they want to see the ads and now, since a lot of people have had to make that pivot, there's that missing face-to-face interaction a lot of times. So instead of that, in lieu of that, you can use Facebook marketing and paid advertising to nurture your customers. So, it doesn't always have to be something that's obviously a pushed to sale, you can use nurturing content and these types of ads, they're actually very cheap, to stay on the top of mind of your customers and build those relationships digitally because you could just simply do that, instead of having people walk into your physical store.

 

Me: So, when you say nurturing content, let me give you an example. Let's say for example, I am an event planner and let's say before COVID, my event planning business focused primarily on destination weddings. And so in light of COVID with people not traveling as much, how is it that I would be able to provide nurturing ads and stay top of mind to my ideal customer using Facebook and Instagram, What would a nurturing ad look like?

 

Dr. Jackie stated that she loves that question. So, video ads do really well. So this is something like you might use, kind of the same kind of content you might use in your organic marketing, where you're teaching something super quick, like in a three minute or less video, but that is very beneficial.

 

So, for your audience, this could be some part of the wedding planning process. This could be teaching them the things that they want to avoid when planning their wedding. This could be the questions that you get asked a lot and you see the issues that come up when you're planning weddings with these people, that's great content for this nurturing content. And yes, you're in a position where obviously, because of COVID people are doing their events, they're traveling less, all that kind of thing, but they're going to get back to that, it's not over. They're going to get back to that.

 

So, if they've been seeing your content as they're going through this engagement process and starting to think, “Okay, like, what am I going to do? What is this going to look like for me?” you're popping up.

 

And what's beautiful about this as well is we can start retargeting based on the amount of time they've watched your video. If they've watched your video, they normally do 25, 75 and 90%.

So, obviously they know people are engaged at different levels. If they don't watch up to 25, they normally don't use that as a retargeting and put them into a quote unquote, warm audience, meaning they're familiar with you.

If they've watched the 25%, they might send them another video, that's the next step or the another thing that is complimentary to what you are teaching on that first video and so on and so on.

So, it nurtures just like you might in a nurture sequence through email, you can do the same with paid advertising only with paid advertising, with email open rates you only get about 20%, with paid advertising, you're going to get much higher, much more people actually viewing that content.

 

Suggestions for Overcoming Anxiety as an Entrepreneur

 

Me: All right, sounds good. So, those are some practical examples that as I said, listeners would want to capture that kind of information so they know exactly how to navigate. Now, COVID has also caused people to be very anxious. And as a result of that, as an entrepreneur, there is no safety net, you're not working for a company, although to some extent, when you work with an organization, you don't necessarily have a safety net, especially in this economic environment.

But it's even more so fragile for you as an entrepreneur because you dictate your income, if you don't prospect, if you don't as you say, put out that content, if you don't try to find ways to get to the customer, then the customer won’t know about you and you won't get any business.

So if you're suffering from anxiety, you're like, “Well, other people are doing the same thing I'm doing. Why should I continue? I feel like I'm not getting the results I should be getting based on the effort I'm putting out.”

 What are some things that you would suggest as an entrepreneur, if you're experiencing these kinds of emotions to help yourself really overcome it and just be focused on what is important?

 

Dr. Jackie shared that this has been a wild year, obviously for everyone, brought out anxieties for everyone, so many people have had to pivot, and she gets that that can be extremely scary and uneasy. She thinks that one of the things of being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to pivot, the ability to seek opportunities within any kind of situation.

So what opportunities, she thinks if you switch and like flip the script on whatever is going on in your business, what opportunities are actually present right now that might not have been, for example, now we have way more people with their online, like we have way more people online and way more people on Facebook, Instagram, all the social everyday.

So can you use that opportunity to get the word out about your business to people that might not have seen it otherwise when you had your physical store, if that's the case.

 

She thinks that just knowing that you're not in this alone, like so many people are going through this, and it will pass, this too shall pass.

So it will pass, we're going to get through this as the human race. And she thinks just being really open to opportunities that you might not have considered before and getting creative with that will help. And then also just know entrepreneurship is a journey, she definitely tries to be as transparent as possible again and say, “I was not an overnight success. I'm pretty successful right now, but it took a while.”

So even if you are feeling that in your business, keep it up, keep doing it. And if you're passionate about what you're doing and you actually really love what you're doing, it's going to work out.

 

Me: I totally agree. I think whatever you’re doing you have to be passionate about it because on the days when you’re faced obstacles and challenges, I feel like it's that passion, it's that little spirit inside you that really loves what you're doing that pushes you to keep continuing, because then it's not just about the money, it's about the satisfaction, that internal emotion, that gratitude that you have within yourself. Because I believe that there has to be that self-satisfaction first, before any level of satisfaction on the outside can be provided from a customer or a prospect or a vendor can be fulfilled. Would you agree?

 

Dr. Jackie agreed and stated that your customers can feel if you're passionate about it or not. If it's something you're doing just to do to hopefully make money at it and you don't really like doing it, then it might not work out because people are going to be able to feel that, people can tell. So she 100% agreed on that.

 

How Dr. Jackie Stays Motivated

  

When asked how she stays motivated, Dr. Jackie shared that this kind of goes off what they were just talking about. She is super into digital marketing, so like anytime, her birthday, Christmas, she’s always asking for different digital marketing ask related things.

On her spare time, she’s reading business and, and doing things. So for her, it comes naturally because she’s so passionate about it. And so, it's okay to have certain days where you just don't feel like working as an entrepreneur, but if you're having more days of those than the other way around, maybe you're not in the right business, maybe you need to switch up what you're doing.

Because again, this is your life, you want to be doing something, why build a business around something you don't really want to do?

When you're building your business, it should be super aligned with who you are, how you want to live your life, the lifestyle you want, what you are passionate about, talking about and doing on a daily basis, that's the key.

So, for her, motivation comes very naturally when it comes to her businesses because it's not only what she does for a living, it's also what she does as like a hobby, it's her interest.

 

App, Website or Tool that Dr. Jackie Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business

 

When asked about an online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Dr. Jackie shared that she’s a Trello fanatic. She loves Trello because it's so easy for project management and you can share boards with other people. She uses it for everything as far as planning out social media, to planning out our project management for our team, to getting things to her members as far as all kinds of content. She just thinks it's a powerhouse for the price and everything. And she absolutely loves it.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Dr. Jackie

 

When asked about the books that have had the biggest impact, Dr. Jackie shared that she loves Jen Sincero and You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth. It's a great book, the way she writes, she has read several of her books, they're very easy read.

So even if you've had a long day, it's like one of those things that it's not super dense. And she knows this, this was what she went through at first too in the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey was a lot of money blocks, a lot of weight, a lot of things she was thinking about money that was getting in her way of success.

Like thinking that maybe she didn't deserve to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, that she wasn't qualified enough, all of these kinds of things that get in your head.

And also, her other book is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, which everyone probably talks about, but it made such a big impact on her life. And again, she can have all the strategy, all the training, all the education in the world, but if she’s not willing to accept money into her life, she’s not going to have it. So really working on that money mindset and those two books have really helped her for sure.

 

What Dr. Jackie is Really Excited About Now!

 

When asked what’s something that’s going on right to develop herself or her people, Dr. Jackie stated that she loves this question, it's so timely.

She and her business partner just launched a brand new e-commerce store called the SHEEO store, it's fabulous. But it has all kinds of swag, like brand photographer approved t-shirts, things like that for entrepreneurs. It also has office decor furniture, they have digital downloads for entrepreneurship on there, and right now they actually have 15% off store wide for their grand opening, but they have had over 200 customers in the last week. So they're kicking it off with a bang and super excited about that.

 

Where Can We Find Dr. Jackie Online

 

Instagram - @drjackienoelke

Facebook - @drjackienoelke

Website – www.thesheeostore.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Dr. Jackie Uses

 

Dr. Jackie shared that she loves, “Gratitude is the antidote to fear,” by Tony Robbins. And she uses that a lot.

But that helped her a lot as she was going through her anxiety and entrepreneurship.

 

And still, anytime she’s feeling fear or really any emotions that she doesn't necessarily want to feel, it's always okay to feel sad or feel fear if you want to be feeling that. But if you don't and you go into a space of gratitude, your feelings change automatically, you can't feel gratitude and fear at the same time.

 

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 8, 2020

Mark Baldino is a design industry expert with over 20 years in UX and Human-Centered Design. He's a co-founder of Fuzzy Math, an award-winning UX design and innovation consultancy located in Chicago with clients worldwide. Along with building and sustaining a 20-person design studio, he's helped build and train UX teams for some of the largest companies in the world. Fuzzy Math’s call to action “Do good work. Be good people” is embedded in all of Mark's work as he advocates for “goodness” in design: producing work we are proud of as designers and that positively impacts the lives of those who use digital products and services every day. Mark has led projects across complex and regulated industries including Allstate, Hyatt Hotels, Microsoft and GE Healthcare.

 

Questions

 

  • Your bio said that you're a UX and Human-Centered Design Organization, Fuzzy Math. But maybe give us some background behind why you decided to name the company that and just how you got into what you're doing today.
  • Customer experience, user experience, user design, those words sometimes are used interchangeably in navigating different experiences for customers across different industries. Could you share with us what is so different about what you guys do that really helps to enhance the customer's experience?
  • Let's say, for example, you're looking at your strategy for 2021 coming out of this year that we've all had, that has been extremely different from any other year we've all experienced. How would you demonstrate or justify the return on investment of focusing on UX? Why is it important? How is it really going to transform your business? Why should you give attention to it as you would give attention to any other budgeted item for your business plan?
  • Could you share with us one or two things that a company should take into consideration in managing their digital spend in the age of COVID?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • Can you 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 share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, maybe a book that you've read recently or a book you read a very long time ago, but it definitely had a great impact on you.
  • Can 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 something you're working on to develop 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, kind of helps to get you back on track or just keep you focused. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Mark’s Journey

 

Mark stated that Fuzzy Math is a unique name, it served them well for the past 11 and a half years. The term Fuzzy Math, it does mean something in the real world, for them it speaks about the duality of the work that they do in the user experience and human centered design processes.

 

So kind of the fuzzy part is they're working with humans and they're trying to understand them and they are complicated and complex and sometimes they say one thing and do another. So it can be hard to design products and services to meet their needs. And the way they do that is kind of the math side, which is a little bit more of the robust process they follow sort of a thorough user center design process they lead their clients through.

 

It kind of makes sense of what humans are saying and doing and allows them to build products that better meet their needs. So it's kind of the analytics and process side, which is the math solving for the human psychology and fuzzy side, which is the humans.

 

What Fuzzy Math Does to Enhance the Customer’s Experience

 

Mark shared that their process is about putting customers or users at the center of everything they do. So, one of the reasons they use the term “User” is because it really focuses in on their use of a specific, in their case, they're designing a lot of web based applications or mobile applications.

 

Customer can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people and so you thinking about customers from the brand perspective, from a marketing perspective, business perspective, and they try to get a little bit more narrow and think about who is this human sitting in front of a computer and what are they doing every day?

And how do we make their experience more efficient and effective and satisfying for them?

 

And that doesn't always take into account the brand, for example, which again, brand and customer get aligned a lot. They try to break that out, they don't think in terms of brands, if they're working for a company that is a brand, they're really thinking about, what is this person's experience with your product and with your service and how can they architect it to better meet their needs?

 

And so, it's really about putting a user at the center of everything that they do and advocating for them and their needs. And that sometimes pushes against what might make the most sense from like a sales or a marketing perspective.

 

And that's okay, there can be a natural tension between those. But for their purposes, it's let's give users a voice at the table here and advocate for their needs, which might push against some other considerations of a business.

 

So it's a slightly narrow lens to focus it on and really say who is this human being that, again, is sitting in front of a computer, has to use this digital product and service and how can they make them happier people, while they're using these products.

 

The Importance of Using UX to Transform Your Business

 

Mark shared that he would think that the year that everyone's just had really, really gives them a sense of why they should be investing in digital.

So you can take healthcare, for example. But you could say the same for some retail, that’s brick and mortar, maybe a higher education.

 

So healthcare and higher education, they have two things in common, which is they have these large, vast physical spaces that they've invested billions of dollars in.

A hospital in 2020 looks nothing like a hospital did in 1980. They are gorgeous structures; they look more like hotels.

 

And so, the idea is when you step in, that experience that you get when you enter the atrium of a modern hospital is supposed to give you a sense of what's going to happen behind the scenes, behind the doors, is this amazing high tech, high touch.

Again, it almost feels like you're stepping into a luxury hotel and that's how you want to be treated. Well, guess how many people were using those front doors during COVID? No one.

 

Hospitals were busy, but they were not coming through the front doors and stepping in and getting a sense of this is where I want to spend money, it was much more from an emergency perspective.

 

But instead, the digital front door of hospitals became the center point, and hospitals that had invested in 2019 and previously in their digital front door were much better positioned to handle kind of customer service, user experience, patient services, provide those in a much more effective and meaningful manner. And so, if you invested in 2019 or before, let's say that that dollar you spend in 2019 was worth ten times as much in 2020 and nothing to say it's not going to be just as valuable moving forward.

 

So the idea is that people are experiencing brands and products or services overall, they're experiencing digital first or have experienced digital first and a lot of people are digital, they live digitally, they think that that's a normal thing. But you have to think of these industries where there was a physical component to it and they had invested in that physical component.

 

And now, you're not taking a college tour and deciding on a college based on how fancy the building is, you're probably making that based on what the digital experience you're going to get and whether you can tell that they've actually invested in that in that digital experience.

 

So, even though he thinks we saw a lot of budgets get tightened in 2020, given uncertainty, what we've seen in this quarter and what we're expecting to continue to see in Q1 is that those budgets are getting reoriented towards kind of the digital experience. And so, he actually thinks it's kind of an easy sell, it's not one that he has to make. But he thinks for people internally is to say…..

“If we haven't invested in our digital infrastructure, now is the time if we want this business to be sustainable, we can also have to shift maybe the organization overall towards spending more on these digital first experiences and not maybe spend as much in something like physical infrastructure.”


Me: Agreed. Great. So that definitely will allow people to have greater justification for why they need to make this type of investment and, of course, how it will impact their business in the long term.

 

Managing Your Digital Spend in the Age of COVID

  

Me: Now, let's say, for example, we have a business and they're looking to go into this. What are maybe one or two ways that you think you could probably suggest to them that they could be able to better manage their digital spend in the age of COVID. Because a lot of people feel like they're in contracting mode. I've listened to many podcast interviews and I know a lot of organizations that would have done a year in planning in terms of what they're going to invest into, they're now doing short term plans like three months, six months, because they just don't know what to expect.

 

So, with that in mind, maybe could you share with us one or two things that a company should take into consideration in managing their digital spend in the age of COVID?

 

When asked to share what a company should take into consideration in managing their digital spend in the age of COVID, Mark shared that he thinks they need to think short and long term, if you're too narrow in your focus of this few months, he has heard that as well, “Hey, we have two months to make impact.”

 

You can only do so much in in two months. And so, they're helping a lot of their clients with is put roadmaps in place which allow for a strategic view, which is three years out, even if there's a large amount of uncertainty in said industry. But that has a really tactical, they're doing two to three month chunks of work. So what can they accomplish in a short term that's going to move the needles and some KPIs. But what is their vision for the longer term. And inside of that, something that they don't do a lot of crisis management for their clients, but all of their clients and frankly, all human beings went through a crisis this past year.

 

And he doesn't mean to say that we're going to experience another one, but there's nothing to say that this couldn't happen again in two years down the road. So, while you're thinking strategically long term, while you're solving stuff in the short term, you need to invest in an infrastructure that's going to allow you to pivot quickly during a point of crisis.

 

Again, he hates to go back to the healthcare example, but it's an easy one these days. A lot of websites and customer service teams were very unprepared for the deluge of visitors.

 

In some cases, he heard 3000% increase in web traffic. So that's the technical architecture going to support that but can we respond to that many requests?

And so, this shouldn't be a poll that is a blip on the radar for 2020, people need to invest in crisis management and how they can respond and how their digital products and services respond during a crisis like this.

 

So, again, they're trying to map out what the long term improvements to customer experiences are over a 3-year period, they're trying to help their clients adjust and make some changes incrementally along the way that are going to move the needle in a two or three month time frame and start to think about what it looks like when a crisis hits again and how teams responds and how technology responds and how we can utilize technology to respond during those points of crisis.

  

How Mark Stays Motivated

 

Mark shared that fear is a big motivator, just to be quite honest, he thinks in 2020. It is this sense of fight or flight; you need to keep the business going. It's not a great long term motivator because it just wears you down a little bit.

So, he tries to spend time away from his computer and that keeps him motivated to get back to the computer. He works a lot with his hands, crafts, furniture building, light construction, it's a lot less cerebral and it's a lot more physical.

 

And he finds it when he’s able to step away from the computer and start to work on physical products or physical projects, he yearns to be back in front of the computer because there's something about the amount of change you can influence or impact through the work that they do as designers. And that's really, really powerful. And it's not just about him and a closet he’s building or a piece of furniture, that's personally rewarding for him. And he enjoys that.

 

But a lot of the products they work on are with bigger businesses and thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of people are using these tools every day. And there's a lot of power in being able to make those tools more satisfactory and joyful for humans. And so, this kind of this exponential push that they can make in people's lives through the tools that they redesign but sometimes when you're so focused on what's the next sale they're going to make? He does primarily sales at Fuzzy Math these days, he doesn't do a lot of design himself. You sort of miss that larger picture. So, to stay motivated, he gets away from the computer, he works in the in the physical world, and then that really pulls him back to the computer because he can get just a different perspective on what it is they do it Fuzzy Math and how they're helping people.

 

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

 

When asked about an online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Mark shared that it's going to sound standard, but email. He'd love to say Slack, but his team loves Slack as a digital tool, he thinks it's enabled the business to function better specifically remotely. But as many times as people try to remake email and make that experience better, there's a reason we all use it, it's very easy, it's quick to communicate with people. And so, it's a boring answer but it's where he’s at almost every minute of every day is in his inbox and he uses it as a way to manage tasks and to do’s, kind of a zero inbox person. He has a number of ways and filters to clean his inbox and make it an efficient mechanism for me.

 

But he has been using it since AOL, so early 90s. He has been using email for a while. He is very comfortable with it and he can be a creature of habit sometimes and it takes a while for him to shift into something else. As boring as it sounds, he feels like email is consistent and for him it's something he can always rely on as a tool to know what's coming into his business, what's going on in his business and what does he need to do every day. So, maybe not the most inspiring answer, but it's an honest one. If you ask him what he can't live without at this point, it’s email.

 

Me: Definitely, don't feel bad about sharing email because it's important. And it's an excellent communication tool and it does definitely allow for some level of accountability, paper trail you can go back in. I've pulled up emails that I've sent to people from three, four or five years ago just to make reference to maybe a conversation that was had that maybe you just need to bring back to the forefront based on what you're moving on with currently. So it really, really is an excellent resource. So I'm not going to negate your application.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Mark

 

Mark shared that there are two books that have probably had the biggest impact on him. The first is Managing Professional Service Firm by David Maister. It's an old book, the 90’s. It has been updated a number of times. It basically gave him all of the tools to build a professional services firm and how to think about his team and himself and leadership structure and consulting in general. A lot of consultants started as practitioners, he did. And they built consultancies because there's work out there. But running a business is very different from doing design work and so, Managing Professional Services Firm, he calls it his Bible in terms of if he has a question, he goes there first.

 

He spent a few months in Argentina last year during the winter to escape awful Chicago winters and he read Let My People Go Surfing, which is by the founder of Patagonia. And that's just a fantastic book, it's part bio, which is just great to understand how and why Patagonia was founded. But also there's a business component to it and how you can run kind of an ethical business and what you can look out for and how you can guide your company and he’s a firm believer in the ethos and values that Patagonia sort of imbues in its products and services.

 

But there's a real honesty to the book in terms of, in a perfect world, no one needed more clothes and Patagonia would go out of business and they don't hide from that fact, they sort of explain it.

 

And so, he just found it a really refreshing read and he thinks people that like that book, he thinks are people that he would kind of enjoy in the real world to talk to.

 

So it's been kind of a book that he keeps an eye or an ear out for if people have read it, because he thinks that if they read it and enjoyed it and found value in it, they probably have a similar set of values to him and those can be some of the best of friends, first of all, but kind of professional relationships when there's a bit of a value overlap.

  

What Mark is Really Excited About Now!

 

Mark shared that internally and it's about developing their people. They've started a (DEI) Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity initiative at Fuzzy Math, it's about 18 months old and that's by far been the most rewarding part of 2020, because they made a lot of progress there. The initiative was not started because they had a crisis of diversity, equity and inclusivity on the team, it was because people thought that there was room that they could grow as a firm, even as a team of 20.

 

And so, two employees came to them and said, “Hey, we think we should invest time and energy into this, that there's some room for growth here.” And Ben, is his business partner and him, “Okay, what's kind of what's the plan? Help us along here.” They eventually brought in a third party consultant who's been a tremendous resource for them.

 

And it's really reoriented how he thinks about growth at the company and proper growth and their role potentially in equity and inequality in the design industry, how they hire people and retain them, how they can maybe train people who don't have a formal background in what they do, how they can create apprentice and mentorship internship programs.

 

And they've been doing all of this, but they haven't done it with the lens of DEI and obviously this past year there's been worldwide attention specifically through Black Lives Matter and they started the process ahead of that but it really it dovetailed well as it there was a specific focus on it globally and certainly in the United States. And for them to have a forum for their team to communicate about their concerns and then be able to plan for what the future looks like.

 

So, they have a two-year roadmap for how they're going to improve DEI at Fuzzy Math and it's not just a one stop shop, they didn't just write a DEI statement and put it on their website. In fact, it's not on the website yet because they are taking a very thorough, kind of methodical approach to this.

 

And it's a long term change of the composition of the people at Fuzzy Math and their backgrounds. How you can have a voice at Fuzzy Math, what hiring, retention, growth and career paths. A lot of things he didn't put in the DEI bucket; his team did because they felt that they were important in terms of communication from the founders down to the team.

 

So it's been a tremendous learning experience for him, it's been great to see because it's been team led, his team has driven this and that's super rewarding as a business owner to see people care so much about but the company and more specifically about each other, to want to invest time and energy into DEI.

 


Me: Sounds good. Okay, so we will definitely be following that journey eventually when it becomes public. And you may serve as a benchmark for other organizations that may want to take on that same kind of initiative.

 

Where Can We Find Mark Online

 

Website – www.fuzzymath.com

 

Mark shared that if you go to the resources section on their website, there's a newsletter, encourage people to sign up for the newsletter. They don't spam you. They send out one new sort of newsletter every month, which includes a topic of their interest. Sometimes it's is very specific to design and designers.

 

Recently it's been about kind of the business value of design and the ROI of design. And then they include some links and articles that they have read in the past month that they enjoy. They have the benefit of living and breathing UX every single day, and not everyone has that, so they try to pull some resources together for people.

 

If people want to reach out to him, his email is mark@fuzzymath.com, he’s happy to answer emails, chat, schedule, some time to connect, whether it's about starting a career in design or whether you have a potential project.

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Mark Uses

 

Mark shared that he doesn't really have a quote, there's just sort of saying, he doesn't know where it's attributed to, it's around, do you have a strategic plan?

Yes, it's called doing things. He thinks people sometimes worry too much about strategy and less about execution and has tried to make his career about kind of execution and doing and he considers himself a bit of a doer.

 

So, it helps him when he’s thinking about where Fuzzy Math’s going to be in 5 years or 10 years, people sometimes ask that question and he doesn't always have a clear picture, he just has to remind himself that they just have to continue doing what they've been doing for 11 ½ years, it's made them successful, bunch of happy clients and happy users along the way.

 

So, if you're ever concerned about what to do next, just do. Start creating, start building, don't spend too much time thinking or planning because execution is all that matters at the end of the day.

 

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 1, 2020

Chip Bell is the author of 24 books, Chip's newest book, “Inside Your Customers Imagination: 5 Secrets to Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions” is due out in the fall of 2020. He is also the author of bestsellers “Kaleidoscope: Delivering Innovative Service That Sparkles,” “Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service,” “The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service,” “Take Their Breath Away” (with John Patterson), “Managers As Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning” (with Marshall Goldsmith), “Customers as Partners,” “Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service” (with Ron Zemke), and “Magnetic Service” (with Bilijack Bell).

 

He has served as keynote speaker, consultant, and trainer on innovative service to such major organizations as GE, Microsoft, Nationwide, Marriott, Lockheed-Martin, Cadillac, Ultimate Software, KeyBank, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, Caterpillar, Eli Lilly, Verizon, Best Buy, USAA, Hertz, Accenture, Home Depot and Harley-Davidson. He is a keynote speaker on topics such as customer loyalty, partnering with customers, and creating innovative service experiences. Global Gurus has ranked him for the last six years in a row among the top three keynote speakers in the world on customer service, with two years in the top slot.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got into this whole customer service?
  • You have written many, many books, and I had the privilege of you sending me a copy of the one of your most recent one “Inside Your Customers Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services and Solutions. And I found it really, really insightful. Could you share maybe one to three things that you think is really critical for us to get inside our customer’s imagination?
  • In your book, you talk about curiosity, being grounded, discovery, you talk about trust and you talk about passion, of those five secrets that you believe are breakthrough tactics or strategies in order to really get into your customer’s imagination. Which one do you think is the most important?
  • 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, maybe books that inspired you to become an even better writer?
  • Could you share with us maybe one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something 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 you’ll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps you get back on track or to get you more focus?

 

Highlights

 

Chip’s Journey

 

Chip shared that he has always had a fascination and an interest in the customer; he studied it in graduate school. What makes people buy, what influences customers to make decisions that they do and how organizations manage that influence and how do they create cultures that create great experiences? Most of his work has been focused on the customer experience. That is what when we encounter a customer, whether it's face to face, the ear to ear, click to click, we give that experience in such a way that it's a memorable experience and a very positive way. So it's been an exciting, he has been at it for 40 years now. He’s still learning every day, but we're all customers, so it gives him a chance to hopefully influence how that's done through the organizations that he works.

 

Getting Inside Customer’s Imagination

 

Chip shared that he thinks it starts with recognizing that the customer’s imagination is inside. And he likes to think of it as a door open only from the inside. So, the challenge becomes, how do I create a relationship or a partnership with the customer in such a way that they want to open that door and share their insights, ideas, creative thoughts in a way that helps them with us, co-create new products, services and solutions. So the book is really about how do I build that relationship, how do I build that partnership that creates a sense of excitement and safety and a willingness for the customer to open that door and share their ingenuity and insight and creativity.

 

Me: And so, we really have to dig deep into what the customer is looking for. A big part of when I was reading through some parts of the book, it focused on ensuring that you have curiosity. And I'd like for you to share with us in your own words. What exactly is curiosity, especially in the sense of customer experience? Why should we be curious and how do we exercise that skill?

 

Chip shared that he thinks part of it is the one of the ways which we demonstrate we really care about the customer. We all go to reunions, family reunions or school reunions. And we always engage, we eat too much food and we engage in a lot of superficial conversation. But every now and then somebody, a family member or friend, demonstrates that they really are interested in us. And they ask different kind of questions, “You still work in and are you still doing this?” And so, they really want to know what makes us tick, what do we feel and what matters to us. And we walk away from those conversations feeling not just heard and understood, but truly valued.

 

So he thinks part of curiosity is how we demonstrate that deep curiosity. One of the techniques he talks about in the book is called Be the Customer.

 

And he borrowed it from most parents who have children who are in Little League, when that child has the bat and the pitcher is about to throw the ball, they'll yell to that child, “Be the ball, be the ball.” Which is all designed to get the focus, focus on that ball, it coming their way. It increases the likelihood that they'll be hitting it.

 

And so, he thinks in much the way be the ball, be the customer, try to be the customer. He gave you a funny example. His wife's hairdresser, Johnny Odair, has been known to get a permanent. He said, “Johnny, why do you get a permanent?” He said, “I realized that when women get a permanent is often one of the most uncomfortable and awkward situation, so if I figured if I went through what they went through, then I would see the world through their eyes and because of that, I made changes in the experience to make it a more comfortable experience for them.”

 

That's to him, a great example of him working to try to deeply understand a customer, when the customer senses that sense of quest to understand them at a deeper level. Then they feel a sense of kinship with us, a sense of partnership with us.

 

So it's looking for techniques, it might not be just talking to the customer or just doing customer research, it might be talking to people who know the customer in a different way. He gave an example and he uses this example in the book. He has a friend of mine, John Longstry. John used to be the General Manager of a huge hotel in Dallas, Texas, and he realized that he wasn't learning enough about what really was important to customers through the front desk.

 

Now, if you think about checking into a hotel, when you check out, typically the front desk will say how was your stay? And we usually have a one-word answer, fine. And not much learning is going on from the word fine. So, what did he do? He'd already been doing focus groups with the taxi drivers who frequented his property to take guest to the airport, DFW airport.

 

And so every quarter he would hold a focus group, he buys these taxi drivers who frequent his property hanging out because it's a nice fare from his hotel to the airport so a lot of them would hang around to take now, Uber, Lyft.

 

But then it was it was taxi drivers. And so he would hold focus groups with these taxi drivers. And what he would learn is not just information and understanding, but insights. For example, he learned that when the customer complained to the taxi driver that their towels in their bathroom smelled a little scorched like they'd been in the dryer too long and housekeeping, what they really were worried about was a hotel fire started in housekeeping or dust bowl under their bed, in their room. What they really were concerned about were are there bugs in my room?

 

So the goal was not just information that gave you superficial information. Like there's a light out in the parking lot, thank you so much, but when the customer spotted a security light out in the parking lot that was burned out, they worried about security in their hallway.

 

Well, by taking that insight level, he was able to make improvements and changes that really impacted customers in a way that they couldn't even describe. Not something you'd necessarily write on a comment card when you're checking out, but it taught him a lot about what was really going on in the mind of that customer.

 

Well, that's the kind of technique, who knows my customer? What if I talk to them, not just my customer, what would I learn from that? And so, again, that's part of curiosity is how they look for ways to demonstrate to the customer that they really, really do care. And part of it is how they show them that when they provide feedback, that it really matters.

 

The research shows 95% of companies in the industrialized world asked their customers for feedback, 95% of them, but only 5% of them let the customer know what they did with that feedback.

 

And so, when we get those surveys, it's no wonder that we don't fill them out because we go, “Why should I, it is not going to make any difference.”

 

And so it's learning to tell the customer, you did this, you asked for this, this is what we're doing with it. And so, it tells the customer, you matter, you're important, you're valued. And from that kind of relationship, when you ask them, what's something cool we can do, they can give you creative ideas.

 

Me: There was also a part in a book that you spoke about as it relates to curiosity, where the company got permission from the customers to watch them shower. I found that so interesting. I was like watching them shower.

 

Chip stated exactly. He’s doesn't know who volunteered to do that, but yeah, it's MOEN revolution. And what they did was they wanted to learn how customers experienced a showerhead and what they found from their research by getting customers to say, “Let us watch you in a shower and see what you do and not just invade your privacy.” But they found it about 35% of their customer’s time is spent avoiding the spray. It gave them the insight they needed to design a different kind of spray that they didn't spend so much time avoiding the spray for the shower. Giving a similar example.

 

He works with the major hotel chain would ask customers when they checked in if they were a familiar customer or a frequent customer. They would say, “We'll give you a discount on your room rate, if you'll let us follow you to your room and watch you unpack.”

 

And a customer goes, “What?” But what they really were interested in is they wanted to see how the customer settled into the room. And so what they discovered at that particular time, this is a giant hotel chain. What they discovered is that sometimes customers will bring up their own hairdryer. Well, most of us bring hairdryers. But back then, what you would do is in order to use your hair dryer, you had to unplug the one that was plugged in the wall. They already provided you a hairdryer, but you like yours because it's hot or whatever. Well, nobody complained about the fact that you made me unplug your hairdryer to plug mine in. But there's a little irritant, there's a little negative, or they found that when a couple checked into a hotel, there was only one luggage cradle in the room for them to put their own luggage.

 

So we all know what happens then, he puts his luggage on the floor. Well, there's another little work that's a negative, but nobody ever put that on a comment card. But you add up enough little workarounds like that, you got a negative experience the customer can't even talk about it because it's so subtle.

 

Watching the customer, they go, we could fix this, we could provide another receptacle for their own hairdryer or we could hardwire ours into the wall so the receptacle is available for them to use their own hairdryer or every time a couple checks in, we can have housekeeping bring another luggage cradle to the room, all of these easy fixes. But there are things that the hotel didn't notice or didn't know because they were too subtle for the customer to say anything about it. And we don't notice the things where we live. We quit seeing the wallpaper a long time ago. And so, we take it for granted, we don't see it. And so, we're blind to the details that customer sees. So, again, it's looking for those ways to say, “I want to go deep inside that customer's world and their experience to understand and demonstrate my understanding to that customer so they feel valued.”

  

Important Breakthrough Strategies To Get Into Your Customer’s Imagination

 

When asked about which of the 5 secrets is the most important tactics or strategies in order to get into customer’s imagination, Chips stated curiosity. He thinks it is the foundation, that's what started with it first. Interestingly enough, where these five secrets came from was, he knew the book was going to be about innovation and co-creating with your customers.

 

And so, he looked at organizations that we all know famous for innovation. And we can all think of if you ask anybody, who are the most innovative companies on the internet, most people will talk about Google or Amazon or Pixar, they'll have names like that. If you go in those cultures and you say, “Okay, what are these cultures have in common?”

 

You find their cultures are all about curiosity, they're all about grounding or focus, they're all about risk taking that leads to discovery. They're trust and they're about passion. So those are the five things that are common among cultures. So he thought, what if you took those same five features of an innovative culture and apply them to a relationship, in this case, a relationship with a customer? What would that be like? What would that partnership be like? So that's the basis for those five secrets to breakthrough products, services, solutions.

 

They're fun things to do but part of it is how do you get customers to drink with you? He knows the listeners love tactics that they can use and apply, but sometimes we focus on asking customers only about their needs and expectations when the world of the imagination is around the customer's hopes and aspirations. And he'll give a fun example. He was working with a large pizza delivery company, one world-wide, we all know this pizza company. And he believed when he did started the research that when you talk to lots and lots and lots and lots of customers about this company that they were going to focus on product, price and process, meaning your pizza is not very good or it cost too much or it takes too long to get it to him, pizza price, product and process. But when they asked dreamer questions, they learned a whole different set of things.

 

For example, a dreamer question is where you asked the customer to think beyond what's now present. For example, one question they would say is like, “What’s something no pizza company is doing that would be really cool?” Well, one of the answers they have here in is, “What about the pizza box?” They said, “What?” “The pizza box? You know, I get this delivered pizza, it's got this box and I end up having to throw the box away. What would it be like if you did something with a box?” “Well, like what would you have in mind?”

 

Well, it could be like a color a picture or a puzzle or it can be a mask you could have for kids to wear a mask. They could just cut it out.”

 

And so, sure enough, several years later, he’s working with the paper manufacturer that made pizza boxes for this company and sure enough on the inside lid, they had put puzzles or coloring things for kids or various different things. And they put a sheet of wax paper between the lid and the pizza so it didn't soil the inside of the lid. And it turned, nobody would have thought of that. But they only get those kind of things when you take your customer into the world and you focus, that's what grounding is all about. You focus on new applications, new solutions, and all of a sudden you get a whole different world.

 

Me: That's so true, that's really innovative. And that's a good point because we really do throw the pizza box away so why not find something else to do with it that could be more than just throwing it in the garbage.

 

Chip agreed and shared that the really wise companies get their customers to help them. A good example is Starbucks. Starbucks is a very creative company, but they get customers to help them. For example, things like splash sticks that go in your coffee cup lid, customers came up with that, Starbucks didn't come up. Cake pops that looks like a little lollipop, but it's made out of cake, customers came up with that. Pumpkin spice latte in all the stores, these are all things the customer came up with, company didn't do that.

 

But it means you got to take your customer into an imaginary world with new ideas and new concepts and new applications and help them think with you. And that's why he loves the concept of creation, is you're not making stuff for the customer or on behalf of the customer, you're doing it with the customer. And so, not only do you get their creativity to add to yours and come up with all kind of new stuff, but you're also building the loyalty of that customer, because when they got their fingerprints on what you're creating, they feel a commitment to it and their loyalty goes up.

  

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

 

When asked about online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Chip stated that he will share two of them. One he can't live without in his personal life is called Sound Hound. And sound hound is a great website because how many times do you go in a store and they're playing music guide, you go in a store and they’re playing a song and you go, what's the name of that song? Sound Hound is an app that allows you to hit that thing and it listens to that song, not only does it tell you the name of the song, but it also gives you the lyrics and if you want to buy it, you can buy it right there. So, for him, it's a great app that he that he uses a lot.

 

And in his business life because he’s a writer and he writes a lot of stuff, lots and lots of articles and blogs and so forth. Grammarly has been a godsend because he doesn't know anything much about the English language from the standpoint of grammar. He doesn't think he did very well on those courses in school. And so, Grammarly is a program that allows you to when you finish writing a blog or an essay or a letter or anything, you can simply put the letter inside Grammarly and it'll bring up and tell you, this is a different way you need to say that or you've got this misspelled or this should be an ‘are’ not an ‘is’. And it'll correct all your grammar or at least tell you what it sees is wrong and give you the choice to correcting it or not. But it also provides you the rationale, so you get to learn a little bit more about what a ‘dangling participle’ or a ‘split infinity’ is. But it's a great tool for him, particularly from a writing standpoint.

 

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Chip

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Chip shared that the one he remembers that he thought was a powerful book was a book called Watership Down: A Novel. It's an old book by Richard Adams. And it's a favourite book of his because it's basically a fiction story of a group of rabbits that get the feeling that they're down, their warren where they live is in danger. They don't know why, it turns out it's like a construction crew that's come in and build housing development where they live. And so, they have to journey across England to find a new home. There are many, many, many adventures and stories. And it's a great story, they actually made a movie of it. But the use of stories, the use of myths, the use of fables in their interaction is, he thought, one of the most creative uses of how they do that. So, that's one book that's been an inspiration for him.

 

Another one is a book by his friend Seth Godin called Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable. Great book and it's in the marketing category, but it underscores the power of being distinctive, to being different. And he's a very, very creative guy who's written many, many books. But how you will only succeed through your service and product if you find a way to make it unique, different. What he calls value unique, not value added. And that's been his work in the customer experience world. Value added is taking what customers expect and add more. The problem with that is you run out of room because the expectations of the customers go right up with you and so you add more and more and more and more, and pretty soon you’re going to go bankrupt or run out of room. And so it's like, “You're a great customer of ours, we'd like to upgrade you to the first class or if you're a frequent flyer.”, that approach of a linear value added approach to him has limitations.

 

So, his work is all around value unique and it's not looking at generosity, but ingenuity, what can add to that’s unique, that's different, that will surprise the customer in a way they didn't expected. Value added usually that you aren't shocked by the fact that they upgraded you or added more comped your dessert, it doesn't shock you. But if you did something that was totally unique, different, all of a sudden you'd be talking about that. And his belief is that the pinnacle, the height of customer loyalty is when the customer tells great stories about you, not just recommends you, but they say, “You're not going to believe what happened to me.” And they tell a story that's going to have more influence on a prospect than simply a recommendation. And so how do you create the stories? Well, that takes something unique. His wife as a new car and she traded in old car and got a new car. And a week after she had a new car, she turned on the radio for the very first time and discovered they had programmed in her radio stations from her trade in.

 

Ingenuity and she tells everybody about the radio and not about the car. And so, it's little things like that, it's making sure that when you take your car in to be service and you're going to be waiting for it, they've got in your profile and they've got a current machine or, one of those cake cup machines, that your favorite coffee is there available. So when you have to wait on your car to be serviced, you got hazelnut coffee, which is the one you like, it's little things like that that personalize the experience.

 

But it's thinking about it; think about Crackerjacks in the world of service. Crackerjacks is a 100 year old product. And what we loved about Crackerjacks was not the caramelized molasses flavored popcorn, but the free prize, which was actually workless, but emotionally priceless, we knew we were going to get a prize because it said so on the box, but we didn't know exactly what it was going to be. It’s that thinking, that concept applied to the world of experience, to the world of customer service is his world and Seth’s book, The Purple Cow, he thought was a very, very insightful book that was very helpful to him. So those are two he’d recommend.

  

What Chip is Really Excited About Now!

 

Chip shared that he and his wife are on the board of the Georgia Writer's Museum, he lives in the state of Georgia and they have a writer’s museum that celebrates famous writers that live in the state, many of whom have all passed on, people like Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King and folks like that. And he’s on the board of that museum and so he gets to serve as sort of the museum curator to design new exhibits. And so, that's a fun thing for him to do.

 

The other thing in terms of his work is he stumbled onto a new concept called anticipatory innovation. And so now he’s developing a whole new body of work around anticipatory innovation.

 

And what that is, he gave an example and then he’ll come back and describe it. When he and his wife stayed in a Hampton Inn, they provide you a coffee pot and they provide you paper cups. Now, if you happen to be in a situation where you and your significant other both fix your coffee the same way. And you fixed a cup in the room and they got the paper cups in the room for years, invariably you're going to run into a situation where you go, “Is this my cup or yours?”And so, what they did is they put on the front of the cup, on one cup they put lips like somebody put lipstick on and kissed it. And on the other one they put a mustache and so it's very clever, but it fixes a situation that you encounter they go, “Oh, I know this one's mine because it's got the lips on it or it's got the mustache on it.”

 

But it's that you anticipate you're going to encounter. Another example, Tampa Airport, the rental car where they put all the rental cars is inside the parking deck. The first thing you do when you get inside a rental car is you going to set your GPS. The problem is there's no internet inside that structure. So, what did they do?

 

As soon as you exit the parking deck, there is a GPS, pull over and little parking slot you can pull in that does have does have Wi-Fi internet so you can set your GPS before you actually leave the parking lot. But they thought about that, they thought ahead and say, “What’s a little problem or challenge or hiccup that the customer may encounter that we can anticipate and provide an easy fix before they get to that hiccup?” And so, that’s a whole new world, he calls it anticipatory innovation and there’s not much research done about it, nobody has written much about it, he has written recently an article for Forbes that’s called, Are You Using a “Boy” or “Girl” Cup?. But it’s little things like that that now is a whole world he’s researching and trying to create a whole new body of work around. In his business life, that’s what he’s working on.

 

Where Can We Find Chip Online

 

Chip shared listeners can find him at –

Website – www.chipbell.com

Email – chip@chipbell.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Chip Uses

 

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Chip shared, “Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you.”

 

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 24, 2020

Naomi Rozenfeld is the EVP of Revenue at Wix Answers, where she leads the global Marketing and Sales strategy. Naomi is passionate about helping companies and start-ups provide best-in-class customer experiences and transforming the way companies provide Customer Support. She was previously the Director of GTM at Wix Answers and Head of Product Marketing at Wix.com. Prior to joining Wix.com, Naomi was an Entrepreneur and founded two travel start-ups.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey?
  • Could you just share with us a little bit about what Wix provides and how you're able to meet your customer's expectations based on what the market is looking for?
  • In terms of customer experience and Wix being able to fulfil that for their customers, what are some of the ways that you differentiate yourself from other service providers that give that same kind of service?
  • Could you share with us maybe what's one online resource, tool, website, or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • In your journey, in your professional journey and even in your personal journey, are there any books that have had the biggest impact on you, books that have really inspired you? Maybe could you share one or two with us?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners, some of them are managers in organizations where they are charged with the responsibility of enhancing customer experience, building customer loyalty, and they feel they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital. If you are 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?
  • Could you share with us maybe one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - maybe 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 or keep you focused on what you need to achieve or get through?

 

Highlights

 

Naomi’s Journey

 

Naomi shared that quite a long time ago; she started her journey as an entrepreneur. She always had this dream to build her own business, be her own boss. And she set out on that journey; she would say a pretty young age. She started her first startup, she was always very passionate about the travel space, it seemed ripe for disruption, or there were a lot of startups trying to tackle a lot of everyday problems that people had when it came to traveling.

 

She founded her first startup with two other founders, which quickly actually turned into a full on business that was just running already by itself. They had won a really big tender from the Jerusalem municipality for travel and very quickly just became a business. She sold her shares there and she went on to found the second startup with another founder, also in the travel space, trying to tackle a completely different problem, which was more about travel marketplaces and just travel ideas.

 

And that one pretty much hit her in the face. She would say about a year into it, her co-founder and her had very different views of how they wanted to take that startup forward. And she’d found herself pretty much one year with a startup that she put a lot into just basically fizzling. So, she pretty much hit that 99% statistic of startups failing.

 

And at that point she had a friend who she’d known from one of the accelerator programs that she was part of that said to her, “Hey, I know that they're trying to build a product marketing team at Wix, would you be interested if I connect you to somebody?” She was kind of broke looking for a job that was a little bit more stable and going to provide her with a little bit more stability. And she said, “Sure, why not?” Her idea was to go to Wix maybe for a couple of years, save up again and go back to being an entrepreneur. And here she is, six and a half years later, still at Wix.

 

What Does Wix Provides And Meeting Customer’s Expectations

 

Naomi shared that Wix is a pretty well known as a cloud-based web development company that makes it easy for anybody to have an online presence. And that could be everything from creating your website online, your portfolio, regardless of what business or vertical you're coming from. And also to provide you with all of the tools that you need in order to maintain and to run your business on a daily basis. So, everything from managing your bookings to your payments, to your customers and all of that communication is pretty much what Wix is known for in the industry. And she had pretty much started in the marketing department, heading the product marketing team there. And there's always been a very, very huge focus as a SAS centric company on product.

 

And everything that they did in terms of marketing was about how do they enable their users, how do they inspire them? But there was always a very strong connection to the product.

 

And she would say about a couple years into her journey at Wix, she had heard about this new B2B product, something completely different than what they were doing at Wix. Wix is a very successful and large B2C company, today they have almost 200 million users around the world and there was this new initiative starting kind of inside of Wix that was looking to go to market. And basically what it was, was looking to take their home-grown, in-house built platform that they use for customer support at Wix, and to start basically offering that to other businesses. She was super intrigued; she met with Elad Eran who is the CEO of Wix Answers.

 

And he was basically running this project from day one. And she had met him for a cup of coffee, and she had heard about his vision. She would hear about customer support as something that was completely new to her. And she had known a lot about marketing, a lot about obviously like web tools being part of Wix and suddenly there was this new product that was completely unrelated to Wix, for total B2B in terms of its business model and its needs that was looking to basically launch out of the larger wix.com.

 

And she heard about his vision, she heard about this story and at that point, her knowledge on support was maybe Zendesk. She had known that Zendesk was a tool that you use, obviously for customer support for more than that, she didn't really know. And she was so intrigued and excited to hear about where they saw this product going and that the same pain point that Wix was trying to solve for many years ago and building out this own in-house technology that was now also very relevant to other businesses 10 years later, she really want in on this. And, pretty much from that point, the rest is history and she has been with Wix Answers since that point.

  

What Are Some Ways Wix Differentiate From Other Service Providers

 

Naomi stated that this is a really good question, in terms of tooling and obviously looking at this industry, which is a very saturated space and a very competitive one at that.

 

Any business, regardless of how big or small you are, you're always going to need tools to communicate with your customers, that's really pretty much like the heart of every business is communicating with your customers and supporting them. And she thinks what really is different about Wix Answers is the story that kind of lies behind how this product came to be. And it's a lot like AWUS when you think about it; the only difference is that they didn't really create an industry. They were a real business that they were growing super fast. Wix was at the point of this tipping point of explosive growth; their users were growing by the millions.

 

They were a SAS centric company; they really needed ways to connect the product teams, the marketing teams with the user voice. And from day one, they've always been very centered around capturing that user voice in terms of their future roadmap, their strategy, and really understanding where they were going as a company.

 

They looked in the market for tools and nothing really was able to capture all of that, nothing was really able to connect all of those dots or put knowledge at the hands of their users in the way that they had imagined it, nothing was really kind of connecting support to the internal part of the organization. It was always those traditional help desks, where you expect your users to go open a ticket, get a reply, and then you just solve that ticket and you're done with that.

 

And they saw it as much more, they knew that their product teams are their future roadmap would had to be connected to the users. So, they set out on this journey to build this tool. Now, if you look in the market today, there's a lot of different solutions that offer basically everything, you can connect all of your different channels. You obviously can have a lot of timeline view of your customers, but what really sets Wix Answers apart is the way they built the foundation of it.

 

So, all of your channels are just seamlessly connected into one single timeline. So, regardless of whether a user or a customer starts to chat with you, and then they want a call back, or they want to get an email, or you want to follow up with an article, everything is just the seamless transition between channels.

 

And that's just pretty much a by-product of them building their own in-house technology. So, they don't have third-party apps, and they don't have third-party vendors that are integrated into their platform. Everything is just pretty much built in into one really cohesive product and platform.

 

And the end result is that your users have a much more seamless transition between any of your channels. You obviously have much pure and better customer data and just data at all. And the agents have one interface that is like that single source of truth about your customers. And that she would say is pretty much one of the biggest differentiators that they have today. And when it comes to like scale and doing things in high volume, they know a thing or two about that in terms of growing really quickly.

 

And there's a lot of businesses that they talked to today, whether they're startups or even really large scale operations that do things at high volume. And when you're trying to do something at high volume, and you need to move the needle just a little bit, even if it's just 1% or just a small fraction of making changes that has really large implications.

 

And what they found is that even smaller organizations like startups that were very lean and needed to move really quickly were suffering from the same thing that really large businesses were suffering from. And that was just a high dependency on development and high cost of running their operations, because they really needed that R and D dependency in order to move or to execute anything within the support organization.

 

And the way they had engineered and designed this platform was that pretty much, if you want to make a change between now and tomorrow, you want to launch a new channel, you want to change your entire help center. You have to pivot, or you need to just really quickly adapt, you're able to do that without having to go to a project manager, who's going to build it out or plan it for you. You don't really need the developers to obviously start building that out for you and then launch. And that ability to go faster than ever, and to move and to iterate in a much faster way is really, really impactful for businesses today, especially when support and CX is really like the heart of any business and organization.

 

Me: I agreed, totally agreed. So, Wix has definitely been able to bridge that gap for a way that customers can communicate with their clients in a very easy, seamless, frictionless way. And people don't like to jump through hoops, the less steps that they have to take the, the much better experience that they have. And you want them to feel motivated to interface with your platform.

 

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

 

When asked about an online tool that she cannot live without in her business, Naomi stated that she’s not sure that she’s going to be that creative with this one. It might actually sound a little bit mundane, but she feels that LinkedIn has pretty much changed her life and so many people around us.

 

She remembers when she started at this, business cards were a big deal, they still are. She has a whole bunch of business cards sitting in her bag waiting to be given out probably the next conference, if they'll have one in the near future given this whole COVID situation.

 

But LinkedIn really made it easy to get to people that you would otherwise have a hard time getting through to. And she finds that so many interesting conversations, partnerships, relationships have just started on LinkedIn, and it's just become like a tool that she really can't live without, regardless of whether if it's on a personal connection level or even within their business. Just reaching out to people and striking up a conversation around subject matter that's important to you, it's just really become easier than ever thanks to LinkedIn.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Naomi

 

When asked about books that had the biggest impact, Naomi stated that there's a book that she read actually many years ago, it was about 5 years ago. She read this one with her son, they made it kind of like an everyday thing that she would read to him chapters in this book. And it's actually written by RJ Palacio and the book is called Wonder, and it's actually a children's book.

She always thinks that somehow children's books always have like very interesting messages about life in them and this one really kind of got to her. It was a story about a friendship and just how raw human relationships and how complex they can be sometimes. And obviously this was written for probably children between the age of 10 to 12, but it was just a really wonderful book that was just drawing a lot of depth in terms of human nature, friendships, fear, courage and that one kind of stuck with her.

 

Another book that she actually just finished as of recently, that's more in the adults playing field is called Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets by Al Ramadan. And this one's a very interesting book as well, they kind of title it as how pirates and dreamers, innovators can create and dominate markets.

 

And what she really, really loves about this one is that a lot of the way we look at things is just the mindset. And sometimes to really succeed at something, you just need to change the conversation or change the category, or just change the way you approach something. And it just really comes from this place of not being the follower, but just trying to find different ways to lead. And that's been a book that she will probably be revisiting again, very well-written and some really good ideas in that one. It's called Play Bigger.

 

Advice for Business Owners to Have a Successful Business

 

When asked about advice that she would give a business owners to have a successful business, Naomi mentioned definitely focus.

 

It sounds really simple and she can say first-hand, she has always struggled with this herself. Also, in the businesses that she has built and also with the teams that they lead today, especially when you're working with talented people that have a lot of different ideas and especially when you're building any new business, you want to pretty much just tackle it all.

 

And she would just say that sometimes focus is something that actually really motivates the teams, it sounds a little bit contrary or counter-intuitive because you can have a lot of really great ideas and people get highly motivated by them, but then trying to tackle too much too soon or not, all of your areas of strengths can sometimes be very de-motivating to teams and people that are helping you obviously grow your business and create the strategies and taking things forward on a daily basis. So, focus has tended to be something that, where she feels when there needs to be a push to motivation, just to look at everything, look at that one area that you can really do well at, obviously involve your teams, talk to them, and that focus has a tendency to kind of invigorate that sense of like, “Okay, we're really going to go after this. We're going to tackle it and we can really win.”

 

What Naomi is Really Excited About Now!

 

Naomi shared that there's a lot of things that are going on right now. There's definitely a project that she thinks they've been working on really, really hard that she knows is a cross team effort and was something that was really new and different that they were trying to launch.

 

And it's a new community that they're going to be launching next month, that's going to actually be in the space of customer experience, and they're looking to really create a whole new conversation with people and connect them in a way that they haven't really been connected before in this space.

 

And it's been something that they've been planning as a team for a very, very long time carefully considering the leaders, the brands, the emerging technologies and companies that they really wanted them to be part of this conversation. And she knows it was a huge cross team effort that they've been basically putting a lot of resources and focus on that. She would say that that's something that right now they're super excited about, and it's going to be a really big one for them in terms of successfully launching this next month.

 

Where Can We Find Naomi Online

 

Naomi shared listeners can find her at –

LinkedIn – Naomi Rozenfeld

LinkedIn – Wix Answers

Website – www.wixanswers.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Naomi Uses

 

Naomi shared that there's something that kind of stuck with her, she thinks more so as a woman and as a woman in business, also as a mother, she has two boys, but also a girl. So, she understand that the way that we want to sometimes lead things and prove our independence, sometimes we need to push a little bit harder than some of our counterparts.

 

And there's definitely a quote that kind of stuck with her from Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It went something along the lines of, “My mother always told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant to be your own person, be independent.”

 

And that's something that she pushed through on a lot is just being really, obviously your own person, to be independent, but also from the aspect of being a woman and what that means today, especially in the business world and leading teams and to see women obviously in positions of power and making really big decisions, that for her is like a quote that goes really far.

 

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Nov 18, 2020

Patricia Lohan is the creator of Feng Shui Mastery and the Author of The Happy Home: A Guide to Creating a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Life. Patricia Logan helps women make their home magnetic to money, luck and blessings. She shows you what they don't teach in school, what lies between the lines, your top secret tool for success. She is a Feng Shui expert, a healer and a passionate female entrepreneur who has shaped her dream life living in Bali with her husband.

 

Patricia has a gift making feng shui simple and easy to understand and implement. She has helped thousands of people across the globe embrace Feng Shui and create long lasting changes in their homes, lives and businesses. She has seen firsthand the power of mind, surroundings and inner healing, clearing and aligning everything so it works holistically.

 

Questions

  • Could you share a little bit with us about your journey and maybe just explain to our listeners those who may be familiar with Feng Shui or those who may not know exactly what Feng Shui Mastery really is? And how did you get on this path to helping others in this way?
  • Could you share with us exactly what is Feng Shui? Is it like a principle? Is it an exercise? What does it really entail?
  • How is it that business owners can actually use Feng Shui, maybe two or three things that they could do that they're not doing, especially if it's a practice that they've never done before in their lives, like where would they start?
  • Let's say you work from home and you don't necessarily, as you said, have an office space. What recommendations do you give to someone who probably only has like a living space versus their bedroom, how do you know where is the best place in your house to do work and be productive?
  • And a big part of what I'm getting from what you're saying in your practice is how you feel about yourself, your environment and just everything around you; because all of that energy will impact what you pour out into your interactions with other people. What are your thoughts on that?
  • Can 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 share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What's one thing that's going on in your life right now? Something that you're really excited about - either something that you are working on to develop yourself or your people.
  • Can you tell our listeners where they can find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you’ll tend to revert to – it kind of helps you to get you back on track and to refocus you.

 

Highlights

 

Patricia’s Journey

 

Patricia shared that she actually got her first books about Feng Shui when she was 16, and she had no idea how she found it or came across it, but it really just struck a chord with her internally and she felt like her soul knew what she was meant to be doing with her life, but she didn't. But she really was so just enamoured by the process of working with your home and they had moved house many times, her parents bought houses and then upgraded them and then would sell them and they'd move to another house and upgraded.

 

So this experience of moving from different houses and seeing very dramatic shifts in what was happening to the people in their life, like their family, as they move from one house to the other, like their family didn't change. But the experiences they had changed a lot between financial experiences, illness and lots of drama in one house to another house that her parents business went so well and they made loads of money, but lots of people were sick. So it was very interesting that was going on when she was tuning in to asking for books about Feng Shui.

 

Now as she looks back on that time, it just fascinates her so much. But that was really where it started. And then in her late 20s, she moved to India and became a yoga teacher and trained in lots of holistic practices. And when she came back to Ireland, she was working with clients, hopping the release trauma and doing really alignment and energy work for them as people internally. But what happened was she decided she wanted to find herself a new apartment and she also wanted to find her husband and meet her husband to be. And she set up her new apartment for love. And very soon afterwards, she met Ken and she had used lots of Feng Shui principles in her home to call in her soul mate, her husband. She met him very soon afterwards and actually he had used Feng Shui also.

 

So, it's a quite a synergistic process that she was led back to Feng Shui to fall in love. And everyone started asking her, like, “How did you meet Ken? Oh, my God.” And all of her single friends like what did you do. But when she met Ken, she realized, Oh, she can use this Feng Shui for, like money and for her career and for her reputation and for all these other aspects of her life. So, she dived down the path and so did Ken and they both did Feng Shui together and dived into becoming Feng Shui consultants and experts and training much, much deeper level. And they did it on their home together.

 

And all of a sudden she was getting huge contracts. She actually had a huge six figure windfall and lots of things just changed. And it was very visible change from a year earlier. She was cycling around Dublin making Five Euros and teaching a yoga class to now being in a pretty much a new car, a million dollar home, making lots of money and everyone's like, “What's just happened?” And she’s like, “Well, we just started doing this Feng Shui for ourselves. And all these things started flowing.”

 

So, it just made this huge shift and that obviously more people started asking them. That's how she and her husband really dived into the practice. And she never set out to be a teacher of Feng Shui. But what happened was everyone started asking her and she just was like, okay, let's do it. And that's what's unfolded. And she’s excited to speak to Yanique because your theme of like about customer service and how they've transformed the process of teaching and helping people Feng Shui their homes to an online experience but it’s really around very customer and client centric. So, yes, that's how she got it, very short story version of it.

 

Me: Wow, that is truly amazing. So energy flows where energy goes. And it's so amazing when you give a lot of energy and effort to a particular practice how abundance just follows you in different ways, that's what I really got from what you said just now.

 

What is Feng Shui and What Does it Entail?

 

Patricia shared that essentially we can fluctuate anything. So, if you live in a small, tiny home to a big mountain, to an apartment, you Feng Shui anything. And a lot of people think what it is, is moving furniture, hanging weird frogs in your house and weird things like that and knocking walls. And actually, for her, how she like to describe Feng Shui is actually it's like acupuncture for your home. So, you go to your acupuncturist, she checks what's going on. But she's looking kind of at you physically, but she's checking what's going on with your pulses and looking at your tongue and really diving deeper into the energetics of tapping, it’s like working with the invisible stuff that's happening in your body.

 

And that's essentially what she does with Feng Shui is actually, they work on the hidden energy of your home and do acupuncture for your home. So, it's a very ancient practice, it's 5000 years old and they work with five to five elements theory, which is working with fire, water, metal, earth and wood, the same as an acupuncturist would. And essentially, as they do that, they bring slow to a home. So, when you bring the sense of energy and flow and balance to a home, it really allows and supports them to grow and really connect with what their purpose is in life.

 

When Feng Shui is kind of brought to the west, it was brought in, “Oh, put a chair and put the bed here and sit this.” And that is one tiny aspect of it. There is a little bit of that in it. But for her, most of the time, she doesn't care where your couch is or your bed is. She’s much more concerned with what's going on in your life and how your home could be actually holding you back or causing the struggles in your life. So, it sounds a little bit mad, but this is what her experiences with herself and her clients, they come to her when something's not moving.

 

So, whether they want to call in love, whether they're not being seen in their business or they're not making the money they desire or the kind of feel kind of jinxed since they moved into their house, things have started going wrong or just not flowing like they really are. And they're working hard, but not getting the results they want. And she’s like, hey, there's this resource like working with the energy of your home that can support you. And that's where this flow starts to come into place.

 

That sounds brilliant. So, as you know, we are a customer experience podcast. And we have a lot of listeners who are small business owners, medium sized business owners, or they work in organizations where their responsibility or core functions require them to really enhance, develop, and energize their customer experience. It's been a very odd year globally with the COVID and everything and just everything that's happening. And so, if someone was listening to this interview now, how is it that they can actually use Feng Shui, maybe two or three things that they could do that they're not doing, especially if it's a practice that they've never done before in their lives, like where would they start?

 

How Can Business Owners Use Feng Shui?

 

Patricia shared that she absolutely loves this question because for her, the very first place that you start is at your front door. So, like the entrance where you come into your home, very much so, we kind of take for granted our physical environment and we don't give it enough time and attention. So the very first thing is like when you arrive home, what's the first thing you see? Is there like weeds, is the welcome mat all tattered, are there like these cobwebs, is the door like tacky, really what you want is when you arrive home, you want to feel good, you want to feel excited to be able to come into your house like, “Oh, I'm so happy I'm home. I love this. I love nice and clean. It's bright.” So first off, I always start there.

 

And then when you start there, it's like, is the door easy to open? Is it actually easy to open? Because what they're looking at is your house actually is almost like a person and it has eyes, the windows and the mouth is the where the energy, where all the things flow in. So they wanted to make it easy to get in and also attractive and easy to kind to attract it all in also. So make sure your front door, it's easy to open and then coming in and just seeing what's the first thing you see, do your spirits rise or fall? And then just have a look and see, well, what could I take out of here that's blocking that energy, that's making it feel a little bit hard. The next thing she would recommend then is also just wandering, like literally pretending this is the first time you've walked into your house and looking around and being like, does this make me feel good? Am I holding onto this because somebody gave it to me that I don't even like, a piece of art on the walls, whether it's like something that's broken or cracked.

 

All of those things are like depleting the energy of that part of your home, but also kind of subliminally affecting you. So, for example, if it's like a door that's like stuck or hard to open or if there's something that just feels awkward or hard, those little friction points about your house, you'll notice that if you just decide, “Okay, I'm just going to like fix that or tweak that or make this easier.” That, again, will just create more flow and make you feel better as well.

 

Me: So basic things in terms of when you just arrive, how the entrance looks, is it appealing or how does it make you feel, those things you need to be very aware of and just become very aware of.

 

Patricia agreed and stated that just become more conscious of what you have. And then the next principle of Feng Shui is, when she works with clients, they work kind on like the invisible energy, but it is also what's visible. So, most people are like, “Oh, don't come to my house, it's full of mess, it's cluttered.”

 

And she’s not the Feng Shui police and for her, clutter isn't like everyday stuff. So, she’s sitting in their living room right now and there's like a cup and a plate and a dish from earlier on today, that's not clutter to her, that's called life and she knows she’s going to clear it up after this and put it away.

 

And the books that are there, that's life, all of that, if it's kind of just surface things that are moving and changing all day, that's fine. But for her, clutter is you go into that cupboard that has not been touched for six months and you kind of are afraid of it. And you’re like, “Oh God, I don’t know what's in there.” Like that is really stagnant and that's where energy gets blocked.

 

So, there are cupboards or spaces in your home where it's just kind of like a bit like still things haven't been looked at. So maybe your filing cabinet for people in business, like go to your filing cabinets, go through it and clear out all of those old clients, the clients you didn't like, the clients didn't work out, any of the bills that you don't need records for anymore, like make space for new things, like as you release something, make space for new things. Especially entrepreneurs, she finds and in business that they keep and hold onto.

 

For example, if you studied something different or you used to have an old career, it's almost like they hold on to all of the journals and the books and all of the stuff to do with that business or career. It's like, you know what?

 

If you really want to focus on what you're doing right now, you don't need to keep your focus or keep a kind of a hold on all of that. Let it go and make sure your environment especially your working environment is really as inspiring as you can possibly make it.

 

She’s just back in Ireland and she’s in her office and there's a painting behind her that has the word smile kind of over her head. So, when she’s doing Zoom calls, everyone can just see this weird smile over her head and it makes her smile. And everyone is commenting, “I love that picture.”

 

And it's like, does it feel inspiring?

Does a space that you're working from feeling inspiring and feel happy to be there?

 

Because if there are things there that are not lined up with who you are in terms of your business and your work, that can really deplete your energy and you want to be as productive and creative as you possibly can be in your space.

 

Me: You brought some really, really valid points because as I said, it's been a very unusual year and a lot of people are working from home. And so, you're not leaving out anymore and going to a physical workspace where you're not necessarily in charge of that space because your employer would have painted a building or decorated the place to kind of have to brand values and core values of the organization. So it's almost like you're now responsible for generating the kind of energy you want in your own personal space to make sure that it motivates you to want to get out of bed and actually get the work done.

 

So I think this is so important, especially most of the articles that I've been reading, like on Business Insider or Forbes, a lot of organizations are looking for this long term work from home strategy, they're seeing the benefit of it financially as well as strategically. And they're really looking to extend it even past COVID. So, you really have to kind of personalize that space, as you said, to make it your own that you would feel very comfortable and it would generate the kind of energy that you need in order to get the work done.

 

Patricia agreed and shared that from that perspective, she does actually have a guide on her website, people can download it, How To Feng Shui Your Office and there are loads of steps with that about creating the space. But for her, it's like just looking, especially from now working from home, some people are working in their bedrooms, their offices, they may not have the luxury of having a separate office if you're like, “I'm here in the corner of my sitting room.” and for that perspective, which she doesn't talk about in the guide and she wants to talk about here, is that you can get that and go through the steps of the Feng Shui, the space.

 

But the really important part is about clear boundaries. So, making sure that where you're working from, her clients, and one particular client comes to mind in New York. She got her to get a closed sign. So, she has a separate office but she has a sign that she turns off because she literally would not stop working. She could not switch off from work. And she’s like, we need to close the door, we need to put a closed sign. And then on a Friday evening, you close the door; you're off like business is closed. And she said it has changed everything. She now has her weekends back and it's kind of like a fundamental off switch.

 

And the same goes for example, if you happen to be working at your kitchen table, you're working at your kitchen table, that's the current situation is what it is. But if you are like make sure start off your day, you clear everything off, you set yourself up for work and maybe you have a special cupboard in your kitchen that your work stuff just goes into when you finish and you put it all away and then maybe you put some placements out, put out some flowers, you set the place up in a different way to be different.

 

So there's a clear boundary between working on and off because that's kind of a really confusing thing around where we're working from home that you can kind of tend to, like, overextend your hours as opposed to really have some focus time when you're working.

 

Me: That's a very good strategy. I do have a cousin who works from home; I think she uses her dining room table. So, basically what you're suggesting is when it's Friday evening, she just packs up all of her work stuff and puts it away and sets up her dining room table for what the purpose it was built to serve, which is for eating, for family gathering and prepare for the weekend to embrace that, because maybe with the work clutter there, it will definitely impact her mentally and definitely probably not motivate her to want to relax because she's always going to be seeing it, it's in that central space there.

 

Recommendations for Working From and Being Productive

 

Patricia shared that actually is a great question. And first of all, she would like you to move around your space and just find a place that you know that you can set aside for yourself. And interestingly, she’s going to be doing a consultation with a client just about her workspace. And currently her desk is in her bedroom and what she wanted to say to her was like, “Let's get you one of those nice dividers, like a room divider so you can just separate it.”

 

She thinks this is a really big part is that you don't want to be going to bed at night, looking at your office and looking at your desk, that is the last thing you want. And talk about, like impacting your relationship, you're literally sleeping with your office, with your work, in bed with work. Who wants that? Nobody.

 

So, it's about just that clear boundaries of like, whether we're going to do a room divider. The other thing that she really likes to emphasize is just about like having yourself like a good I'm the boss chair. She was on a News TV show in the US, it was last year. And one of the jokes was saying like, get yourself an I’m a boss chair, like a proper strong back chair, with a nice high back that supports you, that you feel comfortable in for working from, and in a position where you can have maybe the wall behind you, where it's bright and well lit, where you can see the door ideally.

 

But if you can't, that you have some space around you. She sees a lot of the times like oftentimes when it comes to setting up your workspace, it can be a bit like it's an afterthought. It's like, “Oh, I'll just squish myself in the corner.” It's like you want to be the CEO of your business and you're pushing yourself into a little corner like you're not allowing yourself the space of it. And you think about like CEOs and entrepreneurs, like of big huge companies, they get the best office, they don't like hold back on creating this space that is a mirror representative of what they want their business to be like.

 

So, she often say to people, pretend that you had clients coming to you, pretend that you had meetings coming to you.

How would your office space look then?

 

And that's a very different way of like, wow, like how would I want to look?

 

Because even if nobody's going to come, you would create the space that would feel really good and welcoming for clients but also it's going to be inspiring for you.

 

Feeling Good About Yourself, Your Environment and Everything Around You

 

Me: So customer experience is all about ensuring that your customers leave feeling satisfied. Every business goes into business, I believe, primarily to solve a problem, whatever that problem may be for that client. Whether if you're a construction company and you're selling the tools necessary that the client will need to fulfil their project or in your case, if you're a Feng Shui Mastery expert and people are looking for clarity and they're looking to just get your headspace clear or if you're a customer service trainer like me, where people are looking to ensure that your customer satisfaction is at a particular level so their customers will keep coming back and that they'll have more repeat business and their customers become their advocates and evangelists for their business.

 

But when you think about customer experience and this is one of the things I teach. One of the core principles in one of our programs is that you must feel good about yourself in order to deliver a quality experience to someone else, because everything starts with you. And a big part of what I'm getting from what you're saying in your practice is how you feel about yourself, your environment and just everything around you; because all of that energy will impact what you pour out into your interactions with other people. What are your thoughts on that?

 

Patricia shared that she totally agreed with that. And for her, when you talk about customer experience, the best part of her job is the results that her clients get. And one of the things that the journey of really teaching Feng Shui came from, originally she would go to someone's house, she would do all of the work while she was there. She would have a consultation time with a set 3 or 4 hours, come in and have to draw out plans, have to do her calculations, have to kind of calculate, figure everything out while they are kind of sitting there, just kind of like doing their thing and waiting for her. And then she would give them all of the information in one go. And what she realized was that for them to get the best results they needed more time with her, they didn't need to be sitting around while she was doing all the work. And this is how they transitioned into online, where everything is done virtually, they send them everything, she has all the information from them and they are actually working on de-cluttering program.

 

They're actually working on de-cluttering while their preparing their space before they get their report from her to really implement it. And it's just been so fascinating in terms of the customer journey, because the more she has done it and extended their length of support because now they have like basically lifelong support with her in her online community to ask her questions, the higher implementations is as they drip feed the information to them. And that has led in better results in Feng Shui.

 

So, it's been this huge transformation to her that like what fed her with more energy to do it was seeing their results. And that makes her happy so she wants to do more of it. But the part of all that is that she had that results for her first. She had the success stories for her and now it's not about her anymore, it's about her clients successes. And they really focus on that and their success is the success of their business and their stories and what's happening to them is really the focus on it. So it's kind of this crazy spiral or this little infinity loop between them getting great results comes back to her to give her more energy to go and to get to really share the energy and the positivity of Feng Shui.

 

Me: I agreed. I strongly believe life is like a boomerang, whatever you give out, it comes back to you. And that's why you should live a life where you treat people well, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Just ensure that whatever you are doing, your intentions are good and they are pure and your initiatives are all in the aim of helping someone else. And I believe that if you do that holistically on a day to day basis, goodness will always come back to you.

 

Patricia totally agreed and shared that when you're coming from a very positive place, like for her, with the idea and the transformation that we see with Feng Shui, it's the ripple effect that's so powerful for her.

 

It's like a lot of women who come and join her program, like 99.9% is women. And what's so fascinating is then she gets a message the other day from a client saying, “I just wanted to tell you and share the good news. My husband has just started a new business and he shared a video with some friend of his and he's got 14,000 views today. And he started doing this and this and this. And I'm so excited for him.”

 

She joined the program for her career and her career has been doing great things and great things. But now it's like this ripple effect, it's affecting her husband as well. So, it's this kind of everybody wins when they start working with your environment.

 

Me: I agreed. It's funny you just said that 99.9% of your customers are women, do you do you know why it is that men don't necessarily gravitate to Feng Shui as much?

 

Patricia shared that she doesn't know, because actually, it was the emperors in China, in the Chinese dynasties that were like the real advocates first originally. And she thinks it's almost a little bit like yoga as well. Yoga was originally just practiced by men and women were not allowed to practice yoga and now in the West, it's a complete different opposite. It's like 90% women and 10% men. And that's obviously changing.

 

But she feels like obviously, women are mostly the people who are the homemakers and they're in charge of the energy in their home, and they are the ones that are more committed to really working on, “Well, there's something going on.” And they are there are more intuitive as well. Like that's just a natural gift of women, so intuitive.

 

So they'll be guided more to this practice and go, “Hang on a minute, yeah since we moved into this house, like we're not getting on as well or financial things have been happening to us.” So, she thinks that's where it has ended up being more women.

  

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

 

When asked about online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Patricia stated Voxer. She hates typing anything and she just loves communicating with her team via Voxer. So, that is the one thing that she absolutely love. Just any voicemail app, voice app is so good because she loves talking, but she doesn't like sitting and typing and doing coffee or anything like that. So that's how she works. And it's like a walkie talkie app. And so, she can just communicate with her team really easy via voice.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Patricia

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Patricia shared that she just loves books so much. And what's coming to her mind is actually from a really good friend of hers, Denise Duffield-Thomas, who's written a book called Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First-Class Life.

 

She (Patricia) has been a part of her program for so many years when she was teaching yoga and earning Five Euros. And she’s a huge fan, an advocate of her work. And it's really just around a financial mindset and money mindset in terms of allowing yourself to receive more. So, that has definitely had an impact, her community has been really big. And another book that she absolutely loves is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

  

What Patricia is Really Excited About Now!

  

Patricia shared that they are in a huge place of transformation with their business this year. It has just been probably one of the biggest years for growth and transformation in terms of growing their team, improve their communication, getting more systems in place, but also doing a huge rebrand. So, their program when you introduced her was called Feng Shui Mastery, it's being rebranded to Powerhouse. And that just feels so true, it sings through on so many layers as in like powerhouse being your house, being a powerhouse. But it's also for women who want to be powerhouses and are powerhouses like it's just feels so good. So, that entire rebrand is so exciting for her.

 

And the other part of that is actually stepping to the next level where some of their clients are going to be joining her on a journey to learn to become powerhouse certified Feng Shui consultants and be able to support people in their communities. So, her mission is to raise the vibration of the planet using the power of Feng Shui one house at a time. And she’s not able to do it on her own. So, she’s excited to share it with some amazing women and they're going to be stepping up to really sharing this magic with more people as well.

 

Me: Powerhouse Feng Shui consultants, sounds like an army of people transforming the world. I love it.

 

Patricia stated, imagine all those powerhouse women. She just saw one of her team members created the hashtag Powerhouse Revolution. She was like, “Yes, that's what we’re doing.”

 

Where Can We Find Patricia Online

 

Patricia shared listeners can find her at –

Instagram – @lohanpatricia

Facebook - @PatriciaLohan.Restoring.YouBack.ToHarmony

Website – www.patricialohan.com

Linked In – Patricia Lohan

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Patricia Uses

 

Patricia shared that the one thing that she always say is, “This too shall pass,” So, that is a really big one, it’s like this too shall pass. Nothing is permanent in life; everything is in transition and transformation all the time, change, death it’s all inevitable. Two things that are inevitable are change and death, there’s no need to be afraid of it and it will pass.

 

And then her favourite quote of all time is just, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And she’s currently reading Ghandi’s Autobiography so that’s quite good.

 

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 3, 2020

Jas Takhar has been in the sales and service industry for over 25 years. Soon after deciding to try his hand in real estate, he co-founded the REC, and in the course of 15 years, has successfully propelled his team to the 1st place position in Canada under Royal LePage.

 

With 34 realtors and 10 support staff, the team advises and assists over 700 buyers, sellers and investors yearly across the greater Toronto Area, resulting in a total of over $1.5B in transactions. Jas’ area of expertise is in helping investors build out their real estate portfolios. Wanting to share his knowledge and experience with the masses, he wrote a book titled Real Estate Intelligence, which teaches others how to buy or sell real estate on their own.

Questions

 

  • Could you share a little bit about your journey, how you ended up where you are today and what that was like for you?
  • Could you share with us how it is that you are able to provide white glove service to your clients and customers? Maybe give us two or three things that our listeners could take away and maybe use some of those same strategies in their business?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • 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?
  • Can you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now - either something that you're working on to develop yourself?
  • 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 focused or get you back on track if it is that you do fall off track.

 

Highlights

 

Jas’ Journey

Jas shared that he has been in sales and service now for 25 years. As mentioned in the bio, real estate has been 15 years for him. But he was always that kid, he was always selling, even as a young kid, in class, in school when he was probably 6 or 7 years old and the teacher said, who wants to help with selling ornaments during the Christmas during the holiday time or help with the book fair when the parents are going to come and buy books, he always had his hand up, he was very eager to do really anything with sales.

 

And then when it really kind of came home for him, it was when he was 12 years old, he got his first paper route, but it was in Toronto where for the Toronto Sun, where you have to knock on doors first to get subscribers. And even though as he thinks about it now, as he’s telling the story, he remembers heart beating, getting goose bumps, scared to knock on the door, but he always did, he always knocked on the door. And then it was fast forward to when he was 15, 16 years old, started selling shoes. Then he went into the banking industry with his client facing. And then he started selling cars for 3 years in the luxury kind of car market, Acura, Lexus and that's where he really was mentored by one of Canada's most successful owners, him and his family now own 8, 9 top dealerships in Canada based out of here in the greater Toronto Area.

 

But he took him under his wing, there was 3 brothers, but he took him under his wing, one of the owners, and just taught him how to sell, how to take care of people, how to ask for referrals, how to kind of tap into other people's network. And then 15 years ago, he made the big jump because in car sales, he realized that there was a ceiling in terms of how much he could make just looking at what some of the people that had been in the business for 15 years, what they were making. And so, once he decided to get into real estate, as they say, the rest is history. He’s proud to say now that they have 37 realtors, he’s going to have his team make sure they make that switch in the bio, with 10 support staff.

 

Customer service is the number one metric they use and what he means by that is how many wow's can they get during the process?

 

Strategies for Provide White Glove Service to Customers 

Jas stated that real estate is one of the biggest purchases that someone's going to make. And so, what he decided to do, not really once he got into the business, because 15 years ago he was still learning it and kind of getting an idea of how he was going to make kind of a dent into the marketplace and get market share. And what he came to realize was that a lot, and just like in any sales profession, if it's insurance or car sales, real estate, if you're an Advisor, a Consultant, really the bar is set low. He hates to say it, he owes everything to this industry like the sales industry, but he thinks salespeople are the least trusted professionals. So knowing that, knowing that the bar is not set that high and so what he started doing really within about 2 or 3 years is asking customers. He was like, “What are your expectations?”

 

And so, a lot of people would be kind of blown back, like blown away with that question, like, what do you mean? He’s like….

 

“What are your expectations in this process? Are you looking into buying quickly? Are you wanting to wait? Is this a long term investment or is this something that you want to buy and flip or do you expect me to answer your calls every single day? Whatever it is, I just want to know, Mr. and Mrs. Client, what are your expectations?”

 

Now in the back end, the reason he was asking this question is because one of their company models here is that exceed expectations, client’s expectations. Well, the only way to exceed them is if you know what they are.

 

And so, he would get people telling him, “Well, I want you to answer all my calls every single time I call, even if at 11 o'clock.” And he was like, “Well, that can't happen, that's not who I am.”

 

And so he was able to start to set barriers right at the start. What he also realized in real estate that most salespeople were always calling outbound and asking if somebody wants to buy, sell a home. So a service that he offered and look for anybody who's listening, who's in sales, he thinks you can do this in any industry. When they started was a real estate concierge service, it's absolutely free, there's no cost.

 

And so anybody who's listening, actually anywhere in the country of Canada, he’s based out of Toronto, but it doesn't matter where you are. If you need a plumber for your home, your principal residence or an investment property that you have and you need a plumber or an electrician, they will vet one out for you. They do all the heavy lifting, they do all the work, majority of the guys and gals from a service provider perspective are already on their list but if they don't have somebody in Nunavut, which is like a very far north cold place in Canada, they will go find them for you and there is no cost for that service.

 

What started to happen is clients were starting to say, “Wow, that is so different and you're not charging for it?” “No. In fact, I'll even go one step above Mr. and Mrs. Client. If there is a property that you're looking into buying and in our backyard or somewhere else in the country and you just want a second set of eyes, we will be that for you?”

 

Meaning like how you go for a second opinion with the doctor, let us be that for you. Well, people were blown away, they started to look at us like they weren't even real estate people anymore. Like, “Okay, great. Thanks for all the education. Can you put me in touch with the real estate agent?” That started to happen because they didn't think about the transaction. They started to think about how can they not only do business with Luke, the buyer, seller, or investor, but I know that on average he knows 200 people.

 

So, if he knows 200 people that also know 200 people, because that's a statistic, everybody would agree. He probably know about 200 people approximately. Well, that means his network now is 40,000 possible people to do business with.

 

And so, when you think about it from that mindset, it's like, “Wow, okay, all I got to do is take care of the first person who does business with me.” And then onwards and onwards. Rather than how do I sell this person, how do I manipulate or one thing that a lot of the sales coaches talk about and each to their own and their own business models.

 

But a lot of the sales coaches will talk about, “Well, you got to handle their objection.” What are they, a hockey puck? You're handling them with a stick, that's not how this works. Be nice, picture everyone as your best friend, your grandmother, you know, ask why they would want to buy it. Why are they buying this property? Find out their motivation, dig deeper, get to know them.

 

And so, to come full circle in terms of one or two tips, number one is offer more value than you're getting paid for. So, for example, he talked about the real estate concierge service being the second opinion, try to become the authority in that sense.

 

Number two is that he gives away all the information for free. You mentioned there's no cost for that book. And so, anybody, even if you're a real estate agent in his office, come to his office, he’s to the back. There's no cost for this book, it's absolutely free. They have an audio version, they have a PDF version, and they have a hard copy. Whatever which way you want to consume it, they’ll will give it to you, again at no cost. It actually talks about how to buy your own home, how to sell your own home, how to invest on your own. And some people in the industry and quote unquote of his competitors would say, “What are you doing? Why would you give them all the information that you're supposed to charge for?”

 

Because there's a little site that's called YouTube and Google that anybody can find out on their own how to do these things, they don't need us. And so, why not be the person that's out there giving the information for free?

 

And he can tell you, firsthand experience, you start to be looked at as not at and please anybody, don’t take this the wrong way, but not being looked at as the sleazy salesperson who only has commission breath, you start to look like somebody who cares. And he hopes anybody who's listening to this podcast and your viewers and listeners, you authentically care. Like, this is something that you really care about. You care about the person; you're not trying to manipulate them or trying to rip them off. And so let others see that and feel that from you.

 

How Jas Stays Motivated

Jas shared that his why is very strong. His why and his life is really to inspire as many people as he possibly can. For him it's very neat because he'll never hit it. He'll never hit inspiring everyone; there are 7 Billion people on this planet.

 

But he just loves the journey, he loves doing these podcasts, he loves doing videos, he loves writing articles and getting out as much as he possibly can.

 

Why? Because he was born and raised in the north part of Toronto in an area called Rexdale, where there really weren’t a lot of role models. You kind of see people selling drugs on the side and there's some crime in the area. And he grew up in that area with as he mentioned, not a lot of role models.

 

And so, he’s not Uber successful, in his own eyes, he’s not; he’s just Jas Takhar, son of Ajmer and Kuljit Takhar. He won the lottery in 1981 when he was born in the family that he was born in, he’s blessed, so grateful and especially when his parents came to Canada 8, 9 years before he was born.

 

And so, now he wants to inspire people. And so, for him, he wakes up, he springs out of bed; he has a very tough time some nights going to sleep because in a good way.  He’s very anxious, can’t wait to get back at it. He has two little boys and he knows that they're looking up to him. One is 7 and one is almost 5 in a month and a half. And he wants them to be proud of Daddy.

 

And he’s leaving a legacy, that's why he does a lot of a lot of videos; he probably put on about 20 pieces of content on all the platforms, on all platforms daily. Every day he puts out about 20 pieces of content and the reason is because he was just telling somebody this in his office yesterday, in his media squad, “I can't remember my dad's voice.” He stated his father is still alive, he’s like 73/74.

 

But he doesn't remember his dad's voice as a younger man because there are no videos. He doesn't have any videos of his dad; he probably has 18 pictures of him or something like that. But his sideburns and his bell bottoms back in the late 70s. His pops probably took it into the 80s too.

 

He doesn't remember his voice and how he moved, how did he interact with other people? He has some pictures 17, 18 pictures, his mom too, he can't remember his mother's voice and let alone his great grandfather, who was kind of like the godfather of the family.

 

His dad speaks very highly of his grandfather. He was lucky enough to know all his grandparents speak very highly of his great grandfather, he knows nothing about him. He passed away probably maybe when he was one or maybe just before. And he would love to have seen what he was up to and how he did things.

 

And so, he’s putting that out in the world now. And that's why he puts out so much content. So that is what keeps him self-motivated. He doesn't need a book to read and there's nothing wrong with that. He doesn't need a podcast to listen to, he loves listening to podcasts and audio books because it's something that he wants to get better at. But he wouldn't need it because he’s being pulled by something now; he’s no longer pushing towards anything. There's something that's bigger that's pulling him.

  

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

When asked about online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Jas shared that from a social media perspective, it would be for him, it would be Spotify, the audio platform for him because that's where he just get his podcast, it's where he puts out his podcast. It's the medium that really changed a lot for him personally, from a personal brand perspective. He was not comfortable with video at the start, now he wants 15 cameras around at all times, he’s just having fun with it. He’s seeing how does he connect with people? Do they like this? So he’s having a lot of fun.

 

At the start, it was the audio platform that really allowed him the comfort in doing it consistently because people didn't see him, his insecurities didn't really have to play out as much because it wasn't visual.

 

And so, the audio, in general, believe it or not, his number one app that is the most important on his phone is his calculator. It is by far the one app he can't live without, maybe because there's a little chip on his shoulders sometimes, all the teachers said, “Well, you can't go to the grocery, because when you go to the grocery store, you're not going to have a calculator in your pocket.” But really for him, the calculators, because he’s calculating a lot of numbers all the time for his clients, for himself, he’s putting deals together, if he’s negotiating something, he needs the calculator. And so, he probably uses the calculator the most.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Jas 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jas shared that he wrote the first book that he would have read would have been The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield. Jack Canfield is the co author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It's a thick book when you look at it and so it's kind of intimidating for him anyways, because he’s not the kid that was really good with textbooks and stuff in school. He was always drawn to personal development.

 

He’s in the process of writing his own book right now that should be coming out in 6 to 8 months in the personal development realm, because he was so inspired by so many guys and gals in that field. As he mentioned, a very thick book, looks intimidating. But wow, The Success Principles, the way that he wrote it, it's really in layman's terms. He understood it really quickly and then he executed.

 

And then the second one, he’s sure anybody who's listening to this podcast has read it, is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. He just was someone that he followed as much as he could. Social media back when he probably read that book in 2005, there wasn't really much in the social media world and so he had to do as much research as he can. He picked up his Franklin Covey planner and everything that Dr. Stephen Covey touched; he wanted part of it because he just thought he was such a brilliant, brilliant man. And that book, The Seven Habits, really is something that he probably has read 3 times and listened to the audio version 3 times as well.  It's the one book, along with The Success Principles, both of them; actually, he probably recommend the most to his team, especially his younger interns that are with him now, because he just thinks they're written very well and most importantly, they're so timeless.

 

What Jas is Really Excited About Now!

Jas shared that the one thing that is actually works, they coincide with each other is the working with the people that he’s growing with right now, which he finds very interesting, because his 37 realtors that he has, they're independent contractors. These guys and gals are stars in their own right and they're out and about in the world doing their thing. It's his 10 core staff that's with him on a daily business on a daily basis that he gets to spend a lot of time with and some of them out of the 10 have been with him for 10 years and others just joined him 2 weeks ago. And so, he’s having a blast watching them grow.

 

Overall, it's this book that he’s coming out with that he’s most excited about because it's his turn now to give back as much as he can. And this book, “Removing Friction, How to Get Out of Your Own Way” is really something he’s excited about, because it's not a book that he is putting together that's taken 3 months to put together. It's still not even done, it's only 40% complete, but that 40% has taken a year and it's going to take another year and a half to complete. He’s so excited because there's so much effort, time being put into this. This is not going to be like a guide, like a quick guide, it's not something that he’s looking into even having quick sales; he wants longevity with this book.

 

He wants this to be spoken about like how he just spoke about The Success Principles and The 7 Habits where it's evergreen; it's going to last forever. And that's what he’s very excited about. It's his story, along with a lot of tactical tips on how to get things done and get out of your own way, because he’s such a big believer that 90% of success, whatever success means to you, is mindset and 10% is the actual mechanics/execution of it.

 

And the number one thing that he thinks when it comes to mindset, so that 90%, 100% of that 90%, if everyone follows along, it is understanding that you need to get out of your own way, that person that talks to you every second, you’re shutting him up or shutting her up sometimes or allowing them to speak, like that person inside you, really getting in line with that person, and he’s such a big believer in it and he wants to write about it.

 

Where Can We Find Jas Online

Jas shared listeners can find him at –

Instagram – jastakhar13

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jastakhar/

Website – www.jastakhar.ca

 

 

 

 

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jas Uses

 

And so, the quote that he probably has lived by, he has embodied it, it was by Dr. Martin Luther King who said that, “You don't need to see the whole staircase, you just need to see the first step.”

 

For him, the reason that has always the first time he read it, Dr. Martin Luther King is a very special person. But when he said that and obviously has a lot of other quotes too, but that specific one for him was so important because he thinks so many people get caught up in how much they want to accomplish or what they want to accomplish and it’s usually very big and dreaming big and having big aspirations, that's amazing and you should. But then most people get stopped, they don't get started; they never actually take the next step. And when you come to understand that don't worry if you don’t see the whole staircase, you don't have to see how it's all going to unfold, you just got to take that first step because what happens is the right people and all the resources come will come into your life.

 

Me: Very true. All the people circumstances and events will present themselves to you and it will all line up.

 

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 27, 2020

Kaitlin Pettersen Show Notes

Kaitlin Pettersen leads the global Customer Support team at Intercom - responsible for the performance and operations of 60 ICs and leaders out of Intercom’s Dublin and Chicago offices. Previously, she launched Yelp's EU Customer Success and Account Management in their London and Dublin offices.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share a little bit about yourself with us, a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got into customer success and just all of what led to where you are today?
  • Intercom is the name of the company that you are currently affiliated with; it's a conversational relationship platform. So, for those persons that may be listening to this podcast, could you share with them exactly what does Intercom do?
  • Can you share with us what do you view as the major challenges and opportunities facing customer support right now?
  • Intercom recently launched Conversational Support. Can you tell me a little bit about how you are actually diving into providing conversational support from your end?
  • As a leader, as a customer support leader, what are some maybe one or two traits you think that you really need to be successful in this industry?
  • Could you share with us maybe what's the one online resource, tool, website or that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Can 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 many, many years ago or even a book that you read recently. But it has really struck a great impact on you.
  • Could you share with us what's one thing that's maybe going on in your life right now - either something that you are working on to develop yourself or your people, but something that you're really excited about?
  • Where our listeners can find you online?
  • Is there a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you tend to revert to this quote? It kind of helps to put you back on track and just get back on what it is that you are working on.

 

Highlights

 

Kaitlin’s Journey

Kaitlin shared that she have probably her entire career since she joined the workforce at 15 at a local cafe, has always worked in customer facing roles, cafes, coffee shops, customer support representatives on up through the leadership track. So, across a variety of industries, including, of course, Intercom and Yelp, as well as some of the more traditional service industries earlier in her career. So, that's sort of been a through line through it all.

 

She’s originally from California, she’s been with Intercom for about three and a half years now, and it's been a real joy and something that she has found to be profoundly exciting and fulfilling to see really the rise of the customer. And she has seen sort of that transformation that she has heard talked about on the podcast in the past and she thinks that all of us have seen in the industry where what happens post sale it's that, it's an afterthought. And to see this new wave of call it customer centricity, call it something else, call it just good business practice has been really fun to watch and it's certainly a change in the industry that her career has benefited from and she knows that the careers of so many.

 

So, very, very fortunate to lead a really amazing team of individual contributors and managers at Intercom. They are working and using their own product to support Intercom’s 30,000 customers, they believe in a messenger first approach but really stretching the boundaries of what she thinks people assume support means when they hear messenger or chat, this is asynchronous, highly segmented.

 

They're leveraging technology, proactive support, and self service support. But that's a little bit about her, her excitement for this type of work in industry and how they're currently managing and running their team at Intercom.

 

What Does Intercom Do?

Kaitlin shared that Intercom is a conversational relationship platform; they offer a variety, a whole suite of products that are layered on top of their messenger. So, you may if you if you haven't heard of intercom before, you've likely seen it, if you're on your favorite website and in the bottom right hand corner, if you see a little messenger bubble that's got the intercom smiley face and you'll know it once you see it. And the messenger is really what sits on the front end that consumers and website users see.

 

But on the back end of that messenger, you've got a powerful platform and tools and a suite of tools and features that allow you to communicate with your customers, really every stage of the life cycle. So, whether that be kind of the work that's more traditionally associated with, say, sales development that lead generation on through to the actual sales process itself, to the customer management, customer success, customer support, customer experience, whatever you want to call it. And then there's, of course, the marketing element too.

 

She thinks so much of how we think about selling, supporting and engaging customers, there's so much fluidity between those use cases and roles these days. And a tool like Intercom really empowers that fluidity and allows you to use one product to talk to your customers, sort of regardless of where they are in that lifecycle. Most folks would know them as a support tool that, of course, is their bread and butter and something that they're very, very proud of.

 

But there's a lot more to that. And most recently they launched a new system that they really believe in, which they're calling the conversational support funnel, which really allows growing companies to do what previously has been very challenging or nearly impossible, which is to maintain a high quality, high level of support for your customers, but to do it at scale and to ensure that you don't have to compromise that quality experience for the inefficiency that growing companies with big commercial ambitions need to prioritize.

 

Me: Brilliant. I was actually looking at some of the examples of the interfaces that you have on your website while you were speaking. And it reminds me of I'm assuming that the platform I use for my webinars is Demio, they probably are one of your customers because this is exactly how their interface looks when I am conversing with them. And I've had many conversations over the last few months, definitely since Covid-19, where I speak about the fact that I love that their platform integrates across different channels, so it's an omni channel experience. So, whether I speak to them through their website or through Facebook Messenger or through Instagram, all of the conversations are connected. Does your platform facilitate that? Clearly it does.

 

Kaitlin agreed that it does and that they are one of, as Intercom support team; they're one of Intercoms biggest customers. And so, she can certainly speak to how they use it. And for them, it is that omni channel experience. So their customers can email them, they can send them a tweet, they can open the messenger on their help center, for example, if they couldn't find what they were looking for. And all of that flows through into what they call their team inbox. And then her team communicates with their customers through that inbox, sort of regardless of that initial point of contact, it all flows through to that inbox.

 

And then there's a variety of features and functionalities to better understand some of the themes coming up in that conversation that would then inform what might be a follow on proactive communication that they would send to you kind of in that customer engagement space or what material, what might be helpful to you is that customer that was seeking something from them. What can they serve you proactively that's going to be useful to you?

 

So, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes there, behind that little messenger. But you are right, it is an omni channel experience and that customers, regardless of their entry point, it all flows sort of through that messenger on the front end into the back end to their team and support teams like her own team who have the great responsibility and joy of talking to customers.

 

Me: I love it. I talk about them all the time. As a matter of fact, that was my deciding factor. So even though the platform that I use for the webinars doesn't have maybe as many features as some of the more established webinar platforms, I chose Demio because of their responsiveness and their customer experience, because that was extremely important to me. So, I definitely give you and your team kudos and an applaud and recognition for partnering with them, having them as a customer and definitely providing that experience for me because I've spoken about it so many times.

  

What are Major Challenges and Opportunities Facing Customer Support

When asked about challenges and opportunities facing customer support and Kaitlin shared that the list is long but she’ll focus on maybe the top two or three. She had a former leader who called them “problemtunities”, which is probably a silly phrase, she thinks that's what you got to do when the world is shifting around you and support teams are up against new realities, how do you lean into solve them but also identify what opportunities might be there?

 

But to answer your question more directly, major challenges, it's hard to talk about this year without talking about the impact of Covid-19, either directly or indirectly. So, she thinks if we look back to say like let's call it March through maybe June, everything was changing.

 

The travel industry is the one that always comes to mind for her as an example, you just have this surge of customers with needs and questions and they're time sensitive and in some cases panicked and pick your vertical, pick your industry, some version of that happened on the back of Covid-19.

 

And for some businesses, it was a positive surge. Many, many businesses saying, goodness, our doors are closed, but we can still sell our great products online. How can we leverage the technologies out there to do that?

 

So, whether it's a positive thing or a challenging thing, Covid has certainly accelerated change that we're seeing in customer support. To Yanique’s point in particular, the webinar platform, customers expect a high quality but also convenient experience and they won't stick around or they won't say yes to you if they don't get it.

 

And she says high quality and convenient intentionally, she doesn't necessarily say fast. Now for you, you might also say, “Nope, for me, fast, faster is better for Demio.” But she thinks that something that is also changing is like historically people have associated online support or chat support with real time support.

 

But there are technologies and workflows and processes that you can leverage in chat and in messengers to offer a great asynchronous customer experience. And they can get into some examples of that, of course, if and when helpful. But, again, you can imagine the travel industry business, let's say an airline, they're getting a big surge of questions and as people are navigating to their website to grab their phone number to jump and chat or to grab an email address, you can pop up a messenger that serves some information to that customer right there when they need it that says, “Hey, are you looking to understand your options, to change your flight?” as an example.

 

So it doesn't necessarily have to be this back and forth real time, faster is better, in many circumstances faster is better. But she likes to be very specific about saying high quality, convenient and in their experience; they also believe conversational, people are using messengers at a faster and faster rate these days, WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook messenger, Instagram messenger, this is how people communicate now.

 

And so, making it as easy as possible for your customers to communicate to you. I text my family, I check something else through messenger, and then I message a company with a question and I'm able to interact with them in a way that's rather familiar to me.

 

So, she thinks the need for that sort of personal, convenient meeting customers where they are when they need you, she just thinks the need for that has really accelerated. And then to the volume point she talked about, customers expectations are not changing, but their needs are perhaps increasing.

 

So, customer support teams, and this is certainly impacted them, have felt overwhelmed by the volume of inquiries they need to manage. And that not only can lead to challenges for customers, but also challenges for your team. Burnout is a real thing. Front line support as you call it, it can be a bit gruelling. And so, as the months roll on, you're not only thinking about how do we continue to adapt our experience to meet the needs and expectations of our customers but how do we also maintain this great, highly motivated team that we worked so hard to hire and retain? So, she thinks we're seeing increased needs and volume from customers, we're seeing increase pressure on support teams.

 

So, businesses need to adapt faster than ever to adapt to all that change and they need that personalized human way to connect with customers. She also thinks one of the greatest needs of this year in and outside of the customer world is empathy. Everyone is just going through something or multiple things, big and small.

 

And so how can you empower teams and customer facing folks to connect with customers in a way that empathy can transfer through and everyone can still do their job and get done what they need to get done for the businesses. But sometimes when you're just dealing with like forms and these more traditional methods of communication, you're not really able to bring in that element of empathy, which she thinks is also sort of a unique need.

 

So, all that to say, she thinks big change, lots of transformation, businesses running as fast as they can to keep up. And from her and their perspective, they think that this is creating a movement towards these conversational experiences. So, again, it doesn't necessarily have to be real time, but how can you meet people where they are? How can you connect to them in an empathetic and real way? And most importantly, how can you meet their needs efficiently?

 

Launching and Providing Conversational Support 

Kaitlin shared that firstly, just to define Conversational Support, it's probably obvious that just to be clear here, so they believe that conversational support is the next generation way to resolve customer questions. And really what they mean by that is this is a messenger based experience, as she mentioned, showing up for your customers where they are, when they need you, that's to speak again to some of that omni channel experience that you talked about.

 

And so, they started to wrap their heads around what is conversational support mean and how can they package this in a way where it really makes sense to the market where they can say, “Hey, we think there's a better way to do this and here's how to think about it.” So, in June of this year, which in 2020 terms feels like 9 months ago, but it was just a few months ago, they launched a framework for delivering this conversational support and they call that the conversational support funnel. She mentioned that earlier.

 

And so, this is really a blueprint to show businesses how to increase efficiency, because that's certainly a need, it's always been a need in the support space, but has increased in importance this year. How can you improve your customer experience and then how can you improve the morale of your team? Let's not forget about these teams that are doing such great work out there.

 

And so, this funnel is a concept for how they think modern support should look like and how it empowers customers to scale these messenger based experiences. Because, again, in the past, she thinks folks associate messengers or chat experiences with very expensive one to one real time support when it doesn't need to be that way.

 

So, to bring that funnel to life, you can picture your little upside down pyramid here, at the top you have proactive support. So, again, to her airline example, what are the known questions that you know are coming in that can be answered proactively using targeted content?

 

And so, for them on their team, this looks like a deep partnership with their product education team that owns their help center and produces materials that help their customers. How do they partner with them to surface the right content, at the right place at the right time? And this is a balance, you don't want to overwhelm customers with information that they don't need. So you need to be really thoughtful here about surfacing the right again, the right thing at the right time, at the right place.

 

But that's that top of the funnel is get to the customer before they even have the question. And she’s sure we can all imagine these really delightful experiences we've had unfortunately they can be few and far between them. But you've got a need/question, maybe it's time sensitive and you jump onto the website or you pull up the email and it’s like there it is, there's what you need. And you just saved yourself 30 minutes and that feels really good.

 

Going on down the funnel, you got self-serving report. So these are those repetitive questions that can be answered automatically using chat bots or the knowledge base or help center.

 

So, they have a product called Resolution Bot that they use, but there's a lot out on the market that allows you to kind of programmatically recognize, “Hey, this is a repetitive question and we've got the answer and let's serve that up to this customer.” We've seen this go wrong in the past and what's exciting about the chat bot space is we kind of saw this. If you kind of think about technology, there was like the boom and then the bubble burst and then this new wave tech, she thinks similarly with chat bots there was like chat bots are the next generation and it really didn't work.

 

And you can imagine the like stock photography photos and you know you're not chatting to a person, you know you're chatting to a robot and you keep trying to get out of the loop and you can't. That's the past. The technology is moving very quickly and they believe in making people know if it's a bot, tell them it's a bot, “Hey, while you wait for Yanique and her amazing team, does this maybe help to answer your question, thumbs up or thumbs down? Thumbs down. Okay, no problem. You want to wait for the team? It's going to take us about X hours or whatever it is to get back to you.”

 

So, you've got to do it right, leave the objective stuff to the bots, leave the empathy to the humans, and then that gets us to the third and final point in the in the funnel, which is the human support.

 

So, complex questions that can only be answered by a human. But it isn't just about like whittling the volume down to your great smart humans, but also making it easier for them to work more efficiently. How can your system help them do their job more effectively, more efficiently and maybe even more delightfully.

 

So, conversational support is this idea of using a messenger, meeting customers where they're at. And you've got this funnel, which is this framework that's like, Okay, I'm into this conversational support thing, but how do I do it?

 

And they think that that's the proactive piece, the self-serve or automated piece and then there's the human piece. And then the last component here and you could tell she could probably go on hours here because this is really exciting.

 

The last thing she'll say is in August they announced a whole bunch of new features and tools to bring enterprise grade efficiency and scale to customer support for the first time.

 

So, traditionally businesses have had two choices, old school email ticketing forms and these allow teams to work efficiently, it organizes your customer’s needs into a nice and tidy queue and they're just going to wait as long as they wait but they're transactional. And then on the other end of the spectrum, you've got that fast personal messenger based experience that delighted customers. But synchronous is expensive and it lacks the under powering flexibility or underlying power to keep up with how larger teams work and scaling businesses, that gets really expensive and unmanageable really quickly.

 

So, they built this whole suite of tools to enhance this funnel or this model. And they think that they're more powerful and efficient than your traditional ticketing system, that they take that messenger experience, they unlock all components of that funnel and enable businesses to not have to make that tricky choice between clunky ticketing, old school or modern but expensive, finding that happy medium.

 

Traits for Being a Successful Customer Support Leader

Me: So, Kaitlin, what are some important considerations for customer support leaders like yourself to be successful? So you spoke a lot about conversational support and a lot of these people that are working in your different teams with different organizations, they literally have to be out there in the battlefield every day offering that level of empathy, offering that level of understanding with customers, even if it's situations or circumstances that they've never experienced themselves. As a leader, as a customer support leader, what are some maybe one or two traits you think that you really need to be successful in this industry?

 

Kaitlin shared that she loves this question and she thinks Yanique hit on such an important point, which is sometimes as a leader, you don't know what it's like. And something that always comes to mind for her is to know the difference between what she would call knowing the material and then leading.

 

And she thinks as the support or experience leader, it's our job to do the latter, to lead. Our discipline in this wild world of customer support more than most means that your frontline employees are likely to know how to do their jobs or at least have the answers to your customer questions much more than you ever will. She jumps in to talk to their customers every now and again because it's the right thing to do and it's a great way for her to connect with their customers and team and it is the most humbling experience.

 

She mentioned that she is the most rookie person on their team when it comes to knowing their products and talking to their customers. Whereas if you think about, say, like the sales world, which she has a background in prior to post sale.

 

A leader can really coach those core sales skills and then you apply that philosophy to how your team approaches their book of business or their prospects. So, she thinks it's really important as a support leader to recognize you're very likely not going to have all the answers and so your value doesn't come from that, your value comes from building a strategy that allows your team to always be improving what they do for your customers and to feel for themselves that they're always advancing, that they're learning more, they're doing more, that they're developing in their own careers.

 

And she thinks that's what's really important to hire and maintain great talent. And so, she’s really big on that one and she kind of had to learn that in the hard way, because really in her experience at Yelp. She had done everything in sales and post sales support except maybe sweep the floor that they sat on.

 

And so, understanding what is leading the team look like, how do I enable them to be and feel more successful?

 

And how do I really own delivering great experiences for our customers and how do I leverage our team to do that?

 

So, she thinks that's a really important one. And then the second one, she'd say would be finding the balance between maximum efficiency for your customers and then maximum delight.

 

And she touched on this a little bit earlier as part of the funnel. But this is really going to look different for different businesses and brands. Ritz Carlton, they've got the bank account and the brand to air on delight.

 

But a lot of businesses out there, that isn't what you need and so regardless of where you sit on that spectrum, do we need maximum efficiency?

Do we need maximum delight?

 

Everyone should probably fall somewhere in the middle. But being intentional about understanding where your experience for your customers should sit and then what you can do to drive for those outcomes.

So maybe you're going from bootstrap startup to scaling up business that wants to go public, you're probably going to need to lean a little more on the efficiency side because you're going to need to tighten the belt and button up costs.

And so, again, she thinks it changes as the business grows. But being really intentional about understanding where do we fall on the spectrum and then how do we leverage our tool, stack, our team, workflows to help us achieve that outcome.

 

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

When asked about online resources that she can’t live without in her business, Kaitlin shared that she always feel bad because they've got a lot of favourites. So, she will cheat by saying they, of course, couldn't live without Intercom. They drink their own champagne, as they say. She doesn't like the dog food phrase, so she likes champagne, so they drink their own champagne.

 

But aside from that, she would say that your sales team, too, but certainly your support team, especially in a remote working world, which that's a whole other element of Covid that we didn't even talk about.

 

A knowledge management tool and process, and so they are super fans of Guru, which is a knowledge management system for all sorts of teams. And what she loves about it in particular, they all know what it's like to try and tackle an outdated internal wiki or to go look for an answer only to find that it's a year or two outdated. Is they have really smart AI and machine learning and great kind of powerful technologies behind the scenes that really make it very easy for teams to keep their internal resources updated.

 

And they also, in that spirit of proactive support, they kind of help to surface the right content to your teams at the right time. So, she’s got a long list of products and tools and companies that they love. But she’s a big believer in your team, especially in a remote working world is only as good as is, it's the quality of its knowledge management system. And for them, they're big fans of Guru.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Kaitlin

  

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Kaitlin shared that she always struggle with this one and she will put her hand up and own it. Inside of working hours, she is diving into, throw her a white paper/sheet, throw her an article, throw her a podcast, she is into it. Outside of work, she is a fiction lover, but in the space of customer experiences and support, she will share a book that stayed with her.

 

One is The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon. Into that scale she talked about between efficiency and delight. She thinks that long held belief that you got to go above and beyond for your customers and be the Zappos and the Ritz Carltons of the world, which if that aligns with your brand and you're intentional about it, then right on. But don't just assume that that's what you need to do. She doesn't remember what the stat is, but that in Effortless Experience, it talks about like channel switching.

 

She was having a conversation this morning with their community manager about someone bouncing from their messenger to their community and then bouncing them back to messenger. They want to avoid that, they don't want to bounce them around. So Effortless Experience really stayed with her because she loves that it challenges this long held notion of striving for delight when really ease and effortlessness is what customers need. So, that would certainly be one.

 

And then this is probably when she got her first “real job” which was Yelp back in 2009 which was Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, and she has probably leveraged the learnings from that book more in her personal life, even though her professional.

Front line, post sale, pre sale, you're having some tough conversations for a variety of reasons and understanding and she thinks the framework that stuck with her from that one is identifying a common goal and partnering with the person you're speaking with to achieve that goal.

She uses it in her marriage; she uses it when working with folks on their team. And back in her kind of frontline days, she certainly used it when talking to customers.

 And at Yelp when they were talking about really sensitive things for small businesses like one star reviews. So, Crucial Conversations definitely an oldie but goodie and one that she thinks is helpful in and outside of the professional world.

  

What Kaitlin is Really Excited About Now!

Kaitlin shared that now more than ever, she thinks is important for all of us to find something we can get excited about, that's something we all need this year. So, she loves that Yanique is asking folks this question.

 

So for her at work and she thinks as a leader, you need to strike this balance between guiding your team through the problems that are right in front of you. And this year, has presented more than maybe many of us were ready for and putting out fires.

 

Especially as a strategic leader, a few levels up, you really need to be building out what does success look like for us next year? And what about the year after that? And what is our target? What big, audacious, ambitious goal is our company targeting in the next few years? And how does the work of my organization contribute to that? And so, she thinks that's always the balance of enabling your team in the moment and leading them through challenge of challenges present and also mapping out the future.

 

And nothing goes according to plan, of course, but building the vision, building the strategy to help get there, making sure that the work that your team does isn't just purely reacting to what's coming in, but also contributes to this larger goal for the company.

 

So in the spirit of that, she will be very transparent and say that they took a kick in the bum this year in terms of their support volume, and they found themselves in a place they'd never been before, which was sort of upside down and offering much slower wait times than they ever had.

 

And so, supporting the team and getting through that and coming up with big, bold strategies and ideas to help them do that is something she’s currently excited about and is the top priority because their customer experience is number one and how that impacts their team, because those things go hand in hand.

 

But longer term, like any company at Intercoms stage, she’s looking ahead and for them, that looks like building the future of their upmarket support offering. So startup early stage, you've got founders talking to customers, you're going above and beyond for every single one to not only just retain them and keep them in the door, but also understand their needs and use that to inform your product roadmap.

 

And then you get to the next stage where you're hiring a support team and you're scaling it out, but you're offering that one size fits all experience to every single customer and you're trying to make it great.

 

And then you get more customers and you start to set your eyes on some ambitious targets in terms of like funding or liquidity events. And she mentioned this earlier; you got to tighten up your belt. And so, for them, the inflection point that they're really at now is their enterprise segment and their upmarket segment is really swelling.

 

And so, their offering to them has been, “We'll move you to the top of the queue. If you're a premium customer, we'll get to you faster.” That is so rudimentary, it lacks nuance, and it lacks sophistication. So she’s having some really fun conversations with folks on their sales team, with some customers, as well as folks in a variety of other departments to help her understand what they're building, the future of the market support at Intercom look like not only in terms of the speed and quality of experience that they're offering, but what does it look like on, say the availability side of the house and bug escalations and proactive partnership opportunities.

 

And so, that's her sort of looking ahead of her toes out across the next few years and she’s really excited about it because building is really fun to do and she’s finding the conversations she’s having all over the place to be rather energizing and inspiring. So watch this space for what they built, but she’s pretty excited about it.

 

Where Can We Find Kaitlin Online

Kaitlin shared listeners can find her at –

LinkedIn – https://ie.linkedin.com/in/kaitlin-pettersen-9a315215

Twitter – @kpetterman

Website – www.intercom.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Kaitlin Uses

 

Kaitlin shared that there is a quote that carries her through personal and professional challenges and is really, for her, a North Star or a guiding principle as a leader. And it is the amazing Maya Angelou's, “People will forget what you said, they'll forget what you did, but they will not forget how you made them feel.” And she gets tingles when she thinks about it and when she thinks about her. When we think back in our lives, on the leaders, on the companies, on the brands and the people, the exes, the friends, you don't remember the words; you don't specifically remember the actions, maybe unless they were really good or really bad.

 

But you remember the feeling, it stays with you. And she thinks that's true in business, but certainly outside of business as well and through adversity. She hopes that their team and their customers will look back on this time and say, did Intercom nail everything?

 

Of course not, because who would? We're all just adopting and doing our best and working really hard. But did they lead with empathy and transparency and heart? So that's one that she’s so glad she had the opportunity to talk about, because she thinks it's such a great quote.

 

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

 

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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 20, 2020

Jason Grier is the Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Reputation.com. He leads Reputation.com’s customer loyalty and growth initiatives as Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. He's the former Senior Vice President of Global Support Operations and Chief Customer Officer at McAfee, where he spent more than 10 years.

 

While at McAfee, Jason built a reputation as an industry leader in customer support and operations. His teams were honored with a number of awards, including the Intel Quality Award, a prestigious honor for outstanding quality and a personification of Intel's values and the highest team honor given at Intel. His teams also won two TSIA Star Awards, two Service & Support Professionals Association Awards, and a Stevie Award for innovation in action.

 

Before his time at McAfee, Jason held executive-level positions at Sutherland Global Services and Covad communications.

 

Questions

  • Can you share with us a little bit about your journey, how it is that are able to get into these different roles? And of course, more importantly, what led you to the role that you are currently in today?
  • Could you share with us a little bit about your organization? It says you're the Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Reputation.com. What does Reputation.com do?
  • In terms of customer experience and reputation, how can an organization ensured that if they had a good reputation, a good brand image in the eyes of their customer pre COVID, how can they sustain that and even surpass COVID with those customers maintaining their reputation?
  • Could you share with us maybe two to three things that you think an organization or characteristics that an organization needs to embody in order to really have a reputation that is strong, where customer experience is concerned?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • 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 have been a book that you read many, many years ago, but it still has an impact on you or maybe a book that you read recently.
  • A lot of our listeners are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services, but they lack the constantly motivated human capital - if you are 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 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 any form of obstacle or challenge that you're being faced by you'll revert to this quote because it kind of helps put you back on track and just get you refocused. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Jason’s Journey

Jason stated that it's a great question and anybody that's being honest when they talk about their career, has to say that a lot of it is luck and a lot of it is timing and a lot of it is hard work. But he was coming around at a time when the call center world was really beginning to migrate to offshoring in India. And he found himself right in the middle of all this transformation.

 

And so, if you think about what companies were doing back in the very early two thousands, it was all about how could we be more efficient? How can we be more productive? How can we reduce our costs? How can we keep our customers loyal, back then it was how do you improve customer satisfaction?

 

He found himself doing a lot of travel back and forth to India, found himself in the middle of all types of big change with lots of big companies. And so, he was very fortunate in the sense, unfortunate a sense that he was doing a ton of travel, but very fortunate in the sense that he was right in the middle of it all with some of the world's biggest brands in the middle of their operational transformation. And it was just a very natural progression into the career that he ended up having at McAfee and the operations world and as the world of CX really kind of became to get more formalized.

 

Again, happened to be the person that had the most experience doing this. And as a result was selected to lead those efforts. So, the world of formal CX in and of itself is still relatively new, it hasn't been around as a formal practice for that long. And plenty of people are still trying to figure out the really tough aspects of it, which are how you operationalize this. So that's a very brief story of how he got to where he is.

 

What Does Reputation.com do?

Jason shared that in terms of the world of CX, if you think about how the traditional survey world has evolved and all the listening posts that the CX practitioners are beginning to collect and listened to and take action on; it's not just surveys anymore, it's social media, it's reviews, it's business listening data. And so, what they've been able to do is build a platform and an algorithm that really allows their customers to get found, get chosen and get better through not only all of the point products that he just named, but really the amalgamation of all that into one platform, using one algorithm to really spit out and generate actionable data that allows them to hear what their customers are saying and take action on what they hear.

 

So they're smack dab in the middle of what some would call the CX space and what others would call the online reputation management space. And so, they've actually created their own category, which they now call RXM for Reputation Experience Management.

 

Me: So, when I do customer service training, one of the things that we ask the participants is what makes them choose one business over another? And usually, you'll have different options, you have price, you have quality of product, quality of service, convenience, reputation is always one of the options there. What's are your views, we’re in this space now where there's a lot happening globally. Some companies are exercising a lot of hibernation, they're not extending much spend because they're very unsure of what the future holds. And because of that, they're really trying to stay afloat. And then you have other organizations that this economy actually is making them thrive and they are spending abundantly.

 

Keeping a Good Reputation, A Good Brand Image in the Eyes of Customers

Jason shared that one of the reasons that he really likes the name of their company so much is because, reputation. Brands are built on reputations and reputations are built on trust. And what's really interesting about today's world, the COVID world is the implications for how people are going to want to do business moving forward.

 

 And the best predictor of the future is always the past. And so, if you go back and you look at something as impactful and change full as 9/11 was for the United States. What did that ultimately change? Well, it actually changed the way that we travel. If you kind of look at how you traveled before and how you travel after it's completely different.

And he could go through all kinds of different scenarios that have happened between then and now, but this one's different because it impacts everybody the same. Nobody is immune, every business, every person is immune. And what is top of mind for every customer and literally across the world is safety. And so, if you're thinking about your brand and you're thinking about your reputation and how others are going to perceive you, he would say that the answer to your question is, if you're not focused on making sure that your customers not just only have a great experience in doing business with you, but if they have a safe experience, that they feel safe, that they feel like you're on top of it on their behalf. Those are the companies, at least in the short term are going to come ahead and come out on top.

 

And quite frankly, those who don't will get punished. You're going to see anytime you see folks not taking the measures, at least the minimum guidelines to ensure their customer safety, they're going to get punished and they're going to get punished online especially with social media and reviews today. So it's a great question and it's a really interesting situation that we're in today.

 

Me: So one of the things that I heard you saying just now, very big buzzword in customer experience now is safety. Even if it wasn't something that organizations had as a priority on their list of delivering a quality experience, it definitely is now seeing that that's something that you have to incorporate into your business, especially if you are predominantly a face to face type of operation.

 

So, how do you see organizations really using or capitalizing on this safety thing because apart from sanitizing and ensuring that there are social distance markers on the ground, but people need to know that at the end of the day, you have their best interests at heart and the best interest of your employees, because they can basically pick up if you are just doing it because the government says you are to do it, or you just don't care. You're all about the bottom line.

 

Jason stated that that's a great question. And frankly, that's exactly where we're seeing the explosion is on the employee side. Companies are coming to them in mass and wanting to know, “Hey, how can you help us understand what our employees think? How can you help us understand how we're doing towards keeping their trust and earning and keeping their trust in these times?”

 

They're really concerned about, “Hey, we're spending all this money on real estate and nobody's using it. And so, how do we make our employees feel comfortable with our policies and allow them, without risk to them and without losing their trust to come back to the office, or at least have some type of hybrid model.

 

Going back to the 9/11 example about how it changed the way we travel, this is changing the way that we interact and the way that we work. And the good news is that the entire world has learned that you can work via Zoom or Google. So, they're interesting dynamics going on for sure.

 

 

Characteristics an Organization Needs to Embody to Have a Good Reputation

Jason shared that the number one thing is you've got to really create a culture of listening and then a culture of action. And quite frankly, in his opinion at least, it's the hardest thing to do when you're talking about operationalization of customer feedback or CX, however you want to characterize it. The absolute hardest thing to do is be a great listener, number one. And then number two, actually take action on what your customers have to say. What he finds to be most interesting is how well-intended so many people are when they're listening to customer feedback.

 

And oftentimes what happens is someone will take lots of customer feedback and they'll turn it into an idea that they, the employee thinks is a good idea to implement on the customer.

When in reality, it's just a good idea, but it's not really what the customers want.

 

And so, he thinks that making sure that you have that rigor and that discipline to not just listen to customers, but actually take action on what you hear, he thinks is the number one thing to do. And then, number two, you've got to permeate that into your entire culture and make it a thread of every employee in the company and so that they feel that they have a vested interest in doing what's right by your customers.

 

 

How Jason Stays Motivated

When asked how he stays motivated, Jason shared that he has a lot of employees that are really, really focused on doing right by their customers and creating successful outcomes for them. And one of the funny things is his employees, they laugh at him about it but, they do all hands-on on a regular basis. And one of the things that he actually do on his Zoom, he has a zoom TV. And so, what he actually do is he go through and he'll look at all their faces and he sees the commitment that they have to their customers and the commitment that they have to their company. And it really drives him to help put them in the best possible position to win, number one. So, because he thinks happy employees make happy customers.

 

And he thinks the second thing that really keeps them all is that this notion that we are still so young and early in the business and he happens to have the good fortune of also being in the same position in the world of security with McAfee. And he saw how that grew and changed and really impacted businesses and people's lives. And he thinks this is no different, you’re just at the earlier stages of something that's going to continue to swell and become just a bigger and more important component of everybody's business world.

 

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

Jason stated that what’s so funny about Yanique asking him this question, he actually got off of all social media about a month ago, and he has to be honest, he doesn't miss it one bit. Now, the answer to the question is he does go to Google News every day. And so, he does read the headlines every day, and then there's some stories he'll dig into but the amount of time that he spends online has diminished rapidly and the amount of time that he has actually been able to pour into thought leadership has increased exponentially. And so, he has to be honest, it's been great.

 

He has the good fortune. He has some family members who are pretty famous online and as a result, he thinks a lot of their fans follow him or used to follow him and so it becomes a distraction. And it was very healthy for him to just put it all down and focus on things that matter. And it's been great.

 

Book That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Jason

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jason stated he gets asked this question a lot and it has been the same answer forever. But it was the first book that he read in business school is called Theory of Constraints by Eliyahu Goldratt, it's such a simple, easy read, and it really creates and just kind of reminds you how simple things really should be and just to always kind of keep it that way. And so, he'd go on the business side, he'd go with that one.

 

On the fiction side, he would say either Shōgun by James Clavell or Pillars of the Earth: A Novel by Ken Follett which are both over a thousand pages, but they're great. And he says that because you should always take time to exercise your creative side, he thinks that's really important.

 

How to Have a Successful Business

When asked about advice to have a successful business, Jason shared that number one is listen. And then number two, he thinks just like anything else and again at McAfee and in other places he has been fortunate to be in a position where they've done numerous acquisitions and he could probably easily name 30 that he was actively involved in.

 

And you start to see some of the same trends emerge when you're dealing with a massive company like some of the ones that he came from, versus someone, an entrepreneur who has really scraped and worked hard to build their business from scratch and it's so admirable. And he has such a respect for the folks that do that, but at the same token, there's the ability to listen and then to delegate and really trust is the thing that he would go back and tell all of those folks, that would have been his observation is who are you putting into these roles, who are into these critical roles that are running your company for you because you can't do it all, no person is an island. And so, it really is true. And so, it is all about the people.

 

Me: I liked the fact that you said you think the number one thing they should do is listen. Now, how can you improve on your listening skills? It's lovely to say in theory, I think you should listen more, but let's say the person thinks that, “Well, I think I'm a good listener.” What are some things that they could do, like maybe a listening audit, or is there like a new practice they could embody to really ensure that they're trying to improve on their listening skills?

 

Jason stated that he almost feel like Yanique was listening in to a meeting of his over the last couple of days, just because someone asked him that same question and he said, ask. And again, keep it simple, some people have a great amount of ability to be self reflective and understand their strengths and weaknesses and others aren't and, and hopefully, are good at taking feedback. But at the end of the day, the only way to be able to listen more is to ask more and then stop.

 

And so, the question is that he would say is, what are the different ways in which you're asking, because you're asking him questions right now, but you might want to send him questions written, in written form at a different time or you might want to have someone else on your behalf reach out and send him a review. And so, it's all about making sure that you've got different asking posts, different asking posts create different listening posts is probably a better way to say it.

 

Me: I do agree with you that asking questions will definitely help you to become a better listener, especially, as you said, after you've asked the question, you remain silent and actually pay attention to what the person is saying to you. There's a book that I read at least once per year, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. And that's one of the things that I really have taken from that book that asking questions really helps you to be just more intentional, it helps you to get more information because generally speaking, I find human beings don't necessarily just volunteer information. So if you really want to know, you have to be asking the right questions.

 

Jason stated that to make it even more practical, he thinks the real answer is you actually have to be interested. And the test that he gives, and this is part of anybody that works on his staff is going to hear him say this probably more, they probably have nightmares about it, but you got to be a great secondary learner. And what he means by that is, are you paying attention to what others are saying and learning from them regardless of who they are. And so, to do that and to be good at that, it requires you to actually be interested. And he’s got to tell you, if you're not interested, it's going to show.

 

What Jason is Really Excited About Now!

Jason shared that he is in the process of building a whole model on business acumen and directly for his people. He preach a lot to his staff, it's all about the front lines and empowering them and giving them the tools to be successful. And one of the things that he has seen just across any company that he has worked for. He had the good fortune of going to business school at night and not everybody can do that. And so, he finds that it's really important when you're helping to develop your employees and your staff to actually give them tools that are practical and useful that actually help them get better. And so, he tries to do at least one of those a year.

 

And right now he’s working on one that goes by industry and actually will help them understand what are the key metrics for that industry that will allow you to have more meaningful conversations with people instead of, he doesn't ever want any of their customer success folks to call someone and “Hey, I'm just checking in to see how you're doing?”

 

He wants them to be able to, whether it's a healthcare company or an automotive company, or a property management company, or a restaurant, or you name the vertical. He wants them to feel prepared, capable, and empowered, to have meaningful business conversations with people about the things that matter to them, not just the things that matter to us (the organization).

And that's really the essence of being a great listener is showing them the courtesy and the respect that you have taken the time to learn about their business, number one. But number two, he thinks it just makes their people better and he thinks that that makes them more appreciative of them and more loyal to them over time.

 

Where Can We Find Jason Online

Jason shared listeners can find him at –

 

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jason-grier-825b271

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jason Uses

Jason shared that “When you're dealing with adversity, you just put your head down and you go and you keep going and eventually you'll get through it.” But he can't tell how many times he has had that conversation with himself. It's easy to be a great winner, what he thinks the real test of people's character is how they deal with adversity and really trudged through and methodically chop wood to get through it and come out the other side even better.

 

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Links

 

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Oct 13, 2020

Leena Iyar is the Chief Brand Officer at Moxtra. She is responsible for all aspects of Moxtra’s marketing efforts, including strategy, brand awareness, growth marketing, public relations and customer communications.

 

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got into marketing and brand awareness, that kind of stuff?
  • Could you share with us a little bit about how it is that especially in this time that we're operating in, we're impacted by the pandemic globally and people have to literally reinvent themselves. What have you noticed? Have you noticed any different trends in that whole space in terms of people just keeping their brand consistent on top of mind with the customer, and, of course, ensuring that even if even the customer is not shopping with them as they used to, how is it that you're staying relevant to those customers?
  • Could you share with us a little bit about what Moxtra does? I know it's a one stop portal that allows customers to basically have everything housed digitally in one place. But let's say, for example, you're a bank and you operate on many different platforms. Could you just give us real time what that means for the bank and how does that translate to the customer's experience?
  • What are your thoughts on designing the experience that it's, if not better than the face to face experience digitally?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you share with us maybe one online resource, website, app or tool that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Can 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 that still has an impact on you to this day, or maybe a book that you read recently.
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two things that is going on in your life right now - either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where listeners can find you online?
  • Could you share maybe one or if you have more than one, a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote or saying because it kind of helps to help you to overcome that obstacle or that adversity.

 

Highlights

 

Leena’s Journey

Leena shared that she got into marketing actually when she was in college. So, she started by working on a mock up of a product that then sort of evolved as part of working with the Moxtra team into what Moxtra is today. And so, she has been involved with the team since then, and she sort of started as someone who had their hands a little bit in everything.

 

So, the marketing, the website, the design, the fonts and the role just evolved since then. And she thinks that the nice thing about being in marketing is that there's a new creative challenge every day. You're thinking about things from a design perspective, thinking about things from an audience perspective and most importantly, from an experience perspective. And so, sort of blends all of these together into sort of a comprehensive experience.

 

Keeping Your Brand Consistent - Top of Mind and Staying Relevant to Customers

Leena shared that we're seeing this a lot with our customers and just with businesses that we speak to that as you said. In today's world, it's no longer a nice to have to be able to engage your customers on digital channels, it's now an imperative. And she thinks for so many businesses, there is this push to adjust, adapt and reinvent and reimagine the way that they're engaging with their customers on digital channels.

 

And she thinks the biggest thing in that regard is this whole idea of, whatever it might be to provide a convenient experience for your customers to do business with you on digital.

 

And so, that's the case whether you're a law firm, that's the case whether you're a couture designer, that's a case whether you’re a real estate agent. And really, the whole concept is about keeping your customers engaged under your brand. A lot of what they do at Moxtra is that, they power people's one stop customer portal, which is basically, a digital branch for their business under their brand, which helps them engage their customers and as well as manage their organizations to deliver that service experience.

 

Me: Marketers sometimes can come over to be a little pushy. What do you think is the approach they should be taking now seeing that, as I said, a lot of people are in hibernation to kind of watching how to spend, maybe what they would have budgeted to spend on different initiatives for 2020 has probably been scaled down depending on the mindset of that organization, because some companies are spending. But then there are a lot who are literally watching what's happening and just being very cautious in terms of their spend and activities that they would take. So, from that perspective, what stance do they need to have as it relates to being pushy or just kind of going with what the customer is asking for you even if they're not asking for anything?

 

Leena shared she would say that in their case, and obviously, theirs may be a unique experience and sort of a different microcosm, but she thinks the thing is that what they do is they enable people to have a digital branch in their pocket at the cost of one brick and mortar branch, they could possibly be in a thousand or ten thousand customer pockets. And the reach, the distribution, the scale of that is really huge and from a marketing perspective, it's all about enticing as opposed to chasing.

 

So, she thinks that if you have something that genuinely provides value, that makes sense, that will emerge. And it's really just about building the awareness and when is the right timing, is the right customer, things will fit. And that's what we're seeing. From a marketing perspective, we don't really end up having to do too much as opposed to just building the awareness that there is something like this out there. For businesses, the really emotional thing for them is that for a lot of businesses that might not be able to survive or might have been going under are able to revitalize and become a digitally resilient organization through this. And so that's been really huge.

 

Actually, one example of that that was really interesting that they heard the other day was they are a collectibles manufacturing company in England and what they do is, 70% of their business was through resellers and 30% of their business was through direct, pre COVID. And, she thinks overnight they lost about 70 to 80% of their reseller business because so many of it was through smaller retailers, things like that. And people were sending back stock or not purchasing stock for the rest of the year. And so they had to think really quickly on their feet and reinvent themselves. And they happened to come across Moxtra.

 

They were able to enable a digital branch for their organization. And now they've grown their direct business by 80% and their retailer business has mostly recovered, they've stopped working with the smaller retailers and primarily focused on larger retailers. And so, they've gained back like 90% of their overall drop in the span of 6 months and are now looking to expand to Japan, Italy, amongst other countries. And so, it's just pretty astronomical and she thinks that when you consider the effects of that, that ties to her point that it has to be compelling on its own and when it is, customers will come.

 

What Does Moxtra Do?

Leena shared that Moxtra actually has a customer collaboration platform. And so, their customer collaboration platform powers these branded one stop customer portal experiences. So let's say a bank, what does that mean?

 

It basically means that Moxtra enables the bank to power its own digital branch. So, Van Lanschot Bank in the Netherlands is their customer, they have a whole host of private wealth clients. And what they did is they power the Van Lanschot mobile app and web app that now enables Van Lanschot customers to be able to connect to their Personal Relationship Wealth Manager to receive portfolio advice, updates, everything through the Van Lanschot experience. And it's under their brand, it’s their digital branch, and they're able to provide this continuous collaboration experience through that.

 

And a little bit about Moxtra, Moxtra was founded by Subrah the co-founder and CEO of WebEx, and Stanley Huang, a senior director of engineering at WebEx Communications. And so combined, they have so many years of experience in the collaboration space and as a result, a big part of the digital branch experience is this whole collaboration experience powering the sort of customer engagement portion of the one stop portal.

 

Me: So basically, instead of going into a physical branch to meet with your wealth advisor or let's say for example, a customer service person, maybe there's something you’re trying to sort out on your account, Moxtra's platform allows you to do that in a digital space with that same individual. Is that what I'm getting from what you're saying?

 

Leena stated yes, absolutely.

 

Me: So that's a new way of doing business, isn't it? Is that widespread? Because I've never heard of that approach being taken. And how is it being adopted in other parts of the world other than Europe in the Netherlands, for example, are you seeing it predominantly in the U.S., in the Caribbean, in South America? Or people are not logging on to it as readily because it seems pretty simple and easy.

 

Leena shared that about two or three years ago, they started to see a lot of traction in Asia Pacific and Latin America because these are very mobile heavy countries. And she thinks that they have a tendency as a result to be a little faster moving when it comes to new technology. But over the last year or so, she would say, and especially true with COVID, they're seeing this across the board. So, United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia PAC, basically all countries.

 

And the idea is it's really because that in today's world, businesses need a digital branch where they're able to deliver service to customers. You can't meet in person, a lot of the times customers aren't even in the same place as your business anymore; you're not even necessarily able to staff the brick and mortar branch. So, having a digital branch is no longer nice to have, it is what's enabling you to keep your business going.

 

Leena’s Thoughts on Designing the Experience Face to Face and Digitally

Me: Now, in terms of designing the customer experience, it's a little bit different when it's digital versus when it's face to face. But then you want to ensure that a customer has, if not a similar experience, an even better experience digitally. So some of the challenges that people have for example, when they deal with face to face interactions, at least generally speaking, is wait time, poor communication in terms of people are not following up and letting you know what's happening every step of the way.

 

I interviewed a guest recently and he said if everybody could just give the domino effect, which and I said, what's that? And he's like, when you order a pizza from Dominoes in their app, you literally are able to see what happens with that pizza every step of the way. So, imagine if they were to take that same principle and apply it in every business, whether you’re applying for a mortgage or you're buying a car, you are able to literally see where your journey is going every step of the way, all through technology without you actually having to interface with someone.

 

So, what are your thoughts on designing the experience that it's, if not better than the face to face experience digitally?

 

Leena agreed and shared that Yanique raised a lot of great points. And she would also say that the first point comes down to time. When you're face to face, you have to synchronize both time and place. And she thinks with the rise of virtual meetings, you're able to synchronize just time but not place. And it's going to get to a point, especially for the convenience of the customer, where the customer has to synchronize neither time nor place with the business, which is the effect of the Dominoes app.

 

She could be sitting in her house and place an order on her phone and the pizza will be there and she can track every step of the way. But she doesn't have to get on the phone and call Dominoes and talk to them about what she wants. The app and the experience is presented in such a way that she’s able to get her business done in a one stop experience. And they talk about this a lot, actually, at Moxtra from the perspective of customer convenience and customer experience.

 

And it's an interesting point because it actually goes back to; let's take the paradigm of the desktop, the desktop computer. If you look at the kind of programs that did well on the desktop, they were mostly productivity solutions in many ways. And that’s because the desktop is an information presentation tool, it's an information presentation machine, you can toggle between multiple windows at the same time, you can multitask very easily.

 

And it sort of supports that. Whereas if you go to your mobile phone, it's primarily a communication device. You can't toggle between different windows that easily, when you're in the app, you're in the app and when you shut it, you move to another window. And she thinks as a result of that, if you look at the kind of experiences that have done well on mobile, it's businesses like Tesla, it’s businesses like Uber, it's businesses like Insta Car, like Dominoes that provide this one stop service experience being that it's one stop to get whatever you need to get done with that business done and as a result, it's super convenient for customers.

 

And so, their logic was well wait, all these consumer services are offering this one stop, on demand service experience. Why shouldn’t B2B companies? Why shouldn’t you expect the same thing from your law firm or your mortgage broker? And she thinks that to Yanique’s point, it's going to become very necessary because people expect that, they expect it from their consumer services and they're going to come to expect it from their business services.

 

So, she thinks that from a company perspective, focusing on the customer experience, companies have a tendency to focus on themselves and what makes them look good and how their business is going to be. But she thinks that from an experience perspective, you always have to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Who are they? What are they concerned about? And what's going to make it easiest for them to want to do business with your organization versus another organization?

 

 And if you see from that perspective, if you work externally, thinking about what they're going to want to see and what's going to make it easy, then you have to look at things that have done well on a mobile form factor and then try to make a consistent experience across touch points, make seamless.

 

So, whether someone picks up their mobile phone or logs into through a website that you're offering as a business, a very consistent branded experience so it's seamless for them and they don't have to think about it.

 

Me: Agreed. It's funny you mentioned whichever platform they're interfacing with you, because I recently started doing webinars as one of the offerings for my business and the webinar platform that I chose, the primary reason why I chose them was not because of the features that they have, because Zoom had more options. But I chose Demio because I could literally reach out to them on Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM or even through their website, through their chatbot that they had on their website.

 

And literally, whatever conversation I was having in each of those different platforms, for some reason, their experience was an Omni experience, not a multi experience. And so it was a continuation of the conversation off of that other platform, which made it so much easier for me, because let's say I wanted to reference something that I had asked them about a week ago. I didn't have to go back to Instagram DM to go, “Oh, that's what they sent there.” Because regardless of the platform I'm on, everything is synched into one single window. And I thought I was brilliant.

 

Leena agreed and stated that it provides a persistent experience for you as well. There's no burden on you as a customer to now try to recall what somebody said or what might have happened. And from a business perspective, they know all about you, they know exactly what you’ve asked for, the history remains with them versus with whichever rep talked to you last.

 

How Leena Stays Motivated

When asked how she stays motivated, Leena shared that the biggest thing for her is that she’s excited by what she does. And she thinks that drives me right, because there's a huge market opportunity and an opportunity to sort of redefine the way businesses engage with their customers. And also, help so many businesses that might not be able to stay afloat in today's world, reimagine and recreate a new way of doing business.

 

And so, she thinks that's what keeps her really motivated. The idea that we can change really the way that people are doing things and help so many businesses that might not survive in a traditional approach.

 

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

When asked about on online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Leena shared that that's an interesting one. She would say that she loves the graphic design hubs, actually. If you've used something called themeforest. It's actually really amazing because there are things like templates for different audio tracks or graphic design files or after effects templates.

 

And so, they use visual mediums to communicate their points a lot because their product is highly experiential. So it is something that you need to sort of see and touch.

 

And so, they use a lot of like short form videos, animation gifs to communicate what they try to do. And she thinks that visual supplementation helps a lot with that. So, they end up using a lot of graphic and audio assets quite a bit.

 

Book That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Leena

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Leena shared that it's an interesting one and it does tie into a lot of what their brand philosophy is at Moxtra and how they do things. So, the book is actually called Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller. It's a fantastic book. And she thinks the reason why is because it's so simple. So many times with marketing and just with overall brand positioning, companies have a tendency to make themselves the hero in the story.

 

The biggest lesson in that book is that it's not about you; you're the guide and your customers, the hero, your customers, the character. And to broaden that point, the idea being that, “Hey, they're on their journey.” And as a marketeer and as someone thinking about your customer experience, the most important thing you can do is tune into their journey, what are they looking for and how are they going about their journey? And then how can you better help them.

 

What Leena is Really Excited About Now!

Leena stated that she would say one of the things that's going on in her life right now, and she thinks that as so many people are, is this transition to working from home and remote work from different locations. And she thinks in many ways there are advantages to it and their disadvantages as well.

 

Some of the advantages are people thought that everyone needed to commute to work at the same time to get things done, turns out that they don't. People can work from home and be productive; it's more sustainable as well, which is amazing. But she thinks on the other side, there's a shift in work patterns. So, figuring out a new routine and how best to sort of keep yourself energized and motivated and on top of the ball as well.

 

Where Can We Find Leena Online

Leena shared listeners can find her at –

Website – Moxtra

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/leena-iyar-59a73938/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Leena Uses

When asked about a quote or saying that she tends to revert to, Leena shared that that's an interesting one. So, she would say it's sort of a strange pick, but she doesn't know if you've ever watched that show Cosmos but the original one with Carl Sagan.

 

But they actually show an image of Earth from very far away and it's just a pale blue dot on the screen of black. And he says, “Look at that dot. That's home, that's where everyone who you've ever heard about, every human being who ever lived, any story that you've ever heard, any idea that you've ever had has come out of that pale blue dot.” And she thinks that it always puts things in perspective for her. How many years the earth has been here and how short amount of time we have. And how our lives can have such a large impact over generations. And it always just frames things for her and puts things in perspective about life.

 

 

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 6, 2020

Dan Leshem has over 10 years of experience leading various products in a variety of companies and fields. He wrote his first line of code at the age of 14, and has not stopped writing ever since.

 

He is the co-founder and CEO of Plantt. He's been leading products in various industries for over 10 years, an entrepreneur at heart, and he's now setting himself a goal to make Customer Experience better than before.

Questions

  • Could you tell us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got to where you are today and maybe share with us a bit about your company Plantt, what does not really do?
  • What has your experience been in customer experience, especially since the pandemic? Are there any trends that you've seen across industries? And how does your platform help customers to navigate their customer experience or brands to navigate their customer experience?
  • What industry do you specifically specialize in or is it for all different industries?
  • What are two or three top things that you think banks need to focus on as it relates to Artificial Intelligence, but also ensuring that they're blending the human aspect of that into their customer experience because technology is great. But I still think that we need to have some human component attached to the technology. What are your thoughts on that?
  • What are some of the bottlenecks that you found customer experience teams have been experiencing, especially since the pandemic?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two things that you think companies need to focus on in order to deliver a fantastic customer experience?
  • 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?
  • Can you share with us maybe something that's going on in your life that you're really excited about - either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?

Highlights

 

Dan’s Journey

Dan shared that Plantt helps companies elevate their customer experience with AI (Artificial Intelligence) they help them find bottlenecks in their customer service, customer support, and then automate what they can without losing that personalized experience.

 

But before we dive into what Plantt, Dan shared that customer experience is very close to his heart mostly as a customer, this is how he ended up funding a start-up in that space. He as a customer, he had several not ideal experiences both with human and chatbot representative. So, this is where 2 years ago he started thinking about how to change and what he can do to solve challenges in this space.

 

How Does the Platform Help Organizations Navigate Their Customer Experience

Dan shared that the pandemic had a tremendous effect on customer experience because overnight companies really had to shift their strategy about customer experience and customer support. They had not only surge increasing in demand and in volume indicating and support and communication with the customers. But also they had logistic problem, they had to work remotely and Call Centres were shutting down.

So in his experience, as they work with companies, with their customers, they had to embrace technologies overnight. That was fascinating. During the pandemic in the first outbreak in March, they had customers running at them and just starting implementation of AI and automation to their customer experience. So that was very interesting to see.

 

He thinks now companies are re-evaluating their strategies about customer experience and how they can embrace automation as part of their strategy. So it's going to be very interesting to see in the upcoming months to see how these things are developed.

 

Me: So, Plantt is an organization that will help you to improve on customer support in terms of, you will field telephone calls, handle support tickets, chats and that kind of stuff. And you do it for different types of organization. What industry do you specifically specialize in or is it for all different industries?

 

Industries that Plantt Specializes In

Dan shared that their platform is industry agnostic, but they mainly work with e-commerce and SaaS companies and financial services companies. These are the main three industries they're focused on.

 

Me: Okay, great. In terms of the financial companies let’s say for example, for a bank. Tell me some of the things that maybe two or three top things that you think banks need to focus on as it relates to Artificial Intelligence, but also ensuring that they're blending the human aspect of that into their customer experience because technology is great. But I still think that we need to have some human component attached to the technology. What are your thoughts on that?

 

Things that Banks Need to Focus on and Also Blend the Human Aspect into their Customer Experience

Dan stated that he definitely agree with your what Yanique said. He thinks that what we see is that companies are running towards automation. And we had this hype of chatbots a few years ago where everybody was talking about chatbots, but then chatbots just didn't deliver on their promise, although it's great. We all had a bad experience with chatbots.

 

And Yanique is right. There was a missing, that personalized feeling there or that human touch. So, he thinks companies before they go towards automation or chatbot, first they have to understand what their customers are really asking for, what they really want, way before they are run into automation.

 

The language understanding technology these days is quite good. But you have to understand really what it is that your customers really want from you. And then you have to know what can be automated and what must be deal with more empathy and still require your support to intervene.

 

Me: So, basically as an organization you have to identify that not every aspect of your business is going to need full technology and automation or even some form of artificial intelligence.

 

Bottlenecks that Customer Experience Teams are Experiencing Since the Pandemic

Dan shared that if we can take for example, e-commerce companies, there was a lot of interference in the supply chain. So, they had like thousands of inquiries about delivery delays and people concerning about the delivery because of the pandemic.

 

So, they were able to identify trends that and they also as part of their platform, they also analyze the sentiment. So, they were actually analyzing trends of people worried about COVID and they were able to see that companies that were supporting, that were adding some empathy in their answers to the customer, the conversation was that there was satisfaction at the end of the conversation was way higher. So, bottlenecks they see, delivery delays.

 

Things that Companies Need to Focus on to Deliver Fantastic Customer Experience

 

Dan shared that the first thing they have to do is to understand what their customers are asking, what really keeps their customers busy because many customer experience directors and many companies have an intuition about what is it that their customers really want from them.

 

And there is that misconception where many people say customers want to speak with humans, they want to speak with customer support representatives. And therefore, we cannot automate; we cannot deliver great customer experience and also automate the customer experience and they think that’s wrong.

 

People don't want to necessarily speak with humans, but they want to get the job done, they want for their problem to be solved. So, we need to understand what is the problem that we have to solve for our users, for our customers, and then focus on that. And in some cases, it can be automated and there are tools that can give you the insights about what these problems are. And in some cases, there is still need for human to intervene in the process.

 

Me: So basically, you need to find out what a problem is, what solution, what problem are you really trying to solve for the customer? And I guess for each customer that's different and then you need to use tools to understand if they're actually being resolved.

 

Dan mentioned that also, especially after the pandemic, because, we are entering in to a more dynamic, he would say, a dynamic era where in customer experience, where you would have to as an organization, you would have to navigate between multiple channels to deliver great customer experience because before the pandemic maybe you had, for example, retailer. You had customers reaching out to your store, now everything is shifted to online. And then you would have to embrace like messaging channels for the millennials and for Gen X, you would have to embrace voice channels like Alexa. So, it's going to be way more dynamic, in his opinion.

 

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

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Dan shared that that's a great question. For him it's loom, when the pandemic hit and we all switch to remote work, they were starting using loom.

 

Me: Is it similar to Asana or one of those platforms that you can basically communicate with your team and share projects and that kind of stuff?

 

Dan shared that it's a really simple app that lets you record your screen while you speak and then you can send the recording to one of your teammates. And so, it's really helpful when you're not working in the same office, you can just share with your co-worker and it saves them a lot of hours.

 

Me: I imagine because you're dealing with such technical stuff, it makes it easier for the persons who you're sharing information with.

 

Book That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Dan

Dan jokingly asked if she wants the real answer or the smart answer. So, the real answer is, Harry Potter. When he was young, he fell in love with the series. And this is actually how he got into entrepreneurship and in building products in general because he started like a fan club website, this is the first website he ever built. So, it has a great impact on him.

 

What Dan is Really Excited About Now!

Dan shared that when they started Plantt over a year ago, they didn't know where they were going to be with this and it's really exciting to see how they help companies learn what their customers really want from them and being actually the voice of customers. So it's really exciting. They didn't start as an inside platform for companies, they started as just as a simple chatbot platform. But then when they moved forward, they learned about the importance of designing the experience and keeping the experience personalized. So, it's really exciting for them to work with their customers, with their design partners and investors.

 

Where Can We Find Dan Online

Dan shared listeners can find him at –

Website – www.plantt.io

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-leshem/

 

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 29, 2020

Daniel Rodriguez is the head of marketing at Simplr, which is upending the traditional customer service model by providing premium brands with flexible, 24/7 on-demand specialists for all digital channels. The company's specialists are unique work-from-home pool of highly educated professionals who use Simplr's, AI-powered platform to replicate tone and brand integrity with speed, empathy and precision.

 

Danielle has extensive marketing and entrepreneurial experience, having served as the VP of marketing for Seismic and the co-founder of multiple companies, including Indivly Magic and PrizeTube. Daniel earned a BA in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA from MIT.

Questions

  • Could you share a little bit with us about your history? I know it says here that you are Head of Marketing at Simplr and that you've gained a lot of experience as it relates to digital marketing and also entrepreneurial skill. But just share with us a little bit about how you got to where you are today.
  • Simlpr recently conducted a study, a customer experience study, where it says 27% consumers say their brand loyalty has wavered during the pandemic due to long customer service wait times. Could you share a little bit about some of the insights that you gained from that study?
  • Let's say our audience; they do have some of these issues that we're talking about. What are maybe two or three things that they should do that maybe they're not doing now in a very practical sense, things they should really be focused on to just give that great customer experience?
  • Could you share with us what is the one online resource, website tool or app that you absolutely cannot 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 since the pandemic, or it could be a book that you read many, many years ago. But it still has had a great impact on you.
  • Now, can you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now, something 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 saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will revert to this quote, it kind of helps you to move forward, to keep pushing. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Daniel’s Journey

 

Daniel shared that he spent the past 8 years of his career running marketing teams at start-up companies, tech companies in the B2B space. So, very high growth companies, they're all venture funded and have high growth expectations. And it's been a really rewarding journey, he thinks, for him, because he started his career on the consulting and finance side, and he had this moment as the wise poet John Mayer once said. He had a quarter life crisis and realized that if he didn't actually be the doer, meaning, be actually on the operating side, he was going to have regrets in his own life about the career choices that he was making.

 

So that really started him down a path and he’s very thankful to Brad Rosen, who's the CEO of a company called Drink, for taking a chance on him and letting him work for him on kind of a volunteer nights and weekends basis and Drink is a wine app. And for him, it was great to be able to dive into on the operating side, dive into something that he was also passionate about just at a personal level.

 

So that gave him his first taste, if you will, of actually being at a start-up, super early stage start-up and that really scrappy mode. And once he had that taste, he was completely hooked. So, that started his path then to go to business school, which was giving him an opportunity to learn a lot more about entrepreneurship, experience entrepreneurship himself, try to start a company himself. And it was kind of from there and from some of those failed experiences of his own and trying to get companies off the ground that he was able to then get jobs at more established, albeit still very early stage companies. And so, that's where he has been spending the majority of his career at this point.

 

Simplr’s Insight on Customer Experience Study

Me: So, in preparing for this interview, we were informed that your company Simlpr recently conducted a study, a customer experience study, where it says 27% of consumers say their brand loyalty has wavered during the pandemic due to long customer service wait times. Being in customer service myself, I know that's like one of the biggest pet peeves of customers waiting, whether it be face to face or over the phone or even in a web forum if you have to wait on a chat for somebody to give you feedback, could you share a little bit about some of the insights that you gained from that study?

 

Daniel shared that they've conducted 3 of these mystery shop reports, the survey that they've gone out, partnered with a third party. They've done 3 of them over the past year. So, they did one in June where they mystery shopped about 800 eCommerce retail brands. And they were looking for areas where they could identify the things that are really important to customers and therefore result in customers having an exceptional experience, an experience that they would want to give somebody a 5-star rating about and tell their friends.

 

And so they looked at dimensions of Reliability, Relatability and Responsiveness. So, one of the hypotheses that they had was and this was predominantly U.S. based brands, although there are people purchasing products from all parts of the world. And they also then interviewed 500 U.S. customers of those brands, consumers not necessarily specific to any of these brands, but just 500 hundred people that are consumers in the United States.

 

And they asked them, how did they feel about wait times? How do they feel about brands and their willingness to stick with that brand, if there was going to be a longer wait time?

 

And their hypothesis was and this was something that they have also been feeling themselves during the pandemic. When the pandemic began in March and April, there was a lot of forgiveness. People were willing to say, “Oh my gosh, the world has just been completely turned upside down. I'm not going to hold it against my favourite brand that things are messed up. And they have shipping delays and they can't figure out where things are. And they might be getting slammed with a backlog because people weren't able to go into the office to answer to these questions.”

 

So, this idea that he thinks we as consumers were permitting, we were okay with the dreaded backlog happening, consumers don't think of it as a backlog. But we, of course, as the providers of a great customer experience, we think of backlogs and the dreaded backlog, which happens to many companies and for various reasons, he thinks reared its ugly head for many brands.

 

And what they saw then happen was consumers stopped being as forgiving, basically, they were saying, “Hey, now that we're three or four months into this thing, I've gone back to my previously picky ways and I'm no longer willing to put up with this.” And that obviously is concerning because it's still very difficult for many brands to figure out how to provide a great customer experience.

 

Me: So, your study focused on ensuring that you are looking at brands that were providing a really fantastic customer experience. And the biggest pet peeve that you picked up in this report was wait times. Why do you think customers as the pandemic got more and more deeper, people got less forgiving or patient as it related to giving brands the breather that they needed?

 

Daniel shared that what's really interesting about this finding is that he does think that part of this finding is cultural. And by that, he means, Americans are not the same as people from other countries. They had a webinar and they had a couple of guest speakers on the webinar, one of which her name is Alex, she runs customer success at Princess Polly. Princess Polly is an Australian brand. So they have a lot of customers in Australia.

 

And this idea that felt very validated by an American hypothesis in the data by Americans doesn't actually play out anecdotally anyway, in Alex's experience for their Australian customers. They were just very willing to be forgiving still of things being delayed and challenges, a lot of things relating to shipping and the forgiveness around that.

 

So, he thinks there's a fair amount of a cultural challenge around this. He thinks the American market; you can probably say that the American consumer has a very high bar. And unfortunately, it's harder than ever before to probably deliver on that high bar.

 

What he means by that high bar by the way, he thinks that high bar is, he doesn't want to use words that are that are either positive or negative in kind of describing the American consumer here. He is an American. He is an American consumer, but he thinks that the American consumer has been very much influenced by a lot of the existing technology and the way that American consumers have been catered to by that technology.

 

So Amazon, which is absolutely a ubiquitous company in not just the United States, but as he’s speaking specifically about this has he thinks created an expectation of you get whatever you want, whenever you want it, and it comes fast and that whole idea of hyper catered to.

 

And so, he thinks that's what we're kind of seeing play out here. There has been a very significant trend that was already happening before the pandemic of both his generation, as well as the generation below us, so the millennial.

 

He’s a reluctant millennial because sometimes the pejorative to call someone a millennial, he’s like the oldest millennial you can get, he’s like, “No, not those millennials. They're all so young and don't respect their boss and all this stuff.”

 

But as a millennial and then as Gen Z, there is a there's a pretty significant shift in the way that we want to interact with our brands as consumers away from that kind of unilateral, “Hey, here's the phone and we're available when you need us, if you ever have an issue. And by when you need us, I mean, between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00 Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.”

So, that expectation that customers then have, “Well, actually, I want to be able to interact with a brand on a different channel. I want to be able to use email. I want to be able to use Instagram. I want to be able to use chat right on the website. And by the way, I want to be able to do that whenever it's convenient for me and it's convenient for me probably not when it's convenient for you.”

 

And that expectation has been exacerbated actually by the pandemic. And the data that they collected also reflects this narrative where brands have now recognized because of the pandemic that they need to offer more digital options for people to interact with them.

 

They just have to, it becomes table stakes and then it becomes punitive if you're not actually playing the game. The problem is most of the brands in the study hadn't quite cracked the nut on how do I actually deliver a customer experience that is expected by this customer. I'm offering something, I have chat, but then, sometimes it takes more than 5 minutes to respond to a chat and 92% of the people who experience a 5 minute wait time on chat give the brand a very poor rating on responsiveness.

 

Me: Because their expectation is immediate response.

 

Daniel agreed and stated that 30 seconds or less, “If it's more than a minute, I'm starting to really get mad; I'll give you a minute. I might start wavering, but if it's more than a minute, I'm actually going to get mad.”

 

And this world of CX that we've kind of immersed ourselves in here, it's an emotional world. He thinks of times in his own life where he can remember either good or bad experiences with brands. And his blood gets boiling, really bothers him. And these are things he can remember from like 10 years ago.

 

So, he thinks it's so important for us to remember that in a time, particularly in a pandemic, in a time where everyone is feeling kind of raw, actually, and we're willing to then if we put our own feelings on a 10 point scale, he thinks that our capacity to feel at a 10 is actually heightened by the fact that we are in this kind of simmering state of anxiety.

 

And so, providing somebody with a very good experience can make someone feel amazing, providing something the very poor experience can make somebody maybe kind of tip over. And this will finally be the thing that I feel like I can scream about.

 

Me: Agreed. So, you touched on a few stuff that I thought was really, really interesting. One was you said that you thought that at the end of the day, even though you did a study and it was primarily reflective of the American consumer, you also think it's very cultural. And it's funny you said that because I do agree with you, but at the same time, you went ahead to then allude to the fact that Amazon has kind of set the bar so high and I'm doing some research for a customer experience management program I'm building for a client.

 

And in my research, one of the things that I realized was, no matter what industry you're in, whether are you're a bank or you're a supermarket or you're delivering pizza. Because Amazon has created technology or an experience by which you can just go online and press the button and within minutes or hours depending on what it is that you're ordering, you can get the item delivered to you. You can see where it is every step along the way, it's almost like consumers expect that same experience in other types of businesses, even if the business model is not similar to yours.

 

And I don't think that's specific to country. I don't think it's because Amazon is an American brand. I think Jamaicans have that expectation as well. Two nights ago, my godchildren's father called me and he asked me. So a lot of companies in Jamaica, especially the fast food restaurants, have been doing delivery services now. And companies like Kentucky Fried Chicken, for example, that never used to deliver in Jamaica, that was like something that we never thought we'd live to see. I couldn't understand why they wouldn't deliver just like pizza delivers, because when I did some research, KFC delivers in Trinidad, but it doesn't deliver here in Jamaica.

 

And I was like, well, if they can do it in Trinidad and population is less, why can't they do it here? Anyhow, he called and said that his wife ordered some food from like 6:30 pm and it was like 9:00 o'clock and the food hadn't come. And when he called the lady, the lady at the delivery place says to him, “Oh, but we told you 30 to 45 minutes.” I don't even know how giving that statement to the customer is relevant because we're now way past 45 minutes. Six thirty to 9:00 is way past what you would have told them to expect.

 

So at this point, he's so mad he wants a full refund and then they further said to him, it's going to take them 7 to 10 business days to process this refund. And remember when they took his money; I'm sure it didn't take 30 seconds to run that money off of his card or whatever payment, well, it would have to be off his card if it was a digital payment, because he did it through an app that he use on the phone.

 

But I'm saying this is say Daniel, you are correct because of the experience that Amazon has created for us and as I said, I don't think it's necessarily cultural. I think, generally speaking, regardless of the country that you are from, if you know of Amazon and you've done business with them, it's almost like your brain is saying to yourself, “Well, if Amazon has human beings that work in their organization and they're able to create these technologies that create this type of experience, why can't other businesses think like this and operate like these to create a similar kind of experience to make life less stressful for me, because there are other things that I have to worry about, and this would be one less thing for me to stress about.”

 

So I thought that was really, really brilliant. And I think all organizations should really be looking at benchmarking themselves, not against companies that are in the same industry as them, but even companies that are outside of their industry because that's what their customers are viewing their businesses.

 

Daniel shared that he totally agreed with that. And thanks Yanique for just sharing that anecdote as well. They actually we work with a large restaurant, quick serve restaurant. And they have an application and it's a very similar type of thing where you see a lot of times confusion that people have. And what was sad, they saw recently this really great kind of interaction with the brand they're helping out on helping them answer these customer inquiries. And somebody writes in with basically that same story like, “Hey, something got messed up with my order. It hasn't been here for way too long.”

 

And he thinks that the bar is currently so low, actually. Here's the saving grace. We don't want to give doom and gloom to everybody. But maybe the saving grace is that the bar is actually quite low in terms of reality and if you then are responsive to people and you are empathetic and this was another thing that their data showed is the relatability aspect.

 

So being empathetic, showing somebody that you're a human, which bots obviously struggle to do, and which is why people get frustrated with bots. And he’s not saying bots should never be used, but he’s saying and in certain instances, if you put a bot in front of somebody and they are unable to get their situation resolved, it will make them even more mad than they would have been in any other situation.

 

But when we talk about just that bar being kind of low, you give somebody a quick response, you immediately tell them, “Hey, I am so sorry that your food did not get there when it needed to. That must have been extremely frustrating. And you're probably hungry right now.”

 

You immediately have made the person feel validated because being validated is the cornerstone, he thinks, of being able to make somebody feel open to then working with you and coming back, so you start with that validation, which is, he thinks, the cornerstone of empathy. And then you give them that refund, you get that processed much more quickly and then what does that person do? And this is actually a real example, by the way.

 

So, they saw this exact example happen and this person wrote back 5 out of 5 star review on the CSAT survey. And then they write in and they say, “I just have to tell you, I didn't even think anyone was going to write me back. And you've totally blown me away.”

 

But that first initial idea that they had actually written in, they'd taken the time to write in to express their frustration and they still didn't even expect to hear back to him shows that there is a real disconnect between where people's bar is in terms of like, if you can get over this bar, you're going to actually satisfy people. And then if you can really go beyond it to just the expectation that we want to have for our consumers, that there's plenty of 5 star moments out there to be had.

 

Me: Agreed. So, true. So one of the things your study actually said, which I thought was really very important, reinforcing what you just said. So, “AI driven chatbots are making significant strides in providing Real-Time information to solve simple customer concerns. But it still remains important to the customer experience that a company brings empathy and humanity to each customer interaction.”

 

Because, as you said, bots are here to help us, the technology is there to help us. But at the end of the day, there are some circumstances that require human interaction. I honestly don't think that even though technology has advanced so much that the human element of a customer experience is ever, ever going to be void and null, it's still going to need some form of human interaction.

 

Daniel agreed and shared that a couple of years ago, they were living in the rage; AI bots are going to be able to completely take over multiple parts of the organization actually, it was customer success, it was also sales. He remembers hearing we're never going to need sales reps because the bots can do all the work.

 

And the reality is, we think of ourselves as a human enabled technology company and we think that there is a place for technology and we see companies and he’s not even talking about their own customers. They see big brands, there's a place for bots and it has certain limited scope. And it's an incredibly valuable way for them to reduce their overall cost of service.

 

And we see companies that then are using people to answer questions in an on brand way. And you really got a nail that kind of tone and brand. And you have to have the knowledge and the people have to have that knowledge. And we play that role; we play that role for companies. But there's different ways that companies do that. And then there's also always this like core team internally where things need to get escalated to, if something is really going bad, you really need to have some people that are inside the organization that might be able to move larger mountains if need be.

 

And so, that's kind of where things he thinks sit today. And he doesn't necessarily see a lot of companies saying, “What we really need is more bots.” He hears them say, “What we really need is fewer backlogs.” Because the backlogs are what is killing their customer satisfaction. And bots don't necessarily take away the backlog, they might give you an immediate quick responsiveness, but they won't necessarily be able to resolve the issue. And of course, if you don't resolve the issue, you don't really change the situation.

 

So, they see a lot of companies also really focused on resolution, first time resolution. Just resolving something is obviously important but if it takes you, “Hey, we're on chat and I can't help you, now email us and I'll get back to you in a few days and we'll work on this over the course of the next week.”

 

That's not okay, that is just not okay. And when he says it's not okay, the data reflects that CSAT scores are not good when that happens. So, they're really focused on and he thinks a lot of companies agree with this, really focused on getting that resolution to happen in that first interaction.

 

Things to Focus on to Give Great Customer Experience

 

Daniel shared that yes, he would say the First Time Resolution. And you accomplish a first time resolution by making sure that the people who are responding on your behalf are empowered to be able to resolve the issue that they are being asked to resolve.

 

So that's critically important. He would say another thing to do is around Relatability. Oftentimes, we have people that are doing the customer service response, they’re writing back and yet for a variety of reasons, whether it's the incentives we're giving them or whether it's a lack of directive, we are taking out their humanity from the interaction.

 

If we're just telling somebody, just get through this quickly and get it done, which is sometimes the way that we align the incentive, we then just get them to just do something really fast. And you can tell when you get an email when it's kind of fast, somebody is just being quick. And so, when he means relatability, he means empowering people to actually show that they're people and using that personality.

 

So, giving a potential anecdote, being able to be empathetic like we were talking about before, validating how somebody is feeling, it's hard for bots to do those things, credibly. They can do them maybe in a way that will get it right some of the time and then not some of the time. And that not some of the time is really a disaster, basically. So, this is where human beings, we have this capacity to allow somebody to have an emotional connection to what you're saying because you're showing your humanity and we need to encourage people to do that.

 

And the last that he’ll say is it is important to be able to be Reliable with your customers and where they want to be, the data does suggest this, and this is also where the world has been going. If you have chat and you cannot respond to people on chat, it's like what is worse, having it in the first place or giving people a terrible customer experience. It's like a two sides of the same thing. It's terrible because you're going to miss out on these presale opportunities by not having it and a lot of people just prefer to go in through chat for even for a post sale inquiry. But if you don't service it properly, it's a terrible experience.

 

Same thing with email. People offer up email and they should because many people like to email and they recognize that I'm going to send you an email and he thinks the expectation from what we can see, is the expectation is a day. If you're getting back to him in 24 hours on an email, that is about what he would expect. That's how he kind of think about it even in his own life in business. He writes somebody an email; he expects them to get back to him within 24 hours.

 

Me: Even if it's just an acknowledgement.

 

Daniel agreed and stated that just to be able to say I hear you right. Oftentimes in our customer service world, we end up giving people an automated response, just let them know I received your email and we will be getting back to you.

 

But, in the survey that they did, the average response time on email was 48 hours. He thinks that people recognize that that's probably not acceptable. He thinks that the bar for what we should be attempting to provide, it is attainable because where things currently are has plenty of room to get better. And I think that when you impress people, so if you then get back to people every time in less than 24 hours, every time, and you never create a backlog.

 

So, because you never want to have a backlog and because customers feel the backlog, the backlog means you can't get back to them for days or chat if your chats are piling up and he’s not talking about at 3:00 a.m. when for some strange reason somebody doesn't get back to a chat, maybe you can be forgiving of that. He’s talking about during a time where you expect somebody to be able to chat and they're piling up, that's a chat backlog. That's a disaster and those should be avoided at all costs.

 

 

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

When asked about on online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Daniel shared that they use a technology called Gong to listen to their sales calls. And he will say that it has been very powerful. As somebody on the marketing side where they are really trying to support their sales team, make sure that they understand what their prospective customers are actually saying about their pain, what is that language and their ability to then provide the right information to their sales team so that they can be successful in those selling interactions.

 

Gong has been amazing because it allows them to asynchronously participate in the sales conversation, because they can listen to the calls, they can listen to them at faster than real time speed. So you can make it play at more than 1X speed, which is great, too, because it allows him to catch up on some things that at a faster pace. He can skip forward and listen, what they've done is within the Gong platform, they're using Natural Language Processing to tag what people are talking about.

 

So, when somebody is talking about pricing, when somebody is talking about positioning, He can kind of see where that is in the conversation so he can kind of skip forward to the things that are going to be really useful for him. If it's 2 minutes or 5 minutes at the beginning of just kind of set up time, he can see what that is because that's tag there so he can move past it. So Gong has been a real benefit to them, and he’s only assuming that also because of the pandemic, that it's even more useful because he can't easily just kind of hop in a room and join one of his sales teammates on a call.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Daniel

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Daniel shared that on the professional side, Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, which he loved, was 10 years ago. He still loves that book because he thinks in many ways, Tony's way of thinking about the business model as customer centric and obviously he also sold the business to Amazon, which at the time felt like, well, maybe that's not a win and if he's been holding onto that Amazon stock, most of us would think he's probably a billionaire at this point. But they were two companies cut from the same cloth because Amazon also has done the exact same thing and he has listened to podcasts and things where people from Amazon are talking about how do they think about solving business problems.

 

And they always start with the customer perspective. What will make the customer happier in this circumstance? And he thinks that that ethos and Tony just talks about this basically throughout the entire book, that ethos is what makes the whole discipline of CX a reality, it's not just your customer support function. You have to be thinking about this in every part of the company. Well, what would be better for the customer? And that informs what we do on the marketing side too, what you make this easier for the customer to be able to understand our value, understand what we do, how can we give them more useful information that will make their jobs easier? So, he loves that book.

 

On the personal side, he recently finished reading How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and it's an amazing book. It he thinks gave him a lot more language to be able to understand the role that he needs to play in the world and how he’s going to be part of change that needs to happen and the role that policy needs to play and what he needs to do to support policy that is anti-racist so that we can dismantle the systemic racism that has plagued not only this country, obviously, but many parts of the world for a long time for centuries.

 

And so, he’s incredibly grateful for the scholarship of Ibram X. Kendi. He’s actually attending a seminar that he's putting on. So, he’s very, very excited about that book and if anybody else has read this book and is interested in talking about it, he’s very much looking to connect with people who are interested in this as a topic.

 

What Daniel is Really Excited About Now!

Daniel shared that the funny thing about a pandemic is that it can change a lot of the priorities of what you’re able to try to do or not do. One of the things that he’s passionate about is meditation. He started meditating about 10 years ago and has been meditating on a daily basis for close to 4 years at this point. So he's kind of gone on and off in the past with some different ways of doing it. And one of the things for those who have meditated regularly and have done so kind of alone, one of the things that he was realizing he was doing, he has been doing a guided meditation, a daily 10 minute guided meditation through an app called Calm. And there are different apps for this; Headspace is another app. WakingUp is an app that was recently introduced to him. There are lessons that are being broached and he wanted more opportunities to kind of talk about those, talk about those lessons and to reflect on them and hear other people's thoughts on them.

 

So, he feels like he has been doing this in kind of a siloed, personal way. And recently he brought this to Simplr and he said, “Hey, does anyone want to do a meditation?” He'll talk about why he’s into meditation and they can do one of these guided meditations through the through the app. And to his pleasant surprise, a bunch of people were very interested. And there were also a bunch of people that have meditated, either sporadically in the past or that meditate quite regularly for longer periods of time even more than he does.

 

So for now, they're starting a company meditation practice where they get together every couple of weeks, every two weeks, and they have a prompt that they are going to then reflect on and then when they get together, they are going discuss what was covered in that prompt as a way of trying to deepen their own practice and understanding. And also just to get to know people on a kind of a different level. So, really, really excited about the things that they can do that will bring them together while obviously, they can't actually see anybody face to face.

 

Where Can We Find Daniel Online

Daniel shared listeners can find him at –

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/drodriguez4/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Daniel Uses

When asked if he has a quote or saying that he reverts to in times of adversity or challenge, Daniel shared that in meditation, he thinks so much of what he’s trying to do is actually just come back to the present and come back to the breath. So, he actually really like to remind himself to just breathe and then to actually do it. And oftentimes, if he’s feeling overwhelmed, if he just focuses on that feeling of his breath and just tell himself the word breathe, that it has an incredible effect. So, he will just leave everybody with the single word, “Breathe”

 

Me: That's brilliant. It's funny you said that because I have an Apple Watch and every now and again I see the breathe thing comes up on it and it says breathe. I guess it's reminding me to breathe. I don't know if it's built into the watch like that or maybe it picks up that my body energy needs to kind of cool down, I have no idea. But yes, breathing definitely does help. I don't know if I intentionally sit down and breathe from time to time because I do meditate sporadically. But breathing, it can definitely create clarity for you; it causes you to kind of just slow down and as you said, brings you back to the present. I have actually experienced that on many, many occasions.

 

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Sep 22, 2020

Daniel Ramsey is the founder and CEO of MyOutDesk, the highest-rated Virtual Assistant company in the marketplace with over 500 5-star reviews and over 13 years of experience serving more than 6000 clients.

 

Daniel founded MyOutDesk during the last global financial crisis of 2008 to help businesses leverage the remote workplace and scale businesses with Virtual Assistants. In 13 years with MyOutDesk, Daniel has helped thousands of clients scale their businesses and grow profitability. He has worked with some of the largest companies in some of the fastest growing industries.

 

Daniel has had the opportunity to work with many of the largest sales organizations, technology startups, insurance, real estate and healthcare companies and he's willing to share all those lessons with you.

 

Questions

  • Could you share a little bit about your journey?
  • A lot of our listeners probably are thinking would a Virtual Assistant suit me? How do you know if that's really an avenue that you should explore? What are some of the key indicators that would kind of trigger you to say, this is something I could look into?
  • Are you saying then that your Virtual Assistant doesn't necessarily have to be in Jamaica? And what if that insurance advisor has concerns about cultural fit? How does your company integrate all of that?
  • How do you get the customers to embrace technology if it's not something that they were incorporating into their strategy or their execution prior to Covid-19? How do you get them to learn the technology, to feel comfortable using the technology, to feel comfortable asking their customers to engage with the technology if it's something that they're not accustomed to?
  • So, in terms of your Virtual Assistant competencies and capabilities, is it just in the administrative spare or do you do like accounts, marketing, sales? What aspects of Virtual Assistant does your company provide?
  • If you could choose a client that you've used currently in the past that utilized your services and, you know, just that tangible example that we could share with the audience so they could see how it is that using a Virtual Assistant was able to transform either in terms of dollars or in terms of time or in terms of just productivity. How did that look like for them? Just if you could share one real example.
  • Could you share with us how you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you share with us maybe one of your online resources, tools, website or apps that you absolutely cannot 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 many years ago that still has a great impact on you to this day or could even be a book that you read recently.
  • Can you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now - either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can we find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will revert to this quote. It helps to push them forward, get you unstuck. Do you have one of those?

Highlights

Daniel’s Journey

Me: I think it's quite fascinating that your business was formed out of our last major financial crisis. So maybe tell us a little bit about that journey and how your journey of prior to your business got you to where you were and how you've been doing over the last 13 years and how this crisis that we're currently in or we're being propelled into is impacting your business. And just a little bit about who you are.

 

Daniel shared that what he loves is the story is not over complicated. He’s an entrepreneur, he was building a business and at the time, 2001 to 2006, they're really building an amazing business because the market was hot, they were in expansion stage. And as an entrepreneur, he thought he was doing really well. He was very proud of himself, he was young, and he was in his 20s.

 

And he, like many entrepreneurs, he hadn't held a good job for a long time and so he built this business. And then the 2007 crash happened and at that time, he had three offices, lots of salespeople, lots of administrative staff. And literally in one quarter they had 90% of their revenue go away. And at that moment, he’s scratching his head and he’s like, “Maybe I should go get a job. Maybe this isn't working for me.”

 

And that was a momentary thought that came in and then went and he said, “No, I'm going to stick this out.” So, they stuck this out. They found new customers, new clients, at that time the market massively shifted and if you can remember that it was his first time ever being really impacted, much like many businesses today are being impacted.

 

So they figured out who their new customers were, where their new place in the marketplace was and they started to grow again. And in that growth, what he was worried about was he needed to stay profitable, he needed to take a paycheck home. And a friend of his started talking to him about Virtual Assistants and turns out he was about to hire five. And he toyed with Virtual Assistants, he had a couple in his business at that time and he turned to him and said, “Why don't you help me find five people?”

 

And literally MyOutDesk was born because his friend Christian Peter said, “I need some virtual assistants, just like you have.” And so, MyOutDesk was born, they steadily grew over the next couple of years. And what they do primarily is they help businesses, entrepreneurs C-Suite people, get some of their time back. That's really what they're focused on doing, is helping businesses grow and scale by adding high caliber talent to your team so you can grow and scale your business.

 

 

Enhancing Customer Experience with a Virtual Assistant

Me: Amazing. In this global pandemic that we're all going through, right. A lot of businesses are focused on how it is that they can enhance their customer experience. And, of course, you know, our show is Navigating the Customer Experience. And I guess a lot of our listeners probably are thinking would a Virtual Assistant suit me? How do you know if that's really an avenue that you should explore? What are some of the key indicators that would kind of trigger you to say, this is something I could look into?

 

Daniel shared that it’s a great question and he wants to start by giving the audience their thesis to customer experience and when he says their thesis, really, he believes the customer experience starts with setting of expectations. In fact, everything in their business aligns around, “Does the customer understand our product and service? Are we clear about what we can deliver? And are we a good fit? Are we a good match for our customer?”

 

And in their business, nothing goes sideways when everybody's clear about the job. Everybody's clear about how they're going to help. If the customer has a realistic onboarding and a good system, then they typically don't have customer experience issues.

 

So in their world, they define customer experience as really the setting of expectations. And that starts on their website that starts in the emails that they send out to their customers. And then, as they prospect and they find people who are willing to meet with them and do a consultation.

 

It starts in that first conversation. What are your needs? What are some of your thoughts or concerns or what's your system look like? Who's on your team today? So, they go through a really dedicated deep dive into businesses explaining what their service is.

And then they ask the customer, “Are you set up to train somebody? Do you have the right system in place? What tech tools do you have currently?”

 

One crazy thing is that their customers, they run the gamut of being very sophisticated techie people. And then also, they have customers who this is their first time doing a Zoom, for instance. And they've never built on a customer experience that isn't a handshake, that's one challenge right now in the pandemic.

 

Most small and medium sized businesses, they're relational selling. They're in that relational space and right now, as we transition to this digital world, many people are struggling. And so, their role is to help businesses find talent and buy back some of their time. And so, that one thing is kind of their driving force for everybody that they hire, all the customers that they bring in and that's how they kind of think about customer experience.

 

Me: Brilliant. So, basically trying to save someone time.

 

Daniel agreed and shared that if you're right now busy, you're an entrepreneur. And he constantly thinks if he had more time, He could do anything. And that's kind of what they hope, is that their customers are thinking, “Okay, I need help. I know I need help. My team needs help. We're struggling in this. We're struggling with implementation of clients or we're struggling with setting of expectations or we need more help with our digital brand.” Whatever your need is, their job is in this process is to help you buy some of that time back.

 

And to the second question, customer experience. What they believe in in terms of the team for a customer experience team is that many of the things that your customers are experiencing can be helped with a Virtual Assistant. So, they believe in a blended model where some of your people are US and in the States and then some are in their case, they're in the Philippines. And maybe half of your customer experience team is in the Philippines.

 

And because of that blended model, not only are you saving money, but you're able to cover the 24/7 if you need it, weekends, evenings, and also have multiple people on the staff. So it's not just a small team, you can actually build a fairly large team and be cost effective about it.

 

Concerns of Culture Fit When Integrating a Virtual Assistant

Me: Okay, so let's say, for example, you are a company that is based in Jamaica, I live in Jamaica and I know a lot of people listen to the podcast all over the world. I think we are listened to in over 87 countries globally, which is really cool. But let's say your company is based in Jamaica and let's say you're a financial organization and you have a contact center or maybe you're an insurance advisor and you're looking to get a Virtual Assistant. Are you saying then that your Virtual Assistant doesn't necessarily have to be in Jamaica? And what if that insurance advisor has concerns about cultural fit? How does your company integrate all of that?

 

Daniel stated that that is a great question and it's like Yanique is reading his mind. These are definitely the things that they help customers make in terms of consideration like, “Who's on the team? How am I going to integrate a Virtual Assistant and how am I going to teach?” Maybe if you're talking about a financial or even insurance, there are licensing requirements. So, you have to have a license in order to serve a customer and sell them a security or an insurance product.

 

So they're definitely not providing licensed people. But what they are is, they're helping the licensed people elevate the level of work that they're doing. So when you're a licensed person and let's say you have 5 or 10 years of experience or even 20, guess what? You've seen every kind of risk and you've seen every type of investment. And your secret sauce is helping people build that financial wealth or protect their assets if you're an insurance person.

 

But it's not helping people reset their passwords or get access to their online profile or even scheduling an appointment with you or getting another statement or in the insurance world, getting a certification out. All of those things are administrative or customer experience or service related and for the vast majority of companies, they can help in that space, there are some tools and techniques that you have to implement. But that's what their consultation is all about.

 

They'll sit down with the business, with all the key stakeholders, and they'll determine, like, “Hey, maybe you need to implement Zoom meetings. Maybe you need to have an internal platform like Skype or Asana or Microsoft Teams or whatever the platform is that you're on.” Slack is another great one. But they've been remote for 13 years and they've helped companies create blended customer experience teams since their beginning, basically.

 

And the one thing that people always say is, “Wow, I didn't know that this would actually work. Could you help me in this other department, sales or marketing or maybe ops?” And so, they've had the pleasure of helping over 6000 businesses in the last 13 years. And it's amazing what is possible with the way technology is today.

 

Getting Customers to Embrace Technology

Daniel stated that here's the reality. They don't coach the customer; they don't try to talk them into it, they just simply explain best practices. So, somebody comes to them and says, “I don't have a CRM or I don't have a digital strategy and I need to transform.”

 

Then they'll help them develop a plan. In fact, he was on the call with a really great entrepreneur yesterday and he called and he says, “Hey, we're really having success in this one state and we're about to go nationally.” And they started talking, his name was Bill. He said, “What's your plan, Bill? Would you have it written down?” And he's like, “Well, I've got it in my head and I'm trying to write it down.”

 

So he and Daniel just strategized for a good 30 minutes actually. They talked through what his system needs to look like, what kind of technology he needs to employ, some of the challenges and the roadblocks that he's going to run into. So they've done this so many times that they're all very simple standard steps, so they aim and he helped him.

 

And his (Daniel) company is focused on when you have a plan; they'll help you fulfil the people portion of your plan. And customers that embrace this digital world and are okay with technology, those are their ideal customers, their ideal clients and the folks who need help or aren't quite yet sure what should happen, they’ll help them develop a plan, watch them go execute and when they're ready for talent, when they're ready to buy some of their time back, then they're here for them.

 

Aspects of a Virtual Assistant

When asked what aspects of Virtual Assistant his company provides, Daniel stated that that's a challenging question and he'll give you an example. They have a boat broker in Florida and he hired a Virtual Assistant to help him with a marketing campaign around every time he sells a multimillion dollar boat, he wants everybody in the world to know about it, and then he wants his customers to land on his website and see all of his boats online.

 

So, they have a very diverse customer base but he wants people on the podcast to know that they primarily help in four areas. So if you're listening right now, you don't have to write any of this down, he’s going to give away a copy of their free book. They actually wrote a book helping people implement Virtual Assistants into their business, regardless of where you're at.

 

So, whether you're in the UK, Australia, Puerto Rico, doesn't matter. These principles and this practice all works the same. So if Yanique is okay with it, he'll give away a copy of that book towards the end of their time together.

 

But the four areas think about sales, marketing, operations and customer service and support. Those are their four main pillars of folks that they hire. And every business needs those four areas.

 

So, they're pretty blessed and happy. And this pandemic has been really challenging for companies around the globe. And they only want to serve and help customers. So to the question, the digital marketing, they spent two months really outlining their digital strategy for Virtual Assistants. Like this is how you can use a Virtual Assistant in your digital strategy. And so they outlined all of that on their blog, they've outlined that in their book and they consistently put out content to help their clients succeed. And you can you can all check that out at www.myoutdesk.com

 

Me: Brilliant. Sounds fabulous. So, you said your four pillars are administration, marketing, operations and customer service and support. So marketing and sales are kind of one.

 

Daniel agreed and mentioned that in their world, they view marketing as inbound digital marketing, so anything that's on the web or in social media. And then sales is really prospecting out to customers and having conversations. So think of it like digital marketing is the worm on the hook. You throw the worm out into the ocean and you've got your hook, that's your marketing plan and then the sales team, they're the people who reel in the customers with having good conversations and making sure that that particular lead or potential customer is a good fit for their service or product. So they've got those kinds of dual roles.

 

Using Virtual Assistant to Transform an Organization

They've got a customer, his name is Nolly and he is a speaker, author, trainer. And he travels the world giving presentations on really building business. And he had built his own technology stack for his company and he'd built basically a (CRM) Customer Relationship Management platform. And he'd built that CRM a decade ago and it was in an interesting position because his customers use the CRM, his teaching and platform was around the powerfulness of combining like sales, process and systems and technology in order to really grow and scale businesses.

 

And so, when he came to them, he was like, “Look, I've hired 3 or 4 people, they've all been great for 6 to 9 months and then they've moved on.” Meaning, he was stuck in two places. He needed to invest more money in his CRM to bring it up to date because it was built almost 10 years ago and it was time to do a refresh and an update on the user interface. And then he had another need that he needed somebody to help him with this customer experience, meaning, people would sign on and then not be able to use the platform and then they just disappear over time. And so, they talked at length about how he was going to either have to step in and run the business or hire somebody who's really great at customer onboarding and customer service over time.

 

And so, they actually found him a guy named Chris and Chris has now been with him almost 5 years. And Chris runs everything in the customer experience department for this technology company from onboarding new clients, taking credit cards, answering questions or opening tickets and solving and resolving them. And so, this guy Nolly, he didn't want to step in and handle the customer service portion of his business and he really needed to buy some of his time back because he was busy traveling the world and speaking in front of large audiences.

 

So, what he (Daniel) would encourage everybody on today's podcast to do and this is a simple exercise, they call it the sticky challenge. And he knows you can't see him right now, but he has got in his hand a pile of stickies, just the yellow stickies that you buy at any office supply company.

 

And he wants you to follow yourself around or have maybe your leadership team do it or your managers within your business follow yourself around with stickies and then ask yourself this one simple question, “Am I working in the business or on the business? Am I just doing the things that need to happen every day that are important but really don't grow the business? Or Am I working on growth initiatives? Am I working on the most important work?” And then write those tasks down and follow yourself around sticky.

 

So a good friend of theirs did this. She ran a South American investment company and she had her entire team do the sticky challenge. And after doing the sticky challenge for several weeks, she comes back and says, “Oh, my goodness, Daniel. I'm working 60 hours a week. And more than half of my time is on stupid tasks that actually don't drive revenue or add value to my business.”

 

And just by sitting back and reflecting through her time and through what she was doing every day, literally, she was like, “I was on Facebook for 30 minutes every single day. And when I looked at it, I wasn't writing on Facebook, I wasn't using it as a lead generation, I was just surfing on Facebook.”

 

And so, what he’s encouraging everybody to do is really step back and ask yourself, “Am I doing the most important, most valuable work in my business or am I doing stuff that I should delegate down or give away?” You do that for a couple of weeks and you'll really start to find opportunity to hire a Virtual Assistant and really help you grow your business.

 

How Daniel Stays Motivated

When asked how he stays motivated, Daniel stated that that's a great question. And he thinks it's funny, too, because he was just born motivated. But he’s definitely like any anybody; they need to keep in routines. Like a car, if you forget to put oil or gas or water, the car breaks down. So in his case, he exercises a lot. Playing soccer is one of his favourite things. He’s a wrestling coach, a local high school wrestling coach. He contributes 25 hours a week when he can because Covid-19, they're not going to do wrestling until next year now.

 

But his normal routine is a lot of exercise. He has a morning quiet time where he sits in a hot tub and he does a meditation and a lot of journaling. And his other pillar is that he’s very consistent with his time blocking. So, on the schedule, family time, personal time, work time, customer time. So those are the three things, staying physically in good shape, having a mental game, meditation, yoga, just some quiet time in the morning and then being really consistent with his calendar and schedule.

 

 

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

In terms of online resources, Daniel stated that he’s not going to give one; he’s going to give you a couple that are really important when you go remote or have a digital kind of background. First, he always prefers face to face conversations. So, they do a lot of video conferencing. So, have a video conferencing app, have a VOIP phone system so that you can have your Virtual Assistant and your team, regardless of where they are, actually communicate both phone calls, text messages and it's really important to have kind of that system set up.

 

Me: And which ones do you recommend as the better ones to use if you were to engage in a VOIP system?

 

Daniel shared that they're all pretty much created equally. They use RingCentral internally because it connects to their CRM sales force. But there are several out there. The most important thing is there's no latency and so he'll give some suggestions there. Latency means in the Philippines, which is their country of operations, there are servers for RingCentral. So, the servers where the phone is transmitted are actually in Asia and so therefore, there's no latency when you make calls or you have your 1-800 number, for instance, routed to somebody in the Philippines, that's probably the most important consideration.

 

But also connecting to your CRM or your customer experience tool, that's a very big deal. So, integration is a big deal and native integration so that it's not through an API of like Zapier or something.

 

And the last one is always a task management platform. He can't tell you how freeing it is to have something, they use Monday, and they use Basecamp for projects. There's a company called Asana which is great. Slack has a good one. But you need some sort of a tool for keeping track of all of the individual tasks, as well as all the projects that you have going within a business. And those three, if you implement those three things into your business, you're probably ahead of the curve in most major businesses right now.

 

Me: How do you feel about scheduling app? If you have to schedule meetings with customers, do those platforms allow for scheduling or do what you need to go outside of those platforms for scheduling?

 

Daniel shared that there's Calendly and they use something called ScheduleOnce. He likes those things because they help automate the process. But also, he’s very cognizant of sometimes it's just great to pick up the phone and have a conversation with your customers or clients. So, he uses scheduling apps that tie in to their websites and tie into like their calendars and tie into their CRM. And he thinks there's a place for that. There's ease of use, your customers can choose to either schedule it like that or give you a call. And he thinks there's some powerfulness in that, especially as you're scaling and growing.

 

But nothing replaces a great, good old fashioned conversation. And he’s the guy with that. He really, really loves talking to customers and helping them and hearing their experience and seeing what they need to do. And he loves Yanique’s mission, “Creating a more caring world.” He thinks that's great. One of their core values as a company is just having a servant's heart. So their job is to serve their customers and help them grow and attain their goals in life. So they share that very positive outlook.

 

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Daniel

Daniel shared that he loves all the business books, and if you're new in the entrepreneurial world or if you're kind of driving toward success, Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0) by Verne Harnish is a great business book. It's one of his favourite books. It's written by a billionaire guy who really did a great job of explaining the process of growing and scaling a company.

 

But The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey. Another great book, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley. He loves The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason. A lot of the books that are out there are written to tell a story.

 

And whenever they're in story mode, he really gets into them and he loves reading those books. But, The Richest Man in Babylon, he'll give you a quick synopsis of that book. It talks about not taking risks financially, when you take a bet, it's not that it can be a short thing, but you really want to protect your nest egg or your business or your bank account.

 

And so, in his world, he finds a lot of value in that because a lot of entrepreneurs make decisions out of expediency, meaning they want the result right now versus the long game, which the long game is hard. So, he finds the struggle to be good, he likes to embrace that struggle, he likes to be part of that struggle, he likes to be in the struggle with their customers. And so, that book for him is awesome.

 

What Daniel is Really Excited About Now!

Daniel shared that he’s doing a lot of mastermind's now. So, they just launched an entire new kind of content strategy around building a mastermind, what they look like and really a virtual mastermind. So, being in conversation with people, your peers and really helping them grow and they're in the process right now of doing an initial call mastermind to augment their customer experience. So, because they're on a customer experience podcast, he thought this would be an interesting example.

 

They'll pull 10 customers together, for instance, brand new customers, and then ask them how it's going and then add value to them and teaching them, “Hey, this is the system that you need, or here's an example of somebody else who's tried to do that. And here's one that failed and here's one that succeeded.”

 

And so, the job is to give people a bit of a peer accountability, as well as a peer group to bounce ideas off of, but as well as just having a safe place to discuss obstacles and how to remove them and how to really grow and scale.

 

So they're offering that to their customers now as they are in the initial phases of onboarding a virtual assistant. And he’s really excited about it because it's really a different approach for them. It's a way of adding value at a higher level than they've ever done in the past. So, that's his newest experiment right now.

 

Where Can We Find Daniel Online

Daniel shared listeners can find him at –

Website – www.myoutdesk.com

                 www.myoutdesk.com/scale/

 Twitter - https://twitter.com/MyOutDesk

 LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/my-outdesk/

 

Daniel shared that there is a text code if your listeners are in the US or North America, Canada, you can actually text them 31996, that’s the phone number to put in the text. And in the message you'd put SVP (Scale with Virtual Professionals).

 

If you text that message, you'll get a copy of their book and you'll get in contact with them. And they'd be happy to serve anybody who's listening today and thinks that maybe you could buy some of your time back.

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Daniel Uses

When asked about a quote or saying that he’ll revert to during challenge, Daniel shared that he’s giving away their secret sauce. Whenever he finds a customer or a friend who's an entrepreneur or a business is stuck in a particular spot, he always ask this question. He asked them, “If they could wave a magic wand and have the problem disappear or have the business double or really start to see some traction and growth and scale, what would you have to start doing, stop doing? And who do you need on your team?”

 

He'll give you some perspective there. When a billionaire goes to buy a sports team, she or he doesn't say, “I'm going to run the football team or I'm going to be the manager of the team.” They buy the sports team and then they think, who do I need on my team in order to win the Super Bowl or win the next series or whatever? The billionaire never thinks, “I'm going to be the manager or I'm going to be the team captain.” They never think that.

 

And unfortunately, a lot of entrepreneurs do. So the question again is, “What do I need to stop doing, start doing and who do I need on my team in order to grow and double my business?” If you ask yourself that one question, you'll start to see some big change.

 

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Sep 15, 2020

Jim Tincher, CCXP, is a nationally recognized customer experience thought leader, journey mapping expert, keynote speaker and author. Jim led customer experience programs at Best Buy and United Health Group before launching his innovative CX consultancy, Heart of the Customer, which helps start-ups to Fortune 50 organizations use voice of the customer research to improve loyalty and boost revenue. His book, How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, is considered a must-read for CX-focused leaders, and Live Help Now, Support Be Influencer Marketing, CustomerThink, Feedspot, and LitmusWorld have all named Jim a customer experience influencer to follow.

 

Questions

 

  • Can you tell us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got to where you are?
  • How is it that you as an expert in this area, could maybe give us some tips as to how an organization can digital look at digitally transforming but ensuring that their team members are also on board with digital transformation?
  • Now, as a customer journey map expert. Could you tell us if you are an organization and you've never done journey mapping before or let's say you did it 5 years ago, what's the recommended time for you to revisit it, to make sure that all the touch points are operating the way they should?
  • What are your thoughts on embracing the power of being digital to the core to enhance customer experience and improving personalization in the process?
  • What are your thoughts on companies that do have different channels? So they operate on multichannels, but they're not operating on an omnichannel perspective where everything is integrated, how can they go about doing that and do you think that's the best approach?
  • How do you get employees motivated? What if they're like, “They're bringing in all of these systems, you have to learn all of these new things, and I’m not getting any new pay for it. I don't feel motivated.” How do you get them engaged, motivated, feel like they're a part of the process? Do they need to be included in the decision making or is it a case where you just roll it out and say, listen, this is a new path we're taking?
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you share with us maybe an app, website or tool that you use in your business that you absolutely can't live without?
  • Could you share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could have been a book that you read many years ago or maybe about that you read recently that has read had a great impact on you.
  • Can you share with us maybe something that you're working on now - it could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or something that you're working on to develop your people.
  • Where can they find you online?
  • Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge that you will typically revert to this quote - it kind of helps you to refocus, get you back on track? Do you have one of those?

Highlights

Jim’s Journey

Jim shared that he doesn't know why he has always been focused on the customer. He remembered his very first job out of school; he was in technical support and on vacation he wanted to go visit a customer where he was visiting his now wife at her home in Connecticut. And he wanted to go visit a customer while he was there and people said, “Why? Go on vacation.” But it's just the way he has always thought. He went from there to small business and went to Best Buy. If you're in small business, you have to be customer obsessed or you don't survive. Similarly, Best Buy very much focus on that.

 

And then he went to a new organization and he naively thought everybody was customer focused and found out there were other methods, literally nobody in a marketing or product development group had ever met a client and he was amazed by that. And as a result, they had the most complex products in the marketplace because they were building the products they wanted to buy. And their customers were giving them feedback that this is way too complex, people don't want all this all these features, that they want it nice and simple.

 

But again, because they didn't have customer feedback, they were building really complex products. And it really came to light when they went out and talked to their customers. So, they divided them into customers who are really successful with their products and those who are struggling. And he created a program called Hug Your Customers, which, by the way, sounds really good until you have a sales rep call a customer to say, “Hey, we want to do a Hug Your Customers meeting with you.” They're Minnesotan's, they don't normally hug, it gets a little awkward.

 

So, they changed to collecting best practices. But he started taking their executives out to meet the clients and what they realized was that the clients that were struggling were the ones who were using their materials and following their advice and the ones who are most successful, the ones who are ignoring our advice and making their own materials. Now, that's a hard lesson, but luckily, because he was bringing the leadership out to hear firsthand, he didn't have to beat them over the head with that and they learned on their own. And that really has been the foundation of their work today.

 

Now, what really led for him to start the company is the fact that he got fired a lot because he remembered one VP saying, “Jim, you make a lot of noise.” He does make a lot of noise because they were just so inward focused and he was trying to change the culture.

 

And one of the things he learned as he was trying to change the culture from the bottom up, and that does not work. You need those pieces, but you have to start with the top and that was one of the lessons that really informed them at Heart of the Customer is that they help an organization think about their customers. They have to engage in leadership from the beginning and that was a lesson he learned the hard way by trying to start with a bottoms up approach.

 

Me: It's almost like your experiences have literally helped to mold who you are, drive the different aspects that you've envisioned for customer experience, especially with helping your clients to realize their own customer journeys. One of the biggest things that a lot of organizations have been focused on, especially since the pandemic, is their customer journey. They've been looking at their customer journey from end to end and they've also been looking at how it is that because of the pandemic and we're literally forced.

 

A lot of organizations had I think some companies had been proactive enough to look and see that their customer behaviours were changing and they were adapting pretty well. But some companies were still back operating as if it were in 1995, early 2000. And they fully had not transformed a lot of their customer behaviours into how their business functions.

 

Digital Transformation Tips

Jim shared that's huge and we should break those into a couple of different pieces. The digital part is accelerating. They had a customer experience event earlier in the week and a speaker from Target who was saying that they're 2030 goals now have to be realized this year. There was such a move towards digital now with a Coronavirus that's had causd them to have to pivot very quickly. And they're seeing that across the board.

 

What's beneficial, their clients have already taken the time to learn what their customer needs and what are the moments of truth in the journey so they can build digital platforms that allow customers to be more successful by understanding those moments of truth as well as those friction points. And they find that's really critical, that if you take a broken process and digitize it, all you get is a broken digitized process and you're not helping anybody.

 

So, it's really critical back there to understand what are those key needs of my customers first? And so, what they've been doing is during this time, even if the output is to be digital, which it often is, what's more important is to understand what are those customers needs in any online or offline environment?

 

What are their challenges? What are the points of friction today? And to use that to design the digital. We are people first, digital second, and leaders tend to forget that, they seem to think that we're all digital people and we just need digital tools. No, we need to solve the human need first and use a digital platform to do that.

 

Me: Ok, so we have to solve the human need first. So, I'd like some practical examples. I see in your just from your bio that retail and healthcare are areas that you have a lot of experience with. So maybe you could give us one from each. Maybe just how it is that you could put the human need first, what does that look like in a real life business example?

 

Jim shared that although it's been interesting because their customer base, the Heart of the Customer, has not been so much retail, they do a lot of healthcare work, a lot of B2B and B2C work. So, with business customers or as an intermediary to the customer. But one of the things they are finding across the board in almost any industry is the need for operational transparency. And he’s going to back that up, what does he mean by that?

 

And it's really the world's humankind's second most awesome invention after fire is the Domino's Pizza Tracker. It's amazing how many people they talked to want a Domino's Pizza Tracker for everything, and they find most organizations are not providing that operational transparency.

 

So, they're to go back 5 or 6 years in time, he doesn't remember when exactly the pizza tracker came out. He can come up with an app that could show you when your dough is put down and who is putting down the dough, and when somebody puts on sauce, somebody puts on ingredients, toss it in the oven. You just said, “Why would I want that? That’s daft.”

 

But when it showed up, people say, “Oh, I love that, in fact, I want to know if I'm applying for life insurance, I want to know what's happening.” They call it Operational Transparency and there's a great Harvard Business Review article on this, very influential to our thinking. But when organizations provide operational transparency to their customers, the customers feel the organization treats them more fairly, even if the outcome is bad, let's an use example of life insurance. Even if they're declined, they feel better about the process because they had visibility into it. And it removes a lot of anxiety.

 

They find that's true in almost every industry. They work with distributors who are providing materials to their clients, when they can provide operational transparency to when the order is placed, when products are shipped. Amazon clearly does this quite well, in the business environment; it's not often done as well.

 

They started to see it coming through a little bit more through some transparency in health insurance. If he submits a claim, he wants to know where that claim is, he wants to be able to see where it's working its way through, and he wants that transparency. So that's what they're finding across the board.

 

He mentioned that he didn't answer another part of the question going back, so he wants to circle back. And Yanique asked about the digital piece, but also asked, how do they get people to actually implement and understand customer needs and to actually put in place the processes needed.

 

And this is critical to their entire practice. They build everything they do around change management. And with that, they have a chapter in the book specifically about how to apply change management principles to journey mapping. Now, a number of years ago, it's been like 4 years. They did a survey on companies regarding their success in Journey Mapping, and he’s a journey mapping geek, his license plate is literally, “JRNY MAP”

 

So, last week they drove down to Texas and dropped off the car to his youngest, that would be the fastest plates you have ever seen swapped out because there's no way Jared wants to have journey map on that car. So, he’s a geek and they did a survey, he thought that everybody, when they asked how successful you were, would give you a 4 or 5, which clearly journey mapping works.

 

Everybody is going to say it's successful, not what they found. What they found is that only about 1 out of 3 did that. Another 1 out of 3 gave it a 1 to 3 and another one third said it's too soon to tell. Now, they just updated the data. They did another survey coming out here, more about journey management and the numbers are even worse. They're finding that only about 15% are saying that they are really successful. Most, 45%, so that’s literally most are saying it's too soon to tell which is not suggesting it's trending well.

 

If you spend US $125,000, US $150,000 which is what it takes to do Journey Mapping right, and you tell your boss, if your boss asks you, “Hey, did that work?” And you say, “Oh, I don’t know, it's too soon to tell.” That's not a good conversation.

 

They find that most organizations are doing the mapping and they're not being successful because they haven't thought about change management. What change management means and they did this research. They found the most important factors in being successful are first of all, knowing what it is you're trying to map, going after an actual business problem. They've had people tell them their business problem is they don't have a journey map.

 

That's not a business problem; they’ve had other people say their biggest problem is their survey scores are low, although that's not a business problem. We are losing customers, customers are not using us for this one type of product, we have a lot of people calling in, which is costly to them and to us, and those are business problems. So, it starts with going after a business problem because that's how you engage executives.

 

Second of all, then is involving customers in the process, which they should not have to talk about it, it's called customer journey mapping for a reason. They ran across all these consultants and as well as practitioners who think that if you take a bunch of employees, you put them in a room and give them post-it notes, we got a customer journey map. Not true. Well, they found when they do that because that is part of their process early on is that they get really good answers that are wrong.

 

Everybody thinks they know the customer journey but when they match that up against what customers actually tell them, there is a huge mismatch between the two. Because you are just reacting to part of the journey you see and very few employees can actually articulate the entire journey and are actually missing what's most important to customers.

 

So, second part is involving customers. But the third one, which is actually the most important, is who's on the team. If we go back to this, they don't involve their digital team and they mapped the journey and they come up with all these new digital items they need, you go to them and say, “Hey, we have this beautiful journey map.” Telling you all these things you need to do differently.

 

Well, they're not going to listen to you. Why should they? They've got their own list of things. But if you involve them in the process, you get them as part of it, that's when the magic happens and even more importantly, is involving leadership, getting the leaders to be part of the project, getting them to talk to customers, that's when you start to embed it inside of a culture.

 

Me: That makes sense. Would you suggest everybody should be involved, at least all of the different touch points that could possibly impact the customer?

 

Jim agreed and shared that they usually have about 30 people involved in their projects, sometimes more across the organization.

 

Me: And let's say for an organization with that size of maybe 2500 employees, let’s say they are a financial institution, they have a bank, they have an insurance arm, they have an investment arm. In a case like that, if they're really trying to do a transformational journey it would be recommended that all the leaders from the different business units are involved.

 

Mike mentioned that it sounds like Yanique has a particular customer or company in mind.

 

Me: No, not necessarily. But I just want to use a specific example, because I do have some of the persons that listen to this podcast that are in that line of business. So it would be good for them to specifically hear, because sometimes you read books, Jim, and the books speak at a very high level, but they're not bringing it down on a granular level to where you are in the organization.

 

“I am the marketing associate in the marketing department and I think if we do this in a digital way it will help to influence our marketing efforts.” But how does that transcend into the entire journey from end to end? And is it connected with the other departments on how it is that they are feeding information to the customers from their units? That's where I'm trying to get at so that everybody listening understands that it's not just a responsibility of one department.

 

Jim agreed and shared that first of all, it comes back to what's the business problem you're trying to solve, and likely you're actually not going to involve all three of those groups because the business problem typically doesn't go across the bank, the investments and the insurance area, it's probably more granular. And so, let's say for example, the business problem. They worked with one bank; let's use that as an example where their business problem was that always the secondary bank.

 

So, some other bank was the primary purpose, they were secondary and they isolated it because in the onboarding process, that first 90 days, clients weren’t really learning all they could do with the bank, and so they kept it as a secondary kind of a fund money bank, but they weren't using it for their primary checking account, their savings account, the credit card.

 

They typically came in because they needed a separate bank account for some reason, and they stayed with that. So, they wanted to learn how could they create an amazing onboarding process that got customers to learn that they could use this bank for way more than banking?

 

In that case, they needed to involve clearly the front line; you need to involve representatives from the individual branches because that's where a lot of the rubber hits the road. You also need marketing, going back to your point about marketing, you have to have marketing there because marketing should be creating a lot of these materials that you're using for the onboarding. Product, because product can learn what they're doing and come up with new products that fit that. The contact centre because they need to match as well what’s happening as well as the digital team. So minimum of these 5 teams, all need to be involved.

 

Me: So, that's really, really good information. Now, in terms of customer journey mapping, I did a webinar recently and I think one of the questions I asked was how often do they revisit their customer journey map.

 

 

Using Journey Mapping In Your Organization

Me: Now as a customer journey map expert. Could you tell us if you are an organization and you've never done journey mapping before or let's say you did it 5 years ago, what's the recommended time for you to revisit it, to make sure that all the touch points are operating the way they should? Just to give people an idea, because I think a lot of companies think they built this journey map and that's it, it's almost like a policy or a procedure that was created in 1970 and it stays there forever.

 

Jim stated that Yanique was right and shared that the journey does change. They just did this survey, which they’re right now on the analysis of and they found that 90% of the respondents basically stopped there with the mapping. They create two different kinds of maps, they create one which is a change management map, highly graphically, the research is pretty clear, and it’s called The Visual Superiority Effect. If you create a highly visual artifact, people understand it more and they remember it, so they have that one.

 

Then for some of their clients, they go beyond that where they create a data oriented map which is bringing in the feeds of the operational data, as well as the sentiment data, the surveys, to show how that journey is as a baseline and how it changes over time.

 

If you do that, that largely answers your question, because as long as the journey is working the same and by bringing the operational data and he should say financial as well, you're going to start to see is that journey still healthy or are we seeing more cancellations? Are we seeing lower additional products added on? Are we finding business problems are happening because typically the business problems come/originated by a customer problem.

 

And so, the sentiments part of that, so you're able to track sentiment over time, hopefully have a journey survey, and have some touch point surveys so you bring that into the living journey map. But you also bring in that operational data so you can see while they're seeing a lot of calls at this phase of the journey or they're seeing that their average basket size going back to retail is dropping significantly or increasing. That's when you need to go back out to your customers, because the working the live journey map is telling you that things have changed and you need to go back and figure out why.

 

Using Digital to Enhance Customer Experience

Me: Ok, so that definitely does answer some of those questions. Now, in terms of personalization, personalizing the experience for the customer. I know artificial intelligence and augmented reality are some things that companies are incorporating into their experience to make it more personalized. I was watching a video recently where IKEA literally has the augmented reality, you just hold your phone or your iPad up and you can just position the furniture in your house to see what it looks like. So you're actually almost choosing it without physically going to the IKEA location. What are your thoughts on embracing the power of being digital to the core to enhance customer experience and improving personalization in the process?

 

Jim shared that in terms of enhancing customer experience and improving personalization in the process is absolutely critical and not far enough along yet. Amazon has spoiled us all; every area we work in, we tell them Amazon is your competitor. If you're a bank, if you're a distributor as he mentioned earlier, you’re a health insurance organization, you're a non-profit, Amazon is your competitor. Not literally, if you're non-profit, it's pretty hard to argue that Amazon is taking your funds away.

 

But the mindset, all of our mindsets are changed by Amazon and that expectation. Amazon gives him a personal experience, therefore, when he’s engaging with another retailer, but also when he’s engaged with his health insurance organization, he expects them to personalize things for him. He expects everybody he interacts with, every organization to give him an Amazon like experience and so as a result, he’s frequently disappointed.

 

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is opening that up for the rest of us that we find the machine learning specifically allows you to understand patterns of behaviour and build and orchestrate a journey as a result.

 

They have a partner of theirs that does orchestration where you can actually set up individual responses based on needs. And that's a machine learning platform, although you can incorporate machine learning into it. But what they're finding in their research is that a handful of companies are doing an excellent job of really personalizing and building the journey on an individual basis even, or at least in a mass customized level. But most are not there today. There's a huge opportunity.

 

Me: So there's opportunity for organizations to improve personalization. Another big thing I found also, Jim, in the whole process of customer experience and enhancing it is having more integration across their channels. I use this webinar platform called Demio and so one of my business channels has expanded as a result of the pandemic. So, I never used to do webinars before, but because of the pandemic and I'm not physically going out to the training anymore.

 

Of course, I'm using webinars as a platform to reach more people and in doing my research, because I'm a customer service trainer. I wanted to use a platform that was customer friendly, meaning if I had an issue technically or there was an issue with just how to use a platform or what to do. I could message them on their response time would be like instantaneously. And of course, after doing research on speaking to other trainers both here in Jamaica and overseas, I was able to pick Demio. They're fairly new in the game and there are some features that they don't have that Zoom has, but one of the things I liked about them was that they were omnichannel and they were integrated.

 

So it didn't matter which platform I spoke to them on, what it was, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM or it was the little chatbot that was directly on their website, that conversation continued on each platform and each person I spoke to was a continuation of the conversation from before, and it just made things so seamless and easy to transact business with them.

 

Operating an on Omnichannel Where Everything Is Integrated

Jim shared that clearly it's the best approach, as Yanique just said right there and she’s right. You don't want to have to think about, “Did I start this with chat, did I start with the bot, where I started?” You don't care. One of their sayings is, “Thinking is bad. The more you make your customers think, the more at risk you are for losing their loyalty.”

 

That comes back to the need to be multichannel. He does not want to have a different experience or more importantly, to get different answers if he calls you, than if he chat, than if he uses other methods of interaction. He wants to know he’s getting that same experience across the board.

 

They find it's hard because they tend to have a siloed approach to improvement, and that comes back to earlier, that if you don't engage the leadership and don't engage the overall organization around this area and again, the parts of the organization that can be part of the solution, then you end up with siloed solutions. If you're building siloed solutions, you're going to be in trouble. But if instead you're taking the time to integrate across them, that's when you can make a huge difference in not just keeping your current customers are bringing in more because you're going to keep your base because they like the experience and they're going to talk to others.

 

Getting Employees Motivated

Me: So, one of the things that we have to also do, and I know you mentioned it earlier in terms of involving the people, involving the people on the ground, the ones who are in the grassroots every day dealing with the customers, they know some of the challenges that the customers are actually experiencing. But how do you get them motivated? What if they're like, “They're bringing in all of these systems, you have to learn all of these new things, and I’m not getting any new pay for it. I don't feel motivated.” How do you get them engaged, motivated, feel like they're a part of the process? Do they need to be included in the decision making or is it a case where you just roll it out and say, listen, this is a new path we're taking?

 

Jim stated, well, so let's go back to the change management comment earlier. And again, they're big believers in involving change management. They find that customer experience, when they involve a change management approach, they have way more impact.

 

On a business to business level, Jen Zamora from Dow, they’re a client of Jim’s, they have a great approach. She's been posting every month on LinkedIn, their journey to customer experience and last week's was about how they incorporate change management into their approach, it's a great read. Follow Jen Zamora and look at her posts of what they've been doing.

 

Now, in Jim’s case, he likes John Kotter’s approach, which is on structure, but they talk a lot about the ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) change model from Prosci. And he likes it because it's simple but not simplistic. And ADKAR is an acronym. If you want somebody to change, they need to be aware of the need to change. They need to desire to change. They need to know what to change. They need to be able to change. And that has to be reinforced.

 

He mentioned that he’s going to try to convince Yanique to move away from Jamaica to Minnesota. First of all, you need to be aware of your need to move to Minnesota about how it's so beautiful there, it's fantastic, you’ve got to move up there. You need to desire to come up there. You've got to say yes, I don't have any snow boots, I need snow boots, he needs to get you desire that. You have to know how to move there and he'll work with you to get a moving agency. You have to be able to; you've got to be able to find something to move you from Jamaica to up there and you need to continually reinforce why this living in snow is a good thing. So, he has got an uphill battle.

 

What they find is that most organizations focus on the first A and the K and maybe the second A. So they say, “Yanique, are you aware that you can move to Minnesota, here's how you can do it and let me give you some training on how to live as a Minnesotan.” But he never took the time to help you understand why Minnesota is a beautiful state and why you'd want to leave Jamaica to come there.

 

It's a high bar. But now let's turn it back to your marketing person. And if you want your employees to use new systems, a lot of groups start with awareness, “Hey, we have a new system.” And then jump right to training. And here's the training. They didn't take the time to say, “And this is why this is going to help you. This is why you should want to do that.” Love the ADKAR model because it helps us remember how I built against the desire component and if your changes are not taking place, that's where he'd look.

 

How Jim Stays Motivated

When asked how he stays motivated, Jim shared that he'll tell you; it's really hard the first few months of the Coronavirus, because even though he’s an introvert, he’s very introverted. He gets a lot of energy off of one to one conversations. A number of years ago like 8, 10 years ago when he was fired from a company, trying to find my new job; he had 133 coffees. Now that doesn’t count lunch, that doesn’t count dinner just strictly 133 just on the coffees and everything else.

 

And now we bring it to today in March and April was hard because nobody wanted coffee. It’s very easy for us all to pull inside. He gets his energy out of one on one conversations. He loves talking with other customer experience leaders to find out what they're doing.

 

And so, one of the things he did this year, it actually started before the Coronavirus, you may have seen Forrester’s prediction that 1 out of 4 customer experience people would lose their jobs this year because they're not showing business value.

 

A year earlier, Customer Think came out with the research that showed that only 1 out of 4 programs can show business value. So in January, he got really interested in that and said, well, what is it that separates that 1 out of 4 who are going to be fired from the 1 out of 4 that are who we all want to be, the ones that are really showing impact?

 

And so this year, they've interviewed so far 86 people in customer experience roles. They've added a few as well in finance and CEOs to understand what does excellence look like in customer experience. And when he leaves one of those conversations with somebody who's truly expert, he’s motivated, he’s inspired.

 

 

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

Jim shared that there are two he'll mention. First of all, they use Microsoft Teams, there’s a way to connect and to use visual, big fan of that. That's number one, but some way that you can connect and have that camera turned on, that's important.

 

The Coronavirus taught us about a new tool that he wants to pitch, he’s not an investor or anything, but he loves it. It's called Stormboard. And it is an online interactivity white boarding tool that you do not have to train anybody. It's amazing. The service is really responsive; they have really enjoyed working with that. So if you're looking at a tool for doing online workshops, they loved them, they've been great partners; they’ve been very flexible and willing to teach them how to facilitate. But what they found is that they don't have to spend a lot of time teaching their clients how to use the tool, they just get in and they start to use it.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Jim

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Jim shared that he just came back from vacation a couple of weeks ago out in Maine and what he does when he goes on vacation, this is geeky. He read books and he read three books and half of three others. But the one that really hit him hard is Leading Change, With a New Preface by John Kotter.

 

Time called it one of the most influential business books of the last 25 years. And he's got a great method of walking through it. And so, as he mentioned, they've used Prosci in the past, he has read their book and that's good from an outcomes perspective. What Kotter does, he walks through a process.

 

First of all, you've got to create a sense of urgency. What they find most customer experience leaders failing at is the next step, which is to create a powerful change coalition and then from there creating a vision as a total steps. But it just spoke to him. And yes, he realize that that shows how geeky he is in a book on change management, on the beach spoke to him, but he strongly recommends that book.

 

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact he liked a lot by Chip and Dan Heath and he interviewed one of them for his blog, getting their feedback at Heart of the Customer. And it was interesting because Jim has a little bit different approach in that they they're all about building positive moments, which he agrees with as well. They don't like journey maps as much because journey maps also focus on the negative but you have to understand what are the most crucial moments are.

 

But in there, they also talk about do you want to spend your time fixing problems or creating great interactions? And what they find is that most organizations spend their time fixing problems. But the potential of creating great moments of truth with your customers has nine times the organizational value than fixing problems. Great book.

 

What Jim is Really Excited About Now!

When asked if he could share something that he’s working on the develop himself or his people, Jim mentioned both, as mentioned, they’ve done 86 interviews so far to understand what is it that leads to excellence in customer experience. And one hint, it does not involve the letters N, P or S, it's really involving engaging executives, creating a vision.

 

They are right now in the process of distilling that and hope to be coming out with their own book again, a second book here in probably about 6 months to a year. But they're learning that there are people out there that are truly transforming their organizations around the customer experience and that there is a process that does it, but that it's rare and that most organizations are not having the impact. But there are some that are truly transforming their companies around the customer.

 

Yanique asked when would that be out and Jim shared that they're suppose to start analysis on the first of the month and do the writing through the end of this year or so, hopefully first and second quarter of next year. But he knows that their original project plan on the last book had them getting done in 2017 and it came out in 2019. But his history is not so good at getting the writing done in time.

 

Where Can We Find Jim Online

Jim shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter - https://twitter.com/jimtincher

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/jimtincher/  

Website – www.heartofthecustomer.com

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Jim Uses

When asked if he has a quote or saying that he would revert to in times of adversity or challenge, Jim shared that he does and it's particularly poignant during the Coronavirus, and it's from John le Carré, who's an English author, who said, “The desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” They find a lot of customer experience people don't actually talk to customers, it's really important. Has been harder in the Coronavirus, it has to be done virtually but if you want to create an amazing customer experience, it starts by talking to your customers and that quote has inspired him for years now.

 

Me: It's so simple and it's almost like a BFO, like a blinding flash of the obvious, because clearly, how are you going to know what needs to be improved if you're not talking to the person who you are trying to make the improvements for because you need their input, it can't be based on what you feel or think. It must be based on their experience. So you would think, a lot of people are doing that, but a lot of companies don't actually do that consistently.

 

Jim agreed and shared that a lot of customer experience people don't even do it consistently, and that's the opportunity. So if he was to wish one thing for you, for everybody listening to this, it's that you will tomorrow reach out to a few customers and just have a conversation.

 

He shared that he had a great interview with the customer experience leader in France and she said one of the benefits of a pandemic is that she used to visit all the customers in France because she could do without traveling. Now, she’s talking to their customers in China, in Brazil, in Canada, because they're all the same distance away from her now.

 

Me: That's true. The French and the Chinese and the Brazilians, it takes that much energy to call each one if you're calling somebody just the same in France.

 

Jim agreed and shared that that's his encouragement to everybody is, reach out to your customers no matter where they are.

 

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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Sep 8, 2020

Mike Welsh is the Chief Creative Officer at Mobiquity, leading a team of experienced architects, experienced designers and conversational designers to deliver engaging and compelling solutions in collaboration with engineers who bring these solutions to life. He has been doing this for over 27 years, having joined Mobiquity near its beginning. Mike notes that what originally drew him to this role is the ability to transform experiences for companies and their customers. What keeps him on the team engaged is the opportunity to find out what truly transforms human experience and then brings it to life. He's a firm believer in the power of a team and its ability to create impact derived from insights.

 

Mike's time is spent with clients and teams, including working within creative, business and technology fields, bringing many skills to the table including: experience strategy, experience design, product strategy, and product design. His industry knowledge within these functions spans healthcare, retail, ecommerce, and financial services and he has lectured on these topics at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Moore College of Art and Design and various conferences.

Questions

  • Could you tell us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got into experience strategy and experienced design. Tell us a little bit about that journey over the 27 years, how it got you to where you are today?
  • We're in an era, especially since the global pandemic where a lot of organizations are definitely looking to transform their experiences digitally, even if they weren't in a digital space, they're possibly looking at a digital transformation strategy, regardless of the industry that they operate in. As an expert in user and customer experience design and strategy, could you maybe share with us two or three things that should be top of mind in making that transition if you're a company?
  • What are some of the things that need to be done on the backend to ensure that the user feels like it's personalized to them?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you share with us maybe one personal win that you think working from home has had an impact on your client success? Maybe just one thing that you've been doing differently that has had a greater impact on how you are able to show up for your client.
  • 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 share with us maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you? It could be a book you read recently or something you read a very long time ago, but it still had a great impact on you to this day.
  • Can you share with us what, 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?
  • What's one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge or any obstacle that you may be facing in your life, you'll tend to revert to to kind of help you to stay on track or just keep going. Do you have one of those?

Highlights

Mike’s Journey

Mike shared that he went to Drexel University; he got his degree in Graphic Design and a sort of minor in Sociology. And after graduating, he started out a little shop in Manioc, which is a town just outside of Philadelphia and got to work on some interesting projects and got started and thought, “Wow, this is actually exactly what I want to do.” But he thought he needed to learn about all the pieces that surround the design business, the work that they do, not just making pixels and making things pretty, but how do people think about things? And for those that suffer by what they design, what is it like in their experience? So how can you get into that more directly, more fully, and start to explore that?

 

So, he had lots of opportunities and mentors along the way, and people that gave him guidance and sort of stumbled and fumbled through the first 5 or 10 years of his career. And then sort of hit his stride when the dotcom boom slash bust happened. That's when he started to get into these entrepreneurial spaces where it was startup time. So he has probably been 4 of the last 6 jobs are startups. And for him, that was the opportunity to really explore how do you actually transform? How do you kind of get up that Maslow pyramid to get unmet need met?

 

And he thinks a lot of the work that the teams he has been fortunate enough to lead demonstrate that in a lot of different ways, but it's ultimately, can a customer get, can a user, can a patient have silent utility? You don't need 5 star experiences. What you need is, the design has to sort of become part of an experience that's quietly used by folks and it just works, it just works every day. And he thinks that's been a big portion of the journey leading up to the last 7 years at Mobiquity of taking customers, probably 200 or so projects of how do you get somebody to understand their experience enough, give it to you, and then come back with something that gives them sort of a rich, silent utility experience.

 

Digital Transformation Strategy to Keep in Mind

Mike shared that one of the main things that companies that have to approach this sort of new normal, new reality structural change that's going to be with us for a significant period of time is first don't panic. He knows that sounds maybe not like a design thing to think about, but if you're a business trying to survive and get on the other side of whatever this is, a global pandemic, civil unrest, governmental change, all sorts of things that are happening in everybody's country. The first is to not panic and think about how your business grows in an environment like this. In every depression and recession we've ever had, most of the truly sustainable businesses are built out of that crucible of collapse. And so, if you are one of those businesses and you can see this with Facebook and Netflix and Spotify all came out of the great recession.

 

Well, we're at another point where there's going to be another set of entrepreneurs and business owners and business people that are going to have opportunities. The second big pitfall or the second big sort of caution is “You don't have to boil the ocean; you shouldn't have to solve everything at once.” It is sort of the Kaizen model of take a little bit each time that you go to make a change in your business and do some analysis, try it, if it doesn't work, learn from it and move on. Don't try to do everything at once, like curbside or contactless payments or things like that. There's plumbing and systems that already exist, that are already in the world.

 

How can you adapt these to your business in a simple, straightforward, working with your customer, dealing with your labour way that can also make you able to meet your bottom line. And then to some extent, the third thing is you have to have a grit, so Duckworth wrote all about it, and you have to have passion and perseverance and you need tons of both to be able to sustain yourself through what is essentially a depression and come out of it with a completely new streamlined, more efficient, more customer focused than you'd ever have in any other time.

 

Me: So, those are definitely valid integrations that we can take into consideration when we're thinking of our digital strategy. Now, a big part I think of user design and you can correct me if I'm wrong. Seeing that you're an expert is I think personalization and so using whatever platform whether it's for a bank or for a supermarket or a spa, or whatever that at the end of the day, I don't feel like it's generic to everybody, but it's specific to me and what I'm looking for. How can you ensure that you achieve that? Is it by ensuring that you're asking the right questions? Is it maybe from collecting the right kind of customer data?

 

Personalized User Experience

Mike stated that he doesn't know if he’s the expert, expert, but we all use experiences like you use the phone, we're using Skype, we're doing all these things, and we’re accessing technology and adopting it. He thinks one of the things, one of the principle things people have to do if you're trying to personalize is to first understand what the human component is.

 

So for example, that sort of Maslow example he talked about in the beginning was, at the bottom of the pyramid you can just make an app that sits in an app store and it does a thing and you have to log in and that could be Uber, or it could be Amazon. You get to the next tier and you have to understand what desires exist for a person. What are the desires that people want in an experience. If you understand those, you can create interactions they really want, and that may be a tier above.

 

So, Uber for example, or house party or some of these other experiences that really do get at interactions you actually want in those experiences and then tier above that is you gotta have a fair exchange of value between the human and the system.

 

And so that means that you have to construct these systems so they're built around an audience, not around a technology. It's hard for people to understand that when they go to set out and make an app, because they're thinking about a technology, that's looking for a problem, but the reality is you want to make it so that you understand fundamentally what's at stake for that person so that they can have moments of achievement in that fair exchange of value.

 

And he thinks when you see the 5 star experiences or you think of the apps that you use yourself, or think of the kiosk experiences that you've had, or the experiences with your television set, any technology interaction you have that you feel is meaningful.

 

Oftentimes, obliquely goes after the unmet need by trying to create fair exchange of value between a human and a system.

 

The last piece of this and sort of the capper is if you understand how audience management works and how you can steer audiences in different ways, it starts with that one to one knowledge that understanding of the human condition.

 

Do you really understand anxiety, the uncertainty and powerlessness that people feel today as they go about their business, put on their mask, wash their hands, do these kinds of things are going to fundamentally change the way we act as humans. We don't know what it is yet because we're still in the cauldron.

 

But ultimately, if you think about that anxiety as an equation for how you can address the more certain people can feel, the more power they have in a transaction and that intuitive emotional awareness of the consumer can change the state of anxiety someone experiences when they're trying to interact with a piece of technology.

 

And that's a great way to start your sort of personalization conversation. And then on the technology side, there are a million things out there, AWS, Google, everybody's got tons of widgets that can quote….unquote, address personalization, but they're all afterthoughts, it's not until you understand that equation fully and completely. And then you create that exchange, that fair exchange of value between you and someone else.

 

Me: So, the person who is doing the designing, they're not just have to think about just selling a product, they have to think about the end user. And as you mentioned, how does the human element connect with the technology aspect to ensure that you're actually trying to meet the unmet needs of the client? Because sometimes I guess the customer doesn't even know what their needs are until it has been met.

 

Mike agreed and shared that it shows up surprisingly in different ways. So, the way that you bought the microphone that you're using to do this podcast had a certain set of things, you had some needs, you had to have really good sort of MPR quality audio, and you wanted some high quality production after you do this podcast.

 

But the reality is, is that you want to make sure that the quality of your audio gets to your audiences in exactly the right way. There's a sort of a margin that you have, if he understands that, that he’s going to position that microphone in a way that gets you to that end, he’s going to use YouTube influencers, he’s going to use social media, he’ going to have people using the mic mention it. There's a lot of ways that people can do this, where they can actually personalize the experience and make it so that you're making the right purchase with the right kinds of information.

 

Me: I think information is so critical Mike as you mentioned that, I think sometimes a lot of companies, I know, like for example, in sales, they focus on trying to sell the customer the benefits, like how will it benefit me versus the features, because I think that's where a lot of salespeople go wrong. They're caught up on all of the features that this particular product or service may offer, but maybe some of those features I don't need, I'm not interested, let’s say I was buying a car, I'm not interested in the fact that the RPM can go to whatever number, I'm probably more interested in the softer features, does it have a dashboard with a podcasting app? Does it have bluetooth that it will sync with my phone because those are things that I actually value and use on a daily basis when I'm driving.

 

And so, it's to understand who you're serving and what the benefit would be to them. For example, you're selling a vehicle to a mom with three children versus a single, a single man who is a bachelor. Clearly your pitch would be a little bit different because she's probably looking for something that will have enough space to accommodate her family, if she has to go on a trip or a vacation, or just up and down every day to take them to soccer practice and ballet recital, you want to know that you can travel with them in comfort. And of course, if you have to carry groceries that there is enough trunk space to facilitate all of that. So, I do think that you really have to focus on the benefits of the product and then knowledge is critical in getting that information across.

 

How Mike Stays Motivated

Mike stated that that's a good question. He shared that there are days he will tell you that we've all been having on lockdown that are difficult, but he thinks two things. He has three daughters and they're teenagers and they keep him motivated every day because every day it's something. But he’s a big fan of sort of audible and listening to audio books and things like that. And he found this one, it's about the two minute mornings and every morning you fill out a journal, you answer three questions. It takes literally two minutes and it has actually been extremely powerful. He thought it was kind of like, “Oh, whatever, I'll do it.” But then after he did it for the 90 days, it actually starts to turn into a way that you can control your day and have a good day.

 

So, that plus a little bit of yoga, plus he runs a bit, those kinds of things will give you something to look forward to. But he also thinks that the work that they get to do for their clients, he used to travel a lot for work, he would travel 50 weeks a year almost doing workshops and meet with clients and doing pitches and things like that. Having to do all of this stuff at home from a sort of remote space, he has been the most creative he thinks. He has been able to help, he has been able to have the most impact he has had since he has been in this job simply because he hasn't had to go to the airport at 3:00 am in the morning and get home after midnight. It really does put a tax on creativity.

 

So that motivates him every day. And the fact that hundreds of millions of people use stuff that they've designed every day, that's a huge motivation. Somebody asked him one time for a job search that if you had to tell a candidate coming to work for Mobiquity, what's the reason you'd come here. And he thinks for him, the motivation is if he told you that you could have an outsized impact and that your design could potentially influence saving someone’s life, for example, that will change your whole outlook on your whole life. Because the thing that you thought you went to art school for, which is designing stuff actually influences healthcare outcomes, or it helps someone have some moment of fulfilment that they wouldn't have otherwise had, unless you designed that thing. That is an excellent motivator to get up and get going.

 

Me: All right. So those are some good things that you used to get motivated every day. One thing that sparked my interest while you were sharing just now is you spoke about things that kind of don't necessarily energize your creativity and definitely traveling, those stressful hours getting to the airport and then getting back. I mean, traveling on a whole is a stressful experience really. But one of the things I wanted to know from you was since you've been home, you said for the past 90 days, and you've definitely been able to be more creative.

The Impact of Working at Home

Mike shared that the one big thing is, a long time ago he was told by one of his creative bosses that he wasn't that good of a storyteller.

 

And that was pretty big, a little bit of a punch in the gut kind of thing. And sometimes that's the truth, you have stuff to work on and sometimes people just don't know how to deliver that message nicely. But it was true. And so, what happened was he made that his sort of like, okay, that is going to fuel his hate fire, that is going to make him sort of motivated to be the best storyteller he could possibly be bar none. And so, every day he wakes up in the morning and that for him has been the thing that's changed the most.

 

Not only his own storytelling is getting better and his practice of doing that is getting better and the techniques that they use to do it remotely is getting better, but it's actually affecting his teams. So, his whole design team is getting better at storytelling and getting more efficient at making these messages meaningful. And he thinks that that's been a big thing for him anyway as a check the box, you're making some progress.

 

Me: So, that's definitely had an impact on you because I think it's so important for our listeners to realize that even though we're working from home, we can still put out even better work than we were putting out when we were actually in a face to face environment or just doing the things that we're accustomed to doing. Human beings generally don't like change and they put up a lot of resistance to change and I can imagine for an employee who is accustomed to face to face interaction, the up and down busy kind of activity every day. Staying home over and over every day, I guess at the beginning it did seem like a nice thing to kind of get a break from the everyday activities. But after doing it over an extended period of time and now even hearing that this thing is going to continue into 2021.

 

I was just reading on LinkedIn last night that Google is going to extend their work from home to the end of 2021. And I don't see why it is that it can't be a part of our permanent way of operating because if you can literally pull out opportunities out of it and you're able to see productivity increase, you're able to see people grow, you're able to see people develop and your customers are being satisfied even before. If you can find some measurement metric system to identify the level of satisfaction post COVID versus pre COVID with the same people working, but under different conditions and you're able to prove that it's a better experience, I don't see why we would discontinue what we're doing if it's working better.

 

Mike shared that the sort of fun fact is the world isn't going to get back to normal until 2023, 2024. If you talk to epidemiologists around the world and virologists, they'll all say, “There is a normalcy bias and a cognitive bias that people have for what's happening to them.” And some people have been tremendously negatively impacted, lost their livelihoods, loss of their businesses, spouses out of work.

We're all going to go through a PTSD event. Think of it that way. What you can hope for is that there can be opportunities for people to find a way to express themselves. So, the Maslow that they do for their clients is the same that they do for themselves.

 

If he can have moments of achievement in his job, in his life and in his work, that's great. But if he can help others do the same thing, the force multiplication that comes along with that is staggering. The amount of impact that you can have.

 

One of his teammates had to do a presentation for a client. She didn't want him on the call; she just wanted him to coach her through it. And she said to him afterwards, because they went back and forth about one of the slides. He said, “Look, I don't think you should put that on there, but what do I know?” And afterwards she said, “I kept the slide in, despite you not wanting me to.” which he said to her, “It's fine. You can do what you want.” But she had to own the story and she came back afterwards, the client was super excited.

 

She did a fantastic job. And as a result, she said, “Look, I really appreciate all your coaching and everything. And I kept the slide in, like I said, but a lot of the points that you made ended up in my talk track. And for that I'm grateful.” And she said, “At some point you got to let us spread our wings, boss.” And so, he’s humble enough to know that he’s only good at a very small number of things, the things that he’s terrible at isn't is an extensively long list. And he imagines others have the same sort of imposter syndrome and things like that. So, if you can have focus enough to help somebody else get through this thing and help them have a moment of achievement, it can change that person's impact on the world that they live in. And so there is a little bit of a multiplication effect of being able to kind of help your team get through the things that they're struggling with so they can influence others and then it just becomes this self fulfilling kind of thing.

 

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

Mike shared that he’ll give one and then maybe a half of another. The one that he really couldn't live without is the Notes App for his iPad. Now, he wouldn't have said that in January, but his Apple pencil and his iPad, when he starts doing meetings, and this is going to be one of these storytelling things, is that, that the ability to sketch during a shared meeting, like you're on Zoom or on Teams or whatever, the minute you start drawing on the screen.

 

You have the Bob Ross effect, which is sort of there's a happy tree and you sort of get this soothing feeling of someone drawing a tree on a landscape, his experience has been that that is actually something that is super valuable to con their customers and their teammates.

 

If they can sort of see the whiteboard, the electronic whiteboard effect happening, they oftentimes are more engaged in the meetings that they're in, they don't want to see more PowerPoints or Keynotes, they feel like they're actively doing something and he’s drawing what they're saying.

 

So, he’s literally sketching out while they're going. Across his own internal teams and with external clients have said in feedback that this was a much more engaged meeting and they felt like they accomplished a lot more because they actually can see a physical result as opposed to a set of slides that he had to spend all week preparing.

 

So for him, the ability to draw a live in a shared environment with someone or some people has been a ‘Godsend’ for not being physically present, you don't get physical cueing, verbal cueing, you barely get audio cueing. So, you need some other physical aperture to be able to have an interaction with someone and the Notes App has been fantastic.

 

Me: Excellent. That’s very dynamic tool, Apple has come a very far way with that application.

 

And there are other apps out there that do it, but the notes one is super simple and it can be shared with others and stuff. So it's his default.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Mike

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Mike shared that he'll share two books. Now, if you would talk to the team, they would say, “Oh my God, that’s the question for you.”

 

In his presentations with clients, he has a thing called the book slide, and you can find it on his website. He goes through a whole thing about all the books he reads. And so, one book that's affected his whole career, his whole life is the Tao Te Ching by Laozi. You can find a version of the Tao Te Ching in lots of translations; it's an ancient philosophy book. And it has spawned lots of different sort of Taoists religion itself and Zen Buddhism came from it.

 

There are a lot of things that came after, but the Tao Te Ching has been a book that he has been reading over and over again, then audio booking, listening to it over and over again for the last 27 years. And it's fundamentally changed his entire outlook on his entire life.

 

The other book and he just finished this book, which he thinks everyone should read this book, it is so fascinating. It's the Biography of Frederick Douglass.

 

It's a long listen on audio on audible; it's like 40 hours or so but he ran a lot of miles listening to it. But the fact that it's so long, it gives you insight into a person that you would never otherwise have.

 

And then it allows you to draw your own conclusions. The way the book's written, it's fascinating. It takes his life from when he was child in Baltimore, all the way through to the end. And you always think about these characters of people that you learn about in school, but until you actually get into the detail and you start to see how, you know, they're not perfect, everybody wants everybody to be binary, and they’re not binary. There's a gray scale of humanity that this man operated with.

 

And you just think about how tough your day is, you can take any six chapters out of that book and feel a thousand times better about what you have to do each day. And it's brilliantly written, it’s almost like when Hamilton was like writing all the time, doing the Federalist papers, he wrote like 50 some odd Federalist papers. Everybody else did a fraction.

 

This guy was writing constantly, failed newspapers started another one writing constantly the sort of suasion sort of principles, then moving into nonviolent stuff. And then moving through freeing himself from slavery and traveling abroad and becoming a writer and sort of a speaker on the circuit, you really do get a sense that one person could change the world. And he found the book to be just super fantastic and The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass is also his own writings, which he thinks are also good. But you get to see a full picture of a human, which he thought was amazing.

 

What Mike is Really Excited About Now!

Mike shared that the one about his people is they do in person training. So, one of his team that same teammate he described the story about the slide that she included that he didn't want her to. She came to him once and said, “Hey, I'm having trouble being confident about how I'm presenting myself and what I'm talking about in the work. And I'd like to be more confident about it. And it seems like my peers and other jobs and other companies have this level of confidence.”

 

So at that point, he was like, alright, let's get everybody's confidence level up or reduce their imposter syndrome. So they brought in an outside firm to give them training every six months or so, they'll do two classes, one is like how to do UX journey maps and other is how to do usability or heuristic evaluations, expert reviews, how to present UX, storytelling for UX, getting this team certified in each of these areas by a sort of globally known company. Started to build up this confidence level that you would start to see in meetings with clients.

 

So, that from a rewarding standpoint has been amazing to watch a team of pretty experienced professionals up their games, be more confident about their work, sort of stand on their own two feet. His biggest thing he tells his team all the time is he would love if they had a meeting with a client and they're doing a presentation and he could just sit in the back.

 

Being the Chief Creative Officer, isn't super easy, there's lots of things about it that are hard, but the most proud moments you can have, or the most rewarding moments you can have is when you see your team have these moments of achievement for themselves, they get up, they do their work and the clients are like people clapping at the end of a meeting come on, that's amazing.

 

For himself personally, his parents both passed away in the last 3 years. His mother passed away in February just before lockdown. But his mother probably kept him from traveling and in some ways protected him, probably from catching this COVID thing.

And so, as a result of that, he sort of said, “Alright, from now on, I'm going to try to live everyday like it's my last.” And he got a teardrop trailer and he’s going tow it across the United States and he’s going to do the 25 top national parks of the United States.

He travels all over the world and have been around the world a bunch of times, but it's mostly for work so it's not like he’s vacationing in places, he’s just going into a conference room, but he’s going to take the camper and it’s like a small teardrop, it sleeps one person and he’s going to drag that across the United States and try to see all these wonders that he hasn't seen, so he’s a big camping fan.

 

Me: That sounds pretty exciting. It's amazing the amount of things that you can do and I think I was reading that recently, actually, it was on an Instagram story. A company had asked one of those polling questions, what's the one thing you've learned since COVID and someone wrote that time is so precious and you really shouldn't take any day for granted, that's what they've learnt since COVID. And I guess it’s because we have so much time to sit still and look at what is really happening. I mean, look at what happened yesterday in Beirut.

 

We have to be grateful for even the things that we think is standard, breathing, waking up every day, the sun is shining, just having the ability to live and just function. The things that we take for granted that we believe must happen, they don't most happen. And so, I think at the end of the day, if we all approach life as you said, like it’s your said last, you’ll really live a more fulfilling life.

 

Mike agreed and shared that most people live their lives on the gross level and you'll see that in Tao Te Ching. Most people live their lives on a level that doesn't let them get below the surface of their own existence and that has been broken through for a lot of people in this sort of lockdown.

 

It's been difficult isolation, depression, all these things are happening. However, on the other side, the bright spot is you can really see people start to get below the surface, they're not just constantly consuming, they're not just sort of keeping themselves distracted or anesthetized from what's actually happening in their own lives. And that's been interesting to see and it has impacted him as well.

 

 

Where Can We Find Mike Online

Mike shared listeners can find him at –

Twitter - https://twitter.com/mikeswelsh/

            LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.cn/in/mikeswelsh/

            Website – www.mwelsh.com

            Instagram -  https://www.instagram.com/mikeswelsh/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Mike Uses

When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Mike shared that it's sort of a hashtag that he has been doing since his father passed away. So, a long time ago he went to his dad, he had a problem.

 

He said, “Dad, this thing's happening in my life. What do I do about it?” And his father’s advice to him was, you need to keep your head down and you need to keep moving, because if you stand still, everything will take you down. Those things will just eat you alive.”

 

So, the idea is that you got to keep your head down, you got to keep moving. And that passion and perseverance thing, the grit that you need to have, you need to get it, you're not born with it, you have to earn that going through these experiences and you just have to keep moving.

 

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Sep 1, 2020

Richard Moore originally worked 60 hour weeks in the city of London before deciding to build his own businesses and help others do the same. After building companies from the trenches up by taking ownership of sales teams, coaching leadership roles and consulting with multi hundred million pound organizations, Richard created his own company to help others get massive traction as they launched their businesses.

                    

As he did this, Richard invested in many of the companies he helped to create and shared with the world his views on business through the weekly live Q&A’s he runs online, to speaking gigs in front of business owners in his space and his weekly blog. Richard also created products such as the Monetize You Course, the Basics of Sales course and direct mentoring of established businesses using his 16+ years of experience in the space.

Questions

  • Could you maybe just share with us just a little bit about how it is that your journey went? Maybe talk about one or two experiences that you had that has brought you to where you are today, where you are king of sales on LinkedIn.
  • Let's say you're not accustomed to selling in a digital space and this is something that you're going to have to take on now, what kind of mindset shift you need to have in place to ensure that you are successful at selling in a digital space?
  • And so, what are your thoughts as a sales person getting to know your clients before you actually interface with them, like doing your research?
  • Could you give us one or two virtual selling strategies that maybe that were not used as much before, or even if a new one, maybe through innovation or new design, people are actually selling differently in a virtual space?
  • Could you share with us what's 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?
  • 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?
  • During times of adversity or challenge, do you have a quote or a saying that you’ll tend to revert to this quote or this saying to kind of carry you through, keep your focus, kind of just get you back on that track to achieve whatever it is that you're working on?

Highlights

Richard’s Journey

Richard shared that there's only been a couple of particularly interesting moments that have made him the person he is or taken him in the direction he has been given. And it’s interesting because he thinks the person who set him on the particular rails to be this kind of person was his mother to start with. And she was very much the person who drove himself, his two sisters, to be as best as they could at whatever they did. And she very, very much was behind them as a motivator and he really appreciated that.

 

It’s interesting, when he went to university and both his degrees are in history and kind of the first real big pivot point into the world. When he was 21, 22, he wanted to stay on and do his Ph.D. and basically become an academic, write books, become a lecturer. And it's interesting because coaching and teaching was always there in a way.

 

But basically, he didn't get funding for the Ph.D. so he had to get a job because he couldn't get any more bank loans. So, he had to go and get a job. And his mother said, “You're not going to come home.” And she didn’t say in a nice way, but was really good, “So, you’re not coming home, you’re going to fend for yourself now, come on. So you’re out of University, go and find a way.”

 

So, he slept on his sister’s sofa the two weeks and he went for a job interview and he took literally that first job, which was cold calling and selling internet marketing back in 2002. So it's like 17 ½ years now. So was a very difficult time selling internet marketing because people were like, “Are you serious?” Back then people were spending lots of money in print ads, in magazines, they weren't really doing so much of what we see today. So this is pre Facebook, this is pre LinkedIn, this is pre a lot of stuff and so it was very new and he’s thrilled he started there.

 

And his mom, if she drove one thing into him was that you really can't quit because it's hard. And so that was really good, he learnt that from her. They never had any money, she couldn't drive, she was a single mom with three children and she never complained. She just focused on making it happen and so he’s really pleased, he’s very lucky in a way that he has that from her.

 

And so, he learned very early on that if you just cold call managing directors and CEO’s and try and sell them stuff, they don't really like it much. So, you have to learn a way to be a bit more elegant about it. And so, by having the phone put down on me a lot, he started to learn like the basics that he really needed to be half decent at it. But then if you jump ahead a good 10 years or so of corporate work in the city, ultimately he was at a headhunting company, as their sales director, and he really had a kind of tough moment like this was 2012 or so on.

 

The really big pivot point for him was that he was doing well at his job, it wasn't like he was kind of he'd had enough or anything like that, he was doing very well. But he had a very bad year. His grandmother who he was very close to passed away, his first daughter was born and was born without an oesophagus, so she went straight to surgery. She spent the whole of her first year almost dying a lot and having loads of surgery and that’s 3 months after she was born. So he was commuting to London from the hospital. His mother then died, she'd had 2 years of cancer. So, it's been a tremendously difficult time. And when you have that kind of adversity, you end up going through it and you just have to.

 

But it was the following year where he really kind of imploded because it kind of hits you when you've gone through it. So, a huge amount of difficult times and he had very understanding boss, he was a family man as well, he understood that he had a lot on his plate. But basically, he hit this point and his wonderful wife said, “You know what you need to do? You need to understand you don't have to work in this kind of job. There's one thing you can do is sell, which means, you know you're going to be all right. Go and start something else.”

 

And so, he started his own business and so many people were like, “It's irresponsible, you have a child and a wife not working, what are you doing?" And he was like, “But I've got this. I know there's one thing I can do is at least make money.” And he started two taekwondo academies actually, but he also did a bit of consulting as well, just something different. And since then, honestly, it's been his therapy, growing the business from there and helping others grow theirs.

 

And then, 2 ½ years ago, LinkedIn has really jump forward in terms of being a serious player for doing business online. And he’s really, really enjoying not just what he does, but who he is now. It's been an interesting route, always around, like driving yourself in the right way, coaching and teaching. But it's been really interesting milestones that have pushed him in particular directions. And as you probably experience from other guests, when you have those moments of adversity, perversely, really great things can come of them eventually.

 

Me: I totally agree. So, Richard, you shared a lot about your experience on adversity and some of the challenges that have clearly made you stronger, has propelled you to achieve great things, things that a lot of people around you would have not seen the potential, they are trying to be very practical, think they're giving you good advice, but they're actually not giving you good advice.

 

And we're in a time now globally where we have to be doing a lot of things differently. And, of course, there's a new coined term, the new normal. What kind of mindset shift do business owners, I think at the end of the day; we're all sellers, regardless of what role you play in your organization, because at some point you have to be operating in a selling role.

 

What Kind of Mindset Shift to Selling Should We Be Embracing

Richard stated that this is such a good question. And he did learn back in 2008 in the recession then. They're very lucky that they have a CEO who he remembered addressed all of them. And it was very much when he started learning about the right kind of mindset, he said, “The majority of businesses now will go into scarcity. They're going to hibernate, they'll tighten their belts, they will freeze everything. This is the time when you push yourself.” Recession is a time when you grow more because that's when you can land grab when you really need to push yourself.

 

And he said, “So, for many, there is no substitution for volume.” And what that means is there's no substitution for just grind. And it's still funny because there's a lot of people who haven't been through a hard recession that was a big one. Arguably, we're about to hit an even bigger one. And what's interesting is that you get some people saying, “Oh, man, it's really tough out there.” It's like, yes, it's meant to be. This will be the biggest recession since 1930. So it'll be hard.

 

And if you ask about mindset, what matters is that you understand that you have to have huge empathy for what the person you want to speak to and work with is going through right now, and everyone is equipped to be able to do that. So we all are able, if we dare to stop for a minute, think what would someone else be thinking about right now? They're probably thinking to themselves, “I'm worried because I don't know if my business can survive. And in addition to that, I don't want to probably spend too much; I need to make sure I’m making the right decisions.”

 

So, there’s a bit of fear in terms of executing on buying things. So if we are in a selling kind of role, or we need to appeal to people to buy our thing, we need to be way more aware that people need to absolutely feel they're going to get great returns. So waffling on about how our product works and things like that is far less effective than sharing the top wins for someone. He may have mentioned in the previous time they spoke, but the four top wins are that you help them look good, so you improve their visibility, help their ego, whatever variation that you want, you help them make money, you saved them money or, and, or the other one is that you save them time or giving them convenience, such as, you are the outsourced solution to a problem.

 

Some or one of those particular wins is so essential to convey because that's what they really need to know, “Am I going to say time? Am I going to need to hold this person's hand? Has Richard got this? When I give him the money, is he going to do what he needs to do? And so I can crack on knowing that that particular problem is solved.” So that's one key part of it. But when you also need to be really clear on is that in 2020, we're all tremendously used to being sold to. No one likes to be sold to that's never changed, but the way you sell should never come across as desperate of course. But the way you sell now has to be in tune with the way in which people want to be approached, sending someone a direct message on LinkedIn thinking you're giving them in inverted commas “great value” because you invite them to your webinar because you know it's free.

 

And they want that, is missing the point completely. No one has time; they’re not interested unless they warmed up enough. And you have to spend more time with people showing that you're trustworthy and authentic rather than just trying to gain them. So unless you're doing very high volume sales, in which case you probably should be thinking about automation through adverts and so on, you really should be working manually.

 

Now is the time to appreciate that there's great automation tools out there, but understand that what buyers want, if they're going to buy, is this feeling that they're being looked after more than ever before. So, building true relationships where there's a real level of genuine curiosity in them and an interest in building a relationship first is something that we all know would work, but so many companies don't want to do it because it feels like it's taking too long.

 

But the truth is, it is a shorter term way to make more money for your business and get more satisfied customers because even though each transaction takes a bit longer, you're not getting the phone slammed down on you, the door slammed in your face or people not even responding to the direct messages, take your time, engage with people on a human level first because people buy people is this cliché. But really, it goes deeper, it's people buy people they want to buy from, or people buy people that they like or who are like them.

 

So you need to show that you are open and approachable, you need to show that you resonate with them, and that you care enough to want to hear them out. That's what makes someone want to buy from you, not how good your proposition is and that is where everyone can sell, because we are all capable of that kind of empathy. This isn't about manipulative sales tricks that you would learn from a book, those days are passed because we all see right through it. And if you wouldn't respond to a message or a phone call like that, then why on earth would someone else, that's much more about feel and it's about being really human and we all do it so well in real life with friends and meeting new people. And that's just what we have to do in the sales space as well.

 

Me: I like that. So, basically you're saying you have to take time to get to know people. And you mentioned that at the end of the day, yes, it might take longer. The sales cycle might take longer, but in the long term it will actually save you because now, you actually have a client who is more likely to be loyal, which will definitely impact your customer experience and your customer lifetime cycle.

 

Richard also stated that he can speak in authority on this because he did it for years. You will be more fulfilled too, because it's far better to speak with 8 or 10 people across a couple of weeks and get closed deals in a fulfilling way for both sides where they don't feel pressure, but actually wants to buy as opposed to smashing your way through hundreds of phone calls and possibly get a similar number of sales, but ones that don't feel great. They feel like a number, now is the time for real organic process because nothing beats having a happy customer that lasts, it's no good getting a deal if they're then going to leave because they didn't feel like they were loved or looked after. You want someone pumping their fist in the air, thanking you that you're selling them something and that genuinely comes from you looking at the relationship first and the product that you're selling them as purely a device through which they can consume you more.

 

Me: Brilliant. So Richard, I was having a conversation with a client recently and one of the things that we're talking about is actually doing research on your customers, just to get an idea of who they are, what they're about, what they like, what kind of associations they're attached to, what are their preferences, that way when you go in as a sales person, whether you're the business owner, you're the sales rep or you're the marketing person, you have a better understanding of the individual with whom you're speaking to. Is it that they're a family person? Is it that they have kids? Is it that they have a sick child or they have a parent who they're taking care of.

 

How You Should Approach Selling

Richard shared that it's a great question. Firstly, the short answer is yes, you should. And the reason why is because most people selling can't be bothered because there's volume. There are so many people you could contact. There's this feeling of this everlasting front of leads, so you might as well just keep going who cares if it doesn't work, you will find a yes eventually, actually is far more fulfilling, but far more effective to say, well, “If all of this information is public and online anyway, why wouldn't I make use of it?” But more importantly, you're going to get some feel like you actually have paid attention and that you're interested in, it's back to this thing of you just get people feeling like your well-meaning and that you care.

 

And there's a saying he has always had which is, “You shouldn't just research the company, you should research the person.” Because what you're really showing is that you understanding them on a deeper level and that will affect what how you interact with people and so on. And if you look at the sales, he tends to make that with people who have found him online, that maybe looked at some of the content and so on. And so, he can see what they're about and he can have a sense of who they were. There's a call he did just before this, which was the sales call and the guy he knew has spent time around the content he has, Richard is aware of what he does. So when they go into the call, it's already warmed up any kind of awkwardness or trying to understand who the person is, is gone.

 

They can really get on with it as though they're already kind of friends or connected. And he really thinks that short circuits the scary bit or the awkward bit and you have a really fulfilling relationship. But one thing you can do is obviously researching the person helps you show that you have spent time showing an interest in them. And that allows the barriers to go down a bit, but you can actually go a step further.

 

And if you researched where there might be a mutual connection. So for instance, if he was approaching you and you didn't know each other at all, but you had a mutual connection, then that would actually lubricate the whole process so well because by proxy you kind of know each other. And an example he uses a lot of is if you and him sat next to each other at a wedding, then the first thing they'd say, of course is, “So how do you know the bride or groom?” And you'd say, “Oh, I work with the bride.” and he’d be like, “Oh, cool. I went to university with them. Or I know them, they live on our street” or something. You would get on like a house on fire because you have the commonality even though you know nothing about each other.

 

So, when he was selling in corporate, he was always looking, where's that point of connection. And in fact, Yanique and Richard connected through their mutual friend, Paul Brunson. So there's the perfect example, “Hey Richard, I know you're connected to Paul.” and it's like, “Well, I think Paul's a good guy. So if you are friends with him too, then it means that you must be good enough.” Because he's validated for you for him. So that's so powerful because that's essentially saying we're all part of the same tribe in a way. And it hacks away so quickly at any kind of fears or anxieties people have and you end up with often a cold prospect being quite welcoming.

 

Me: Excellent. So, research is important, but to take it a step further, if you could find one person that you are maybe connected through, it kind of breaks that down, that initial interaction down.

 

Richard agreed but verify as well, because as you can imagine, when you look at like LinkedIn or Facebook, there'll be 500 mutual connections and you will have a lot of connections these days. So, it's a case of saying, well, let me look at perhaps some of your content and who's showing up a couple of times and are you speaking to them? It looks like you're close enough or have you done a collaboration with them like that, that's a better way of verifying it. Because not every connection is of course, someone  that they might not even remember they're connected to.

 

Me: And it goes back into research as well because you have to take time to sit down and kind of scroll through their posts, look who is commenting and look at the responses that they're giving to each person. Because somebody posts that I look at on LinkedIn, I see people comment, you can tell the comments that the person actually sat down and gave intentional thought to responding to that particular person versus a copy and paste kind of comment where all of the comments that are on the post, they're responding in the same way to each person's comment and it's not specific to an individual. So then, in your mind, you're like, do they really know this person? Or are they just responding in a general way? It doesn't seem very personalized.

 

Richard shared that the truth is if you've got a community, if you've got a bunch of friends, you may well be commenting really great posts, purely because you've got no time, but you're just showing, you know what, “I'm here for you and I'm supporting you as a friend.” But when you would both know that normally you would write more. It's the people who write paragraphs just to be validated you're doing great content, but also who are like, “Hey, I'm going to stop and show up properly here.”

 

And he’s finding this is valuable and never before is there such a wonderful lead generation opportunity as when you get people stopping by or even sticking around and like getting into orbit around you over time because they love the content you produce and sharing like really spending time, you are their Netflix in a way and that is really powerful.

 

And it's a very done well, good content that's related to the ecosystem within which your proposition sits is really powerful at attracting people who find it fascinating and they warm themselves up just by virtue of the fact that they're checking out. But if you can stimulate proper conversation through content as an example, it's a wonderful way to kind of really accelerate that first part of a relationship.

 

Me: So, as it relates to virtual selling strategies, so if you are face to face, some of the selling strategies that you would probably use would include, I imagine probably taking your prospect out for lunch or maybe visiting, if they're having a promotion or a campaign at their organization, you would support it.

 

Virtual Selling Strategies Richard Recommends to be used in the “New Normal”

Richard shared that there's quite a few new, interesting tools. One thing that you can definitely take from the offline world is that people actually aren't necessarily interested in the pitch at the start; they're interested in if you're a good guy or a good woman. And if you're fun to hang out with and there's longer play, but he feels a really good tool is just to hang out with their content and if you do that enough, then they start to convert, like be an interesting person, have some banter and good jokes in that. And it's very practical to be social because that warms people up, it also shows the network effect, it shows people online, a wider network, “Hey, there’s this person who seems quite good fun” that's very attractive because humans revere someone who's confident and social, so something to think about.

 

There's also some really great tools right now, one of his favourites at the moment is on LinkedIn is a reasonably recent feature, which is polls. And a lot of people would like just doing, what do you prefer? Chips or bacon or something like that, which is silly, it's just to drive engagement. But we really can do is ask questions where the voting options relate to the problems that you can solve for people. So, if someone's says, like putting their hand up and saying, “Yeah, I have a problem with this particular issue.”

 

What you've got there is someone stepping forward and saying, I have a problem here. And the nice thing about the polls is completely anonymous except to the author of the poll itself. So, it allows you to go in and say, I've got 350 people who have voted, 207 have voted on this particular option that directly relates to what I help them with and now because they came, they stepped forward, they basically have validated or this sense of you being able to engage with them and ask something.

 

And so, because you've earned the right to speak to them purely because they've voted on your poll, you can simply send a message and say, “Hey, Yanique, thank you so much for voting in the poll.” If there’s a second connection, he'd add, how are you and take it from there or their first connection, or after a couple of messages with the second connection, he would then add, “Thank you so much for voting in the poll. Why do you think you're finding that particular thing, such a challenge?”

 

And he does that to all of these people, why would he do that to cold people who've never heard of him when he can get people to step forward in a nice little simple way and say, I actually have this problem because now you've got context, now you're completely within your rights to say, “Why is this a problem for you?” And getting them to open up because why would they not want to answer that when they've just said on your very post that they have an issue and the conversion's crazy off that, it's a really wonderful organic way of doing it.

 

And most people are like, “Yeah, absolutely. I have this problem. And we're talking about it because I just put my hand up and said I have an issue.” So for him, that's a huge win, it’s a massive thing people can be doing. And you just got to think to yourself, what's going to get people to not have to think too hard and simply like, say, “Oh, that's an easy poll, just click on the one, that’s the answer.” And it's simplicity. Just keep it simple question and simple answers and they will want to show up and answer it. And his wonderful way of starting a sales process he has found.

 

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

When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Richard shared that this is going to make him feel really old or sound really old and he’s not, it just works so well. It's actually Google Drive. You would think he would probably say some kind of high tech app or something. Sure he has used Trello and Zapier and things like that are really cool and Zapier is amazing for automation. And he would add before he goes into drive and why he uses it.

 

But he would add something like Stripe is amazing too, it's as good as a tool to kind of put all of your customers and invoicing that's a piece of cake from it. But Google Drive is brilliant because it’s got a team and anyone around the world, at any given time can log in and see what's going on. They can all access stuff together. His clients can access their own folder; see the content they're building with them. They can edit and add to it and it’s the transparency is amazing and he really, really liked that.

 

But what he will add to this because the question is about apps and things like that, or things that might help with productivity perhaps, don't ever discount the value of a really reliable person. So, like, a VA or someone who's assisting you, they are like Gold. So, if you can find someone who is reliable, so shout out to Mona who works on his newsletter every week. She's a phenomenal person who is there every day when he needs her and that in itself; she in itself is way more productive than any app could be.

 

Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Richard

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Richard stated that that's a great question. Everyone's going to expect him to say business books now he suppose. And he’s going to say three, actually. So if everyone wants a reading list of absolute must reads one by a guy called Mark McCormack who founded IMGs like a sports agency who looked after like Jack Nicholas, the golfer, and people like that. He wrote a book called What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive, he loves this book. He (Mark) actually went to Harvard, but he was a superstar in business. And what he's showing in this book is all the soft stuff. So what shaking a hand really should look like? What it's meant when someone's got no time, how to close the deal, or what are the nuances of communication really meaning? all that soft stuff is absolutely amazing in that book, he really loves it.

 

Another one by Douglas Atkin is The Culting of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True Believers. This guy's a genius. What he's done is, it's like science and research, behind cults. It's funny because his intro’s like, “Hear me out here, just give me a chance.” And he's like, it's the science and the practical and mechanics about around cults and branding side by side. So, what he's done is work very hard to remove all of the negative connotations and biases around cults and look at why, because for right or for wrong, they are able to attract a lot of people. And the myth is that cults, for instance, are about a bunch of losers getting together. It's quite the opposite. You have to have socially, very bright people doing certain things very well in order to get kind of the ball rolling and arguably the root of the success of the major religions out there is in these practical ways in which they kind of started as something of a cult, then ended up being these great worldwide religions, but he applies it then to how you build your brand and your tribe.

 

And it's phenomenal, very relevant books. He'd really recommend that as well. He can definitely go on all night. He would say the closest person to his philosophy on selling or like neurological selling and understanding with empathy, how people would buy is Oren Klaff. So, he's just released a new book called Flip The Script: Getting People to Think Your Idea is Their Idea, but he's original one called Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal is amazing on understanding the dynamics between buyers and sellers. Really great stuff. The audible is awesome.

 

The most important book anyone should read is not a business book. It's by a stoic philosopher called Seneca, he dip into it at least once a month; it's been his favourite book for 6 or 7 years now. His book called On the Shortness of Life: Life Is Long if You Know How to Use It (Penguin Great Ideas). So Seneca wrote thousands of years ago, and it is tiny, it's like this little pamphlet, it's 90 pages or something. And what it does in such a short space of time, honestly, you put it down after a few pages going like, “Wow, it's blowing my mind.” That book, single handedly really gave him this sense of perspective on time and what we really don't have and about being intentional and meaningful with it. And you got to understand, he read that a few years after his mother died at 60. So she was just about to hit retirement.

 

She worked so hard and then it was taken from her. So when you combine that, like the tragedy of her first granddaughter, first granddaughter by his sister just being born, his just being born as well and that was all gone. It really reinforces it, but just not in that book, it doesn't talk about it in like a misty eyed, emotional sense. It's really hard hitting about how people view their time. And interestingly against how they view their money, people hoard their money, they are that tight with their money as though there's a finite amount and you can always go and get more, but they're very liberal with their time. And in the words of Seneca as though they're immortal and just talking about it now, it gets him pumped.

 

Especially as a father now, he has two children. He turns 40 in 10 weeks time. So, that’s in October, but that's another milestone, it really drives home, do great things, make the most of it and, you know, but make sure you’re intentional with every moment as well, including being spontaneous, being intentional about wanting to do that as well. So, he couldn't recommend it more as you've probably sensed.

 

Me: I love spontaneity. I think life is very short. We're here for a very short space of time, the people that we connect with, I don't think it's by chance. I think it is very much intentional, the people who we meet and the people who we're connected to. And I think it's important for us to really try to just really get to know the people who you're talking to. Don't just let it be, as you said about a sale or because you're trying to capitalize on them or you're trying to steal something from them, but just really have meaningful conversations with people.

 

Richard agreed and shared that it's no kind of legacy when you're done. It's no kind of legacy to have all of these people buy from you, but none of them will remember you.

 

Richard was asked when his birthday is, and he shared that it’s the 8th of October. So, it's weird. It's like end of an era. I loved being in his twenties. He learned to be a grownup in his thirties. He is really pleased to be arriving at this age. Very, very happy with everything he has around him. He thinks mostly because he kind of built it all himself and designed it himself, he’s very pleased with that. So, he’s excited about the decade ahead, he knows it's just a number, but you can't help seeing something of a milestone.

 

What Richard is Really Excited About Now!

Richard shared that he don't want to be too promotional, so, he'll just say that the big flagship product at the moment he’s working on is his LinkedIn program and he’s helping a lot of business owners do some really wonderful things, and it's so lovely when you have this community of people you work with every week and he knew he wanted to do that because he coaches one on one a lot. And he also has his courses online where people buy them and they watch them and it's very kind that they do, but he wanted something where it's a combination of the two. So, group coaching specifically on how to convert and sell in an elegant way through LinkedIn. And it's just so nice to be there and it's not just a nice get together, it's practical to these people. There's one the other day saying, “I just got two new clients this week.” that's changing him.

 

And these people saying that is really making a difference is huge. But one of the other things he has been doing as well, which is completely far removed from what you'd expect is for the past two and a half to three months now, he has been getting up at 5:00 am every morning and doing yoga and then focusing on building his day in a really strong, structured way and getting early nights, exercising loads. And it's been such a game changer. So, that's personally, if someone said to him a year ago, he'll be doing yoga and getting up 5:00 am in the morning, but honestly, it's really changed. So, rather than going to bed at like 1:00 am, 2:00 am in the morning, getting out of bed at 7:30 am, 8:00 am and feeling tired, he has pulled those 3 hours back, lights out by 11:00 pm, getting up at 5:00 am and the productivity and also the clarity in his mind and is huge.

 

And he’s really thrilled, he has been doing that. He always thought he was an evening person or a night person, a lot of people feel they are because it's quiet back then, but shifting to a morning person, and by the way, it's not DNA, we can all do it. The difference between night and morning is yes, both are quiet, but in the morning you have a full battery of willpower that you can use against any distractions. So, within the first 2 hours every morning, he gets so much done because he has all of that energy to avoid looking at notifications on his phone. So, he doesn't look at his phone until like 10:00 in the morning and he blasts the work. And it's lovely because when his girls come down at like 7:50 in the morning for breakfast, he have blasted so much of his day, he urges people to try it out, it's so fulfilling, you feel really strong with it and present rather than this zombie, who's like burning the midnight oil. So, yoga is cool, he’s really impressed with himself with what he can do now, it's nice to get the stretch back and all that kind of things.

 

Where Can We Find Richard Online

Richard shared listeners can find him at –

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.cn/in/richardjamesmoore/

            Website – www.therichardmoore.com

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/the.richard.moore/

 

Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Richard Uses

When asked about a saying or quote then he tends to revert to in times of adversity, Richard shared that there's one he was told he has to bring up, there is a CEO of the last employed job he had, he was like a self-made millionaire and he really paid attention to him. And for all his faults, he also taught him a lot. And one of the things he always said was, “No one will stop you, but no one will help you.” And what's interesting about that is, is that, yes, people will support you and stand by you and things like that.

 

But you can't rely, it sounds really negative but if you look at it in the right way, it's almost like a call for you to not rely on people to do things for you, be the responsible person. No one will stop you doing that and you are in control of the influence over whatever outcome you really want.

 

He will add to that his own kind of quote that he used to say to himself, especially when things were really hard, he still uses it now but he really uses it whenever there's something new or difficult or challenging. And he'd simply say, “I can handle this.” And it would ground him and would make him think to previous instances of doing something similar and allow him to say to myself, remember how I did this before, I can handle this. And if you look back, no matter how old you are, look back at all the things you've done, there's almost nothing you weren't able to overcome, you did so much hard stuff.

 

So now, there's not really anything he can't handle. It might be ugly, but the truth is, he knows he can do it so he can handle this, is something of an affirmation that you should be saying, especially in those harder moments, and say it with conviction, you tend to believe it. And that's that voice, your own voice, the most persuasive voice you know on your shoulder, cheering you on. It's really valuable.

 

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Aug 25, 2020

Bill Bice has always been an entrepreneur, starting his first company at age 14, putting on road races with corporate sponsors. At 18, he started ProLaw Software, the first integrated ERP for law firms. After selling the company to Thomson Reuters, Bill became a VC as a founding partner in the Verge Fund, investing in high tech, high growth companies in the Southwest.

One of the core things that Bill has learned in building and investing in companies is that the go-to-market is always the hardest part of growing a business. He got so frustrated in trying to get great marketing for his companies that he decided to tackle the problem. A programmer at heart, Bill founded boomtime, tackling marketing as a technology problem. It turns out that when you follow the data, really good things happen. That’s why boomtime built the world’s first marketing-as-a-service platform: fuse. boomtime’s marketing strategies follow the data: they already know what will work. Instead of reinventing the wheel, boomtime applies proven marketing techniques at scale.

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about boomtime and what boom time really does? What do you mean by following the data and marketing as a service? And how can it really help a business owner? What does that translate into?
  • Could you share with us maybe one to three mistakes that companies typically make in their marketing efforts?
  • Could you share with us how it is that you believe marketing can be more integrated with customer experience design?
  • Can you share with us maybe two to three things that the data helps you to improve on decisions that will enhance experience and bring more business? But how can we really use data to drive our decisions? What are we using the data for? What kind of data should we be looking at?
  • Can you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • Could you share with us maybe one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot 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 recently or maybe a book that you read a very long time ago, but it still had a great impact on you.
  • Could you share with our listeners where they could find you online?
  • Could you share with us maybe one thing that's going on in your life right now, either something that you're really excited about to develop yourself or even to develop your people?
  • We have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel they have great products and services, but they constantly lack 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?
  • Could you share with our listeners where they could find you online?
  • Share with us maybe one 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 focus, just remind you of why you're doing what you're doing and it gets you back on track.

Highlights

Bill shared that what you're really doing is focusing on this very old school form of marketing, word of mouth, which sounds like this thing that just happens. But the great thing about us all being digitally connected is that there's all kinds of ways that we can amplify the effect of word of mouth now. And so, that's really what they're doing. And so, if you've done the really hard work of coming up with a great product or service and you take care of your clients, you're getting referrals today, just you probably want more of those. And so, they've just put scale and efficiency into how you do that and they found that following the data is one of the best ways to do that, because they're running the same kinds of campaigns across several hundred small businesses. And therefore they see what's happening much clearer and much faster than you can if you're doing it just in one company at a time.

 

Bill shared that he really likes to focus on just the two challenges, the two biggest mistakes that he sees over and over again. And the first one is talking about yourself, which it seems kind of counterintuitive because marketing is all about getting the word out about what you do. But the truth is your audience doesn't care about you, what they really care about is the challenges they have in their life, their career, their business. And so, if you just flip your marketing on its head and you start talking about those challenges and providing insight and perspective on how your ideal prospect can address them, suddenly your marketing gets vastly better.

 

So, it's this kind of the 90/10 rule, most companies have 90% of their marketing about themselves, we just need to flip that around and make it make it 10% about you and 90% about the issues that your clients are having. And then if you do that, then the biggest problem that they're going to see over and over again is the lack of consistency. Most companies do what he calls random acts of marketing; it's just like this sort of series of things that comes one after another.

 

If you really want your marketing to be effective, then you need to pick a strategy that you know works, the best way to do that is to pick up on something that's already working really well for other companies like yours and then stick with it because there aren't any miracles in marketing. The thing that makes this so difficult is that you start to see really good results, you see early results like 6 months in and you see good results 12 months in and then 2 years in is when it just starts to really transform your business if you do this right.

 

Me: So, marketing is also very much tied to the customer's experience and I would say in recent years I've seen companies not taking such a silo or individual approach. But now they're really merging together the marketing strategy along with the customer experience strategy, because they're very much aligned. You can market and advertise the problems that you are trying to solve. But in trying to solve those problems, if my experience is poor or really bad, then I'm likely not to return and I'm probably going to use that same word of mouth advertising to blast you on social media and tell people this was terrible, I had to wait so long, the team members were not knowledgeable, they didn't know what to do to fix the issue, I had to wait so long, the list goes on and on.

 

Bill shared that he absolutely agrees with that, and the way that he often talks about it is that if you haven't addressed those issues, a lot of times people make the idea of brand into this really complicated thing, but really your brand is just that it's the customer's experience and working with your company and no amount of marketing is going to fix that if you don't have a good customer experience.

 

Really great marketing is this loop where the feedback comes from your customers, it drives product development, it drives the messaging, it drives what you're communicating with your audience that then brings more customers in, which gives you more feedback to work off of. Marketing when it's done really well is the flywheel of the business, it's what drives everything.


Me: So, basically taking definitely a more integrated approach, as you said, taking the feedback from the customer and possibly even using it to drive your product design or even service design in terms of what the customer journey will look like so customers can actually have a more hassle free experience.


Bill shared that he thinks it's one of the huge advantages that a smaller company has. So often you go in and talk about marketing within a large company and it's just what you're describing, it’s a siloed experience that is really disconnected from the real problems your clients are having, the experience they have in working with your company. This is a huge advantage that you have as a smaller business, that you can choose to fully integrate these things and make the customer experience the primary driver for your marketing, because every moment you spend to making the customer experience better is going to pay off 10x in the effectiveness of your marketing.


Me: So, we spoke a little bit about marketing and we spoke a little bit about customer experience. I know that sales is also very important to businesses and seeing that a lot of us are being impacted because of the pandemic that's going on globally, how is it that you recommend organizations stand out right now especially in this time. Those who weren't even in the digital space and have now moved into the digital space, people are being bombarded with lots of webinars and marketing initiatives and it's a lot of information to consume. In all of that, how is it that you make yourself stand out and still be able to maintain sales with those challenges being faced with?


Bill shared that to some extent, depending on your business, it may not be realistic to maintain the same level of sales, and that's what creates a real challenge, which is that this is actually one of the best times to invest in marketing, because even though with everything you just said is absolutely true, the amount of engagement and the amount of attention that is available right now is much higher.

 

We look at LinkedIn, which was already on this huge growth path and then the moment this crisis hit, engagement went up 55% overnight. And so, if your audience is on LinkedIn, you're doing something in B2B, then you want to be in front of that audience, connecting with them, building that network because they're paying more attention now than they ever have before. So, the way that you break through, there isn't a secret to it, it's irrelevant to your audience and be consistent.

 

His goal is never to create the one breakthrough campaign that goes viral and everybody sees it, it's everyday viral. How do we create a steady flow of content that gets in front of the right people that are actual prospects that we care about and does that consistently week in and week out, over and over again, because these days your prospects are so much better educated. They can go online and find out anything they want to and if you're not part of that education process, that works if you are the dominant player in your market and you can be an order taker, but if you're a smaller company, you need to compete, then you need to be out there sharing that unique insight and perspective that you have because of the niche that you operate in. And that's the kind of marketing that breaks through right now, the things that are really helping people solve the problems that they have right this second.

 

Bill that the problem is really that we have too much data now. It used to be the opposite problem. You spent money on marketing, you really had no idea what was happening, that that old quote of I know half my advertising wasted, I just don't know which half. Well, now we have too much data, we've got to turn it into information and the way to do that is something you mentioned just a couple of minutes ago about the customer journey.

 

So what he really wants to see is analytics around the marketing that captures the customer journey. So people that we reach via email and bring them to the website, how are they going through that customer journey and learning about the company? Same thing with people who pulling from LinkedIn or somebody who just finds us on Google, by taking each one of those channels and understanding what the customer journey is across them. That's how we really understand what's working in our marketing, what's creating the engagement that we're looking for, where do we really put the focus?

 

And the easiest thing you can do to make your marketing more effective and spend less money to get better results is stop advertising until you've built the foundation. Most companies have to have this flipped around. We all want leads and so we think, “Well, we're going to spend money on ads because that'll drive leads.” But if we don't have the marketing foundation built in order to understand that customer journey to a really good job of bringing prospects from the top of the funnel down to the process, then that money and advertising is just going to be wasted.

 

 So, let's build the foundation first, make sure that we're capturing every lead and referral that's coming to us now, following up on every single one of them, building our own audience that you own and control, that’s most undervalued asset in every business, the audience you can talk to without paying a third party media company to do so. You build that foundation and then the very last step is when you spend your first dollar on paid advertising, because then you'll really know what's happening with that money and how effective it's being.


Me: So, really needing to own your data, ensuring that your leads or your prospects, you're capturing your information and having a strong foundation. So, you really should have a good idea of what the experience is based on the different channels, how long it takes for people to get through, are they getting the right information, do they just drop off at one point and have to go start somewhere else or they did drop off and you have no idea where to end up before you actually put yourself out there to do this massive marketing campaign. And then people come into the loop and they drop out.


Bill agreed and shared that specific example of that is, so we they do most of their work in sort of high value B2B. And so the number one thing he wants is to capture the email address of a prospective client, because the 15 seconds they're going to give you on your website, which assumes you are successful pulling them in for even that long, you're never going to get your full story across.

 

And so, you've got to capture who they are so that you can then talk to them, build a drip campaign that tells them your story over time, keeps pulling them back to your website over and over again. And so, the most common challenge that he sees and looking at that customer journey is so if you're in this kind of high value area, the second most visited page on your website is always the about us page. People don't want to work with you if they don't know who's behind the company. And yet most of the time you go to a company's website and they make it difficult to figure out who they are and who's behind them.

 

 And then if you do find that page, it's this enormously boring set of bios. You scroll down to the bottom of the page and there's just nothing there, you're leaving it up to your prospect to figure out where to go next. Well, you want to control that journey; you want to put a big button down there that takes them to the next part of the story so that you're controlling that customer journey.

 

When asked how he stays motivated every day, Bill shared that he loves what he does because he gets to help businesses grow, he gets to work with entrepreneurs to hopefully make new mistakes and not all the mistakes he’s already made.

 

So for him, it's if you're not doing the thing that you love, then you have to find motivation. But if you are, then it's just inherently there. He gets up in the morning and he wants to go do this.


Me: So you're intrinsically motivated because you really enjoy doing what you're doing….


Bill shared that capitalism has brought more benefit to more of the world's population than any other system we've ever found, it's absolutely imperfect, but it has this amazing power to improve the lives of people. We just have to choose to use it and make that happen.

 

Bill shared that a great one for free marketing is a form called GrowthHackers, one of his mantras in marketing is, “There's no reason for you to go test and figure out what works when you can find somebody who's already, already done it, already been there. Learn from that.” That's a great resource to find it. That's what they do. They look at what are the larger companies in a given market, they've always spent millions of dollars figuring out what marketing works. Let's take that, figure out how to scale it so that a small business can use it and put it to work without having to spend that same amount of money.

 

GrowthHackers, it's just a community of marketers who tend to do really detailed studies and follow the data and see what works and share that with everybody. And that kind of resource can be invaluable if you put it to work.

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Bill stated that he’s going to pick two books from Simon Sinek. So, the first one, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek, he thinks is the core of what makes great marketing, because the best way to attract the right clients to your business is for them to come to you because they believe the same thing that you do. And it's easiest way for a small business to stand out relative to your large competitors. That's really what made Sinek famous.

 

And his most recent book last year, The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek, really talks about the right approach to capitalism. And so many people operate a business on the sort of short term timeframe of how much money we're making this quarter, when really if you play it as the infinite game, it creates the thing that we all want, which is to be part of something much bigger than ourselves. And that's when you really create a huge impact from the company that you're building.

 

Bill shared that this ties very much to what they do. We're living in a world where everything is just suddenly been accelerated, he thinks of it as we're all living the equivalent of a decade in one year, because whatever trends you are following have just all been immensely sped up because of this crisis.


And that's amazingly positive for the type of marketing that he’s talking about, because we can't rely on conferences and trade shows and in-person meetings anymore. So we have to go online in order to do this. So we've seen this sudden acceleration in adopting our approach to everybody's connected digital form of marketing. And of course, that's a really exciting place for us to be.

 

Bill shared that it was really about hiring. So, he has always believed that you hire for attitude and aptitude because business is changing so much that you want to hire somebody who has the ability to learn very quickly and adapt to whatever is going to happen. So he'd rather get the right person with the right attitude and aptitude than somebody who maybe has the perfect skill set and the perfect experience, because that first person is going to be able to grow with the company for so much longer.

 

And the corollary that goes with that is when you wake up in the morning and say, “Well, would I hire this person again?” If your answer is no, then the likelihood that you're going to be able to fix that and changes is extremely low. And it's better for the company and it’s better for that person to find the right match. And so making that classic, right person in the right seat on the bus decisions is what's going to drive the rest of the culture in the company.


Me: So basically, the advice that you'd give to that person is focus on your recruitment and ensure that you get the person with the right attitude, even if from a technical perspective they are the most brilliant person. But if they have the wrong attitude, then it's best to go with somebody who has a right attitude and then build the skill set on them.

 

Bill shared that this is a classic problem in sales where you have a high performer who is delivering results but yet is the bad apple in the group and is actually bringing the performance of the whole team down. And it's so hard to make that choice to let that person go. But for the long term health of your company, you just you just have to.

 

Bill shared listeners can find him at –

LinkedIn - @billbice

Website – www.boomtime.com

 

Bill shared that there's a great quote that he’s going to recall that is about the unreasonable man, which is a George Bernard Shaw quote, and it goes something like, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” And maybe that's the excuse for being difficult. But he thinks there's a real truth in that, that you really have to embrace as an entrepreneur, you are undoubtedly trying to do something that is difficult. And you just you just have to stick with it and you realize you're being unreasonable, that's the only way to make progress.

 

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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Aug 18, 2020

Carlee Myers is an expert at helping professionals who feel overworked, overwhelmed, or on the verge of burnout relieves stress so they can find more joy at work home and beyond. As a founder of The Stress Less Company, Carlee has helped hundreds of professionals across the country take action to reduce stress through coaching. She believes there is no-one-size-fits-all when it comes to stress management. Carlee, a Diplomat of The American Institute of Stress, has had her work most recently featured in media outlets such as Parade, Good Day Philadelphia, FOX 29, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Mag and Whoolley Magazine.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you tell us a little bit about your journey, how did you get onto this journey to manifest or understand that you are manifested to help others reduce stress in their lives?
  • Talk to us a little bit about stress and customer experience, to just expound for us why reducing stress in your life can impact your overall wellbeing and of course impact your business regardless of what type of business you're in, whether you're the employee or the business owner.
  • Let's say our listeners that are listening to this episode, they are looking for some tangible takeaways, give us maybe two or three things that they can start doing tomorrow morning to reduce stress.
  • Based on your experience and just working with the different clients that you've worked with over the years, and I know it's a very general question and it may not overlap across many different people, but maybe two or three stress-relating activities that you found works well for busy professionals, low resource, is healthy for you, but generally speaking people tend to enjoy it.
  • Can you share with us how do you stay motivated every day?
  • Can you share with us maybe one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely couldn't live without in your business?
  • 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 a book that you read a very long time ago but the principles and tips that you maybe have picked up in there still stay with you to this very day.
  • Can 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 that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • What's one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge you will revert to it, kind of helps to refocus you and just help you to get back on track. Do you have one of those?

 

Highlights

 

Carlee shared that she likes to say whenever folks asked her this question that you've opened a can of worms. But the cliff notes version of her story and how she ended up in this line of work is actually it goes back a really long time. So when she was about 12 years old, her parents had gotten separated and her mom ended up dating again and you're probably thinking, okay, well, what does that have to do with any of this? Well, her mom ended up actually dating a bad apple and as a result, that bad apple, she broke it off and he had never kind of let go of the relationship. And so a few months later that bad apple, that ex-boyfriend broke into her childhood home, killed her mom's new boyfriend and tried to kill her mom.

 

So, as you can imagine, as a 12 year old girl, she struggled with stress, with PTSD, with overwhelm, with anxiety, with fear, you name it, she was probably struggling with it. And for about 10 years, she really struggled and when she says struggled, she thinks that's probably an understatement. And to be clear for everybody who's worrying about her mom right now, she's alive, she's well, if you saw her today you would have no idea that she was shot three times. All she has is a pair of reading glasses and a slight limp, but it's wild. But for her, she struggled for 10 years with PTSD, with overwhelm, with stress, with everything. And for the first five years of her journey, she didn't tell anybody.

 

She thought that if she told anybody that she would be the straw that broke the camel's back in her family, that her family couldn't take another problem to deal with, or that she would become a burden to other folks. And so, as a result for the first five years, she didn't tell anybody. And then one night she actually had probably one of the worst night terrors of her life. And she finally opened up to someone and thank goodness she did, because then she started slowly but surely sharing with people in her life. “Hey, I'm kind of struggling right now.” or “I'm feeling a little stressed or I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.”

 

And she would ask people for advice and it was like clockwork, she would get the same five or so responses every single time. “Hey, Carly, have you tried therapy? Have you tried yoga? Have you tried meditation? Have you tried changing your diet? Have you tried exercising?” Have you tried insert mainstream approach here basically.

 

And the reality was for her is that she had tried all of that. She was so desperate for change that she had tried all of that and some of it didn't work and some of it worked a little bit, but nothing ever got her over that hump where she was experiencing things like happiness and joy and peace of mind and contentment and silliness and goofiness and all of those beautiful states of mind that she used to roll her eyes at because she thought that they weren't real. She thought people were faking it and all this to say that it took her 10 years to find the thing that worked for her. And at the time it was art, it was creativity.

 

And now as she has matured and grown, she has learned that more specifically, what she has found is this thing called Creative Stress Reduction and that is any activity that gets us out of fight, flight or freeze mode and into a state of play or flow. And so she spent a few years when she figured out what this was and what it was all about and how it worked. She spent a few years being upset because she was like, “Why isn't anybody talking about this? Like, this is so important.” She struggled for 10 years, she know there's people that struggled for 20, 30 plus years and that's not okay.

 

And so after she spent a few years throwing a temper tantrum because no one told her, she had to figure it out on her own. She realized, “Oh crap, like I'm supposed to be talking about this.” And so, that's how she ended up here. That's how she ended up with The Stress Less Company, because she don't want anyone to feel like they're stuck or that something's wrong with them because those five or so mainstream approaches that everyone's talking about, isn't quite working for them.

 

Me: It's so fascinating that you shared how you got on your journey was because of a pain that you were experiencing, a challenge that you were facing that you did the research on your own, you tried different methods, proven methods, not so proven methods and then you decided to come out with this wonderful solution and now you're offering it to other people because all businesses go into operation to solve a problem. And a lot of times it's the entrepreneur, the person starting the business that has the problem first and realizes that, “I'm not alone. This isn't an isolated problem. This is a group problem. This is an aggregate problem. How can I create a solution that will not just fix it for me, but fix it for other people?” so I really thought that was quite insightful. That's what I got from what you said awhile ago, that a lot of times we're solving problems we think is just for us, but a lot of other people are having the same issues.

 

Carlee shared that she does a lot of speaking and she shares a more extended version of her story and of course she’s sharing tips and tools to manage stress. And she cannot tell you how many times at the end of events, people will come up to her and they'll say, “I'm so sorry about what you went through.” And her response always kind of jars people because her response is, “I'm not, I'm not because if my mom hadn't gone through that, if I hadn't gone through that, if my family hadn't gone through that, then none of us would be doing the work that we're doing today. None of us would be the people that we are today and as a result of that, our lives are so much better.”

 

Me: That's so true Carlee. It's funny that you say that too, because I was listening to a young lady that I follow on LinkedIn and I'm not sure what type of abuse, but I know she suffered severe abuse in her youth and now she's an influencer on LinkedIn. But one of the things she speaks about as you said is she's not sorry about the abuse that she went through because she doesn't think she'd be the same person that she's today, if that wasn't part of her journey.

 

And you're so true. Sometimes we wonder how we ended up on the paths that we're on and we don't realize that it wasn't by chance, it was by design why we ended up on the path that we're on and I guess as you get older and you become wiser, the picture is much clearer, there's more clarity.

 

Carlee shared that managing our stress is so key to having our customer’s experience our businesses and our work in a much better light. One of the key symptoms or a few of the key symptoms of stress, we can start with the mental health side of things, which is irritability, anxiety, depression. And then we go into the physical symptoms, which they can be as slight as headaches and things like that. And then we can go into the more extreme, which is like cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, strokes, and things like that.

 

And so when we think about stress from the perspective of, “Okay, when I'm experiencing distress, all of these symptoms come along with it, then am I really functioning at my best when I'm showing up in my business and in my work. If I'm showing up with a client irritable, or if I'm showing up with a client anxious, are they really getting the experience that they should be getting?” Her guess is that most folks want to show up with their customers and their clients from a place of abundance and love and care and kindness. But when we're irritable, we can't do that, we're being passive aggressive accidentally, we're being short, one word answers.

 

And so, that's just a small example of how stress can majorly impact sales, revenue, the relationship that you're building with your clients and that's just irritability, that's not even getting into a lot of the conversations that she’s having with corporate professionals. We are losing millions of dollars every year because of unmanaged stress, because people are getting sick. People are having to call out and they're cancelling important client appointments because what happens when stressor after stressor after stressor builds up is that our body finally, it's like, “Okay, well, if you're not gonna listen to the emotions, if you're not going to listen to all of the warning signals I gave you, I'm going to shut you down.”

 

And so, noticing and realizing that there is a true correlation between the stress and these outcomes, and that's the difference between you getting behind on your work or getting behind on your revenue and you growing.

 

She thinks there's a lot of talk about personal brand right now. And she loves the definition of personal brand is, what people say when you're not in the room. And she thinks that when we show up irritable or anxious or even depressed in a conversation, that's what people are talking about. People read energy; they remember how you made them feel more than what you said.

 

Carlee shared that she is going to give listeners something that they can start right now, at the end of this podcast, they can get started on. It's really about implementing it now because the now leads to tomorrow.  And she thinks there's a great example, her own former business coach used to say to her, “The stuff you're doing today, you're going to see the results tomorrow, 60 days from now, 90 days from now. And so, it's important to get started.”

 

But she wants to circle back to the concept of Creative Stress Reduction, because she believes that this is the foundation, the very first step that we need to be taking to manage our stress. And so, if we return to creative stress reduction in the definition of this methodology that she has created. Creative Stress Reduction is any activity that gets us out of fight, flight or freeze mode and into a state of play or flow, AKA rest and digest.

 

And so, the reason why this is so important is because if we're in fight or flight mode, we tend to make some pretty poor decisions, almost always. And so, we need to get out of fight or flight mode so that we can start thinking clearly and strategically about what changes need to be made in our life to address those chronic stressors, the stuff that's coming up over and over and over again.

 

And the reason she’s going to go one step further. The reason why it's important that we address our chronic stress is because we can't prevent all stress triggers, let's be real. We could not prevent COVID-19, we could not prevent a lot of stuff, but we can better prepare ourselves so that we can move through unpredictable stressors with grace, by removing all of the unnecessary stressors that we're experiencing in our life. But it starts with getting out of fight or flight mode so that we can even be in the head space to do that.

 

So the first thing that she recommends in order to find the creative stress reduction activity that works for you is to start with back to the basics with the simple piece of paper and a pencil or pen or marker or whatever you're writing utensil you're into. And you're going to start by making a list of at least 50 to 100 activities that you love doing. And yes, 50 to 100, she feels like every time she recommends this, she sees draws drop across the audience, but it's really important that we have a diverse abundant list of activities and anything goes here.

 

So, she enjoys going on a walk, she enjoys playing with my dog. She likes gardening. She likes meditation, maybe she likes yoga. Or maybe even she loves formatting Excel spreadsheets. If that's what you're into, can be anything. And it's really important not to edit ourselves here. So even the stuff that you're like, “Ooh, maybe I shouldn't be doing this.” You can put that on this list too. So you can put your wine, you can put your cookies; you can put the hanky panky, if that's what you're into.

 

And really the whole point being that there is no editing in this process because that's where we can get stuck. And that's when we get to the place of, “Oh, I can't come up with 50 to 100 items. I can't do this. This is too hard.” And so once we have that list, once we get through that process, no editing, anything goes, we go and we go to the next piece of the equation. And the next piece is to narrow down that list by asking 4 really important questions.

 

And so the first question that we are going to ask in this process to narrow down our list is, “Does this item have the potential to put myself or someone else in harm's way, AKA in the world we live in right now?” Could someone else get sick or could I get sick? And if the answer is, yes, we're going to cross that item off our list.

 

Now, the second question that we're going to ask is, “Does this activity have the potential to trigger me?” Based on my past experience, maybe based on my past trauma, does this item have the potential to trigger me? And so she loves to give this example from a client that worked with her a few years ago, because she cannot tell you probably one of those mainstream approaches that we hear a lot about managing stress is going to get a massage. 

 

And she loves a good massage, but she had a client a few years ago who was a survivor of sexual assault. And she had never gotten a massage before. And so everyone in her life, well, let's say a few people in her life kept telling her, you got to go get a massage, It's going to make you feel so much more at ease, your body's going to feel great, your mind is going to feel great. You should just try it.

 

They actually went through, before she just went and got a massage. And they said, “Okay, based on your past experience, how comfortable do you feel with this? Are you a hundred percent comfortable that you're not going to go in that room and feel triggered?” And she said, “I'm not sure, I'm not sure, but I can tell you that even if a friend touches me in the wrong way, it makes me feel uncomfortable.” And so, they cross that off her list because creative stress reduction is not the time to explore past trauma, it's not the time to explore, am I quote strong enough or healed enough or whatever for this, it's a time to get out of fight or flight mode.

 

And so, even the possibility of that triggering her is not going to work for creative stress reduction. So they crossed it off. Another simpler example is, if you have the beach on your list and every time you go to the beach, you see those lovely skinny 18 year olds in their bathing suits. And you're looking at yourself and thinking, “I do not measure up here.” That's a trigger. So, we’ve got to be real about the big and the small triggers. And so if it has the potential to trigger you, you're going to cross it off.

 

The third question that you're going to ask is, “Does this activity fit into my resources?” And this is a really, really important one. “Does it fit into my financial resources? Does it fit into my social resources? Does it fit into my time resources?” And this is really important, especially for busy professionals, because if we don't have the time to do this, we're not going to do it. We're going to push off our creative stress reduction until we, one day magically have the time, magically have two weeks or a month to backpack around Europe. We're going to keep pushing it off.

 

Me: If we're really embracing the creative stress process, shouldn't we really be making time for the things that we enjoy. If it is that you said I'm to write down 50 to 100 things that I enjoyed doing, then I need to make the time, I have to be intentional about it. Wouldn't I need to be that way?

 

Carlee agreed and stated that however, we're not trying to go from 0 to 60 in 3.5. And so we want to be realistic, we're not going to be able to just storm in to our boss’s office or completely upheaval our lives to take a month off. That's not to say, and this is one of the key things that she talks about too, is it's not to say that you can't plan for those things and you can't work towards those things. But the goal is to have an activity that is accessible to you right now, today, without a to do list of, “I have to talk to this person; I have to change this relationship with this client. I have to do all of these other things that may cause more stress before can get to this resource.”

 

A great example of something similar to this is, when folks write this list, oftentimes they'll write that fancy vacation and they'll say, oh, I want to go to Hawaii. Or I want to go wherever and they'll go to their bank account and it'll say something completely different. They have some big aspirations but the resources might not match the aspiration.

 

And it's not to say that we can't go to Hawaii or we can't go on that fancy vacation, but it's not accessible to us right now. And so we can add to our list and add to our plan that we're going to save up enough money to make that happen 5 years down the road. But if we make that our creative stress reduction today, what we can do is we can actually cause more stress and put ourselves even more into fight or flight mode because maybe we put that thing on our credit card, now we have credit card payments every month, or we're jeopardizing our client relationships because we don't actually have the time resources to do that based on our past agreements. And so that's why we're really talking about, does it fit into my current resources because we don't want to create more stress, the goal is to get out of fight or flight mode, even if it's 5 minutes that we have right now in our current time.

 

And so, the last question that we're going to ask ourselves, in terms of narrowing down this list is, “If I did this activity every single time I was stressed out, would it be healthy?” So there goes the wine there goes to the cookies. And oftentimes this last question is probably the one where we're seeing the most lines happening, the most pencil scraping across paper, because this is often our go to. These are the things that usually fit into what we would consider our resources; cookies aren't that expensive, wine is not that expensive in the long run.

 

And so, that's why we typically go to these things because they typically fit into our resources. And so, we're really looking to expand, what else can I do that's cheap, that doesn't take much time and we're not jeopardizing our financial future, we're not jeopardizing our health, we're not jeopardizing our relationships and things like that.

 

Carlee shared that probably the three most common. So the ones that are coming up for her that come up with her clients a lot are giving ourselves permission to dance, dance in our home when we're cooking dinner, or when we're folding the laundry, putting on music, singing, these are common, very common, creative stress reduction activities that don't take much time. If we have a really short song, it's less than two minutes. She thinks we all have about two minutes a day and allowing that play to come through you in those moments. She thinks those are really great examples, we might not be playing with Barbie dolls, which is a great example.

 

She was doing another podcast about two or three days ago. And she said, “Well, what about playing with Barbie dolls? I feel like I should not be doing that.” She (Carlee) said, “Well, if you're into that, you can do that. No judgment here.” But her guess is that your form of play as much different, your form of play might be dancing on hardwood floors and socks in your kitchen or your living room, it's very different, very accessible.

 

And so, for busy professionals, if we are taking the time to microwave a meal, even if we don't have time to cook it, what are we doing with those two minutes? Her guess is we're probably scrolling through social media for that two minutes. And so, we can replace, we can still hop on our phone, put on a song instead of put on that social media app and take that two minutes.

 

The other thing that she has a lot of clients do is that they get up and they walk around, especially right now, many of us are in quarantine. They'll get up when they're starting to feel stressed and they'll do a walk around their house. Or if they live in a more urban environment like her, they walk around the block or they just pace from the front to the back. And getting up and getting out of fight or flight mode so that we can separate ourselves from that trigger for a moment, that's another way and that's not necessarily play, but it is getting us to a state of a flow or a state of rest and digest. And so, these are really accessible items as well.

 

And then she has even more simple activities that some of her clients do, some of her clients just try to get more grounded in their body by rubbing their hands together or rubbing their hands on their thighs. And she mentioned these because oftentimes we think that stress reduction has to be some big grand, like, “Oh, I'm going to take a bubble bath or I'm going to go on a trip or I'm going to do something crazy.” But it can literally just be, “I'm gonna get out of my head. I'm going to move the energy to my head to my hands by just rubbing them together.”

 

Me: All right. So dancing, I have a crazy side to me I must admit. Every now and again, I'll just get up and start playing music and I'll probably grab my daughter and say, come Summer on let's dance. And she'd be like, mom, but I like to do fun stuff. I like to swing. One of my dreams is to have a swing in my backyard. I feel so almost at peace with nature when I'm swinging. And of course I love to go to the beach, but then I live in Jamaica and I suppose people hear when I live in Jamaica, they probably think I'm at the beach every weekend. Sadly, I don't live in a parish that the beaches are my backyard; I literally have to drive at least 30 to 45 minutes to get to the closest beach.

 

And so it just based on that, sometimes I don't get to the beach for months, especially with Coronavirus and the government putting restriction on the number of people in any one location. But I totally agree with you. Simple things like playing music that you like to listen to getting up and stretching, especially if you're working from home. I was talking to a client recently and she indicated that she actually puts in way more work when she's working from home, because it's not like she has to pack up and leave at 5:00 pm.

 

Sometimes she doesn't realize how time has flown until she realizes the news is being read at 8:00 pm on the TV. And she's like, “Oh shoot and I'm still here on my computer.” And that's 13, 14, 18 hour days and you're like, what is happening? You wouldn't have been putting in that if you are physically at work. So, I do agree with you that sometimes stress relief can be very, very simple strategies, but I guess sometimes we think so grandiose, we think it out of proportion instead of just trying to be very simple about it.

 

Carlee shared that one thing that's coming up for her when Yanique share that, is that a lot of us get to the point where in our stress management journeys that we are working, working, working, like we are hustle, go get it done. And we almost do it to the point of this like subconscious resentment. So when we finally get around to doing stress reduction or creative stress reduction, or to take care of ourselves, we are in this head space of like, “I worked so hard. I deserve something grand.” I deserve insert whatever big thing it is. And so, that mindset can really create a cycle because we say we want this big grand thing and then we realize it's not in our resources and so our coping mechanism can become to just return back to work.

 

And so, really honoring that creative stress reduction can be multiple times throughout the day. The goal is to not have you be so empty that at the end of the day, you feel, I deserve this big grand thing, which you probably do, but it be that, “I feel slightly exhausted or I feel slightly stressed and I'm going to do this thing to recharge,” versus “I'm completely empty. I'm burnt out and I need to do something yesterday.”

 

When asked how does she stay motivated every day, Carlee shared that for her, her creative stress reduction is gardening, she cannot even believe it. If you were to ask her 10 years ago if she would be a gardener, she would have laughed at you and told you no way and in heck. But for her, her thing is to get up, go out, check on her garden, even if nothing needs water, if nothing needs repotted, it's just checking and connecting that way, that's for her.

 

And then she would go a step beyond that. Creative Stress Reduction like she said earlier is just the first step. And so for her, she’s constantly evaluating what stressors are coming up over and over and over again in her life. Or maybe they've come up one or two times and she’s starting to see a pattern. And so, she’s constantly evaluating what's working, what's not, what can she change so that she’s not creating chronic stress or she’s not allowing chronic stress in her life.

 

And so, whether that's setting boundaries with clients with love, whether that's setting boundaries with family, whether that's allowing herself more downtime, more space, she doesn't know what it would be, but each day she’s really evaluating, “Okay, what could be causing some discomfort in my life and what can I do to move through my life with more joy?” And it's really for her and she thinks for everyone, it's showing up every single day willing to address the hard stuff so that we cannot let it become baggage and so we can move through life so much lighter.

 

Carlee shared that she would say Insight Timer, she really loves Insight Timer. It is a meditation app which she cannot believe she is recommending it because it's one of those five mainstream approaches. But she has to be honest, she uses it every single day and talk about accessibility. She uses it to meditate for two minute meditations at least once a day. So it's a great app that has tons of free meditations that you can use for all sorts of different reasons, for revenue growth, for anxiety, for sleep. It's a really great, versatile app.

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Carlee shared that it's The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. He has a podcast as well. And that book, she has taken a lot of those principles and applied that to her business, to her work life, to her personal life. It's made everything so much simpler, so much easier to digest. It's a really great book.

 

Carlee shared that she’s super excited about this self care accountability group called The Virtual Stress Less Space that she’s running, it's brand new. It's only two months old at this point. And basically what they do is they hop on Zoom, they go around the room, they share what self care activities or what creative stress reduction or what they're going to do to take care of themselves in the next 40 minutes.

 

And then they all shut off their cameras, they mute themselves and they do something crazy, which is go do it in the moment and then they return back and they share it. Did we do it or didn't we do it? And if we didn't, what can we change so that we do it next time? And she’s super, super excited about that because oftentimes you were talking about earlier, we shouldn't we be making the time? And the answer is yes. And oftentimes we might make the time, but we don't follow through because there's no one else on the other side. And so she loves this group because they have the accountability with other members of the group that can say, “Hey, did you show up? Did you do that thing?” And all from a place of love.

 

Me: And so is this a program that you applied to get into or is it a program where anyone can access it?

 

Carlee shared that anyone can access it if you visit www.stresslessco.com/virtualstresslessspace


Carlee shared listeners can find her at –

Website – www.stresslessco.com

Facebook - @thestresslessco

Instagram - @thestresslessco

Carlee shared that her mantra is, “I choose calm.”

Me: That is very simple, and it's straight to the point, “I choose calm.” And of course, calm can be manifested in many different ways, depending on whatever makes you feel calm.

 

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Aug 4, 2020

Ethan Beute is Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, coauthor of Rehumanize Your Business: How Personal Videos Accelerate Sales and Improve Customer Experience, and host of The Customer Experience Podcast. Ethan has collected and shared video success stories in a variety of formats for a decade. He's even sent 10,000 videos himself. Prior to joining BombBomb, he spent a dozen years leading marketing teams inside local television stations in Chicago, Grand Rapids, and Colorado Springs. He holds an undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and UCCS in communication, psychology and marketing.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey of marketing and customer experience and how you landed at BombBomb. And of course, the book that you wrote, what inspired you to write the book and what impacts has it had on your clients and as well as non-clients?
  • Could you explain to us by when you say humanize the connection with customers using video through the services that BombBomb provides, what does that look like in reality, if I was to apply that strategy in my business, what would that look like?
  • We spoke about video and how video can definitely humanize the experience for our customers. One other thing that I'm really curious about Ethan is in the book, do you speak about how it is that you can build better relationships with your 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 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 maybe something that you read a very long time ago, but it still stays with you to this very day.
  • Can you share with us one thing that's going on in your life right now, something that you're really excited about - either something that you are 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 refocused kind of get you back on track. Do you have one of those?

 

 

Highlights

 

Ethan shared that his story of how he arrived at BombBomb. So, as you read in the bio there, he spent a dozen years in local television and that was kind of by accident. He was at the University of Michigan, he always liked school, he was good at it, he enjoyed learning and growing and he didn't really have any career direction.

 

And so, he ended up in the communication department there and wound up going back home to his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan for the summer and got an internship in television and then ended up doing that for about a dozen years. But he was bored of it, he was tired of the work, it's highly repetitive. Television news is not a particularly interesting product after a certain amount of time. And so, he was doing all kinds of project work and he hopes some of the listeners can relate to this.

 

He wasn't quite sure; he had been doing about the same work, obviously with some nuance differences, for a long time. And so he was wondering what else would he be good at? What does he enjoy doing? What skills does he have that would be transferable to someplace else? And in television, you do a lot of writing and producing and editing, so he was very comfortable with video and he had met the two co founders of BombBomb socially when he moved out to Colorado Springs.

 

And they were building this company from nothing. And so, he did project work with those guys for a couple of years, he wrote some email campaigns, he made a couple of videos for them, he wrote some website copy and he just really liked them, he liked what they were about. He liked the mission that they were on, he liked the purpose behind the company, which is not just to generate revenue and be financially successful. There's a lot of purpose behind the work.

 

And so, he knew when they could make him a somewhat competitive offer to leave the television station that he would join them. And so he did that almost 9 years ago now. And as for the book, he was just really excited about what they were doing. He thinks he hit his sixth year full time at BombBomb.

 

And when he started, they maybe had 100 or 200 customers and now they have over 55,000 at the time, he thinks they had over 35,000 or 40,000, he was just really excited about how far they had come as a company and as a team and as a community of people who are being more personal and more human in their communication.

 

And maybe they can get into the nuance there, but just to tie it to the book; he just felt like, they're marketing the service, they have positive word of mouth, customers that like them, really, really like them and bring more customers to them which is all any business could really ask for, is that their customers are so satisfied that they bring new customers to you willingly for no compensation.

 

And so, he was just excited about the growth of the community and the movement. And he felt like a book, like a traditional book would be beyond their webinars and their blog posts and their social media and some of these other things and their customer base spreading the word. He felt like a mainstream business book about this opportunity to use casual conversational unscripted videos would get the message to more people.

 

He knows that they will be in a better world; it'll be a better place to live and work when more people are more personal more often in their business communication. And so, that was what motivated him to start writing. And he started writing it between 5 and 6 in the morning, on his own time and the better part of a Saturday or a Sunday, most weekends.

 

And then started talking about it with some of his team members, he wasn't sure A, how to write a full length book and B, how to get it to market. So he had to work on both of those at the same time and ended up going with a pretty traditional publisher called Wiley. He had read a lot of books that they had released and he liked them. And it was a fun journey.

 

To the last part of the question there, one of the things he did in preparing to write the book was he re-read books written by people he knew and then asked them if they would talk about the process of writing their book and all six people he reached out to said yes. And the one theme that was very consistent for them was releasing a book will open doors that you didn't know existed. And by that, you're not doing it to capitalize on a particular opportunity or to create a particular outcome. It's just that doing it will open up opportunities that you didn't know were opportunities.

 

And he would say that is come to be relatively true. He thinks it's one of the reasons they are talking today. They've sold a lot of copies of the book; people that he doesn't know are reaching out to him directly by email because he included his email in the book and reach out by LinkedIn and other networks. And it's just really neat to see the impact that it's having on people because again, you get to be yourself more often, it's just so wonderfully satisfying and then it builds human connection. And so, it's been delightful to have it out in the world.

 

Ethan stated that when he says video, he thinks a lot of people, when they think about video in a business context, they think about lights and scripts and budgets and drones and green screens and expensive equipment and all these other things. And that's all nice if you're using that style of video in YouTube or on your homepage or in social media or whatever, that's fantastic and you should continue doing that.

 

If you're not doing that, there's an opportunity that every business has, that every person has. And that is to replace some of your plain typed out text, this faceless digital communication, the same black text on the same white screen that doesn't differentiate you, it doesn't build trust and rapport, and it doesn't communicate nearly as well as when you jump on a video call or you jump on a Skype call or you get on the phone or you see people in person.

 

There are so many benefits to bringing to life your message and by using your webcam or your smartphone in a casual conversational, unscripted type of way; you can be more personal and more human more often. And so what BombBomb does, and they're not the only company that does it, they make it really, really easy to record these video messages and send them to people typically by email.

 

But you can also share them through Facebook Messenger or LinkedIn Messenger. You can text the videos to people, etc. And so, when you think about video the way they think about it, they call it relationships through video and to draw a line against marketing through video. And he doesn't mean against as in that's not a good thing you shouldn't do it as he already said, if you're doing marketing through video like budgets and scripts and things, good….keep doing it.

 

But this relationship through video piece, it's just about being a person instead of being a two or three paragraph block of text. And so you're wondering maybe when would I use this, we could talk used cases for the rest of our conversation here, but he'll just share a couple that get people's minds going.

 

One of the most important things that they can do for their customers and for their employees and for their partners and suppliers and vendors and other people in their business ecosystem is to say, thank you. And so if you only used video, if you took 5 minutes every morning and you thought of two or three people, and you just said, thank you. “Thank you so much for filling out that survey. Thank you so much for renewing your contract. Thank you so much for taking the time to have that phone call with me. Thank you so much for spending 2 years of your career with us. Congratulations, it's a 2 year anniversary of you being an employee on this team. You've grown so much. I appreciate you so much. And I look forward to what the next two years brings us.”

 

These kinds of things; Thank you. Good job. Congratulations. I've been thinking about you. I was excited to hear. I was sad to hear it. Doesn't all have to be positive, we can just be kind of honest in relationship building with people. And so there are just countless ways to use it, you can use it to get potential customers, to set more appointments and to actually show up for those appointments. If you are presenting a contract or a proposal, you can record a video to go along with it.

 

So you can talk about how you structure the contract, things that typically people have questions about, if you negotiated some aspect of it, you can be sure to explain away the fact that you accommodated whatever their need or interest was.

 

 You can use video for on boarding new customers, you can use videos to ask for online reviews or testimonials or referrals or whatever, any message that your company is sending. Anytime you're clicking send is an opportunity to potentially add a video to bring the message to life and to get more people to say yes, because they feel more connected to you.

 

Me: That's brilliant. I don't think I've ever heard of that business model before. And you said you have competition in this space; there are other companies that offer the same type of service?

 

Ethan shared that they have a lot more competitors than they did maybe 3 or 4 years ago. The company was legally founded in 2006. He joined BombBomb full time in 2011. And so, they've really pioneered this space with and through and for their customers. And again, that's kind of that excitement was what motivated him to write a book when no one was asking for it.

 

And it's been interesting to see the growth of the movement, however, to your observation. It's still relatively small, they have 55,000 or 58,000 customers, but when you start thinking about how many people use email every day in a business context, it's tens, if not hundreds of millions of people and whether you're in sales or you're in customer service, or you're in marketing, or you’re in leadership and management, if you are in administration and talent management, all of these opportunities, we're all using email all the time.

 

And we could all save a little bit of time by talking instead of typing. And again, and we can be more clear because the message isn't just plain words on a screen, it's your face and your voice and your personality and your expertise and your sincerity and your enthusiasm and all those really rich, wonderful human qualities that just don't come through when we strip ourselves out of our messages.

 

Me: That's so true. That's brilliant. That's really a very unique approach. So let's say for example, you have a client who takes up your service and they decide to humanize their messages through these videos. After they've made the video, is it a case where your platform now modifies the video, because as you said, you started out by saying, some people think it's a great investment because you have to get a green screen and a professional camera and a teleprompter.

 

And all of that can be just so time consuming, especially if video editing and those things are not your primary core business. Let's say your primary core business is sanitation or selling fans, but now you have to be mastering a new skill in order to be able to refine this message in a video as you said, to humanize that experience, how is it that you guys transform it? Is it that we just send a video to you as a client and then you transform it based on your platform?

 

Ethan shared that they make it really easy to record these videos. So, they have a video recorder that you can access on your phone or on your laptop. They have their own web app that you can log into @bombbomb.com and do a variety of things. They work directly on your iPhone or on your Android phone, through a mobile app. They work directly inside the Gmail inbox. They have a Google Chrome extension that allows you to record from the top of your browser. They have integrations with a number of other services like Salesforce or Zendesk, and a variety of other platforms as well.

 

And so, for example, he uses Gmail every day, bombbomb.com is a Google apps domain. And so, he checks his BombBomb email in Gmail. And so, when someone sends him an email and he wants to explain something back or he wants to say thank you, or he wants to get clear, or he wants to maybe record himself and his screen to give an update on a particular project or a report.

 

He just hit the record button directly in the composer, the reply window, it opens up the BombBomb recorder, he clicks record, and it counts him down 3, 2, 1, he starts talking to the person or the people; you can send these to more than one person. And as soon as he’s done, he hits stop. And they host the video for you automatically and securely in the cloud. They take the first 3 seconds of your video and turn it into a little animated preview.

 

And so, when your recipient or your recipients get your video message, it's a little three-second animated loop that says, “Play 47 second video” but they can see you and they can see that you're moving or that you're talking or that you're sharing your screen or whatever else you might be doing in the beginning of that video.

 

And so, they take out all the steps that would be required to try to do this yourself. A lot of people wonder like, “Hey, can I just do this myself?” And he’s like, “Yeah, you can, but it's going to take a lot more steps.” One thing he always say they have about a thousand customers who sent 1000 or more videos themselves. He has sent more than 10,000, one of his team members has sent more than 17,000 videos, but he'll speak to the 1000 customers of theirs who've each sent a thousand or more videos.

 

You don't send your 1000th video, unless two things are true. One, it gets you better results than what you were doing before. You don't do something a thousand times because it's not helpful; you do it because it is helpful.

 

So, it's a more effective way to communicate in lots of instances. And then you don't do something a thousand times, if it's not fast and easy to do, if it's cumbersome, if it's slow, you're just not going to get there. And so, if you're going to try to make a habit of using some kind of a recorder on your own and uploading the video to YouTube, but then marking it to private because it's not for your channel, it's just for these three people. And then you're going to screenshot that video and put it in an email and link the screenshot over the YouTube video. You're never going to do that a thousand times, there's just too many steps.

 

And so, what they do for you is, they take all of the challenge away and put it in a nice little streamlined process so it's quick and easy to do. And then they also tell you your results, they can tell you who's opening your emails; they can tell you whose clicking your links, they can tell you who's watching your videos, they can tell you how long your videos are being watched on average and a number of other things as well.

 

Me: So you provide analytics as well in addition. Almost like an email marketing platform if you were to send out an email blast.

 

Ethan agreed and stated that in fact, that's kind of how they started when they started in selling the service in like 2009, 2010, at the time it was mostly essentially like a MailChimp or a Constant Contact, but designed around video with video being deeply integrated in the experience. So to your observation, which is a very smart one, they do allow you to drag and drop and make nice looking email designs. You can upload lists of people and send to some people or all of the people.

 

It is an email marketing platform, but where they really saw this transform people's businesses is in this kind of lighter weight, higher volume video messaging piece. And so, they spent a lot more of their time and energy focused on kind of the quicker, lighter weight use cases than say sending out a video newsletter every month, which a lot of their customers still do, it's very useful and they do it themselves.

 

Me: Very nice. Well, I think that is game changing. I don't think I'm seeing anybody in Jamaica and I'm speaking for my local market using video the way how you have just described it and how BombBomb offers it. I think that it's really, really good. What I see a lot of people doing, and I know video is a new buzzword for definitely for 2020, for sure, especially since the pandemic is on more social media platforms, especially LinkedIn video is a very big thing now.

 

Everybody is producing all of these videos; pretty much explainer video or marketing on sales videos telling you about what they do, or just free value in terms of content about sales and marketing or how you can offer better service experiences to your customers. Originally, when you said video, I wasn't clear, I wasn't sure if you were talking about what video from a social media marketing perspective or from an email marketing. So now that you've gone very granular and explained how the process works, this to me makes sense, because as you said, you really feel like the experience is more humanized when you can see and hear the person's voice, you see their facial expression it’s different than just writing an email and it's probably even quicker.

 

Ethan shared that it's just inherent in how they approach what they do. It's a deep part of their philosophy in addition to being part of the practice. The key to human connection is very obviously allowing other people to feel seen and heard and appreciated. This is one of our deepest needs as a human being is, “I just want to be seen and appreciated. I want to be recognized for who I am as a unique individual.”

 

And so, it would be difficult to write a book about the way they view business and the way that they see opportunities to take what you're doing every day and to make it more effective by making it more personal and not have a relationship basis. They have 5 core values at BombBomb, and they've had them since the company was founded in the first and foremost, that underpins everything that they do is relationships.

 

They think that in this environment, he'll cross over into customer experience here. In this environment that we're in, in 2020 and different markets are different, different industries are different, but in general, it is fair to say that competition is now hyper competition that product parody or service parody is a reality that if you innovate and you create this new feature of your product or service, it's not going to take very long for a competitor to knock that off and to make their own version of whatever this innovation is.

 

And so, the thing that makes you different is how you make your customers feel, it's in the relationship that you have with them. And obviously when they're a team of 135 people or so, and they have 55,000 customers, they don't know every single one of their customers personally, but they all take care to get to know as many of them as they can in the course of their work, by doing customer interviews, by reading their feedback, by sending them videos.

 

When he sees questions on social media, he will engage with those directly himself as well several of their team members. When he reads these, now he’s getting a little bit tactical here, so they use Slack at BombBomb and one of their channels inside Slack automatically ingests all of their NPS or net promoter score feedback. And of course, that's a 10 point scale.

 

And so you can see the scores, but he reads all of the comments that people leave, because on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to refer BombBomb to somebody else? And then what is the reason for that? And sometimes someone will just type a couple of words, sometimes people will type two or three paragraphs, and he reads all of those. And during any given week, he'll probably send 5 or 10 of those people a personal video just to address their problem or their question, or to say, thank you, these types of things.

 

And you can't do it for everybody, it doesn't perfectly scale, but the more attention we can pay to what our customers think and feel, and the more that we can make them feel seen and appreciated for who they are uniquely as human beings, the stronger the relationship, and therefore the stronger the company, like your company as you're listening to this as a listener. Your company only exists really for one primary reason, which is to attract, convert and retain customers.

 

And it's obviously an exchange of value as he already said; we all face more competition, no matter our business than ever before. And so the more we can take care to treat our customers and our employees for that matter by the way. A great customer experience is impossible without a great employee experience, we have to make our employees feel seen and heard and appreciated as well.

 

And so, we need to just take a little bit of time out of the day, and frankly, it's a very healthy way to live, to communicate more directly, more often with the people who are key to our individual and our collective success. He’s not sure if that answered the question, but he obviously feel very strongly about these things and he appreciate the opportunity to share that.

 

Me: Of course. And I mean, Ethan, you hit the nail on the head when you spoke about the fact that if you're going to have an amazing or a fantastic customer experience, it starts from within. I always tell my clients that there is a consistent feedback from customers about a bad experience, whether it is in product quality, or just how the employee deals with you or the long wait time that you have and nobody even takes the time to say, listen, “We're working on serving you. Could you give us a few moments?” just communicating and caring to say it to people so they know what is happening every step of the way. If you're having a consistently bad experience on the outside, we strongly believe that it's a symptom of something that's happening internally why the customers on the outside are feeling it.

 

Because the service experience starts from within, how you treat your employees, how responsive you are to their concerns, any challenges that they may be having, do you support them when they make their wins as much as you support them when things may not go well, because we're human and yes, we're humanizing the experience, but human beings make mistakes.

 

And I think how we handle and manage people making mistakes is so critical because it can either drive them into fear where they don't want to make a mistake again and so they won't take any risks to try and enhance the experience, or it can empower them and let them want to go above and beyond to try and serve the customer because they know that their team or their management will stand behind them when mistakes are made, once those decisions are being made in benefit of the customer.

 

Ethan shared that he really, really appreciate that and he agrees 100%. And he guesses the only thing he would add is that a lot of it is about managing expectations. Like being clearer, obviously with customers. Like disappointment is a function of expectation and so the more we can make clear what is a reasonable wait time?

 

He knows that when they were a much smaller business, they felt a lot of pressure to meet the standards of excellence. Their customer's expectations are being set by multibillion dollar companies like Amazon and Apple, and some of these other brand names that we all go to when we think about excellent experience. And so he just wants to empathize with the small business owners who are listening and saying, “Gosh, I only have 6 employees, I can't get back to everyone instantly.” That is perfectly okay. We just need to manage expectations.

 

And he thinks the more direct we are about who we are and what we're about and how we approach things, the more clear and honest you can be with people, he thinks the more grace you buy yourself. And then, the other important side of the expectation piece is what Yanique said about employees and making sure that they feel safe making mistakes, that they feel safe taking reasonable risks because that's what we have to do if we're going to stand out.

 

And the last thing he'll add is when someone, whether it's an employee or it's a customer is confused or disappointed or frustrated, we can start to feel bad about that but that's actually a really great opportunity to deepen the relationship, to make things right, to work our way through it, or to talk our way through it, or apologize if necessary and your relationship is going to be stronger on the other side of that.

 

The real threat to your business is the quiet customer or the quiet employee who's just sitting there a little bit confused, a little bit frustrated, not so frustrated or angry that they’re going to raise their voice about it and they're just going to silently disappear one day, they're going to stop buying, or they're going to start looking for another job and take another job. And you never know that they were confused or frustrated or disappointed or whatever the case may be.

 

And that's why we need to keep these communication channels open, make it really easy for people to share what they're thinking and feeling and to pay attention to that feedback. It's the worst thing you can do is to collect feedback and not pay any attention to it, because then the person feels doubly unheard, “You actually asked me for my feedback. I actually took the time to be thoughtful about my approach and you didn't respond, you didn't read it, you didn't use it. You'd made no change.” And so that's making a bad situation even worse. There are just a few cautions and thoughts around what Yanique shared there, and he really, really appreciates your valuing of internal service quality.

 

Me: It's definitely one of the things that I've picked up over the years as a customer service trainer. One thing I'd love to get your feedback on, I got this feedback, this question from a participant in a workshop I had last week online and she asked the question, if you work in an organization where you send an email and the email that you've sent is asking for, let's say an update or information that I will need in order to complete a particular task or activity to complete a project and it's time sensitive and all of that was outlined in the email, but nobody in the department even chooses to respond to say that they knowledge the email, they're working on gathering information or they don't have the information, no feedback is provided.

 

And so, it's almost like you have to be calling the department to find out if they got the email and then when you do call them, they say, “Oh yeah, we got the email.” And then that's it. There's no apology, there's no we're working on it. How do you adjust in an environment where people don't give feedback in an organization and what's the best protocol when you send an email to someone asking for something, should they respond or should they not respond?

 

Ethan shared that that sounds so frustrating. He'll go back to expectation management. As a team member, we need to model the behaviour we want to see, the culture is built one decision, one behaviour at a time, and everyone is responsible for building the culture. The culture is what is normal and acceptable around here.

 

And so, he doesn't think it's acceptable personally for a team member to be in need of something, to need something from one or more other people and they can't make any progress. And the other people don't respect them or the work enough to respond in a timely manner. So, he just thinks that's a bad situation, obviously.

 

And so, for example, a team member of theirs, he just got a new position within their company, he has a very important role. It's very important to a lot of the work that they're doing and he's looking to generate some strategies there going into the third quarter that they just entered. And he specifically asked for, “I want 15 ideas to move X to Y.” and he's asking that of everybody and then he's going to compile it. And then they're going to have a meeting and a discussion about it.

 

And he (Ethan) knew that that was going to require at least two hours of his time and he knew he got this email last Wednesday and he wanted the feedback by the end of the week. And so, he replied to him, he was like, “Rob, I think what you're doing is really, really important. I do not have two hours between now and the end of the week but here are four or five or six things that I'm thinking about as soon as I saw your questions, these are some things I thought about.”

 

 So, he told him that he’s not going to honor his full request. He just can't do it, but here are some valuable thoughts. And he was very appreciative and thankful. And so as soon as he saw it, he thought, okay, maybe he'll look at this tomorrow and see if he can find two hours tomorrow. And then he got realistic with himself and he said, “I'm not going to have two hours tomorrow. I'm not going to have two hours this week.” And so again, managing those expectations and getting back to people right away.

 

The other thing he would say that he sees a lot of people miss on internally, and he could tell a story around this, but he won't. We need to use more than one channel very often and we do need to think about these types of requests as campaigns. So if you are reaching out to 5 or 10 other team members and you need something by the end of the following week, let's just say it's 7 business days away.

 

Well, you can't just send that one email and then just hope it happens 7 days later, you send an email that Wednesday, and then you send maybe another one on Friday or Monday, “Hey, just a quick reminder.” And then you send another one on Thursday, “Hey, just a reminder by tomorrow I need.” And for him, he would do it by email and he would probably do it by Slack as well. As you think about having multiple touches between now and the delivery of whatever's needed, he would use what other people are giving as a way to kind of create some awareness around it too.

 

So it'd be like, “Hey, just a reminder. If you're getting this email, I need X, Y, and Z by the end of the week. And here's something that Jennifer shared with me, here's something that Steve shared with me and I would love to know what you think too.”  So think of it as a little campaign, you can't just send one email and expect everyone to perform because we're all super, super busy. And so, think about using multiple communication channels and think about using some time spaced reminders to people as well.

 

Ethan shared that honestly, the Google Chrome extension that he uses every day from BombBomb and of course he’s a little bit biased, but again, he has tens of thousands of people who would agree with him. Just dramatically changes his relationship with his inbox, but more importantly, his relationship with the people who are in his inbox.

 

These messages aren't just messages, these messages are relationships through the foundation for the relationships that makes him successful as an individual and makes them successful as a marketing team at BombBomb and makes them successful as a company and more broadly makes them successful as a community. He also will use the Chrome extension to send videos to people via LinkedIn message.

 

So, instead of having all these anonymous connections that they make where they maybe look at their profile the day that they connect and maybe never communicate with them again. He has been taking care to record short personal videos for people to thank them, to introduce a couple things he likes to talk about and communicate about.

 

And the nature of the conversations that he’s enjoying with his new connections bring the network to life in such a more meaningful way than just this kind of collection of people who've clicked, he accepts. It just really closes the world down and people all over the world.

 

And so, it's really interesting and exciting. And not every relationship becomes amazing but it certainly increases the odds of it right out of the gate. And so, he thinks again, being himself and being accepted and engaged with for who he is as a person and as a professional is satisfying for him, but it also lets other people feel like they're being seen and heard as well. It's just really wonderful.

 

Me: Brilliant. It's funny you said you use it for LinkedIn because I recently connected with a gentleman from Trinidad and I remember when I accepted the invitation, he sent me a video, it was very personalized. “Hey Yanique, great to connect with you. Just wanted to hop on and find out how your Sunday's going.” And I was like, “Wow” it really wowed me because I've connected with lots of people on LinkedIn and most of them are very spammy.

 

Off the bat they start telling you about what they're and no interest in whether or not I'm even interested in their product or service but it wasn't about sales. And the fact that he sent it in the form of a video, it seemed like he just recorded it like on the front porch of his house, it was a Sunday morning, the street was like in his background. I thought it was really authentic and it was very human because he clearly would be doing that on a Sunday morning, it didn't seem like it was staged or it was put on, it was just very authentic and I was very impressed. It was very interesting. So, I think video for sure can definitely help to enhance those types of experiences.

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Ethan shared that these may be a little bit atypical, but the first book that comes to mind when you ask that question is a book called The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability (Collins Business Essentials) by Paul Hawken. And he picked it up at a used bookstore sometime in the mid to late 90s. He was a very young person and it was very impactful on him. It's essentially about the intersection, obviously of the economy and ecology in general and some of the choices that we're making as customers, but also as businesses, how they affect the natural environment.

 

And it was impossible for him to read that book and see the world the same way. And he has read it several times now and it's just a fantastic read. And, so again, that's The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken.

 

The other one that comes to mind, well, two of them from Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. The first one is called Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard. And the thing that he really likes about that one, there's a section in there called philosophies where he talks about like breaks down the approach to various important aspects of a business, that is just a fantastic section of the book.

 

There's also some company history in there, but at a high level, one of the things he really, really enjoyed about it is that he didn't start the company intending to be, at this point, he got to imagine he's a multimillionaire, it's been such a successful brand, and it really lead the way in environmental stewardship in a lot of cases.

 

He was not trying to start a business, he was just trying to fund his hobby of rock climbing and surfing. So, he (Ethan) would imagine that all of the people that are listening to this conversation right now, that there are people that started the business that they're running because they just didn't know any other way. Like, this is just what I'm supposed to do. This is what I have to do. This is who I am. This is what I need to do. And he thinks a lot of people will find themselves, A, picking up some good ideas, particularly out of that philosophy section, but B, just identifying with this guy who through the natural, normal course of events, just found himself running a business based on his personal passion which is always inspiring.

 

Ethan shared that he’s constantly reading and listening to podcasts. And so, when he thinks about something really exciting, so he married, he has been married for many years. They have a teenage son who is starting to look at colleges and universities because he's entering his senior year of high school right now.

 

And so, it's just a really interesting phase of his life and their lives and it's just interesting to think about this person who not that long ago was a toddler, is now on the verge of really launching off into his own decisions and his own life and becoming a more fully realized person with more independence. And that whole process is just so challenging and exciting and scary and curious and joyful and nerve wracking. And so, we've been spending a lot of time on that.

 

Me: So, that's an exciting thing to be working through. I guess I'll be there with you in a few years. My daughter's 14 going on 15. So, I suppose in another year or two, I'll be where you are. I do look at her every day and I'm like, “I wonder, could I just get her back as a toddler just for like a day.” Because I miss her at that age.

 

When she was younger, people would said to me all the time, “Enjoy her because the time goes by so quickly.” And you take it for granted because you're in that moment and you're thinking, “Oh, the time is not going by quickly. She's doing this, she's doing that, she can’t stop moving up and down.” And it does go by quickly because she's now 14 going on 15 and I would give anything to have her back as a toddler, even just for a day.

 

Ethan agreed and shared that there's so much that we take for granted and that certainly is one of them. And it's interesting, everyone's going to give that caution, the same advice that you got was the same advice that they got as young parents. And so, everyone says it and he would just flip it now just to tie it back into the theme of the conversation here today is, it's really easy to look at your business as a set of numbers but those numbers are just the scoreboard, they're the outcome of the decisions that we're making every single day and the relationships that we're building every single day and the people that we're serving every single day.

 

And hopefully, depending on the nature of your business, you are transforming people's lives, in some cases it might be a very small transformation, but it brings a sense of ease or allows people to do something a little bit more quickly or resolves a particular pain point or frustration for them. And so, the work that you're doing really, really matters, and if you're serving meals to people as a restaurant or something else, there are people behind every number and no matter what you're looking at, there are people behind the numbers and the numbers are just collections and representations of the decisions that we're making every day and the people that we're serving every day. So we can't lose sight of that either.

 

 

  • Ethan shared listeners can find him at –

Email – ethan@bombbomb.com

LinkedIn - @ethanbeute

www.bombbomb.com

www.bombbomb.com/book

www.bombbomb.com/podcast

 

When asked about a quote or saying that helps him refocus, Ethan shared that he doesn't but the one thing he'll offer is that, “You don't get what you don't ask for.” The worst you’re ever going to hear from anyone in any circumstance is no. The more comfortable you can get with that, the better. There is a humility often times required in asking for help or asking for a favor. And frankly, again, just to go to the relationship piece, people like to help other people. And he thinks to the degree that it's a reasonable ask, most people will say yes, most of the time. He has been shocked at how many times people have said yes.

 

And so, if you find yourself in this time of the pandemic, whether it's a personal feeling or whether it's a professional challenge, a business challenge or whatever, don't be afraid to reach out to people and ask for help even if it's just for a second opinion or a thought or a conversation, people want to help each other. And there's something very honest in humbling of you to make that ask of other people and to reveal that you do need or want some help. And he thinks it draws us closer together.

 

Me: That's very good point. It's funny you say that because it's one of the things that I encourage my daughter to do. Generally speaking, I find that in a learning environment you'll have people who may want to ask a question, or even in a business meeting, you may have a staff meeting and you can share with me if you think this is something that's common.

 

But people will sit down in a meeting and you'll get to the section of Q and A. And they'll say, guys, any questions and it's not until one person, brave person, courageous person raises their hand and asks a question. It's not that 5 or 10 other people didn't have the same question or similar, but nobody was brave enough to kind of take that first step to ask the question.

 

And so, even with my daughter, from she was younger, I always say to her, no question is stupid and you should always ask the question because somebody else in the class is going to benefit from you asking that question. And I've proven it time and time again with my own activities when I attend programs, or if I attend a meeting. I don't know why it prevents them, if they're fearful or what exactly, but you're right. You you'll never know unless you ask, you have to put yourself out there.

 

Ethan shared that he completely agrees. There is no bad question and really, especially if someone has presented information to ask a question, even if it feels to you like a dumb question, like you should have gotten the answer by listening, it gives the person another chance to double down on what they obviously are excited about and have invested a lot of time and energy.

 

And if someone is presenting information or a short presentation or whatever, people love questions about the work that they do, and it shows that you have a level of interest in addition to whatever else you learn, it shows some respect and it puts the presenter or the person answering the questions in a position that they generally like to be in.

 

 

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Jul 29, 2020

Don Frericks knows the exhilaration of working with a good leader and the unrelenting pain of working for a bad one. In over 30 years of corporate leadership and coaching experience, he has developed the reputation as on outstanding leader, a passionate advocate for personal and corporate change, and a well-loved personal leadership coach for various Fortune 2000 organizations and industries.

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, just tell us how it is that you’ve really got into this leadership path, were you put into it by accident, did it happen by chance or is this something that was a passion for you from you were a young person?
  • Could you share with us maybe two or three character traits that you think leaders need to have, especially now. So, what are those two or three qualities that leaders need to have to ensure that during this time they're still maintaining a high level of customer centricity internally and externally?
  • How do you stay motivated every day?
  • Can you share with us what's the one online resource tool, website, or app that you couldn't live without in your own business?
  • Are there any other books that have had a great impact on you? Maybe a book you read recently, or even a book you read a very long time ago that has still had a great impact on you?
  • Could you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're either really excited about something, maybe that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can listeners find you online?
  • Could you share with us a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote because it kind of helps to keep you refocused.

 

Highlights

 

Don shared that he loves it because it's not a normal path. He actually had three wonderful experiences working for tremendous leaders, people that just were inspiring that you wanted to follow them because they were so good with people and they helped you be the best that you could be. And what was interesting in each one of those occurrences, they were the one that hired him, but they were gone in his experience six months later. And it was so abrupt and so quick that it was a bit shocking. And the next leader that came in behind them was not as good.

 

And in fact, in a few cases, they were horrible; the kind of people you would say would be the bad bosses of the world. And it was such a night and day difference. It shocked him to his very core and he noticed his own behaviour, his own performance slipped. He noticed that he didn't like it; he wasn't engaged like he used to be. He worked at a very high level, he puts a lot of energy and heart into his work and he wasn't doing that with these other bosses. So, he really felt like there's something about great leadership and how it has a huge impact on other people.

 

And after that experience and through those experiences, he started studying tremendous leadership and extraordinary leadership and what the difference is between good and extraordinary and why it makes a huge difference on businesses.

 

Me: So it's definitely been in your core, in your DNA from very early. Now, I see here on your bio also that you’re the author of the book, Best Boss Ever: The 5 Steps to rapidly develop yourself into the leader everyone wants to follow. And this podcast is called Navigating the Customer Experience as you know. One of the things I've found in the years of being a customer service trainer is that leadership is very critical in customer experience because if the leaders are not on board with delivering a quality experience both internally, because it starts from within, and then of course it flows over into the external, you're going to have a lot of challenges in the organization.

 

Don agree that Yanique is right on track with thinking how dynamic a situation can be internally as he’s sure you've seen many times where people have talked about the power of serving the employees so that they can serve the customers so well. Great leaders today get that, they understand that their service of their people internally needs to be taken to the next level. And that probably means getting to know your people at a level where you understand their emotional needs and understanding how they're dealing with all the challenges with the pandemic and the other things that are happening in our environment.

 

So, they're missing the point and they're missing an opportunity to connect heart to heart with their own employees. And that will prevent their employees from reaching out to the customer in such a way that that experience, as you're an expert in is at the highest level. And so we have to take care of our people and that's the leader's job.

 

Don shares that he thinks one of the most important aspects of extraordinary leadership is the ability to inspire and motivate others to high performance, Zenger, Folkman. John Zenger and Joe Folkman have done a tremendous amount of research in this regard. And they've looked at over a hundred thousand leaders around the world and from their research and their data, they have shown that statistically inspiring and motivating others to high performance is the most important aspect of extraordinary leadership.

 

So, it's one of those things that you'd say, “Well, that makes sense because when I'm inspired and motivated, I do my best work.” But as a leader, “What is it that I actually do to inspire and motivate others?” He’s sure the listeners have that question like, “How do I do that at a high level?”

 

And the number one trait that they have uncovered is making the emotional connection, similar to what he was just saying. Leaders today need to sometimes push aside their performance metrics and all of their meetings and the policies and procedures and make the emotional connection with their people, the most important thing.

 

And one good way that he often coaches his clients to do that is to go down and think about each person that's on their team and to assess how much of a relationship they have with each and every one of them, high, medium, or low, and how much trust is there in that relationship, high, medium, or low, and then to ask themselves, what can they do to invest more in that person emotionally, what can they do to connect with them in a way that maybe they don't have a connection today? It's amazing what comes up when you start to think about it at that level, as if it's one of the most important things you can do as a leader.

 

Another thing that he thinks listeners might be interested in is that the conversation around what inspires and motivates us doesn't happen very often in business today, we're expected to bring our own inspiration and motivation to our work, and absolutely the best employees are highly motivated.

 

But it's fascinating how as you go through life, what gets your attention changes as you move from maybe a very young age to mid age, to older age things that are important change. And so, what inspires and motivates you today may be different and good leaders stay in touch with what inspires and motivates their people by connecting with the changes that happen to them throughout their life.

 

And so, one way to do that is just to have a candid and curious conversation with their employees and team members about what currently inspires and motivates them. He finds a lot of leaders miss this point, because it seems like something that they feel like they don't need to talk about, but that's the problem. It is absolutely an emotional need for people to talk about what inspires and motivates them.

 

Me: And you want people to also feel very comfortable sharing with you because I may not feel comfortable sharing with you what motivates or inspires me if I don't trust you, which is what you alluded to at the beginning.

 

A big part of leadership is getting people to connect with you, but also for them to trust you. In terms of what inspires you, it means you're getting very vulnerable about what you like and what you don't like. And you typically feel more comfortable sharing that information with people who you feel you can trust, would that be fair to say?

 

Don agreed and stated that he loved the way Yanique put that together. Without that foundation of trust that you're speaking of, it is very hard to have a meaningful discussion about anything that's close to our heart, especially the things that inspire and motivate us. Vulnerability is absolutely a key and it's one of those skills that he finds a lot of leaders actually have to work at, it doesn't come natural for some reason, it seems like we've learned that when we get into the business world, we actually become less vulnerable. We become more professional, so to speak. That's not what people are looking for, they're looking for your heart, they're not looking for your professionalism.

 

Me: Why do you think leaders who are able to pretty much get a high level of productivity from their teams. There are some leaders who are not able to get that level of productivity. So, to give you an example. Yesterday I had a friend that called me and she said that her hairdresser has an employee, the young lady does really, really good in terms of her technical skills is amazing and the business owner cannot imagine this person not being in her business.

 

However, when I spoke to the owner, she said to me, the lady’s interpersonal skills are extremely poor. She doesn't know how to talk to people; she says things that comes over to be very disrespectful. The clients don't really like dealing with her, but she, the business owner cannot imagine her business without this person in it. And so, she wanted to know if I think training could fix this person. So, from a leader perspective, if you got a call like this, from a person like this, what would you recommend?

 

Don shared that his gut says that he'd like to have more information about this employee. However, just the way that you posed the case study, it sounds as though the employee has been able to perform their job without meeting some of the expectations of the job around treating the customer with respect and communicating with them at a high level.

 

And so, if someone's gotten away with underperforming in a certain aspect of their job, it really, to him, it seems to land on the business owner in this particular case. And the question he would have to her is like, “Are you willing to hold her accountable to a higher level, a higher standard of interaction with the customer?” If they're not, he wouldn't even waste the time on doing training or coaching or anything like that.

 

He thinks it starts with the business owner establishing clear expectations with all employees, not just this employee about how customers will be treated and the customer experience, and then literally holding them accountable. And if people can't do what we expect them to do, and we think they're valuable employees, then yes, training could be helpful, but only after expectations have been set. And after they attempt to hold people accountable to those expectations, what were your comments to her?

 

Me: So I asked her a series of questions. I asked her how long was she working with her? Before she hired her, did she get a background check to get any recommendations for how it is that she performed in previous employment? To which she said, no, she didn't have that. But then the young lady was working with her already. So to some extent there is really no recovery where that is concerned because you have firsthand how it is she's performing in any case.

 

Then I said to her, it sounds to me like some of the challenges you're having is not necessarily with her competency to do the job, but her attitude. And if you've spoken to her and you've indicated to her that this type of behaviour is not acceptable, your customers are not in agreement with how she's responding to him.

 

And she still continues to repeat the same behaviour, I'm not sure if any amount of training is going to help because at the end of the day, she has to make an intentional effort to ensure that her communication is one of the standard that you are expecting her to deliver to customers, even if she's the greatest shampooer or whatever the technical competence is required to ensure that customers walk out feeling that the service they came for was good.

 

But with that tangible service comes the soft side of it; “Did she pull my hair too hard? When she was speaking over me, was she speaking too roughly to me? Did she ask me questions in a tone that was just not very accommodating?” All of those things contribute to the entire experience, even if when you're washing the hair, you give it a really good wash. If how you're doing it is poor, then it takes away from the whole service experience. So, my concern was that if it's an attitude issue, I'm not sure training can fix it.

 

Don agreed and he was hoping that Yanique might be going that direction. It's very difficult to train for attitude and if it isn’t attitude, no problem as Yanique suggests it might be. He thinks training can be a waste of time. He did a lot of training and development throughout his career for over 20 years and he was always amazed at how little behaviour change followed training and he thinks a big part of it was what you're saying is that if people don't want to change, if they don't want to do something at a better higher level, they won't no matter how much training we actually give them.

 

So you're onto something, there is no doubt training does not make people change. People make people change. And he thinks that's the hardest part of leadership. And that's the hardest part of customer service is that our behaviours have to change to do it at a high level. And have you read the book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear?

 

He hopes that listeners will get a copy of that. He thinks James Clear does a great job talking about our habits and what you can do to change them. And if you want to be a great leader, if you want to be a great customer service manager or great at customer service, it does require us to get better. And that means to him, changing habits, that book can be very helpful.

 

Me: Yeah, for sure. And I mean, the reality is our success is based on the habits that we have. So, the habits that you build upon every single day. I recently did a Facebook live and the guest was talking about changing habits and one of the questions he asked me, which was so profound Don. He said to me, you noticed how since coronavirus and the pandemic, everybody has basically had to develop a new habit overnight wearing of masks because I'm sure you were not wearing a mask prior to March 13th.

 

So, then he says to me, where do you keep your mask? So I said, to be honest with you, I keep it in my car because over the first few weeks I kept on leaving it, I would reach to my destination and I would say, why do I look/feel out of place?

 

And then I'm like, “Oh, I left my mask at home and I'm not going to turn back to get it.” So in order to ensure that I always have it, I keep it in the car because I'm not wearing it anywhere. As you know, I'm not wearing it at home. So it's clearly when I'm going on the road. And he said, you were able to develop that habit because you built it on top of other habits that you have so that you could ensure that it now became a part of your routine.

 

And, you know, when I looked at it from that perspective, I said, you know, that's a very good point. Because I had to find a way to incorporate this into my normal activities to ensure that it became, as he said, a part of my routine, where do you keep your mask Don?

 

Don shared that he keeps his mask in the car as well. He loves Yanique’s comment about habit stacking. And he thinks that's one of the things that James Clear points out. If you stack your habits, it's a much easier way to start a new habit rather than starting at all by itself, because it needs some way to get going. That's why habits are so hard. What's the old saying about old habits are strong and jealous.

 

Me: If you're accustomed to doing something for a very long time, and the reality is human beings, they put up a lot of resistance to change. When it's new, it's like, why should we do it this way? Even with these virtual experiences that we're all having now, predominantly my business has been operating from home for quite some time. Even before COVID, I decided to get rid of my office space and just operate from home.

 

And so, even when COVID came in, it wasn't a hard adjustment for me to start working from home. But people who are accustomed to going into an office from 9-5 every day, I've spoken to quite a few of my friends and even colleagues who say they don't necessarily like working from home, they prefer the blended approach, or they want to go back out to work because they miss the interaction.

 

And the reason I think they're saying that is because it's new, it's different; they're not accustomed to it. It makes them feel uncomfortable. And that change makes it very difficult for us to adjust. But then I've had clients who said that they've actually had a higher level of productivity from their team members since they've been working from home versus when they were physically in the space.

 

Don stated that he fully understands what Yanique is speaking of. And he thinks we're seeing such a change, a rapid change in the way that we do work, it's amazing. He wants to go back to what Yanique said about attitude. He wants to make sure that listeners really get the power of this. He also had a recent customer service experience where he was going through a fast food line at a restaurant to get some dinner for his grandkids.

 

And as he was doing that, he recognized right away that the speed of the service was very good. And he was very pleased with how quickly they were able to take his order and get him his food. But he also noticed there was something else that was happening that really delighted him. And it was an experience where the individual who was taking his order was willing to be personable with him and ask him some questions and also allow him to ask them some questions, because there was a little bit of a wait time before he can move on to the next point in the service line.

 

And he really enjoyed that because they became human with one another. There wasn't just an order being placed and an order being received. It was two people talking and he thought this young person has a great attitude back to your point of service because they wanted to connect with him. And he just thought that was so powerful.

 

He can't underestimate the power in customer service of people being interested. And he loves the word curious, and that's good, the curiosity word is so good for all of us leaders as well as customer service providers.

 

When asked how he stays motivated, Don stated that that's a great question. It's very simple for him and maybe it won't even resonate that much with your listeners because he’s going to give you an answer, it's called purpose.

 

He believes that his purpose in life is to change the world one leader at a time. And what he’s trying to do is bring greater, better leaders into the world because the world right now desperately needs good servant leaders that can bring a higher level of performance in all aspects of our society. We're so desperate for people to be peacemakers and to find ways for the world to live more in harmony, where we can take care of each other.

 

And so his purpose shows up every time he wakes up in the morning and he’s getting started to begin his day, he lives his life to be on purpose. And even during the difficult periods where maybe there's challenges that he didn't expect or challenges with certain clients or clients situations, he doesn't let it get to him because he recognize that it's one aspect of him being able to fulfill his purpose.

 

It's not a difficulty that he needs to dread, it's just something he needs to work around so that he can fulfill his purpose. And he thinks every time that he’s on purpose and I can tell you (Yanique) live her life on purpose, he'd like to hear how Yanique frames her purpose. It just makes such a huge difference in terms of the way that you do the work that you do.

 

Me: It does. It's funny you said that because when I started this business back in 2007, 2008, I started it because I thought about what it is that I really like to do. But I also started it because I also thought about in Jamaica, which is where I live and I was born and I've spent all of my life, customer service is challenging.

 

So, Jamaican people are extremely warm and friendly, but I find that in a lot of the service businesses, you don't necessarily get that warm and friendliness. It's almost like you feel like you're begging them to serve you. And so I started to think, how could I contribute to improving the quality of service in Jamaica and globally? And I started to think about a cartoon that I used to watch when I was a little girl called Care Bears. I don't know if you know it.

 

So my vision for the company is “To Create a More Caring World.” And it was inspired through the Care Bears. If I could be the Care Bear with that little beam on my tummy. And I'm beaming this light out to basically, as you said to change one lead at a time, but to change each company or each team member at a time that they are converted to ensuring that in every interaction they have, whether they stay at that company that I train them in, or they leave and start their own business, or they go and work for someone else. They always ensure that they deliver a high quality of service, because I think if our service experiences improved, we'll all have a better quality of life.

 

You'll go through the day and you will feel like, “Oh my goodness, I had a great day today. I had such good interactions. People were so accommodating. Things ran so smoothly.” And of course, if you have fewer obstacles, then you'll be less stressed. So, that's really my purpose every day to create a more caring world and I'm that Care Bear that's basically trying to beam my little light across on everyone. So yeah, I do get you when you say; it's all about your purpose.

 

Don agreed that it's all about your purpose and thanked Yanique for having that purpose too. What a beautiful way to live your life and to be a role model for your area. Hopefully the listeners are like, “I get that. I understand exactly why you're doing that.” He sometimes finds people will say, “Well, I'm glad you have that purpose, but that's not my purpose.” He always says, “We'll fine, find your purpose. You don't have to have my purpose.”

 

Me: Just figure out what it is that really drives you. There are days does, I talk to people many times and they say to me, “How do you get up and do the same thing every day? Don't, you get bored of it? Don't you get frustrated?” But I don't because I understand what my why is and it drives me every single day. Every, every article I read, if I watch something on TV, if I'm talking to someone, it all goes back to service, how we serve each other.

 

And so, I'm always looking for opportunities. I'm always stimulated, there's not a day that goes by that I'm not excited about doing something new in the customer experience spectrum. So I think at the end of the day, if you're really passionate about what you're doing, then of course it doesn't seem like work and you don't get de-motivated or on days when your energy might not be there, you still have some desire to want to do it because you're really passionate about it.

 

Don shared that he often will do some self coaching, as you kind of talk to yourself in your own head. And he will always say when he feels like there's a level of frustration or de-motivation, or just the challenge of getting through everyday life, he'll say, “Don, get on your purpose. Get back to your purpose. If you feel like you're frustrated, that means that you're just not paying enough attention to your why.” As you just called it out.

 

And he’s sure the listeners in Jamaica and around the world are like, “Thank you for what you do.” Without doing what you do, other people would not be telling their story. So this is why what you’re doing is so powerful.

 

When asked about an online resource that he could not live without in his business, Don shared that it's such a tough question because he uses so many. He was going to recommend to the listeners to go to www.zengerfolkman.com because they have so many resources around leadership.

 

There are many, many theories about what makes a good leader. And there are many, many books around leadership. It's like a giant ocean and he finds it overwhelming, many of his clients had done, he doesn't know what to do. There are too many things for him to focus on as a leader. And he completely gets that. And so what he often says is like, “Well, why don't we do a 360 and get some feedback from the people that you lead, including your boss and your peers. And let's ask them how you lead today and get their feedback.”

 

And Zenger Folkman has this wonderful 360 degree assessment that allows leaders to get an accurate perception of how other people see them as a leader, with that, and then you can determine how to put together an action plan to build new skills or to build the strengths that you currently have. And so they've written a lot of great articles and white papers about that, and all of those things reside on their website, he would highly recommend that they do that.

 

When asked about books that have had a great impact on him, Don shared that he used to read a whole book. He hardly does that anymore. He often read the first chapter, the last chapter, and then he'll skim read around the middle of the book a bit. A book that he cannot seem to put down, he goes back to repeatedly over and over as a very simple book, but it's called Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry.

 

What a great resource, one, because it gives you that self assessment at the back of it. So you can go online and take a self assessment to kind of determine your emotional intelligence level. But two, because it gives you 66 great suggestions of how you can build your emotional intelligence through new behaviours or changing your behaviour.

 

And he loves that because it's very application oriented. He love books that can get him to move in a direction that allows him to be a better person, better leader. So, he thinks Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry is one of those resources that the listeners could greatly benefit from.

 

Don shared that he really has been inspired by their conversation today about purpose. And he’s trying to put together a masterclass on how to discover your purpose because he finds that many people have not. They haven't had the fortunate experience he and Yanique have had where they actually have been able to define what it is. It seems to him that most people say, “I'm not exactly sure what my purpose is, and I don't know how to find it.”

 

What's the best way to decide that purpose is hard to discover. It is certainly something that is discoverable, but it doesn't just plop into your lap because you say, “I need to know my purpose.” It takes quite a bit of work and effort and reflection and searching and soul searching. And he just would like to help people in the future with a masterclass of some sort, where they could have a methodology to be able to discover what their purpose is.

 

Me: So how far along is that master class? Cause I'm sure I could recommend it to quite a few people.

 

Don shared that he has the outline. He’s just trying to figure out and actually testing some of the things that he has put into the outline with some people that are in that stage of discovery and asking them to give him feedback, like, “Was this helpful? What worked, what didn't work for you?” He finds that the discovery process for purpose seems to be pretty highly customized, so he’s having a tough time finalizing the approach because he thinks it has to have enough options to it, a variability to allow people to kind of modify the process to their personality and their style.

 

Me: Do you have a Facebook group?

 

Don shared that he doesn’t have a Facebook, he almost do everything through LinkedIn. He doesn’t have a particular LinkedIn group that he has sponsored yet. He shared that may that’s what he needs to do with purpose.

 

Me: That would be a great idea because then you would definitely be getting people who are specifically aligned with what you are trying to achieve. And then you'd be talking to the right people.

 

 

  • Don shared listeners can find him at –

Website – www.donfrericks.com

            LinkedIn – @donfrericks

Don: Allow me to offer a gift to your listeners; the first chapter of my new book Best Boss Ever: https://bit.ly/DonFrericks

 

Don shared that it's interesting that he read this right before they went online together today and it's often called the Serenity Prayer. He thinks it's actually a great quote, but it's about helping reframe the things that we cannot change and the things we can change and helping ourselves stay focused on the things that we can change and trying to find the strength to do that.

 

It's easy to get spun up today and the way that the entire world is demanding attention and the unrest and the racism that exists and all the frustration that people are experiencing with the pandemic. And many of those items we cannot directly change, but what we can change is our attitude and our emotional attachment and what we get involved with and what we don't get involved with.

 

And he thinks one way to make the world a better place is to focus on the three things that you stand for is to live, love and laugh. If you bring that out, that's something that we can all control, how we live, how we love, how we laugh. And so he thinks the serenity prayer to him makes all kinds of difference and it's a good reminder to focus on what we can control.

 

Me: It's actually a prayer that I revert to us from time to time as well. It reminds me of the law of attraction. Whatever you think about comes about. So, if you really put these affirmations and record or repeat these different positive things on a daily basis, you're actually intentionally feeding your mind with positivity and not focusing on all the things that as you said, you don't really have any control over. So you really want to focus on the things that you can control and try to be a positive agent of change in those areas.

 

 

 

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Jul 21, 2020

Elise Quevedo is the author of inspirational book “Creating a Kick-Ass Attitude”, keynote speaker, advisor and social/digital media marketing consultant and storyteller. She is ranked among the Top 2% most viewed profiles on LinkedIn.

 

Known as “The Digital Ghost Queen” for her behind the scenes work, Elise has inspired audiences around the globe and spends most of her time advising and helping businesses and individuals from C-Level executives to Hollywood stars thrive in the cyber space.

 

Elise often writes for MilliOnAir digital magazine where she shares inspiring interviews, personal thoughts and tech write ups. As a global thought leader, she has collaborated with Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Huawei Technologies, Ebay, and Paypal.

 

She is always keen to learn about new technologies, brands and getting the extra knowledge that keeps her on top of her game.

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey? Tell us how it is that you managed to get into this sphere of social media and digital marketing as well as customer experience?
  • With the impact by Covid-19, you spoke a lot about digital transformation in that webinar and we would love if you could bring some of that loveliness that you shared with the webinar with our audience.
  • So could you explain to us what this Social Media Emotional Quotient is? Is it connected to emotional intelligence?
  • Could you maybe give us two or three behaviours that should be transferred or it should be very apparent interaction in a digitized space that would just has happen in a face-to-face interaction.
  • Could you share with us how do you stay motivated everyday?
  • Can you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Can you share with us maybe one or two books that either you've read in the past or even recently that have had a really big impact on you?
  • Can 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 that you are working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge will revert to this quote or saying and it kind of helps to keep you refocused or just gets you back on track in terms of what you're working on?

Highlights

Elise shared that a few years ago; she wrote a book on personal development called Creating a Kick-Ass Attitude which is all about being positive in life. And when she wrote it, nobody knew who she was. And she thought, “Now what do you do?” Because she wrote this thing which she thinks is of value. And then she started going to some seminars, getting information on social media, this was back in 2012.

 

And Elise being Elise, she is someone who she doesn't just do a little bit of research, she tend to go 20 hours a day trying to get as much information as possible. So, she came on to the social platform journey when there was a boom, which happened in between 2012 and 2014. So by the time 2013 came, she started travelling the world and talking about social platforms. And from there people started giving her nicknames like, “Oh, Twitter girl and Twitter queen and then the Digital ghost queen.” Because she is not always in front of the camera.

 

Sometimes she does a lot behind the scenes for companies or individuals that people don't know about. So, she started doing that and that is also how she got in to the customer service. Before jumping onto the online world, she was working in marketing, normal 9 to 5 job, which is what most people do that are young people.

 

She worked in an airport, what she got to experience a little of what it was to offer good customer service. So, put that together with the online world, she managed to be able to give value, such as the webinar where we met, which is how she is now able to give new insights. And that's pretty much the short version of her journey.

 

Me: Where is your book available? Is it available on Amazon?

 

Elise shared that her book is actually available on Amazon. But for anyone that listens to this and she is actually quite happy to give a PDF version. So, anyone that asks you for it, please, no need to buy it online unless you want, of course to buy the printed version. But the online one for just as a thank you for having her on the show today, she will give you a copy.

 

Here is the link to be able to get to download the PDF Version:

 

Creating a Kick-Ass Attitude - https://aw174737.aweb.page/p/18062eb8-8b19-4317-8232-fbed99bb2cda

 

Elise shared that digital transformation, especially for customer service, now needs more automated processes to be able to scale the business. And she thinks one of the key points that she wanted people to know was about artificial intelligence.

 

Artificial intelligence now continues to get more and more intuitive and is a critical part in the customer experience journey and it will continue to increase. So, let’s give some examples, because she thinks many of us or the people who will be listening will understand it.

 

Think about any cell phone company, whether it is Vodafone or T-Mobile or even an airline, because now we're going to start travelling again very soon. And we’ve all been there where we needed to complain about something or we've had a problem, and then we jumped on an online chat and as a customer service option, instead of calling, you’re being stuck for like 20 minutes on the phone.

 

In the past, we always had the same two sentences. For example, “You are number X in the queue” or “We apologize for the wait, a customer representative will be with you soon.” Remember when that was the only option. It was always the same. Every minute you will get the same sentence over and over again. And eventually, we would hang up and tried to call again. This was of course was the old school way.

 

But now, that experience has improved thanks to real time engagement provided by artificial intelligence power services. Think about it, whilst we wait, we now get courage to ask more detailed questions about our challenge and then the virtual assistants or the chatbots are searching their gazillion bits of information in their systems and they provide potential links to the solutions that might help us instead of waiting to talk to a customer service representative.

 

And this is now being accelerated in many companies because it saves many of us having to talk to an agent because sometimes a lot of our queries can actually be solved by artificial intelligence. This is where digital transformation comes in because they are now creating predictive personalization, because the more we shop online, the more that artificial intelligence can predict our behaviour of how we shop, how we interact, which means that it can help businesses create experiences that make customers feel like their brand experience was tailored for them.

 

We are talking about a world now where especially what we mentioned during Covid-19, we have become restless, we don't want to wait, people want these fast services like, “Hey, I ask you a question. I expect an answer straight away.” So digital now is playing a huge part. Also, social media.

 

If we think about customer service now versus 10 year ago, for example, many brands are all flying not just automated tools, but customer service through Twitter or Instagram or through LinkedIn. Because now we are so accustomed to jumping on these platforms versus calling a customer service number or e-mailing your customer service. So, digital transformation, it is a huge part of these customer service and customer experience that we're experiencing now and we will in the future.

 

Me: You sent me two copies of your bio, your long bio version and your short bio, but long one, there was a particular sentence that really caught my eye, it said, “That's why she created the (SMEQ) Social Media Emotional Quotient, which is the art and influence of creating, attracting and building better business relationships through digital media.” So could you explain to us what this Social Media Emotional Quotient is? Is it connected to like emotional intelligence?

 

Elise agreed and stated that Yanique is absolutely spot on. She believes that when people go on social media, they seem to forget that there is a human being behind every user, every person. Well, except, of course, all the bots. But most people that are using social media, such as you and me, we are human beings and we want to be treated as such. We don't want to be treated as just another number or just another person online, because the one thing that she has noticed is that when people are face to face, they behave one way and the minute they jump online, they seem to forget about that.

 

And she always says, “You should treat people online the same way as if you did it face to face." So when she interacts through social channels, she imagine that she’s talking to that person face to face, as if she had just met them at an event, as if she was having a coffee. So creating, attracting and building better relationships means treat people as human beings and interact and treat them as such an individual, because not every person that you talk to is going to be the same.

 

So although we make generic messaging on our channels, although we may put different things, when we interact, we must treat each person as if we were treating them face to face. And maybe then our customer service changes. But she thinks people we seem to have a different kind of mindset when we are online and we don't give it the same importance when we can actually reach anywhere in the world because of social now a days. And that is what the SMEQ is all about. It's about interacting more as a human and not just another social and robot kind of person.

 

Me: So if we're interacting like a human being, as you said, treating people as if they were physically in front of us, the same behaviours, attitudes, whatever it is that would have followed through in that face-to-face interaction, should transcend into a digital experience.

 

Elise shared that one of the most important would be personalization. She'll give you the perfect example. On Twitter, if we are active on Twitter, for example. We are all followed by people and she sees many people who copy a strategy from others, or she is someone that takes the time to check every person that follows her. Of course, sometimes it is people who have nothing to do with her field, “Okay, thank you for following, it’s great.”

 

But when it's someone that has a full profile, they have a photo and they have a bio, they're acting on social, you can see that they are making an effort themselves to be online. She always say thank you but with a personal message, meaning. Number one, she checks the name of that person, which means she has to click on their profile and see what their name is and based on their location, no matter where she is, then she wishes them either good day, good morning or good evening depending on where they are based on, again, what they say on their bio, if it says America. And she’s, for example, in Europe, that is specific time is morning for them. She will say good morning.

 

So, that means that she’s actually taking time out of her personal time to check who you are. And it shows that this is not just an automated tool that is saying thank you for following. Like she sees many people, she will say, “Thank you for following me, X name. Have a great morning, have a great evening.” Or sometimes she checks their links, she checks their latest posts. She will have a quick look.

 

So she makes it personalized and that automatically is what you would do face to face. Oh, hey, you've met someone and somebody introduces you. You call them by their name. And if it is morning, you wish them good morning, if it’s evening; you wish them a good evening. So you can transcend that from face to face to online and interact in the same way. If you were talking to someone over the phone or you were at an event face to face, how do you normally interact with people?

 

What questions do you ask them when you are meeting somebody new? You can easily do that through your social channels. It is always about putting ourselves in the customer's shoes as well. How do you want to be treated? It’s another thing that she feels we forget, we are all customers first and we're all human beings first. So, how do you talk to people? Don't change just because it's online. Those are two of the most important ones for her.

 

Me: And it's so important that we bring across the human aspect of our interaction when we're talking to people. Because as you said, yes, we're communicating digitally but there is a human being behind that with feelings and emotions, fears, anxiety, all the things that a human being experiences, worse in this time when things are not so stable, people don't know what to expect, tomorrow's never guaranteed. So, that's why you really need to live in the moment but even so with all of the things that are happening.

 

Elise agreed and stated that there are everyday solutions, for example, that we can do to improve customer experiences or service, because she thinks, like she mentioned earlier, above all, we are all customers first. So ask yourself, would I be happy with a customer service that I am providing to others? And if the answer is no, then rethink. What are you doing? We could probably talk hours on this so she’ll give you a couple of pointers.

 

To provide a good customer experience, you must know who your customers are because we mentioned it’s different of course, dealing face to face than online. On face to face we can understand if this person is young, is this person old, we can understand who someone is. So, if you have a team of people, this is something that is done a lot when you train or create a strategist which is, create different personas or create a different type of customers and then train people on how you would deal if you were dealing with someone like that.

 

For examples, in one hand, you can have Lola, who is like 30 years old and she’s young, she’s savvy, she knows how to click on every link you send her, she knows how to follow a video, a tutorial. But on the other hand, you have Jonas, who is 50 or 60 years old and needs a little bit more clear instructions on what to do on each step of your customer journey.

 

So, don't assume that every customer has the same knowledge you do and that other customers do. This is where personalization comes in, care about who each of your customers is. Don't give the wrong information to someone that already knows everybody. This is why creating that emotional connection with customers is so important. That's why she created the Social Media Emotional Quotient and she always talks about, remember behind every platform, behind everything we do digitally, there is a human being. Customers become loyal because they're emotionally attached and they remember how they felt or how they feel when they use a product or a service.

 

So, a business that optimizes for an emotional connection, they can actually outperform competition by 85% in sales growth. If she remembers correctly, there was a Harvard Business Review study called The New Science of Customer Emotions, you can go and Google that and it talks about these things as to how they are at least three times more likely to recommend your product or service. They are three times more likely to repurchase, all because they feel emotionally connected to your product.


So, there are multiple things that we can do to keep our customers engaged. And of course, if you are brand new, please research your competitors and then create goals and objectives for you. Competition is a good thing no matter what product or service we have, we're not unique.

 

There are many people doing podcasts, there are many people doing social and digital like her. There are many people who have restaurants; there are many people who have every service and that is right, competition is good because it helps us do our best.

 

So, get inspired by those that are in the same industry as you and then look up back at what you're doing, improving the areas you feel you're lacking. She always think when she was very young somebody told her one thing, on the left, we have people that always look up to us and they go, “Oh, wow, I wish I was like Elise or like Yanique.” And then us too, we're always looking to someone on our right that we go, “Oh, wow. I wish I was like X and Y.” Because no matter where we are in life, she remembers one of her former mentors, Jim Rohn always taught her, “You will never stop learning until the day you die.” If you say you know everything, then that's just too egotistical. Nobody knows everything in life. One of the keys to stay humble, have integrity and keep on learning, because no matter what we do, there was always someone on our left and there's always someone on our right.


Me: Agreed. Since this lock down, I've learned so much Elise and I'm so excited. I've been doing more videos and I've been watching YouTube videos of other people who do videos, what they're doing, how they've done jump cuts to kind of make the videos a little bit more engaging and adding captions and subtitles.

 

And I mean, I feel like a video star just watching what they do on and actually going into the application I'm using and applying the same methodology and seeing that come to life in my videos. It's just been amazing to me and I feel like I'm learning more now than I learned in my traditional learning platform of going to school like getting my degree or going to high school, because these are actual things, practical activities that you can do and you see the engagement and the impact that it’s having in the lives of other people.


Elise agreed completely because back in the day, nobody taught us any of these. Plus, back in the day, the jobs that we're doing now didn’t even exist and that’s another part of it. And now, there are going to be jobs in 20 years that we don't even know they exist just yet. So, with the power of social and YouTube and Vimeo and all these platforms, you can learn anything, you don't even have to have a mentor if you can’t afford one. Just go on social media, go on YouTube, go on Google and click what you want to learn.

 

And then you will get excited and the key role is to always keep on doing this stuff for yourself. Back in the day, we used to have this little joke of all these people that will keep on buying personal development books and instead of self development, they were called shelf development because they could buy lots and lots, but they never actioned anything.

 

And she thinks that’s the difference, it’s okay to watch videos and to get inspired by others as long as you take action on your own goals and dreams, because if you don’t that, you're helping somebody else getting more popular and part of the key either talk, talk, talk or talk, talk and walk the walk, there's a big difference.

 

When asked how she stays motivated, Elise shared that for her, it's all about having the right attitude. Like she mentioned nearly a decade ago, she wrote that book Creating a Kick-Ass Attitude, and there are still many tips from there that she uses on a daily basis, and it's all around being positive and never letting anything bring you down as an individual.

 

For example, before she gets out of bed every day, she looks up to the ceiling and she reminds herself of three things that she is thankful for and these three things are not material. So, for example, it could be her health being alive, having a roof over her head, having had a great meal with a friend that week or a great call. Anything that has meaning and reminds her of what life is all about.

 

And before she goes to bed, no matter how good or a bad day she may have had. She also does a grateful moment for something that has happened to her on that day. She is a very big believer about everything in life is either a blessing or a life lesson. And she now gets to do what she loves. So, for her is staying motivated is easy but it took a while to get there. So she thinks the key is that we should all aim to do something that we're good at and that we're passionate about.

 

Because when you do that, then you don't really consider it work. If you find it hard to be motivated, for example, she used to do this in the past. You could write your thoughts on a personal journal or just like a big piece of paper, like an A4, and then read it back to yourself the next day and find out what it is that is making you frustrated. Taking a time-out out of the day is so very important for her.

 

She spends a lot of time on her laptop, on her cell phones, for example, since she’s digital nomad. So she has reminders throughout the day to stop, to close down her technology and to look up to the sky, to go for a little walk or to simply listen to maybe one song that she really likes.

 

And she also has mantras and some of her favourite quotes lying around so that she always has something positive to look at. And one of the things that many people find silly but is actually to keep hydrated, you'll be surprised that the effect of what not drinking enough water in the day can do to your body and your mind. So, she’s share some of the things that she personally do.

 

And sleep is very important. She will contradict you there because anyone that knows her, she doesn't know why for the last few years. She is a little bit like Thomas Edison, she sleeps between 3 and 5 hours a night and then she will have a little catnap during the day sometimes. It’s not as the normal person but normally the sleep is good.

 

Me: Most of the research that I have done says you should be getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep but if you're getting your 5 at an average per night but then you’re capturing the difference in a day catnap then maybe you should be good.

 

She (Elise) did research on that because she thought it was weird that she was okay after 3 or 4 hours sometimes. So there are times she will sleep for 8 or 9 and then she came across this little research on how there were people such as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and some of the great minds who didn’t sleep in the average pattern. So, she thinks a lot of people will say, you can't say that Elise because you are meant to sleep 7 to 10 hours. But that is her personal story and she’s not telling anyone to do the same, she’s just sharing.

 

Me: At the end of the day, you have to know your body. Just like with exercise, sometimes you you’ll exercise when you feel you're doing some form of a workout that is too intense for you. You almost feel like your body's giving out. So, you know when it's your limit and you have to stop. I think with sleep it's the same thing. If you rest and the next morning you wake up, you don't feel like you are fully rested or you have the energy, then you probably need to look into your sleep pattern.

 

Or maybe it could be dietary requirements, maybe you need to change up what to eat or as you said, maybe we need to be drinking more water because I think all of these things work together to ensure that you feel energetic and you don't feel lethargic and tired. And it's almost like you have to be pulling yourself through the day to get activities done. So, you have to know your body, everybody's different.

 

Elise agreed and shared that she had stopped asking herself many questions and it comes from the same mentor she had back in the late 90s, which was Jim Rohn and there were many questions that he would say, “Some things are a mystery.” He goes, stop asking and same with the sleep, he goes like, “Your body knows when enough is enough, don’t question it. One day you will need 4 hours, another 7, another 6. If you feel okay and your body and mind feel okay, who is anybody else to tell you to go back to sleep.” And that's what she did for herself and she continues to do that to this day.

 

She gets fuelled by energy, good conversations fuels her. She has had conversations with friends where they're up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and then she goes, “Oh, no, but I'm supposed to be asleep.” And then an hour later she’s like, “Oh, well, it's already 4:00; you’re not going to sleep tonight.”

 

And then her body just completely goes on to the next day and people go, “Elise, are you not tired?” And she’s thinking that yesterday sleeps already but she’ll sleep later because that is something that she has trained her body to do because she gets fuelled by energy a lot. And unless you understand how that works, many people think, “Elise, you're just crazy. That’s just not normal.” Who are we to say what's normal and what's not? So again, if it feels right for you, please don't listen to anybody else. We are the best listeners to who we are, and that's all we can do.

 

When asked about an online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Elise shared that for her, she cannot name one but she has to say social media platforms, all of them. She would be lost without them because for her, they are the tools that help her express who she is and they allow her to share my thoughts and insights freely and at any time without any constrictions. She gets to be her no matter what anyone else says. And so, if all platforms went down, “Oh, please.”

 

For her, she would say in the order of preference because she started with Twitter. Twitter will always be very close to her heart. But she is actively on Twitter, on LinkedIn as her main two business platforms. Instagram is more for social, so she will share when she’s travelling and motivational quotes.

 

And she also uses WeChat and Facebook. Snapchat and TikTok not so much. She didn’t get on to them for business and when it comes to social, she doesn't focus so much on personal sharing because for her, they're both together. Then she focuses on the platforms where she can do both business and personal. So she would say Twitter, LinkedIn equally followed by Instagram, Facebook, WeChat.

 

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Elise shared that she loves this question because she thinks there are so many books out there that people get inspired by.

 

But she would say Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was one of the first ever books that she read in the late 90s. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, that's an incredible book. The Art of War, for anyone who dares reads the book by Sun Tzu, it's a book that she would recommend to everybody. It has so many teachings from the military, but in an inspirational way.

 

And one more which is How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. These are books that she doesn't read just once; she will probably read them once a year because they're great and she uses them as references all the time.

 

Anything that makes you learn. One of her dreams was to have a big library like you see in the movies with a mixture of old books of history. But then all the modern books of inspiration and real business and life stories.

 

Me: So we will have all of those books that Elise just shared with us in the show notes of this episode and links to them. If it is that you have not had the opportunity to engage in any of these books and as Elise said, now is a time to be filling your mind, your body and your soul with all of the positive, enlightening information that can help you to be more productive, that can help you to be more innovative, and that can definitely help you to grow on a personal and professional level.

 

Elise shared that she gets excited about pretty much everything that she does, but especially now during this time the world has gone through and we are still going through, she’s excited to be alive. So, she’s very excited to continue sharing her knowledge with new clients and some podcasts like yours.

 

Because if one person gets a little bit motivated based on something that she has shared, then her job is done. So, she is eager to continue doing this and getting back on a stage face to face, although she has loved doing Zoom videos and Zoom has become her best friend over the last few months.

 

She is excited to get back on the real face to face kind of events where you can also interact and see people's expressions, which of course is very different. She grew up without technology until she was 19 years old. So, she’s one of those people that can appreciate both the new reality, our new world of digital. But no matter what, there is nothing like a face to face meeting and being able to see someone's excitement or when somebody says thank you, it is not the same face to face as when it is online.

 

So, that is what she’s really excited about. She has been invited to a few events already in Turkey and in Spain. So those are the first two that she’s looking forward to the most. As long as, of course, COVID-19 allows us to have these events over the next few months. And she is releasing a new edition of Creating a Kick-Ass Attitude this summer, so she is very excited to be doing that.

 

 

  • Elise shared listeners can find her at –

LinkedIn – @elisequevedo

Twitter – @EliseQuevedo

Facebook – Elise C Quevedo

Instagram - @elisequevedo

 

                                               

When asked about a quote or saying that she reverts to, Elise shared that the most relevant right now is, “Remember that the journey of a 1,000 miles, it starts with a single step.” She believes that we're in a time of uncertainty; people don't know how to continue or how to restart. So remember, everything begins with that one single step, one step at a time. That's all we have to do.


Me: So, we just need to start, just take that one step. And I think sometimes people get crippled by fear, they think about all of the things that they don't have and how are you're going get it done. But as you said, you take one step and it may not be perfect, but then you go again and you take another step.

 

It's funny. I interviewed a young lady, she's on LinkedIn as well, and her name is Cher Jones. She's a Social Corporate Media Trainer and she was the first Facebook live that I was ever doing in my life. So I've been podcasting for 4 years now, so I think I'm pretty much really good at podcasting.

 

But video is a little bit different because with the podcast, I can drop it into an editing software and I can add some music and of course, jazz it up, I can cut out stuff like errors that I would have made but with live, that's it. There's no editing, there's no cutting out, it's just live and direct at that moment in time.

 

And I was very fearful to take that first step and she said something to me that was so powerful. She said, “Yanique, the first thing you need to do is start because you'll realize that by your tenth episode in, you are so much better at episode 10 than you were at episode 1 and all it took was just for you to start.”

 

And when I think about my first podcast episode, May 24, 2016, how I was then to how I am now. I really feel like I've come a very far way, I'm so much more comfortable doing it. And you're right; you just need to take that first steps. I recommend anybody listening to this podcast. If there's anything out there that you are fearful of doing, as Elise said, just take that first step.

 

Elise shared a simply start. Remember when we were kids, just because we fell the first time we wanted to walk or tried to ride a bike, we didn't stop, we kept on going. But the older we get, the harder it is to start and the more fear we get. There is a very thin line; she was talking about this with someone the other day.

 

The same thing that makes us have fear is a similar feeling to the adrenaline of adventure and wanting to do things. So, sometimes the same adrenaline that makes us go, “Yes, let's do this.” is the same that then deviates to us fear that goes, “No, no, no. Let me go back.”

 

So, all you need to do is just have faith. And remember, it's not about how many times you fail; it's about how many times you get up. So, keep on going, take one step at a time and remember many of the great people out there, any one that passed on something great, everybody started at zero. Nobody ever woke up and became Yanique and had a podcast that was amazing.

 

Nobody got up and was Tony Robbins from day one or Richard Branson or Warren Buffett, it was a journey. If you believe in your product, if you believe in who you are, then you will always keep going.

 

There is one more thing that she’s going to share is that she like to talk to people about the magic that we all have. She always says that on one side you have the magic of your product or the idea that you have. And on the other side, you have the magic of you, the magic of what you have inside of your mind. The knowledge that you have, the passion for your product, your idea, the story, how you start it, you know yourself and your idea or product inside and out.

 

There is no one better to explain it than you. Hence the importance of sharing what you're passionate about. We are all unique human beings and we should focus on what we can do best, not our flaws or our fear, because nobody's perfect. It is always about how we react.

 

So, if you believe in yourself, then the right people will too. There are about 7.7 billion people on this planet; it is not about being liked by everybody or everybody buying our product, it’s just that the right ones who get who we are, then they will be around us. So that's the magic inside of you. What's your mantra? What is your personal gift? Figure that out and that will always drive you forwards no matter how many times you fall.

 

 

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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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!

Jul 14, 2020

Amy Austin, a marketing and branding strategies guide, allows her clients to embrace the power of purpose in all aspects of their business and transform it into the central storyline of their branding and marketing strategies.

Her focus on empathy and building authentic relationships comes from nearly 20 years building successful marketing campaigns and brands in the health care sector.

 

Questions

 

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey? It says here that you have nearly 20 years experience building marketing campaigns and brands in the health care sector. How did you get into that? And tell us a little bit about your journey in the health care sector, working with different brands and building in different campaigns.
  • Can you share with us how it is that a company can make branding look like a real business instead of something that they're doing themselves? But more importantly, how can we make sure our values and our brand is reflected in our customer experiences?
  • What are three core values that you think across the board that should be translated into the actual experience that the customer or the patient is having?
  • Can you share with us what's one online tool, website or app that you absolutely can't live without in your business?
  • Maybe give us one or two books that you've read either recently or maybe a book that you read a long time ago that has had a really good impact on 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 our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, if you need to remind yourself of this quote to kind of help you to refocus or just to get back on that path to achieve what you're trying to achieve?

Highlights

Amy shared that she started right out of college, she got a job at a radio station and it was at a time when that particular station was going through a lot of leadership changes. And so within six months of being there, she was feeling very insecure as a first time professional job. And she was seeing all these people get fired or leave. She was like, “I need to find an exit strategy.” Her exit strategy happened to be a job opening at a large tertiary healthcare system in her home state of South Dakota.

 

And she started working in their communications department. And it's funny because when she started working there, she had a number of people ask her, “Marketing in a hospital, what are you doing? Promoting people getting sick?” She was like, no, that would not be what we're doing.

 

What we're doing is trying to make sure that when you do need the service, you're fully aware of where it is you might want to go. So that you don't have that stress in the moment of when you really need it, that you're not having to try and figure out where is the best place for you to go. She always laugh about that because it's like, “No, no, no, no, we don't want people to be sick. We really don't want them to use our services but when they do, we want them to know we're here.”

 

So, she stayed at that particular hospital for about 5 years and really enjoyed what she was doing. She got to learn a lot about paediatric healthcare, women's healthcare, and helped lead some brand development in both of those areas, as well as the affiliated Wellness Athletic Center that was owned by the health system that she worked for. And then not long after that, she started working at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. And she’s not sure if they've ever been able to prove this point, but they always like to say that they were the largest academic medical center by square footage.

 

And like she said, she’s not sure that they were ever able to validate that point, but they like to say it on occasion. And she worked there for 12 ½ years. And during that time, she served as the primary liaison with their advertising agency to develop out all of their image campaigns. So, their television, radio, print, sometimes billboard, sometimes the online component fell into that. But that usually was more specific to the actual services as opposed to that bigger umbrella image message that they wanted to get out there.

 

So, during that time, she worked on 8 or 9 different large campaigns to help build awareness. She also led the effort to change the name of their children's hospital to be more closely aligned with the university name as opposed to what it had been. And really just really got to know a lot about the different aspects of healthcare, how we recruit staff into the facility, because nursing is a high demand job and there's not as many people going into nursing.

 

And so, it's typically an area that there are a lot of job openings and not enough people applying for them, and so she worked with their nursing leadership to develop a recruitment campaign at one point that helped their facility go from a 18% vacancy rate in terms of positions that needed to be filled down to a 3% vacancy rate. Prior to that, how they were filling those positions was with travelling nurses and so they would come in and work for 6 months and then they'd move on to somewhere else.

 

And so, what they wanted as an organization at that time was really to get nurses who were fully employed and fully vested with their organization, as opposed to somebody who was just going be there for a period of time and move on.

 

And so, they were able to do that. And it was an exciting campaign to be on because we really were able to see the benefits quickly of how appreciative the nursing staff was to have somebody next to them that they knew was going to be here for the long term. And there was just a difference in morale across the nursing staff as they started to fill those open positions with employed staff as opposed to travelling staff.

 

And so that was exciting. Obviously, the roll out of the name change of the children's hospital was also a really exciting project to be part of. Part of that, too, as if you ever need to know where to find a mascot costume, she has those resources as well because they ended up developing a mascot for the children's hospital and she had to find a place to make the costume, which was not anything she ever thought she would do in her career.

 

But she did found a company in Canada, not sure if they still exist or not, but did find them and rolled out a new mascot for their children's hospital, which was a lot of fun.

 

Amy shared that she has worked on her own now for 8 years and through the course of that time, what she has realized in working with a variety different clients in different aspects of different stages of their business and in different industries, not just healthcare anymore, is that a lot of times they rush to just get marketing strategies out the door.

 

They want to see something happening and coming back into their business, and they believe the best way to do that is to get an ad out the door or get something on Facebook or whatever that might be. And oftentimes what ends up happening is that they end up frustrated and feeling like it didn't produce the results that they wanted.

 

Well, when you peel back that and really look at why, it's usually because they haven't done the work to truly know what their brand stands for. Why did they start their business? What do they stand for? Where's their mission and vision? Where are they hoping to go in the next 5 years? And really understood and developed out a strategy for what their brand and their marketing needs to look like.

 

So they've gone and thrown out a message that maybe doesn't align with what they're doing or it doesn't attract the right audience. And so then it fails and so when you do that foundational work first. And really get that clarity around who you are, what you're doing, why you do it, how you do it and who you're doing it for. Then you can understand what issues are they facing at the time that they need my service? What problems are they trying to solve that is causing them to get really frustrated and seek out someone or something to be able to help solve that problem? And that's where you come in as that brand to be able to help them.

 

And they see themselves in that message and they're willing then to take a chance on you or they start building some trust and relationship and work with you. Then you're going to start seeing better success in those marketing strategies that you're putting out the door. And you're going to feel good about them. And what she likes to tell her clients is that by doing this work, by understanding your brand and what elements of story are going to be really important to that target audience that you're looking for and also what experience pillars you want to put in place when you’ve done those things, the end result that you’re going to have. You’re going to have clarity, consistency and confidence in your marketing.

 

Clarity to understand what it is that you’re talking about and who you’re talking about, what the messages are. Consistency because you’re going to say the same thing over and over, even if it’s not exactly the same thing, your customers are going to know that it came from you because it sounds the same. And confidence in that you're doing the right thing. You're going to feel better about putting those messages out and feel that calming sense of, “Okay, I'm doing the right thing.” instead of that phonetic feeling of “I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do, but I'm going to do it because I feel like I have to.” And when you have that feeling, not only does that make you nervous, it also comes off in what you put out in front of people regardless of what avenue or what tactical measure you're doing.

 

If it's a video, if you are in front of a camera and you're feeling that uncertainty and anxiety, the person watching your video in the end is going to see it and they're going to hear it in your voice. Whereas if, you know, if you go into producing that video with a certainty of what your messages, of what you want to accomplish with it, of who you're speaking to and what it is they need from you at any given moment.

 

You're going to have a confidence and an air of calmness that is going to come off as authority and they're going to see empathy from you as well. And they're going to want to come work with you or buy your service, whatever it might be, whatever transaction that you're making with them. They're going to feel confident in doing it.

 

So, you're not only projecting yourself with confidence, but you're also instilling confidence in your target audience that they are making the right decision.

 

Me: So those are some things that we can do to ensure that our brand and our values transcend into our customer experience. As it relates to customer experience in the healthcare sector, what are three values that you think should definitely be transcended in all healthcare experiences to show that you are really an organization or a healthcare facility or institution that is driven by your customers experiences, whether you are a medical facility, a blood bank or a hospital regardless of the avenue of healthcare that you offer.

 

Amy shared that first and foremost, she thinks that you need to treat your patient as a person. If you are not doing that, if you're not thinking about this person who's sitting across the exam table from you or in this room or any exchange that you're having, “This person could be my mother, my brother, my sister, some family member. How do I want them to be treated?” If you are not treating them in the way that you want to be treated, you need to take a step back and think about why not?

 

“Why am I not doing that?” And what do you need to change in order to be able to get to that position? She can think of times when you go and check in at a clinic appointment and they're rushed because they're also answering phone calls and they're trying to check in the person ahead of you, they've got 7 or 8 different things going on around them that then they get to you and they're frazzled.

 

Well, fine. But take a deep breath. Give this patient that you're now checking in your full attention and just do the job that you need to do. And don't let all of the other things that are going on around you as the person doing the checking in interfere with that interaction that you have with that person because they maybe don't want to be there either.

 

You don't really want to have to go to a physician or to a clinic, chances are you're there because you're sick, you're not feeling well, a loved one is sick, not feeling well, and you need help. And so you're dealing with people at the most vulnerable time of their life. And show them some grace and be patient and be willing to help them understand what's going on. Be clear in what you're asking them to do next, where do they need to go, how long will it take.

 

Just have that transparency, that's another value that she believes you should have in healthcare but in any organization. If you can't be transparent in what's going to happen next in their journey, they've decided to work with you. So what's next? What are we going to do next? How do we get started? Whether it's in healthcare, have a seat here, we'll call you back if you're not called back in the next 10 minutes or whatever your window of time is that is deemed acceptable by your organization. Let them know, “If you're not called back in 10 minutes, please let us know and we'll find out what's going on. And we'll give you an idea of how much longer it's going to be, if it's going to be delayed further.”

 

But the same is true for any other business. What's the next step in the journey of working with you? When I bring in a new client, it's what happens when we sign the dotted line. Now, what's the next step? So, maybe it's a discovery call, maybe it's a in-depth fact finding mission, whatever that is, let them know what it is, set the clear expectation of how long that's going to take, what the process is going to look like and when it's going to be finished.

 

Me: So it's almost like you're trying to get clear on what the customer journey is.

 

Amy shared that she thinks when you are working, it doesn't matter what type of business you have, and it’s all about building a relationship. You can't have a business if you don't have somebody who's willing to use your service. She can say she has a business, but if she has no clients, does she have a business?

 

No, not really. So, it is about building experiences because those experiences are going to help you know what works and what doesn't work. But it's also going to give that person an opportunity to say, “Wow, I had a great experience working with Amy recently.” or “I had a great experience working with X, Y, Z clinic recently. And I would highly recommend you go back to them.” Then you’re going to start getting that word of mouth.

 

Think about that. Who do you tend to believe more? Somebody that you know that has had experience with a service that you're considering? Or an ad on Facebook? You're going to take the word of the person who you know because you can ask them questions, you trust them already, you have a relationship. Marketing and branding is about creating relationships.

 

Me: Good answer, thank you, Amy. So we heard that you need to have empathy, you need to be transparent and you need to work on building relationships that there's a lot of trust equity involved in it so that people can trust you, they know what to expect. They're clear on what is going to happen next in the customer journey and you're not surprised because it's that element of surprise a lot of times that causes customers to really get upset and then you have to run into service recovery.

 

Amy shared that she recently started using Trello and as she’s getting more into using it and figuring out some of the power behind it, of tracking things like with her own podcast. She has started doing a lot more tracking of when she has talked to somebody to be a potential guest and putting notes in there. And then when she has recorded it and just moving them up the chain within that and really tracking what she’s doing with them and that's been very helpful to keep track of that and she has used it with some of her client work as well. So, she really likes Trello, but she fully knows that she doesn’t know the full extent of what it can do for her.

 

When asked about books that have had a really good impact, Amy shared that she can give two. The first one, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. For her, reading that and then really starting to internalize what it all meant has made her see correlations that she didn't see before. Such as, one of the physicians that she used to work with very closely, her very first meeting with him, he said to her, “My ultimate goal is total world domination.” And she looked at him and said, “I don’t have budget for that. I seriously don’t have budget to be able to support you in that but I will do whatever I possibly can to help you do that.”

 

So, fast forward several years, she ended up having her mom see him as a patient. And then she got to see how he worked on the other side. And as she watched him worked and she saw how his clinic operated and she thought back to different experiences that she had had with him and that phrase, “Total world domination.” She started to see that what was happening was exactly what Simon Sinek talked about in that book.

 

When you have clear sense of purpose and you surround yourself with other people who are bought into that purpose, but bring different strengths to the table to be able to lift that purpose up. You're going to achieve a greater sense of success. And she was able to see that in a way that she hadn't been able to see when she worked with him because she was internal only. That and the fact, she hadn't read the book yet at that point. So, she didn't know what she didn't know at that timeframe.

 

But watching how that all came together and knowing some of the things that she knew about the background of how he works and the fact that his staff retention in that particular clinic is very high, that when his physicians that worked in his department would leave our academic medical center and go to another one, they went for positions that were higher up. It was not a lateral move. They went for promotions. His employee retention was high; his patient satisfaction scores were some of the highest in the organization.

 

All of those things factor in to the fact that he was very clear on his purpose, very clear on his why within the department, the people that he hired and brought in were recruited because he had residents and fellows working through there as well. They were all bought in on that same mission. They understood it, and as a result, the patient was very well taken care of, the family was very well taken care of. And it just all merged and melded together really, really well.

 

And it was exciting to see and as a result of that, she built that process into branding work that she does with clients. She makes sure that they understand what their purpose is and really understand how it impacts those around them and who they bring onboard. So that's one book that was very influential for her.

 

The other book is Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days by Joey Coleman. She interviewed him for her show as well. Fabulous book and she has started incorporating his eight pillars of customer experience into the work that she does with clients as well.

 

But she thinks the quote from him in that book that really stands out to her is his definition of that, “Customer service is reactive and customer experience is proactive.” And she had never really thought of that different definition until she read his book. And now she looks at it and she thinks that all the time, like, how can you proactively run something off at the pass so that you don't get into a position of having to serve them, but that you are creating the experience for them that they didn't know they even wanted.

 

She loves his book and she heard an interview with him recently that he is working on a book that is geared towards recruitment of employees so that you bring in employees, that you create that experience around recruitment and hiring in the same way, because those hundred days are so critical as a new hire, just as much as what they are critical with a new relationship with a client or a customer.

 

Me: Very true. And I mean, I think recruitment is very important to business as well. It's just as important as the customers or clients that you're serving, because the people who are serving your customers have to have the right attitude, they have to be aligned with, as you said, a vision and a core values and a cultural beliefs. And it's not just about what you have on paper or what you have on your website in terms of what you believe or what you think you should be doing. But it’s also in the behaviours; the actions that come out, what are they doing? Their response time, how accommodating are they, how solution oriented are they, an issue comes up on and it's a serious problem, do they take it as serious and do they deal with it as critically as how the customer’s perceiving it as critical? All of those I think fall into recruitment, because if you get people who don't really value those things, it's going to be manifested in their behaviour.

 

Amy agreed and shared that you can't see her, but she was sitting there shaking her head through everything that Yanique said. And the way that you get that is by understanding what as a brand do you stand for? What will you accept? What do you want people to think of you? And the only way that you can create that idea in their mind is to live it as your brand, prescribe it.

 

She thinks one of the things that businesses tend to fall down on when they hire people is they don't train for their brand. They hire someone and they maybe don't even give them an on boarding, let alone any kind of training, but if you would take a couple hours and just walk through, “Here's what our brand stands for. Here's what's important to us. Here are our expectations as it relates to experience. I expect you to answer the phone this way, I expect these things.”

 

If you have a brick and mortar store, here's what I want you to do in terms of how you greet somebody, give them the autonomy but in order to give them autonomy, they have to know what the boundaries of that autonomy is.

 

Amy shared that they went out for supper last Saturday night and went to a place that they go to frequently. First time that they'd been at their restaurant since all of the pandemic and the reopening and they sat on their patio. They ordered food, they waited, they waited, they waited, they waited, which was very uncommon for this restaurant for them to ever wait as long as what they did. Well, come to find out they thought they had wanted it to go. So, they packaged it up as a to go order and had it sitting on a counter ready for them to pick up.

 

They were eating on their patio, so when they finally realized this, they got them their food right away. They were very apologetic and the onsite manager that came out and talked to them, he said, “We're really sorry. Can we give you a gift card to make this up to you?” Now, somebody had to train him to know that it was okay for him to offer that. That's part of their brand expectations, it's part of the experience that they want, the ideal experience that they want their customers to have did not go as it was supposed to.

 

So, now how do we go into that service recovery mode? What can we give them? How can we make this right so that they will come back to us? And he did that but you have to train that and you can't just expect somebody to know that on day one, that they have the ability to be able to do that. Or maybe it's certain people have the ability to do that and so they need to escalate it.

 

Maybe the person who took their order didn't have the authority to be able to give them the gift card but the manager who is working that night did. Fine, escalate it up, make sure that it gets to the manager, he comes and talks to them but it brought the whole experience full circle. It did start off as an experience and ended up having to go into that service or recovery mode and they walked out feeling better about what happened. They understood, they're like, “It's okay, the food is still good. We're not going to hold it against you, we'll still be back.”

 

Amy shared that one thing that she is working on that she is getting more excited about, as she’s doing a little bit more, she’s kind of in the mode of doing some customer discovery of creating a marketing mastermind that she will start offering. And so she has been reaching out to different people who she thinks would be kind of within the ideal target audience of what she’s looking for and asking them some questions and seeing, “Is this a service that you need? What would it look like for you? What would need to be part of it in order for it to be valuable?”

 

So she’s doing her own due diligence and doing what she tells her clients to do when they're looking at creating a new service. Talk to the people who you want to offer this to and find out what they really need. Just because you think, you need it. It may not mean that they need it. Their pain point might not be great enough yet for it to be necessary for them. So, that's one thing she’s excited.

 

The other thing is, just this gradual reopening of back into whatever our normal is going to be is exciting. But it's also been really nice because she has been able to spend more time with her daughter. She has a 13 year old. So, they've been able to spend a little bit more quality time together than what they have had. When she's busy with all kinds of activity, school activities and such. So, that's exciting as well.

 

  • Amy shared listeners can find her at –

www.austinmarketingoncall.com

Podcast - The Pursuit of Purpose with Amy Austin

Twitter - @AmyMAustinMktg

LinkedIn – @amymaustin

 

 

When asked about a quote or saying that helps her to refocus, Amy shared that the one that she come back to the most is Simon Sinek, is that, “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

 

Me: So, people don't buy what you do, but they buy why you do it. And it really goes back to what you were stating earlier about understanding your purpose, understanding your why. What problem are you actually solving, if you can get clear on all of that and in training staff on that, and recruit according to that, then you would definitely have a business that's geared towards success.

 

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

 

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!

Jul 7, 2020

Ian Reynolds is a Partner and Chief Solutions Architect at Zibtek, a software development firm focused on helping businesses of all sizes in the United States solve their core problems with software. They empower entrepreneurs, growth companies, enterprises and visionary firms to achieve greater profitability and efficiency, valuation and ultimate success by building the right tools through custom software.

 

Ian has spent the better part of his career in consulting and has served in diverse industries as Finance, Oil and Gas, Retail Power, Field Services, Midstream Energy, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Transactional Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Restructuring, e-commerce, Retail and software development.

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, which, by the looks of your bio, has been quite an extreme journey? You pretty much have dipped into all industries from private to public sector. So share with us a bit about your journey and how it is that you got to where you are today, being the Chief Solutions Architect and Partner at Zibtek.
  • Can you tell us a little bit about what Zibtek offers? What problems is Zibtek solving for their customers?
  • What are some things that we could do to make the channels easier for the customers, less effort for them to exert, less friction?
  • Could you share with us maybe what you think the future of automation looks like for a business?
  • Can you share with us how you think technology has disrupted the business industry and how it will continue to do so?
  • Can you share with us how do you stay motivated everyday?
  • 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 share with us one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, either a book that you've read recently or a book that maybe you read a very long time ago, but it still has had a very big impact on you?
  • Can share with us what is one thing that's going on in your life that you're really excited about, either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can they find you online?
  • Could you share with us a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you tend to revert to this quote or saying, because it helps to refocus you and just help you to be channeled back on what it is that you're working on?

Highlights

Ian shared that he has had the opportunity to see a lot of industries, and he thinks part of that started very early on. He was at a number of startups right out of college; he has launched 8 different products to market, saw the gambit and then did the MBA route, then jumped into consulting. So, right after the MBA, immediately sort of wanted to go into something that would let him see a lot of industries, a lot of verticals.

 

And in consulting, he had the opportunity to do that both on the I.T. side and on the finance side. So, really, just one option, he sort of expand his horizons, these sort of things. Ultimately wanted to get back to doing his own thing and found a business Zibtek and acquired 50% of it and that's 3 years now.

 

Ian shared that they started as a product company 15 years ago and ultimately grew to the point where they wanted to sell the business. And then after 5 years of growing that product, sold it and then for the last 10 years, they have been providing services to the marketplace for folks who maybe don't have an engineering team in-house or don't have the engineering competency in-house, but need expertise to build out software or build out a solution that's either custom fit for their business or adapt the same existing technology for their business. That's primarily what they do.

 

Me: Could you give me an example of something that you've done to solve your customers’ challenges? Software that maybe you've created that’s solving that issue?

 

Ian shared that they have a client that is in the healthcare space and they are running around doing prospective studies for people who have had sort of strong medical procedures and they needed a way to capture data that wasn't menial. So, before they're using clipboards and paper and using telephones and dialing out and doing all that stuff manually with a large team of people to get that perspective data. Zibtek built a solution that automates all of the follow ups, keeps it the data hipper compliant.

 

And then also helps them basically have the patient groups be blocked in effectively, statistically randomized ways. And it did a couple of things. And this is how it ties back to the sort of the customer experience. By automating sort of the manual process and then also removing that human element. It actually made it so that the patients who had just gone through these procedures and had opted into these studies were more likely to respond because it was on a medium, on their phone or computer that was much friendlier to their time. Much more intuitive to interact with and can be done in maybe 5 minutes.

 

Me: So, it's almost like you created like a specialized CRM for them that was really built to fit their business model.

 

Ian stated that in a certain sense, yes, it did all the communication to manage those individuals. It managed the follow ups and responses. But then it had a statistical engine behind it that allowed them to make sure that these patients sort of came through and randomized blocks.

 

Me: So, a big part of software development in a business can definitely impact the quality of the customer experience. We are now in a space globally where because of this pandemic, a lot of us have been forced to shift how it is that we're looking at the different channels by which we serve our customers. And so it's important to recognize that if it is that we are doing these things, what are some things that we could do to make the channels easier for the customers, less effort for them to exert, less friction.

 

What are maybe two to three top things as an engineer yourself, you're a solutions architect. So you are able to look at the big picture and maybe give us some main things that companies need to consider when they're designing this digitized strategy for their business. A lot of them may have been in the digital space, but probably they were not giving it as much priority as they would know because of the fact that their customers have shifted their behaviour and they're interfacing more with those platforms than to face-to-face ones.

 

Ian shared that he thinks the first and most important thing is take the customer's problems to the engineers as opposed to having a frontline person who is maybe just kind of filtering through that customer feedback to then give it to the engineers. Engineers are by nature, people who want to build tools to solve problems and by having a direct pipeline of those, let's say, customer complaints, customer problems, customer issues, going to the engineers as opposed to maybe filtered by a couple layers, you're going to get results much more quickly.

 

You're going to get your results and ultimately going to solve those problems and probably much more intuitive ways. And you can present those which suits the client.

The second thing is figure out where you can as a business; automate routine simple tasks for the user and then figure out how at the same time of automating that task, “I can provide better customer service or better customer experiences in serving that client.” Sometimes that’s just through an interface but other times it is making somebody available to pick up the phone and talk with you, walk you through something. Just be available really quickly or provide a quick response to a customer query. So that's the second piece.

 

The third item that they would recommend is intentionally innovate. They don't think a lot of companies are going to fall behind because they're not spending sort of like the 3M rule of anywhere from 5%-10% of profits intentionally to sort of disrupt their own business and produce a solution that's ultimately better.

 

Technology is moving in a direction where its growth is accelerating, innovation is accelerating, and it's accelerating past any single company's ability to basically keep pace with those changes. So, an engineer that comes into their organization probably about 4 years, they're going to have to retool a little bit because the technology is changing so quickly. 

 

So, the guys that are coming out right out of college, very valuable because they come with sort of these new skills ingrained. Now they are teaching them, they're training and they’re doing about six months of training. But really, if these guys are not retooling it about 6 years, they become kind of deadweight to certain extent.

 

Me: Almost like they're obsolete. They're no longer relevant because the technology has far superseded what existed 4 or 5 years ago.

 

Ian shared that he thinks automation is going to sort of go into that second category of what he described previously, where companies are going to try to as much as possible make it so that you have the equivalent of one click checkout for an experience or for a result.

 

And it's going to not necessarily remove jobs but he thinks it's going to make certain jobs more efficient. So, if you look at the guys at OnCourse Sales Automation on a mission, they have a bunch of tools combined in one that allows sales teams to be extremely efficient with their time. But it's not that it's eliminating sales jobs, it's actually making them more competitive and making it so that the sales personnel are much more oriented towards quality.

 

And he thinks that you’re going to see that be true across pretty much every spectrum. Where you’re going to get automation, first you’re going to have a flight to quality second. So, if he can remove the tedious tasks, then he needs to focus on quality and for the companies that don't focus on quality and don't focus on customer service….customer experience, then they're going to sort of fall behind.

 

Ian shared that we're seeing a trend and still the world is just kind of coming online broadly speaking. You have a trend where folks are moving to these online tools to solve problems. You used to go to the store and buy off-the-shelf software, put it in a CD drive, his computer doesn't have a CD drive anymore and do this that way.

 

And so, there's still a lot of very prominent, very powerful technologies that have not made their way to the cloud. There are companies in Salt Lake that they're talking to that are still on green screens, basically, where a lot of their stuff isn't networked to manage inventory, manage supplies, track quality, track prices, et cetera, or how long things have been in the warehouse. And so there's still and there's going to be for a long time a continued shift towards cloud first, browser based technologies that are going to facilitate really kind of things that we already did. But in a way that gives us much more data, much more accessibility and makes organizations much more efficient.

 

When asked about how he stays motivated, Ian shared that he thinks it's more of a process of sort of building habits. So, his day to day is very, very different, every single day is different as they’re solving different problems for clients. But his mornings are pretty routine, his evenings are pretty routine. At least they try to be. And then that sort of natural motivation is that he has a growing family and he wants to make sure that they're happy and taken care of.

 

And then he’s asking himself regularly, “Am I doing something that I find interesting and fulfilling?” And then he tries to sell himself the first hour of the day to focus on those things or the last hour or the day to focus on those things. And as long as he’s moving towards that direction, he’s very, very satisfied.

 

When asked about on online tool that he cannot live without in his business, Ian shared that www.tryoncourse.com is just one of those sort of sales automation tools he has been talking about. And they started using it and they think it's pretty exceptional. It basically is, in their view, sort of the future of CRM.

 

It's all of these tools, dialler SMS, what have you sort of rolled into one. And it's going to give them and it gives their sales team crazy amount of visibility that they didn't have previously with tools like Salesforce. They were using a phone dialler and they were also using MailChimp for drippy campaigns.

 

It's got all that stuff built in and they're just kind of adding more features to it all the time. And they’ve pretty radically simplified what they're executing in the sales process by moving to one of these sales automation platforms. And basically, they don't really know what they would do without it because everybody's sort of refers to it for the data. Everybody sort of refers to it for activity. So, it's pretty important.

 

Me: That’s your go to. It's funny you mention that because our episode that we released today for the podcast was with their Chief Customer Experience Officer or Chief Sales Officer, Gessie Schechinger from OnCourse sales platform. So, they're really disrupting the whole sales initiatives for businesses in terms of, as you said, putting everything in one place. So, I think it's really awesome that you mentioned that that's your online resource that you definitely can’t live without in your business.

 

Ian shared that the first book that had a big impact on him was Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations from 1776. Just reading that, the man only wrote two books. He wrote that book and then he wrote basically, sort of a moral treatise on The Wealth of Nations was sort of the prelude to The Wealth of Nations. Both of those books are exceptional. But really, Wealth of Nations is absolutely phenomenal and important to understanding really basic economics.

 

The second piece is and he thinks that while the books put out actually not books, but letters put out by Warren Buffett are in many respects. So, he put out a book, one of the meetings that had a collection of all 50 letters. He thinks that those books are under read or that those letters are under read and are really instructive, not only sort of for financial matters, for managing a business, but also in managing. There are great lessons in managing and he has continually gone back to those resources, both of those to reread things, take notes, put that online, share his ideas with other people, get their feedback. And so those have been the two most resources for him.

 

When asked about something that he’s working on to develop himself or his people, Ian shared that he thinks internally they have had a pretty wonderful shift in defining within the organization how they want to continually improve their project management processes.

 

And going back to the very beginning of the conversation, where you sort of taking that customer feedback, they're being very aggressive, even as a service organization, to take customer feedback and then incorporate that into their engineering process.

 

They follow sort of a can ban trunk based development type methodology. And by taking the sort of consumer feedback or customer feedback or client feedback and rolling that into the process, they've really been able to deliver some tremendous results.

 

Now, they're still improving that, they're still making that better. They're still making that well, let's call it user friendly. And there's a lot of runway for them to continue to improve and he thinks that's the most exciting near-term project they're working on.

 

Me: So could you share with us if our listeners listen to this episode or better yet, when they listen to this episode and they say to themselves, I'd like to learn a little bit more about Zibtek. I'd also probably like to connect with Ian because he could probably offer some good insight. I could follow him and be a part of his community and what he's doing so that I can add better value to my organization and what I am doing.

 

  • Ian shared listeners can find him at –

www.zibtek.com

Ian Reynolds – hello@zibtek.com

 

They have a bunch of actually free resources up there. And in their blog, they're constantly sort of posting their findings for things, comparing technologies, et cetera. Where they’re posting their development methodology and their development standards in a few months. So check it out and they also have a bunch of presentations that are super valuable, super high value and worth checking out.

 

When asked about a quote or saying that helps him in times of adversity, Ian shared that it’s maybe not so much a direct quote, but it really is more so that the idea that feeling sorry for yourself or feeling down on yourself isn't helpful.

 

It's not a helpful characteristic. So, recognize that thought and then figure out what you should be doing and then go do that thing. So, it's kind of like grandma’s rule, grandma’s rule is you have to eat your vegetables before you can eat your dessert. And so, “Do the uncomfortable stuff first and then go to the fun stuff.”

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

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