Navigating the Customer Experience

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Robert Nickell is the founder and CEO of Rocket Station, the leading provider of outsourced staffing and process management for the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. Operating in Dallas Fort Worth since 2013. Rocket Station helps small to mid-sized businesses with efficiency and profitability. Simplified staffing allows operators to focus on core competencies and outsource the rest.   Robert started his career as an entrepreneur in the real estate industry which has positioned him to support many real estate entrepreneurs and established firms who are struggling with staffing and human resources.   Robert and his team’s strength in evaluating best practices and efficient ways to staff capacity have continued to propel Rocket Station. When not helping clients build better businesses, you'll find Robert traveling the world or hanging out with his nephews in Dallas.   Questions   Could you just share with us a little bit about your journey? In your own words, how it is that you got to where you are today? So tell us a little bit about if a client was to hire you to, let's say, you got a customer who is exactly where you were many years ago. What are some of the benefits that they would get? What are some of the things that they would need to do like maybe one, two or three things that maybe they're not doing that would help them to be more productive? What would maybe two or three recommendations that you have done in your own business or that you've seen other persons do that have really been able to still sustain a strong customer experience where your customers are advocates of your business? Some people genuinely feel like if they don't want jump in their car, or take public transportation and get physically to a location that the work can’t get done. Is that a recruitment issue or is that a leadership mind-set issue? How do they get over that hump to feel like the person is going to be just as productive if they were working from home? What’s the 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 a very long time ago, or maybe something you read recently, but it still has a great impact on you. Could you share with us what's one thing that's going on in your life right now, it could be something that you're really excited about. But it must be something that you're either working on to develop yourself or your people. Where can listeners find you online? Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote or saying, it kind of helps to get you back on track or get you refocused. Do you have one of those?   Highlights   Robert’s Journey   Robert shared that he quit his first job out of college pretty quick, he thinks he only worked a traditional job for a couple years. And he decided that he wanted to be an entrepreneur, because he really wanted to control his own time, he wanted to be able to do what he wanted to do, with who he wanted to do. And he likes to travel as mentioned, so he wanted to be able to take vacations.   And so, he jumped right into entrepreneurship and as the bio mentioned, he started with real estate. And he thought that real estate was going to be the answer to his solutions and not being able to control his own time. And really what happened was, he just kind of became a slave to his business, he was a one man show, he was working 60, 70 hours a week and the only way he could do more transactions or make more money in real estate was just to work more hours.   And he'd kind of hit a wall, he'd kind of hit a breaking point because it wasn't, instead of his business serving the lifestyle that he was hoping to create, he was totally serving his business every single day. But he was lucky to have some really awesome mentors and some people who had built some amazing businesses and they just kind of showed him that there's opportunities to create a better business and there's a solution, you just can't do it all yourself.   And so he started trying to hire people and train people that were friends and family to work in his real estate business and that just didn't work very well. And he really struggled with that and then he tried to do traditional job postings and use the websites like ladders, and indeed, in all the ways that you can wise hire and all the different options that exists. And again, he failed at that. People came in and he would hire people that he dreaded driving into the office every single day because he felt like he had to tell people what to do all day.   And he mentioned having great mentors, and one of them really showed him that he was doing the process backwards. He was hiring people, throwing them at a problem and then hoping that they were just going to get to solve it. When really I needed to start with the end in mind, have systems, have processes, have structure around all the tasks that are happening every day. And then somebody knows exactly what success looks like and they can come in and really help.   He was just working too many hours, he needed some help, he tried the traditional hiring model, he failed with that over and over again. And so, he kind of started from scratch, started with building systems and processes, which he didn't really have enough of, then hired people and started doing that really well.   And today, they're just kind of taking those all the failings that he had early on and that most businesses struggle with. And they just solve all those problems. They like to think they're the easy button to productivity and efficiency.   Tips on How to Be More Productive   Me: So tell us a little bit about if a client was to hire you to, let's say, you got a customer who is exactly where you were many years ago. What are some of the benefits that they would get? What are some of the things that they would need to do like maybe one, two or three things that maybe they're not doing that would help them to be more productive?   Robert shared that he thinks the first thing is just be aware of where you spend your time all day. He can't tell you how many people they talk to that they don't really understand where they're spending their time. Because we all get busy, we have a lot of things going on. So when the phone rings, you answered, or when emails come through, we respond.   And so, usually entrepreneurs just have so much going on in there, they're putting out fires all day, but they're not super aware of all the things they're actually doing. So what they like to do is have people list out and write down kind of what they're doing all day. And that usually is a little bit hard for people right out the gate because we rarely take the time to slow down and think about what we're really doing.   And from there, now, it's a whole lot easier to identify tasks that really aren't worth your time, or it's not really the highest and best use of your time. And so if you start with awareness, then you can identify some of those tasks that are not great use of your time and effort, researching different opportunities, or finding solutions to those problems becomes a whole lot easier. So he thinks awareness is really the first step for anybody.   Me: And Business Process Outsourcing can be applied to any industry, correct?   Robert stated yes and that's what's really amazing about what's happened the last few years with the development of technology, most everything's done online, we're having this conversation online, there's Voice over IP phone systems, and everything sent through email and Cloud storage. So there's been a massive shift the last several years to outsource a huge percentage of operations just because it's so easy and simple to do that in itself, and it solves many of the problems that entrepreneurs face every day.   So, the pandemic kind of accelerated that process in a lot of ways because people were forced to work from home and think about things a little bit differently. But this has been going on for a while. And part of the reason why he likes Yanique’s show is because Yanique oftentimes really talk about the customer, like what it takes to really build amazing customer experience and the solutions behind that.   And there's just so many amazing tools and resources today that can really drive the customer service experience, which ultimately does nothing but improve the business and the bottom line.   Recommendations for Sustaining a Strong Customer Experience   Me: I'm glad you touch on that, because that was actually my next question. So you outsource to all of these different persons to improve productivity processes to make things smoother for your customer. Typically, in an organization, traditional organization, we're accustomed to having a mission and a vision and a set of core values and cultural beliefs. And people come into our building every day, or they're seeing their manager on a constant basis, they have like pow wows or monthly or weekly meetings, how do you bring all of that together when you are outsourcing with so many different things to take into consideration, culture, mind-set.   What would maybe two or three recommendations that you have done in your own business or that you've seen other persons do that have really been able to still sustain a strong customer experience where your customers are advocates of your business?   Robert stated that it's a great question because most people think about outsourcing as just like a tool that is over there, it's not tangible. And for them that, there's lots of ways you can outsource. But for them, what they believe makes the process successful is they try to replicate all the things that you just mentioned, culture, intimacy meetings, alignment, transparency, communication, all of those things that seem to just happen in an office, you can replicate the exact same things with virtual teams.   So the way they work with dedicated staffing, so it's same people showing up to work, but dedicated to your company, so they're not working on multiple accounts, or multiple companies, they are a dedicated staffing model. So that makes it a little bit easier for them to create and replicate some of the things you're talking about.   So, they help facilitate from their company, the first thing that they do is they document all your systems and processes so you have complete alignment and transparency in what's happening in the organization, but that also creates the task maps and the job descriptions.   So the team members that are placed have very specific roles and swim lanes and if they're doing customer service and customer support, they've got their scripts built, they’re dedicated to your company and it's going to function exactly like a W2 would. And with technology and tools today, it makes it super easy to replicate the rhythm that you get within an office, all of their teams check in the morning as soon as they get there you exchange pleasantries, you have all the same normal conversations, whether that's in Zoom, they use Zoom as a company, a lot of their clients use Slack or Skype or Salesforce or Custom PHP programmes, whatever it is.   They integrate their teams into your organization, and they should be a part of your weekly meetings, they should be a part of your monthly reviews, they should have KPIs the exact same way that all employees should have KPIs. And they believe that you should manage to those outcomes and those numbers and not have to micromanage task. And if you go about that the right way, by building systems and processes, documenting everything that happens on the front end, now you can set expectations for what task management looks like.   And culture for him is just when you've got a team that understands exactly what's expected of them, and everybody's performing to expected outcomes, and you have success. Now, culture is going to be amazing in the organization. So there's lots of ways that you can replicate the office experience in a virtual environment and that's part of what their teams do is help you set up every step of the process, and they never leave you, they stay with you for the life of the account.   And the purpose of that is to do exactly what you're talking about, to replicate amazing culture, you talk about having raving fans and improving net promoter scores, that comes from a very efficient aligned organization.   And today, it's easier than ever to be able to create that process and it's not only doable, but that's what the expectation should be, whether your teams are working in office, or they're working virtually, and you're outsourcing customer service, or any of the other tasks within the business, you can totally recreate and replicate culture the exact same way you can in an office.   Being Productive While Working From Home   Me: Okay, so it's very possible, as you said, to replicate it in a virtual space. Now, let's talk about on a granular level, employees, because this is a question that I get all the time clients, for example, “You want us to go virtual and we're expected to work remotely. Yes, it can improve productivity, and definitely efficiency, maybe even save us some money. But what if the persons that we're sending to work at home are not disciplined enough, they need a structure, they need to come in to an office space.” I think some people genuinely feel like if they don't want jump in their car, or take public transportation and get physically to a location that the work can’t get done.   Is that a recruitment issue or is that a leadership mind-set issue? How do they get over that hump to feel like the person is going to be just as productive if they were working from home?   Robert asked if he’s hearing correcting, if it’s that's a leadership issue or if that's a recruitment issue, the answer, he thinks is yes. He thinks it's both of those things, if you have the right team members in play, and we all work a little bit differently.   They leverage a tool in their organization called Culture Index and the idea of that tool is a couple things, it's not just to identify 10 trends within personality so that we can really understand each other, but it's also so that we can communicate and coordinate and, and communicate efficiently within the organization. And that's on more the recruiting side having the right people in place but all of us operate a little bit differently and you're talking about people needing structure, if you're going to be forced to work from home, then you need to just try to replicate some structure.   For example, like their team’s the same way, they had to reset expectations, working hours are exactly the same and same with dress code because you've got to get on team meetings and calls periodically throughout the day and week, and interact with customers and clients like dress codes, the same the same expectations about having a dedicated working station where there's no food and drink, and you don't eat at the desk, and during calls and those types of things.   So that’s definitely, both of those things. But he thinks what's really happening is we're going to have this hybrid working model, where he has got an office in Dallas where W2’s come in, and they work out of the office, and they have an option whether or not they can come in.   And then he has a group of people who basically never come in and he has a group that comes in consistently because they need what you're talking about. But with their virtual teams because most of their teams are based in the Philippines, they all have dedicated workstations and it's just part of the process that they create, but for their US based staff, they're really trying to put the right leadership in place with the right team members underneath them, but then give them the option based on what they need to be successful whether they need to come into the office or not.   And he thinks you're going to see both smaller organizations have to make that adjustment the same way Facebook and Chase Bank and all these companies are releasing statements saying that that's exactly what they're going to do, is just adopt a hybrid model for now.   Because some people if you're going to hire somebody and they need the structure that you're talking about, great. Or often times, some of their team members, they have kids and they don't have the ability with kids at home right now to have workstations that aren’t going to be interrupted and background noise and pets and those types of things. So he thinks what's really going to happen is you're going to continue with this hybrid model where you'll have some part of your workforce in an office and a large part of it will you'll never see or never have to come in.   Me: Great, very good answer. I think I totally agree with you; you definitely need a blended approach because we're just not there yet where everybody can just fit into that cycle that we're trying to create. So I totally agree with you.   App, Website or Tool that Robert Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business   When asked about online resources that he can’t live without in his business, Robert shared that for them, they're totally dependent upon Zoom right now. So, they use Zoom as their voice over IP phone system so all of their team members, they have a phone system that functions just like landline phones, but it's done over Zoom that also has their chat feature where all of their teams and groups are in Zoom chatting all day.   And that's one of the reasons why they have such great communication is they really put a lot of structure and expectations on their team about the way they communicate and how often they do, they over communicate as an organization so that's mostly done in Zoom. And then it's also their video conferencing tool, so they do their weekly team meetings that are happening right now in the conference room next to each department on Mondays goes through all of the weekly updates. And the same thing on monthly calls that's done on the video calls with Zoom as well.   So they used to use three different tools, they had Ringcentral as a phone system, they had Slack as their chat tool, and then they had Skype as their video tool. And Zoom has replaced all three of those tools and gone into one box, and they would be pretty lost without it right now.   Me: Wow, that's brilliant. And they clearly saw the need in the market. They really evolved, I must say, because I used to use them before the pandemic and I have a few clients here in Jamaica that use them for online training. And when I look at the interface to what it was, let's say two, three years ago, it's like day and night, they really have put a lot of energy and as you said, the pandemic force a lot of persons to accelerate. I was reading an article yesterday that said; Target’s 2030 goals became their 2020 goals just because of what was happening globally. So, a lot of organizations definitely had to just make that shift very quickly.   Robert shared that that's also why competition is good, because it forces people into growth and Zoom hadn't had much competition or much requirement for a last long time. And so, it’s a stagnant programme, he totally agree, it wasn't very good. But now Microsoft Teams is creating a tool that's very similar, Salesforce is trying to compete because they're blending all tools together and so as a result, Zoom had to really step up their game based on the demand and the needs of all of us as their clients. And so, they really have progressed a ton.   And to Yanique’s point, he doesn't think the pandemic really changed anything that was going to happen; he thinks it just accelerated what was inevitable really quickly. Their goals changed as well, because this concept of work from home and outsourcing now makes a lot more sense to people just because they had to live it and experience it the last year. And so, he’s so ready for the pandemic to end but it's been fun to see how fast people have been able to change and adapt.   Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Robert    When asked about books that have the biggest impact, Robert shared that what really set him up for success was a book called The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber. And he talks about the ability to work on your business instead of in your business every day and he describes that as a technician, the person who is actually responsible for all the day to day tasks and all the things that have to be done. And if you're always a technician, then you can never actually have the business that you really want. So that was super powerful for him was to understand the impact that systems and processes and really clear structure could have on the business. And so, E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber was huge as one of the first books he read, business books that had just the massive impact.   And most recently and it's been on his shelf for a while, and I read it every single year, it's Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. Ray's skill sets are kind of the opposite of what his are. He’s great at sales and client facing or customer engaging activities, he likes to be travelling and on the road and engaging with people. And so, his natural skill sets have never been around the structure and the clarity of operations and how to build a really successful business that's sustainable, and Principles by Ray Dalio just has so many amazing different topics in there that for him, it's an annual read for him at the beginning of the year, every single year, and he learns something new every single time.   What Robert is Really Excited About Now!   Robert shared that leadership and inner personal development is a huge thing, not just for his life, but for their teams as well. And so, what he’s most excited about is for what they're working on, it's both personal and their team members, it's their community projects and it's mostly what they have going on the in the Philippines, they call it Rocket Station Cares. And there's just so many different ways that they're supporting and developing communities, both from school service and donation and activities that they're doing to provide for school children all across the Philippines to medical service that their teams are providing and just resources that they're continually providing to the communities to do community engagements totally outside the company.   It's just service, selfless acts of service that they're setting up for their teams to be able to volunteer and participate in and it's just been such an amazing thing. And the better their company does, the bigger that platform of Rocket Station Cares becomes.   And so for him, that's what he’s most excited about what they're working on, because that's what it's really all about to him is their ability to give back to the community and do some amazing things for people that is totally outside of themselves and their personal goals. And so, Rocket Station Cares is what he’s most excited about right now.   Me: Very nice, Rocket Station Cares. It kind of reminds me of my vision for my business, which is, “To create a more caring world,” which came from the cartoon the Care Bears, I don't know if you remember that cartoon when you're little if you used to watch it.   Robert shared that their mission statement as a company is, “Enhanced lives through better business,” because that's kind of similar to what you're talking about, it's kind of what it's all about.   Where Can We Find Robert Online   Website – www.rocketstation.com   Robert shared that there's lots of great information on their website, they've been fortunate to be able to get some endorsements and work with some of the shark tanks and some other great companies. So there's lots of great information on the website, it's just www.rocketstation.com.   But what most people, when you hear about outsourcing or you're thinking about your business, it's something that you get and you understand, you just don't know exactly how that applies to you and your business and what steps you should be taking and how that works.   And so, he'd be happy for their development team to spend some time with anybody that's interested in just having the conversation, it doesn't matter if you hire their teams or not, there's no obligation. But on the website, there's a scheduled time now button and if anybody who's interested at all, just schedule some time with their team.   Again, there's no obligation to sign up for their services or anything like that but just to build a roadmap and kind of understand how this could affect you and apply to your business, just hit that scheduled time now button and their development team will spend 30, 45 minutes and answer any and all questions anybody could come up with and if that was a great solution for your business, they would love to work for you. But if it's not a good solution, it's no big deal at all, happy to answer questions.   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Robert Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Robert stated that he doesn't know if it's really be coming off the top of his head. But he has learned in so many different ways from the Tony Robbins stuff and the Darren Hardy, he spent a lot of time with both. But the real message that he tells himself consistently is, “I'm responsible for everything.”   So whatever he believes to be true, comes. So whenever he’s happy, it's a choice. Whenever he’s sad, it's a choice. Whenever they're having success, it's because the choices he has made. Whenever he has had failures, it's because the choices he has made. So, whether things are good or bad, he just tries to look in the mirror and say, “It's your choices and your actions, you're responsible for everything.” So, just kind of a personal mantra that he has that it's to be responsible and take ownership of all things that are in his 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 E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio   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!
Antonio Buchanan is the Co-CEO and Chief Strategy Officer. He spent his career influencing some of the world's top brands. His career took off at Y&R Worldwide, where he quickly became a vice president of Strategic Planning working on American Express, Citigroup, Verizon, Evian, Disney and Club Med. He then served as a senior partner and head of Strategy and Planning at Ogilvy Worldwide, American Express and IBM Global Business with assignments in Mexico City, London, Singapore, Brazil and Sao Paolo.   In 1998, Antonio and his partner, Paris formed bang! Zoom, a global research and strategy consultancy with offices in San Francisco, Chicago and London. Their form oversaw research initiatives for 3Com, Lucent, BBC, Avaya, American Express and others before selling the company to MDC partners, (a Toronto-based communications holding company). Antonio has been named one of the top creative thinkers by AdAge, named on the top innovative thinkers list for Wall People Magazine and one of the top 100 executives on Black Enterprise’s BE 100 list.   Questions   Could you share a little bit about your journey, how it is you got to where you are today so we can get a better understanding of who Antonio is. So I can imagine strategy has been a bit challenging, maybe for you and your company during this pandemic period that the world is going through, can you share with us how that has been and how you guys have been able to navigate through this time? Do you find that it's been difficult just getting people motivated and inspired during this time, especially across cultures? Because Mexico City, would you say is a different kind of culture, a different set of mind-set people versus those in San Diego? Has it been different across the globe, in a different continent for example? Could you share with us if there is one 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 a very long time ago, or it could be a book that you read recently, but it has had a great impact on you. So if you were in a room with one of these managers, or business owners, and you're sitting across the table from that person, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to improve on the consistency of having motivated human capital? Could you share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about, it could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people. Where can listeners find you online? Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you will tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to maybe get you refocused and just get you back on track.   Highlights   Antonio’s Journey   Antonio shared that he started in the financial services industry, he was working as a trader at Merrill Lynch, the ad agency for Merrill Lynch was coming in to do a campaign on the company. And he was one of the people that was designated to be interviewed by the ad agency. And after that experience, he kind of looked at and went, “They seem to be having more fun that I am.” And so he literally switched careers and started from the bottom again. And, mentioned in the bio, started at Y&R and moved on to Ogilvy. He spent a significant amount of his career at Ogilvy with a lot of the international assignments, and then decided to start his own. And so, they've done it, this is the second time around. The first time as mentioned, they started an agency in about three years in, they were approached to sell it. And when their non-compete was over, on the day the non-compete was over, they launched Antonio in Paris. So he’s the Chief Strategy Officer, Paris was also his wife is the Chief Creative Officer, her experience comes out of McCann Worldwide on Microsoft. And so, he kind of do the strategy side, she does the creative side and they've been having a great time doing it. So it's good to be here.   Navigating Through a Pandemic   Me: So I can imagine strategy has been a bit challenging, maybe for you and your company during this pandemic period that the world is going through, can you share with us how that has been and how you guys have been able to navigate through this time?   Antonio shared that that's an understatement. So it's been interesting, he thinks like everybody, February, March of last year, everybody kind of went into a panic mode. His clients went into a panic mode, rightfully so, not many people knew. What do I do now? Business kind of stopped over that period of time. And they made the decision to really look at it, they could have stayed with how do they continue to help companies enhance their brands?   But that wasn't the right thing to do at that particular time, he thinks the right thing to do, in hindsight, was the fact that they decided that they're going to look at when was there something like this in the past? And how was it handled globally? And what should they be thinking about?   So they decided to start a research study globally, during COVID that every six to eight weeks they would go back into the marketplace and get indication on what were consumers thinking? What were they feeling? How engaged were they? How much more engaged were they going to be as it related to streaming videos and entertainment and working from home and what were their stress points?   And all of those things that they could kind of give that information to clients, and gauge when was the right time to get back into the marketplace.   They also started presenting this to clients and people who weren't clients, companies that they would have loved to work with. They set up calls with them, Zoom calls with them, things like that, and walked them through these results.   They also talked to them about let's talk about history as he said. When SARS happened, we had a front row seat into being able to see what happened in China and how it went from China, the resurgence, the comeback happened in Asia, through Europe, and then to the United States.   So we had a roadmap of how it happened. And so they are able to talk to people about it's probably going to happen the same way, which it did, we had the bounce back in Asia first, then Europe, then the US, unfortunately, we had a second round of COVID.   This is a perfect time for companies to kind of really think about how they're going to attack, how they're going to pivot, and change maybe something small all the way to their business model. So they started talking to companies about that, if you were to start your company today, how would you change it?   Because it's not going to ever be the same again. So they started working with companies and helping them change their company from a strategy perspective, too. So it's been an interesting ride but he thinks it’s the right thing to do, because many companies responded to us helping them figure a lot of that out.   Me: Where are you exactly based Antonio, are you in the United States?   Antonio stated that they are in San Diego. Currently, he’s in their Mexico City office. They've been working out of Mexico now for probably the past six months, but their headquarters is in San Diego.    Getting Your People Motivated and Inspired   Me: Do you find that it's been difficult just getting people motivated and inspired during this time, especially across cultures? Because Mexico City, would you say is a different kind of culture, a different set of mind-set people versus those in San Diego? Has it been different across the globe, in a different continent for example?   Antonio shared that what's interesting is about five years ago they went completely virtual, so prior to COVID they went virtual, the reason why they did it was because for a few reasons. One, they wanted to get the most talented people that they could get to work for their company, no matter where they lived. And so, that meant getting more senior people but in getting more senior people, it was good that they didn't have to uproot themselves. A lot of times, you want to hire somebody and they're in another place, and they don't want to move, their kids are in certain schools or their spouses or partners are kind of trenched in where they are so they're unable to move. But they're the right candidate for your company, from a culture perspective, from a talent perspective and they wanted that to go away. So they went completely virtual five years ago. So it's funny, because they were using Zoom before people knew what Zoom was and that was one reason.   The other reason is because it's a point that you're making. They thought that and it's turned out to be true, the culture, if they brought people into our organization from around the world, no idea would be US centric, or if he’s in Hong Kong, Hong Kong centric or things like that, but the idea’s that the agency would bring to their clients would kind of be from this diverse group of people, diverse culture, different attitudes and opinion and when you sit down to try to solve a problem, and all these people come to the table, you kind of ensure that you're coming at this from a global perspective with an open mind. And then when you start to take these ideas from one country to another, they happen to have people who understand exactly the way that people look into the consumer insight from country to country.   So that's helped a lot too, in terms of that, but it's a good question because he thinks so often people come to you, you're an American company, and you come at it from an American perspective, as opposed to being sensitive to other people's ethnicities and cultures.   Me: Agreed. Do you guys do business in Jamaica?   Antonio stated that they do not, and it's funny too, his family is from Jamaica and Panama. And they don't do business there but he would not have a problem to do business there at all.   Me: So you should probably look to expand, now is a great time to expand into new markets, especially with everybody doing things virtually.   App, Website or Tool that Antonio Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business   When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Antonio shared that it's probably Zoom. Because they probably have in their organization, him alone, he doesn't even know what other people are doing, he probably has 8 to 10 Zoom calls a day. And they are with people from all over the world because they have clients in Belgium, they have clients in Hong Kong and in London and in the US and Mexico and things like that. So it's a challenge, where it used to be a challenge before, he had to get on a plane and go do all that. Now, it's a different challenge in terms of time zones and things, but it makes life easier. But he thinks that's the one thing. So, another one would be Basecamp. They use Basecamp in order to kind of give clients transparency. So when they get a new client, for instance, they just signed on new client a couple of days ago who's based in Hong Kong, one of the first things they do is open up a Basecamp file for them. It's kind of a pod, and that gives them the opportunity to drop anything that's relevant about their business into that pod. It also gives us the opportunity, anything that they do for them put into the pod, if there are schedules, they put those in there as well. And clients have the ability to go in and look at the schedules, make sure things are happening when they're supposed to be happening or if they need input from them, they can go there instead of having to deal if it's if it's 2:00 am in the morning their time, but some someplace else it's 3:00 pm in the afternoon, they can go to Basecamp and pretty much get a lot of answers before even having to speak to them. So he thinks those two are pretty valuable.    Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Antonio   When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Antonio shared that Bob Iger’s book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, the former CEO of Disney, amazing book gives us the ability to kind of look into a lot of the challenges that he had in growing Disney. And he likes to tell people, whether you're large organization, or small, many of the challenges that you face are the same, it's just the size of the company. And so, how he handled growth and strategy and how he handled disappointments. What he loves is he puts a lot of the disappointments in there, times that Disney tried to do something and fail, that's really important to him because he wants to see how a) You can imagine it's kind of cool knowing that Disney fails at something. But more importantly, how do they handle it? So that's one.   The other one is Barack Obama's book, A Promised Land. Fascinating, but also, as a business person when you look at it, the strategy and the planning that goes into running for the President of the United States, it's very similar to in a business when you're trying to launch something and everything that he had to go through, both from a personal perspective, which we can then move over to as an entrepreneur, you go through some personal things too to get your business up and running. From a business perspective, who are the right people that you're going to build for your team. Just like he had to go through what's the team he's going to pull together to help him win the election. And so, he thinks that's a fascinating book.   And then he’s reading now, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention. And it's literally, you don't have to follow any of the rules, create what's right for you, which he did, and a lot of people talk a lot of smack about him. But now look who's laughing now, because he created an organization that was right for him and believed in it and it's worked pretty well. Those three.   Advice for Improving On The Consistency of Having Motivated Human Capital   Me: We also have a lot of listeners who are business owners and managers who feel from time to time that it's not that they have poor products, they believe they have great products and services. But one of their challenges is that they lack the constantly motivated human capital. So if you were in a room with one of these managers, or business owners, and you're sitting across the table from that person, what's the one piece of advice that you would give them to improve on the consistency of having motivated human capital?   Antonio stated that we have a tendency to break rules with our organization, and we do it not just because, we do it because we stop and we put ourselves in the situation of, before you were an entrepreneur, you worked for somebody and he’s sure you thought of the good and the bad with it and how you wanted to be treated.   It's more than motivation just from a salary perspective and a dollars and cents perspective. It's, “I'm respected, they understand that there's some other things that could help.”   So for instance, he'll give an example. During the summer, on Fridays, every other Friday they shut their business down. And the reason for that is people get three day weekends during the summer and if it's busy, and then a lot of people go, “Well, I can't do that, because I can't have my whole staff out.”   His advice would be if it's busy, split your staff in half and don't do half days because people end up not taking them. But split your staff in half and go, “Okay, this week on Friday, you guys are off and then next week, the other half is off.”   “You're giving them a head nod. In order to be productive, you need to be able to have time to think, experience, to live, to have balance. And when you give employees balance, when they feel like you trust them, a lot of times that's more important than the dollars and the sense, you can go to another company and make more money, maybe.”   But when you get the feeling that these people respect me and get it. Another thing they do don't have vacation time in their organization, if you need to take the time, take the time and realize you're part of a team. So they hire grownups and he thinks that's one of the things that you need to do is make sure you're hiring grownups, make sure you're hiring people that are passionate about what they do, and they know why you brought them in. If you hire people like that, then he doesn't care if you take days off or what you're doing and things like that, because those people overdo it anyway, those people give you their heart and soul anyway. So you need to take a day off to be with your kid, to be with your partner, whatever, go do it. And he doesn't care how much time it is, as long as your teammates are respected and they know that they're going to have to cover for you whatever that is.   So he thinks that the big thing is respect who you're working for, think about what you would want if you were a dedicated employee, a dedicated player in an organization, what are the things that would matter and he thinks these days especially with what's going on, with COVID and everything else, it's at how can you give up people work life balance, they're going to give it back to you, when they go and they have a vacation, they come back fresh and you benefit from it too. So he thinks that's what he would tell people.   What Antonio is Really Excited About Now!   Antonio shared that actually it's something that they're doing with a client that's really exciting. It has something to do with their people, too, because their people are so excited about doing this, that it's taken kind of the agency to a next level.   They have a client that is a museum, one of the largest museums in the United States, and they came to them and said, “We're about to celebrate a fairly significant birthday and we want to overhaul our brand. So the logo with the messaging, things like that.”   They went and did some consumer research, and realized that there were a couple of segments that they were missing out on and they would never get, quite honestly, because this segment is a segment that is not going to walk through the doors of a museum, but they want to deal on a digital basis more than walk through the door.   And so, they went back to the client said, “Well, here's what you asked us for in the first place. But if you're open, we have an idea.”   And they were like, What's the idea? They said, “We think that you should not see yourselves as a museum, but see yourselves as a content provider. And you should have a streaming service, like a Netflix, like a Hulu, like something like that, that is specific to the type of museum that you are.”   And that's a whole new revenue stream, that's a whole new way of looking at the customer experience. Because the customer experience is no longer when somebody walks through the door. Now the customer experience is 365, 24/7.   And they actually went, let's present it to the board, which he thought that head of marketing had a lot of nerve to be able to go Yep, I'm with you. Let's take it to the Board of Directors, and which they did.   And the board said, “We agree, go.” And so since then, for the last 2 years they've been helping them build out this streaming service and it's been really exciting. But what's happened is, is that it's pulled the team together with their team internally because it's this thing that's never been done before.   And so, when he’s done with this, he’s retired, that's it, what is he going to do that’s going to beat this after he’s done with this. And that's a good feeling that you have clients that will give him the opportunity to kind of swing for the fences.   Where Can We Find Antonio Online   Website – www.antonioandparis.com Twitter – @apbmoxie Instagram - @apbmoxie   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Antonio Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Antonio shared that he has a signature on his email that says, “Rules, I'm just not that interested.”   It reminds him of don't keep yourself in a box a lot of times and don't look at things and say, “Well, it hasn't been done before so I guess it can't be done because somebody would have done it. That's not true. We all bring something different to the table.” He likes to tell the story like Apple when they created the iPod, iPod was not the first gadget like that. There were mp3 players before and doing the pretty much the same thing. And someone would have probably looked at Apple and said, “Why do you need to do this, there's already a lot of them in the marketplace.” We hear about the iPhone. And so break the rules, if you're passionate about it, ignore the naysayers and do what you want to do.   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 Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger A Promised Land by Barack Obama No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings    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!
Albert Galarza is the Global Vice President of Human Resources at TELUS International. He joined the organization in 2016, and has over 20 years of experience in human resources across retail and technology industries. In his role at TELUS International, Albert leads an HR organization of over 600 professionals supporting almost 50,000 team members in 20 countries. He is responsible for the entire HR suite of services including HR Generalists, Talent Acquisition, Compensation & Benefits, HR Operations and People Analytics.   Questions   Could you just tell us a little bit about your journey, how you got to where you are today? Could you tell our audience what is TELUS International? And what do you guys do? So maybe could you share with us maybe one or two things that you think persons that would be in that role? Because you'd have a lot of persons who listen to this podcast who they may be the business owner, but they also wear the hat off recruiter or HR person for their company, because they're not big enough to have a natural HR department. So what are some things that you think they would need to be considering to ensure that you're getting the right people and retaining them? How have you seen organizations really adapt or adjust accordingly based on what's happening in terms of just keeping people motivated, especially seeing that you're managing people across different countries, every country is dealing with the pandemic differently. How has that been for your organization? Could you share with us maybe what's the 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 a very long time ago, or it could be one that you read recently, but it has had a great impact on you. Could you share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - it could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people? Where listeners find you online if they wanted to connect with you? Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity you tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to refocus you or get you back on track if you get derailed? Do you have one of those?   Highlights   Albert’s Journey   Albert shared that he is originally from Mexico, he was actually born and raised in Mexico, and he lived there till his teenage years, when they moved to the US and he has had the privilege of living in several states throughout the US both personally and for professional reasons. And he has had the great pleasure of travelling throughout many, many countries, both for personal reasons, and mostly for professional reasons as his bio says; they currently support 50,000 team members in 20 countries and he has been to every one of those countries that they operate in. So it's been a great, great experience for him to be part of this organization.   He still visits Mexico, obviously pandemic, and he plans to visit post pandemic when it's safe to travel again. And when he thinks of his journey, particularly to customer experience, Mexico has always had a huge tourism industry and so he thinks that his customer service experience journey began early on. It's common when one visits a Mexican resort, or even a Mexican corner. That actually the person on the other side of the car will usually say to you, it's my pleasure to serve you. And that's always stuck with him since a very early age.   He also thinks that our journey begins early on for all of us, no matter where we come from, or what we do now as adults. What he means by that is, all of us had always had an internal customer experience journey, even from the time we were children at a very early age, think of the relationship we have with our parents early on, and the experience that we provided them and the experiences that they provided us. And he thinks that translates well into the working world. His customer experience relates to achieving little win scenarios every day in his interactions with both their internal and external customers. As you can see by his bio, it's been a long journey so far, and one that he looks forward to continuing on for many, many years to come both personally and professionally.    What is TELUS International   Albert shared that TELUS International designs, builds and delivers next generation digital solutions which enhance your customer experience and many of their customers are customers that you actually deal with your daily life, whether you're using some of the world's largest search engines, or using some of the world's largest phone manufacturers, or you're using even to log on to some of your social media apps, that's what they do. They help a lot of those brands design and build the next generation digital solution. They also help them support the full lifecycle of clients’ digital transformation training, and they enable them to move quickly through these next generation of technologies that come up just about every day.   And the desired outcome for them (TELUS) is to make sure that they are a solid extension of those brands that they support. They have solutions and capabilities that expand the digital strategy, they're also quite innovative, and they do a lot of consulting with them as well when it comes to transforming their own journey. Think of companies that are trying to design autonomous vehicles, they will work with those companies to help them make sure that they have a product that will be intuitive, and that they will have a product that can be supported both remotely inshore and onshore.   Me: Okay, can you give us an example of maybe a company that you've worked with. I see here on the website that you work in industries such as Communications and Media, Healthcare, Tech and Games, eCommerce, and FinTech and Travel and Hospitality. So maybe pick one of those industries and just give us an example of how it is that you are transforming something that you're helping that client to achieve.   Albert stated that for your Canadian audience the named TELUS will be very familiar. And so that's actually one of their own internal customers, they actually help TELUS with all of its coding programming and networking, as well as support, and they have several employees around the world, including in Canada who will help the TELUS Corporation as well as TELUS customers in Canada, make sure that they have the daily communication through their network, make sure that the daily entertainment to their network and more importantly, make sure that their customers have the ability to stay connected, doing the things that they love most, to those that they love most.    Tips on Recruiting and Retaining the Right People   Me: So you focus a lot as your bio says, you're responsible for the entire HR suite of services, including Talent Acquisition and People Analytics. Customer service is all about people. I know, for example, in Jamaica, one of the big things that my customers complain about is getting the right persons and keeping them in your organization. So maybe could you share with us maybe one or two things that you think persons that would be in that role? Because you'd have a lot of persons who listen to this podcast who they may be the business owner, but they also wear the hat off recruiter or HR person for their company, because they're not big enough to have a natural HR department. So what are some things that you think they would need to be considering to ensure that you're getting the right people and retaining them?   Albert shared that if you're lucky enough to run and operation where you can make all the decisions yourself, he thinks that's actually quite good. Bigger is not always better and bigger is not always faster, it does usually mean that you have quite a bit of resources available to you. But sometimes the decision tree is a little bit bigger.   But if you are in charge of selecting your own talent, and being the decision maker, he thinks selection has to be well done before you think of retention and engagement. What he means by that is, make sure that you're clear with your candidates, what they can expect by working with you, and make sure that they're clear with you what you can expect by working with them. Because like any other relationship, the more transparent and the more honest that we are at the beginning of that relationship, that bigger likelihood for success that we will have in nurturing that relationship. And so, if once you get them in the door, and it's very important that at that point that you both listen to each other, that you both help solve solutions for each other.   One of the benefits he thinks of a smaller organization is that they tend to be more flexible and more nimble, as a beginner, if you have that ability to be much, much more open to flexibility of somebody's schedule, and spend a lot more time with them face to face, because again, the bigger you get, the less time unfortunately that you will have as a leader and as a direct report of yours to spend time with each other because naturally the work becomes larger in scope.   He thinks if you select the right person, if they select you as the right employer, or if you're transparent at the beginning of that selection process, and then once you start working together if you're open and honest with each other and listen to each other's needs you can solve together and he thinks that will help you select and retain that available talent so that when you're running an organization of 5 people or 500 people or 50,000 people, he thinks both can be achieved as far as the right selection and the right intension.    How to Keep People Motivated?    Me: It's been a very unusual period, of course because the world is going through a pandemic. Could you share with us just based on your experience? Because you've indicated that you're operating quite a few countries across the world. How have you seen organizations really adapt or adjust accordingly based on what's happening in terms of just keeping people motivated, especially seeing that you're managing people across different countries, every country is dealing with the pandemic differently. How has that been for your organization?   Albert stated that we are literally weeks away from when the pandemic was first declared, depending on the country you live in, most people declare the pandemic, the week of March 12 and then most everyone declared, the week of March 19 for the United States where he lives it was March 19, when they pretty much went on lockdown.   And so, he thinks there have been a few stages to the pandemic in the way that organizations have dealt with it. Early on from March through mid April, he thinks most of the organizations were in denial that this was going to be more than just a couple of weeks. And so, he thinks the way that we adjusted for that was okay, let's just take a wait and see attitude and see what happens. And then as we realized that more and more countries went into lockdown, and the pandemic started to spread, we quickly had to figure out a way to really embrace the remote work environment, not just for employees, but for customers.   And so the way that you think about shopping for milk changed, because maybe we're more apt to maybe have it delivered to your home versus having to go get it or the times that you went to go get milk was different than pre pandemic. And so, he thinks organizations realized in the second stage of the pandemic that we had to quickly embrace the remote workplace.   And for them at TELUS International, which is a company that is strongly built on what they call a cultural value chain, which is a proven formula where strong corporate culture and employee engagement equate to the ability to innovate. And they also achieve higher customer satisfaction, and they ultimately deliver stronger financial performance because of this culture value chain, they realized that they had a great cultural value chain in the work locations, but they had never done 50,000 employees be working remotely, literally overnight.   And so they made sure that they immediately took all the great knowledge that they had, and all the great experiences that they had on site culture validation and immediately started become virtual with it. And he thinks their team members appreciated that, their team members enjoyed the idea that, “Even though I'm not with my team, even though I'm not with my leader, and I'm working remote for I don't know how long, I appreciate that the company is still doing virtual yoga classes, I appreciate that the company is still doing remote financial wellness, I appreciate that the company is still doing mental health exercises, I appreciate that we're still having virtual recognitions, and reward.” So they had to take what they were very good at on site and immediately create a platform that they can leverage, again, the remote workplace.   And he thinks companies that already had a strong work culture on site, naturally, connect and navigate the virtual and deliver that strong culture virtually but organizations who had a tough time with building a strong culture on site, naturally, also have had a tough time delivering that virtual culture. And they're going up on a year now.   So, the good news is, it's never too late and there's plenty of good readings out there that will help an organization get better at this virtual remote environment. Because we now know that most of the biggest companies in the world is Facebook, or Google or Amazon and Microsoft have said that they don't intend to go back to the site till sometime in July. That's a great thing if you're a parent, then you've been able to spend time with your children and your family. But if you're an up and comer, and you want to be around the decision makers and you want to showcase your abilities and your talent, it's very difficult to do that in a remote environment. So, being home 100% at times is not the best thing for everybody, but being on site 100% times is that the best thing for everybody either, it just depends on the station you are within your career.   App, Website or Tool that Albert Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business    When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Albert shared that he still likes to look at social media for what's fun and trendy, and the latest and greatest and he'll give you an example. He spent a few years in the retail industry and in the retail industry, a lot of big name designers often look to what was going on in the school yards, and the nightclubs, in the restaurants for inspiration, that's what the next season's big fashion thing was going to be. So he thinks that the audience that you're targeting is always the best measure of what it is that they're looking for. And as an example, they realized early on that their audience, the majority of the team members that they hire are in their 20s, they like the online social media presence, very different than even the millennials. The millennials like the playing remotely, like engaging remotely, but they still wanted to come see what your work location look like. The Generation Z is really much, much more comfortable with virtual all the time and so they really have been leveraging a lot of the social media apps to see what's the best way to reach their audience. And then they mimic some of the social media apps for even their internal communications, one of the platforms that they launched early in the pandemic is an internal social media platform called Cosmos.   And this again, mirror very much to what they know that their team members are comfortable with, it's very gamified. It's very about giving compliments, it's about posting comments, and pictures. And it worked wonderfully for them. And so, he still looks personally to a lot of what's going on in the world and in social media to try to gain inspiration for how to duplicate some of that.    Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Albert    When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Albert shared that he didn't get a chance to tell Yanique this but he has an eight year old, his name is Dylan. And he's quite a lot of fun, he's their only son, he and his wife have been married for over 20 years. And so Dylan has been their shining light for the past 8 years. So while he read a lot of great professional books in his life, the last few years he has been reading a lot of children's books. And one children's book that he read that he wanted to share today. And he doesn't know if you ever read this book, but it's actually Drew Daywalt, The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors.   And the message he gets from this book is that rock is going through its surroundings, being the champion, nobody can beat him. And then scissors is going through its surroundings, also being the champion, nobody can beat them. And then paper is going through its surroundings being the champion, nobody can beat them.   And even though they're number one, and rock is beating everybody in the garden, and scissors is beating everybody in the in the kitchen, and paper is beating everybody in the home office, it wasn't till they venture out of their comfort zone looking for worthy challenge that they found fulfilment.   And that's kind of how I see the world of business today. It wasn't till we were pushed out of our comfort zone to really embrace the remote work environment. Now, some companies are further along than a lot of other companies. But when we were forced to come out of our comfort zone, and we were forced to immediately deploy at TELUS international, they have 35,000 team members around the world to work from home in a matter of three weeks. From the beginning of April to the middle of April they pretty much at 35,000 people working.   And so, he thinks that's how you grow a business, that's how you grow in life, you have to take yourself out of your comfort zone. And so, even though at TELUS International, they achieved an 86% engagement score in September as measured by an outside party called Consentrate.   They're not satisfied, that worked great in the garden, but they want to go into the kitchen and face the champion of the kitchen. So, he really quite enjoys The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors because again, the message to him is, don't stop challenging yourself, get out of your comfort zone and make sure that you take the time. Even when you are beaten to recognize that you still find a good fight, and you have to get back up, and you have to do it again. And that's ultimately what Rock, Paper, Scissors do is when they fight each other, as you know, paper beats rock, but rock beats scissors and then scissors beats paper, and they just keep going. Because to them, it was never about the win, it was about the challenge.   What Albert is Really Excited About Now!    Albert shared that he finds excitement and inspiration in both his ‘work family’ and his ‘family family.’ And his eight-year-old right now is in a stage where everything is interesting, everything is important. He wants to do his very best, he as a test tomorrow on the 50 US Capitals. And then he also has to identify by geography where each state in the US is by name, and they have been working on that non-stop for last week and a half. And so he’s excited to see him achieve his result tomorrow. And like he told him, it's ultimately about the work you put in and if you put enough work in, if you really learned it, you'll be able to do really well.   On the work side, they have been automating quite a bit, even before the pandemic. Again, if you're going to be in 20 countries with 50,000 employees, you can't be in 20 places at once. So they have been really investing in automating their day to day activities. And what's exciting about that is the more they automate, the more free sub leaders do what they do best and that's lead people and support people. And he thinks at that point, both leader and employee benefit, because that means they get to spend more time with each other, they spend less time updating their personal data, they spend less time updating their performance, they spend less time manually checking the to do lists, because all that becomes automated. And they can spend more time coaching each other guiding each other and ultimately supporting the clients that they serve around the world.    Where Can We Find Albert Online   Website – www.telusinternational.com Twitter – @TELUSint Facebook – @TELUSInternational Instagram - TELUS   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Albert Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Albert shared that he does actually, and interestingly enough he still like to think that at some point, he doesn't know when, he’s hoping the experts are accurate when the experts say it's probably 2022 around this time that things will return to as normal as the new normal will be.   But even before the pandemic, for those of us that have been around long enough, before the pandemic, if you remember, we had the great recession of 2008 that was nowhere near a health risk, but it was certainly an economic risk, and it put a lot of friends and family out of work and it made a lot of people lose their homes and so that was a pretty bad time.   But we recovered and we came out of a very strong and if you remember before that time, we had the terrorist attacks of 2001 so that created an economic shock wave. So it almost always seems like in some point in our lifetime, there's going to be some adversity. And so, but he also knows that almost always we seem to come out of it even stronger as a society than we have before. So he still loves Mark Twain's quote about, “Dance like nobody's watching, love like you've never been hurt, sing like nobody's listening and live like it's heaven on earth.”   Me: Live like it's heaven on earth. I like that one Albert, really fun, light, festive but kind of reminds you of the important things in life not to take ourselves too seriously.   Albert stated that just like they talked about, life is a journey. And like he said, three major world impacting issues in the last 21 years. But, there is always tomorrow and he thinks we have to, whether you think the glass is half full or half empty, he thinks what matters is that you fill it 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 Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt   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!
Blanca Cobb is an internationally recognized body language expert who’s been featured on national television shows such as the Steve Harvey Show, TODAY Show, Megyn Kelly TODAY, Dr. Oz, Dr. Drew, CNN, Face the Truth, The Doctors to name a few as well as publications around the world, such as Cosmopolitan, Us Weekly, Elite Daily, Business Insider, Elle, Daily Mail among others. Blanca shares her expertise weekly on a CBS affiliate, WFMY News 2, in North Carolina.   When it comes to corporate America, Blanca’s in the relationship business. Her approach to sales is the relationship dynamics between sales professionals and their clients. It's what isn't said, but seen that can either drive or stall the sales process. Blanca also turns professionals into rock stars on camera, whether you're booked for a TV segment, or making your own videos. She says to not let the small screen of the virtual world fool you, nonverbal communication is equally important on video calls and on camera when you're making videos to promote yourself, your products, your services and your company.   Questions   Could you tell us a little bit about what is being a body language expert entail? And where does body language even extend to? We see it a lot in customer service and I heard a lot about sales in your bio, but just tell us about what different industries and careers does body language impact? Does it impact everyone? And is it a cultural thing? Just share a little bit about how you got into it? And who does it really impact the most? If you really want to be someone who masters body language, especially if you're a customer facing person, what are some key things that you would need to do to ensure that when people come into your presence, even before you speak, they feel welcomed? In terms of let's say, for example, you are trying to improve on your body language. What do you think of all the different components, you would have mentioned examples of hand gesticulations, walking, how you move your hands, facial expression, if you were to maybe give a weighting to the different types of body language, which do you think is the most important and can have the greatest impact on an interaction? 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 maybe one or two books that have had the biggest impact on you, it could be a book that you read many years ago or maybe something you read recently that has really impacted you? Could you share with us maybe one thing that's going on in your life right now something that you're really excited about? It could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people. Could you tell our listeners where they could find you online if they wanted to connect with you further? 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 maybe refocus you or just get you back on track if you got derailed?   Highlights   Blanca’s Journey   Me: So could you share a little bit about what is a body language expert, as I mentioned to you when I came into the Clubhouse room, and I was so eagerly excited when we connected again. I saw you on a TV show maybe a year and a half ago, actually, when I checked my archives, the invitation I had sent to you was from 2019 and for whatever reason, we just didn't get to synchronize our schedules and connect. And I was like this lady, I need to interview her because I talk about body language so much in my customer service trainings so I couldn't believe there was a body language expert out there, somebody who could now validate all of what I've been saying.   Could you tell us a little bit about what is being a body language expert entail? And where does body language even extend to? We see it a lot in customer service and I heard a lot about sales in your bio, but just tell us about what different industries and careers does body language impact? Does it impact everyone? And is it a cultural thing? Just share a little bit about how you got into it? And who does it really impact the most?   Blanca shared that how she got into it is a long story but she’ll make it short. When she was a little girl, she was always watching body language, but she didn't know what she was doing. So she didn't have a very happy childhood, she was an abused little girl and what she was doing is, she was always watching for signs of when the next beating was going to happen.   And those signs were listening to changes in the tone of voice, watching hand movements, just looking at body posture, facial expression, it even got down to footsteps walking down a hall, where I could tell whether this person was happy or not happy, and what could possibly happen.   So paying attention and as you might imagine, she really didn't know who she could trust growing up and other things happened to her as a child also. And so then, when she grew up, she knew she wanted to go into a helping profession and she ended up getting a Master's Degree in Psychology and she has studied with heavy hitters, very well respected professionals in the non-verbal world, as well as a detecting deception world. And she has just combined the two and voila, here she is.   So the second part of the question is impact. And industry, every single industry, every facet of life, no matter if it's a personal or professional relationship and acquaintance, somebody you meet at the bus stop or in the grocery store, it's about body language.   When you go into a store and you're both reaching for the same item, you're using body language, you're trying to figure out, well, can I grab this or does that person have it first? So it's everything. When you're on a telephone, when you just hear voice, how that person is talking, how they're projecting their voice. Do they sound happy? Do they sound confused? Do they sound angry? It's everything and everywhere body language touches. You cannot communicate without some level of nonverbal communication. And if you think about it, even babies when they come out of the womb, they do not know how to talk, it takes a while for children to learn how to talk, however they're communicating, they're communicating through their cries and they stop crying when parents attend to their needs, this is done non-verbally, this isn't done with words. So it's just innate, it's part of who we are.   Keys for Mastering Customer Experience When Using Body Language   Me: So basically, body language affects everyone. Now, let’s bring it to customer service Blanca, because as you know, our audience is all about improving the quality of their customers’ experience. People have a lot of nuances, body language refers to your facial expressions, as you mentioned, your walk, your hand gesticulations, body movements, anything that can definitely send a signal to someone else that would indicate whether their intention for you or against you. And so, in the Caribbean, I don't know if you've been to the Caribbean before, but in Jamaica, for sure, we're extremely expressive people and we have this saying locally that says, “It's not what you say, but it's how you say it.” And that comes over in your body language and your facial expressions, and all that kind of stuff. But if you really want to be someone who masters body language, especially if you're a customer facing person, what are some key things that you would need to do to ensure that when people come into your presence, even before you speak, they feel welcomed?   Blanca stated that that's a great question. So she will start with that part first. It's your body language, because people are picking up your vibes. So let's say you're in a bad mood that day, and then you try to fake it, you might not get away with it as well as you think you can. Because what happens is your body will leak an emotion, you try to hide not feeling well, or just not being into work that day.   But people are going to be able to see some type of leakage in your face and what she’s talking about are micro expressions. So this is with an involuntary facial expression that you make when you're trying to hide how you're really feeling but your body, your face is going to leak the true emotion.   And these micro expressions occur within like 150 seconds, so like within a blink of an eye and people, they might not be able to recognize exactly what they saw but they're going to sense that, they're going intuit it, and they're going to say, “Hmm, this person isn't quite as happy, maybe I don't want to talk to them, I'm going to talk to a different customer service rep.”   So you have to pay attention to your own body language. So you want to have open body language, so what that means is you don't want to stand behind a counter, you stand behind a counter, you actually have a physical object between you and the other person. So subconsciously, people are going to see that as an obstacle, it's so much better when you walk around the counter, and it's you and that person face to face and you have a nice big smile on your faces, you're welcoming them, or asking them how you might be able to help them, you want to make sure that your hands are free, you're not holding any objects when you're initially meeting somebody.   And when you're talking, you want to have your hands out in front of you and present, you want your palms up, when you have your palms up, you're sending a nonverbal message that you're being friendly, you're being straightforward, you've got nothing to hide, because people can see your palms. And then you want to make sure that your body is facing towards them and this includes your feet, your feet takes you in the direction where you want to go. If your feet are facing towards the customer, that's very welcoming, if your feet are slightly turned either to the right or the left, even though you might have your upper body facing the person, they're still going to perceive that you're not quite into that interaction.   Me: So you want to be aware of how you're positioned. Do you think culture impacts how people just manage their body language or how they interact?   Blanca stated absolutely yes. There are cultural differences everywhere because like Yanique was saying in Jamaica, there's a certain phrase that you use, I think you said, it isn't what you say, but how you say it. Or phrasing here.   So, let's say there's somebody from a different country, but that's not as common there. So right there, you have a cultural difference, it doesn't make one right and the other wrong, it just makes it that it's different. And in order to understand people and get on people's level, you have to adapt to what they're showing you and you have to adapt to their culture, that doesn't mean you need to become a cultural expert in their country or their culture. But what it does mean is that you need to have some sensitivity. So the best way to handle this when you're not sure of cultural differences is to meet the person where they are. What this means is, she gives a good example.   What this means is, let's say their energy level or their animation, or their excitement is at a level 3, but you're at a level 9, there's a big difference there from a 3 to a 9, so if you come in at a 9 where you're like really excited, “Hey, it's so good to see you, I'm so glad you walked into the store, Baba, Baba Baba.” And they come in a little lower key, that's going to be a turnoff to them.   She likes to make these analogies to dating. So it's like if somebody comes across too strong, too much, then you pull back, you're like, “Whoa, where's this coming from? This is too much too soon, too fast.” So that's why you adapt to the same level that they are, the level three and the example that she’s giving and then together you can move up that scale. Because what that means is that you have the same energy level, and the same tone of voice and mannerisms as them, go down to the level 3. And then as they get comfortable, and as they start to get to know you and feel comfortable in the interaction, then you can move up together, but it's something that's done simultaneously and it comes across more natural, and it's very sensitive to where they are, and then they feel understood. And when people feel understood and validated, guess what? They end up liking you more.   Me: Agreed. In terms of the example you gave just now, I remember I was watching a video a few years ago, and there was a term that they use called mirroring, would the example you gave in terms of matching that person as to where they are be similar to mirroring?   Blanca stated that it is. And so mirroring, it's essentially the same thing, she’s just use an example instead of using the word mirroring. So she'll give you specific examples of mirroring. So let's say you're talking to somebody, and you notice that they adjust their watch. So then a few seconds later, you don't want to do it immediately, but a few seconds later, then you might adjust the sleeve of your shirt. So it's that similarity. And the reason mirroring works so well, is because and she always say this, “Like, likes, like.” Saying that again, “Like, likes, like.” What that means is people like people who are similar to them. And so, when people feel that you're similar to them, and it's what she was talking about earlier, when they feel like you get them, you understand them, you validate them, and they can't help but like you, it makes them feel good. It makes them feel like there's a commonality between the two of you.   So mirroring absolutely does work. So for example, let me give another example. Let's say they lean on the counter, then you want to wait a few seconds and then you might want to lean on a chair, if a chairs nearby if you're standing up. But the thing as she keeps talking about that timing, you want to wait a few seconds, because if it's like they do something, you do something immediately after, that comes across as creepy, and you don't want to come across as creepy and inauthentic and that's why you wait a few seconds and someone might go, “Wait a second Blanca, you're talking about creepy and inauthentic. If I'm mirroring isn't that action really creepy and inauthentic?” No, it isn’t, at first it's going to feel that way but you have to think about your intent, your intent is to make this person feel comfortable, your intent is to establish rapport with this person, your intent is to help develop trust in this customer service situation. So if the intent is pure, then it isn't creepy or inauthentic, it might feel that way at first. So it's like with any skill, the more you do it, the better you get, the more comfortable you are with it.   Body Language – The Most Important and Greatest Impact on an Interaction   Me: So Blanca we spoke about just how it is that you can adjust yourself as it relates to body language. In terms of let's say, for example, you are trying to improve on your body language. What do you think of all the different components, you would have mentioned examples of hand gesticulations, walking, how you move your hands, facial expression, if you were to maybe give a weighting to the different types of body language, which do you think is the most important and can have the greatest impact on an interaction?   Blanca stated that this is a fabulous question, and it isn't one over the other, it's all of them in unison. Because if you think about it, our body works together, our muscles are all interconnected in our body, even though you may not realize it. You might have a shoulder pain that's really connected to a lower back problem. All muscles are connected. So it's the same thing with body language. If you want to just focus on facial expressions, and you want to come across as more engaging and happy so you have a smile on your face but then you have tension in your shoulders, that’s a disconnect, that’s not going work.   People are going to think that face that you're making of being happy, it's fake and phoney, you know what they're going to focus on the tension in your shoulders. People are going to believe the negative before they believe the positive. That's why it all needs to work together as a symphony of body language.   Me: So then, in order for it to work as a symphony, what are some of the things that you would need to do maybe exercise, eat properly, surround yourself with positive things, do those things help to enhance your body language in a positive way?   Blanca stated that it helped enhance you as a person because it keeps you healthy, it keeps your energy up when you're taking care of your body, so that helps exude positive body language. The best thing that you can do is pay attention to your own body language and although we do not walk around with a mirror with us, and we can look at ourselves all the time when we're interacting, what you do have is how somebody responds to you, that's your mirror. So, if you think you're actually being happy, and you're being engaging, and you're being friendly, but yet somebody isn't responding, and kind, then you have to think a couple of things. Is it the vibe that you're putting out? Or maybe there's something that's off for them in that given moment? So you have to think about that.   And another tip that she would have for people is to record yourself, use a camera, you can use your phone, put it off to the side, have a conversation, practice a pitch, practice how you might interact with somebody and then go back and watch it. Now, the only problem with that when you're doing it by yourself, you might come across a little stiff or awkward on film, or on camera, because you're really talking to yourself, so then practice with a friend or family member or somebody. So that way, it's more of a real interaction and then you can go ahead and eliminate any awkwardness or stiffness that you might see on the replay.   Me: And this would be applicable for salespeople as well.   Blanca agreed. Yes, for anybody when you're dealing with the public, speakers, before you go on stage you practice and video, that's how she coaches people who want to be speakers. She’s evaluating them, pointing out what they're doing great, areas that they need to work on. And then she gives them suggestions on how to make themselves better, but then they also see themselves and they do self-evaluation, that's really important to be self-aware of yourself. Seemingly important. That gives you insight and then you'll see things that you don't even realize about yourself, because we don't walk around with a mirror, staring at ourselves all the time. The video really helps.   Me: And it's good too, because one of the recommendations I give to participants, especially those who has to deal with customers daily, but they need to remember to smile and they have the ability to afford having a mirror at their desk, I recommend, especially if they're working our call centre, for example, that they put a mirror at their desk that helps to remind them that for each caller, they need to maintain a pleasant countenance or at least sound welcoming enough, because you may come off the phone with someone who just really rattled you completely. But it doesn't mean that that energy from that telephone call should transfer into the next call because that person doesn't know what you're coming out of and they're expecting somebody welcoming and approachable.   Blanca agreed. Absolutely and she’s glad that Yanique brought that up because if there is a bad call, and let's say they're going to be jumping on the next call, what they should do is stand up, move around, shake it off, like physically shake it off even if they have a next call coming in, then sit in the chair, and just move because what you're doing is you're getting out of that negative energy that you're feeling at the moment.   It's a way just to make it dissipate, just to make it go away before you jump on the next call. And the idea of the mirror is perfect, particularly when you have a tough call, watch yourself because what happens is you may not even realize that you're rolling your eyes as you're helping the person. You may not realize that you're giving a look of disgust and disgust as if you can imagine smelling something that's like rotting that just smells bad, like super bad, like diarrhoea or vomit and your nose automatically crinkles, that is a look of disgust. And a lot of people will do that.   Another facial expression people make that you can see yourself in it and if you're not in a very pleasant conversation with somebody and you're watching yourself in the mirror, the look of contempt. And the look of contempt is the only facial expression that's unilateral that occurred on one side. And what it looks like is just the corner, one corner of your mouth, it slightly goes up and what that means is moral superiority.   So imagine if you know you're right, as the customer service rep and this person who you're talking to, a customer is really giving you a hard time, you might make that look of contempt and that is something that you should be aware of. And the reason it's so important, is because the negativity that you're feeling in this conversation can carry over to the next person. And also, if this is how you respond when someone's giving you a hard time or when something isn't going well, then you're going to be transferring that body language, those facial expressions when you're meeting someone in real life and then they can really see it.   App, Website or Tool that Blanca Absolutely Can’t Live Without in Her Business   When asked about online resources that she can’t live without in her business, Blanca stated that it's Clubhouse. So for those who are not familiar with Clubhouse, it's only available right now for iOS. This is an audio app, this is where you can connect with people and make connections. And you are actually talking, you're in a room with a lot of other people from all around the world that have similar interests, or people who are learning about a new topic and you're talking just like you and I are talking right now, it's fascinating. She cannot tell you how many people she has met that she would never have met otherwise. She lives on the east coast in the United States. So people from the west coast all the way to abroad, it is fascinating. She loves it. She absolutely loves it, cannot imagine not having that right now.   This is how she and Yanique reconnected, through the Clubhouse app. True.   Me: Very true. It's a really, really good app. But it's been my experience that you have to manage yourself with it because it can run away and your day gets caught up in Clubhouse and you don't actually achieve your goals. So one of the things I've done to manage myself with is I've turned off notifications, because it can be extremely distracting. Every time there's a new room that opens up and it's they're notifying my phone and I'm doing something and I stop and I go, “Oh, this topic looks interesting.” And then you just get derailed completely. But I do agree with you, it's a wonderful application, whoever was the brainchild of it in terms of having audio where people could go in and have live conversations, you can definitely learn and gain a lot of knowledge and insight and as you said, connect with people who you'd have never had the opportunity to connect with otherwise.   Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Blanca   When asked about books that have the biggest impact, Blanca shared that for her, it's not a particular book, it is the genre of the book. So for example, this is a particular book Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss is an excellent book. He is a former FBI, a hostage negotiator and he has made a book or written a book I should say, about how to negotiate and she loves it because it's a skill that we all need. So for genres for her, it's like understanding people. So psychological books that really help you understand people and help you understand yourself. She thinks that is such an important skill to have because we will always have people in our lives, we will have people who come into our lives and stay and we will have people who leave our lives. But every touchpoint, every person who we have a relationship whether it's personal or professional, makes an impact on us. And we can learn from every one of those interactions and relationships. And so, that's why she goes back to the genre. So there isn't a particular book, it's just the subject.    What Blanca is Really Excited About Now!   Blanca stated that she is really excited to share that she is putting the polishing touches on an ebook, Emotions Behind the Mask is the title of this ebook because everyone is wearing masks, how do you read facial expressions when the majority of your face is covered by a mask?   So it's important because we're going to continue to wear a mask and it looks like it might be until the next year into 2022. But how can you still make a connection? How can you still understand some nonverbals of somebody else in our social distancing world? That is so important nonverbal communication. So she’s super excited about that.   And then she has created a programme how to help people be rock stars on camera, whether they're booked for a TV segment, or whether they're creating their own videos for video marketing, for themselves, their products, their services or their company. So those are two big things that she has going that she loves. She’s very passionate about people having better lives. Again, going back to the beginning of the conversation, she didn't have a very happy childhood or adolescence. And so it's important for her that people have healthy relationships, that they can get along and know who to trust and who has their back. People need happiness, part of your happiness in life are the people who you select to be in your life and that's where she can make a big difference for people.   Where Can We Find Blanca Online   Website – www.blancacobb.com Clubhouse – Blanca Cobb Instagram – @blancacobb Facebook – Blanca Cobb Twitter – @BlancaCobb YouTube – Blanca Cobb   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Blanca Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that she tends to revert to, Blanca shared, “You're stronger than you know.”   In times when we have extreme stress, when we just rethink why am I even getting up in the morning because it's going to be the same day nothing has changed, you have a lot of stress, you have children or spouses who are counting on you, or you're not sure what's going to happen with your job. When you feel like you just want to get into the corner and cry, that's where you have to really pull deep within yourself and understand you're stronger than you know, get out of bed. You can do this, even when you feel the whole world is against you. You're stronger than you know.   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   Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss   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!
Greg Kihlström Show Notes   Greg Kihlström is a best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur. He is currently CEO and Co-Founder at CarrierGig, after selling his award-winning digital experience agency Carousel30 in 2017. He has worked with some of the world's top brands, including AOL, Choice Hotels, Coca Cola, Dell, FedEx, GEICO, Marriott International, MTV, Starbucks, Toyota and VMware. He currently serves on the University of Richmond's Customer Experience Advisory Board, was the founding Chair of the American Advertising Federation's National Innovation Committee, and served on the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Marketing Mentorship Advisory Board.   Greg's newest book, The Agile Workforce (2021) explores the current and future state of the workforce and envisions a world where individuals thrive in a new world of work opportunities enabled by technology, decentralization and a shift in the power dynamics between employers and employees. His previous book, The Center of Experience (2020) talks about how customers and employee experiences can be operationalized into a cohesive brand experience.   Questions   Could you share with us a little bit about your journey. And just tell us how it is that you got to where you are today? So your book, agility is one of those words that we've been hearing bouncing around for quite a few years now. But I definitely have heard it way more since the pandemic. Could you tell us a little bit about what the book is about? Who is it for? How will it help organizations? Is it geared towards a particular industry? and How can any company or is it specific to an industry in terms of benefiting from an agile workforce? Could you maybe share with us based on your experience and your exposure on this topic maybe two or three principles that businesses must be guided by in order to be really agile? Or if they're just starting on this agile journey, what are two or three things that they need to really consider? As it relates to digital experience, people definitely have moved their businesses or some parts of their business to online, how do you think we're going to adjust after hopefully, things go back to what we used to think was normal in terms of that digital space, will that trend continue? Or do you think people would want to return back to more face to face kind of experiences? Could 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 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 has had a great impact on you. Could you share with us maybe something that you're working on right now? Something that you're really excited about - it could be something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people? Where can listeners find you online? Do you have a quote or saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to that quote or saying, it kind of helps to get you refocused and just get you back on track? Do you have one of those?   Highlights   Greg’s Journey   Greg shared that he has played a few different roles over his career and depending on how you look at it, he has been a freelancer and employee, entrepreneur, executive, so on and so forth. Also, he has played roles in creative marketing technology and what he has tried to do throughout his career, some of that is he likes to learn new things and so he constantly tries to challenge himself to learn them. But some of it also is he thrive when he’s able to find connections between whether it's different disciplines or industries or things like that. And so, he has always just tried, at first it wasn't so intentional, he'll confess but towards getting a few years down in his career, it started to become more intentional that he always wanted to kind of push himself and be a little bit uncomfortable. If he was too comfortable, it meant that he wasn't learning enough, and he wasn't pushing himself to do more than he was currently doing.   So, he started a marketing agency, his first job was working at a start-up, he became head of product design there back in the early 2000s, started a marketing agency that he grew and eventually sold about 3 years ago, did a lot in the digital experience space and for a number of those brands that was mentioned, and also quite focused in the financial services industry towards the end before I sold it. And then after that really got more and more involved in the employee experience, leadership’s role in the employee experience, and HR technology and where he currently is, Careergig really flowed pretty naturally through that where he just kept seeing more and more emphasis being placed on the freelance economy, the gig economy, but there was a lot of things that weren't really being solved for. And so, he just found a new challenge to try to solve.   About the Book – The Agile Workforce and Who Can Benefit From An Agile Workforce   Me: So your book, agility is one of those words that we've been hearing bouncing around for quite a few years now. But I definitely have heard it way more since the pandemic. Could you tell us a little bit about what the book is about? Who is it for? How will it help organizations? Is it geared towards a particular industry? and How can any company or is it specific to an industry in terms of benefiting from an agile workforce?   Greg shared that it's quite broad in scope as far as industry goes. So, The Agile Workforce: Automation, Decentralization, and Their Role in the Future Workforce, it's part of a series of books that he has written on the topic of agility in business. And so, he started out focused more on the branding and marketing aspect and how to be more agile in those types of approaches and it's over time he also started a podcast called The Agile World, you can see a theme developing here. He is four books in for this series and have a podcast all talking about how do we position ourselves to be adaptive and resilient in a constantly changing world, and there's recent events with the pandemic, certainly draw attention to the need for that. But it's always been the case that we need that, we need to be agile.   So, the latest book, The Agile Workforce is really talking about this growing independent workforce where 10 years ago was really the birth of what we know as the gig economy, things like Uber and Lyft, drivers, and delivery doordash, all of those types of things really kind of grew out of the 2009 financial crisis where there were a lot of jobs kind of went away, full time jobs, there's a lot of disenchantment with getting another full time job when you could easily be laid off again at the signs of the next crisis, we're seeing that now 10 years later.   We're seeing that now in different spaces of lots of individuals needing to rely on companies to employ them, certainly the companies are the ones hiring them, but not necessarily, a lot of individuals are not necessarily keen to go back to a full time job when we've all been kind of sold on full time jobs are the source of stability, and you get your benefits and your retirement and all this stuff. And yet, we've seen it slowly go away over the years and now, he thinks some of those things are more myth than reality. And so you have this growing independent workforce that wants the freedom and flexibility to work when they want, how they want, earn as much or as little as they want.   But they need help as far as some of that, some of that the learning that they get from a company or some of the benefits like he mentioned, like health, everything from health insurance to life, disability, all of that stuff. So there's a challenge right now and there's a number of ways to solve it. His company Careergig is solving it in one way but there's some growing needs and opportunities.   Principles To Be Guided By In Order To Be Really Agile   Me: Based on your experience, because as you said, it's a theme and you've definitely found a way to position yourself as a subject matter expert in the area, ensuring that you have a podcast and then these different books that support the whole agile mindset. Could you maybe share with us based on your experience and your exposure around this topic maybe two or three principles that businesses must be guided by in order to be really agile? Or if they're just starting on this agile journey, what are two or three things that they need to really consider?   Greg shared that he thinks a big one is that agility is something that needs to be embraced company wide.   So we've seen agile really has its roots in manufacturing and software development, so we see a lot of most software development teams are using agile, you might hear things about Sprint's and Scrum masters and things like that.   There's a very formal agile methodology that teams like that are using, he uses agile in a broader sense of the term really, because some of those things apply a little bit less directly to other areas.   But in order for a company to be agile, everybody's got to be bought into it. And that's top down, that's leaders embracing new ways of doing things, that's areas of companies that traditionally have not been as agile, whether that's formal agile, or big ‘A’ agile or small ‘a’ agile as some people say.   HR departments, for instance, not traditionally the most agile and for good reason, they're taught to be very compliance focused and there's certain things that they need to always keep an eye on, but it's got to be company wide. So, that's definitely the first thing is just leaders need to embrace it and make sure that the entire company is adopting it.   He thinks the other part of this, and he goes into more depth in his book and it's kind of a theme of most of his books and writing is there needs to be more focus on individuals and individual needs.   And when you do that, it might sound counterproductive because the companies and the shareholders need to get their value but he believes there's a win-win when companies focus on making sure that individuals are happy, motivated, taking care of, that the companies reap huge benefits.   When an employee's more motivated, they are more open to change, they're more open to add activity, all of those types of things. So, it's sort of the inverse of the first point is like it's got to start top down from leaders really driving the change, but the change has to be driven almost thinking from the bottom up of what is it going to take for each individual to be more empowered and have more of what they need? And then they're going to be loyal, they're going to do what they can to support the company, if you think like that.   Digital Experience the New Normal or Face to Face Experience   Me: As it relates to digital experience, basically, we're in this space now, where everybody is pretty much online. If you're not online, I suppose you're missing out. People definitely have moved their businesses or some parts of their business to online, how do you think we're going to adjust after hopefully, things go back to what we used to think was normal in terms of that digital space, will that trend continue? Or do you think people would want to return back to more face to face kind of experiences?   Greg stated that there's always a desire, there's nostalgia. Everyone he thinks wants to return to some kind of things that they got used to, and everything like that. And in many cases, there are certain kinds of businesses, restaurants, hotels, all those things where you really can't recreate some of those experiences online, much as delivery as had a lot of support from restaurants for instance. But he does think that there has been enough time gone by just with the pandemic and things are not quite over yet. There's positive signs of progress and everything like that, but there's enough time has passed where real habits have been formed. So, if this was a 30-day thing, then people tend to go back to some sort of status or whatever. But months and months have gone by in which habits have been formed, new ways, brains have been rewired, let's just say for neuro scientist or whatever, but it's like new patterns in our brains have been created, let's just put it that way where Zoom is like a normal thing, as opposed to kind of an awkward like, “Oh, we can't get everybody in the conference room,” like Zoom meetings are now normal and stuff like that.   So, he thinks where possible, there is going to be a return to that. But he thinks the positive side of all of this, we've learned to do things a lot more efficiently in many ways. He personally spent hours and hours driving to meetings and doing all sorts of things when he had local things at least, spending all that time travelling where now, he gets on a Zoom call and it's easier and you learn how to connect with people in a different way, it's certainly different. But he thinks that we can embrace some of the efficiencies that we've learned how to do and he thinks it's forced technology to become better.   And it was inevitable that it was going to happen but all these tools that we use, it's forced some other things, some innovation in other areas that we're just kind of lagging. So, to answer the question, it's a mix and some things will go back, but he thinks some things may not and maybe that's for the better.   App, Website or Tool that Greg Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business   When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Greg shared that he thinks it comes down to from a business standpoint, he thinks it just comes down to analytics and having a good way to measure and get feedback. So, if he were to choose one, that might be a little bit tough, but his company, it's an online platform. And so, using tools like Google Analytics and their CRM and stuff like that, they just couldn't, they are completely dependent on the feedback that they get from their customers. And because part of their customer base is really a volume base, they can't simply talk to a statistically significant sample on a regular basis. So, really relying on those analytics helps them make a better product and a better company.   Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Greg   When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Greg shared that one that immediately comes to mind is, it's called The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and by Ben Horowitz. And Careergig is not his first company that he started, but it's his first start-up, so product based company. And just some of the stories, he thinks the idea that there isn't a prescriptive set of guidance for every single problem that a leader is going to face.   And so, just kind of embracing that kind of like what he was saying earlier of like, you've got to just embrace being uncomfortable and it doesn't mean you have to love it, he doesn't think anyone loves being uncomfortable, but you have to be comfortable with that idea that if you're not uncomfortable, then there might be other problems going on, it's not just a relief. So, he thought that was a refreshing take.    What Greg is Really Excited About Now!    Greg shared that he has always got another book in the works. So, The Agile Workforce is actually his seventh book. And so, he just kind of set a personal goal to finish one a year, it keeps him learning. It's actually one of the biggest ways that he himself learn is just doing research for his own writing and it forces him to talk to people in targeted conversations and stuff like that. So, he just released another book, but he’s already on to the next one, which is going to focus a lot more on leadership's role and agility and things like that. So, he has talked with a number of leaders of large organizations already, interviewed them for his podcast, other things like that, and going to be compiling things into another book. And hopefully, maybe in a year's time he can join the show again and share.    Where Can We Find Greg Online   LinkedIn – Greg Kihlström   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Greg Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Greg shared that he does and he doesn’t know who it can be attributed to, but it's probably gotten him out of trouble. And it's a hypothetical, because you never know what the other side of the decision is. But it's, “Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.”   And so, he often refers to that and tell his employees or partners or whatever to think on that. And sometimes you still go out and do it and sometimes you don't, but it's something to consider.   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 Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz The Agile Workforce: Automation, Decentralization, and Their Role in the Future Workforce by Greg Kihlström The Agile World Podcast with Greg Kihlström   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!
Kris Rudeegraap is the co-founder and CEO of Sendoso, the leading Sending Platform. Kris has more than a decade of sales experience and has spent time at Talkdesk, Yapstone, and Piqora. During that time, he discovered that creating meaningful engagement through direct mail and gifting was an effective way to drive demand and increase sales - which helped inspire the idea for Sendoso. Kris is a California native and CSU-Chico alum currently residing in the Bay Area.   Questions   Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, a little bit about who you are, tell us what a leading Sending Platform is? What's that all about? And just how you got to where you are today? Could you share with us just based on your experience, and also your business as an entrepreneur and a leader, what are maybe one, two or three things that you think salespeople need to do to retain their customers? What are maybe one or two things you think that somebody could do to enhance or build on that skill? How can you build on being more empathetic as a human? Could you give us maybe some recommendations as how companies can leverage more collaboration software and use it to their advantage? And how can employees be open to adapt to this and be able to succeed, especially with something that they are not very comfortable with? How as a leader in all of these that's happening, can you ensure that your team is thinking creatively? They're thinking outside of the box? How do you get to inspire them, especially when you're not in the same physical space with them? How can you really get them motivated and pumped up that they are excited to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions to make the business move forward? 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? 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 you read a very long time ago, but it still has an impact on you today? Can you share with us maybe what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now - either something you're working on to develop yourself or your people? Could you tell our listeners where they can 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 kind of gets you back on track. If you get derailed at any point in time. Do you have one of those?   Highlights   Kris’ Journey   Kris shared that before starting Sendoso, he spent about 10 years in software sales in San Francisco. And so, he was really trying to break into new accounts, send emails to prospects, and really saw that there was a lot of digital noise and email was a hard channel to be super personalized.   And so, that's really where he decided to start sending out handwritten notes and he'd send little gifts, he'd send little packages with like company swag and all that stuff was really great, it was just super hard to do and very manual and very time consuming.   And so, he dreamed up this idea of a sending platform where you can click and send a button inside of tools like Salesforce or HubSpot or other tools. And then behind the scenes, it would do all the fulfillment and all the hard work for him.   And so that was the original idea and that's what inspired him to start Sendoso about 5 years ago, and really a sending platform is a couple components. One is it allows you to send out really anything and everything, corporate gifts, their direct mail, their company swag, there could be flowers, cookies, ice cream, gift cards, digital experiences, you name it, they can send it. There's also team management and budgets, there's integrations, there's fulfillment all under one platform.   Me: Sounds good. So a big part of what Sendoso does are, what you do is sales?    Kris shared that sales, that's how he got started and a lot of their customers are using them for sales. But they also have a good amount of companies using them for post sales. So customer service, customer success, marketing, and even HR too.   Tips on How Salespeople Can Retain Their Customers   Me: So what I like to find out from you is could you share with us just based on your experience, and also your business as an entrepreneur and a leader. What are maybe one, two or three things that you think salespeople need to do to retain their customers? So I know sales is about getting new customers, but how do you ensure that you retain your existing customers? How do you have that relationship, the customer relationship management component? Maybe what are two or three things that you think is critical based on your experience?   Kris shared that he'd say one is really being human and building rapport and think about it as not a business to business, but a business to a human and how do you build that relationship. Two is really just getting creative with how you engage folks. So not just using email, but using other means to build that relationship. And he thinks the third is really leading with empathy and putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes, and really encouraging authenticity and really understanding what the buyer really needs.    How to Build on Being More Empathetic as a Human   Me: Okay, so those are three really good points. Now, let's say for example, you're dealing with sales reps that don't know how to exercise empathy. So as a Customer Service Trainer, I have found based on research and experience that empathy is not one of those skills that you learn when you're growing up, it's really a skill that you develop as you get older, as you get to understand yourself, as you get to understand emotions in other people. But some people just still are not able to exercise empathy to its fullest extent. What are maybe one or two things you think that somebody could do to enhance or build on that skill? How can you build on being more empathetic as a human?   Kris shared that he would say one is finding training and learning courses, so going out of your way to find ways that you can really learn about how to be more empathetic and kind of study and learn and kind of take what you've learned and start practicing that. He'd say that's the first thing is really going out of your way to learn more. And then he thinks the second is, people might not be as empathetic in business, he thinks a lot of people are naturally maybe empathetic in their home life and maybe understanding what are those key things you're doing in kind of your home, non-work life that could be empathetic, and how could you translate that into more business like environments.   Me: That's a good one. Because it's the same skill, same behaviour, you're exercising in a personal environment so you need to just transfer that into a professional environment so that you can really understand where the other person is coming from.   How Companies Can Leverage and Adapt Collaboration Software And Use it to Their Advantage    Me: So a big part of customer experience also is understanding that we're in this space now where we have to be pivoting, I think that was a big word for 2020 and it's definitely come over into 2021. And just being able to be flexible using the different technologies that exist out there to serve our customers. Agility is also something that a lot of organizations are looking to do with their teams. So could you give us maybe some recommendations as how companies can leverage more collaboration software and use it to their advantage? And how can employees be open to adapt to this and be able to succeed, especially with something that they are not very comfortable with?   Kris stated that he thinks that to Yanique’s point, one is taking the time to really time block on your calendar to learn more. We live in a world where people work, and maybe don't do enough in terms of like education or re-education, so he'd say purposefully putting time on your calendar for learning and development is key. And being cognizant of that, say, “Hey, next week, I'm going to block two hours, and I'm going to learn this or I'm going to practice using this software,” which might sound like how do you have enough time to do that, but he thinks it's taking that time, it's almost like taking a step sideways to take 10 steps forward, versus kind of always being in an environment where you feel behind. So, he would say that is one scenario. He'd say two is just maybe, depending on your level of leadership, really just the culture of the company, or the executives can be really driving this agility and so, he thinks it starts at the top. And really, if you can demonstrate agility at the top and really make that a key part of your company culture, it can really benefit everybody.   How To Inspire Your Team to Think Creatively   Me: Leadership is very important, I'm glad you touched on that just now in terms of getting people to really step up to the plate. So you have these teams and even though they're working from home, I've heard so many complaints where people complain that they're just exhausted, they're burnt out, literally, just between family, depending on what age the kids are, and then just keeping the home in order, and then being on all of these Zooms and Microsoft Team meetings constantly at your computer. But then outside of those meetings, you have the actual work to get done and it's just a lot.   How as a leader in all of these that's happening, can you ensure that your team is thinking creatively? They're thinking outside of the box? How do you get to inspire them, especially when you're not in the same physical space with them? How can you really get them motivated and pumped up that they are excited to come up with new ideas and innovative solutions to make the business move forward?   Kris shared that one thing that comes to mind is making sure that you are upfront about a flexible work life balance and right now it's harder than ever to be flexible, because you kind of live and work in the same room, so to speak. And so, he thinks it's purposefully making sure people are stepping away, even if it's just a staycation and you're staying home, you just put your laptop away. So, they really try to inspire that, they even have a twice a year employee bonus that if you take a vacation or a staycation, they'll give a $500 bonus each time to spend on that and so they're kind of paying their employees to take breaks and keep that flexible work life balance. And so, he thinks that's one area, making sure you keep your work life balance strong so that it really keeps your mental state in a really good place. Two, he'd say is like, how do you get creative or have more fun with some of your Zoom meetings and so, they've incorporate things like Zoom wine tasting events, or they've done like dinner making class over zoom and so they bring in special guests to some of these Zooms, and maybe change it up a little bit so it feels a little bit more unique, and adds a little bit of flair. So he thinks that's an interesting way.   And then there's other ways as it relates to just helping getting people out of their comfort zone, and maybe connecting people with other teams. So they've tried to institute more of like cross team collaboration or getting people involved in kind of mini, what they call tiger teams, or project teams, they kind of are taken away from maybe their normal day to day and exposed to new parts of the business where maybe they can bring their new level of creativity.   Me: That's really amazing. So I like the idea of dinner, what was the suggestion, you bring in a special guest and that person would prepare dinner and everybody kind of follows along?   Kris confirmed and stated that they've done like a special checked guest that comes in. They did one where was like a cheese making class, there's a wine tasting event where you could wine taste virtually. So it makes some of these Zoom meetings just a bit more exciting.   Me: So do you do that in the middle of the day? Or is that an additional Zoom meeting that is tacked on to the end of their day?   Kris stated that it could be both, he thinks for the wine tasting one, they typically would want that to be more like a 3:00 pm or 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm. And so, it's typically still during business hours, but it just says, “Hey, have some fun with this and kind of meet more of your team and have a have some fun.” But some other ones could happen during the day too as well. And it's more of a way to kind of think creatively versus just be in the same exact kind of Zoom fatigue.   Me: Yeah, I agreed. That's really cool, very creative, very innovative, and it does stimulate a different parts of the brain, which will definitely help them to not feel like they're doing the same thing over and over and it gets mundane. And just as you said don't feel motivated.   App, Website or Tool that Kris Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business   When asked about an online resource that he can’t live without in his business, Kris shared that from a collaboration perspective, Slack, it just like keeps them all collaborating, that is probably the one they couldn't live without. One that he really loves is an app called Feedly, and it basically brings together hundreds of different blogs into one app that he enjoys reading. And it's a great way for him to stay creative and really be immersed in a lot of different contexts of ideas. And he typically wakes up and do some reading in that app and then he'll typically go to bed and do some reading in it. And it just gives him new perspectives across a myriad of different topics.    Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Kris   Kris shared that he’s a huge podcast listener and actually give him the biggest inspiration and impact. And so, he’s all in on podcasts and a couple podcasts that he’s just obsessed with. So he'd probably say he listens to podcasts, maybe daily, he would read books maybe a few times a year, so he’s much more engaged with podcasts and a couple that he loves, one's called Dare to Lead with Brene¢ Brown and another is called Acquired, another is called Follow Your Different and then a classic, another one, How I Built This.   Me: Oh, nice. May I ask what kind of topics they discuss predominantly on those podcasts? Are they more like self development podcasts? Or are they business podcasts?   Kris stated that he would say a bit of both, part of them are business related, but also, they also include talking to founders at times too, which gives you kind of personal inspiration as well. So he thinks it's part personal inspiration, part business, and then part just kind of interesting topics.    What Kris is Really Excited About Now!   Kris shared that one thing that he’s doing that is, now that they have close to 400 employees now. One of the things he’s doing is just random meetings with employees, and he created this new Slack channel called Ask Kris Anything and then he meets with 3 to 5 random employees each week. And so, that's something that he’s doing just so that he can really understand how they're scaling the business and learn from everybody. And so, that's been something that he has been doing recently that he’s really excited to continue.   Where Can We Find Kris Online   LinkedIn – Kris Rudeegraap Website – www.sendoso.com Email – kris@sendoso.com   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Kris Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that helps him get back track, Kris shared that he would say that the one that comes to mind that he remember the end that he thinks about often is, “Entrepreneurs spend a few years of their life like most people won't, so they can spend the rest of their life like most people can't.” And so, he thinks it kind of hints on that like there's tough times for an entrepreneur, but if you make it, your life will be changed forever. And so, that's one of his favourite quotes. The other one he thinks is a popular quote by Wayne Gretzky is, “You miss every shot you don't take.” And he lives by that too, you got to take risks, you got to challenge yourself, you got to do stuff and get out there. And so, that's also an inspiring quote for him too.   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   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!
Mark Smith is the President of Kitewheel. With over 20 years of global experience in Marketing Applications and Analytical CRM, Mark is a leader in building, growing and managing successful companies. Currently in “innovation mode” as the President of Kitewheel, Mark is focused on helping marketing agencies deliver better customer engagement through solutions that unify the “logic” layer of today’s customer-facing technology for their large brand clients.   Mark’s journey into customer behaviour and experience started early in his career. Shortly after achieving his Ph.D. in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Edinburgh, Mark founded Quadstone – the first data mining company to focus explicitly on the analytics of customer behaviour. In the years that followed, Mark moved to Boston to build the US business and oversaw revolutionary analytic progress at clients including T-Mobile, Dell, Merrill Lynch and Fidelity. His leadership role expanded to global sale, marketing and product teams that led to a series of 3 successful M&A transactions over the last 10 years.    Questions   Mark can you share a little bit about your journey? How you got to where you are today, what is Kitewheel and what do they do? What are some key performance indicators that you would need to watch in the business as it relates to the data analytics in order to ensure that you can predict behaviour or at least nudge them as you had suggested on what they would need to do next or what they would need to be reminded of. We hear a lot also about an Omni-channel experience. An Omni-channel means that everything is connected, as you were suggesting just now. Could you give us an example of a company that you know, whether maybe you've worked with as a service provider, or a company that you are a customer of theirs? And maybe they haven't mastered it, they've come very close to mastering an Omni-channel experience? Who should own customer experience in a company? Could you share with us if you have a website, app, tool, anything that you absolutely can't live without in your business? What's the one thing that you use in your business that you can't live without? It could be a tool, it could be a website, it could be an app. Could you share with us maybe one or two books that have had biggest impact on you? It could be a book that you read a very long time ago, or maybe even one you read recently, but it still has had a great impact on you. Could you share with us maybe one thing that you're working on in your life right now, something that you're really excited about? It could be something you're working on to develop yourself or your people. Where can listeners find you online if they wanted to connect with you even more? Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge you'll tend to revert to this quote or saying, it kind of helps to refocus you or just get you back on that path to whatever goal you are working on originally.   Highlights   Mark’s Journey   Mark shared that he’s the President of Kitewheel, they are a company that helps deliver great experiences to the customers of typically large organizations, by helping them manage the journeys that their customers are on. He has been doing this for a long time now, over 20 years he has been helping organizations understand the behaviour of customers from a kind of an analytic perspective. And at Kitewheel, they've kind of tuned that and moved more into the orchestration area, as they call it, which is helping businesses actually make a difference to the customer by changing the process, and helping the customer along their journey, so that they have the best possible experience.   Me: So customer journey mapping and customer orchestration. Those are kind of big terminologies in the customer experience space, for those members of our audience that may not necessarily know what that entails, could you break down for us what that is in the simplest possible terms, maybe give us an example of what it means to a business to understand that process?   Mark shared that journey mapping is certainly something that's been around for quite some time in the customer experience area, that the whole process of designing out the steps that a customer goes through on their journey, journey has become very popular, particularly the last few years, because organizations see it as a way managing that journey, is a way of kind of being somewhat in control of the experience and try and allows the business to do the best possible job of delivering a great experience. And so organizations are trying to understand so what is the journey?   And what ways do customers interact with my business? Which channels do they use? What things do they look for on different channels? And when do they use them? And what order did they do things?   Too many businesses are very kind of focused on things from their perspective. And they would like customers to do things in a certain order, but it's all really about the customer, and they do things their way. And different customers do things in different ways and so they're often on different journeys, and organizations trying to map those out.   What Kitewheel is focused on is actually using the data inside organizations to do what they call journey analytics. So not just theoretically, what do we think the customer journey is, but actually using the data from all these digital tools that we now have, and all these channels systems that record everything that happens, let's take those and start to analyze what's the real journey that the customers are on and let's visualize that so that the business can really understand not just what they think the customers doing or not just what the customers say they're doing through feedback surveys. But actually, what are they doing in terms of real behaviour.   Let's look at that. And that's journey analytics. And that journey analytics then gives you a frame, once you can see what the customers are really doing and you understand what makes them happy and or unhappy, then you can start to orchestrate, which is the process of actually changing things for the customer, helping them along their journey, nudging them this way, nudging them that way, reminding them of something they need to do. And that all helps them get to their end goal of getting a question answered, getting a customer service issue dealt with, buying a product, whatever it may be. If we can help get them there more smoothly, quickly, easily, the customer is going to regard that as a great experience and be very happy.   Key Performance Indicators in the Business to Predict Behaviour on What to Do Next   Me: What are some key performance indicators that you would need to watch the business as it relates to the data analytics in order to ensure that you can predict behaviour or at least nudge them as you had suggested on what they would need to do next or what they would need to be reminded of.   Mark shared that that's a great point. And what the organizations often have to do here is develop a small number of new performance indicators that are connected to journeys.   Lots of businesses today, they track things by channel or by product or by business unit and they know how many people visit the website, they know how many people open emails, they know how many people call the call centre, they know how many people say they're a net promoter and how many people complain. But few organizations have tied all of that together to understand it as a connected experience and understand it as a journey.   And the key new metrics that need to be developed are how many customers are going down different journeys and what is the overall satisfaction of customers who go down these different experiences.   And the data is all there, it's just a matter of connecting it together so you could see it as a connected journey. And then say, customers would go down this journey, they're much happier than customers who go down this different journey, let's align the right customers with the right journey.   Today, most companies can only control those things, channel by channel, or activity by activity, interaction by interaction. And the best results come from moving on to a connected experience of lots of interactions or across lots of channels.   Mastering the Omni-Channel Experience   Me: We hear a lot also about an Omni-Channel experience. An Omni-Channel means that everything is connected, as you were suggesting just now. Could you give us an example of a company that you know, whether maybe you've worked with as a service provider, or a company that you are a customer of theirs? And maybe they haven't mastered it, they've come very close to mastering an Omni-Channel experience?   Mark shared that the Omni-Channel concept, it's supposed to mean, all channels, all possible channels. The idea being that we as customers can make any choice we want, we as customers can one day go online to get a product, another day walk into a store, another day phone up, shouldn't really matter, we should get the same level of experience, have access to the same products regardless of where we choose, or how we choose to do business.   And the great companies are able to connect those channels together so that it's seamless. And no matter what the customer chooses, as they move from potentially one channel to another, it's a seamless experience for them, that's what we all would regard as a great experience that if he’s on the website looking at something, can't find an answer to his question, so he calls for help, it's always great when your call goes through the customer service person talking to you knows why you're there. And you can say, you’re calling because of a problem with your bill, because those channels have been connected and they know that he was just on the website with a billing problem, and therefore can help him instantly with that problem.   And so, that ability to connect those channels is where the kind of leading organizations are going, he had a great expert, you asked me for a specific example.   And he had a great experience just recently, he and his wife bought some new furniture from a company called Floyd who are an American manufacturer based in Detroit. And like everybody these days, like most people these days, they bought their furniture online, sitting at home, because they can't go anywhere. And they've done a fantastic job of making that a super kind of connected, highly branded experience. So, they half did the order on a mobile phone and then moved to a laptop.   But that went through, they instantly got confirmation and they got handed to a shipping company and actually there was something that had to be made and then handed to a shipping company. But that was completely seamless, they had communications coming from both the shippers as well as the manufacturer. But they were totally connected, each one knew what the other one was doing. And they gave them advance notice of when the delivery was going to be arrived exactly on time. They then phoned to check it was all correct, send them a survey following it. Just everything works so smoothly, despite the fact that they were two different companies involved and like four different channels. And when those things work well like that, what happens? You tell everybody about it, and that's what we're all looking for. We all want businesses promoted by advocates who think we do a great job. And here he is, doing exactly that because it was a great experience.    Who Should Own Customer Experience in a Company   Me: So we are in that era now, as you said, people are way more aware of customer experience, there's clearly a lot more attention given to it. A lot of organizations maybe 10, 15 years ago that never used to allocate a budget towards customer experience definitely by force, the customer has forced them to realize the direct correlation between having customers and their bottom line, they certainly realize that they need to give some emphasis to customer experience. But who should own customer experience in a company?   Mark stated that this is a great question. And it really has changed dramatically, just in the last one or two years. Because he thinks it's raised up significantly who owns customer experience, certainly, in the forward thinking businesses, the ones that are approaching customer experience the right way, they have realized that it's suddenly become this huge differentiator for the business from the competition.   In the old days, customer experience was seen as more a lower level thing in the business, it was a problem solving issue resolution thing, it was like the customer complaints department.   And now, the real forward thinking organization see it, “No, customer experience is actually about the whole business, in a way, it's what our brand is, this is the core message we give out to the market is the kind of experience we deliver.” And it's the number one thing people look for to differentiate one company from another. So it has to span the whole business.   And so, we see a lot of big CX initiatives now lead from the board level, real C level executives, and more and more companies are hiring Chief Experience Officers or Chief Customer Officers, who are going to take this customer centric view and drive experience as a connected thing across the typical three big divisions of sales, marketing, and service.   And oftentimes, customer experience was just in the service department but he thinks the real thinkers are bringing it up to be across all of them because every one of those communications, whether it comes from marketing, or customer service, or loyalty, or wherever, they're all part of the experience that the business delivers. So connecting them requires a top level very senior person to really lead this new generation of CX initiative.   Me: Amazing, thank you so much for sharing Mark. I did a training session earlier today with a financial organization. I'm here in Jamaica, actually. Are you in the States or in the UK?   Mark shared that he is in the States. He lives just outside Boston but his accent does come from the UK originally.   Me: Yes, it's still very strong. So one of the things that came up in the training session earlier today, and it's actually a great pet peeve of mine is sales and customer service, I strongly believe work hand in hand. And I find that a lot of companies that have sales representatives, they're extremely eager and enthusiastic and just on it to get the business, that first sale, but then to get me to buy again, or to follow up to ensure that I'm okay with the product or the service, whatever it may be, whether it's tangible or intangible, that's where they fail. Is it something that needs to be psychological from a sales perspective for it to be merged with customer experience that they don't just look on it as a one-time sale. I get it, you have a target, you need to earn X amount of dollars per month. But those customers that you signed on in November 2020, have you even reached out to them since the year started? Where do we close that gap? Or how do we close that gap?   Mark stated that that's a great example of that sort of systematic systemic problems that organizations have to do this kind of customer experience delivery right and that's the sort of silos, the organizational silos that exist in so many businesses, driven by management structures, team structures, and sadly, often incentive structures that really govern what people do, what your teams do, the lifeblood of the company, the people, what they actually do, if those are not connected and everybody from the top down is focused on the experience goal, then you'll get this kind of situation. And that's why you need a top level leader around these initiatives to make sure that the organization lines up. It's funny he often thinks that the real challenge these days of getting these stuff right is not technology anymore, it's not data, it's the organization actually doing the right things and behaving the right way. And so, if your sales team is totally incented, and motivated around just getting the deal in and then they hand it on to somebody else to look after that customer, then they're only going to care about it up to that point. And if their incentives and their commission is purely based on that, then that's where it stops, and they move on to the next thing.   Now, that can work if you've got a good customer success group who picks up the customer and their job is making sure that customer’s happy and they pick up. That's what actually what they do at Kitewheel is a nice handoff between the sales team who bring the customer up to the point of becoming one of their customers and then their customer success group picks them up and they're responsible for every week, every month, making sure that customer’s happy and successful. And ultimately, in two years-time, three years-time would renew and stay with them. And as long as there's a connection and the handoff happens, and you've got people caring about both sides, that can work. The problem is when there isn't anybody to hand it to, they’re just sales are being done and immature businesses can often be like this, they've just bring sales in, but no one picks them up. And it seems like no one cares about you. We've all experienced that, you buy a product and then it feels like no one's interested in you anymore, they've got your money, and you're on your own kind of thing.   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, Marks shared that for his business today, it would almost certainly be Zoom. They have suddenly moved a year ago now almost, to be in a virtual business, no one goes in the office anymore, everybody works from home, he used to travel almost every week to visit customers. And now he has been sitting in the same room for the last 12 months doing everything virtual. So if they didn't have these tools, it's not always Zoom, many customers use Microsoft Teams or WebEx. But those online collaboration environments is undoubtedly the most important tool in his life right now to keep the contact going. Keep connected with the customer, make sure they're happy.   Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Mark    When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Mark shared that an interesting question. The best recent book he read actually just literally a few weeks ago, he read Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, which is a great business book. It's like he's gone through all the things that he (Mark) has gone through running a company over the last 20 years. And just full of great kind of down to earth advice on how to handle difficult situations and lots of stories about how this sort of thing happens all the time, it's always difficult, there's always completely unknown things that come around the corner that you need to be able to adapt and handle. So, he really enjoyed that read a few weeks ago.  And then the other classic business book that he read a long time ago was Geoffrey Moore's Crossing the Chasm, which is all about how you go from early kind of inventive ideas to more mainstream business. And he feels like that's where the customer experience world is at the moment, it's gone from early stage stuff to suddenly, it’s like every company out there is suddenly interested in customer experience. And we're definitely going through that kind of transition right now.   Me: I think COVID has actually brought it to the forefront even more, that has been my experience here in Jamaica for sure. They're more sensitive, and they pay more attention to the quality of the experience that they've gotten and I don't know if it's because safety has been like the new buzzword, how safe do you make me feel if I have to come into your environment and that a lot of times falls on how to services delivered. Something as simple, which has nothing to do with the product or service that you deliver but something as simple as when you actually arrive at a client's location and they are taking your temperature and spraying you, sometimes they're spraying it with things that you're not aware of. And nobody is actually saying to you, may I please sanitize your hands, and the liquid that we're using for the sanitation is alcohol mixed with lemongrass oil, or whatever concoction they've put in a bottle, but I think it is courteous, you should exercise courtesy and tell the customer what you are sanitizing their hand with.   Mark agreed and shared that Yanique made a really interesting point. And one of the things that worries him about the whole pandemic is we're being moved all this digital sort of human less contact mechanisms and people are going to forget about how to actually interact with each other, those kind of situations where people don't talk to you anymore, maybe because they're a bit scared because this situation is scary. But he knows exactly what you mean about that kind of personal interaction thing. But he also thinks this COVID, it has totally changed the business world as well and it is driving this interesting customer experience, because for so many businesses, their customers have totally changed how they experienced that business. All of a sudden all of our customers are also at home, like we are, and also having to do things on new channels, on more digital channels and that's a whole different experience for a lot of people. And so, the smart companies are suddenly focusing on, “We better investigate this area and do the best we can to make this experience for the customers a good experience.”    What Mark is Really Excited About Now!    Mark shared that Kitewheel has been around about 8 years and their business has been very focused on very large organizations who have been the sort of real leaders in this customer experience space and the first ones to move into, try and manage journeys better, and connect their channels and use all their data and so on. And the thing they’re working on and kind of launching in just a few weeks time, is how they bring those same things, the things that the big guys have been pioneering? How do they bring that to everyone?   How can they package that up, and make this sort of a journey approach, accessible to a lot more companies, a lot more businesses by essentially simplifying it and packaging it up so that everyone can kind of benefit from those, the early work of the kind of pioneers.   And that's very exciting. And it's a sort of reaction to get so many people asking them for that. They don't necessarily have a big army of internal developers to do things themselves but they'd still like to start taking this more customer experience centric approach to things. So, that's their big initiative that they're working on this year, and in fact, launching in a couple of weeks.   Where Can We Find Mark Online   Website – www.kitewheel.com Email – msmith@kitewheel.com LinkedIn – Mark Smith   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Mark Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Mark shared that he has a lots of those, he’s well known for having lots of quotes for different things. One of the mottos of the business, actually, they have a motto which is, “Work hard and be nice to people.” They have a poster that hangs in the office. No one sees it anymore but it does hang in the office. But he grew up in Scotland and there's a great there's matching quote from Scotland which is that, “Hard work never killed anybody.” And that would be his quote for when times are tough, you should remember that hard work never killed anybody, which is an old Scottish expression.   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 Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz   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!
JP Clement is the CEO of boomtime. He has over 30 years of experience in marketing, digital strategy and product management for companies ranging from startups to global brands such as Madison Square Garden, General Mills, DFS Group Ltd, Johnson & Johnson and National Geographic. JP has worked for and helped companies in both B2C and B2B sectors, and founded three digital strategy and marketing agencies after working for many years on the corporate side of marketing. JP’s passions are analytics, digital products and creating the right strategy at the right time for the right audience.   Questions   Could you share with us just a little bit about your journey, your history, how it is that you got to where you are today? A lot of people are looking at new and creative ways to target new customers or to retarget existing customers, and you're in that marketing sphere, or in that marketing space? So could you maybe share a one or two things that has led to your success, or maybe just trends that you observed regarding marketing, based on what's happening globally? And what would you recommend persons should be doing if they're not doing it already? How can they use LinkedIn to drive new business? Could you share with us what tool, website or app that you use in your business that you absolutely cannot live without? Do you have maybe one or two books that you have read, either currently, or in the past that has had a very, very big impact on you? Could you share with us if you have something that's going on in your life right now, it could be something that you're really excited about? But is it something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people? Where can listeners find you online? Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of helps to get you refocused or rechannell you into what it is that you're trying to accomplish.   Highlights   JP’s Journey   JP shared that he has always thought that marketing was kind of his calling just because the other choices were too boring and didn't really fit his personality. So he has been doing marketing, as mentioned, for a very long time. He went to college in Paris, France, as you can tell by his accent, and ended up in business school in the US specializing marketing, and then started his journey in marketing a long time ago in the US and he has stayed in the US since. And his marketing journey has taken him many, many different places, he thinks, without bragging, he has probably done every type of marketing by various to do, he started obviously, in traditional marketing, doing couple of things that you could do back in the days with traditional marketing.   He did consumer packaged goods marketing at the beginning of his career, then he moved into direct marketing, database marketing and catalogue marketing. And then he went to the internet side of things in 1998, so quite a while ago when people were still trying to figure out how to do marketing on the internet in a digital space. And he has been doing within digital marketing, probably every type of marketing, by various tools that you can think about. So, anywhere from influencer marketing to word of mouth marketing, to email marketing, and he can go on and on and on and on.   But in the past 10 years, he has basically worked on the agency side, actually, more than 10 years ago, about 14 years now. And before that, he worked on what we would call the client side, and employed a lot of marketing agencies. And when he was moved to the agency side of things, he was always kind of fascinated and curious about how he could make this marketing agency model work better for agencies. He’s very curious by nature, and he always like to figure out how to make things a little bit better, or significantly better. And he thought that marketing agencies were very inefficient, and very hard to scale. And so for about 10 years, he thought about really hard about how to do that. And he came up with some ideas but he started putting in place in 2018, so a couple years ago, and then he came across boomtime and really liked the way they were thinking about the scaling of marketing and it so ended up that the CEO of boomtime was moving on to another venture and needed to replace himself and hired him. So that's kind of where he is, why he is where he is today.   Me: Okay, awesome. That sounds really good, exciting journey. Thank you for sharing that JP. So we're pretty much still going through a pandemic. Where are you located exactly? You said you're in the US.   JP shared that they are in a beautiful and very empty New Mexico. He asked if Yanique was in Jamaica, to which she confirmed. He stated that the US is a big place, it basically touches Arizona, and it’s southwest. They have a border with Mexico but they're in New Mexico. And it's a very empty state. And they've been very impacted by the crisis, but their business was remote before the pandemic hits. And so, they've been actually as a business doing very well and they're very grateful for that.    Trends That Led to Your Success Regarding Marketing and Recommendations   JP stated that just to give a little bit of context, boomtime, they specialize in B2B businesses, so they're helping businesses that sell to other businesses, that's kind of their sweet spot, if you want to call it that. So, those businesses were especially hard hit by the pandemic, because the way they used to market themselves or sell was either on a one to one basis, by visiting offices, or companies or things like that, or by going to trade shows and conferences.   And when the pandemic shut down all these conferences, all of these trade shows, all these places where they would typically do their marketing as a business, their sales, these businesses which tend to be a little bit more conservative in terms of their marketing approaches, were really caught unaware.   And so, they (boomtime) have been doing really well as a business, because they have been able to reach out to all these businesses and show them the value of digital marketing in an age where face to face, in person meetings and trade shows, and conferences, as he mentioned, could not have happened any longer. So they've been doing really well that way.   So you're asking for pointers, but and this is one of them, you can do a lot of your marketing in a digital space without having to go into conferences and trade shows and those gigantic centres where people could aggregate and share germs and viruses.   And so, the digital marketing space is amazing for that, there's all kinds of tools and techniques that you can use that basically create the same amount of leads that you would generate at a trade show at a very reduced price, without the risk of getting infected by COVID-19 on top of it. And also, the beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure pretty much every single thing that that you do, which is not something that you can say of trade shows for instance, or conferences. They typically ask their clients, or prospective clients, what was your ROI on your trade shows? And they don't have an answer, because they never they say, “Okay, this is a place we have to be so we're going to buy our booth, we're going to send people there, and we're going to pay for all of that.” And then that's it, that was always seen as a cost centre and not really as an investment. When they look at digital marketing, they think of it as an investment, and they can prove to them that the return on investment on what they're going to be doing for them is much higher than they could ever expect from more traditional ways of doing marketing.   So, he’s throwing a lot of things at audience. But, they do a lot of education and they talk about how digital marketing can work for B2B businesses, how it can work actually better in this strange world that we live in today, and how they can achieve their sales and marketing goals through digital marketing in a very efficient and high return way.    How To Use LinkedIn to Drive New Business   Me: How can they use LinkedIn? They've heard a little bit about what you've stated as it relates to using digital marketing, there are lots of tools out there that can get your message across to your customers, especially in this space. But how do you use LinkedIn to get new business?   I have people sliding into my DMs sending me random messages about things that I'm not interested in, like, do I want to buy a cryptocurrency? And if I'm interested in stocks and trading, and that's not really my area of interest, so you know, just delete them every time I see them, and they're clearly looking sales.   But you really want to get people who are for your business, people who actually have the same interests, have a need for whatever service or product you're trying to solicit. But not just trying to slide into everyone anyone's DM and just become annoying.   So how can they use LinkedIn to drive new business?   JP shared that that question actually falls squarely into what they do a lot of and what they do the most of probably as an Agency. So they have a tool called Sales Connector that they use at boomtime that basically transforms LinkedIn into pretty much like a what they call it a virtual trade show. And so first, because of the people they're working with, those clients of theirs who are B2B companies, LinkedIn is obviously the prime social network for them and an amazing place to actually network and create those connections that can then turn into leads. But they use a semi-automated system to be more efficient, they create really advanced searches, they call them Boolean searches because they use and or not terms to create a very complex search. But that search identifies the exact targets that you're after as a business. And then they automate the connection messages, they have a way of crafting very interesting connection messages that get you about a 40% to 50% connection rate, which is really high.   But again, the fact that they were very careful about creating searches, but create a pool of targets that is very targeted but very specific to your business. And it's not going to be coming across as spam helps, of course, as well in terms of the connection rate. But they create those messages, and they have a style of messaging, but in a way it creates a more personal rapport.   Although you're trying to do business and you're a business talking to another business, in the sense you also are a person talking to another person. So they make their communications and their messaging very conversational, not salesy at all, and very human and very personal. And so, they created this and then they have all kinds of tools that helps them sort through those connections to decide whether a good lead or a bad lead and then send those connections to a business (CRM) Customer Relationship Management System. And so, create those integrations so those leads can be nurtured and followed up on and, and so on. So they have a whole system in place that helps people basically create those leads and generate those connections on LinkedIn.   App, Website or Tool that JP Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business    When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, JP shared that it's probably a very standard answer, and she has probably have heard that one quite a bit. But because they are remote, and they've had that new office for about a year and a half now, they are incredibly dependent on Slack. But he highly recommends it, it's a very well done product. If and when slack goes down, which doesn't happen very often but it happened about two months ago, or a month ago, it literally shuts down their business, it's their virtual office. This is where they communicate internally, this is also how they communicated with some of their clients and their partners via the guest feature. This is where they post all bunch of very important things for the running of their business, and how they keep in touch with one another.   So Slack, supercritical for them. Zoom, obviously, they wouldn't be able to live and work without Zoom both internally and externally. And they're big fan of Zoom, and more specific to what he does and what his sales team does is Pipedrive. So Pipe Drive is a CRM Customer Relations Management System and it's similar to things like HubSpot and, and salesforce.com, and things like that pardot. But it's way more visual and way easier to use and quite a bit cheaper to some of it. And so they wouldn't be able to survive as a company without PipeDrive. So highly recommended it as well.     Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on JP    When asked about books that have had a big impact, JP shared that he doesn't read a lot of business books. He doesn't necessarily believe in them that much, or trust in them, but it's just when he reads, he tends to read fiction. But there is a book that has had a big impact on him, especially because as in his career, he has helped a lot of startups. He has worked with several startups, he has run several startups himself, he has started several companies himself. So there is a book, he can't remember the exact title, but it's about the business model canvas, or BMC. And there are several books about it, but the seminal book, and he can visualize it, but he honestly can't remember the actual title, because there is a subtitle to it but it was published probably 10 years ago, or maybe 7 years ago.   It's an amazing book that kind of gives you a way to think about your business, it doesn't necessarily apply just to startup, especially interesting for startups, but also for existing businesses that are launching by reinventing themselves or rethinking their whole strategy. And it's an amazing book that kind of simplifies the whole operation and strategy around the business to literally a one page summary, very visual, very simple, but incredibly powerful tool, and especially because the process that they take you to get to that one page is amazingly helpful he thinks for companies, and he has used it many times. But if anybody does a search in amazon.com, or on Google for business model, Canvas, they'll find the book. And it's very highly recommended for businesses. Applying The Business Model Canvas: A Practical Guide For Small Business by Steven Imke      What JP is Really Excited About Now!   JP shared that there's a lot of things going on right now. He took over boomtime not too long ago, and made a lot of changes and they are evolving very rapidly and growing very rapidly as a company, as an agency. So he constantly has projects in place to try to help his people be better at what they do, give them the tools that they need to improve their performance. They educate also, as he mentioned, also, their clients a lot. So he has many, many of these from a professional standpoint, like things in place to help and actually one of the core values that he tried to sneak into their company, into boomtime, which didn't exist before is this idea of the fact that educating businesses and people within these businesses is the best way to unlock potential. And this is kind of the mantra that they've been repeating to their clients, to themselves, but they really pay a lot of attention to. They see themselves not just as a vendor that provides you digital marketing services, they see themselves as a company, as a group of people that not only help each other learn and get better what they do by do the same thing for the people that they are in contact with their customers and become more of a partner and an educator for these businesses.   So their core value says, “We are curious, we learned, we educate.” and it goes internally and externally. And this is something they've been working on constantly, it's a daily thing for them which has been a huge dividend. And he’s very proud of what his team as reacted to that very, very well and they're all putting in the same way and unearthing a lot of improvements to how they do business, how they deal with one another from an interpersonal standpoint at work and how they impact their clients.    Where Can We Find JP Clement Online   LinkedIn – JP Clement Website – www.boomtime.com    Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity JP Uses   JP shared that here is a quote, actually a little personal note, he’s a big fan of watches, and mechanical watches, and he tends to collect them until his wife tells him it's too many watches and he needs to sell some of them. But that's another story. But one of the watchmakers that he really like is Oris, it's a Swiss watchmaker.   And they have a watch, a special edition watch they release once in a while, and it has a quote in the bag that is amazing. And it's from the first African American diver in the Navy that rose to the rank of major or like a very high rank, one of the highest ranks. He was like a Navy deep diver; his name was Carl Brashear. And he has a quote that they engraved on the back of these special edition watches, which he thinks is amazing. He said, “It's not a sin to fall down. It's a sin not to try to get up.”   Me: Don't get discouraged by falling down, just make sure you get back up.   JP agreed and stated that make sure you try as hard as you can to get back up. And that's the sin to him was, you will get down at some point, you will fall down and the sin is not to try to get up by any means possible.   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   Applying The Business Model Canvas: A Practical Guide For Small Business by Steven Imke    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!
Ronan Walsh has been working in Digital Marketing, specifically SEO for close to 10 years and is a lecturer in Web Design and Digital Marketing in Ireland. He's the owner and founder of Digital Trawler a SaaS Marketing Agency based in Ireland. Digital Trawler helps companies with their marketing strategy and messaging and having experts in SEO, paid adverts, social media and conversion rate optimization.   Questions   Could you share with us a little bit about your journey? How did you get to where you are today? You are big into digital marketing and search engine optimization, affectionately known as SEO. Can you share with us how you think SEO has changed over the past 10 years and as a business, especially in light of COVID and the pandemic globally, what do companies need to do to get to the top of their industry or their area where their SEO is concerned? What are some of the things they need to look for when they're hiring a Digital Marketing Consultant? Because you have a lot of people out there who market themselves in this capacity, but do they have that requisite knowledge and experience and exposure like what you just explained here to us to ensure that you're picking the right person. Could you share with us what's the one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business? Could you 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 about that you it many years ago, but it still has a great impact on you. Could you share with us what's the one thing that's going on in your life right now that you're really excited about - either something that you're working on to develop yourself or your people? Where can listeners find you online? Do you have a quote or a saying that during times of adversity or challenge, you'll tend to revert to this quote, it kind of help to keep you focused and get you back on track, if for any reason you get derailed or you're de-motivated, do you have one of those?   Highlights   Ronan’s Journey   When asked about his journey, Ronan shared that he actually think it's kind of similar to Yanique’s journey where he started off, kind of in tourism, he didn't really know what he wanted to do. So, he did a lot of kind of backpacking and he was a Surf and Kayak Instructor and he was primarily focused on the kind of tourism and travel industry. And that was kind of, he supposes, where his passion was, but he realized that it wasn't a long-term plan, like there's nobody on the beach who's a surf instructor who's 40 plus. They might be wealthy in terms of spirit and how they're feeling, but there's nobody, he supposes with a family of three kids or something like that, or that they have a house and kind of security and a pension and things like that.   So that was kind of eating away and in the back of his head, maybe in his young twenties and he was wondering how exactly he could try and kind of progress in his career. So, he finally was backpacking, he met a few people in the industry, in the kind of linen and clothing industry in India. And he started importing clothes into Ireland and he set up three stalls or kind of shops around the country. And he was running those in his early twenties, which was a fantastic experience.   What he wanted to do was try and push those as far as he could. And that's really where Digital Marketing came into play because he realized that he was getting up at three or four in the morning to drive stock across countries and keep shops up to date. And he was trying to manage staff and make sure that there was a little bit of profit left for him at the end of the day.   And he built a website to try and expand that and to not rely on the brick and mortar kind of model as much, it came to realize soon after that, that it wasn't actually going really be sustainable, but during the time building the website, he learned how to code, he learned how to do SEO, he learned how to do Google ads. And there was a local agency that took him in underneath their wings, and then showed him a lot of what he could do. And then that's when he realized he had a real talent for Digital Marketing and that there was a real sense of passion to trying to help other people achieve their dreams, whether it's getting their website ranking or helping them with a Google ad strategy.   And then there's also helping the customer at the end of the journey. So for example, one of his first clients was a bridal boutique. And then if you're able to match the person to the right dress, the customer at the end also wins, so not only does the business win, but the customer is getting exactly what they want. So there was loads of reasons for him to kind of get into Digital Marketing. And eventually that company that took him underneath their wing was bought out and they started passing leads onto him and he kind of fell into a freelance role. And from there then it's just grown into what Digital Trawler is today. There's five other people working in there, working on web design, Google ads, search engine optimization, social media, they have a project manager and then there's himself as well. So, it's a nice little business that is kind of running and their aim is to really kind of help others fulfill their dreams with business development.   How Has SEO Changed Over the Past 10 Years   Ronan stated that that's a really good question because it's changed a lot over the past 10 years. So, originally when he would have started off his digital marketing journey and doing SEO for other companies, it would have been a lot of what's known as on-page optimization, which is, for anybody who has a WordPress website, that's kind of Yoast, filling in titles, descriptions, keyword placement in your paragraphs and in your text, on your blogs and on your pages and making sure that all of that is correct, but that's only a very small part of it today, whether it's completely blown into what he would describe as marketing, like SEO is kind of a term he'll use now to describe marketing in general, because you have to have a content plan, which means your branding has to be on point.   You have to really understand your customers, issues that they're having in order to find the content that you need to write about. You need to have a PR strategy that gets you exposure out there and links back to your website. Your website needs to be in tip-top order, there can't be any security, or technical issues with it.   And then, like he was saying, there is obviously the element of on page where you need your titles and descriptions and things working for you as well. It needs to be visually appealing. And of course, there's a little bit of Social Media involved in it as well. That kind of falls underneath the PR element as well, that you're kind of getting your own brand out there a bit more, and you're developing your business in the traditional sense, but Google picks up on that a lot more these days than they would have back in the day.   And that's really what kind of SEO is today in his eyes. That all-encompassing view as to “How can we really drive our business online, where are our audience, what forums are they on? Can I get my business there? Can I get a link back to my website? Can I get my local press or my national press or my industry press to write an article about me and push my brand out there that little bit more again, so that people know me?”   And Google's constantly picking up on all of these and they're looking for how frequently you're doing it. They're looking for what sort of authority do the other websites have, and they're tying this all together and they're giving your website a score, and then that score is how you're competing for that number one position on Google.   Me: And the competition on Google is global as in, when you're ranked on Google, is your company being ranked across the globe or is the company being ranked as the best in your country?   Ronan stated that that's a really good question. So, search engine optimization, so there's a tool called search console. And in search console, you can choose whether you're global or whether you're country specific. So, when you are global, you're competing across the world.   So you're telling Google you're more open to having people come to your site from anywhere in the world but you're competing across the world so it becomes a little bit more difficult and there's a number of elements that you have to bear in mind, such as like where your website's hosted.   So for example, he’s in Ireland at the minute but he has a niece in Australia and they were searching for a birthday present for her and they were on all of these toy shops and the toy shop image on the product page loaded so slow that they had to leave the site, they were waiting maybe 10 minutes.   But that's an issue and it's kind of slowly being eradicated, but it's an issue to do with that in Australia, that website probably loads perfectly, in Ireland it's to come the whole way across the other side of the world so it can actually take quite a while for that image to be processed.   And so, you would kind of combat that by using something called a CDN, not to go too complicated on it, but basically it’s a Content Delivery Network. So, basically your website isn't just hosted in Australia, it's hosted on multiple servers throughout the world. So, it's things like that become more complicated as you expand your targeting area, where if you say, “Look Google, I just want to target Ireland.”   Google would give you a preference, so you'll kind of be given a higher priority to rank there. And of course then there’s your country-specific domain names as well. Like in Ireland, they have .ie in the UK there is .co.uk   And if you buy a domain name with that, or you're using that domain name, well then your specifically tied to that country. So, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. And then on top of that, then you have languages, so languages, or even another more complicated element where you have to have specific bits of code on each page to tell Google what language unlocked browser should be prioritized for this particular page. And if there's alternative versions of it, what are those alternative versions and do they all link correctly together.   So there's quite a few moving parts. So to answer the question, it's entirely up to the person who is developing the site, or who's running the business. Personally, he targets across the world and that's what he’s focused on. That's why he’s here on a podcast with Yanique and trying to push the Digital Trawler brand, he’s trying to push the Ronan Walsh brand a little bit more across the sea and trying to attract people and get people interested in his brand.   And then this, even what he’s doing now is considered SEO, if you were to leave a link or even on the page where you're writing the podcast, that's giving Google a sign that, “Okay, Ronan's out there, he's doing podcasts and he's talking about Digital Trawler and I can see that comes from Yanique's website, which is very iterative in the podcast area. So just that ranking maybe Ronan for more podcast keywords.” and then that's kind of the way Google works.   So it's really about getting out there and getting your name out there as much as you can and being as creative as possible. Because when he first came to SEO, it was a little bit boring in the sense that you'd go in, you would optimize a keyword, your page would rank a little bit more and you'd be focused on ranking.   Now it's about creativity that you're going out and you're wondering, “How can I get more links back to my site? How can I get people to pick up on this content so I'm beating the competition and I'm getting higher score than them?” And that he supposes really helping them kind of develop really good campaigns and things like that, because it's creativity really is getting back to marketing basics, which is fantastic.   Hiring the Right Digital Marketing Consultant with the Requisite Knowledge, Experience and Exposure   Me: So a lot of our listeners are small to medium size business owners and they've listened to a lot of what you've said about how SEO has changed over the last few years and especially as you went into the details a while ago, positioning yourself either country-specific or global in terms of being seen across different platforms. But let's say for example, they don't have the experience in-house in their businesses to do this on their own and they're going to hire a digital marketing consultant. What are some of the things they need to look for when they're hiring somebody? Because you have a lot of people out there who market themselves in this capacity, but do they have that requisite knowledge and experience and exposure like what you just explained here to us to ensure that you're picking the right person.   Ronan stated that it's a minefield out there, you are 100% right. There are hundreds of consultants and the biggest thing for him, and he thinks this doesn't just go for SEO or digital marketing, but it's communication. They see it the whole time they're working with web developers, they're working with other digital marketing agencies and PR agencies and things like that and you can see projects kind of snowball and next thing the client's saying, “Well, you didn't deliver this.” And the client saying, “Yeah, but I asked for this.” And it becomes a back and forth and those engagements can get really sour. So for him, it comes down to making sure that the owner understands what they're signing up for.   So expectations from the outright and you're agreeing on, this is the end goal. This is how many users I want signed up, this is how many email addresses I have to or leads I have to generate from this or this is how much revenue or return on advertising spend that I need to get back. So there are very clear goals for an agency to go, “Okay, I can do that for you.” And it becomes very clear then as well that if you have that set out at the start, it becomes a lot easier to have a conversation if your agency isn't hitting their targets, if you have not defined at the start, you can go back to them and say, “Look, this is what we set out to achieve. We're not doing it. We need to wrap this up or you need to change what you're doing.” So that is kind of one area to look out.   The other thing that he sees is a lot of SMEs, maybe if there's 5 or 6 employees, they might look at maybe taking on a marketing staff. He often finds that those marketing staff aren't able to deliver on what the owner wants. They're quite good at agreeing to saying, “Yes, I'll be able to deliver that at the start.” And they don't really know what they are able to deliver and you can't expect one person to be able to do SEO, Google ads, social media, like update your website and expect them to be able to do all of that and do it to the level that Coca-Cola or Nike or any of those sites are doing.   And he thinks that that's kind of the expectation that a lot of SMEs have. So you need to support that person in their role or else, maybe perhaps get an agency in to define what their role is going to be, and maybe give them some freelancers to support them in that role as well.   So you might have an agency come in, design the strategy, set up the processes, train your marketing admin person in what they should be doing and looking out for, and then have some freelancers behind that person to support them in the SEO role or the Google Ads or social media or something like that.   Like, you know it yourself, you're running a podcast like editing this takes time, then there's the promotion on social media and just straightaway there, you're onto podcast editing, you're on social media, scheduling and admin in terms of replying and things like that. And you've got graphic designs, there's three different skills there that are needed in order to produce a podcast.   And then you stick it up onto your website as well. So now you need kind of the technical knowledge there. So like really you should have four people there that you were able to go, okay, podcast is done. It gets sent to John, who's going to edit it. There's another person there who's going to schedule all the social media posts.   There's Emma who's going to put together the images using Canva. And then there's Joseph who's going to upload it to WordPress and you need that team behind you in order to actually really deliver. And there's a whole load of freelancers out there who are looking for that work and they're quite happy to take on that work as long as it's kind of consistent. He thinks that's kind of the trick to keeping those freelancers happy.   They want freedom that they're able to maybe spend time with their kids or collect them and drop them to school. And they still want a life outside of us, but they're quite happy to kind of go on maybe an hourly contract per month or something like that that will allow you to produce quality content that will get your name out there. And you can come to an agreement, fair enough. Their price per hour might be a little bit more than what it would cost an employee, but it's going take them half the time and it's going to be twice as good.   App, Website or Tool that Ronan Absolutely Can’t Live Without in His Business   When asked about an online resource that he cannot live without in his business, Ronan stated that there's so many. He mentioned they're entirely remote. They rely on a lot of apps for our communication in particularly. There’s many there that might be irrelevant like Gmail is priceless to us and just being able to communicate by email and Slack is another one. But he thinks one in particular actually is Teamwork. So, it’s actually an Irish based company, www.teamwork.com and it's a project management software. And once a week, they go through all of that, they upload all of the tasks, they make sure that himself and the project manager sit down and they go, this needs to be done for such and such a client and so on. And they make a big list out and then they upload that to Teamwork and everybody by Friday evening will know all of their jobs that they have to do the following week so that they're able to plan. And every Monday morning, then they have a team meeting with everybody.   They run through all of the tasks and then they communicate over Slack in the week to make sure everything's running okay. Without Teamwork, they'd be lost because they're able to share files for certain clients and it's really been a great lifesaver. So if there's any agencies, whether they're digital or whether they're accountants or whatever it is, he'd recommend looking into that. It's kind of similar to like Asana or Trello or something like that, but Teamwork just kind of seems to have a little bit more functionality than all of those, a little bit of a learning curve at the start, but definitely worth it.   Books That Have Had the Greatest Impact on Ronan   When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Ronan shared that the two books that he read recently, one is Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz. And then there's Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by him as well.   In fact, actually he read Clockwork and he liked the book so much that he went out and bought all of his books that he'd ever written. So yeah, it's pretty good. So, he has another book by him, The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz and Fix This Next: Make the Vital Change That Will Level Up Your Business that are next to read on his list. But Clockwork is basically talking about how your business should be able to kind of run basically by itself. So it's kind of similar to like The Four Hour Work Week, which he’s sure Yanique is familiar with, but, it's maybe a little bit more practical than that.   So it's talking about being able to give yourself a month off and the idea isn't that you need a month and you deserve a month off and all of that.   It's more that if your business can last a month without you, like within a month, you're going to have your invoicing, you're going to have new sales come on and you're going to basically like every cycle runs at least once in a month.   And basically, it kind of takes you out of your comfort zone to let go of loads of tasks as owners of businesses. So like particularly SMEs where we're terrible for jumping in and trying to fix issues that our employees and maybe there was a communication issue or maybe they didn't do it exactly how you like. If you can leave those things, you need to be able to move on and look for new clients and set up processes and then move on again and focus on growing the business, that’s what Clockwork is about.   And then Profit First is all about kind of cashflow management. So, there's a law of which is Parkinson's law, that if there's kind of a void to fill, you will fill it. So basically, if you're given a task and used to do it within a week, you'll get it done within that week. But if you're given a month, it'll take you the month as well.   And it's the same with Profit First, which is when your bank account is full of money, you're very likely to spend it on kind of new ways without a huge amount of strategy going behind it. He talks about setting up these kinds of different bank accounts and that you're basically using kind of like an envelope system through your bank accounts to run your business. So you have a certain amount for expenses, you have a certain amount for profits, certain amount for tax, certain amount for paying yourself. And they've only just set that up and it's going to be exciting to see how well it works, but it's going to force him to maybe cut some expenses that he probably doesn't really need.    What Ronan is Really Excited About Now!   Ronan shared that something they're doing themselves actually at Digital Trawler that he’s quite excited about is they're going to start bringing out new courses pretty soon and they're going to be free. So like Yanique, they want to help business owners, so they're going to have, and he might be a bit overenthusiastic with this, but he thinks by the end of February, they should have a Google Analytics course out.   They noticed that a lot of marketing managers really struggled with analytics and trying to extract data and understand what's going on in it. So they're going to have a course coming out, it's going to be free. And similarity with SEO, Google ads, there's going to be free courses there for that as well. So get onto their mailing list and as soon as they're available, you’ll be getting the first invite to it.    Where Can We Find Ronan Online   Me: So that dovetails very nicely into my next question. So they listened to this podcast, they're really intrigued about what your company is doing, Digital Trawler, especially the whole concept of how SEO has changed. And of course, how to hire that right person to assist you in building and developing and getting that presence that you need across the globe, depending on the platform that you operate on. And then you drop this great nugget to say, you guys are going to be releasing free courses in relation to helping people understand the data better. Where can they find you online?   LinkedIn – Ronan Walsh Website – www.digitaltrawler.com   You'll be able to find all the resources in there as well. They have a free Google, their free audit as well, just from an SEO perspective so they will give you feedback on your site at no charge. They have some plugins there as well that help you identify where your users are coming from. So, that's www.digitaltrawler.com and you'll be able to sign up for those courses there as well.   Quote or Saying that During Times of Adversity Ronan Uses   When asked about a quote or saying that he tends to revert to, Ronan shared that there's one that he finds himself going back to year after year, which is, “Actions make money.” And basically the more actions you take, the closer you are to getting to what you want to do and it's just really simple and it's really easy to action. So just break down your tasks and just get out there and get them done. And that would be for any entrepreneur, that's kind of it, of course, having a clear plan behind it really helps you identify which actions to take. But if you're taking the wrong action, you're better off learning about it sooner. So the sooner you take that action, the sooner you learn that that was the wrong one time and the sooner you're going to find the right one.   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 Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field by Mike Michalowicz Fix This Next: Make the Vital Change That Will Level Up Your Business by Mike Michalowicz   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!
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 No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin    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!
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 Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper: True Customer Service Stories through the eyes of a Secret Shopper: The Good, The Bad and The Exceptional by Claire Boscq-Scott Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life: How to Use Feng Shui to Get Love, Money, Respect, and Happiness by Karen Rauch Carter   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!
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   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 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 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.  
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   You Are a Badass at Marketing Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth by Jen Sincero Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill   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!
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   Managing The Professional Service Firm by David H. Maister Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard    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!
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   Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners   Links   Inside Your Customer’s Imagination: 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions by Chip R. Bell Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin Are You Using a “Boy” or “Girl” Cup? By Chip Bell   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!
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.   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   Wonder by R.J Palacio Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets by Al Ramadan   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!
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   Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners   Links   The Happy Home: A Guide to Creating a Happy, Healthy, Wealthy Life by Patricia Lohan Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First-Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill   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!
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 Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey   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!
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   Grab the Freebie on Our Website – TOP 10 Online Business Resources for Small Business Owners   Links The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler   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!
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.   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 Theory of Constraints by Eliyahu Goldratt The Pillars of the Earth: A Novel by Ken Follett   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!
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 platf