Top 5 Topics CX Leaders Are Talking About Now
Tis the season for reflection, and who are we to spit in the face of a perfectly respectable tradition. So, let’s think…what’d we do this year?
You mean besides changing our name, rebranding, and officially creating Voice as the flippin’ greatest channel seen in the market? Why, we worked on our humility – obvs.
No, we also started a new podcast called Spamming Zero (more on that name in a minute). And it’s been a fantastic ride so far!
Now, creating a podcast—one truly worthy of getting people’s ears on—is no small feat. But it’s made much easier when you’ve got a group of authentically awesome guest experts willing to share their hard-earned insights.
Lucky for us and our listeners, that’s exactly what we’ve had: one brilliant guest after another.
So, what’s been top of mind for these remarkable industry experts? To answer that, we took a closer look at our first 26 episodes and found the 5 most touched-on topics of 2022.
What do you think of when calling customer service?
When it comes to customer service, we’ve all been—as Ben Segal from Pair Eyewear (Ep 2) put it—”trained” to hit that zero button in the hopes of bypassing a crappy experience for a less crappy experience. Hence the name of our podcast: Spamming Zero.
It’s a universally understood pain in the butt (solidarity, friend). And it sucks away our most valuable asset: time.
In Jeannie Walters’ (Ep 8) words, “The first thing I do is look at my watch and make sure I have time, because whatever time you think it’s going to take – you have to double it.” And that right there is enough to sink even the jolliest caller into scrooge territory.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. Automation can make all the difference, and that’s a subject our guests couldn’t seem to emphasize enough. Which leads us to the first of our 5 hot topics of the year.
Automation & The Human Touch
Most of our experts agree that automation is indeed the future of customer service. And, as Liz Tsai (Ep 21) says, “That’s all great, but how do you do that without losing the humanity piece of it? Because humans really do deliver better empathy, for the most part, than something automated can.”
Therein lies what we’ve discovered is a common concern across a whole lot of brands.
“Where automation can make humans better, faster, stronger is in delivering all of that aggregation – all of the sort of black and white deterministic pieces that an agent would normally do,” says Liz, “that’s what makes them sort of the Ironman suit that empowers your agents more.”
In other words, Liz adds, it’s about asking, “How do we deploy our humans at those moments that require judgment that automation and routing can’t solve for? So, we’re using that resource that’s super precious and super expensive in the most valuable ways, and figure out where it’s a better experience automated.”
Spamming Zero Co-host and CEO of Flip CX Brian Schiff couldn’t agree more. In the same episode, he brings up a lot of those regularly touched on pain points that make for bad experiences.
“If you only let people contact you during very specific hours of the day/times of the week,” he says, “and they’re allowed to use very limited channels, and it takes them forever, and all the contact information is hidden on your website, and they need to jump through 12 hoops in order to even get to the point where they’re waiting on hold to then be able to talk to you – the conversation hasn’t even started. Yet there has clearly been a lack of empathy that has happened in the experience.”
That’s where the marriage between automation and the human touch can take experience from crappy to happy (went there). As Brian says, “This is an important customer that has something that they care deeply about… And automation has the benefit of infinite scalability, always on, always available.”
Utilizing The Right Tech (Ecosystem)
Great points so far by these industry experts, but here’s the kicker: none of it can really be accomplished without the right technology. And there seem to be some lingering misconceptions around what that means.
Kevin O’Connor (Ep 6) thinks technology gets maligned. “There’s always this fear it’s going to take over jobs,” he says. “And it never does. There’s only one way to grow an economy, and that is through increasing productivity. There’s no other way.”
He believes the right technology gives you that productivity. “And that means that customer service agents can shift into higher-level roles – roles that, maybe instead of answering the same questions over and over again, they can move to more difficult questions and provide a higher level of service.”
Jose Herrera (Ep 7) is also passionate about leveraging the kind of technology that can actually help make CS agents more efficient.
In his words, “In order to be able to provide amazing experience—not only to clients, but also to your agents and your frontline workers—you have to be able to find ways to make their lives easier. Give them a little bit more context. Alleviate some of the pressure of handling an entire conversation from A to Z.”
And the right tech, as BG Weiss of Thankful (Ep 26) says, helps customers or prospects “lower the pain to scale, and to scale quickly, in a way that is simple and easy and less of a headache. Software—technology like what you guys [Flip CX] do—those are tools that are the easier solution, because it doesn’t require a whole bunch of people.”
Was that a tiny, shameless plug?
Why yes… yes it was. Fa la la la, moving on.
Cutting Costs & Driving LTV
Ok, we get it. Today’s experts believe automation and the right technology are the key to great, scalable, and—yes—empathetic CX. But, what about the price tag? And if you DO jump in, will it actually drive LTV?
Well look at that, you’ve touched on another point the guests on our show have shared passionate opinions about. What are the chances?
Take Ted Mico (Ep 15), for example. When it comes to saving money and driving LTV, he doesn’t mince words. “The financial mechanics of it are pretty obvious – ie, the greater the brand loyalty, the higher the LTV. And especially when CAC costs are spiraling up, getting more out of each customer becomes more and more important to any brand’s survival. The path to that is absolutely through customer service.”
Then there’s Venture Capitalist, Liza Landsman (Ep 25) who has seen “a lot of people approach solving the problem of increasing cost efficiency by starting with increasing cost efficiency and then backing into – well, how do we make that as painless as possible for customers? Versus starting by saying – how do we maintain the best possible experience and then re-engineer costs around that experience?”
The problem with that? Well, for one thing, “In a world where the space and the time between the click and the experience is nanoseconds, customers are really good at sussing out when you’re bullshitting,” says Liza. “So— forgetting about the morality of it for a moment—it’s just really capital inefficient to BS.”
Need more? James Gilbert, Spamming Zero’s other Co-Host and CMO at Flip CX, adds in his chat with Mary Drumond (Ep 17), “The more that you can focus on customer retention and turning your current customers into advocacy, the less it’s going to cost you. Which means that you can lower the CPL and lower the cost it will take to acquire a customer, because you’re not putting all of your efforts into acquisition and you’re building against a retention model. I think that the more businesses shift to that—especially during a recession—the better off they’re going to be.”
The Role Of CX In An Organization
Considering what’s been said so far, you might find it hard to believe there are still orgs that have trouble buying into the value of CX. And you wouldn’t be alone in that.
Jeannie Walters (Ep 8) is baffled “that we still treat customer experience like it’s this extra thing or it’s ‘nice’ or it’s fluffy. It’s a flipping, winning business strategy every, single time. In a recession, in anything, you win with customer experience that’s done well. And a lot of that is understanding your customer journey enough to know when and how and where to serve them in the best way.”
Shannon Peltier (Ep 23) agrees. “Oftentimes, CX is seen as that little brother in the corner,” she says. “They’re just managing the tickets and the WISMOs and those things. But there’s a lot we can learn when we listen to our customers. If you can get people who come from CX to then work into your bigger company, that voice of the customer travels internally and will always be represented now on a larger scale in those departments.”
In Mary Drumond’s (Ep 17) opinion, the era of using cold data is over. What she thinks we need? “Hot data, straight from the customer’s mouth – that constant tracking of the change of expectations in customer behavior as it happens. And constantly picking up and using that as your compass to know where to navigate, which decisions to make, which priorities to keep in your organization.”
So, when you hear companies question investing in customer experience, Jack Lorentzen (Ep 9) says “It’s like – we’re [CX is] invested in every other team! The frontline workers are hearing exactly what customers have to say about every other team’s decision that’s being translated into what the customer sees.”
Creating Wow Moments With Memorable CX
Alright, so CX is essential. But, that whole “quality of” thing holds a lot of sway when it comes to sticking in the minds and hearts of customers. Our guests offer some great thoughts around creating experiences that count. And it’s not what you might expect.
“We all think that it’s about delighting customers and giving them free stuff and wowing them at every turn,” says Matt Dixon (Ep 11) “What the customer really wants is for you to make it easy for them.”
Nate Brown (Ep 3) takes it further. “Let’s make it frictionless,” he says. “And then what? Then, let’s make it good! Let’s make it a little bit fun and exciting. I mean, we just keep thinking about how we can make it clean. And that’s great; start there. But then, let’s dream up: how can we add a special element in this that has the person coming out of the experience not just feeling like they did what they needed to do, but also smiling? Feeling like they just had a really positive interaction with you. That’s the next level.”
Taylor Wells (Ep 12) emphasizes tapping into “that power of putting yourself in their shoes – experiencing the product.” And in the same conversation, James Gilbert shares this nugget: “In a world full of noise, you have to do unconventional things.”
Ain’t it the truth?
There’s OH so much more where that came from in our first 26 episodes, and a spectacular lineup of guests in the weeks ahead.
So, if you haven’t yet already, listen and subscribe to our Spamming Zero Podcast. And give yourself the gift of actionable insights from the best in the biz.
Here’s to you, yours, and a year full of wonderful possibilities ahead!
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