Delivering outstanding customer experiences every single time
Judi Hand: We also make sure that our teams are doing the upfront research to understand before you speak to this prospective buyer, what matters to them? What are they facing? What is urgent to them versus what's important to them? I tell my sales team very simply, if you don't know what's on their performance review, how can you sell to them?
Devin Reed: This is Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast, here to help go- to market leaders do one thing, stop guessing.
Sheena Badani: If you're ready to unlock reality and reach your potential, then this show is for you. I'm Sheena Badani.
Devin Reed: And I'm Devin Reed, coming to you from the Gong Studios. The only way you can achieve customer satisfaction is by deeply knowing who your customer is and what their desired outcomes are, and technology can help us do that. Take TTEC, an end- to- end customer experience platform that helps some of the biggest brands create standout experiences for their customers. Judi Hand plays a huge role in this effort as their CRO. And she's joining us today to talk about how she enables her sales teams to create memorable customer experiences every single time. Plus, she breaks down which KPIs you should measure to ensure your efforts are moving the needle. So, just to set a foundation here, can you tell me how do you define customer experience?
Judi Hand: Absolutely. TTEC is a company that's been around for 40 years. If you think about the brands that you choose to do business with, you very often need to interact with them, whether that be because you have a question about your deposit account, maybe you got a fraud alert, maybe your set- top box on your cable box isn't working, whatever it is, there's reasons why you have to talk to brands that you've chosen to do business with. And that's what TTEC does. And so over that 40 years, we've really learned what makes for an outstanding exceptional experience. And in fact, we believe that we truly are in the experience economy right now, that people are choosing brands as much for the experience that it delivers as for the product that is associated with that experience. So what makes for a great experience? Well, I would say the very first thing that makes for a great experience is the personalized nature of it. So when I talk to my bank, I don't want to feel like I'm just one of the people in line that is anonymous to that bank because I have 10 accounts with that bank. So if I want to talk to them about a certain situation with one account, I don't want them to be ignorant about the fact that I have nine other accounts with them. That's an example. I want them to know me and to demonstrate that they know who I am. And the way that you do that is to personalize that experience, to demonstrate that knowledge of that customer, who they are, what matters to them, how they do business with you, how long they've done business with you, what have you. So personalization is so key so that people really feel like they're being treated as the individual that they are and not just somebody in an assembly line. So that makes for a great experience. The second thing that makes for a great experience is be proactive. If there is something that's going to go wrong or that has gone wrong with a service that I purchase from you, let me know before I have to let you know. A great example I always give is we have a wonderful energy company here in Denver, and they will send out an alert when there's an outage in the area before I know there's an outage in the area. And because I travel all the time, it actually helps me to know there's an outage in my neighborhood in Denver, I've got a contractor coming to work on XYZ, I need to let him know that the electricity might be out. And then they keep me informed along the way. That proactive nature is really what goes from, I'm not dissatisfied, I'm actually delighted. I'm delighted with that because they've been proactive. I think that is absolutely so key. So personalization, proactivity, knowing how do I want to communicate with brand X? Do I want to communicate with you via text, via a phone call? Do I want you to send me an email? Do I want you to chat with me? Whatever it is, know how I want to communicate and default to that form of communication. Don't make me default to your form of communication, communicate with me in the way in which I want to communicate. And what we found is that brands that do all those things well, you are very loyal to them because you don't want to give up that sense that you are in a relationship with that brand.
Devin Reed: I don't want to over humanize companies because I'm cautious of that. But if you think about what you just said, Judi, personalization, know me, be proactive. Tell me something I didn't know, and pick the right channel, how I want to communicate. That's also the qualities of our best relationships in our personal lives.
Judi Hand: There's no question.
Devin Reed: That's really interesting. And I like the personalization, makes a lot of sense. I know every time, I won't list the cable box company, you can probably guess, every time I try to get help, I want to call somebody and just talk to them and explain my experience, but instead, I'm limited to the chat bot. Nothing against chat bot, there's a time and place for it, but I that's not the best way because then it's like, " Well, let me pull up your records. What are you trying to get done? Let me hand you to somebody else." And before you know it, you've spent 34 minutes haven't really gotten any closer to the answer.
Judi Hand: So you and I probably have the same provider. And the problem is their chat bot is not trained to communicate in the way you communicate. And I have the identical situation. I literally have to walk into one of their retail stores to get done what needs to be done. That is a huge dissatisfier of mine, but I have to talk to somebody face to face because of how poorly the chat bot has been built. So now you're not even into exceptional experience, you're into a huge dissatisfier, and you've got to be so careful with that.
Devin Reed: I want to go back a little bit because I think you did a great job, why is customer experience so important in today's market. Maybe another way to think about it is what happens if a business' customer experience is lacking?
Judi Hand: People vote with their checkbook. We always say that loyalty is completely driven by the level of effort that I have to expend to choose to do business with you. So what's interesting is one of the most important metrics these days is it's still things like net promoter score, customer SAT scores, but it's also customer effort score. How much effort do I have to put forth in order to do business with you? And I think that is really critical. And if the customer effort score is too high, if you have to keep driving to that retail store, you are going to be so open to an alternative to solve for your internet and entertainment needs, aren't you? You're going to be open because you're frustrated. And that is the biggest downside to poor customer experience. But the thing that I think is so fascinating around this experience economy is yesterday's products have become today's services. And the best example that I use is 30 years ago when I bought Schwinn bike, I didn't have to call Schwinn for anything. I bought it at a retail store, my father probably built it, what have you? And that was it. If I now buy a Peloton, I have bought a service. There happens to be a physical product associated with it, but I've actually bought a service, I've not bought a bike. And so I may have to talk to them routinely for the setup, for the monthly subscription, for the calibration. And so what I'm paying is as much about the ongoing experience as it is about whatever the dollar amount was that I put out to start that experience, and especially for things that are subscription based because every month I'm reminded of whether or not I'm getting value for that subscription through the experience itself.
Devin Reed: That makes a lot of sense. If you don't have a Peloton, I'll be surprised because you just described my experience as a Peloton owner, but that's so true. It's such a great point of every month or every year, depending on when that subscription is, is you ask yourself maybe even subconsciously, is it worth it? Did I enjoy the experience? Do I want to keep doing it? And to your other point of the unnamed provider we were flirting with here today, I have Googled every quarter if the new provider is in my area yet. And I will pay more, I will pay more, which was interesting, I meant to bring it up to your earlier point, is I've seen multiple reports that buyers are happy to pay more if the experience will be better.
Judi Hand: Yeah. Because their time is worth something.
Devin Reed: So I'm curious, how does TTEC walk the walk or drink its own champagne when it comes to demonstrating great customer experience in your sales process?
Judi Hand: Here's the deal, we are selling experience, we better deliver a good one. Because it starts from the very beginnings of the evaluation stage that a potential customer is making. We need to make it very easy for people to find out about us, to do research about us, to have conversations with us. So we think about what makes for a great experience and make sure that we've got that very easy early stage of the selling process nailed down, easy for you to get white papers, to get case studies, to go onto our website and navigate, to make it super easy in the first step of the selling process. But then as you begin to speak with us, we have to deliver that personalization. That salesperson has got to be knowledgeable about your type of business. That's one of the reasons why we're organized by verticals. If I'm selling to a healthcare company, I need to have a healthcare executive who understands the pains and the opportunities that this industry has in front of them. They need to speak with that knowledge, with that vocabulary. We have to feel as though we're talking to each other in a common language. And so we organize vertically and then we also make sure that our teams are doing the upfront research to understand, before you speak to this prospective buyer, what matters to them? What are they facing? What is urgent to them versus what's important to them? I tell my sales team very simply, if you don't know what's on their performance review, how can you sell to them? You need to know what this person is being held accountable to produce, and your job is to help them understand how you can help them to go about doing that. So this whole notion of personalization has to occur in the sailing process. Every once in a while I joke that sales is a little bit like online dating because you have to match the person to the prospect, they have to have the same likes and dislikes, those kinds of things. If you can create that affinity, you've gone a long way toward that personalization. So I think that's really critical in the selling process. Speed, and I didn't necessarily mention this about what's a great customer experience, but even with proactivity, even with personalization, things will happen, failures will occur. And so how quickly those are solved is absolutely critical. And you know that, and I know that. And so one of the things we reflect on in our selling process is, if a customer asks for something, whether it be a contract, or a change in a statement of work, or a nondisclosure agreement, whatever it is in our process, I challenge my team, if we can't get that to them right away, I want to know why, what's in our process that causes us to not be able to act immediately, and worst case, 24 hours. Because in a selling process, you are suggesting to the customer what it's like to work with you, and you want them to feel like, " Wow, the effort is low on my part. You are making this really easy." And that's every single step along the way. So don't forget the small stuff, like don't turn an NDA around in 72 hours. That feels clunky. So that's really important. The other thing we do is make sure you know, how does that customer want to be talking with you? They may not want to be talking to you, " Let's schedule a Zoom call," they may just want a quick text. So make sure you know how they like to do business. That is absolutely essential as well, is matching their style of communication with the way in which then you communicate with them. Don't force them into yours. What I tell my team is, when it's urgent, text me, so then I immediately know, when I get a text from Clay, it's urgent. I need to look at it right away because that's just the way in which I think. If it's not urgent, email me. And I promise you that I will clear my emails out before I go to bed every single night, but I may not respond for a couple of hours.
Devin Reed: And that's a good expectation. So I like it a lot. Prospects are working with you and your team, they're seeing this great CX in motion. So of course, they want to see their own business emulate that. So I imagine you have a natural gravitational pull, which probably helps your sales cycles win rates, all that good stuff. I'm curious on the other side, Judi, because you mentioned it like, " Hey, if an NDA's taken three days," or maybe not for your business, but as an example, " I want to know that." I'm curious maybe in the last 12 months or so, what's one of the things that caught your attention or surfaced as, " Hey, this is a really good opportunity for us to get better." What was one of those improvements that you had found?
Judi Hand: I'll tell you what happened, and it's a blessing, which is when COVID hit, we had a lot of customers who needed things literally in seconds. The amount of turmoil with some of our customers was so acute that we had to literally scrap our prior processes and say, " What does it look like to turn something around within minutes if necessary?" Because they really needed answers right away. When you have thousands of people needing an answer about an unemployment disbursement or how to get onto the vaccination schedule, things were so important, so unbelievably urgent, we literally had to just say, " Stop thinking about our processes and build out a process that is immediate, that absolutely is immediate." And one of the ways we did that is we built, we call them configurators. So if you really step back and think about a sales process, whether that be the way in which you solution something for a customer, then you price it, then you build out a contract for it, 95% is generally the same and 5% is customized to that unique customer. And instead of you thinking about, " Well, this is a new customer, and so this is a new solution, a new price, a new contract." And so you're starting over almost every time, we said, " No, assume that you're not, and only focus on that 5%." And if you do that, you can move so fast through the process. And we were to a great extent forced to do that because of how quickly we really did need to react. And when you have the CEO of a major bank saying, " Can you hire 3000 people by Friday?" You can't ponder very long. And so we were able to build these predetermined configurators, which really sped up everything. And we've been able to now go back and reflect on where we were generally right, and the answer is we were generally right with these. So that's what we've been doing ever since then to really act with great speed. So that's one. The second is there's a culture that you have to just continue to reinforce, which is a culture that is the now normal. So we've all heard the new normal, whatever. So we talk about the now normal. And what that means is, what's normal is what's happening right now. And guess what? Tomorrow may be another normal, so it's the now normal. So how do you build out everything in your selling process that responds to now? What do I know right now? And get really comfortable with that. What that means is all your processes have to be very agile, very flexible. You can't be stuck on a lot of key standards and that kind of thing, because I'm telling you, even now customers, aren't sure what is going to come back, in what levels, with what volumes. You go from the pandemic to a war in Europe, there is a daily beats the heck out of me reaction that's happening and we have to just be able to respond right now. And so we really adopt this culture of the now normal. And if you start with that, you build all your processes to accommodate that reality.
Devin Reed: I love that. I have been for a long time wondering like, " Well, someone coined the new normal, the new normal. Well, someone solve that because that doesn't feel right." Man, I like it a lot. I don't know if y'all do billboards or something, but that should probably be some marketing material because I like it.
Judi Hand: We don't, but maybe we should.
Devin Reed: Okay. I have a question for you on measuring some of this, and you touched on it earlier, but now I think I have a better understanding of your framework, which was like, NPS I've heard of, most people probably have. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. You mentioned another one?
Judi Hand: Customer effort score, so CES as it's referred to. And it's literally, as you can imagine, which is the level of effort that I felt like I had to put out to continue to do business with you. And that's a big one. That's a big one that we see. And you really almost have to break it down by steps along the way because you want to zero in on where the effort became untenable. So it may have been super easy for me to choose you as a brand, to do business with. It may have been super easy for me to onboard with you as a brand that I choose to do business with. But my ongoing relationship with you may have taken too much effort. You know what I mean? So you really do have to understand where the effort falls down along the way, but that's really become, I think one of the key measures that we're seeing a lot of our fast growing customers use.
Devin Reed: Customer effort score or CES is based off of things we as customers have experienced. Think about the amount of interactions you have with a given brand. How long do you spend on their website finding their contact information? How many times do you have to follow up with them to get what you need, et cetera, et cetera. All of these moments play into a customer effort score. So how can you calculate this score? It's a pretty simple equation, but you'll need to do some surveying to get the numbers you need. First, survey your customers. This is best when you can capture feedback right after a support interaction. Ask them to rate on a numbered scale, how easy or difficult it was to get their issue resolved. From those results, you'll divide the sum of all those scores by the number of survey respondents. For example, if your scale is one from seven, anything six and above is great, below five, then you probably have some room to improve. Judi has another important customer experience related KPI to share with us, so let's dive back in. Is there anything else maybe that you look at, just making sure I didn't leave any rock unturned, is there any other KPI? It seems like CES, NPS.
Judi Hand: There's one that's been around forever, it's certainly been around for the length of time we've been around and it's called first call resolution. And that sounds really boring and do not get tied up in the notion call, because that could be a text. It could be any form of communication, but it's, I want one and done. I want to contact you in whatever way I want to, and I don't want to have to do it again. I don't want you to have to transfer me. I don't want you to have to say, " Let me get back to you." Every once in a while, you'll allow that because maybe it's a big, hairy situation and a case has to be opened and investigation has to occur. We all know that happens, but by the way, if and when that happens, update me along the way. Let me know where you're at along this journey. It's like we talked about texting, when I was raising my sons and I would text them and they wouldn't respond, I just assumed they were dead in a ditch somewhere because you know, that's a mom. And so I used to say to them, " You might be in the middle of something, just use the letter K. Just tell me that you are alive, and then you can get back to me." Well, it's the same way with brands, it's like, if I know I have an open situation, keep communicating with me until that situation is closed because I'm going to interpret that as one and done, because this has been a singular conversation, it hasn't been multiple conversations. This is one of the reasons why customers are adopting messaging so readily as a form of communication because messaging is a continuous conversation. I can go back and look at my message stream and understand how it all transpired in order to get to the end results. So I think that that is just absolutely critical, is to really understand how do you truly get to true first call resolution, which again is just the one and done.
Devin Reed: You're giving me all the terms for the things I've been feeling on the consumer side, which was, I was used to mention speed earlier and I was like, I put in a support ticket like two Saturdays ago and completely forgot about it because I didn't get anything except the automated, happens 10 seconds later, " Yes, we got your message." And then nine days later, I got a response and I genuinely was like, " Oh, I forgot I even had this problem." I just marked it as I guess, " Unsolvable, Devon, sorry." So that's really interesting. The now normal version of that is first- touch resolution, wherever handle that is. I like that a lot. That makes a lot of sense. Okay. I'm going to go into the final question on topic here, Judi, which is, you've mapped all this out for me and the listeners. What about scaling your CX? So how do you keep these KPIs intact in your ramping? So maybe in a simpler way, I know that could be another podcast episode, is like, what advice would you give other leaders who are trying to ramp and scale their CX, keeping in mind, the stuff we've talked about so far?
Judi Hand: It's very clear that this can feel overwhelming and I've been in many conference rooms with brands who feel overwhelmed by how do you really transform your CX? And here's the very simple way I think about it. You're not trying to solve world peace, you're trying to solve a neighborhood problem. Everything becomes a neighborhood to some extent. So pick the neighborhood where you feel like the opportunity can be well defined, the expectations can be well understood, and then act to improve CX in that neighborhood. Don't create such a huge challenge, go neighborhood by neighborhood. If you do that, you can then take that learning from that neighborhood and now you just start repeating it. So I'll just continue to use a bank as an example. Banks have, I don't know, an average of, I think you and I have an average of three products per bank that we do business with, but they probably have 15 products. Pick a product, and maybe it's deposit accounts. Solve the customer experience in one neighborhood, understand how that worked, what worked, and now scale it to mortgages, and now scale it to asset accounts. So that's one of the things we try to think about is a neighborhood. In sales pick a vertical, pick a team, pick a region, however you're organized, but pick a neighborhood, solve it in that neighborhood and then scale it.
Devin Reed: I like that a lot. I'm going to try to continue on with your analogy a little bit. Would you pick the neighborhood that has the most crime to start or would you pick the neighborhood with the most residents? Or in other words, with the lowest MPS score or with the most people buying that product?
Judi Hand: Isn't that a great question? And I think that the brand has to answer that for themselves because there is no right answer there. You do have to understand what will have the greatest impact on your business in the shortest amount of time. And if that is to solve where the dissatisfaction is at its highest, then you want to go there, where the crime is the highest. If you believe that you solve for a small issue, but you solve it across a very large denominator, then you go to a neighborhood where it's the most populated. So it is really important. And nearly all brands do this, they do this journey mapping where they really understand, what is the customer's experience? Let's map it out. And where along that experience does the problem begin to raise its ugly head? Go in and solve for that. And you'll know by doing that, where does it matter the most to the customer? And that's really how you answer that question as to what neighborhood do you choose.
Devin Reed: I like it. I imagine you now with a flashlight, a neighborhood watch, going around just solving CX challenges. Lovely. I've thoroughly enjoyed this, Judi. I've got a bunch of notes here, I'm sure our listeners do too. So I'm going to wrap with our question that we ask all of our guests, but I'm going to tweak it a little bit based on the topic of today. So Judi, how would you describe customer experience in one word?
Judi Hand: Effortless.
Devin Reed: Almost no hesitation. Judi, thank you truly for sharing your expertise and wisdom. I've got tons of notes, things to take back. So I just want to say thank you. And I hope you have a fantastic rest of your day.
Judi Hand: Thank you, Devon so much for having me, really enjoyed it.
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Knowing thy customer is everything. Take it from Judi Hand, CRO at TTEC, a customer experience as a service platform that is behind some of the world’s largest brands. She joins Devin to break down the customer experience (CX) trends every leader should be aware of.
These are the trends impacting your bottom line, and your customer retention and satisfaction rates. If you strive to enable your sales team to create memorable customer experiences, this episode is for you.