Hi Florent, tell us about yourself and your background.
Hi, I’m Florent. I am 26 and have three years of experience in the CX field. My daily work consists of leading a team of around 15 CX employees that address various demands from both our clients and agents.
Before starting at Batmaid, I obtained a MSc degree in management at HEC Lausanne, with the specialization “strategy, organization & leadership”. As I started at Batmaid as an end-of-studies intern, I could create a perfect link between theory and practice by writing the following master thesis: What would be the best agent performance index for a fast-growing on-demand labor service platform? I was given the opportunity to grow in the company and ended up being the Manager of the CX department.
Before I obtained a master’s degree, I did many summer/student jobs in diverse fields: meat conditioning, milk factory, wine tasting events, amusement park… Curiosity has always been one of the key elements of my mindset.
How did you start working in the customer experience space?
At the end of my studies, I faced a dilemma: big companies vs startups. I chose the second option, as I really wanted to feel how impactful I could be, even as an intern. From day one, I was trying to learn more and more on how our business works and what the key points of the CX field are.
Customer Experience has always been something I was interested in, as it perfectly reflects what I like to do: providing support, solving problems, being empathetic, optimizing processes, rethinking them. In fact, the CX field allows for applying diverse theories and best practices from business studies as well as psychology or statistics. Remember, curiosity is one of the main drivers of my personal development – and this is another simple example of that.
Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?
Currently, I am working hand-in-hand with our Head of CX to ensure that we provide the best possible service. We are a growing team of around 15-20 people and are working on two main large topics: efficiency and quality.
Batmaid is a scale-up that employs cleaning agents and provides this manpower to B2C and B2B clients via a digitalized platform. Technically, you can book a cleaning/frequency in one or two minutes on our platform. We are currently a leading company in this field in Switzerland and are now also available in several European cities.
Therefore, the complexity of my role is that we are working with both sides: clients and agents. We aim to provide the best experience for both of them, which makes our job quite challenging. There is no doubt in the fact that, in this industry, client retention is linked to agent retention; focusing on only one of these two aspects would be way less relevant and would lead to unwanted churn. That’s also why we emphasize interdepartmental communication, for instance with our Hero Growth team.
In other words, resource allocation is key in my role. We must reach clients’ expectations but would not like to jeopardize our agents’ needs/well-being. Finding the balance to maximize our stakeholder’s welfare is a primary goal.
When it comes to team leading, we have set team and personal OKRs (Objectives & Key Results) to make sure that everyone is aligned on the team objectives, but also that every team member has the possibility to grow personally. Each one of them will have different OKRs, as they all have different individual drivers that motivate them.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
Simply by implementing feedback methods/loops. Do they all compute a NPS score regularly? Do they all have a CSAT process? Some companies tend to have internal focuses that are purely quantitative. But they forget that providing a high-quality job will definitely help with the quantitative aspect and with the understanding of key customer pain points.
Also, tracking is tremendously essential. As a CX manager, I aim to spot repetitive tasks and reduce them as much as possible. If manual tasks can be automated easily, there is no doubt it should be. I always visualize solutions on a simple graph: impact vs complexity. This helps us to prioritize and to spot quick wins. The reduction of these tasks will help the team to focus on what really matters: the service quality.
Quality is a very broad word that can mean plenty of things. To come back to this very question, which is how can companies better listen and understand their customer base?, I would split my view on “quality” into three aspects: business understanding, empathy, long term solution. This is applicable to our business, but perspectives can of course differ depending on what kind of service/product you provide.
First, If you understand and identify the business dimensions of your actions, you will provide smart solutions that would increase different key metrics (e.g., LTV).
Empathy is of course key as, as a service company, we are dealing with people and should be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to understand how they are feeling. Last, finding long term solutions is key as many of our clients booked a frequency; this would avoid us calling them too regularly compared to what is needed.
What are some companies that you think are doing an excellent job at customer experience, and why?
I would mention three of them: Uber, Ikea, and Ritz-Carlton. They recently inspired me and are examples for different reasons.
- Uber: efficiency through automatization. As a market leader, they know what their customers want: simplicity. It is so easy to rate a service, to report issues… Processes are mostly handled through automated answers, except if the matter really needs to be escalated. However, the limit of their CX is the lack of interactions. I would personally value a model with more human contact, via phone, chat and/or email.
- IKEA: the experience. A furniture store can be simplistic, but this is not the case with IKEA. Everything is made to make sure that clients are not going to a furniture store: they are going to IKEA. I won’t develop further on their layout as this is a common case study, but they succeeded at making their customers’ experience much different compared to their competitors. Plus, they developed an app that uses augmented reality. This is also a great add-on on the CX.
- Ritz-Carlton: the “extra mile” DNA. The experience is way better in a Ritz-Carlton than in most of the other hotels. Why? They put the client at the center of their business. They even prioritize it in some internal policies or regulations. In other words, they have this “think outside the box” mindset as company value and use it to fulfil their clients’ needs and expectations: it allows them to provide extra service that could not necessarily be expected in other hotels.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes – what are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
As mentioned in question 4, they need to understand your clients’ needs via their feedback and use a complexity/impact matrix to make the best decisions to know what to implement first and foster quick wins.
Also, depending on the business models, digitalizing everything might be counterproductive. Make sure to still keep a part of human intelligence as this is, from my point of view, a key element of a great Customer Experience. If the tasks are repetitive with low human added-value, you should definitely digitalize them. If not, think twice. It of course depends on the business you work for/with, but I would rather avoid a ~100% digitalized solution.
Lastly, try! Testing is key, in terms of digitalization but also more generally speaking. How would you know that you would get a better ROI with an alternative solution? How would you know that your pricing is the best you can have? How would you know how a discount campaign can influence your retention, LTV, or client’s satisfaction?
T.E.S.T. ! It is also key to keep an innovative mindset within your team. If there is an emerging idea you are not sure about, test it. Using a simple A/B testing model with a limited sample at first is worth it; you will then know if scaling these changes is worth it or not.
What are some CX solutions or tools that you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I’m currently trying to explore all the possibilities we have with Zendesk, our emailing tool. We have many ways to make the CX Team’s work easier and our client’s life better with it – automatization, shortcuts, macros, views… I’m impressed by how customizable this tool is. Also, a great tool (that does not apply to CX teams only) is Tableau. It displays dynamic reports/graphs that help us visualize in real time where we stand on our goals and understand several dimensions of what we deliver.
Did you read any interesting books this past summer that you’d like to recommend?
I am currently reading the book Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman and Chris Yeh. This depicts exactly what we try to achieve as a scale-up – I find it inspiring.
What is your favorite CX metric?
Most of the CX managers would probably say NPS (Net Promoter Score) or LTV (Life Time Value). Personally, I am more focused on the CSAT (Customer Satisfaction). We have at the end of each email a quick and simple survey to ask the clients/agents if they are satisfied or not. You can either put a thumbs up or down, plus add a comment: simple and efficient.
Why is it my favorite metric? Instant, personal, complete, qualitative. When a ticket gets a thumbs down, I always reopen it and check with the CX team members who send how we can improve it as a team/company, and how they can personally improve. It also allows me to congratulate people that get thumbs up to foster their motivation.
We use this feedback method to coach the team, spot key customers/agents’ pain points, and try to find how to handle them in the best possible way. These are the reasons why CSAT is my favorite metric: it allows me to emphasize the service quality and to better understand the weaknesses of our delivery.