Hi Eddie, How did you start working in the customer experience space?
Prior to my career in CX, I served as a federal civilian within our government, specializing in contract negotiations, namely negotiating contracts for space rockets and satellites. Prior to that I served in the military and that’s where my heart of service was born. I chose to pivot into CX because I love serving my community and being of service to my people. I truly believe that the U.S. Small Business Community powers our economy and Gusto has given me the platform to help small businesses create a world where work empowers a better life.
What do you think the top priority should be for a company that wants to improve its customer experience?
I think instilling a service mindset should be the top priority for a company that wants to improve its CX. Here at Gusto we thrive on looking at all problems through a customer-centric lens asking ourselves, “How does this make our customer’s life better?” Everyone at Gusto cares very deeply about our customer and leads with empathy first, which helps putting service before self that much easier. For example, Gusto’s service mindset was on full display when supporting customers, who we call Gustomers, during COVID. We became an information hub for all things small business which would eventually turn into us being the resident expert on the Paycheck Protection Program. Little did we know that with this service mindset we would be creating another revenue driver and powering our customer flywheel, all by just doing the right thing.
How can companies better listen and understand their customer base?
Customer satisfaction surveys say it all and I believe in doing thorough scrubs on all dissatisfied customer satisfaction surveys as they will tell the story. At Gusto, we distill issues into one of the 3 P’s: product, people, or process. If it’s product-related, we give our product development team the critical feedback needed to understand our customer’s pain points user interface. If it’s people-related, we shore up our employee training program to address any knowledge gaps. If it’s process-related, we take what isn’t working for our customer and adjust processes accordingly.
Many companies are currently undergoing digital transformation processes – what are your tips on a successful digital transformation?
Strategically, at Gusto, we want to make sure that we are integrating digital transformation processes when and where they make sense. Again, if it doesn’t serve the customer, we don’t do it, period. When we do see a process that could make our Gustomer’s life easier, we set realistic targets from which we can expect our Gustomer to benefit from the digital transformation and check-in regularly regarding those targets. Digital process changes can take time, especially when you’re trying to see how it changes a customer’s behavior, tastes, and preferences. Setting realistic targets keeps us from pulling the plug too early on an initiative and regular check-ins allow us to adjust strategy in order to maximize the likelihood of success.
What are some CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
CX solutions I’m keeping my eyes on right now are how to better optimize processes using automation and customer feedback in order to thread the needle when it comes to giving each customer the CX they crave. This includes providing more high-touch to those who crave it and removing touchpoints for those who want less human-interaction; everyone gets the ‘white-glove’ experience they desire.
What are some of your tips for people who want to work in the CX sphere?
If you have a service mindset and enjoy delivering world-class service to customers, I say jump right into a career in CX! At Gusto, we feel empathy is part of the secret sauce of a service-mindset and it’s that very empathy that serves as the engine to powering our customer flywheel. So if that’s you, I invite you to join us at Gusto too!
So many things changed in 2020. While some things are going to return to “normal,” what are new trends and habits you think will stay with us in the long term?
I think customers will expect in-person and virtual options to be the new norm. Although we all miss physical connection with others, there has been a huge improvement regarding work/life balance because of virtual options. I also see people continuing to remain more open to social solutions like using Zoom for virtual coffee chats, therefore, those in the 1-to-1 CX space should take note!
eCommerce boomed in 2020, and consumers started leaving more product reviews online. How can we make the most out of this momentum?
Use the OODA loop! It’s something I learned during my military service and it stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. At Gusto, it is our goal to execute the OODA loop to perfection, especially with customer feedback. Doing this showcases our willingness to adapt our product quickly and provide the cutting-edge solutions our customers deserve.
What is your favorite CX metric? Why?
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is my favorite metric because, although it is a lagging indicator, it really showcases the customer love you’re generating which can be used as a vector on how to approach future customer experience initiatives.