Hi Shane, tell us about yourself and your background
Thank you very much, it’s my pleasure to chat with you. Let me start by asking your readers to think about what it is that makes them tick? Because if they are as lucky as I am, they get to live their passions each day. For me, communication is my love. I’ve always had a love of the spoken word and enjoy meeting new people and finding out what makes people tick.
Ultimately, that is what we do as marketers is it not? Uncover what makes people tick?
When I got to Michigan State University, I knew that I had to pursue an area of study that helped drive my passions. I focused on mass communications with an emphasis on persuasion. I loved my work as an undergraduate teaching assistant during my senior year. I knew I wanted to continue to teach and help people, but it wasn’t until a couple of decades after I graduated that I really brought all of my passions together for my career.
I am a dinosaur and graduated from college way back in 1991 when customer experience was a different beast.
I have a sales and entrepreneurial background but took some time off to raise my children. In 2008, I got back into business to help share the message to live a greener, healthier, more eco-friendly lifestyle. I was able to teach a great many consumers about the impact their choices have on their health and the health of the planet.
I was honored to do some “green” lobbying in D.C. for Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and also began consulting with green business owners about how to spread their message with digital media.
In 2017 I became disabled with a rare neurological disease, so I feel lucky to wake up each day and still do the work that makes me feel challenged and fulfilled. Helping to make marketing easy and less worrisome for brands of all sizes might not be as important as curing cancer, but it sure does make me fulfilled.
Currently, I am fortunate to act as CMO for the almost 100-year-old SBS Brands. I am also President of Shane Shirley Media, which I founded in 2008. My eldest daughter, Reece Smith, now runs the company. We have some exciting things going on there as we are and focused on offering proprietary digital marketing Saas that is some of the best I have seen in my career.
In fact, one of our proprietary tools helped a urology practice website reach 1 million visitors last year. That was pretty exciting.
I also cannot believe how lucky I am to have been blessed with three amazing daughters. I live in a “house divided” though, as my two oldest daughters went to Florida State University and the University of Florida respectively. Those two oldest now work with Shane Shirley Media.
My youngest has already told me she would like to someday work alongside us as well. You cannot ask for much more than that, can you?
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
Providing a great customer experience does not have to be difficult and expensive. Every company, regardless of its size or budget, can track and improve upon CX. Free tools like Google Analytics can give a team an idea of how good of a job they are doing at creating a stellar customer experience for consumers as they interact with their brand.
Time on site, number of pages visited, bounce rate, number of new users and existing users, are all free indicators of how good or bad of a user experience (UX) you are delivering. And your UX speaks volumes about your CX.
Implementing, evaluating, and measuring customer experience success or failure does not have to be complicated. You can even send out a simple survey and garner immense value.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
My focus, especially after the last year, remains firmly planted on digital UX. Especially with Google making changes to how they rank page experience not only on mobile but also desktop starting this June, I think anything that can help create a better digital user experience online for your consumer is key.
One way I like to empower my consumers to help brands improve upon their customer experience is through reviews. You cannot simply rely on customers loving their experience with your business. Statistics show that a disgruntled customer is five times more likely to leave a bad review than a happy customer is to leave a good one.
Shane Shirley Media has just begun providing a customer feedback loop designed to get more positive reviews and attract web traffic. It’s an excellent proprietary SaaS review system which helps to not only eliminate poor reviews but to empower consumers to get their problems rectified.
We ensure a smooth integration of your review page to your website, maintain the onpage META-DATA and schema, and keep things running smoothly. When it comes to ranking and getting reviews to increase positive customer experience nobody else has a product like this.
Shane’s tips for improved customer loyalty
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
This may not be new and shiny and exceedingly difficult to implement, but I am a fan of an email newsletter and even a print edition. Each brand has to ascertain what cadence works best for them daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly, but if consumers are letting you into their inbox, they want to get to know you better.
A trusted newsletter can be like a trusted friend. And believe me, when they need your products or services, you will be top of mind and first on their list.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score), NPS (Net Promoter Score), or CES (Customer Effort Score)?
Net promoter score is one of the most valuable gauges of customer satisfaction that I utilize. To me, it is just like social proof but even better.
Think about it. If your customer is willing to recommend your services or products to a friend or business associate, I would say that you are delivering a top-level customer experience to that consumer. Net promoter score is also the perfect way to uncover problems within your organization that you had no idea existed that could fester and cause innumerable problems down the line.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
Social media has taken on such incredible importance in the area of customer experience because of the ease and availability, or what should be the ease and availability, for quick customer service.
And when it comes to social media, a seasoned mentor named Ted Rubin, once gave me an exceedingly helpful piece of advice that I have tried to implement and teach. It actually is a simple piece of advice to implement. When replying to anyone on social media, always remember to use their name.
Another way to get personalized with your social media marketing is with PURLS or personalized URLs. They have been slow to catch on in many industries because people just don’t know where to begin. Superior Business Solutions can help you to easily set up a social media marketing campaign that benefits from PURLS.
What greater personalization can you give than having a consumer go to a link you lay down on social, ask them to fill in some information for a relevant offer, and then get sent to a PURL?
Finally, believe it or not, e-commerce quizzes are a great way to build deeper relationships on social media in a more customer-centric way than you might imagine.
Consumers will feel a great connection to a brand that shares an engaging online quiz that they intuitively feel was made for them. With a well-written and appropriately targeted quiz, consumers will certainly feel like your business knows who they are.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
I am a big proponent of automating anything that can be. With that said, even though you might have an AI-based chatbot, you need to have a human that’s paying attention to what’s going on with those conversations. No matter how techie we think we can get, at this point, to ensure the best CX, we still need humans at the helm.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
I don’t watch movies. It is a bit of a joke in my family, but I cannot sit through a movie without commenting, getting up to stretch my back, and fidgeting around. Watching television or movies is too passive of an activity most of the time for me.
I enjoy reading and have just started, “The Leaders Compass” by Ed Ruggero and Dennis F. Haley. It was given to me a few months back by my friend and Leadership Facilitator at Academy Leadership, Leon R. Jablow IV, PH.D.
Reading makes me feel like a kid again. Books can take you to a higher level in your career or help you escape when you need a quick break.
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
For a deep dive on CX, I have to say I trust results from a yearly NPS. For my quick view of how CX is going, I like to check in on my digital UX and take a look at what visitors are doing on the company website. I take a quick peek at how long visitors are staying on the site.
Ensuring you are weeding out the IPs of frequent visitors like webmasters and have your analytics set up properly, a lot can be garnered from analytics. A company’s website should be a microcosm of its culture and brand. If prospects, visitors, and existing customers are coming into a site and leaving quickly, I know we have a problem.