I’m the Founder of RevSherpas, a Houston-based business growth advisory and customer experience strategy consulting firm for small to mid-sized businesses. I have over 10 years of revenue growth acceleration consulting experience scaling global companies via strategic CRM and CX transformations using my internationally proven and proprietary Client Connect!™ formula. Additionally, I’m a multi-published author, and my specialties are building client-centric company cultures, improving sales and service rep productivity, increasing client retention, and revitalizing underperforming marketing to double revenues and create more consistent cash flow…quickly, inexpensively, and with less effort.
What is the biggest misunderstanding about customer experience, in your opinion?
The biggest misconception is that the customer experience only has to do with customer service. It’s far more than that, as customer experience encompasses the entire sales and service lifecycle from lead generation, lead qualification, lead nurturing, lead conversion, client onboarding, customer support and service, and ongoing client communication and correspondence.
All staff across marketing, sales, and service departments have to commit to delivering an amazing customer experience each and every day to not just their prospects/customers/clients/members/patients/investors, but also their strategic partners and their colleagues.
Failure to create a distinguished customer experience at any point of the customer journey results in more lost deals and higher client turnover. It’s not just up to a customer support rep to provide an unrivaled level of service to improve the customer experience. Rather, everyone in the organization every day must be all-in on enriching and innovating the customer experience.
What are some of the newer CX companies/solutions you’re keeping your eyes on right now?
I’m fascinated to see what lies ahead for the Facebook acquisition of Kustomer
that occurred in late 2020. Considering Facebook has over 2 billion users, how will the features of Kustomer’s omnichannel customer relations services be incorporated into the Facebook platform? Will such an integration cost extra for business users, and where and how within the platform will the comprehensive interaction tracking capabilities be displayed? This forthcoming solution is going to be a gamechanger for the global business community, particularly the small businesses that advertise on Facebook.
What can companies do to improve customer loyalty and retention?
Due to intense competition and increasing client acquisition costs, securing and extending customer loyalty is critical in today’s business climate. Compared to trying to enter new markets and bring on brand new customers, it’s much easier to cross-sell, upsell, and retain existing highly satisfied clients.
This is a fundamental profit acceleration that too many companies ignore. The first two things to do to improve customer loyalty and retention are to 1) commit to a customer-focused culture and customer-driven growth strategies and 2) stop relying on antiquated, clunky, and nearly unusable CRM systems. Implementing a leading-edge CRM system and strategy can serve as the foundation of a firm’s transformation to becoming more customer-centric to maximize customer loyalty and client retention.
What do you think is most relevant and why: CSAT (customer satisfaction score), NPS (net promoter score), or CES (customer effort score)?
I’m a big fan of CSAT because I feel it’s the most accurate collection of customer sentiment at the “point of attack” based on their most recent interaction. I feel CSAT scores have the least anomalies in responses gathered because you’re either satisfied or you’re not. Thus, it’s safe to say that the more satisfied customers you have, the longer they will stay with you and likely refer others to you.
On the other hand, the issue I have with NPS is that I can love a brand, product, or service but still not be overly excited to recommend it to someone else if I know it may not be the best fit for them due to price, their lack of time, or what they already have. Therefore, I might not always answer with a “10” by that logic.
I’m probably in the minority, but that’s how I feel. Similarly, CES sometimes can misrepresent a customer’s sentiment because major issues can at times require massive effort and be complex to resolve. In this case, initially, a customer may dislike that it was not easy on them to get a matter fixed, but eventually, they will be relieved and satisfied that it was sorted out.
Thus, CES results could also be skewed. Overall, I feel CSAT is superior due to its specificity, its flexibility to gather data about one event or the overall relationship, and its lower odds of being misinterpreted. Nevertheless, all three of these are valuable satisfaction metrics.
How can companies better use social media in the era of customer-centricity and personalization?
They can be more authentic and genuine. Do what’s right for your customers rather than trying to make people laugh who may not even be your ideal target customer. Plus, companies should focus on adding more educational content in addition to sending out promotional messages and monitoring and protecting their brand reputation. Doing so will deepen relationships with followers, fans, and customers and allow for more opportunities to personalize future outreach.
What is your opinion on AI-based chatbots to handle customer support?
I like them a lot more than I used to, particularly because customer support call hold times can be so long these days. That being said, I still prefer speaking to a live person. The chatbot or message way of support is growing on me, though, because the communication can be direct and crisp if done correctly. For instance, it’s a big win if you have a question, and then immediately, you’re provided with a brief but clear step-by-step answer supplemented with a help page link or FAQ video. Plus, now the chatbots can even be proactive and send you a link providing additional valuable information, such as pricing for an add-on product that you may not have realized that you, as the consumer, probably also should seriously consider.
The fact that you can see the additional intel right then and there on your screen is helpful and more likely to result in action being taken by the consumer. Regardless of the support channel and whether or not it’s human or AI-driven, customers still will be livid if the support rep does not immediately grasp the reason they are calling. Ideally, the AI-support playbook is able to consistently program prompt, concise responses based on the most common customer issues and even predict the reason for the call or the next follow-up inquiry based on how the discussion progresses.
What was the best movie you saw that has come out during this past year?
I Care a Lot – the title, but not the behavior of its characters, fits right into the theme of this interview, doesn’t it?
Last but not least, what is your favorite CX metric?
Client retention and customer churn rate. You might think you have supporting metrics that indicate your brand is held in high regard and you have satisfied customers, but to get the real state of your business, you must monitor and achieve high client retention and low churn. That is indisputable proof of how well you are doing and whether or not your CX strategic initiatives are paying off.