Objectives For This Episode:
- How to overcome the pain points that customer success teams typically experience with onboarding
- What executives can do to empower their customer success / service teams to succeed
- Real live case studies & lessons learned from serving thousands of companies
More so than ever, customers expect a frictionless experience with your product and want to be able to effortlessly find answers whenever & wherever they need. Failure to painlessly offer up results can (and often will) result in customer abandonment, brand disloyalty, and churn. In this webinar, New York Times, WSJ, and USA Today bestseller & customer service speaker, Shep Hyken, and MindTouch CEO, Aaron Fulkerson, will discuss how to create an amazing customer onboarding experience that sticks.
Meet The Speakers:
- Aaron Fulkerson, CEO & Co-Founder of MindTouch
Fulkerson is a leading innovator in open-source and SaaS software. Under his leadership, MindTouch became a pioneering leader in customer engagement software, and consistently posts negative churn rates alongside industry-leading NPS and CES scores. MindTouch has helped companies like Docker, Zenefits and Zuora ensure their customers’ success and achieve hyper growth by revolutionizing the way companies engage customers through content.
- Shep Hyken, NYT, WSJ, and USA Today Bestseller and Customer Service Expert
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is a customer service expert, professional speaker and bestselling author who works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. His articles have been read in hundreds of publications, and he is the author of Moments of Magic,The Loyal Customer and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestsellers, The Cult of the Customer and The Amazement Revolution, which was also recognized as a New York Times bestseller, and, his latest book, Amaze Every Customer Every Time. Some of his clients include American Airlines, AAA, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, AETNA, Abbot Laboratories, American Express – and that’s just a few of the A’s!
Listen to the full recording by clicking on the button! Otherwise you can read through the transcript below.
Moderator: I’m here with Aaron Fulkerson, the CEO of MindTouch, and Shep Hyken, a renowned NYT & WSJ best seller and customer service speaker. The topic of this influencer webinar is, “How to Create an Amazing Customer Onboarding Experience.” Alright, so let’s introduce the speakers. Shep, can you tell us a little about yourself and Shepard Presentations?
Shep: Sure. And thanks for having me on this webinar. My name is Shep Hyken. I’m a customer service and experience expert and I work with companies to create amazing experiences. If you’ve ever walked out of a business, done business with somebody, finished some type of support issue and said, “Wow, those people are amazing.” That’s what we help our clients do.
Moderator: Fantastic. Aaron, can you tell us a little about yourself and MindTouch?
Aaron: Sure. I’m one of the two founders of MindTouch and the CEO. And I’m really excited to be here with Shep. I was telling him before we started that he’s got such a recognizable brand and everybody respects the guy so much. Plus I’ve heard such nice things about him as a person too. So it’s nice to have you on Shep, thanks for your time.
Shep: Well, thanks and flattery will get you everywhere. Keep the comments. It’s my pleasure, and I appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Aaron: Yeah, it’s all accurate. It really is. MindTouch is focused on innovating a space that we feel hasn’t been innovated upon since before there was an internet. Forget about mobile, forget about IoT. We’re addressing those too, but the first step is helping companies provide their users with the right information in a format that’s low effort and effective. A lot of companies really fall down on that and that’s what MindTouch is focused on innovating.
Shep: I think it’s really important. You should be easy to do business with. It’s one thing to have a great product. It’s another thing to have great service. But what about what happens between getting the product and actually having the call to get service? And I think your product actually kind of fills that gap. It’s part of what your proposition is to your customers.
Aaron: I’ve never heard anybody outside of MindTouch nail that Shep. So that’s the gap in the customer 360 that is filled by MindTouch, between the purchase and the first support ticket.
Shep: Right. So good. We’re on the same page.
Aaron: Yeah, we certainly have an impact during the buyer education stages, on enabling the agents, and really through the customer journey as it pertains to product and service documentation. There’s drawings on various whiteboards of that gap between when the customer buys and when they file that first support ticket that MindTouch occupies. So yeah, I guess it shouldn’t be impressive, but we haven’t even rehearsed it and you noticed it.
Shep: Well thanks. Let me tell you why I noticed it. I will admit to this and it’s a feather in your cap. And this isn’t mutual love. But as soon as we talked about doing this, I went on your website and there was a video. I don’t think that video was more than a couple of minutes long, but that’s exactly what it said to me.
It described it perfectly. So a feather in your cap for making it easy for anybody to understand because sometimes, and I think this is really important and it’s a lesson for any business, not just a compliment to you, but sometimes we know what we do since we’re in this industry and it’s really easy for us to articulate it to others that are inside the industry.
But if we get somebody that’s just trying to learn and understand what you do because they’re thinking about buying, you’ve got to be taken to a level that everybody can understand, and I think you’ve done a great job.
Aaron: Thanks. It didn’t come easily. It’s taken us years to get there. But the thing that’s really challenging and this is not just MindTouch, I think this is generally true for people who are bringing products that are disruptive to market. It’s kind of like that Blue Ocean Strategy book where it talks about the circuses and Cirque du Soleil.
When people come to MindTouch, they often think that they want a knowledge base. And MindTouch is a knowledge base like Salesforce is an address book. Yeah, you can store addresses in there, but that’s probably not why you’re buying Salesforce.
So it’s a bit challenging when you’re coming out with a new category or disrupting current markets to be able to craft a message that goes, “Hey, it’s a circus, but it’s in a theater. There’s no hot dogs, no animals. There’s rock music and ballet.” Like what?
Shep: That doesn’t sound like the circus I grew up with.
Aaron: Right, exactly. No, it’s Cirque du Soleil and it’s way cooler.
Shep: I know. I love it.
Aaron: Yeah, well let’s jump into the first question here.
QUESTION: What does customer experience mean to you?
Aaron: Shep, you go first.
Shep: Okay. I’ll take it from the very beginning, back when I first started in this business. Customer experience was really what customer service was. It was what happened typically in the process of buying – if you felt like you were being taken care of and then afterwards if you felt like, “Oh these people are great. They’re following up. And when I need help, I get support.” That was really what the experience was about.
But today, the experience goes much deeper than that. Customer experience is no longer just how people treat other people or a way to create confidence. For example, if you buy something on Amazon, there are certain things that are so obvious.
The moment you push the Buy button, you’re sent an email that confirms your purchase. That gives you confidence. The next thing that happens is, the order gets shipped out and it says, “Your order has been shipped. Here is the shipping information. You can track it if you want.” This is part of the customer experience. You get the box, you open it up, the way it’s packaged is part of the experience. You have a problem and you call. What happens then, and everything in between, is part of the experience.
Apple’s done a great job of adding innovation and experience into the packaging of the product. It’s really cool just to open up your new iPhone and see how it’s packaged. It’s part of the experience. So that is my long-winded version of what customer experience is about.
Aaron: Yeah, I agree. I think that companies have a tendency of compartmentalizing the customer’s journey into departments within an organization like, “oh this is marketing, they have the website, they have all of the store front.” Then you have sales, it’s a separate entity entirely. They have their stages and that’s completely separate from the next stage which is training and onboarding. They’re their own division. They’re their own department. Then there’s a completely separate team responsible for support. Then you go on and on.
But everybody thinks within their own little silos and one of the things that I’ve always thought odd about this is that if you are engaging a customer like a prospect, somebody who’s a prospective buyer, the whole point of a business is to create value. My background is computer science. And I’ve always thought of computer science in terms of us being toolsmiths. We’re making tools for people which is creating value. We’re making their lives better.
So when we started MindTouch, we always thought, not in terms of marketing, sales, engineering, training, and support. It was a continuum of helping the customer realize the value of the technology that we’ve created which could be applied to anything from Whirlpool washers and dryers to shotguns from Remington to software from MindTouch.
That customer experience, to me, is how do we encourage customers to use our products or services to make their lives better so they get home to their families earlier or get promotions faster. And I think, too often, that’s so compartmentalized that, as companies try to become more scalable, they don’t think about it from the customer’s experience.
Shep: So I’ll summarize that into one sentence. Whether it be customer service or customer experience, it’s not a department. It’s a philosophy. And it’s a philosophy that gets embraced by everybody in every department within an organization.
Aaron: Couldn’t agree more.
QUESTION: What are some of the pain points that customer service teams experience with customer onboarding?
Shep: So I think this tag team approach is great. I’ll jump in with kind of a general thought and then Aaron, maybe you’ll follow up and give something more specific. But for me, customer onboarding is something I think, for many companies, is still a new concept. I just recently started to do business with a software company. And what they said is, the moment you decide to do business with us, we get you set up and then we assign you a coach.
That coach makes sure that you don’t have to call us for the first 10 calls that most people used to call us for. So in a sense, it’s a little bit old school in that they’re doing the people-to-people, human-to-human approach, but it works real well. They’re onboarding me and they’re helping me become successful with my product.
I remember back in the 1980s when I got my first computer, an Epson computer that had no hard drive. I had floppy disks for everything – five and a quarter inch floppy disks. And the person said to me, “You need to work with me because otherwise this computer is going to end up in your closet.” That’s what happens. They’re either used or they end up in a closet. The only way they’re going to get used is if we create customer success from the very beginning.
Aaron: Yeah. I love that – the idea of a coach. It begins even earlier than when you’ve made the purchase. We did a webinar recently on software adoption. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is this concept of shelf-ware, wherein the buyer purchases something and it just gets put on the shelf. They never use it.
It’s so prevalent among enterprise software and a lot of it is that they’re “sold.” This idea of, “I’m selling,” instead of, “Look. It’s not about selling something. It’s about helping the prospective user realize the value or potential, like I said, so that they get home earlier to their family or get promoted faster. So during the sales cycle is really where customer success begins in my mind.
Shep: Some companies are using video to help make this happen and what’s really cool is that you can get this multipurpose concept out of a video. You can use it for marketing purposes, but if the content of that video says, “Hey. Look at this product. Look how people are using it. Look how easy it is to use.” That video is actually becoming an educational tool throughout the marketing and selling process that so when people finally do buy it, you’re going to find that they’ll go back to that video to watch so that they can do whatever it is that the product’s supposed to do. So I kind of think video’s a really cool concept as well. And used properly, it serves as double-edged sword.
Aaron: Yeah, video is a great format. One of the things that we do during the engagement or sales cycle, if you want to call it that, is build a success plan that the customer can use whether they move forward with MindTouch or not.
Then it’s handed off to their coach here at MindTouch to get them up and running. The success plan gets stood up with the videos used during onboarding so that customers can always go back and refer to them. It’s super-effective.
But sometimes you need random access to content, like it needs to be chunked up more as microcontent. You don’t want to sit through a five-minute video or something. So instead, you just need to have it chunked up in a way that you can get just the piece of information that’s contextually relevant to what you’re trying to achieve at that moment. And if you want to go a little bit deeper, it needs to be organized as part of a learning path for this kind of microcontent.
Shep: So it shows up where you need it, when you need it, and you don’t have to go looking for it.
Aaron: Yeah, like if it’s inside a software product, the content should show up inside the application so you don’t have to do a contact switch and jump out somewhere else. And what we’ve seen to be very effective is that, as users interact with those pieces of microcontent, you can start to build personas based off the actions they’re trying to achieve, and then look back, know, and predict what pieces of microcontent they should be consuming based on the industry they’re in. Where they are in the ownership cycle. What interface they’re looking at. Or what it is that they’re trying to achieve? What persona are they? And then deliver a content map or microcontent that’s even more effective because they don’t have to search around for it, they don’t have to contact switch. It’s delivered right to where they are and it’s exactly what they need or at least a really good shot of being exactly what they need.
Shep: And I think that ties back to the customer experience. It’s a good experience. It’s a frictionless experience.
Aaron: We have customers that range from dinosaurs to unicorns. We’ve got 200 year-old manufacturers that are customers to most of the software unicorns in the market today, “unicorn” meaning software companies valued in the billions.
Across all of them, people, because they are siloed in their organization, think of not a holistic customer journey or customer experience, but rather a sales cycle, support cycle, and training cycle individually. What they’ve done is they’ve constructed these very complex machines for burning money. I’ll tell you what I mean.
One of our customers is one of the largest manufacturers in the United States. Because I’m going to paint them in a less than positive light, I’m not going to mention their name. But they initially focused on agents. “We’ve got to enable the agents so they can be more effective so we can lower costs.” And then we talked to them like, “Well, why do you have so many agents? What’s going on? What are your customers looking at?” You go to their web properties that their customers are accessing and, well, they don’t surface on Google because they’re serving content that predates the Internet and PDFs.
And then you go, “Well, what about you serving the customers on site? What are they using? ” “Well, we don’t know. We’ve got this other system over here. We don’t know if it’s working.” It’s like when people are focusing on their little silos, it’s like they’re putting little band-aids on the symptoms instead of treating the disease. And the disease is really this overarching customer experience or overarching customer engagement strategy that they’re falling down on. Gosh, you’re seen far more industries than myself on this.
Shep: I concur because that’s what happens. I heard a great word the other day, de-silo-tize a company, in other words, give everybody access to the same information which, by the way, is easy to do today. There’s so many programs out there. If a customer calls and needs help, there’s no reason, I, over here on another side of the company, can’t see what that conversation is about.
Aaron: Yeah. Absolutely.
Shep: It’s all got to be tied in together. You used the word “holistic journey of the customer” where it’s not broken up by departments. If you start at the very beginning, and I do this with a number of companies, we’ll sit down and we’ll determine that there should not be any department. Everyone in the company has an impact on the customer.
What that means is, if I’m talking to somebody in the warehouse and that person says, “You know what? Why are you giving me customer service training? I never deal with the customer.” And that’s just not true. If they go to pick and pack merchandise off of a shelf and they put it into a box and they leave a part out, or maybe they pack it improperly and it’s damaged on the way, that makes for a very poor customer experience on the other end.
Then damage control has to be taken care of by the customer calling in, talking to somebody in support area, and another two or three days later, they now have to go pick and pack another piece of merchandise and ship it all over again, probably at their own cost. This could have been avoided, if it was done right in the first place. If everybody recognized, even in the warehouse, the accounting department, and areas that you think would never see the customer, you somehow impact the experience of the customer.
Aaron: Yeah. And I think you talk about de-silo-tizing. I think is the word you used.
Shep: I didn’t know if I said it right, but it’s like de-silo-tization. I don’t know. De-silo-tizing. Whatever.
Aaron: Yeah, and the thing that’s just shocking to me is, a lot of times, people don’t understand how some organizations operate ordinarily and they get indoctrinated to how we do things here. They think everybody does things the same way, where we have a central place for all of our products and service information that’s layered across the entire customer journey on the web, in the products, in our CMR implementation, and all of our customer engagement management touch points.
And then they look at our customers that are just starting to deploy MindTouch to achieve the same goals and they’re just shocked by how many different systems are being used. I’ll give you an example. TUI Travel, TUI Group, TUI, the massive travel conglomerate. They’re the largest travel conglomerate on the planet. They’re based out of Europe. Not many Americans know them. Shep you know who they are, right?
Shep: Sure they’re my best friends. No. I don’t. They’re huge. There’s a couple of big groups like that here in the US, but I think those folks are the biggest.
Aaron: Yeah, if a company that large – that owns airlines, cruise ships, resorts, I mean, just on and on – can get content to run like water across the organization so that they’re all tapped into the same life blood. Then anybody can do it. And everybody can capture information to feed that content engine that everybody’s tapped into.
We’re not trying to solve the discussion piece. What we’re really focused on solving is that authoritative content, that authoritative product or service documentation. In the case of TUI, information about their products and resorts and cruise ships and airlines so that they can get really lower the amount of effort required to get the right information to the customer or have the customer self-serve, or have agents just lower effort to get them the right info too.
Shep: So the great term, customer effort. If you can get that effort score high, which means its low effort on the customer, they’re happy with that and that’s part of what you’re talking about here. It’s part of what the whole support should be. Information access quickly, easily, where I’m at, so as you mentioned I don’t have to jump around, open up another site, leave where I’m at, just make it easy. And once you’re going to use that word frictionless. It should be as frictionless as possible.
Aaron: Yeah completely. I guess we should jump to the next question I suppose.
Shep: We could do a webinar just on this topic.
Aaron: Yeah we’re going to have to do this again. We already delved into the next question it looks like.
QUESTION: What can be done to alleviate this?
Shep: I think, yeah, we started to talk about the different things. And obviously we’re talking on the very macro level. We’re not going to get into the weeds and tactically tell you how to go about doing it. But strategically that’s what you’re trying to do.
You’re trying to put content where it belongs, information support. It should be contextual. Wherever that customer is at the time, that’s when they need it so give them the opportunity to get it when and where they need it.
Aaron: Yeah, and there’s a series of steps that we talk about here at MindTouch. Number one is, lower the barriers for people who are subject matter experts to be able to contribute to that engine.
Two, is make sure that engine is easy to expose as a service and broken down into microcontent because right now we talk about it being web native and mobile ready or mobile native. But as we start seeing the proliferation of devices through the Internet of Things, it’s going to be absolutely requisite that this content can be programmatically accessed in bite size chunks for devices to be able to push it across who knows what devices. Maybe it’s your refrigerator.
Then the third thing is to extend that across all of the customer touch points, this engine of content. Then the fourth thing is make sure that you’re analyzing the user event stream and then tying that back to the customer records. So then number five, you can start building analytics and predictions around, “Hey where do we need to make improvements in this engine and where can we optimize or what are the right content maps we should be sharing.”
Shep: I love that. So again, I think that’s strategic. Those are five simple steps. Simple doesn’t always mean easy. But that’s part of the reason they would want to call you. It’s because you can make it easier for them. But I think for the customer, it has to be easy.
Aaron: Yeah, agreed. I think it goes back to what we were discussing about desilotizing. It’s become hard because every single manager, director, maybe even VP is solving the problems they see within their department. But as a result they’re only putting band-aids on the cuts and not treating the broader disease.
And if you just take a step back and you look across all of the different pain points across the entire customer experience, which I know, Shep, you are the guy to talk to about this. Then you realize that well, wait a second, instead of feeding this engine that’s eating our money and then making like, “Maybe I’d save a dollar because I had this new vendor,” you can actually turn this engine into something that’s revenue creating.
Shep: It creates the value and part of that value proposition is what we’re talking about today and it doesn’t cost, it pays.
Aaron: Yeah, let’s go the next question. Hopefully we haven’t answered it already. Shep you’ve got examples I hope, give us some.
QUESTION: Can You Share Some Examples? Have You See Work And Not Work?
Shep: Well, I just shared with you a little while ago about the onboarding process of a new software that helps me avoid having to make my first ten customer support calls, because I don’t know how to do this or I can’t get into that. So we try to make it easy.
This works at so many different levels and I realize, if I look at your technology and your product, I think you’re at one end of the spectrum. But at the most basic level, companies that create even self-service solutions as simple as a frequently asked question page, a knowledge base, companies are starting to what I call, “crowdsource their customer support.”
Apple has been doing this for years. They’ve created a forum where, if you’ve got a question, you go on, you can maybe look it up because somebody may have already answered it, but you throw the question out there and Apple evangelists, not employees, jump on and help people get what they want. I think that’s a great way.
I love video. Video to me is one of the most powerful aspects of customer support that you can give somebody and it’s contextual in that you put it into a website where it belongs as people are going through and working on whatever software they have. I think that’s a great place to do it.
My favorite example of this is – I bought my daughter a ping pong table. I went to a regular sports store here in St. Louis, Missouri where I live and I bought an outdoor ping pong table. German manufacturer, can’t remember the name of the company.
But when I opened up the box you could only imagine a German manufactured ping pong table that I had to put together. Lots of poles, lots of nuts, bolts, screws, all kinds of things to put together. And I looked at the instructions, which by the way, were in German, and I’m good at following pictures but I was struggling.
And all I did is, I went on Google. I typed in the manufacturers model number and their name and up came a video and it was like having the instructor looking over my shoulder telling me exactly what to do. By the way, it visual and it was done to music. There were no spoken words. So it translated through all languages. I thought, “what a great self-service solution.”
By the way, the only thing I could suggest to that company is that they have, on the front page of the instructions, the URL to go and see that video. Make it real easy so I didn’t have to come up with that idea on my own.
Aaron: That’s awesome. Communities are great when you’ve got really passionate advocates, like Apple’s community. There is a way you can make your communities stronger. In our experience, what I’ve seen is, take the content you’re already producing as a byproduct of manufacturing your products, whether its software or whatever. You have this content that you’re already paying to make. It’s your user manuals, but everybody puts them up as a PDF and nobody’s going to read them. So unpack those PDFs, deliver it as microcontent.
Then when somebody hits it, hey, it’s out of date which a lot of times it’s going to be, then have a link where they can jump from the authoritative branded content that the company is already required to produce for legal compliance reasons. Then they jump into a community discussion based on that topic and the tone of the conversation completely changes.
It goes from being a pissed off customer because they’re upset they didn’t have the company taking the bare minimum to publish the user manual information out there, to “they did, but it’s out of date. Whatever, it happens.” And now, “Hey look this article is out of date.” And then, “Oh, well let’s just go update that article and get it corrected.” And then also the communities are great because it gives a place for everybody get together.
Shep: Right, and I think customers appreciate that. If you set up the community what you’ve done is create loyalty. If I’m part of that community, I’m engaging in that community, and by the way, I would highly recommend that the company take the time to participate in the community discussions. Not just leave it up to the evangelists and brand ambassadors that you’ve created. I think that’s important too. Put content out there, share in some examples, jump in when necessary.
Be careful about censoring content. The only time Apple ever censors content, they won’t censor anybody being negative, but they will censor a language or anything that would be considered offensive to a customer. So you’ve got to let the good and the bad percolate out there, but hopefully it’s a whole lot more good than hopefully any bad at all.
Aaron: Yeah, I’ll give you a bad example of one that I’ve seen not work. I love this company and I love this product. I’ve been a long time customer for many years – Fitbit.
Shep: Oh yeah.
Aaron: I get my new Fitbit . . . Do you have a Fitbit?
Shep: I did.
Aaron: So I get my Fitbit every year or so, maybe once a year.
Shep: And there is the reason for that which is why I don’t have a Fitbit anymore.
Aaron: Well, they’ve gotten better on the quality side. They don’t break quite so often anymore. Those early ones definitely broke often. But yeah, I like to upgrade to the new ones because my wife and I run together and workout together and whatnot.
As soon as I get my new one and I’ve got the fancy new, I think it’s the Surge, the watch one. It’s really cool because you get messages from your phone on it. But I get this and I’m really excited about it. The first thing I want to do is, I want to be an expert. I just dropped $250 on it. I want to be an expert on it.
So I go to their website to see, okay, what are the different apps I can connect it to? What are the different integrations I can connect it to? Because I’m excited about it. And what do I find? I find their marketing materials. That’s it. It’s just the same glossy marketing materials that tell me – it’s like the emotional plea. It doesn’t tell me anything about how to be an expert or badass with the product because I’m excited about it. I want to be badass with it and instead I’m just totally let down.
Shep: So what can they do? You’re on the website, it should be easy. Right at the top there should be a word, “Become a badass.” It should be, “Learn how to use it.” Okay. Something simple. And as soon as they get there, maybe there’s different tracks that you could take, here are the basics, here are some advanced features, here’s what’s new in this model version.
It’s really easy for people to get that information if we just put it out there. And I like the idea that it’s chunked in little pieces. But maybe it’s chunked in such way and YouTube is able to do this, why can’t anyone else. If I’m watching a video and it ends, it’s going to automatically take me to the next video unless I choose to jump to a different one.
Aaron: Well, there is a vendor that does that and it includes video too. That’s MindTouch.
Shep: Let me guess. Exactly.
Aaron: Yeah, let’s go to the next question.
Moderator: What can executives do from the top to help empower their customer service success team to succeed?
Aaron: Shep, you help people do this every day. You tackle this one.
Shep: Well, I think that, really, when I read this question, I think to myself that you’re trying to create a culture that focuses on the customer. And therefore, everything you do must be focused on and have that customer in mind.
So the first thing executives need to do is want to deliver at this level because they don’t have to. But if you don’t, by the way, your competition most likely will figure out that’s a weak point and they’ll exploit that for their benefit and they’ll be better than you. But once you decide you want to be customer focused, you then need to communicate what that definition or vision of customer service is.
I use this example all the time and one day somebody is going to say, “Quit talking about the Ritz-Carlton’s credo.” But they came up with a nine-word credo that defines everything they are in the world of guest service and the hospitality industry.
And it came from Horst Schulze, the first president of Ritz-Carlton. Once the hotels became a big chain, he said, “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” And that became the statement that it drives everything that they do. And I’m so excited when I think about how simplistic that is because every employee gets it that works at the Ritz.
So the first thing the executives have to do is number one, they have to define what they want their people to do. And number two, they’ve got to communicate it in such a way that everybody gets it and understands it. And I love the nine-word phrase because you can ask any employee at the Ritz and they’ll recite that.
How many companies can you go to and say, “Hey, tell me what your CEOs service vision is.” And they’re going to look at you like you have two heads, maybe three. But once it’s defined and communicated, they then need to train people to it. And they need to train everybody because everybody needs to understand it.
Are you going to train front liners differently than you will the people in the warehouse or the people in the accounting department? Or, you’re going to be talking about this philosophy and I know we’re talking a lot about online and web-based support that’s contextual and happening as you’re on a site dealing with an issue.
So I always tell my clients, a website or anything online is built to be used by people and it’s built by people. So even though you’re not directly connecting through them, think about it, it’s built by people for people and it needs to be managed and it needs to be simple enough. Define it, communicate it, train to it.
By the way, one other thought is, when it’s working let everybody know it’s working. Celebrate the success, let people know they’re doing a great job. Then they’ll feel good about the work that they’re doing and they will feel more empowered and they’ll take extra steps, they’ll engage, and they might even take good risks to help make that customer experience even better for their customers.
Aaron: Yeah, Shep I’m so happy to be doing this talk with you. You’re so much fun to be around.
Aaron: That’s awesome. The reason why they feel empowered is because you’re giving them a framework to operate in and they just feel like “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” They go like, “Look as long as I’m operating this framework, I know I’m doing thing right. I know I’m doing well and I love that.” I think you wrote that somewhere and it hit me then and I just wrote it down. I want to roll that out for MindTouch too. It’s so great. I think ours will be “ninjas for ninjas.”
Shep: Ninjas for ninjas? I think that’s perfect. That’s what you guys are, you’re stealth-like until you’re needed and then boom, you pop up. And it shouldn’t be a surprise, it should be, “I’m glad you’re here.”
Aaron: Yeah, I love that. Okay, do we have another question? I think we’re running out of time here. Oh, we’re out of time. Okay, Shep, it’s a real pleasure meeting you officially. I know that I think I’ve exchanged some tweets with you in the past and just real privilege. I hope to do this again and I’d like to meet you in person at some point in the near future too.
Shep: Yeah, I hope so too. Thanks for this opportunity. Great to get to know you guys a little better as well.
Aaron: Yeah, have a great day.
Shep: Thanks. You too.