Anne Bibb 0:09
Welcome, everybody to a very special episode of Unexpected Journey. We are doing a panel today and our panel discussion is going to be on customer experience in review, for the first quarter of 2023. Now you all know me as the host of Unexpected Journey and the CEO of Remote Evolution. But today, I have the pleasure of hosting two esteemed panelist, Rick Denton, who is the Founder and Managing Principal of EX4CX, and Kristi Faltorusso, who is the Chief Customer Officer of clients success. And I’d like to give you each a moment just to introduce yourself and give a quick overview of your background, including why you believe this is such an important topic. And Kristi, why don’t you go first?

Kristi Faltorusso 0:58
Wonderful. Well, first, I’m just so excited to be here. I think this is a really interesting topic for us to tackle and a lot of people probably have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it. So hopefully will contribute to that. So I’m currently the Chief Customer Officer at client success. We are a customer success management software company. So we help other companies manage their customer success programs from new to renew. Prior to joining client success, I’ve spent the past decade in customer success, helping hypergrowth b2b SaaS companies either build, scale or transform their customer success operations, and have had the privilege of participating in a ton of different conversations similar to this, where we get to chat about all things customer success. So I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you so much.

Unknown Speaker 1:44
Thanks, Kristi, and Rick,

Rick Denton 1:47
everybody, and I completely agree with Kristi there, I am super excited about today’s conversation. I love talking all things customer experience, and having a chance to look back and really see what we’ve experienced in the first quarter. And how it’s gonna affect us going forward is going to be a ton of fun. So I am richten. And I believe the best meals are served outside and require a passport. You did mention exp CX that is the customer experience consulting company that I started about six years ago. Prior to that world, it was in the corporate world in the customer experience space with a lot of operations and project management experience. And that’s what has bled into what I do today, helping companies create tangible business value read dollars, out of improving their customer experience. I’m also the host of a podcast CX passport, where we have a weekly chat about customer experience, with a little dash of travel. And somebody in this panel has been on that show. And you were a great episode a few months ago, and I was thankful to have you on looking forward to the conversation today.

Anne Bibb 2:45
Wonderful, thank you both for those interests, we’re going to jump right into the conversation, which as I said, is primarily going to focus on the key trends, the challenges, the opportunities that emerged in the first quarter of 2023, as well as strategies that businesses can employ to enhance their customer service office offerings. So let’s begin by discussing the trends that have emerged in the customer experience landscape. So this one’s actually going to be you know, throughout, I’m going to toss it to one of you. But this one, this is really for both of you. At the end of fourth quarter, we were forecasting some key trends that were going to be important in the customer experience landscape. For 2023 trends like customers demanding more personalization, the experience, personalization for the experience becoming table stakes for companies, or companies realizing that employee experience ties into the customer experience. And my least favorite companies were going to start cutting the customer experience teams because they couldn’t understand how the holistic view was really starting to pay into the payoff. So these of course, were just a few of the trends that some of the CX experts were forecasting for 2023. So as we start to look at the first quarter, and the customer experience landscape for first quarter, what do you see of those trends that have come into focus? And when other key trends have started to emerge? Christy, I’m going to go to you first.

Kristi Faltorusso 4:21
Sadly, I’m going to start with the disbandment of CX teams as a function as a practice and discipline. Sadly, I think with the economic landscape that we’re navigating right now, there’s so many companies who have still struggled to wrap their heads around the value of CX and all that encompasses that right, whether it’s customer support or customer experience or customer success. And you know, it’s it’s because of that, that we’re seeing a lot of these companies downsize and redirect. I unfortunately, because I do get to work with so many organizations in the role that I am in client success. These Customer Success teams are actually being disbanded and being folded into other parts of the organization, right? So you’re seeing support kind of right along into product organizations, or you’re seeing professional services teams be put into, like implementation or more around training enablement. There’s Customer Success teams that are being disbanded. And that’s being rolled into sales and account management. And I would say that’s the biggest trend that I’m actually seeing come into fruition, and probably the most disheartening, Rick?

Rick Denton 5:27
Yeah, I wanted to talk about the other trends. But I absolutely like Christie, you’re right, that seems to be the one that we’re feeling the most. And maybe it’s because we’re looking through it as a customer experience practitioner lens. I think a lot of it is because the practice of customer experience sort of lost its way. And I’m gonna use that term, perhaps in an exaggerated sort of way. I’m a Texan I exaggerate. We lost our way where we focused on the big the grand the ivory tower, the theoretical, and wanted to present this picture of something that was I’m gonna use the term almost esoteric, that was this attainable, or unattainable large concept of customer experience, when really what customers want is basics. And I think we’re finding and I believe and when you’re asking about what’s looking towards the future, I think what we’re going to see is a customer desire to get me back to the basics. Let me talk to somebody or communicate, let’s not use the word talk, let me communicate with the company in the way that I want to when I want to, without having to wait half a day delivery.

Anne Bibb 6:27
Well, you’re, you’re answering one of the other questions now. But that’s right. Seriously, though, sorry about that. No, no, it’s great. Because you’re right. Customers want to be taken care of, and they want to be thought of and they want you to know what they want before they want it.

Rick Denton 6:44
And it’s we can get explore those basics even a little bit more later. But I really do think that that’s a key element of why we’re seeing customer experience teams discarded because the customer experience team as a standalone, I’m not here to debate whether organizationally, I don’t care about the tribalism where it belongs. But wherever it belongs, it needs to deliver value, it needs to create something that advances those tangible business results that I referred to earlier. That’s where I think it’s lost its way. And you’re seeing companies say, well, if I’m not getting any value out of this, I’m not going to pay for it.

Anne Bibb 7:17
And that, and I think, at least from what I’m seeing, companies that are getting rid of it just simply don’t know how to tie the value to that team. And so they’re, they’re struggling with that entire view of calculation. Like how is this team which appears to not be revenue generating or appears to it’s a relationship? We all have relationships? How do I have an ROI on a relationship?

Rick Denton 7:47
There’s an element of that that whose responsibility is that? There’s two thoughts that came to mind when you said that one is whose responsibility is that? If the company is saying, Well, I can’t see a value? Shouldn’t the team be demonstrating the value and the other is value isn’t just an ROI. I’m channeling Nix. iser, some of the watch viewers of this may know him as another voice inside of C at the CX world. And he talks a lot about Hey, why are we in the CX world held to this ROI standard when HR isn’t finance isn’t. And these other organizations? Why shouldn’t we just be a part of helping the company deliver on its brand promise? And I think there’s some truth to that. What we haven’t done, though, as a good job as a general CX community is even those basics of demonstrating how we’re helping a company advance its brand promise, and the basics that go along with that.

Anne  8:31
Kristi, do you have any any thoughts on that?

Kristi Faltorusso 8:34
Yeah, I do. And I wonder if it’s because of how we might just sit alongside of these go to market teams, right, oftentimes, and marketing has quantifiable ROI, and sales does and right. So it’s like, of course, why shouldn’t customer experience have that as well? Right. And so I think it’s just this, this idea that because these other functions do and where we sit in the mindset of the organization, that we should be able to deliver these tangibles also. And so I think it’s the responsibility, honestly, I think of the leaders of these functions, to be able to advocate and to educate, basically off of what you’ve just said, right? And so we’ve got to change the narrative that’s happening inside of these companies, to help them see beyond this tangible ROI and understand the bigger contributions that we played the business, but I’ll tell you, you know, what’s going to happen, they’re going to see for themselves, because as they continue to disband these functions and stop making these investments, they’re going to see what actually happens to their business impact.

Rick Denton 9:31
Amen. Oh, sorry. I

Anne 9:33
know. You said Amen. I was gonna say hallelujah.

Rick Denton 9:41
Oh my god. What you’re gonna see in 23 years, how about a trend you’re gonna see you’re gonna see the companies that are using, okay, we hear downturn, we hear recession, okay, whatever it’s going to be companies that invest in customer experience and whatever degree that they need to invest in it are going to be the ones that win. They’re going to be the ones that find business growth, they’re going to be the ones that stay them that decline in their business because they focus on it, the ones that cut are going to actually create a self fulfilling prophecy. See, look, our business was declining. Well, yeah, when you cut your customer focus,

Kristi Faltorusso 10:11
right? Because it’s a lagging indicator, right? So depending on how you’re measuring it, right, because they can’t see the tangible impact today, like marketing is such an easy one, right? You do something and you see it, right. Like you drive traffic, you convert something you drive leads, find sales, same thing, because what the work that we do has results that are lagging, it takes so long to see them come to fruition and nobody wants to wait. Right? Right now, it’s like you everyone has the patience of a two year old, right? Like, it’s just it’s, I need to see it, I need to peel it right in this moment.

Speaker 1 10:41
You know, there was actually an article recently about how customers are more demanding and less patient than ever in the history of customers experience. So they just, they don’t have the tolerance to put up with anything right now.

Rick Denton 10:58
And you’re right, they don’t, except when a brand has invested in customer equity, customer loyalty equity, they’ve built up that brand equity inside a customer’s mind that they might be more forgiving once might be more forgiving twice, my whatever that is. And so definitely a customer has the impatience, I want to get my issue resolved right away. 100% agree. I think there’s a buffer that exists in a company with that is willing to create an experience that is I’m not talking about delightful, I’m just talking about consistently good. And that was willing to accept that gaff that they might deliver.

Anne 11:38
But those companies that you’re talking about, the ones that have put the buffer in place have built that equity are ones that have invested in a customer experience, Customer Experience team, a customer experience strategy, a leader that makes sure that it is all happening, whether and it can be called different things. Let’s not just focus on the term customer experience, right? Like some people call it customer support. Some people call it head of operations like, but it is somebody that is literally focused on how we take care of our customers. And those organizations that have that equity built up, are the organizations that have invested in the end strategy of making sure that those customers are taken care of.

Rick Denton 12:29
And have created a process for oh, I caught your mic.

Anne Bibb 12:36
So but I know Christy recently, you said something that in a conversation that we had, I can’t remember when but you said something that stuck with me. And I kind of wanted to bring it up today. And he said that processes are running companies and not the other way around. And I think that that does kind of tie in to where their organization organizations are investing in and taking care of their customers and their employees. What did you What did you mean by processes are running companies and not the other way around?

Kristi Faltorusso 13:15
Listen, I think that we’ve all settled into the fact that the experiences we designed for our customers have to be ever evolving, right? I think as leaders, three of us could probably agree to that, right? Like we’ve got to continuously evolve the things that we do, and innovate on those. Right, the things that worked 10 years ago are clearly not the things that are going to work today We’ve even talked about the things that were last quarter aren’t going to be the things that work this quarter. So there’s this idea that in organizations that are successful, right, they are we have people innately driving these processes, right, they are evolving and innovating in ways to deliver experiences for our customers based on what they need today. There are also organizations probably less successful, where they have designed or developed process or process has happened accidentally. And it has been the set it and forget it mindset, right? These things are just happening behind the scenes. And they continue to let these things happen with no control with no emphasis on designing a better experience and focusing on the output of their teams, ultimately designing things for their customers. And so that’s kind of what I had in my head right? Like it’s these it’s the difference between the two it’s it’s like you know, being able to drive these things forward versus letting these things just drive on their own right like it’s almost like this like self driving car thing that I still can’t wrap my head around. But I think we need to take control right and the companies that are taking control and owning that and evolving. I think those are the ones going to drive more success and more impact for their customers and their businesses long term.

Anne 14:41
How do you you know as you’re listening to what what Christy just said, How do you feel like that could change the company’s dynamics to better serve customers, Rick?

Rick Denton 14:55
Oh my gosh, I froze because seven thoughts hit my mouth at the exact same time. Let me distill them first happens to me all the time.

Rick Denton 15:03
Kristi is absolutely right. First, let me just start there, right, she is spot on when it comes to the bidding these legacy processes and you will know how it manifests itself, if you’ve called somewhere contacted the company, oh, I’m sorry, sir, I’m sorry, madam that we can’t do that our policy says I don’t give a bleep about your policy, I got something wrong here. And you need to help solve where, and that lack of understanding that customers of all business evolve, lives evolves, life evolves. That’s where you start to see that manifested. And in the question that you’re asking you, How can that go for it, then it demonstrates the company? You know, there it is seven thoughts again, it all goes down to listen and act. Right? Are you actually listening to your customer? So in that case, we’re Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We don’t have the policy. Are you listening to that, and have the ability to understand from your frontline when your frontline is frustrated that they can’t deliver a solution for the customer? Nobody goes to work saying how can I piss off the customer? Well, some do have mentioned other airlines later. How can that frontline? How are you pulling that information in from them, and then doing something with it. And if you do that, listen and act guess what you’re going to create that customer experience that you’re describing, you’re going to create that customer service experience that delivers delight for the customer, or, again, just basic goodness for the customer, that keeps them coming back and allows you to succeed.

Anne Bibb 16:21
So, you know, as we’re sitting here talking about all of this, you know, I’m trying to think about all of here’s, here’s the big deal, right? Like we’re talking about all of these companies that have or have not invested in, in the customer experience, they have built up equity for their customers, the ones that have not built up that equity, they haven’t invested. I’ll be talking to a customer support agent. And they’re like, I’m sorry, we have a policy, I can’t do this, or

Anne 16:53
Oh, the face that Rick just made, just speaks volumes. I

Rick Denton 16:58
forgot to turn my camera off. Alright, keep going.

Anne 17:01
But you know that it’s like they’re getting in their own way. Right? And how can companies ensure that their policies, their regulations, what they’re trying to do, don’t negatively impact that end customer experience, so that they can build up that customer equity when something bad happens, that they have no control over? Right? I mean, these things happen. And you need to build that up. But how do they do that? Like, what do they need to be thinking about? What do they need to be doing?

Rick Denton 17:40
And when you’re saying that, I’m going back to that listen and act aspect of it. And I’m specifically thinking of something that you’re talking about, you know, the agent that says that and we’re going back to nobody goes to work hoping that they can piss off the customer, right? Let’s just use that as a general statement. And I think what happens in a lot of our customer experience worlds in our customer service experience worlds, we say to, hey, you need to listen to the calls, you need to coach your agents on all that. There tends to be a lack of understanding that a lot of times the agent isn’t equipped with the tools, they aren’t equipped with the systems they are equipped with the processes, Christie the processes, right, they do have all the processes and the training to be able to deliver on the customer. So no wonder the agent has failed the customer. And there was somebody that was on the podcast, I was in January, Konya Fowler fct, as a company out of Canada, and they have a particular tool that they use when they do call listening. And they remove the agents voice from the call listening. And all you hear is the customer and the customers angst so that you don’t have this focus in the call, the executives aren’t gonna listen to what the agent did wrong, but rather, they’re listening to what the customer is experiencing and getting a pure play understanding of that customer’s experience. So that is a tactical approach as a way to kind of focus on how can we get this better. On the larger scale, it’s Listen, it’s listen and act. Going back to that.

Speaker 1 19:01
That’s an brilliant way to actually just hear the customer side of the story.

Rick Denton 19:09
Time that her approach to building a like she did it from scratch, they’re brilliant. And that one really has stuck with me is and of course, you need to have the agent voice at other times, but especially those executive call listenings where there’s the natural reaction, Oh, listen to what that agent did. No, no. Let’s listen to what the customer experienced.

Kristi Faltorusso 19:28
Very Can I jump in here? Because I do love this listen and act. But I think there’s also something to be said about things you can’t hear, but rather things that you see, right? customers behave certain ways, right? So customers who are no longer engaging customers who are no longer buying customers who are no, listen, I’m dropping from the support chats, and I didn’t get my issue resolved. What they’re doing is also showing us a lot of what they’re feeling. And so I think that there is this this last focus on like real Looking at the big picture, right? There’s a lot to hear. There’s a lot to observe. But what are we doing with all this information? Like you talked about this awesome tool, right? That we’re removing the voices, there’s so much software, there’s so much tech out there that empowers us to learn so much about what’s happening with our customers. But the ability to act, I feel like is lost on a lot of folks, right? Like, we’re not taking advantages to make small changes. And that’s the thing, right? Like, I’m not saying go redesign everything that you’ve ever built, because it’s broken today. Like, we don’t eat the elephant, right? But like, how do you go find these small changes, you can make these ways that you can empower your teams, right? Like, I’m not saying that for every agent who’s taken a call, like, you’re giving them the ability to go and give the customer whatever they need and change everything right now, but like, what tools? Or what processes can you empower them with, to give them the ability to enhance the experience, these aren’t huge, massive changes. So I don’t know, I just feel like there’s so much to listen to, there’s so much to observe, and we’re just not doing enough with it. And all that data is live in somewhere, we’ve got a ton of access to it. I mean, I feel like this this world, we’re just immersed in data, take it and do something small today to drive change tomorrow.

Rick Denton 21:12
I absolutely, totally agree with you there Christie in the sense of, especially when you talk about enacting cultural change, right? There’s a lot of times that we go in, and because it’s the big, it’s the attractive, it’s the really hot project. Ooh, what can we do as opposed to these small little thing that was an incremental win that builds on the next incremental win, which builds on the next right, either the flywheel effect of the classic book, it is whatever it was. And so how do we do that with those little wins? And it’s, it’s I don’t know, if it’s because companies feel overwhelmed, teams feel overwhelmed. individuals feel overwhelmed at the amount of data out there, where if there’s just the the mentality of oh, great, I saw that my score went up, yay, oh, boo, my score went down. Hmm. And then I don’t do anything. And they feel like that was action, that the score was the action, when actually, it’s the choice to do something with the data with the information with the insights that you’ve gleaned, that actually create the results that you’re describing.

Anne Bibb 22:05
I’m gonna jump in here too, because I literally was just having this conversation with somebody. And the score is what it is, because the people that don’t take the score, the people that don’t take the survey, are just as valuable as the survey and who does take it. So if you send out 10 surveys, and five people take it.

Speaker 1 22:36
Why aren’t you reaching out to the five people that didn’t? And finding out? One why they didn’t take the survey? And what valuable pieces of little nuggets of information you can get from them. The lack of taking the survey is informational itself.

Rick Denton 22:57
I think that’s what Christy I’m really disagree. Gosh, I guess that’s my phrase. Maybe that’ll be my tagline. I completely agree. Because y’all are saying a lot of what? That’s what Christie embedded in what she said, there is the idea of just because and I think when I use the word, listen, there’s so many modes of listening, right? It’s what the customer said, it’s what they did. It’s what they report on social media, it’s what they didn’t say to you, it’s the fact that they didn’t reply to the survey. There’s a great story of the head of fan experience at the Orlando Magic where they did this great understanding of the customers and their season ticket holders. And the season ticket holders give me healthier options in the concession stands. So they gave them healthier options in the concession stands. You wonder how many salads were sold. Hardly any still beer, peanuts, nachos, hot dogs. And they realized that the behavior of the customer was more important than what the actual customer said to them. Because we’re just one of the perception of seeing salad on the menu, but was never going to order it. That behavior is often more important than their actual words

Speaker 1 23:53
100%. And plus, the surveys are only sent to people that successfully managed to have a conversation with you. So if you abandon your call, web chat, you won’t even be sent a survey. So there’s some informational information missing there, that even in that situation, we wouldn’t even know about that individual to be able to reach out to them. So listen,

Kristi Faltorusso 24:19
I’m not a tech expert, right, by any means, in the sense that like, I don’t know what all these tools and technologies have the power to do. But if I’m a chatbot, and somebody abandons a chat, and I have a way to reach them, and say, like, Hey, did you did you resolve your own issue? Did you get that figured out? Like, there are things that we can do an Augment, I feel like to go and capture broader information. And so my point there is like, we can do our part to go dig into those missed opportunities, right? Those those points where we didn’t capture the data based off of certain interactions. And so that’s like a small example right on the abandonment of like, Hey, you didn’t get a survey because we didn’t complete this action, but like, go back to them and say, like, Hey, what happened here, right, like, Did you One at a time. Did you write a patient’s? Did we? Did you get it resolved? Did you find the answer yourself? Did it match? Did you plug it in? You know? So I mean, I just feel like there’s other opportunities, right? Because it’s always plugged in. I’m a customer. And guess what? It’s never plugged in. I’m like, sorry, we’ve wasted everyone’s time. shut down and restart. Got it? Yep. Okay.

Speaker 1 25:27
That’s the old ID 10 t errors, I get it.

Kristi Faltorusso 25:33
I have PTSD. But I just mean, like, there’s other there’s just like, those are small things, I wonder if leaders are so consumed with taking on big projects that they think are going to have this huge material impact that drag on or never see the day of light, right, like the light of day. And so we consume ourselves with these big things that we think are gonna drive material impact, when the reality of it is do the small thing. Do the little things in the day to day and have material impact that way, and you’re going to touch more people that are going to drive bigger impact.

Speaker 1 26:06
You know, I think that it is so easy to forget about the small things and realize that, you know, everyday we just put one foot in front of another. We’re just taking one step at a time. And when you just do small things, you’re still going to make big accomplishments. Eventually, I’m taking one step in front of another, I still am going to walk a mile. I might not get there as fast as somebody who runs it, but I’m still going to walk it. And just like somebody that accomplishes one small task at a time, they are still going to do great things. Remember that I

Kristi Faltorusso 26:46
might run later.

Unknown Speaker 26:50
Run that mile Christy, I will be your cheerleader.

Rick Denton 26:54
The fitness analogies applies so strongly to any cultural change. Right? That, yeah, that first mile socks if you’ve never run before, but then oh, yeah, I’m sore the next day, but then that next week, I’m not as sore. And then I run two miles and then I run for the night run a Christie you’ll be doing if you haven’t already, we’ll be doing a marathon if you keep this up, right. So it these little wins. We learn a lot from the fitness and the the health and fitness space.

Speaker 1 27:21
So you know, kind of moving along, I want to start thinking about and we talked about it a little bit earlier in the show. But as companies are rethinking because we do as organizations, we think we rethink our strategy a couple of times a year, we look back, and as they are rethinking how they’re going to do the rest of the year, how can they best adapt their strategy for the remainder of the year based on the trends and the challenges that we’ve discussed today? So you know, thinking about the fact that we’ve mentioned that we’ve already started to see some of the trends that we forecasted, in 2023 come to fruition dropping CX teams and personalization happening and some of the things that we were talking about, what are things that they need to what is the advice that you would give to businesses looking to enhance that customer experience strategy? And navigate through the remainder of 2023?

Rick Denton 28:36
Yeah, and I think it goes back to the basics. Okay. So that is a very key focus might have probably is from the process background from the past, if you aren’t delivering on the basics. And I don’t mean, a Luddite view of those basics, right, it can be a

Speaker 1 28:52
word wreck, like way to pull out the big words today, I have to call it

Rick Denton 28:57
toilet paper day, a word of the day, right? So let I was there. It doesn’t have to be. So I’ll use an example that I will steal certainly from somebody who has influenced me a great degree in focusing on the customer service experience, Alex Mead, and he uses an example of if a customer is calling in because their package was delayed. Wouldn’t it be great if the company already knew that the package was delayed? That’s why this customer is calling and so instead of hey, tell me about your issue. yada yada. It’s Hey, hi, Mr. Bobo. I know you’ve got a package delayed we’ve already sent a new one out when you get that next one, just drop it off at the UPS store and we’ll take it right back. So that is a simple I know there’s a technology that’s not simple, but that is a simple thing to solve for the customer instead of some massive journey. What let’s look to find what is the pain points that our company is creating for our customers and then solve it simply So listen, and act.

Speaker 1 29:57
You know, you just didn’t Christy I didn’t want to give you a chance to out into answer this, but you just said the word technology. And that’s something that we haven’t touched on today. And there has been so much technology that has come out to try and fix the customer experience. But it’s also caused the ability for a ton of channels switching. So you know, I call in to get help, or I come in to go to a chat to get assistance. And then I’m asked to call in or, you know, I’m, I go to a website, and then they email me, or they email me and they say, Can we call you? And it’s just back and forth. And I never, I’ve been dealing with an issue for four months, that has still not been resolved, because they’re flipping back and forth between all of these channels. And it’s just been horrendous. So from a technological perspective, technology is supposed to help the customer experience. But I, where have you seen this actually go in the correct way? Versus Can you give us some examples of a good example versus a bad example? Rick, since you brought technology?

Rick Denton 31:21
Well, I can, the bad examples abound. Right? And I’ll use the simplest one. And it is it is the social media deflection tactic that I have messaged a company on social media and immediately they do everything they get you to get you into the DMS, then can you send us the record? locator? Can you contact us? Can you call us right? So it’s, it’s it’s a deflection mode to get you out of the public eye. And so some of that is the marketing the social media aspect of it, and the brand reputation, so I get that part of it. But it’s frustrating to a customer to be told, Well, I know you interacted with us in method one, but we really need you to interact. And method two complicating that, too, is when I call them method two. And then method two says, Hey, who are you again? And what’s your issue? No, no, no, no, you go look and see what I did there. And I think it’s the companies that can handle that switching are the examples. And honestly, I’m brain 40. I can’t think of an example right now. So clearly, there are plenty of companies that need to deliver this. But that switching between the modes, is where you really see some delight that I can pick up text, call social, whatever it is, and my interaction my case with that company is the exact same.

Speaker 1 32:26
And Christy, your clients success. I mean, you guys help your customers. With a lot of this, do you have any examples to where you’ve seen a good experience or helped them overcome the bad situation that technology has, has actually done them wrong, because you’ve come in and, and helped them out?

Kristi Faltorusso 32:54
I mean, I think to the scale of what Client Success provides for our customers really just focus on customer success. operationalization. So I think it’s a little bit different. But I will elevate this up a step and just say like, I think it’s the difference between omni channel and multi channel, right. And I think that you’ve got a lot of companies who are like, hey, but we’ve got presence in all of these things. We’ve got technology for chat, we’ve got technology for tickets, we’ve got technology for email, and for social, that’s multi channel, right, you’ve got the ability to interact with your customers through various channels, good for you. Cool, Omni channel approach that we are lacking, right? It’s like being able to connect all of those, those interactions together to create that seamless experience, like what you described, was this, like, this, this horrible world that we live in of like, giving the customers more work? Yeah, right. We’re putting all of the work on our customers, and we’re not doing any, it’s like, you have a problem. Now you go do this thing, oh, when you’re done doing that thing, go do this other thing. And then we didn’t capture that thing you just did. So he’s gonna do it again. I literally can’t think of a worse a worse experience than asking your customers to do these things over and over and just putting that additional pressure and aggravation, right? You wonder why after four inner interactions with the customer, their aggravation level has increased, not decreased, right? Isn’t that the reverse of the experience we want to create? If I interact with the customer for the fourth time, I would hope that at the fourth time, it’s like, thank you so much. You guys have been so helpful. This has been amazing. Instead, if we went back to the tapes and listen to it, it’s like I hate you I never doing business with you. How can I cancel this? I’m switching to x competitor like that’s actually more probably what these recordings would uncover then then the former right, so

Speaker 1 34:42
how many times have we been asked to go can you go and pull the emails that you have done? Like why don’t you have that?

Rick Denton 34:51
I didn’t break it. Why are you making me fix it? Yeah, it’s frustrating

Kristi Faltorusso 34:55
time and, and it happens all the time. And I’ll tell you like there are some companies that get it right I will tell you like, my husband and I talked about our experience with BestBuy. This is like one of our personal favorite brands for those of you who are in the states and no one Best Buy is like an appliance technology retailer, we, we pay for the premium subscription of like, whatever it is like their total tech package. Every experience we have with anything we buy there is resolved so seamlessly, whether we call whether we’re in store, whether we deal with a chatbot, like everything we’ve done through this has been awesome. And guess what we spend so much money with BestBuy, because of it, we are loyal to Best Buy, I won’t buy anything from anywhere, even the convenience of Amazon, I will skip that to buy it from Best Buy, because I know that they will take care of me if something goes wrong, if I have an issue, if I need to return it, if it’s broken, that there is something to be said about the experience that Best Buy has created for us as consumers and the loyalty now that we have for that brand, and the amount of money we spend because of that experience they’ve designed for us. And even if I have to pay up for that, like here’s the other thing, right? Like I’m willing, as a consumer, and maybe that’s a luxury that I have is being able to pay that little extra, but that extra to me to get the better experience to get that full holistic, like I matter moment. There’s no dollar amount that I put on that because I know that I’ll never have an issue.

Anne Bibb 36:24
We’ve kind of gone into a different direction with technology. And and I don’t want to lose it. And as we’re looking at all of these things and trying to understand the customer’s journey and what they’re doing. How is AI? Like, it’s a big topic right now, right? And how do you think that customers or businesses are going to start utilizing that to make it so that we’re not having to pull that old email and, like, take some of the load off of the customers that were sitting here complaining about all of the work that we as customers are having to do that they should be doing?

Speaker 1 37:04
I mean, how do you feel like AI is gonna factor into this, and I’m, I have gone to Rick several times now. So I’m going to go to Christie first this time.

Kristi Faltorusso 37:16
I mean, honestly, if they’re not thinking about how they’re going to leverage it, what a missed opportunity, because I do think that this, this should help bridge that gap. I’m seeing some really cool things happen with like chess, UBT, and all these other like AI solutions that are out there. And I do think that that is going to help with the connectivity of these these customer moments, right, and being able to synthesize things and instruct us removing the the risk of like human engagement and our lack of visibility into certain things. So I do think like, this should be the future for us. But companies need to start to embrace that more thoughtfully and figure out how to integrate it because I feel like right now, the the gap that I’m observing is really creativity. Right? I think that there’s endless possibilities here. But folks can’t see beyond what they can see today. And so if you’re not thinking creatively about how you can embrace this new technology, and think about the possibilities, you’re you may not get the same value from it. So for me, it’s going to be like that creative mindset of thinking beyond what you’re seeing today. And thinking outside of all the customer interactions, right? All the experiences that we may be successfully executing on or even failing in, and being able to leverage it there.

Rick Denton 38:33
And yeah, I love the creativity, I hadn’t thought of it in that that lens. And that that idea of okay, I heard this phrase, whatever we think about chat, GPT or AI, it’s the worst it’s ever going to be in our life right now. So we’re amazed by it. Now, it’s the worst it’s ever going to be. And I think the creativity element kind of inspires me when I think of it as companies right now I think are over indexing on this incredible thing that’s out there. And oh my gosh, it’s in all the news and was on 60 minutes earlier this week. And we’re so excited about it’s like back in the 90s when Forbes would put an article and suddenly every CEO wants to do whatever that thing is. And there’s two ways I think that this could be approached. And I hope that I only want to work with companies that approach it one way versus the other. And that is there’s one way that is, you know, how can I get my cost out? How can I remove all of those call center agents? How can I remove all of those marketing copywriters? How can I D humanize every aspect of my business? If I think of it through that lens, I will be successful at reducing my cost. Awesome, great if that’s what you want. Great. I don’t want to work with you. I don’t even want to be your customer. But if you think of it as how can I use this to improve both my customers experience and my employees experience? That’s where I think that especially that creativity, if you start with that lens, if you start with that objective, and that’s your goal, then go there. How can I eliminate the Junk records. They’re not junk, but the very simple requests so that by the time it hits a human, that human is incredibly equipped, incredibly well trained to handle the very emotional, very complex, very deep concerns, right? If you’re talking about somebody in an insurance Health insurance claim, and it’s their cancer treatment, and they’re not getting careful, what are the costs? I want a human to interact with that if I want to change a flight from 8am to 10pm? Well, great. Let me have a bot that does that, or let me have AI. So companies that do that, and I mentioned the employee experience, because I bet employees would rather deal with those deeper issues, the more challenging ones, the more rewarding ones as opposed to Okay, yeah, okay. clickety clickety. And now your flights moved from eight to 10. And so choosing that lens versus the cost cutting Lens, I’m just worried that right now, there’s so much of an over index on the cost cutting, that we in the CX world, the customer focused world, need to continue to encourage companies to realize you’re doing this not for just your bottom line, you’re doing this for your customers experience, so that you then can create a better bottom line.

Kristi Faltorusso 41:02
I love that. It needs to be additive. Right. And so I think that people are thinking about it just swap in, right, this or that, instead of thinking about ways that how do we continue to add and build on the experience we have today, right? And again, to your point, empower your employees to deliver on that better experience in those deeper moments, right where it makes sense.

Speaker 1 41:22
I feel like in boast, we’re going to have several like little mic drops going on. Because that was that was pretty good. Rick. So no

Rick Denton 41:33
idea what I said. So

Speaker 1 41:38
it was phenomenal. It was great. So Christy, coming back to you. What is your advice for organizations going into q2, q3 for their CX strategy?

Kristi Faltorusso 41:49
Listen, my advice to companies, as you’re thinking about this, I think before you make changes, go look at the data, right? You need leaders who are who are making informed decisions about how all of this is going to impact their business, right? I think you’ve got to stop looking at things in the moment, right? This this immediacy of ROI today versus ROI tomorrow. So my advice first is go look at the data, right? Before you make these decisions, you’re not necessarily don’t just focus on the dollars today, right? You’re going to make cost cutting today, that actually is going to cost you a lot more in the future. So please spend some time looking at the data, start to think about ways to enhance the experience. Thoughtfully, right. I’m really sick and tired of hearing this do more with less, that’s impossible, you literally cannot do more with less stop doing that to your teams to your people. Let’s stand away from that. And let’s think differently, how can we do something different with what we have today? Right? This is again, we’ve got to get more creative. If you’ve got to cut people, you’ve got to cut resources, okay, that’s probably where you are today. But don’t expect the same from the team. Don’t expect more from your team, you’ve got to expect something different. And you as a business have to be okay with whatever that different is. Now if you’re thoughtful about it, and you put the right focus on the the customer, right, you can actually still deliver an amazing experience and one that might even feel more enhanced, because now you’re creatively thinking about how to change and augment what you’ve been doing for forever. So, start with data, and stop telling your teams to do more with last right? Time to change, right? Think differently. Let’s approach this from a different perspective and really continue to focus on the customers.

Unknown Speaker 43:30
Can I get an amen or a hallelujah?

Kristi Faltorusso 43:34
people to do more I feel so bad every time I talk to a leader who feels like they’ve been burdened with this task of I need greater output to do more. And the more that the these leaders are expecting or these like manual things, right, like, oh, yeah, continue to do more meetings have more engagements, doo doo doo. And so like

Speaker 1 43:52
it’s possible, we could have a whole show on the number of meetings in demand, yet the whole thing. So thank you both. Thank you, Rick. Thank you, Christy. I truly appreciate you both coming in for this special episode. It has been a pleasure.

Rick Denton 44:11
Thank you so much for having us. And it was it was a real delight. This was fun. This was so fun.

Kristi Faltorusso 44:16
I loved this conversation.

Speaker 1 44:19
And thank you everybody for joining us for this special episode of unexpected journey. We look forward to doing it again next quarter, and we will see you for our regular episode next week. As we wrap the episode up, we would like to take this time to thank you for joining us this week on unexpected journey. Our guest information will be linked in the episode description along with a link to our company website, remote and our hosts website and Please don’t forget to like subscribe and share on your favorite podcast app and on our YouTube channel so that you never miss an episode and we can continue to bring them to you. Let us know your thoughts. thoughts on what we discussed in the comment section and once again thank you for joining us we hope to see you again next week for another episode of unexpected journey


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