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Customer Service Secrets by Kustomer
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Customer Service Secrets by Kustomer

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The Customer Service Secrets podcast is devoted to sharing highly coveted secrets from customer service, customer support and customer experience professionals across industries. The host of this podcast, Gabe Larsen, the VP of Growth at Kustomer, shares his own experiences in the customer service and customer experience space, while also drawing on the knowledge of experts and thought leaders who are making strides in their various fields. Gabe has spent the majority of his career gaining knowledge of customer experience and applying it at companies such as Accenture, Goldman Sachs, Gallup, InsideSales.com, and Kustomer. The goal of this podcast is to give the listener knowledge that they can apply directly to their own career, regardless of their job title, in each and every episode.
91 Episodes
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Today I have with me Pam O’Neal, the Senior Marketing Director here at Kustomer, and we’re talking about the importance of social commerce, which isn’t new, but is really hot right now. We talk about the risks and realities of tackling it, how to make it work, and then some of the brands that are doing it really well, and then what’s coming up next. Almost everyone these days uses social media and discovering vendors, consuming, and sharing what one buys is something you have to understand in order to survive in today’s economy. What social commerce looks like today 4:17Why social commerce is so popular 8:24 We can’t be everywhere at once 15:05Pillars for the customer journey 21:31“92% of consumers said that their preferred platform for social commerce was Instagram. 77% opted for Facebook, 57 for Twitter, 47% for Pinterest. From a business perspective, you guys, 73% of businesses believe that their brand had already created an emotional bond with consumers on social media and that this would ultimately help them achieve greater success across social media.” 7:08https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamoneal
Today I meet with Vikas and Sophie Vu, Chief Marketing Officer at Unbabel, and we discuss how you can achieve high growth and customer satisfaction in our global economy. Sophie tells us how Unbabel is making communication between citizens in various countries easy and improving the way we commune globally. Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more popular across the board today and many people have been worried it may replace people, but language is so complex that people will always have to be around in order to correct the mistakes that AI will continue to make. About Sophie and Unbabel 0:54Language operations 2:08Big picture trends 6:32AI 8:01AI and language 11:52How should people adapt to coming out of the pandemic? 18:59Your customer has evolved 23:22 Learn more about Unbabel and the research 28:06 “Think of language operations as a way to roll out, centralize, and scale multilingual capabilities across every function in an enterprise, right? We’re starting with customer service, but eventually we want to obviously enable marketing, sales, product, HR, legal, what have you, to be able to function in this global world that we live in.” 2:27 https://www.linkedin.com/in/sophie-vu415
In this episode we’re going to talk about how great companies master modern customer experiences, and to do that we brought on the Director of Operations and Customer Experience at JOANN, Drew Chamberlain. We discuss why it’s so important to have all communication channels that the customer desires to use available to them even if your company struggles with one of those channels. We also talk about AI and whether it’s something your company should integrate into your customer experience or not. Make sure you avoid tricking customers into thinking they’re chatting with a real person.Optimising customer experiences 3:26Helping companies be on the right channel 4:44The best tool to use 5:54Multi channel vs omni channel 6:45The 360 view 8:18Drew’s opinion on artificial intelligence 10:05Where to start with AI 12:18“The trick here is the channels that you optimise in, you can try to lead people to that direction, but that doesn’t mean eliminating the channels that you’re not the best at and are gonna cost you more. Maybe you focus on email or chat, but you always have to leave that other channel out there, whether it’s phone or social in case the customer wants to contact you that way.” 5:16https://www.linkedin.com/in/drew-chamberlain-2a2a6148
Today we’re talking with Vikas and Darryl Addington, the Director of Product Marketing at Five9, and he shares with us some of his own secrets about Artificial Intelligence in the Contact Center. One thing you will have to do if you’re considering using AI for your company is moving towards the cloud, which is where all the data is. There are plenty of benefits to switching over to AI, such as customers being able to get assistance much faster than if they would have to wait for a human being to be available. The problem is it’s often too expensive for smaller businesses, so we discuss ways people can overcome the issue of cost and integrate AI into their own company. Why people should care about AI 5:12Are there certain things you need in place to use AI? 6:46Where people are seeing the benefits in machine learning and AI 12:21Agent assist capabilities 19:21Can AI suggest solutions? 22:05Where to start 27:39 “What [Business] can invest in though is technology using this idea of machine learning, which we can talk a little bit about, they can invest in that to solve the types of problems that they’re suffering from today, which there’s lots of them, especially if you look in the contact center. Tons of room for improvement in customer experience, as we all know, and tons of room for improvement in terms of operations and improving efficiency, and things like that.” 6:02https://www.linkedin.com/in/darryl-addington-8055642/
Today we’re going to be talking about the power of wait time in driving the customer experience, and to do that we have Tom Reiger, the President of NSI, Inc. and President/CEO at National Business Innovations, LLC. We start off talking about wait time and Gabe asks if it’s really such an important thing to focus on and Tom explains that it’s always something his company is trying to focus on as it can prove to raise your company’s costs by quite a bit if you’re not careful. Tom’s role 1:27Wait time 2:18Understanding certain types of tickets 8:37What brands are doing to help the consumer have a better experience 13:46Empowering employees to deliver a great experience 17:31“You shouldn’t have to hire a million people to find this right balance. So it’s being smart about what you automate, it’s being smart about your channel prioritization, and it’s being smart about how you train and equip your reps to provide that individualized service.” 14:51 https://www.linkedin.com/in/tom-rieger-33161b1/
Today it’s just Vikas and Gabe talking about the issues faced the most in the CX industry and solutions for dealing with them. We discuss how companies might be trying to manage their customer feedback, and then talk about what employees might be experiencing in their own work life and recognizing when they’re frustrated or losing focus in their job and being able to track the data for that. B to B and B to C companies have their various problems and issues that we distinguish and for which we come up with some solutions. Is customer feedback being managed more often? 3:102 things we would do if we had a magic wand 5:56B to B and B to C customer service 14:00Varying customer experience 17:19“We can detect the sentiment of a customer’s email. What if we could detect the sentiment of an employee’s Slack or email? Maybe it will actually show that there’s a negative sentiment, like they’re getting more and more disenfranchised or hostile in their emails because they’re frustrated.” 8:46
In this episode we’re going to be talking about CX transformation and driving business value with your CX team, and to do that we brought on Laurent Pierre Jr., the General Manager of Microsoft Azure CXP. We discuss what you need to do to work with your team, your leaders, and the customer to create life time value, or to get your customers to want to stick around for the rest of their lives. We want to focus on investing in the customer journey and get customers to love our company by treating them not just as a transaction, but as an actual human being. Working with executives 2:04How CX teams should be driving value 3:27Where to start to get business value 6:01More on driving value 9:56Coaching people through it 14:10Helping the CX team become the best 19:03“Probably one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from customers is like, ‘Every time I call this support center, I have to re-explain my environment. I have to re-explain my architecture.’ And so that’s why it becomes important to understand your customer, segment them, but also align industry related technologists that can speak not only the technical language, but the business language.” 10:31 https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurentpierrejr/
Today we meet with Chief Operating Officer at UJET, Vasili Triant, and we talk about how companies have been adapting to the age of the mobile phone. Vasili tells us that people have been saying voice is going to die out since the late 90’s, but the reality is that all channels have been on the rise, meaning even demand for voice interactions is increasing. Vasili tells us about how they interact with their consumers and what UJET is doing to collect their data and take care of them based on their needs. Does voice have a place in today’s market? 1:42The big challenges that contact centers are facing now 3:37Why some companies haven’t been able to change 7:20How UJET is solving current problems 18:24“The biggest thing frankly is, where are consumers today? They’re on their smartphones, they’re on web, and meet them where they’re at. So we essentially embed the connectivity between a consumer brand and their app, and we don’t make the consumer go outside of it.” 19:30https://www.linkedin.com/in/vasilitriant/
Eric Chon is the Community Support Manager at Zwift, an online competitive cycling app for people who want to exercise and have fun while remaining indoors, and last year they hosted the first ever virtual Tour De France. Today we’re talking about how and why Zwift switched to a different CX platform. Eric tells us of how switching to Kustomer changed their company’s direction and the reasons behind making the switch.About Eric and Zwift 0:26Why Zwift switched to Kustomer 3:56Omni channel 5:54How moving from Zendesk to Kustomer happened 12:15Advice for companies considering a change 14:13“It’s a lot easier for us to kinda see, well how many calls did we get? How long were they? Which teams worked on them? And did that call turn into a chat? Did that chat turn into an email? We can see that transition. We can see how many of those there are and having the tools to be able to see like, well how often are we channel switching? Right? From one to the other, you know, that kind of information is just readily available at Kustomer.” 11:11https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericchon/
In this episode we talk with CEO and Founder at Kustomer, Brad Birnbaum. We’re gonna be talking about this idea of a ticket free future. We discuss how and why Kustomer started, Kustomer focus on a seamless customer experience, and the role of an omnichannel platform to service modern customer needs. Brad’s background 0:44The 3 principles on which Kustomer was founded 2:49What does truly omni channel mean? 4:17CRM’s role 7:33Final advice for leaders of customer service 14:05“You have to adapt, right? It’s kind of adapt or die, right? You have to adapt and that is how you do business in every facet of how you do business. Customer service of course is a critical part of it. You can have a great product, but poor customer service and you probably will not have repeat customers, you won’t have customer advocacy, and in the end you probably won’t win.” 14:39https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradleybirnbaum/
Today we’re going to be talking about language resilience in this expansion of key superpowers, and to do that we have Edmund Ovington, the VP of Global Alliances at Unbabel and Vikas joining us. Edmund explains why resilience, agility, and flexibility are the superpowers that your company will need to survive. People want to communicate with a company in their own language and it doesn’t matter if that company is foreign because they want to be catered to. We talk about the benefits of expanding and being available to more than just our native locations. Resilience is a superpower 1:00Why has language become so important in the customer service arena? 6:10How companies communicate with foreigners 9:08Changes Edmund has seen in language 13:24How can companies expand and scale thinking of language as an advantage 21:00“Are you showing empathy and a desire to transact with them? We think about this at Kustomer, this concept of ‘the me’ and the consumer, right? And the consumer wants to be–they don’t want to think of you as an American brand or a British brand, right? Yes you might be, but I don’t want to do business with you in your language. Do business with me in my language, and I think that’s where we’re seeing the customer experience evolve to.” 4:19https://www.linkedin.com/in/edmundovington/
In this episode we’re going to be talking about why and how to manage a global CX team. To do that we have two special guests with us: Michael Windsor, the Senior Director of Global Customer Experience at Skybox Security, and Vikas Bhambri from Kustomer. Michael has worked in various places around the world, including Israel where they focused a lot on security, so he tells us what we can expect when working in different regions and how to go about customer experience in those various places.Where to start 2:22Michael’s experiences with organic vs. BPO 6:36Other lessons learned 8:53Variability from region to region 10:46Challenges faced 12:07Scaling globally 14:23The cost/saving perspective 18:01“Ultimately the customer experience or customer success starts from when that first sales call all the way in terms of how they’re supported. So not only do you have to make sure that the teams that you manage are aligned with that, you really need to understand that entire customer journey and keep it foundationally the same.” 11:21https://www.linkedin.com/in/michaelwindsor/
Today we’re talking about the importance of visual context in customer service and to do that we brought on Vikas Bhambri and Wade Radcliffe, who was Director of Business Development at Streem and is now the Vice President of Strategic Sales at Xerox. We talk about why video can really help improve the customer experience, such as cutting down on troubleshooting or quoting time. There may be some pushback from customers or even service reps that they won’t want to see each other, so Wade’s solution is having both be able to see what each other are seeing and discuss their situation, and then ease into having face to face time. Wade’s intro 0:30 Why is it important to introduce visuals? 1:48An example from Vikas 7:08Visuals and car dealerships 10:33How to start with visuals 13:43How it works 15:08“So I’ve seen your space, now let’s have a face to face conversation about how we go about ordering furniture for you, for example. Like a lot of things in the contact center world, you kind of want to have your channels work for you as opposed to you trying to make a certain channel work perfectly.” 6:42
On Today’s episode we have Steve Richard, the Chief Evangelist and Co-founder of Execvision, to discuss the importance of call recordings and why this ought to be incorporated into customer support. Plenty of people thought the phone, or calling in to companies for customer support would die out, but if anything, especially with the pandemic over the last year, customer phone calls have increased and this continues to be a necessary tool for companies to have in order to work with their customers. What Steve does at Execvision 0:45Why call recordings matter 1:58Predicting email would die out 6:54How people are using the data to change 12:17Scorecard/best practices on collecting data 16:34“So I think there’s a lot that now companies are able to do that technology has improved, but they can take thousands, millions of calls, do their analysis on it, and actually make business decisions and those business decisions aren’t limited to the enablement of the agent. It’s change in policy, change in product, change in marketing offers. That richness of data is something that’s now available to the business at large.” 11:14https://www.linkedin.com/in/saleskickoffspeaker/
In this episode we have Vikas Bhambri and Kyle Coleman, the VP of Growth and Enablement at Clari, a company that transforms revenue operations to be more connected, efficient, and predictable. We discuss a mistake that many companies end up making without realizing it and what the interaction is that causes customers to struggle a little more in trying to learn about the product. Often looking up and learning about physical products online is pretty easy and there is a lot of information about it, but when it comes to software, specifically individual software used by various companies, the information is usually inadequate.How Tom has become an influencer on LinkedIn 1:31Presales interaction that makes things difficult for the customer: the demo request process 3:10The role of the SDR 6:29B to B vs B to C interactions 14:46How does the buyer want to buy? 22:30“Make it as easy as possible for people to find out as much as possible about your product so that when you have those conversations, they’re as close to the bottom of the funnel as possible. Buyers want to do research themselves. They are frustrated when they can’t find answers.” 9:28https://www.linkedin.com/company/clari/
Today we’re going to talk about customer service research and what more than one million phone calls tells us what you’re supposed to be doing to be successful in customer service and to do that we have on with us Vikas Bhambri from Kustomer and Matt Dixon, the Head of Product and Research at Tethr. We discuss how they have gathered data of over a million customer service phone calls and the useful things we’ve learned to improve the customer experience. How writing “The Effortless Experience” has affected Matt’s career 1:49The latest research 6:06Takeaways from the data 17:43“If you’re a product person and you don’t realize, ‘Wow, my contact center gets real-time feedback on a new feature, or a new service that I’m providing.’ There’s a lack of understanding about the richness of the data that resides in the contact center environment.” 16:10https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewxdixon/
In this episode we speak with the Director of Customer Experience and Employee Engagement at Schindler Elevator Corporation, Stacy Sherman, and Vikas Bhambri, Head of CX at Kustomer. Vikas tells us about the 3 pieces to an effective program: People, process, and technology. We discuss having executives getting involved on the front lines to see and understand directly what’s going on with the customer, and then making sure your employees are feeling valued and heard.What’s not working 1:323 pieces to an effect program 2:13Bottoms up feedback 7:17Tactics to drive the employee and customer experience 10:35Strengthening employee relationships 15:05“I’m seeing more and more companies put the executives or new employees in the chair of their front line as part of their onboarding. So as part of your onboarding, go sit with your support team, hear your customers, feel their pain, understand their challenges, and then rotate your executives into that on a regular basis.” 8:32https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacysherman/
In this episode we talk with the Director of Multifamily CX, UX, and Human-Centered Design at Freddie Mac, Kris Featheringham. He emphasizes on the importance of a human-centered design to provide the ultimate tailored customer experience. Kris and I discuss the process and lessons he has learned throughout his CX career, and then go into getting executive sponsorships and what you can do to work with your people to understand more their needs in relation to the needs of your customer base.Kris’s background 0:47Process and lessons learned 5:08Executive sponsorships and process 8:12Define 12:26“A lot of times when you sit there and interview someone, they’re just going off their most recent recollection or their most recent experiences. But there are a lot of things that will come out that they would never even have thought to bring up as you watch them. And you’ll come back to them afterward and say, ‘I saw you do this and this. Talk to me about that.’ and then all of the sudden you’ve opened up a whole new can of worms and it’s powerful.” 11:59https://www.linkedin.com/in/featheringham/
Today we’re going to be talking about customer success and how to do that on a global scale and to do that we brought on Balaji Gadicharla, who is currently the Global Head of Service Support and Success at CipherCloud. He explains some of the ideal trends and practices he has observed while traveling around the globe, such as having someone go to the customer in person, and then establishing dedicated teams. Balaji explains that the best way to become a trusted partner is by understanding them and how their ecosystem works, and then you will be allowed to join that system and move forward with them.Balaji’s journey 0:55Trends he has seen as he’s traveled the globe 3:40Advice/best practices observed 5:46Why companies don’t understand the nature of their customers 9:12“We should be able to provide a unified experience to our customers–to all our customers across all incidents. So it should not be transactional–somebody picks up the phone, and then calls your boss, then everything starts falling in place. That’s not how it should be run.” 4:00https://www.linkedin.com/in/balaji-g-8a3b076/?originalSubdomain=in
In this episode we speak with Sami Nuwar, the Senior Principal Consultant at Medallia, which is a customer experience management platform that helps you manage CX in your company and make things easier. We discuss why people lose focus and stop trying operational excellence, and then where to go and what to do when this happens to your business. We talk about optimizing your data collection in order to analyze it and thus improve various aspects of your customer interactions and experience.Sami’s background 0:37Why do people get lackadaisical on operational excellence? 2:59Where to begin to become more operationally tight 4:13How to avoid being misled by your data 7:41Advice for the audience 14:17“The other, I think, overlooked channel for data is the internal knowledge base within the business. The operational data. We all have systems and machines that capture data from our interactions with customers and our daily business, and that is typically a treasure trove of information.” 7:55https://www.linkedin.com/in/saminuwarcx/
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