Connecting with your Consumers
How well a business connects with its consumers defines how successful it will be in acquiring and retaining them as clients.
Hosted by Kevin Dieny
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[00:00:00] Kevin Dieny: Hello, welcome to the Close The Loop podcast. I’m your host, Kevin Dieny and today we’re going to be talking about connecting with your consumers. We have a special guest today. Her name is Carolyn Lowe. She’s the CEO and co-founder of ROI Swift. Which is a digital marketing agency that excels in growing small and medium-sized businesses.
[00:00:20] Kevin Dieny: Carolyn is passionate about helping consumer brands grow through Facebook, Instagram ads paid Google searches and Amazon marketing, just a ton of different different ways. Also, Carolyn left a job at Dell to found ROI Swift, and to follow her passion of helping emerging businesses grow. In addition to helping her clients see larger profits.
[00:00:42] Kevin Dieny: Big plus. Carolyn is a mom of two and a licensed pilot. Though, no time to actually fly anymore, she says. So welcome, Carolyn.
[00:00:51] Carolyn Lowe: Thanks for having me Kevin.
[00:00:52] Kevin Dieny: That’s really cool that you’ve had a lot of experience in a lot of different companies and a lot of different places and piloting and being a mom. And a lot of that all comes together possibly to help, you know, run your business. Is that right?
[00:01:07] Carolyn Lowe: That is true. I always say if you need something done, give it to give it to a busy parent, because I felt like parents are just able to balance and get things done, um, quite a bit.
[00:01:19] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, yeah, I totally understand that they have to execute. Especially when there’s people, depending on you, a little kid. So that’s, that’s fantastic. So we’re going to be talking about connecting with your consumers. So, what that means to me is a business staying in touch, having touch points, creating interactions and engagements with their consumers.
[00:01:41] Kevin Dieny: There’s a lot of different types of, let’s say people that a business may consider to be a consumer, could be prospects, people who they haven’t worked with. I think sometimes it’s your recurring, ongoing customers. If you’re that type of business, it could also be people who’ve bought with you in the past at some point recently or far in a long time ago.
[00:01:58] Kevin Dieny: So there’s a lot there. A lot of times we think of it as the marketing journey, all the different touch points along the way. So I guess just to jump right into it, why should a business invest or stay connected with their consumers?
[00:02:13] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, great question. And there’s so many businesses over the last 20 years that I’ve seen do such a really. Really good job with connecting with our customers. And why is it important? Because those are your, those are your advocates. You know, they’re not just customers, if really you can turn them into raving fans.
[00:02:33] Carolyn Lowe: They do a lot of your marketing for you. So I think, yeah, I don’t think companies put enough emphasis on. On connecting with the customer and that can give you, you know, tons of examples of great customer service and great customer connection and not so great customer connection.
[00:02:51] Kevin Dieny: Yeah. So in terms of, uh, a business, I guess, like falling at the starting line. I think of it as like a business that just doesn’t value customer connections. And so I guess at the starting line, why should a customer, why should a business consider that to be of business value or even like a core fundamental, you know, mission of what it does and how it serves?
[00:03:16] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, and especially. For folks in, you know, emerging businesses, small mid-sized businesses. I used to do direct mail and we would mail out millions of catalogs every year. And I’d have to go up to Maine on these press checks and we would. It’d be two in the morning, up in Freeport, Maine up where LL Bean is, and I would go, uh, they would have an apartment you could stay in when you are going up in the middle of the winter, dead of winter to way up there in Maine.
[00:03:48] Carolyn Lowe: And they, they had this really cozy two bedroom apartment because they know nobody wants to drive up to the middle of Maine in December, right. So, and when you walk in and there was a sign that said, if we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will. And that’s always stuck with me that, you know, If you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.
[00:04:07] Carolyn Lowe: And so that’s, you know, long-term success of your business, especially if you’re in a service business or a business with repeatable customers, right. Think about the, the businesses that you constantly refer other people to, right? None of those people have bad customer connections or bad customer service.
[00:04:26] Carolyn Lowe: And when I started the agency, we said the same thing, you know, there’s a lot of agencies out there. Some are good, some are bad, but we said, we’re going to be both strategic and responsive. And so responsive is something that we hang our hat on.
[00:04:40] Carolyn Lowe: And we ask our customers and clients all the time, like, once a quarter I’ll I’ll interview our clients and ask how the team is doing and are they responsive? And are you getting what you need and how happy are you on a scale of one to 10? And we fix what you know needs fixing. And I feel like customers don’t have that dialogue with a lot of brands or a lot of companies.
[00:05:04] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really a fascinating. A customer when they have a lot of options, like you mentioned, they can go anywhere. And so having, or at least considering at the beginning, at the starting line, what is my value proposition going to be to the consumer? Like, I know that to the business, we’d be like, well, we’re going to do, we’re going to be really efficient.
[00:05:24] Kevin Dieny: We’re going to have the best product, the best service, but ultimately is that landing with the consumer. So that’s, that’s a fascinating point because connecting with the consumer also gives you a lot of feedback. Right. On how things are working out.
[00:05:38] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, and we, we always go back to each business, you know, what are your three uniques. So you go back to Southwest airlines, right? Well, they are low fares, while other airlines have low fares, right? Allegiant, um, lots of flights. Well, America has tons of flights and, but they are lots of fun. So that’s their three, you know, nobody else can claim those three things.
[00:06:02] Carolyn Lowe: So think about it in whatever your business is, whether you’re a service business, whether you’re a apparel business, like what are your three uniques? Why, why should people choose you? Over, over another brand?
[00:06:15] Kevin Dieny: Now is that, do you think that impacts how a brand? How branding works for the business? Like how it considers itself, positions itself? From the outset, from the large overview point of view that, and then how that may be trickles down into what the management, the leadership, the people on the front lines sort of how they behave?
[00:06:35] Carolyn Lowe: A hundred percent. I think it comes down to core values. Right? So if, if you don’t have core values, like I would stop what you’re doing. And go figure those out. And the way that we did ours is we basically took all of our A-players were like, who are the very best people? Well, we’ve got pretty much all A-players now, but at the time we didn’t and we said, let’s, we put sticky notes all over the wall with all the qualities of the best team, teammates.
[00:07:00] Carolyn Lowe: And we’re like, what do they all have in common? You know? And so we started talking about, well, why is this person so great. And we came up with our four core values. And for us, you know, caring about what you do, if you don’t care about what you do, you can’t work with us. If you’re not always learning, if you’re not open to change.
[00:07:18] Carolyn Lowe: And, um, if you don’t make it better, you know, like we’re constantly making things better, more efficient, better for our clients. So, like Amazon is a great example. Customer trust is their number one objective, and everybody rallies around customer trust. And so I see a lot of people not put the customer as far up in their values.
[00:07:45] Carolyn Lowe: And so, whatever the values of the company are. That’s what people are going to manage to. If the value of the company is make money at all costs. Well, they’re going to, you know, decide not to focus on customer service, but I always go back to Costco. I was lucky enough to work with the CEO of Costco when I was at Dell.
[00:08:05] Carolyn Lowe: And, um, we really love their core values because. You know, number one for them is obey the law, right? Don’t break the law and then take care of our customers and take care of our employees. And then shareholder value will come if we do these three other things. Right? And so employees are one of their top five values and customers are one of their top five values.
[00:08:32] Kevin Dieny: That’s fascinating, it brings me to the idea that I think of, that often comes up in a business, which is what we really believe in, in customer service. Um, but the execution, the process, the operational processes, that culture, the training, uh, doesn’t quite execute there. So how, how might a business who may have, let’s say who had gotten off the starting line and does have the value: I want to create, as a value prop as a unique value that I deliver to be customer service, to have high quality customer service.
[00:09:07] Kevin Dieny: But then may not have the processes in place to do that. Do you have any ideas?
[00:09:12] Carolyn Lowe: I always go back to, talk to other people that are doing it well. Right. Find someone who’s doing it really well and reach out, you know, I live in Austin, Texas, and this is probably one of the most, business-friendly and networking friendly cities. You can reach out to anyone, especially as another business owner, and say, Hey, I’d love to take you out for coffee.
[00:09:36] Carolyn Lowe: I think you guys have great customer service, you know, would you be willing to share some of your experiences? Right. You’d be surprised how many folks you know, and all those different experience shares of what people are doing really well. We worked with this great footwear company. They were two guys in a We Work and we help them get to basically 18 million in revenue in 12 months.
[00:09:56] Carolyn Lowe: And they a year in, they said, oh boy, we did this all wrong. They said, we should have been really coveting those early customers. And these guys could have been, you know, our raving fans. And so they started writing handwritten notes. To everybody that ordered a pair of boots and it was amazing. People started having a connection with the brand.
[00:10:19] Carolyn Lowe: They have their own private Facebook Group with thousands and thousands of people in it that are just raving fans about the brand. And, you know, a company like chewy. Does it really well. They don’t just see you as a customer who buys dog food, they know your pet, they know your pet’s birthday. They know how old your pet is.
[00:10:36] Carolyn Lowe: They know what your pet doesn’t like. I mean, they send you a sympathy card when your pet dies. I mean, that’s the kind of customer connections we should strive for.
[00:10:46] Kevin Dieny: Now do you think that that can only apply to the larger companies? Or do you think smaller local businesses? I at least I’ve always heard and grown up thinking like the mom and pop stores have an advantage in that they can really personalize their delivery. They like, they know everyone in the neighborhood, but at the same time, there is that counter to that, that thought that maybe I’m too small to have a customer support system embedded in my business.
[00:11:15] Carolyn Lowe: Right, yeah, definitely. And that’s when some people use like a great outsourced customer service. I mean, that’s one of the things that I really don’t love outsourcing. I would say get someone part-time 20 hours a week, you know, during your peak periods of when, when customers call in, I mean, it is so critical and like feedback is a gift.
[00:11:38] Carolyn Lowe: So if they’re giving you feedback on your product or your service or your website, that is gold. And so I used to work with a research company called NPD and their COO had a saying that was like, you know, once they stopped talking to you, you’ve lost them. Like, if they’re complaining, you still have a chance.
[00:11:58] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really awesome. I love that. I’ll have to use that. We’ve worked with businesses a lot of times who are looking at their reviews, like online reviews and they’re like, look, if I, if I want to generate more, I’m also going to get some negative ones. I don’t want that!
[00:12:14] Kevin Dieny: And we have kind of a hard time positioning it as like, look, all reviews are good. The negative reviews while not great, are opportunities for you too. And, and that’s, that’s sometimes a difficult thing to communicate as a touch point with the consumer.
[00:12:28] Carolyn Lowe: Right, and those are an opportunity to improve, right? Those are telling you what’s working, what’s not working in your business. You know, I highly recommend businesses also do like a quick NPS, every do an NPS survey on every customer. And you know, for us, it was really simple. We did, we do an NPS, usually twice a year.
[00:12:47] Carolyn Lowe: One of our customers said, oh, I wish you had a slack channel. I was like, well, we do. And we use it with a bunch of customers. Is that, that all it would take to get you to a 10 out of 10 in satisfaction. So I think those opportunities are also like, you may be spending money on things they don’t care about.
[00:13:03] Carolyn Lowe: Find out what your customers care about, ask them. And then that’s where you put your time and effort.
[00:13:10] Kevin Dieny: Gosh, that reminds me of an experience I had where I had a service that didn’t quite go as well. I think it was with an internet bill or, you know, and so I went to the company website. I was like, okay, I’d like to get support. And I, and I couldn’t find, there’s no phone number listed. And I was like, what?
[00:13:28] Kevin Dieny: I couldn’t find it. I could find the sales number, but not support. So I was like, man, this is hard. So I called them and they’re like, oh yeah, that’s a separate company now. And so I called and they gave me the number and I called them and then they’re like, oh yeah, that’s a different department. Call them.
[00:13:40] Kevin Dieny: And I had to jump through, it felt like I was at the circus junk and jumping through a bunch of flaming hoops to get to the final thing. So I think also like a consideration might be how difficult is this or how difficult, or how easy should a business make it for a consumer to connect with them?
[00:13:58] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, it definitely, you know, it’s funny, Amazon makes it easy for customers to connect with them, but us on the seller side where we represent a lot of brands. It’s really hard to get someone on the phone, you know, so they put all their money into support of their customers, because like they said, Hey, if we have no customers, we have no business.
[00:14:19] Carolyn Lowe: We know brands will come to the platform, but if we don’t have good customer service for our, you know, our prime members and everybody ordering, we have no customers, we have no business. And so they, Amazon as a consumer, you know, I’ve, I’ve had so many times where it’s so easy to return something or so easy to get a hold of somebody.
[00:14:39] Carolyn Lowe: They always err on the side of the consumer typically, which is bad for the brand selling because a lot of times they err on the side of the consumer.
[00:14:47] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, I think sometimes it may seem like my business is doing a lot of customer, consumer interaction. So I’m, you know, I’m meeting them in person when they come to buy something or when they come to, or when I go to them to perform a service, clean their drains or whatever, but.
[00:15:03] Kevin Dieny: There’s a lot of other types of touchpoints and interactions that a business can have with its consumers. So, uh, what maybe are some of those different types of interactions that a business could have?
[00:15:14] Carolyn Lowe: Some of them, you know, I work mostly in digital, so um a little bit less on the, on the retail side. But I think that there’s a couple of good things that I’ve seen. So after your, you know, after an order, a lot of times we’ll, if someone doesn’t order, we’ll send them an abandoned cart email, right?
[00:15:33] Carolyn Lowe: You leave something in your cart, you don’t buy anything. We’ll send you an abandoned cart and most companies will send you an abandoned cart. Oh, Hey, come back and buy. When I worked for a mom and baby company, the first email was a, Hey, come back and buy. And if they didn’t come back and buy, the second email was like a sad emoji face and said, oh no, what did we do wrong?
[00:15:52] Carolyn Lowe: And it was a question and people tend to open question emails, because people in general want to be helpful. So if you send someone a question, sometimes you’ll get. Good, good feedback in there. And we said, oh, did you have a problem with our website? What prevented you from ordering? We’d love to hear back to you from you.
[00:16:10] Carolyn Lowe: Hey, just reply to this email. Unlike other companies, you can hit reply and it’ll go to one of our, team members who’s likely a mom too. Cause we, lot of moms worked. I think it was like 70 or 80% of the moms worked there. And we had amazing response to that, you know, and it would come from the CEO and it would be a text only email.
[00:16:30] Carolyn Lowe: And of course it was automated, but it looked like it was coming direct from the CEO. It wasn’t this fancy, pretty HTML email and they would write back to her and they’d say, oh Lisa, thanks. You know, I ended up buying it at Target or Hey, my credit card didn’t go through. And so. When, when we did, then that was great.
[00:16:48] Carolyn Lowe: That went over to customer service and we would call them and we would say, oh, Hey, I heard you had a problem. We’d love to help you. And we get them on the phone and we replaced their order on the phone. In that, you went from somebody who was going to bounce to somebody who’s now like, oh, the CEO wrote to me and then they got on the phone and then they placed my order.
[00:17:05] Carolyn Lowe: What a great brand. Right? Think about that experience versus a, you know, canned email that you get all the time.
[00:17:12] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, wow. And what’s really cool too there is, a person or a consumer at the end, went from a website, a medium to an email, or went from that to possibly a chat like there’s moving them or thinking about how a business’s touch points are reflected across all the different channels, uh, is, is interesting.
[00:17:36] Kevin Dieny: Cause like an in-person is just one channel one way to interact with the consumer. Right. There’s a lot of others and there’s probably some really good ideas for. Or examples. I mean, maybe you have some examples for different ways. Businesses are interacting with consumers in a variety of digital and online and offline channels.
[00:17:54] Carolyn Lowe: We do and, you know, email, text surveys, followups, and sometimes just the other thing we’ll do is create ambassador groups, right? So if you have some really good customers, whatever your business is, we would use them for product testing, like rolling out new products. So people who like the brand, we would invite them to be part of our like early product tester group and they would get free product and they love that.
[00:18:19] Carolyn Lowe: And so you sort of have this group of advocates. And so I think you can do that in any business. Is get a group of advocates. And then you were talking earlier about Yelp referral or reviews. And, why not ask for the review? You know, there’s some people that call us up. We can’t help them.
[00:18:35] Carolyn Lowe: They’re not quite at the point where we can help them yet, but I’ll, I’ll basically give them like thousands of dollars of free consulting in 30 minutes. And they’re like, wow, this is great. And then thanks so much. And I said, Hey, would you do me a favor? If you got anything useful out of this – would you leave a Google review because we have like zero Google reviews where the cobbler with no shoes.
[00:18:56] Carolyn Lowe: Right. We build everybody else’s business. And so ask them, Hey, would you tell your friends, um, if you liked our service, yeah. Please pass it along. And you’d be amazed how just saying, oh, would you pass this along? They’ll send an email to their neighborhood board. Like I had a great, I had a great, great service at a nail salon, you know, and I wrote a Google review.
[00:19:21] Carolyn Lowe: And now their salon is full, right? They, they got a couple people to write, you know, they had good experiences or even if they had bad, like you said, bad is also a gift to find out what people don’t like and fix it.
[00:19:33] Kevin Dieny: So in that vein, how important is empathy to the connection point?
[00:19:40] Carolyn Lowe: Very, there is the saying that if you do something, if it’s not genuine, it’s going to fall flat. Right.
[00:19:46] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, but at the same time, I’d say maybe the counter or the opposite to that it’d be is the consumer always right? I’ve heard that this one spun a little bit, a little bit differently.
[00:19:55] Carolyn Lowe: Well, I I’m going to turn that back on you. Cause I would love to hear your thoughts first, Kevin.
[00:20:00] Kevin Dieny: Sure, so I would say the consumer is not always right, but here’s the thing, uh, feedback is always important. In aggregate, it’s like, okay, it’s going to tell you directional things, but you know, qualitatively what it, what happened to the consumer? Is this something that’s going to repeat with other people. That’s important, a person being, I don’t know, abusive or rude?
[00:20:24] Kevin Dieny: Never okay. I mean, that’s sometimes how people are trying to communicate, so it’s hard to sift through the words but at the same time though, uh, It’s hard to handle that. Like it’s hard to, to sometimes dispatch that appropriately. So I think as a company, you sort of have to take the side of your employees oftentimes potentially a little bit above the client, but that’s, that’s, that’s a balancing act because it’s like, well, is this even a repeat thing that’s happening with this employee?
[00:20:58] Kevin Dieny: You know, like, uh, we have the values. We may, we may have some processes, but are the employees, you know, using them, are they using the training or providing them, are we giving them the coaching mentoring they need to be successful? Uh, are, did we tell them how to handle, you know, an experience like this, where a consumer maybe complains?
[00:21:20] Kevin Dieny: Or is it very unhappy and in how that should, should occur? I mean, I, one of my first jobs was working in a fast food place. It’s called, it was a fast food place called El Pollo Loco. I don’t know if they’re everywhere, but I know that they’re on the west coast. And so, my boss at the time, when I first got hired, I came to him.
[00:21:38] Kevin Dieny: I was like, this lady wants a refund because her chicken, she says her chicken was under cooked. There was some problem there. And I was like, what do I do about this? And he looked at me and he’s like, what do you mean what do you do about this? You give them a refund or you, you give them something else. And I was like, okay, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing here.
[00:21:53] Kevin Dieny: So it was like, at that moment, I was like, kind of upset, like. Well, that’s what I want to do, but I don’t know what the company’s policy is. I don’t know about this. So there’s like a slight to me. I was like, this is a training problem. So that’s one of those examples where I think it’s sort of on the onus of the business to have that properly communicated down through the lines of communication to the frontline.
[00:22:15] Kevin Dieny: Cause the frontline people are, can sometimes be very separated from the top. Right. So it’s very easy for people at the top to think everything’s going fine and dandy. And the people at the bottom just are slugging through. Not really following or not necessarily doing what they need to do because possibly they don’t know, or they’re not getting reinforced training.
[00:22:33] Kevin Dieny: If I got trained one time at the beginning, it may not be enough, five years down the line. So that’s kind of a lot there, but that does that sort of answer it? What are your thoughts?
[00:22:43] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, absolutely. I think you bring up a great point, which is make it clear throughout your organization. What is your policy? Right? What is your policy on unhappy customers? What’s your policy on returns? When do you, when would you make an exception? And I feel like you are spot on with the training so that everyone in the organization knows and is trained on that.
[00:23:06] Carolyn Lowe: And I also think that when, um, when I worked with Costco, they said, you know, about 98% of our members are genuinely good people. And they said, we’ve got about 2%. Like, there’s the person who returned the Turkey leg from the whole Turkey. The day after Thanksgiving says, I didn’t like it. And they give them their money back.
[00:23:31] Carolyn Lowe: You know, I said, it wasn’t good. They come back with like just a Turkey leg left up. I didn’t like it. And so if they do that a few times, you know, they’ll just quietly say, you know, they’ll nicely say, yeah, maybe we’re not a good fit for you. There’s a Sam’s Club down the road. You may want to check them out.
[00:23:46] Carolyn Lowe: You know? So I feel like same thing with us. We’re small enough that we don’t have to work with jerks. So if someone’s a jerk. We fired folks for, we’ve fired clients for not being nice to our team and not being good people. And we think that like, again, you don’t want to make their lives miserable because your, your team and your, your team members and your employees are also critical to your success.
[00:24:17] Carolyn Lowe: So we always choose team over client. And if, if someone, it really it’s. Maybe 2%, 3%. I think of the general population that you would need to quote “fire” as a client.
[00:24:30] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that is a big, that is a big topic amongst agencies. And I know this cause I was at an agency and there were clients like, especially the, the closer to whale size. And by that, I mean the bigger they got the harder it sometimes got to like cut them off. And so sometimes teams were swamped, uh, team members might’ve been swapped in, like maybe they’ll have better luck.
[00:24:53] Kevin Dieny: They get along with most people, uh, things like this were kind of done tactically to see if they could circumvent this problem with like a client that was fairly problematic or in other cases, you know, uh, being on the brand side, sometimes we’re not the best. And, and it helps to hear that from the agency, like, you know, this this relationship would work a lot better.
[00:25:14] Kevin Dieny: We could probably do a lot more for you if we had, you know, a faster response time on your end. And we could do our job better if we did, if we had a process, is there a way we can facilitate that? And on our side it was like, wow. Yeah, that is true. We have making it, like, we have skipped out on a bunch of meetings that we said we would go to and didn’t go to, or, or we didn’t reply back in a timely manner.
[00:25:36] Kevin Dieny: We said we would. So it is helpful for everyone. I think to, to, to be aware of those things and for agencies, especially, it can be a grappling choice cause it’s like, man uh firing clients pretty rough. It’s kind of a big deal.
[00:25:52] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, normally we’ll have a conversation first. So we have a client and he was. You know, he was frustrated. And so he was taking it out on the team. It was a good sized brand, you know, they do about 10 million a year on Amazon alone. So when Amazon does something that messes with your $10 million in revenue, it’s troubling.
[00:26:13] Carolyn Lowe: And we really just explain that, Hey, we are your partner, we are on your side? This is Amazon’s sandbox. We can’t control what Amazon does. We wish we could, but we can’t. And so, you know, our team, if you continue treating them this way, they’re really not going to want to help you. And they’re not going to want to go the extra mile for you.
[00:26:36] Carolyn Lowe: And if your listing gets shut down on a Saturday and you’re out $50,000 in revenue that day. They might not be so inclined to want to help you if you’re just not kind and genuinely a good person to them. So I had this conversation and I said, you know, we may not be a good fit for you because this is how we want you to treat our team.
[00:26:58] Carolyn Lowe: So, um, it’s really interesting and he totally turned around like, he’s now been with us for a couple of years, but I had to have that conversation early on that, hey, we’re not your enemy, we are your partner. And we want the same things you do. And I think having that conversation really helps diffuse any of those situations.
[00:27:17] Kevin Dieny: So what about conversations with a potential team member who, who is a touch point, a connected point to the consumer who may need more guidance or more training? How does usually does that conversation go? If a business thinks, okay, well, I am doing pretty good job, but I am having, I have one let’s call it troublesome a person on my team who tends to not get along well with everyone.
[00:27:43] Kevin Dieny: They do a really good job. Like it’s not a performance consideration necessarily. It’s more like the relationship building side and it could be threatening, you know, some potential clients from coming back or something like that. So how does, how do you handle that?
[00:28:00] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, great question, Kevin. So we, we use traction tools and so we actually do not just core values, but we also do get it, want it, capacity. So we look at everything that someone’s doing in their job. Here’s all the things. What do you love to do? And what are you good at? Right. And let’s model your job on that.
[00:28:21] Carolyn Lowe: We actually reorganized our entire Amazon and Walmart marketplace team because some people said, oh, I hate to do the advertising part. Or I don’t like talking to customers, gives me anxiety. Or I don’t like working on that organic and the keyword research and all this. So we actually reorganized our team and now everybody has a job that they like, and they’re good at.
[00:28:41] Carolyn Lowe: So like, if that person is great at their job, but not great with customers. How do you, how do you engineer or restructure so that everybody is doing a job that they’re good at and they liked to do?
[00:28:54] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s one of the ways when I was at an agency, they structured everything initially like a generalist. So everyone kind of did everything at first. They kind of went through everything and it was really cool way to learn how you do everything, but you never really got to. You’re always kind of doing what someone else said.
[00:29:10] Kevin Dieny: You didn’t really get to do it yourself. And then at some point they changed their model to be okay. You can be a generalist, but at some point you should, you need to pick like a, fairly specialized field or two that you want to go into, but we’ll provide the training and certifications or the education you need to really dive into that niche to see if you like it.
[00:29:29] Kevin Dieny: So, everyone at first was a little, everyone had been doing something for a long time was like, ugh, change. But other people were like, oh man, I could stop doing just like you mentioned, I could stop doing this stuff. I don’t like, and just do more of the stuff I do, like, or I’m going to be paired up with someone who does, who loves the stuff I don’t like.
[00:29:47] Kevin Dieny: And I, and I’ll do the stuff that they don’t like. They don’t like, and it was really, it was, I, I thought it was a really great way to, you know, an HR move technically, but a management and leadership strategic move to organize the company in that way.
[00:30:02] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, I mean, you could do the same thing. If you’re a pool company, you’re a plumbing company. I mean, there’s people who are great at repairs, but maybe they don’t love talking to people or maybe, you know, they’re more introverted. And so you figure out, you know, okay, maybe these people go to the jobs where nobody’s home, you know, you can access the AC outside and they’re going to do great work, right?
[00:30:23] Carolyn Lowe: Because at the end of the day, especially any business comes down to, product and service. Right? So if you’re, uh, if you’re my favorite AC, cause I live in Austin, so everybody has to have an AC repair guy on speed dial. And so my favorite one will come out on a Saturday night and because you’re, you never planned for your AC to go out.
[00:30:50] Carolyn Lowe: So I don’t see why more people don’t have this model, which is they have a 24 hour team. If your AC goes out at eight o’clock on a Saturday, you call them and someone’s at your house within 45 minutes. And that is a great model. I don’t know why businesses are, okay, we’re open nine to five, Monday through Friday.
[00:31:06] Carolyn Lowe: Well, that’s highly inconvenient and that’s not when your toilet is going to back up or your AC is going to go out. So those are my favorite is, they’re they’re quick and they’re reliable. And, um, you know, Not the most expensive, not the least expensive, so right. You can always get three good, fast and cheap.
[00:31:27] Carolyn Lowe: And, um, I’ll always take good and fast and pay a little bit more.
[00:31:32] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, that’s really cool. And I love that, that the three, uh, paradigm model there about, okay, what, what, what am I getting? Or from the, from the business side, what are we delivering? And. I think it’s, uh, I think there, there is another concept here I’d wanted to ask you about, which is like coverage or scale.
[00:31:53] Kevin Dieny: So, connecting with consumers across the channels does feel at least the way it went. Just saying that out loud, right? It does feel like it’s a lot, like there’s a lot of places, social media. Okay. There’s reviews. There’s reviews where? Oh, Yelp and, Google and Facebook. And there’s tons of sites that have reviews and there’s email there’s phone calls.
[00:32:13] Kevin Dieny: There might be chats. There might be texts. There might be in-person visits. There might be events I’m going to, there might be, fairs i’m attending, local community things. There’s a lot of places that I have to have coverage for.
[00:32:26] Kevin Dieny: I have to have people at, or I have to go to myself and, and anywhere that you’re at, I think in some regard you can’t really be in other places simultaneously. There’s like that you can only be in one place at a time.
[00:32:39] Kevin Dieny: And so switching between these can be a lot. So how does the business handle the overload of having to connect with consumers, everywhere?
[00:32:48] Carolyn Lowe: That’s a terrific question. I think you, you can’t be everything to everyone. So figure out what you’re going to be good at, where you’re going to be in a hundred percent focus on that. There’s a great book called Uncommon Service, and it’s all about customer service and you can’t provide great customer service without a trade off.
[00:33:11] Carolyn Lowe: So figure out what doesn’t matter as much and really put your focus on what does matter as much to your, to your customer base.
[00:33:19] Kevin Dieny: Do you have any ideas about figuring that out?
[00:33:21] Kevin Dieny: Haha there you go.
[00:33:25] Carolyn Lowe: Ask them.
[00:33:26] Kevin Dieny: I mean, one of the reasons that our company measures, calls, but also chats or form fills or texts or reviews, we measure all those. We consider them like consumer touch points. It’s because we serve a lot of businesses, one, but two, some things matter a lot more to some businesses than others.
[00:33:43] Kevin Dieny: And to a lot of businesses, the phone is the king it’s like to them, that’s awesome. But having a person pick up the phone, it could be a little costly. So some businesses it’s like, look, I I’d like to do that. And maybe I, you know, it’s not in my cards yet. Or I actually, I really like our chat or I really like our email system or whatever it is.
[00:34:02] Kevin Dieny: And so businesses have you know, kind of figured that out, or maybe they started out and they were like, the email system worked great. But now at some point they’re like, you know what, everyone in our consumer is telling us, they want to call us, we’re going to need people to get on the phone now, because now we’re at a different level of business where that’s expected.
[00:34:18] Kevin Dieny: And so that can be a challenge like a transformational point for the business to adopt a new value, a new process, which can be a bit, I, I think.
[00:34:27] Carolyn Lowe: Definitely, and I would say the one thing to avoid spending any money on or doing anything with is robo chats, because I have not found anybody who likes the robo-chats.
[00:34:41] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, we, we always say like the faster you can get someone to a human being, the better. There is some costs there, obviously the robo chats, you know, saving some money like from having to have people at all hours all the time everywhere.
[00:34:53] Kevin Dieny: But if you can get someone to it, like you said, with it, with the HVAC example of, of this accessibility and availability of them, 24 7, even on a Saturday night, there is some value there that you can, that businesses, some businesses may might consider that’s too costly or not for me, but that means there’s a limited group that you’re competing against.
[00:35:13] Kevin Dieny: That could be a huge potential opportunity.
[00:35:15] Carolyn Lowe: Definitely, definitely… And I feel the same way about, um, you know, when you were talking about the customer and just now in the customer service, like I called Capital One today, cause they were closing down their IRA department. Right, and it was amazing. I called and I was on hold for two or three minutes, not bad.
[00:35:40] Carolyn Lowe: And a person picked up and it wasn’t a phone tree. It was amazing. And then I called TD Ameritrade where I was transferring this IRA too. And I had to go through their whole phone system and then I got to someone, then I go, you gotta transfer you over here. And I was like, wow, I have a lot of money with TD Ameritrade.
[00:35:58] Carolyn Lowe: And it was really hard to get to a person, so.
[00:36:02] Kevin Dieny: We sell, uh, with our service, a phone tracking, we have services we call IVR or the integrated, you know, virtual phone. So you it’s a phone tree, press one for sales, press two for support or whatever the business wants. We can set it up right. When we do offer that – there is a question that our advisors, we call them advisors on our team for a reason.
[00:36:24] Kevin Dieny: They talk about this, are you sure you want this? There is a possibility someone’s going to wind up in an infinite loop tree or something that if this isn’t well executed, there’s going to be some problems here. People want to talk to someone right away. Obviously the routing it to the right department saves time.
[00:36:40] Kevin Dieny: It’s efficient, especially in a larger organization. You know, a department may be completely set up for supporting and another one, especially for sales or whatever it is. Uh, or for insurance or, you know, if you’re an insurance provider, you know, it’s sometimes best to have that, or maybe have different numbers altogether that go to different departments.
[00:36:58] Kevin Dieny: But that that is a consideration that we, we offer them as, you know, think about this.
[00:37:04] Carolyn Lowe: Yeah, I love IVRs, get me to the right department. You know, if I need sales, if I need service, if I need support, I love that option.
[00:37:12] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, we do track time on hold. That’s what we call it. So it’s like, all right, let’s look at how long you were making people wait. Uh, it could be terrified or it could be, you know, values as the process executing the way we want it to. Or do we have, you know, not enough people to take these, uh, is this just like a holiday weekend?
[00:37:31] Kevin Dieny: That’s going to blow up, you know, great… It’s expected that this could possibly happen. There’s there’s some customer touchpoints in, in things that may be more seasonal too, so.
[00:37:41] Carolyn Lowe: A hundred percent.
[00:37:43] Kevin Dieny: So let’s say we started at the starting line. That’s a business who, they they value customer connection. And somewhere along the path, we’ve talked about different ways to connect different channels, to connect the reasons to do so, uh, opportunities for a business to, you know, charge their sales or to get more support, to create advocates, as you mentioned.
[00:38:03] Kevin Dieny: One of the more complex, final layers here I was thinking of is personalization. So should a business treat every consumer the same, or should they talk to everyone like they are the same?
[00:38:14] Carolyn Lowe: I think you have to give the same level of service, meaning.
[00:38:23] Carolyn Lowe: You don’t want to talk poorly to someone, you know, I think there’s, there’s the baseline of customer service, but absolutely there are folks who, spend a lot or spend more and they get more service or they get better service or they get more response times. I don’t think it’s a one size fits all.
[00:38:41] Carolyn Lowe: Um, and every business is different, but I feel like, you know, if you’re one of the top customers, you should get something different, right? I’ve, I’ve flown almost like 1.8 million miles with American. Yeah, it gets about board early. Cause I’ve probably over the years giving them, I don’t even want to know how much money.
[00:38:59] Carolyn Lowe: Right. So I would be sad if I spent 1.8 million and I had to board and I was in the last row, in the middle seat all the time. Like I do feel that you should treat some of your best customers a little bit, little bit differently, a little bit better.
[00:39:14] Kevin Dieny: It was a little bit of a loaded question because I know it can take different directions and I didn’t necessarily want us, I didn’t want to bias you toward any one way, but I believe the same way. The processes you have are not necessarily like, fences, that a person can’t deliver better service or, you know, than, than what is trained on.
[00:39:33] Kevin Dieny: A rep, a frontline person can go out, you know, beyond the length to deliver a higher quality service to someone, who may need it more. Appreciate it more than somebody else, as long as everyone’s receiving that standard level of service. And some people, you know, may need a little more, some people may need a little bit more time or have more questions and other people it’s just kind of the nature of the beast.
[00:39:54] Kevin Dieny: But then the secondary thing, the personalization part, I think, is really crucial. To talk to people not all the same. In the, in the sense that. You know, there are people who are higher value to you, or maybe people who are going to give you better feedback. Those people, I tend to just naturally gravitate towards, because if I’m getting better feedback, I’m going to improve or things are going to work out better.
[00:40:17] Kevin Dieny: So like, in some sense, like if I have, you know, if I’m working with a bunch of people and one of them is giving me constant great quality feedback. I tend to just go to them first, you know, it’s just the way it is. So I think that creates a better connection with the consumers, especially like you, the ones who are, you know, flying a lot, it kind of warrants like a loyalty program or different ways, different opportunities to keep them.
[00:40:44] Kevin Dieny: If they’re going to fly a lot, you want them to fly with you,
[00:40:46] Carolyn Lowe: That is true. That is true.
[00:40:49] Kevin Dieny: So, is there anything we didn’t talk about or maybe it didn’t cover any, anything outstanding you’d want to mention before we close out?
[00:40:57] Carolyn Lowe: I think you had great dialogue on customer service and I would just say, yeah. Connect with as many people as you can. Other business owners, see how they do it, see what you can learn from them. Um, yeah thanks Kevin.
[00:41:10] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, thank you for coming on Carolyn. Now, is there any way that you would like people who are listeners or anyone who’s interested in your company, or what you do to reach out to you, any way that they can connect with you?
[00:41:22] Carolyn Lowe: Sure, um, they could go to our lousy little website because we spend all our time on everybody else’s brand, except for our own. So you could find at roiswift.com or on LinkedIn, just search for ROI Swift. Those are probably the two best ways to get ahold of us.
[00:41:39] Carolyn Lowe: There’s a bunch on customer service and why it’s important in my book that came out in September, it’s called Business Do’s And Don’ts, lessons from everything from fortune 500 to startups.
[00:41:51] Carolyn Lowe: So, uh, in customer service and customer connection is, is, uh, a big part of that book too.
[00:41:58] Kevin Dieny: Yeah, I saw that book. It looked like a really, when I saw it, I was like, I gotta get this. It looks so the do’s and don’ts is like such a simple, cool way to understand, okay, well, someone’s been through this. What can I learn from it? I think that’s really awesome.
[00:42:13] Carolyn Lowe: Awesome!
[00:42:14] Kevin Dieny: All right. Yeah, thank you. Thank you for coming on and we appreciate everyone who’s listened. And we’ll catch up with you guys next time. Thanks Carolyn.
[00:42:20] Carolyn Lowe: Thank you.