The experience of being a customer has changed rapidly just over the past few decades. But while the customer experience has changed, has it improved? Is there room for further improvement?
Today’s guest is Ian Moyse of Natterbox. He joins the podcast today to talk about disruptions in the customer experience, how customer experience is changing, and why it matters. Listen in to hear what Ian has to say about where this kind of disruption has the biggest impact, how buyer personas can improve the customer experience, and how customer experience impacts revenue and customer loyalty.
- How disruptors are changing the customer experience
- Where disruption is having the biggest impact
- When consumers prefer to interact with a human rather than a machine
- Using buyer personas to optimize the customer experience
- When it’s important to communicate via phone rather than email or chat
- Analyzing how customer experience impacts loyalty and revenue
Marylou: Hi, everybody. It’s Marylou Tyler. Today, I have a really interesting guest. I’m going to ask him to introduce himself because what he’s doing is such a great topic that I don’t want to flub it and bungle it. With me today is Ian Moyse. He works for a company called Natterbox. With that, I would like him to tell us the topic today which is customer experience, the word ‘disruption’ was used, so you know that this is going to be a fiery discussion. Let’s start by introducing Ian.
Ian, tell us about yourself and tell us what got you interested in this topic.
Ian: Sure. Thanks, Marylou. The interest is the day job, a combination of sales leadership. It comes as part and parcel of winning and retaining customers. Also, in the technology I’m involved in, I’m European sales director, as you mentioned, at Natterbox which is the most embedded telephony for Salesforce. We utilize customer data to personalize a telephony experience; personalize and shorten one of the bits that’s been missing. I also sit as non-exec at a number of other technology firms and industry bodies. I get a good feel for what’s going on in different sectors, different sizes, and dynamics of company.
The world changed, right? We, as humans, are the customer. You and me are the customer of whether it be an Uber, Airbnb, whoever it is, the stores. I follow what’s happening in the US, as well as in Europe, in retail we’re seeing devastation. We’ve seen stores that have been around or brands that have been around for an incredibly long period, seizing to exist, or trying to ratify and change their whole business around the way the customer and their offerings, and it’s hard.
Amazon got there first. I remember when Amazon first came out. I think a lot of people poo-pooed it. “It was a bookseller. Ehh, I don’t know if people…” and all of that but it was just books. What people didn’t foresee was they were a platform. They were never just a bookseller. That just happened to be where they started. We’re seeing the same with Uber now. Uber is a taxi company. No, it’s not. It’s a platform for transportation. We’re seeing UberRUSH now and we’re seeing Ubereats moving parcels and food.
We’re at a market where disruptors are coming about and saying, “There’s a different way of doing this now.” Because of the technology that is now available and the affordability of that technology. Everyone has a smartphone. If I can enable a smartphone user to do something in their daily life than they do already—quicker, smarter, cheaper, more conveniently—there is a high-propensity of rapid attraction and disrupts what’s theirs. It’s not that the existing customer experience or biodynamic is necessarily—it served its purpose for when we were there. What we saw in the 70s was the experience you’d get for what was around in the 70s and the way we behaved.
The millennials and Gen Zs now, they’ve grown up with these technology. They expect to, “I want it now. I want it faster. I want it quick.” They have no issue about it being delivered through something like Amazon Prime and delivered automatically using ring—your doors opened by the delivery driver and put them while you’re out there—all these sort of stuff which, if we said these 20 or 30 years ago, I think we’d have all said, “No one would accept that.” It’s happening. Right now it’s happening and it’s accelerating. How do you operate in that world? It’s difficult.
Marylou: Yeah, definitely. Is the focus in the segment of the market where you have existing customers or is this now applying across retention, existing customers, new customers? Where is the main focus that we’re seeing disruption have the biggest impact? Is it in the base or is it in getting new? Or is it a combination there?
Ian: I think it’s a combination of where were seeing a disrupt offering, a different way of doing something that already existed. We’re doing it differently. Airbnb, there’s all sorts of rentals and stuff, but there wasn’t anything really like Airbnb that disrupt an individual’s specific thing. As Uber, it started off with taxis, now it’s any deliveries. I think the danger is your existing base.
We all remember Blockbuster video. Hiring videos, going along probably, coming away with two or three because you can’t make a decision which one are you going to get. It worked. When that came out—and videos came out in the 80s—it was a humongous success because that was the new. That was what we saw and they disrupted it in a way because you can rent these things. They’re too expensive to purchase at that time. I remember, a video, a film, to buy it would have been £100-£120. If you saw that today and no one would even believe it. A DVD is typically, in your market, I guess around $10-$15. They disrupted themselves and came out with a way that people digest video material.
What we now have is Netflix, Amazon Love Film, and these other platforms. Apple is about to come into that space quite aggressively according to all the reports that I’m seeing. Where it’s been disrupted again with the different way of doing it because of the technology we now have. That’s the challenge, you’ve got to address your bias. It’s not about whether you’re right and wrong. It’s not about whether you’ve got a good brand or a good product, it’s how does the buyer choose to digest your market segment and are you serving them in that way.
In retail, for example, we see an incredible amount of companies trying to figure out how do we transition to being online as well as bricks and mortar. How do we do the combination? They cannot ignore the online market because it’s just too big but they’re not used to it. Amazon had the luxury building from ground up, from scratch.
Often, what I’ll say to business is, when I’m in a exec world chatting about any advice is, get a whiteboard, get a paper, understand your business, and you start from scratch. Just have a meeting and just start from the principle in your heads, “If we were starting this business today, to compete with us, how do we do it? What were the processes be? What would be the technology? How would we address the customer?” Don’t get bogged down in any ball and chain of legacy you’ve got. I know you can’t actually then do that and execute on it exactly that easily, but that’s the mindset you’re going to start from is, “If we all left and went to a startup to disrupt this market, how would we do it today?” You’ll find there’ll be systems or approaches you’ll take that you couldn’t have taken 10 years ago because it didn’t exist or they weren’t affordable.
AI is now coming into this market and at an incredibly affordable rate. We’re going to see more and more of chat box where you’re chatting to people your customer experience. You think it’s a human and it’s actually not.
One of the interesting dilemmas we’ve got is, what we do is working with telephony side which […] talking about this at an event next week. “[…] telephony is going to die, right?” When something falls through the cracks, where do you turn? If something doesn’t work with a supplier—with your gas supplier, and the boiler fix, or something, or doing electronically on the website for self-serve—if it doesn’t work and you fall through the cracks, that they haven’t got it perfect, where do you turn? Quickly, you’ll probably turn it into live chat, and if there wasn’t a live chat, where’s the phone number?
Ian: That’s where we see businesses increasingly falling down because they’ve not scoped for that exception. The example I’ll be giving next week is, we’re all going to the retail stores today and there’s the self-serve tail where we can go to scan your own goods. And then there’d be 10 of those and there’d be someone over there where there’s a couple of people actually human, serving. The first I’m going to ask the audience is, “Where do you go?” Some people would still go to the human by default. The second one is, “What happens when you go to the self-serve? Do you ever have it not worked? Do you ever see other people next to you go, excuse me, can I get some help?” Happens all the time, right? As soon as something falls through the cracks, you’ve got to go cope for or you’re that human element for help. If not, your customer experience immediately falls straight away from what you’re trying to deliver.
It’s great alternating and looking what technologies you can use. I’m looking at the Panaseer of Amazon who do a fantastic job, but Amazon’s got an incredibly deep pockets and an incredible technology ownership. Most businesses will never achieve what Amazon have achieved. Although you may aspire to it, what they’ve done may look easy, but it is not. They’ve invested an incredible amount of money and time to build the experience they’ve built. It’s a great aspiration to how do we empower customers to self-serve where they choose to, but also, understanding, at times, customers are not going to self-serve and we need to deliver a shortened, personalized customer experience.
Marylou: I think that’s great. I know just recently, for me personally, I have a house in California that is literally down to the studs now. I have been running back and forth to IKEA which we have at here in California. I got a curtain rod that looked like it was going to be easy to install but once I got into it, I realized, “This is difficult.” Luckily, I was able to go to YouTube, of all places, and find an installation. But they said, even in that YouTube video, “If all else fails, pick up the phone, and call and talk to someone.”
Ian: There you go.
Marylou: Is that going to be the best way? My stress level instantly went down because I knew, I’ll look at the video, I’ll go through that, but at the end of the day, if I can’t figure this out—and I can see myself pretty mechanical in nature—but if I can’t figure it out I know I have an escape goat. Then contrast that to a recent experience I’ve had with a local vendor here who does basically, follow-up software, their based in the Pacific Northwest. It has been a nightmare to try to get any type of help, to get any type of turnaround time because we’ve had to go to the knowledge base. We have to try to figure it out there. If that didn’t work, then you put in a ticket. It’s just like you can never speak to a human.
Ian: Typically, think about that, when you want to speak to a human is when all else fails. You’re probably at that end position where, “I’m desperate now. I got this. I thought it’d be easier. I wanted to get this camera set up for the wedding next Saturday. Actually, I’ve got a day left now. I haven’t got time.” The time pressure, whatever it is, now you get frustrated, “I just want to speak to someone now.” Then, if the provider hasn’t catered for that experience, that’s when you hit the problem.
Amazon gets away with it because, I don’t about you, but every time I got into their live chat for help where products turn up and it was the wrong product, which happens, they pick an awful lot of products, the volume that they ship is going to happen, but the speed at which they dealt with it on live chat, I’ve always had someone appear on my live chat very quickly, works with the problem with me, resolve it, send the label, can send it back, new one’s on the way. I’m happy because you’re there 24/7 because you’ve resourced it and you can afford to do so.
How many times have we gone to a company that you’re describing there, “Are there a phone number? I’ll phone them.” What you get is into a queue. Typically, you’ll end up with an IVR, Interactive Voice Response, and often they are confusing. They haven’t tested how does this works for the customers. You’ll go through and you’ll wait in a queue for someone. You’ll get through and invariably, sometimes what happens is, “You should have pushed a three instead of a four in the third menu. That product sits in a different division. Let me transfer you.” “Okay, fantastic. Where are you transferring me to? An agent?” “No, no, no. I can only transfer you to their call queue.” Then you go into their call queue. Now, your blood’s starting to boil a little bit more. “How long have I been on the phone?” “40 minutes.” It’s your day and the problem typically has been caused to you by a purchase or something that’s gone wrong and you just want to get resolution–short, quick. “I just want to get this done and move on with my life.” Great.
Then you get through—this is the worst case scenario—they said, “Actually, the person you speak to will need an engineer to call you and talk you through it. Can they call you back this afternoon?” “Okay, give me the number.” As you put the phone down, how much are you thinking, “I wonder if they’re going to call me back?” Maybe you wait until 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM. Some people would’ve called him back, others will believe in 5:00 PM. 6:00 PM comes and you phone back, and their office is shut now.
Ian: Here’s the problem. You’ve already had a bad customer experience. When you phone tomorrow, when they’re open office hours, and you’re probably really frustrated, yes, still having to burn more time on this. It’s now your time. They’re not serving you. “I just want to get a fix.” You go through the same IVR again. You get the same queue again. But they know they didn’t call you back. You called yesterday. They took your details, took your number, didn’t call you back.
You call in today, they treat you exactly the same. Shouldn’t it be that when you call back tomorrow, as an example, they can detect your phone number, “That’s the phone number we were supposed to call someone back on yesterday.” And automatically, present you with the dynamic message to say, “Ah, Mr. Moyse, we can detect, we didn’t call you back yesterday as promised. Apologies. If that’s what you’re calling about please press 1 and we will prioritize you straight through into a preferential line. If it’s anything else, press 2.” In which case it diverts to the normal IVR because you know with a good deal of certainty that they’ll call you back because the problem didn’t close off yesterday.
If you treat them differently, guess what? You turn a frustrated customer into a delighted one. Straightaway, you treat them differently. Who’s ever heard that happen? One, straight through to an agent who gets told and prompted, “We didn’t call these guys back yesterday,” and starts the call with big apologies. “We’re going to get this sorted for you right now. That’s our error.” Boom! It diffuses that customer’s piece. It diffuses the risk of customer churn because you’ve taken away that pain. As opposed to, “Put me through a lot more pain now. Treat me like you did yesterday, guess what I’m going to do all day? I’ll moan about that and tell people about it. ‘Oh my god, don’t call them.'” That’s what we’ve got to change.
What I just described is easy for us and we do that in the telephony world. On our website, everyone optimizes the customer journey. You think about what’s gone on for years, shortened and personalized customer journeys and websites, have been a focus of marketing for years. It needs to be the same across Omni channel. However your customer interacts with you, whether it be live chat, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, whatever you open yourself up to for your customers to be able to interact with you, you need to do two things. One is, you need to be responsive. Two is, you need to do it well. If you can’t, don’t open yourself up to 10 different Omni channels. Don’t open yourself up to, “You can contact us on Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube. Here’s 20 ways you can contact us.”
The number of times I’ve tweeted a company and I’ve seen both ends of the scale. A complaint, “Let’s go there. Let’s see what happens.” Some are instantaneously responding because they know the world is seeing it. I did this with a kid’s swimming goggles once. There was a problem, it shredded after getting it. They were on it instantly, “Please, come online, to direct message. Give us your address and your personal details. Which one is it? We’ve got a replacement on the way to you now.” Fantastic. I have others I’ve tweeted, I have never heard back from them. They’re not monitoring the channels they’ve opened to the customer.
You’ve got to understand the world we now live in. Where are your customers and how do they expect to interact with you? If they’re millennials, guess what, Snapchat may be an appropriate platform. If they’re not and your demographic is 60-80 year olds, where do they choose to communicate? What method you want to use and do it well?
Marylou: Though you mentioned above in the call, forget legacy, let’s get on a whiteboard, and figure this out. My audience is, for the most part, we love process. I’m curious if you can walk us through a very simple—let’s just pick one channel—and walk us through what inputs you’re looking for in order to help determine, granted I’m sure it’s different across industries, but what are the ingredients that we have to make sure we think about as we’re going through mapping this out? Forgetting about legacy and going forward. Can you give us an example?
Ian: Yes, absolutely. The first one I touched on there is what is your buyer persona? I’ve had people say, “Well, we sell to everyone.” “Okay, but talk me through it.” Then they start talking through and start saying, “84% of our customers are in this demographic; they’re female between 40 and 55.” Great. That’s most the way you need to put your effort in serving your customer, not getting something right for the 2% that are 20-25 year old woman who want to deal with you on WhatsApp. Unless, you can do WhatsApp as well.
What happens is I’ve seen people look at their personas. They say, “We’ve got every persona.” “Yeah, but what’s the split of that in your business?” Maybe it’s equal across all of them, but if it’s not, that gives you a first clue to how you need to address them. Once you’ve identified that, Well, actually, most of our customers want to speak to us on the phone. Some of them are starting to use web forms or want to buy our products through Amazon,” for example, “so we need an Amazon store.” What is it you’re seeing? Where do we need to address it? You need to be able to isolate this down to a few things that you can do incredibly well. Do not boil the ocean.
I see too often with the process side which then leads into the technology side, and the people aspect, and the data of boiling the ocean. Try to address everything. We don’t tick every box. The biggest thing is isolate down where are the majority of your customers. How do they want to communicate with us? Do they want to self-serve and order electronically? When do they want to communicate with us? Maybe it’s like yourself when you say, “It’s like here. We can’t fix something or something is missing. There’s a bolt missing in the box.” That’s where we see people get ahold of us. Typically, they want to get ahold and speak to someone because they don’t know which part […] is. We need to make it easy for them to interact with us in the way they need to interact for the used case they’ve got at that point in time.
Some things are served by video, right? You described video. If video is the right way to go, fantastic. You’ve got a platform with YouTube you can host stuff on or Vimeo. You can address that from your website and your help pages.
If it’s not that easy and it’s something you normally need to talk someone through then you’re going to need have phone interaction. You need to screenshare with them. Is there a PC piece of software? What is it you’re going to need to do, and provide the resources, and work through the process. Put yourselves in the shoes of your customer. How do I want to interact in the initial purchase? What are the things that could go wrong in the process? How would I want to interact with those? It isn’t always the same platform. It changes.
Too often, what I see also is, people address the channel and try to keep the customer on that channel. I talk about social selling—I’m not going to drag into that now because we could do a whole nother call—but when I see salespeople and they say, “I spoke to the customer. I touched base with the customer yesterday.” I always ask them, “You actually spoke to them?” “No, no, no. It was an email.” “That’s not speaking to them. Why did you do it as an email?” “Oh, they emailed me back.” Particularly in sales, it’s a […] what customer service tends to do is, if the customer emails you, you email back; if they interact with your live chat, you keep a live chat.
There’s nothing wrong, if there’s a more appropriate channel to deal with a specific problem or customer requirement, to switch channels and say to the customer, “I hope you don’t mind, it might be easier if we jump to the call now. Can I kick off a call through this live chat so that we can actually speak? Or, “Can I screen share to show you something which will fix how you use designer software?” If you use the most appropriate method to resolve the customer issue the fastest to their satisfaction.
Marylou: Exactly. We use that, what you just described. I teach my folks, no matter what channel they start on, our goal is to always try to get them to the phone. Why? Because one phone call equals 20 emails in our world.
Ian: Yeah. You can detect misinterpretation straightaway. You can hear tonality of the customer. “You sounded a bit confused there.” Whereas an email, you don’t get any of that. You lose it all. It’s formulaic.
Marylou: You get some sentiment, but there’s a lot of guessing going around.
Ian: Exactly. You read the email how I interpreted it one way; you read it in a totally different way. Particularly in technology. How many times have we gone on searching for help and you followed the instructions, it doesn’t work, someone explained it to you and you go, “No, no, no. I was clicking there.” “Oh, I could see how you could make that mistake. I never thought of that. When I wrote the instructions, I didn’t see that button over there that looks similar.” To me, that was obvious.
Marylou: Right. I have more familiarity with the right path when I think of the nuances of you going down the wrong rabbit hole.
Ian: Yep. The minute you’ve done that, everything else becomes wrong. Whereas in a conversation, you identify so much quicker.
Marylou: As we finish the conversation here, I want to be very respectful of your time. I know you’re not feeling very well.
Ian: Sure. Thank you.
Marylou: If I decide, I’m doing this and I am committed to it. Do you have any type of benchmarks or analytics that you can share with us as to how this is impacting loyalty or revenue? What are some numbers that we can aspire to overall? I know my industry is […] different, but what does this mean for us in terms of lifetime value or revenue?
Ian: Right now, when I talk customer experience, events, and this piece, firstly, think about you. You behave differently today. We all do it. I’ve never used Uber but I’ve used Amazon. We all, in some way in our lives, digest IoT, a new technology for your heating system, whatever. We’re using new technology. You can’t get away from it and it would never go back. Unless, we get a solo birth then all technology goes. In which case we wouldn’t have any choice for that but that’s it. We are in the position wherein we’re going forward. With millennials and Zs, they’re adapting to technology even quicker, inventing. The world we live in is prolificating innovation because always on a tech available, so you can innovate that. You’ve got to do something and you’ve got to do it now. Unless whatever you do cannot be disrupted.
If you’re a barber and you cut people’s hair, you’re probably not going to be massively disrupted. You might find there’s a booking system you can use, it makes it easier to get more people through the door and not lose customers. You can’t get in and fed-up queueing. You are not going to be replaced at this point by some robot cutting hair. That’s probably a long way off. But you’ve got to look at what’s going on in the world and digest how do, in our business, make use of this type of technology. It might not be all of it. It might be just AI. It might be just chat box, it might be just going on social. Start digesting and delivering a different experience to your customer.
And to answer the question, sorry, I’m deflecting it in terms of stats. A good one is the Walker Study. All the analyst are talking the same thing right now. Wherever you look, the Walker Study came out and it said, “By 2020, customer experience will outweigh price and feature as the main differentiator.” It’s not that you’re going to pay 10x the price for something, but we all live in a world where, whatever you’ve got, there’s probably a similar comparable. You always have a competitor. No one’s exactly the same but they’ll be similarities of the customer has a choice. The customer in today’s world can find their choice quickly. You can search on Amazon, I always keep coming back to Amazon or Google, and you want to go and buy one of these handsets for your phone that takes […]—there are tons of them. You can find all of them by searching for the generic or you search for the one you’ve just seen in the magazine. Guess what? The others come up as well. Choice is in the customer’s lap instantly.
Marylou: Instant. Yes.
Ian: Price is typically reasonably similar. Unless, there’s some specialization or something which differentiates you as […] the market. What’s the difference going to be? I think it’s going to be brand and customer experience. People are buying into that and that’s where you’re going to get your loyalty, that’s where you’re going to get your customer reference and your reviews. Peer reviews are becoming incredibly more important. You go online, even for a ¢59 app now in the app exchange, you’ll look at the star rating. Then you might scroll on the reviews and say, “Okay. Yeah. People are saying it’s good. I’ll have a chance.” It’s 59 cents people. Software used to be hundreds and hundreds of pounds or £40 for a game, but we still look because it’s the world we’ve become used to. Information, peer reviews, are at our fingertips. Customer experience forms part of that.
Marylou: Exactly. Ian, thank you so much for talking with me today. What’s the best way that our folks can get ahold of you if they want to take steps further or look at some of your writings?
Ian: Yep. Please do. I publish a lot of non-pitchy white papers and discussion bullet points. Two places: one is, ianmoyse.co.uk, that would take you to my LinkedIn profile, and @ianmoyse.cloud will take you to my Twitter profile.
Marylou: Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time. Have fun next week at your speech.
Ian: Thank you. Thanks, Marylou. Bye-bye.