How to Make Sure Your Customers Never Feel Neglected with Daniel Rodriguez

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In this episode of the Customer Service Secrets Podcast, Gabe Larsen meets with author Daniel Rodriguez to learn about customer neglect and why it’s such a big issue in the modern CX era. As customer demands change, companies need to stay up to date and ready and able to serve their customers at a moment’s notice. The modern customer doesn’t want to stay on hold forever, waiting for some agent to pick up, only to have to explain their needs over and over again. They want to feel valued and unfortunately, we’re seeing many companies neglect their customers in ways they might not be aware of. Tune in to the full episode to learn more about how you can avoid neglecting your customers with Daniel’s helpful tried and true tips.

Neglect is Reflected in the Data

NPS and CSAT are both great ways to gauge how customers feel after an interaction (given that they actually fill out the survey at the end of the receipt). While both scores can provide valuable insights, they aren’t totally accurate because they don’t capture the entirety of the customer’s experience. Very few customers complete the satisfaction survey at the end of an interaction – “Only one out of every ten people is actually captured in an NPS.” If they have a bad experience with a company, it will likely come up in conversation or on social media, further spreading a bad vision of the brand through word of mouth.

“We’ve captured data that shows that there are some really negative consequences to not understanding what those customers are and then attending to the situations that might make them feel neglected and neglected customers, let’s be clear, are customers that will then leave or they are customers that will do more damage than just leave on the way out the door.”

Daniel explains that as much as leaders want to believe they’re doing right by their customers, scores like NPS simply do not reflect the data accurately enough. Gathering accurate insights is different for each company and its style of business operations. This is why integrating AI into processes is a really great way to gain more accurate insights through data collection, rather than waiting for customers to fill out the survey themselves. 

Learning the Executive’s Language

Something so many CX leaders struggle with is adding value to their efforts, especially when presenting to executives and members of the C-Suite. CX is often looked at as a cost center rather than a revenue center, meaning the needs of CX leaders get tossed aside. Adding value to CX efforts is easily done when leaders speak the language of executives: money. Daniel explains, “You have to socialize, I think, a broader change around the perception of customer service as being a revenue-driving part of the business.”

Leaders who are fluent in the executive language display how their CX efforts save the company money, even if they need to purchase AI or other data collection resources to boost their processes. When value is added in a tangible way, executives pay attention to the numbers and their perception of CX can change. The more that leaders equate their efforts into revenue metrics, the more executives will buy in and be willing to fund the necessary resources.

To learn more about meeting your customer’s needs and making sure they’re not neglected, check out the Customer Service Secrets podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Thursday.

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Full Episode Transcript:

How to Make Sure Your Customers Never Feel Neglected with Daniel Rodriguez

Intro Voice: (00:04)

You’re listening to the Customer Service Secrets Podcast by Kustomer.

Gabe Larsen: (00:10)

Welcome everybody to the Customer Service Secrets Podcast. I’m really excited today. We’re going to be talking about customer neglect. Is it a much bigger issue than you realize? And to do that, we brought on Daniel Rodriguez. He is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Simplr. Daniel, thanks for joining. How the heck are you?

Daniel Rodriguez: (00:31)

I’m great Gabe, thank you so much for having me.

Gabe Larsen: (00:34)

Yeah. Well, we’ve got a couple surprises, but there’s a book I’m hearing that you guys are pedaling around a little bit. What’s going on there?

Daniel Rodriguez: (00:41)

Yeah, so really excited. Released the first book that I’ve ever co-authored and it’s called Experience is Everything: Winning Customer’s Hearts, Minds and Wallets in the Era of NOW CX. And we just finished up this book in December and released it. It was a labor of love, I will say. For those that are aspiring to write a book, I am more than happy to talk to anybody about that. But it was a year-long process to actually do the book and we really felt like we needed to write this book because we saw companies kind of heading down a path of status quo in the way that they were operating and a customer that was actually evolved and was going to probably leave their brand if they kind of kept up the old ways. So kind of put together what we thought was a blueprint for people to be able to succeed in this new now customer era.

Gabe Larsen: (01:48)

Love it. Love it. And I know we’ll be talking a little bit more about that today, so excited to dive in, but before we do, maybe tell us just a little bit about yourself and Simplr. What’s your role and what are you guys doing over there?

Daniel Rodriguez: (01:59)

Yeah, so I run the marketing team here, which includes the business development effort. I’ve been here for almost two years now and we are in the customer service and customer experience space, as you at Kustomer are and we are a big fan of Kustomer. We are trying to make sure that brands do not let down their customers. And there is an increasing amount of Veruca Salt I think that is in all of us, if we readily admit it or not, we can kind of think about maybe the last few customer interactions that we had when we were the customer. And just that like, bratty impetuousness that we have about wanting to not wait for anybody to get back to us with anything and damn the supply chains. Damn anybody else’s time that they would meet for anything. We want the things that we’ve purchased and we want the information that we’re trying to access, and we really see this actually playing out in data.

Daniel Rodriguez: (03:09)

So, I think we, as a company, we are kind of fully committed to partnering with brands. We work with a lot of larger retail brands in particular, but not exclusively in the retail space, but a lot of kind of household brand name companies like Burger King and Yeti, and our, I think charge is how do we make sure to never let any customers feel neglected?

Gabe Larsen: (03:36)

Love it. I love it. Yeah. Big fan of what you guys are doing over there. Kudos on the company, kudos on the book. One more thing before we jump in and talk shop. Oftentimes I just like to put people on the spot and ask them what’s outside of work? What are you passionate about? Any fun hobbies, embarrassing moments you’d like to share to the group to make Daniel, you know, a little more…get to know you?

Daniel Rodriguez: (03:58)

Well I’m in a band. It’s called Captains of Industry. I would love for people to go and check it out and only tell me if they actually like it. Don’t tell me if you don’t. No, but seriously, I’m a musician. I’ve been making music in a variety of different forms for my entire adult life, certainly. Being in a cover band here in Boston for a long time and being in this like semi-pro mens acapella group in Boston for a bit. So I love performing, I love music and started just a few years ago. We formed this band and been writing music and trying to perform, although I’ll tell you it’s been terribly difficult. I don’t know if you know this, but there is a raging pandemic going on that is making gatherings, in bars in particular, problematic.

Gabe Larsen: (04:52)

That’s awesome. So what are you more the singings? Are you the guitar? Are you the bass?

Daniel Rodriguez: (04:58)

Yeah. So I do sing as well as play rhythm guitar. It’s a four part band. We’re making kind of indie rock music, some stuff that’s a little more on the chill side, some stuff that’s a little bit sad country, some stuff that’s a little bit more on the pop side. So we did just put out our first EP, which is just fancy record talk for a shorter album, basically. So six track album. It’s out on all the streaming services. So if you have Spotify or any of these things, or if you have your, if you have your Alexa device currently right near you and just, you can just ask to hear songs by Captains of Industry.

Gabe Larsen: (05:41)

Captains of Industry. Right. Love it. The funny thing is sometimes these unique moments they’re intriguing enough. I’m like we should actually spend more time on that. But truthfully I don’t think the audience wants me to do that. So we will park that for the moment and try to include a link to that. I will make sure the team doubles down because I think it’s worthwhile to at least have a link to this Spotify and Captains of Industry. So with that, we’ll now move over to this concept of customer neglect. Is it a much bigger issue than you realize? So start big picture for me. Why is customer neglect such a pressing issue?

Daniel Rodriguez: (06:19)

Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of companies are lulled to sleep thinking that they have a good pulse on where they are with their customers right now. And they use metrics like CSAT scores and NPS surveys to tell themselves a story of things are going pretty well. And I think that a lot of companies, we work with a lot of companies too that kind of have this issue where whether it’s, they’ve got a CSAT score of, call it 4.3 out of 5 and it just doesn’t look on paper like there is really any type of problem or threat or bubbling up issue. And the problem is that, and you probably know this being at Kustomer and being around this Gabe, but the CSAT score is only looking at a snapshot of customers that actually fill it out.

Gabe Larsen: (07:23)

Oh yeah.

Daniel Rodriguez: (07:24)

And for most companies that sliver is only a fraction of the actual total number of their customers. Tends to be in the kind of eight to 30% range. And so when you then try to understand, well, kind of where are we with our customers, you realize that there are a bunch of different things that are happening with customers, and they are feeling many different ways that you are not actually capturing with data. And as a customer, you can also probably appreciate this because how many times have you received a customer satisfaction survey after going through some type of customer interaction that you had with the brand and you didn’t fill it out? And how did you feel at the end of that interaction? And so that’s kind of, I think this underlying tension that’s occurring where there are some, and we’ve captured data that shows that there are some really negative consequences to not understanding what those customers are and then attending to the situations that might make them feel neglected and neglected customers, let’s be clear, are customers that will then leave or they are customers that will do more damage than just leave on the way out the door.

Gabe Larsen: (08:49)

I like that because certainly we all know unhappy customers potentially don’t buy from us or things like that, but you’ve honed in on something that I still think plagues us, and that is legacy metrics, these kind of north star metrics that have been guiding us for so long. North star, so to say is, well, more or less, kind of been leading us potentially down the wrong path. And that aha moment, yeah. It’s a single snapshot. It only gets eight, you said eight to 30%?

Daniel Rodriguez: (09:19)

I mean, it varies. But I mean, we’ve seen data that’s in those ranges. Yeah. I mean, it’s a vast minority, right?

Gabe Larsen: (09:25)

Whatever it is, it’s not capturing what we now know is a myriad of experiences that really represent my interpretation of my experience with your brand. And so that’s a great “aha.” And again, I think sometimes maybe we’ve heard that, but I don’t know. I just don’t feel like people have really grasped because if that’s true and that, and your north star is out of date leading you down the wrong path, then uh oh.

Daniel Rodriguez: (09:54)

Exactly, and a metric, and I know that the folks over at Gartner CEB talk a lot about customer effort score. That to me is a metric worth pursuing. And now I think it’s harder to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, because when you think about what customers are actually seeking from your brand, yeah. They are seeking lower intervention with your brand. I mean, if they need to be interacting with you, they want that to also be as low intervention as it can be. That doesn’t mean self-service, that means do it in the way that they want it to be done because it’s low friction for them. So I might be the type of person who doesn’t want to talk to your brand and so I need to be able to have a pathway there, but I might be the type of person that really wants to be able to hop onto a chat window on your site and get something taken care of whenever that is for me.

Daniel Rodriguez: (10:59)

And knowing that you then have to satisfy this myriad number of use cases of how someone interacts with you, I think that is an intimidating reality for a lot of brands to face. I think there’s a lot of customer service leaders out there that feel disempowered by their own organization, because there is a cost component looming over their head at all times. And the idea of doing these things feels always like it is a financial burden and it’s a financial ask. And so having a metric like, like effort score or having a metric, like repeat purchase rates, –

Gabe Larsen: (11:45)

There you go. Yeah.

Daniel Rodriguez: (11:45)

Right? Now we’re talking about stuff that maybe is going to help convince somebody that this matters, because now we’re talking about revenue. And I think that one of the kind of challenges that a lot of customer service leaders face is that because they walk into an organization and start a role, and there is this presumption that you are just trying to mitigate cost, that they aren’t allowed to be a change agent for revenue being a metric of their success. So yes, I do think that both these things can kind of happen, meaning you can make this change happen and you can have new metrics, but you have to socialize I think, a broader change around the perception of customer service as being a revenue driving part of the business.

Gabe Larsen: (12:36)

I love it. And I do. I think that’s a fundamental shift we need to make. It’s kind of like, I don’t want to say it’s old way/new way, because it is more of a built on it feels like. But it’s, the goal of customer service for decades was make people happy while lowering costs. That seemed to be, I think, where we were kind of going. And what I’m hearing you say is, look, some of that stuff is important and satisfaction’s important, but can you go beyond that? Can you go to this growth and loyalty concept because man, when you think about the repeat purchase, revenue-type numbers, if that becomes your new north star, then you look at some of these other things in conjunction with that, I’ve seen businesses do it and it’s a cultural shift. It’s a mindset shift. It’s big. It’s a big difference. I like the talk track a lot. So in the book you talk a little bit about some of these types of things, certainly the numbers and then these different types of neglected customers. Can you explain that or dive into that a little more?

Daniel Rodriguez: (13:46)

Absolutely. So we go into very great detail about this, all of these topics, especially around how do you transform your organization into a revenue driver for the company? It’s important, I think, that you are able to socialize these hidden types of customer neglect. So I think that most people are aware and think about customers that they see. So yes, there are the customers that you see by taking your CSAT survey, right? There are also customers that are vocal complainers. They’re neglected by your brand and that they then go and let you know directly. They will let you know directly and people will get an earful by it. And it can be a source of low employee morale. But brands are kind of used to that, right?

Daniel Rodriguez: (14:46)

You really hear about a neglected customer, and oftentimes this is, I’ve heard CEOs hearing about this at the board level when somebody who has a good social media following goes and blasts you on social media. And now you don’t just have a problem with one customer, you have a PR problem, you have a brand image problem, and you’ve got 20,000 or 200,000 or 2 million people having a negative association with your brand, which I think of that, not as a singular bad customer experience to be avoided. I actually think of that, and I think the way that that CX leaders should be thinking about this is to frame that in the lost revenue associated with screwing that up. Because that’s really what that is. That’s talking about revenue next year or the year after, or even this year that we did not get.

Daniel Rodriguez: (15:50)

So missed revenue opportunity, certainly from the social media megaphone. Another type of neglected customer that you won’t see is the tab jumper. So this is, and we all kind of do this. These are behavior types that we recognize, right? How many tabs do you have open right now on your browser? If you’re like me, you have like 20 and they start getting so small, you forget what the icon even is at the top anymore. People shop like this. If someone is on your website and they’re trying to buy something, actively asking a purchase intent question, and you’re not there for them, and oftentimes this is more of a rapid response required. This is normally in a chat-type of scenario. If you’re not there for them, what do they do? Well, what do you do?

Daniel Rodriguez: (16:43)

You go and you open up a new browser tab and you search for the same type of item. And if you are not hellbent on getting that exact branded item from that company, you will go and you will buy from a competitor. Now this type of neglect is insidious, partly because it is so closely tied to revenue, but it also is not showing up in anything except the overall site conversion metrics that are being tracked by the marketing team. And so what happens is if you came through organic search or a non-paid channel, it’s really invisible to them because they are really obsessed with the paid conversion rates, because that’s where the dollar’s being spent on social media channels or on AdWords, or then going onto the site. And they’re tracking that really closely. But the tab jumper is a major problem and another major missed revenue opportunity.

Daniel Rodriguez: (17:44)

I’ve got a couple more if you –

Gabe Larsen: (17:47)

Yeah. I mean, you’re on a roll. Keep going, keep going. Keep going.

Daniel Rodriguez: (17:53)

So the late night browser, particularly for those of you who are on the West Coast in the United States, on the West Coast, if you are browsing late night, for you it’s 10, 11, 12 o’clock, it’s the middle of the night on the East Coast. Brands have for the most part, tried to replicate an in-store experience on their website, meaning, hey. We’ve got somebody that can answer some buying questions that you’re going to have when our hours are open. But the problem is we are in a global economy and people have customers that are in all different kinds of time zones. And it is very difficult to satisfy the needs of the late night browser if you are not thinking about needing to be 24/7/365.

Daniel Rodriguez: (18:49)

Some companies will tell themselves they’re 24/7/365 by allowing them to go outside of their SLAs for brief periods of time when it’s highest trafficked. Well, yes. We satisfy that requirement, but we end up with a bit of a backlog and a sticky situation on a couple of really popular days. No, those are the last days that you want to let down this customer because that’s missed revenue. And so instead of thinking about it as a, we are adherent to our SLAs 98% of the time, think about it as what amount of revenue are we missing by not being fully adherent to this. Right? So it’s revenue language trying to just give people some revenue language. The last one that I’ll point out here is the negative networker.

Daniel Rodriguez: (19:47)

So, and this is kind of a great social experiment too. Oftentimes when you get together with a couple of friends, like-minded friends, people are talking about Netflix shows that they might like, they’re talking about a brand that they might like, they’re talking about something new that they just got, somewhere they might be going, we kind of traffic in this language around consumerism, even if we don’t want to admit it. And trendy things around consumerism tend to be something that you think is cool, but it can also be something that you realize is not cool because people like to be the ones discovering this and talking about a bad experience that they had, that the brand is one of these topics of conversation. Look for it the next couple times you talk to people, whether it’s you, or whether it’s someone in the group, someone will complain about an experience that they had.

Daniel Rodriguez: (20:46)

That does not show up anywhere in customer satisfaction surveys. It doesn’t show up anywhere in NPS surveys. I mean, only one out of every ten people is actually captured in an NPS anyway. But what happens in that? Five people in a room just realized, that company? Not going there. And again, that is lost revenue. So that is not just a poor customer experience. That’s not just a neglected customer. And that we look at that one individual, that has a multiplying effect and it comes down to things that we know are true because we see them empirically, we have data now that shows that these are true, but we then don’t look at the full picture with the data in our own company.

Gabe Larsen: (21:34)

Yeah. I mean, the, man. Your focus on revenue, I think that is such a miss of this customer service in general. So I like the neglected customers. Very thought provoking. How do you translate this to some tangibility? I mean, what’s something that a CX leader can do today to start better addressing these customer neglect issues that you’ve kind of brought up?

Daniel Rodriguez: (22:03)

I think there’s a few things. I think the first thing is for CX leaders, when I say CX leaders, because that can be a broad stroke and that can mean a lot of things, if you run customer service at your company, go and talk to and create a very important relationship with the acquisition marketing leader, whoever is paying to get customers in your door and work together to understand how you as a customer service leader, help acquire new customers. There’s a really beautiful thing that happens because I think a lot of, again, customer service leaders in particular kind of feel disempowered within an organization because they’re viewed as a cost center. There’s a really interesting thing that starts to happen and you see it within power dynamics of executive leadership teams. Are you part of the revenue thing or are you part of the cost thing?

Daniel Rodriguez: (23:05)

Oh, okay. The revenue thing. Great. We’d like to make sure that you have your cup filled and that you have fresh fruit and vegetables and for those who are the cost thing, just make sure you stay down there and we’ll get to you when we need you. If you kind of attach yourself now to the revenue part of the equation at the company, different conversations then start happening around, well what resources do you need in order to make that happen? I’d love for someone to ask me that question. A second thing is I think starting to paint, using more strategic narrative language about what it is that you’re actually trying to accomplish. So I’ll give a good example of this. So a lot of retail brands, they know that having a good employee experience leads to a better customer experience.

Daniel Rodriguez: (24:03)

This is kind of like [inaudible] people know it. They believe it. Yet, they also know that the busiest times of year for them, oftentimes it can be over the holidays, that can be a busy time, but different brands have different kind of busy seasons. They know that that is going to be a difficult time. It’s going to be a crazy time. It’s going to be a bad employee experience time. Ticket volume goes up. Very difficult situations for people. It can mean long hours. It can mean burnout. It can mean turnover. So talking to your leadership team about having a different type of aspiration around that, for instance, an aspiration that to have a great employee experience, we need to build a customer service organization that can take the last two weeks of December off.

Daniel Rodriguez: (25:01)

The whole internal team can take off. Now that might sound crazy to some people. How in the world would we do that? I will tell you that one of our customers did that and I think they’re going to write about this in Fortune actually, coming up soon. Because it feels almost impossible and it feels rare and it’s not impossible. And it shouldn’t be so rare. But if that became a mandate, we need to build our team with the flexibility to be able to send our internal team home for the holidays. Then what would that do for the organization? So I think that painting pictures here is important and I think that metrics are important. And I think that internal alignment is important. And we talk a lot more detail about that and give people more tips and tricks about how to do that in the book.

Gabe Larsen: (26:07)

Love it. I love it. Well, hey. That’s a great kind of closing remark there. I really like the talk track. I like the positioning of kind of this, I don’t want to say old way of thinking, but you know, maybe something that we’re doing that’s not right. This neglect concept and why it’s happening. And then thinking about this paradigm shift and some tips and tricks to do that. So I actually am a believer. I bought the book, I’ve got it right here in front of me. On Amazon, you can get it on Amazon. We’ll make sure we include it in a link. You get the Kindle version for $9.99. That’s the one I purchased. Experiences is Everything: Winning Customer’s Hearts, Minds, and Wallets in the Era of NOW CX. So we’ll make sure we include a link. Any kind of closing comment Daniel, before we wrap?

Daniel Rodriguez: (26:52)

No. I’m just super appreciative Gabe, of being able to chat with you. This world of customer service is small and being able to be part of that community, it’s valuable to me and I lean on a lot of people in this community as well. So thanks for sharing the information about the book. Also, if people want to connect with me on LinkedIn, you can go and find me there. I try to stay active and keep it fresh on LinkedIn.

Gabe Larsen: (27:26)

I love it. I love it. All right. Well Daniel, thanks so much for joining. For the audience, have a fantastic day.

Exit Voice: (27:36)

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