What are the Problems in the CX World? Take These Tips From the Experts

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What are the Problems in the CX World? | Gabe Larsen and Vikas Bhambri

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In this episode of the Customer Service Secrets Podcast, Gabe and Vikas unearth the top problems facing CX leaders in the modern environment. Listen to the full episode to learn tips and tricks from these experienced hosts. 

When Your Employees are Engaged, CSAT Increases

If customers have a horrible experience with a brand, they are very likely to share their experience and opinion with others. This helps CX companies and departments understand that CX and the entire customer journey are some of the most vital elements to a brand’s success. To achieve CX excellence, leaders must first make company culture a priority because if your employees aren’t engaged with the brand, CSAT scores go down in the long run. The next key question companies should be asking is, how do you make a company culture positive and engaging enough to boost employee morale? Many leaders think having employees fill out an annual “how are we doing” survey is good enough. Don’t do this. One of the bare minimum tactics that has proven to be effective is to survey employees quarterly. Because the business world is constantly changing, leaders need to stay on top of their game to keep up with evolving employee and customer needs.

This plays into having a pulse on your agents and their feelings about the company. Many brands have the tools in place to sense customer tone and behavior, so why is it that these tools don’t exist for employee sensing, when the employee experience (EX) is just as important as the CX? According to Gabe and Vikas, this could be a game changer in their realm of expertise. Real time feedback has been incredibly important for customer data and they believe this should also be available for companies to get a grasp on how culture affects the employees. “Find a way to do it real time. Find a way to do it more active. I promise you this annual thing is not going to cut it.”

Bringing Back the Humanity to Service

The customer journey should be seen as more of a loop rather than a straight line because customers aren’t just a one and done transaction. If you want returning customers, your company needs to be aligned on the purpose of CX. To do this, the experts recommend joining forces with leaders from other departments to create a cohesive mission for excellence. Involving the customer in several aspects of the business and staying customer minded gives the company as a whole, a sense of empathy for consumers. This empathy can translate into curated services, education, products, and policies. When the customer feels satisfied with their experience at your company, they’re sure to return time and time again, while also bringing more customers through positive word of mouth advertising. Too often brands forget who they’re talking to on the other end of the line. At the end of the day, we’re all human and deserve to be treated as such. “I think that’s something that B2B companies have to be more aware of is you’re dealing with a human being.” Sure, your company can be qualified as B2B or B2C, but what really matters is if you can be considered B2H: Business to Human. When you bring that human aspect back to the service world and look at your consumers as more than just a number or transaction, loyalty and success are a sure result.

To learn more from the CX experts about problems facing modern leaders, 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:

What are the Problems in the CX World? | Gabe Larsen and Vikas Bhambri on Spreaker

Intro Voice: (00:04)
You’re listening to the Customer Service Secrets Podcast by Kustomer.

Gabe Larsen: (00:11)
Alright, welcome everybody. We’re excited to get going today. You’ve just got uno, dos, no tres here. Not a third person. You’ve just got Vikas and myself. So we’ll jump right in. Vikas, we got to do it. Introduce yourself and then let’s get rocking.

Vikas Bhambri: (00:26)
I’m your partner in crime, man. Head of Sales and CX here at Kustomer and your sidekick on these weekly LinkedIns.

Gabe Larsen: (00:32)
Yeah, man. This is, as we said, Vikas and I have a fun time doing this, even if no one comes. You know what? Like I need to talk,  a couple of things on my mind. Wanting to get your thoughts on it. Been having this online debate on LinkedIn about employee engagement. You’ve been in the customer space for years and from what I understand, most companies are doing not a semi-annual, not an annual NPS survey, they’ve gotten to a place where they are doing customer feedback more often. Daily, weekly, little surveys, people joining, new customers joining, just seems like people are trying to manage it more on a daily basis. Is that true? I mean, would you agree to that?

Vikas Bhambri: (03:10)
Oh, without a doubt. I mean, I would say from a customer experience perspective, people are almost down to the interaction, right? Every time we have a conversation in the contact center where we’re reaching out with some sort of CSAT survey, we’re analyzing that conversation, et cetera. So it’s real time in almost every interaction.

Gabe Larsen: (03:32)
Yeah. Yeah. So you flip over to the employee side and I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but most companies, if they’re even doing it at all, they’re doing it on an annual basis. Yeah. I mean, no. I mean, there’s just so much data out there that like employee leads to customer, great employee engagement leads to higher customer engagement. And we think that we can measure that and manage it once a year. And like that’s enough. Like talk to me about how that’s even possible. I mean, is that bonkers?

Vikas Bhambri: (04:01)
It is. And we leave it as a company, we, and not just Kustomer, but I think any company, we leave it to frontline managers, right? So the lens into the employee satisfaction or engagement is in the hands outside of these surveys, in the frontline manager. The challenge you have is if there’s a conflict or an issue between the employee and that frontline manager or that frontline manager is not effective, then you’re in a real situation where you may not potentially find out about something unless the employee is proactive and comes to a different manager or a peer or HR. You won’t know about it until that engagement survey.

Gabe Larsen: (04:49)
But that’s usually what we’re, I mean, we’re trying to block. Oftentimes it’s like, “Don’t go above your manager,” right? I mean, that stuff doesn’t come out.

Vikas Bhambri: (04:57)
I would even say skip level meetings, right? That was one solution that the industry introduced. But I found with skip level meetings –

Gabe Larsen: (05:10)
I don’t like skip level meetings.

Vikas Bhambri: (05:10)
When you do them formally, especially, you get frontline managers, they get really weird about it.

Gabe Larsen: (05:18)
It is. It’s and I don’t love, yeah, I don’t know. I mean, skip level maybe is, maybe it’s a good thing to do. Well, let’s get into a couple of other solutions here just a minute, but how do you feel like, I’ve just been debating this, I mean, how often, if you really wanted to manage employees, you want to manage that culture. I just don’t think you can get a score once a week. I’m just wondering what should be the frequency, if you really wanted to treat your culture as something that’s a priority? Once a week, if not even once a week, once a year doesn’t seem like it’s right. How would you do that? I mean, you had a magic wand. What would you do?

Vikas Bhambri: (05:59)
You know what? If I had a magic wand, there’d be two things that I would think about. One, at the very minimum, quarterly would be, because so much changes in any business these days. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a multi-billion dollar company or a five-person startup. There’s just so much change. So I think one, quarterly at the minimum, the second piece of it is after, kind of let’s go use that customer example that we were thinking about earlier. Customer with a C. If we do customer CSAT surveys, after every interaction, maybe right after big events that take place in a company, maybe there’s a big product announcement, or you have a big, all hands or a big team event, right? So maybe even serving people around those specific events. So you’ve got your quarterlies. Then if there’s some big milestone event that takes place mid-quarter or even two weeks into a quarter, you do it again. So the more often you can do it, the better. I think the other thing is, especially if you’re in leadership roles or executive roles, how do you keep a pulse on individuals and what’s going on? And I think particularly here, as we’ve grown as a company, that’s become harder and harder. And especially now in this remote world, like I used to really benefit from being in the office and grabbing a coffee and just interacting with members of my team that maybe weren’t direct reporters to me, but were reporting to frontline managers. [Inaudible] that opportunity.

Gabe Larsen: (07:35)
Well, but it almost seems like, and look, we work for a tech company. So maybe I’m finding a reason to blame somebody, but I am like, I love the customer example. After every interaction they’re surveying, but a lot of companies are not even, I mean, they’re not even using surveys. They’ll actually take the behavior of customers and let that determine what they’re thinking, believing, and behaving. And then they’ll use a survey to like double click on something that maybe does seem like it needs to dive into.

Vikas Bhambri: (08:02)
There’s no like, maybe we’re onto something here, Gabe. There’s no like platform for the, on the employee side. Think about it. What if I could give you the analytics of how many times somebody on your team has been in Slack and I’m not the biggest Slack fan in the world, but in a distributed world, that shows a level of engagement. Really interesting to see how often are certain team members in Slack in a day, because if somebody is getting further and further disengaged from the company, you’re probably going to find behaviors like Slack starting to drop, or even the tone. What did we could, like we can detect the sentiment of a customer’s email. What if we could detect the sentiment of an employee’s Slack or email? Like maybe it actually will show that there’s a negative sentiment. They’re getting more and more disenfranchised or hostile in their emails, right, because they’re frustrated.

Gabe Larsen: (09:06)
Yeah because, I feel like, you brought up skip level meetings, like, and there are great things you can do, and it’s probably worth it to hit some things we’ve found to be helpful, but it does feel like circa, I’m stealing your word here, circa 2000. 1990. Like no, like, and I know we got to be respectful of employee data and everything else. So let’s just, obviously we’re going to do that. But there’s so many interactions. My email, my Slack, my Zoom, my, all these digital signals, my response time on email, that without, I think, kind of compromising employee data that we can feed up to leaders, that would be awesome to be able to be like, “What’s the current polls of my team? Like I got somebody who hasn’t been active on any digital sources for like three days.” Like that and not do it once a year on a survey that if I just had a performance review conversation, they’re just going to fill zeroes or lows in or highs in because we just had a fun party. Like I want real behavioral data. Like, that’s what we have on the customer side. Why aren’t we talking about that on an employee side?

Vikas Bhambri: (10:08)
Think about the amount of data. Like we track, as any company does, about customers. We track what events they come to. Did they hit our website? What if we knew, “Hey, we host a monthly virtual event. Which members of your team-,” like we had something yesterday, right? We did a Halloween –

Gabe Larsen: (10:31)
I didn’t go.

Vikas Bhambri: (10:31)
You didn’t go but how many of your team members went? You don’t have that data. So if somebody is, and maybe look, if somebody starts at a company and they never attend these events because of whatever family situations, they like to go to the gym at five o’clock or whatever it is, then it’s okay. But what if somebody was going to the event every, for the first six, seven months and then dropped off?

Gabe Larsen: (10:56)
Yeah. Yeah. You’d totally be able to see it and the thing with employee is you found, I hate the conversation when I get blindsided and it happens often, right? Employee comes and they’re like, “I’m done,” or, “I’m so frustrated. I can’t be brought back over.” And it’s like, “Well, why are you frustrated?” “Well, I didn’t have the tools and equipment I needed.” And I’m like, “What? Like, I can get that for you right now!” But it’s like, I need leading indicators on employee data. I, you know, you need it on customer data, right? It’s like, you can’t just measure revenue once a year. It’d be like, my business is okay. You got to have those things that are preventative and man, employee, real time employee data would be phenomenal. Now, obviously, I’m not aware man, if anybody’s listening and knows, maybe Vikas and I found our next startup. If anybody’s aware of something like that, by all means, let us know, but I’m not aware of anything that does that, but there’s a principle here, you guys, that I think we’ve got to find as managers. Which is, we got to find some more real time. What we’re learning on customer data, you got to bring to employee and it’s something about now. Customers want it. Now we’re giving them real time information. They’re getting information via chat. We’ve got to bring some of that into our employee morale and find ways to get more pulse data. Vikas, you were just saying, it’s like, after an event, maybe you do a survey. I know a couple of companies who they actually, when someone logs into their machines, I don’t know how they did it. And they just do one question each day on kind of employee engagement, that bubbles up to an executive of dashboard. And they’re kind of monitoring the culture daily. And I’m like, yes! That’s, it’s that important that if somebody, if something happens, you can kind of see. So we’ve got to find a way as leaders via technology, skip level meetings, Slack. I love some of these quick Slack messages that my leadership has done to me or vice versa. “Hey man, how you doing? What’s going on?” Get a quick pulse because I’m telling you, if you don’t get ahead of some of these things, you’re obviously going to get behind.

Vikas Bhambri: (12:57)
Yeah. One of the things that we did here at Kustomer was the donut slack.

Gabe Larsen: (13:02)
That’s a great one.

Vikas Bhambri: (13:03)
And just catching up with different team members every two weeks that otherwise, no, because it’s amazing. You will find where you may finish a day and say, “Wow. Even in a virtual world, I connected with a bunch of my, a bunch of, what we call the members of the crew here at Kustomer.” Then the interesting thing is, when I really sat down and thought about it, I generally speak to the same people. The same 7, 8, 9 people every day. So yes, I’m busy. My calendar is full, but am I getting a diverse population of who I’m engaging? That’s why once again, going back to the office, the physical world, the random interactions that you would have at the water cooler, at the coffee machine, coming out of the men’s room, going for lunch in the elevator, whatever it is, you don’t have those opportunities.

Gabe Larsen: (13:56)
Yeah. All right, man. Well, let’s, I want to hit one more topic before we close today. There’s obviously so much going on in customer support. We’re all feeling kind of the pressure with the current environment, et cetera. B2B versus B2C customer service has always been an interesting and fascinating thing to me. You’ve kind of been in a world, I think often, where you serviced a little bit of both. You’ve run, obviously your own on the B2B side. It does seem like B2C, for whatever reason they seem to just go deeper. They go, it’s more personalized. They go more data. And maybe because it’s a volume game, right? It’s like when you’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of consumers versus three companies, you just look at it differently. I’m sure there’s lessons that can be learned from both, but specifically what B2B could learn from B2C, where would you start?

Vikas Bhambri: (14:50)
I think with B2C, there’s a lot of pressure in general, right? Because if you think about most B2C, it’s a point in time purchase, right? So the challenge for most B2C companies is when are you going to make that next purchase? You’re not quote unquote locked in, right? It’s not a high price item, et cetera. So I think for most B2B companies, even if they’re in the subscription business, the mindset is “Okay, well we’ve got an agreement.” So frankly, I think people don’t focus on it as much. And I think that’s where it has to start. You have to realize that the, what is the impact of not investing appropriately, right? One, that particular customer is not going to be happy. You’re going to lose advocacy down the line. You may lose a renewal or an additional sale or whatever it is. So I think number one is just the overall focus. And I do believe that more and more B2B companies are starting to think like B2C companies.

Gabe Larsen: (15:59)
I totally agree.

Vikas Bhambri: (16:00)
And I just look at ourselves, we have to, because look, we’re only as good, it’s software as a service for a reason. We’re only as good as our service because ultimately the service is more than just the technology. It’s how you support that technology. It’s how you consult on it. It’s how you educate on it, et cetera. So I think that’s the first mindset and then look, the same people that we’re dealing with, I think the key thing is you’re not dealing with businesses or consumers. You’re dealing with human beings. And if you, for example, one moment, you’re dealing with a food delivery company and you’re like, “Where’s my lunch?” The next minute, you’re dealing with your marketing automation platform company about something, you’re the same human being. Like, you’re not going to be like, “Hey, food delivery company. I expect really high quality service from you,” but “Oh, marketing automation platform company, you can keep me on hold for 45 minutes and then give me somebody who doesn’t know who I am, doesn’t understand what my problem is. Doesn’t understand what version of your platform I’m on.” So your expectations are the same, regardless because you’re the same person. So I think that’s something that B2B companies have to be more aware of is you’re dealing with a human being.

Gabe Larsen: (17:15)
Why do you feel like, one thing that’s always jumped out to me is, and maybe it’s a structural thing. Maybe that’s the problem, but in B2C companies, when they talk about the customer experience, versus when B2B companies talk about the customer experience, it really is different. And it’s different in the breadth of it. And B2B, it really is often talked about when that purchase was made, post-sales interaction. In B2C, it’s like the whole journey. It is like, “No, no, no, no.” Like when they hit the website, like when you think about it, the whole journey, B2B, it’s like, “No, no, they bought. Let’s start”. Is that a structural thing? Because it’s annoying.

Vikas Bhambri: (17:53)
It is structural. It’s structural, not only in the way that if you look at most B2B companies in the way they even outline their customer journey, right? Very linear, right? When it actually should be kind of like an infinite loop. Because as I said, whether you’re in a subscription business or not, it’s not just about that initial sale. Like, let’s say we were selling airplanes. We’re selling like, I don’t know how much a plane costs because obviously I don’t own one, but let’s just say plane’s a million dollars. It’s a big ticket item, right? You might sell somebody one plane, but don’t you want when they come around for the next plane that they’re going to buy it from you, don’t you want them if they’re a shake or they’re country, they’re talking to their friend, they’re like, “Hey, you want to go get a plane from that guy?”

Vikas Bhambri: (18:43)
So to me, the important still matters. And, but here’s where I think in B2B, it falls down. It really falls because the thinking is so outdated, the way we even structure our teams, the way we even compensate executives, to me is still fundamentally broken, right? We’re not thinking about, we can’t say like, “Hey look. If we all are successful and our customers are happy and they’re buying more and et cetera, the company is going to fundamentally grow. Let’s measure everybody by that.” It’s like, “No, we’re going to measure the sales leader by this, the marketing leader like this, we’re going to measure their customer success leader like this, et cetera, et cetera, down the line…Product leader.” And there’s no cohesion into even how we think and operate.

Gabe Larsen: (19:29)
Yeah, the customer often gets left alone. So I love, man, if you can, I don’t know if I’ve got a beautiful way to do it, but I do think it starts on B2B looking at that whole customer journey together, if you can. And then it probably flows down to your point in process, payment, et cetera. We’ve had some other guests say that if you want to do it right, you start with the way you compensate. And I forget that one, but I liked his comments. He went all the way to the way he was compensating his salespeople to make sure it wasn’t [inaudible] on the customer experience. One other thing that jumps out is the channel concept. And maybe that isn’t as, it just isn’t as a parent, but I mean, B2C, they just seem so more open to like, “No, no, no, we’re monitoring all the channels like social,” but in B2B it’s like, “No, no, you need me? You call me. You need me? It’s email.” That’s it. Like, there’s no way you’re getting a B2B company on social and maybe it is just from the use. Quick thoughts on the channel aspect of it?

Vikas Bhambri: (20:22)
I think, once again, just like in the B2C world, it it’s very dependent on the consumer, the customer, right? Because the most, I would still say most business people want to communicate on look, you’re sitting at your laptop, you’re working on something, you’re gonna email somebody or you’re gonna chat with them, pick up the phone. You are seeing B2B companies now, SMS is a very natural –

Gabe Larsen: (20:54)
Yeah and some other things.

Vikas Bhambri: (20:54)
I think on social, they are listening but I think it’s more effective for most B2B companies to try to take that conversation offline, whether that’s direct message or pointing somebody back to chat or email or the phone, but they’re definitely listening on social. They have to be because once again, they’re dealing with human beings and if I’m off with my food delivery company and I’m going to go blast them on Twitter, guess what? If I’m pissed off at my marketing automation platform, I’m going to go blast them on Twitter.

Gabe Larsen: (21:28)
Yeah. You’re dealing with humans, it’s this, I got a force around [inaudible] was telling me that the consumerization of the B2B buyer. So, it’s like, we’re all humans. We’re all kind of doing, buying, with DoorDash and whatever. Now I’m expecting that same experience in my B2B interactions. And the digitization is forcing us to bring that together even more. So, awesome man. Well, those are the two things I wanted to tackle today. Employee engagement on the one, find a way to do it real time. Find a way to do it more active. I promise you this annual thing is not going to cut it. And you’ve got to break through that. On the second side, it’s about B2B, B2C. And I think probably Vikas said it best. It’s not B2B, it’s B2H. You are serving humans. Find a way wherever you are to get closer to that human, because when you do, personalization trumps, man. It makes a big difference. Closing statement from you, Vikas. Anything on your side?

Vikas Bhambri: (22:25)
No, look. I think the big thing is how, on the employee engagement side, just kind of closing the loop is how it applies to our world, which is customer experience. If your employees are not engaged, that’s going to reflect on the experience they deliver. That’s why it’s so hyper relevant and should be a priority. And I think as you said before, if anybody’s got any tips or tricks, reply on the LinkedIn, because it’s still something that you and I are still trying to figure it out.

Gabe Larsen: (22:57)
I love it. I’ll be waiting for those comments. All right, man. Have a good one. For the audience, enjoy the rest of your day.

Exit Voice: (23:07)
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