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The Sharpest Tool™

Delivering Customer Delight for Repeat Business

Cheryl McRae
Josh Smith
Sami Kretz is the Vice President of Project Development at Scorpion. She keeps a sharp eye on the market and the latest developments in tech and customer experience to make sure that they are constantly offering clients the best marketing tools and strategies.

Josh Smith (00:03):

Hello, and welcome to the sharpest tool. This is your host, Josh, where we take the sting out of marketing by bringing you everything that we can to the table to help you with your business. Isn't that great. I see Sammy across the table here right now. So Sammy, Kratz the vice president of project development here at scorpion. Welcome to the show. Thanks and happy to be here. And I know she's really excited to talk about everything we have to talk about right now. So before we dive into that, actually I think be really cool to give our viewers a little insight. What is a vice president of project development do exactly for the company?

Sami Kretz (00:35):

Well, the role does a lot of things. I would say one of the biggest things that I'm doing on a day to day is just looking at the market, thinking about what do we need to be doing? What do we need to do from a technology standpoint, from a customer experience standpoint, how can we constantly be evolving what we offer to our clients and developing on that? That's what I do on a day to day.

Josh Smith (00:56):

So you have a hand in all of the cool technology and tools that scorpion develops in our clients. It seems like, oh, that sounds like a lot of fun. So we're talking about something really important today. I know you've been in this space for such a long time. You've seen the evolution of how the online marketing space has evolved over the years. And one of the things that we've seen it evolve more too, is this idea of engagement. We've seen a big, big impact that businesses will have when they have a really solid customer experience. And I know that can be a dodgy topic for a lot of business owners. So I'm really amped to dive into it today. So why don't you give us a top level overview? What exactly is a customer experience

Sami Kretz (01:33):

Customer experience? So think of every experience you've ever had with the business, some are memorable in a good way. And some are the customer experience is made up of every interaction that takes place between a business and their customer. So whether the customer interacts with the business one time, or maybe a hundred times, they experience that they walk away with is a compilation of every interaction they've had so far. So it's the job of a business owner and the business as a whole to make sure that every touch point or interaction is a great one. So the customer can walk away feeling like they had a great experience. So take a hotel. For example, you drive up the valet, run over to you. They're fast, they're friendly. They're helpful. You walk in the lobby. Someone opens the door for you, smells great, smells like flowers.

Sami Kretz (02:21):

Your bags are taken care of for you so far. Your experience is great. Now take a different hotel. For example, you drive up the parking garage is a half mile away. She had to pay $30 to park. You walk in the lobby, the door difficult to open. Maybe no one helps you. The smell of the lobby, terrible kind of like a dive bar who knows no one offers to help with your luggage. This is a totally different customer experience than I explained in hotel one. Now we know not every business can be perfect. So if you get one negative interaction in a whole series of touchpoints that you have with the customer, it's ideal, but it's okay. You can make up for it later with positive interactions and still someone can walk away with a great customer experience. If a customer has nine happy moments, one, not so happy moment, they overall will appreciate your service.

Sami Kretz (03:13):

Something that I like to do when I think of a client experience, I think of it as a series of touch points. Sure. And every touch point has the possibility of being a green dot, which means they had a good touch point or maybe a red one. So that's a bad touch point on a string of graded touch points of their whole interaction. If you're a string of colored dots at the end of the experience is almost all green. Then your customers should be happy and looking back on their experience in a positive light. But if the majority of our code belts are red, then they had too many bad interactions. You can bet that their experience with your business is not a good one in their minds. That'd be hotel too. So every chance that you have as a business to make any interaction, a green.in the customer's experience, you should do it and you have to be intentional about doing it.

Josh Smith (03:59):

I'm so glad you put it that way, because I think a lot of our business owners, they think of like the experience or their brand or their consistency with their image. They feel that boils down to like their logo or their font on their website. It's the whole kitten caboodle. Just like you said, it's every interaction with visit, like your tech being out at a bar and how they conduct themselves when they're wearing your shirt that feeds into someone's experience that they're having with your company. And so it's such an interesting way to position it. So how would you say this idea of customer experience differs from merely the service that you provide a customer? What's the difference between customer experience and customer service?

Sami Kretz (04:33):

Well, the experience that your customer has is a lot more than just the end product that they got or the results of a service that they have paid for. The service being offered could honestly be spot on. They could love the product they bought, but if the other interactions or touch points in the process were poor, their customer experience was not a good one. Sure. All too often, people love a product, but they hated the process of buying the product,

Sami Kretz (05:01):

A customer, experiencing a plumbing issue, for example, and a business may come fix the problem. But that's not the tell all of their experience as a whole with the business, have another example. So think of your house. It's flooding. You find a local person online who can fix it. They have a terrible website. It takes you five minutes to find the phone number, but you're finally able to call someone answers. They place you on hold. Of course your house is flooding, but then they hang up on you on accident. So you call back, you're more frantic because your house is flooding. And they say, okay, we'll be there in 30 minutes, 30 minutes later, you're calling, they're not answering your calls. Now your house is still flooding. So soon you have to leave your house and you're waiting outside because your house is filling with water.

Sami Kretz (05:41):

You're outside. It's 105 degrees. You're hot. You're unhappy. This company finally shows up five hours later, but they fixed the problem. So the service was performed, but you hate them. That experience with that company was a bad experience in a more normal example, the service may have been fine, but things to think about was, was the technician pleasant to work with? Was he on time? Did he work in a timely, efficient manner? Did he clean up after himself when he was done where there's some odd, hidden costs at the end that the customer didn't expect, those things will be taken into account when the customer thinks about their experience, it wasn't just that the sink was fixed or they stopped the flooding. You have to think about the whole experience, not just the service,

Josh Smith (06:26):

It's a small touch point, right? It's did they put booties on their feet before they walked in there? It's so simple, but it makes such an impact. And your estimation, why do you think customer experience is so crucial to a business? What does it really do was to real impact?

Sami Kretz (06:40):

Well, I mean, the customer experience is what brings people back to your business. Yeah. The customer experience is what makes your customers, tell their friends about your business, if you can, wow, your customer and every interaction they're going to remember that you'll stand out from your competitors, your customer experience is everything. When it comes to growing your business and winning against your competition, all the places you think about that you love. Yeah. There's normally someone or something that created or continues to create a great experience in your mind. It's one that you want to continue having, and that's what your customer experience can do for your clients.

Josh Smith (07:13):

Absolutely. So let's talk about bottom line a little bit, you know, when it comes to the financial aspect of financial ad that certain business activities actually create for themselves. So how does the customer experience actually impacts the bottom line? Have you seen it impact the bottom line with certain businesses who've been dealing with?

Sami Kretz (07:29):

Absolutely. I mean, repeat business referrals, those are key to a business's bottom line. When you think of dollars that you put into marketing, it costs more to get a new client than it does to provide a great experience and keep your existing clients coming back. And the more repeat business you have, the higher your bottom line will be, we see this all the time, but honestly, you can't do it for just that reason. You should believe that you want to deliver that great experience. And that's what you're all about. If you do the bottom line, increasing the other stuff comes as a bonus and it's important, but you can't fake the importance of a customer experience. So you have to be committed to creating that. And if you're constantly disappointing customers with their experience, they're going to look elsewhere for your services. So you have to bet that they're going to be telling their friends about their experience too. And at the very least, when someone asks, if they know of a business that can complete the services that you offer, your business's name is not going to be coming out of their mouth if they had a negative experience. So ultimately creating that customer experience is what it's going to bring your customers back and raise your bottom line.

Josh Smith (08:33):

The, you know, the quote comes to mind. People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it. And so making sure that you have a really strong why in terms of your customer experience, if it's just about the dollars people are going to see that it can't be just that, because that is not a sustainable business model.

Sami Kretz (08:46):

That be important to you. Part of your values as a business.

Josh Smith (08:48):

Absolutely. What are some other ways I know this can be really unapproachable for a lot of business owners. They're thinking, ah, that's just that fancy down the road. They just have it locked down. That's not me. I can't do this. I can't reveal where to business owners start. What are some of the ways that business owners can improve their experience today?

Sami Kretz (09:05):

I mean, the end of it is just find out what your customers want and what they expect with a business like yours. You could start by asking yourself questions. What is it about other businesses that I really like? What experience did they give you? And what did that do for you when you were there? And then ask yourself a hard question. What do you have to improve on right now to be like that be like those other businesses that you just thought of, you can use things like surveys, feedback, touch points, comment cards, listen to your employees. They often have suggestions to find out exactly what your customers want. Then wow. Them by giving them what they want. And more remember your customers are your best source of learning. If they don't like something, listen to why they don't like it. Find out how you can do better.

Sami Kretz (09:47):

Put yourself on a journey to constantly improve your experience by asking for that real feedback. And one other thing on that, that I'm thinking is if you're just focused on your business efficiency, you often are going to miss out on some of those little things that can allow you to go above and beyond with your customer's experience. Those little things really make a difference and they make you stand out. And that's what makes customers bring back. Their friends definitely don't focus as much on just sheer efficiency. Think about the impact that putting in that little extra care into the experience can have on your businesses.

Josh Smith (10:20):

I remember hearing a business owner put it this way. They were like, if you want to know how you can fix your business or revamp your business, he said, look at the trash, but look at what your customers are throwing away from your food products. That's where you need to start in terms of revamping. So I think it's such a practical way to get about that. I think you talked a lot about some ways that a business owner can go about evaluating. You mentioned surveys and comment cards and things like that. Are there any other thoughts or ideas that you have in terms of how they can go about getting the feedback and evaluating the current customer experience or they can see where they want to take?

Sami Kretz (10:50):

Yeah. I mean, there's a ton of ways you can go about this. You may have heard of things like the secret shopper. I've heard of people doing that. You can really get firsthand experience of what it's like to be your customer. If you can't go and notice doing that in your own business, send someone else in, but then have them report back every detail of the experience that they had being the customer, the good and the bad. And I think that's a great starting point to see what your current customer experience looks like. Another thing, I mean, you can listen to some of the customer service calls, see what your customers have to say and try to read between the lines. If they had a complaint, then you obviously didn't meet their expectation. So where did you miss the mark? How can you change your customer experience to make sure that doesn't happen? Something which suggest before you make changes, take a snapshot of your metrics. What is your customer retention rate look like? How much of your business right now is repeat business? How much of your business referral business? What is your reputation look like? These are things that you should track. And then with a focus on improving your customer experience, you can watch how those metrics

Josh Smith (11:53):

Improve. Definitely. So those are some great ways to identify where you can start fixing things. So what are some things, would you say that business owners need to consider when improving the customer experience? So they've identified the problem now, how do we go about fixing it?

Sami Kretz (12:10):

The first thing I would do is think about what your core business values are and don't sacrifice the most important value to your business in order to do better in another area of business. So Disney, they talk about their core values and the first core value that they have is safety. So before anything, their park and any decisions that they make in the park, they have to take safety into account first. Even if they're working to be more efficient or put on a better show, they can't sacrifice their core value of safety. At the end of the day, if there's a traumatic accident, a child's injured, the chances of that family coming back, or no, the chances of that being on the news are high. So you have to really think about what your values are and after safety, their values are courtesy show and efficiency, but in that order, they're not going to sacrifice aspects of their show to be more efficient.

Sami Kretz (12:58):

Think about the lions at Disneyland, why don't they make rides shorter and make the ride go faster, to speed up the line and be more efficient? Well, that would sacrifice the value that they have of show. The examples can go on and on, but look at your business. What are your core values? That's what a business owner needs to do. What will you not sacrifice? And when improving your customer experience, be sure the choices you make are in line with your values. What may improve the happiness of your customers may not be the most efficient. And that's okay. As long as the experience and happiness of your customers is important in your business, values, other things to consider, to improve your customer experience testing and measuring. You have to test and measure key factors. Throwing the process out the window is not the right answer.

Sami Kretz (13:42):

Pick something you want to look into, whether it's something that receives complaints or something that you know, you could improve on and determine what metric you're going to look at to improve, and then make the change you think will be better for the experience and measure it. And if it did or did not make a change. So keep in mind also change might not be immediate, but don't give up. If you don't see change in two weeks, you have to be patient stick with it in the long run, it's going to be worth it to focus on.

Josh Smith (14:07):

I know in the manufacturing world, they have these things that have known as Kaizen events. So it's an annual purging. If you will, of the inefficiencies of the process, it almost seems like a little bit of play here. You should make it a part of your culture to constantly evaluate and constantly see how you can make the experience that much better. And it seems like a really big task in the beginning, but it's all made by baby steps. One step after another and one foot in front of the other. And that's what leads you down that path. Yeah.

Sami Kretz (14:34):

And if you're doing every one of those steps, thinking with your biggest core values in mind, you're always going to be moving in the right direction.

Josh Smith (14:41):

Well, Sammy, this has been awesome. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy product development schedule to join us. I really appreciate it. So thank you so much. I had a great time. Awesome. So for all of you listening, if you enjoyed everything that was talked about here and you'd like to listen to more definitely hit that subscribe button wherever you might be listening to. And from all of us here at the sharpest tool, my name's Josh we'll catch you next time. Thanks.

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