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How ActiveCampaign revolutionizes customer experience

ActiveCampaign revolutionizes customer experience podcast

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The thirty-ninth episode of Support Heroes by Kaizo featured Dutta Satadip — Chief Customer Officer at ActiveCampaign.

In this episode, Dutta summarizes recent changes in the customer service industry, how he recommends setting expectations with customers, and how businesses can use data to effectively scale their customer support services. Dutta started his career in engineering and, as such, his initial focuses were software design, problem-solving, and development. However, he was curious and then embarked on what he calls the “prep” part of his career: during this time, he completed his MBA and dabbled in multiple different roles across different companies (namely Google) in order to hone his understanding of each component of how a business successfully operates. Now, he acts as the client-facing Chief Customer Officer at ActiveCampaign.

“Questions I asked myself during the early parts of my career included, how do you really engage customers? How do you do it in a profitable way? How do you help scale businesses?”

Customer lifecycles

“The world today is more interconnected. And that is the primary reason why customer experience matters so much more. When people talk about customer experiences, they are not just talking about support or how they felt about the product: it’s effectively a summation of every experience they’ve had with the business, whether it be B2B or B2C.”

  • The different stages of the customer experience, like awareness, engagement, and purchasing decisions, all need to be focused on what’s important at each stage. For example, when should you be focusing on acquisition vs. retention? What matters to customers at each stage of their experience with your business? The approach to customer service, now more than ever, needs to be granular.
  • COVID-19 has seen an influx of app downloads, for example: these app downloads recontextualize the customer journey. Versus a click-and-buy scenario, everyday customers have to make a conscious decision to use your app and, as such, need to be marketed accordingly in order to be turned into repeat customers.
  • This COVID-19 shift has also been reflected in the sense that purchases are now rarely single transactions: whether it be for B2B or B2C businesses, companies must now toggle their thinking from, “I just need to get these customers through the door” to continuous and effective content marketing.

Setting expectations

“A very small, seemingly insignificant, change [like in Apple’s case with the unveiling of their new, more aesthetically-appealing computer models] can blow their competition right out of the water.”

  • The value of a good customer experience is being able to extract insights.
  • At one of Dutta’s previous businesses, his team had a focus group in which they concentrated on customers’ pain points. These pain points surprised Dutta and his team: for example, before engaging with this focus group they had been unaware that their billing process was causing friction with customers. 
  • The source of the problem was found only when Dutta and his team were prompted to look deeper at their benchmarks and see where the proverbial “squeaky wheel” was: for example, in this case, it turned out that their billing cycle and customer feedback cycles were operating on the Fortune 500 list, meaning that queries and concerns were prioritized based on the customer’s ranking within the said list. Once Dutta and his team resolved this, the focus group reported that their happiness with Dutta’s business and its offerings was much higher on average.
  • Dutta explains that just one opportunity to look into his business’s customer lifecycles overhauled their output for the better long-term.
  • Apple is another great example of how one small change that is tailored to their customers’ expectations can swiftly and effectively set a business apart from the competition in a positive way.

External and internal factors contributing to customer success and experience

“If you do all the right things, your customers will signal that the experience has been successful. Did your team respond quickly? Was the tone friendly and positive? If there was any confusion, how did your team resolve it?”

  • Feedback is the basis of all positive change: feedback and, by extension, why customers are investing in a product is what businesses should be basing their trajectory and content marketing plans on.
  • It is vital to acknowledge that external factors influence customer expectations, reactions, and decision-frames.
  • This type of feedback is crucial for both why a product is selling and why a product is not selling. In one of his previous businesses, Dutta explains that his offering lost significant momentum due to his team not keeping a feedback loop in place.

Data in customer service

“Data and metrics are vital because they give you the opportunity to ask yourself, ‘What are things we are doing really well to drive success?’ If you don’t have those metrics, your team can go out and collect those internal and external factors to see what you could be doing more of to be successful.”

  • The data and metrics that help evaluate the quality of customer support include common questions like:
    • Was your team’s tone professional?
    • Throughout the customer experience, did your team remain positive?
    • Did your team respond in a timely manner?
    • Did you drive the conversation with the client forward in an educational way?
    • How effectively were problems resolved?
    • If problems did occur, are they recurring? If they are, what is the root cause of them recurring?
  • “Inward metrics” are defined as team-based metrics, like the list above,  vs. “external metrics”, like standard metrics. 
  • Data helps teams make predictions on key metrics such as upcoming ticket volumes and customer retention; this can be done by tallying and comparing previous years’ data.
  • Dutta refers to “watermelon metrics”, which are metrics that look “green” (in this case, unimportant) on the outside but are, in actuality, “red” on the inside (vitally important). He warns that no metric is too small to be glossed over when it comes to planning your business’s trajectory and resources.

How to scale successfully based on customer experience

“When you go global, you cannot dedicate yourself to one-on-one time with customers. Always ask yourself, ‘What are you trying to do? Who were my customers first?’ This exercise helps you really understand where your product shines and which industry your offering works best in as you scale.”

  • Fine-tuning your business’s processes to your customers’ experience orbits around building the right teams, consistent collaboration, keeping a feedback loop with customers open, and continuously empowering your team to do better via concrete metrics and data.
  • Setting expectations for customers is crucial to ensure that, as you scale, their expectations are made manageable. For example, if you initially promised customers one-on-one coaching soon, when you go global, no customers will be able to receive that treatment due to it being an impossible feat. As such, it is best to set manageable expectations early.
  • The three factors of scaling based on customer experience are 1. High value (also known as “high ticket”) client relationships; 2. Programmatic implementation of a success program, which ranges from feature adoption to making customers aware of functionalities within your offer they should be using; and 3. Reactive customers, which are already using your offering to your satisfaction.

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