On the Digitally Irresistible podcast, we cover the optimization of digital technologies and irresistible people that influence both employee and customer experiences. We feature professionals who are passionate about delivering a great customer experience.
Brought to you by iQor and hosted by Bernie Borges, Vice President of Global Content Marketing.
How to Hug Your Haters to Improve Customer Experience
Inviting and Answering Complaints Strengthens the Customer Experience and Improves Satisfaction
This week’s guest is renowned business strategist Jay Baer. A seventh-generation entrepreneur, he has founded five multi-million-dollar companies and is the New York Times bestselling author of six books on customer experience and digital marketing. He has advised more than 700 companies and has been inducted into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame. Jay is most often described as funny, factual, fantastic, and fashionable! In this episode of the Digitally Irresistible Podcast, Jay unpacks the principles he writes about in his book, “Hug Your Haters.” With 80% of companies saying they deliver exceptional customer service and only 8% of their customers in agreement, he shares how businesses can turn things around and improve customer satisfaction.
A Career of Influence
Jay Baer began his career journey as a political campaign consultant before pivoting to traditional marketing and then digital marketing back in 1993 when domain names were still free. Ultimately becoming a trusted advisor on customer service excellence to some of the world's most iconic brands, Jay started a digital consulting firm that he sold before starting another one called Convince & Convert that he ran for 13 years before selling. Along the way, Jay has created a successful content marketing blog, thousands of podcast recordings, a series of bestselling books, and keynote speeches to inspire digital marketing success.
Welcome the Complaints
In his book, “Hug Your Haters,” Jay writes that in order for companies to improve the customer experience and reduce the number of complaints they must first get more complaints. Jay learned the principle from his friend, Erin Pepper, who was the head of customer experience at Le Pain Quotidien. She implemented a plan to help the brand of cafes and bakeries continue to be better than most of their competitors by tripling the number of complaints they received.
Her goal was to make sure they responded to everything that bothered their customers and the only way to do that was by learning what actually bothered them. She recognized that there were probably some things that their customers didn’t like that they didn't even know about. So, she created nudges for feedback on social media, the brand’s website, signage, and trained cashiers to seek feedback to make clear to customers that they really wanted to know what they thought about their experiences at the cafe.
Through these efforts they received three times more complaints and identified many things they hadn't realized they were doing wrong. For example, at one of their top-selling locations someone mixed up the formula for their signature lemonade. Many customers were unhappy about it but no one said anything until Le Pain Quotidien really made a concerted effort to listen. They took this and all the other feedback they received, responded to the problems, and customer satisfaction improved.
It became clear that in order to get fewer complaints, a company must first get more complaints and then respond to them. Celebrating having only a few complaints doesn’t necessarily reflect excellent customer experiences, it often means the customers aren’t talking or can’t be bothered to share their concerns with the brand. Complaints are necessary in order to gain insight into where improvements can be made.
Statistically, only five out of 100 unhappy customers will register a complaint. Out of these complaints, there’s about a 50/50 mix of offstage and onstage complaints. Some customers prefer offstage remarks like personally speaking with a manager or sending an email for an individual response. In contrast, customers who have undergone their own digital transformation journey are often more likely to make highly visible onstage public remarks on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or pos
How Brand Storytelling Influences Customer Experience
The Convergence of Effective Brand Storytelling and Positive Customer Experiences
This week’s guest is Miri Rodriguez, senior storyteller – Future of Work at Microsoft and author of the bestselling book Brand Storytelling – Put Customers at the Heart of Your Brand Story. Miri travels the globe sharing insights on the power of brand storytelling. In this episode, Miri discusses the correlation between effective brand storytelling and positive customer experiences and how brands can think about the convergence of the two within their company culture and in how they communicate with customers to build brand loyalty.
Where the Story Begins
Miri’s senior storyteller role didn’t exist when she joined Microsoft 10 years ago. But with her passion, insights, and experience she built the foundation for a brand storytelling job at one of the top brands in the world, and she loves what she does! She believes in it so much that she wrote a book about it and travels the world sharing her insights to help brands elevate their narrative and create valuable customer experiences.
Brand storytelling wasn’t an academic discipline when Miri majored in communications in college. Now Miri’s book on the subject serves as a textbook in many colleges and universities. Throughout her experiences over the years, she learned to pivot communications and connectedness strategies as they continue to evolve in the digital age. As Microsoft went through its own digital transformation, Miri’s job changed and she believes that will continue to happen as new roles and positions emerge.
Miri began her career working for various tech companies before joining Microsoft on the operations side and then moving into the emerging area of social media at the time. She and the rest of the social media team navigated channels and determined which ones to develop a presence on. She quickly noticed that they were telling Microsoft’s brand story on the support side, but they were telling a different story through digital marketing on social media channels. Miri determined that it was essential to develop a unified voice so she began telling stories that connected the customer experience across their entire journey.
That led to a series of creative ideas as she navigated the look and feel of storytelling with a unified voice across channels. She accepted the opportunity to become senior storyteller for Microsoft’s digital transformation. She relishes her role in guiding Microsoft’s brand story and influencing how everyone at Microsoft collectively thinks about the narrative and how it is positioned across channels for a consistent brand identity.
Why Brand Storytelling Is Important in CX
Brand storytelling is more than general marketing or communications content or social media posts. It's a culture-shifting strategy for brands to think about the way that they're communicating their values and connecting on a human level with consumers.
For today’s consumers, purchasing from a brand means investing in something bigger than just a product or service—they need to know if the brand aligns with their own core values. Brand storytelling empowers companies to share their core values, their origin stories, their why, and continue to remind customers why they exist beyond their product or service. It must be an authentic brand story that begins with an individual’s first interactions with a brand, before they’re even a customer, and extends throughout their customer lifecycle and loyalty to a brand.
Miri explains that because today’s customers look beyond a brand’s products and services to assess the brand entity and what the company represents, brand storytelling is essential to improve customer engagement and advance the customer experience. Customers want to know the brand’s voice, its political stance, and whether it’s socially responsible. Is the brand worth friending and following?
iQor Qares Gives Back to Employees and Communities
iQor Qares Charitable Giving Nonprofit Supports Employees and Communities in Times of Need
This week’s guest is Caity Morder, human resources generalist at iQor. Her career journey in human resources led her to iQor where she has been a key player in the iQor Qares 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization designed to help iQor employees in times of special need. Serving as a resource to so many people in times of unforeseen financial hardship has been a rewarding and humbling experience for Caity. In this episode, she discusses what led her to iQor, how the iQor Qares program works, examples of how it helps employees across the world in their times of need, and how individuals both within and outside of iQor can help.
The Road to iQor
Caity joined iQor in 2016 with a background in human resources and recruiting with a focus on meeting seasonal ramps in contact center environments. In her work and in her personal life, giving back to the community has always been a key element for Caity. The iQorian Values and iQor’s commitment to creating rewarding experiences that make employees smile while also supporting them in times of special need have played a significant role in Caity’s time at iQor. Her involvement with the iQor Qares nonprofit has provided a valuable outlet for Caity to connect with employees and help make a positive impact in their lives in addition to the work she does through human resources. She is embedded in the irresistible people and culture of iQor.
All About iQor Qares
iQor Qares embodies the iQorian value to give back to employees, their families, and the local communities in which they live and work. In the past, when iQor employees faced extreme hardship, iQor organized fundraisers to help. Determined to make a broader impact in the lives of about 35,000 employees worldwide, iQor decided to initiate a dedicated year-round approach to provide a faster and more unified response to employees in need.
As a result, the senior leadership team at iQor created iQor Qares, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization with its own board of directors, independent from iQor. iQor Qares provides financial support to employees, their families, and their communities facing unforeseen hardship due to natural disasters, family health issues, and more. Loren Dennis, senior vice president of operations at iQor in charge of special projects, is on the iQor Qares Board and oversees the iQor Qares program. He spoke in-depth about it on Digitally Irresistible Episode 26.
Stories of Hope
iQor Qares has helped many employees in times of special need since its creation in 2019. From providing financial support to help employees rebuild after devastating natural disasters, to providing death benefits so family members could receive proper care, to helping families recover after house fires—iQor Qares is there.
As hard as it is to look through the applications for support and hear the heart-wrenching stories of intense need, Caity is continually moved by the courage and hope she sees. She is grateful to play a role in helping employees through some of the most challenging times in their lives. Through her work, Caity has supported iQor Qares in helping many employees make it through a variety of difficult situations.
Rebuilding After Typhoon Odette
In the wake of Typhoon Odette’s crushing impacts on the Philippines in December 2021, iQor Qares helped more than 30 employees recover from widespread devastation caused by flooding, wind damage, and the like. With financial assistance from iQor Qares, employees and their families were able to complete necessary repairs to their homes’ foundations, roofs, and walls in order to get back on their feet.
Recovering From a Winter Storm in Texas
When a winter storm wreaked havoc in a part of southern Texas unaccustomed to such weather, iQor Qares was there to help meet essential needs. The below-freezing temperatures caused pipes t
The Emergence of South Africa in CX
The Appeal of South Africa in the Customer Experience
This week’s guest is Ron Dull, founder and managing director of Lookout Advisors, a customer experience (CX) consulting practice that specializes in CX transformation and contact center optimization as well as strategic services for CX solution providers. With more than two decades of experience in CX with brands, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, and as a consultant, Ron brings global insights and valuable perspective to his practice. In this episode, Ron discusses why South Africa is an emerging location for CX delivery, the unique benefits South Africa offers, and how impact sourcing creates positive ripple effects throughout South African communities.
A Diverse Background in CX
Ron began his career journey in CX more than two decades ago. A few years out of graduate school with a background in engineering, Ron worked for a consulting and systems integration firm. He was tasked with helping companies design their voice and data networks as they created more centralized contact centers in the 1990s.
In the beginning, Ron did very technical work for clients but within a few years he expanded to work on customer relationship management (CRM) solutions as well as self-service solutions for clients. This ultimately led to a fulfilling career consulting with companies on CX and customer care strategy and operations with midsize and enterprise organizations.
Ultimately, Ron wanted to expand his CX experience in a more hands-on role, so he joined a large customer care contact center global outsourcing company where he ran operations, managed client relationships, and performed several other functions.
After working in this capacity for a number of years, the entrepreneurial bug bit him and he formed Lookout Advisors, combining his passion for CX with his background in consulting. Lookout Advisors is a boutique CX-focused consultancy comprised of experienced professionals who focus on CX transformation and contact center optimization for global companies. He consults with companies that run their own contact centers supporting their own customers as well as businesses that provide CX services such as outsourcing firms and CX technology companies.
The Top 5 Unique Benefits of South Africa in CX
Having worked in CX in virtually every geography around the world, Ron noticed multiple unique and powerful benefits of South Africa in delivering rewarding CX for many types of companies.
These unique benefits became increasingly clear several years ago when Ron was working with a client and with the Business Process Enabling South Africa (BPESA) industry association which represents the customer care and outsourcing services industry.
Among the many advantages of bringing customer experience work to South Africa, Ron has categorized them into five primary merits.
1. South Africa Is a Low-Cost Offshore Geography for CX
South Africa is an offshore geography that offers low costs only modestly higher than traditional offshore geographies. These costs are typically significantly lower than nearshore locations with close proximity to the Americas.
2. Sophisticated and Stable Business Environment
Plain and simple, South Africa makes it easy to do business. The regulatory structure encourages investment. It has a sophisticated and stable business environment along with an infrastructure that facilitates high-quality business offerings to diverse clients. It has a world-class banking industry and an innovative technology infrastructure with widespread fiber optic network connectivity. The government and customer care outsourcing industries have collaborated to create a supportive environment to bring new jobs to the country while attracting businesses and investors.
3. Strong and Educated Labor Market
With a population of 60 million people and more than 30% unemployment, especially with the young adult population, South Africa
Harnessing AI to Listen to the Voice of the Customer
How AI Provides Insight Into Customer Motivations at Scale
This week’s guest is Mary Drumond, chief marketing officer at Worthix, a leader in voice-of-the-customer technology solutions. Over the course of her career, she has developed a deep understanding of the challenges that brands face when surveying their customers to glean business intelligence and learn the motivations behind their purchase decisions or why they sometimes decide to abandon the brand. In this episode, Mary shares her insight into effectively listening to the voice of the customer while harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to do so at scale as part of a digital transformation strategy.
Developing an Expertise in Customer Engagement
Mary has built an expert knowledge of the value of understanding the customer’s voice, both from her perspective as the chief marketing officer at Worthix and as an entrepreneur herself. She spent the first 15 years of her career as an entrepreneur focused on building her brand, assessing the voice of the customer, and meeting their needs.
With this strong knowledge base and a drive to continually learn more, she sold her company and moved to San Francisco in 2016. She really enjoyed marketing and decided to focus the next phase of her career on advancing the customer experience through the marketing lens. She joined the Worthix team surrounded by brilliant minds and further developed her expertise in understanding the voice of the customer. She is grateful not only for her Worthix colleagues but also for the collaborative nature of individuals throughout the customer service industry.
Why Brands Need to Listen Effectively to Their Customers at Scale
Mary is keenly aware that in order for a company to be successful it must be connected to its customers. She says companies exist for the sole purpose of everyone within the company working together to reach a common goal: to solve a pain point or a customer need.
Understanding the customer’s needs is absolutely crucial to the success of any organization. And, the best way to learn the customer’s needs and expectations is to listen. Listening effectively to assess customer satisfaction can seem attainable for small operations, but the larger the business, the more challenging it becomes to listen at scale to the customer’s voice.
Harnessing modern technology solutions enables business process outsourcing (BPOs) like iQor as well as brands themselves to listen at scale, regardless of the number of customers or markets. This supports one-on-one connections with each customer and enables brands to truly understand what matters to their customers and tailor their customer experience strategy accordingly.
Traditional Customer Survey Methodologies Often Hinder Meaningful Insights
Technology has come a long way since the days of Henry Ford’s ability to listen to his dispersed customers. Yet, despite the availability of widespread advanced technology, many companies still struggle with listening to the voice of the customer and doing so at scale to accurately assess customer satisfaction.
Despite tremendous strides in the digitization of soliciting customer feedback at various points in the customer journey, there is still a lot of room for growth not only in how this feedback is collected but in how we listen to and analyze it. In many instances, the systems in place don’t yield actionable feedback. Brands need deep insight into customer needs, expectations, and motivations.
The crux involves identifying the essential need the customer is trying to solve through their interactions with a brand. To meet those needs, brands must align their value propositions accordingly with the customer’s most urgent needs.
To gather customer feedback on customer needs, many companies have traditionally used complex systems with long questionnaires that require high levels of effort from customers. Further, the surveys typic
Achieving Human Connections Through Personalized CX Training
Designing Employee Training Programs to Build Human Connections in Customer Service
This week’s guest is Sonia Rosario, director of operations at iQor in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Sonia oversees client programs in the insurance vertical. Known for delivering an amazing customer experience, Sonia and her team developed a unique training program to understand the customers’ needs on a personal level and provide empathetic and responsive customer service. In this episode, Sonia discusses the CX strategy her team took with their extraordinary customer service agent training program. She shares how they achieved incredible results, meeting customer needs through human connection and personalization which elevated the employee experience as well as every step of the customer journey.
Decades of Experience in Customer Relationship Building
Sonia’s career in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry began more than 20 years ago when she started as a customer service agent on an outbound dialer campaign. Over the years, she progressed through various leadership roles which ultimately landed her in her current position as director of operations. Today she is responsible for multiple insurance clients along with a client in the utilities vertical. She oversees hundreds of full-time work-at-home and work-in-office customer support employees across five centers in the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.
Customer relationship building through human interaction has been essential throughout all of her roles. Sonia has seen how connecting with employees fosters their individual growth, how partnering with clients leads to trust and success, and how understanding the customer with empathy leads to an exceptional customer experience.
Getting to Know the Customer
Sonia’s team specialized in providing customer service primarily through outbound calls in commercial verticals. In 2009, however, her team began supporting their first insurance client through friendly outbound reminder calls to elderly members. In order to best support the insurance client and the elderly customer base of their outbound Medicare program, Sonia’s team needed to truly understand the customer and their needs to provide the best customer experience. This level of understanding also elevated the customer support they were able to offer to elderly members during the annual Medicare open enrollment period.
To do this, they developed an innovative training program to create human connections with customers and understand their needs on a personal level. Drawing from iQorian values centered on customer dedication and giving back, the team learned all they could about the elderly customer base they were serving on the insurance program. Sonia and her fellow team leaders knew they had to engage the younger generation of agents to understand how speaking with customers on this program would be completely different from the interactions they had with a majority of the customers on their commercial programs.
Sensitivity Training to Strengthen Understanding
Sonia and the team developed a sensitivity training that put contact center agents in the shoes of the elderly members they were serving. They engaged all five senses to learn different aspects of how a member of the elderly community experiences the world—from potential hearing difficulties, to vision impairment, to challenges grasping a pen with arthritis, and more.
By better understanding the experiences of their customers, agents were more equipped to identify with them, be more patient, and offer more thoughtful solutions. Simple accommodations such as speaking loudly, clearly, and concisely could make a significant positive impact on the customer experience. This took on even more importance when agents knew their conversation with the customer may be the only human interaction the elderly customer had that day.
These accommodations aren’t typical intuitive so
Quick and practical insights
Bernie is well-versed in gathering quick and hard-hitting insights from his incredible guests. This makes each episode even more engaging and genuine. This is incredible for anyone who wants their customers to keep coming back for more!