On this week’s episode, we brought on…the host! That’s right, Mary Drumond, Worthix CMO and Editor-in-Chief of the Voices of CX blog gets the script flipped and takes the hot seat. Will she survive the onslaught of deep, thought-provoking questions from none other than her previous guests and her own listeners?
About Mary Drumond
Mary Drumond is Chief Marketing Officer at Worthix and host of Voices of CX Podcast. She is also an entrepreneur who has been through the trenches, starting as an instructor and working her way up to Sales and Marketing Director before acquiring the Advance Languages EFL school. Mary is passionate about consumer behavior and has extensive experience in marketing research, focusing on customer experience (CX) and customer experience management (CEM). Mary currently serves as a board member for the University of Georgia Master’s in Market Research program, is the CX chair of Officium Labs, and co-chair of Latinas in Tech Atlanta. Outside of work, Mary takes strength to another level, and is an accomplished olympic weightlifter.
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About Voices of CX Podcast
The Voices of CX Podcast is a podcast that covers all things business strategies, customer decision insight, empathetic leadership practices, and tips for sustainable profitability. With a little bit of geeking out on behavioral science, A.I. and other innovation sprinkled in here and there. The guests span multiple industries, but all of them have years of experience to bring to the table.
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Hello and welcome to Season 9 and our 100th episode of Voices of CX podcast. I’m your host, Mary Drumond. Now before we get started, I really wanted to take the time to say thank you. Thank you so much for tuning in and supporting this show so much that now we’re on our 100th episode.
During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with so many incredible people from around the industry, and interviewing them has given me such an appreciation for the world of CX and I see just how valuable it is for the vitality of a company.
And through interviewing so many guests, it’s been enriching not only for you, our podcast listeners, but for me as well. So here are Voices of CX podcast. We thought it would be a nice switch for this 100th episode to flip the script from me being the interviewer to becoming the interviewee. So I asked some of our past guests to ask me some questions and send them in.
So here we go. Our first question comes from my CX bestie Nate Brown from Arise, who was on season two of our podcast.
How do CX professionals get to the next level when they hit a CX rut?
Hello, everybody. Nate Brown here, class of Season two on the Voices of CX podcast. Congratulations, Mary and to Worthix on 100 episodes. What a milestone! You all have done a remarkable job with this thing. Such helpful content, great guests. And of course, Mary, you have just killed it as the host of the show. So congratulations on that. I do have a question for you.
So maybe there’s a cx professional in your life that is just feeling a little stuck, maybe a little bit burned out and is not sure how to get to the next level in their CX career. What would you suggest to this person who is feeling like they’re a little bit stuck right now? Is there a resource, a training, a thing they should do about people they should interface with to really get themselves to the next level? Can’t wait to hear. Thanks so much, Mary.
Awesome. What a great question from Nate. I think that the one thing that I would recommend is to reach out to other professionals in the industry.
The one thing I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt is that the cx industry is one of the most collaborative, empathetic, helpful, kind industries. And every single time I have reached out to somebody in the industry, whether to collaborate or to help me out on something, or even partner for a new project, I’ve been met with enthusiasm and excitement and I think that that is one of the best ways to get out of a rut.
There are so many experienced and wonderful professionals out there who have been through perhaps the one thing that’s making you feel stuck at the moment. So connecting with people, whether it’s through an association or through social media or even just straight up cold email and saying, Hey, I’ve seen some of your work. I think you may have some experience in the field that I’m lacking.
Can we set up a mentorship? Can we have a conversation? I have not only been on the mentor side, but a mentee side of this type of interaction before, and it’s so fulfilling, first of all, to feel and hear that you’re not alone, that you’re not the only one that’s facing those problems, but to know that your community has got your back and that they’re there for you and that they will step up to the challenge and help you overcome any difficulty that might come your way.
So that would be my number one suggestion for anybody who’s looking to get out of their rut. So thank you so much for that question and for always being down to come on and participate and create content with me.
Our next question comes from Robbie Kelman Baxter from Season seven. Robbie is a consultant in the area of subscription models, and she’s done so much amazing work. I devoured her book when we got it before the interview. So take it away, Robbie.
What are the best examples you’ve seen of organizations using onboarding to drive relationships?
Robbie Kelman Baxter
Hey, Mary, it’s Robbie Kelman Baxter. Congratulations on 100 episodes of your Voices of CX podcast. I had a question for you. What are some of the best examples you’ve seen of organizations using their onboarding process to drive engagement and expansion of the relationship to ultimately result in maximizing customer lifetime value?
I’d love to hear the answer and look forward to what you have to say. Thanks so much and looking forward to the next hundred episodes.
So, wow, Robbie. That is quite the question. And I think that there’s room for two interpretations. One for how onboarding employees could contribute to overall lifetime value and to how onboarding clients in a B2B scenario perhaps could contribute.
So I’m going to try to answer both. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to Alec Dalton, who formerly worked at the Marriott Group and also have watched a master class given by the head trainer or master trainer of the Ritz-Carlton Group. And I strongly believe that the onboarding of their ladies and gentlemen, which is how they refer to the employees and the individuals who work for the Ritz-Carlton Group is absolutely a game-changer in the way they provide experiences for their customers, because not only does the training provide individuals with all sorts of insight and empathy, it goes so far as to empower the individuals to go in and act on behalf of the customer to see their frustrations, their needs, their expectations, their dreams.
And that’s so important at a time when people are spending money and spending the precious free time that they have to build memories with their family, with their loved ones. So that, for me, is one of the clearest examples of how onboarding employees can make a difference.
Now, when it comes to onboarding of clients from a B2B perspective, I can speak for myself and the experience that I’ve had with HubSpot when it comes to onboarding, they provide such a depth of resources that they put at their customers fingertips not only through the HubSpot University, but through endless publications on their blog.
Constant webinars. They are simply one click away from actively engaging to help you in any manner they can. Of course, there is a fee attached to additional onboarding if that’s something that you require, but the important part is that they do make it available. So if customers are good with the basic onboarding they’re good. But if they require a little bit more attention, if they perhaps feel like they need additional support, that option is available.
So HubSpot for me is a great example of a company who is doing that right. And, you know, for a while we stepped away from HubSpot and went to a competitor platform, but ultimately came back because we realized that at the end of the day, what they provide with their customer success and customer service really does beat any competitor on the market.
Our next question comes from my favorite and the world’s favorite cx rock star. I’m guessing probably the only one, James Dodkins who has come on the podcast twice, once in season three and again in season five. And for the longest time held reign as the most listened to episode for Voices of Six. Let’s hear what James had to ask.
I’m guessing it’s something cheeky and sarcastic.
What CX practices are so bad they should be illegal?
If you were Queen of the world and could make any customer experience practice illegal by penalty of beheading, what would it be?
Well, James, look at you looking to get me all riled up on this episode. I got to say, that the one thing that could warrant some beheading would be bad surveys.
Bad surveys are perhaps my biggest pet peeve, and I’m going to repeat myself for the millionth time because I know that I say this all the time. I say this on every webinar. I said at least once a season. But when we knock on a customer’s door or on their inbox and we request their feedback, we’re not just asking them for feedback.
We’re asking them to take time out of their day, their busy day and their busy lives to help us with our problem. So when customers do decide to reply and to answer a survey, they’re giving us a gift, a gift that’s extremely valuable. And when we treat them with disrespect by either giving them a survey that’s way too long and exhausting and not giving them an opportunity to truly tell us what matters to them.
But at the end of the day, that data goes to waste because we don’t have the means to implement those insights into our internal processes and make changes, then for me, that’s the utmost disrespect and it is the opposite of customer-centricity. You’re taking customer feedback and you’re doing nothing with it. You’re not using it to truly solve the problems that is causing people to churn and to go to someone else.
Again, being repetitive, but when a customer starts doing business with you, they are hoping that that relationship is going to succeed. The last thing they want is for you to f*** up and them have to get on the phone and try to work it out or have to call or send an email or send negative feedback. That’s the last thing on people’s minds when they start a relationship with a company.
So if they’re doing it, it’s because they truly value their relationship with you and they want you to do better so that they can stay with you and for you to overlook that or simply not have the technology or the systems in place to be able to make the best use of that feedback. It ends up being extremely disrespectful and absolutely warrants some beheading.
So thank you, James, for such an amazing opportunity to answer such a well-thought-through question.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever given or received as a woman leader?
Hi, Mary. It’s Stacy Sherman here. Congratulations on your hundredth episode. That is phenomenal. If I could ask you one question. As a woman, leader, it would be. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received or given? I look forward to hearing the answers. And congratulations
Well, this is a great question, I think to celebrate today, March 8th, International Women’s Day.
And I think that the best advice I ever received as a woman was to not be afraid of being a woman at work. So not shying away from emotions or reactions or decisions or attitudes that are normally associated to being weak or feminine. And I think that once I learned this lesson, I was able to bring a lot more to the table professionally because women are naturally more empathetic, they’re more considerate.
They look at the big picture and they especially consider emotions when making decisions. So by allowing myself to be a woman in my job, it really opened up a lot of doors in how I consider the customer, how I consider my employees that work with me or under me, and also how I relate to the network and the industry in general by bringing that element of feminine to the table and not being afraid of showing it, not being afraid of getting emotional, not being afraid of shedding tears, or being really happy or really passionate or really excited.
That was the moment that I feel my career really took off and people around noticed, and it makes a difference. So that would be my advice to all the women out there today and thank you, Stacey. You’ve always been such a strong supporter of other women in the industry. Now, it’s interesting for me to try to consider what’s the best advice that I have given.
But I think a message that I’ve shared in the past that I truly stand behind is for customer experience. For those of us in the field who are practitioners and who bring a lot of that empathy to the table and we want to put the customer in the center and always consider them, we must not forget the reason that we’re doing this.
And the truth is that all businesses are just a group of individuals working together towards a common goal. And that common goal is the success of the organization. So remembering that, yes, we should put customers first, but our goal in mind is to provide a better experience to improve their relationship, their loyalty with our organization, and therefore bring more growth and profit.
So remembering why we’re here, remembering why we’re doing this job, and that is to ultimately bring success to our organizations. And yeah, that’s my answer.
And last but not least, is Dennis Wakabayashi. Dennis has been a very familiar face to many of us in the industry over the past year, where he’s really, truly upped his game. He is a teacher. He is an instructor. He is a consultant. He’s in sales. He’s all over the place. But he did take some time to ask a question while driving from one location to the other. Here is Dennis Wakabayashi.
What was the idea behind creating the Voices of CX Podcast?
If I had one question for Mary Drummond, it would be who were you talking to when you came up with the idea for Voices of CX, and what was the discussion?
That is a great question; it really takes me back. When we started the podcast we were as scrappy as could be. We were the scrappy startup out there. We had no tools. We had no resources. We had super limited budget. And we had this idea that perhaps a great way to reach out to the market was by piggybacking on the success of folks who had already consolidated themselves as thought leaders in the market.
So myself and Crystal Garrett and Anthony Sledge, who at the time worked with me in the marketing team, came up with the idea for the podcast, and we all huddled together and we actually got the whole company to partake in this brainstorming exercise to choose the name of the podcast. And ultimately, we decided on Voices of CX because it was a play on Voice of Customer, which is what we do.
We provide voice of customer technology here at Worthix. But it was a way to also give a voice to the people in customer experience. And that’s how the name Voices of Customer Experience came to be. And the great part is that before we launched the first season, we decided that we were going to make a trailer, and that trailer would perhaps have like a lot of voices with questions and doubts and complaints that are really common in the CX industry and that people just can’t find the answers to.
But we didn’t have anybody that we could talk to. So we brought the entire company in to record one little sentence. And if you go on to the podcast, the very first track on there, you can hear it in the first voice is Curtis Smith, who’s our finance guy who works in our finance department. And he’s like, Nobody knows what they’re doing anymore.
And it was hilarious. And every time I hear it, I remember us getting started, and all we had to record was like a pair of earbuds and a free zoom account and we’ve come so far. When I look around at the amount of lights and equipment and cameras and mics that we have nowadays versus where we started, it’s really quite amazing that we came so far.
And I cannot I absolutely cannot forget to thank our very first guests who really, truly took a chance on an unknown podcast that had zero listeners and zero track record while being the biggest name that cx has ever had, which was Joe Pine. So, Joe, thank you so much for helping this podcast become an absolute success. Since Episode one on season one.
So thank you once again to my past guests for taking the time to send me your questions. It means so much to me, and I’m so thankful for the kinds of people that this podcast is brought into my circle. Before we end, I wanted to also take some time to answer questions from our audience. So I’ve asked my co-producers, Steve and Ashley to read some questions for me today.
Net Promoter Score is a popular CX tool, but doesn’t do every job – what other tools should complement it?
Hi, I’m Steve Berry. I’m one of the co-producers here in The Voices of CX. And the first question we had is, a lot of companies today use NPS as part of their voice of customer toolbox. But like any tool, it’s not fit for every job. If you had to recommend to analysts other tools that they should be considering, what might those be?
Well, that’s a great question. And I actually heard a similar question this week on a webinar I was at, and it’s really interesting because when it comes to the allegory, let’s say, of the hammer. We all need hammers. Hammers are super important and they don’t require much skill to use. But there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
You can either not hold that nail properly or not apply the right pressure or apply way too much pressure. And the nail bends, and then you’re screwed and you have to start from the beginning. The truth is that what I do at Worthix, what Worthix does as a company, we’re in the business of developing nail guns, which absolutely take all of the mystery and all of the chance of error out of the operation.
That precision allows companies to have a clear understanding of the motivations and the drivers behind customer decisions. And that way they always know with the needs of the customer are what customers expect the company to keep doing or do better at in order to retain their business. So if you just want to get the job done, by all means use a hammer.
But if you want precision and you want accuracy, and you want a detailed account of everything that you need to know in order to make sure that your customers are always getting the best experience possible, then get a nail gun.
How can a humanistic approach to Voice of Customer help a company’s overall strategy?
Hi, my name is Ashley Alufohai, I am also a co-producer here on the Voices of the X podcast. And this is another question that we have from our audience: One thing that you’ve talked about on this show is how adding the human approach to your VoC can help a company overall. How have you seen that adding a humanistic approach to a company’s voice has helped the company’s strategy?
I think that the most important element in a humanistic approach is truly the empathy. So empathy is something that we talk about a lot. And how do you build empathy? You build empathy through conversation. You build it by in most cases, in a Real-Life Scenario, sitting across from someone looking into their eyes, watching their body language, watching their expression change. So it’s a lot more about how they act and then how they what they say truly.
When it comes to technology, you don’t have those options yet. We’re not there yet. Eventually we will be there. But for now, what we have to try to do is add the most human elements as possible into the way we speak to our customers to be able to establish that empathy So empathy comes from conversations. It comes from one on one conversations, because each customer is unique.
They have their own set of pains and needs and frustrations and expectations and all of that stuff. So the secret would be to having one on one conversations with all of your customers. And if you’re able to do that, if you’re able to have an artificial intelligence or a machine that acts like a human that listens, which is what I think the crucial element is here, listening, allowing the customer to lead the conversation, not limiting their responses to the questions that you want to ask, giving them the opportunity to tell you what they want to be asked, what they want to say, what they need to tell you, what’s crucial for them, what is a dealbreaker for them.
You can only get this insight if you give them the opportunity to speak while you listen. So I challenge all the companies out there that have voice of customer channels and ways that they listen to their customers to listen. Instead of controlling and manipulating the conversations and the questions, or just asking for the sake of providing your organization with a metric or a number that they can pay bonuses on, take advantage of that opportunity that customers are giving you to truly listen and implement the elements of the experience that are absolutely crucial for them to keep buying from you again and again.
One study that’s been talked about again and again is the fact that companies believe they’re customer-centric and customers absolutely do not have that impression of the organization. So what would it mean to truly be customer-centric? To a point where customers feel that way as well? Well, maybe the missing element is this humanistic approach. Maybe customers need to feel like they’re listened to as well.
And by feeling that, they’ll start believing that customer-centricity is something that matters to you as an organization, and they’ll choose you above other companies.
And that wraps up our 100th episode of Voices of Customer Experience podcast. I am so proud that we reached this point. I’d like to say a special thank you to every single individual that has participated in the history of this podcast.
From all of our guests to everyone who has ever helped me producing, co-hosting, a special thank you to Crystal Garrett, who started this with me, Anthony Sledge who helped me come up with the idea. James Conrad, who co-hosted with me for Seasons five, I believe, for Nick Gomez, for being our editor and producer for a couple of seasons to Steve, my faithful companion, who has been with me for how many seasons now, maybe seven? And to Ashley, our newest recruit. Special thank you to Hannah as well, who worked with us for so long, helping make this podcast possible.
Well, that’s it. And we’ll see you for the 101st episode next time.