On February 6, we hosted a panel discussion for CX leaders in Mountain View. Our friends at Hippo were kind enough to host the event in their space, and their CEO, Assaf Wand, sat on the panel alongside Ramon Icasiano, VP of CX at Earnin, and Hetal Shah, a CX, Product and Operations leader at Postmates.
It was an evening of lively and engaging conversation, during which several key themes emerged:
The importance of building culture and engagement across front-line teams
The three companies on the panel run a mix of inhouse and outsourced contact center teams. Regardless of structure, a need to build culture and keep teams motivated and engaged was strongly felt. Ramon at Earnin had some interesting viewpoints around this topic, particularly as it relates to the management of his outsourced team:
“If you treat a BPO like a vendor, then that’s exactly what you’re going to get,” he shared bluntly. A sage wakeup call for anyone running an outsourced CX operation.
For Ramon, he focuses on making his outsourced team feel engaged and part of the core organization by ensuring that he’s constantly asking them ‘how’ questions. This not only makes the team feel empowered, but also helps drive operational improvements across Earnin’s business.
All of the panelists are clients of Stella Connect, and talked about the value of sharing the product’s real-time customer feedback directly with agents. This feedback helps reduce the burden on team leaders and supervisors when it comes to building culture and engagement, as Ramon pointed out:
“Building culture across our front-line team is key for us at Earnin and Stella Connect helps us nail that.”
Using customer feedback to drive product innovation
This was a major theme that everyone on the panel felt strongly about. Customer feedback not only helps drive agent motivation and more effective front-line coaching, but also provides an invaluable tool for shaping product development.
“Our customers’ voices are vital when it comes to product innovation. Listening to and acting on customer feedback prevents myopic thinking and helps us constantly improve,” said Hetal.
Hetal has a unique role at Postmates that straddles not only CX, but also product and operations, so it’s no surprise that using his front-line team to drive product innovation is a key focus for him. Hetal has an analytics team that mines insights from customer feedback as well as general product data. He shared a number of interesting examples of how this team has uncovered nuggets that have driven measurable performance improvements, including a significant reduction in customer cancellations by simply adding an extra step to the notification messages that are shared with customers.
Hiring an analyst onto a front-line team may not seem immediately obvious, but Hetal believes it’s a key role for helping drive innovation.
As with Hetal, Ramon shared a number of examples of how customer feedback has helped shape product and policy decisions, however he cautioned that focusing on product optimization should not come at the expense of service excellence:
“Before you start thinking about how your front-line team can drive product and operational enhancements, you have to first focus on achieving transactional excellence.”
Making things right after negative interactions
A lot of time on the panel was devoted to discussing NPS and CSAT scores, and how they can be used to compensate agents and drive performance improvements. Assaf from Hippo developed that theme further by sharing details of how Hippo uses NPS to power service recovery.
When a customer gives a negative NPS, the Hippo team will proactively reach out to them to understand what is driving the negative sentiment, how they can make things right, and any changes that need to be made to the process to ensure other customers don’t have the same experience.
Assaf believes that those conversations can be some of the most valuable that his team has, not only to make things right, but to also get ahead of issues that could impact a broader cross-section of customers.
“Measuring NPS not only enables us to understand agent performance and drive compensation, but also allows us to spot issues with customer satisfaction and immediately correct them, which is really important to us at Hippo,” said Assaf.
Leveraging customers to deliver service
One particularly interesting CX innovation that was discussed was the use of actual customers to deliver service. Hetal from Postmates shared how they have partnered with Directly to route certain inbound inquiries to actual customers. Building a community of ambassadors from within your customer base serves two primary purposes, according to Hetal: 1) the practice can deliver substantial cost savings; and 2) customers often have deeper levels of engagement and trust when they’re dealing with other customers.
Earnin is also developing plans to leverage its own community to deliver service. Key to success, it was discussed, was using the right customers, being careful with what specific interactions to route to them, and then having a feedback loop to constantly measure performance.
“Executed properly, leveraging customers to deliver service on your behalf can be a win-win for all parties: the customer can generate additional income by sharing their existing insights; the customer making the inquiry has a deeper level of trust in the person they’re dealing with; and the company can add significant scale to its front-line team,” said Hetal.
We want to thank Assaf, Ramon and Hetal for sharing such valuable insights. As well as our friends at Zendesk and Support Driven for helping to promote the event across their communities.