Over the past few months some of the most experienced and accomplished customer experience (CX) leads in the tech world have dropped into Voxpro Studios for a chat about world-class CX, what it looks like, and how they deliver it. Since the podcast series launched, we have been lucky enough feature interviews with many leading tech companies including Spotify, Nest Labs, Vivino, Asana, and Strava to name just a few. You can find them all here on iTunes, Soundcloud and Stitcher.
While most of the interviews focus on the guest’s own company, we also take some time to talk about other companies that they believe also deliver world class customer experience. As professionals who are passionate about providing a great experience for customers, who do they look to for guidance and leadership in this area, and why.
So here are just some of those brands that were chosen as best-in-class by our guests so far on the Voxpro Studios podcast series.
How they do it: Start with creating an amazing company culture and great customer experience will follow.
Chad Boonsupa, Global VP of Customer Experience, Vivino
“I absolutely love the Zappos culture. I’ve read their book – ‘The Culture Book’ – and I’ve toured their campus, I can’t get there often enough. One of the things that makes Zappos the benchmark in customer experience is the core focus on simply doing the right thing for the customer, however long it takes. They don’t time their agents and tell them to wrap up calls faster, rather they enforce a ‘Do whatever you need to do’ philosophy.
They also create a great sense of fun for their agents – one day there may be marching band going through the office, the next there may be a dress-up day. That kind of culture is something that resonates deeply with me”
Morgan Wood, Head of Customer Happiness, GoFundMe
“One of the first books we ask our Happiness Agents to read when they join GoFundMe is Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. At the very beginning, GoFundMe differentiated itself from all other crowdfunding platforms by promising customers a five minute response time. In the same way, Zappos differentiated itself from the get go from every other online retailer out there by offering an amazing all-round customer experience and keeping their customers happy at every single touch point possible. We’ve actually hired some people from Zappos with the intention that they’ll bring the skills they learned there to GoFundMe!”
How they do it: Have a clear, long-term vision for customer success
Brian Boroff, Global Head of Customer Success, Services, and User Operations, Asana
“A company that I have ton of admiration for is Workday. They have a very different model and approach to Asana, but I think the way they consider setting customers up for success is very compelling. A lot of Workday’s leaders come from consulting backgrounds, doing a lot of enterprise and middleware software, and they just bring a very clear methodology and have a very clear sense of what it takes to get a tool deployed wall to wall.
Also, somebody I turn to a lot personally is the CS Lead of Box, Jon Herstein. He is a mentor and he takes a very similar holistic approach to customer success – everything from user education to really setting somebody up from presales all the way through adoption. They really think about adoption and they really think about use cases.”
3. SILICON VALLEY BANK
How they do it: Listen carefully to customers – and act on the answers.
Roisin Callaghan, CEO of Cogs and Marvel, USA
“One of the companies that have impressed me most in terms of customer service is the bank that Cogs and Marvel uses in San Francisco called Silicon Valley Bank. They are not a B2C bank, they just deal with companies. If you have a problem you can get through somebody instantly, which is crucial when you’re running a fast-moving company.
I love companies that start creative initiatives, and SVB recently launched an initiative that is really going to make a difference for their customers. It’s called the Voice of Client programme and is all about asking for customers’ opinions on what SVB is and isn’t doing, listening closely to the answers, and acting on them. I just think that’s really central to moving forward and giving better service – listening to the customers and actually making changes that are in accordance with what they actually need, not what you think they need.”
4. NORDSTROM (& COSTCO)
How they do it: Treat customers as you would like to be treated yourself.
Morgan Wood, Head of Customer Happiness, GoFundMe
“There are two retailers in the US who have earned a really good reputation for customer experience. The first is Nordstrom: this company’s returns policy is legendary because you can basically take back anything you want to. (There is a famous story of a man getting a refund for a set of tires, even though Nordstrom do not sell tires! More on that here). Also, the employees working on the floor are encouraged to treat customers exactly as they would like to be treated themselves, and this creates an incredible customer experience.
Another retailer we can learn from is Costco – they treat their people incredibly well, they’re paid a decent wage, and they have very good holiday hours – and well-treated staff leads to well-treated customers. I think they also realize that in the field of retail competing against likes of Amazon and Walmart they had to ensure that they had something to differentiate themselves and that was their customer experience.”
How they do it: Don’t take yourself too seriously!
Mark Gainey, Co-Founder & Chairman, Strava
“This is probably a company that everybody points to, but I’ve got to give credit where its due, my choice is Virgin. I happen to be a frequent flyer on Virgin America and I rate them highly. I think that Richard Branson figured out the recipe decades ago and I’m so impressed with the way in which he maintains that ethos. There is a certain humility to their customer experience, there is a certain humour to what they do, they seem to keep things in perspective, and they also pay amazing attention to the details, so I give them a lot of credit.”
YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A GLOBAL COMPANY TO HAVE WORLD-CLASS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Even though these companies are all major players and have been around quite some time, it doesn’t mean that they’ve got a monopoly on beautiful customer experience. Everyone from the one-person startup to the world’s biggest enterprises can make the choice to be a CX leader, it doesn’t have to be complicated. And I’m going to leave the last words to Chad Boonsupa of Vivino, who summed this up so well in his interview on the Voxpro Studios podcast series:
“As we look to the future together, my message to those of us that share this customer experience role around the world is that you don’t have to be a Fortune 10, 100, or 500 to have a repeatable and scalable customer experience. We can be working in small startup organizations and provide an amazing customer experience.
I think it always comes back to having a very honest approach. Startups are a dime a dozen every day, there is always someone starting and someone failing, and in order to succeed, CX really has to be at the heart of the strategy. And one of the keys to that great customer experience is simply having that honest approach.”