Episode 276

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Think about how you build out journey maps or of journey maps you’ve seen if that isn’t something your agency does. They chart out how a potential customer goes from not being aware of the product or service to the point of purchase. Typically, we’re building this journey map to coincide with our work in helping our clients increase their sales. In that way, it makes sense that the map would end at the sale. That’s our job is to get them to that point. But the customer’s experience has really just begun. The real journey begins once you’re in a relationship with the customer and how you nourish and grow the trust and connection with the client moving forward.

The opportunity for our agencies is to help our clients beyond the initial sale. What if our agency also engaged in helping clients build stronger, more resilient relationships with their customers? That’s some very profitable work for us and a lasting value for our clients.

As a certified customer experience professional, Jeannie Walters is an expert on this exact topic. An educator and consultant that comes from the agency world, she has a real passion for improving customer experiences and she’s here to share some insights that will help you serve your clients even better.

In this episode of Build a Better Agency, Jeannie and I dive into the changes in customer relations that were inspired by the pandemic and how companies were forced to evolve in order to survive. We also talk about how the entire supply chain process has come front and center, as well as the continuing need to be innovative, even though the stakes aren’t as high as they were during the pandemic.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.

Customer experience

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How to get your clients to think bigger
  • The need for a customer experience mission in your agency
  • Ways to improve journey mapping
  • The difference between the buyer’s journey and the customer’s journey
  • Why communication is key to the customer experience
  • The way the customer experience differs in a B2B environment versus a B2C environment
  • How to get your whole agency on the same page regarding the expectations of the customer experience
  • How to use a customer experience success statement to measure what is being done right
  • The important of including the billing process in the review of your customer journey
  • How to spot and utilize “micro-moments” to create surprises that delight customers
“The journey of the customer experience doesn’t end with the sale. That’s just where the journey begins.” @jeanniecw @expinv Share on X “If you hear someone say, ‘because it’s always been done that way’, flip the table over because that’s how dramatically we have to resist that idea. ” @jeanniecw @expinv Share on X “Customer experience isn’t just paying attention to the relationship a customer has with a brand but the whole ecosystem around it.” @jeanniecw @expinv Share on X It’s not really about the product or the service, it’s about something greater.” @jeanniecw @expinv Share on X “Businesses don’t hire us. People hire us.” @jeanniecw @expinv Share on X “Every leader who wants to run an organization that is client centric needs to talk the talk a lot, and, more importantly, walk the walk.” @jeanniecw @expinv Share on X

Ways to contact Jeannie Walters:

Additional Resources:

Quick links for Jeannie’s Linkedin Learning courses. Here you go, in no particular order:

Speaker 1 (00:01):

Welcome to the agency management Institute community, where you’ll learn how to grow and scale your business, attract and retain the best talent. Make more money and keep more of what you make. The build a better agency podcast presented by white label. IQ is packed with insights on how small to mid-size agencies survive and thrive in today’s market. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency, owner and agency consultant. Please welcome your host, drew McLellan. Hey, everybody

Speaker 2 (00:32):

Drew McLellan here from agency management Institute. Welcome to another episode of build a better agency as always. I am incredibly grateful that you carve out the time to hang out with me every week. So thank you very much for that. Please don’t think that I ever take that for granted. I know how busy you all are and, uh, I am, I’m thrilled and it’s a privilege to be a part of your regular activities every week. So whether we are walking your dog or we’re on the treadmill together, or you are, uh, sitting on a cozy couch, however, we are sharing this hour together, uh, please know that I am grateful. So thanks for, thank you very much for tuning in. So, uh, the topic today is one that, um, I think is often overlooked in terms of opportunities for us as agencies to create more revenue for ourselves and it create an incredible value for our clients.

Speaker 2 (01:34):

So I’m hoping that, uh, this triggers some new opportunity ideas for you before I tell you a little bit about our guest, of course, uh, I want to tell you about something that’s happening inside the AMI world. Hopefully by now, you know that, uh, we are going to be the host of the build a better agency summit in August of 2021. Uh, it’s going to be it’s my third attempt. So third time’s the charm to try and host a conference that is built just for you for small to mid-sized agency owners. And when I say small to mid-sized, I mean, maybe you have one employee, maybe you have 20 employees, maybe you have 50, maybe a hundred, but probably for most of you, it’s, you know, 50 or less. Um, that’s my definition of small to midsize. And right now there’s no conference out there for you teaching you how to build and solidify and protect and scale the business side of your business.

Speaker 2 (02:35):

And so that’s what we’re going to spend two days talking about, and we have amazing speakers who are going to talk about everything from getting your agency in tip-top shape. So if you decide to sell it, you can get a maximum return on that to, uh, BizDev strategies to, uh, dealing with diversity inside your agency, the diversity issues to imposter syndrome and all kinds of other things. We’re going to talk about how to build your wealth outside the business, uh, in real estate, we’re going to talk about some HR issues. We’ve got it covered. We have so many presenters in so many different formats, so we’re going to have keynote speakers. We’re going to have breakout speakers, but we’re also going to have round table speakers where you’re you and six to 10 other agency owners are going to sit with a subject matter expert and have a very personal conversation around the topic of their expertise.

Speaker 2 (03:30):

So we have, we have, I think covered a lot of topics that are of great interest to you. And I know you’re going to leave those that conference. Those two days of being together, feeling excited, having new ideas, making some new friends, and also just feeling like you are not in this alone, that you are a part of the AMI community and that it is powerful to hang out with other agency owners and leaders and learn from them and be a teacher and share what you know, that there’s great. It’s a great gift to have that and that you can do it in a non-competitive safe environment where you don’t have to be watching your back, uh, that everyone is really, truly there to learn and to help each other learn. So I hope that you join us. You can buy your tickets now on the agency management Institute website, uh, when you get to the website in the upper left corner of the navigation, it’s going to say BA BA summit.

Speaker 2 (04:33):

So build a better agency summit, click on that, and you can grab your ticket. So I hope to see you there. Uh, I think we are all going to be very hungry, uh, by August to be in a room full of people who walk the same walk that we do and that we can have meaningful conversations and make connections and of course, throw darts, uh, while we drink. So I think all of that’s going to be Jim dandy. So I hope you join us. So let me tell you a little bit about, uh, this week’s episode and this week’s guest. I believe that many agencies miss the Mark when we are working with clients, when we’re putting together a marketing plan that a lot of times, and I think a lot of many times this is dictated by the client, but I think a lot of times we sort of stop at the point of the sale.

Speaker 2 (05:24):

And rather than thinking through that customer experience and the journey mapping just up to the sale, I think in some ways that’s just the beginning of the journey and that the real journey begins when we get into a relationship with a customer. And now it’s about fortifying and amplifying and enriching that relationship over multiple transactions over multiple months and years. And I think we, as agencies are uniquely qualified to help clients figure that out and to build a customer experience that surprises and delights, uh, their customers that makes their customers feel loved and appreciated and generates repeat purchases, word of mouth referrals, all of the good things that we know that come out of happy customers. So I think this is a super important topic. So I invited Jeannie Walters to join us. And Jeannie is the CEO and founder of a company called the experience investigators and Jeannie is the real deal.

Speaker 2 (06:33):

So she is, uh, an international speaker. She has done a TEDx talk. She, uh, LinkedIn invited her to create, uh, multiple courses in their learning environment. So she is, uh, she is an expert on this and she comes from our world from the agency world. So she can speak to this from the agency perspective and I’ve known Jenny for years. And, um, she is incredibly intelligent, uh, super articulate speaks in a way that you can understand what she’s talking about. And she has such a passion for empowering customer experiences. And, uh, she really believes that this can be the game changer for brands. And I, I’m going to say to you, I think after you hear her talk for a little bit, you are going to be a true believer as well because she, she teaches from the heart and what she knows in her experience has been, and she’s going to help all of us think about not only how we can do this for our clients, but also how we should be thinking about it from our own perspective as agency owners and leaders, how do we create a customer experience for our clients that is second to none, and that makes our clients feel like they couldn’t imagine slogging through business without us by their side.

Speaker 2 (08:03):

So without further ado, I want to introduce you to Jeannie and I want to get, I want to start digging into her expertise so you can absorb as much of it as you can in this time. All right. All right. Without further ado, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us. Thank you

Speaker 3 (08:18):

So much for having me. I’m thrilled to be with you drew,

Speaker 2 (08:21):

You know, we were saying before we hit the record button, you and I have known each other for a long time, and I don’t know why I didn’t think sooner. So I’m glad we finally got around to introducing you to the audience. Cause I know they’re going to love hearing from you about the whole idea of customer experience. So can you give everybody a sense of, uh, your background and how you came to have this, this vast knowledge on this?

Speaker 3 (08:48):

Thanks. Sure. Yeah. I, nobody goes to kindergarten and tells their teacher they’re going to grow up to be a customer experience consultant. So we all have kind of a jagged path here, but so did you go with like cowgirl? Yeah, I think I went through a doctor phase. I went through a couple of phases, but I, you know, started my background, you know, right after college, I was in fundraising consulting and then I was in traditional marketing and it was really in that marketing role that I realized that, you know, things were changing. This was kind of what I call the Dawn of the big internet, which is when big companies started realizing they needed more than just brochureware for a website they needed for people to actually do things right. And I was working with the Allstate insurance, one of the largest insurance companies out there, and they were, they announced that they were going to be the first ones to have online quoting and online purchase.

Speaker 3 (09:42):

And it’s such a no brainer now. But back then, that was a huge move because they always have middlemen before they always have brokers or agents. And so it was during that project that, um, my partner, who was my brother, uh, he and I kind of looked around and said, this is different. This is more than marketing. This is about an entire experience with the customer. And we really put a stake in the ground and changed how we operated and how we positioned ourselves. And then in 2009, I started this company on my own. And really, because I started seeing how social media was breaking down those barriers between customers and brands and how that was changing the game. And so I’ve just kind of been watching the evolution of this and hanging on and making sure that I am constantly learning and growing. And now there are credentials, you know, I’m a CCSP, which is a certified customer experience professional. So it’s really grown as a profession and I’ve been really honored to be a part of it.

Speaker 2 (10:43):

I know you’re not going to tell us this, but you’re sort of in the top of the heap of people who know this, I mean, you, LinkedIn has asked you to be an instructor. You’ve gotten all kinds of awards. So I’m curious from your sort of position of like you, you’ve known this and done this for a long time. What did you notice? So we are recording this at the tail end of December, 2020. So we have, we have endured the pandemic for almost a year now. What did you notice about the customer experience in relation to the pandemic?

Speaker 3 (11:15):

That’s a great question. And I think it’s something that like, most things we could not have predicted, right? We could not have predicted what the pandemic would have done, but essentially I think it did a couple of things. One is brands that had announced their digital transformation plans that were going to take three to five years. They turn those things around in about eight weeks, right? And it’s because they realized that there was going to be no other way to serve their customers. So I think it showed what’s possible in that regard where if you decide that this is right for the customer and for your brand, you can make it happen on the flip side of that. Customers have totally different expectations now about what is possible as well. And a lot of customers who never dreamed of shopping online and picking up their groceries, curbside, all of a sudden they’re doing that every week and they’re thinking, wow, this is pretty easy.

Speaker 3 (12:11):

I’m going to keep doing this after the pandemic. So I think we’re going to see a lot of those expectations continue even after we kind of get back to where we can all shop when and how we want. Um, and then the other thing I’d say about that is that we’ve also all had a lesson in things like supply chain management. You know, when, when you go to the grocery store and there’s no toilet paper, suddenly you understand the supply chain. And I think that customer experience is really paying attention to not just the interactions that a customer has with the brand, but also the whole ecosystem around that. How are we supporting our partners? How are we making sure our suppliers have what they need so that we can deliver to our customers? It’s becoming a much bigger conversation, which I think is really important.

Speaker 2 (12:56):

Yeah. One of the things I think that we all realized was we get in our own way a lot. So as you were saying, these digital transformations that they were projecting, we’re going to take two years when their back was against the wall. And it was either we get it done or we don’t make any money. All of a sudden, the two year project, there was no politics. There was no committee meetings. There was no 12, you know, versions of review. It was get it up and get it going. I think we learned to be scrappy in a lot of ways.

Speaker 3 (13:27):

I totally agree. I totally agree. And I think the other part of that is, you know, I have seen a lot of, I tend to be a very optimistic person and sometimes that gets in my way, but I will say that a lot of times with clients, I’m kind of pushing them to think bigger about customer experience because they, they think about it in these little incremental ways of how can we improve this just to smudge. And I want them to think like, what could we do to change the game? Because that’s really where you see this amazing innovation. And I think that’s what I saw with all these companies who are able to turn things around so quickly people really thinking in bigger, more innovative ways and willing to, to take that first step, even if it wasn’t perfect because we know that we can keep iterating, we can keep moving, we can keep improving. And so I think that was really exciting to see. And that’s a weirdly positive outcome out of this year, I think. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (14:22):

So the necessity in 2020 forced people to think bigger and think in ways that they pro like no one had ever done it that way before and they’ve thought of it and they executed on it. So we’ve all probably experienced that both in our own agencies, we all had to figure out how to serve our clients differently. We helped our, our clients serve their customers differently. So we, we all thought bigger cause we had to, right. So how do we not lose the ability to think bigger when the stakes aren’t what they were during the pandemic?

Speaker 3 (14:58):

Uh, I love this question. What a good question. So I think there are a couple of things that we tend not to do. And one is we tend not to push change. And what I mean by that is, you know, sometimes I do a lot of work around customer journey mapping, which is really understanding what is the actual experience that your customer is having with your brand? Not the one you think they’re happy having, but the one they’re actually having. And a lot of times, you know, we’ll be doing an exercise and everybody says, Oh yeah, that’s a terrible, everybody hates that process. Every our customers complain about it all the time. Uh, but everybody in our industry does it that way. Worst answer ever worst answer ever because, and I joke about it, but when I leave workshops and stuff, I say, if you hear somebody say, because it’s always been done that way, flip the table over because that’s how dramatically we have to resist that idea.

Speaker 3 (15:49):

So, you know, when we do journey mapping exercises, one of the things I challenge and I challenge agency owners, because this would be a great exercise is, think about what if your industry didn’t exist? Or what if you were the guys who decided we’re going to disrupt this industry? What would that look like? Yes, exactly. Because you look back on all the disruptors, this is what they did. They thought, what if you know cabs, weren’t a thing, right? What if we could figure all this stuff out without all of the things that we hate about all of these processes and journeys. And so that’s what I encourage people to do is like once a year, disrupt yourself, disrupt your industry, disrupt. However you can, because if you’re doing that to y