Another Cloud Podcast

A podcast designed to bring you stories from the smartest minds in IT, operations and business, and learn how they're using Cloud Technology to improve business and the customer experience.

Getting Technical with AI with Guest Cristian Herrera

with Alex McBratney and Aarde Cosseboom

Don't have time to listen? Read the full transcription.

Alex McBratney (Host) 00:00

Hello and welcome to Another Cloud Podcast, a podcast designed to bring you stories from the smartest minds in IT, operations and business and learn how they're using cloud technology to improve business and customer experience. Alright, well, Cristian, it is great to have you on the podcast and we had the pleasure of meeting earlier just before the podcast to talk a little bit about what you've been doing over at Athens services, and just your history around the waste management industry, which is really intriguing, and just what you're doing on technology and all that good stuff. But again, welcome to the show and thanks. Thanks for jumping on.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 00:41

Thanks for having me, guys. I'm looking forward to a long conversation here about my favorite topic, customer experience, and call centers and customer service and all those good things under the customer realm.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 00:53

Before we jump too far into it. Let's talk a little bit about the background. So you've got the beer glasses, I've got the beer taps, you also have some pretty awesome mountain scenery. Same with Alex, I feel like we're all in sync here. We didn't plan any of that. But it looks like we've got a lot of synergy going on actually, if these were the Rockies, it could be you know, the Coors Light going through the tap into the glass. And so and I think I've got one of those up there. It's in the back. But yeah, Coors Light. Yeah, definitely going to have one of those up there.

Alex McBratney (Host) 01:26

Well, as we all know, and being in technology and being in customer experience, customer service, sometimes we need a libation at the end of the day, because of the stress involved, especially when technology gets wrapped into it. Cristian on a high level, just to give people a background of like, where you came from, can you give us like a two minute synopsis of like, you know, how you got into this role as director of customer experience over Athens and just what that evolution has looked like for you?

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 01:57

Yeah, so I think it started about 20 years ago, when I graduated from high school, it was a young kid with I'm just kidding, no, 12 years ago, or so I was a business analyst for one of the larger waste collection companies, a national company, and I was doing some business analyst stuff, some more analysis for the operation side, and I tapped, I got tapped in to help out the call center with some workforce management stuff, some call center analytics. And I was intrigued. Before that I was on the operation side on the cost Call Center Operation side for a telecom company, and the 500 seat call center that eventually got outsource. But I was on the management side there and eventually transitioned over to the business analyst side. And there was some parallels on the business analyst side. And on the customer experience side that I really enjoyed, especially in the company that I'm with today, because I got recruited over about four years ago to launch a Customer Experience Program. The one on one, customer director of customer experience for Athens Services. So I'm really, a lot of the programs that I'm implementing customer experience programs are really foundational, based on some of the things that I did with the prior company. at a national level. we're incorporating those programs like NPS and C's, that satisfaction and call center metrics and workforce management. At the local level with a third party hosting call center application, we're doing that at the local level. So at a high level, started with business analysts reviewing data, saw a parallel there with customer experience and a mesh there between customer service. So I was really intrigued. And I pursued this, this this route here that I'm really passionate about nowadays. On the customer experience side.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 04:01

I love the backstories of how everyone got to where we are I'm in a similar type ecosystem or role. And I think my origin story was very similar. So I feel like no one goes to college and gets out of college and says, you know what, I'm going to oversee a contact center, or I'm going to focus on customer experience. It's pretty rare that people do that as a profession or have that as a declared major, and then go into that. So it's very, very cool to see everyone's origin story. I to gravitate towards analytics technology KPIs, there is the operational side of the house that you do have to be acutely aware of to make sure that you're not changing things or creating incentive programs or modifying things from an analytic standpoint for some sort of agent or customer behavior. You talk a little bit about NPS and CSAT. Tell us a little bit more about how you guys collect that, is it traditional way you guys put a little spin on it. Are there other KPI metrics that you guys focus on in the customer experience world that are beyond just NPS and CSAT?

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 05:10

Well, I'm nothing super interesting. It's pretty traditional right now, the only item that's kind of unusual for nowadays, the way we collect data is, we don't have any automation. It's all done through manual reports that get uploaded, we use Survey Monkey to distribute those surveys and collect the data. But the analysis with my background, I extract the data and create my own reports internally. Right now, we're really looking at like four different five different key performance indicators. Of course, the NPS, for the C-Suite guys, the EVPs, they like the brand loyalty metric. But at the local level, we look at responsiveness, satisfaction, helpfulness, and first call resolution. Those are all metrics that go into our ranking or customer experience ranking that I developed for this organization to measure how the individual B use are doing at a local level.

Alex McBratney (Host) 06:18

Yeah, and one of the things that I found really intriguing is when people think of, you know, waste services, and it's a contract with the city, and I don't have a choice on who's coming by to pick up my trash every week. What's interesting is that there's been such a change in customer experience as even trickling down to contracted companies, where you don't necessarily have to have this great experience. Because it's contractors like I have to go with one provider for this was, what I found interesting when we spoke the first time is that there's a lot more to the customer experience in this industry than meets the eye. And how you're able to add value for end users like all of us, right, that are in a house that have versus how does that play into, like, how that got started? Or how about the culture has to must have had to change at some point to where the C level executives want to see a change in customer experience?

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 07:11

Yeah, you know, about 10 years ago, or so maybe even less than that the waste collection industry was going through a major, I don't want to call it an evolution, but it was definitely going through a cultural change in the way we handle our customers. In the past, we've only really thought of customer service in terms of the call center. Any shoes that were impacting your customer was because of the call center. And it was easy to blame as a cost center, they were in some distant headquarters office, they traditionally because of the logistics of servicing multiple communities, they weren't usually embedded in the local business units, they were off quarters at a cost center or shared services. So everything was really focused, hyper focused on the call center, from satisfaction perspective. Most recently, I would say in the probably the last five years or so, municipalities, cities, city staff, are really hyper focused on cost cutting activities. In the past, where a lot of these franchise customers like the franchise, cities, like the one Alex is used to where we don't really have a choice. These contracts in reality are what we call evergreen. And if you're not familiar with the Evergreen term is if they're not triggered, they renew themselves for another 10 1520 years. So really, there's no choice. Now, cities are hyper focused on cost cutting, which I'm sure we can all relate to that. So they're looking for opportunities to negotiate the existing contract or put out an RFP to see if there's potentially some opportunity to cut costs through a new provider. And so in that one of the major things that they're looking at, is what customer satisfaction. And so the folks that have been looking at this all along like us, have it dialed in, we know what our customers want. We know what the pain points are in that journey. And we address it, we're kind of somewhat customer centric. I'm not going to say we're 100% customer centric, but it's definitely on our roadmap, and it's something that we discuss time we're developing processes. We want to make sure that we started with the customer in mind. But there's other organizations that, hey, they don't really pay much attention to it, especially the larger guys where their call center is overseas or print state, so they're not really thinking about it. From a customer's perspective. Think about the customer experience. A lot of it relies on the touch points, being able to interact with an account manager or representative. In the trash industry, you don't have that touch point, right, the only thing you really see is an invoice at the end of the quarter. And that's it. So if there's no relationship, if there's no satisfaction, if there's no interaction, then you can't really say that satisfaction or, or even your customer experience is really high. So we we've tried to do on our site is have multiple touch points outside of the collection, the collection is, that's the status quo, right? That's the rotation, the minimal expectation. So for us, we're trying to touch customers multiple times, if we're doing any event, we want to get in front of them, not just from invoice perspective, from a digital perspective, also, we want to make sure that there's people out there shaking hands and kissing babies in the communities to make sure that we're interacting with our customers, we don't take the contract the franchise status for grant. So and that's really different, because all these opportunities are coming. And if you did any research on Athens services, you probably found out that we were just awarded a huge contract out in Ventura County, for the city of Oaks. And one of the things that really stood out to that city staff and the consultant was our commitment to customer satisfaction, customer experience, and the programs that we had in place. Yeah, really, really adding value, right. And I'd imagine as this takes off this customer experience and touch points that the cities are going to look at certain SLA is that there are providers that have to meet just to stick keep up has that changed a lot? Have you seen the cities coming back and saying, well, we want to certain NPS or we want a certain c stat or certain SLA is that they want the contractor to, to stay within? They haven't gotten to that. But I could see just reading the tea leaves that they're going in that direction. You know, if you're familiar with city staff, the face, the demographic of the folks that are taking office nowadays is changing. Mm hmm. And they're really focused on the customer in the red is residents, their constituents about what they want. And as you can imagine, in the social world, everybody's super vocal right about their discontent with products and services. So the folks that are in office today, and we're seeing that throughout our communities are really in tune with what your customers want. And they haven't just gotten, they haven't yet got into NPS or CSAT. They haven't gotten to that point. But it's coming. I can Oh, and that's why we've gotten ahead of it. And at least internally, we're already producing those type of reports where we can break it down, not just by the BU, but by the BU services, the line of business, because it's not just the constituents, the businesses, it's the industrial services. It's the hazmat, it's all these other things that happened, right. And if you know you've ever I'm not sure which service provider you guys deal with, but if you've ever requested like a large, bulky item pickup, what that was like, was that easy was that difficult. If just thinking about where you're at, and knowing who services you I probably say that wasn't the easiest process that you had to go through if you if you requested that extra pickup. And so and he's nodding there, he's had such a bad experience. Without that I don't even do it anymore. I know that it's not even worth my energy inside. But I'd rather just take that big trash pile and put it into the trash can week over week and have like, you know, trash heap in the backyard. But yeah, it's absolutely horrible. And it's a hard process to go through, especially if it's a service that's you know, not a moneymaker. It's or it's a service that's like a cost service. So the waste management company already is by design, they want it to be a difficult process. And because it's a difficult process, you know, you mentioned maybe not even throwing it out, right, just keeping it Don't throw the couch in the garage. That's one approach. What we're seeing in a lot of these communities, we're by design, these processes are difficult. You're seeing a lot of abandoned items on the curb. You're seeing the community just go sideways, because the provider that's in that community. Absolutely. It's an expense that was built in that was promised during the RFP process the proposals process. Now you got to do it. So how many roadblocks can we put up to folks from taking advantage of this free service because it's definitely a free service. It is not a revenue generating activity, unless you try to do some sort of upsell in the call center, which I'm pretty sure they got you through they said, don't use the bulky, ran a container. It's 100 bucks.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 15:06

Yep, exactly. And you know, and then the neighbors love when there's a container there because they get to go into their backyard, fill it up. Well wake up in the morning, like, What? It's already full by the time. Yeah. And there's even companies now like, I think it's like 1-800 Got Junk or something like that? Well, they'll come in all you have to do is plant a finger, and they'll pick it up for you. Yeah, there's definitely a need for it. It's just, you know, there's, it's funny how some people don't, don't fill that need.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 15:36

But, but almost every single community out there has that bulky item pickup as a free service with your waste collection service. That's why you pay 30 bucks a month or 70 bucks a quarter, because that is that is available to you for free.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 15:57

So something you said earlier, I want to touch on. You said using customer experience as almost like a marketing tool to sell your business. And now you're winning business in other areas, because you're providing such an amazing customer experience. I don't think that's something that everyone's doing. I don't think that there, there are definitely companies that are trying to do that. And there are companies that are very successful with, you know, word of mouth and NPS. But it's very interesting to see a company succeed at least in your market with some sort of customer experience, ranking or score and then advertising that as a line item to win contracts. So talk a little bit about the customer experience, let's say ranking or score. How did you come to it? Is it a compilation of a bunch of different things? Is it very detailed? Or how does that work?

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 16:52

Well, I'll tell you a couple things. So it's, it's still in the infantile stages, okay. So it's pretty basic. So we're doing two types of surveys, support surveys, when folks request things like bulky item pickups, when they request extra dumps, when they call in the call center, just to make a simple payment. To make sure customers were educated, Hey, did you know you don't have to call in you can make your payment online you can make, there's all these other avenues. So we surveys, what I call support surveys. And then we do randomly selected customers throughout our region. So every customer gets surveyed once a year. And we do an aggregate of those two types of surveys. We can break it down by city by line of business by Work Order Type, and get to some really cool metrics. And so I would still because we don't have automation right now, we'll do a survey, we'll come up sorry, we'll do a service will complete a bulky item pickup. And I in my busy schedule, try to find time once a week to pull the prior week's work orders to generate that survey. Perfect rolled the second that survey closes it triggers that survey. We're not there yet. That's why I keep harping on. We're not automated. We're still in the infantile stages. I'd love to get there eventually. And I'm sure we will. But at this point, it's giving us pretty good data. And then the first question, how are we leveraging that for newer opportunities? You know, the conversation we're just having about bulky item pickups is a prime example. Because for our organization, we feel that bulky item pickups is one of the main services people want from a service provider. And doesn't that I'll tell you, and you might not believe me, but our bulky item pickup surveys yield a 77 NPS. And so in a world where other service providers, let's say during COVID last year, just stop doing bulky item pickups for your extraordinary circumstances. They scaled back on those value added IDs, for a lot of reasons. We kept doing it. And we use that as an example in this newest proposal that we just were a new contract that we were awarded and said hey, look at times get tough things are going to happen. Challenges are going to appear. We're going to keep going we're going to keep plowing here's the results. Other people communities are frustrated. bulky item pickups stop, crease in abandoned items. curbside surged, community looks horrible. And services keeps going. We're still doing the same services never closed. our call center didn't even think about outsourcing it. We went remote, which I think was the logical thing for most call centers, about 10 of our staff. I think guys like me chose to stay in the office just because except for today, just because we feel better in that type of environment. But 10% of our staffs chose to stay in the call center. And 90% of our staff is now remote. That created that extra little value added and comfort to that new city to say, that's the type of service that we want. Because city staff didn't get to shut down, right, they still have to work, they still have to answer all those questions, they still have to render the services. So they expect that from their service providers, when we show that even during COVID, we earned a 77, NPS they were blown away.

Alex McBratney (Host) 20:34

I think that, you know, no business can escape customer experience anymore. You know, as much as even if it's contracted, and it's evergreen, like, like the waste management industry, it's, you have to provide it. And you're seeing it firsthand that you're winning contracts and being able to point to specific metrics and examples of how you're able to serve customers, no matter what the circumstance. And I'm sure and we'll get into this is like, a big piece of that is technology that you've rolled out since you've been there, talk about some of what you've not made, specifically the carrier that you're using, but just what you went, what you had, and then what you're using now in the cloud, and how that's helped transform a lot of these areas that are better for you.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 21:18

And that was painful, right? Going from a PBX to a hosted cloud based system. You know, you're really flying blind in an analog system, you don't get the dashboards, you don't get that reporting that I was used to, you don't get that routing those rate routing capabilities for preferred cues. But I think the biggest impact that that new system had on our ability to manage the call center effectively was the workforce management system that came joy that came with that cloud based hosted system, being able to optimize our schedules, especially during COVID made the biggest impact, especially because when I helped with the other companies call center, I was mainly doing the workforce management. I was managing their workforce. So having and as you all know, the applications used to manage workforce have evolved in leaps and bounds over the last few years, you're really plugging in a few exceptions. And it's almost pushing out a new schedule on a daily basis to make sure that you have adequate staffing levels throughout the day. And that's helped us even enhance our experience, because we looked at our intervals. And during certain times, you know, we scaled back staff significantly to the point where, where we thought we had surges in call volume, let's just call it Monday mornings that I don't know, 10 to 12, we found out that we had that first surge, when we opened and then things that died out, you were able to get or be a little nimble and shift some staff later in the day, and in turn expand our hours of operation. So we went from traditional eight to five, to eight to eight to eight, but from five to eight in the afternoon only providing digital care which a majority, I'm sorry, not a majority, a large portion of population. Now once they don't want to call, they want to email they want to, they want to submit a self service form. And that's what we're able to do now, during our enhance hours. And we were only able to do that because of the workforce management application that came with this hosted software cost center software.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 23:52

And talking a little bit about workforce management. And also maybe types of conversations coming in due to the pandemic and due to everyone moving and going to work from home and maybe an increase in add, remove or change my membership. Did you guys see an influx of contacts are maybe a morphing or changing of intent types where people are no longer calling about, you know one thing they're instead calling about something else. Was there a big shift? Or did you kind of just normalize and it's business as usual.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 24:27

Um, it's normalized in the last let's call it four months or so. But initially, we saw a huge shift in lines of business. And I'll tell you why. As you can imagine, right? Unfortunately, a lot of our businesses closed down in all communities. So people were staying home, and even if they didn't close down, they went to remote staff, right so people were staying home. And as you can imagine the commercial lines of businesses, the trash, the recycling, the organic waste tanked, they plummeted. And but the residential waste skyrocketed. And I'm sure you guys just driving around your neighborhood. You see the overflowing containers, generating additional trash, additional recycling, eating at home more frequently. And on top of that, we had like another surge of year round spring cleanups, right? Think about the sound right? It was March, April. So people got bored at home after a while, what do they do when they were bored at home, clean out that garage at the wife's been hounding us about for years. And that turned into a ton of bull keys that turned into a ton of rentals. That turned into a lot of costs for us. And for the first five months of that shut down. We were struggling, we were struggling. We were struggling to staff up. We're going to keep up with volume. But since then it's normalized a little bit. Businesses are opening up restaurants opening up, we're starting to see an uptick in commercial volume. But for some reason that residential volume hasn't tapered off as much as we'd like it to taper off at this point.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 26:22

Yeah, I mean, I'm guilty of it. As soon as the pandemic hit, we definitely went through spring cleaning. We didn't have enough space in our house to have two people full time on calls all day. So I had to work on the dining room table and our living room was fine. It just was a little cluttered. So of course we had to go through and just throw stuff away, or give it away or donate it. But I could totally see an influx that you'll see. Also see an influx of people needing to clean out the guard or the garbage in the garage, so that they could make that an office or workspace maybe even a workout room because yeah, there you can't go to gyms. So yeah, definitely, definitely interesting. I know. Alex, you were, you're about to ask a question. So I'll pass it over to you now.

Alex McBratney (Host) 27:10

Well, I get the office in the garage, in the school in the garage. I mean, we had to convert half of it to like a classroom just to make space between me working at home, my wife and kids. So it's definitely a struggle. But one of the things I wanted to go a little deeper on too is so there's a lot of people out there that are still on the legacy PBX. The question is, what would you have done differently during the implementation? What do you wish you would have known beforehand that you learned during that process, I might be able to help someone else out, that's going through this evaluation and considering a change to the cloud.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 27:50

You know, Alex, to keep it as simple as possible. One of the biggest headaches, and you guys could probably relate to this and its integration implementation, right? And if you're going to go from an analog system, to one of these hosted systems, I would recommend guys that whoever you choose, internalizes the implementation. Because the worst thing is on day one, where you go live, and there's technical issues, and there will always be technical issues for the vendor and the implementation team to be pointing at each other, and not communicating with each other. And you're stuck in the middle, trying to convey messages between the both between the two. And the team saying we're fine. It's them. And the software applicator set application menu, the software company saying yeah, it's not now. Yeah. And I've been that four times in my career. That is always a nightmare. Yeah. Um, so implementation, just making sure that wherever sells you that software also sells you the internal, has the internal team to help you through implement.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 29:04

And if I could piggyback on that, don't go cheap on the implementation either. It comes at a sticker shock, and it's too pricey. Just go line by line, you might be able to give it a little bit of a haircut, but don't go cheap on it. If you go cheap on it, it's going to be really hard to implement. Yeah, we're getting in. And if I could just say one more thing about that. Guys negotiate because these guys there are what are their like? 200 cloud based call center software systems out there, negotiate with them? Go with the premier support package, and tell them you want it in for free because you're going to need that.

Alex McBratney (Host) 29:42

yeah, absolutely. Aarde and I've been working with a client that you know, they had some bumps in the road. They're going from PBX to the cloud. And what we're seeing now is that two of the larger ones that are out there that are actually recommending that outsource it to a an integrator professional services. company because they're actually doing it better and cheaper. And, you know, these companies aren't professional service companies or cloud providers or SaaS companies, right. And so we're seeing that third parties, or even a better option than going with the carrier's actual professional services isn't you know, there's just it's so complicated, you need someone that's doing it inside and out all day, every day and not biased towards the company and adding marking it up, because it's an internal business unit that's trying to be profitable as well. And we found that even outsourcing it to third parties can be very advantageous, too.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 30:37

I could see that too. I'm just going based on my experiences from a few years ago. That was probably the biggest hurdle. But I could see I mean, these guys, again, 200 different call center applications out there. And like you said, the expertise of an implementation team. These guys are experts at developing the software, the implementation that third party guys are experts at implementing it to environment so I could see the advantages. All I'm saying is that that was an that was a headache for me, during those implementations.

Alex McBratney (Host) 31:13

Absolutely. I think what we've also seen or heard from other clients is, you know, having a project manager on your staff that's taking ownership of it, kind of like what you're saying, right? Take ownership is the point person that's going to be running this project on. So you have two project managers, one for the client and one from the carrier. Those are the two that should be hand in hand hugging and kissing the whole way through, like, it's a new relationship. And we've seen that, that's okay.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 31:40

Oh, even your and your, your project manager isn't necessarily your IT guy, right? He has to be best in number three in the mix, right?

Alex McBratney (Host) 31:51

So what do you see as what's next on the technology horizon? I mean, with the cloud system that you have, I mean, it's limitless, right? Do you see going into more AI or to go help? Where do you see AI playing a role in the processes and in your environment over...

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 32:14

I think what I've seen lately is people exploring artificial intelligence and call center voice applications, and being able to read sentiment being able to understand conversations, not necessarily from a self service perspective, like chatbots, and all the unsolved options, but also actually using it as a quality assurance of QC application. That's where I think it's going. Chatbots I'm not a fan of for basic questions and make sense. But I think our customers, and I think in general, users customers are a little bit more tech savvy than they used to be 10, 15 years ago, they can find basic information on your website, as long as you have it on your website, they can maneuver through basic functions, those basic functions, that basic information, is what a lot of folks are leveraging chatbots for. So I'm not a huge fan of that application. But I've read some studies on companies that are using artificial intelligence to read into the sentiment of calls from a customer service perspective, to understand if it was a good call a bad call to predict what that brand loyalty looks like if that customer takes a survey to QC processes, internal processes. So for example, if your process is that the customer service representative educates the customer on self service options, payment options for a payment call, did they go through that checklist of educating the customer or not, you know, in most call centers, I'm sure you guys can relate to this, you know, one QC person QA person for thousands and thousands and thousands of calls. If you're lucky, a CSR gets QC on two three two to four calls a month. And they usually know when they're being QC, imagine having AI, QC all calls and tell you, this agent, all these calls are happy go lucky, satisfied customer. Even if this customer, the sentiments are somewhat monotone, then let's take that as a coaching opportunity. And just a one off on the call that I happen to listen to. This is your average score for all of your calls, the aggregate of everything. Let's work on it. So that's where I think it's going to go. I'm excited to be able to test that here hopefully next year, two years from now in that case. It becomes available with as an extra module on the application on.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 34:04

Yeah, and everyone, everyone knows if there's a police officer behind you, you're going to drive the speed limit and make sure that your hands are on 10 to four, and everything's going to be good. But you talk a little bit about this. And I like this. So we talked about speech analytics and using it for QC and, and quality control and things like that. And what about using AI for passive customer insights. So instead of a direct, like an NPS survey, or a CSAT survey to get that direct feedback, passively listening to calls, conversations, chats, so you can get some sort of sentiment score, so you could get some sort of insight into? Are we doing the right thing? Are people happy with us? Are they emoting in a happy way? And how do you? How do you merge those together? Like, are those two completely different worlds that you don't want to blend? Or should you try to put them into one, one score.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 36:01

Um, I think initially, as we started learning more how the AI is going to work on those types of surveys, we're going to have to blend in there ought to be some sort of hybrid solution, the same way I do support surveys, and then cross check it against the results of randomly selected customers. And ultimately, rank might be used with some sort of hybrid score and aggregate of all of those scores, I think you'll have to hear that sentiment score as well. I think we still need to figure out a lot of things. I'll give you an example. There's a lot of other variables that go into play. For support surveys, the way we do them. The way you arrange your questions, if you put your NPS score upfront, you're going to get a higher score than if you put it at the end of the survey, timing of the survey delivery can help you improve your NPS ranking versus a score of a survey A week later. So there's a lot of variables that come into play, I think you'll probably get some consistency if you use the AI in that type of application. So but I would absolutely use it as a as a, I would absolutely merge it with the other applications that we currently use today. But I think it'll give you similar results. I think it will, initially.

Alex McBratney (Host) 37:25

Yeah, we're seeing a lot of clients and customers and just people that we've talked to, like on the on the podcast, talk about business, intelligence, and bi and, and using all this data that's available, it's just a matter of harnessing it, knowing where to pull it from, and then you just let the AI run up, put give you in, I mean, they're getting insights that they couldn't ever even dream of into how their business works, and things that they thought were one way or completely opposite. And it's just amazing where it's going. And I think even you're absolutely on the right track and ahead of the game, compared to you know, most of the industries out there even that, that aren't even in the cloud for one, but to just utilize that data that's out there and available.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 38:06

This, you hit it right on the head, there's just so much data out there. It's just being able to identify strategically what everybody cares about and wants to manage. can't manage everything. Yeah, but identifying which KPIs we all want to manage. And hopefully, hopefully some of the CX KPIs make it into that scorecard. Hopefully, hopefully, the CX KPIs make it into the local leaders compensation or performance plan, because that's what matters, right? That's what matters the most. Then Then the CX leader, then the CS leader, have seats at the table when we're discussing strategy. And I think that's when it makes the most impact on any organization.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 38:55

Yeah, and it's hard for some companies to get that executive level, buy in into customer experience or voice, the customer programs or customer journey type programs. I remember my first day at my first contact center job. Day one, you go through some technical training, and then at the end of the day, you do one hour of live phone calls, like you literally 10 minutes shadowing the rest of the hour phone calls. And I remember sitting down and the guy next to me, older gentlemen, gentlemen, full suit. And I was after the call after my hour, I you know, I debrief with the person I was shadowing and I said, Who is that person? Like I didn't see him in the new hire class. He was doing the exact same thing I was doing. He was listening to calls and taking calls. And they said that's the CEO. And he sits down with every new hire class, which happens once a month or twice a month. It takes an hour worth of calls and that gives him enough understanding of what the customers are saying about the company. You know, he'll be in the weeds to really understand that. Not every company has that. But are there other ways, other tricks of the trade to get, you know, executive buy in? Is it like putting recorded phone calls on a iPod if those exist anymore? And given it to your C-level? Like how do you infuse customer experience to that level of the organization?

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 40:25

Well, I'll tell you an example that's very similar to the one you just described, that I thought was really, really effective in an organization I was with a few years ago, and it was a local credit union. And I actually, I think they have one of their headquarters down the street from you guys off the off the 91, or something. But they made all employees sit through a three-week customer service orientation. So regardless of what was what you're where you were at, whether you were at a local branch, whether you were at the C suite level, whether you were a mail carrier, you were going through customer service, sorry about that, service training, and that included two weeks of in class one, taking calls, which similar what you're describing, but going through that onboarding, really establish the foundation for a customer centric organization. And I'll tell you, every time we had a voice of the customer discussion, a customer journey discussion, everybody really mented and even talking NPS, and this was probably 10 years ago, or so that that NPS was like meaningless to them at the time. And from what I understand from people that still work there, they still don't really use NPS. And I could see why, right? MPs, brand loyalty C suite. It's easy, it's adoptable. But at the local level, especially for organizations like us that deal with franchise organization, franchise customers, it's a little tougher, so you got to get into the weeds. I'll tell you what's been really effective for us, is showcasing the comments, identifying major common events, that we're pain points, or success stories, and then showing the results in terms of the metrics. So here's a raving review, we're at identify two or three people within the organization that just were rock stars, and then saying, this is a detractor see her see their 10. This was a extremely satisfied customer. This is what happened. Here's their journey. These call. This is the driver that they met. This is the length of period of time that it took for us from the call to the service being rendered. And this is how we close the loop. And that resulted in that five star review, that for some reason, the sentiment of the comments is making the most impact in terms of adoption for us.

Alex McBratney (Host) 43:17

It's a great, great methodology. And I think more centers need to adopt that, especially on the on the executive level where it's getting those little nuggets on how to improve and get buy in from everybody, right. And I love I love all three of those examples. And we're running up against a time. So one of the things that already and I always like to do towards the end, is talk about our own personal customer experience with a different brand. And we don't like to focus on the bad because we know there's a lot out there. So we always like to ask a good customer experience of yourself of what works an example that you might have in or put you on the spot where you just were blown away by a great customer experience or buy a great experience from a brand that you interacted with.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 44:01

Oh, wow. Let me think about this here. Um, that's a tough one. The bad one were easier, battles are always easier. You're absolutely right. And you know what? Because of COVID we haven't really gone out. Yeah. We haven't interacted with brands a lot. I'll tell you that lately I run I manage a call communications team. And lately, we've been working with Canva a lot lately. We subscribe to their enterprise solution. And we use it for marketing ads, all sorts of different applications. Are you guys familiar with Canva, right. So I had an issue with it with them. And the response time, the resolution, but more importantly, the close ticketing process that they have. I got a call, probably within 48 hours of my issue being resolved. And I never got a call during this onboarding process, I never had a call. So the fact that they incorporated that process, when there was an issue where they actually had somebody reach out to you and set up a call, and figure out what happened. Why was I upset. And by the way, full disclosure, guys, I'm probably the worst customer ever, if I haven't. Funny, as I'm sure you guys are, I mean, I, you're the most critical stop short of a strongly worded letter to the CEO, if I going to put a stamp on it, it's going to happen. If you want horror stories, I'll give you some really awful ones. But Canva really set the bar high for some of these software application, they're subscription based SOPs, software applications, I was really impressed with the person that I talked to you. She was a really phenomenal, like retention specialist. And I've dealt with a ton of retention specialists I've done with normally it's let me give you a discount. Let me let me, let me give you something, this, this, this person that I dealt with was really about what can I take away from your experience to make our organization better? And I hadn't heard a retention person tell me that just yet. When she said, What can I take away to make us better? I was really impressed. And that was a recent one. So that might not be the example of what you're looking for. But I was impressed from a company that's somewhat automated in the way they onboard customers, you know, you punch in a credit card and you're kind of a subscriber, you're a customer, right? Then to get to the point where I wasn't even going to cancel, I was just kind of not happy with a billing process ended up panning out for them to call me and deal with me, it was really impressive.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 47:12

Yeah, it's that close loop process that they ask for your feedback, you give them feedback, and then they follow up on it. I mean, that's the best customer experience you could ever asked for. It makes you feel like they care about you, even though they're not there, you know, like for your next problem, you know, that they're going to follow up and make sure that you're taken care of.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 47:36

And it was totally unexpected, right? They, they send me the email, and they said, it was like a survey and, and I, and I gave him my feedback. And the person that called me was super apologetic. And by then I was I was done, I had already, you know, whatever was, was the pain point was already resolved. So I was out, calling a happy customer up to this point. I don't know that I'm a promoter for them. I'm definitely a passive guy. But they can win me back with that, with that with that interaction that they have their retention person.

Alex McBratney (Host) 48:14

Any tech company that will give you a phone call is a win in my book, because half the time is everything is just very self service oriented email, taking out some way to get a call back is impressive. So kudos to Canva well, Cristian, you've got a baseball game to go watch. And it's been great having you on this podcast. I absolutely love the conversation. I'm glad we made it happen.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 48:41

I am to really enjoyed the conversation. Love talking call centers and customers experience customer experience anytime I get a chance to. I'm one on one with my organization. So I don't ever get to talk sense. I get to hear some bad news sometimes in terms of poor customer experiences. But anytime I can talk about advancements customer experience and call centers I'm happy camper.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 49:07

Well, you're always welcome to join the podcast. We'll be your own personal, you know, consultants and or just someone to bounce ideas off of thank you so much for joining the podcast today.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 49:19

Thank you guys. I'll be happy to be a guest. Just make sure next time those handles have something connected to that.

Alex McBratney (Host) 49:23

That's right.

Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 49:24

Agreed. Friday afternoon. We'll set it up.

Alex McBratney (Host) 49:27

Thanks, Cristian.

Cristian Herrera (Guest) 49:28

Let's do it. Alright, thanks, guys. Have a good one.

Alex McBratney (Host) 49:30

Well, that wraps up the show for today. Thanks for joining. And don't forget to join us next week as we bring another guest in to talk about the trends around cloud contact center and customer experience. Also, you can find us at, LinkedIn, or your favorite podcast platform. We'll see you next week on Another Cloud Podcast.