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.
Exceeding Customer Expectations is Overrated with Brett Frazer
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. All right. Well, Brett it's great to have you on the show. We have Aarde here again, from TechStyle. Brett is with Sunbasket, they provide making healthy cooking easy, delivering food to the home. COVID has been a boom for them, because everyone's working from home, staying home, not going out to dinner. So there's been a great experience being able to see the growth of Sunbasket. But then also, just talking to you, Brett earlier, and just learning more about what you're doing in the customer experience, customer engagement realm right now. And what really struck me and I wanted to start here, because I thought it was a good, it's a good headliner, and that's exceeding customer experience is overrated. So I'm just gonna leave you with that and explain a little bit about what that means and how dare you.
Brett Frazer (Guest) 01:07
I'm so well. Thank you very much, Alex, it's great to be here with you and Aarde. And, yeah, we had a great conversation a little while ago. And, you know, this is an element that, you know, took me a while to get to. But I strongly believe that the path that many organizations and companies and professionals and business leaders have gone down or we have to continually exceed our customers expectations is actually what's setting us up for failure. in many regards, because, to be honest, as a consumer, when you reach out to help with support, you're not looking for expectations to be exceeded, we're looking for them to be met, right. And then some basic things that we're looking for all US consumers, that we just want our problem to be solved in a quick and simple way in a way that we feel valued. And so that's kind of what our philosophy is around, support that Sunbasket is to provide quick and simple resolutions for our customers in a way that they feel valued. And we feel by putting that rather than, you know, hey, let's exceed a customer's expectation is if we really focus on the simple, which is that quick and simple resolutions in a way that they feel good, they feel listened to, they feel acknowledged, then we're meeting that expectation, right. And so if we consistently meet that expectation over and over and over again, we can go poor process and standard process and operations, no, and they've got a consistent approach that they know and how to do that and how to get there. Once you set this target of exceeding expectation, once you've exceeded that once for somebody, now that becomes my baseline. So the next time if you were wanting to exceed you have to do something more. And then something more than something more in something more and something more, where does it stop? Right? And what additional revenue? Or what additional loyalty? Do you really get out of that? versus making sure you're hitting that basic need of a quick and simple resolution? And the way that your customer feels valued? Yeah, no, that's antithesis of, you know, whatever things said for such a long time. But...
Alex McBratney (Host) 03:09
It's so yeah, it's so true.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 03:12
I love that and talking a little bit more, on drilling more into it, because I know that at Sunbasket you guys have, you're shipping things to people's doors, you have a supply chain, you have logistics. And, you know, in this pandemic world, even pre pandemic world, we have had this Amazon next day delivery mentality, and Amazon's kind of set the bar of like, you know, you'd buy it today, and it's there tomorrow, or maybe it's there later that day. So how do you manage those expectations? How do you make sure that you guys are, you know, to the level that it's needed, but you're not going above and beyond, especially in the kind of like shipping and pandemic world where everyone's buying things online, and literally having packages delivered to their house, you know, the next day or the next couple days? How do you guys manage those expectations?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 04:04
Thanks. I think, you know, transparency is the big answer, right? Because the reality is, because we're not Amazon, and we don't own our own shipping fleet. And pretty much no one else in the world is Amazon to own their own shipping fleet. There is so much that's outside of their control once it leaves our facility. And one of the big things that were put in place this year to that was really focusing on how do we improve our delivery notifications to our customers? Historically, we had an email that would go out at one o'clock in the morning, the day that your sheduled delivery was supposed to say.. they would say, Hey, your delivery is on its way. There's no reality between that email and where your package actually was in the delivery system. And so we were creating Miss expectations as a company based on how that notification was going out to customers. And we still have a big effort in the second half of the year and a little bit, you know, do we build, do we buy because there's some pretty good companies out there that, you know, have some delivery notification systems. And in the end, because we run across nine different providers, and we really want to make sure that we own the messaging end to end, we decided to do a bill. And so it took us a little bit longer. But you know, that was really one of the key things was working with our partners to make sure that if there was something that was going to happen, we were tapping into those status notifications coming back to us, and that we're just being proactive and being transparent to our customers. You know, I've got a another session coming up later in the year and a last mile shipping company, and I did a little quick and dirty survey out there, just to see what's the importance, right on different types of things are being sent, you know, something, what's the importance of it arriving on your actual delivery date, it looks at a number of different categories, household goods, apparel, gifts, food, health and beauty, etc. and a couple others. Unsurprisingly, food and then gifts, kind of the highest things that people have important. It's important, it shows up on the day expected. And so that's where we notice that we really get out there and be proactive with customers. And so what we did is we looked at what were the different types of delays or things that can happen and really identify where do we just notify and say, Look, hey, in this situation, it usually means that there's going to be a delay, right, and it should arrive tomorrow. And then we looked at some situations like, well, we don't know what's going to happen. So in that situation, not only do we send an email, but we actually create a case already for that customer, we have whenever agents follow up on that email notification, so that we can take that asset away from the customer from having to look or having to wait while then having to reach out to us. Now there's still some situations where someone is going to call us and we know we're never going to get perfect, there's going to be sometimes when an update doesn't come through from our providers, etc. The pain approach proactive, being transparent, and being honest, when things are going wrong and let them know as much time as possible. That's a big thing. Another piece that we really focused on that is really looking at situations when something does go wrong. What's the right solution for that customer? Historically, we've just been in our world, something didn't go wrong, we can credit you for next week, or we can refund you. And you know, in times when people were able to easily go to the grocery store, that was kind of okay. But the reality is, it's not as easy to do that now. And even then it was still an inconvenience. So we've started, you know, working on a process, we're really situationally understanding, you know, what are our promises a company is trying to solve what's for dinner tonight. And when we make a mistake in that, what can we do and to identify ways to fix it? And so rather than just giving credit, just giving a refund, we're not starting to look at situations where, you know, hey, do you have another meal in your fridge or another Sunbasket you can cook tonight? And then we can get a replacement for that stakeout for you tomorrow, right? Now, it's not coming from us because we've got a cycle and the distance from us to them is usually Great. So instead, we're using gift certificates for whole foods or sprouts, or you know, the local organic market or other food store. Right. And then sometimes we'll, they can't wait for tomorrow for something to be replaced. So we'll go with a Grubhub or an Uber Eats or Doordash, etc, and offer them a gift concert to get dinner tonight so we can truly sell that initial problem that they were looking for.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 08:26
I love that example. And, another one very similar to that. And I've heard this I believe it's in, in the Zappos book Delivering Happiness where Zappos is sending shoes, and there was an issue with a shoe delivery not being able to go on time and the customer was frantically trying to figure out what to do because the shoes were actually her wedding shoes. So you know, thinking about the customer proactively. And of course, Zappos made good by giving them I think it was like a $50 gift card to Nordstrom or one of their competitors and said, please go get some shoes of your liking. Let's make your day happy because we can't get you exactly what you want on time. So it's great to hear that companies are taking the extra step to not only build the rapport, but also listening and being proactive and really focusing on the empathy of the situation and you know, great example of like, you're getting your basket for dinner. So if you don't get it on the day that you expect, what are you going to do? Like if you have a household where you're having mouths to feed? How are you going to solve that problem? So, I love that example.
Alex McBratney (Host) 09:41
Yeah, that's a tricky spot to be in. But I like the comparison between the proactive versus reactive, right? And so many companies are reactive, they're not asking the whys so they can boil it down into how do we fix this. Because, you know, B2C is a very challenging environment. You know, because customer's needs or expectations are always growing. But I really liked that example of like just just iterating as much as you can to fix it. What have you seen as far as metrics that have improved since you've started to implement these things? Are you seeing less churn, we've seen, you know, more customers ordering more and kind of getting over the hump of now they're a committed customer for the long run.
Brett Frazer (Guest) 10:23
Yeah, so we're in early days, we've got a little bit of early read, as far as positive feedback on the delivery notifications that came in start really in kind of mid January is when we fully launched and picked that up. And we definitely see commentary coming through on our surveys, you know, this, this quarter, we, you know, we've raised our customer effort score, two percentage points, over a three month period, which is a pretty, pretty high bar to set, we were already started at 82%, we're now at 84%, coming out of March. And that's with a whole bunch of new agents coming on as well. So you know, new agents in the mix, and you know, and still able to increase the customer experience, by these types of things is happening, the make it right is even fresher, that's you know, it's only a few weeks out the door, but it's something we've been building towards. And we know that that's, you know, we feel really confident that's going to have a high impact, we've had a couple of again, initial verbatims of that same type of response. And funny you mentioned that the Nordstroms, Zappos in shoes, because I generally use that as comparison. I'm like, you know, if you're on shoes online, unless you've got an event that you're waiting for, we don't care if it shows up on Wednesday or Thursday. But if you've got food coming online, you really care that it shows up on Wednesday. And so yeah. And then Aarde, one of the other things you tapped into, there was that empathetic piece. And that's been a huge element in focus for us over the past couple of years. You know, and to be honest, you know, two years ago, or sorry, started 2019. Coming out of sorry, into 2019, coming into 2020, we had an empathy problem. And because of that, we're getting the disconnect, and we were an S, low 70s per CES and so we actually moved by really focusing mainly just on that one thing, just purely on how do you understand and get empathy and change the game around empathy, we got 10 percentage points in customer effort score every year. And the ropey thing on that, and the big realization for me is where a US based company, we only service into the US. And our frontline agents are in beliefs. They're amazing people, they're, they're friendly, they're great. They want to help. But I realized the big connection is because they couldn't experience the product because they didn't understand that element of a customer itself, the dynamic is different. They just couldn't make that connection. And the reality is you can't fake empathy, we all know that but you can manufacture, the brain doesn't know the difference from reality, to practice. And so in our training program that kind of flipped the dime, we've put in this way of training our agents on how to be a customer. In a one day period, we basically condense the first two weeks of a customer's life from how do you find out about it online? How do you make the first order? How does that first sort of show up at the door? What are the different emails you get along the way, etc. And we intentionally create and input problems in that experience. Now that problem may be different for you Aarde that you're experiencing this for Alex and I might have a perfect experience because many of our customers do. But in training by giving you that experience giving that problem when you had that expectation based on how you've gone through it. And then having you share that problem and how that felt and what you would want from an agent, if you were being looked after in that situation with the rest of your training class. It creates an empathetic connection, not only for you having that problem, but Alex hearing it from you. And having built that relationship with you in training. Now you can hear that empathy and that connection from him. And it's not perfect, by any means is still not going to be direct customers. But it's had a massive, massive improvement and how they understand the importance of what may otherwise seem trivial to somebody, Oh, you didn't have a line or you didn't have a you know, why can't you just go down to the corner store. Right. And it may be that there are corner stores that have fresh fruit and every couple of blocks and at least in town, that's not the case if you're in the Midwest, so you know that element of just really upping the game and in flipping the model. And so we do that training on how the customer before we train them how to be an agent.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 14:39
I love that. A great example I won't say the exact company name but a large retail pet online retail pet company was deciding to start to outsource and they did that outsourcing test in the Philippines and for most of the people listening that may not know, in the Philippines, dogs specifically, they're never on leash, they're always off leash, they're in a yard, a leash is pretty foreign to someone in the Philippines, like the understanding of, you could actually tie someone to a rope, and you would hold the rope the whole time while you're walking your dog. It's a pretty foreign concept. And what this large retailer found out was, as they were going through the onboarding, of course, the support reps would have to take calls about is this lease too long? Or is it tight enough? Or is it and they had no idea how to answer those questions. And of course, they would have to lean on a lot of the policy driven things, you know, reading an FAQ guide, which is, if you have an agent, reading a script, or an FAQ guide, that's probably the lowest score of empathy you could possibly get. It's the, I don't really know, I've never been in your shoes, I'll just read you some text. So they had found that bringing them into training, bringing dogs in, that were least trained and training the agents on how to properly put a harness on and use a leash was an extremely important piece of that onboarding and training. Of course, it took more time to train them. But that was extremely important. So what do you guys do with your offshore team? Do you guys do cooking sessions? Do you bring a box in and say, Hey, this is what it looks like? Or this is the packaging? You know? What are the unique things that you do so that an agent really understands? This is you know, a delivery service of food. And when you get the food, it looks like this? And this is how it's unpacked. And this is how, you know, how do you build that in a training? module or session?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 16:43
Absolutely. And a lot of the things you just mentioned, right? When we were in office, it was a little bit easier. Because we can be physical with that. And, so the concept is getting, like I said, we basically put them through the lifecycle of a customer. Right? So we start with having them go out and find the right, if you're looking to find a food or food service, and you've heard about Sunbasket, you know, how would you go about and find it? Right? And we give them you know, information on zip codes, and you know, things like that to go through it. And, you know, Alex, you may get a zip code that we don't deliver to. Right. So your experience would be one of Oh, man I can't get? Right. Yeah, that's a disappointment piece, right. And so it would learn, oh, there are customers who can't get it based on where they are in the country, when we delivered 97% of the population. But there's still that 3% we can't get to. You may or you may have got yours as a referral. So your experience was how do I go through a referral or someone else's wedding gift, right, so we build all those things. And then we go through selecting your meals. And this is the big part, right? We go through selecting your meals, and we tell them, when you come in tomorrow, you're going to get a gift, right. And so with that element of promising a gift, you know, when we do it physically, and now we kind of do it virtually. But we would bring boxes out to each of the tables, so they could see what a sun basket box looked like. They could see what the insulation and the different insulation types were and either you may get our paper insulation, because you just got our kit and Alex, you may get our denim insulation, because you're getting our fresh ready meals, which need better heat and temperature control. So we need more in different installation time. See all the different jobs and those kinds of things, etc. And so maybe there were seven people in class, five of you would get a box and two of you would get a number, right? One of those envelopes and say, Alex, that was you. It says hey, Alex, sorry, your baskets have been delayed a day. And it's going to show up tomorrow. And instead of getting the $20 gift, you get $17 in your envelope. Okay, not if you get an envelope saying hey, yours is lost. It's knowing Sean not showing up at all his $5, right. And so you're expecting this gift, and all of a sudden, you're like, Hey, wait a minute, everyone else has already got that. Right. And so again, this is how you manufacture that empathetic reaction of not getting what you're expecting. Now, don't worry, we make them whole. In the end, we give $3 to Alex in the extra 15 to Aarde. But those are the types of things that we do along the way. And even those who got boxes, you may get a box like, Hey, sorry, one of your meals is wrong. You've got $12 right? And so just doing that type of thing of how do you create those errors that the same types of things that our customers experience, and that element of I expected to get these meals or expect to get this gift, it didn't quite come out exactly how I wanted it to. And so the brain treats that experience in a very similar way and can create those connections and then they have a remembrance of when you're dealing with a customer.
Alex McBratney (Host) 19:46
Yeah, there's really so much psychology involved in the customer experience and managing expectations. And, you know, I mean in our personal lives with your wife, your partner, your kids like you have a certain expectation. They don't need it, you're disappointed. But if you lower your expectations and don't expect the kids to clean up, you don't, you're not as disappointed because your expectations weren't as high. So how do you, at your previous companies that you've worked with, where maybe empathy wasn't looked upon as as important as it is at Sunbasket? How do you? How does someone manage within a company where the culture really isn't there? They don't, there's not as much push from the C level or from the executives to provide that empathy, and it's more of a churn and burn almost.
Brett Frazer (Guest) 20:31
Do it yourself. I mean, here's the thing, right? I mean, certain times, you just got to, you know, ask for forgiveness later, right, which is no down path and just certain things and, you know, the program, we did cost $20 per person, right? If you can't find $20 per person somewhere in your budget, it's there somewhere, right? You know, we're not traveling as much, right, you've got places that you can find out, you know, to the point earlier, it took about our training takes longer, we've, we've continued to increase our training time, right, because we know it realize that investment upfront, is what's going to stop that churn, but it's going to what's going to stop the customer from churning and burning, and then it's going to stop the agent from churning and burning. You talk about managing expectations, I think there's some simple things that you can do that don't even cost money. And I think one of the things that, you know, a lot of organizations focus on, it's just one part of what I think is a full resolution and the five days and most of us really just focus on the middle layer, which is assisting customers. I know, the whole focus is you just got to assist the customer when they contact you. And that leads to a lot of customer frustration, a lot of that psychology has not been heard, it increases the cortisol level and the stress level when you get in when you know, someone calls in and you tell somebody a problem. And I say: Great. Can I have your email address, please? Okay, yeah, well, maybe that's Chris, all they do is focus on assist. And in order to assist you, I need that email address, if you expand that out, and I think there are really five key is that it takes to deliver that, you know, quick and effective solution that makes people feel valued. And the first one is to acknowledge, right, the first one is you acknowledge the issue that they've just told you and that there is an issue and that they're important to you, right? So you acknowledge who they are. And that's why, you know, paraphrasing back what you've just heard, right, and acknowledging the impact of what that issue is, and it's a real issue. Right? Then the next part is aligning, right, it's aligning on what can be done, and that, you know, openness piece, before we even get to the assistance. Well, what can we do from here to there? Right. And that could be just as simple as, Oh, I've heard you yeah, I can help you with that. Right? And immediately you hear that I can help you with that, as a customer, your cortisol level, your stress level that comes down, and you feel that you've been acknowledged, right? You feel you've been understood, and then suddenly, some of this person's on your side, then you go into the assistant, then it's okay to ask for your email address. Right, Alex? I'm so sorry to hear that you may also didn't show up today, you know what, we've definitely got a few different options that we're going to be able to work out in order to be able to help you figure out your meals for this week. To help me with that, can I have your email address, please? That's a much different opening experience to get to the assist. Right. So once you've done the assist in the next part, is advice. A lot of companies talk about this next issue avoidance, that's part of advice then is not just you know, issue, but something that you know, can help them better with their overall experience with the company. And those elements now that you've given them the assist, they feel that you're on this side, that that advice comes through as being of good nature and goodwill. And even if some of that advice helps you and your company and your growth and those types of things, it's accepted now is an area of somebody who's not helped me and they try to help me even further. And then the last part, it doesn't always happen, there's not always an opportunity for it. And it's not always the right thing to do. But once you've done those four things, then you're in a position to ask, ask for feedback. Ask for Hey, have you tried this? Hey, have you done this before? You know, hey, I really like your perspective. Our team, our marketing team really would like to understand your opinion on this. So our development team. You know, we didn't talk about, you know, your interaction with our app today but our team is really interested in, do you use our app? And would you mind, give me a couple of, answering a couple of questions for our development team? Right. And so that ability, once you've done those four things that permission that you have to open up assuming that you've kind of got that, you know, yeah, the customer is in the right space, and they can still be angry and mad if you've done all those four things just because the world isn't great for them that day. It's not necessarily you but you still wouldn't ask at that point in time. But it gives you that gateway to open that door to bring in and then bring more value back into your company, for them and for the future for the customers in the future.
Alex McBratney (Host) 24:54
And it doesn't have to be a framework. It doesn't even have to be a big ask either, right? It can be simple, and it's very low. It's a small, easy, easy ask in a lot of cases where you can get a couple nuggets that can help the development team that can help certain departments improve and get better, slowly, right with that process improvement and how have you seen the the agent churn improve or sustain with having more empathy and, you know, utilizing these five As, and in the contact center?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 25:28
It's definitely helped us, you know, up until there was a brand new contact center offering more money down the road, we were actually doing really, really, really well with our attrition and retention through our agents. And I think part of it again, starts from the start, I talked to every new training class that comes through, I share a lot of philosophy, the empathy, mission, the five A's, you know, right from the get go. Every one of my internal team gets introduced to a new agency as they come through the door. You know, through different meetings, etc and really, that's just showing that we care, right and showing the empathy or the element of for and why it's important to us, what we're looking for from them how we want to celebrate them, you know, how we know that it's difficult, we know that it's going to be challenging. And the last class before they get out, I asked them what they're most excited about and what they're most afraid of, because let's be honest, talking to people for the first time as an agent can be a pretty scary thing. Coming across and you know, coming straight out of class, we've got all this, you know, complex, you know, scenarios and processes, even if you've been an agent somewhere else before, it can be a scary thing. And giving that room, giving that ability in that space to be able to talk about what we're scared of doesn't happen very often, but it's hugely powerful. Because if one person is feeling up, you know, anxious about something, many other people probably are as well. And they all think, well, I'm just alone in this, right. But once they share it, it again creates more of that connection, and that we like to think for some bosses as a family and, you know, our employees direct or you know, through our contractors, you know, they're a part of that, you know, I tell each one of them, the only way that I'm successful is when they are successful.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 27:11
And at Sunbasket, you guys have a really, really complex business model, you have a lot of inbound inquiries and intent types queues, if you call them that. You've got everything from helping people place orders online. If there's technical issues with the app, shipping and logistics, where's my order to maybe membership questions, change my billing address, change my shipping address, cancel my member, pause, skip next week, or, you know, I got the wrong items. Or maybe I got the wrong menu card, I got the right items, well, they got the wrong mini card or the vice versa. So how do you when someone calls in, it's pretty much a you know, how can I help you today? But how do you get, how do you categorize the... do you try to categorize all of them? Do you lump them together? Tell us a little bit about how you categorize, you know, send or route to the appropriate people that could help them?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 28:08
Absolutely. From a categorization perspective, you know, we got a pretty robust coding categories. You mentioned a lot of those main things. So our main ones are membership, delivery, fulfillment, cancellation kind of falls under membership. Under fulfillment, we've got everything from wrong to missing to too many. Sometimes that happens occasionally some people call it Hey, you gave me too much. Right. And so we've got a really, you know, a broad set of data. And again, that kind of helps us in many ways, it helps us, you know, to identify, you know, where we need to stop and those types of things. But the big part of the other part of my job I see two things that we have as customer service professionals is how do we create amazing, great experiences for the customers who are in front of us right now for the problems that they have? And how do we take that data back into the business to identify the prioritizations of what to fix and what to change, to reduce or eliminate as much of those problems as possible. Now with deliveries, we know we're not going to be able to attempt to eliminate all of those, it's a reality. Having perishable food, we're not going to be able to stop all of the quality issues is amazing, as great as our QA teams can be in the in the in the stores, and the facilities still going to be something that goes wrong from that perspective. Right? When you're picking hundreds of different menu items and put it in the boxes, you're occasionally going to grab something wrong with somebody and put the wrong thing in the wrong slot. So having a really robust categorization of what those are is key right? To be honest, so far, we really have used to specialize between our retention agents and our help arrows we call the membership ambassadors and I help heroes, heroes. And then we kind of realized one of the things we did was we were seeing a lot of time and money on the retention side that wasn't you know, giving us a huge amount of return from it. And so we automate a lot of that, we put that directly in the customers hands, which is really what customers want, they don't want to have to talk to somebody in their list, they want to on the way out. And so giving them an easy path out, makes it easy for them to come back, if you make it difficult for someone to leave, you're never gonna come back. Right. So we automate a lot of that. And we've really used a very much universal agent model. And that is challenging, because we do have, as you mentioned, a really complex, broad range of elements, you know, and even within the food, it's a menu change every week. So you know, the menu items you were talking about last week, or the ingredients aren't the same ingredients next week, quite often. And so that that does create a lot of that complexity into training, which is why we've kind of been lengthening their training and playing around and we put through people through different cues, we're getting to a size now where we're starting to be able to get into priority of queues and things like that. And still, everybody needs to be able to handle every cue. But I think you know, we're not at that size, yet that it really makes sense to have specialists, we continue to work on that generalist element. And it works for us, in most cases.
Alex McBratney (Host) 31:12
And that really shows how important it is to keep the agents happy, right, and to keep them there not to have churn because for you get someone on board and after six months, they they're really great and they're doing wonderful, if they left, you just lost all that great knowledge, resource, right and knowledge base that they've learned and learned all these different aspects of the business. So, to have that agent that can do it all is great, but it's also terrible when they leave. So the fact that you're focused so much on the training, right? Focus on the empathy, the five A's, which all help keep everybody happy internally as well. So you mentioned when we talked before, a little bit about like, where companies Miss, or where they lose out when customers call in? Or members call in like where do companies miss on that situation? If you remember what we talked about?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 32:04
Yeah, so I think that... I step back a little bit first, before I answer that, and you mentioned that, you know, focusing on the agent and churn and one of the big things is you can't have great customer experiences without great agent experiences. And so we realized that and we focus a lot on that we partner a lot on that with our, with our BPO partner. And you know, they're a relatively newer partner, we've really worked with them and partner together kind of improve a lot of processes that they do and, and that we do, and now they're within their organization, they kind of use us as their learning path and in their testbed, but, you know, we took, you know, the first time we went out and we did kind of an agent, employee NPS, we weren't a for profit and great, we did a lot of activity in partnership with our partner, and they really came to get to the game with us and picked up and really focused on it's that that how and that you're really working around coaching, right. And you're using quality to identify, you know, things that people are doing right? Not as quality to focus on things, people are doing wrong and catching them but you more as a quality if somebody is doing something wrong, that's an individual coaching experience. if everybody's doing something wrong consistently into a... that's not the agents, that's us, that's a training opportunity, that's a policy opportunity, right? So how can we use this really is, you know, take the fear out of QA, you know, take the, you know, the negativity out of getting that coaching and really flipped the DI model on that again and put it into how do we use that as a way to continue to show that we're here to make you as successful as you possibly can be? Some people don't take feedback. And that's just not enough sometimes the right place to be, but that is going to be the key factor is how do you make sure that you're creating the environments that they feel supported, and that they feel looked after and cared for. Because when you do that they will look after and they'll care for your customers.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 33:55
You talked a little bit about NPS and CSAT but are there other ways that you're collecting either employee or customer or member feedback? Are you doing things like effort score, and if so, how?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 34:12
So, we... Customer effort score is our primary score that I manage and look at the success of my business, it's the number one. Number two is resolution. Number three is that quality score, and number four is our cases per hour, which is our efficiency. So for all those CFO focused on revenue and cost driven and that seems bizarre, but it's the right thing to do. Because if you focus on making sure your customers are happy, they're gonna keep buying, right and then you can pay that extra couple of cents for that call, right? And taking a little bit longer and the reality is if you focus people on getting quicker and quicker and more efficient than they're sacrificing something from experience, usually in those situations, your context or resolution go up and if the entire costs go up, and so you've wasted the money anyway. So within CS, for me, it's customer effort score, for outsourcer, it's agent satisfaction. Because there are obviously things that are within the agent's control, you know, the overall effort, you know, is out of their control so we separate that. And we only know, we asked those two questions. As a company, we use NPS as kind of a monthly indicator, but that's across the entire experience. And then we have some other surveys that go out there and satisfaction of our menu and satisfaction of a holistic experience, which are deeper types of surveys on our food, every every meal that you order, you've got the ability to give a love score a thumbs up or thumbs down. Our operations team focuses on, you know, that case coding that we do and identifying the number of errors per box, or errors per meal. And they use that and identify where in the facility that if it was a pick area, where where that happened, and how they can train and focus on what might have caused that, etc. So we're definitely very data driven organization and company, one of the big things we're doing is because we've got all these different surveys, you know, historically cycle, this survey is telling me this, and well, this survey is telling me then it's like, well, what's the correlation between the two? And so, from a data science perspective, one of the things we're doing right now is how do we take all of the different words that customers are using and come up with a common lexicon of how we code that on the back end? And how do we make sure we're truly understanding the denominator and numerator of the responses so that we can really give apples to apples scores, you really make sure that our indices are moving along together. And then we are identifying things that we can holistically and collectively identify and agree on and prioritize, to move forward for the company.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 36:42
And oftentimes, when I hear that there's a BPO, usually you want to track them and their performance, but also you want to create some sort of bonus incentive program based off of KPIs and metrics and feedback. Do you guys have one of those in place? And you know, are they judged solely on customer effort? Or are they judged on other areas? How do you structure that? And for someone who maybe doesn't have a BPO? Or is thinking about going down that path? How would you help them down that path?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 37:09
Absolutely. So we use three things in that and they are weighted, based on basically what I talked about earlier. Agent satisfaction scores, right? Four things, your agent satisfaction score is the highest element of waiting, your resolution rate is your second, your quality scores, your third, and your cases per hour is fourth, we still want efficiency. Obviously, we need to be effective, we still need to staff for that. And it's one of the things I share, is the biggest reason that we need you to kind of continue to focus on that is we forecast how many people we need based on how effective you are. And if you're being less effective, then suddenly that's going to fall on you because you're not getting to as many customers, your customers aren't going to be as happy because you're not getting the responses quickly. So you know, yes. efficiencies, improvement, yes, is important. Yes, it's important for the bottom line. But for me, the most important thing is to make sure that we've got the right number of staff in the right place at the right time to help the customers who are coming to us for that need. So that's how we've got our BPO, we kind of said, Hey, we you know, how are you incenting. And they came to the table, they created it, we've given them the kind of criteria, they were the ones who identify what that was and how that got distributed. They had a couple more things from their end around adherence, that again, kind of that right takes place, right time. But that's really low, because you have a call that can run over right? And things happen in life. So, you know, it's those things that are more in the control of as an agent, what's the experience, am resolving your issue, it really those two primary drivers that go into the into that bonus structure, and QA is there, you know, the reality is, and you know, every agent who's been out there, I started as an agent, I know this, you know, getting one coaching a week, or maybe two coaches a week when you handle 200 customers a week, if that one didn't happen to go well, and someone beats you up over it, right. So I mean, that's what you look at QA is a different model, and it shouldn't be a punitive thing. Should all be about how to use QA to really identify the places where there's opportunity for individuals but where the opportunity is more on yourself and the QA should be a bit of reflection of your program, your training program, your equipment, your knowledge program, your policies, etc, than those of your agents and their individual performance.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 39:25
Totally agree I was an agent as well and I hated the one or two and we did two types of shadowing one was in the know so that someone would literally get YJack, team lead and listen to your call. And then it's kind of like a cop behind you. So you're like driving, drive the speed limit, you're gonna hit all the notes, you're gonna make it perfect. It's gonna have the best handled timing of the best empathy. And then there's the other version, which is that they're just gonna pick a random call that was recorded and listen to it which feels it's it's less bad at the moment but feels horrible when they pull you into a room. They're like, okay, so I picked a random call, and I listened to it, it came from yesterday. And you're like, you're going through your head. And you're like, I talked to 40 customers. Oh, no. What if they had the one that you know, with this call? So it's a weird experience. So, yeah, I totally agree with you. Having a more holistic approach, being able to compile everything together now that we've got cloud based technology systems that can pull things together for us and do speech analytics and give us more of a broad stroke versus a very finite stroke for QA is awesome.
Brett Frazer (Guest) 40:34
It's huge element in there. We've actually just also started allowing agents to identify cases and calls or you know that they want QA'd, right? Either I did a really good job here, I'd love you to listen to it. Or, you know, I'm not sure I did this quite right. Can you QA this and listen to me, right. And it took us going through that process to get into a place where they could, you know, see this as actually being a benefit and something that they would want to participate in.
Alex McBratney (Host) 40:59
Yeah, there's a lot that there's trust there. Right, as agents, know that you're not out there to get them, you're actually there to help grow them and make them better becomes less punitive, like you're saying and more reward-based. You talked, we talked a little bit, briefly Aarde brought up cloud, just technology. I know you have a unique view on your philosophy on technology, and that your tech stack and how that works, overall within the contact center and go a little deeper into that, how you view technology and where you see it being too much versus too little.
Brett Frazer (Guest) 41:30
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think, you know, there's, there's amazing technology out there, it changes all the time. You know, there's new things, there are some things that are absolutely great and phenomenal and game changing, and then there's sometimes just really cool shiny bells and whistles. And you know that there's this philosophy of, let's do everything that's brand new, let's get out there, let's go with it. And that can be great, we've decided to nicely take that approach. Because when you do that you're creating, you may create this nice thing on the front end. But the interweb, that has to happen on the backend just starts to get bigger and bigger and bigger and more unwieldy, and the cost to actually manage that. So your total cost of ownership is, to me, a really important consideration and the impact that you're having on other parts of the business from doing so. So we've got a pretty narrow stack, we've got a one CRM, when we've got a telephony provider of an AWS based telephony provider. And we've got a couple other small things that we bought into it. But you know, by keeping that stack really narrow, we keep all of our agents in one single tool. So one of their key criteria is we bring on something new from an outside, it's not an existing stack, doesn't mean that my agents now have to go to a different place to work. If it does, that goes really low down on my capability wanting to do it, because then it creates more effort. And I have a worse experience for agents having a balance between this, that and the other. Right. And so I try to keep our stack really narrow, it's good for the agent. It's good for our finance team, because they've got fewer invoices that they have to process each week. It's good from a legal perspective, that's least contracts that have to go through on an annual basis. It's good for IT and our development process, it's less things that they're having to tie through. It's better for my CRM development folks, because there's less things that they're having to deal with. And so, you know, that's been my philosophy is, you know, keep it tight. Look for what's out there. And you and what's coming, identify can it bolt-on into the system and integrate well, and if it can, let's get open to it. Let's look at it. If it can't, and you know, then it's a really a way off of how important this is? Is it truly a chain game changing technology that a customer wants? Or is it a shiny whistle that just because there's a fad thing, and it's kind of a nice, bit creates much more complexity on the back end?
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 43:51
Yeah, and you said it earlier, every time someone calls in the one thing they hate hearing is, what's your email address or what's your phone number? It's like, you have my phone number I called you it's not blocked, you know, you should be able to look it up. But the second thing, and this kind of touches on what you're just talking about, that people hate is, Oh, hold on, while I look that up in a different system or Hold on, I don't have access to that tool. Let me transfer you to someone else who does. So that's a great example of trying to get around that and having too many pointed solutions, and five CRMs. And all that. Keep it simple. Put it all into one easy tech stack that's, you know, nice and together so that the team members have access to everything. And they can just see it on their screen without having to log into Okta and log into three other tools and things like that. So I love that. One kind of final question that I have. In our last episode, our last podcast, we were talking to Dutta and we were talking a lot about customer segmentation. Looking at customers that may have higher value or lesser value, treating them in a, you know, white glove for the higher value, treating everyone else just as good of course. But for those high touch customers, maybe routing them to the best agent, or maybe spending a little extra time or thanking them for their membership or their service. So do you guys do that at Sunbasket? If so, how do you do it or are those things that are on your horizon that you're looking to do? And if so, you know, what are you looking to change?
Brett Frazer (Guest) 45:22
Absolutely. So we do some things, we're looking to change some things as well. And so we've had kind of an accelerated service level. So customers who are kind of in our VIP element go to the front of the queue. And they get priority routing, there is also a slightly higher compensation that we offer for customers who've been around with us for longer. And so those are kind of two things that we've done from a customer service perspective, from a company perspective, we have some other things, those customers get access to our tasting panel. So as new meals, come on to the menu, they're the first people who get access to that. And, you know, we reward them with that if they you know, take a tasting panel, and they complete a survey, we give them a 50% credit towards the next order for doing so. So there are definitely some things that we have in that place, we're looking as a company as to how to evolve our loyalty program overall. And at the same time, in this next quarter, one of our key criteria, and one of the key focus areas that we're doing is priority routing, our newest customers to our most tenured agents might think, wow, that just seems counterintuitive to what you just talked about. We found that because we're a subscription company, right? If a customer gets to the sixth box, and they order this six Sunbasket, that's during the habit forming stage, right? And if they can get that sixth box, then 90%, likely to order a seventh box, now they get to box 20 to 97% likely to get to, to box eight, but by kind of changing that insane, or we want to make sure that you have a great, amazing experience to get to that six box. And it's not that we forget about you after that, we want to get the best agents who can make sure you have the best answer and the most in right up front. You know, that is a way that we believe we're going to help to keep our customers longer, right. And it's not that again, we don't want to forget about them, we're going to give them that priority, you know, routing, etc. But to be honest, once you've been with us a while and you like us more, you're a little more forgiving if you get into a newer agent, right? And so we're kind of again, flipping the model and flipping the diamond saying yes, we've got some loyalty things that we're doing for these customers. But we're also really focused on making sure that a new customer has an amazing experience. So they stay to be a VIP with us. In those other books.
Alex McBratney (Host) 47:38
That's so great. And that's really, you know, going back to the BI right with the analytics and taking that data and really figuring out where are these stepping stones in the customer journey? And how to like, increase it or make it better for those for those new ones or for the ones that have been around for a while. And without all that BI and analytics, you wouldn't have that these days, you would just kind of use this Excel spreadsheet and hope you hope you get it right. You know...
Brett Frazer (Guest) 48:01
But as a segue back to the question, you asked me early on, what's that miss, right? And I think, yeah, so long customer service has been seen as a cost center, right? How do you reduce the amount of time you're talking? How do you make it more difficult for customers to find customer service, therefore, you know, they're not going to call you and those types of things, the harder you make it, the angry your customer is going to be by the time they get you, they're not going to give up. If they give up, they've given up on your entire company unless you've got them in a monopoly. Right. So making it harder to find your customer service doesn't do anything but make your customers more frustrated by the time they get to you. And thinking of customer service as an expense, rather than you know, with the world becoming far more commoditized on what it is you're selling. It's how you look after your customers once they've purchased, that really becomes the differentiator. And so not looking at customer service as a cost center, you may not think of it as a revenue center yet, but thinking that it is a revenue protector, the amount of money I mean, so many companies are focused on what's my cost of acquisition. And I challenge you that your cost to keep a customer is far less than the cost to acquire a new. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so you know, from that element, really thinking about and taking the time in that BI piece to really look at what are the what are the triggers? What are the triggers that kind of fall along your model and look at the data to figure out what are the events that cause your customer to order more from you, what are the events that cause your customer order less from you, and really identify those that move forward. We did that our BI team, sorry, data science team using a model called the fog model, which really looks at little triggers and what happens based on triggers that move you in or out of, you know, moving to the next action, and they identify the customer service contact with customer service is a positive driver towards a customer getting to their six box. So as soon as you never had a problem had less of a direction towards the first box than those who had a problem and contacted us. Now, we don't want to manufacture problems. But...
Alex McBratney (Host) 50:05
Now you have to answer problems. I'll just give them a little bit of a problem when they call in. No, that's, that's very interesting. And that's what's great about, you know, taking that customer call and not just trying to get in and out really quick and just look at those metrics of, you know, average handle time and whatnot, but really like, okay, like, why are they calling? Let's look at the analytics behind it. And then you get to learn things about the company and the organization that you would never even know. So it's really interesting. And Brett, we could talk for hours, we were on a podcast yesterday with another gentleman Dutta. And it was just talking shop the whole time and visiting him and Aarde, man, they're going at it. And as far as like, you know, what are the experiences what they do, and it's just been great having you on this podcast and taking the time to share so much about your organization, how your philosophies, the five A's, the empathy, the simplified tech stack, keeping it simple, so many good nuggets there. So I really appreciate you jumping on and spending some time with us this Friday.
Brett Frazer (Guest) 51:09
It's been a pleasure. Absolutely. Thanks so much, both of you.
Aarde Cosseboom (Co-Host) 51:13
Thank you, Brett, so much for joining us. And I've learned more, not only in the customer service realm, but also about Sunbasket. And Alex, I don't know about you, but I'm about to go by, I'm gonna sign up. I'm really excited about your company and how you guys treat your customers. And yeah, you know, it makes me want to be a customer. So kudos to you and your company. And thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.
Alex McBratney (Host) 51:35
Be sure to apply the sunscreen on that PTO when you're out next week. So, don't go too crazy out there. 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 adleradvisors.com, LinkedIn, or your favorite podcast platform. We'll see you next week on Another Cloud Podcast.