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.

Smarter Than Me Series: Interview with our Co-Host Aarde Cosseboom

with Adler Advisors Partner, Alex McBratney


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

Alex McBratney (Host) (00:03):

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 the customer experience. Aarde, my new neighbor. How have you been?

Aarde Cosseboom (00:22):

Good. Thanks for having me on the podcast. And yeah, a new neighbor just moved down to Orange County, which is South of LA. You've been here for what seems to be like an eternity, but yeah, excited to be down here.

Alex McBratney (Host) (00:38):

What's funny is that you ended up moving into the same city, we're literally five minutes away from each other and didn't even plan this. Clearly. But we've known each other for just over a year now. And the reason that we blossomed our friendship was all around contact center and I'd introduced by Doug over at TalkDesk. And I was like, do you know anyone that's really good at contact center that can help, get me educated coz that's, I've done UCaaS, I've done circuits in the broker world and telecom, but I was always like this, well, what's this contact center thing that everyone's talking about? And this was, I guess, yeah, a year and a half ago, maybe a little bit more. And so that's where I was introduced to TalkDesk. And then Doug introduced me to you, a contact center extraordinaire. You do some work over at TechStyle. And tell me a little bit about what you guys are doing over there and how you got started in the business.

Aarde Cosseboom (01:31):

So, contact center, that is a beast in its own for anyone who's listening, who knows the acronyms CCaaS, Contact Center As a Service, it's completely different than the rest of the kind of technology world. It has to play like a UCaaS, play like a telecom-type technology, but it also has to have all these weird, unique bells and whistles that have to be configured and customized. And every call center is completely different. And then some people don't even call them call centers, they call them tech support teams or just, you know, the team over there that answers the phone. Like literally there's no standardization even with the way that we declare what that team is and the way that we handle it. And I think we're going to talk a little bit about it today in the podcast is it's really just brokering conversations between end-users or customers or employees and people who can help or support them, whether that's in a sales or marketing world or a customer service world. So you could think of it as like an internal employee at a large corporation contacting a helpdesk. That would be a contact center in itself. Or it could be an end user who's a member, for example, a member of TechStyle who bought a pair of shoes from ShoeDazzle and needs to return them or exchange them for a different size. They needed to talk to someone who was a representative from ShoeDazzle. How do you broker that conversation? What are the things that the agent needs? What are the things that the member needs, you know, while they're waiting on hold or is there some sort of IVR or menu where they press one to talk to sales, two to talk to support, it gets pretty complex pretty fast and there's really no cookie cutter way to do it.

Alex McBratney (Host) (03:28):

Yeah. You know, it's interesting because like you said, there's no one name for it, right? When we sell a hosted phone system or a UCaaS, you talk to IT, they're the ones making the decision. It's pretty simple most of the time. When it's contact center, I mean, it could be accounting that's struggling with customer support when it comes to the end user, it could be IT with the employee end users, it could be sales, it could be marketing. Like it's really, it can touch every major department within an organization.

Aarde Cosseboom (04:00):

I've seen some unique setups and some unique teams that use CCaaS or Contact Center As a Service. I've seen like accounting teams, so you've got accounts payable or some team that pays the bills for your organization. And, you know, they don't work that well via email, or maybe a vendor or supplier that has invoiced your company needs an update on that invoice for some payment right away. They might call into a phone number or a queue, instead of getting a voicemail. Just allow them to set up a call back you know, call me back as soon as possible. It goes into a callback queue and then a specialist or someone from accounts payable can use that tool to make that outbound dialed call and then help support whoever the vendor is or whoever the supplier is. So I've seen some unique setups. I've seen it where it's like thousands of call center agents answering calls, chats, emails, social media posts, all sorts of things blended together. And it's literally millions of conversations every single month. I've also seen teams of like two, like literally two people and they want different things, doing everything. And really just there's two people, coz there's only like maybe 10 customers, but when those 10 customers want to contact you, right, they may choose to make a phone call. And then it's going to ring both phone lines at once. Or maybe it's going to go into a queue and it's going to go to one person first. And then the other person, second. Kind of like a hunting group where it's like finding the next available person. So I've seen all mixes and blends and there is no right or wrong way to do it. There is no secret sauce. I think that's what keeps us in business and keeps us employed. There's always a million to solve the problem. And there's no best in class way that's a cookie cutter for everyone. And that's what makes it fun. And that's why I enjoy it.

Alex McBratney (Host) (06:06):

Yeah. Well, I know you love it because I've got your book here. We're going to go into some of the stuff in the book, but mainly like what inspired you to write it and how long did it take, like give us a background about all your...

Aarde Cosseboom (06:20)

I always like to say it's two things. It is the world's heaviest business card. So whenever I pass it out, it's like, Hey, here's the book. But, it really, it's just a business card. It's just basically my own branding. It's my brain downloaded into a written form. And another thing, I like to say, if you don't like the content in the book and it also doubles as a really good coaster.  You probably put a couple cocktails or martinis on top of it and I'll keep your table dry.

Alex McBratney (Host) (06:45):

Okay. Go into some of the stuff in the book, but mainly like, you know, what inspired you to write it? And how long did it take, like give us a background about not all your..

Aarde Cosseboom (06:54):

I always like to say it's two things. It is the world's heaviest business card. So whenever I pass it out, it's like, Hey, here's the book. But, it really, it's just a business card. It's just basically my own branding. It's my brain downloaded into a written form. And another thing, I like to say, if you don't like the content in the book and it also doubles as a really good coaster. You probably put a couple cocktails or martinis on top of it and I'll keep your table dry.

Alex McBratney (Host) (07:25):

At least two or three. We'll squeeze them in there. In the book, I think we started with barely touch on it. Like, you know, in our conversation a few minutes ago was, I think it all around the customer expectation with all these different channels. And at first it was all about, you know, voice channel and email and emails, even secondary. I think we all grew up at least if you were born and grew up in the eighties, it was all phone. If you wanted to reach out to a business to fix something, it was the phone. And since then it's changed dramatically. How do you see that transition happening still today? And are people still just doing the phone?

Aarde Cosseboom (08:04):

Yeah. So I have to tell you the title, on how I came up with the title and that kind of answers the question of, you know, communication styles and phone and email and chat and social and all these other ones that we'll deep dive into. But the title of the book is Enable Better Service. So Enable Better Service a spoiler, you don't have to read the 16 chapters. The spoiler is you have to communicate with your customers and it's pretty, pretty simple, right? So how do you enable that? How do you get better? You have to create an ecosystem, with technology, the right types of people, the right process that fosters better communication, whether it's communicating over the phone, over chat, over email. Communicating fast enough, communicating the right answer or the right message.

Aarde Cosseboom (09:01):

Sometimes non-communication can also help. So replying with things like, you know, email replies or having automations or bots so that they don't actually have to talk to a live human. So that's the world of contact center and service is if you can get better at communicating, you are a better customer service department or customer service team. Same thing with sales and marketing, you can communicate exactly what you're selling exactly to the right person at the right moment. If you're great at that level of communication, you're going to get the sale. You're going to, you're going to be able to market your brand in a better way. So, the evolution of communication, if you think about it all the way, and this is just communication from person to person, it goes all the way back to caveman days, where they started with, you know, paintings on a wall.

Aarde Cosseboom (09:55):

Like they would paint a picture of like a bull or a horse. And then the next person who wouldn't have met cave knew that like bulls and horses were in this area. So look out for them or hunt them. Right. like that is just a form of communication. It was very visual. And, , you know, as it evolved, it went to smoke signals, which was also a form of communication back in the day, that was the first kind of mobile communication where you could communicate farther than just someone physically next to you. Yep. And then, beyond that, it goes into, you know, teleprompts, telewriters, written word, you've got the postmail and the pony express, like, you know, written words across multiple areas. Then of course, invention of the telephone, invention of morse code, transmitting of information across wires, electronically transferring via email, phone.

Aarde Cosseboom (10:52):

Now we've got social media, we've got voice devices that I can't say the words, otherwise my voice devices will start replying back to me in this room. But that's the evolution of communication. So as a customer or as a company, the more that you adapt to those new communication tools, the better leg up you have, not only against your competitors, but also the better you get with regards to what we call customer experience. And that is at the pinnacle of, you know, that's the top of the mountain that you need to reach. If you want to have the best performing team, you need to make sure that you communicate. So that evolution is something to always think about. And, it's really, it's funny with that evolution, you'll notice that some of those things are written

Aarde Cosseboom (11:51):

some of those are verbal, some of those you can hear something and then respond verbally, some things you can read things and see them, and then you have to write or type using your physical fingers. So the evolution of how we communicate with each other as humans has changed over time so much that now when you talk to one of your at-home devices, it converts or dictates your voice into text, and then that text gets transmitted. And then on the other side, the person who is getting it can either choose to hear it through a voice recording, talking back to you, like text-to-speech, or they could read it, like it could be, like a digital voicemail that you get, and you may not want to listen to the voicemail. You may not want to read it. So it's really weird, everyone could have different preferences of how they want to communicate and still communicate with each other. You don't have to, you don't have to enjoy the same communication type as the person who is trying to communicate to you.

Alex McBratney (Host) (12:59):

Yeah. And that's, it brings up a really interesting point because now it's, as a business, you're looking to communicate as best as possible with your, with your customers or your end users, if you want to call it that. Now, who is our customer base and how do we best communicate with them? How do they want to be communicated with, and now it's what tools are in place, are available to communicate with our ideal customer.

Aarde Cosseboom (13:26):

Yeah. And I'll flip the script on you. So I'll put you on the spot a little bit here and ask you a question. So when was the last time you had a great experience, whether it was like at a coffee shop or you know, maybe you texted a company and they texted back in two seconds, or you picked up the phone and you were mad at something and, you know, halfway through the conversation, you were happy? Tell us a little bit about it. What was the best thing?

Alex McBratney (Host) (13:54):

I've got good and I've got bad, but I'll give you the good. And it actually happened last weekend or over the last few days over the weekend. And it was Delta. We ended up taking a flight and I hadn't flown for awhile for obvious reasons. And as my bags were loaded and I'm walking to security line, I get a text message saying my bags are on the plane. And that's not even like a, you know, a contact center solution, that's just good customer service, right? Communicating with me that my bags are safe. How many times have you heard or seen the movie, like Meet the Fockers, where they get the bags mucked up. And now it was a ski trip. So if I go to Jackson hole and my skis and all my equipment don't show up, like I'd have to break a credit card out and buy all new gear or rent, just so I can have a enjoyable weekend, but now I know the bags are on there.

Alex McBratney (Host) (14:52):

You get text messages, updates makes it very user-friendly. And that's just one piece of, I think Delta's great customer experience. And there's other airlines that we've all flown that are the bargain airlines where it's just, it's the nitty-gritty, it's not good. But I was very, very impressed with Delta's customer service and how they treated me as a customer. I mean, that's what's great about customer experience is that we were all there. We've all had experiences. And we just happened to be two people that get to implement for companies by these contact center solutions. And so we all can relate to customer experience, which is fun.

Aarde Cosseboom (15:34):

I love that. And I also, strangely enough, just recently took Delta as well and had an amazing experience and the same thing I similar but different when we landed in new Orleans, it said the captain's name. It said, you know, message from the captain. I can't remember his name captain, Steve will call him, you know, welcome to new Orleans! Hope you guys traveled safe. Please fly again. And at first I was like, that's probably an automated message or something that, but in the message, there was a typo. So I knew either they planned that, or I knew that he actually landed and he had some sort of either on his phone or a laptop where he could, if he was required to say some sort of message, at the end of the trip and he typed it out and sent it to us and all the passengers who had that enabled, got that message.

Aarde Cosseboom (16:29):

And I was like, it was one of those kinds of like, I don't hate this. I don't love it. It just I expect it. I expect to get off the plane and someone to stand there and the captain of the door up and be like, welcome new Orleans, have a great day. But during the pandemic, they can't have that door open to expose like, you know, their staff to a lot of people walking in and out. So they created a different way to communicate that. And I felt like it was great. In fact, I'd prefer it even past pandemic to have more text messages. I wouldn't mind if he texted me right now and be like, Hey, like, you know, a month ago you flew with us just thinking about you, hope you fly with Delta again. I'd be like, Oh, that's cool. Like cool. Maybe.

Alex McBratney (Host) (17:10):

A little creepy. Yeah. Yeah.

Aarde Cosseboom (17:12):

You know, like felt he was my friend or something. Like he's got my text message, phone number, might as well well use it.

Alex McBratney (Host) (17:20):

So I can remember like the first customer experience where I really learned, wow, this is a big piece of business. And it was from the late, I think of his name is Tony Hsieh. If you pronounce it right from Zappos. Right. And there's the wow right for clients. And I read his book and that was really the first time I experienced or learned how important it customer experience was and how I feel like he was really game-changing for the whole industry. And his imprint is still going for a company, bettering companies because of his philosophies.

Aarde Cosseboom (17:58):

When I first started about 15 years ago in this industry. And it's strange that you brought this up because I don't think we've ever talked about it in the past, but one of the first call centers that I toured was Zappos. And it was in Las Vegas. And there's so many things that that company did, right. Even for us who were touring. So we were call center professionals. We had probably 10 people on the tour. They did tours literally every single day and people could come tour their facility, if you want to. A call center in Las Vegas, I think it was about 800 people in that location. And if you don't know Zappos, they sell shoes online and they have amazing customer service, probably like gold standard, platinum standard. You're not going to get better than that unless you literally copied the playbook.

Aarde Cosseboom (18:48):

We arrived to Las Vegas, there was a sign, there was an employee of Zappos, not a hired person, but an employee from Zappos, Zappos shirt on, kind of like geeky,nerdy type call center person. You could tell, but the sign that had all of our names on it, we got on the bus, it's literally a Zappos bus, like a small school bus that has Zappos on the side, drove us while we were driving from the airport. And they had a seat that had a box full of books and it wasn't, Tony's book. It was just a bunch of customer service or leadership books. By the way, this was a free experience. You just had to sign up and then fill out some criteria to make sure that they validated that you worked for a call center.

Aarde Cosseboom (19:42):

So they said, you know, we're all about learning and development. And that's a big pinnacle of our business. And we do that for employees, but we also do it for all of this outer sphere, the people who are in our industry. So come over to this box and pick out a book and you can have one. And of course, you know, you pick it out now because it's a 20 minute drive to the call center and you can read it on the way, or you could pick it up on the way back to your hotel. So one I thought that was amazing white glove service. We show up, we do the tour and we ask them all these unique questions, like what makes you special? What makes it great, all this stuff. And, how do you retain your employees? Coz that was a big thing.

Aarde Cosseboom (20:27):

Employee retention in the call centers, how do you do that? Because people are 40 hour long employees taking 20 to 80 calls a day. Like, how do you keep that employee happy? And one of the responses was, well, we have, free wifi. We have bunks so that people can take naps or literally spend the night if they want to. There's private rooms that you can book through their online booking system and then, full shower, gym, all that stuff. And, all the food on campuses are free. And we're like, Oh, okay. It makes sense. You literally have created a compound, where it's really hard for people to want to go home. Why do you want to leave if you could just grab a quick dinner and then get home a little bit later and maybe work an extra hour for overtime.

Aarde Cosseboom (21:17):

So that was a piece of it. And then, the follow-up question that we had after the retention question was what makes your employees, how do you enable them so that they can be the best that they could possibly be? Because in a traditional call center, it's always Oh, I'm sorry, I need you to.. We'll have to say Oh, I'm sorry, I can't do that. I have to escalate you to a supervisor or I'm sorry, that's against my policy. Or just the hard No, I can't do that for you. And that's the worst experience you can ever give to a customer is I can't do it. Or I don't have the power or I have to go to a supervisor or you have to escalate to my manager. You have to go through like all these hoops to get your problem solved.

Aarde Cosseboom (22:05):

How Zappo's does it is not only do they enable all of their frontline team members to do anything that their supervisors and directors can do. So there's no escalation path. It's literally, Oh, you want a full refund? I don't think you should get it, but I'll give it to you. Like I have the power to do that. I don't have to hide behind some sort of supervisor escalation path. So that, that was one thing. And the other thing was that Tony gave all of the call center reps, a $20 monthly allowance, and that $20 monthly allowance had to be for a special gift for one of the customers they helped during that month. So, and if you ever read his book, it'll describe a couple of those examples, but the one that kinda sticks out in my mind the most, I think it was in a blog.

Aarde Cosseboom (22:54):

I don't think it was specifically in his book was, someone was buying shoes for their wedding and the shoes show up and they're the wrong size. And the wedding is like two days, right? So there's nothing that a Zappos agent can do other than refund the money, apologize, try to do rush shipping, but it's not going to get there in two days. There's absolutely no way. So, the agent found out where they were getting married, did some research, looked on Facebook and figured out the hotel that they were getting married and sent flowers to the groom. And then when the person arrived to check in for their wedding, opened the door and it was flowers from the Zappo's Customer service rep saying so sorry, but I hope you guys have a great wedding. Here's some flowers, congratulations on your nuptials. So that's just a great example of customer service right there.

Alex McBratney (Host) (23:49):

It's great. And it enables the employees. Right. And even that specific example of like being able to help someone out, I mean, just psychologically, people like to give because of the dopamine rush they get from being nice to somebody. A piece of the psychology it works, too. But I think ultimately it's, you're helping your customers out. And even if there was no way to fix that, that shoe order for the wedding, at least they felt like they were taken care of. They felt like they were loved. Right. And it's so interesting coz I feel like with Zappos and you talked about being able to sleep there, you eat there, there's a gym there. I mean, this is right before the bubble pops and technology. And I feel like Google probably got ideas from Zappos and Apple and how to like treat your employees well coz I can't remember before that, where he heard about all these, the Google campus and how amazing it is. I feel like Zappo's really led the way on that one. Yeah.

Aarde Cosseboom (24:52):

I feel like their empowerment to their employees is what sets them apart. The whole experience of getting on the bus and getting a free book. It all probably stemmed from his idea of I'm going to empower the people that are on my team to come up with ideas and run with it. So, you know, it was probably like someone was like, Hey, we should do tours of the call center. And he was like, great, sounds like you're ready to set it up now, what do you need funding wise? And then, you know, later on they probably said like, Hey, you know, it's really boring from the airport to the office. Why don't we give them something to do that's cool, fun and engaging so they're not on their phones or whatever it is. Why don't we give them a book and then they can take it home.

Aarde Cosseboom (25:34):

And then they could like learn from it. It's going to sit on their self. I still have the book that I grabbed and that was like 15 years ago. I I'll reference it all the time. It's a carrot a day and it's literally a book 365 pages. You flip to it and it tells you a little tidbit or something knowledgeable that can help you out in the professional world. And that's something I'll never forget. And you know, I might forget some things that happened on that tour and that event, but I'll never forget the experience that I had. And I wasn't even a customer of Zappos. I was just trying to learn from them. So they even treated us like we were customers.

Alex McBratney (Host) (26:13):

It's amazing. And it really comes down to culture. Right. And how it comes from the top down. And what's interesting is that we work with businesses all over the country, you and I and helping with the contact centers and all of these tools are available to them to just wow the customer just like Zappos has always wow the customer. Right. So, where do you see the limitations are? Where a company's getting like just stopped at that moment where like someone says like, Oh, we can be great but it's not happening.

Aarde Cosseboom (26:45):

That's a great question. I think the answer is and I love this phrase, it's called Choice Apathy. So when you've got too many choices out there, it's hard for you to choose. If it's just two choices or one choice, it's pretty easy to choose. The one choice while you're getting that, that's all it is. If it'stwo, it's okay, that's not bad. One A or B. If it's three, it's okay, A, B or C, like it's still tangible. But with the products that are out there today and the internet of things and all of these clouds that are around those products, a lot of them can do a lot of what the other ones can do. And some of them have some secret sauce that sets them apart. But for the most part, they're relatively the same ecosystems and same bare requirements and feature sets.

Aarde Cosseboom (27:34):

So when you're looking at the board, it's like 20 or 30 different options. And you're like, I don't know which one's best for me. Maybe half of them are best for me or maybe one is, I don't know, it's like a needle in the haystack. So I think that's where the barrier starts for people in the buying position. I also think to empower your employees to do things, if you empower them to do whatever they want under the sun and you don't give them guidelines, that might be choice apathy, too. They might be like, I don't know what to do. I don't know how to spend this $20. I know I'm supposed to spend this $20 on some customer, but like what? I mean, there's so many options out there in the world. Do we give them an Amazon gift card? They'll give him some flowers.

Aarde Cosseboom (28:21):

Who do I choose? I've talked to 300 people this last month, which person is more valuable than the other. So, that's where we always get stuck. That level of good or great customer service to exceptional, there's a barrier or a layer of what are my options? I have too many, then I'm just gonna not do anything. I'll just stay status quo. I'm not going to make a change. And that's usually what happens is people do it's huge RFP or request for proposal and they'll research a product and maybe boil it down to three or four different options. And they'll say, you know that's just too much work to do any one of those. I'm just going to stay where it is. Everything's kind of okay. And okay. Is good enough for me. And that's where we hit the wall.

Alex McBratney (Host) (29:16):

Yeah. And I think, and it comes down to that culture. If the CEO's technology forward thinking like let's push the boundaries on technology, then absolutely they're jumping into these new realms of contact center. What's interesting too, is we look at everybody that's on a PBX or like an on-prem contact center solution and it's that analysis paralysis, or I don't want to lose my job by going from the stable Avaya or stable Cisco system, it's getting the job done today and there's nothing really pushing us over the edge to move to the cloud, even though there's all these great things that the cloud and all the bots and all the AI and what it can do, but it it's that forklift of we're moving from one completely like platform that I'm used to. We've been using it for 15, 10, 15 years to this. Everyone was talking about the cloud and like, it seems great, but they don't want to lose their jobs either if they push their boss, their COO or their CEO to transition to a new system. And it completely, you know, poops on itself. That's our job on the line, right?

Aarde Cosseboom (30:26):

Yeah. The paralysis is probably the hardest thing to get past. And whenever I coach people, whether it's through like a procurement or purchasing decision or just in life in general, what I like to do is give them a little sense of their ecosystem. So especially in the business world, I'll be like, all right, well, you know, let's say it's an insurance company and they're thinking about moving to the cloud and they've got on-prem today. Well, everything works okay today so there's no real reason to change. I might push them a little bit and say, all right, well, you know, let's say all of your competitors in the insurance industry, they do the same except for when one decides to move to the cloud. And maybe they're getting some sort of benefit that you're not getting, or that you're not seeing.

Aarde Cosseboom (31:17):

Maybe it's a cheaper product, for example, and if that's the case, then they'll use that budget towards sales and marketing so that they're going to have a higher sales and marketing budget over your business. You're going to lose business. Or let's say it's not cost. Let's say, they create the experience that you described that you had with Delta. Like they have the ability now to send outbound text messages, to follow up and create that better customer experience. Customers are eventually going to leave because they're going to get a better experience through your competitor at the same cost. You know, the competitors paying the same amount as you are. So there's all of these little incentives to do it. And it's even if all of your competitors aren't migrating to the cloud and there isn't that, like I have to do it now because competitor XYZ is doing it.

Aarde Cosseboom (32:06):

You should be the bleeding or cutting edge company to force your competitors to scratch their head and go, wait a minute. What just happened? Like how, how is our competitor beating us? It's like, how can they have that much marketing spend? Oh, it's because they saved half a million dollars on their telephony bills because they have this new cloud based solution or like, how are they sending SMS, text messaging out? It's like, Oh, it's because you could spend them up so much faster with the cloud-based product versus having to like piece it together and, and use an on-prem system and procure the phone number and the short code, and then make sure it's regionalized to where you're sending the text messaging. So, speed and reducing of costs and all of those play a key factor. I do have a question for you though, and this goes back to, I wasn't going to let you off the hook on this one, but, you said you had a good experience, but you also had a bad experience, so I'd love to hear the bad customer experience that you've had, because those are always great learning examples and stories for us to learn from it as customer service professionals.

Alex McBratney (Host) (33:18):

I'll do the courtesy of not naming the company, but I will say that it is a major manufacturer of kitchen appliances, right? Refrigerators, ovens, stove tops. So this situation was with our oven and we have this double ovens great. my wife loves it, but first the glass breaks as we're doing the cleaning process, right? So a high heat is going through and all of a sudden the glass shatters from the inside pane of glass. And luckily it was still under warranty. They came out, they fixed it, it was fine. Then it must've been a month after the year manufacturer warranty, which is just bogus because to me it's too short. So after that first year, the motherboard on the screen that controls, everything goes out and just fries. And we tried calling the manufacturer, crickets, tried calling the company that sold us, you know, the retailer, nothing they can do, it's out of warranty.

Alex McBratney (Host) (34:17):

And, you know, we're kind of just we're stuck. So I was like, great, okay, shell out 400, $500 to get this thing fixed. And then like another little bit, a little bit after that, the bottom pane of glass broken. So we had to pay out of pocket for that, too. And to me, it's like, okay, you can stand hard on your process and your rules and your policies to say, okay, if this is a year, sorry. no good. But as a manufacturer, if you're gonna make a good product, you think that you'd want to last more than one year before things start to break. And that's where it's just doing what's right for the customer. Because now I've told this story dozens of times to friends and yourself included. And I'm sure like when you go to purchase your new kitchen appliances, like you're going to think twice before going to that brand because of our experience.

Alex McBratney (Host) (35:12):

But here we go on the flip side, talking all these great things about Zappos and what they're doing or Delta and what they're doing. And there's a number there. I don't know how you quantify it, but that referral business, that positive word of mouth business can just be really good or it could be really bad. And then yeah, in that case, it was terrible. And when he turned the oven off, the fan goes for probably 20 minutes and every time it finally goes off after we've cooked something and we're talking, I was like, Oh, it's so quiet here now because it's fan's not running. And this is a big name brand appliance company that you would never think that it would have this kind of issue. And yeah and that's my negative experience, but it's super frustrating.

Aarde Cosseboom (36:00):

Yeah, man, I can only sympathize. I'm just moving into a new house. You don't want the appliances to break. If the house is the skeleton of the household, the appliances are literally the organs, the heart and the soul. And I mean, most people on this podcast have probably experienced a blackout or a brownout. And depending on where you are in the world, but the power going out for 10 minutes feels like so foreign. Thankfully we have phones that have lights on the back of them, but what do you do with your life? The Internet's out. There's no power. You could do, if you have a gas stove, you could cook food, I guess, but there's nothing to do. The refrigerator's gonna go warm fast so you better start eating and drinking as much as you can unless, you know, it's going to come back.

Aarde Cosseboom (36:51):

So, just imagine that in your environment, your cooking appliance, the thing that you have to feed your kids are down and you don't know how far, how long it's going to be down for, and then you can't get it fixed. It's almost like you're having a heart attack and you're trying to call doctors and then they're like, Oh, we're sorry. Well, we can't help you because you don't have a warranty anymore. This is how my family eats food, so we need to figure it out. Right. What about communication? I know that you probably called them and emailed them escalated and all of that, could they have done something better? Communication-wise, if Zappos owned that company and they had the easiest way to get in contact with the right person, what would your preference be?

Alex McBratney (Host) (37:42):

This one, it was definitely an 800 number type of solution. But for me, I would want to be able to go to their website and just deal. You're working all day. Right? So we're in between conference calls. Sometimes we're just listening in on webinars or things that aren't as important. So you can just take care of some business while you're there. Like a chat bot would have been perfect. Give them the order number, give them the part number or whatever, and to have him dial it up right there and get, and get it fixed. Right. If it wasn't chat, not so much SMS, but just a simple IVR. Right. But a simple phone tree for the 800 number, or just to get a rep that gets on the phone sympathize, empathizes with you Oh man, that's horrible.

Alex McBratney (Host) (38:26):

I would be totally pissed if this happened to my oven. So those two channels to me are great. I tried the whole, tweeted out there where people will tweet, but I don't have enough influence. I don't have the blue little thing next to my name where you let it start trending. That didn't happen. So I tried that if next time, something breaks, I'm pretty much just going to buy a new one and just get rid of the brand. So I'll have a different brand oven and then a different brand stove top and fridge. At some point you just got thrown in the towel and get something new, right?

Aarde Cosseboom (38:57):

There's something to be said about just being able to call a number and talk to someone, even if they can't fix your problem, just to have them listen, because it's like a therapist, you get it off your chest, but you're getting off your chest to the company. So you feel like one, you were heard and it's going to be logged somewhere in a case or something. Someone has access to that data at some point in time. But two, it also prevents you from telling everyone on your podcast or, telling everyone around you, which affects that score that you mentioned earlier, it's actually called NPS or Net Promoter Score. If they just had a way for you to vent and feel like you got it off your chest, their net promoter score, or their like word of mouth they use this company, would probably improve. Even in the limited sphere of influence that you have, you have more sphere of influence than you think, because you might've told someone like me or like someone else who is a close friend and they might have a 30,000 followers and they might tweet something out that says like, Hey, I just heard from my buddy that he bought this and it was horrible experience, yada, yada, yada and that'll kill you, death by a million paper cuts.

Alex McBratney (Host) (40:13):

Exactly. And now, with just the way social media is today and you know, yeah. It gets out there and as a small business, Oh my gosh, it could destroy you. This one won't get destroyed by my little mishap, but it adds up. Right.

Aarde Cosseboom (40:30):

Yeah. And that's funny, it might not be your intent either, you might be frustrated, but you don't want to end a business or ruin their lives, you just want a better product. But the end result could be.. retribution. But, it's strange how this world is and how social media is and how from that communication platform, we are so polarized and things can escalate even beyond the original creator of the content’s control. When they post something and someone else might pick it up and it could go viral and you might retract it and say, no, no, no. I don't want this to reflect to X, Y, and Z, but it could be too late.

Alex McBratney (Host) (41:14):

You see this a lot with the airlines, right? Something happens. Some guy from behind the person in the seat behind us recording the whole thing. It gets out there and then it's out there. And it seems to kind of be the same culprits in a lot of times where we see these same things happen. Only if I have to take this airline, am I going to take this airline or for like extremely cheap, then you take that airline. Now this has been a great conversation already. And we're going to have more of these. This is our inaugural, you and me. We're going to bring some guests on and just dive deeper into these other channels. I mean, we basically just scratched the surface when it comes to contact center and really around customer experience and how the different channels can set up a business to thrive and to offer that experience and ultimately drive revenue. And we're looking forward to some of the other ones we're going to have as well.

Aarde Cosseboom (42:03):

Absolutely. Pleasure's all mine. And I feel like my expertise in call center and contact center, coupled with your expertise in voice and carriers and connectivity and all of that complexity, we've really covered a lot of bases, a little teaser for an upcoming couple of podcasts, we are going to be asking people who do know more than us. It's going to be great to have kind of a three person podcast or maybe four or five or six, where we're really just having a topic where literally you and I have no knowledge about it at all. And we're just educating ourselves and asking questions.

Alex McBratney (Host) (42:42):

Exactly. And it's all for the growth and for customer experience. So if you guys are out there, check out Aarde's book it's on Amazon Enable Better Service and we will catch up next time. And I appreciate the time Aarde. Love it.

Aarde Cosseboom (42:58):

Thanks so much. Thanks Alex. Thanks everyone.

Alex McBratney (Host) (43:00):

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.