Episode #4: Love Your Customers and They’ll Love You Back

Grad Conn

November 14, 202010 min read

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Part 3 of our Listen, Learn, Love trilogy. Listening to your customers is great. And learning from those insights is even better. But in order to show your customers you really love them, you need to take action on what you’ve learned. It’s a fundamental shift in how companies engage with their customers, but it’s a shift that will pay huge dividends.

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Alright everybody, today we are talking about love. No, not that kind of love, we’re talking about loving your customers. That’s right. “Love your customers” is actually a selling line for Sprinklr. I’m going to talk a lot about how love fits into the entire idea of Listen, Learn and Love, which is what we’ve been talking about for the last couple of podcasts.

So, let me just quickly recap.

Listen: people are talking about you, about your brand, about your company, all over the place. On review sites, on forums, on blogs, on social platforms, and trying to hit you with messages. These are all channels that have been invented or perfected in the 21st century. We call them modern channels. You’ve got to listen to everything. You’ve got to pull it all in. All of it. And it’s billions of conversations.

That leads to Learn. Because when you’re processing that much information, the only way to do it is with AI. Sprinklr has got the world’s most sophisticated AI platform, and we lead in this space. So we help you make sense of the millions of conversations about you and take action on it, and create different types of visualizations and data structures that allow you to understand what’s happening and act on it.

And that kind of takes us to Love. So, the thing I find surprising, about the way a lot of companies look at modern channels, is I think they still bring a very 20th century mindset to it. By that I mean, they’re looking at them as research. If you think about the 20th century, it was pretty crude from about mid 60s onward, once we migrated to TV. It was reasonably sophisticated in the print age. They had a lot of coupons, they could do split runs, they had codes on the coupons, they knew which headlines were drawing better. It was reasonably scientific. Look at people like John Caples, Claude Hopkins, you know, Albert Lasker. They’re masters of the craft, and really understood how to bring a scientific bent to advertising. And still, some of the best books written on advertising are written by those folks.

But TV came along, and we lost touch with the customer and the audience. It was essentially anonymous advertisers talking to anonymous customers. So proxies got invented. Proxies were things like focus groups, PEAC tests, if you remember that… P-E-A-C tests. PEAC test people would sit with a device in their hand and indicate happiness with the ad they were watching on a second-by-second basis by pressing up and down. You could see where the ad would wane or where it would delight. And there are many others. That became a pretty sophisticated business and a pretty expensive business. Because people really want to know what people thought of this stuff, just there was no way to really do it. But it was really a sampling, right? You’re obviously not hearing what everybody thinks about your ad. Because you’re exposing it to millions or 10s of millions, or in some cases, hundreds of millions of people, you’re getting a very small group of people that you hope is representative to give you their opinions. And based on those opinions, you make decisions. And a lot of people still think focus groups are the work of the devil because you know, they’re so incredibly biased. The kind of person willing to even come out to do something like that massively biases it. They’re influenced by each other in the room. Focus groups can be very misleading. The kind of groupthink that occurs… every single sort of bad behavior that human groups exhibit occurs in focus groups. And then from that, apparently, we’re making decisions on how to do advertising to influence people. Most great ad ideas would probably not have survived the focus group process.

So, we come to the 21st century. Now we actually have the written word, the actual opinion of millions of people. And still companies are saying, hey, let me see a report of what people think rolled up. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

If someone says I’m sad, about something your product did, or I’m having trouble, or I’m happy, I love what you did for me, why wouldn’t you respond to that person and either solve their problem, make them happy or amplify their happiness and have them become an ambassador for your brand?

You don’t need to do a research report. What you need to do is you need to take action on what people are saying about you. Take action. You’ve got to love your customer.

Now, this does represent a pretty fundamental shift in the way that companies are organized. Most companies are organized around fairly tiny marketing departments that are essentially broadcasting to a very large number of people. And that’s worked reasonably well for, you know, the last 50 to 60 years. What we’re talking about now is a situation where you really need to engage almost everyone in the company in customer engagement, delight, and happiness. You’ve got to turn everybody in the company into a frontline worker. And there’s a lot of people in your company, you know, even the smallest companies have got thousands of employees. So how do you do that?

That’s really challenging, because the big part of that challenge is that while there may be thousands of people in the company, they’re not in one department. They’re in multiple departments. And typically, we’ve tended to have a variety of databases, and a variety of looks for the customer in all those different departments. So, what a few super smart and very interesting companies are doing, is they’re moving forward with a CXM database, customer experience management database. And they’re pulling all the customer information into that single view. And that single 360 degree view of the customer enables all departments in the company to collaborate around a single customer profile.

So now if care is talking to me, they know what I bought. And if marketing is talking to me, they know what I’ve complained about. And if I’m complaining about something, marketing knows not to advertise that thing to me, because you know, I’m having a bad experience with it right now, please don’t try to sell it to me, which is like an incredibly common problem. And this idea of being able to bring everything together is a very significant silo-busting notion and does require significant digital transformation and significant leadership, but people are doing it.

We have many customers at Sprinklr with thousands and thousands of licenses as they employ more and more of their team to become frontline workers, in addition to their job and think about it as a unified front office across the whole organization. At Sprinklr, for example, the way that we run our chat function is that we can schedule and route chats to any group we want in the company. So, for example, my marketing team takes a shift. An hour a week, or an hour, a day or an hour, every few days, or whatever, people sign up for… shifts, and then start talking to customers. They’re not strictly speaking customer service reps. But they work in the company, they can solve problems. And you know what, it’s actually really fun talking to real people, talking to real customers and solving real problems. But in order to be able to do that correctly, you’ve got to have that single database. You’ve also got to have a really complete and unified content platform, and knowledge base, so that people can access the same information. And we’re doing all that from within Sprinklr. It’s pretty amazing.

I do think this idea of CXM as this single way of looking at all the information about a person is pretty compelling. There’s a great analogy. Our founder, Roger Thomas came up with this, and I love it for its sake of simplicity. He says, you know, there’s two kinds of information. And imagine if you will, a gorgeous seaside, Hampton home maybe, and it’s got a beautiful infinity pool, right there, looking out onto the ocean.

If you look at that infinity pool, it’s gorgeous. It’s manicured, cleaned every day, it’s got a perfect pH balance. It’s got a little bit of tiny waterfall off to the side, it’s fully controlled, temperature’s at exactly the right temperature, the water heater operates the same way all year long. Perfect, controlled environment. That is kind of like the CRM data that most people have in their companies — relatively small amount of stuff, but highly controlled.

If you look out there, though, there’s an ocean. Ocean’s are very exciting, lots of cool stuff in the ocean. But, you know, it’s not controlled, it’s, it’s full of all sorts of different things. You need special kinds of equipment to go out there safely and come back. But the ocean has a tremendous amount of variety in it. That’s CXM data. That’s all these unsolicited unstructured comments that people are making out there. And the way to actually pull these things together is you’ve got to figure out how to pull the stuff out of the ocean to make sense of it. You got to be able to combine it with the stuff you have in the pool, so that you’re pulling all your transactional data together. And if you can do that you end up with a very complete profile of the person.

And it’s only really when you know someone deeply Can you really love them. If you think about your own relationships, it’s really hard, if you don’t know somebody, to love them. You may have a crush on them, but you don’t really love them. Love comes from deep intimacy and real intimacy is about knowing someone’s fears and desires and loves and likes and defeats and victories and embarrassments. And the more you learn those things about someone, the more thoughtful you are about how you talk to them, and the more caring you can be about the experiences they’ve been through. And that’s exactly the same thing for customers, you get to know them very well. You’ve got to know them intimately, in order to be able to love them properly, and make them love you back.

And we’ll talk more about love as we go through this podcast. It’s a pretty big theme. But that completes our founding trilogy on Listen, Learn and Love. This has been the CXM Experience. I’m Grad Conn and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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