All Posts By

Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré

Artificial Intelligence, Customer Experience, Customer Success, Customer Support, Emotion

Use Real Emotion with Artificial Intelligence for Positive Customer Experiences by @NikkiElizDemere

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Just yesterday my partner and I hit a snafu: Our bank had not paid our homeowners insurance, resulting in a panic-inducing email titled “your policy has expired.” Adulting in overdrive ensued.

The bank’s call center was a byzantine maze of pre-recorded messages, and it took three calls just to navigate it to the point of talking to a human being. Just when I was contemplating slamming my phone onto the pavement, I finally reached a person. A person who was clearly chagrined that I’d made it through the labyrinth undeterred. What a grump.

Not finding any help there, I then called my insurance company, which connected me directly to a person — a real, live person! — who cheerfully told me she’d contact my bank, sort out the mess, and call me back. And she did.

It was glorious.

This, friends, is why customer service, and in particular automation, has earned such a loathsome reputation.

Customers don’t want to be pitched from bot to bot, like projectiles in a pinball machine.

That doesn’t make us feel like valued customers. That doesn’t make us want to work with the company again, if we have any other choice. And forget about recommending the company to anyone else (at least, anyone we like).

But what if we could change that paradigm? What if we could create automation that was intelligent enough to give us the answers we need, and send us, quickly and efficiently, to the very best human agent capable of solving our problems?

This is the future I see as imminently possible, at least if we use automation intelligently to create more positive, relevant, and enjoyable user experiences.

Forget bots for a moment — let’s talk about people

For automation to be an integral, genuinely helpful, part of customer support (and customer success — we’ll get there), the customer support process needs to be grounded in a basic understanding of what humans need to be happy — and what customers need to be successful.

The first thing to know is: Every problem is emotional.

We tend to take people at their word. They tell us the problem; we logically try to fix it. But, whatever they say the problem is, and however logical the solution, there is always an emotional component. We’re human; emotions are part of everything we do.

When neuroscientist Antonio Damasio studied people who had sustained brain damage to areas of the brain that generate emotions, he found that the subjects were unable to make even the smallest of decisions. Their logic and reasoning abilities were fully functional, but if they were asked to choose between pasta and risotto for dinner, they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t feel one way or another.

The conclusion: Almost every decision is an emotional one.

What this means for customer service is huge:

If your customer service interaction produces positive emotions, you have the power to generate positive decisions.

Think: making sales, upsells, generating referral traffic — you basically turn customer service into a marketing, sales and retention engine.

All of that potential income is what’s at stake in every customer interaction.

Not sure emotion holds that much purchase power?

A study out of Missouri University of Science and Technology reported that “consumers’ emotional responses” while on e-commerce websites were predictive of purchases. It might seem obvious, but they essentially proved that we buy from stores we enjoy. And there’s no better place to create a joyful experience than customer service.

Positive experience is the start of a positive association, which builds upon itself over time. One transaction or interchange turns into a relationship. Zappos, Wistia, and MailChimp are three companies that have a business approach which accentuates the positive, and, as a result, their customers are both passionate and loyal.” — Walter Chen, co-founder of iDoneThis, for Kissmetrics

Eliminate Pain Points

So how do you create positive emotional experiences? First of all, don’t add to the customer’s pain by forcing them to run the gauntlet of automated options they neither need nor want.

Pain is emotional, and reducing the pain your customers feel will go a long way towards creating a positive experience. Just think how happy I was to find a HUMAN BEING on my first try with my insurance company!

The worst pain is caused by a-thousand-cuts annoyances, and when you can relieve those small irritations, the customer’s experience will be more positive — and studies show those positive experiences are directly linked to customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Read more on Medium


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Photo Friday

Photo Friday: 4/21/17

Taking Instagram photos is my hobby. In this series, I post a few photos on Friday that I recently took.


 



Follow me on Instagram for more of my work.

Customer Success, Product Management

How to Get Product Managers Excited to Work with Customer Success by @NikkiElizDemere

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

A Customer Success team is only as good as its information. After all, if they waited until the customers told them what’s wrong — they’d be Customer Service. In order to take a proactive role in helping customers achieve their desired outcomes, Customer Success has to know:

  • Their customers — what they want, what they need, and how to bridge the gap between what your product does and this desired outcome.
  • The onboarding process — where new customers tend to get stuck, where they drop out, and what can help them get over those hurdles instead of churning.
  • Usage — how well is the product working for the customers? Where they stop using it. What they’re hoping to find — and don’t.
  • Growth opportunities — when the customer will benefit from using more of the product, or an additional feature. Basically, when it would serve their interests to upgrade.

Customer Success is Who covers the What, Where, How and When — but my question is:

Why aren’t other departments clamoring at their door for these insights too?

These are insights that can benefit the entire company, reducing churn, raising revenue, and giving the business every piece of information it needs to become an integral part of its customers’ lives.

But, most of us come from a tradition of strict departments. You do your thing; I’ll do mine. Which, along with a combination of territorialism and downright inefficiency, leads to data silos.

These are MY numbers and nobody else can have’m!

And I’m sure some companies have good reasons for keeping everything compartmentalized — but when you have a Customer Success department which, naturally and necessarily, has its finger in every pie, it’s absurd not to use them as the resource they are.

But I’m preaching to the choir.

Most of you reading this are Customer Success. So you don’t need me to tell you how important your insights are or how much good they could do.

You need a way to get your insights heard.

Because you can’t give your customers what they need by yourself.

You need Product Dev.

This is about how to form that partnership in such a way that Product Managers become more interested in what’s going on with the customer and want to get involved — instead of staying one step removed.

Read More on Success Hacker


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

E-Commerce Value Proposition – How to Stand Out ft. @CopyHackers, @aschottmuller, @TaliaGw, & @shanelle_mullin

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

E-commerce value proposition is more or less the same as any value proposition. I guarantee that you’ve seen and read far more value propositions than you’re aware of – because they’re everywhere. They’re on home pages and landing pages. They’re on Facebook ads and sales pages. They’re on freeway billboards and curbside restaurant menus.

“Eat at Joe’s – Home of the Foot-long Corndog”

And they pop up in the most unexpected places.

When the voluptuous Italian movie star Sophia Loren said the Hotel Ritz Paris was “the most romantic hotel in the world,” that was a value proposition.

But, for how prolific value propositions are, confusion surrounds them. You’ll find a number of variations on this 4-point list of what a value proposition does.

A value proposition:

  1. Defines who your customer is
  2. States what your product does
  3. Establishes why you’re unique
  4. Shows the end benefit

Sophia Loren’s “The most romantic hotel in the world” statement does all of these things. The Hotel Ritz Paris is for lovers; they will find romance there; more romance than anywhere else in the world. Place that sentence next to a photo featuring Sophia’s generous endowments – and you have your benefits. *Photos are used in value propositions a lot, either as supporting players or integral parts.

Value propositions look deceptively simple, don’t they? But they are one of the most important statements you’ll ever make for your e-commerce products. They require thought, consideration, substantial research, and ongoing testing. Furthermore, they’re worth the effort.

When they work, value propositions make the difference between getting the sale – and boosting your bounce rate.

Read More on Objeqt


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Customer Success

Why Setting Expectations is a Customer Success Must ft. @Wootric

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Most customer success articles you’ll read talk about helping customers reach their ideal outcomes – ideal outcomes are the most important thing, the very job description of customer success. But there’s another job that comes before ideal outcomes, one which, if done poorly, will result in churn even if ideal outcomes are achieved.

Setting expectations.

Let’s begin with a cautionary tale – a true story – of a SaaS app that failed to set expectations that matched what the app did.

It’s a fitness app which shall remain nameless, but it’s much like its primary competitor, MyFitnessPal. Unlike MyFitnessPal, it offered a sleek, integrated user interface that seamlessly brought together exercise tracking via pedometer and nutrition tracking, but it also offered something more: A personal fitness coach. (I should also mention that this particular fitness app is one of the most expensive currently on the market – but for such personal attention? Totally worth it.)

Except.

While on the website copy and in the app itself, this company promised a customized approach to getting fit, complete with a personal wellness coach who would be accessible via private chat to offer encouragement at times of crisis and temptation, it didn’t deliver as described.

Within a few days, it became apparent that the “personal coach” is really only accessible via group chat. In fact, if you try to contact the coach via the in-app private chat box (which even has the coach’s picture on it), the coach will never actually see your message – you’ll get an automated reply from a bot.

When all of this was revealed – in the group chat room – every participant was taken aback, and several initiated their free trial cancellations within days.

Even though they liked the app.

Even though they were already seeing the results they’d hoped for.

Yes, even when customers were achieving their ideal outcomes, because of the mismatch between their expectations and the services delivered, they left.

But not before sending feedback – which went unanswered.

It was a customer success failure of a magnitude we don’t, frankly, see very often. And it’s almost painful when you realize that nearly all of their churn was completely, 100% avoidable.

If only they had matched customer expectations to what they were actually prepared to deliver.

What it felt like was a bait and switch.

Read More on Wootric


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce

30 Psychological CRO Tests to Run on Your E-Commerce Site ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Conversion rate optimization is all about psychology. But where psychologists are trying to figure out why people do what they do, the Conversion Rate Optimizer’s challenge is to know what stimuli will get people to take the action you want them to take. In this post we list 30 psychological CRO tests to run on your e-commerce site.

It’s not about being manipulative. That’s the dark side.

Noooo! I won’t! Even though that cookie is a really good incentive that preys upon my desire for immediate gratification (we’ll get to that later).

On the side of good: This is about showing people what they want and giving them every reason and every chance to get it. You might say it’s about helping people to achieve their goals – as much as it is about achieving yours.

The CRO also has tools and tests to know, beyond a Rorschach ink blot of a doubt, whether the psychological trigger s/he’s employed works… or doesn’t.

This is where we bring psychology and testing together, so you can try these already-proven, scientifically based psychological action triggers and see how they work on your very own e-commerce website.

For each trigger, we’ll include ideas for how to use it on your website – in your product pages, landing pages, or CTA buttons. From there, it’s up to you to A/B test these suggestions against what you currently have.

Read More on Objeqt


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Customer Success, Metrics

Why Customer Success Metrics are Critical to Every Department ft. @UseNotion

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Customer Success is, when done right, pro-active. Customer success managers are constantly on the lookout (often with the help of auto-notifications set to deploy when customers show signs of trouble) for what customers need now, and what customers need next. But the quantitative and qualitative data Customer Success Managers use to feel the pulse of the customer base isn’t just useful for their department. It’s useful for every department. Critical even.

How can customer success help colleagues in other departments?

Data Driven + Customer Centric Product Management

Customer Success data typically includes real-time visibility into customers’ health (calculated with a combo of usage data and contextual data). So CSMs know what customers are using most, and are the first to know when a feature is leading to confusion and frustration. That information alone can direct the priorities of Product Managers when they’re creating their product roadmaps, but perhaps the most useful piece of information is this: Customer Success also knows what customers will need next.

For example, if Customer Success sees that customers are doing really well with the product, but could use an expansion or new feature to reach the next level, that information is crucial to data driven product teams (and to the growth of the company). Customer Success teams can implement a system of tagging that allows them to mark similar needs and wants in each customer record. If you’ve got the right metrics tracking tools in place, your team can then regularly deliver this data to product, telling them how many customers are requesting or needing new features and how those needs have changed over time.

For example, if you’re using Intercom for customer engagement, you can create segments based on users that have been tagged by requesting a certain feature. You could deliver that raw data to product, or you can use a tool like Notion that tracks trends in those requests over time, giving product a deeper understanding of the urgency of the need and the ability to do further research into which types of customers are making those requests. The end result is a product team with a richer and more nuanced understanding of the needs of their customers and the ability to craft a more customer centric product roadmap in the long term. Learn more about that communication strategy with Notion’s recent post: How Customer Success Can Deliver Data Driven Customer Insight.

Read More on Notion


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Conversion Rate Optimization, E-Commerce, Emotion

Colors & Conversions in E-Commerce Design ft. @ObjeqtEcomm

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

The psychology of color is a subject of strong disagreement in marketing. We know we need it, and we’d like there to be a list of rules to follow that remain the same in all instances – but there isn’t. Color preference, associations, and color cause and effect, vary widely between individuals and cultures.

So, what we’re left with is what we’ve always been left with

We have to design based on close research of our target audience – and that goes for colors too.

That’s not to say that there aren’t valuable guidelines for color selection that are grounded in science – there are (and they’re outlined below).

Here is what we know, what we think, and what has been proven to work when it comes to color and conversion in e-commerce design.

Read More on Objeqt


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Customer Support

Customer Service Psychology 101 – 6 Powerful Principles

In a perfect world, everyone in a customer-facing position would take Psychology 101 – because, as every customer service professional knows, people are complicated.

Some are moody, some are grumpy, some are mad, some are absolutely lovely and brighten your day. And whatever emotional cornucopia these patrons come in with, you can bet that something completely outside of your control is the cause. Once they’re on the phone (or in the chat box) though, your goal is to turn every frown upside-down to create delightful experiences, no matter how the conversation began.

Did I say take a class in Psychology? You might need a doctorate!

Kidding.

There’s a secret to making this happen.

If you can understand the underlying essential needs of your customers, you can deliver outstanding experiences almost every time.

But first, you have to understand where your customers are coming from.

Read More on UserLike


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Photo Friday

Photo Friday: 3/24/17

Taking Instagram photos is my hobby. In this series, I post a few photos on Friday that I recently took.




Follow me on Instagram for more of my work.