The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

2. Business Relationship Quiz: How many of your contacts pass this test? w/ Zvi Band

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

With the right attitude, business relationships, instead of being a depreciating asset, could be transformed into compound interest that pays you over and over.

Getting your business in the right relationship mindset is the business of Zvi Band, CEO/Co-Founder at Contactually, a SaaS-based intelligent customer relationship management (CRM) platform for relationship-oriented industries that helps users develop and strengthen authentic, long-lasting relationships.


Band is also the author of the upcoming book Success Is in Your Sphere: Leverage the Power of Relationships to Achieve Your Business Goals (publishing April 5, 2019).

You're listening to the customer experience podcast, a podcast dedicated to helping today's growing businesses restore a personal human touch throughout the customer life cycle. Get ready to hear how sales, marketing and customers success experts surprise and delight and never lose sign of their customers humanity. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Hey, thank you so much for clicking play on this episode of the Customer Experience Podcast. I'm really glad you're here and I hope you enjoy it. I know I'm going to, because I'm being joined by V band, the CEO and founder of contactually, who's on a mission to empower business professionals to build authentic relationships. Zee, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thank you so much for having me even yeah, we so, we've known each other for a while. It's nice to be able to have a semi formal conversation here. What's going on with you and the can't actually team these days? Yeah, I guess, given this a record, I can't use the many car exploitives as we normally do when talking. Right. Hey, whatever happens. Yeah, I mean. So, listen, we have an incredible amount to be thankful for. I can actually it's now been seven and a half years of running the company. One of the bigger trends that we've been working on is, you know, we start off focusing more on selling to small businesses and now we've made this transition over the past couple of years to now we really can truly say we are enterprise software company. So it's it's been exciting and definitely very relevant to our conversation today. Cool and for folks that don't know, cant actually, what's a one line or two liner on what you're all about? Beside, absolutely build authentic relationships, which I love. Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, if you have our goal is that your we believe that the best businesses in the world are built upon personal and authentic relationships. What can tacks you provides is a crm platform that helps you manage and nurture those key relationships. So what we do is we act. We pull all your all of your relationships in for you and your organization. We help you identify the relationships that are starting to go cold when you want us stay in touch one on one and then be able to provide you, like, very strong tools that allow you to build a nurse that relationship, whether it's for repeat referral or new business, whatever you're trying to do. If relationships are your core asset, we are the tool that helps you strengthen that awesome and I'm sure we'll get into the asset that the relationship is. But before we go further, something I like to do to start is get a clear definition, because it's one of my motivations and starting this podcast at particulars. I think the term customer experience is tossed around a lot and I think he knows what it means, but she also know what it's. Knows what it means something different and they know something different. How, how do you think about or how do you even define customer experience? Yeah, really great question. So I kind of just generally say, like I pull up a lot.

Right is, you know, if a customers on one side and your company is on the other, the customer experience is just simply like everything in between. Right. It's what a customer sees right, how they feel, the website they view, the emails back and forth, the phone calls, you know, the underlying indicator area of the customer sentiment towards you right. So it's really obviously, if that's what's most important, is the customer experience, then obviously then you can back out and say, all right, will what does sales need to do to support that customer experience? What does customers success thing to do to support that experience? How do they work together to support that experience? So that's kind of what we think about. Is like, well, you know, from the moment someone first here's about us to you know, hopefully, the moment that they renew, Yo, year, three, year four, year five. What happens in between? Great. So how how are you structuring that? Like are do you just do create like cross functional, because we're in the middle of this too. Is like how do we do this well and it cross you know, you name several functional parts of the organization. Do you do need across those? I how do you how do you create continuity across that experience? Yeah, I mean I think the important thing is the start of the top and really figure out, like what do we care about, and then back it out from there. Right. So, for example, you know the primary and there many indicators that you can look at when it comes to you know, understanding. You know is the customer having a good experience. But for us, ultimately is is someone. Are you maintaining that customer relationship at the same or higher level than before, month and month out, year and year out? And so that's why, you know, net dollar attention or churn. You know, it's unsexy, but like that's truly what what gives us the indicator you have if the customers are giving us their hard earned dollar and trusting us that we're going to make that worthwhile, that's the best indicator. And so from there, you know, then you can back out and really understand, all right, how do the pieces fit together right? So, obviously, like from a sales perspective, you have sales is focused not just on trying to get that contract but to understand their understand the customer and understand their pain points be able to really say, Hey, is this going to be the type of customer relationship where we can really add value? And then, obviously we have cut our customer success team. They are focused on making sure that customers are happy and on boarded and trained and renew renewing on time. Well, obviously we don't want to be a bad customer experience. If they if they were start off like blank slate, you know, once the deal sign so yeah, like we make sure that there's a really strong handoff between sales and customer success. But for us it's really making sure we start at the top and always are asking ourselves, Hey, is this the best thing that will ensure that customers obviously not only sign on with us, but continue to work...

...with us to the point where they're actually like entrusting us with you and more their harder dollars. I love it so that the handoffs are critical and starting with a high level vision and view. And for you, again, it's around this authentic relationships. And so congratulations on scaling successfully contactually over the past several years, almost eight years now. I assume that that you're find in delivering this experience for your customers and will transition to how they use contactually to deliver experiences to their customers. But you obviously have to leverage technology. Would it for to produce scale for you in your team? What is the relationship between technology and the human in producing this experience? Like, how do you how do you balance that? How do you know, talk a lot, I mean like it's that's definitely a fair point. Right, you know, and I one of the things we are very thankful for. As your word, software company and people are paying for access to the software, right. But obviously, as you know, you know, it's not they're cut. They're not trying to WHO, you know, buy a, you know, a six millimeter drill bit, they're trying to have a six millimeter whole drilled, right, and so that's why the and customers tell us, you know, in testimonials, that fifty percent of the reason why they choose us as the software and the other fifty percent is the team that we provide, right. So, yeah, the way that we think about it is you can give someone a chef's knife, but that's not going to make them a great chef. You know. That's where the people side come in. Obviously, we make sure our people are armed with data so they fully understand everything going on with the customer, what the last conversations are. They can even look back and see like, all right, you know, when we were bringing them on board, what were the sales what were our salesperson's attractions, and see how and see how that worked out. Obviously we're able to leverage a lot of really great technology nowadays. To be where our customers are. You know, that means that if some people just want to talk on the phone, great, always happy to if some people, if a brokerage wants to do a Webinar with us, yes, obviously, always happy jump on a Webinar. If a individual consultant just has a quick question, yes, they could search our knowledge base, you know, they could email support or they can just click the little chat button and start a live chat session on our team. So technology for us, you know, doesn't necessarily replace the people side of our business. It just allows us to be much more effective and what we do great and in it also, as you said, they're gives your customers a choice on what their experience is and you'll meet them in any of those channels as they prefer. Yeah, exactly, and that's one of the things like we've had to just be more comfortable adapting. Like I wish we could like I wish I could say like all right, yeah, we just provide email support and that's it, but we've had to leverage a lot...

...of you, a lot of different channels to be able to again, you know, know that people have different styles. You know, we have customers that we visit on site, you know, once every quarter too. And then there are some people that you know they've worked with us for five years and you know we've never seen each other's faces, right, and that's okay. You know, obviously we can sometimes take advantage of scalable things, right. You know, with the tens of thousands of customers we have nowadays, we all we have to rely on more scalable things, but we're never afraid to, you know, answer the phone when someone calls. That's great. Now let's flip to your customers a little bit. You know, you kind of described to to general buckets of people in the beginning, like enterprise teams and kind of SMB in individual practitioners. How do you equip them and what kind of feedback or you're hearing on your role in their customer experience? You need speak to either or both sides. Yeah, it's great questions. So, y'all. So our business tends to focus on professional services. So we're talking about realtors, brokers, consultants, financial advisors, lawyers. The common thread for them is, given that they're often selling their high priced services, their reputation and relationships there are their most important asset. Their customer experience, frankly, is centered around us. That their most important thing isn't necessarily like you, they're not providing software really, they're providing actual services, and so that customer experience is critical. So they really rely on contactually to be the nexus of that, to be that hub of that, to help them identify which customer relationships they should be engaging with, which ones they're falling short on, because they have an engage with it within a period of time. And so they do really loverage us because you, when it comes to a customer experience like, for example, no, let's take let's picture a real estate agent. Unfortunately, like a very common thing when it comes to you. The customer experience between a agent and consumer is Yo agent does an amazing job of building that relationship initially and helping them, you, find their home and, you know, navigating the really tough, turbulent waters of, you of home closing, and that's why, according to the National Association realtors, eighty percent of buyers say they'd work with her age and again, on the flip side, though, well, the problem is is that, you know, out of sight, out of mind, a the average real real toward doesn't engage with them after the transaction. Right. So really strong customer experience initially, but then disappears because it fades over time. You just go about your marry ways and that's it. Focus on the next plans action and feel the focus on the relationship that you already established exactly right. And that's why, again, according to the National Association of Realtors, Eighty eight percent of buyers say they'd work with or age and again, but only twelve percent actually do...

...right. And we've seen the stats. Stats and other industries to that reflect the same thing. And so the way that we're able to help aid their customer experience is, frankly, just helping them even understand, oh, this is a relationship that I still care about. We provide the tools and tips to make make it as frictionals as possible for them to maintain that strong customer experience. And so for them, you know, the way that an agent or consultant or financial visors able to measure it is all right. Are My customers coming back to me? Are they referring me? If someone wasn't ready to ready to work with me six months ago, are they ready to now? That's the ultimate indicator to tell us, okay, we are doing a strong enough job helping them maintain that really strong experience that you know someone's willing to entrust them with this incredibly high priced service. Yeah, and so in that scenario it's really obvious that the relationship is an asset. It's really it's tricky whenever we talk about, you know, transaction versus relationship. What's the how do those two things relate to each other? You know, sometimes it's a couple questions here. One, what I'm transition to is, you know, you captured some of all of your best teachings and learnings over the past several years into a book. They'll be coming out the spring called successes in your sphere. I've read the advanced materials on it and you know you talk about relationships obviously the same way that you have a mission for your entire organization, that the relationship is key and that it's as an asset that you need to take care to value, treasure and leverage to produce additional business. One relationship is a little bit like customer experience and that it's one of those sometimes soft sounding words. So can you give a little bit of definition to make more clear for our listeners how you view relationships. And then also, you know, what are some tips for you know, if we have an inside sales professional or even inside sales manager listening or a market what are some tips from this playbook that you'll have coming out here on leveraging relationships? That would be valuable. Yeah, absolutely, it's a really good questions you ask. Kind of you how do we define like a relationship? Right, you know, add most people when they think about like their contacts, you know, they think of like I. I. You know, I have ethans email, I have his phone number, I have his head shot, I have his address. You know, I know his company entitle. Right, that's contacted. That's worthless these days. Right, I can get ethans contacted anywhere. Right. What matters, though, is the actual sentiment between us. Right, you know, like a little quick testing, and we like to say is all right, go through your linkedin contacts and you know, who do you learn twenty bucks to? or WHO, if you ask them, they learn twenty bucks to? Right, those are the relationships you have, right, I'm going. Yeah, so it's always pretty disturbing when you see like wow, really not that many, right, and that's the problem is that, you know, we know that relationships are so important, but our...

...world has been so focused on getting contacts and just getting people that we're not always necessarily sure. Well, who would refer me or who would I refer? Right, and so that's why this relationship, the actual sentiment, the fact that, you know, even you could drop being email and I wouldn't even have to ask questions about like, Oh, well, what's the podcast about or what's bombomb and why should I trust you? I was like no, of course, like I trust Ethan, so of course I'm getting on this right. So that's really important. So you a few you ask, second about your few key tips that you know we from the book. So, yeah, you're right. The book lays out a more prescriptive strategy. So if you know that relationships are your most important asset, the success in your fear gives you a clear idea of okay, well, what do I do to actually build and maintain and grow that asset? And so one of the things that we always say that we start off first is prioritize right. You know, I wish we could say that we love all of our customers equally. We love all of our children equally. But you do have to decide on what customer relationships are more important than another, right, just like the one of the tricks to inside sales is you want to be able to get to a know very quickly, right in their head and in yours. Right. And so you have to determine, hey, if I only have so much time on this earth, who are the people that I want to proactively build and maintain a relationship? Who am I going to follow up with? Who am I going to focus on? Who am I going to say, Hey, I'm going to let slip? So prioritization is important and that means that sometimes we may have to make a hard decision. You know, you may meet someone in a conference inside, Hey, I don't think I need to engage this person. Right, maybe send them an email thanking them. Maybe something happen, maybe keep in touch once a year, but they're not going to be high priority thing. Another aspect which is related is intelligence. Right, if you know what matters, for example, is you know that again, either you and I have a relationship now, right, and it's not just because you know I keep saying high. Do you a conferences? Right, it's that I know you're writing a book. It's that. I know you live in Colorado, I know you love hiking, I know you care a lot about the environment. Right, those are things that allow me to build and maintain a deeper relationship with you and vice versa. It's an excusable not to be able to quickly gain intelligence on a customer. Right when I say like, you know one of our customers, success reps can look up and see the conversations and this and the sales activities that happened three years ago with a particular you, with one of our particular customers. You know, that should be given these days, but still, that's why we always say, Hey, how do you build up this collective intelligence on your customer relationships? So prioritize and intelligence or two of the key things that we feel are universally applicable. Yeah, and that's you really got to to the...

...challenge of it is, how do I weigh the value of these these various relationships? Do you mind going before we before you wrap, with a couple closing questions? How do you it contactually and or how have you seen some of your customers prioritize? You know, I think one of the natural things is like, well, this account is worth, you know, one thousand eighteen hundred dollars, Mrr. And this account is worth six hundred bucks a year, and so that eighteen hundred, Mr Hars, for valuable in what are just add one, one more layer to that, either on behalf of contactually or for one of your customers. The obvious thing to do is what I just did. was like this could kin and is more financially valuable. But what are some other ways to think about it besides the obvious one? Maybe? Yeah, well, I mean I maybe a slight tweak on that. That we focus a lot more on is potential. So we very much one a key part of our sales strategy is we very much believe in land and expand. Your were oftentimes selling and markets where people aren't convinced that software like that will be successful. They had a lot of failed experience in the past. They're using excel spreadsheet. So we say, Hey, let's start small, right. So we may have, you know, companies that were working with that are two thousand users potentially, but we're going to start with ten. Now do we say, oh, that per you know, they only have ten seats. Therefore you know they're not really that worth it. No, we focus on the potential, right. We obviously look and saying, Hey, you, is this person strategically important to us? Right, is that like, does that matter a lot for us to write you? Are they well known in their industry? Are they you know and the key accounts? Are they on a top performers list? So people are really looking at them. So we also look, you out, not just at them from a dollar perspective but on a potential dollar and saying, Hey, is this someone that, if we prove our value, they will be much more impactful to us beyond the actual current customer relationship? Perfect. So future impact, I. or by expanding within an account or by producing completely different ones, for their relationship with their community at large. Exactly. Yeah, all right, so here bombomb just like it can to actually we value relationships. I'd give you a chance here to prop up two things. First, a person who's had a really positive impact on your career and then also give them men should do a company that's doing relationships or customer experience right in your opinion? Yeah, it's a really great question. So I probably say. You know, one of our first investors, a entrepreneur and founder by name of David Steinberg, based here here in DC. He took a really big leap to back US and stayed supportive, you know, even when we didn't know what we were right. That's one of things that is you again, going back to the relationship, right, he kind of knew me, you know,...

...he knew people who knew me, etc. I was able to build a relationship with him early on and when we were starting I didn't really have any idea what we're doing, or I did a really bad job pitching and at least, and you know, as as we made these kind of tweaks here and there, he still stayed supportive right, and so I think one of the most powerful things for an investor is not to look at, you know, the value of the company or their current company or the potential, but really look at the team behind it. He he really was able to able to do that incredibly well. In terms of companies that I think are doing a amazing job. In terms of software companies, I probably say they're there are a number of different services that we use that are great but, like I probably say, you know, for us it's you know, we're really big fans of slack right now, right, and I think that's because, you know, they took a really, really, really boring thing of enterprise communication and just added enough whimsy to it that it's fun to use, you know, and I think, Yo, that is important. And so again, when it comes to customer experience, right, I do think it does matter. Like it is their color scheme, it is like the labeling, labeling that they use. Level of fun it is that the rounded edges right, you know, I think someone could take slack and pull away that and, you know, you'd see it's a pretty basic service that, you know, has been obviously hard to achieve, but pretty basic that's been tried many times before. It's that they really understood, Hey, you know, what is that user experience that's going to get people loving it? And so we their number of kind of case studies that we've seen, you know, with slack. This like all right, yeah, they really clearly get it. That's a great answer. We all use slack every day too, but I won't see it the same way when I fired it up here as we shot this this conversation down. See, I want to thank you so much, a for a, for trusting needs enough to open the email and schedule this this time with me. Thanks for being just a great guy who is obviously paying attention when you ripped off those details about its like this guy really does care about relationships, and thanks for being a great longtime bombomb partner, to for incorporating our video recorder and Video Library as a way for people to reach out to their contacts through contactually. And finally, thanks for that twenty dollar loan. It's all the way awesome. Hey, he's the I hope you have a great weekend and I thank you so much for your time. Thanks so much for having even you're listening to the customer experience podcast. No matter your role in delivering value and serving customers, you're in trusting some of your most important and valuable messages to faceless digital communication. You can do better. rehumanize the experience by getting face to face through simple personal videos. Learn more and get started free at bomb bombcom. You've been listening to the customer...

...experience podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit bomb bombcom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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