The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

81. 4 Truths for Customer Experience as the Backbone of Your Business w/ Aaron Weiche


During COVID-19, businesses need to recognize that hearing from and listening to customers has never been more important. Your customers need to feel safe if you’re reopening. 


To make customer experience the core of your business, you need to focus on the 4 truths of CX: it should be 1) differentiated, 2) easy, 3) visible, and 4) authentic.


In this episode, I interview Aaron Weiche, CEO at GatherUp and host of the Saas Venture Podcast, about the 4 truths and how to apply them tactically.


What we talked about:


- Why listening to the customer should be a core part of your business


- Prospective customers’ focus on reviews and need to hear from current customers


- Data collection without lowering customer friction is not the win you think it is


- Psychologically, a 4.78 is more attractive than a 5.0 review


- 3 tactical spaces you should provide opportunity for customer feedback


Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

Combining, you know, inmoment, paths of and then proactive, and you're doing the rech out. There's really a great tactical way to ensure your reaching the majority of your customers and letting them know we care to listen. The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Customer experience is manifest as feelings, then thoughts, then stories. Those stories are often expressed as online reviews and other digital expressions that are benefits or detriments to your online reputation. Today's guest brings to us for truths about customer experience as the backbone of Your Business. He spent the past dozen years in VP and C level roles in marketing and technology firms and currently serves as CEO of gather up, a customer experience and online review engine that enables insights and Powers Marketing and converts customers. He also hosts the SAS venture podcast. Aaron Wike, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thanks you than for having me. Yeah, I'm really excited about this conversation and I love the for true state that we kind of generated in a back and forth before hitting record and having this conversation. But before we get into it properly, you know, it's Midmay. Ye're in Minneapolis, I'm in Colorado. I'm just wondering, you know, what's the state of affairs with regard to the pandemic? How is it affecting you or your family or your team members or your customers? kind of what's going on from your perspective? All right, well, try to be succinct and not, you know, our entire time on that, but you know, one personally, I'm enjoying I've for kids. I'm enjoying more time with them. You know, activity, sports, all those things have come to a halt. So I feel like it's a lot more like my childhood and getting to spend a lot more quality time instead of running around. As a business gather up has always been a distributed company with all of our team remote, so not a hard adjustment for us by any means. They're I usually work out of a small office where I live, but now I'm, you know, working from home. So hopefully during our interview today one of my four kids doesn't pop in. They've been pretty good about that. But you know, mentally, I think the really big mind shift is for the last fifteen years of my career it's always been growth mode, no matter, you know, what business I've been leading or starting or running, and this is really the first time where it's been kind of a circle the wagons and figure out, you know, how do we sustain and survived while still trying to find those little opportunities. And lastly, Minnesota's a state I I feel like we're probably edging more in like the lower third as being cautious. Our state is very healthcare minded when you have, you know, the Mayo Clinic here and things like that. So I kind of feel like as other states just right now are just starting to reopen, we're doing that a little bit, but I think we'll be closely watching what goes on everywhere else before we make any big moves as far as reopening businesses in the economy. Cool. Thank you for sharing that and the that's been as consistent silver lying and I'm experiencing the same thing. I only have one child, a teenage son, but you know, even if it's just two or three minutes as I'm in between meetings or, you know, going out to you know, fill up the the tea or something like that, you know, it's just more time with family. I think is something that a lot of people are really enjoying and I hope some of those kind of habits that were reforming stick with US whenever we're on the other side. So thank you again for that. So we'll start here where we always start, which is your definition, thoughts characteristics. When I say customer experience, what does that mean? Do you Aaron? Yeah, to me, you know, customer experience was really all about, like how do you guide, influence and impact your customers emotions... in their journey with you? Awesome. How about online reputation? I know this, that one's kind of like taken for granted, but from your I mean it's what you all do. So I thought you might be able to define that in a way that might be really helpful. Yeah, the easiest way I describe it when I'm talking to people is when you think back a decade or two ago, the brand. You controlled your reputation and your voice by your billboards, your TV ads, what you put out there. But the evolution of the Internet has provided that same strong voice to every last consumer that's out there. So there is easier ways to share your opinion, post it and have it last forever and be very visible on Google, facebook, twitter, various industry sites and things like that. So online reputation is really how your business is reflected through the eyes of your customers as they tell your stories and microformats, through star ratings, thumbs up, thumbs down, recommend yes, recommend no, and the details they talk about in what their customer experience and their journey was like when they interacted with your business. Yeah, it is very, very interesting. I think we're pretty deep into this at this point. I think we're now into like nuanced behavior. With regard to just what came to mind there. When you say stars it, I immediately my mind goes to Amazon, and so you know I generally will just keep scrolling if I see something that has like three reviews, because you know I want some volume there, I want some truth, I want some belief. It's even even those kinds of minor behaviors are just adaptations to to what you just observe there, and so I'm sure this will come up in the course of our conversation. But you know, what we're talking about here is the is the very, very earliest start of the customer experience and of the buying journey, and I think a lot of what you're going to share is going to be helpful for folks who want to want to start their relationships off in better places. But, you know, before we get into the four truths, for folks who aren't familiar, could you share a little bit about gather up, like who is your ideal customer and what do you solve for them? Yeah, so our ideal customer gather up or while we start with exactly? I guess what we do, what we aim to do, is help create a win win situation for the business and the customer. Primarily for the business. It's giving them a tool set to be able to engage their customers post experience, post transaction, and allow them to capture some really valuable and simple customer experience data points to understand how did we do with this customer? So we capture things like net promoter score, how likely are they to refer that business to a friend or a colleague with all them to ask a feuse, you know, small specific survey questions around customer service. Did they get the value? Was the timing and communication great, things like that, and then we help make it easy for that customer to then go and write a review for that business. So it's a pretty seamless process. We always call it a the best two minute post convert or post sale conversation and we want it to be in and out like a robbery, so nice and quick and easy and allows them to understand like, did we do a great job? Will this customer be out singing our praises or will they tell people that we fell short and they should consider someone else when someone asked them for a referral? That's out there. So making that whole process of listening to your customer easy. And then what's special about us is we just understand how much that needs to translate into the online world. So not only the company hearing this and knowing this for their internal decisions, but then how do we take this outward so that people can read these reviews on Google and on facebook and on their own websites as well. So we have a number of tools that help make it easy for those reviews to be written and then publish them to their own website and social platforms. Sounds like you're solving a very interesting and valuable problem, of course, because so much of that activity can be very disparate. I'm just thinking about some of the feedback that we collect from our customers. Sometimes marketing is going out to try to, you know, drive...

...up reviews in a particular location. Do you find that the best thing for companies to find one or two spots where the online reviews matter the most, or can you syndicate reviews across multiple destinations? How do you think about that? I think I'm what I'm thinking about here is my our own customer base, which is very, very diverse, and so some people really want the reviews over here, some people really want to build up a review rating over there. You know, GTWO is a place, for example, where our SASS customers really want to be. Zillo or Google is where some of our maybe real estate or mortgage customers want their reviews to wrack up. Like what do you advise around locations for reviews? Yeah, so the first thing I tell people that take a stair step approach to this. At the very bottom of the stairs, the first thing you need to capture is like actually have customer feedback and reviews as like a core part of your business, right like not just a marketing tactic, not just a marketing agenda of we want thirteen more google reviews this month, but is listening to our customer a core part of our business? Then that second step is, do we have the right tools so that we're understanding what they think? Because really, at the end of the day, if you don't know what that customer thinks, it doesn't matter where they post it, someone is going to get access to it, whether it's in person, conversation, a message board or review site. And then that next step that that you're talking about and asking specifically is, yes, where your prospects going to be? Right? So you need to take a look at what happens when someone types in, you know best plumber in this city, or you know whatever your service is in in this area that they're looking for, and then even consider, more so nowadays, once people, even if they've been like referred to you in an in person situation, their next step is to go look up your business online and what we see with a lot of behaviors people typing a brand name and then the word reviews after it into their Google search. They're going to skip any of your content and they want to go strictly to what's the public opinion? What are other consumers saying about this business? And when those search results come up, pay close attention to what's on that page right Google reviews. It might be your facebook profile, could be your yellow pages listing, but whatever is on that page one, that's a really quick, you know, temperature on what your reputation is, and those are the sources that are going to be right in front of your prospects. Great Tips. I'm glad I ask that. Let's go. I'm calling them for truth. They're just you know, there's there's statements that we developed in a in an early exchange, and and I do accept them. Is True. So I'll just I'll just read the first one off and then let's kind of get your take on only talked about it. So the first is is something that is definitely a truth that we have established here on the show by talking with all kinds of people in all kinds of seats, and that is that customer experience is where you compete. That is your differentiator, that your brand in your reputation are the mote against competition. So talk a little bit about that dynamic from your perspective. Yeah, the easy way I always frame this up for people to understand it is like, no matter what you're competing in nowadays, like it's an Amazon economy, right, the options that you have to get products or services cheaper, faster in various ways has been commoditized so greatly, but your brand and reputation is really your true separator. What are your fans out there saying about you, and does that make a difference to the prospect coming in that they might be willing to pay a little bit more because of how you deliver it or overlook some other things based on location, amount of time you've been in business, you know, any of those other things, because of what your reputation looks like with it. So I tell people in that like in this big differentiating deciding factor, you really need to shine here, right. You need to be telling your customer experience story as loud in as many places as you can. You need to ensure it's a great customer experience story. So capturing it, managing it and then finding finding the right, right ways to market with it. We can go on and on through all kinds of industries that thought they were so bulletproof, from the cab industry to mattresses, things like that,...

...that never thought their industry would see a disruption. Or people could just, you know, few clicks on a website and be getting that product delivered to their house. But for you know, location based businesses, now that's that's a very real one of their biggest competitors is anything that's online with it. So that reputation, how you deliver your service, what people that you trust in your community think about that service, those are very important things in making a decision to purchase from a company. Absolutely I had the language I've picked up around it is product parity and hyper competition. In the result of those things, as you already offered here, is commoditization. And so you know a lot of these businesses where you know even even ten, even five years ago, you wouldn't think about some of these businesses is being commoditized. And so, yeah, it's these it's the experience that we're able to deliver and then the thoughts and feelings and stories that people are left with as a consequence and and, of course, your ability to capture and control the good ones. I in looking at your website that was reminded of a really important idea, which is, if something's going bad, you want to be the first place a customer goes, and when something's going good, of course you want to amplify and document and amplify that. And so really, really important because, as you said, your mote is your reputation. Number two is and this, this is just it. I accept this one intuitively and I'm curious what you have to share on it. Is is that customer experienced day to capture must be easy, and I think this goes with some of the ear marks of an Amazon type experience, which is frictionless, which is easy. I mean there's just just so easy to buy like by now done talk about, of course why the debt data capture must be easy, but also maybe it's some ways to do it. Yeah, so the most straightforward example I give is you know, any time you pop in, you've you've had an experience, you've done business with a brand. Survey shows up via email or via text. You Open it and then there's either a progress bar or a numbering system and you see it's going to be twenty, thirty, forty questions right like the level of completing that goes way down. And even if you like decide I'm going to go through with this, at the end of it you might have a worse opinion of the brand because they just ate up time in your day and time is our biggest commodity right. So I think a lot of businesses really need to understand and decide that, yes, are marketing in our operations department once incredibly granular information and we want it in mass, but asking our customers that many questions is only going to fatigue them. We're not going to get as many results. We need to be hearing from as many customers as possible and really the best thing is is you know these are customer touch points, right, and if you're not delighting them with a customer touch point, that makes them feel more like wow, this was easy. I could easily be heard. I can do it from my own device and it took me sixty seconds to tell them about my last experience, which will ensure my next one is great. Or I had a way to be heard that something wasn't exactly right and they can reach back out to me to fix it. Like the consumer should get a win out of it, and I just think that's something really important where, yeah, it's great if your data collection gets a win, but if it's at the expense of frustrating your customer, causing them friction and taking time from them, then it's not really quite the wind that you think it is. Yeah, I like that win win approach and I think probably what happens if you make it even just a little bit too cumbersome, is that you're going to get the extremes, you're going to get your super fans, and that's always nice. It makes you feel good at re minds, reminds you why you show up and you know, push to the hard stuff day to day. And you're probably going to hear from the people who who are really, really angry or confused or frustrated, because there's feelings on both ends are so strong that they're willing maybe to jump over the the hurdle that you put in their way. And what you're going to be missing, I would guess, is possibly the most important voice of...

...all, because you're going to probably hear the loudest ones, good and bad regardless. But you're going to be missing that person that's kind of just under the radar on an NPS scale. It's that it's that six or seven that could be potentially brought up to a nine or a ten, but could just as easily disappear and fall off and or they're just not going to repeat purchase and you're never going to know where they went, or they're not going to renew their subscription. You're just not really going to know where they went. This this big silent I don't know if it's a silent majority. I'm sure it depends on the business in the nature of what you're doing and how well you do it, but I would guess at what you're going to lose if you make it to cumbersome is that person that just doesn't care enough about you to bother. Yeah, well, you know, tactically, these are the some of the things that I tell people they need to do. Is One, if that customer goes looking to talk to you, it should be very apparent right when they come into your website. Right. We've all is consumers, had experiences where, ten clicks later, we're still not somewhere where we feel like we can give our opinion or and talk to someone. So number one, I tell people like your website should have a link, a button, something that says, you know, customer feedback, talk to us, something along those lines. All of our websites have ten different ways to buy from us, right lead forms, pop ups, all these other things, but we employ none of that to actually listen to the customers we've already won that we want to keep an ensure keep coming back. Then after that is just looking at like really easy ways. Like one feature we have is each business will have a text number. So you just text a keyword to that number. The system model responds and says Great, let us ask you a few questions on what your experience was like us today. So the consumer, they're just seeing a sign, it's on their receipt. Something easy, but they're able to do it in real time. They could be in your business and still, you know, frustrated, but now they have a way to talk to you, where a lot of people don't like conflict, so being able to do it from their own device, behind their own keyboard as definitely easy. And then the last is just being proactive. Right and we see more and more of this in the market now. We're after a purchase. Within hours or days you're going to get an email or text message that says, really easy way to do it and it's only going to take you a minute to do it. But those are the smart, tactical ways and you need all of them kind of working together. You need something in the moment. You need something passive when they go looking for it, because, let's face it, if it's easier for me to go complain on Google or Yelp, for Facebook, about your business than it is to talk to you, you're already losing within that battle. So combining you know, inmoment, passive and then proactive and you do in the reach out is really a great, you know, tactical way to ensure you're reaching the majority of your customers and letting them know we care to listen. There's an easy way to do it that's going to be really quick for you and we're both going to benefit from it. Love it really really get tips. What do you just a quick drive by here. What do you think about incentives? Should you incentivized feedback and it is so good. You have e rules around that. Yeah, so number one I would say no. I say no specifically for the reason that within our process we're asked both for direct feedback and an online review at the same time, and it is against FTC guidelines to incentivize any type of an online review, because then it's really just a paid testimonial. So even if simple, something is simple, right, and I see these foll pause all the time. Right, you go out and get a haircut and at the cash register it might say, Hey, five dollars off your next haircut. If you're right. A Great Google Review or a facebook review and show it to us, all of those are our no nos, right, because you don't want to have something that's been, you know, a pay for performance of what the review looks like. To me, that kind of signals when you need to offer an incentive. It just kind of shows we're probably asking too many questions, taking up too much of your time and we probably didn't even deliver an experience that you really want to talk about if we have to pay you to talk about it after the fact. Right. So great, that's really good. Yeah, I say Dio. Couple those I mean we are always pretty solid. It's going to, you know, very but if somebody said, you know, what's the interaction rate, I usually say, you know, we help most businesses accomplish somewhere between a twenty two thirty percent...

...reaction rate when you're, you know, kind of doing those three different methods that I talked about, proactive, passive and in real time. Now that as when you look at they send out very massive surveys. A lot of those are scratching and clawing for single percentage points, for getting feedback because to donning to begin with. It's not tied to the actual experience. It's John Annually or quarterly and it's too many, too many questions that are there. So I say let up the motivation be that this is awesome. They want to hear from me and a really great just a sneak in, a really quick tip with this. When you're doing any of those things and you've baked it into your business process, when that business is dealing with a customer, you're saying something like, just so you know, when this is all wrapped up, we're going to send you a quick five question survey to find out what you thought about us. And hopefully write a great online review, because what you think really matters to us. So now you've already personally like seated that process and the email isn't a surprise, the text message isn't a surprise, and you've let them know like hey, this really matters and it's really easy to do. So that, to me is like a pro tip, like give them a heads up you're going to ask them. Don't let it be a surprise. Really good one and in its six some interesting details there with regard to incentives, in addition to the proper motivation and strategy. Number three. Yeah, the big picture on CX is that it needs to be visible to your prospects. I think I know where this is, where this one's going, but, and I've probably been on the wrong side of some of the sins here, but talk about visibility. Yeah, so, especially in today's business environment, and I think a lot of people you start to think through this evolution of being visible and how you conduct business and how you work and what's going on and the tools at businesses use, like social media, to be able to amplify that and showcase those things. A lot of companies might do a great job of data collection on how their customers feel and then it all dead ends in a spread sheet or a database somewhere anything else, and they use it to make some internal decisions. But what consumers really want nowadays is they want an open book on that and they want to be able to see everything. So I think it's really important to take you know what you're learning and then be able to get it to a place where everyone can access it, because the whole goal is that you're doing an awesome job. People are having great experiences, overwhelmingly more so than the average or the poor ones, and the public wants to like peel through that and be able to see it when they go to make their decisions. And we get into because of the ways that people can do things. You're able to get questions answered in reviews, you're able to understand details and facts that the website might have missed, because it's that customer that actually went through the experience and the journey sharing the same details about their journey with it, and to me like that just builds so much more consumer confidence then the marketing pitch that we put on our own websites and even our social media and things like that. So I just think it's really important to get your customers in contact with your other happy customers and by posting it to your website, social channels, the review sites, everything else. That's the best way to do it. We have all this information read on our phone in front of us. We need to make sure we have as much of it out there that paints us in the right light. So that I have one observation and then one question. The observation is I I definitely we're definitely using a lot of the feedback that we're getting internally to make decisions and it is helpful. You know, like we're a volume business. We have over fiftyzero customers and and growing in so it's, you know, it's hard to to keep a pulse of what's going on, and so having multiple piece of feedback coming in and helping us make decisions and having what can easily look like a number and any kind of a reporter round up or dashboard, actually having real voices and real customers words internally is very helpful to humanize what would otherwise be this massive population that could be faceless if we, well, if we weren't sending videos back and forth with a lot of them to, but I think getting it to the website, this is how I got here. You know, as a consumer, I trust...

...a four point seven eight star review much more than I trust a five star review. Let's say they're two hundred, two hundred ratings and one of them is a full five star and the other ones like four point, seven eight. There's something more honest about not being perfect. Talk about in places where you can control what gets shared and what doesn't. So you and I have both been on websites, as whether we're evaluating things for ourselves and our families or whether we're evaluating things for our businesses, where you see, you know, five stars from Chelsea and she says this, five stars from Jeff and he says that. You know, it's obviously cherry picked. And so do you have any advice for people in these situations? A do you buy my premise that that it is more seems a little bit more credible to not, to not quite be perfect, than to be perfect? And you have advice on Cherry picking this kind of stuff? Yeah, so you just played into my fourth truth really, really well. Right. And Yeah, I think that is right. That, like authenticity is the new king right, and just as as you've shown as a consumer, if you read a review profile that has a hundred and twenty reviews and the ratings five stars, there is a little bit of you that says this all marketing is this sculpted where they paying to get some of these reviews. Consumers want facts and they want the truth. That's there. You know a study a couple years ago from power reviews and Northwestern University did a CO study and they found the most trusted rating was like four point two to four point five. Right. So customers don't expect you to be perfect, they expect you to be great. And so with that I always caution people. Really what we, you know, preach on the soapbox. The biggest thing you should do is like be authentic how your reviews come in and what those ratings are like. That's the very last piece of what's gone on and if you really care about what your rating is or only showing the best of you, you need to fix it in your process. Your customer experience, touch points, all those other things is like that's where you make a five star experience happen. It isn't in how you ask for the review or any of those things. I always said I'd be rich and on the beach if, just because our beautiful emails and text messages and forms captured this in a way that even a one star experience suddenly turned into five stars from our system. That's that's not what happens with it. So I think that part is really important. So we tell people like post all of your reviews and be authentic and respond to all of your reviews that are out there. So we have a number of customers, and some are very large brands. They post every single review, even their onestar reviews, but then they make sure they reply to those onestar reviews to show those next customers if something goes wrong and we didn't hold up our end of the deal, we're listening, we're going to own it, we're going to respond and we're going to offer a path to try to work this out with you. That way, when that next customer comes in, we can all say like hey, if everything goes great, I'm going to be happy. But for a lot of consumers are like what what happens when things go wrong, and this shows them they're going to hear me. I've ways to talk to them. They're going to correct it and their processes for me to go through to end up being a happy, happy customer in the end, and to me that is, you know, so much more important and that sets up your brand and reputation to be one of trust over everything else, rather than their brand and reputation is. They're just amazingly awesome at marketing and sculpting a perfect review. Yeah, I like it. I'm and I'm I did not realize I was team that up so well for the fourth one, but it's totally true. I buy that out right and I really like that honesty and I also like this, the consistency in response in your experience, whether it's gather up specifically or whether it's this, this kind of functionality in general. Obviously, customer experiences the responsibility of the entire organization, but with regard to you, say who, in your experience in an organization, what team or what type of person is the best one to be responding to those comments or to run a gather up install or these kinds of things. As as a marketing plays, at a CS play, is it an operations play like? I'm...

...sure it varies a little bit, but speak to that a little bit, like who you know for folks who were listening there. Oh Yeah, we definitely need to step up our reputation game. We need to be a little bit more intentional or conscious here. I'm already thinking a lot about some of the stuff that we do well and things that we should be doing. What seats in the House are typically involved, you know, the at the frontline practical level here. Yeah, well, I'm first of all either there's a very great question and I think one that a lot of organizations are struggling with, like as customer experience has just matured and taken off and having such a big seat at the table right. So, more often than not for us, the conversation usually starts in marketing just because of the visible eye candy of Review Stars and review counts it and all of those things. But really to me, the like the the best solution is where you have operations, see us and marketing all at the table together, because what we overwhelmingly find a lot of times is they're all using different tools to do different things. When a tool leg gather up can come in and replace three or four tools that they're using for monitoring, requesting, marketing, all of those different pieces with it so it doesn't matter really who initiates it. I think all three of those having a seat at the table because they all can handle different functions within it. Right. Marketing is going to care about, you know, our Google Review counts, how we look on facebook. What can we show on our website? What can we share on social media to bolster and get those things out there? Operations wants to see. You know, what do we need to do different in our processes, decisions we make? Are People Happy With Weight Times? What makes them the most upset? What do we need to do for training so our team is better at answering certain questions or setting expectations with things that are there, and then you see us a lot of times, if you have that role, that's the one that's going to be responding and then saying like Hey, we understand you're upset, we have a process to try to remedy you know, let's get in contact and start to work through this problem. So to me, my best customers are the companies that like they have, you know, the super three. They're together and they're working through this and they're each doing those parts out of one centralized solution. For smaller businesses, the majority of the time, though, it's going to sit inside of marketing and then they have to learn to have some you know, customers, success, customers, support to what they're doing to be able to reply and do different things with it. But it really is amazing how this is evolved and with some companies we get into, know, right there, specific customer experience positions that five years ago that just really didn't exist except for in the, you know, some of the largest of corporate rations, but now we even see it in medium and even smaller type organizations where they have someone dedicated to customer experience. Yeah, it's interesting in and so the the conversations we've been having on this shell around, you know, the opera, operationalization of CX has there's a camp that is, you know, immatures out of the CS function, and then there's this other camp that I think you're alluding to that I feel like I'm more in myself, which is it's the intersection of multiple disciplines, because all of these areas, sales, marketing, CS, product and Dev software companies, of course, all see and experience the customer differently, and so it all needs to be brought into one place. I wouldn't house it in anyone team that it needs to be this cross functional thing. Anyway, we can nerve out on that for a while. I do want to take a short pivot and and just talk a little bit about the SAS venture podcast. What are you trying to do there? When did you start it? How's it going and maybe what are a couple things that have surprised or delighted you on the journey? Yeah, started doing it about a year and a half ago. I cohost it with a friend of mine, Darren Shaw. He also has a founder and CEO of a SASS business, and we're at a conference together. You know, we both talked at a lot of digital marketing conferences, local search Google type conferences, and we're both like kind of tired of talking tactical things, so we're..., let's just start having conversations about what it's like to run our companies and run SASS businesses and all the decisions and things like that. So that's where I was born from. We started that about a year and a half ago. We are just this week recording our episode twenty, so we get a you know, about at least once a month, if not more, but we really pull back the curtains on how we make decisions, how we build our teams, how we communicate with customers, how we market, how we come up with ideas for new features and the processes it goes through to come to market. And then what what was been really fun is last year gather up was acquired in November and we just got done doing a three part series where walked through the entire acquisition, so both what led up to the acquisition and what talks look like. Was One episode than one episode completely on the deal, the structure of the deal, what's part of it, all of those things, stress, the turmoil, all of that. And then the last episode was on the transition. Right, we were purchased by a firm that owns six other companies, so now we're part of a much larger group and what was it like for employee transitions and what things made the transition easy, what parts were challenges and all those different kinds of things with it. So just really fun to be able to talk about the daytoday business and not so much marketing on Google. You know, different things, tactical things that our product does. But yeah, just kind of a little bit of just getting to lay on the Davenport with another business owner and talk about your wins and your losses and your challenges and that that to me, is probably been the biggest win out of it is just be able to talk out loud about the difficult things in in running and scaling a business, especially, you know, back to start with our bootstrapped ones. Neither one of our companies ever took any funding. We've been acquired now, which has changed it a little bit, but yeah, it's just it's just one of those like, you know, talking out loud to yourself with someone else and sharing that conversation with others. So that's awesome. Sounds reflective and Cathartic for you and probably highly informative for listeners. We're also boots trapped, which is that mean? There's a whole conversation right there about the opportunities and challenges. That gives you an I think good for you. Good bye. Yeah, so we won't have that conversation here either, but for folks that are interested in in checking out the SASS venture podcast, I'll link that up and add some other links, as we always do, with a short write up and video clips, fully embedded audio. Every episode is available to you at Bombombcom. PODCAST is bomb Bombcom podcast, and while you're there, if you like this conversation with Aaron, you'll really like episode seven with Rachel Ostrander, who is the director of runner experience at Brooks running, which is a company that makes shoes that I run in myself, and that episode is called Superior Customer Experience starts before there's a customer. That's episode seven. And Episode Sixty six with Ben Smith, while who is a CX designer and strategist with a company called Comotion, and that episode we titled Restoring The Human Factor to fulfill the big CX dream. So we get into the kind of the modern CX movement and what's real about it and what isn't, and that was kind of a background themed in and what we were talking about here. Aaron, I've enjoyed this so much, but before I let you go, I'm going to give you the opportunity to say thank you or to give a mention to someone who's had a positive impact on your life or career and to give a nod or a shout out to a company that you respect for the experience they deliver for you as a customer. Maybe one that you would write a five star review for Nice. Yeah, a person that's a affected me, I would have to say. His name is Ben Moon and he ran a small bootstrapped Tech Company and kind of brought me into the mix of what they were doing in the late s around content management systems and things like that. And Ben didn't have not didn't have massive ambitions in the world and really taught me a lot about relaxing a little bit, taking things as they come to you, just being easygoing.

But he disafforded me so many opportunities to do different functions in the company and Rolls and elevated me to like a partner and things like that. So really it really appreciative early in my career where he just gave me so much freedom to learn and do and be a good sounding board when I was in things. And then on the brand side, I will say, and you know this is interesting. Any of my friends are followers will know this. I'm a massive Air Jordan buff so I would say, you know, I love so many things that Nike he's done over the years is in being inspirational in their messaging and I really love that they get like, for myself, as a guy in his mid s, the fact that I'll still plunk two hundred dollars down every time they re release a pair of one thousand nine hundred and ninety Jordan's, just because it allows me to like relive my childhood when I couldn't afford sneakers and everything else, and so they give me this like, you know, emotional happiness when I get them that I'm back to being fifteen, sixteen years years old again. But I love the way that they combine and really realize some of the emotional tie ins to what their products are, their messaging around it and so many of the different things that that they do with it. It's just one where, yeah, I probably have more, you know, Nike gear things like that, and it's created an affinity where it's like, yeah, I don't really buy other shoe companies stuff because of how Nike he's been a part of my own life and journey and things like that, and to me that's really interesting when a brand gets that deep inside your world. Yeah, that's awesome and that emotional connection just so, so powerful. It transcends everything else, as you already observed at the beginning of that you know, it kind of takes price off the table. So, like you know, it could be one hundred and fifty, it could be to fifty. Happens to be two hundred and it's not too much or too little because that's just, you know, I'm just connected to it. It's something I feel compelled to do for that relationship. That was awesome. I'd and heard that one before. And if folks would like to have known the fact that you are an Air Jordan fan prior prior to this, where would people connect with you if they enjoy this conversation, they want to connect with you online or they want to learn more about gather up? We are some places you would send folks. Yeah, first, I mean I'm a complete twitter addict and definitely share my shoe purchases and or when I randomly wear them. so that's just at Aaron wike on twitter. Very active and share a lot there and love, love the conversations, Love Meeting New People there. And then I write quite a bit on the gather up blog. So from there you can really understand my views on customer experience and how our product intersects with that and and how we want to help businesses. You know, unlock customer experiences the backbone of their business. So those are definitely the two top places where you can hear from me outside of the cess venture podcast in our monthly episodes. They're awesome for listeners. As mentioned, I'll link all this stuff up, stuff up, including the twitter handle at bombombcom slash podcast, where we write these up and drop in video clips and in the spirit of the episode, if you are listening to this and you enjoy it, if you've heard other episodes, or even if this is your first one, take a minute out of your day and leave a review for the customer experience podcast. It's very, very helpful to the show. It only takes a minute to do and, of course, why either. You can subscribe as well, if you're not subscribed already. Aaron, thank you so much for your time and your insights. Continued success us to you and hope you find some reasons and opportunities to put on some of those Jordans this week. Hey, thanks you can I appreciate it. Can I share one more I think important tip for the time now? That is okay, totally. I realize I didn't get to in my mind, I think really important in businesses right now among covid nineteen and whether you're reopening or you've definitely adjusted and how you do business. Please understand that like listening and hearing from your customers has actually never been more important because you're offering new delivery or service methods. They need to feel safe if you're reopening, so you really need to have ways to like...

...listen and understand. Do they feel safe in your business and in an interacting with you? Are The methods that you've quickly put together right? You've done something that maybe you thought in ten years you've now done in a month. And bringing Your Business Online, new forms, ECOMMERCE, whatever that might be. You need really tight cycles of feedback from your customers that, yes, this works for me, this is even better, or here's something you could do to make it even better, because I do want to do business with you. I just need to feel safe and secure it and good about about doing it. So I would say in this time, right now, like this, is more reason than ever to like be asking how are all these changes that we're doing affecting you, and are they helpful, and do you have any other ideas for us? It's awesome. Thank you for that Ad. It's kind of a tie back to where we started, around the silver lines of this situation. I think this interest in, and Response Siveness to how customers are thinking and feeling and what your experience is. I hope that that is one of these other things where, even though we feel the need acutely right now, that even as, hopefully, it lets go a little bit, this whole situation that we're in kind of loosens up and we get back to some kind of normal, that this is one of those things that we continue to hold very, very close and very, very fundamentally in our business cross functionally. So really great add air, and I appreciate it so much. Thanks for the opportunity to throw it in there. Even clear communication, Human Connection, higher conversion, these are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance. So pick up the official book rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's bomb bombcom book. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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