The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

185. Equipping and Empowering People to Deliver Differentiating CX w/ Jim Hardeman


What is your company’s way to play? Put another way, how do you differentiate yourself?

It’s customer experience that is the biggest and best differentiator — and employees are the real drivers of CX.

In this episode, I interview Jim Hardeman, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Product Officer at CMX, about empowering employees to deliver quality CX using technological tools that foster innovation.

Jim and I also talked about:

  • What the definition of superior operational execution is
  • Why brands that focus on employees provide great CX
  • How technology should empower humans to achieve quality
  • What to measure and how to measure it
  • Why relationship building is the key to understanding customers 

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What is their way to play? How do they differentiate themselves? They do that through their employees, through product innovation, certainly marketing, loyalty programs in the like, but at the end the day it's really you know, what is the experience to the consumer? 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 your primary, if not only, differentiator. But imagine or know that you're in a highly competitive market with operational complexity across hundreds, if not thousands, of locations, facing high employee turnover and tight profit margins. And Light of challenges like these, how to companies like chick fil a, Taco Bell, Burger King, firehouse, subs Arby's and buffalo wild wings compete in part by adding technology to support their humans, something we can all be doing in our businesses. Today we're talking with a guest experience expert who serves as chief marketing officer and chief product officer at CMX, or compliance metrics, a quality management software platform. Cmx helps the hidden heroes of product safety and quality to build and made pame trust with their customers. Jim Hardaman, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Hey, thanks even thanks for having me. Good to talk to you, good to reconnect. We just reconnected on the fact you spend a lot of time where I live here in Colorado Springs, talking about trails and such, but we're talking customer experience specifically, and so I guess we're just start there. When I say customer experience, Jim, what does that mean to you? Yeah, you know, my background has been started really technology product management. So I've got twenty plus years and technology product management. And so when I think about customer experience or marketing, my role today, or just the brands that were enabling I really think of it as a a total experience or the total package. So, you know, it's one thing to sell a widget sell a service, and a widget has to keep the promise, it has to make somebody's life better, it has to make their life easier. But we think about customer experience, it's really the totality, so from the first engagement with the brand all the way through the selling process, the post sale and and just bringing people in, enabling them and success in their roles. And so you know, I think people want to belong to something. I think people want community, they want to have an affinity with the people they do business with. You, they want to know that they're appreciated as a customer by a software company or whoever selling something. And so you know, when I think about customer experience, it's the total package. For us. I love it too. Big Ideas in there that we talked about often on the show. One, of course, is that it's the it's each and every touch point as well as the something of all those touch points or experiences or moments or interactions, be they human or tech or analog or digital or whatever. And then this other side. I love the way that you talked about people feeling appreciated, the sense of community to like, I don't need to be best friends with the company that I buy everything from, but there are some that are different than others with regard to customer experience. And in light of your, you know, decades of experience, when did you see this language start emerging, like was it? They're all along. What I'm really getting at here is, in your experiences, this new language for the same old stuff, or is this a term that's always been around and it's just kind of bubbling up in familiarity or popularity? Like where do you think we are with customer experience? You know, I think it's it's great question. I think it's I think it's always naturally been there. I think it's, you know, I think we have affinity for people that think like... or, you know, we just have a passion about the product what it does, or we we believe in what the brand's ideals or vision missions, you know, strategy stands for. But I think, you know, it really started to become more obvious to me over the last couple of years just trying to think about you know, how do you how do you different you yourself in the market, and certainly from a marketer standpoint, consumers get confused. You know, things seem like a commodity, things seem interchangeable. So how do you really differ into it yourself? And that's really when, you know, CX customer experience just started coming more and more to the forefront. And I think now people are really hyper aware of brands, with what's going on with just transparency and ESG and cs are and other things. People really want to know who am I doing business with? And Trust is is a big thing. And so you know, I think a lot of times that you can give a lip service to that, but if you're authentic and you try and be yourselves and you know, admit when you make mistakes or you fall in short, I think, you know, people give you a lot of grace. And you know, we're in a we're in a niche market. We're not a mass produced you know, we don't sell a bunch of widgets to consumers. You know, we're really, you know, as you said, enabling these hidden heroes and they have hard jobs and so for us, the customer experiences, you know, how do we enable them to be better at their jobs and help them sleep better at night? And you know, that gives us purpose and sense as an organization as well. Love it and transparency is one of those things that I feel like the more we see, the more we want to see, or the more we know, we the more we want to know. And we're at this point now. We're enough people are transparent enough enough, companies are transparent enough that I feel like customers are demanding more transparency from those that maybe don't necessarily yeah or certainly haven't led the way, or perhaps don't even necessarily want to go down that road. You just also touched on a really important theme on the show and I'm going to read a quote from one of the ebooks. I don't know if you're the author of this one. I know you publish a lot of content. Yeah, but the quote is this. I read a bunch of CMX content. The quote from one of the books is this, while customers are the ones who drive your revenue, employees are the ones driving customer experience. In this xcx connection can't be understated. You have any thoughts on just that dynamic in general? Yeah, I mean I think you know, how do you differentiate yourself from from one to another? And you know, like we work with brands like chick fil a, work with pop eyes, we work with raising canes. You know, on the surface those are three possibly very similar types of organizations, at least in what they're selling, but they're, you know, their way to play, the way they go to market, the way they differentiate themselves is really around the experience. And you know, they all three of those brands would be would tell you first that it's there, it's their employees that make the difference, and so I think, yeah, I think enabling your employees, giving them really clear instructions on what your way to play is, what you expect. How do we go to market? You know, what do we do when things go wrong? You know just what's expected. So a big part of like the brands we work with, are really trying to be clear and what their expectations are. And again, what is their way to play? How did they differentiate themselves? They do that through their employees, through product innovation, certainly marketing, loyalty programs and the like, but at the end of the day it's really you know, what is the experience to the consumer when you walk into the restaurant day and a day up? Yeah, what does it feel like to be your customer? And it's not just the work that the humans do, but it's even the human to human interaction that, I think plays an outsize role in how I feel as a customer of yours, or perhaps maybe as a onetime visitor, if it's not so good. So we're right there. You've already previewed it a little bit, but I'd love, for Listeners Sake, to get into cmx, like who is your ideal customer? We've already mentioned several brand names that most listeners would be familiar with. Sure, specifically, what problems do you solve for them? What are you doing for them to...

...improve operational excellence and to improve the experience or the consistency of the experience that they're delivering? Yeah, so cmx a were a SASS software company. Our focus has been primarily in the restaurant space. That's really what we're best known for, but we work with a lot of grocery stores, convenience stores, hospitality or hotels, and we work with in the sense that there were enabling them from everything from supply chain through to operational execution in their factories, their facilities, their locations, and so we held brands with ensuring that the the suppliers that they're working with their compliant and they're performing up to their expectations. We're helping them with the consistency, the safety in the quality of the products that they're sourcing and serving, as well as just the day to day operations within the four walls of, say, their restaurant or their store, and so that could be everything from, you know, opening routines to lunch routines to Stan Aitation, food safety, guest experience. You know, it can really run the gamut of of what types of programs they want to operationalise and digitize on the platform. So, you know, I won't spend a whole lot of time about on supply chain side, but when it comes to guest experience or customer experience, it's from the moment they interact and walk into the location or they're in the drive through or they're or they're picking up something for like curbside pick up. It's that interaction with the brand. And so these brands are really exacting and what are their requirements, their expectations, you know, how does the guests get greeted? How do you serve the food? How do you package it? How do you prepare it? And it can run the gamut from food safety all the way through cleanliness of the and safety of the environment. So I mentioned a couple brands you work with. Chick flays a great example of most people would think of them as really great service and really consistent service, no matter what location you step into, all of the task that get done inside the restaurant, from opening to closing, that could be digitized and served up on our platform so that they have operational execution as well as consistency. You know, how do you do get hundreds of locations to operate the same way day and a day out? You do it through technology. Yeah, so let's get really specific, because I think this is really interesting. I have some familiarity with it, but I'm sure some of the things you'll share are going to be new to sance certainly new to listeners, and what I'm thinking about in particular or here, is what is the experience like for the frontline worker and perhaps for the manager? How are they you know, what does it mean to digitize that experience? And then to the degree possible and to the degree that you're working outside of something like the restaurant industry? You already mentioned that you are, but how could a listener who's in a different type of company like I just think it's so interesting to break down how things should go and to provide education and tracking and feedback to help the whole experience in general. Just break that down was that look like? What does it feel like? How is that? How does that work? Yeah, so for us, typically when we engage with a new customer or a brand that we're working with, you know, a lot of I mean like an ideal customer for us as somebody who already has a commitment to operational excellence. But maybe they're doing that on paper, maybe they're doing that with, you know, point solutions that are kind of cobbled together. But a lot of times we're starting with brands that are still doing things on paper based checklist or excel and they really lack the visibility down to what's happening in their retail locations. And so a lot of the customers we start with they want to digitize those programs. So what that means for us is just taking taking these programs, breaking them down into sections and questions and activities and then with through scheduling and kind of breaking things up into day parts and focusing on the equipment and the people that are in the environment. Is Really building tasks. So, for instance, an opening checklist, you might, you...

...know, you might go through something to open the store in the morning and know that the line is ready and up and running. And it's ready for the breakfast rush to come in. There may be a bathroom check mid morning with a shift change and getting ready for the lunch rush. So it could be everything that, you know, the task that get done down to, okay, I'm going to measure, I'm going to watch Ethan, you know you're going to. I'm going to measure, I'm going to watch you greet the next guest. Are Going to watch you make the next chicken sandwich. And, from a process and procedure standpoint, did you do it the right way and, if not, how do we correct that and sure it gets done the right way the next time? And so there's aspects of corrective actions. There's aspects of integrating like IOT devices and censor networks in the restaurant so I can monitor the temperature of a freezer or temperature of a friar. So, from a food safety standpoint and process and receive your standpoint, how do we break down all the things that we want to happen to run a great restaurant and a great experience and how do we serve that up? And so your question about the difference between a person that maybe just a line worker, a team member, in the restaurant versus a manager. You're going to pick up the IPAD and, based on who you are and what your role is for that day, you're going to see the tasks of that you need to do at the day part that you need to do it. And if you're a manager, then you're going to have more of a heads up display of, you know, what types of things are going wrong in the restaurant, what things are getting done, what kind of corrective actions need to be followed up on. So it's really a performance management management system for all things to run a great experience it within the four walls of the restaurant. So good. I think one of the things that this does that's a huge benefit is that it goes from what would probably be like a monthly or a quarterly auditing, like a snapshot in time, to this kind of like live, ongoing feedback. It also has this dynamic of instead of being reactive and punitive, it permits maybe more proactivity and prescription really for everyone involved. And and so do you have any in this ties again into predictability and consistency, which are, for folks who are listening, you might have heard Chephiken, who's a customer service and customer experience expert. He's been teaching it for decades, written multiple books on the topic. He's been on this show twice and both consistency and predictability are two keys to uses the word amazing. You know, we want to always be amazing and and those are key. So, like, in light of this, do you have any thoughts or advice or recommendations? Think about some of the other friends you know or other roles you've been in in the past where you know predictability and consistency for the customer are important, but it isn't it doesn't necessarily break down so cleanly. How can someone kind of document and organize things in a way that that they can start doing some of these things, with or without cmx? Perhaps? Yeah, you know. You know I mentioned chick fil a and some other brands that we work with, and obviously those are organizations that are very mature in their operation operating models. But you know, other more emerging brands that we've you know, worked with a are maybe in the three thousand two hundred and fifty, you know, locations. It's typically starts with one or two kind of activities that they really want to nail and scale, and so it's, you know, starting simple. So we you know, we do everything from very simple checklists up to really in depth complex, you know, multiday multi department audits. So you don't have to you don't have to run, you can you can walk. First and what we see is that our tool is built for self service and so typically it's helping a brand get up and running on at least, you know, one or two activities and getting those rolled out to their locations. But we're giving self service tools and some people can start building their own activities and it's been pretty amazing to watch what customers have done with the tool. In the beginning, when covid kind of started hitting and we saw...

...a lot of, you know, restaurants and hotels and and even grocery stores starting to either shut down or shift the way that they were operating, people jump right into action with our tool and started building kind of like preshift employee wellness checks, or they were closing down their dining rooms and shifting to curbside pick up, and so to be able to shift, you know, your operating procedures, your standard operating procedures, and then communicate that out to hundred ords of people and get them trained and doing things in a new way. In a very short period of time, we saw the technology used an incredible different ways, some unintended things that we've seen. People have used it for things like construction punch list. So if a if a location is being sold or shut for remodeling or it's being sold to another franchise Z we've seen brands use that as a construction punch list or a walkthrough. So lots of things that. You know, when you give people tools and they're easy to use, people find creative ways to go out and and build new ways and it's really helped us, you know, really build out our capabilities because of people pushing the boundaries and using things in new ways. Love it. I did just that. What you just gave me was this vision of an insanely flexible, in dynamic updated on the fly across dozens or hundreds or even thousands of people and locations. So people are interacting with these kind of checklists and activity lists and feedback loops through smartphones, tablets, maybe touch screens. Yep, yeah, it's so where it's you know, it's either web based or you can use it as a mole on a mobile device as a native APP. So are we have a design studio or what we call activity studio, so you can come in and build, like I said, simple checklists all the way up to inspections, to self assessments, to even things like we're called remote or virtual audits. You can do it kind of all remotely and and collect the information review it's so you have a does zign studio and you can define things for certain people, for certain equipment, for certain times of the day, and there's all kinds of scheduling capabilities. So a big thing is just, you know, ensuring that the right people are doing the right things at the right time and doing it in consistent way. You need these tools to be able to manage these different activities and so and, like you said, you know quick, quick updates and quick blasting that out is really important. Certainly during covid as things were changing from state to state or city to city with different operating procedures or shifting kind of how things were doing. You know, overnight, brands were having to change those procedures and then with the ability to blast that out to all of your employees was a huge, key part of our solution also is just a policy and procedure management. So a lot of a lot of brands in the past would build like, you know, SOPs and into a dusty binder and that binder would sit on the back shelf somewhere and but you know, those days are gone. So you have the ability to build those things dynamically. You can embed video and pictures and other things that are rich, you know media and then be able to tailor that specific to the role. So if I'm on the IPAD and unlogged in I don't know how to do something, it's right there. All the my training materials, all of my videos, instructions on how to do something can be served right up and that's really key in a where there's a high degree of turnover with an environment, so you know with restaurants and other kind of service based or, you know, retail retailers, a high degree a turnover. And so how do you get people up to speak quickly and how do you reinforce any training? It's just putting the instructions right there in their hands in real time. So that's a big part of how brands are levying the to leveraging the technology and empowering their employees to go out and and be great at at delivering great customer experience. Yeah, it's really interesting, this partnership between people and machines. I have you seen or heard any push back?...

You know, I just think about the tension that exists right. You know, I talked with a lot of sales professionals on this show and it's for certainly in the sales industry. You know, you have some people on one end that are saying, you know, sales people all be replaced by robots. We know that that's probably not true. On the other end it's like, you know, sales people's jobs are safe forever and like well, probably not all sales people. What kind of like in terms of that tension between humans and machines and perhaps feeling, you know, surveiled or something? How do you because I know that that this should be a constructive tool for all parties involved in probably in most instances it is, but you know, in your time kind of like blending the human in the machine in service of customers and for the benefit of the humans involved. And what are some of the some of the tensions or the the things you've worked around or they perhaps your team has had to coach to or perhaps in your marketing role, you've had to, you know, have your team members address preemptively to take off the table as a concern or question or even in product design considerations, there to ease the relationship between the two. Like, I know that was a big invest yeah, not non question, but you know I'm at. You know where I'm at. Yeah, the spirit, in the zone of it. So many thoughts you have on the intersection of people in machines? Yeah, I think it can't be disruptive. If it takes longer or it interrupts my flow or it really keeps me from doing, you know, what I'm ultimately tasked at doing, then yeah, I think there's always going to be pushed back. I think. You know, I was talking earlier about, you know, the idea of hiring a new team member and then sending them, they say, through a learning management system and then putting them in, you know, the front lines of a retail location and then expecting them to do their job and then quarterly or once a year, somebody comes in and does an audit and you get penalized for all the things that you're doing wrong. You know, we really want to flip that on its head. And you know, there's still value and third parties coming in and giving you an outside view, but you know, we want to be more prescriptive. Of We like to say you measure what matters and you know. So when people know in in those locations at these are the things that matter, these are the things that drive our business, you know they're more apt and to do them and know what's expecting that. I think most people just want to know what's expected of me and what is the definition of good and if I have very clear, you know, idea of what that is and how we're measuring that, you know I feel more empowered to go and deliver and do a good job. Think the other benefit too, is that, you know, most people want to know. Most of the small business owners or franchise these that are maybe running a hotel or they're running a restaurant or a store, they want to know that. You know, I'm getting the best information across the entire footprint and so we're collecting a lot of data across all the locations and we can roll that up so people have better insights as to, you know, what's going well. Where do we need to make adjustments. How do I coach my employees on areas that maybe we're missing as opposed to other stores in my market or or my region or territory? And so there's a bit of a Gamification, there's a bit of a you know, all boats rise with the tide, so there's you know, people want those insights and so that's a big aspect of what we do, is just giving people better information to make better decisions and more quickly. Yeah, so good. It's you know, it's going to ask about data in particularly you're already previewed a little bit. But you know, obviously there's this dynamic element to it. There's this training. I love what you brought up about training like new employee. On board them with some kind of a you know, Multihour, multiday scenario, send them out, and then it's essentially up to what's going on around the real live culture in the organization as to whether or not any of what I was taught actually sticks, whereas this can reinforce that. So many benefits.

But I also know, I although a curs to know some of the specifics around how maybe some of this is being applied locally or globally. In additions, collecting, as you already observed, a lot of data about a lot of processes that can be cut all kinds of different ways, especially blended, you know, within a company, you know, cross thousands of locations or even, as you said, you know the aggregate data across broader swaths of multiple customers of yours. And so what are some of the data implications here? Are Data benefits? Yeah, I think you nailed it. I mean it really starts from the lowest all the way up to the top. And so when you're logged into the software, we want to reduce the collutter. So if you're a team member at, you know, on Aline, and you have a certain task, when you log in, you know it may have a there's a task that's overdue or there's a task about to be overdue. So we're going to tailor the experience down to very specific but as you're a if you're a manager and a restaurant, or maybe you're over a market or you're like a field operations person that may be overseeing twenty or thirty stores for a given brand, we're going to keep rolling that data up to help you understand where you're maybe your top performers are your lower performers, things that are overdue, things that need follow up, things that you know and you have the ability to dimension like these are these are really critical things, these are must you can't fail. So if we fail on a food safety temperature check, that needs immediate attention versus, you know, the the bathroom wasn't it wasn't as clean as we expected and maybe that's a lesser priority. So people have the ability to prioritize what's critical and what's not and what the timeframe is to address things. And so that data continues to roll up, and so if you're at a like, say you're at the headquarters, and you're overseen multiple initiatives, multiple programs, then really getting a bird's eye view across that. So who are my top performers, who are my low performers, and that really can, from a continuous improvement standpoint, can really educate you that way, we need to go and look at our policies and procedures around this, or we need to look at our training materials for these things, or maybe we need to re educate those that are in the restaurant so that they're understanding how to do this better. So it's really seen as a continuous improvement tool. It's meant to encourage people to be better and do better in their roles. But yeah, I think it can be. We talked a lot about data without action is just overhead. Right it may it's just could be noise. So sometimes we just collect so much data the people don't know what to do with it. So a big aspect of what we do is we have, you know, a consulting group within our organizations that's helping people cut through that data and build reports and insights that are specific to their brands, because what's what's important to one brand is not necessarily exactly the same with the other. So we have lots of kind of standard out of the box reports, but the reality is most most businesses have their own specific apis and things that they're trying to accomplish and so we try and give the data and capability for them to just license data, slice and dice the data how they see fit to run their business. Well. Love it. You already mentioned that you have an extensive product background. I'm going now turning this a little bit personal to you. Sure you know you built a career and product management, but you serve both as chief product officer and Chief Marketing Officer, you obviously have an outsize impact on customer experience. I think, with with the responsibility over both of those key functions. Talk a little bit, however you like, about perhaps your career progression and why it all makes sense in hindsight, even though maybe you never expected to be a CEEGO. I don't know if that's the case. No, or really, the relationship between product and marketing. Why is it so natural to marry those or why does it make sense, perhaps uniquely to see mx, to marry those? Yeah, sure, some thoughts on product and marketing? Yeah, I mean, I think you know, early on on my career actually started more on the sales...

...side but got really intrigued about the product and product management and and had an opportunity to kind of dabble in product management and quickly fell in love with it. I just always loved the challenge of understanding the market, understanding competitors and really just digging into the pain points for for in customers and in users. And I love design. I love breaking down problems, I love the the the confluence of lots of details and influences and how do you cut through that and come up with a strategy and build a product around that? And so a lot of that was, you know, my passion for many years and my focus. But as you progress in your career and you spend more time with customers or spend more time in the market. You know, I've been involved in multiple startups since so you get closer and closer to kind of the inner workings of the business and I've always been involved in marketing along the along the way, but never focused on it as a career. Really about three four years ago I started to finding myself spending more time being kind of the voice of our organization, spending more times speaking on our behalf or writing on our behalf and spending more time in the market and really made the focus on to marketing full time three years ago. So while I still have a function within product management, you know my day to day responsibilities are really focused on the market and talking to the market, listening to the market, spending time with our customers and our sales people and from a day to day perspective of got. We've got great people in our organization that handled the details behind the product. That's really not my function much more at this point my career. Yeah, I share for list. Just give us a practical takeaway or two or three, or even just share a philosophy around it. You know, you mentioned pain points and you know, one of the reasons I ask that question the way I do near the beginning of the show. You know, who's your ideal customer and what problems do you saw for them? It's just been so important for us, for me throughout my career and for us here at bombomb to think about things in that way, even speaking to about specific customer segments, and so I like to standardize it for people who maybe aren't thinking as often or as obviously that way. But you know, speak to the challenge or the opportunity because both marketing and product that is a critical component of doing the work successfully. Talking a little bit about your approach to understanding problems and pain points. Obviously being in conversation helps, but you know, I think a lot of people when I when I have this conversation, not on this show but in general, you know they're operating often times on what feel like assumptions, because when you ask one or two follow up questions, it's like you that's just what we think, or that's what I think from one person one time. Just give people some guidance on how to better and more consistently understand problems and pains of customers in order to do their work more effectively. Yeah, I think, you know, first it starts with this relationship building. I think, looking back over some of the things that I've been involved in and built, you know, products over the years, it's, you know, first you know you need you need to build a relationship with that business leader and a lot of times those business leaders like they can articulate what it is that they need or or they might describe around what they need, but I think, you know, you have to interpret that and you have to ask good questions and it's not always exactly the maybe the way they describe it, and a lot of times you can get into the trap of, you know, tell me what you want, versus tell me what you're struggling with and what you're trying to accomplish and let me, as the technologists, unpack that and break that down. And so I think it's a lot of it's just, you know, training around how to have those types of conversations, how to build that trust. You know, I think back over something we built a couple of years ago. We built a recall management solution. So when a brand has some sort of defective product that's in their supply chain and they need to communicate out to their supply chain partners or their...

...retail locations and pull that product, you know, out of those locations, are at least stopped selling it and dispose of it. You know, we started with that was kind of the premise of what we wanted to go out and build, and so really spending time with various customers that, you know, struggle with those things and understanding what are the manual process and procedures, what are all the steps involved and really, ultimately, what keeps them up at night? You know, what is what is the end result? Well, I need reporting to show, like you know, how much of the product did we find and how much of it was disposed and I need to be able to work quickly, so working backwards and designing a solution around that. We also spent time in the market. I really fortunate to build great relationships with different universities and so a lot of people that come out of industry and go into maybe teaching or consulting late in their careers. We've got great relationship to the number of universities around their supply chain management program so spending time with those people and really understanding people that have spent years managing recalls and and the financial impact and just the stress of keeping you up overnight, and so really working there. And then looking at the competitive landscape, looking at service providers and competitive products, and you start to find gaps where you know people are saying one thing but the market is missing pieces. And so how do you go to market and come out, maybe come out in a different way and differentiate yourself? And so you know, it's not easy work but it's certainly rewarding work and I think you know, it all starts with those relationships and being naturally curious and asking good questions. And you know, I think what I learned early, early on as a good mentor for Product Management Is, you know, keep asking why, keep asking why to get down to the meat of it, and so you know, that's that's served me well in my career and and I think it's good advice for anybody WHO's trying to follow in the same type of career path and product management or marketing. Keep asking why so good at just it reminds me I just had a conversation here on this podcast with a woman named Tanya Beerstroum, and curiosity is really a key from her in her work. She also started in sales but then became enamored of Voice of customer because it it ties together. Any revenue problem you have can be improved in informed by dealing with Voice of customer. And she emphasized in our time together, just like you did here, the importance of one to one conversations that have some structure but aren't overly structured. And you know, we talked a little bit about the you called it. You know, it's not the easiest work and it's you know, the language I would use round that is it doesn't scale. You know, just use language of out of yeah, he's like, it doesn't scale like that. Actually takes thirty minutes to have a thirty minute conversation with somebody else, but there's just no other way to get that depth of intimacy, in that depth of understanding to truly meaningfully work for and work with other people. I really love that call. Yeah, you know, and you mentioned you're spending a lot more time in the market, with the market in conversation, etc. Part of that is this podcast journey that you're on. Tell us a little bit about the show and maybe give me one or two things that stand out to you and in the you know, in the early going on it for better or for word, something that's better or different or more challenging than you expected. Yeah, well, it doesn't compare to the bombomb podcast, but we launched a little bit last year called in the loop with cmx and and our whole focus is just meet. You know, what it was borne out of is a lot of these conversations that I've had with customers and people in the market. We'd get to the end of it and I'm I'd be like, man, I wish we had recorded that. That was so good, and so we decided, you know what, we're just going to start doing that. And so it's meant to be casual conversation, much like your format, where we're spending time with our customers, with our industry colleagues, with our industry friends, and it's just really getting to know them, and it's pretty simple format. You know, what keeps you up at what gets you up in...

...the morning, what are you motivated to do and what are you excited about? And you know, how are you using technology to move the needle, whether you're enabling a safety program or a compliance program or something like customer experience. We're spending time with our customers just talking about the challenges and how they're benefiting from the use of technology and what was life like before implementing the technology and what is life like been after, and so it's been a lot of fun. Yeah, and so we're going to continue to build on that and we've gotten a lot of great feedback from from people that have watched and listened, and so it's actually one of the most rewarding parts of what I get to do in my role these days. That's awesome. I describe this podcast the same way, one of the most fun and rewarding things I've done my entire career, and so awesome. Continued success to you with that. For folks who are listening, if you've been enjoyed your time here with Jim a, it's not over. But being I've got two other episodes that I know you'll enjoy. One is episode one hundred and sixty five, and that was with Mark Rosenthal he's Coo at a software company called H Qo, and what reminded me of him in this conversation and in the work that you do, Jim, is that at Hqo they're they're using data to improve tenant experience for Commercial Real Estate Company. So we called that three steps to building a collaborative culture because, much like you, he has cross functional responsibility. He came to the COO role after being I forget the title exactly, but it was something like asp of marketing, sales and customer success. And so the lot of similarities this conversation a lot of talk about internal and collaborative cultures. That's one hundred and sixty five with Mark Rosenthal and a little bit more recently, episode one hundred and eighty with Elizabeth Dixon, who's the principal lead of strategy, hospitality and service design at Chick Fil a, and we call that one five elements of an exceptional customer experience. So Jim is mentioned chick fil a couple of times. A great customer of CMX has and so if you want to dive into some leadership and culture elements that help create that to Elizabeth is a professional speaker and publishes in a variety of ways on these themes, and so I was able to talk with her on episode one hundred eighty. Gym before I let you go. Yeah, relationships are our number one core value here at bombamb among five of them, and so I always like to give you the chance to think or mentioned someone who's had a positive impact on your life for your career. Yeah, well, Ethan, I'll give a shout out to my good friend Daryl Debolski, who's also in Colorado Springs, where you're located. Darrel was one of those people that I worked with very early on in my career. I was a baby product manager. He was ahead of development a software company and took me in under his wing and taught me a lot about just technology and being fearless really, you know, following your gut and going after the things that you're curious about. You know, speak up, asking why, and so you know, he's had a huge influence on and he's gone on to have a very successful career with lots of different act blades and leadership positions of software. So to this day, still a great friend of mine and lives there right in your hometown. Awesome and of course, product and development are another. To call that a critical partnership is an understate. But perhaps the other stand of the conversation, can you also do me a favor and give a nod or a mention or a shout out to a company or a brand that you personally appreciate for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer? Yeah, actually have two for you and one one we just went through. So we started working with an organization called qualifiedcom. There are a conversational kind of marketing chat, phone meeting setting, phone call setting that can plug into your website. So it's backed with some intelligence, with the data that's in sales force and it can really tailor the the chat experience on your website. So we recently went through kind of the buying process with them and the onboarding process and you know, from a customer experience standpoint, I have to save from that first touch point and every touch...

...point after there just been incredible, really it's through. It's really, really eye opening and it's given us a lot of really good ideas to be able to incorporate what we're doing. Phenomenal Organization, from the Salesperson to our implementation manager and it continues to be a great relationship and it's meaningful for our business. It's really helping us with better conversions of better conversations with people visiting our website. So that would be number one. And then I've got another one for you that I recently bought a recent bottle Alexis from a local lexus dealer and I hate buying cars. I think most of US hate buying cars, and I can say that was probably one of the better, you probably the best, car buying experience. And so just from the moment we walked on the lot to the to the care and communication afterwards continues to be really good and it's and it's really surprising, frankly, because it's something that I hate, a hate buying cars, and this one was a really great experience and continues to be so. Shout out to my local Alexis dealer. Awesome. I actually am looking for it right now. I actually did an episode about my car buying experience, which was really painful in a lot of different ways, and I can't find the episode number right now, so I'll link it up at bombombcom slash podcast. We put in video highlights so you can see Jim and get feel closer to him than you do, perhaps just by listening. We also do short write ups and we link things up to so you will drop a link to qualified, which sounds like an awesome experience that you've had and you just love to hear it on a show like this. The idea that absolutely you know, from the pre sale through the sale, through the on boarding, that it's been a positive experience and, most importantly, that it's affecting your relationships positively with your own customers. So fantastic to hear Jim. For people who enjoyed this, where can they follow up to learn more about you or about cmx, or where would you send people if they enjoyed this? Yeah, so cmx can be found at cmx one thecom. So at cmx with the letter one. Sorry, number onecom. You can find us there. You can certainly find me at Jim Period Harteman, my last name, at CMX onecom. You can also find me on Linkedin and I love connecting with people on Linkedin. I love having conversations. The beauty of not being in sales and being in marketing or in product is I can have lots of conversations without trying to sell you something. I'm I'm very curious and would love to connect with other people and talk about similar problems and similar issues you might be facing in your role or your business that we might be of help of. Awesome. That's also a privilege of an evangelist role to I thrive on it myself. Jim, this has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for your time and for folks listening. I hope that you can see the parallels here of creating predictability and consistency of Live Auditing for better coaching and training so you're not doing training in a room and sending people off. So many transferable things here. I just really enjoyed a gym and I like what you're up to and I appreciate you spend a time with us. Any thanks, Eathan. Thanks for having me appreciate it. We have right inbox constantly foam. We constantly have messages coming in. Work email just went up to one hundred and one. Have Ninety nine plus six hundred and seventy nine on ready e mail. We're to talk about a major problem. My names Kot bodner and I'm the chief marketing officer at help spot. I probably get at ten to fifteen phone calls a day unwanted, and I probably get fifty a hundred emails a day unwanted. When I think about noise and trying to get that out of my life, I think about it through my most scarce resource, was just my time and attention. Is it worth my attention ever here, versus like me, spending a moment with my son or cooking a meal with my son? The answers almost always know. We also know that the byproduct of that noise is feeling overwhelmed, feeling like there's not...

...enough signal and that you feel discombobulated or confused. That's at least how I feel, so I also tried to protect myself from those feelings as well. Watch the trailer. Now for dear first name a four part, first of its kind documentary series that explores how digital pollution is eroding our ability to communicate with each other and build trust. Coming this winter.

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