By: Kellie Hiatt
At Appirio we are proud of our ability to create a compelling customer experience and strive to have a fantastic NPS on all our projects. NPS scores are important because they’re a differentiator for us in the market. Our scores prove that our thriving Appirians regularly demonstrate that they are customer fanatics! But what does being a customer fanatic actually look like? I sat down with two of our consultants to share some personal testimony on how they create outstanding customer experiences.
Meet the Consultants
Tonia Edwards, Senior Project Manager
Tonia is a PMP and Certified Scrum Master with extensive experience managing project teams in a variety of industries. Tonia has been with Appirio for a year and has worked on Strategy, Sales, Service, and Marketing Cloud projects within the Salesforce practice.
Lawrence McKibben, Managing Consultant
Lawrence is a Managing Consultant in our Strategy Practice and joined Appirio just over a year. His role is to guide customers along their CRM journey and enable both their workers and customers through the Virtuous Cycle.
Q: As a consultant, how do you live out the value of being a customer fanatic?
TE: Developing and maintaining a productive relationship with our customers is a key determinant of a project’s success. The Plan and Architect phases of the Appirio Way methodology provide great ways for us to connect, demonstrate our team’s expertise and knowledge of a client’s business, and let them know that generally, we’re just trustworthy, likeable people. Projects will inevitably hit rough patches or challenging moments. However, if our clients trust in us, our experience, and our commitment to delivering for them, it makes it much easier to work through and get past those moments together.
LM: One of my favorite ways to engage customer executives and stakeholders is to showcase our talent as experts in our field. I take pride in providing opportunities for our team members to shine and wow our customers.
Q: Projects aren’t always perfect. When you notice a customer’s NPS may be slipping, what do you do?
TE: Lawrence and I have worked on projects where we’ve had very unhappy customers for much of the project. The whole team showed up everyday, listened to the client’s questions, and responded to the concerns that underpinned them, and worked tirelessly to let them know that we were one team, united to reach our shared goal. We found that it helped us move away from an us/them dichotomy, give the customer a level of confidence and comfort. And ultimately, rescue both the Customer Experience (CX) and the NPS by the end of the project.
LM: Sometimes we do run into challenging situations where difficult conversations are required, and I find that bringing both the customer and our teams back to the original vision and goals serves as an reminder for why we are all engaged in a particular endeavor. Starting from, or if necessary resetting from, common ground often helps with any adjustments that may need to be made. I also find that transparency and candid conversations early on in the relationship help to build trust that can prove invaluable if challenges begin to arise.
Q: What advice or tips would you give to other consultants regarding CX?
TE: When I think about CX, I often think of a duck. As odd as it sounds, ducks offer a good metaphor for great client interactions. If you think about a duck in a pond, it typically moves calmly along the surface of the water. However, beneath the water, that duck is working hard to get itself where it needs to go.
I always tell the teams I work with that we should strive to be like those ducks. We should show up, work hard, and really make the effort to move us swiftly and seamlessly to a successful delivery. And if we can present solutions in a calm and collected way, we have the opportunity to give our customers a level of confidence that we’ll get where we need to go and make the experience of getting there better in the process.
LM: Get out ahead of any potential red flags and act decisively. Do not wait to see if something small will become larger. Sometimes we might overthink and overanalyze situations waiting for all of the information or trying to figure out all of the potential impacts. Do not be afraid to trust your instincts, your experience, and most importantly, your team. And on the subject of the team, show them that you are willing to go to bat for them, trust their experience and expertise, and get your hands dirty when necessary. It goes a long way in the end.
In consulting, there will always be easy and difficult days but it’s our consultants ability to manage through those circumstances and still be able to deliver amazing customer experiences. Do you have what it takes to deliver a different experience for our customers? We’re hiring! Check out our opportunities today!