Small Business Customer Experience with Megan Dowd
June 24, 2022
On the previous episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast, we talked about testimonials.
But what gets you stellar testimonials? You know — the juicy ones that you can build case studies out of or share on your sales pages?
The answer is simple: you provide an excellent customer experience.
Though, as simple as that answer is, there’s so much that goes into how the heck you actually go about providing that small business customer experience.
Today, I’m talking with storyteller and strategist Megan Dowd. Megan works with female small biz owners and entrepreneurs to build their brand narratives and create offer suites that build a true connection with their audience. She is the founder of Human First Biz Second and The Original Spicy Soapbox.
Megan Dowd and Erin discuss the small business customer experience and how important of a role it plays in your business.
Here is everything we covered:
Online business marketing: Why it’s both a small niche and huge underworld at the same time
How to cater to the customer’s needs from the inside
The importance of taking small actions for mall business customer experience.
The importance of building connections and why small messages go a long way
Where to start adjusting your small business customer experience
How small business customer experience is a dialogue, not a monologue
Learn more about our guest
Megan Dowd is a storyteller and strategist who works with feminist small biz owners & entrepreneurs to build brand narratives and offer suites that create real connection with their “audience” —
Aka community. Aka clients.
Aka real people with real lives.
She is the founder of Human First, Biz Second,® and the original Spicy Soapbox™, and is currently receiving her coaching certification through the Institute for Equity-Centered Coaching in order to deepen the work she does with clients to help them unpack and understand their stories, their offers, and their people.
Connect with Megan
Reach out to Megan via her website or via @withmegandowd on social platforms to learn more about being an authentic small business owner and creating a strong, valuable offer suite. Don’t forget to check out her new business, Hello CEO online or on Instagram.
Learn more about your host, Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.
When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.
Here’s the transcript for episode 017 all about small business customer experience and how to approach CX from a human-first approach.
NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.
I am here today with Megan Dowd, who is a storyteller and strategist that works with feminist small business owners and entrepreneurs to build their brand narratives and offer suites that create real connection with their audience. I don’t normally read people’s bios, but I really enjoyed hers, because I think that it speaks so well to what we’re here to talk about today, which is providing a stellar customer experience just by being a business owner that cares about the client experience and how we support our clients. Also how we set up our own businesses to support our clients and ourselves. Megan is the founder of human first, biz second, and the original spicy soapbox. She’s receiving her coaching certification through the Institute for equity centered coaching, because she wants to deepen the work that she does with her clients to help them unpack and understand their stories, their offers and their people. But what you might not know about Megan is that when she was a bank teller, she used to be able to pick up a stack of 20s. And know within $20, how much it was up to about $11,000. And I need to know all of the details about that, Megan, because I find it absolutely amazing. Well,
I’ve had a lot of jobs, I was a bank teller, and we were near Community College. And when folks got their loans, their loan checks for student loans, they’d come in and cash them. And so for, you know, once a semester, once a quarter, we’d have a few days where we were just counting out 20s and 20s upon 20s. And I was spot on for a while there, I’m sure I’d lost my touch. But it was a fun party trick for a while,
Erin Ollila 01:46
I’m not sure that it’s something you ever lose your touch on, like maybe your like $20 range gets adjusted a little bit, but I feel like just intuitively knowing that like the weight of money, which is a really interesting to say because you know, all of the the listeners are mostly small business owners themselves. So like the weight of money has so many meanings here. Has this skill benefited you any in business at all? Are you able to like take quick guesses at things and then suddenly just know the answer to it?
I’d love to say yes. But no, what it has given me is the best, most consistent icebreaker reason anything of like something you may not know about Megan, I mean, I’ve loved my life, I’ve had a weird life. But this feels like the most interesting and tame, fun fact to share. So that’s how it’s helped my business,
Erin Ollila 02:41
when it comes to experience when it comes to you know, the level of satisfaction people have, if not just clients, right like leads can be your cheerleaders for like, the whole time you’re in business.
That’s such an excellent point. And it’s it bears repeating I think that you’re you’re leads your prospects are not are not just the people who are going to buy there, it is truly like your entire audience and community can be cultivated to bring your name up in the rooms that you’re not in, which is ultimately what arguably we want from our marketing and what we want from the experience that we offer our clients so that there’s a really beautiful synchronicity between the two, where we tend to feel the things are out of sync is when somebody is all the smiles, all the things like they can sell really well. But once you get on the inside, and I’ve maintained this for a number of years, and I think it’s a pretty good example. As we see I feel like we’re in this inflection point in the online business marketing space, which I realized is both a small niche and also huge.
Erin Ollila 03:53
Absolutely. That is the best way to describe the online business marketing world as like the most miniscule niche and the widest most general thing at the same time.
I’ve maintained that I think we’re moving past the celeb entrepreneur course program model of starting new businesses and I’m really excited for that. And I maintain that what many of these big names celeb entrepreneur folks were best at was marketing. That’s not to say that they weren’t skilled in what they were selling. What they’re best at is sales psychology. Yeah, what they’re best at is getting your credit card out. Not facilitating transformation. Yeah, because once you’ve paid it’s on you not on them. And I guess agree because there’s a lot you can do granted it may be totally DIY gotta show up and do the work Sure. But as the leader as the person selling the thing, no matter what it is service provider course creator influencer membership, I don’t care the experience that you have On the inside, is truly what will dictate the long term success of the thing. So yes, maybe you have a $20,000 launch for a program way to go. Do you do? Are you teaching two different learning styles? Have you made it accessible? How are the materials being being handed out? Do people get access? Or like, do they need a heads up that like you’re not getting access? Once our six weeks is done? Like, this is the shit we need on the inside. So yes, even if it’s a DIY model, there’s still so much that you as the business owner, the creator, the teacher, the guide, the whatever can do to ensure that they walk away from that feeling like they were personally attended to.
Erin Ollila 05:42
Right? Absolutely. Yeah, no. The next episode we’re going to have following this episode is with someone that I originally met, because I purchased, I guess you could say a course like a cohort based course with and I loved them as leader, I loved the way that the experience was given. But it’s really interesting, because it was a technically a DIY program, just with support. And again, if we’re looking at my experience of it, you know, just on everything you said, I had to show up and do the work, I wouldn’t have gotten the results if I didn’t do the work. So there’s one point to the customer. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have done the work. If I didn’t have like the hand holding, being right. Like I mean, hand holding is a big deal. Like a lot of service providers don’t factor in the fact that just literally showing up and saying, How are you doing? Do you need any support? Do you want me to just like raise those pom poms and cheer you on? Right? Because sometimes, at least for myself, I know that it’s easy to stall out. And just having someone who supports you is great, right? Or having someone to answer your questions, right? Like there’s a lot of different ways that that course personally worked well for me. But what you’re saying is like all of those questions that you mentioned, as a potential product creators, or course creators that are listening, you don’t have to there’s no perfect score, right? Like, you don’t have to do them all at once. And I think that if we’re looking at like, the world at large, right, like, I think there are so many people who want to take positive actions and make change, but a lot of what holds them back to doing that. And this goes, even though it’s like I’m taking like a general like society stance, right? The same goes on business, a lot of what holds people back is feeling that they want to do the right thing, or like do it all in a specific way. But everything can be built upon, right. So like, when we talk, even if we’re just talking of general, like client support, it can all be built upon, like, initiating that one email in the middle of your project that you didn’t do before is the jumping off point, right? Like, there’s no you don’t have to do everything perfect in order to improve your client experience. Like just do the baby steps. And eventually the all of those baby steps will end up being like a whole race that has been run, because the effort has been put in over time.
And I think there’s there’s a lot to be said for just showing up to the minimum expectation that you’ve set, because one would think that that’s like, zero, but it’s not. Yeah, folks. I mean, for better for worse, because we’ve all had really shitty experiences. We kind of go in expecting like now. I buyers crawlable. Yeah, I’m expecting to buy this level of support. But I’m realistically expecting this level.
Erin Ollila 08:33
Yeah, this is a podcast, people can’t see me. Okay, let’s just everyone, imagine some hand movement happening going on here. Okay. Just imagine that hand movement, that’s all you need.
And so when we do show up, when we, when we have clear expectations of this is where things live, this is how this works. This is how you get a hold of me or how you don’t get a hold of me, and then meet those expectations. Yeah, we’re immediately creating an experience that, unfortunately, is not considered the norm.
Erin Ollila 09:06
Yeah, no, which is crazy. But honestly, I mean, it all relates back to what you just said of the like, you know, the influence or like, marketing, online business world that we’re, you know, service providers or product creators have all kind of been born into right in the past five to 10 years. It’s, you know, just create and just sell well, literally taking it one step further and like creating the experience after the selling is a whole different atmosphere, right? Because we’ve all like you said had some experiences that have really like frustrated us lost money for us, you know, just completely lack substance. You know, one thing I always thought was crazy, crazy coming into this online business world was like people would be like, you can create a product for anything because you know, like you’re helping people not Make the Google search and I’m like, I’m not sure you all understand what a master Google search or I am. Because if I can search for it on Google, like, why the heck do I want to pay you $2,000? To teach it to me like, sure, in some instances? Absolutely. Just just making ease of learning is an absolute selling point. And I have definitely bought things because I needed an ease of learning or, you know, like, someone who had different skills or different strengths, like we talked about before. Absolutely. I don’t want to take away from that. But I say it because I think that that’s part of like, the inflection of the changes. We’re just frustrated with, you know, spending $200 To buy a course or a product that answers a really tiny need, we have, but it’s important need. And then what you get delivered is something you could have found on your own Google search, right.
And this is Sorry, I interrupted, I got too excited.
Erin Ollila 10:59
I interrupt all the time. So you are in good company here. Ah,
I think this is it is such an important point. And it speaks to the two things. One, there’s a difference between information and transformation. Information is what I can Google transformation is what I want to buy when I’m buying a course. And what that comes down to with that information. Is your Aaron’s ability to curate the information for me, because there’s no question I can find whatever. And that’s why we feel shitty when we buy a course when we buy a program when we buy coaching our. And we’re met with boilerplate information, right? Because that’s just a regurgitation of what I could find. I how you specifically curate the information for your use you as the example for Aaron’s course, on writing your about page. Okay, Aaron, you just launched a workbook on how to write a really great about page that speaks to your customer? And is SEO tastic?
Erin Ollila 12:01
Yeah, yeah, that sounds like something I could create. All right. I mean, one time after the call, I would like to make this happen.
But the reason I’m going to buy it from you and not just Google it on the internet is because I want your take on it. I want to know, how would you do it? Not? How can it be done. And that’s the curation that arguably is part and parcel of client experience of customer experience. It’s true for digital products, it’s true for services for programs, it’s true for pretty much anything that we can sell in the online business industrial complex, what how are you curating the information, because that’s the access that I want, I can get, you can give it all away for free, give me all the information for free, I can find it on Google. It doesn’t, it doesn’t matter, you’re not giving away too much. And anyone who’s spending the time going through 30 of your Instagram posts to get the information that’s all packaged together in this one workbook for selling your SEO tastic about page, like props to them, they probably just spent 2030 hours,
Erin Ollila 13:10
and they’re not your ideal client. And honestly, that’s fine. That’s all of this is so fine. I think this is the one thing I feel like, you know, to me is common sense. And I hate to say that because I know, everyone learns things in different ways. But like, it’s really I will say to the day I die, like it’s great to repel people. It’s great to attract people. And there’s also a middle ground, right? Like the there are there will be people who will follow you again, I’m bringing in that cheerleader fact, again, there will be people who will follow you who will just, like totally absorb every Instagram post you have ever had not purchase from you, but still love you and be like, hey, you need a coach. Okay, go talk to Megan, she’s great. Look at his personality, she’s a perfect person to work with, right? And that’s okay, because they’re still a helpful person to your business. So creating content is good. oversharing is good. And then just literally showing up. And then when those strengths, as you’re mentioning, is the best way to please the people who are giving you their money.
Yeah. And and I think something important to include, for point of nuance in this with, with what you said about like, you’re going to repel some people. One, that’s great, too, I think I’ve seen a lot of us in the in the online industrial complex space that frequently will not and this is really like how I started my business, that we tend to conflate our therapy problems with our business problems because business problems we can control. Yeah, and therapy problems
Erin Ollila 14:47
ahead. Yeah, and they’re nodding my head here.
We have to admit that we don’t have control over and also we have far less control in our business than we want to think. So we start completing these things we start saying, Well, it’s a bit Isn’t this problem that I’m repelling too many people and not getting enough people to like me is that though it may be a therapy problem about rejection, and there’s some like deep wounding that needs to be tended to it, I for the past few years have unofficially referred to myself as a brand therapist. Because what I, what I tend to do well is helping folks sort out the business problems from the therapy problems. And I will always say, I’m, I’m not a therapist, I’m not a counselor, I’m not touching that. And if we need to spend the rest of the session, and I’m just your body double, while you go through Psychology Today, while you call your therapist, if, like, I will support you as you need, but I am here to tease those out and solve the business problems. And specifically with client experience. When we put this this lens of I can control everything on my business, it’s usually the quickest way to illuminate a therapy problem that we don’t want to face. And that’s when it starts to get in the way of your client experience. When you’re saying, well, it’s just the business problem, is it? It might be, it certainly might be, and those therapy problems tend to sneak in.
Erin Ollila 16:07
Now that isn’t really valid point and make that experience rocky
when it doesn’t need to be.
Erin Ollila 16:13
Yeah, I think anything in some ways, when you feel a very strong feeling about something when it comes to business, it’s always really good to unpack that, right? Even if it doesn’t get to be a full on therapy, like thing, but like they can teach it, I’d say anytime that something is standing out to you, you really just need to look at it and say like, Well, why am I noticing this? Like, is there data here to help me make a decision? And that sounded very Massachusetts of me, let me repeat that. Is there data here to help me make a decision, right? Maybe that’s all that it is, you know, like you’re, you know, going through a previous course launch and you’re looking at your sales, and you’re feeling some kind of way about those sales? Well, that can help you change the copywriting that can help you speak to a different audience that can help you adjust the actual, like, course or product, whatever it is, right? So I would say like anything that really just stands out, look at it and determine what can you learn from it. And I think that’s the like smartest approach to anything, when it comes in business is is just to start unpacking things,
truly is one of my favorite. My favorite activities to do is a post mortem is a like, Okay, let’s look at what happened. What is like you just said like, what is the data we can gather? What is the shit? Not just like, Oh, I’m going to learn some life lessons from my failures, like, hey, no, no, no, sure, you’re going to learn some lessons up like in the big life rainbow sky picture way. But also, it’s gonna illuminate a lot of like, I hated the way I did this launch. Yeah, there are an infinite number of ways to launch them.
Erin Ollila 17:50
I can’t I can’t tell you like how much like I you know, maybe it’s not something I think of when I’m talking to clients. But I swear so many people, especially when it comes to launching, maybe because the amount of mindset things that come into offering something and making sales. But I can’t like, I can’t tell you how many good online business owners are like, I hate launching. And I’m like you guys do know, there’s many ways to do this. And I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. Because as someone who has launched, I also experienced those mindset issues, where you can still sell in a way that feels good. If the idea is to generally make a sales quota for the month, it should be fine to sell it on the last day to sell it on the first day to sell it throughout the weeks, right? Like what works for me as a salesperson will not work for someone else. And I think that again, driving back to how these this tiny niche and huge underworld of the online businesses is like, you know, we’ve all been taught to just show up in certain specific ways. But the easiest way to swim out of that pool is to look at your own precise data and start adjusting again to baby steps, right? Like, one thing I used to totally kick myself for until recently was not building a list. Because I you know, I would have a lovely referral based business. So I’ve always had client work, and I spend too much time on my client work. Again, learning, learning as I grow, right. So now that I’m working on list building, I have to realize there are things I’m comfortable doing. That is not what other people would do and vice versa. And that’s okay, because I have data now, I can look at like an attempt that I made and say this worked. I didn’t love doing this. Let’s try that next time. Right? And all of those steps are just going to build on each other. And learning from them allows you to really make the people on the other end like whether they be leads clients, random cheerleaders, make them feel better as you make those adjustments.
Absolutely. It’s just a bobblehead for everything you just said. That’s,
Erin Ollila 19:54
that’s okay. I mean, we I think we’ve been doing this whole conversation which is totally fine. There is something I didn’t want to like you have kind of mentioned this. But I think I’d like to make this point really clear. Something I love that you had said to me before this recording is the whole fact that the reason that you’re being hired is that you’re providing something for the client, but they’re hiring you for like the strength and not the skill, you know, like your expertise and not necessarily the deliverable. But even though the deliverable is important, right? Can you expand on that a little bit? For me?
Absolutely. It I, I view, authentic brands, which is a way overused phrase, but I’m going to use it because we all know what we mean by authentic, genuine, relatable, truthful, honest, and authentic brand is made up of three pillars content, curriculum and community content. What do you do? How do you do it? Basic Info, curriculum, how do you do the thing that you do? What are the methods? What is your take? What is your perspective, because I mean, certainly curriculum means like, the syllabus outline, but it can also in a more broader sense, one of its lesser use definitions speaks to the methods of the teaching, and how it is built together. And then finally, the community is both the folks that are buying from you and the folks that are listening. And you often don’t know who’s which, because because they’re lurkers, because they’re the cheerleaders, because of all of the things, all of this to say, when all these three things are singing. Again, I’m gesturing and this is a podcast. But imagine I’m holding up three fingers, and I’m gesturing to all of them. When all these things are working together. It is because you are keeping the majority of your work in not just I’m really good at this. But I’m good at this. And it is easy, not cheap and easy, but full of ease. It is easeful. It is effortless, in the big picture ways that we talked about because work is never effortless. But it comes so easily. It feels like cheating. And I have a specific take on it that I know others can benefit from Totally. And sometimes that’s a big spicy take. And frankly, sometimes it’s a small one. Like I don’t think every like a client about a year ago is like it really irritates me when people try to do their own color palettes. Because brand designers choose color palettes for a reason. And sometimes I think people look out. But frequently, they’re just choosing shit that looks pretty, which is fine. We all like we’re all we all have our internal Magpie that’s just like, oh, the shiny, beautiful things. But there are very specific things that go into a color palette into a logo into a mark into all of those visual elements that are designed to pull in your your customer, not necessarily you.
Erin Ollila 22:48
Oh my gosh, I mean, I we could this could be like a four hour conversation at this point. If we just go here. Like I have to, like, I’m interrupting you now. But that is something that I think people don’t understand in in so many ways, right? Like, when we look at copywriting sometimes when I’m working my clients through a draft, I’m explaining to them like we’re making decisions here not because we want to save things in certain ways. We’re making decisions to move people through like the customer journey, right? Like, you can’t have a website and just say a bunch of pretty things on the pages and keep your fingers crossed, that someone will go from your homepage, to your services or your about or a blog post, right, like you have to move them. Same thing when it comes to like a website design or a brand design. Like we have to look at the skills that we have. And that’s not necessarily what the client knows that they’ll get. But we have to show them why that is the best part of the experience is us taking the skills we have and showcasing their what they’re hoping for in a way that is best like master in the way that works well for them.
It truly and it’s always especially especially with client experience, what is the thing that they want out of it? Well, they want me to design a PDF, what is the PDF? For what purpose? Is it serving, that’s what they want. They want an easy piece of information that they can sell to their clients or that they can include in their welcome packet. That’s easy for someone to digest, right? And so I can then tailor my experience to that ease to that I’m taking it off your plate, right because it’s not it’s about the PDF is not about the PDF,
Erin Ollila 24:25
right? It goes for so many different types of jobs, right? Like a landscaper as an example like yes, they are also selling ease because the home owner doesn’t have to do the work. But it’s not just ease they’re selling beauty in the way that like someone can feel good about their home like proud like, something that like someone can feel proud, right? They’re selling safety. I mean, I’m looking at my back window right now and I love my neighborhood. It’s like country in the middle of like a city. So it’s great to live here but the mosquitoes also live here and the poison ivy is just like party In like, around my entire perimeter in my yard, so like literally my almost four year old should be like, Oh, don’t touch the green green is poison ivy. And I’m like, Oh, this poor kid, like we’re walking in the actual woods, like, she just wants to touch a leaf. And I’m like, she’s like, Hey, Poison Ivy, but men just I mentioned that like as, as an aside, you know, the landscaper can help with things like this sense of safety in your home to know that your dog’s not going to eat a flower that could be poisonous for him, right? So business owners have many different selling points. And some clients need some versus others. But these things that seems small to us as service providers are actually our like superpowers are the selling points that can feel good. And they are the end result of that client experience. Right? Like, it’s the little things that might not even get acknowledged throughout the process that just make someone feel something. Yeah,
it’s funny. You mentioned that right? Right after you and I chatted and booked this, this podcast chat. I got a reply from an email from an automated email from someone who just signed up to do offer architect with me and there, they had just gotten their welcome packet. And I got a reply from that welcome email with like, here’s your welcome packet. Here’s your portal Budda Budda, Budda, and she was like, Oh, my God, you wrote me a note, my welcome packet. Of course I did. Which in my brain, I was like, of course, I wrote you a personal note, because we’ve already like, by the time you get to purchasing, we’ve already chatted about the offer ideas that you’ve had, I’m usually already really invested in your business and can’t wait to make things happen. So of course, I’m going to write a note about what I what I envisioned why I’m so excited. What’s so unique about their perspective. And to her it was this moment of like, oh, my god, somebody took the time,
Erin Ollila 26:52
right? We all have such low slit and low expectations, right? Which I mean, I guess I didn’t plan this to be like, you know, the takeaway, but maybe that’s something we should all be grateful for. Like that everyone does have low expectations, so you can work up from there. Again, I’m saying that sarcastically because it is sad that when people are taught to own their businesses like to grow and build a business, they’re not really taught that you have to approach client experience. You know, like, I think the beauty in the mom and pop shops if you think about it, like local small businesses is that especially pre internet days is that like business was grown based on relationships, you know? And then the internet comes along social media comes along, you know, all good and bad things in their own right. But like once this, like boom of online businesses came, no one really took that lesson, and on a mainstream like on an influencer level and shared that because what important lesson what an easy lesson, right is just to build genuine connections. If you’re an introvert, and you’re not someone who wants to, like make a million friends on social media, you don’t have to, it could be those tiny messages that you share with your clients. Right? If you’re a super extrovert, maybe it’s like responding to every tic tac video that you do, right? Like, I mean, again, that’s, that could be a lot of responses. But the point is just acknowledging people building connections can be the earliest baby step that you take to bettering your client experience or lead experience
at at the risk of sounding like a pitch pitch, I am going to drop the information that I had a number of years ago created a connection archetype quiz, there are five archetypes and it has proven wildly helpful for clients in the past, and still the clients but I’m thinking of one in particular, I was hired to help her with some strategy around her blog. And we were talking about lead magnets and how to build the list and felt that a bit of a bit of it. And I threw out a couple of ideas. And she was like, I don’t have to do a how to guide as a lead magnet of fucking course not. I love this. And she had just taken the quiz and she was like, hold up, yeah, then like, I could see the wheels turning the dots connecting, and like, certainly take my quiz or not. For the record, you will find out what your archetype is for free, you do not have to sign up for email. The only thing that you have that I asked for email is like I made a dossier for each type. So like, if you want my lack of info, then you go sign up, but you get to know your type for free,
Erin Ollila 29:21
right? And honestly, like I my big belief is like when it comes to things like quizzes, lead magnets, all of that, like when you are providing value people want to to join your email list, right? It is like it’s just the value aspect. I would say every single client I have is like, especially if they’re not necessarily newer to business, but like rebranding or like coming out of the corporate world and entering an online business. Everyone’s like, I don’t know what to choose what to have for checklist and I’m like, you don’t need to check. Let’s take a deep breath. Like really, honestly, let’s just let’s talk about the site. And then I guarantee you by the end of the call, well we’ll have at least five ideas of things that you can have for Lead Magnets. And what’s going to happen is if you present a lead magnet to clients that can can get value from it, they’re going to feel good about it. Like I understand that lead magnets are tricky and tough and weird, because if you offer a place of value, the people who want to be on your list are going to see that value and just be more active audience members for you.
It’s and again, it really comes back to that information, information versus transformation. Yeah, I can get the info anywhere. I’m signing up for your list, because I want Aaron’s take on this, right, whether or not I personally end up having this amazing SEO tastic about page that is in use, and every testimonial that Aaron has whatever, but if I feel that I’m getting not just information, but perspective, and somebody is holding my hand through the synthesis through the application, I mean, and frankly, that’s when you have my brand loyalty for life.
Erin Ollila 30:55
Is that not the most simple approach to it? You know, like, I think that when client experience or customer experience, you know, CX in general first became a popular phrase a while back, I think people were like, Oh, what is this new thing that I can do? And that’s okay, because it wasn’t talked about enough. But the any CX 101 guide that you read is going to literally just iterate it doesn’t make a difference. If you’re, you know, like a SaaS company or if you’re like, you know, FinTech or if you are a like a Guana dealer or a slick customer experience boils down to the way that your people feel about working with you, and the end result of working with you, period. And again, I will, you know, put my stake in the ground here that like the tiniest adjustment will provide a better customer experience. Like you could be providing an excellent one right now. You know, it could be as small as you know, you mentioned like you put a personalized note into a welcome guide, right? So here’s Meghan, she creates his guide, all of our clients get a guide, that in itself is like a client experience moment, right? It’s a touch point where you’re setting expectations, you’re informing them, you’re talking about what to like, again, I was gonna say what to expect, because expectations, but the little step further is just that you’re speaking directly to them. Right? You’re, you’re saying something that is particular to your relationship, your working relationship? Maybe it goes further, because the next thing Megan does is she films a video instead of writing the words and then people can see like her face and her excitement when she’s saying it, right. I’m just sharing random example. Because the point is, this is not a massive undertaking you need to do if you are really exciting sited about wanting to provide more support in your business and like focus on your client exe experience, you don’t have to like go take a course on it. Just look at your lead facing communications, your client communications, your past client communications, and think to yourself, like how can I make this process better. And the one thing I want to quickly point before we like, point out before we wind down is client experience is not solely revolving around the client, if you provide a good client experience, it is a service provider provider experience, right? Like, so learning your boundaries, enforcing them, creating systems, showing up as who you are, and your business is going to be awesome for them, you’re gonna get that gold star, which I personally love gold star, so like, you’re gonna get that gold star from at least me and Meghan for doing something client experience wise. But your whole like business in your life is going to be better because you’re setting yourself out there and you’re one you’re living, you’re in line with your values. And you’re working in a way that feels good, which I think you could probably say that better because I read what you had to say about this. And it is definitely a little clearer than I just said this. But I think it’s really valuable. Because, you know, I know client experience has client in the word right? But again, it’s leads its audience, it’s past clients, and it’s yourself your own business, that that are all getting the benefits.
I mean, it really boils down to my tagline, my byline, my, my whatever is human first, biz, second is human first, biz second has always to me and I always try to write about it and talk about it in the context of both you the business owner and the audience. There has to be mutual respect for both boundaries. And that’s what Frank in my opinion, what the Online Business Industrial Complex doesn’t do well is nuanced. Because the internet doesn’t do nuance. Well, Nuance cannot be boiled down into a quippy 180 characters or 240, or whatever it is. That’s not how we can conceive of nuance. That’s not how we can understand things. Yeah. And so in so many ways, human first per second is my quippy short way of Same, it’s a fuck ton more complicated, it’s both way more complicated. And way more simple.
Erin Ollila 35:06
That is the perfect way to describe it right? Like, you can take it from like the smallest smallest point of reference and be like, okay, so I give client gifts it like, that’s client experience, right? Or it could be this massive, ginormous thing where really you’re looking at like, does my business align with my values? Am I working with people that I feel good working with, like, am I actively showing up because you know, a lot of especially in the past few years, so many people are burnt out, and it it is present in their business, even if they don’t want it to be. So I think like just checking your level of like, your own excitement for your work, like all of these things are the more massive parts of client experience. But again, they all get resolved, as the small things get adjusted, right? You can’t like therapy, you can’t walk into a therapists office and be like, I have 37 years of like, Shit, I’m really going to resolve this in the next week, because I want to feel great before my birthday. Like, that’s just not how it works. Right? It is a process, right. And, you know, I think that same business is a process, there was a mom and pop shops that learned how to build connections, they did not open their doors, and the entire community came flocking to them and all of a sudden have the best relationships with them. Now, they have people that they didn’t work well with, they learned things from you know, like helping others out providing value showing up in in many different ways. And that was all learned well over a long period of time. So what we see is the end result, but really, it’s just something that they experienced. And they learned themselves as business owners. A
final note, I would love to add for anyone who’s like, Okay, this is awesome. But where the hell do I start? If looking at your current client processes, and your current isn’t working for you look at look to your own experiences, either with other online business service or product providers, whatever, or just in general, what are the little touches that feel really, really lovely? Yeah, and trust me, you can mind a lot of free client touchpoints, there is a totally just checking in. And it goes back to what you said before, we all just want to be heard. We all just want to be heard. And we all just want to feel that we are seeing and when you offer that for clients, no over delivering not like most basic package ever, but you offer them you’re meeting all the expectations you set. And you make sure that they know that they are seen and heard done. You gotta you got a fan for life. You got referrals for life. It’s absolutely it’s it’s that difficult. And that simple. It’s not difficult. It’s just it takes more energy.
Erin Ollila 37:49
And I would say it’s a learning process. Yeah, like I mean, like, you might find that you have natural abilities that like you implement something, it feels good right away. And then you might find that like, this is tougher for me, you know, like I hear a lot of people and not to like dove into social media. But I hear a lot of people be like, I don’t like showing up on social media. And there’s really two answers. One, you don’t have to totally on that. I totally believe that. But if you feel like it is important to your business to be present, maybe just to actively show that you have a business that is you know, still running, then there are so many systems that you can create to create the minimal content and content that feels good. Again, you don’t need to dance on Tik Tok, you could very well just maybe film a video and then you hire someone to break that up into little pieces you share one a week, maybe it’s not even you in your face at all. You are just sharing like testimonial quotes, like whatever it is, right? Like, there’s no perfect way to do this. If it feels good, and it feels natural and more power to you keep at it. And if there are things that like bring up friction or like you know, more questions, just unpack those as well.
Social media is a dialogue and client experience is a dialogue absolute, there’s always this give and take and there must always be respect for that relationship. And the minute that we lose perspective of that relationship or lose respect for that relationship is when we as clients or customers feel used and just like a cash cow. And when you as the service owner feeling like Why aren’t I getting any good people anymore?
Erin Ollila 39:25
Right? Went down? Yeah. Honestly, I think he just summed up that interview perfectly. So I’m going to stop us there because we could probably continue this whole conversation for quite some time. Before we move on though, I always like to ask two questions, too. I call them connection questions. First one is generally about the same. If you could meet anyone in the business world doesn’t have to be business right now. Who would you choose? And before you answer, it can be a specific person or it could be like a type of person like someone who does something
I do I’m gonna go with my gut reaction, as you should think of a better answer and DM it to you later.
Erin Ollila 40:05
And I’ll add it to the show notes happily add it to the show notes.
Priscilla, I can’t remember her last name, but she is the founder of my favorite skincare called Coco kind. They I think debuted in 2015. And one eye, she just seems like a really fucking cool person. Because she was like, Hey, I have really sensitive skin and severe adult acne. And I’m really sick of paying $50 for the thing of Night Cream. And so her like one, I just love that. And two, they have been the most consistently transparent and authentic brand I have encountered throughout the pandemic throughout the revived Black Lives Matter movement through the murder of George Floyd, like, they have been, in my opinion at the forefront of what authentic brands are doing. And just to be in the presence of like, I just want to listen, I don’t want to start a skincare brand at all. But I want to know everything about how you did this, because it’s so consciously and carefully, by which I mean with care done. It’s just beautiful. And I could talk about cocoa kind for way too long.
Erin Ollila 41:18
That’s okay. But you know, honestly, it’s a very valuable point. Like we’ve talked this whole conversation about what we can learn about, like our own business practices and our clients. But I also think we can learn about client experience and how we do it in our business based on what we like and don’t like from other people’s businesses. Oh, yeah. All right. So final question. And I’m like, this is the one that like, I love to put people on the spot, but then I never really actually prepare these questions. So my final question is always like, what am I going to ask, but I’m going to take this just from the background of your video. What is your favorite type of plant?
Oh, boy. Okay, well, I have a tattoo of chrysanthemums and azaleas. So I feel like I’m gonna have to reference those. But I do have a couple of golden posts behind me that just make my heart really happy.
Erin Ollila 42:09
All right, Megan, thank you so much for being here today. I appreciate all your time. And this was just such a lovely conversation. Thank you so much, Erin.
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