Here's why great CX really matters…

Plus some of the CX tools I use and love 💕

Hey readers,

Last week was quite a week both personally and professionally. Our kiddo had a bad reaction to his MMR vaccine which left him kinda patchy and cranky over the weekend, and Jones Road had a *monster* Memorial Day Weekend.

This week is kinda hectic as well. I was a guest on two podcasts and finally hosted my first podcast with my cohost Cody Plofker and special guest Nik Sharma (more on that in a future newsie).

I’ve never been happier to be back in a quiet corner writing—now on to newsie #3! 🧘‍♂️

In today's newsletter, I’ll cover 2 topics.

  1. Why great CX matters to the whole company

  2. The tools I use (or have used in the past) and love(d)

Let’s get into it.

Part I. Why great CX matters to the whole company

Early in my career, I’d spend way too much time and energy arguing with executives about the power of CX, and most of the time it would keep coming up as something questionable, unproven, and thus not justifiable as a priority.

Now, do I think CX should cost money and bring no return on investment? Absolutely not.

Do I think it’s as easy to prove out the value of that investment linearly in a matter of days as you would on a Facebook ad? Also not.

CX is an investment in brand.

Great, generational brands put the customer first and are always looking for ways to serve the people that pay their bills: the customer.

Gone are the days when you can dropship your way to success, and if you want to build something long-term, focusing on customer lifetime value is of extreme importance.

Here’s one thing I bet we can all (hopefully) agree on:

If you deliver a great experience and your product is solid, that’s a recipe for repeat customers.

“Yes, Eli, but I sell beds, people buy them only once in 10 years…”

Great point, Jeffrey.

Happy customers can tell their friends about your product as well. Let’s think larger than the impact on this single customer.

At both OLIPOP and Jones Road the focus is on delivering a great experience for everyone. We believe everyone can be a brand promoter if they had a great interaction with your brand, even if they dislike the product.

For example, if someone dislikes stevia and thinks OLIPOP tastes vile, they can potentially be a brand advocate if we fully refund them and thank them for giving us a shot. They’ll understand that their stevia aversion is a personal one and that the folks at OLIPOP are amazing and deeply care. We experienced this numerous times—folks that disliked the product have shared it with their friends.

In sum, great CX is a selling point in and of itself: If someone loves the experience they have with your brand, they might refer the product to someone who might be a better fit for it.

Now that we have established the value of CX when it relates to building a brand over the long term, it is (hopefully) clear that the ROI doesn’t have to be super linear chronologically or financially. It does, however, need to make sense.

What do I mean? The basic exercise I do with my team and colleagues is this:

If a brand did X for/to you, would you love them more or less?

How likely would you be to refer a brand to someone if their support team was warm, kind, felt like an extension of their brand, and not cold, rude, and like an impersonal robot whose only goal was to make you go away?

That’s the pitch.

Now, you can obviously back your pitch up with some numbers and make a case for great CX dollars-wise, but that’s not the #1 reason why you should focus on great CX. It’s a long-term brand play.

For example, at Jones Road, we’ve found that customers that get shade matched with our CX team vs quiz or skip completely have a 75% higher 90-day LTV and 90% higher 6-month LTV, and customers that engage with our CX team, in general, have higher AOV + LTV.

You can obviously make a correlation vs. causation argument and I’d probably roll my eyes at you. 😏

As an aside, more than half the NPS comments at JRB mention our customer service. Anecdotally, our CX is making waves. My goal is to make JRB known as having the best CX in the beauty game.

Most importantly, though, in order to sell great CX to the rest of the org, you’ll need to share wins. Share the comments from customers on NPS scores, the moving letters from customers on surprise and delight initiatives, and your CSAT and NPS scores.

Does this make sense? Any questions? Feel free to drop me a line. 🤗

Part II. The tools I use (or have used in the past) and loved:

*Disclosure: while I am not an advisor or an investor in any of the tools mentioned in this newsletter, I might get an affiliate commission if you choose them. That said, these are all tools I personally use and love, and I would not recommend them if I did not think you would love them too!

My go-to CX tools in my toolbox:

Helpdesk—GorgiasI’ve used the Zendesks and Freshdesks of the world, as well as Front, Intercom, and a few others.

When it comes to designing the backend of a Shopify store, nobody does it like Gorgias. Their integrations with Shopify, Loop, etc give you the ability to make any and all order modifications within one chrome tab—the Gorgias one.

Gorgias in action

I also love that their pricing is based on tickets, not $ per user per month. You can have unlimited users and pay for actual ticket usage.

That, plus great macros (canned responses), tags, automations, and a solid analytics dashboard makes Gorgias my fav CX helpdesk tool I’ve ever used. By a mile.

Returns—LoopReturns are fairly new to me as the last few companies (food and beverage cos) I’ve been with don’t accept returns.

Jones Road has been working with Loop since before I came, but I’ve actually done an audit when I arrived and it’s truly the best in the space, here’s why:

For starters, the customer portal makes it extremely easy for customers to process a return and gives stores the ability to offer a bonus for customers to choose store credit vs refund. We actually just started testing offering loyal customers a $10 bonus to shop now instead of a refund, and it has been looking very promising so far.

The other thing that they’ve nailed is UX. It is so simple and intuitive for customers, yet still is branded JRB.

They also have fantastic analytics. For example, I learned that customers that have returned an order in their lifetime have a 27% higher LTV than those that haven’t. 🤩

Post-Purchase—WondermentIt’s no secret that I love Wonderment, which is why I was delighted they were the first sponsor of the newsie. Here’s what Wonderment does for us to elevate the customer experience and put more $ in our pocket.

Wonderment is not just a branded tracking page hosted on your site, it has a built-in suite of tools to keep customers in the loop on all things delivery.

From automated emails/SMS letting customers know their order is delayed to customized upsell opportunities on the tracking page and in-depth in-transit analytics, Wonderment has changed the way we view the post-purchase experience at Jones Road.

As I often say, the time between “place order” and order delivery is generally the most underutilized time. Wonderment helps make that the most perfect experience possible.

P.S. pretty wild — here’s how many times a customer looked at tracking recently. It’s worth optimizing that page. 👀

tracking views page

P.P.S. We recently started working on an even more optimized tracking page and here’s a sneak peek of the work-in-progress 👀

tracking page mockup

As an aside, Wonderment is actually hiring their first Head of Merchant Success. Check it out here if you are interested and let them know Eli sent ya. 🚀

Customer Survey Tool—RetentlyMy most exciting find this year came via a google search. 😆

I very often talk about the power of talking to customers and listening to customers. Both OLIPOP and Jones Road run NPS and CES surveys to do that.

Let me briefly explain what both of these are:

NPS: Net Promoter Score is a survey question that asks one simple question:

How likely is it that you would recommend X to a friend or colleague?

Respondents give a rating between 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely) and, depending on their response, customers fall into one of three categories to establish an NPS score:Customers responding with a score of 9 or 10 are “Promoters”Customers responding with a score of 7 or 8 are “Passives” Customers responding with a score of 0 to 6 are “Detractors”

You then calculate your NPS using this formula:NPS = % of Promoters ( – ) % of Detractors

When it comes to NPS, it’s also important to be able to ask subsequent questions so that the survey data tells a real story and not just a number, like this 👇

JRB NPS Survey

CES: Customer Effort Score is a single-item metric that measures how much effort a customer has to exert to get an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, a product purchased/returned, or a question answered.

Although most helpdesks have CSAT scoring built-in, I strongly believe in the power of CES, as our priority number one is making customer support frictionless. I also love the ability to have the survey in the actual signature, like this 👇

When a customer clicks “Strongly Agree” it takes them here:

It gives us the ability to get granular details on what makes our CX frictionless (or annoying) and it is always actionable. We get hundreds of responses a week and have stayed in the 90s since we instituted this survey. 😊

Most tools I’ve looked at either don’t have all in one or get really expensive really quickly (e.g., Delighted). Retently is not only wildly cheaper than Delighted and the others, but also has the best interface I have used and their support is off the charts (cx ftw lol).

Best of all, their survey builder is super cohesive and simple (we built these surveys out in a matter of minutes) and they plug in with Shopify, Klaviyo, Slack etc. Every single NPS score comes into a Slack channel, and I read every single one. 🤣

Reviews—JunipBoth OLIPOP and JRB started off with Yotpo, as most brands do. Within months, the cost went up to 12-18k for an annual contract and the software was clunky.

The big differentiator between Junip and Okendo/Stamped is the ease of review submission (especially on mobile). You can send them a link via SMS, scan a QR code on the packaging, or email. They can upload a photo or video etc. It is also easy to use & customize to make it feel on-brand.

For example, here is a link we created for customers to review our new complexion product, What The Foundation: Review Link

Because of the ease of review, brands see an average increase of 40% more reviews submitted with Junip, 4x more photos & videos :)

Quizzes—OctaneAIWhen it comes to both acquisition and retention, segmentation is key. Especially with a sku catalog like Jones Road’s, there are so many items that might not be relevant to most of our shoppers (eg. 12 different shades of WTF).

We use quizzes from OctaneAI to shade-match customers and give them the best products for their skin color and type. We also get a ton of zero-party customer data that helps us talk to our customers throughout their customer journey.

Take a peek at our shade matching quiz here.

We use Alloy to take this data and tag our customers in Shopify so we can analyze customer cohorts by Oily or Dry skin etc. More on Alloy in a moment :)

Automations—AlloyAlloy is like Zapier, but for e-commerce. They are the “IFTTT” of the new age toolkit and they work with most tools in an e-commerce Shopify stack. Some of the use cases we use Alloy for:

  • Alloy pulls Gorgias tags and tags them as such in Shopify

  • Alloy pulls Octane customer data and adds it to the customer profile in Shopify

I’m a pretty new Alloy customer but have been loving it so far!

SMS—PostscriptNow, to be completely honest, there are quite a few SMS tools in the space, and I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them, but here’s why I love Postscript.

While most other providers put a salesperson on your account and hardly stay in touch, Postscript has FANTASTIC support that will quite literally set up your campaigns and be your thought partners.

Not just that, most of their support staff have been / currently are operators on their own projects. One of my CSM’s spent years on Shopify and was a DTC cofounder, and another had a full-on DTC business on the side. They know their shit and are super helpful.

These are the basic tools I use in my CX toolkit. If you have any further questions on tools I love (or hate), please shoot me a note! (hint: I have strong feelings on subscription tools)

That’s been it for this week, hope you catch a vibe this weekend, and I’ll see ya next week! ❤️

For next week, I’ll be chatting all about the ideal CX feedback loop. ➰

LMK if you have any questions or items you want me to tackle in the future.

P.S. If you liked this, please drop me a note + share it with a friend 😃