The Shift of Thinking I Brought into 2024

Hey Team, 

Another Thursday in paradise. Post-NRF in NYC and my social meter is officially drained. It's time to hibernate till the sun deems us worthy again in May.

I’ve been writing this newsletter for over a  year and a half, and while I’ve covered an astonishing breadth of topics in the CX and Retention realm, there is one topic I have been thinking about for a while that I’ve yet to go deep on:

Focusing on the positive.

Nah, this isn’t a Tony Robbins session you mistakenly walked in on. 

We're all pros at the problem-fixing spiel: identify an issue, solve it, and take a bow. 

But what about building peaks, not just filling valleys? It's easy to get caught up in the cycle of repairs, but let's face it: nobody raves about a brand just because they didn’t mess up, and creating a surprise and delight strategy to impact every single customer is lofty and impractical. 

If we only focus on solving problems and not on doubling down on what already works, we’ll never be one of those elusive, memorable brands.

The peaks build brands. Filling valleys avoids a lackluster experience. Both are important, but most just focus on filling valleys.

We’ve got some work to do; let’s dive in. 

This week’s newsie is brought to you by Chattermill

For brands looking to get CX insights that are predictive of business outcomes - churn, retention, or acquisition - Chattermill is the customer experience intelligence platform you need to know.

Here's how Chattermill helps brands to grow profitably from customer feedback: 

Analyze NPS, CSAT, and customer sentiment: Quickly discover what drives negative and positive sentiment and compare results.

Discover what makes your customer loyal: Map customer journeys accurately and compare feedback from first-time buyers and loyal customers. 

Establish the reasons behind returns: Identify patterns in returns surveys and customer support tickets to adjust quickly. 

Minimize contact requests to your support teams: Get the specific reasons why customers contact support and improve chatbot success.

Here’s what Steve Crolic, Associate Director Voice of the Customer at HelloFresh, says about Chattermill’s role in supporting their focus on generating profitable growth from customer experience:

“The way we combine Chattermill insights with our sales data allows us to easily link NPS responses to our customer base and tie feedback to retention metrics.”

Chattermill has driven profitable growth for top brands:

HelloFresh: Boosted average order value by 30% and average number of orders per customer by 4%.

Bloom and Wild: Improved recipient NPS by 97% and sender NPS by 3%.

Chattermill helps CX teams connect their work with strategic company goals and help businesses achieve long-term profitable growth through exceptional customer experience.

To learn more about what makes Chattermill different from other tools, check them out here.

Doubling Down on What Works: 

When I started in CX some years back, my job was at a Kickstarter luggage brand that was delayed 2+ years. I had a laundry list of reasons people hated us and would have loved a refund for the product they were waiting on.

A few years into the gig there, we resolved (most of the) issues, but we missed a critical time to double down on the things that did work for us. Our customers loved the flexibility of the solution we offered, the color options we offered, and more. 

But all I did was hammer on that laundry list of things to fix. 

Sure, some big swings like revamping your whole product lineup or throwing in a deluxe product upgrade sound great, but they can bleed your wallet dry. Plus, just fixing stuff always means you might be missing the chance to shine up what’s already working pretty darn well.

Some things I learned:

Recognize What Works: Don’t ignore the things that are broken. Yes, you need to fix them. But it’s equally, if not more important, to identify what clicks positively with your customers. Beyond the lack of complaints, dig into what makes your brand stand out positively. Amplifying those peak experiences. 

Don’t Lose Focus on Those Things: For example, a brand discovered (leveraging Chattermill) that including handwritten notes with orders wasn’t just a nice touch but a sentiment booster. They stopped, and customer sentiment tanked. Sometimes, the smallest gestures have the biggest impact.

I love that Amazon chose a few small things and quadrupled down on them.

Reliability: They promise and deliver on that promise. 

Customer-centric: They put the customer first and make decisions across the business based on that.  

The “Faster Horses” Problem:

Henry Ford famously quipped, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." 

Tbh, this reflects a critical challenge in understanding customer feedback: often, customers request improvements within their realm of familiarity, like “cheaper prices” and “faster shipping.”

While those might be great, they don’t always work with your cost of goods or current setup. 

When you start picking brains for customer feedback, don't just settle for the usual “make it cheaper” or “make it faster” spiel. Get them to spill the beans in their own words. Why? 

When you let customers ramble a bit in those surveys, you start getting the real sauce - the stuff that actually lights them up about your brand. Avoid playing number-crunching games with ratings; try cracking the code behind those numbers.

It’s often those tiny, no-big-deal things you do that stick with customers, like throwing in a handwritten note with their order. It's this genuine, from-the-heart kinda stuff that customers actually hang onto.

Cleo - a Quick Case Study:

In 2018, Cleo, a fintech company, was starting out with fewer than 20 employees and a user base of around 560,000. Instead of a standalone app, Cleo primarily operated through Facebook Messenger.

A particularly fun feature of Cleo, inspired by customer feedback, was 'Roast Mode.' This feature allowed users to receive playful, sarcastic comments about their spending habits.

Chattermill's analysis highlighted 'Roast Mode' as a hit, indicating positive net sentiment. This feedback was instrumental in shaping Cleo's distinctive tone of voice, which resonated deeply with their users.

The insights gained from Chattermill's analytics didn't just stop at feature enhancement. They also signaled strong customer demand for a dedicated mobile app, prompting Cleo to develop one.

This move was a significant step in Cleo's evolution, catering to the modern user's preference for mobile-first experiences.

Fast forward to now, Cleo has not only achieved a 2x growth in NPS in the US but also expanded their team to over 90 people and hit 4 million users. 

Cleo didn't reinvent the wheel. They listened, learned from their users, and focused on what made them stand out. It's a classic example of not just fixing what's broken, but building on what's already getting love.