Today’s interview is with Matt Lautz, President and CIO of CorvisaCloud, a provider of call centre software and a cloud based enterprise communications platform. Matt joins me today to talk about B2B customer service and customer experience, why it needs to improve, what lessons B2B can learnt from B2C and a few predictions about what’s coming up in the customer service/customer experience arena.
This interview follows on from my recent interview: Startupland – Zendesk’s journey from a kitchen table in Denmark to the NYSE – Interview with Mikkel Svane – and is number 131 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, helping businesses innovate, become more social and deliver better service.
Highlights of my interview with Matt:
- One of the reasons that we hear way more about B2C than B2B in the customer experience space is due to the amount of change/switching that occurs and the shorter length of contracts.
- Matt believes that contracts explain a lot when it comes to customers perceptions of how good customer service is.
- It’s not a surprise to see that the lowest rates of customer satisfaction tend to be in B2C industries that relay heavily on contracts.
- Contracts breed complacency when it comes to delivering great customer service.
- The same principles are starting to emerge in the software as a service/cloud based services arena i.e. many firms are moving away from multi-year deals to monthly rolling contracts. That way it keeps them focused on earning their customers business every month.
- Our clients are with us only if we provide them with the best service. Not because they have a contract with us.
- It’s easy to fall back on the complexity of relationships and the buying cycle within B2B and things do tend to be more complicated. But, that shouldn’t mean that you don’t deliver exceptional customer support.
- Proactive customer service isn’t complicated and isn’t hard. It just requires organisations to get their sh** together!
- Proactivity could start by call centre employees or members of customer success teams reaching out to customers on ‘quiet’ days. Customers should be reached out to more frequently depending on the complexity of their needs.
- You are never going to make all of your support proactive but reaching out to clients proactively will pay back in terms of relationship building ten-fold.
- You should be measure your agents on satisfaction and not average handle time as a customer can always tell if an agent is watching the time.
- Goodhart’s law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”
- If you run your business with the philosophy that I’m going to do everything I can to make my clients happy then everything else will get figured out.
- If you treat your client right then they will take care of you. Matt shares a story of a technology client who adopted this approach wholeheartedly but was then faced with a two day outage which was unheard of in their industry. However, after notifying their clients rather than getting lots of irate calls they received a number of emails from their clients (and even form the CEO of their biggest client) saying something like ‘You must be having a terrible time of it but we know that you will be working hard on this and we know that you will get it resolved’. When you look after your clients, they will look after you when you have issues.
- Matt tells a story about how it is the little changes that make the biggest differences. Many surveys point to ‘having to repeat information given a number of times’ as one of the biggest reasons behind customers frustrations and dissatisfaction. However, Matt’s bank realised this and made a slight change to their processes such that when he calls his bank and the agent needs to transfer him the agent stays on the line and relays the appropriate information to the next agent so as to prevent that issue. That makes such a huge difference that Matt has told that story dozens of times.
- Matt offers some other customer service/experience predictions, observations and trends for 2015:
- The realisation that B2B and B2C are not as different as people think they are;
- A greater focus on privacy – consumers are becoming more and more concerned about sharing their personal information with a call centre agent;
- The reinvigoration of voice as a customer support channel to make it better and a realisation that voice is still one of the most important channels and, as such, deserves more attention.
- Just because it has been around for longer does not mean that it cannot be better.
About Matt (taken from his Corvisa leadership team bio)
As President and CIO of CorvisaCloud, Matt Lautz is responsible for business development and strategic partnerships. With 15 years of experience in building and managing software companies, Matt started his first software development company at the age of 16 which grew into a software development and VoIP company where he served as CEO for over eight years. During his time as CEO, Matt led a team that managed customers in over 15 countries and processed over four million VoIP transactions per day. He also successfully led investment capital raises for more than 4.5 million dollars and orchestrated the acquisitions of two product lines.
Matt has been featured as an emerging business leader by BusinessWeek, Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal, along with multiple popular technology blogs.