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Social Hire Podcast with Tony Restell - Achieving CX Success in a B2B Business, with Michael Hinshaw

Explore the dynamic intersection of artificial intelligence and B2B customer experience with Michael Hinshaw, President of MCorpCX, in this insightful podcast. Discover how AI is revolutionizing customer success by augmenting human interactions rather than replacing them, with real-world examples illuminating its impact. Hinshaw emphasizes the crucial role of gathering and analyzing customer feedback to drive actionable insights for CX improvements. Additionally, delve into the importance of organizational alignment and accountability in empowering employees to deliver exceptional service. Gain valuable insights into crafting effective CX strategies and principles, with Hinshaw's expertise guiding listeners towards success. Whether you're a business leader seeking innovative approaches or an enthusiast delving into the nuances of customer-centric initiatives, this podcast offers invaluable perspectives and actionable takeaways. Don't miss out on unlocking the secrets to achieving CX excellence in the ever-evolving landscape of B2B interactions.


Enjoy the full Transcript of the Podcast



Thanks, Tony, great to be here. And thanks for having me on. I'm the president of emcor CX, where customer experience consultancy, been around about 20 years only focused on customer and employee experience improvement. helping organizations of all sizes types and kinds of focus on b2b primarily was like one of the reasons why we're chatting. So, yeah, looking forward to a conversation. Absolutely. So obviously, you can't have any conversation at the moment without AI coming up in some shape or form.



How are using AI fitting in in terms of driving great customer experience for b2b companies? It's interesting in, in the consumer market AI is being leveraged in chat, and there's a lot of concern about you know, is AI going to replace humans?



To what degree can we as human customers get the right information from AI, and the b2b is actually taking in general a very different approach. Now,



every organization is, is thinking about AI, and a majority of organizations, so are actually doing something about it. I forget the exact statistic, but about 80% of b2b firms are engaged in leveraging AI and a few areas of customer success being one of the primary that we've seen. And the ways that they're leveraging AI and customer success is to essentially free up time for humans to focus on more high value interactions. But freeing up time for humans doesn't mean replacing humans with AI. It means leveraging AI to make the knowledge and the information that humans are able to access better and more timely, more easily accessed. Just so one example. There's a company QuestionPro here in the US, and they have five, I started to think all over the world or users all over the world. And what they do is they've used AI to essentially write scripts to query all of their existing knowledge base so that their customer success reps, have access to in all the customer customer success reps have access to the same information around the same questions. Because even though right, you train everyone the same, you want everyone to have the same background. And grounding is difficult, because we all come from different experiences and different backgrounds and different knowledge bases. So providing that kind of information consistently, saves a lot of time is improving customer satisfaction. And it's increasing consistency, because everyone's given, you know, similar answers.



And that's not uncommon across b2b In general, it's leveraging AI to make people smarter, rather than to replace people. Yep.



Yeah, not dissimilar to what we've seen with lots of



new technology waves over the last decades, there's always the fear that it's going to displace jobs. But actually, it's more often than not just used to make people more productive and free up time and safer, more, more high value adding activities. So



interest, there's one interesting stat that says about that, depending on which study you look at, but that leveraging AI effectively in customer success could save up to 50%. of human time. So the question, of course, is, well, does that mean that you know, the CFOs? Are gonna lay off half the customer success staff? Or does it mean that they're going to give Customer Success staff, more accounts to manage? Or my preferred option? And the one that we advocate is leveraging the time that your customer success representatives have to embed more deeply in the accounts that they're working today?



Absolutely. So that I mean, leads us nicely to my next question, which is, if you were advising a business leader that wants to set themselves up for customer experience success, you know, what would be one or two of the most important things you would recommend that they should be doing and focusing on? So this is this is going to sound simplistic, although it still surprises me that many organizations don't actually focus on



gathering information from their customers,



analyzing that information, and then taking action on what they learn. It's remarkable when you talk to customers actually tell you things that they're interested in. And but you have to ask the question, and you have to have in our experience, a framework within which you consistently gather information about your top customers, if no others, typically and b2b, those are done through interviews, but some kind of a way to talk customers find out what they like, what they don't, what they'd love to see you do differently, maybe recommendations or ideas they have about how you can help them better



Talk about how you can help their companies, how you can strengthen the relationship. And those kinds of data points. When aggregated, give some general some pretty clear direction. These are the things you need to focus on to improve not only experience with your key customers, but also experience for all your customers, those interviews typically or whether it's interviews, or surveys, or combinations thereof, depending on who you're talking to an organization, like, we worked for one technology company, and I think we talked to about 250 CIOs of some of the world's largest companies, they don't fill out surveys. It's a call. And then we record it, we annotate it and then look for patterns. And typically, there are a handful of things that come to the surface that are critical to address. So that's probably the the first thing the second thing is, if you're going to commit to customer experience, or at least pivot towards being more customer centric, it's important to have a clear understanding of where you're going. So what does that mean, rather than just the words customer centricity? Does that mean, you're going to provide more personalized service or make sure that you're going to be more relevant or whatever that might be?



And communicate that clearly across the organization. So everyone understands where you're going. And this isn't, frankly, different than any change management initiative, because the shift to customer centricity is a change for for most organizations when they make that decision. But it's communicating clearly where you're going, why you're going there, to essentially avoid that, you know, strategy of the week, condition that, you know, when people hear they hear they hear the words, and they don't change their behaviors, because they're not clear what it means to them. Right. So if you're able to translate what this means to the organization, to different groups and divisions to different working working groups, as well as the individual roles, batsman, you can actually start to see the shift. That's a fairly long list of things that see that executives can do, but those are probably the top two.



And you alluded earlier to obviously, the key role that your employees actually play in delivering great customer experience. So what are some of the things that, you know, business leader can do to set employees up in a way that they're going to be successful in delivering that? And that that ties in to the tail end of the last question you asked me, unsurprisingly, because to your point, you can't successfully drive organizational change without your people coming along with you. And we use there's a



some organizations use the phrase governance, and we call that the G word, right? It's like everyone knows they have to have it, but no one likes to talk about it. Because as humans, we all like rules when they apply to somebody else.



If they're, if they're laid on us, right, it's like, wait a minute, well, I understand why they need it, but I'm fine.



So we use the phrase alignment and accountability. And that vision piece that clarity around where you're going and why



begins to set up kind of the the borders, if you will, if you ever played or kitty bowling, right, when they got the in a bowling alley, they got the bumpers that basically popped out. So you never the kids never end up in a gutter. I mean, I could actually use them myself, or should beat your butt. But when we think about alignment, accountability, what you want to do is to give your people not only clarity around what their roles are, but the things that they can do within certain boundaries. So always do this. Never do that, within that within those two guideposts.



Let your people do what they need to do to connect to your customers in the ways they need to connect with them. You also have to provide them with the tools, the training, and importantly, the authority. If you give folks a directive, and they don't have the authority, or the ability to do it, like call center agents, perfect example, b2b or b2c, if you have to tightly follow a script, like use 80% of the script, always, then it just leaves out the ability of people to leverage their native intelligence and understanding of your product service and your customers to give them what they need. So there needs to be alignment side of it. And accountability as well doesn't necessarily mean you know, if you don't do it, you're gonna be fired. It's just there needs to be a framework within your standard operating structure, like computer leveraging OKRs or some other type of goal setting activity. There needs to be alignment with the goals you're setting up your people and what you want to accomplish with your customers. So there's just a structure within which your people know what they need to do. And if they don't, if they don't do that, there's a method for conversation around it to help coach people up and help them do a better job and serving customers.



But a really interesting conversation, Michael, thanks so much. If people watching would like to find out more get in touch. What's the best thing for them to share?



are a couple of things.



M mcorp.cx is our web address so come visit and propel CX also I've just released a new book experience rules with Diane majors. So if you search experience rules and Hinshaw or majors on Amazon that should pop up and you can download it or order a copy. And you know, welcome any conversation you can reach out to me also through LinkedIn and or through the website. Happy to have a chat with any of your listeners who'd be interested in learning more. Terrific. Thanks so much and have a great rest of the week. Have fun. All right. Thank you, Tony.