Customer Experience

Made in Minnesota – Envision

Made in Minnesota – Envision 900 600 WildFigAdmin

Welcome to our new blog suitably titled Made in Minnesota where we will explore different Minnesota-based businesses and learn some helpful tips along the way! The blog format will be a Q&A, conversational style that allows you as the listener to lean in and get to know some great Minnesota business owners on a personal level. You will hear stories of big dreams turned reality, obstacles encountered and how they were overcome, things business owners would love to go back in time and change and fun little tidbits you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to! Sound like fun? Pull up a chair and get ready to meet Liz!

Our first Minnesota business owner that we’re going to introduce you to is Liz Zurek Beaudry, owner of Envision. Envision is a Minneapolis-based marketing company that specializes in brand strategy, digital marketing and culture.

 

Q. Hey Liz! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A. Hi there! I’m Liz. I’m a wife to a commercial airline pilot and a mom of two boys. My husband and I knew we wanted to raise a family and both had health issues which led us to the adoption of our boys, now ages 7 & 9, from South Korea. The first couple years as a mom weren’t without their challenges as I had to learn how to shift back-and-forth between my new role as a mom and that of a business owner. To de-stress and help me refocus I love to run and do yoga. I also love spending time on my parents’ hobby farm and connecting to the wilderness.

Q. When did you purchase Envision?
A. I purchased Envision in 2007 – just before the economy tanked.

Q. You recently acquired a software platform called MDNA Cloud. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A. MDNA helps companies identify their culture in order to help them build their brand and increase profit. It measures six dimensions of culture and five dimensions of employee engagement. Each employee learns how to integrate their purpose, passions and potential into the workplace. I have been using the software in my work since 2008 and purchased the software platform in March of this year. It’s a tremendous asset to each of our clients.

Q. What is the biggest obstacle you’ve encountered in your business and how did you tackle it?
A. I purchased Envision at the peak of the economic boom for a premium. When the economy tanked I had to learn how to cut costs. I lost my entire team. I became hyper-focused in my efforts to save Envision and really learned how to structure and operate a team. During that time we didn’t lose a single client and have been profitable every year!

Q. What do you love about running your business?
A. I love relationship-building and hearing stories from other people’s journeys. I also love when my clients are satisfied with the work we do. It’s always rewarding to hear that we “nailed” the project.

Q. If you could start your business all over again what is the number one thing you would do differently?
A. I wouldn’t go into debt to make it happen. I don’t like the burden of debt. It feels like a chain around my neck.

Q. Technology is revolutionizing how we all do business. What are some of your favorite apps or software tools you utilize within your business?
A. First of all let me start of by saying that I’m not techy so I’m always seeking out apps to help make this part of running a business easier. One of my favorite apps is Hubdoc. It syncs my receipts, pulls bills and statements into one place and requires no data entry. I’m also thankful for YNAB – fantastic budgeting software for both business and personal finances and MileIQ for tracking mileage.

Q. If you had only $500 to spend on your growing business where would you spend your money?
A. I would direct that money towards generating referral and repeat business. I would consider holding an event for current customers to promote customer retention.

Q. Alright, our last question is outside of the box. If you could start any business today what business would you open?
A. I would love to open an interior design business that specializes in SOHO spaces. Space has a tremendous impact on productivity. Another business that I think would be fun to start is a dog walking business. Dogs are always happy to go on a walk and you can give them back at the end of the day!

Customer Experience (CX): Customer Service, Reinvented

Customer Experience (CX): Customer Service, Reinvented 900 600 WildFigAdmin

The notion of customer service has been reinvented: Now, everyone’s talking about customer experience — or CX.

Customer Service Versus Customer Experience
The shift in perspective is pivotal: Customer service focuses on the provider, CX focuses on the receiver.

Customer service describes a limited sphere: specific activities in which company and customer interact. It begins at first contact, and ends when the prospect makes a purchase or stomps off in frustration.

CX Matters in the Digital Age
On the other hand, CX is all-encompassing. It’s a narrative of every step of the customer journey, from the first moment they become aware of a company to the relationship they have with the product after buying it. A customer can experience excellent customer service, but end up with a product that is junk, or just wrong for them, and that ultimately means a negative CX. Conversely, a customer could have a major snafu with a hotel reservation or a flawed product, but a thoughtfully executed CX will turn it into a positive outcome.

“Customer experience is defined by the experience customers have, remember and share,” writes best-selling business author Brian Solis. It lasts longer and matters more than customer service.

Improved CX a Universal Business Strategy
Focusing on the CX is a crucial trend in the world of business today. The American Marketing Association (AMA) cites a Forrester study stating more than 90% of senior executives describe improving CX as a “top strategic priority.” Similarly, 90% of North American firms surveyed in 2014 aspired to be “CX leaders” within the next three years, according to a study by the Temkin Group.

These are big ambitions. Why has CX become such a focal point?

“It’s been reported that customers will pay up to 25% more for a similar product if they believe they’re going to get an exceptional experience,” writes Solis. That’s a pretty good reason!

Additionally, technology has enabled companies to be connected and responsive for much more of the customer journey than previously. Emails and automation, social media and digital customer reviews have radically transformed the relationship between buyer and seller.

CX — a Lazer Focused Vision on Customer Perspective
Even more so than with customer service, the business intending to excel at CX has to really live its commitment to the cause. Lip service won’t be adequate: it’s necessary to become intimately acquainted with what customers really value, and apply people, passion and resources to upgrading their experience. CX can only be measured from the customer’s perspective, and it’s the sum of their experience throughout their relationship with the company. That might be five minutes at Subway, or a lifetime with a car insurance company.

Bottom line — CX is entirely dependent on customers’ emotional reactions for the totality of the customer journey. For this reason, companies have to embrace a holistic approach: every process, policy, technology and interaction which touches the customer matters, so they have to be designed to work together.

Achieving great CX demands total focus on the customer’s perspective, identifying what may be missing or broken. It also requires awareness of other players in the field, and beyond. You’re competing with their satisfaction in their lives as consumers as a whole. They’ve flown SouthWest Airlines, they’ve shopped at Zappo’s, they’ve hailed an Uber — all these experiences influence the standards they inhabit.

CX: Ambitious, and Necessary
Sound big? It is. Perfecting the customer experience is bound to be a process, not a destination, but the payoff in terms of loyalty and goodwill ensures that it’s a journey worth taking. If you want help defining or redefining your customer journey, give us a call; we’ll work with you to identify ways you can improve or develop your CX and, ultimately, improve your client retention rate. Or, click here to set up a time to meet with one of our automation experts to talk about other ways automation can improve your client retention!