This month's Customer Experience (CX) Ambassador interview features Simon Whight, platform technical architect at Zen Internet, an internet service provider located in Manchester, England.
Simon, a platform technical architect, has been working in Salesforce for about 10 years now. In fact, he’s just been made a Lightning Champion thanks to his app development expertise. Ever since he joined Zen Internet a little over a year ago he’s been making strides to help improve the company’s customer experience. We're excited to share his story with you.
Q: How did you find yourself working in the customer experience space?
I feel that it’s less about me being in the customer experience space, and more about everybody is in the customer experience space. My background in Salesforce, but more and more, I start thinking about how our roadmap for the Salesforce platform is centered around CX initiatives, whether it's for our internal staff or customers that we're interacting with. And as the business world starts to become more and more focused on CX, it's starting to drive more and more conversations across all the disciplines within a company, be it sales, marketing, technology, the whole lot.
Q: How would you describe your customer experience program?
We have a very dedicated customer experience manager within our company. And we look at things such as the Voice of the Customer initiatives, we also have journey mapping.
We've had exercises where we've not just engaged with our current customers, but we actually engaged face-to-face with people who could be our customers in the future to find out how they perceived our brand.
We also rolled out our Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction Score program so we can measure all of the key touchpoints for our customers. From that, we’ve started to structure our monitoring process, look for trends and take action based on feedback.
Q: How would you say that the CX team is structured?
It's quite loose and fluid, which works because as I mentioned, earlier, CX goes across so many disciplines now. Be it technology, sales, service, marketing, learning and development, you need to close the loop within an organization. We have one person who can loop in several people from multiple parts of those divisions when it's necessary.
We also have some more formal structures in place where we now are looking at customer loyalty teams and retention teams and quality teams. But it's a free form organic thing which is quite nice. It works without being overly rigid or having the same five or six people sit down in a room on a weekly basis.
Our customers genuinely do love the service we provide, but we know you can't just sit there and go, that's it, we reached Nirvana. We know that we have to keep doing more and everybody is really driving to make that happen.
Q: What does a typical day for you look like?
This is one that Salesforce people love being asked because it's like shaking a magic eight ball—you never know what your typical day is. At any point you're working in a support role. So you might just be dealing with tickets that are coming in. You might be acting as the UX designer. Designing new interfaces for our agents to use or acting as a data scientist, trying to help people pull insights from whatever data you're gathering or even acting as a solution architect. And that's something that I've been doing just recently.
Lately, my day to day was helping realize our CSAT solution. We're working on realizing a leaver's solution. Asking, why have you left Zen? Is there anything that we can do better? So it's really, really varied in Salesforce. You become more of a generalist. It's exciting and it's interesting that way.
Q: What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the GetFeedback MVP recognition from last year. I had just been given Lightning for the first time and I installed the manage package that came with GetFeedback. Although it was new and interesting, I didn't have this in the past so I had to go to town on it.
And the thing I love about the app development on Lightning is you can design really sophisticated solutions. And I am usually quite critical after I deliver a piece of work for something. I usually say, "This is what I do better next time." But this was the only time that I've sat back and thought, "Yeah, this is exactly what I wanted to do. Perfect." I’m really happy with what I accomplished. That was a real chef's kiss moment when I delivered that out to the people who were going to start using these surveys.
Q: What has been one of your biggest challenges working in the CX space?
There's a couple of things. Sometimes I wish that I had a fast forward button in life. I can see I've got about 12 or 18 months of development where we go from the state where we would say we're walking now to running and sprinting. And I could see where we'd want to get to and how we can get there. I just want to be there now. And that's one of the greatest challenges.
But also one of the challenges that you do face is trying to enact change on a company-wide level. And sometimes you find that people are quite interested in one specific thing that affects them and you need to bring everybody on board with the big picture journey and have everybody moving in unison. And sometimes it's difficult to get everybody together in that mindset. But when it does happen, it's perfect. You start to see people realize that yes, these are the things we want to achieve and we understand how it's going to make whatever we're trying to do better.
Q: Is there anything else that keeps you up at night?
I have to admit, the only thing that kept me up at night was once about half an hour before I was due to leave work, I completely destroyed our GetFeedback report. But luckily, we have a disaster recovery program, Ownbackup, where I just press a button to repair it. Generally I'm very happy about the way we think about things and approach things at this company because we all at our core understand that we have quite a good reputation as an internet.
My NPS score is very, very high. It's around the 71, 72 mark. Our customers genuinely do love the service we provide, but we know you can't just sit there and go, that's it, we reached Nirvana. We know that we have to keep doing more and everybody is really driving to make that happen.
I'm at a point where I'm less against worrying about things at night and more thinking about what I knocked out of the park that day.
Q: What advice would you share with people who are just getting started with Salesforce and/or the CX space?
Salesforce Administrators, you're going to be looking at your company's aims. It could be better retention, it could be the ability to grow. But you’ll also have to deal with the scale that growth brings. You should also be looking at your platforms, thinking about what is utilized and what isn't utilized in terms of the features. There is stuff that's no cost or low cost, and then there's stuff that is in the more pricey end of the cost, where it's just the full fancy Einstein analytics things and all wonderful bells and whistles that you can get in the future.
It’s about identifying those easy to conceive slices that take you there. And if you start by making a roadmap of these small slices, delivering little bits of benefit across the business, you'll see the appetite for more insight will start to grow more and more. Whereas if you just tried to come in and start firing Dreamforce videos at everybody about these amazing solutions that the top tier companies are doing with Salesforce, it's just overwhelming and it just turns people off.
The last thing I would say is to not mistake CX as just being an external program. Use CES surveys internally to find out if people are enjoying the way that you've designed Salesforce. This is really important when you've got something as broad as the Lightning platform to design your UX web with so many components. It's easy to overload people and make their job harder by being overenthusiastic. So you need to bring this information for your company back in as well to help them help customers.
Q: How would you define great customer experience?
For me it's feeling you've been treated like you're the only person in existence. And that I've been treated in a frictionless manner that suits me and not the mechanics and whims of how a corporation needs me to behave. I don't like having to bend to the whims of somebody else.
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