…It is as simple as putting in a system that will send the touches in the mail. For example, a thank you for the business card, a custom magazine, and a birthday card or something of value in the mail.
As part of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kim Angeli.
Kim is a unique entrepreneur with a diverse background. Kim is known globally as the creator of The Grateful Box® and Nextdoor Business Expert. She is passionate about teaching business owners how to WOW clients, increase revenue, and inspire referrals. She began her career after graduating from East Carolina University with Campbell Soup Sales, transitioned to technology, helping Sprint bring the first digital mobile phone to the world and her final Corporate America job at Cisco Systems. She found herself in the “dot com bust” and started her insurance agency from scratch 11 days after 9/11.
After 15 years of owning, growing, and merging insurance agencies under her practice she sold that practice and took the leap into inspiring grateful living around the world. Kim has been featured in Business News Daily, Reminder Media Stay Paid Podcast, and is a sought after keynote speaker on her programs, including An Attitude of Gratitude in the Workplace, How to take a grumpy client to grateful, and giving business owners strategies to WOW clients. When she is not speaking and consulting, you will find her traveling with her husband, daughter, and black lab. She is also an avid boater, reader, and spa junkie. You will also find her hanging out with her Rotary Family around the world serving others.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I have an eclectic background from mobile phone sales, Technology Solutions, starting an insurance agency from the ground up and selling it for 600% profit and now the CEO & Founder of Grateful Box® where we teach business owners how to WOW Customers.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take away’ you learned from that?
One of the funniest stories is when we first started Grateful Box® we were getting clarity on our ideal client. At this point it was clear as mud who we were targeting. We thought it would be a great idea to sell The Grateful Box® kit at a Women’s Show. We were right across the aisle from the Nothing Bundt Cake booth. Have you ever had a Nothing Bundt Cake? I am here to say that gratitude cannot compete with the delicious Nothing Bundt cakes. As women lined up for the Bundt cakes, they told us how grateful they were and how they did not need a Grateful Box® to remind them. We still laugh at the 2K dollars we spent and the long weekend of standing in the booth and dragging those Grateful Box® kits back to the car. The positive outcome is we did meet two business owners who are still our clients today and we had clarity from that event that business owners needed us to help them WOW clients and create Gratitude Strategies. Having your ideal client identified makes life better!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
One of my first bosses in the mobile phone industry taught me that the customer experience was everything. It was a family-owned wireless company. He was a Vince Lombardi follower and his office was right in front of the store. Mr. Doyle always said, if they are canceling service, we need to find out why and fix it. If the answer is not, they have moved or died, we can make it happen! Make it happen has been my motto ever since.
Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?
The customer experience is key to keep the client long term and get away from the price being the main deciding factor. When you Wow them, it builds reciprocity and deepens the relationship. The more you wow and show gratitude to a client the harder it is for them to leave you for another company. In my experience, building relationships will make a business strong even in an economic downturn.
We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?
It is my experience working with business owners that they have not trained their employees on this topic and they assume who they have hired has the skill set to WOW the client. I also know most owners of the company have no idea that a bad experience has happened. Did you know that only 3% of your clients who have had a bad experience will tell you? What do the other 97% do, tell their friends and go to your competition? Training your employees and having the right tools in place is critical to Wow a grumpy client who has had a bad experience. We also hear a lot that putting a customer journey in place to wow the client is work. Traveling on the above and beyond highway is not crowded and only takes a little more effort. Simple strategies work and will have a huge impact.
Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?
Companies that do not address poor customer service in this fast-paced “Amazon” on-demand world will not survive. I encourage all business owners to add massive value and fall in love with their clients and not their solutions. Companies big and small can put a customer-centric wow strategy in place. Chewy, is a perfect example. I choose to buy my pet products from Chewy and they send a birthday card and holiday card in the mail. My experience with their customer service has always been a, wow and they answer the phone, no voicemail. Now in 2020 that is a WOW! I would guess that they have all be trained in wowing the client. Investing in your employees with training is key!
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
In my insurance agency, we sent over 1700 birthday cards a year to each client and we took the time to thank our top clients with a WOW experience. One of my favorite stories is a top client that was a commercial contractor. I called her up one day and asked her how we were doing with her insurance program. In the same conversation, I told her that we would like to send over an ice cream truck to her office on a Friday in June, as a thank you for her business. There was dead silence on the other end of the phone for a moment. I stopped and I asked, “are you there”, she said, “yes”. She then proceeded to tell me in 17 years of being in business no one had ever done anything so thoughtful. That was a clear sign to me that thinking outside of the box and implementing gratitude was the secret to wowing the client. Unexpected appreciation is also the most powerful!
Did that Wow! experience have any long-term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
The long-term ripple effect was we kept the client in a very competitive industry of insurance which is almost always based on price. She also referred us to other companies because of her experience. Keep in mind she knows other business owners and has influence over their decisions with her recommendations. You never know who you wow and who they might know that needs you. Never discriminate and appreciate everyone with exceptional service.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a founder or CEO should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
1) They should get to know their client and understand what is important to them. I find that most business owners do not know who their ideal client is, and they don’t know how to add massive value to WOW them. They are so busy looking for new clients they neglect the ones who are current customers or past clients.
a. An example of this is making a gratitude call at least once a quarter to your TOP A & B clients to get to know them better, ask lots of questions, where can you help them with their business or life?
i. I recently scripted Gratitude Calls for a client and the purpose was to connect with the customer. The indirect result was the client was wowed, told her mother about the call and the Mom came into the store and purchased 850.00 dollars’ worth of products. Gratitude calls are the easiest way to show you care about a client.
2) Secretly Shop your company — Go to your website, call into the office, order something online. Be the customer. Like Undercover Boss, the TV show. I find that when we do this for business owners, they have never checked their website, their phone tree, the phone etiquette, or email etiquette of their employees. They have no idea that something is broken. Only 3% of your customers will tell you that had a bad experience, or someone did not return a call. The other 97% of them go tell someone else.
a. We secretly shopped a customer’s business before we implemented the Nextdoor Business Program. The online ordering for the restaurant was broken. We discovered the employees even knew this and had not told the owners. We identified that thousands of dollars of online delivery dollars had been lost due to the broken website.
3) Create a 12-month Gratitude and Appreciation Journey for your new and existing clients. It is so important to stay top of mind and wow the client. No one takes the time to do this effectively. They might thank the first year and then it gets less and less with time. If you stayed in touch with everyone you would get more referrals. If you are not engaging with your client consistently, someone else will wow them and you could lose a client.
a. It is as simple as putting in a system that will send the touches in the mail. For example, a thank you for the business card, a custom magazine, and a birthday card or something of value in the mail.
a. In 2018 I sent all of my top relationships a thank you note and Choose Grateful key tag in the mail. The result was one of our clients called and ordered over 100 Grateful Box Kits for their upcoming client event. It was a great way to show her that I was grateful for her business. A gracious interruption without asking them to buy anything. No one likes to be sold, they want to know how much you care about them.
4) How to deal with a Grumpy Client is also an opportunity to wow the customer. Have you ever had a grumpy client at your business? That answer is 100% of us have had to deal with a difficult customer who has had a bad experience. Flip the switch on them and thank them for the feedback. It will wow them that you didn’t get defensive about them telling you. Remember 3% will tell you and the others will tell their friends. We teach a Grumpy to Grateful Strategy to Corporate clients and business owners so they can still Wow even in a difficult situation. The art is in the response.
a. A recent success with this the Grumpy to Grateful Strategy was a Realtor client of ours had a Home Inspection that did not go well. The client was grumpy to say the least. She called the client and then sent a thank you for your patience gift in the mail and that won them over. The closing went well, and they later referred her a 450k dollars home to sell for a friend. Had she not used our strategy she is certain that the referral would have never happened. That referral resulted in a 13,500 dollars commission to her. That is a great day for a Realtor!
5) An Attitude of Gratitude in the workplace — It is also important to wow the people you work with and show appreciation. It helps build the culture in the office and a happy employee will always create a happy customer. I always say you cannot show gratitude for your clients and have a grumpy employee answering the phone. An Attitude of Gratitude starts internally first. How can you wow your employees? Get to know them, ask them what their dreams are and how can you help them achieve these dreams. Be interested in them! Leave a small gift on their desk that is unexpected. When they feel wowed and appreciated the ripple effect will happen when they engage with your clients.
a. We recently did a Leadership Luncheon at a Nationally Ranked Hospital and we taught the leadership team how to Appreciate Others in the Workplace. We had them write down the people they needed to show gratitude towards in the workplace and when would they do it. I handed out thank you notes and encouraged them to write each person on the list a Thank you note. The response was amazing. Some of the employees said they had never received a note of thanks from a boss. That note of thanks goes a long way in the world.
Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well? Yes, they can reach out to me at email@example.com and share their amazing story.
Or join our Private Group Choose Grateful Living https://www.facebook.com/groups/gbvip/
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The movement we have started is Choose Grateful Living at Grateful Box® which encourages others to make gratitude and appreciation for an actionable habit. Take the time to wow others and show gratitude.
How can our readers follow you on social media? https://www.facebook.com/kimangeli
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!