Understand whether you are customer-focused or not. I know a few awesome business owners that each knows themselves that they are not customer-focused, so they have someone else who takes care of that for their companies. That way it gets done right and their companies are thriving, So knowing if you are good at it or not and if not hire someone who is.
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 Ben Walker. Ben Walker is a CEO, entrepreneur, and visionary leader that enjoys helping others become successful in business and in life. Ben’s company Transcription Outsourcing provides user-friendly and cost-effective transcription services for the medical, legal, law enforcement, academic, and financial industries for organizations all over the world. Ben is a sought after thought leader and has made contributions to publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc, Forbes, and the Associated Press.
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 am a partner in another medical transcription company we started in 2006 and broke off from them to start my own transcription services company. Around 2009 the healthcare industry started to change a lot with the growth of electronic medical records systems, and the need for transcription started to decline. At that time we were getting requests from law enforcement agencies, legal offices, courthouses, and many others to transcribe for them. Once we were able to figure out where to find transcriptionists in those other fields we started to advertise our new services at my new company and off we went. Now we offer legal transcription, law enforcement transcription, financial transcription, academic transcription, business transcription, and of course medical transcription with clients all over the US and a few international.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
Even before I started my company, I made a mistake filing my LLC paperwork incorrectly. Apparently, in the State of Colorado, you have to have, LLC (a comma followed by LLC) in your company name. So for about a month, I was registered as Transcription Outsourcing until a friend of mine told me and I went in and paid 10 dollars to change it to Transcription Outsourcing, LLC.
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?
My old tennis coach, Harry Taylor in Omaha, NE, used to say to us “woulda, coulda, shoulda,” when we would complain about how we “shoulda beat that guy” or “I coulda beat that guy”. He would say stop saying “I coulda beat that guy” and start doing what it takes to “beat that guy”. We were 12, 13, 14 years old and he was teaching us life lessons while we drove to tennis tournaments all over the Midwest and we didn’t even realize it yet. He also taught us that if we worked hard and dedicated ourselves we would be successful in tennis, which also meant in life as well except we didn’t know it then we were too young.
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?
First and foremost it’s the right thing to do to treat customers right and that includes times when you have to give them a refund for making a mistake. We earn new business almost weekly because we treat our customers well and with their best interests in mind all the time in everything we do. It’s how I like to be treated and it is what we do because it sets us apart from our competition.
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?
I firmly believe that most business owners don’t know their employees are treating their customers poorly, and the ones that do know won’t be in business long if they keep ignoring it. Some owners probably shouldn’t own businesses or shouldn’t be in charge of the customer experience and simply don’t realize it till it’s too late. It should be their number one priority, if it’s not then they will go out of business most likely.
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?
Yes and no. When we entered the law enforcement transcription market about eight years ago a few of the older companies in the space immediately started trash talking us. It’s been eight years and they still trash talk to us and don’t provide nearly the customer service they should be by this time. We hear this when their former clients come to us and tell us about their bad experiences with them. They are so ingrained with long term contracts and people don’t like change that they somehow stay in business.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
One of law enforcement clients needed some extreme interviews and statements transcribed called me on my cell phone about 8:00 am on a Sunday morning. When I saw his number on my called ID I answered it and asked him what I could help him with. I knew he wasn’t calling to ask me how the weather was in Denver, so I answered it. He said he was surprised and also happy I answered because he didn’t want to leave a voice mail explaining that he was investigating a triple homicide and really needed our help to get his files transcribed and turned around as soon as possible. I started texting our people while I was still on the phone with him and we had his files done later that night and he was able to get them to their DA and the DA was able to get all his warrants lined up in less than 24 hours. That is why we answer the phone and go out of our way to help our clients because you never know when your work will affect dozens if not hundreds or thousands of people down the road.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Yes, it has for sure. We have been awarded multiple contracts with other law enforcement agencies because they are an amazing reference when we need one.
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) Treat your people well and they will treat your clients well. If you don’t treat your clients well how can you expect your employees to treat your customers well? Always start with your people. If they are happy your customers will be happy.
2) Next, understand whether you are customer-focused or not. I know a few awesome business owners that each knows themselves that they are not customer-focused, so they have someone else who takes care of that for their companies. That way it gets done right and their companies are thriving, So knowing if you are good at it or not and if not hire someone who is.
3) Treat your customers like the Ritz Carlton treats their customers and they will come back over and over. The Ritz is world-renowned for its customer service and many companies have copied their training because it is the best in the world. Train your people correctly from the beginning and you will be good to go.
4) Keep doing it with your customers. Don’t do it at first to win them over and then stop doing it. If you stop and your customers leave they won’t remember the beginning of your relationship, they’ll remember the most recent which is bad and you don’t want that, so keep it up, forever.
5) Do it even if they don’t deserve it. We’ve had clients that treated us like crap or beat us up on pricing and we still treated them fairly and the same as we do for our favorite clients. That’s not to say we don’t try and keep them when they keep nagging us to lower our prices even more 😊
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?
I think this is a really slippery slope if done the wrong way. I’ve been wooed by the salesman and other company owners because they wanted me to send them more clients, and find out later they treated my friends or referrals like crap. Don’t ask for referrals for at least a week or two, because it seems suspicious if you are already asking for referrals while they are your brand new client to you. I would suggest doing this with your best clients that you’ve built a very solid relationship with.
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. 🙂
Treat all of your clients like you want to be treated. If you claim to not care about customer service hire someone who does, because customer retention is 10% of the cost of customer acquisition.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!