Elizabeth Pearson: “Dance with the one who brought you”

A company must ensure everyone on the team is working to support your brand promise — what it is that you are committing to delivering for your ideal customer. The more a company consistently delivers on that promise, the more its value will grow in the minds of both their customers and employees. Aspart of […]

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A company must ensure everyone on the team is working to support your brand promise — what it is that you are committing to delivering for your ideal customer. The more a company consistently delivers on that promise, the more its value will grow in the minds of both their customers and employees.

Aspart of my series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elizabeth Pearson, Executive Career, and Mindset Coach. Elizabeth Pearson is a professional life coach, spiritual seeker, writer, wife, and mother. Elizabeth specializes in getting women “unstuck” so they can achieve their highest goals in all aspects of life. Throughout her 13-year sales career, Elizabeth has built brands such as Vitamin Water and Coca-Cola, as well as managed national accounts such as Amazon, Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, and others. Elizabeth parlays her corporate and entrepreneurial success into her coaching of Powerhouse women in C-suite and above level roles.

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 owe my “start” to a couple of people who took a risk on me when I was a junior at The University of Missouri-Columbia. If they hadn’t given me an internship in Boston with a then startup Vitaminwater, I’d never be where I am today. Those key figures become mentors and friends who I relied on throughout my 13-year sales career — a career where I managed incredible brands like Smartwater, Coca-Cola, Pirate’s Booty, and Skinfix.

I had achieved both professional and personal success — a handsome and successful husband, two healthy daughters, and financial security — but in 2013 I had a realization that none of it felt like enough. It was then that I started on my journey towards a deeper understanding of who I was and what I was put on this earth to do — because my gut was telling me it wasn’t to sell things.

My awakening led me to follow my passion for helping women uncover their purposes, so I began my coaching business. Fast forward 3 years later, my husband and I moved our kids across the country to sunny southern California, my coaching business is thriving, and I’m writing my first book — life is good.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take always’ you learned from that?

I don’t know if it’s funny “ha-ha”, but the biggest mistake I made was expecting everything I set out to achieve to manifest very quickly. I have never been a patient person but becoming an entrepreneur has really forced me to check myself and surrender to whatever timeline the universe has mapped out for me. When I’ve tried to force things to go faster, it never ends well. Now, I try to go with the flow.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m going to cheat and give you two people: my husband and my mentor, Mike Repole.

My husband, Ryan, is the most steadfastly supportive person I’ve ever known. He listens to my non-stop flow of new business ideas and offers brilliant, loving advice.

Mike Repole was the co-founder of Vitaminwater (and current co-founder of Body Armor) and is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing or working for. When I was a young and inexperienced intern, he spoke to me with respect and actively listened to my ideas on how we could better target new accounts.

He taught me to take risks, chase my dreams, and never forget the “little guy”. He’s wildly successful but remains humble — often rejecting credit for his achievements and is always quick to return a text or email.

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 great customer experience is essential for success in business?

Customer loyalty is everything — period.

The effort and money it takes to acquire a new customer is typically a significant drain on a company’s resources — making it critical to retain customers and turn them into repeat purchasers.

It’s not good enough to deliver at the customer expectations; You must consistently over-deliver in order to solidify their brand loyalty. The competitive landscape we now have with Facebook and social media ad targeting make it essential to keep customers engaged and feeling appreciated so they are less likely to go to a competitor brand.

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?

In my opinion, companies who aren’t investing in customer experience are focused more on quantity than quality — a “turn and burn” model, if you will. The potential downside of focusing on driving new sales, versus retaining their existing customer base, is that they put themselves at risk for an onslaught of negative reviews and feedback, which can ultimately drive them out of business.

We all remember seeing that viral video of the man being forcibly removed from a United flight, right? In one fail swoop, United’s reputation for customer service went out the window with that viral video. It’s an example of how a company’s image can plummet — 1.4 billion dollars in United’s case — if they don’t value customer experience and satisfaction above all else.

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?

Absolutely. Zappos is a perfect example of a hugely successful company that’s made customer satisfaction the cornerstone of their brand image. They’ve trained customers not to expect to pay for shipping — which no-doubt has inflicted some pain on other online shoe retailers.

They’ve invested in live, 24/7 customer support and are quick to refund a customer’s money if there is even a hint of a problem with their order. You can’t buy that kind of brand loyalty — not with an ad campaign or “influencer” marketing. Zappos has made it so any other online retailer almost automatically has to offer free shipping if they hope to convert a customer to make a purchase with them.

Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?

It’s always been my missing to over-deliver for each and every one of my clients — whether it be a 1:1 coaching client or business I’m conducting a workshop or delivering a keynote for. It’s not lost on me that they are inundated with options when they seek out a coach, so I make it my priority to give them an incredible return on their funding.

It’s hard to pinpoint only one example of this, but some ways I ensure clients’ feed is supported is by giving them my cell number and allowing them to access me by text 24/7. I know this may seem like I need to establish better boundaries with clients, but I want them to know that any concern or question they have is one we share, and I’m always here whenever they need me — day or night.

Did that Wow! experience have any long-term ripple effects? Can you share the story?

The long-term effects of consistently over-delivering for clients are that they happily refer me to their friends and colleagues. I’m proud to say that my business is now 90% referrals — which means I spend almost nothing on advertising and marketing, and I have the pleasure of coaching my ideal clients.

I never even have to ask them for referrals. Rather, new clients actively seek me out and happily pay my fee because they have confidence in my abilities after hearing their friends sing my praises.

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. Target a specific customer

We’ve all heard that you can’t be everything to everyone — but often companies are so focused on profits that they make the mistake of playing to the masses and not focusing their marketing towards their ideal customer base.

When I started my coaching business, it was very tempting to cast a wide net and label myself as a “life coach” — and try to get as many clients as possible. Thank goodness I listened to the advice of my coach at the time and played to my skillset and focused on career coaching for executive women — a group I had the most experience with.

2. “Dance with the one who brought you”

It’s a huge mistake to shift focus away from the group of a company’s initial customers — AKA the ones who brought them to the dance in the first place. Product and service evolution must happen in order to remain competitive, but be careful not to tweak your product or service so much that you lose your initial customer base.

An example of this would be if I all of the sudden started creating content and programs that were more specific to a male audience. My clients are a specific group of Senior Director to C-suite level women — not male hedge fund managers, so if I started doing videos about things that aren’t front-of-mind with women, I could risk losing my customer base.

3. Define your promise

A company must ensure everyone on the team is working to support your brand promise — what it is that you are committing to delivering for your ideal customer. The more a company consistently delivers on that promise, the more its value will grow in the minds of both their customers and employees.

In my coaching business, our brand promise is to fully support each client, so they feel that they are the only client we have. I never want a client to feel as if they are competing for my attention. I want them to feel as though their success is my singular focus and I’m constantly working to get them to their goals — which I strive to do. Even though I can have as many as 20 one-on-one clients at a time, plus workshops, speaking gigs, and press — I never want them to see me tired or unenthusiastic about their journey. The truth is, each of their journeys is incredibly personal to me and if they don’t feel like they got a huge return on their funding— I see it as a personal failure.

4. Be accessible at all times

I’m not saying everyone needs to give out their cell phone number, but I do think it’s hard to create a memorable customer experience if the customer can’t get ahold of anyone when needed. Often, email support or a live chat will suffice and ensure the customer feels “heard” and valued.

I have a policy that I will always respond to an email from a client within 24 hours of receiving the inquiry. In case an email falls through the cracks or gets buried, they are encouraged to text me or my assistant and will get an almost immediate response. This shows them they are important to me and I value them — and it’s not enough to say it, you must walk the walk every day.

5. Utilize social platforms

Companies must use Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram in order to serve the customer “on-demand”. This goes along with being accessible, but it’s important to separate these platforms as a whole other area of customer support that will need attention.

Why? Because there will be customers who, when they don’t get the service they feel they deserve, complain. They may not complain to you, but they’ll complain to the rest of the world on Instagram about how displeased they are with you or your product.

There is an upside, though. I’ve had past clients rave about me on their social media, which has led to — you guessed it — new clients.

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?

Absolutely. I always encourage clients to speak about their experience to others who they feel could benefit from their story.

There still seems to be a bit of a stigma about admitting you work with a coach or sought some sort of external help — which is ridiculous. I think the more people can proudly share their path to success, the more they can inspire others to expand their professional support system — which can ultimately increase their joy and fulfillment.

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?

Acceptance — not tolerance. I think our world would benefit tremendously if everyone strived to practice radical acceptance… of others and ourselves. We are all connected and the sooner we acknowledge that, and act accordingly, the more love and freedom we will all enjoy.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @coach.elizabeth.pearson

YouTube channel: Elizabeth Pearson

Facebook: Elizabeth Pearson Executive Coaching

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Elizabeth Pearson

[email protected]



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