Go above and beyond. It’s not just, “I’m going to support you on this issue. I’m going to resolve this issue.” It’s, “What else can I do for you?” It may or may not have anything to do with increasing revenue, but it may make that customer’s experience a ‘wow’ experience, rather than just an adequate one. The difference between wow and adequate is huge from a consumer perspective, yet it may be trivial in terms of the additional thing a company needs to do. Figure out what those wow things are. Each business has them.
As part of our series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeff Mosler.
Jeff Mosler is the CEO of Nexa Receptionists Holdings, LLC where he leads business and operations for the company’s three brands: Nexa, Nexa Healthcare and Alert Communications. Prior to joining Nexa, Jeff served as COO for Main Street Hub (acquired by GoDaddy), and chief services officer for HomeAway/VRBO. He has also held leadership positions at Amazon and Microsoft.
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’m American, but I grew up in Brussels, Belgium. That experience has influenced the way I think about people, culture, countries and global scale in general. When I returned to the US, I went to the University of Pennsylvania, specifically for a program where I could get an undergraduate degree in both business and engineering. Having that dual background gave me the “one-two punch” of operational horsepower, analytics and manufacturing, along with business, strategy and vision.
After college, I started my career working for Exxon and as a process engineer, primarily focused on manufacturing and supply chain in the petrochemical industry. Then, I pivoted to finance and business growth in the high-tech arena, working for companies like Dell, Microsoft and Amazon.
The combined background in both business and operations has given me the skills and experience to lead large-scale global operations, improve business and customer experience, and scale globally. And that’s one of the things we want to do at Nexa — expand our business so we can help more SMBs and mid-market companies expand and fuel their growth.
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?
When you’re right out of college, you think you know everything. You’re too young to understand that you don’t know anything.
I worked in a refinery with some really smart, experienced people. I was trying to run our process as close as possible to efficiency. And efficiency for a chemical plant means to use as little catalyst and energy as possible to reduce the costs of manufacturing as much as you can, but still make the same high-quality product.
The experienced technicians were warning me: “Don’t get too close to the sun. Don’t run it so thin,” but I thought I was the smartest guy in the room. Well, we ran too close to the sun, and it was so bad that we had to shut down the operating unit and take two days to recover. Any efficiency I was hoping to get was lost and then some.
I learned at a very young age that experience matters and to take heed of good advice. There’s so much that I can still learn in this world.
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?
I’m a very family-oriented person. I have two older sisters and two loving parents. I’ve taken a lot from each one of them through the years. I get my engineering mentality from my dad. I get my street smarts from my mom. From my sisters, I’ve been able to adopt new ways of thinking about culture and people.
Those four people shaped who I am. Now I have my own family with my wife and two kids, and I’m always learning from them.
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?
Maybe 20 years ago, companies thought about customer service and customer experience as a cost and a way of doing things.
In the past 10 years, however, and certainly today in the post-pandemic era, there are so many choices for consumers — where to shop and where to go — delivering a great customer experience is far beyond just a cost equation. It’s about creating customers for life, creating wonderful experiences for your consumers. These experiences, in turn, benefit a company in so many different ways: loyalty, word of mouth and referrals, increasing cart size and shopping behavior.
Today, customer experience is a competitive advantage, more on the business side than on the cost side. Companies that do customer service and customer experience well, typically, are the best companies from a business perspective.
I worked for Amazon for six years. When I joined Amazon in 2005, it was about bringing down the defect rate and reducing costs, but they have really shifted to delivering a highly personal experience. Today, all of us think about Amazon as an amazing experience. So consumers are going to buy more from them and typically look at Amazon before checking anywhere else because the consumer experience is so strong.
That’s a great example of how consumer experience has fueled business growth, and it has very little to do with cost reduction.
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?
Most companies claim they are customer-centric, but truly doing that is harder than it seems. It’s easy to pay lip service, but good customer experience is not a one-and-done deal. It’s a continuous plowing of the field. It’s working — in every role and in every department of the company — on the desired outcome you’re hoping to achieve for the customers. It’s a process and a framework and an everyday job.
Most companies struggle because it requires an analytical approach. Day in, day out, week in and week out, it’s looking at those defects, improving them, figuring out what went right, what went wrong and continuously working at it.
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?
I think competition helps, but customer-centricity and delivering a great customer experience have to come from within. You’re either a company that has that DNA, or you’re not.
That said, external influencers — competition, revenue, growth cost, etc. — might be good for forcing functions to deliver customer experience. But again, I think it starts with the vision and the mission, and the desire of the company.
There are a number of companies that almost refuse to focus on costs or revenue or competition. They just focus on themselves. They want to be great customer experience companies, regardless of the other financial or competitive metrics. Those are usually the ones that have their course set properly when it comes to customer centricity — Amazon when they’re ignoring Wall Street or Apple when they’re obsessed with design and user experience, somewhat independent of the business and financial metrics.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
Nexa is a very special company because we help empower and fuel the growth of other businesses from SMB to mid-market to enterprise.
Some of the great experiences that I’ve seen at Nexa are things like being able to work for that business around the clock across many channels, such as chat, text and phone — channels their customers want.
When the plumber is sleeping, we’re loading up their calendar the next day. When the lawyer is having another call with a client, we’re doing the intake of a prospective client. When the doctor is serving their patients, we’re doing the triage for other patients.
What we’re doing is expanding their business, and we’re delivering amazing customer experiences while they’re doing what they need to do, which is either serving their customers or, at the end of the day, going to sleep and getting ready for the next day.
For instance, one of our customers is a full-service HVAC, plumbing and electrical company. In the summertime, when one of their customer’s air conditioning or electricity fails, they need to respond fast — within minutes. During peak seasons, they were struggling to manage regular maintenance and emergency calls. We were able to help them manage these calls during business hours and after hours, and get their emergency dispatch teams on the road and out to the customer faster than ever.
I love what we do because we’re empowering those SMBs and those mid-market companies to deliver amazing outcomes for their end customers, helping fuel their growth and customer-centricity.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Many of our customers feel like they are working with a true partner and almost an extension of their team because we take the time to become expertly trained in their field and their specific operations. In the case of that HVAC customer, we’ve been able to watch them increase their customer conversion rates, continue to improve their response times, and ultimately improve their already great customer experience.
And we have many of those experiences, which is why we do what we do. It’s also really special when our customers refer friends, family or peer businesses. It’s a sign that we’re delivering that ‘wow’ experience. That’s what we’re looking for, and it helps fuel our business growth.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.
- Start with the customer and work backward. Leave no stone unturned. This should be a full review of everything the company does, across all aspects of the business. Ask, “What is the desired outcome?” Then work on processes, training and the offer to deliver that experience.
- Set the expectation with the customer, and then deliver to that expectation. Sometimes it’s a little bit unclear what a company is doing. Set the expectation, and then deliver that value proposition.
- Ensure the company has a framework — the ethos, a cadence for always listening, learning and taking action based on whatever is going right or wrong. It’s the idea of continuously plowing the field. It’s not one and done. It’s not, “This is customer experience week. We’re going to have a blitz on customer experience and then forget about it next week.” It’s got to be each week — week in and week out — the company’s focused on what’s going well, what’s not going well, and then improving what’s not going well.
- Engage your customers. More often than not, companies focus exclusively on their process, but they’re not going outside and interacting with live customers. An interaction and engagement model is extremely important. Develop an advanced way to talk to customers, listen to customers, understand customers’ sentiment, and then take action based on that sentiment.
- Go above and beyond. It’s not just, “I’m going to support you on this issue. I’m going to resolve this issue.” It’s, “What else can I do for you?” It may or may not have anything to do with increasing revenue, but it may make that customer’s experience a ‘wow’ experience, rather than just an adequate one. The difference between wow and adequate is huge from a consumer perspective, yet it may be trivial in terms of the additional thing a company needs to do. Figure out what those wow things are. Each business has them.
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?
There are a few highly successful methods I’ve seen. Some of the common ones are things like testimonials. Get great testimonials and reviews. Referrals, exclusive discounts and promotions, and loyalty programs can also be useful in turning customers into advocates.
One of the things I like most is giving top-tier customers, or those with whom you have mutual trust, sneak peeks at technology or new releases. This might be including them on beta testing of new technology or offers, and giving them the opportunity to test features.
It creates a safe space where, if something goes wrong, it’s not the end of the world. Plus, customers enjoy being part of that framework and seeing some of these cool things, even though they’re not fully baked yet. They feel like their opinion truly matters and like they got to be part of building something.
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. 🙂
A strong family unit and the benefits I had growing up with great role models in my parents and my older sisters really served me. A lot of other people maybe aren’t so fortunate to have those opportunities and advantages and benefits.
I think the movement would be to ensure that our up-and-coming generation of folks — kids, teenagers, even college students — all have proper mentors or people they can rely on to help them along early in their lives.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Connect with me on LinkedIn.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!