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Krista Miller of Summit in a Box: “Never consider your process perfect”

Never consider your process perfect. Once you do the work to set up what you view as a good customer experience, don’t assume your job is done. Instead, continue asking your clients and customers for feedback and take that feedback seriously. Even if you’re incredibly proud of what you’ve created, look through that feedback for […]

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Never consider your process perfect. Once you do the work to set up what you view as a good customer experience, don’t assume your job is done. Instead, continue asking your clients and customers for feedback and take that feedback seriously. Even if you’re incredibly proud of what you’ve created, look through that feedback for chances to implement something new.

While this is also a great way to collect testimonials, the most important thing is that you’re always making progress to improve your customer experience which will increase the likelihood that people complete their work with you and refer you to others.


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 Krista Miller.

At Summit In A Box, Krista helps entrepreneurs 3x their monthly revenue through virtual summits without wondering where to start or what to do next. Her method is focused on strong connections, collaboration, and making a difference in the lives of everyone involved. After hosting her first successful virtual summit with a tiny audience and hosting events earning over 90k dollars since, she now provides strategies, templates, and tutorials to others who want to follow the same path.


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 went to school for Computer Science and Software Engineering and never had plans to do anything different. While still in college, I landed my dream job doing software and web development for a large corporation. With that first job offer, I had already reached my lifetime salary goal and thought I had it made.

I enjoyed my time in that job for a while, but then things started to go downhill. It got to the point where I knew I had to find a new path.

One day, while scrolling through Pinterest, I noticed that there were other young women running their own web design and development businesses. It was my “ah-ha” moment.

I had no idea what I was doing, I wasn’t sure if I’d pull it off, but I got to work immediately. In one weekend, I had a business name, a website, and an underpriced offer to build websites for other women in business.

It took a few months to land my first client, but things picked up quickly from there. Within 6 months, I was making the bare minimum my husband and I would need to get by and I left my corporate job to go full-time on my own.

After 3 years of running that business, I launched my first successful virtual summit. It went so well that I found myself bombarded with emails and messages asking if I’d teach others how to do it. And now I run a successful business called Summit in a Box where we teach entrepreneurs to grow their business with virtual summits. Our signature offer is a program also named Summit in a Box, which is what I’ll be referencing today!

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?

I’m always entertained by the way my family views the work I do. Coming from a small town, the idea of running an online business is unheard of to all of them. Attempting to explain how I teach other people to host virtual summits? Forget it.

Instead of seeing me creating a business that brings in more than I’d make at a “real” job and truly helping people, they see me sitting at home all day, working on my “little projects”.

Over the years, they’ve started seeing that I am doing real work and I’ve been able to laugh at it more, instead of being offended. But the October after leaving my corporate job, I was so sick of the side comments that I dressed up as “myself” for a family Halloween party. The costume consisted of messy hair, an “I’m busy” shirt, pajama pants, and slippers. When anyone asked about it, I mentioned that I was dressing to match what everyone assumed I did every day.

On the plus side, it opened up conversations and opportunities to let them know that I was actually running a business, not doing those “little projects”.

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 wouldn’t be where I am without my husband’s constant support. When I started my business, everyone else told me what a terrible idea it was, while he cheered me on every step of the way.

When it came time to leave my corporate job, I left the decision up to him. With that job, I was bringing in the majority of our income, and the goal I had set with my business was to bring in about 20% of that to get us to our bare minimum.

Instead of showing even a hint of doubt, he acted like leaving my job was the only option available. He never flinched when I asked about making another business investment out of our personal bank account and instead was excited to see me taking another step forward.

If it wasn’t for his support in those first couple of years (both monetarily and emotionally), I wouldn’t be taking part in this interview.

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?

Customer experience is the cornerstone of our business. I’ve been a part of many courses and programs, but the ones that really stand out are those that continue to deliver after the sale. That personal experience is why I prioritize our customers over sales.

The first way a great customer experience will lead to success is that it increases client and customer success rates. When someone is enjoying their time with you or your content, they’re more likely to continue. When they continue, they can get themselves the results they expected when they handed their money over to you.

Right along with that, delivering an incredible customer experience and getting people the results you promised creates raving fans who want to spread the word about you whenever they get a chance. We’ve seen this work wonders to increase sales and conversion rates. In many cases, our students do the selling for us!

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?

Since I’ve started my own business and have come to understand the importance of customer experience, there have been many times where I’ve hung up the phone or left a building and immediately turned to my husband and said what a terrible customer experience it is. Once you know what a good experience is, the bad ones really stand out.

The disconnect here is companies valuing their money, time, and other resources more than their customers. They don’t even realize what going above and beyond what they “have to do” could do for them because they’ve never done it.

They’ve never seen how a little more work or being more empathetic now can turn into more sales down the road. Instead, they give a poor experience and consider it a success when they only have to put in the bare minimum. However, if they would’ve put in the extra time or resources upfront, it would have come back and paid off several times over.

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 do think that competition can play a part in encouraging companies to improve their customer experience. If someone else is selling a similar product or service, and also delivering a better experience, people are naturally going to talk about and choose that other company.

I know that for Summit in a Box, we’ve had all kinds of people come to us and compare how we treat them versus how our competitors treat them. Since we focus on experience and our people over profits, they then go and refer everyone to us instead of the other people they’ve worked with before.

However, I don’t think that improving customer experience for the reason of being better than a competitor is enough to help a company improve long-term. It needs to be something they truly believe in and something that’s built into their values, otherwise, it’s just a performance and won’t last long-term.

I think another big external pressure can be the type of feedback or reviews they get from customers. People are more likely to leave a review or talk about a company publicly when they’ve had a bad experience. The pressure that comes up when someone goes public with a negative experience can also force a company to focus on the customer experience and improve.

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

One story that stands out the most to me is a customer who went through our entire Summit in a Box program, implemented everything, and got to see all of the extra little pieces and surprises we built into the program to improve their experience and encourage progress. For example, they ran into invites to be featured by us, coffee gift cards, hidden celebrations, and more.

In addition, because they went through the entire program, they got amazing results and then became a raving fan. It has really stood out as proof of how powerful a positive experience can be.

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

It did! Not only did this person fill out our feedback form and give an incredible testimonial, but they asked if they could do a video testimonial. They wanted to take that testimonial even further, even though they didn’t have to. They also offered to be a guest on my podcast to share their experience, both with hosting their event and with being in the program.

As if that weren’t enough, they then asked to share the program with their audience and network. I was invited to speak to a group of their students and made additional sales directly from doing that talk for them.

It was so incredible to see that when we focus on our people, it makes them want to support us, promote our offers, and improve their own business.

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.

1. Don’t check out after you get paid.

Many businesses with a poor customer experience, do a ton of work upfront to convince people to give them money. There’s always a huge marketing budget, right? But after they get that money, they consider their work done and totally check out.

Instead, your work is really just beginning after someone gives you money for a product or service. Instead of checking out, use it as an opportunity to start supporting them on an even deeper level.

The good news is that this doesn’t have to be difficult. For example, one thing we like to do is offer additional support and direction through an automated email sequence for new customers. When someone joins our program, they immediately get put into a 90-day email sequence that has timely check-ins, gives direction at different points they might need it, and supports them all along the way, rather than leaving them hanging.

We also have a new member survey to learn more about each of our new customers, what their goals are, and what their biggest concerns are. We use this information down the line to follow up with them, offer support when needed, and give a great experience their entire time with us.

2. Give clear direction at every step.

In my experience with larger online programs, one of the biggest issues is joining and then not knowing what to do to get started, which can be overwhelming. Whether you have a service and someone is wondering if they’re supposed to email you, or whether they buy a digital course and are wondering where to start, it’s up to you to give them that clear direction.

With Summit in a Box, we are intentional about giving a clear starting point and guiding students throughout the entire process of hosting an online event. Again, this doesn’t have to be complicated or take up more of your time than the initial setup requires.

For example, we start with a welcome video that walks students through the program so they have an overview of where to start and where to find what they need. We also have a 7-day challenge for them to complete within the first week of joining our program. That gives even more direction and helps them set up a project plan with a template we provide. They never have to wonder what they’re going to do next. This also increases the likelihood that they’ll make use of their investment with us because they aren’t guessing — we tell them exactly what to do and when to do it.

3. Build in milestone celebrations.

If you offer something that is delivered over a longer time period, or it takes your customers a long time to complete build-in milestones to keep engagement up. A challenge for long-term programs is that people start to drop off. If you don’t build something into the experience to keep them engaged, that will continue.

You can get creative with this and have fun. For example, in Summit in a Box we built in 12 milestones. When a student reaches a milestone, they see an indicator of that and scan a QR code on physical milestone cards we send. From there, they’re taken to a video that plays with encouragement, what to expect next, and something they can do to celebrate themselves. Some of those celebrations are as easy as giving themselves a couple of minutes to reflect on their progress, and other times we have a gift card linked so they can get a Starbucks drink on us. Every milestone reignites the customer’s excitement and makes them want to continue.

4. Never consider your process perfect.

Once you do the work to set up what you view as a good customer experience, don’t assume your job is done. Instead, continue asking your clients and customers for feedback and take that feedback seriously. Even if you’re incredibly proud of what you’ve created, look through that feedback for chances to implement something new.

While this is also a great way to collect testimonials, the most important thing is that you’re always making progress to improve your customer experience which will increase the likelihood that people complete their work with you and refer you to others.

5. Keep it personal, but also automate and outsource.

Many of the steps I went over will require a lot of your time and attention if you don’t automate or outsource. As the owner of a business, you likely don’t have that much spare time on your hands.

Whenever you can get something off your plate with this, do it, as long as it’s not at the expense of the overall experience. For example, in the new student intake form I mentioned where we collect customer information as they join, we don’t read every single one of those as they come in. Instead, my team and I can reference them when needed for customer support and we can go through them when we have time set aside to make program improvements.

As another example, there are two spots throughout our program where we share a Starbucks gift card and the students love it. But once I set that up, I literally never had to touch it again as it auto-reloads when funds run low.

Map out what you want your customer experience to look like and then outsource and automate whatever you can even if it means you have to tweak your plans a bit.

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?

When you give an incredible client or customer experience, for many it will come naturally to want to refer you. However, it’s not automatic for everyone so there are a few things you can do to help.

First, consider offering some type of incentive for referrals. For example, maybe they get a monetary incentive, bonus session, or extra learning material. I don’t think this is required, since people will truly want to refer you to others when you give a great experience, but it’s definitely a nice bonus and carries your customer experience even further.

Overall, you need to make it known that you want them to refer others to you and there are a few places I like to do that. The first place we do that is twice during that initial 90-day email sequence I mentioned. In an email early on and another closer to the end of the sequence, we let them know how they can refer us to others and what the incentives are.

We also do direct outreach. When we know a customer in one of our programs gets great results, I reach out personally to congratulate them for their incredible results, ask for feedback, and let them know that we’d love referrals

The third thing I recommend is building a referral program or process right into your service delivery. In our Summit in a Box program, after the final learning lessons, we have additional lessons that ask for feedback and referrals. It’s a built-in way for students to see that they can give feedback, which we use for testimonials when promoting our product, and directly refer us to people they know.

My particular expertise is in retail, so I’d like to ask a question about that. Amazon is going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

I would tell those companies to focus on the experience they provide, the quality of their product, and showing customers that they care. Something that these companies with cheap products sacrifice is the time it takes to deliver a quality product and put that extra care into their experience. All they have time to do is whip together something quick and get it sent out the door.

You can stand out by making sure you deliver with your product and focus on that experience. Even if it’s as simple as adding a thank you card, having a coupon code for repeat customers, or offering great support when someone reaches out for help. Reward customers for shopping with you, which will encourage them to send more people your way..

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. 🙂

I would want to start a movement of people who focus more on the value they’re bringing to others over their profit they’re bringing into their own business.

Yes, as a business owner, you have to make money, but you’re not going to make money if you’re not positively impacting the people you’re marketing to. The next time you go to create a new product or service or improve an existing one, put profit aside, put best business practices aside, and focus on what can truly serve your people in that moment. Just see what comes up.

Some ideas won’t be feasible from a profitability standpoint, but some of those ideas will. Focus on your people first and that will almost always come back to grow your business and benefit you in ways that you didn’t even imagine before.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

I’d love to connect on Instagram @summitinabox!

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


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