Define Your Mission as an organization. Our Mission is WHAT we do. We have defined our mission as “We empower employers with the tools, information and technology needed to improve decision making, enhance legal compliance, reduce liability and create safe and secure workplaces.”
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 Matthew Rodgers.
Matt is an entrepreneurial force who applies his creative energy to building a company that simply serves clients far better than his competitors. Matt came from a highly successful career that spanned 17 years in the staffing industry before starting iprospectcheck. Former CEO of a highly successful healthcare staffing agency and former Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of a billion-dollar NYSE publicly traded company, building a great company with great people is simply what Matt does best. Focusing on legal compliance, data security, API integrations, key relationships, product development, and the development of his team, Matt is a highly valued and sought-after consultant who is always willing to help clients succeed.
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?
We started iprospectcheck out of necessity. Prior to iprospectcheck Andrea (co-founder and CEO of iprospectcheck) and I owned a very successful healthcare staffing company.
Background checks were constantly the single major barrier to hiring nurses efficiently to provide patient care. Waiting weeks for results meant less help on the floor of the hospital and an increase in nurses who would accept other opportunities when onboarding became a long, drawn out process.
We tried several companies, including some of the biggest in the industry. No matter who we used, nobody would respond urgently to our needs, nobody answered or returned our phone calls in a timely manner.
Andrea felt that there was a need for a background checking company that was highly responsive to its clients and to the candidates that it screened. She was right.
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?
Naming the company over a decade ago was a real challenge. Andrea and I brainstormed for days.
It was similar to the challenges faced by emerging popular music bands of the Boomer generation. It was like all the good band names were taken by 1970 so we end up with bands with names like “Jethro Tull” or “Mott the Hoople”? Too many syllables, not particularly memorable, and who knows what a Hoople is?
After much struggle, the name “iprospectcheck” stuck. Our clients try to shorten it to “iprospect” or “Just call my friends Andrea and Matt”. The name has been good to us, so we’ll keep it and continue to make it memorable for the service driven company that it represents.
What did we learn from that? You can make the name memorable by combining excellent work with extraordinary customer service.
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?
Back in the early days, we had an opportunity to bring in an enterprise client that had significant technology needs.
We were eager to build out the technology to create the perfect integration for them, but it was going to cost a shocking amount of money to pay the developers. At that time, we were cash-strapped but determined to make it happen. This was in 2009/2010, and the banks were failing all around us. They were not lending to anyone.
Andrea’s mom, hearing about our situation, put up the money to help us build out the integration. She became a defacto team member on that day and has continued to join us whenever we hold Team Appreciation events.
Although we have many integrations now, we couldn’t have completed our first major applicant tracking system integration without her.
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?
Andrea and I discussed this question at length this morning. Great customer service and creating a consistently great customer experience are not essential for success in business. Making extraordinary service the cornerstone of our company culture is a reflection of the types of companies and people that we like to do business with. It is a reflection of who we are.
The value equation for some people is so tilted toward price that service isn’t even possible, and perhaps not necessary. These are not our clients. The value proposition of doing business with us has to be measured more broadly.
What if you never lost another candidate because your background check took too long? What if your background screening company responded to your requests immediately, with urgency? What if you could get answers to complex technical challenges promptly? What if they answered their phone in person when you called? How secure is your data? How legally compliant is your background screening process? How valuable is it to work with people who are literally striving to make your day better, display a positive attitude, are approachable and polite? This is the way that we choose to conduct our business.
We believe that if you put all of these benefits together on the scale with price you get a better picture of the true value proposition of working with iprospectcheck.
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?
Great customer service is not intuitive. It is the product of the culture of the company which is defined by the leaders of the organization, careful people selection, training and perpetual coaching.
The baseline experience that you have with any company (throw out the best and worst experiences) is the tall shadow of the leadership of that organization. That tall shadow is better defined as the company culture.
You can implement policies and procedures that improve the mechanics of service delivery, but the desire to provide great customer service must exist in the heart and soul of the leadership of the company in order to create and grow a service-driven culture.
At iprospectcheck, for example, we understand that to grow we must take great care of people. This is at the core of our culture because it is literally who we are.
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 believe the opposite is true. Extremely competitive industries generally race to the bottom of the service delivery spectrum because excess competition leads to the commoditization of the product or service being offered.
It can be difficult if not impossible to dramatically improve the customer experience when providing extraordinary service is not in the DNA of company culture. Radically changing a company’s culture to improve their customer experience is very difficult and takes a long, long time.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
If you take a look at our website, we have published many client referrals from our clients. If one in particular stands out, it is from a dear friend and client Mr. Robert Seawright who is the CEO of Interim HealthCare of Northern California.
It is special to me because Robert was the first client that we served at iprospectcheck. He trusted us to take care of his family of companies over a dozen years ago, and we support his success in any way we can to this day.
We usually meet a couple times a year in person. He is a great client and an incredible human being. I am looking forward to getting the pandemic behind us so that we can resume our in-person meetings.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
Of course! Robert has referred more clients to iprospectcheck than we can count. These people have become long term friends and clients as well.
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. Be a Wow! person.
Model Wow! behavior. Dedicate yourself to the pursuit of Wow! moments.
One of my favorite Wow! techniques is to solve the problem and then respond to the request. If I clearly understand the needs of the client in the moment, I will solve the problem and then reach out to the client to let them know that the problem is solved.
Time is precious. Many times, all clients want is someone to say, “I heard you, I understand you, and I have taken care of this for you.” When THAT is your response to a problem that has created anxiety for your client? They think Wow! This person made my day!
After all, your competition has them hanging in a phone tree or dealing with a bot that can’t get the information for them.
2. Hire the right people.
Not everyone is designed to provide Wow! experiences. We all have unique gifts and talents, and many of us are not interested in the finer points of human engagement.
Make sure that you have your aces in their places. If a team member is going to be client facing, their unique personality must include a positive attitude, a willingness to learn, and the desire to make clients day better. We can teach and train the rest.
3. Teach, train and follow up.
Teaching your team how to get over the bar is critical. Once they have been trained and begin to get experience, listen, watch, study and guide your people to the standards that you expect.
We all fall short sometimes. When this happens, we work together to make sure that patterns do not emerge that could erode our culture. We guide and support each other when mistakes happen.
4. Define Your Mission as an organization.
Our Mission is WHAT we do. We have defined our mission as “We empower employers with the tools, information and technology needed to improve decision making, enhance legal compliance, reduce liability and create safe and secure workplaces.”
5. Define Your Unique Pillars of Service.
The pillars of service support our mission. They define HOW we deliver on our mission:
- We respond urgently to client requests.
- We display a positive attitude.
- We make your day better.
- We seek to understand a problem before we solve it.
- We are technically skilled.
- We ensure data security.
- We serve candidates transparently.
- We embrace the technology that best serves our clients.
- We collaborate.
- We retain leading legal talent to guide our clients’ compliance efforts.
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?
We encourage our clients to provide us with referrals, and many of our new clients are the result of word-of-mouth advertising.
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 most amount of good to the most amount of people? That is a big ask. But I do have an idea.
This pandemic is pushing everyone to their outer limits of patience and emotional stability. We are all losing people that we work with and even people that we love. That is a profound fact.
For many of us, our emotional load is at the breaking point. Maybe it’s time to let go of the things that divide us. Patch things up with someone. Forgive each other. Be the one who brings the olive branch. Be the one that is kind today.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Company Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/iprospectcheck.com/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!