Always over-deliver and exceed expectations — just as Oprah does. When she wows her viewers with amazing presents and rewards, she always over-delivers and that’s what we strive to do every day.
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 Sergei Belouis.
Sergei is an innovative entrepreneur with a myriad of experience in marketing, real estate, and business. He is the CEO of UpFlip, which, whether you’re buying or selling, connects you with other investors quickly and easily. Business, commercial, franchise, rental and online commerce — UpFlip does it all!
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?
– In my early 20s I was very low on cash flow, but still always looking for a way to start my own business. My very first venture began with buying and selling phones on eBay, and that’s when the entrepreneurial bug took hold. Before I knew it, this fledgling business grew into my own eCommerce store, which then led to the launch of my own affiliate websites.
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?
– The funniest “light-bulb-turning-on” moment happened when I first learned how to do. I quickly learned that I was really catching onto it, and all of the sites that I was working on began to rank very well — and in a much shorter time than I had anticipated. In fact, one of the sites grew to making well over 1k dollars, so I began to finally see a real payoff. So, what does someone relatively new to business do when they start to make money? That’s right, I started to spend it like there was no tomorrow, including booking a first-class trip to Hawaii. Unfortunately, just two weeks later, that site lost its ranking, which meant that income stopped rolling in. Yet, I learned the valuable lesson to always prepare for the unexpected, as well as to save, invest, and prioritize.
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?
– Unlike a lot of people at a young age, I didn’t have a mentor, nor did I read any books. I was just extremely driven, and I wanted nothing more in the world than to succeed in life. So, this became my entire focus. I began to network, make connections, and learn from doing. I’m saying this to let young businesspeople know that you can have trust in yourself to succeed. You just have to be willing to work for it.
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?
– The focus of every business should be on gaining what is known as a “lifetime customer,” and without offering an exceptional customer experience, there is no clear way to achieve that. Look at Apple, for example. Their product is exceptional, and they always have a line of people waiting at their doors when their next product is released — due in part to their award-winning customer service. You can do the same with a great product and unparalleled customer support.
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?
– My opinion is that it’s often very difficult to manage people, and as a company grows and employees even more people, it can be even more difficult to ensure that each one is offering good customer service. It’s definitely not impossible, as many companies have proven, but it is much easier to do when you have a small team and can oversee all of the members of that team.
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?
– Customer experience plays a huge roll in customer satisfaction, and whether they’ll be back the next time they need another product or service. When you and your competition rank closely in quality and pricing, you can stand out by offering exceptional customer service. If at any time, sales begin to dip, that could mean that you really need to take a close look at your customer service department. Set up a survey, and see how satisfied your customers really are.
Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?
– We recently interviewed Paul Akers for our YouTube channel (just YouTube “UpFlip”), and his response was that our interview was extraordinary, including the type of interview and the product that came out. He said that he’s been interviewed hundreds of times, but no one did it as creatively as we did. When I came in, I brought a cup of fine coffee for the whole crew, too — just to set everyone at ease.
Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?
– We are definitely expecting to see results! As we all know, word-of-mouth can be the best form of advertising, so we are prepared to network, make connections and become apparent as experts in our field.
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.
– Always over-deliver and exceed expectations — just as Oprah does. When she wows her viewers with amazing presents and rewards, she always over-delivers and that’s what we strive to do every day.
Always provide an exceptional customer service experience. As we’ve been discussing, this can make the difference between a customer choosing you over the competition. I see this happen all the time, and it’s amazing to know when you have the “edge.”
Always know your customer. Many times, companies will put our products or services that don’t always appeal to their customer base. For example, when marketing cell phones, think about lower-priced options for students and those on a fixed income, rather than more expensive products.
Always be productive. Have you ever notice the difference in the way you feel when you’ve had a productive day filled with tasks, rather than a day where you couldn’t manage to get much done? I sure can! Imagine if you could have that feeling 99% of the time.
Always enjoy what you do. When I walk into the office, I have a smile on my face and the attitude of “how can I help you”. This makes all of the difference, as I am met with the same smile and a similar attitude.
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?
– You won’t even have to do much, as people will talk about you. We all like to talk about ourselves and what we have experienced, and if you had a great, not good, but great experience somewhere, you’ll talk about it.
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. 🙂
– Give a portion of what you earn to the ones that are in great need. Seek the needs of others, rather than the needs of yourself. When you prosper, find a way to share the wealth.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!