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June 26, 2020

Reflections on Gladly's 2020 Consumer Expectations Report

Joseph Ansanelli, CEO at Gladly and friend of Future Commerce, sits down with Phillip & Brian to talk about Gladly’s 2020 Consumer Expectations report. Now more than ever, consumers expect a much more personal experience than ever before, and Phillip, Brian, and Joseph discuss practical ways eCommerce brands can exceed those expectations.

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Joseph Ansanelli, CEO at Gladly and friend of Future Commerce, sits down with Phillip & Brian to talk about Gladly’s 2020 Consumer Expectations report. Now more than ever, consumers expect a much more personal experience than ever before, and Phillip, Brian, and Joseph discuss practical ways eCommerce brands can exceed those expectations.

Phillip: [00:00:00.76] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce. I'm Phillip. I'm so glad that you're here with us today. I know that there's a lot of things that you could be doing with your time. And I know that a lot of you have shifted the time in which you're fitting this podcast into your daily or weekly schedule. And for that, I just want to extend you a profound and sincere thank you. It's so awesome to see so many people participating in our community. And I just love having your voice involved. I love having you pay attention to the content that we're creating. I think now is a more important time than it has ever been in the last four years of our creation of this show for us to be able to use our voice and our platform to help shape the future of retail, eCommerce and DTC. And I can do that with you because you are partnered with me. And I just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Our Nine by Nine report was a smashing success. It's been picked up everywhere. If you didn't catch it on our Twitter feed, we have just been so blown away. WWD had a feature on their home page and GQ, for the last four days in the Style section, featured the CARLY category in our Nine by Nine report very heavily and prominently. So a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has downloaded that report. If you still haven't seen it, we have a webinar that we did with Klaviyo. We'll link it up in the show notes. We want you to check it out. And we are doing a deep dive podcast in a week's time. So set your calendars for next Friday. We are going to go deep on Nine by Nine, Brian and I. We're going to talk at length. We have no time constraints. But if you want an hourlong version of it, check out the Klaviyo webinar that we did. Again, we'll link it up in the show notes. All right. Let's get into it. Today, we have an interview with Joseph Antonelli, the CEO over at Gladly. And Joseph knows a thing or two about retail. He knows a thing or two about eCommerce. And I can't wait to dive deep with him. In particular, Joseph spent some time at Greylock and has cut his teeth over many, many years in helping lead and pilot startups to success. And he understands what it's like in the world of eCommerce startups and how you need to have not just a bag of tricks anymore. It's not a bag of tricks, but you need to have real expertise and partnership and being able to close the gap with the consumers that are on the other side of the transaction. Those customers, those people, have a lot of expectations today of your brand. And they put out an amazing report that I want you to go check out, again, we'll link it up in the show notes, called the Consumer Expectations Report. And that expectations report that they put out every year, this is their fifth year running, uncovers some incredible data about the kinds of things that you need to prepare for for the expectations that your customers are leveling towards you. And we say it all the time, your consumers have expectations of you that you never set with them. And I think that as we get into what's come out of Gladly's 2020 version of the report is more of the same, but in different ways. And now, especially in 2020, now more than ever, it's important that you have that personal, and as Joseph would say, radically personal relationship with the customer, I love this interview. We are fast friends now. We're very close with Joseph and the crew at Gladly. I know you're going to love this. So without any further ado, let's get into the show.

Joseph: [00:03:35.34] {laughter} So let's start over. The world has changed.

Phillip: [00:03:39.36] Yeah exactly.

Joseph: [00:03:39.36] The last time we talked, which was I think in September or something like that.

Brian: [00:03:43.83] January. January.

Joseph: [00:03:45.56] January? No, it wasn't. Wow.

Phillip: [00:03:47.94] It was at least four years ago. Back in January.

Joseph: [00:03:53.10] {laughter} It feels like four years, you know, just because the world has changed so much. I mean, I don't even know where to start in terms of how the world has changed. But we're living in a time like no other. This is a once in a century sort of thing that's going on. And it's amazing how quickly it's happened and the impact it's having across every industry. It's just amazing.

Phillip: [00:04:20.76] It's an amazing test to leadership right now. I mean, test on everybody but there's this Hemingway quote, which I've been throwing around as if it was my own recently, which is, "How do you go bankrupt? Well, gradually and then suddenly." I feel like a lot of the change in our industry has happened very gradually. And then suddenly all of a sudden.

Joseph: [00:04:46.62] Right.

Phillip: [00:04:48.81] You're sort of in leadership for seven, eight, ten years in one economic climate. And then all of a sudden overnight, you're guiding through a different economic climate. And I think that's a struggle for any leader in any organization. But tech, in particular, and retail now in particular, seems to be a really tough time.

Joseph: [00:05:15.59] Yeah. It's funny, it's tough, but it's sort of tough in both directions. You know, there are certain... What we're seeing is that, and you guys live it more than I do, just the dramatic shift in consumer spending to what we historically thought of as eCommerce. I like to just say there is no more E! It's just, it is commerce.

Phillip: [00:05:41.56] Yeah.

Joseph: [00:05:42.54] And that shift, to happen so dramatically, has really changed the way people think about their commerce businesses. And I was talking to one customer who said, "Look, this has accelerated where we wanted to be in three years for the next three months."

Brian: [00:05:59.58] Yeah.

Joseph: [00:06:00.93] We have customers and prospects that we're talking to where their business is operating at levels greater than the past holiday season.

Brian: [00:06:11.52] Wow.

Joseph: [00:06:11.52] That's pretty dramatic.

Brian: [00:06:13.05] Phillip just wrote an article about that that was published in Retail Touch Points.

Joseph: [00:06:18.13] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:06:19.12] It's an interesting thing. I'm curious, too, for those who may not know you and Gladly, as an organization, you have a very intimate view into sort of the relationship that your customer has with their customer in that you work with retail brands, and their customers have certain expectations of them. We talked about this back in January in our Vision Report. And do you think that those expectations have changed on the consumer level? Are they demanding more of a retail brand or do you think that they're being a little more...what's the word...understanding in this time?

Joseph: [00:06:59.42] I think that in general, I think that customers, consumers, their expectations over the last many years have changed dramatically. And I think that that expectation is obviously driven from all the shifts in consumer spending and behaviors and interacting with companies like Amazon, etc., where they just have this expectation of what kind of service they're going to get. And I think that in this time, I think people are generally more empathetic because we're all going through this global pandemic. But they still have expectations of communications and engagement. If it might take a week or two longer to get something people are like, "I get it. I get it. But please communicate to me that that's happening." Does that make sense?

Phillip: [00:07:54.17] Oh yeah.

Joseph: [00:07:54.17] So they're understanding of the realities of the world we're in, but I do think that they have an expectation that you're going to treat them like a good customer and communicate with them and engage with them. And I think that that's more important than ever, to be honest. You know, I just find that when things go sideways, more communications is better. And we power a lot of that, which has just been an interesting thing to see happen.

Brian: [00:08:19.55] It is really interesting. In fact, since the last time we talked, you launched an entirely new podcast, basically just about this. Additional communication, deeper one to one communication is absolutely essential right now in this period, in the shift that we're seeing. And so you watched the podcast that was just so timely. And obviously you couldn't have known what was going to happen before you launched it.

Joseph: [00:08:51.53] Right.

Brian: [00:08:51.53] It was very fortuitous timing. I think that this message of being radically personal is the message that you and Gladly have brought to the table recently. Tell us a little bit about this podcast and some highlights from the show and some learnings you've had from talking with people. It's an incredible show. I'm just blown away by it.

Joseph: [00:09:19.16] Well, I'm trying to follow in your guy's footsteps. So I've got a lot to learn.

Phillip: [00:09:24.95] Aw shucks.

Joseph: [00:09:24.95] {laughter} So the background for everyone who's listening, who doesn't know... I am the CEO of Gladly, and we're a customer service software company. And I remember early on I had done an outreach to a retailer to talk to them about what we're doing and the person starts the meeting and said, "I took this meeting because I wanted to talk to the person that was crazy enough to take on all the old established players in customer service." And he's like, "I really want to understand why." And the foundation of what we believe, still today, is this idea that consumers do expect a much more personal experience than ever before. They expect you to know who they are. They expect you to meet them wherever they are. Phone, email, chat, SMS. Facebook, Twitter doesn't matter. And that was the original premise of the company and this idea of making service around people, not around cases or tickets in the legacy ways that people deliver service. And so now we're live with all these great set of customers. The idea behind the podcast, which is called Radically Personal... You can go to, and you can listen to it... Was we wanted to highlight some great stories of how companies are delivering on this goal of radically personal customer service. One of my favorites, not that you have a favorite, but is Porsche. We work with Porsche, North America. And Jeff runs the team there. And Porsche has had this whole program called Excite. How do they excite their customers with the goal of delivering this great service? And he shares this really awesome story around this thing called the drift circle. Do you guys know race cars? I didn't know what it was.

Brian: [00:11:19.30] No clue.

Phillip: [00:11:19.30] No, I mean, I've been in a drifting car, but I think that was because I needed new tires. Tell me more about the Porsche program.

Joseph: [00:11:30.13] So one of the cool things about Porsche is if you go to their headquarters in Atlanta is they have, and I'm not supposed to call it a racetrack, but it's a racetrack right behind my office.

Phillip: [00:11:38.47] That's just between us. No one else will hear.

Joseph: [00:11:40.23] He likes to call it a test drive facility. And so we had an event there and we had did this thing where the professional drivers were driving us around the track. And they have this one thing where you come around this corner and there's this cement circle that you come in from one way and you're basically going to do a 180 and go out the other side and you come into it like 90 miles an hour. And the idea of the drift circle is, you know, how you can practice sort of like going around a circle. When I was a kid, I used to call that doing donuts.

Phillip: [00:12:12.48] Yeah.

Joseph: [00:12:13.42] Yeah. So the drift circle... The idea is that you want to give... He tells this whole story about how giving his team the ability to work within the drift circle. And you don't necessarily have to have exact rules of playbooks, but you know the principles. And as long as you're within that drift circle, you can do the right thing. And so, for example, he told this really amazing story about this woman who was pregnant and was in a car accident in a Porsche. And they'd written in about it and this whole experience. And she was fine. The unborn baby was fine. And the team operating within the drift circle said, "We need to do something for her." So they package together a bunch of Porsche baby gear and a car seat. When she got her new car after it was repaired, all that stuff was in the car. And it's that kind of stuff we like to highlight in the podcast. Like, how do you deliver personalized service? You know, that expression of, you know, people will forget what you tell them, forget what you did for them, but they never forget how you make them feel. That's what we're trying to... We're trying to tell those stories.

Phillip: [00:13:19.48] That's such an interesting perspective. And, of course, in the world of luxury, I would expect that there is a higher level of a relationship with the customer. But that seems like an extraordinarily high level relationship with the customer. How much of that do you think is accessible? Or are those capabilities coming down to the mid-market consumer brands and retail experiences? And how did they drive that personal experience where every brand can feel like a Porsche?

Joseph: [00:14:00.34] Yeah... I mean, it's not just them. A story that's also in the podcast, Drew from Joann. Joann sells craft and fabric, and this is not a high end, multi thousand, tens of thousand vehicles they're buying.

Brian: [00:14:20.00] Right.

Joseph: [00:14:20.00] They're buying crafts and fabrics. And simple things that they did... They saw this person that was coming to their flagship store, and they posted on social media, and they were there and they were all excited. They're a big crafter. And because it was close to the office, one person on the team saw it and said, "Let's go surprise them." So they drove over to this store. They got on the loud speaker. "Hello. Phillip Jackson in aisle 2, please come to customer service." And this person is like, "What? What did I do?" And then they gave her a big gift, and then they welcomed her into pictures. And that didn't take a lot of money, but it took just some creativity, and I think those kinds of things are the kinds of things you do. And then I think it's also simple things like showing that you know who they are. Don't ask people to repeat. Invest in delivering information to your, I don't like to use the word agents... I like to think of them as support heroes. How do you get those support heroes to know who you are, so that when they engage with you? "Hey, I see all your recent orders. I see that you spoke yesterday to my colleague on chat and now you're on the phone." If you do the basics really well, you can make a big difference in delivering service, radically personal service I should say.

Brian: [00:15:44.29] Yeah, I think another key word here is relationship. And building a relationship with people that doesn't feel inauthentic. It feels authentic. That it feels like they understand your role and you are doing a good job of fulfilling that and knowing them and understanding what they're talking to you about. You know that they bought such and such, like you said, like a regular conversation. We've talked about this on the podcast before. I feel like this is just continuing to take that to the next level. And in this period that we're in with COVID, I just feel like it's pushed us even further. Where we have to become more personal because we now have additional barriers between each other.

Joseph: [00:16:39.51] Right.

Phillip: [00:16:39.51] Yeah. I really want... I feel like my expectations aren't that high. I'm a consumer, too. I'm probably the worst person to be citing an example here. But when I call into customer service, and I want to order something or add something to my order, I just expect that they have the access to the credit card that I already have on file on the web site. I expect that I have a relationship with the brand and not necessarily the eCommerce platform that tokenized my credit card. I know how this stuff works, and I'm still frustrated by it. And even more so in that I know how hard it can be for brands to pull these sorts of things together. And especially when you're so invested in siloed in eCommerce or retail technology, there's little pockets of specialization. Joseph, what do you think about this? I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation. You know, access to payments over the phone.

Joseph: [00:17:39.74] I mean, look, I think that for the longest time, people have thought of support as a cost center. And they've typically managed it as a workflow function, right? The reason why most support systems are centered around cases and tickets, whether it's Service Cloud or Zendesk, just goes back to, honestly, the legal case file. That's where that comes from. And I don't know about you, but I don't really look to the legal system as a way to think about relationships.

Phillip: [00:18:15.83] Right.

Joseph: [00:18:17.10] And I think when you rethink your view of service and say, "Look, first we're gonna center around people." And I think the second thing you say is that we want to go from a cost center to a revenue center. It changes the perspective of what you're trying to do, which is if you're delivering on eCommerce, your support team is your revenue team. They are the front line engaging with customers. And you invest all this to try to deliver a great physical retail experience. You need to do that same kind of thing digitally. So the ability to make payments is a great example. One of our customers is Crate & Barrel and they went live taking payments over chat, for example. Why should I have to talk to someone, ask some questions about buying a couch, and then have to call to give my credit card? That seems a little anachronistic, so they've been investing the ability to like, how do you do that securely? You know, whether or not you're a customer or not, I can get your credit card, I can securely, transfer that. They did one hundred thousand dollars in sales their first week of going live. All over chat.

Brian: [00:19:26.59] Oh, my gosh.

Joseph: [00:19:27.61] If anyone doesn't think that that's real... And that was that wasn't even like fully deployed yet. There's a lot of demand for people to engage in a purchase process. So making that as seamless as possible, recognizing that you know who they are, treating your best customers as VIPs... That's not the future. That's what people need to do today.

Brian: [00:19:47.77] Yeah. Yeah, I think that's exactly what I was talking about before. We have all these new barriers, things that are stopping us from getting connected to people one to one. And I think having your traditional customer service centers be empowered to become revenue drivers and to be able to sell, that is... All of a sudden it's more than just, "Hey, I'm here to take care of your problems." It's "Hey, I'm here because I'm the face of the brand. I represent the brand. I represent this company. And so I'm going to do what it takes, whether that be give you new ideas or products."

Joseph: [00:20:27.55] Right.

Brian: [00:20:27.55] And I'm seeing more and more things like in this range. We talked to Ariel Kay from Parachute, and they're even doing like in a home video consultations, which is just incredible. I think this is the sort of like next level service, consultation, one to one selling effectively, clienteling that I think is necessary right now, and is accelerating the stuff we've been talking about for the past 18 months, or for you and in your case, a lot longer than that.

Joseph: [00:21:01.61] Yeah, I totally agree with that. I mean, it's forced people to realize that eCommerce is, like I said, it's just commerce, and you're gonna have a huge percentage of your customers that never set foot into any retail establishment. So how do you treat them as if they did? How do you do that online and treat people as people and in turn your contact centers into revenue centers? That's legit. That's even more important now than ever before.

Phillip: [00:21:39.76] I heard on The Modern Retail Podcast in doing some peer review... I heard from someone in Comms you don't call a competitive research. It's peer review. And so I had heard on Modern Retail that the way that you lead a retail brand in an economic downturn during a recession is very margin driven. And instead of layering on bits and bobs, it's driving a greater efficiency. Having never run a retail brand myself, I can't tell you whether that's true or not, but it sounds like there's a platform. I know that this sounds... I'm sure there are retailers who are, like, dying to hear how they can do this right now. And at the risk of sounding like a bit of a commercial. Is there a way that something like Gladly, which solves one area, like one problem in an organization, can be utilized in other areas of an organization? You said contacts center into revenue center... That sounds really intriguing to me. But I guess can you expand on that a little bit? Because I'm trying to connect the dots. I see what you're saying. But this idea of personalized service resulting in revenue seems like a good idea. But how does it become a practical idea?

Joseph: [00:23:04.51] I'll give you a very simple example. One of our customers is in the fashion space. They had been on a legacy case management platform. And, you know, when a customer would call in to do a return, they'd process the return. It was a work item. They got routed a case, customer returned something, they'd process the return, they'd close the case, and it was done. And that's how they were measured. That's how they organized themselves. And that was the output you got, which is a return. They moved to Gladly, and by doing that and being centered around people, what we do is we don't route a case, we route that person. So we know who this customer is. And for the first time, their support hero could see the lifetime value of this customer. They could see in what categories they were spending. This was a women's fashion retailer. And the support hero saw that this was a high lifetime value customer that spent most of the money on shoes. And when that customer called to do a return of a pair of shoes, the conversation naturally segued to "What didn't you like about him? Can I suggest some others?" And without a script, without any special training that person ended up buying three more pairs of shoes on what historically would've been a return. That's the simplest example of "I know who they are." If they walked into the store, what would you do? This was a retailer that has both physical and online. If a person comes in, for instance, you'd say, "What do you like about him? Can I show you three other pairs? Like how do you do that in a digital world? That's like the simplest example of it. Now, your question on efficiency... Clearly, you want to do things to drive efficiency, and we do a lot of it. We save people a lot of money because our software is less expensive because we have an integrated voice platform. All kinds of stuff like that. And we drive efficiency because of machine learning and automating and suggesting answers. We believe in getting customers to help themselves. Because a lot of times, if you can answer the question your own, you don't need to have to engage in a conversation with a support hero. But all of those things actually get dwarfed if you can drive revenue. If the average contract costs 10, 20 dollars, if you can sell more than that, you're in the money. If that makes sense. So you want to drive efficiency, and you need to drive efficiency. We help do that. And if you can drive more top line... You can't save your way to growth. You know what I mean? You can't save your way to growth. You can only grow. So growth is what we're doing, which is really fun.

Brian: [00:25:51.08] I think that's so smart. Phillip would actually talk about this all the time just in terms of like what it takes to grow a business or your personal income or whatever it is. Again, not that you don't focus on being smart with your money and saving. But focusing on the things that you can do well, connecting customers with new products and finding new ways to grow, that's going to be how you continue to move forward. So I do want to bring something up because I can't believe we haven't mentioned it to this point yet in talking with you.

Joseph: [00:26:32.13] Now I'm nervous.

Brian: [00:26:32.46] No, no, no, no. It's super exciting and something that Gladly just did. You just released your annual customer expectations report.

Phillip: [00:26:41.19] Oh yeah.

Joseph: [00:26:42.20] Right.

Brian: [00:26:42.20] And I look forward to this report every year. There's always some great learnings that come right out of that. I mean, I've used them in talks that I've given. I'm always so excited to see what comes out of the report. So maybe you could highlight some of the key statistics, key findings, that you got out of the report this year.

Joseph: [00:27:03.17] Yeah. Phillip, you sort of asked the question earlier, like, have expectations changed? So we started in the survey about four years ago to first understand what are customer consumer expectations today. And we've done it now... We just did it again. We did it in January. So it's pre COVID. It was before the pandemic hit. And one of them that I think that's actually increased over time, and it's probably the most important thing that we're trying to get at is we ask people, what do they value more: personalized service or personalized marketing? And about 80% of the people, 79%, said they value personally service more than personalized marketing. Yet when you look at investments that companies make dollar wise, there's so much investment in marketing, and the ability if you can deliver on this idea of personalized service, the benefit is that customers will say, and it's proven, that they'll spend more with you, that they create a higher lifetime value and repeat purchase. And Andie Swim is one of our customers. I don't know if you guys know Melanie. She's great.

Brian: [00:28:25.59] We had her on the show.

Joseph: [00:28:25.59] Oh you did. Good. I was going to say you should have her on. She specifically... They've done a ton of research, and they they look at all the people that contact them and the people that engage with them for service have higher lifetime value and do lots more repeat purchases. And I think when you get that mindset that, hey, delivering personalized service drives, again, top line, it makes a huge, huge impact. So that was the one that I think about the most. So that was one. I can keep going. There are a couple of others.

Brian: [00:29:04.14] That one has always been fascinating to me because you do kind of go after that every year. And I believe it is actually up this year from last year. One thing that I love about that stat is it emphasized something that actually regular contributor to the show, Ingrid Cordy, said when I first in her interviewed her over a year ago, which is relationship with customer supersedes your brand, actually. And Andie is such a good example, Andie Swim is such a good example because they do have a great brand. It's a phenomenal brand. It's got a great brand story. But they care more about listening to their customers than telling their own story.

Joseph: [00:29:43.26] Yeah.

Brian: [00:29:43.26] And I think this is starting to catch on. I think people are starting to get this as the number one driver of how you run your business. Your relationship with your customer is ultimately going to do mounds more for your business when it comes to top line revenue, growth, reputation. All of the above. It's all rolled up into customer relationship first. And your brand story needs to be there. And, of course, it's important because relationships require two way storytelling, if you will. You have to give and take. And I think that's really, really important in a relationship. It's part of being authentic.

Joseph: [00:30:24.76] I couldn't agree more. And Melanie shared this story with me not only about sort of the metrics, but she told the story about when you build that brand connection or trust the kinds of magic that happens. And she told this story about one of their customers who was chatting with one of their fit specialists (They sell bathing suits, women's bathing suits), and this woman was asking all these questions about how it would cover her body and halfway through the conversation, she decided to share that she was asking the question because she'd had breast cancer, and she was trying to figure out a cover her scars. And she not told anyone outside of her family about it. She told the support, typical, you know, support person at Andie who is a fit specialist about this, and the fact that they felt so comfortable and so connected to the brand and to Andie to share that story, that's when you know you have people's trust. Right? And, you know, that's the kind of thing if you can deliver on that, you know, people won't forget how you make them feel. And if you can make them feel good about things like that, it connects them as a customer for life.

Phillip: [00:31:39.29] Can you imagine what is the worst case scenario of having sort of revealed something very personal about yourself? And it's like you're put on hold and you're transferred to another person and now you're having the same conversation again? I mean, nobody's gonna put themselves through that. Right. And wow, that's just so vulnerable. That's a really powerful story. In the report it says that one of the bigger frustrations is repeating themselves over and over. What are some of those personalized touch points? What are some other areas of the report that are useful for brands that listen to the podcast?

Joseph: [00:32:21.89] Yeah. So I think one of the things we wanted to solve for was the reality that consumers' behaviors had changed over the last decade, post the iPhone. Historically, most people delivered service over the phone and maybe email. Today, people are going to communicate on all kinds of channels. You've got phone, email, SMS, chat, mobile in app chat, Facebook. I mean, you name it. And part of the problem, people talk about being omni channel. I actually hate that phrase. Because all it means is that you support all of them. OK. That's interesting. We like to believe in this idea of being channel independent. You want to be able to have a conversation with a customer that the channel doesn't matter. And customers expect to be able to move from one channel to the other, that makes sense in that moment. I might start with an SMS conversation. Then I may pick up the phone because I want to talk to someone live. And that should be seamless. Right? To your point, not only do I know the intimate things about you, but at minimum, I'm having one conversation because that's as a consumer how I think about it with the brand. You know, JetBlue is one of our customers, and they shared this story. When this customer was chatting on the web site, and then this is before we could do payments in Jet, they need to call to actually give the credit card and to do the transaction. The customer is like, "Oh, my God, that's going to be horrible. I got to wait on hold. And then I gotta..." No, no, no, no... Because we're people centered, all you need to do is share your name or your True-Blue number, if your phone number's in here, it should pop up right automatically. They are going to see this chat conversation right there, right under them, and they'll continue their conversation. And it happened and the customer was completely blown away that they did that. And they called in like, "Oh, I know exactly what you're doing. You want to change this flight? No problem. I got it taken care of." That's what people expect. I mean, they really expect to have one lifelong conversation that seamlessly moves across channels because people are moving across channels all the time.

Brian: [00:34:22.68] Yeah. This gets back to the idea of relationship. It's an authentic relationship. You wouldn't expect your friend to forget what you said in  different channels.

Joseph: [00:34:35.56] Exactly.

Brian: [00:34:35.56] It's one single conversation. And that's authentic. That's authentic connection. And also, I think, let alone being authentic connection, it just makes it easier to be a revenue driver.

Joseph: [00:34:56.67] Right.

Brian: [00:34:57.04] Because if you have that history, you're going to be able to more easily be able to make recommendations and make good decisions. And it doesn't require a script. I was thinking back the Andie story, just a second ago. Phillip's like, "Imagine if you got put on hold." Also, imagine if you're on a script. Right?

Phillip: [00:35:20.11] Yeah. That's why we don't script our show. If we had scripted our show nobody would appreciate it.

Joseph: [00:35:26.44] {laughter} Yeah. If you deliver a great personalized service, the score will take care of itself. To quote that book. And the data in the survey also says it. Almost 80% of folks say they're going to go out of their way to spend more money when they have great experiences. And three quarters and we're going to tell their friends about it. I mean, the math is pretty simple from there.

Phillip: [00:35:53.08] One thing that we've seen in COVID is that there are businesses that are essential. You are going to spend your money somewhere because you have to. We all have to engage in commerce to live. That commerce just happens in so many different channels now, and you have so many opportunities to spend that money with so many different brands. Is there something in the report that popped out around channel trends and how much digital is consuming that share of wallet, if you will, with the consumer?

Joseph: [00:36:27.29] Yeah, I mean, we definitely saw interesting trends. I will say, voice isn't going away. People still like to talk on the phone. We're not religious about phone a bad thing. But SMS is the channel that we're seeing in the survey, pre-COVID, we're already seeing data that people prefer it because it is a great asynchronous channel that's in your pocket all the time. I'll tell you that post-COVID with our customers SMS as a support channel has literally exploded.

Phillip: [00:36:59.00] Wow.

Joseph: [00:36:59.00] And a lot of reason for that is because it is asynchronous, which means so like, you know, the problem now is everyone's volumes have gone through the roof in terms of commerce, but all the support volumes are going through the roof. So it is taking them longer to respond to people. So no one wants to wait on hold. Chat is a nice experience, but you generally have to be on the web site. So SMS is an alternative. And one of the things we've been doing is actually making it really easy for people to move to SMS. When you give them the choice, like from the IVR, when you call in... You have a bunch of customers and say, "Hey, if you want to move this to SMS press 2, and they'll send an SMS to them, and then they just move the conversation there. SMS is really the lingua franca for messaging. Everyone has it, and everybody supports it. And I just think that anyone who is not thinking about it as a support channel really should be, because it is the customer's preferred channel. It's the way we all live. Right? Like how we live in our personal lives. So I just think that's probably one of the biggest shifts that we see is just the dramatic growth there. That was before COVID in the survey. If we did it again now it would be even higher.

Phillip: [00:38:03.86] How many group chats with your family are you in now, Joseph, on iMessage?

Joseph: [00:38:08.75] Exactly. Several.

Phillip: [00:38:10.35] Yeah. We all live in SMS. It's so funny because a year ago I would've told you I do not want to interact in SMS with people that aren't my close friends and family. And I'd rather just be in SMS now. Of course, I'm not the template by any means.

Joseph: [00:38:29.60] But you actually are. You really are. And we're seeing the data play out that way. And it's cutting across generations, too. It's not just what the young kids are doing. It cuts across all age demographics. And it's just more convenient. It's easier and it's faster for the companies. It's more efficient. And it's really a win/win because you can continue that conversation over time.

Phillip: [00:38:57.68] We started this podcast four plus years ago on the back of this idea of conversational commerce. And that sort of got panned and everybody said, "Well, conversational is not happening. Who the heck wants to do that?" And now it's happening, but nobody's talking about it. We just call it something different now.

Joseph: [00:39:17.75] But it's absolutely happening.

Phillip: [00:39:20.60] Yeah.

Joseph: [00:39:20.60] Go to that Crate & Barrel story again.

Brian: [00:39:22.40] Yeah.

Joseph: [00:39:22.40] I mean we were one hundred thousand dollars sales in the first week.

Phillip: [00:39:26.51] Wow.

Joseph: [00:39:27.28] An initially just over chat. And you see it happening like in China, like all commerce is happening over WeChat. I mean, it's absolutely where we are.

Phillip: [00:39:39.39] Yeah.

Brian: [00:39:39.39] So we're looking at creating these unbelievable experiences. I think your survey said some stuff about what we're seeing as a result of good experiences and what outcomes happen as a result of good experiences. Can you talk to us a little bit about what you found in that regard?

Joseph: [00:39:56.61] Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing is just that everyone says that when they have these amazing personalized support experiences that they're going to spend. I mean, the share of wallet that you gain from delivering these experiences is awesome. I think the stat was something like 84% would go out of the way to spend more money with a brand that gives them great service. And so that's pretty high. And then it's also just the sharing that they do. We live in such a world that people share faster than ever, and people share when they have great experiences and they tell people about it. And Melanie from Andie, again I shared the data they have. But the other thing that we're also are seeing is that when people hear about this, their first reaction... Phillip, going back to one of your earlier points is that, "Hey, you know, this is all great, but if it's going to cost me more money and it's going to be harder..." It turns out it's actually more efficient. When you deliver personalized service, it's actually more efficient because you're not spending time the first 30 to 45 seconds asking who you are and asking what you purchase history is. If you take that mindset, you actually also drive efficiency, and that efficiency gain can get delivered in these better experiences, which helps you just really change that dynamic.

Brian: [00:41:23.62] It makes you rethink how you spend. So you talked about that a little bit at the beginning of the episode. But I feel like U.S. companies in particular... I was talking to someone else about this from Europe. It was interesting. We tend to really struggle to make software purchases because it feels like a cost, feels like something we're spending. We're putting money out. And I think that as we evolve and we're having to make these decisions because we have to right now, maybe that's going to help to change the mindset. It's like, OK, investments actually do things to your business. You're not just spending money out into the air to acquire a new piece of software. It's like you're ripping out an old one. You're bringing in a new one. Not just spending more money. It's actually like, no, actually, we are advancing in the way that we create experiences. And this is, you know, Gladly is next generation. And so I would just encourage listeners that are making decisions around this, understand how your software, related to customer service and other things, understand how it's actually going to affect your business.

Joseph: [00:42:38.28] Right.

Brian: [00:42:38.56] Both sides, like you said, it's gonna drive revenue, and it's going to save money. It's really important to consider all impacts.

Joseph: [00:42:49.95] Couldn't agree more.

Brian: [00:42:51.85] I know we're getting close to the end here, but are Gladly users changing the way they approach their customers as a result of the findings of the study? Are you seeing your customers take this data and then go do things with it and change their businesses?

Joseph: [00:43:08.34] Yeah. So, I mean, one of them, you know, going back to the previous conversation, people are more quickly adopting new digital channels. So we saw the rise in the survey about customers preference for SMS. We've had a host of customers, some even turning off email just because we're seeing the decline of people wanting...

Brian: [00:43:29.99] Wow.

Phillip: [00:43:29.99] Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Say that... I feel like you just killed someone's favorite pet.

Joseph: [00:43:38.74] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:43:38.74] You and Jason Freed are both killing email. That's what I just heard.

Joseph: [00:43:42.64] Yeah, that is kind of a meme. I didn't pick up on that before.

Phillip: [00:43:47.47] Wait, so tell me again... They're moving, they're shifting away from email as a channel?

Joseph: [00:43:51.76] So there're two things going on with email. One is that as a preference, consumers are starting to prefer these other channels, like SMS. So consumers are changing their preferences. But the other thing that's interesting is across all of our customers, email is the worst performing channel in terms of how efficient you can be. People tend to write longer messages because they feel like it's email versus SMS. So it's actually less efficient. It's even less efficient, oftentimes, than voice. The amount of time a support hero spends in an email specific conversation is longer. And so as a result, a bunch people are testing and they're prioritizing chat and SMS as their channels to drive that mix where it's more messaging based. Because customers prefer it. And because it's more efficient. And we're seeing that shift happen in the last 90 days, dramatically faster than it had been before. And that's probably one of the biggest...

Phillip: [00:44:54.78] Wow.

Joseph: [00:44:54.78] Yeah.

Brian: [00:44:56.04] That's crazy.

Joseph: [00:44:57.76] What are some final thoughts from the expectations report or maybe some sort of high level things that are concerning you and businesses? You have a perspective and a vantage point in the industry in that you work with so many brands that are both like retail and direct to consumer. What are some of these final thoughts that you could leave our audience with?

Joseph: [00:45:24.38] Yeah, I'll leave you with two. One is a funny one. And one's a little more serious. Although the first one, while funny is also serious. We asked this question, we didn't ask it this year, but last year we asked this question... Would you prefer to be treated like a case or spend the day in wet socks? And more people would rather be in wet socks than be treated like a case. And we ask a question in jest, but it does get to the point, which is that if you treat people like people and customers, no matter where you're engaging with them, and it happens to be digital, it happens to be eCommerce... You might not see them in person, but treat them like a person. It's really important. It's what people expect. And I think that that message, I think, actually goes through everything that the survey shows, which is the importance of treating people like people. And when you do that, the results on top line are far greater than anything you can be thinking about in terms of trying to avoid having conversations with people. So I sort of encapsulated two key things there. But people expect it. And then I think that that expectation is only increasing, not decreasing. And the data suggests that, too.

Brian: [00:46:43.12] That's great. It's a great place to leave it. Thank you, Joseph, so much for the conversation. What a treat to talk with you again. And we look forward to many more conversations in the future with you and Gladly customers. And we really appreciate you joining us today.

Joseph: [00:47:01.17] I feel it's always a pleasure to talk to both of you. And you guys are doing such great work. I love the new report you just issued. I think it was yesterday that came out. I'm halfway through it. It's awesome. I mean, it's always great. You guys are different in the forefront of thinking about the future of commerce. I mean, it's in the name. So thank you for having me on and look forward to seeing you both again soon.

Phillip: [00:47:24.61] Appreciate it. Thank you, Joseph. If you wanted to check out Joseph's podcast, I highly recommend. Its Radically Personal. You can find it wherever podcasts are found. And we also highly recommend that you check out Gladly. If you want to take customer experience to the next level, and if you watch the world of brands, you know, customer experience teams need a little help these days and they need a little love. And I believe in everything that I know that Gladly can help you solve that for you and your organization. So why don't you give them a try? Thank you so much, Joseph. And I thank you for listening. And let's make a future we can all be proud of.

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