When she lived in California a number of years ago, Pam Dodrill remembers buying a wallet she loved at Nordstrom — until something it in broke.
As might be expected, Dodrill took broken wallet back to the store and showed a store associate, asking if they had any others in stock. What happened next cemented Nordstrom’s commitment to customer-centricity in her mind.
“She said ‘Yeah,’ and she just took the other one and gave me a new one without asking any questions,” Dodrill recalled. “No receipts. No ‘When did you buy it?’ Nothing. It was almost like this lifetime warranty.”
That experience has made Dodrill a loyal customer — the kind of customers that brands often come to San Ramon, Calif.-based Reputation to cultivate. The company’s platform analyzes vast amounts of public and private feedback data to uncover predictive insights for companies to act on.
That means Reputation has to demonstrate it knows what it’s talking about from a customer experience (CX) perspective, which is why last month Dodrill was named its new chief customer officer.
Dodrill recently spoke with 360 Magazine over a video call to discuss her recent appointment and her outlook on CX design. This interview has been edited and condensed.
You have such a rich background across a number of different organizations, from Zapier to Salesforce and ServiceMax. When you think about all those different kind of experiences you’ve had in your career, what will be some of the things that you think will be most applicable to the work you do at Reputation?
The breadth of the things I’ve done have all been focused on customer experience. But then when I think about the different size of brands I’ve worked with and their target markets I think I have a perspective on what it means to serve a big enterprise customer versus what it means to serve someone in the mid market or even SMB. There’s just different operating models that go with each of those segments.
You’ve lead customer success, customer growth, customer support – how do you differentiate that work with the mandate of a chief customer officer?
I don’t know if it really varies across the titles I’ve had. It hasn’t even been very long since customer success has been a thing, right? A lot of the conversations I’ve had with people that are my peers – people who have been vice-president of customer success, for example – have gotten into how they typically roll up into what is now a chief revenue officer. They’re reporting into sales, basically. In that sense I feel like I have a unique advantage because I have so much sales experience in my back pocket.
I’ve always encouraged my peers to remember that no matter what you’re doing as an executive or leader, you’re always selling. Whether or not you’re giving someone a contract to sign you’re always selling your vision, the things that need to get done. You’re motivating your team. It’s the same skill set.
Reputation, obviously, is well known for the capabilities it provides in helping organizations gather customer feedback, Apart from using your own platform, what will be some of the ways that you’re hoping to connect with reputations customers, and what kind of insights are you hoping to get from them to develop your strategy?
There are so many different ways to do that. I think the first thing is just getting out and talking to them, making sure I’m at our events, checking in with those that are doing implementations. I want to connect with them at all the different stages of the lifecycle that they have with us. And then the thing that I want to get a lot more visibility around is the outcomes that they’re trying to accomplish through the use of our platform. That’s when we can find the things that we should be celebrating with them, as well as the areas where we can dig in and help them a little bit more. The way you’ll do that is going to vary based on the segment or the customer. Their expectations are different, but I like to talk about it in terms of altruistic, proactive outreach. How transparent can they be? How much information can they share back with us? Then we can respond in kind to what we’re seeing with and address that delta between desired outcomes and true outcomes.
How does that relate to the way you think about measurement? Usually the key metrics have been customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) but should there be others?
I won’t call the other measures antiquated, because I think they’re all still very important. They don’t just go away, but they need to be combined into what we often call a health score for the customer. It can include the number of customer interactions, product usage, how many tickets they have opened and so on. Taking all of that information and then generating a health score based on weights against those areas looks to me to be the best path forward right now. And then if you think about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) to give you an idea of what might be coming next, or to give suggestions on what the customer needs next to be successful, we could achieve a lot of what we’ve wanted to do in the CX community for a long time.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.