Betsy Westhafer is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Congruity Group based in Ohio. As the leader of Congruity, Betsy ensures that all clients achieve and exceed the predetermined metrics for success from their customer engagement initiatives. Having delivered Executive-level Customer Advisory Boards in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and the US, Betsy has the knowledge, experience, and expertise to masterfully execute these powerful engagements. She is the co-host of the popular podcast, “REALLY Know Your Customer,” and co-authored the #1 Best Selling book, “ProphetAbility – The Revealing Story of Why Companies Succeed, Fail, or Bounce Back.” Visit her website at www.thecongruitygroup.com and connect on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/betsywesthafer/ and on Twitter at @BetsyWesthafer.
QUESTION: Your company's website states that, "Companies that successfully build and execute an executive-level Customer Advisory Board have a major competitive advantage over those who would rather just guess what the market wants and needs, and then keep their fingers crossed that they guessed right." Can you explain?
BETSY WESTHAFER: So many times, companies will build products or services in a bubble, throw it out to the market, and hope like crazy that it works. This is an extremely dangerous, time-consuming, and expensive approach.
A better solution is to work with your customers as you are innovating your new products and services so that you have the market intelligence throughout the entire process. And to take it a step further, by keeping your customers engaged via a Customer Advisory Board, you can continue the relationship, gain their loyalty and advocacy, and ensure a sustainable future for your products and your company.
TWEET THIS: Work with your customers as you are innovating your new products and services. ~@BetsyWesthafer #CX #brandexperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog
QUESTION: Since March 2020, which brands have stood out by providing excellent customer service during the covid pandemic?
BETSY WESTHAFER: One of my favorite stories through Covid has been about a defense contractor who builds products for our service men and women on the front lines. When visiting his favorite coffee spot at the start of Covid, the CEO of Battle Sight Technologies discovered that the management was panicking because they couldn’t secure any hand sanitizer for employees and guests.
Battle Sight found out that this was a common problem, and subsequently turned their production line from their traditional products to filling bottles of hand sanitizer for small businesses, military units, police and fire departments, hospitals, and other essential businesses in the Dayton, Ohio region. Battle Sight donated a significant amount of sanitizer.
I love this story of rising to the challenge of the day, giving back to the community, and creatively solving a problem not just for customers but for others who they could serve.
QUESTION: What’s your favorite customer service story?
BETSY WESTHAFER: When the manager of a Virginia retirement community needed help preparing and delivering meals to the 350 residents in isolation, he reached out to the nearby College of William and Mary. Almost instantly, numerous cooks, bakers and servers stepped up to prepare meals and bring them to grateful residents in addition to their normal workload. Residents were overjoyed to see happy faces and receive fresh meals.
My heart aches when I think about the people who were so isolated during the pandemic. I love the idea of the residents getting to see happy faces and having good, fresh meals.
QUESTION: If you could be the Chief Customer Officer for any brand, which would it be, and why?
BETSY WESTHAFER: My apologies in advance if this sounds self-serving, but I LOVE playing the role of Chief Customer Officer at The Congruity Group. I have the privilege of working with companies all day every day who are 100% focused on their customers. They understand the inherent business value of customer engagement at the highest levels of the organization, and are committed to putting time, energy, and resources toward ensuring that their customers are well-served. Getting to work with people who are passionate about customers is the best job in the world.
QUESTION: According to Bill Gates, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Have you ever had an experience that began horribly and ended by your becoming a happy advocate for the brand?
BETSY WESTHAFER: When we build Customer Advisory Boards, one of the things we tell our clients up front is that we don’t want a board consisting entirely of raving fans because you will not learn what you need to learn.
Engaging with unhappy customers is one of the best ways to:
- Build trusting relationships.
- Show your commitment to delivering on your promises.
- Learn about issues you may not be aware of.
- Find solutions.
- Retain and expand revenue.
- Create customer advocates.
While it’s important to not let one unhappy customer drive your business decisions, it IS important to talk to enough of your less-than-satisfied customers to find trends so that you can address them accordingly.
My gratitude to Betsy for appearing on my Blog and for sharing her inspiring customer experience marketing insights.
Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.
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