In this podcast episode, we discuss how to turn your customer experience into revenue. Our featured guest on the show is Sheena OhUiginn, Service Designer and Product Manager at partnerhero.com
On the Show Today You'll Learn:
- The challenges startups face and how focusing on customer retention addresses them.
- How optimized support processes can lead to a significant reduction in chargebacks.
- How building a community contributes to word-of-mouth growth and customer loyalty.
- How efficiently launching customer service can be achieved with the right insights.
- Strategies effective in building trust.
- How success in customer experience is measured beyond simply answering questions.
- Tools merchants need to enhance the customer support experience.
About Our Podcast Guest: Sheena OhUiginn
Sheena is a Service Designer and Product Manager with a keen focus on crafting solutions that empower customer support and other operationally complex teams to scale efficiently. During her tenure as a CX Leader at Shopify, she developed a passion for entrepreneurship and cultivating agile, adaptable processes tailored to the needs of rapidly growing teams. Her current mission is dedicated to helping early-stage startups and community-driven businesses in achieving operational excellence through technology and strategic partnerships at PartnerHero.
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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the e commerce coffee break podcast. Today, we want to talk about how to turn customer experience into revenue. If you want to dive a little bit deeper into what partner hero does in their day to day life. And with me, I have Sheena OhUiginn. She's a service designer and product manager at partnerhero.com. During her time as a CX leader at Shopify, she developed a passion for entrepreneurship and cultivating agile, adaptable processes, tailored to the needs of rapidly growing teams.
Her current mission is dedicated, helping early stage startups and community driven businesses in achieving operational excellence through technology and strategic partnerships at partner hero.com. During her time as a CX leader at Shopify, she developed a passion for entrepreneurship and cultivating agile, adaptable processes, tailored to the needs. Off rapidly growing teams. Her current mission is dedicated, helping early stage startups and community driven businesses in achieving operational excellence through technology and strategic partnerships at partner hero.
So let's welcome Sheena to the show. Hi Sheena. How are you today? Hello,
Sheena OhUiginn: I'm doing good. Thanks for having me.
Claus Lauter: You know, you have the best of two worlds. You worked for Shopify and now you're with Partner Hero. So you can basically, talk a lot about how to increase or optimize the customer journey and how to have customer support basically as a value added, function within the business.
Tell me a little bit about where you're coming from your background, how you got started and all of that.
Sheena OhUiginn: Sure. Thank you. Yeah, absolutely. So I started my CX, my customer support career at Shopify. And what I loved about that first and foremost was the complexity of the product. There's so much there.
And so the types of questions we would get. is so diverse and such high volume, Shopify touches so many businesses around the world. So I really loved working with that complexity, but I also really liked talking to small business owners, getting to hear their pain points, learning more about different industries whether that's when I was actually on the front lines or leading these teams and listening to these calls, I found it really interesting to hear.
What businesses are dealing with and what I loved at with the model of Shopify support, at least when I was there was that we weren't just going to solve your problem and get you off the phone as quickly as possible. It was a lot about thinking about, how do we help your business succeed?
Cause if your business fails, you're not going to be using our software anymore. I think A lot about that now in my current world as well, where can you not just solve the problem that you're hearing about from the customer, but where can you get to know them anticipate their next problems and help them to use your product or service better?
From that more of that customer success, almost perspective,
Claus Lauter: I think the key word there success in the past, it was customer support. You basically were just, repeatedly answering the same questions that were coming in, but you obviously want to bring your customer a little bit further in their journey, becoming a better merchant, becoming a better service provider to their customers.
What are the most common problems or issues that you see when you start working with clients?
Sheena OhUiginn: When I'd be speaking with merchants directly in the e commerce space, when I'm looking at that, I think a lot of people don't think about retention. It's really easy, especially when you're small you're just getting started, you just want to drive traffic.
You just want to get those early sales. And that makes sense early in your journey. But I think you can waste a lot of marketing money if you've got what I call a leaky bucket. So you're spending all this money to get someone in the door or you're spending all this effort to make those first sales.
But what about your returning customer rate? What about getting those folks back through? How are you building loyalty and retention? And I think it's really easy to focus too much on the short term. And forget about, , those long term things. We hear it all the time in business, the, returning customer and acquiring a new customer is like five times more expensive than retaining an existing one.
But I think it's also not just about how expensive it is to get them in the door, but also they'll spend more when they've shopped with you before. We see this a lot where they know your brand, whether they're. A repeat purchase on the same product or just trusting it's something like the success rate for reselling is like 60, 70 percent and the purchasing power is some like 33 percent more.
So to get that same profitability from a returning customer is going to cost you a lot less money. And drive a lot more value for you in the long run. So I think that's something it's so easy to focus too, on how many new customers and not enough on how you're bringing them back.
Claus Lauter: Now, obviously knowing your customer helps a lot with that and then providing them in the right moment with the right information.
That's something you do at partnerhero. com. That's something the coffee shops here do with me, because I have a few coffee shops where I work from and they bring my cappuccino. Automatically, when I entered the store, so perfect, I'm a returning customer they know me with partner here or with a bigger merchant, you have probably thousands and hundreds thousands of customers there.
What are the tools to make it easier as a merchants to really give them the feeling that, you know, them.
Sheena OhUiginn: There's certain tools around making sure you have the right data in front of your, say, customer support representative. So capturing information.
Can I see the last time you shopped with us the last time you contacted support? Can I make you feel known? And this is For me as a service designer, what kind of personas do you see? You might not always know that customer and every detail about them. You might only have a little bit of data, especially if.
It's only their first or second time shopping with you or speaking with you on the support line. Where can you understand the customer profiles? Look at your customer journey, create these personas and help whoever it is that's speaking to them, put people in at least , as small of a bucket as you can, as personalized as you can, but understand, oh, this is this type of customer.
I should take this type of approach and not just doing a one size fits all, even when you lack that data.
Claus Lauter: Once I said all is what a lot of merchants do, they have templates, they have standards and they just follow their standard operating procedures. And you're all the same, basically with partner hero, you can get much more granular.
Tell me a little bit about the solutions that you have there.
Sheena OhUiginn: I work on the software side at Partner Hero. And where that's really interesting is that I get to look at, whether it's our customers, partners, whether it's their customers who are contacting support, or the agents that are offering their support.
I really just look at. All of the different pieces there, all the different touch points, all the different workflows, and try and either build tools that can optimize those workflows, or find partnership products where we can go, Oh, here we can, optimize a workflow we can automate as much as we can here.
And I think that can really help in. Putting a human in the driver's seat, but using technology to make it really run smoothly and efficiently for everyone
Claus Lauter: now, merchants are in different stages of their business growth. You have startups, you work with. And then you have companies that are a little bit further down the line and are bigger and have more processes going on.
How do you tailor CX services? To these different growth levels.
Sheena OhUiginn: That's really interesting. And part of what I love about partner heroes approach is that we aim to be with you from day one. I think a lot of people think about outsourcing as something you only do when you reach a certain point.
Only when you can't handle it yourself, but we try and really partner with you. It's right there in the name partner hero. And. What I look at what we do with kind of early stage startups or, founder led businesses is looking at setting them up for success and growing with them. So if you can make sure that you have great processes.
at the starting point, then a lot of those actually won't be that different as you scale. You'll layer in new elements, you'll expand those, but I find in a lot of ways it's not too different other than, when I spoke before of the complexity of something like Shopify, you start layering in how do we route you, how do we gain as much data as possible about What were you doing right before you contacted us?
There's a lot more you can do at that high volume at that high complexity, but a lot of those same processes, you want to start them from day one, you want to set up your agents so that they can be empathetic on the phone because they have all the information they need and they're not listening and typing at the same time, trying to find something.
Scalability is something I think about from day one, no matter how small you are.
Claus Lauter: Do you have an example and you don't need to, say the brand or whatever, but a before and after scenario when they came to you and then once everything was set up, what kind of results did they get?
Sheena OhUiginn: I worked with a Shopify merchant and they were a really small operation handling everything themselves, doing all their customer support and going to the warehouse and fulfilling everything and kind of juggling to two men wearing too many different hats. And I know a lot of founders really love to do that, but the space I was focusing on is.
what else can you be doing with that time? And so sometimes it's not only just will I get more revenue if I'm offering a great customer experience? Will that lead to more customer reviews or reduced chargebacks or all of those things that I saw with this,
partner is we did see them cut down their charge backs dramatically. I know that's a big pain point with a lot of merchants is, , people go and they start filing a charge back with the bank because they didn't get their product on time because of some other little problem, or because they just couldn't get in touch with you.
No one wants to call the bank. No, no one wakes up in the morning, goes, you know what I want to do, call my bank today. So there were some really tangible ways that we were able to. Generate revenue for them by optimizing those processes. But I think what excited me the most was seeing other ways, other work that this founder could take on.
Seeing her participate more in her community rather than, , answering the where is my order questions. That freedom she had and that's where I think partnerships and. Getting help with your customer support is such a valuable tool, not just in improving the customer experience, but in freeing up your own time.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I think it's a good example that you gave there. And as I said, a lot of small businesses or solopreneurs, entrepreneurs that are just started, they're clinging to their tasks and they have difficulty of letting go. , how do you build up a, trust level with them so that they see you as a part of their team and not as a outsourcing part of the business.
Sheena OhUiginn: Yeah. I think that's so important. I think it starts with how you onboard, how you take their knowledge. I'm a big nerd in the knowledge management space. So how do we collect their knowledge materials and point out things they may not have even known? So let's say it's a. Mid sized business that does have their own support team.
They've got a bunch of macros going in their CRM and their ticketing software. They've got all these things. They've got a help center. They've got an internal knowledge base. And what does it look like when we're processing all this information to train our team, we can also be looking, Hey, what this person's saying, what your agents are saying on the frontline is slightly different than what you're saying directly to customers through the self service portal.
There's an extra step that there you didn't include in your help center that's actually preventing your customers. In a bigger sense, it's spotting things they don't see. in the smallest sense, it's building that trust by actioning those items and being like, oh, we see these things and we're improving things for you and your customers through identifying those.
I think that's when it really feels less like, oh, I'm just, outsourcing this part of my business and more about, collaboration, partnership, thought leadership. That's when I think the value really comes through.
Claus Lauter: yoUr title service designer and product manager already says it, and I love the part of service designer.
So you really help to create a service with them and make them better. What kind of timeline does it take to get someone from A to B?
Sheena OhUiginn: That's really interesting at PartnerHero specifically because we have such a wide range of businesses and such a wide range of services. And so we have on our low utilization end, when someone only needs a , Handful of hours a week.
They just, they don't have tons of support demand. We still have to train a whole team. We still have to learn a lot, I've seen programs launch in a matter of a few weeks and that's really impressive. The work I was doing directly with Shopify merchants, we were.
Managing to launch service in a day because what we were focused on was instead of trying to answer every question in the world that your customers might ask, like, let's start with your frequently asked questions. Let's start with the bare minimum. We need to make sure we're not. Going to create a bad experience, but every time we get a question, we can't answer.
We'll work with you to build your knowledge base. We'll work with you to capture that. There's a methodology called knowledge centered service or knowledge centered support. That's really about how do you partner with the frontline? Agents that are answering questions to maintain the health of a knowledge base.
And I think in doing that, you can actually launch service really quickly and also maintain it over time in a knowledge flywheel.
Claus Lauter: the key there is you don't know what you don't know. So you want to get very good in CX and customer support and all of that, but you really don't know what are the best industry standards and how to go.
And that's where you help us
Sheena OhUiginn: it's really interesting when you think about products that are maybe in a pre order pre launch. Like status. And so they don't know at all with a larger business. I'll often say, go look through your most recent month of support questions to see what's there.
But what if you haven't launched your product yet? You don't know. There's finding processes and methods that can enable you to grow as your customers grow. I think that can be a really key part there as well.
Claus Lauter: CX customer support obviously helps a lot with retention and can add more value, more revenue to your business.
What are the best examples on how to increase your revenue through CX?
Sheena OhUiginn: so
I touched a bit on the chargeback piece. That's usually my headline, especially with e commerce merchants, cause it's such a big pain point. But I think another one is through customer reviews. So word of mouth there's lots of loyalty programs and fun things you can do with building community and building newsletters.
No one wants another newsletter in their inbox. That's just. Cluttering things up, but people do want to be a part of a community. And when they see that word of mouth happening, that can be huge. Customer support, look through any list of reviews on any product and you'll find great customer support.
Their customer service was excellent. Obviously, I'll say start there. But in a bigger sense, I also think start with what the community looks like. How can you bring your customers together? How can you get them sharing? Social media can be great for that. Anything where you can build loyalty, I think a lot about some of those big programs, say, like, Sephora in the beauty space, their forums are a lot of peer to peer.
It's not just, hey, what's this? Am I asking a question? It's a lot of that peer to peer community building. That sense of other people who use the products that I love have similarities to me how can you foster that sense of community and be a part of it and drive that yourself. So maybe community events or creating that forum culture, engaging on social media.
Claus Lauter: Okay. There's a lot of good tips in there. Before we come to the end of the coffee break today, is there anything that you want to share with our listeners that we haven't covered yet?
Sheena OhUiginn: I gave a lot of good ideas, but I also like to come back to, what do you measure with these ideas?
I spoke all the way at the beginning about, not just answering the question, but really thinking about it from that success lens. And I think it's easy in customer support to use the default metrics, the average handle time. The first touch resolution, is it actually better to get someone off the phone quickly, or is it better to anticipate their next problem?
If you want to engage in this deeper level, if you want to bring that empathy, that sense of knowing your customer, you also have to watch what you're measuring with your customer support team so that you're not incentivizing the wrong behaviors.
Claus Lauter: Good point. Never thought about it, but makes perfect sense. Obviously you want to give the customer the time that they expect, to be given to put it that way. If you build up a personal brand, I think it's more important to, to really talk to them as long as they like to. Sheena, where can people find out more about partner hero?
Sheena OhUiginn: So partnerhero. com's a great place to go. I also recommend following us on LinkedIn when I talk about that sense of community building., look and see what we're doing in that space. We love to connect with other CX leaders, other founders, LinkedIn community, our LinkedIn posts are a great place to engage with us in that sort of space as well.
And then of course I'm on LinkedIn if you want to chat with me.
Claus Lauter: Okay. I will put all the links in the show notes, then you just want to click away. Sheena, thanks so much for giving us an overview on CX and how to implement it in the right way to get the most out of it. And thanks for your time today.
Sheena OhUiginn: you.
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