Customer service, customer experience… tomAYto, tomAHto, right? Not exactly!
Today I’m talking with client experience specialist Lauren Kasle about what it really means to have a world-class customer experience and how customer service is really just one small part of that bigger picture.
Get ready to learn how you can work smarter-not-harder by building an experience that creates loyal fans for life!
Prefer to read, blog post style?
009. Creating an Exceptional Client Experience with Lauren Kasle
Keleigh Lauermann (00:05):
Hey there Lauren. Thank you so much for joining me today!
Lauren Kasle (01:03):
Keleigh, thank you so much for having me on I'm so excited to be here. I am so glad that you're here and I cannot wait to share you with my audience and let you just share your genius with them. You're a customer experience specialist and you are truly, absolutely amazing at what you do. And so I'm just so excited to be able to shine the spotlight on you and help you share that with other people. Can you tell my audience a little bit about who you are and what you do? Absolutely. So my name is Lauren Kasle. I'm a client experience specialists and community manager, and I primarily support female online service providers with creating exceptional customer experiences and their businesses.
Keleigh Lauermann (01:44):
That's awesome. So tell me a little bit about how you got involved in this. How did you decide to create a business that focuses on client experience?
Lauren Kasle (01:55):
Yeah, absolutely. So I actually originally started out in the online space as a general virtual assistant and I did a little of everything in anything. And to me it was a really great experience because it helped me figure out what I liked doing, what I didn't like doing and what I was really good at. So that helped me ultimately realize that my zone of genius is creating exceptional client experiences. And I also saw that there was really a need in the online space for people that solely focused on creating those experiences. So that's why I decided to pivot my business in that direction.
Keleigh Lauermann (02:29):
I love that you talked about like honing in on your zone of genius and really getting focused on what is it that you're great at? Like what is the thing that you do better than everyone else? And you're so right. I don't know anyone else who does this. And so when we first met and I realized, you know, you are sort of in this virtual role, having a customer experience business, I was like, I had never heard of this. And that is amazing. Like what a cool what's it called a niche. Some people say niche, what a cool niche to go into and to be able to bring that to the table and how needed, like how incredibly needed is this service within the online space. So can you talk a little bit about what client experience is and what that actually means?
Lauren Kasle (03:14):
Yeah, absolutely. So client experience encompasses your clients or your customer's entire overall journey with your business. So it's really going to include every interaction they have with you all the way from when they first discover you to even six or 12 months after that purchase. So it even includes these little things that you might not really think about. Like if you're damning on Instagram or emailing back and forth, like each of those little interactions is a piece of that overall experience. Right. And it's really that again, that overall experience of working, interacting, working, and interacting with you and your company.
Keleigh Lauermann (03:50):
Yeah. I love the example that you gave about those DMs. Like all those little interactions that happen before the sale, after the sale and well beyond the sale ever even happens. All of that is part of the experience. I think about that a lot and just the way that I present myself online, because I feel like all of that contributes to this bigger picture. And that really is the client experiences, that bigger picture and everything that this is all contributing to. I know a lot of people think that customer service is interchangeable with client experience, but I don't think that they are. Would you mind talking a little bit about the difference between customer service and client experience and then why it's important that we approach these two topics differently?
Lauren Kasle (04:37):
Yeah, absolutely. So I totally agree. It's definitely a common misconception and I think it's really important to clarify, you know, the differences between the two. So to me, customer service is really how you respond to a customer. They might be emailing you or calling you DM-ing, you, they have a question or a problem and they want you to help them take care of it. So it's really more of a reactive approach to something that the customer needs. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Every business needs some aspect of customer service, but it's important that you're not having just the service and forgetting about the experience portion. And so the customer experience is again, that entire journey with your company from before during and way after way after the sale. And that is really a proactive approach to anticipating your customer's needs and wants and ensuring that they are fully supported every step of the way when working with you.
Keleigh Lauermann (05:39):
Okay. I love the way you just differentiated between those it's proactive versus reactive, or we just had the super bowl the other day. So it's like authentic and defense kind of, and it's really about what are you doing ahead of time to think about it versus how are you reacting in the moment to what's going on? It almost sounds like if you're focusing on your customer experience, you're being proactive, then your customer service is going to end up feeling a lot more positive or those interactions or instances where you need customer service are probably going to be a lot nicer. You're going to have less issues, almost like less problems are going to come up where you need to have these customer service situations where you're reacting and trying to fix something. If you've thought about your customer experience ahead of time, and you've taken a proactive approach to really make that journey a positive, smooth one.
Lauren Kasle (06:35):
So a hundred percent, no listeners of this podcast include both direct sellers and online business owners. And a lot of them fall into both categories where they're building an online business and direct selling is a branch of that brand that they're building. And so one thing they have in common is that wherever they fall on the spectrum, they definitely need to have that customer experience strategy. And so first and foremost, can you talk about what it means to have a customer experience strategy and why having a specific strategy that's planned out and thought about ahead of time actually matters why that's so important?
Lauren Kasle (07:10):
Yeah. So I like to define a customer experience strategy as really a roadmap of your customer's entire journey. And you can create this in something as simple as a Google doc, or if you want to make like a flow chart or a diagram, or even just draw it out, like on paper. Totally cool. And having this specific strategy is so important, because again, it's going to create an exceptional experience for your client. You're taking them on this transformative journey and guiding them through each step of the way in your process. It's also really important because having the strategy in place is going to save you time as a business owner. So that way, when someone buys, you're not like, Oh, what, what do I do next? Like what's the next step? And you're not having to reinvent the wheel every single time that someone purchases your product or service.
Keleigh Lauermann (08:01):
So I will tell you right now that anybody who's listening knows that sustainability and working efficiently is one of the things that I talk about all the time. And I think that what you just said really leans into that idea of working sustainability and working efficiently, where you're not reinventing the wheel all the time. And I really like that. You're saying we can just do this in a Google doc. Like we can just write this down somewhere and not have to have fancy software or, you know, all these expensive systems. It's really just about mapping it out about writing it down about getting those bullet points. Can you share a little bit about what you might include in that Google doc, if you were to sit down and start working on what maybe your client experience strategy is, or even just like a fictional business, what could you potentially start putting in that Google doc to as like a running off point, a jumping off point?
Lauren Kasle (08:56):
Yeah, totally. So I really first, I want to encourage your listeners. Like don't get scared or caught up, like in these words, like customer experience strategy, like they sound like really big, you know, scary kind of buzz words, but D you know, don't let it overwhelm you. This stuff is it's really important, but it's not as hard as it sounds in your Google doc. What you can do is start, you know, thinking about from the very beginning, how do people find you? What are the ways when somebody finds you and reaches out to you? You know, what is that next step? What kind of conversations are you having? What are, what are you doing to invite them, to take that next step and just start thinking about it every single step of the way. And then, you know, after they purchase from you, what happens next? What does the onboarding look like? Do they receive some type of email? Like, what are these pieces that are happening to make your product and services come together? And then once you have that outline, you can really think about how you can optimize every step of the way and make it a really fun, streamline, and amazing experience for them.
Lauren Kasle (10:04):
Yeah. I, I think it really comes down to based on what you're saying, and you can correct me if I'm wrong. It sounds like the most important first step is becoming aware of what's already happening.
Keleigh Lauermann (10:16):
Yeah, exactly. And I think that in a lot of businesses, we almost, especially if you're just getting started, or maybe you're in a stage of transition in your business where you've like always done things one way and you're just ready for something fresh. And so you're starting to make adjustments in your business. And I think that in either of those situations, it's really easy to not know exactly what's going on. Especially if you are working from sort of a reactive place where you're making decisions in the moment or you're, if you're anything like me and how I was when I first started, if you're getting caught up in like shiny object syndrome and getting excited about these different ideas and maybe different products that you could use or services you could try or things you can introduce to connect with your customers, as you add all of this, to your plate, it's really easy to sort of lose track of what's actually going on and what it really looks like to be your customer. So I love what you're saying about really needing to map out what's actually going on in the first place before you keep going forward.
Lauren Kasle (11:25):
Yeah, totally. And you can even, you know, demo it yourself, like go on your own website and walk through what a customer would do to work with you. Like, are you having to click, you know, 11 times to get to the result you want? Or is it easy and is it streamlined? And, you know, even after, you know, they purchase your product or service, is it, you know, you work with them and then they never hear from you again, or what does that entire process look like? And then just put yourself in their shoes, like, think about if the roles were reversed. Like, would this feel good to me as a customer?
Keleigh Lauermann (11:57):
Yeah. Oh my gosh. Okay. I love that. You're adding that question in there. Would this feel good to me as a customer and going back and looking at it from your customer's perspective and going through it yourself and like actually trying it actually doing it. I remember. And I'll share a little story. I remember when I used to use Squarespace for my website. And so it really wasn't that custom, it was customed to some extent, because I was dragging and dropping and designing it. But the checkout was like, the checkout is the checkout. It just is the way that it is on Squarespace, which is part of the beauty of it. You don't have to set all that up yourself, but at the same time, because I didn't have to set anything up myself. I had no idea what that checkout process looked like. I had no clue.
Keleigh Lauermann (12:38):
And so when things would go wrong, like something wouldn't work properly, the customer would tell me about what's happening. And I'd be sitting there. Like, I don't even know what you're talking about because I have never seen this before. And I didn't think to ever go and do it myself until way later. Like I did not figure that out on my own way at the beginning of my business, someone else has to tell me to do that. So hopefully we can be the people that are telling somebody else right now, go try it yourself, go and test it and see how it works and really get to know what that experience looks like. That happens that can easily happen in direct sales, where you're using a company website too, because you literally do not have to set anything up. You don't even have to drag and drop what your website looks like. The company is doing that for you. And so I really love what you were saying about go and test it, go and try it and see what that looks like. I don't think you have to do all of this at once. What do you think, do you need to kind of like figure it all out at one time? Or could you break it down in some way,
Lauren Kasle (13:42):
But a hundred percent recommend breaking it down. Otherwise it's going to get overwhelming really fast. So that's why I kind of like to start with the Google doc and just seeing, you know, at an overview glance, you know, what does the journey like? And then you can start taking each section in piece and really breaking it down into smaller, more achievable goals. So that way you're not just overwhelmed with this huge seemingly huge project to undertake.
Keleigh Lauermann (14:10):
Yeah, absolutely. And I, I don't even know if it's just one project, right? It's almost like this goes on. This is just like a forever work in progress.
Lauren Kasle (14:19):
Yeah, definitely. I mean, you, you can get it to a point, I think where it's at a base level where it's functioning and it's working great, but you're always going to be improving and optimizing and making things better. Especially as we have newer tools and software and things that come out, make the journey even better.
Keleigh Lauermann (14:38):
And it almost, if you've got those tools, the tools and software, but if we think about what this past year has been, like, I know that with the rise of COVID and people staying at home and just rising levels because of it all and really needing to where people are online, more than ever, and needing to have positive experiences online, because that's really where we're all spending our time. You know, we all read books and spend time with our families, but let's be real. We're all scrolling through Facebook and online shopping more than we ever have before. And I know that for me, I've spent more time this year looking at all the different parts of my own customer journey and trying to find ways to improve that because that's really the only interaction that's so many people are having with other human sea States. And so I feel like it just has to be better right now because of that, the timing the world right now, almost calls for this like extra layer of positive experience online, because it's just, it's all, we've got this point in the world.
Lauren Kasle (15:49):
Yeah. That's a really good point. I, a hundred percent agree.
Keleigh Lauermann (15:52):
So in direct sales, one of the things that happens is that you will have a lot of people who are all selling the same product. And one of their biggest pain points is customer retention. They're constantly asking themselves how they can foster loyalty among their customers when they can get the same product from so many other people. And this comes up in other product based businesses, too, with the rise of marketplaces like Amazon and even service-based businesses where there's things like Upwork or any of these like fast, quick, get fi get your service for $5, get copywriting for $5, like cheap and easy platforms. And so in a world where the spotlight is constantly on marketing, I think it's worth noting that marketing isn't really what creates that loyalty customer experiences. And as business owners, we're constantly asking ourselves, how do we find new leads? How do we convert those leads into paying customers, but when you've created an incredible customer experience, some of that pressure to fund to constantly have to find new leads is really off in you talk about the releasing of that pressure and what it feels like to not have to worry about constantly searching for new leads as a result of your client experience.
Lauren Kasle (17:10):
So if you think about it just at like a simple psychological standpoint, and you have two people, one of them is a brand new prospect that's never bought from you before. And the second person is someone that's already purchased from you once or twice. And they like you, they know you and they trust you that second person, just, if you just looked at it objectively is going to be more likely to buy from you again, right? And this is even backed up by statistics as well. On average, a returning customer is going to actually spend an average of over 30% more than a first-time customer. And I know how much time and goes into marketing, finding leads and guiding folks prospects to the sale. And all of that is super important. And you're spending so much time, effort and money to get that result, right?
Lauren Kasle (18:00):
So when they make that decision to say yes, and buy from you, you really want to make sure that we are doing everything to fully support them every step of the way to foster that loyalty. And by providing a great experience for them, they're going to not only be more likely to keep purchasing from you, but they're also going to recommend you to their friends and their family and help sell your services for you. So this effort that you are putting into one person can actually become something that generates more and more sales and propels your business forward.
Keleigh Lauermann (18:34):
Yeah. That trickle effect is kind of amazing. And I think my gals and direct sales who are listening are nodding their heads going yup. That trickle effect matters so much. And it's kind of incredible to think about all that effort that you're putting in up front to get your lead, to convert them into a customer, how by paying just as much attention after the sale happens, you can actually almost prolong what that work is doing for you. You're getting more out of the effort that you're putting in, in the first place.
Lauren Kasle (19:10):
Yeah, absolutely. And if you just think about it, it's almost like getting like a return on your investment of the time that you've put in to generate that sale. It's like, we want to make sure that we are being kind to ourselves and making sure that we are, you know, getting return on investment on our time. So I think that's really important piece as well.
Keleigh Lauermann (19:32):
Yeah. Okay. So having a good customer experience journey and really paying attention to that dream, being intentional about it is kind of like self care for your business. You really have to have a good, dirty in place. You've got to be paying attention to it in order to release that pressure upfront, take some of the stress off and get a bigger return on investment for the time and even any money that you're putting into getting those leads in the first place. So can you talk about a couple of actionable, specific steps that our listeners could take to start being more intentional about their own client experience?
Lauren Kasle (20:11):
Yes, absolutely. And I'm super excited for this question cause I love like brainstorming this stuff. So the first thing I would recommend, especially for our friends in direct sales is go back through whatever records you have and just make a list of every person that's literally ever purchased from you and go through them one by one and ask yourself, you know, when is the last time I've talked to this person and if it's been a while, you know, that's okay. I would recommend just reach out to them and check in to see how they're doing. Don't, you know, I wouldn't, you know, start the relationship again by directly asking for the sale, but check in, it'd be, you know, a genuine human and see how they're doing and just start reconnecting with these people and building those relationships. I think that's a really important step you can do.
Lauren Kasle (20:59):
Another thing you can do is look at your customer journey from the point of when they first find you up until the purchase and think about what does that journey look like? Like how easy is it for them to purchase from you? And like we talked about earlier, like, are they having to navigate through like a confusing website and click around a bunch of times? Like, is it unclear what they're buying and how to buy it? And I know like our direct sales people, they don't always necessarily have control over the point of sale, I think, but you can really get around this by if the website is hard to navigate. If you're finding that people are having questions about the same thing, like create like quick little video tutorials to walk them through the sale, or even jump on a video call with them and answer any questions they may have just remember that people like to communicate like different people like to communicate through different channels. So we want to ensure that they're supported, like in whichever way feels best for them, but also feels good for you as business owners.
Keleigh Lauermann (22:01):
Yeah. Oh my gosh. I really love what you just said about creating videos. I remember going on a landing page for, you know, a sales page for something that I was looking at and all of the FAQ's down at the bottom, instead of being like an accordion that just drops open, all of the FAQ's were actually videos of this person who was recording, like, you know, 15, second videos answering like a super simple question. And it was so personal and it made me feel so much more connected with that person. And it really did just elevate the entire experience. Like I could tell how much time they had put in. It felt like they really cared. And so it was a really easy yes, for me to go and make a purchase. And so I love the idea of using videos as well, to answer questions when someone needs support, if they are having struggles on the website or maybe getting connected with you in some way, or even using a product, you, depending on what your product is, they might have questions about how to use it.
Keleigh Lauermann (22:59):
And you could then respond with a video instead of just, you know, a super quick text where we can't hear tone or see your face, or he'd see expressions or body language respond with a video. And I'm going to go ahead and just throw out a recommendation for a software to use, which is loom it's loom.com, L O M. And I don't know if you use this Lauren. You do. Yeah. I feel like everybody needs to know about, you can literally just record super short video is on your screen. It's free. Like you can do a paid one, but they have a free version. That's absolutely amazing. Like I didn't pay for it until I had like probably we use it for our customer support our like Wiki on our website. We have all loom videos in there. And so I have way too many videos for the free fraction. Now they'll give you up to a hundred, but I think for just answering questions, like use the free version, it's such a simple and cheap way to completely elevate your whole experience.
Lauren Kasle (23:59):
Yeah. Totally videos are your best friends. Same with audio messages too. Like their Instagram, the voice messages. It just really makes the whole experience more personal. And going back to what you said about, you know, answering questions on the product specifically, that's a really good point because after that person purchases from you and they get their product, like let's like follow up with them, like through a video or an audio message and say, you know, how is it going? Like with the product? Like, do you, is every, how's it going? Like, do you have any questions? Is there anything you're concerned about? And just showing them that you're really there for them every step of the way and that you didn't just put all this effort in to get them to buy, but you actually care about their experience after they received the product.
Keleigh Lauermann (24:46):
Yeah, absolutely. Oh my gosh. I love what you're saying about really showing and proving to the customer because you know, the whole time during the sale, you're S you're really saying like, I care about you. I'm here for you. We're going to do this together. You're not alone. Well, now it's time to like put your money where your mouth is and follow through on it and prove to your customer that this is really what your business is all about. This is really who you are and what makes you different. And I think in any business, like we were talking about before with like the rise of Amazon and marketplaces, where you can get cheap and easy products, fast or services fast, you really need to stand out in some way. You have to differentiate yourself from other people doing either the same thing or similar things in their businesses. And that's a really fast way to do that. Having videos, having audio messages and really walking. W what is it talking the talk and walking the walk like by actually following through on all of this and staying connected personally connected with your face and your voice and your body language, all of that will contribute to you. You being different from other businesses in the same niche, in the same area, in the same company.
Lauren Kasle (26:02):
Yeah, absolutely. And going back to what you said too, about like our friends and direct sales, like their customers, like you said, sometimes they have the option to get that same product from multiple different people. So by really having that exceptional customer experience, I think a big part of it is they're not necessarily just buying that product. Like they're also, they're also investing in you, like they are here for you. So by doing these videos and audio messages and all of these different things, like you're helping strengthen that bond between you and your customer.
Lauren Kasle (26:36):
Yeah. And you know, what's interesting to me about, you know, we were, you were kind of saying like, all of these things is that they're all relatively simple. They really don't take much more effort than you're probably already putting out into the world. Right? Like you are already answering their question in some way. So why not just record an audio? It doesn't even require you to put makeup on, like, you don't have to look cute. You could do it in the middle of Walmart. Like, doesn't matter, why not record that little audio, you're taking the time to type it out anyway. And then if you happen to be looking good and somewhere where you can just raise your phone up and take a quick video, why not? You're already spending the time doing that. And so these are like simple things that you can add to the journey that's already happening.
Keleigh Lauermann (27:24):
The things that are already happening just to elevate it, just to like level up little, teeny, tiny things. My husband always sort of repeats this quote that he heard somewhere. And I don't know who he heard it from. It's somebody famous that I definitely should remember. I'll put it in the show notes so that I can like give proper credit. I can not remember other than my husband who says this, but the quote is to make, Oh, it's Walt Disney. It's Walt Disney that says this. And the quote is something to the effect of make everything 1% better. Instead of trying to make one thing a hundred percent better, you don't need to go all in on just one teeny tiny thing. Just make everything a tiny little bit better. And that one degree shift that tiny shift will just across the board, it'll rise everything up.
Lauren Kasle (28:12):
Yeah. A hundred percent totally agree.
Keleigh Lauermann (28:15):
Now I know that among our listeners, there are at least a few people staring at their phones right now at their podcast, out feeling a little bit like a deer in the headlights. And they totally understand why being intentional about creating an amazing experience for their clients is so important. But at the same time, they're also looking over at their, to do list, which is a mile long. And they're feeling a little overwhelmed by having another thing to add to it, which is really where you come in. Right. You tell me a little bit more about what it means to work with you as a client experience specialist and what you really do.
Lauren Kasle (28:53):
Yeah, absolutely. So when I work with clients, I typically support them in four different areas. That first piece is that customer experience strategy that we talked about and really mapping out that customer journey. The second piece is systems. I love to look at the current systems are using see ways that we can optimize them and, you know, add any additional ones if needed. And the third piece is client facing support like inbox management, Facebook group, community management, those types of things in the last piece is SOP or standard operating procedures. I always love to document the how tos, where each piece of this puzzle to really help set you up for success when you bring on new team members and are scaling your business.
Keleigh Lauermann (29:39):
Okay. That's amazing. Definitely sounds like somebody that every business owner is probably dreaming of being able to work with. So before we wrap this up, I would love to just go into a couple of just, just for fun, rapid fire questions. And so the first one is, I'm curious, what is your face favorite business book? So I definitely have to say, never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman. That's awesome. So I actually just started listening to how they'll never lose a customer again on audible. It's my very first audible purchase and it's really good. The first, the first couple of chapters I've only gotten in like one or two chapters, started listening to it on a plane ride a little while back have been amazing. So I'm really excited to go into it more. I feel like you've told me that before, and that's why I, I recognize the name and just instantly bought it when I, when I saw it on audible.
Keleigh Lauermann (30:36):
So that's awesome. Next question is one thing that you do in your own business to create an amazing client experience.
Lauren Kasle (30:45):
I always celebrate my new clients by sending them a super personalized gift when we work together. I think it's a really great way to kick off the relationship. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Okay. And then what is one tool or software that you use in your business that yeah. And you cannot live without? Definitely. Yeah. Okay. I, I feel like I knew that that was coming. I feel like anybody who uses Dubsado is absolutely in love with it. I used it for, so I don't do one-on-one client work anymore, but I started my business doing that. And Dubsado was my saving grace. Like it changed my life. Okay. Last one. What is your favorite thing to do to unwind when you're not working? Definitely curl up with a good book.
Keleigh Lauermann (31:30):
Okay. Love that. I'm all in on that too. So if someone wanted to connect with you, how can they learn more about client experience or potentially even work with you? Where can they find you?
Lauren Kasle (31:43):
Yeah. So the best place to connect with me is on my website, which is LaurenKasle.com. Or you can come hang out with me on Instagram, which is @Laurencastle.
Keleigh Lauermann (31:52):
All right, perfect. I'm going to put both of those links in the show notes. So anybody who's listening can just scroll down and their podcast app and click right over. Everybody should be following you. You give the best tips on Instagram. I love every single post that comes up in my feed. I always look forward to them. And for everyone who's getting started with creating an amazing client experience for their own clients. And you created a special freebie, right? Can you share a little bit more about that and what it is and where they can download?
Lauren Kasle (32:23):
Yeah. So I have a free guide. It's called the six tools you need in your online business to create lifelong fans. And it includes the tools that I use almost every day in my business to create exceptional client experiences. So if you want to grab copy, you can download it on my website. It's Lauren castle.com/resources.
Keleigh Lauermann (32:42):
Perfect. And I will go ahead and put that in the show notes as well. And I have downloaded this and I can attest it is absolutely awesome. It's a great freebie. So everybody go and check that out. The link will be down in the show notes. Well, Lauren, thank you so much for spending time with me today. I really appreciate you being here. And I know that you have changed the lives of many people today, who are listening to this podcast and who were struggling in their own business to really understand customer retention and being able to create an incredible experience for their clients. So thank you for being here and sharing your genius with us all.
Keleigh Lauermann (33:19):
Thank you so much for having me Keleigh!
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Short & sweet episode highlights
What is customer experience?
How is it different from customer service?
How paying attention to your customer experience can actually save you time and money
How to use your customer experience to stand out in a crowded market of people selling the same products and service as you
Specific, actionable steps to help you get started creating an exceptional experience for your customers
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