March 12, 2021

How To Keep Customers Coming Back Again & Again with Eli Weiss

How To Keep Customers Coming Back Again & Again with Eli Weiss

Having a customer buy from you once is good. But having a customer buy from you multiple times is the formula for growing a business. Eli Weiss joins Katelyn Bourgoin on this episode of Customer Show.


Having a customer buy from you once is good. But having a customer buy from you multiple times is the formula for growing a business. On this episode of Customer Show, Eli Weiss joins Katelyn Bourgoin to go deep on how to create an experience your customers will want to come back again and again for. 

 

On this episode, you'll hear Katelyn and Eli discuss:

  • Why Eli considers his competition to be Netflix and ketchup
  • How to create customer experiences that spark joy
  • What Eli looks for when hiring a customer experience teammate
  • And so much more

Eli Weiss is the Director of Customer Experience at OLIPOP.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eliweisss

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eliweisss

OLIPOP: https://drinkolipop.com/

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Connect with Katelyn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateBour

Get you free Customer Ranking Calculator: https://customercamp.co/calculator

Transcript

Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:00:00] So, thank you so much for being here today. Eli, I am excited to chat with you and I want to dig into all stuff, customer experience. But before we do, like, you have to tell me more about Ali pop about what it is and how it works, because it is a really interesting product.

[00:00:20] Eli Weiss: [00:00:20] Of course, thank you so much for having me Kaitlyn. Ali pop is a sparkling tonic that is essentially a healthier version of soda. It's like It's got, you know, nine grams of fiber or five, five or less grams of sugar and is under 50 calories. So the idea really is, is, you know, a standard soda has like 39 grams of sugar and Alibaba's is a version of that that has prebiotics fiber and plant botanicals.

[00:00:44]So we like to call it a  fun and fizzy drink that is actually supporting your digestive health.

[00:00:50]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:00:50] Fun and fizzy drinks. It's a portrait of desk of health. I love it. I'm not a big soda drinker normally, because I know that it's just such crap and looking at all, I pop I'm like you could like swap out your smoothie for this guilt free.

[00:01:04] Eli Weiss: [00:01:04] A morning, Ali pop somebody just, just tag us in that, you know, he's like, this is, this is my morning drink. Instead of, instead of my coffee, I have an orange squeeze and I'm like, you know, I'm not there yet, but I'm here for it. Right.

[00:01:16] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:01:16] I have a friend. He doesn't drink coffee, but he wakes up every morning and drinks like a liter of Pepsi. And to me, that is so repulsive.

[00:01:25] Eli Weiss: [00:01:25] Wow.

[00:01:25] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:01:25] If you want to get that caffeine and you don't like coffee, I can see, I can see it, but like, I need to let him know. But all I pop because he should, his wife is like a yoga instructor that like, you know, she's all about eating healthy and here he is waking up in the morning, eating, drinking a liter of

[00:01:40] Eli Weiss: [00:01:40] No shaming, no shame in the Pepsi game. Right.

[00:01:44] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:01:44] Incredible. Okay. So all I pop commerce company, I checked you guys out online. It looks like you have raving fans. It looks like you're growing quickly. So let's talk about e-commerce a little bit and e-commerce brands specifically. And tell me about a moment that kind of stood out for you, where you saw an e-commerce brand doing something that maybe a traditional retailer just would never consider or think of.

[00:02:10] Eli Weiss: [00:02:10] I love that. It's actually historical that Ali pop is a retail first brand that I actually got super into e-commerce when, when COVID hit. And we went from, you know, three, four, 5% e-commerce to now closer to 30, 40%, and we've kind of. Taking a deep dive into, into e-commerce and thinking like what we can do different, et cetera.

[00:02:30] And one of the, for me, obviously, you know, Zappos is number one in terms of, you know, turning, turning e-commerce into just a movement of excellence, but one brand that I've been extremely excited about over the last couple of years is chewy. I think what they, you know, I've, I've spoken to a bunch of people that, that unfortunately had a pet that passed away and, and they called chewy to cancel their monthly, you know, pet food subscription.

[00:02:55] And two, we sent them a massive bouquet of flowers. So I think that there's this element of, of catching people where they are. And in general, in most businesses that would be like, okay, you're no longer a customer by their thinking. Like. 20 years ahead. And they're thinking if this person ever talks to a friend about it at this point, yes.

[00:03:13] And one day he gets a new pet and the brand equity they build when customers essentially would be on the way out is, is incredible and something I've never seen any, you know, retail, the retail brands do just yet.

[00:03:27] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:03:27] I love that example. I mean, I think that as I don't own pets myself, but I, you know, grew up with pets and I have friends who just have just incredible relationships with their pets and let's like losing a member of your family. And for those people in that time, you know, even making that call or, you know, going into the clinic, Subscribe site portion of the website.

[00:03:48] It's a sad moment. And so for them to be able to capture that and turn it into something that is just like a bit more positive, I can only imagine that those customers, when you know, they're going to rave about it, they're going to share that picture of that bouquet. It's going to be so unexpected. And they're going to, like you said, build that.

[00:04:06] Deep brand equity and want to come back when hopefully, you know, they're decided to bring a pet into their life again. So what a great example. Okay. So let's talk about scription businesses and retention because in the e-commerce game, there's a lot of businesses that understand it's not enough to just sell to somebody.

[00:04:28] Once you want to be able to get them to come back to buy again and again, and subscription models are a really good way to do that. And so what's a common belief in the world of subscriptions and physical businesses. That maybe you don't agree with. Is there anything that's kind of like out there that's taken as gospel that you say, Hey, that's not quite right.

[00:04:50] Eli Weiss: [00:04:50] Yeah, I love this question. I think that the, the big misconception around subscription is that if you're selling a beverage, you're competing with other beverage brands and you know, if you're selling a soda, you're competing with soda brands, but I think when it comes to subscription, there is. So many subscription options.

[00:05:11] And I think that there is a bunch of subscription fatigue where people are like, you know, there are so many monthly recurring charges. I have my Netflix and I have my, my Hulu and my Spotify and all that. And I think that you're competing with all of those. I think that obviously you're, you know, we're competing with, with anything else in a fridge, like we're competing with the ketchup in your fridge because we're competing for that space, but we're also competing against anything that you're.

[00:05:37] Shelling out, you know, dollars, monthly. And that's something that we think about very, very often. It's like, how are we bringing value and joy that can compete with your Netflix subscription. So, you know, if there's, if you come to a, to a conclusion and you look at your, at your wallet and you're like, wow, I've had.

[00:05:57] Twenty-five subscriptions active or six subscriptions or three. We hope that all the pop isn't the first one that goes.

[00:06:03] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:06:03] Oh, my goodness. That's you gave me goosebumps. I think that's so smart. There's a book written by a gentleman, Alan Clement, and it's all about jobs to be done. And it's called when coffee and kale compete. And like you said, you know, it's. A lot of people, they think about their product. They think about the category that they're in and they think that that's my competition, right?

[00:06:24] Like they're going to pick up sodas at the store instead of buying from me. But what you, your team recognizes just so smart is that really your competition is. Cost consciousness, people scanning their credit card receipt and seeing what's on there, what they might need to curb and your competition is I want to save for that vacation or that new car, and I need to cut some things.

[00:06:48] And how you recognize that? How do we deliver on the joy so that when they're looking to cut, we're not the first to go. Ah, genius. Okay.

[00:06:58] Eli Weiss: [00:06:58] Thank you.

[00:06:58] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:06:58] So give me an example, like let's dig into the media stuff. So you work with the team on helping to create that customer experience that makes people want to come back again and again.

[00:07:08] And so giving an example of a change that you actually made it all a pop that sparked from a customer maybe that was planning to leave, or you'd seen customers leaving for this reason. And then you made a change that actually led to higher attention. Long-term learning examples that come to mind.

[00:07:24]Eli Weiss: [00:07:24] Yeah. I think that there's so much of the. You know, one interesting thing that we see pretty often is that a big portion of people that leave are leaving because they have. Too many cans in their refrigerator. And something we've been thinking through lately is, is there a way that we can give you a couple of days notice before we ship your product and optimize for you to skip your order or push it out or, or.

[00:07:52] Change it, or figure something else out that instead of you ending up with a situation where we sold a bunch of product and then you ended up leaving, how can we get ahead of that? And something that we've been working with is, is a brand called electric SMS that sends our co our subscription customers, a text three days before they, their order gets processed and essentially says, you know, we're preparing your order of charity, the NOAA Would you like to keep it on, on, you know, March 25th or would you like to swap or skip or, you know, any, any of that stuff?

[00:08:24] So that's something that was super interesting and has made a massive, massive impact. I think 70% of our active subscribers have at least once swapped a flavor or skipped an order. And then I think, you know, like subscription as a whole, like, there's, there's so much focus on the monthly recurring revenue and there's probably less focused on like, but what's in it for them.

[00:08:45] And how do we make them feel special to kind of get back on the point of joy? You know, like something that we've been obsessed with is like, how do we optimize their entire experience? So from the text platform, That, that I just mentioned to a direct email that we have, that they can reach out to subscriptions@drinkalibaba.com.

[00:09:03] We're always kind of putting them front and center. And it's funny, we had, this was inspired by chewy, but we had like this. Really heartwarming story. A couple of a couple of weeks ago where a subscription customer reached out that she wanted to cancel her subscription. And we just asked for feedback and we kind of got this story that she had been ordering it for her mom who wasn't, it wasn't hospice care.

[00:09:29] And she used to have this root beer, Ali pop every single day. And that was like the highlight of her day. And , her mom passed away and. This, this daughter, like, you know, thinking through like, as a daughter to have to call and cancel these subscriptions that it's, it's like such a, it kind of, it kind of hit us.

[00:09:48]Like this is like what, bringing happiness to people. And we ended up sending her this, you know, Beautiful bouquet of flowers and a note from the team. And like, we we've been in touch with those gal ever since. And she's now part of our family, but it's like thinking through like the touch points that you have as a, sort of, as a subscription.

[00:10:08] You know, business like these are all people like we, we think about subscription as number, number, number but you know, with every person that leaves, there's a reason, every person that joins there's a reason and kind of digging a little deeper and seeing what we can learn from every one of these entries and exits has been so impactful.

[00:10:26] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:11:54] I've done a lot of research for companies in the media space. And I was speaking with people who had. Canceled their traditional newspaper subscription. And you mentioned that, you know, this lack of fridge space being a trigger for people to go, okay, wait a minute. I, I should probably cancel.

[00:12:10] I'm not drinking them soon enough. And if they just show up and now they've got them sitting on the floor or they've got some on the counter and they're like, I'm really not enjoying these as much as I thought I would. Otherwise I'd be drinking more of them. There's like that visual. Representation of, I'm not getting what I wanted of this product.

[00:12:26] And when I talked to the newspapers like owners, they were happy that they were like, you know, I saw the garbage, I saw them piling up every day and they would be sitting outside of the garbage can and had, you know, more traditional newspaper companies thought around, well, maybe we should let people.

[00:12:43] Skip a week, you know, or let them easily, you know, go down to two or three a week. Like people weren't thinking like that at that time. And so it's great to see how with subscription models, there's this advancement and it's not just about do they like the soda? It's about how does the soda fit into their life?

[00:13:03] And what might be some of those trigger points that would make them want to walk away from their subscription and how can a company like Ali pop instead of like, just trying to offer a discount, which is not going to stop you from canceling. If you have no fridge space left, I think you're coming up with a really, really great solution.

[00:13:22]Eli Weiss: [00:13:22] I think that the, the, the optimization of, you know, the, the older brands optimizing for a short term cash bag versus like a long-term. Value is, is, is pretty prevalent. And then on top of that, I think like we, we have this idea that if a customer leaves or if a customer dislikes your product, that's the end.

[00:13:43] And I kind of think that that's usually the beginning. Like we have so many customers that will reach out to us and be like, I didn't enjoy the flavor as much as I can, or as much as I thought I would. Right. And instead, you know, our goal on, on customer experience is always like offering the best.

[00:14:00] Possible interaction, whether or not you love or dislike the product you had. We, we, you know, like we'll offer a customer, a full, a full refund if they disliked it and there'll be like, wow. Although I didn't love the product, like I'll be telling all my friends to give this a shot. And so many of their friends might love it.

[00:14:17] And we just, we just gained 12 customers on, on, on a customer that disliked us. So I think that's like, you know, just thinking long-term and kind of zooming out and thinking about a larger focus instead of like a, how can I sell somebody a six or 12 months subscription upfront, and then they'll really dislike us in seven months.

[00:14:34]Has been huge for us.

[00:14:35] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:14:35] Absolutely. Like I just tweeted something before we hopped on this call around, you know, the goal is really to build and maintain trust. And if more brands started there and worked backwards to their campaigns and tactics, they'd sell more stuff. The problem is we don't start there. We don't think about how can we build and maintain trust.

[00:14:53] We think about how can I get more clicks through my website and how can I get more conversions on the cart page, but ultimately what it comes down to is what you're talking about, which is that. Positive word of mouth, that feeling of joy that customers have that make them want to talk about you and make them want to continue to invite your brand into their life.

[00:15:11] All right. So you mentioned value and you gave such an incredible example with the woman who had sadly lost her mother. Are there, can you give me another example of a time that Ali pop may have provided value to a subscription customer? One that you might be particularly proud of?

[00:15:29] Eli Weiss: [00:15:29] Yeah. A couple of months ago, actually, we had a. You know, during the kind of peak Q4 where shipping was all over the place. And there were delays with pretty much any courier and, and obviously FedEx and ups were saying that, you know, next day air doesn't really mean much. Like we can't guarantee anything.

[00:15:48]We had a subscription customer that ordered that was waiting for Ali pop that she was going to use for her super intimate wedding. And. The it got, it got stuck in the mail. And I remember her reaching out literally two days before just being like, this is been in the mail for over a week and a half and my wedding is on the weekends.

[00:16:10]And we ended up kind of figuring out that we had stock in a smaller warehouse on the East coast and ended up overnighting it. And thankfully it got there in time, but I think that's something that. You know, I know from my interactions with some larger brands, you just kind of hit a wall where it's like, you you'll say like, Oh, I'm waiting for it.

[00:16:28] And they'll be like, well, it's still processing or like wait a month. And it doesn't ship. Like, I think the, the idea that we've been trying so hard to focus on is how can we. Really, really, really dive deep into people's stories and less focused on like, these are the rules we play by. And if it's out of this, if it's out of the book, we have nothing we can do.

[00:16:48]And that's, for me, that's been like massively inspired by, by Tony Shay from Zappos, right? It's like, how can we, how can we view this as like, these are all people and every customer we blow away is, is another super fan. And that was amazing.

[00:17:04] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:17:04] I was lucky enough to get to meet Tony. I was participating in a tech accelerator that he had funded in Las Vegas and he, you know, he lived in a community there of Airstreams with like a live llama. Well, of course live a law that would just like freely re like roam around the property. And like, most of the people that he lived amongst were all Zappos employees who were all living there as well.

[00:17:29] He was such an amazing and interesting person and clearly got something that I think so many big brands miss, which is if you want to create real momentum as a new company and a small player in a crowded space, like the soda space is one of the. Biggest and probably most competitive spaces. I mean, Coca Cola, Pepsi, you've got giant Goliath, you're going toe to toe with.

[00:17:54] And if you want to really have a chance to compete and thrive, it's got to be based on that incredible experience. And it sounds like your team really, really gets that. So tell me, let's say hypothetically and it's actually not so hypothetical for me, cause my husband's. Work. He has a direct consumer company.

[00:18:12] We do boxes of Epic meats. We don't do a monthly subscription as of yet, but it is something that we are looking at doing. And you talk about stories. You talk about responding to customers when they reach out, what are some of the methods you're using to learn about your customers and engage with them?

[00:18:31] Eli Weiss: [00:18:31] Yeah. I think that the, the common misconception is that you only learn from customers when they tell you what's going on. What we've found is that. Hopping into the Instagram DMS. And if somebody mentions us, we'll kind of reply back and engage. We've learned more from just kind of, you know, having those.

[00:18:53] Non formal conversations. Then most of the people that, you know, we'll send an email complaining. Like I think that the rigidness around like filing a formal complaint on email is, is usually a lot of pent up energy and frustration. And by the time it gets to you, there's, there's so much more that that ends up in your inbox.

[00:19:15] And I think that the non-formal. It's something I do when I have free time on a weekend, I'll just hop into the Ali, pop the AMS and just start DM-ing people. And if you, if you posted a picture of of our, of our drink, I'll hop in and be like, how was it? What did you like? What did you dislike? What did you find?

[00:19:33] You know, how did you find the shipping and delivery? What did you think about the unboxing and just kind of jump in and have these conversations has been so, so, so meaningful for us to just continue learning And that's something that I've been recently focused on.

[00:19:47] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:19:47] I love that answer. That leads me to another question before I go there. How do you then share that information with the team? So if you are jumping in and out of the DMS, maybe you have somebody else who's helping with managing your community as well. Is there any type of practice around how you communicate what you're learning about customers to the broader team?

[00:20:05] So everybody kind of gets to benefit.

[00:20:07] Eli Weiss: [00:20:07] Yeah, no, that's a great question. I think that the. The larger focus on our end is how can we, you know, we use gorgeous as a, as a ticketing tool on how can we constantly tag and then, you know, every week I'll I'll export. Our tags and put it into a nice little presentation and kind of share with the team, what are our big learnings.

[00:20:27]And if there's anything, you know, we'll see a bunch of tags on USBs issues and we will have a conversation with our three PL and say, it seems like this week has been pretty rough on USBs. Let's swap over to FedEx for most shipments and make changes on, on any of that stuff. And then obviously if there's any supply chain, things that come up, we, we see those tickets kind of.

[00:20:48] Those tags go up. So we're, we're monitoring tags and we make sure as a, as a CX team kind of the, the shift between reactive and proactive is when you can take that information and keep passing it along. Right. So we have been, you know, like between our team, there's, there's always somebody in a marketing meeting and there's always somebody in the three PL weekly meeting, and there's always somebody talking to, to supply chain.

[00:21:10] So we're. We're we're always passing on information. And anything that we see as a, as an upcoming issue, we try to pass on as quick as we can to kind of keep that really tight feedback loop because that's, that's the power we have as a smaller brand compared to the larger ones is that we're super agile and we can move fast.

[00:21:28] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:21:28] Absolutely. And as you're talking, you know, it just gets me thinking, you know, as my husband's growing this business and we're looking at growing our team, when we're ready to make our first customer experience hire right. Like, I want to find somebody like you, like, I want to find somebody who like, on the

[00:21:45] Eli Weiss: [00:21:45] Thank.

[00:21:45] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:21:45] it's like, DM-ing our customers just to try to understand them better so we can serve them better so we can bring them more joy.

[00:21:52] So tell me, like, what type of skills should we be looking for when we're ready to make that first kind of like official customer experience? Hire.

[00:22:00] Eli Weiss: [00:22:00] Yeah, I think, I think the main, the main kind of thing that I've learned over the last, you know, spending the last six, seven years in this is that. There's a common misconception that customer experience slash customer service or support is like the it's like the bottom of the business and where people jump into it.

[00:22:18] And I think that that's the largest misconception because, you know, I've, I've worked as pretty as a generalist at a small startup and I've done a bunch of different roles and customer experience is definitely. The hardest most, most emotionally taxing part of, of the job where it's like, if you're really good at it, you have a massive dose of empathy.

[00:22:37] And the catch 22 of that is that massive dose of empathy will really stress you out when, when there are things that you wish you can fix and you can't. So something, I, I look at very, very closely as I'm looking for somebody that is. Extremely passionate about making experiences better, unless it's like a, here's how I'll get into sales and marketing or whatever else I want to be at.

[00:22:57] And something that I look for As far as qualification, I look for somebody that can really mirror off of a conversation they're having and in a healthy way and understand that and catch a vibe on an email and know how to respond somewhat in the same, in a similar voice.

[00:23:13] Like I think that being able to bounce back somebody's energy is probably the most important part of, of this role. Whereas if somebody's super, super angry and you reply back with a very joyful and chipper message that can probably really, really. Get them even more angry versus like responding back in a very sincere tone.

[00:23:30]And then if somebody is like super excited and joyful bouncing back, that same energy is, is probably the most impactful part of this part of this customer experience role.

[00:23:40] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:23:40] That's really good. And so you, you mentioned that like empathy, empathy is one of those things and in marketing and in customer experience and really in any customer facing role, it is such a critical thing, but I find that some people, they come by it quite naturally, whereas. Others may need more assistance.

[00:23:59] And to your point, maybe they need assistance in managing how much it affects them, because they're sitting at home on the weekend, going through the DM and just wanting to help. So like in. How have you continued to evolve your own ability to mirror back the tone of the customer, to know how to respond in a way that's going to be empathetic yet still supports kind of the company's mission?

[00:24:26] Like, are there any tips you can share writing kind of learnings you've made or self-care things you need to do to, to really be able to move to do that role every day?

[00:24:38] Eli Weiss: [00:24:38] Yeah. And it's funny because it's actually something that I ask on every interview. I ask, what do you, what do you do when you're having a super, super stressed out and emotionally exhausting day? And the answer is always so drastically different. When people answer like, Oh, I hop on my Peloton and take a ride, I'm always so jealous, because imagine I did that when I was stressed out, I'd be, I'd be so much healthier.

[00:24:59] Instead I eat a bunch of chocolate bars and scroll through tick talk endlessly. But I think they're, they're like the, the correct answer that is any sort of answer, like as long as it's something they're, they're extremely aware of. And I think that the another common misconception on this is like, you know, if there's free time in the day, you're not working hard enough.

[00:25:18] And I think that, you know, downtime is prep time when it comes to customer experience. So people that are very, very emotionally aware and very, very in touch with their reality, like, I think. You know, Ali pop is a very, you know mental health focused brand. And a lot of, you know, when we have interviews, a lot of things that come up or yeah, I, I, I talk about this in therapy every week, or like, this is something that I'm very aware of.

[00:25:40] Like, I think self-awareness is step number one. And then making sure that, you know, your own limits and for me, sometimes it's like, I know this is not the right time to kind of hop in and answer really aggressive emails on a, on a Sunday afternoon. And knowing when you need to just take a deep breath and recharge.

[00:25:58]Because I think that statistically customer experiences like has the highest burnout. And instead of, you know, just pushing through. Then the next hire and the next hire. It's like, how can we optimize as for long-term and figure out what are things? Something we focus on very often is like, w we constantly ask him what are things you enjoy outside of CX?

[00:26:20] And we try to make sure that everyone on my team has other areas of the business. They can dip their toes into whether it's like, you know, helping with affiliate marketing, or helping with retention or, or helping with ops and figuring out what are. Things aside from CX you enjoy and balancing that. So it's not just all day kind of going through the ringer.

[00:26:39]And yeah, optimizing for longterm.

[00:26:42]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:26:42] As you talk, it just gets me thinking about. Well, again, one of the things that Tony talked about in a lot of his work was it's not just about giving people kind of finding people who are empathetic and, and hoping that they can do a great job with your customers. And it's not about giving them scripts to follow.

[00:27:00] It really sounds like at all, a pop, there is a culture of support and everybody recognizing people are human and really caring about the team. And if that's, you know, if that's at the core of the culture that then bleeds out into the customer experience, bleeds out as a little bit of a negative term, but that then, you know, that then comes out into the customer experience.

[00:27:24] And I think that where companies, where a lot of companies go wrong is they think that you can take a person who's incredibly gifted at empathy and. Is, you know, a great communicator and drop them into what might be a toxic or unsupportive work environment. And that, that person's going to be able to stay and perform in that role for a long time.

[00:27:44] And maybe that's when the burnout happens at a higher rate, because they might be bringing all that positive energy, the empathy for the customer. But if they're not feeling that support back to them through the rest of the team, that's got to lead to burnout.

[00:27:58]Eli Weiss: [00:27:58] I love that you brought this up because this is something I, I literally talk about all day is like, Customer service slash customer support slash customer experience. It doesn't matter what you call it, but in the last 20 years, the way this was built out is like, you know, a few things.

[00:28:13] Number one, it's, it's always the first part of a team that's outsourced. It's, it's, it's always the first and you know, brands are like, we really, we care so much about it, but we, we outsource it and pay $3 an hour is interesting. And then the other part of it is, you know, customer experience as a role for the last.

[00:28:30] 15 to 20 years has been like, you know, we hire somebody, we put them in the corner of the office with a super old Mac look, air right near the fire extinguisher. And we say, take this and go at war. Right? And it's like every day, just come in and just handle all the issues that are coming from ops or coming from every other part of the business.

[00:28:48] We'll keep selling. We'll stay delayed on, on production and on shipment. Then you kind of deal with it. And that's kind of inherently where this, where this. You know where this became a tough spot. And I think that for me, as I'm building out a team and as I'm like hiring some of the best and the brightest is like, how can we spin this around and empower this role to like you are the front lines of the business.

[00:29:10] You are getting more information about the customer every day, then we can pay. Six figures to a consulting firm to bring to us. And how can we empower people that they have the ability to take this information? And now you're the voice of the customer and the marketing meeting. You're the voice of the customer.

[00:29:28] When we chat about a new flavor, you're the voice of the customer across the business. And that empowerment is actually what, what really creates a a very, very, very healthy workplace. And it probably minimizes burnout massively because. There, you know, my team is, is. Impacting every single part of the company.

[00:29:47] And that's like for me that my five to 10 year prediction, I don't predict a lot of things, but my five to 10 year prediction is that customer experience, you know, as, as cost of acquisition keeps going up and as Facebook keeps turning that dial. Customer experience and retention are going to be the most important things and are going to grow massively in the next five to 10 years, the same way it happened in software, in the nineties, right.

[00:30:10] Where they hire customer success and they pay them six figures to essentially do what customer experience reps are doing at the, to see brands, right? Like making sure that our customers are happy before they come and complaining and making sure they're getting the value out of what we're promising, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:30:26] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:30:26] So good. And I love that you're being so open. You're sharing how you're doing it at all. You pop what I also find. So kind of like humorous is that. Oftentimes, there are these brands that are just doing things that make sense. And, and they are, you know, they're crushing it. They're growth is happening like crazy and they will openly share them.

[00:30:46] And the reason that they don't see it as like a competitive disadvantage to share is because so few brands will actually do the work. Like like, you know, nod their head. And they'll say, of course we're customer focused. Of course we're customer

[00:30:59] Eli Weiss: [00:30:59] Yep.

[00:30:59] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:30:59] to your point, But, Oh goodness.

[00:31:01] We would never pay more than $4 for a customer experience. Rep.

[00:31:06] Eli Weiss: [00:31:06] yeah, we over-index. Right. Like, it's like, we spend a lot of, like, we invest a lot of money in customer experience and I get this. Yeah. To your point, I get this question every day is like, how can I do exactly what you're doing? And my first question is, well, what does your team look like? Well, we have, you know, an outsource team and wherever, wherever, and I'm like, well, so number one, where do I start?

[00:31:30] Right.

[00:31:31] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:31:31] and that's it. Everybody wants the outcome without the effort. That's so true in all things in life and only pop is actually delivering that. And, you know, that's when products are magic where you can have the deliciousness of a soda. Without having to like, then go burn it all off because it was 400 calories.

[00:31:50] But in life we always were looking for outcomes without the effort. And then when people like yourself are sharing their playbook and they're saying, this is how you do it. And companies go, yeah. But.

[00:32:01] Eli Weiss: [00:32:01] Yep.

[00:32:02] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:32:02] Right. And so I L I love that you're sharing so freely. So selfishly, I'd love to chat with you a little bit about when you joined the team, were you on the team before the move to e-commerce really being a dominant part of the, of the company

[00:32:18]Eli Weiss: [00:32:18] That's a good question. I joined when it was kind of slowly rising. I joined in June. So I think that e-commerce kind of started exploding and like April, may. And kind of, yeah, I think since then, like when I joined, we, we kind of, I joined in June and  mid to end of July was when we kind of made a couple of switches on, on subscription and that started taking off and started optimizing.

[00:32:44] On on e-comm or a lot the team went from like one or two people on e-comm to 10, 15 people on e-comm and, and it's, it's slowly transitioning into like a big portion of our, of our business. But yeah, I mean, I, I guess I joined like fairly early on

[00:33:00] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:33:00] is what I want to know, because as I said, you know, my husband's running his business now we're not doing it subscription style. It's a monthly box. We're looking at a subscription model. And so what I'd love to learn from you is being on the, you know, the. The ground floor as the company's looking at really putting energy and emphasis into the subscription.

[00:33:21] Tell me a little bit about what were some of those conversations like, like what were some of the things that you knew you needed to focus on and, you know, maybe what were some of the pitfalls that you, things that happened that you didn't expect?

[00:33:34] Eli Weiss: [00:33:34] it's funny. I've actually been, been chatting about this yesterday. I was thinking through a, an, this might end up on Twitter. Just kinda some learnings I've learned pretty early on, on subscription as, as we've been growing this beast  I'm about to dive a little deep on this, but the, the main reason. Why people are not thrilled about subscription from my understanding is number one, you know, the Comcast of the world where it's like knowing you're about to sell your soul, because you're going to have an impossible time getting out of it is, is number one. Number two is like people. End up getting bored of whatever they're getting after having it for three months.

[00:34:10] They're like, yeah, I don't know like that this is delicious, but like, I'll try something else in the aisle. I'll go into the supermarket and try something new. There are so many and then number three is like, If somebody loves your product at the end of the day, it's like having a know one time is, is, is fair, but then having it every month, it can get expensive.

[00:34:29]So those were the kinds of two frictions we saw. And I think that so many brands focus on how do I add extra value to a subscription? Like how do I build out community, et cetera, et cetera, without spending time on focusing, how do I remove friction? And I think that's number one is like, First spend six months removing any possible friction and making sure this is the most seamless experience ever.

[00:34:52] And then kind of focus on community. And I think for us, it's like, so for number one, like the, the issue that people are terrified that they won't be able to get out of a subscription. We, we put that front and center cancel anytime. We'll send you a text before your order. We'll give you that prompt.

[00:35:06] Please skip your order. If that's not, if it's not going to work this month, just. Type cancel and press send. And that's it you're out has been like a really good solution for number one. And then on the other two things of, you know, like price and, and just kind of getting bored of the same flavor, we're pretty early on.

[00:35:25] When you, when you sign up for a subscription and your after your second order or third you'll, you'll generally get an email that says like, We know you've been enjoying the slaver and we hope you love it, but here are some of the others and give it a shot, like swap. And we want customers to find their forever flavor.

[00:35:42] Like we want them to find one. They love, even if it means trying one disliking, it will, we'll send them something else. Instead just for us, like if within the first 60 to 90 days, when you find the flavor you're obsessed with that's our, that's our best bet. And then on price, it's like, how can we make this a really, really impactful offer that it's like, for us, it's like, 15% off every single order has been super, super helpful on that, on that other, on that other part, , 

[00:36:08] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:36:08] one of the big takeaways for me is I think that you're so right as brands think about how can we offer more value. Without necessarily taking up more shelf space or without necessarily including more in the box. So we've got margins to fit. Think about, and yeah, they go to community, well, let's add community, let's drop in community and then people will want to stay for that.

[00:36:29] But yeah, you're right. That ultimately it's like first think about all of the friction that might be in your experience. The reasons why somebody might be considering canceling, try to work out. That first and then see where you are before you just assume you need to add the, you know, you can, it's easy to take things away.

[00:36:49] It's harder to add.

[00:36:50]Eli Weiss: [00:36:50] That's that's absolutely true.

[00:36:52] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:36:52] Awesome. Okay. So for our listeners today that are any commerce that maybe are actively running a subscription based business or are considering it like, like we are, and they know that they want to up their customer experience game. Can you leave me with like, kind of like one like success story or one tip that can really get them motivated to go along and do that?

[00:37:15] Eli Weiss: [00:37:15] Yeah, I think that the most important thing to think through when you're doing that, is this a product that will fit into somebody's daily or weekly or monthly life. And then if it is, and if people are repurchasing your product just give it a go. I think making a, making a super-duper enticing offer is number one, but at the end of the day is like, if this is something that fits into their, into their life.

[00:37:38]There's, there's no reason not to give it a go. So they have it.

[00:37:43] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:37:43] you said you were going to share, you were working on maybe a tweet thread you're going to share. It sounds like you share some of your wisdom online. Where should people follow you and keep up with what you're doing?

[00:37:51] Eli Weiss: [00:37:51] Yeah. They can find me on Twitter. It's at Eli Weiss, E L I w E I S S S. So a third S at the end. And then fine, you know, just follow what we're doing at Ali poppets at drink lollipop on all social and drink. Ali popped up.

[00:38:10] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:38:10] Awesome. We're going to add those links in the show notes. You've been an absolute delight. Thank you so much.

[00:38:14]Eli Weiss: [00:38:14] Well, thank you so much for having me. This has been a pleasure.

 

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.

Eli Weiss

Director of Customer Experience