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Rachel Dye of LOUDER Global: 5 Things a Business Should Do to Create a Wow Customer Experience

An Interview With Orlando Zayas

Transparency — Be honest with your customers. Tell them the truth about how the economy could be affecting your business, share your struggles and celebrate your growth milestones. Being transparent with your customers builds trust and makes your customers feel like they are a part of your team. Be transparent about the core values of your organization in everything that you do and put into the world.

As part of our series about the five things a business should do to create a Wow! customer experience, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Dye.

Rachel is a seasoned hospitality and event management professional with experience in France, Canada, and Hong Kong. Her passion for innovative communication and boundless creativity allows her to craft tailored campaigns, events, and build relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was born and raised in a small town in Alberta, Canada…no cell phone service, no neighbors, and a whole lot of forest (yes landlines and dial-up internet is still the best form of communication where I am from). I had my first solo international travel experience at age 13 when I went to France for three months to learn French. This experience was transformational for me because I had grown so accustomed to the small town living it was exhilarating to see what the rest of the world had to offer, street performers, cafes, beautiful architecture, and endless supplies of pastries and cheese. After this experience, I immediately fell in love with traveling, experiencing different cultures, and of course French cuisine.

At 18 I was unsure what I wanted to do next so I looked at alternate options and came across an option to move to Hong Kong and complete an internship in the events industry. I graduated from high school in June 2014 and moved to Hong Kong in November 2014 to learn firsthand about the events industry in Asia. After 20 hours plus of traveling, I landed in Hong Kong where I was instructed by my new employers to put on a black dress and meet my new team at a gala.

Before I was able to take in Hong Kong and all of its beauty I was put right to work assisting with take away gifts, check-in, and stage management. This was the perfect introduction to such an amazing city. I felt that I experienced what Hong Kong was known for immediately, lavish parties with swanky international attendees — the excitement was like nothing I had ever experienced. There were people from every corner of the world all brought together with some Dom Pérignon and high bidding auctions. This in contrast to the town I came from where newcomers are reported on in the local paper was beyond my imagination. And this exciting and magnificent lifestyle is what the next six months looked like; being thrown in, taking on responsibility, meeting people from around the world including The Village People, drinking Champagne, and attending some pretty spectacular events with celebrities.

I moved back to Calgary, Canada, and enrolled in post-secondary to study Hospitality Management. I graduated from post-secondary in 2018 and got a job at a high-end boutique hotel in Calgary, Canada named Hotel Arts as an events coordinator where I planned close to 400 events and had the opportunity to learn from seasoned hospitality experts. This experience was amazing and introduced me to some of my closest friends, however, I could still feel something was missing inside me — I missed the fast-paced and diverse lifestyle Asia had to offer.

I later set my sights on Asia and put all my energy and resources into making this dream happen. COVID became a minor hurdle in the process of pursuing this dream, but I never let the dream fade. After hours of research and binders full of paperwork, my partner and I were off to Asia…well at least the view of Asia from our hotel quarantine where we resided for 14 days and had multiple throat and nose probings. In April 2021 I had fulfilled my commitment and moved back to Asia where I currently work as the Director of Global Strategy at LOUDER Global and this is where you will find me today.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

While working in Hong Kong as an intern at an event management company we would often order props and other items to enhance the theme of the event. We had winter-style costumes for models to wear at a holiday party so they could take fun photos with the guests. Often, models would arrive a bit tardy to the events with little time to spare but we always had a step-by-step process once they arrived to get ready.

The models arrived at the holiday event, went into hair and makeup, and put on their winter costumes. They came out with five minutes to spare before the event and the costumes were “a bit” short and all of their derrieres were exposed. This was a well-known client in the financial industry so very professional and it was not a type of event where exposed derrieres would be accepted.

After looking at various options like sewing an extra strip on the straps or having them wear pants or tying a sweater around their waist to make the dresses — all of which had to happen in under five minutes. I ran over to the Audio Visual team for help, they had cords, lighting, and some electrical tape. I grabbed the tape and ran back to the models.

I cut the straps on each of the dresses that were thankfully black and put the tape between the straps to lengthen them and added another couple of inches to the dresses. The models were ready to go out on time, the client was none the wiser, and the event went off without a hitch.

From this situation, I learned that we need to be adaptable, flexible, and positive in all situations. Your thoughts affect your actions so when you think positively and expect good results it translates into all of your other actions like adaptability and flexibility.

You can also plan as much as possible but you should embed the core values of flexibility and adaptability into you because when things go wrong you have to go with the flow and adapt to any changes that come your way. I also learned to stay calm in stressful situations and continue to smile. It is important to have confidence in your abilities and know that everything will work out because you are pretty amazing at what you do.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

As mentioned, at 18 I moved to Hong Kong to complete an internship that became so much more than an internship to me. My two bosses became incredible mentors to me throughout my adult life. Moving to a brand new city across the world at 18 was very exciting and when I thought about doing an internship I thought it would be like the movies where you are running to get coffee and assisting on various small projects on an as-needed basis.

But they ended up giving me a lead position on many projects, meeting with potential clients, attending all of the hottest events, and so much more — it was incredible.

They both pushed me and challenged me in different ways. They supported me on every project and every client, they allowed me to see hope in myself. They encouraged me to have creativity in everything I did and provided thoughtful feedback that contributed to my success.

They told me that when all the fish in the sea go right — go left! And this is exactly what I have done. It was such amazing advice to me at a time when all of my friends went directly to university and I moved over ten thousand kilometers across the world. This experience provided me with unexplainable confidence that I would not be able to say I had if I had not worked with this loving diverse group of people.

Another form of mentorship and guidance in my life has been digital, which now many are experiencing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally I was not largely influenced by mainstream media or the people who stood in the spotlight but with social media ever transforming the world around us this has changed me greatly. I have opened my eyes to the wonderful influences that can be found on social media.

Many of these people have the ability to provide and serve thousands if not millions of people globally all from the comfort of their homes. The wise words spoken have provided me guidance, education, and confidence but largely I have learned the blueprints of their creations. I am intrigued by the ability to motivate and move large demographics from anywhere in the world at any time of the day. This is an incredible gift that we are so blessed to have, however, it must be used wisely.

Thank you for that. Let’s now pivot to the main focus of our interview. This might be intuitive, but I think it’s helpful to specifically articulate it. In your words, can you share a few reasons why great customer service and a great customer experience is essential for success in business?

When you hear the words “customer experience”, what does it bring to mind? Is it a staff member somewhere who impressed you? A great user interface? An irresistible return policy? The top companies are not only finding a solution for customer needs, they are giving customers exactly what they want by providing premium delivery of service from start to finish. Providing premium service gives customers that “wow” feeling because they feel they are heard and appreciated.

There are a lot of expectations from customers nowadays so businesses need to ensure that they are exceeding these expectations. Businesses need to focus on exceeding expectations by providing an exceptional experience and keeping their customers happy from start to finish.

  • Keep Your Customers

It is much more difficult and requires many more resources to get new customers than to keep the ones you have. Your repeat customers have an amazing impact on your brand: they increase sales, provide helpful feedback, they are willing to pay a premium, and through word of mouth they can help you build your customer base and increase sales.

  • Sales Growth

Train your people to provide exceptional customer service to existing customers, new customers, and potential customers. Everyone can have questions about your products or services and you need to make sure that you or your people are there to tactfully provide answers to all questions. And make it easy for your customers to reach out to you.

  • Brand Reputation

Business owners usually have somewhat of an idea of how they want their brand to be perceived in the public eye but it is always helpful and important to get feedback from your customers. It is important that how we want our brand to be perceived is how it is actually being perceived in the public eye. Through customer surveys and actively asking for feedback, we can understand this perception.

  • Generate Referrals

When you continue to “wow” your customers they will pass on the positive word of mouth and tell everyone about their positive experience. Word of mouth is arguably one of the best and least expensive forms of marketing your product or service.

  • Strengthens Company Culture

When your employees understand the company values, they can actively work towards the same goal to give the customers an understanding of what your business represents. Keeping your team on the same page and engaged with your customers streamlines workflow and creates a great culture. And when you take care of your team they will take care of you and your business.

Remember, your customers can become the biggest supporters of your brand so give them a reason to and take care of them!

We have all had times either in a store, or online, when we’ve had a very poor experience as a customer or user. If the importance of a good customer experience is so intuitive, and apparent, where is the disconnect? How is it that so many companies do not make this a priority?

The biggest disconnect is that companies get too focused on themselves — too focused on their product or service, their day-to-day and they forget about their customers. What is a great product or service if there is no one there to buy it? Companies aren’t doing it on purpose, they think that they are making customers a top priority but in reality, they are not — well not at the level they need to be. Business owners need to stop, analyze, and ask themselves: who is my ideal customer? When you think of your ideal customer you must think of the individual that will continue to support you when the economy is down. What can you offer to your ideal customer that no one else can? What is your unapologetic offer to your customer?

You must love your ideal customer and be willing to do anything to meet their needs, this will drive your passion. But many business owners just love their customers for spending money, I’m talking about actually loving your customers! Once you know who your ideal customer is, you have to find out if you are meeting your customer’s needs and keeping them engaged. A great way to do this is through customer feedback or getting an opinion from a third party.

Another reason that companies are not making their customer service a top priority can be because they are not making their employees a top priority. Your employees are the ones who interact with your customers for the most part — they are the outward reflection of your brand. And if you are not taking care of your employees this can often be reflected to your customers in that your employees are reflecting their feelings to the customers and as a result providing poor customer service. Take care of your people and they will take care of you which will lead to happy customers and more money in your pocket.

Do you think that more competition helps force companies to improve the customer experience they offer? Are there other external pressures that can force a company to improve the customer experience?

Competition can be a helpful force for a company to improve customer service but I do not think that it is the most helpful force, however, sometimes businesses can be guilty of putting too much focus on competition where they put laser focus and want to find out every single detail they can about their competition. Companies need to instead focus on being an asset, trusted confidante, and friend of their customers, their customers will feel like they are betraying them if they purchase from the businesses’ competitors.

Have businesses ever considered the notion of thinking of their competitors as collaborators instead of competitors? When a customer isn’t a great fit for you or you have overflow, you can send them to your competitor and perhaps your competitor will do the same for you.

Businesses need to look at the market space as a whole and assess what is missing and where they can fill in the gap in terms of customer service. Customers have very high expectations when it comes to customer service so it isn’t something that can be done half-heartedly. Innovate and find new creative solutions to treat your customers like they are a top priority.

Feedback is also a great external pressure that can cause companies to have that breakthrough moment with improving their customer service. Feedback from existing customers, new customers, and potential customers — make the process simple and quick for the customer to use.

Can you share with us a story from your experience about a customer who was “Wowed” by the experience you provided?

When I was an events coordinator in Canada, one of my favorite events to plan was weddings. Two individuals are trusting you with one of the most important days of their lives, it is such a privilege and amazing to see it all come together. For one of the weddings I had the opportunity to plan a wedding for the most amazing couple, their budget was lower so we worked together to strategize and make their day extremely special regardless of the budget that they had.

I am so grateful that the team I worked with at the hotel was so flexible and adaptable. The Executive Chef was able to come up with a custom Indian menu for the couple that was at their price point and incorporated items from their Indian heritage. The couple was able to get married on a Sunday which is an off time for weddings in Canada so venues and vendors often have much more flexibility. In this case, we were able to offer the couple a complimentary night at the hotel to make their wedding extra special.

The operations team did such a fantastic job of setting up the wedding and went above and beyond to help the couple in every way. My favorite thing to do on the wedding day was to go and get the bride from the hotel room and bring her down to walk down the aisle, helping her fluff her dress and ensuring that she looked perfect!

I brought the bride down and after the ceremony concluded they went right into the reception. I would usually head out at this point and leave the remainder of the reception to the incredible operations team. I went to say goodbye to the newlywed couple and the gratitude that they and their family expressed for everything was overwhelming, they were so happy with every aspect of their special day.

They also sent a thank you card about a month after their wedding day and it had the most beautiful message in it. This is why I love working with people and going above and beyond to provide exceptional customer service experiences for everyone involved so that I can help them capture beautiful moments and support them to bring their vision to life.

Did that Wow! experience have any long term ripple effects? Can you share the story?

With weddings, it can be a bit trickier to get repeat business but when you provide a Wow! experience it makes it pretty easy. Brides and grooms have jobs, and they celebrate birthdays and other events. In this case, we were able to get a referral through the bride’s work to plan various meetings and offsite catering for the company that she worked for.

I had the opportunity to work with the bride many times which was amazing because she was such a beautiful individual. This proved even more to me that providing an extraordinary experience for individuals not only feeds your soul but can have an amazing ripple effect and provide positive word of mouth on your business which will generate more business.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience. Please share a story or an example for each.

Years ago, business used to be about finding the right solution for the customer, and even if the customer service was average the consumer didn’t care as long as they were able to get what they want. But then as the internet got bigger and bigger more businesses in the same markets started popping up so it no longer became all about finding the right solution. The businesses that succeeded in this market were the ones that were able to provide a solution along with great customer service.

Like I mentioned previously, consumers have a lot of expectations so businesses need to ensure that they are exceeding these expectations. And no matter how great your product is, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the interaction that they had with your company.

Customer service isn’t solely about the product or service being offered, it’s about treating your customers like they are your top priority. So how do we treat customers like they are our top priority to give them that “wow” experience?

1) Listen to Your Customers

Businesses should always be asking their customers for feedback, if they are not, they are missing out on opportunities to learn how you can continue to satisfy your customer. By using technology-powered surveys or asking your customers in person, ask for detailed feedback. Your customers can help you improve when you listen to them — it will give you a deeper understanding if you meet, fall short, or exceed your customer’s expectations.

At LOUDER Global we follow up with customers and ask for feedback immediately so that their experience is fresh in their minds. We inquire about how their experience was from start to finish so that we can understand the process from an outside perspective. We also ask for testimonials from customers that we can show publicly. We believe testimonials are a great way to create a deeper, more emotional appeal to our brand.

2) Customer Appreciation

It uses fewer resources to keep a repeat customer than to find new customers. When you have loyal customers, reward them with discount codes, personal notes, messages for birthdays or other special dates, and offer extra services and praises to show them that you appreciate their business. Customer appreciation makes your customers feel happy and a happy customer is not only a return customer but also a customer that spreads positive word of mouth about your business.

When you remember a client’s birthday or other special date and send them a message they are ecstatic that you took the time to note this special detail about them. At LOUDER we make notes of special dates for our clients and ensure we send them a little note. We also love sending messages through voice messages for an added personalization. And we love showing support and love for our clients through our social media channels!

3) Transparency

Be honest with your customers. Tell them the truth about how the economy could be affecting your business, share your struggles and celebrate your growth milestones. Being transparent with your customers builds trust and makes your customers feel like they are a part of your team. Be transparent about the core values of your organization in everything that you do and put into the world.

Through transparency, so many of our clients at LOUDER have become friends and are rooting for us to succeed in all avenues. We will also run new ideas past our repeat clients and ask them for honest feedback. We wouldn’t be where we are without our clients so we are so grateful for them!

4) Use Tactful Empathy

What is tactful empathy? Tactful empathy is carefully leveraging another’s emotions to build trust. Our customer service teams need to be skilled in tactful empathy without losing their authenticity so that they can adapt their approach based on the type of customer that they are serving. By encouraging your people to be empathetic, adaptable, and clear communicators, you will provide a Wow! Customer service experience every single time.

Every customer is unique so at LOUDER we tailor our approach for each customer. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach and this allows us to be adaptable in meeting the needs of every customer. By encouraging our team to be authentic and tactful in their approach we can provide a unique experience that allows our clients to feel as though they are our top priority — and they are our top priority.

5) Engage Your People

This may be a surprising one but I believe that when your employees are engaged, they will engage your customers. Passionate employees are engaged employees who thrive and feel as though they have emotional investment and buy-in within your company. Just like you need to show your customers they are appreciated, you also need to show your employees that they are appreciated. Trust me, when you make this change in your business it will thrive like you have never seen it thrive before and your people will be enthusiastic and passionate every day, at work.

At LOUDER we encourage flexible work schedules and setting intentions about everything we do. We set intentions individually and as a team on various projects, with new clients, and internally as an organization. Intentions are such a strong thing for employees and also allow our leaders to know where our heads are at in different situations.

Are there a few things that can be done so that when a customer or client has a Wow! experience, they inspire others to reach out to you as well?

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools that businesses can use. So often we rely on the word from friends and family before we try a product or service.

So how can we encourage our amazing customers to refer our product or service?

  • Provide Outstanding Customer Service

When you provide exceptional customer service you are giving your customers a reason to spread word of mouth about your band. Treat your customers with courtesy, respect, and interest so that you can show them that they are important to you.

  • Ask for Testimonials

Testimonials from satisfied customers are amazing endorsements and can create word of mouth for your brand. Just start to make it a habit to ask for testimonials from a client. Post the testimonials on your website and on your social media channels.

  • Engage on Social Media

Everyone is talking on social media so make them talk positively about your brand. Tag your customers on social media in hopes that they will repost you, chat about exciting projects you are completing together, and celebrate your customers through social media.

  • Contribution

Give back to the community. Sponsor community or international events by offering your time, money, or adding value to the event in some way. Most of these events will offer you a shout-out on social media and incorporate your brand’s name in their advertising in exchange for your time. This gives your brand exposure and a positive reputation of giving back.

  • Offer Seminars

Provide a short or long seminar on a subject that you are well versed in. You can get really creative here and do Instagram lives or other fun interactive things. Doing a seminar can create positive word of mouth and generate positive publicity for your brand. Make sure that you pick a subject matter that will bring value to your customer base so that they feel they get a valuable takeaway.

Word of mouth is something that is going to happen, whether you put in the effort or not. But if you use it to your advantage, it can become a powerful marketing strategy for your business. Spread positive word of mouth about your business and watch your customer base grow!

My particular expertise is in retail, so I’d like to ask a question about that. Amazon is going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Competition is a scary thing and every business owner is guilty of comparing themselves to their competition because let’s face it, sometimes our competition is ahead of us. Business owners will spend time Googling, researching, and making sure they know every detail about their competitors. But imagine how productive they would be if they turned this energy around and put it into innovating their own business? Instead of narrowing focus on competitors, look at the whole retail industry as a whole and ask yourself “how could I do things differently?” What are all the things in the retail industry that you think should change?

Some tips that I have for retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition are:

  • Innovation

As a business owner, you must consistently innovate. Look at ways to do more and make things better than they have ever been in your industry. Consumers are looking for constant improvement and evolution otherwise they will look elsewhere for products and services. Ensure that you are staying ahead of the trends but don’t be the inventor of trends. Don’t become discouraged if a company has already done something, look at how you can make it better. You shouldn’t be making a strategic plan just once a year, you should be constantly looking at ways to improve and change. Bring in new voices from a variety of backgrounds, ask the right questions, and get a new perspective by putting yourself in a new environment.

  • Make Sales Easy

Marketing makes people want to buy from you but sales are what ensures you make revenue. Make the process seamless, for example, on Amazon, you can buy something with one click. Is there a place where you are losing customers along the way? Is there a way that you could strategically simplify the process? As a business owner, you should get an outside perspective to see if your process is simple and seamless. Look at the industry as a whole, what are customers wanting in the buying process? What causes customers to not buy in the retail business?

  • Create a Fan Base

What is an Amazon Prime member? Essentially, in simpler terms, it is a customer who loves Amazon so much and uses their service so often that they are willing to pay a premium for special treatment. You must have an extensive understanding of your customer’s needs, wants, desires and be able to anticipate them and constantly fulfill them. Often, businesses put all their focus on their product or service and forget about their customer. Who is your typical customer and what are their wants and needs? Focus on their needs — which are constantly changing by the way, and remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. When you focus and anticipate your customer’s needs they will continue to come back for more and will be raving about your business.

  • Take Care of Your People

Take care of your employees and they will take care of you. Your employees are the ones who showcase your company’s values to the outside world. When your employees feel engaged, they will engage your customers, and your customers will spend money.

The market is fast-changing and always searching for something new and you need to be the one to offer the innovation to your clients, not your competitor.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I would love to start a movement to encourage individuals to live life on their terms and to give more than they get. When you become a part of something bigger than you it feeds your spirit and you truly start living. When you give and focus on the needs of others it motivates you to achieve anything.

I dedicate a large amount of my energy to helping other people achieve life on their terms. “Success” is a fascinating word to me, everyone knows the word but has slightly different definitions of it. This is because it is a very self-reflective word even when looked at objectively people will define it based on their values, beliefs, and morals. What one person considers to be the highest level of success may be different than the person beside them.

Many people have a hard time defining success for themselves and therefore follow the societal definition of success which often does not align with their values and beliefs. This is a quick road to complacency.

This is something that I experienced in my personal life and only after deep thought on what I defined as personal success and great leadership from wisely chosen figures in my life was I able to find my journey to personal fulfillment and success.

Being that guiding force in another person’s life is what brings me true fulfillment. I love to help people live a truly fulfilled life. I always say, seeing people “live life on their terms” brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. I would like to be able to create a platform to help guide people to fulfillment on a massive scale.

I find that one of the largest tragedies in life is that so many people lack the ability to see their full potential. If we were taught to embrace fear rather than run from it, we would be able to live happier, more authentic lives.

In order for us to live our most authentic lives, we must give more than we receive. When you give, you are rewarded with honor, pride, and love. To be able to serve at our fullest we must be able to show up as a whole person, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Instagram: @iamracheldye

LinkedIn: Rachel Dye

LOUDER Instagram: louderbyyamilettecano

LOUDER Website: www.louderglobal.com

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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