Unlocking Your World of Creativity Transcript


Welcome back friends to our podcast, unlocking your world of creativity. And the world of brand experience is certainly changing right now. And it’s changing on the inside, from the standpoint of customer service and training, and it’s changing on the outside. Yeah. When was the last time you said I’d like to talk to the manager? No, you probably just left a Yelp review and changed your review on Google, rather than talking to the manager. And that’s why we want to talk to our guests today about that changing experience for the customer, and how we can address that. My guess is Adam Alfia. And his company is real time feedback. Adam, welcome to the show.

Thank you, Mark. Great to be here.

Yeah, as we think about creativity, in the context of creating a brand, I mean, the experience is paramount, how have you seen it with your clients and in your industries that you work with the changes in that experience, brands spend a lot of money, you know, the customer acquisition cost is so high now, people are bombarded with messages. And it finally, when a customer chooses to do business with you, a lot of times they’re let down by that experience, because you know, an hourly employee doesn’t understand what the brand is stands for, doesn’t really care about their job, and then lets that customer down, and that reflects poorly on that on that customer, now you’ve had a chance to really wow, that customer and it’s gone. Like they say you only have one chance to make a first impression. And if you don’t nail it every time, you know, customers are finicky, they’ll go somewhere else. Or worse, they’ll go ahead and leave a negative review online. So we built a platform called real time feedback that lets you very easily communicate with upper management, take care of the issue. While usually while you’re on site, and give that manager a way to know about your issue number one, that’s the most important thing and to respond to you and take care of it. So we’d like to say give them help before they Yelp.

I like that the old sign that used to say if you like it, you know, tell a friend, if you don’t like it, please speak with the manager. They Exactly. There you go. Well, and particularly with your background, you know, and you describe this as good for either the local corner auto shop all the way up to the fortune 500 brands like Infiniti and Mitsubishi and Ford, how is this really goes go back to the brand, how do you think this is contributing to the brand building for clients.

So you know, everything ends up with an experience in a brick and mortar location, usually, you know, there’s obviously online experience as well. But when the customer chooses to walk into a place of business, you have to really give them a reason to come back and to keep coming. And if they have a negative experiences, as you know, probably three or four other competitors chomping at the bit to get their business. So when that customer walks across your threshold of your door, and now they’re in your world, you really have to do a lot to keep them engaged, keep them happy. And you know, if they’re not happy, you have to make it very easy for them to let someone know. So you know, as you know, you know, the younger generation is growing up behind the screens. So they are face to face.

Communication skills aren’t like older people, for example, when I grew up, there wasn’t any cell phones, it was, you know, best you had a beeper, if you’re lucky. But when you have everything, you know, interaction behind whether it’s you know, Facebook, tick tock text messaging, my kids almost never answered my calls anymore. So when you have them grow up and interaction space where they’re, they’re not communicating face to face, and then they go out into the work force, they don’t recognize when a customer is unhappy, it’s very easy also on a chain of restaurants. And you can sit and look at a table at any table and really tell if that customer if you know what to pick up on is happy with their food, happy with them this fear just by looking at their face, or mannerisms, etc. The younger generation really doesn’t have those skills. And when a customer is upset, they don’t really have the empathy and understand how to react to that. So giving them an opportunity for that customer to now engage with management and say, Hey, I’m not having a great experience, or you guys need to fix that you guys need to fix this. It really opens up the door for how do I help make the place that I want to visit a better place, solve my issue, and really leave a happy customer. A lot of customer companies are really trying to do that after the fact through surveys and etc. But when was the time you filled out a survey and somebody actually called you and said hey, I want to discuss your survey. How can we get you back and you know, I always check that box you want to be called I say Sure why not? You know if I can help you out and the hotel never calls me No, you know, it’s strange because you know surveys are supposed to fill That gap of letting you know, you know, when a customer isn’t happy, but nobody ever expects a phone call and the business never calls you back. It’s really a one way street. I’m giving you my time, I’m giving you my energy to give you know, my opinion, you know, everybody feels like it’s going into a black hole just for data crunching. So somebody can say, hey, we raised our customer satisfaction when in fact, if you have a 20% dissatisfaction rate, what are you doing for that 20%. And that’s really where we fill the gap of what happens when a customer is in your place of business is having a bad experience, and wants to communicate with somebody and can’t find a manager. Most people won’t walk around looking for a manager, they’ll just leave and not come back or leave. Like he’s like we said leave a negative review. So there’s really a gap of opportunity to take care of that customer in real time.

Yeah, the real time being the key here. Well, I love on your website, Adam, that There literally is a how it works page. I can’t tell you how many of these sort of magic apps we hear about and we go, I really don’t know how it works. And you go on it and I can’t sign up or I can’t register. It sounds like you’ve made it pretty simple. I love the step by step process. But maybe you could give us an overview of literally how does this work?

Yeah, so we make it very simple. We actually don’t have an app, customer never has to download anything. It’s a QR code, which everybody’s gotten really accustomed to, you know, the pandemic, kind of push that to the forefront with touchless stuff. But really the unlocking of May what make QR codes very popular is integration to the phone’s camera. So now everybody knows how they can just, you know, point their camera at a QR code and picks it up. And then our QR codes automatically take you to a site that’s brand new to that customer. It’s their own site. For example, at American Airlines center, we have tell abc.com. So when they scan that code, it goes to a specific page, they can put in whatever their issue is. And then as soon as they submit that can be anonymous if they want. But we find that over 95% of our feedback errs as we call them want a response, they want that two way engagement. So they’ll put in their name, their phone number, and once they submit, it sends management a notification if a manager has our app for the business on their phone or behind a computer, they can also get a text message, and they can instantly respond to that customer, that customer gets a response via text message on their phone. So now that opens up that dialog, it’s super simple. We even have a patent pending on something will be called trigger codes, that that code is already pre populated with information. So if you’re let’s say at a men’s restroom, at a business or an arena, and you see that the bathroom How many times have you walked into the bathroom, and there’s no paper towels, and you’re walking out wiping your hands on your pants, right? You’re not going to walk around and find somebody hey, you need more paper towels. And chances are even if you do tell them, they’re not going to go find somebody that has a paper towels. So how do we get information from you know that restroom to the person that can go get the paper towels and put them in there. So the QR codes already loaded with the restaurant with the restrooms location. And it’s already pre populated with the words, the paper towels are out in the paper towel holder, of course you can add and say hey, the sink is overflowing or the toilets running or whatever it is. But it’s incredible how people love engaging with something that’s super simple, scanning a QR code, putting it with issue is and boom, submit and you’re and you’re done. And you help that business, you walk back half an hour later use restroom again and boom, there’s paper towels, it’s like magic. I love that we really there’s a new metric that’s being really watched. It’s called customer effort score (CES) that says that the easier it is that you make it for a customer to engage with your brand, the more loyal they are because he loved that interaction, we really push that button of you know, I need something and I need something now, not only can I tell you about it, but I can get a response letting you know it’s been taken care of. Well, we’ve been talking about some of these industries that are unnatural. And we think of intuitively restaurants, you know, Auto Service retail stores. But again, your website lists a few unique industries and locations that I wouldn’t have thought about like medical facilities and parks and recreation. I mean, imagine being at a park and leaving, you know, a question review and issue or at a medical facility. I don’t think I’ve ever been asked How was your experience at the clinic?

Yeah, exactly. So what are the things that we’re really pushing for is opening that engagement platform, especially in I’ve got six kids, so I’m always somewhere in a park once a week. And you know, a lot of times I’ll go the water fountains aren’t working or the Porta Potty is full and you know, really smells or something like that, you know, nobody really wants to call anybody anymore. We have a 311 service here in Dallas, that you know, by the time you’re talking to somebody, you know, you got to be on hold for about six or seven minutes. And people don’t have time for that. If you can put a QR code throughout the park and we’ve got several parks that are launching our platform and say hey, there’s a swing broken or there’s a sprinkler head that’s you know leaking or anything that makes that you know that park needs attention. Instead of having you know personnel visit the park once a week and aimlessly walk around looking for stuff. Now you can have you know your residents and visitors to your city be your eyes and ears and let you know about all kinds of issues. Does that really matter to them, and have somebody you know, it opens up a ticket, they can take care of it, they can respond. Hey, Mr. Simpson, thank you for sending us a feedback last week, you’ll be happy to know the swing is fixed. Now, you know, it’s great because people never get responses to the complaints that they make.

Well, and if you’re trying to run a repeat business, you know, getting that kind of feedback, well, maybe I’ll go back, maybe I’ll try to do and maybe they fix the issue that I had a problem with, yeah, actually, is a thing called Customer Service paradox where it shows if you go visit a business, and never have an issue, you have, you know, a certain loyalty. If you’re a customer, and you have a issue with that business, and they take care of it quickly and efficiently and to your satisfaction, you’re actually even more loyal to that business, because you saw what happens when you have an issue. And that really differentiates a good business and a bad business do they do the right thing. And our platform, not only is less you know about it, because that’s really half the battle, most customers have something that they’d like to change about a business when they walk in there with their lightbulbs out with a bunch of carts in the parking lot. But they just don’t have the ability to really relay that information to a manager. And now with our platform, it’s very easy to do. So we actually have our QR codes and several grocery stores, how many times if you gone to the grocery store, and you go to return your cart in the parking lot, and the whole cart areas like full of carts, you’re not going to walk back in with your groceries and find a manager, Hey, so what we do is we have the QR codes on the cart area. So when you’re walking out, you just scan your phone, and it automatically sends a message without you having to enter anything that says the parking lot needs attention, please, you know, please come out. So now you’re letting the business know something, you can add additional information. But you know, a lot of a lot of grocery stores and retail stores spend millions of dollars a year for big brands on parking lot dings and dents from runaway carts. You know, you can solve that very easily, or at least a majority of it by knowing when the carts are out of control in your parking lot.

Yes. Well, Adam, I want to turn the page a little bit to your own creative process. But first listeners a reminder, Adam Alfie is my guest is company has real time feedback, and adamant that I think that’s your website, right real time. feedback.com. That’s correct, Mark. All right, perfect. Well, let’s talk about your own process. I mean, you’ve got a business that you’re building and running. It’s a family business, too. Maybe you can share a little bit about that dynamic.

Yeah, so my brother and I have been creating magic for a long, long time. We’ve been in business together since 2005, when I started the concierge company maestro, more of the sales guy and creative process guy, and he’s more of, you know, I think and he builds a kind of relationship, but he’s been very instrumental. It’s great working with your brother, you can say things that you can you cannot say to other people and, and also we spend a lot of social time together. So we’re always talking about what if scenarios and questions and, and that’s really, this platform feedback, real time feedback was really born out of us being frustrated whenever we go to restaurants and see a lackluster performance from the staff or the food’s bad. And, you know, a lot of times, there’s just not a way to engage a business. The straw that kind of broke the camel’s back was actually at a Walmart, my kids and I, we adopted a puppy from the pound, and we got home and we forgot to get all the essentials crate, dog food, etc. We went to a Walmart, it was late at night like at 11. And we had a terrible experience with the cashier. She lied to me about a couple of things about how many items they can check out at the self-checkout with because I needed help. Because we had a large crate. By the time we checked out, she was gone. And I asked the girl go, Hey, this girl says you can’t scan more than five items. And she goes Oh, yeah, we can. That’s she’s lazy. She doesn’t like to work. So I found the girl, you know, down the hall, like on our cell phone and I approached I said, Why did you lie to me? You know, you should have rung me up. And she goes, Well, you know, I didn’t feel like doing it or some something like that something smart. So I said, You know what, I’m going to report you to the manager. So I took her picture. And she got mad that I did that also. So the next day I had my concierge company call the manager. Finally it took two or three days before they got him on the phone. I told him what happened. And he goes, Do you have her name? And I said, not only do I have her name, I have a picture. So he goes, Can you email to me with a brief description what happened and we’ll make sure we address it. And then he said something at the end of the call. He goes, Man, I really am sorry, that took two or three days to get in touch with me. I go I wish it was an easier process. And my brother and I have been talking about this forever. So the next morning, I came into the office and said Kfir. You know, we’ve been talking about this forever. I think it’s time to really go ahead and start building it. And that’s how it all started. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was tired of being frustrated with my experiences.

Yes, but and then there’s the kind of look in the mirror, that physician heal thyself, the sort of Shoemaker make your own shoes. What about getting feedback from your team or your collaborators or your clients? Not to say that it’s all mechanical and developed as this feedback loop? But what is it about getting feedback? And how do you absorb it, let it in, react to it respond to it.

Yeah. So in all of our businesses, whether it’s, you know, the chain of restaurant shell shack that we own, we own our own building here, where I’m sitting today, we’ve got, you know, 19 tenants here in the building. So if you came into this building, there’s QR codes all over the place, and our bathrooms and our elevators outside, if there’s any issues with the building, please let management know when I see all of those. So we get a lot of, hey, we’re out of paper towels kind of stuff in the bathroom, hey, we’d like to get some, you know, new landscaping, etc. But even for our employees, because we have hundreds of employees throughout all of our, all of our businesses, they always have a direct line of communication directly to me, by scanning one of the QR codes or going to tell maestro.com, and that has a page where everything they know, they can send something anonymously. So employees, oftentimes, if they have a gripe, or they have a compliment, they can even be anonymous, they’ll send me feedback. And I, you know, when I get that, I take that personally, because you know, this is these are my brands. And I want to make sure even not only in customers, but also employees are really happy to be, you know, under our umbrella and doing great work. And when you give customers recognition, when you give Employees Recognition that really goes a long way, I’d say about 25% of our feedbacks that we get are actually accolades by customers about employees. And we make sure that we publish that send the customer, the employee an email, saying, Hey, John, great job. Look what a customer said about you today. So to think he goes a long way people love recognition, yes. When you can’t pick up a business paper or look at a business site, new site without seeing these terms like employee engagement, and you know, how to stop the quiet quitting and so forth? How does this keep employees, both at your companies and maybe your clients, companies? How does that keep them engaged?

Well, you know, a lot of a lot of employees like, would like to recommend changes that would make their life and their workplace environment better. But a lot of times, people are shy about raising their hand and being making a suggestion or a complaint. And a lot of times, it just, you know, keep quiet. And then eventually, you know, it builds and they get frustrated. And so I’m leaving nobody around to have a voice in this company. But if you know that you can submit something anonymously, anonymously, anonymously, and you know that the CEO, or your boss is going to see that, I think it really empowers employees to have a voice. And let their employers know exactly what they think. And you know, being anonymous, you know, right now, if you wanted to send your Boston anonymous email, there’s really other than you getting a fake email address, and going through all that there’s really no way. But if you know, if you post if you go into the break room and see a QR code and says, Hey, we really care about you, your experience here at our company, if there’s anything you want to let management know, anonymously, or if you want us to respond, scan this QR code, and let us know exactly what you think. I think that really empowered not only does it make that company look really good. But also it empowers that employee to submit something and imagine you submitting something saying, Hey, I’d really like healthier snacks in the vending machine. And then two days later, you come to the vending machine and you see, you know, updated, you know, healthier snacks you go, wow, they really do care about my opinion here. So I think that really goes a long way. Now employees want to feel like they belong in a company that they have a voice in the company, this really goes a long way into promoting that.

And how is it different, I guess, or better than just the old suggestion box on the wall? Mean, Anonymous is certainly a good advantage. How do we make sure that it’s not just sent a message out? That the managers and the executives really are committed to listening?

So I mean, look, it all comes back to response. If you don’t submit something anonymously, and you put in your name and phone number we track in our platform, do we track how faster response time is, the management can see who responded when they responded, if you don’t respond to somebody, we send you a text alert, X amount of minutes later saying hey, somebody submitted a feedback he didn’t respond to, you get an email the next day. If you’re not responding to all of your feedbacks, you get a performance report of how many people you’re not responding to so really brings to light Oh, hey, if you’re asking for feedback, but you’re not responding to people accordingly, it’s better not to have the feedback loop at all because you’re looking even worse if you’re asking for people’s opinion to be not responding to them. So really, the suggestion box we actually used to have a suggestion box in there. And then we did a survey by suggestion box and we found that a lot of employees were afraid to put that in because of handwriting.

Well, that’s what I was thinking you think it’s anonymous, but I can see your handwriting a mile away. Yeah, yeah. So you know that you know, people think about that because they’re going to know who I am because they can give me they can match my handwriting to somebody else but or to me to my resume or whatever it is. So yeah, so this really is a a really closed loop system that people love using. It’s so simple. It amazed me when we were building it. We said I can’t believe nobody’s come up with it. As yet?

Well thinking ahead, Adam, and looking over the horizon. I mean, here we are really staring 2023 first quarter, you know, right in the eye? What are things that are you looking forward to? What are either new products, new developments, or even just new creative goals that you have for yourself, one of the things that we just implemented was a, we realized that a lot of managers want to have a conversation with a customer, not just through text. So they want to pick up the phone and call that customer. And a lot of times, you know, it’s from their cell phone. And IT managers are very hesitant about calling a customer, especially in an unhappy customer from their cell phone, because it goes oh, now they have my cell phone number anytime they need something they’re calling me. And I don’t want to you know, that’s not what I’m looking for. So we just built a mass call feature, where managers can actually call a customer directly from their personal cell phone. And it shows a different number kind of like Uber does, when you call it Uber driver. It’s hiding both numbers. So we built that. And the next platform that we’re building is allowing a manager to actually have a recorded video that they can record on our on our app, and then send that as a text message to a customer. So you know, usually when somebody just responds to you, that’s one thing, but if I had a bad experience, and the manager recorded a video, that Hey, Mark, this is Adam, I’m the manager here at the restaurant, man, I appreciate your feedback. We’re going to take that into consideration. Hopefully, we can make that change for you next time you come visit us, come see us. And then I send that and you open that up and go wow. I mean, how many times have you ever got a video response back from somebody for you know, a complaint that you made, I think that shows that company really cares. It gives it a little bit more of a personal such as getting a text message. So I think that really adds another dimension to our to another layer of personal attention to our platform.

I love that. Well, thanks for sharing both kind of the past to how it was developed and the current where the company is and the forward looking. Where you think the future is going really enjoyed our conversation. Adam. So did I thank you, Mark. Yeah, it’s Adam Alfia from real time feedback. And in the website is real time feedback.com Got a great How It Works section, industry ideas, blog, all sorts of information, follow Adam and you’ll learn a lot about even if you’re in the service business of any kind, how feedback and how we can improve the customer brand experience will help us Adams been a creative inspiration. Really appreciate it. Thank you Mark, and listeners, we’ve stamped our creative passport at DFW today, Dallas Fort Worth was our worldwide location. But we’re going to continue our global travels, talking to creative practitioners everywhere about how you can get inspired for new inspire thinking, how you can organize those ideas and most of all, how to make the connections and gain the competence to launch your work out into the world. So join us again next time. I’m Mark Stenson, and we’ll be unlocking your world of creativity, CSF.

Unlocking your world of creativity with Best Selling Author and rent innovator, Mark Stinson. This program was produced by DSP, media, creators and telecommuters stories. I’d love to your world of creativity, and the peace room dot love.

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