The Recap: Top 6 Insights from’s Interview with Jill Rowley

Authored by Kayla Brehm
Published on September 15, 2014 recently did an interview with Jill Rowley on how customer expectations are changing the landscape of sales, marketing, and customer service. We’ve decided to put together the best advice Jill gave throughout the interview.

On the changing workforce:

I think a lot of it has to do with the change in the workforce demographic that’s driving transformation. When we look at the millennial generation, the Gen Y kids who are 18-34 right now, they are digital natives. They were born digital natives. They were born with mobile, social, highly collaborative, easy access, easy to get things done with technology and devices. I think a lot of the leadership teams of these older companies paid their dues, worked their way up, and that’s an impediment to implementing change.

On what makes a good customer experience:

A good example is Uber. I was in Seattle and I requested an UberX. I was out in Kirkland and was told that it was 15 minutes. I took a screenshot of it because I’ve had issues with Uber before. I was sitting there, and went to check on when it would be there, and it disappeared. I had a flight to catch, and it was the last one out, and I needed to get home.

So I went to call another car, there was no Uber X available, so I had to call black car for double the money. I don’t need a black car, I just want a car that gets me where i’m trying to go. So I end up spending double the money and now I’m at risk of missing my flight.

So I’m in this black car, and I get an email from Uber charging me $5 for canceling my UberX. I emailed them back right away and explained that I hadn’t cancelled it and not only that, but that I’m also at risk of missing my flight. And I want the delta between the UberX and the Uber Black because I didn’t want to take an Uber Black. And if I miss my flight, I'm going to want a whole lot more from you.

She emails me the next day asking for more information so I sent her my screenshot of the UberX en route. She refunded the five bucks and the difference between the Uber Black and the UberX. And I was happy. She was empowered to help me, the customer.

There was no back and forth and no hiding behind policies, and because of thatempowerment, I still tell everyone how great Uber is and I continue to take Uber knowing that not every service is perfect but that when they do screw up, they make it right.

On how sales and customer service have changed as the why has become important in business:

Jill: So you guys are focused not just on the software but also on the why?

Graham: We’re focused on the why. For me, it’s a cultural thing. I think customer service, marketing, and sales needs to be on the same playing field because they’re all part of the customer loop.

Jill: I totally agree. That old school sales guy, nobody likes. Nobody ever did and now they don’t have to. The old school sales guy and old school service rep couldn’t be more different.

On how sales needs to change:

There’s this mentality that once you ring the bell, and get that money to buy a new pair of shoes, or a car, or whatever, that the job is done. Companies are over-rewarding for closing deals and under-compensating for the relationship.

We have to see a change in comp models. Comp drives behavior, especially in sales. If someone is paid the same amount to close a good deal or a bad one, then it won’t matter. Sales reps don’t use other companies’ customers, or even their own customers, to understand how a solution is experienced.

We’re long overdue for massive overhaul of the customer lifetime experience. Having the right people in each of the phases, all rowing towards the same goal, which should be advocacy. It used to be that marketing’s end goal was a lead, and they’d generate a lead and toss it to sales, and sales end goal was a contract, and they’d sign the contract and toss it to service. And service - their end goal was to stop the hemorrhage.

On industry leaders in customer service:
The big thing in customer service is Zappos, everyone knows the Zappos story, but it’s because they do such a good job of serving the customer. They allow for frictionless buying. Not only frictionless buying, but if you buy something and don’t like it, they have frictionless return. They really put the customer first.

On why customer centricity is key to success in marketing, sales, and customer service: 

I sell in a world where customers renew or don’t. When you lose a customer, you don’t just lose revenue, you lose reputation. Especially when a customer goes to the competitor and tells everyone in their network.

excerpts have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Check out the full interview with Jill here.

Thoughts on the new landscape in sales, marketing, and customer service? Let us know in the comments or @tweetsfromhelp.


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