Creating a Data-Driven Customer Experience Strategy with Eli Weiss
Customer service and customer experience are not the same.
“Customer Service: canned responses, reactive, a cost center, and a fire extinguisher. Customer Experience: proactively improving every step of the customer journey and creating lifelong super-fans of a brand. A marketing tool,” said Eli Weiss in a recent tweet.
To dive into the world of customer experience, the Tydo team chatted with Eli Weiss, senior director of CX and retention at Jones Road Beauty. Weiss has spent the past 7+ years in the DTC space, operating at Simulate and Olipop and advising founders on their CX and retention strategies. He recently launched a newsletter, where he shares CX and retention learnings, and we highly recommend hitting subscribe.
Now, let’s dive in.
“How can we make sure customers have the most frictionless and effortless experience possible? Can that alone be the reason why you refer a friend to a brand?”
Diving into the Data
When Weiss joined the Jones Road team, he dove headfirst into basic survey taking. Operators always doubt the value of surveys, but Weiss says, “It’s better to ask something rather than nothing.” Plus, customers love to share their opinions and feedback.
He approaches surveys a little bit differently than most operators. He finds that formal surveys often lead to confirmation bias and leading questions, so he treats them as open-ended conversations. It’s an opportunity to start a discussion, garner feedback, and respond accordingly.
Weiss advocates for NPS surveys. He finds that if used correctly, they’re an incredibly powerful tool for DTC brands. “There’s this misconception that all great brands have a high NPS, but that’s not true at all,” says Weiss.
The number isn’t what matters most. It’s about the follow-up questions, adds Weiss.
At Jones Road, they include questions that get at what directly impacts the consumer’s score —whether it be customer service, price, value, shipping, delivery, or website experience. That way, the team can discover the real reason consumers choose to promote or don’t promote a brand.
Weiss’s work doesn’t stop there. If a customer rates Jones Road on the lower end of the scale, he asks, “What can we do to make this better?” He pays attention to each response.
“Every single survey comes through a Slack channel. There’s about a couple hundred every day, and I read every single one,” says Weiss.
Survey taking is one of the best ways to learn about the customer and about the company’s products, which is most helpful on the retention side. Using this data, Weiss unpacks:
- What makes a mascara a good mascara in the eyes of the consumer?
- What makes Miracle Balm the kind of product people use day to day vs. once a week?
- What are replenishable products?
- What’s the ideal customer journey?
Then, he synthesizes the data to see the bigger picture.
What does that look like in practice? For example, after reading through hundreds of surveys, Weiss can confidently say that the few customers who dislike Miracle Balm, Jones Road’s hero product, usually fall into one of two boats:
- They have oily skin, and they don’t know how to use the product properly.
- They find it to be sticky.
Weiss solves those issues with a simple post-purchase flow. Harnessing first-party data from Octane AI (about 50-70% of Jones Road customers take their quiz), Weiss can segment out customers who classify their skin as “oily” and create unique messaging, targeted to their needs.
Weiss adds, “Most of our first-time orders include Miracle Balm, so if we can get 97% of customers to have a great experience with that product, we’ve completed changed the retention game. And, that’s just one example of how data drives CX at Jones Road.”
In addition to surveys, Weiss’s favorite place to communicate with customers is in Instagram DMs, especially on Saturdays. “People aren’t there because you messed up their order. They’re there because they genuinely love the product and want to talk about it,” explains Weiss.
“The future of CX is making data actionable.”
How to Deliver The Right Message at the Right Time
The purpose of an intentional marketing team: Get the right message to the right person at the right time. So, what does that look like? It’s not spam. Rather, it’s segmenting, higher open rates, lower unsubscribe rates, and healthier lists.
Weiss and the Jones Road team heavily segmented customers for their recent launch of What The Foundation and found that their earnings per message were higher than ever before.
Here’s another real-life example: “A ton of our marketing features Bobbi, and she has dry skin, so when she applies Miracle Balm, she puts it all over her face. But, if you have oily skin, that’s not the best way to use the product. That’s why we find survey responses, indicating that customers with oily skin find it to be tacky and sticky,” explains Weiss. “But, if we take that data and put all oily skin customers on an entirely different customer journey with targeted messaging, there’s a higher chance they’ll like the product and effectively use it.”
From a CX lens, segmenting results in fewer complaints. As sales go up, the percentage of customers with issues goes down.
At Jones Road, Joanne Coffey is the assistant manager of retention, and she’s the queen of segmenting. Together, Coffey and Weiss collaborate to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
Using Klaviyo, Coffey and Weiss segment based on what products customers bought in the past and how customers review Jones Road products (using the Junip x Klaviyo integration). A customer who gave a five-star review should receive different messaging than a customer who gave a one-star review.
“The goal is to constantly leverage data to become more efficient with our messaging.”
Turning Data into Action
To make data actionable, “You have to infuse CX into every aspect of the business, especially marketing,” says Weiss.
CX team members should be in most large meetings, suggests Weiss.
“I have someone in marketing, 3PL, and product meetings to be the eyes and the ears of the customer,” explains Weiss.
Since the CX team handles thousands of tickets and understands the customer’s needs, questions, and concerns, they also write all the FAQs at Jones Road.
Another key part of making data actionable is using tags. Weiss thinks about tags in two ways:
- There are tags for CX team members.
- There are tags for the team at large. These are the tags that indicate a quality or warehouse issue.
The biggest mistake he sees CX teams make: throwing all the data in a general Slack channel.
In that situation, no one knows what to do with the data. Instead, Weiss always asks himself, “If a said person had this piece of data, what do I think they would do with it?”
Before sharing data with the larger team he suggests asking the following questions:
- How urgent is this piece of data?
- When should this person get this information?
If there’s a quality issue, he passes that data along ASAP. If it’s a broader issue about warehousing or a 3PL, he passes that along every week.
Most importantly, Weiss says, “Don’t outsource your full CX team. If you do, your data won’t get across the company in a cohesive way.”
“Our goal: Get data to the right people and get it to them without a bunch of noise.”
Beyond CX: Why Employee Experience Matters
Eli is not only passionate about CX. He cares about building a meaningful, positive employee experience.
“As brands, it’s easy to say we care about customer experience and then poorly treat our employees, but if you care about people, you should care about all people,” says Weiss.
Employee experience doesn’t mean ping pong tables or perks. It means having empathy for people. It means creating a place where people are excited to work. Every day, Weiss strives to create that type of environment for his team members.
“The brands who put employees first stand out. That shows who they are as a brand.”
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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