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.”
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