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Season 03, Episode 31

How To Create A Good Customer Experience

with GM and VP of Marketing at CloudApp, Joe Martin

About the Episode

In this episode, I chat with Joe Martin, the GM and VP of Marketing at CloudApp, a visual collaboration tool. What I really liked about this episode is that he talks about, as a remote-first tool, how they’re approaching this new remote economy that we live in. So he talks about the boom and traffic they’ve seen, the signups, and how they’ve adjusted things to be more applicable than ever. He also talks about customer experience because their tool relates to design and great customer experiences. And they’ve done a fabulous job of collecting customer and non-customer feedback and designing their product.

Joe has more than 13 years of experience in marketing in the tech industry. Prior to his role at CloudApp, Joe was the Head of Social Analytics at Adobe where he led paid social strategy and a research team providing strategic guidance to organizations within the company. He’s been published in the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and other top tier outlets.

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Full Transcript

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28:49

Chris:

If you’re a small company, I think you can use tools to really hone your content strategy. So if you’re going hard after remote well, so are, you know, 10 million other companies. So what is a niche within remote that you can like hone in on that fits with your audience? Um, so you can kind of like, uh, find little nichey areas.

Chris:

What’s up everyone. I’m Chris Ronzio CEO, founder, and CEO of Trainual and this is Process Makes Perfect as always, we’re talking with experts in process creation, automation, and delegation, basically the people that know how to make business easier. You just heard Joe Martin and this episode is all about the process of designing a great customer experience. Joe is currently the GM and the VP of marketing at cloud app, a visual collaboration tool, and he has more than 13 years of experience in marketing within the tech industry. Prior to his role at cloud app, Joe was the head of social analytics at Adobe, where he led their paid social strategy and a research team that provided strategic guidance to organizations within the company he’s been published in the associated press Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and a lot of other top outlets. What I really liked about this episode is he talks about, as a remote-first tool, how they’re approaching this new remote economy that we live in. So he talks about the boom and traffic they’ve seen, the signups, and how they’ve adjusted things to be more applicable than ever. He also talks about customer experience because their tool relates to design and great customer experiences. And they’ve done a fabulous job of collecting customer and non-customer feedback and designing their product. So I think you’re going to get a lot out of this. Take a listen.

Chris:

Hey, everyone, welcome to Process. Makes Perfect. I’m your host, Chris Ronzio. And as you heard in the intro today, we’re talking with Joe Martin, Joe. Thanks for being here. Hey, excited to be here. Thanks Chris. So, Joe, as you know, from the intro is currently at cloud app before cloud app. He was at Adobe. So Joe, what did you do there? What do you do here? Yeah, Adobe was a long journey. Uh, I was there for over seven years and did a lot of different things. Uh, kind of started out doing data science and analytics work. Um, did a lot of things that were published in, uh, you know, large press. The idea was to have Forrester style reports that Adobe led and those would get published for data trends. Um, then I did a lot content work

Chris:

And kind of ended out my, my stint there doing social analytics. So Doby got 12 to 20 million mentions of its brand every year. And so my team would analyze that and lead that for like strategy and content and uh, other teams. Um, and

Chris:

So if I could interject for a second there’s, there’s this, uh, this entrepreneurship center here in Arizona that I’ve toured and they have this kind of, you know, big data machine learning, listening tool that, um, it sounds like it does similar to what you were doing. And is that what it was? Were you listening for mentions and trying to interact with customers or what was it mainly about?

Chris:

Yeah, so my team was all data gathering and analysis. So a separate team was doing all the engagement, you know, the community work. Um, but we were looking at like, as a global company is like, uh, the U S is very different from Europe and very different from APAC. And so as you know, Adobe was making the shift to subscription services. It was, uh, analyzing, you know, how to put the right messaging in each region. Um, you know, people in the U S cared most about the price, but people in Europe cared most about security and privacy. And so, uh, making sure that you’re kind of leading with the right features and also just kind of planning for the future with strategy. Um, there’s also a really nice competitive element to it. Uh, really understanding your share of voice against your competitors. Um, you can actually kind of pinpoint content strategies for competition. Um, big companies are like, well oiled machines. They have their content strategies, you know, a year in advance. And so you can be like, Hey, it looks like, uh, you know, X company is really going heavy on AI this year. So we’ll want to make sure that we have, you know, something to combat what they’re kind of putting out there. So if you were,

Chris:

You know, as a smaller company that might be listening to this, if you’re just getting into that social listening thing, do you have any like really step one kind of tips for those people? Yeah.

Chris:

Yeah. So it’s probably not going to matter as much. I mean, your brand, you’re going to listen for when people mention you and it’s going to be a lot more like customer support interaction, or just like, Hey, thanks for calling us out. And those will be really easy to handle. You just put those in Slack and, you know, respond one to one. Um, but if you’re a small company, I think you can use tools to really hone your content strategy. So if you’re going hard after remote well, so are, you know, 10 million other companies. So what is a niche within remote that you can like hone in on that fits with your audience? So you can kind of like, uh, find little niche-y areas like, um, cloud computing was really heavy and is still heavy in conversations, but like quantum computing was kind of a niche area that not a lot of people were talking about. And so that was a place that at Adobe, we could kind of put some content out and start to build a little bit of a brand, uh, and kind of, you know, scrape into the, the other stuff. So look for, you know, those large areas and find kind of the more niche places where you can compete.

Chris:

Okay, cool. So then let’s pivot to Cloud App. Now I installed Cloud App actually, as I was preparing for this and, and our team’s going through a redesign of the app right now. So I’ve been taking screenshots and gifs and videos and sending them to them

Chris:

Product team. But for anyone that hasn’t heard of it, can you tell

Chris:

Just what cloud app is?

Chris:

What led you there? Yeah, so a cloud app, I was, you know, seven years into my Adobe journey, like I said, and I had kind of, uh, had a buddy, um, introduced me to cloud app and they had just raised money from Adobe, from our Adobe’s VC arm. And they had just announced an Adobe XD integration and we’re presenting it max. So I did some consulting with them and I was like, Hey, this is actually really cool at the time as managing some resources in India and some other regions and synchronous communication was really hard, like doing a BlueJeans call, which is what Adobe used. Um, nobody wants to be on the call when you’re talking to India. Cause it’s like, I was either, I was at 7:00 AM. They were at 7:00 PM or they were at 7:00 PM, and I was at 7:00 AM. So no one’s really happy.

Chris:

Um, so we started using Cloud App to really communicate more asynchronously. Uh, so you mentioned a lot of the screenshot stuff. Um, there’s also a video tool, so you can record yourself, uh, talking to a screen or a presentation. And it was really great for project management. And so, uh, consulting turned in interviewing, and I was like, Hey, you guys don’t have a head of marketing. You know, I think I could be great for that role and kind of presented a plan. Um, and I’ve just been implementing it ever since. And so at, at its core cloud app is a visual communication tool to kind of answer your first question. It allows you to create instantly shareable videos, gifs, and screenshots, uh, and the screenshots are also, uh, you can annotate on them. So, uh, you were mentioning design work. Um, you know, that’s something I would at Adobe, uh, do these massively long PDFs that just have comments and stuff everywhere. And Google Docs get really messy sometimes as well. Um, sometimes you just need a simple screenshot with an error and some text to say, Hey, put this hero image here and make it, you know, this type of hero instead. Yeah. Well it’s super useful

Chris:

Even from the short amount of time I’ve been using it. So thanks for that. I know you’ve been putting out a lot of remote content because we’re in this world where people are working a lot more remotely now. So I’m curious, like you must be seeing a total boom and traffic of people just needing a tool like yours. Is that, is that the case?

Chris:

Yeah. Yeah. There’s been some really interesting data. We’ve actually put out some data from cloud app that was featured in a few places. Um, and the biggest interest for me is just the work shifts. So, um, we saw, and I haven’t refreshed this for three or four weeks, so it is probably grown, but there has been a three to three X increase in usage during the morning commute time. So what would normally be driving into the office time and then also three X increases during after hours. So between like six and 12. Um, so that kind of tells me that, you know, I’m, I’m kind of applying my own life. I’ve have three kids, uh, they’re all under the age of seven, there is a lot of work. Two of them are in school and so I’m working like eight to nine and then I’m helping with school and then I’m like working a little bit more and then I hear like a massive fight going on and my wife has some work to do.

Chris:

And so we’re like, you know, trying to balance stuff and I’m definitely working more at night than I used to. So, um, that’s been really interesting. And then, uh, you mentioned the remote content. We’ve kind of, we’re like remote first products, right? A lot of people use us for that kind of reason. And so we put out a lot of remote content over the year since I’ve started. And between, uh, like March 11th was kind of the day that COVID got a face with Tom Hanks and Rudy go bear and the NBA shut down and all of that stuff. Um, and that night I liked to text my team and I was like, Hey, here’s the plan we need to put out, you know, more remote we’re tripling down or remote. I made some assignments and those pieces of content paired with the ones we did in Q three and Q4 like 10 exed in traffic. Um, one in particular like one blog post was like almost 20 X and it’s on a pretty large number. So it wasn’t like, you know, one to 20, but like thousands to more thousands. And then, uh, yeah, definitely signups and usage had been pretty crazy. So it’s, it’s been, you know, a wild ride. Um, and hopefully, you know, it’s, it’s been a helpful tool as people are kind of like trying to figure out what,

Chris:

Well, that’s exciting. I know my productivity has definitely spiked during nap time and during, you know, I’ve two kids, so certain times of the day it’s gone down in certain times, it goes way up. Um, so do you think this is going to be a long term impact? I know at the beginning it was, you know, like a month, a couple [of] months, and then we’re going to go back to normal. It seems like the sentiments kind of changed on that. So are you guys preparing for like a long-term shift in how people might use your tool or stay remote?

Chris:

Yeah, I mean, I think, I think what we’re seeing, so I had, I had, uh, Daniel, the Bo uh, from, uh, these VP at Shopify, um, on my podcast the other day. And he said something that was really interesting that I kind of thought about, but I’ll give him, you know, the credit since he said it. Um, he said that seven years of digital transformation talk has been crammed into seven weeks. Um, and that’s, you know, couldn’t be more true. Uh, I think what we’ll see is that companies are being forced to develop digital or remote playbooks. Um, and they’re being forced to create the infrastructure and the support to be productive and kind of create this new normal, um, which doesn’t really necessarily have an end. Uh, we don’t know when it will necessarily end or come back and, and that type of thing.

Chris:

So businesses have to be prepared for that. So, you know, Twitter came out and said that they’re supporting working from home. I’m sure that’s, that’s really for existing employees. If you kind of read between the lines, um, where I think the reels shifts in remote work happen is when the big companies like, uh, the Googles, the Twitters, the Facebooks are willing to hire remote first, but also senior leadership. Like if you have a C level or an EVP or someone that is really senior at one of those big tech companies that is not in HQ and is hired and it’s not like, Hey, thanks for joining the company. Also, you’re moving to California. I hope you know that, um, you know, I think that’ll be the really, the big thing to drop is when senior leadership is more distributed.

Chris:

So I’ll share a personal example. Um, some people know this cause we’ve posted on our blog, but we’ve hired in the last, you know, two months since we’ve been remote, uh, 12 people. And one of them was a VP of customer experience. So a member of the leadership team and customer experience is so crucial to what we’re doing and I’ve never met this guy. Like this is it’s a, it was a total remote interview process. And I think it’s, uh, it’s just an example of how the world is changing, that his direct reports haven’t met him and, you know, the people he reports to haven’t met him, but yet he’s, he’s just crushing it. He’s doing, he’s doing well. So I think companies have to make that shift. And like you said, and like your friend at Shopify said, it’s just a condensed timeline. You know, you’re, you’re having to make quick decisions. So I know you’ve got a podcast DNA of an experience. And I say in a lot of my presentations that bad processes are bad experiences, bad experiences or broken processes. So when you want to fix a customer experience, there’s really a process that’s broken. So your podcast must be full of processes.

Chris:

Yeah, definitely. It’s so I kind of piggybacked off of my experience with Adobe. Adobe kind of went all in on this customer experience narrative like four years ago, uh, shifted all the product names, shifted all the company focus. Um, so I learned a lot about how, um, Adobe itself did it, but also they did a lot of like highlights, which was really cool to see how, you know, T-Mobile and Virgin and, uh, REI and like all these diverse brands, um, focused on their customer experience. So yeah, on that, on that podcast, it’s really a lot about, um, understanding the root of an experience. And I think you brought up a little piece of it. It’s really just, um, really just understanding the customer and, uh, finding, getting as much feedback as you can. I think one of the nice things, maybe the not so nice things about joining a startup is that, um, I’m, I’m right at the heart of everything.

Chris:

So at a big company like Adobe, um, you know, I’m kinda like on the outskirts with my little team and I like see what other people are talking about, but I’m not like directly in front of the customer and I’m not in those meetings kind of talking about how we use customer feedback and that type of thing. But at cloud app, you know, we are constantly doing user interviews, both from the product and also the marketing site. And a lot of times it’s literally people off the street, like a cold email or a cold, you know, connection. Hey, we’ll give you an Amazon gift card. If you’ll take 20 minutes to go.

Chris:

Not even customers, just random people.

Chris:

Sometimes it’s not always customers. Yeah. Like, Hey, you know, what, what do you think we do? Here’s our, here’s our homepage, here’s our H one or hero, what do you think we do? And then we have them sign up for the product. How is onboarding, do you know what you’re supposed to do next? Uh, do you feel like, you know, how to create a screenshot? Um, can you see immediate value from this type of thing? So there’s that element of just people off the street, but then there’s also the element of customers and having quarterly board reviews and customer advisory boards and really understanding, you know, what people are using it for and how we can make it better.

Chris:

Yeah. So I guess experience starts with listening. Is that what you’re saying? You know, it’s, it’s kind of getting perspective and feedback. I remember at my, uh, the college I went to, they had this marketing research lab with those, you know, to a one-way mirror or two-way mirror sort of thing. And I always wanted to do a focus group in that traditional sense, but, and now it’s so easy to just get people online and run an ad and give away gift cards. And so everybody should be doing this and collecting that kind of feedback. Um, I know. So, when it comes to designing experiences and trying to collect feedback and then design a process, how much can you stray from the process to improve the experience like, like, is it, is, is the best experience a concrete process or is it a fluid process?

Chris:

No, I think that’s a really good question. I think it’s, I think it’s fluid. Um, if, if I think back, first of all, you, you brought up a great point. The experiences are designed, right? Like that’s maybe something I didn’t learn until I took a, um, I went to Stanford when I was at Adobe, just, you know, kind of like an executive type degree. And I took design thinking and I, until then I didn’t necessarily recognize that experiences were designed like, uh, from start to finish. Uh, so I think that’s kind of the first part is recognizing how much effort it can take. Um, the other part is, um, people want to be treated. It’s kind of like, I can’t remember if I feel like this is like a John Maxwell type quote, but it’s like the platinum rule, which is treat people the way they want to be treated versus like treat people how you want to be treated.

Chris:

Um, so you need to create experiences based on the person or the persona. Um, obviously you want it to feel one-to-one, but you’ve got to design it one to many, which is the challenging part. Um, but also, like I mentioned, customer feedback, you know, we’re making changes and updates based on a majority, but there’s also a lot of people that any time we make an update, they’re like, Hey, what happened to, you know, that one random tool where I was the only person using it, and now it’s gone and they’re, you know, posting on Reddit or Twitter or whatever and complaining about it. Um, so you’ve gotta kind of take the good with the bad and understand that when you do develop an experience or, or lead with customer feedback, that you’re probably gonna make some people unhappy as well,

Chris:

A good way to think about it. Like when I was consulting before train UIL, I would collect tons of feedback from a company. And then I’d look for the lowest common denominators, like the stuff everyone was saying. And then you design for kind of the lowest common denominator. And now as a, as a process company, you know, even with [inaudible] we tell people, just, just make your processes simple. Like they shouldn’t be so prescriptive that you’re micromanaging every step along the way. It’s like you have a simple

Chris:

Process and then you can stray from it if needed to make an individual experience really good for a customer. Like I know Ritz Carlton gives every employee like $2,000 that they can use to correct something for a customer. I’m sure you’ve heard that, but, but that’s like such a cool example of like, they’ve got their processes of how they do things, but everyone’s empowered to improve a process or improve an experience. Yeah. And there, I mean, you mentioned like a best in class experience, right? I mean, I can, by no means, afford to stay at a Ritz Carlton, but like have the opportunity to stay at like a montage, I think, which is kind of on the same level or the Waldorf and, uh, for like a conference or something. And they, like, I mean, they have like the earpieces and they’re like saying, uh, you know, Mr.

Chris:

Martin is checking in and you’re like walking in the door, the front desk is like, hi, Mr. Martin, thanks for joining us. We have your room for you. Like, and then they send you like a thank you card at the end. I mean, there’s just like this crazy stream was like that level of experience that it’s, so is, is pretty cool to like, see, and then you have to like, how do I create that on a digital level, uh, when I’m not getting that face to face that like interpersonal connection that you might get from like a retail or a travel industry. So what you’re suggesting then is it’s good RND for someone listening to go stay at one of those hotels. It’s an expensive company expense. Definitely go deep right now. Cool. All right. So, um, so let’s go back to the, I want to round out this feedback thing, because I think we both agree feedback and listening and collecting these perspectives are super important.

Chris:

So how do you tactically do this? Like how do you ask your customers to provide feedback? How often do you do it? How, how, how, what’s the frequency that goes into designing a good experience? I saw, I think there’s, there’s a trust that you build. Um, and you, you have to have tough skin and be vulnerable if you’re asking for that feedback. And it’s, it starts with you did the interview, you took the feedback and then the next step is you actually implemented it. And when you implemented it, you reached out to the customer and said, Hey, loved your feedback in Q3 of 2019, wanted to let you know that we actually just pushed that feature live in 2020, you know, Q two of 2020, um, you know, let us know what you think. So you’re actually like building this trust with, you know, you probably start out with your larger customers, um, and, and try to create that one-to-one relationship with them.

Chris:

And then they see that you not only took the feedback you took it. Well, uh, you know, customer advisory boards are not super fun. I haven’t been to any at clout, but Adobe they’re always, you know, pretty, pretty straight forward and rough when you’re like the product lead and you’re, you know, getting torn up. Um, but you took that, you know, feedback, you’re vulnerable, you put it in your roadmap, you made it happen. And then they’re like, okay, wow, this, you know, this is an actual customer feedback led company. I want to give some more because you gave them that gratification. So I think there’s, that’s kind of the loop that you need to follow. Yeah.

Chris:

I love that. What you said is the closing, the loop builds the trust and you go over and over again, it’s the cycle of being vulnerable, asking for the feedback, implementing the feedback, tell them what you did, and then you can get more because you’ve built trust. So, I love that great suggestion. Exactly. All right. So as, as we round this out, we like to end with a, what we call a double tap. So just five questions, just say the first top thing that comes to your mind first, what’s a brand. Do you think is perfected as process,

Chris:

Uh, Adobe throwback

Chris:

Someone you’ve coached or meant, or that’s coached or mentored you?

Chris:

Uh, so many people, um, I, I I’ll, I’ll say one, but really like me, people are so willing to help. You have to be willing to ask is kinda my, my thought there, um, always be willing to ask and people are always going to be willing to help, but Tamara Gaffney was my, uh, kind of first manager at Adobe. Um, the guy who hired me loves him as well. He left like six months after I started. So she was, you know, kind of my first true manager for like six years. And she was, she was awesome. Um, and she left Adobe a couple of years ago, but is consulting now so nice.

Chris:

Okay. How about your favorite book or podcast other than yours or mine?

Chris:

Uh, awesome. Um, definitely yours in mind. Um, I think, you know, I got to go with the classic, which is not business related. Count of Monte Cristo passed me my favorite book. Um, I remember the first time I read it, like in junior high, I was just like glued to it and couldn’t put it down. Um, podcasts. I’ve kind of been off the podcast wagon except for, you know, like yours and like a few handful of other peoples recently. Um, but I loved Planet Money for a long time. Um, I liked the, you know, quick little breeze of, of, uh, conversations and research,

Chris:

Two more, uh, most, most entertaining person you follow on.

Chris:

Uh there’s so there’s two guys that I met through Adobe, uh, Jeff Barrett and David Rhodes, uh, bear it all and roads four Oh one. And they’re just, they’re pretty hilarious. They’re always coming up with funny. Um, so I like following them. I loved ones

Chris:

Someone’s answer to that is not someone famous. It’s just like, my neighbor is hilarious. This is the dude. And what’s one app you can’t live

Chris:

Without a, I mean, naturally cloud app, of course. Um, but recently also like, uh, so we just set up over the last couple weeks, this TRX System in our house. And I hadn’t gone to the gym for like two months and I was just dying, like eating all these carbs, and was feeling terrible myself. So he set up the TRX System and I’ve been using their app and their app is really clean and, and lead you through some workouts. And it’s, uh, a great home gym when you don’t have the space for a home gym,

Chris:

They’re targeting me like crazy on Instagram. So I’ll probably end up with it

Chris:

With one of those two, but yeah, my wife did a certification last year with them, so we got like the suspension system as a part of that. And so we just recently installed it and it’s been great. Cool. All right. Yeah.

Chris:

Well then I guess to summarize, obviously everybody that’s listening, checkout cloud app, it’s a really cool tool, has a free plan to start off with, with screenshots and gifs and videos and ways to communicate with your team, especially while you’re remote, it looks like we’re going to be in a remote future. And then don’t forget to interact with your customers and people off the street that are not your customers to get feedback about their perception of your brand and what you do so that you can fine tune your customer experience. Joe, thanks so much for being here and taking the time.

Chris:

Yeah, it was a lot of fun, Chris. Thank you. Alright. Talk to you soon. See ya.

Chris:

Thanks for listening to Process Makes Perfect. If you’re listening on your earbuds on a run in the car, we also have a version on YouTube. So if you want to see this in color video with me interviewing all these great guests, check it out on YouTube, just search Chris Ronzioand you’ll find my channel on there. If you found this helpful, we’d love for you to leave a review or rate the podcast. If you found the information valuable, please share it with a friend, a family member, or anyone else you think could benefit from the information. Remember to connect with me at Chris, Ronzio on all social media platforms or the company at Trainual. That’s Trainual like a training manual everywhere that you want to follow us. Thanks again for watching or listening. And we hope to see you next time.

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