Article | 3 min read

What happens in New York… will improve your customer relationships

Last updated September 21, 2021

As the inaugural Relate Live conference fast approaches, we’re busy putting the finishing touches on what promises to be a great event in New York. The registrations are rolling in, and among those already signed up to join us are Justin Robbins and Erica Strother Marois from ICMI.

Change request form Wondering if you should attend, too? We certainly think so. But don’t take our word for it: We asked Erica to tell you what she’s looking forward to learning at Relate Live, October 7-8.

You’re very busy… what was it about Relate Live that made you willing to spend two business days with us?
Who wouldn’t want to spend two days in the greatest city in the world?! Aside from the location, I’m so impressed by the lineup of speakers and sessions for Relate. It’s going to be really hard for me to choose between the breakout sessions.

We’re all busy, but two days seems like such a small investment to make when the payoff is stronger and better customer relationships.

What on the Relate agenda are you most excited about?
I’m really excited about Starlee Kine’s session, “Building stronger human connections.” First of all, I’m a big fan of This American Life. More importantly, what a powerful and practical topic! I’m looking forward to applying Starlee’s lessons to improve my skills as a writer and strengthen relationships with my coworkers and customers.

Relate is all about relationships: personal, business, and customer relationships. Which category do you think is the hardest to manage?
I think they all go hand in hand. The lines of work and business are more blurred than ever before. With access to work email and phone 24×7, personal, business, and customer relationships all impact each other. Striking a healthy balance between business and personal is a challenge.

One of the event themes is “Relationships Are Complicated.” Do you think businesses tend to overcomplicate their relationships with their customers?
I absolutely think businesses overcomplicate customer relationships! Research from ICMI shows that contact centers (and businesses in general) are drowning in data. We track and measure on data we don’t ever use and fail to notice or act on what really matters most to our customers. It’s so easy to hide behind reports, analytics, meetings, etc. The companies that provide the best customer experience are the ones that focus on the bigger picture and use a clear strategy to guide their interactions.

The best way for businesses to relate to their customers is by _______.
Mapping the customer journey. You have to put yourself in your customers’ shoes to find better ways to improve the experience.

As customers, we rate businesses all the time. If your favorite business rated YOU as a customer, how would you score? What if your least favorite business rated you?
One of my favorite companies does rate me all the time! I’m proud to say that I have a five-star rider rating on Uber. I shudder to think what the cable company would say about me.

What song or movie quote exemplifies your best (or worst) relationship with a company (you as a customer of that company)?
Best: Every time I get the shipping notification from Ipsy or LeTote, I hear the chorus of “I’m So Excited” in my mind. Those companies know how to delight their customers.

Worst: “Help” by The Beatles totally exemplifies a relationship I had with the lender for my last car loan. They kept withdrawing money from my bank account after the loan was paid off, and after seven phone calls and two months of broken promises, I still didn’t have my money back. Needless to say, they made me feel pretty helpless.

Join Erica at Relate Live NYC: Register today