Episode 15 – JuvoHub Podcast
Host: Jonathan Saar from Market Me Social and Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts
Our Special Guest: Audra Lamoon
“Chief Happiness Officer at Livewire Performance Consultants Ltd; Audra is an Experiential Corporate Trainer, Speaker, Turn-around Advisor, Consultant, and Coach in retail, hotel, residential, mixed-use, property, and hospitality.
Focus is always on people, property, and service.”
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Notes from the host:
There is customer service and then there is Omnichannel Customer Service. Customer service does not change based on the platform you are using. Audra Lamoon provides an absolutely BRILLIANT look into omnichannel customer service and provides some insightful case studies and stats for us to salivate over. An absolutely spectacular podcast. Do not miss out.
Some questions we consider:
- What does it mean?
- Have you examples of what you mean?
- How is it different on the phone?
- How is it different online?
- What mistakes are you seeing with online and telephone customer service?
- What one actionable tip could you share that has served you well as an educator?
What one actionable tip could you share that has served you well as an educator?
You have to have fun. Don’t do anything that you don’t enjoy because you’ll never be good at it. So, just have fun. And listen, our vision is the same as our mission, but backwards. So, it’s fun through learning, and learning through fun, that’s it. If we have fun through learning, and we’re learning through fun. How amazing is that? Thus, so always have fun with what you do.Audra Lamoon, Chief Happiness Officer at Livewire
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Jonathan Saar (00:18): Hello, everyone. Welcome episode 15 of the JuvoHub Podcast, the helping hand in property management. We are talking today with someone across the pond, Audra Lamoon from Livewire. She's the chief happiness officer, and she's going to chat with us in a brilliant fashion all about omnichannel customer service. So, we cannot wait to dive into that conversation. I'd like to introduce my lovely, and wonderful friend and co-host, Mark Howell, from Howl CreativeConcepts. Mark, good to have you here. And-
Mark Howell (01:03): Thank you buddy.
Jonathan Saar (01:04): ... my name is Jonathan from Market Me Social. So, big topic, omnichannel customer service. We hear customer service, common expression, but now we're going to talk about omnichannel customer service. I cannot wait to hear this discussion, and get your take on it. So, Mark, take it away, brother.
Mark Howell (01:25): Yeah. Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. Audra, it's so wonderful to see your beautiful face. I have to say anybody that gets to watch you I'll call it perform, educate is in for quite a treat. And I know this, I love everything that you're working on. And so, I'm so excited. I haven't even gotten the sneak preview of what omni customer service is all about. And so, I'm really, really excited of us doing this, this topic... I'm sorry, this conversation today, so I get to find out a little bit about what you're cooking up over there across the pond. And hopefully you can send it our way. But if you don't mind, what I would love to do is first let you introduce yourself, and then I've got some questions. I'm just going to ask you a bunch of questions about omni customer service, and you're going to let us all know what is happening there, but tell us who are you? What do you do over there?
Audra Lamoon (02:20): Hello, darlings. It's lovely to see you, and see you again, Mark, too. It's amazing. It's sad that we're so far apart, but technology has been amazing. It's been our friend, and my friend for the first time ever because you know I'm terrified, have always been terrified by technology. So, yes, I'm the chief happiness officer at Livewire. I've said this before, our titles say more about who we are rather than what we do. So, it's all about fun at Livewire. Fun learning and development and consultancy and stuff as you know. So, that's who I am, and I'm based here in England at the moment. I had to leave America in February when it all sort of was kicking off, the pandemic and everything. So, I've been sat here in little old England working [inaudible 00:03:07].
Mark Howell (03:07): Yeah. You left in a hurry. I believe, I think we were just together, and it was like you just crossed your arms, and poofed yourself away. You were gone. I was like, "Oh my gosh, she got out of dodge quick."
Audra Lamoon (03:22): Oh, yeah. Yes. [crosstalk 00:03:23].
Mark Howell (03:23): I don't blame you.
Audra Lamoon (03:24): [crosstalk 00:03:24] you better get out because I think the airport is going to close tomorrow, and I went, "Really?" And I wasn't very well. This is 11 o'clock at night, and I just got back from Florida. I'd been very, very sick. Listen, I put a baseball cap on, threw a load of makeup on, packed a case, told my flatmate there's another case packed there. God knows what you're going to do with it. She gave a load of stuff to the Dress for Success. And like you say, I got out of dodge. It was like February Friday the 13th, and I got home, and then I never left the house for months after that. I literally got home, and went into lockdown. So, that was that.
Mark Howell (03:59): Oh, my gosh. Well, look, one thing that this pandemic has brought is certainly new innovation, new ideas, and we've all been stuck at home going over all the things that we've wanted to work on. So, what a great time for you to spend on omnichannel customer service. And I'm so excited for you to tell me about it. I'm just going to go ahead and ask you all of the questions, and then you just tell me in any way. You don't have to answer them in the order, but I want to know, first of all, what does it mean? What does omnichannel customer service even mean? What are some of the examples? Tell me more about it. Have you any of the examples about what you mean that we can see, that we can touch here? What is different about omnichannel customer service on the phone perspective, and then online perspective? Is there a difference and what is that? So tell me, we are waiting to know what is going on.
Audra Lamoon (05:04): I just kind of... I don't even know if I've made it... It's one of those things you think, did I coin that phrase or not? I'm really not sure, but for me omnichannel customer service is because like you say, we've all been working different in the pandemic. I've been doing my mystery shopping in a very different way. So, rather than going on properties, whether it's retail, hotel, residential, banks, resorts, you name it, I've been going on all the channels that get you to where the product, and the service should be. So, if it's on the telephone, if it's on the web, if it's on chat boxes, on the phone, on laptops. So, whatever channel you can get to the product or service you want to get to I've been mystery shopping it for clients, and it was massive. It was a massive thing to me because it was like, "Oh, my God, people are so busy. Obviously, trying to shift and adapt to what's going, but they're not really fine tuning all the things that have been in place since dot anyway."
Audra Lamoon (06:02): They've had their digital, their websites. They've had their phone lines. They have people who walk in who turn up or book for appointments and tools and services, but they've never really had a laser focus on what that means. Because when you have one taken away, it's like your senses. You have one taken away, all the other senses jump up. You have a bit of a boost to them. And it's the same thing with customer service. We can't get people to our properties always. So, how do we attract them? And it's how are you on the telephone? How is your digital working for you? Is your website easy to navigate? Can you find everything else that you need?
Audra Lamoon (06:42): I was finding really tiny problems that were massive blocks to getting people to a property service or person. So, simple things, wrong telephone numbers. People not responding on chatbox. People not understanding the language, so ignoring it completely or misunderstanding the language, and ignoring people completely. People not being able to put how many bedrooms that they want, or how many pairs of slippers they need. So, you're not able to check a box with the right amounts. You can't get a transaction through. Tiny, tiny things that have a massive implication and massive consequences because people will only try once two or three times, and then they'll think, that's it, I'm done. And they'll go to the competition, and the people that [crosstalk 00:07:28]-
Mark Howell (07:28): I got to stop you right there. That is me. That is the way I shop.
Audra Lamoon (07:31): Me too.
Mark Howell (07:32): If you have a confusing product online that takes me more than three minutes to figure out I'm done. I will not spend that time trying to figure it out. And look, I think it's very smart of you to create this sort of awareness about these different channels that people are looking at your products. Because when you think about the average consumer, especially in a pandemic, there are so many different ways now that they are having to go and look at your products. But if I am not a very computer or technology savvy type person, so I can get very frustrated on your website if it is not clean, clear, and in order.
Audra Lamoon (08:16): Yeah. I love that. Listen, and I'm with you there, darling because I have no patience whatsoever. It's the least good thing about me. I have no patience, so I lose it quite quickly. And then I'm off. And then I'll like everybody else will tell everybody what a terrible time you had, a terrible service. I ain't even got to the bloody person to speak to, the poor darlings. But it's not always their fault. So, it's a massive team effort, isn't it? So, it's really... So, when I've gone back to the clients and I've only been doing it to this degree since the pandemic because I've been sat on my backside for six weeks. Sorry, my ass is the size of Brazil. So, I've got to do something really productive with my time.
Audra Lamoon (08:58): So, I was going back to the client saying, "You really need to create an in-person experience online. This is where you pull it all together because I'm having a horrific time talking to your people on the phone. You've clearly can't be [inaudible 00:09:13]. Excuse my French. But saying things like, "Oh, can you call me back later? It's busy. Oh, no, we don't have that. Oh, no, there's no one to do this tour." And I've said, "Would you like my details?" "Oh no, just drop in or just make an appointment." And it's been so lackadaisical and complacent. And this complacency is relying on people would just come back, and they won't. It's difficult.
Jonathan Saar (09:40): That's for sure. Yeah. And I'm sure it's like statistically it's I remember one stat, and I don't know if this resonates with you or not, Audra. But it's people have less attention than a goldfish. I've seen that on Eric Wallman. He has his series of videos on the state of digital marketing and digital world. And so, that's less than six seconds. So, goldfish have more attention span. So, Mark, to me, you're having three minutes in a website. You have the patience of a saint. It's just absolutely amazing. Because I think Audra like you said, I think the majority of us it's like, "Well, the website, I can't find what I want. I don't know how to get it and bye-bye." And then you're off you go, right?
Audra Lamoon (10:30): Yeah.
Jonathan Saar (10:30): Right.
Audra Lamoon (10:31): And there's so much talent out there that people have been so amazing with websites since, but it makes you wonder who's actually gone through as a customer. You may own it, and commission it. Have you really gone through as a customer. Most companies have had telephone training skills for goodness sake, and etiquette training. We do this for hotels all the time, but actually you have got to step them up because we haven't got the face-to-face as much as we would like. So, you've got to step up those other two channels. You have to make sure that they're so memorable. That you're so adept at creating a rapport with somebody that your memory is absolutely brilliant.
Audra Lamoon (11:08): Have that conversation writing all the details down, getting all those gems, those nuggets. What was their name? What was their pet's name? What was their children's names? Why are they coming here? Why are they moving here? Why is it about this area? Have they got a dog? Have they got a dog's name? And have they got that mind to close? Because I tell you now 99% of people were not in the frame, the mindset to close me when I was going to residential mystery shopping, for example. 99% did not close me, still. That is massive. That shows us a huge gap in confidence, in closing, fear of closing, maybe no training in closing. Maybe COVID has completely thrown people, and it has, and why wouldn't it?
Audra Lamoon (11:57): So, you have to make sure you're taking care of the wellbeing and the health piece, but also that we are just in a different way of working, and it's not going away. Even if the vaccine comes, please God. Most companies are still going to have this blend of we want to track business through that channel, this channel, and face-to-face, so what are you going to do to stand up your competition? Are you just going to say, "Hey, welcome to so-and-so. Thanks for calling. Yeah, can you do a tour in six months," because with COVID and everything. Or are you going to have a full blown conversation, and not let anything go? You just lap up that information, make them your best friends, stay memorable, stay connected, and follow up.
Mark Howell (12:42): It's funny, you talked about the COVID crisis and how people... What has changed with the experience of sales, customer service, and what I'm curious to find out, and I talk a lot about this in my training is what are we teaching the consumers today? The better part of this year we have all had to shift and do something a little different with our sales technique, and our products, right? But we're teaching the consumer that they can do everything online. That if we're not careful, if we're not watching our channels, which is what I love about what you're preaching is that we're going to teach the consumer that they don't need us at all. That they don't need that human element at some point. That they can do everything online if we're not careful. So, by checking your channels, all channels of communication is very, very important because I think about the banking industry, and how technology totally changed that industry. When's the last time you ever walked into a bank?
Audra Lamoon (13:46): I just can't remember.
Mark Howell (13:49): Yeah, I'm so scared that this could happen to all retail space or definitely maybe not retail, but property management, I think could be very effected by it because so much of it can be done online. But yeah, I like what you're saying.
Audra Lamoon (14:06): I think you make a really good point there, and you know what, Mark? There's always going to be a percentage of people that actually don't want that communication. Thank you very much. I'm very happy with it all being remote, virtual. I don't have to see anybody. Do you know what? That's absolutely fine, but we can still cater for those people, but there are lots more people out there who do need that contact, and that communication. [inaudible 00:14:27] over camera, face-to-face, or whatever. So, you've got to protect all those types of people, and whatever happens going forward there's going to be room for all of this. So, you've got to be able to blend your offering, but be highly skilled in every single channel. You just can't think. Well, we're amazing when we're face-to-face, but we don't really know what we're losing by way of our bad telephone scores or our online stuff.
Audra Lamoon (14:52): We've been mystery big brands, huge brands who are still making mistakes. How can a huge global brand... How can you not be able to check how many bedrooms you want? How can it have the wrong telephone number? How? But it is. So, what's happening is fear creating too much of a rapid response to what's going on, but no focus what's really going on. So, everyone has to really take stock and think, okay, I'm on the phone now. So, this is, I have got to be at my best possible place. I've got to be listening to this person. I've got to be bring in all those telephone Chinese standards you had before, and then bang them up because you're going to need it really, because competition is going to be even more scary, right?
Jonathan Saar (15:40): Right. I got a question about that.
Audra Lamoon (15:42): It's kind of doing what you've done, but elevate it by 30%. Sorry, Jonathan.
Jonathan Saar (15:47): Yeah, no, no. No, no, no, I mean, it got my head spinning. I think, well, I want your take on it. You see so many, like you've mentioned a lot of the gaps, the disconnects in where things go wrong. And you mentioned something earlier about, okay, well, just come on in and I'm going to show you this apartment. Or in a hotel, come on in and see our beautiful business, and so on. And so, they don't have the skills to be able to just thrive what it is. And so, now they can't. They can't do it because they're not doing appointments. But now, so say for instance, now the technology is there for the full tour.
Jonathan Saar (16:33): My question is how even with... Is it a crutch? The model is the crutch. Can a virtual tour, can it be a crutch or an asset? How do you address the person who's presenting the apartment or the product, whatever it may be to make sure that they see those as assistance and not something they can lean on to sell for them. Does that make sense?
Audra Lamoon (17:04): Absolutely makes sense. And it goes back to product and property and service knowledge. How well do you know your product? So, whether it's in property, retail, hotel. If you're working on a property you have to know what the amenities are, what's going on in the community, all of this. But another point you made about are the virtual tools, the videos, and all this, or the models are crutch. They're absolutely amazing assets to have and skills. And the best thing I think you can do now is to scale. Go through your companies and say, "Okay, guys, who are the TikTok fanatics who are making videos? Who loves to do social media? Who's playing around in all this? Who wants to go and do a virtual tour for this company?" Let's turn it into a competition and just see who's made the best virtual tour. Unusual in-house talent to create amazing things. Stills, images, videos, TikToks.
Audra Lamoon (18:04): Well, however you want to present what you've got, whatever that product or that service or that residential place looks like. You can use all the skills you've got in your company. So you don't have to think, "Oh God, how am I going to do... How am I going to video myself? I'm awful on video." No, does bum look big in this and all that nonsense. And then develop some sort of a twitch or stammer as soon as the camera comes on. You don't have to worry about that. Find the people that can't wait to get in front of the camera, can't wait to perform, and have them do all the properties or some of them for you. So, go back to your teams and find out who's amazing at one, and just get those talents together and use them to the best of your ability. And above all, have fun. Have fun with it because I've seen some amazing tours, some fun tours.
Mark Howell (18:51): I love it.
Jonathan Saar (18:54): That's awesome.
Audra Lamoon (18:57): It's not rocket science, as they always say because all these companies have these amazing people in their company. And I think what's... There's something I heard in America that I've never heard over here, and I never understood it, and it was a saying that you guys said three years ago, "Stay in your lane." I thought, "What does that mean?" I never understood it. And then I realized I've not ever been applicating that ever. I've always said, really in different words. "Oh, my God, jump out of the lane you idiot. Try something different. If you fail at it, so what? You're going to have a lesson." And then maybe jump back in if you've really mucked it up, but get out there and try something because if you've got all these other skills use them to the best of your ability. So, don't stay in your lane, find out what you're great at and then share it.
Mark Howell (19:42): Absolutely.
Jonathan Saar (19:42): I love it.
Mark Howell (19:44): Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Audra Lamoon (19:50): [crosstalk 00:19:50].
Mark Howell (19:50): Yeah.
Jonathan Saar (19:50): Yeah.
Mark Howell (19:50): Let me ask you.
Jonathan Saar (19:52): Go ahead, Mark.
Mark Howell (19:53): Oh, go ahead.
Jonathan Saar (19:56): No, no, go ahead. You go, you go.
Mark Howell (19:59): I wanted to ask you, Audra. So, how do you help companies control these channels? So this program, tell me how do I as a... I'm going to talk in more of a property management lingo. So, how do I utilize this? All of this makes perfect sense to me, and it's so dead on right now, especially for where we are, A, just generationally, but during COVID, a pandemic where whether you like technology or not you've had to embrace some form of it, right?
Audra Lamoon (20:33): Oh, yeah.
Mark Howell (20:34): So, tell me, how do you position this to help me the property manager or owner manage these channels? How is this delivered?
Audra Lamoon (20:47): Well, the simplest answer to that is to really get involved with the culture committee. So, you have a representative from the website, a representative from learning and development, possibly marketing as well. And then, so you've got this nice little group of people that can actually then cascade the learning through. So, we patch into calls. We do the mystery shopping piece. We share the information intelligence. We map out the gaps and go, "Okay, well, this is where we need to up skill the people." It's very, very simple. It is really very basic. It's just bringing it all together and creating an awareness. You're just raising that awareness with everybody that everything that they do and don't do has a consequence.
Audra Lamoon (21:32): So, they've learnt it before, but never has training ever I think been as important as it is right now. Those communication skills when one's taken away, you really have to rely on how you sound on the phone, and how you're responding, and when you're responding online because when people don't see you online. They don't hear you either, sometimes, unless you have a live chat. It's very disconcerting, and it's very difficult to keep their attention. People like you and me Mark will think, "Oh, what was that?" And something will distract me, and I'm off. It's back to basics, but have your culture committee, and your learning and development teams come together to make sure everybody's on the same page. And then up skill the heck out of them.
Mark Howell (22:16): I like it. I love that
Audra Lamoon (22:19): It's easy, right? And that's the good news.
Jonathan Saar (22:23): Yeah. Well, it's great that you connect everything. Often, Audra, just gearing in I do a lot of reading. I want to be up to date on technology because I know how it's going to affect not only our industry, but just business in general. And it's moving from concept to application. So, there's concept, there's it should do this to all right, here's how we're going to make it... I'm going to make you a believer. And when you mentioned how you bringing people together from different departments, get them on that same page, help them understand here's the benefits. This is the path, the lane. We're going to all go in the lane together.
Audra Lamoon (23:09): We are.
Jonathan Saar (23:09): Jump on the lane, and we're going to get to this goal. So, I think that it's brilliant, absolutely brilliant. [crosstalk 00:23:18].
Audra Lamoon (23:18): Darling, it's so crazy it might just work.
Jonathan Saar (23:22): Yes.
Audra Lamoon (23:23): It is brilliant.
Jonathan Saar (23:29): Well this has been a... Wow. I know we've just scratched the surface. You probably could sit here and talk hours and hours about this, about where... I know that's what you do for your customers. So, we're so grateful to have you with us today just to give a snippet of-
Audra Lamoon (23:46): Thank you.
Jonathan Saar (23:47): ... what omni customer services, and the details that are with that. So, thank you so, so much on behalf of Mark and I, and the audience for being with us today. But before you go a tip. You've talked about a lot of things today, but I love hearing what is your go-to tip? What's served you well as an educator, as a person? What's your guiding thoughts? Anything to share?
Audra Lamoon (24:25): Oh, my God. Yes. You have to have fun. Don't do anything that you don't enjoy because you'll never be good at it. So, just have fun. And listen, our vision is the same as our mission, but backwards. So, it's fun through learning, and learning through fun, that's it. If we have fun through learning, and we're learning through fun. How amazing is that? Thus, so always have fun with what you do.
Mark Howell (24:51): That's brilliant. I love that.
Jonathan Saar (24:53): Another brilliant one, yeah.
Audra Lamoon (24:55): It sounds funny when you guys say, brilliant.
Mark Howell (24:59): It's brilliant, darling.
Audra Lamoon (25:00): You guys say awesome. That sounds weird to me to say awesome. I never say awesome. It sounds weird.
Mark Howell (25:04): It's awesome, yeah.
Audra Lamoon (25:04): It's brilliant.
Jonathan Saar (25:08): Totally awesome, man. It's totally awesome.
Audra Lamoon (25:13): Yeah. You're awesome. [crosstalk 00:25:16].
Jonathan Saar (25:17): So, how can people connect with, Audra? What do you prefer? Tell us again about your website, any social channels that we can connect with you on, the audience can connect with you?
Audra Lamoon (25:30): Yeah, of course. I'm on LinkedIn under my name actually Audra Lamoon. You can go to the website, which is at livewire-experience.com, and you can reach me at audralivewireperformance.com. We answer every email. They're very friendly over here.
Mark Howell (25:43): I love that. You practice what you preach, right?
Audra Lamoon (25:47): That's right. Yes. Absolutely.
Jonathan Saar (25:53): Excellent.
Audra Lamoon (25:54): No naughty emails. We don't answer the naughty emails, just the good ones.
Jonathan Saar (25:58): Yeah. But those are rubbish. Those are the rubbish emails. Just put them in the trash.
Audra Lamoon (26:03): Yes, not the trash, but the rubbish. Well done.
Jonathan Saar (26:06): Yes.
Audra Lamoon (26:07): You're very good Englishmen. You can come over and pass up as an Englishman very easily.
Jonathan Saar (26:14): [crosstalk 00:26:14]. When COVID is over. My wife and I will-
Mark Howell (26:17): That's right.
Jonathan Saar (26:17): ... come over.
Audra Lamoon (26:18): Come on over, chaps. We'll take care of you.
Jonathan Saar (26:21): Beautiful. Well, thank you again. Episode 15, ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. Thank you, Audra. Thank you to our fantastic co-host who's been steering the conversation today, Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts, and a thank you to our sponsor today Higginbotham HR services. You can check them out in the show notes, and we look forward to seeing you on our next episode. My name is Jonathan Saar from Market Me Social. Thank you everybody for being here.
Audra Lamoon (26:54): Thank you. [crosstalk 00:26:54].
Mark Howell (26:54): Bye guys.
Audra Lamoon (26:54): Wonderful. Bravo.
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