“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it.” - Peter Drucker
The field of customer experience is all about creating positive interactions between a business and its customers. However, what happens when the platform used by the business to provide this experience isn't ready? Aiden Yau, the Head of CX at Food Market Hub, last year found himself in this exact situation.
Sonakshi: Hello Aiden, what do you do in Food Market Hub?
Aiden: I’m head of CX, I've been here for two years.
Sonakshi: As you know, we’re here to uncover true stories of building a scalable startup, to share some hard-hitting truths. Tell us, what did you NOT expect?
Aiden: I had just joined Food Market Hub and within two weeks of working, I was told to rally the CX team together to perform platform migration. We were informed that the new platform was going to bring us to the next level, so I was excited about it. I got my team together and I told them we’re going to get everyone migrated in three months. In my mind, that was more than enough and I was already planning to impress everyone by doing it.
But things turned out to be much more complicated than what was anticipated. The new platform was not ready for the big migration. Certain features behaved differently than what customers expected. This led to customers complaining and churning. My team was caught in the crossfire of angry customers and management pushing for faster adoption. To add insult to injury, they were also being blamed for the churn, despite the platform issues being beyond their control. It was a tumultuous experience for my team, caught in the middle of a customer service nightmare.
I started to see that the platform was not ready to accommodate existing customers which resulted in customers seeing it as a new product (instead of looking at it as anew & improved version). The team shared a similar sentiment with the customers which led to resentment and dissatisfaction internally.
Being in charge of CX, it was ultimately the responsibility of my team to stop churn. However, I felt unfair when my team did not receive enough support internally. I felt blamed for the poor customer experience, but I knew I had to do something to solve the problem. HOW? I had no clue. Are you sure I won't get in trouble for saying all this?
Sonakshi: Haha, glad you asked and no! Since you’re still with us, which means something went right. Let's talk about that.
Aiden: I think the turning point was realising that I am not in it alone. I had to get help. But I didn't know who to turn to, I was scared to ask for help and I could barely describe the problem.
Turns out, I didn't really have to. Two other senior management members Amin (VP of Growth) and Sherwyn (Chief of Staff) were already thinking of ways to help. As soon as I spoke up and asked for advice, they worked with other senior management to prioritise the important key work, key customers, and key features to retain most customers.
The sad reality is this, I would never ever be able to save everyone. I was too idealistic, and ended up creating a worse-off experience for everyone. I had to be able to make sacrifices to win the war.
I made plans with my management, I took calculated risks, and focused the energy of my limited team to help who mattered the most, paying customers, loyal customers. We fought to have our product and engineering teams prioritise features to save this segment.
Sonakshi: Did it work?
Aiden: You know, for the longest time I couldn't tell. But I can tell you what has happened and how I feel today. The product is getting stabilised, which is allowing the team to move forward with customers easier. So far, more than 200 customers have told me that they are fully on board with the new product, in fact they were happy to make the migration decision. You know what people say, in startups, you jump down a cliff and build a plane on the way down. That’s how it felt. I'm proud to say my team and I held it together in tough times. Today, I have the support of the management and my team, and I see a brighter future ahead.
Sonakshi: Great! Any closing words?
Aiden: Ahem! I think that’s enough for one interview.
Let’s call it a wrap!
Aiden's experience is a testament to the fact that customer experience is not just about creating positive interactions with customers, but also about having the right platform and support from within the organisation. As a business, it is important to ensure that your platform is stable and ready to accommodate your existing customers, and that your CX team has the necessary support to provide a positive experience to your customers.
AMA with Aiden
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Also, we’re hiring!
If you are someone who enjoys being a strong team player, stands strong when confronted with adversities, and wants to feel like what you do matters, Aiden's team is the right fit for you. They are a strong team and support each other, and Aiden's experience of overcoming adversity makes him a great manager to work with.
Ready for challenges? Join the team!