Tiffani Bova - Customer Experience is the New Battleground

2019-08-27 by Nikki Nixon

Tiffani Bova - Customer Experience is the New Battleground

Tiffani Bova - Customer Experience is the New Battleground

​Tiffani Bova is a rockstar in her own right. She came up through the world of sales, spent some time at Gartner as a VP, Distinguished Analyst and Fellow, and now serves as the Customer Growth and Innovation at Salesforce, the world’s number one CRM. She is also the author of the book “Growth IQ.”

We had the unique opportunity of hearing her present a dynamic keynote titled “Customer Experience is the New Battleground” at the 2018 TAG Summit. She certainly did not disappoint and our team walked away better understanding what our customers truly value in their experience with us.​

Photo Credit: Tiffani Bova, Salesforce

In case you missed it, we wanted to recap the key points so you can grow your business as well.

Everybody Sells A Job To Be Done

Tiffani spoke about her experience with Uber. Though the ridesharing app takes her from point A to point B just like a taxi does, the customer experience is why she chooses to order a ride through the app instead of hailing a taxi.

One reason is currency. She never has to worry about a credit card working in a foreign country or having the correct type of money to pay for the ride.

“It doesn’t matter where I am in the world, for whatever reason, no credit card machine ever works when I’m in the back of a cab. So, that doesn’t always work in my favor.”

The second reason is taking uber doesn’t require her to do more work for her expense report.

“I never remember how much the ride was and what I paid. And somehow, I stick the receipt in, and I lose the receipt. It never makes it to my expense report, or I have to take a picture of the receipt and it attach it. But, no, now with Uber it connects directly to my expense report. It actually says the time, the day, the ride, my start location, my end location, and all I have to do is say where was I going”

The third reason is for safety. Uber has a GPS on every ride, so her loved ones will know where she is in the event of an emergency.​

“Because of my heavy travel schedule, I feel like someone will know where I was last. So, between American Airlines and Uber, someone will find me.”

Customer Experience is Everything

“I don’t care what else you do in order to grow if your customers have a bad experience it doesn’t matter. You could have the best product in the world, and if it’s tough to use they won’t use it again, and they definitely won’t talk about it.”

Tiffani reminded us that customer experience must be the foundation of any decision we make about our business. Customers will pay more for a better experience, so there is real revenue at stake. The companies that are growing the fastest are the ones that are the most focused on the customer.

“You know, you have a Four Seasons on this side of the street, you have a Holiday Inn on this side of the street. Both do the same job, a place to sleep. Why do people choose one over the other, and pay exponentially more, for one of them versus the other one?”

B2B is really B2C

Tiffani mentioned how consumer experiences are following us into the B2B world. We don’t leave our consumer personalities at home when we show up for work.​

The best news is that if you can create an amazing customer experience, you can justify raising your prices and customers will gladly pay you more.

“Netflix has raised their price four times in the last two years. You might be surprised to know that the cancellation rate has gone down and the activations from free customers non-paying to paying customers have gone up. Why is that possible? Because they’re so maniacally focused on if you can’t find what you’re looking for in 90 seconds or less you will leave. It’s all about that user experience. And by the way, those growth rates that they have, with no salespeople.”

Bad Experience Can Cost You Your Best Customers

57% of customers have stopped buying from a company because of a bad experience. Customer expectations have gotten higher, so companies are being forced to rise to the occasion.

We carry our consumer expectations into work and are frustrated that our work experience has yet to catch up with our consumer lives. Tiffani mentioned a couple of things that are contributing to this notion.

One is speed. We want things in our work lives to happen at the same speed as our consumer lives. You have to be ready to communicate on your customers medium of choice. Is that Facebook messenger? Perhaps it’s chat? Tiffani reminded us to be where our customers are and be ready to engage with them on their terms.​

“It’s sort of all about us. We, as customers, we’re like, “What do you mean you only have service from eight to five? I’m in another state.” Happens to me even with our travel company. It’s based on Pacific Standard time. So, if I’m out on the East coast, and it’s eight o’clock in the morning wherever I am, and I want to call a customer service agent for my flights, it’s considered after hours, which is premium pricing. But it’s 8:00 AM over there.”

Tiffani mentioned how it really comes down to delivering those moments of “Wow,” where your customer feels like they had a wonderful experience.​

AI meets Human

“Many people ask, “Well, don’t you think technology is gonna wipe out jobs in AI, machine learning?” I don’t. I think machine plus human is the most powerful thing that we have to our advantage”

Tiffani reminded us that you have to use technology in order for it to be effective. Managers can help their teams by skilling them up to take advantage of the capabilities available to them.

“So, my future state of when it’s time for me to retire is this scenario, which is when my scale in my bathroom talks to my Fit Bit, locks my refrigerator and calls the car to take me to the gym, I am out. That’s it. So, if you ever see a Tweet from me with my feet up and the beach in front of me, know that that has happened, and I’m officially out. Because we could actually do what I just described today. We’re getting very close to all of this.”

Tiffani gave the consumer example of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. She also spoke of how bots and AI can make the entire manufacturing process more efficient.

“You have to think about things selling the things, and servicing each other, and bots talking to AI, and AI talking to manufacturing, and ordering Widgets, and delivering customer service, bots answering quick customer service calls so you don’t actually have to have humans. Then when it escalates, the human gets involved. This fourth industrial revolution is changing everything, but you have to be able to take advantage of it.”

Photo Credit: Tiffani Bova, Salesforce

Personalize Beyond The First Name

Customers want to be treated as more than just a number. They want connected experiences and we must leverage the data and technology at our disposal to make it happen.

“Once again, I don’t care, B2B, B2C, doesn’t matter because we’re all individuals at the consumer level. So, however you slice it, I can’t get rid of my expectations.”

Transforming The Customer Relationship

Tiffani spoke about how processes often roadblock your team’s ability to deliver on customer expectations.

“Case in point, I had a hard failure on my internet access about a year ago. And I called into my provider, and the call was 90 minutes. I didn’t care if it was all day cause I had a hard failure, and I really wanted to have it fixed. And the guy at the other end of the phone was spectacular. He was patient. He was helpful, but every 29 minutes he had to hang up the phone on me and call me back.”

The call center was a cost center. Cost of the time the rep was on the phone was a higher priority than Tiffani’s problem. It wasn’t the rep’s fault. He simply was following procedures put in place by his leadership.

“The metric is what drives that behavior. He hung up on me every 29 minutes because he can’t be on the phone longer than 30, because somebody made that brilliant decision that I am a X dollar a month customer and a consumer. I sort of behave like a small business in my house based on how much pipe I have coming in and everything I have going on. But because I’m in the consumer business they treat me that way, and he has to get off the phone every 29 minutes. So, someone made a decision he can’t stay on the line.”

Context is King

Tiffani challenged us to ask what your customers expect from companies like yours. Smaller companies often have an advantage here because there are fewer silos and they can move faster. Larger companies are often hamstrung by complexity, which gets the best of them and makes it harder for them to truly wow their customers.

To understand what’s going on in the marketplace, you have to approach customer centricity from the outside in. Tiffani gave an example of how Amazon always has an empty chair in every meeting to represent the customer.

Tiffani also reminded us that it’s ok to course correct. Even with best efforts, you won’t meet 100% of your customer’s expectation 100% of the time.


Tiffani remarked about how the lines of B2B and B2C are increasingly blurring. She suggested removing the consumer or business part and really focusing on what you should be expected to have as a business.

After listening to Tiffani share her wisdom, our biggest takeaway is that our customer is in the driver’s seat and expect us to deliver a consumer-like experience in a business setting.