#287: Crushing Churn & Creating Loyalty by Connecting with Customers

Anita Toth describes herself as “Chief Churn Crusher” for her clients, specializing in programs to help brands understand the true voices of their customers.

In this discussion, she shares with us her passionate belief in the importance of senior executives dedicating time to listening to customers consistently firsthand.

She explains the limitations of customer surveys, and how brands now, more than ever, need to invest time and resources to truly hear the voices of their customers.

Show Notes:

1) Anita Toth

2) Anita Toth Inc 

Audio Transcript

Welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty, an Industry podcast for loyalty marketing professionals. I’m your host, Paula Thomas, and if you work in loyalty marketing, join me every week to learn the latest ideas from loyalty specialists around the world.

Today I want to encourage you to join the only virtual video conference about relationship marketing hosted by CM Group. Signals 22 will explore the strategies essential to brands building longlasting relationships with consumers. Join us as we cover topics ranging from acquisition and engagement to personalization and retention for industries, including retail, CPG, media, publishing, QSR restaurants and sports.

You will be inspired while also learning new ideas from client success stories, thought leadership and practitioner level sessions. This four day series is not to be missed, especially my session on October 27th, sharing the secrets I’ve learned about loyalty in the last three years.

register at cmgroup.com to save your seat now.

Hello and welcome to episode 287 of Let’s Talk Loyalty. My guest today has perhaps the best job title of anyone who’s been on the show. Anita Toth describes herself as Chief Churn Crusher, so I invited her on the show today to share her insights on crushing churn, and of course, creating customer loyalty.

Anita specializes in creating formal programs to help brands understand the true voices of their customers, and she particularly focuses on B2B companies who sell cloud-based software solutions. In our conversation, she shares with me her passionate belief in the importance of senior executives dedicating time to listening to their customers consistently and firsthand.

Then she explains the limitation she sees with customer surveys. Which, as we all know, are often seen as the easiest way to capture customer feedback, particularly in B2C companies. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Chief Churn Crusher Anita Toth.

Paula: So Anita, first and foremost, welcome to Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Anita: Oh, happy to be here. Paula. Looking forward to our conversation.

Paula: Absolutely. I think you have one of the most fun titles of anybody I’ve interviewed on the show.

Anita: Thank you. Okay. So I’ll, I’ll give you a little bit of the behind the scenes. Okay. Six months to come up with three simple words.

Paula: Oh my God. Well, yeah, you better. Yeah. Just, just, you know, say it loud and proud there, Anita. Give it to our audience.

Anita: It is. I, I, it took me six months and I’ll tell you why I wanted something that when my ideal, uh, client saw it, they would understand, A, what I did, B, what I could help them achieve, and C, I wanted to be illiterate and fun.

So Churn Crusher was great. And then I thought, Oh, I’ll throw the chief on the front and then become a Chief Churn Crusher, which I can’t tell you at least a couple times a week. Yeah. People will reach out to me on LinkedIn and say, I love your title.

Paula: Totally. Totally. And when I was, you know, saying, Oh, I’d love Anita on the show.

I know she has lots of expertise. I saw the title, it definitely helped. So well done on nailing that. Yeah. And, and as a slight anecdote, when I started working for myself in the very beginning, because I didn’t know exactly the answer to, to position myself, I just created an email address and it was the boss @ company name.com. And honestly, people used to laugh so much. They were like, Well, we know you’re the boss. And I’m like, Yep. That’s all I know. .

Anita: I love it. I love it. I might, you know what, Paula, I might start using that and then, you know, only, only special people get to you. .

Paula: There you go.

It works in an email.

The fact that you actually translated into something like that totally, totally works. So listen, we’re off to a great start, Anita, and yes, you do work in a, I suppose, a different way to a lot of the guests, I have on the show who are often running big loyalty programs for brands, um, in specific sectors. Now, you obviously work, um, much more in B2B, um, and specifically in the SaaS sector, but you do focus on, um, you know, crushing churns.

So, With that said, I’m gonna ask you a slight variation on our usual opening question, and you know, loyalty as an emotion is the single most important thing we want to achieve in terms of these conversations. So not even thinking about structured loyalty programs, but just in your, I suppose, recent experience, living life as normal.

Give us a great example of a brand that made you feel super loyal for some reason.

Anita: Yeah, so there’s one in particular that comes to mind, interestingly, I’m no longer a customer with them, and yet I refer them constantly. Okay. And it was because, like you talked about, it is the feeling they gave me. Yeah.

So when I was a customer and, uh, they are a, a SaaS company. Okay. Uh, and I was running my business and they, it’s called Kajabi and I’ll, I’ll, you know, say who they are because they were amazing. Yeah. So right from the moment I became a customer, I felt valued, but I also felt really supported toward my goals.

Okay. So everything that they did was focused on me achieving success rather than trying to sell me more, upsell me into something else. And that really stayed all the way through to their customer support. Mm-hmm. . And then when I finally decided to cancel, they asked me if, um, I would meet with them for 15 minutes so they could just learn why. And I again felt so valued because of that, that yeah, this is weird. Yeah. But it just shows the impact they made. I felt sad, , Wow. No longer being a customer. And that was because my business model changed. I didn’t need their software anymore. Yeah. But they had right from the very get go, the feeling.

And I think that’s the most important thing. Yeah. Humans make decisions on feelings first. Yeah. Then we justify with logic, always. But you know, sometimes it happens so fast we, we don’t even realize, yeah. That, I think it’s, it’s been several years now and whenever I see Kajabi, I’m taking two courses with two other people and the Kajabi logo comes up.

Mm-hmm. , I, I, I’m like a little excited Yeah. That it’s on that platform. So I, if that doesn’t speak to loyalty and I’m not even Yeah. A customer anymore. Yeah. Um, it really says how important emotions are. Yeah. In, you know, company customer relationships.

Paula: It totally right, Anita. And but also what I’m hearing coming through, and correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems to be the integrity and the authenticity that came through.

And I can see you nodding your head and like I always find it quite strange that we sit in our offices and we work on things and we have these objectives and we forget the people, do feel emotions because of what we’re working on. So if the intention of, and plenty of software companies I’ve experimented with, if the intention is upsell, cross sell, or the least expensive way to onboard me, I absolutely go crazy because I feel neglected, confused, overwhelmed, and honestly if, if a platform, I don’t even know what they do.

But I’m gonna go and see if I need Kajabi. I mean, that’s incredible, the fact that you can become an advocate, um, even without needing it. And it’s exactly what this show is about. Anita, because I said to you before we came on air that I really wanna talk about the emotion of loyalty, not about necessarily a structured loyalty program, even though that’s such a big part of our industry.

So, so clearly emotion is something that you are a believer in. A believer in understanding, a believer in measuring, and I particularly liked what you said actually in terms of the very, I suppose, practical way that Kajabi made you feel loyal. Mm-hmm. . And that was with this particular, um, conversation, them investing time.

And this is something I noticed on your LinkedIn, you seem to be very passionate about the importance of investing in what I’m going to say is quite an expensive approach, which is not just send out the surveys and, you know, see what comes in, but picking up the phone and having conversations. So tell us a bit about this.

Anita: Absolutely. And passionate is the right word. Like I get really excited by customer feedback, . I, I don’t think there are many of us that are getting, Oh, I just love it. Yeah. Um, and, and the reason is, Paula, there are different types of feedback. Surveys are a monologue. They’re one way. Sure, but only interviews, listening tours and I’ll, I’ll explain what a listening tour is, uh, in a little bit. Yeah. Okay. And customer interviews, those are dialogues, right? Mm-hmm. , and yes, you, yes, you have, uh, support calls and all of that, but the difference between interviews and focus groups is that you have a standardized set of questions that you ask everyone, and so that you can track answers over time and see how customer responses are changing.

And, you get a survey back, you have no context around why they chose a seven instead of a nine. Even if you put a little comment box where they type something in. Yeah. If they’re not super clear about it, you’re, you’re left inferring, you know, what does this really mean when they said this? Yeah. In an interview, in focus groups in particular, and those are very structured, um, conversations like, again, those, those questions are standardized and then, uh, how you analyze them afterwards as well, um, has, has a standard approach.

You can ask things like, well, it’s not even an ask . Yeah. It’s one of my favorite things to say in these conversations. Tell me more. Tell me more about. When you tried to do this and you, you were unable to mm-hmm. , tell me a little bit more about how that made you feel. Mm. Tell me a little bit more about what you had to do instead.

Um, and that’s where you start getting the real gold. Mm. Surveys are easy. , like they really are. You can send them out on mass and uh, you can sort of interpret the answers however you want. Again, there’s really no context around them. Mm-hmm. . But when a customer tells you that they felt disappointed mm-hmm. that they were upset mm-hmm. , they didn’t feel valued and they really questioned whether you wanted them as a customer. It’s pretty hard to refute.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. And it even seems that, that you are advocating this, as I said, time intensive, you know, expensive solution at all levels of the organization and in any industry, whether it’s B2B or B2C. Is that, is that true?

Anita: It is. And time intensive, well, how much does it cost to lose a. How much does it cost to lose tens of thousands of customers? Hundreds of customers put a number to it. In having those conversations, and again, they are dialogues. They’re the only real true dialogues you’re having in terms of customer feedback.

Formal customer feedback methods. Yeah. Through that, if you can end up finding your problem areas or friction points mm-hmm. , and you can start removing those. Mm-hmm. . So, so what if it took, you know, 20, 30 hours worth of work, but on the back end you ended up retaining Yeah. 50,000, a thousand, 10,000 customers.

Mm-hmm. , I don’t know. To me totally. It may be time intensive, it may be, you know, um, Resource intensive in some ways as well as you go through and analyze. But that’s also part of the reason why third company, third party companies like my company, exist to do this on the half of, um, our clients. Because, because of that plus, plus it’s a skill set.

Yes. Anybody can cut their hair. Yeah. Or. You can cut, have your hair cut by a professional. Totally same result. Your hair’s gonna be cut it’s just , you know? How great is it gonna look afterwards? And it’s the same. It’s the same thing here. Yeah. So when, when we’re talking with prospective clients, that’s really what we’re, we’re talking about.

Okay. A is the skillset. Mm-hmm. , and then B is taking that time. Um, How many customers are gonna be retained? How many customers are gonna have a better experience? Yeah. Out of what you learn. Yeah. And then what you do is once you have those interviews and focus groups, you don’t stop there. You take that information and then you release surveys to see, okay, we had this really small sample set.

Mm-hmm. , is this accurate or is this valid across our different customer segments? And that’s really the power of using these two together. Mm-hmm. . But most companies, you know, again, surveys are easy. Yeah. They just send them out, but they’re really lacking the depth with the interviews and focus groups and, yeah.

Nothing yet. AI is great, but AI still hasn’t gotten to a point where it can have a conversation like this and know, yeah, when to ask those deeper questions to get really the goal that you’re looking.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, so many things I wanna pick up on. I think the first point that struck me, Anita, is the very fact that it is expensive and time consuming actually means, it means a lot more to that, you know, whether they’re already churned or about to churn.

Um, or you know, when you’re a Kajabi example where you no longer needed the software. The fact that they are putting that time and effort in, I think is something that I, as a consumer would be blown away if they did, and clearly that’s where your advocacy came from. So, so the impact of that call goes way beyond the 15 minutes in terms of feeling heard and seen, and as you said, you can translate it at scale, but you do need to start one to one to actually get those, you know, really qualitative con conversations in a way that actually you can then, as you said, interpret and scale up.

Anita: Absolutely. If I could do like a little dance now, I would, because Paula, you sum that, Sum that up so, so beautifully.

Yeah, like I was a, I was a turning customer. I was leaving. These interviews are also an opportunity to leave the relationship on a, on a high note. Yeah.

Right. Yeah,

That’s where you wanna leave it. Customers are gonna leave. They’re going to come. But if you can, as they’re leaving wish, essentially wish them well, if you will.

Yeah. With a good feeling about the company, guess what They’re, When they wanna come back, they’re more likely to come back to you. Those feelings last. Actually, I have a. Have a quote here by Maya Angelou that says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Paula: I love that quote. Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful.

Anita: And really that’s what we’re talking about. Feelings really matter. And I think we can get, uh, so into our heads looking at metrics and yeah. You know, how can, how can we move this forward? A couple more points and, and all of that. But we forget that underpinning everything we do are emotions. Totally. You have to dig for them. Watching, you know, observing data and when customers do this and when they don’t do that, that’s great. Alright? Yeah. And that’s necessary, but you still don’t know why customers are doing what, what they’re doing at those certain points without talking to them to find, find out.

Totally. And I’ve had this, uh, before with clients where, um, there will be a friction point and they will see, you know, customers behaving in a certain way at that point. And it turns out that, that friction point, um, only kind of came up once we did the cu the customer interviews. Yeah. And then the company’s like, Oh, like it was a blind spot.

They didn’t realize that something they had failed to do or something they had put into their process was causing that behavior. Yeah. But if customers were given another choice, meaning that friction point was removed they behave differently.

Paula: Yeah. Yeah. No, and it’s a great example. The one that’s coming to mind, and I’m sure you’ve seen it, Anita, on LinkedIn because I’ve seen it a few times, and it’s a brand that to me has, well certainly I hope I can get them on the show, but it’s a brand called Chewy. And, yeah, so for anyone, and I’d love your kind of perspective on it if you’ve seen it, but what I’ve seen people talking about, again, on a, you know, a professional platform like LinkedIn is when it comes to the fact that maybe a, a beloved pet has passed away, so therefore they don’t need the dog food or the cat food, or whatever it was that they were buying from Chewy.

And they, they canceled that subscription and, and they stopped ordering. In so many cases, what I’ve seen is that, you know, first of all, Chewy will take the the time to realize and understand exactly why that customer’s leaving. And then if it is a case of a bereavement, which is exactly how any pet parent you know, will feel they send flowers, to actually acknowledge the grief that that customer that’s leaving, like to your point about leaving on a good note, I just thought that that was absolutely astronomical from a loyalty point of view. And to your point exactly then is if they do get another pet and they are back in the market, who are they gonna call? Chewy .

Anita: Yeah. You’ve got it. You’ve got it. Yeah. And, and I don’t think companies realize like, it, it doesn’t have to be such a big grand gesture as flowers. Yeah. Um, you know, that, that also works with their business model, right? Their subscription, they mail things out, so they already have that in place, but sometimes even just like, um, Kajabi had that phone call with me and that was a choice whether you wanted, wanted to take it or not, but it’s the thank you.

Um. It’s ha, you’re right when you mentioned it, it’s the intention. Yeah. It’s not just thanks for your time. Yeah. It’s like there’s real intention put behind it. You can feel . Yeah. And we all can. The difference between uh, an email that’s transactive. Thank you. Yeah. And one that really is, hey, we really do care.

Because it’s not just at that point, at the end of the relationship, they pull it out. This is throughout all of their communications. Yeah. And I wanted to say like, Customer retention is a lot like the marriage part of a romantic relationship. Okay. That you can’t show up once a year with chocolates and flowers and expect, totally, that that good gesture, yeah, is going to last through the whole year. Yeah, it is constant and it’s in everything you do from the communications to making things easier for customers so that, you know, we all have heavy cognitive loads, right? Like there’s 60 zillion things we need to look after.

Yeah. What are the small things you can do to make things easier for your customers? Yeah. Like I have to say, Amazon, brilliant. Mm-hmm. with their, you know, single click buy button. Bizarre. No doubt. Game changer. People purchase way more with it. Yeah. But it also made it much easier for the customer, didn’t it? Versus having to click three or four times through to the cart. Yeah.

Paula: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And, and you know, it is just as you said, the cognitive overload. And literally in my last interview Anita, I’m repeating myself now, but I literally was, was, was remembering that my favorite book title of all time and the contents were not relevant, but the title is still genius.

It’s called Don’t Make Me Think. And I just think there’s loyalty right there. You know, it’s like even if I’m standing in a, you know, I dunno, a Burger King or a McDonald’s, the fact that they simplify everything into, okay, here’s the whole meal. Great, I’ll have that one. You know, instead of trying build it all myself.

So yeah, there’s an importance around the intention of, you know, doing everything you can to make your customers life easier. So therefore of course they’re gonna stay, Your retention is definitely gonna improve. So Sounds like you’ve got Yeah. So much experience.

Anita: Yeah. Yeah. And I was gonna say before we leave this point, Paula.

Yeah, Yeah. You wanna find out how to make your customers life, it’s easier, talk to them. Yeah. Like Got it. , like, we’re, I’m coming back. I’m gonna belabor this point. This is my soapbox. Okay. Talk to them. And this could be either formally done through interviews or something called a listening tour. I promise that I would close that loop, so I’m, I’m bringing it up.

Please do. Um, Listening tour is informal and this is really great for, you know, senior management and leaders in the company who do not have customer facing positions. Sure. So it is literally just picking up the phone, booking a Zoom call, 15 minutes. I try not to make it so short because in a, you know, 10 minute call, you really don’t get to establish much.

Our ideal is sort of 15, 20, 25 minutes, somewhere in there. Yeah. Where you know, all of us when we come in this conversation, especially if, you know a CEO of a company is reaching out to us. Yeah. There’s always a little bit of doubt in the beginning, so I’m not gonna bear my soul to you when you know.

Are you genuinely the person you say you are? And I, you know, want to, to check first. Yeah. But over the course of the conversation, in these listening tours, they’re informal. Mm-hmm. You’re just asking them questions, getting an understanding, not just of how they engage with their, with your product, but what else is their day like, Because we’re all competing against time and attention.

So if your thing takes me five extra, uh, seconds to do something and you can reduce that down to one, that allows me then more time to go through and do, you know, these other 10 things that I have to do. And five seconds doesn’t sound like much, but just think of the old school Amazon before the single purchase button. Yeah. And how much easier it is to just go, Yeah, I want that, versus taking and going through all those different screens to finally purchase my product. Yeah. If I’m doing that, you know, several times a week and you can save me five minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. Yeah. Wow. Does it, that scale right there.

Mm-hmm. . But you’ve got to talk to your customers. So listening tours are, are ideal for senior management, cEOs, exec suite, what, however, whatever your name is. Yeah. To keep in touch with what’s going on with your customers. And you don’t have to do 50 of ’em in a week. Yeah. But you could do one or two a week so that you stay in touch and grounded because those metrics are all individual people. Totally. They’re all your individual customers who are rolling up into that, into that metric. Yeah. So do the formal stuff. You know, interviews, focus groups. You can either have a third party do it for you. Sure. You can do it in house.

Actually, I have a guide, um, on my website where there’s seven questions to ask. Amazing. Um, and this is for every team across the company, whether it makes most sense, and sometimes it makes sense to do it in house. Yeah. And sometimes it makes sense to hire a third party. Yeah. So that seven, uh, question tool, mm-hmm. is there to help decide, and it looks like, look at, looks at things like capacity, competency, and if there’s any, uh, potential bias. That you might bring in by, by doing, uh, by running the pro project in house. Mm-hmm. . So I wanted to say these listening tours are, are really, um, ideal for that suite. You’re just jotting down a couple of notes.

There’s no real standard questions. Yeah. Uh, like there is, uh, with interviews and focus groups, because those, we will, you will analyze that data mm-hmm. , but with this, it’s just more getting a sense, and so it’s perfect, um, to bring in Yeah, but really to connect, those, um, those jobs that are not customer facing with your metrics right down to your actual customers.

Paula: Yeah, and I think you used the exact right word, Anita, when you said grounded, because I do think, as I, I already referenced earlier, you know, we get so overwhelmed and busy in our day jobs. Um, that, that so many of us aren’t customer facing. So I think that grounding is something that just makes it all real.

Um, and, and you know, I think what most of us would hope is that we would get something actionable, you know, So again, back to the intention point, but I sometimes think there might be, you know, also a fear factor as well in terms of, you know, reasons that maybe they’re not doing. So time is one kind of reason we can definitely get ourselves justify that we’re not doing it, you know, after a few weeks is passed by. But I guess there is the risk that there’s a really angry customer out there, so.

Anita: That, So Paula, it’s fear when, when I’m talking with, uh, potential clients. Yeah, it is. I can hear it. They’re afraid of what they might find.

Yeah. So in some ways, humans are so interesting, even though we know and we have evidence that something is going on. Yeah. If we don’t go out and confirm it, i e talking to customers directly to confirm it, we can still sort of, eh, tell ourselves all sorts of stories in our heads.

Paula: Yeah. Make excuses

Anita: or make excuses.

It’s the market. It’s whatever you’re choosing. Totally. , but there’s culpability, responsibility. Yeah. As soon as you’ve confirmed it. Yeah. And now you have to take action. Yeah. So more so than time, I think time is often used as the excuse. Yeah. For really the, the fear of damn. I, I know we have this issue, but if I’m not looking at it, then maybe it, maybe it will just sort of go away.

Paula: It’ll solve itself. , Yeah. Somebody will figure it out and it won’t be me and I won’t get yelled at . Oh My goodness. It’s like the, almost the opposite of loyalty, when I think about, you know, how upset I’ve been, uh, you know, recently I think I told you all fair about a particular issue that I had and I was so angry, you know, genuinely, disturbed and distressed and really, you know, I will be, you know, , blacklisting and badmouthing that brand, but not on the show. I won’t do it here, but, um, it’s unfortunate because I loved them, um, and I was a very loyal customer before. But anyway, unfortunately the best of us get things wrong. But listen, there was another really nice idea on your LinkedIn, Anita, and it was a book actually you recommended.

And I, I just would love to hear, uh, this philosophy of the Giftology book, because this sounds like something for sure that, you know, aligns with my philosophy. Again, I’m a, I guess, a B2B marketer like yourself. Tell us about the Giftology book and, and how you apply it, I guess, in your business.

Anita: Oh, I just, I love it.

So Giftology is a concept, john Ruhlin is his name. He, he came up with it. So this is a lot of, uh, B2C and B2B, um, and he works with really big companies doing this. Now, this is not for all of your customers, it is for your, top 10%. Okay. Maybe your top 20. Okay. And these are now because you want to reward them. Mm-hmm. , you know, in many ways and show how not, I don’t, reward is not the right word. Mm. Um, you, you actually wanna really acknowledge, uh, with gratitude. Yeah. That, that they’ve reached this certain point, mm-hmm. , um, that they are so different from the other 80, 90%. Yeah. So it is finding gifts, they are not branded.

Okay. They’re very personal to the individual. Okay. And it is all about them. Do you hear the theme, just like Kajabi, Kajabi made everything about me and my success? Yeah. It is the exact same with Giftology, and it is to really strengthen those relationships. And, um, they call them artifacts, the gifts that you give.

So no food, no alcohol, no branding, and you also gift not just to the person, um, perhaps that you know, is in the account, but to also the people around them. Okay. Assistance. Mm-hmm. , maybe their family. Mm-hmm. , it is a really different way to do, to do things. But the relationship that you’re building, that loyalty, even if they stop being a customer, much like I am with Kajabi.

Yeah. They will continue to advocate because the feeling that they have is so immense because you went above and beyond. Yeah. Everybody at Christmas gets all of those gift back, like how many companies have meeting rooms where literally the, there’s an entire table just like piled with chocolates and whatever, like everything, food, and, and you name it. Well, Giftology wants you to be sending that in July.

Paula: Okay. Unexpected.

Anita: Unexpected because what is unexpected often a very positive thing, especially when it’s all about them. Mm. So, yeah, go ahead. Go ahead Paula.

Paula: Yeah, no, what you’re, I was trying to kind of, again, kind of think of thinking about the audience.

Like we, we use the word rewards and we build and invest, you know, loyalty program. Are all about, you know, earn and burn, . But the difference I think is, is you are talking about what we would call surprise and delight. Um, Yes. Which is where you’re taking the, um, initiative, um, perhaps even before they’ve, they’ve earned it.

And for example, I remember when I worked in British Airways, there was a genius piece of research and insight that came through when, um, you know, when people join an airline loyalty program, everyone starts the same. You start in blue, then you go to silver, gold and maybe up to, to platinum. But what British Airways had identified, and I thought this was incredible, but they called them The Rocket Blues.

And it was basically where they could identify the behavior, where these, where maybe somebody who’s just got a new job, they’re gonna be traveling super frequently. So actually these are going to get to the top tier, but they haven’t earned it yet. So, This is the perfect kind of segment that I think you can kind of go, Let’s go now.

Give this guy a reward and give this girl a reward, because already we know she’s gonna be super valuable and let’s just kind of build it in. Like let’s, let’s not make her weight . You know? It’s a surprise and a delight piece, you know.

Anita: Absolutely. And the other thing is, is that recognition like surprising someone like those, especially if it’s really personal to them or really tied to them, they probably, if they’re doing this, just got a new job.

Right, Exactly. Yeah. So it’s a perfect time because we remember those really heightened emotions, those experiences. And so to tie, uh, a loyalty, uh, gift or, or, or reward to that time and marry those two together, guess what will always stick. Not only did I get a new job and I started traveling, but British Airways also did this, like they are coupled together. Yeah. And those memories really stick. Yeah. Like with Kijabi, that was my first big course I was releasing for, um, my company at that time. Mm-hmm. That’s why it was so memorable. It’s because the two came together, their support of me, plus I was doing something that at the time felt so big. So I remembered it. Yeah. But then you can ask me about some other software that I’ve used that I’m like, I don’t even remember that I bought it. .

Totally. And It could have been for a big event too, but I just, it wasn’t, It’s caught to be very close together, right?

Paula: And, and it’s that individual, you know, the relevance, we talk about personalization a lot and again, I know it’s easier to justify in B2B, but you know, the software does exist now to personalize at scale.

You know, with the example of my rocket blues for example, where you can definitely take action on that. Um, and again, I suppose just make that person feel, oh, actually the brand is behaving to me in a very loyal way. Yeah. And to go back to your point, you’ve made a few times, Anita. We’re all human beings, and if you feel that a brand is being loyal to you, guaranteed, you’re automatically gonna default to that airline or that software, whatever, whenever you need to to invest in that particular kind of idea.

So yeah, I think it’s a great principle. This. You know, whole philosophy. It’s something that I think I’m hearing a lot coming through and I’m sure you are as well, where in the past our loyalty programs, they talked about, you know, people being loyal to the brand and then we changed their behavior and all of those kind of things.

But actually mm-hmm. , Yeah. Maybe, I dunno, a bit of the pandemic coming through in terms of helping us all re-evaluate, who we wanna do business with. I do think that brands have this responsibility actually to demonstrate loyalty. Um, you know, put their hand up a bit like your dating analogy or your, uh, romantic analogy earlier, , you know, you’ve gotta be kind of romantic and ask them out on the date.

And actually assume that this is gonna go somewhere in order for it to translate into most of the journey, cuz I think you took the analogy or the metaphor, dunno the correct term, but all the way up to divorce, which is obviously the churn piece, so.

Anita: Right, right. And, and I really like that Paula, that if a company shows me first, that they are interested in me.

Yeah. That’s for reciprocity. Then I’m, I’m more likely to be loyal to them. Um, but if, if I have to wait till I get to a certain level, yeah, before I see then I’ve had to, again, that cognitive load and all of that, I’ve had to work for it. I’ve had to work to be rewarded. Well, wait a minute, . Yeah. I’m the customer.

Isn’t that a big enough step?. Isn’t that I chose your brand, your company, over all of your competitors? Yeah. That should be my reward, right from day one. Kajabi did that with me. My, I sound like honestly they maybe reach out, but, totally we need to get them on the show. They really made me feel the second I became a customer that I was wanted, I was valued.

And they also, really acknowledged that it’s not just a simple choice. I have to stand in an aisle perhaps at a grocery store, and look at all of these different brands and make that choice. I am spending time, I’m comparing, there is a cognitive load. There is that, you know, um, time piece to it. Totally. I should be rewarded just because I became your customer.

Paula: Totally, totally.

Anita: Bring that right at that moment and start developing that, you know, that’s that, oh, kiss on the first date sort of thing, you know, take, take the chance and it may not work for all, you know, for all customers, but if it works for enough of them and starts that relationship off, right. We know the customer lifetime value, the, the higher it is, yeah, the better it is for the company.

And I will argue also for the customer.

Paula: Oh, for sure. Yeah. And who isn’t flattered, you know, from attention and you know this, this knowing that you are wanted again personally or professionally, there is that direct feeling. And I guess my final question then is, You do really seem to have a great understanding of human emotions, the psyche and the psychological part of loyalty, um, and retention of course in terms of your, your crushing of churn.

So where did the insights and the training come from with all of these insights?

Anita: Oh, I lived in a university for 20 years. . Okay. I did, I did. Um, I, it was a layoff actually that pushed me, pushed me out. I, I love, um, Academia. I love the academic setting. So it was in, um, qualitative research institute. I worked there for 14 years.

And then I have, uh, my bachelor and master’s degree, couple all those together. And there’s 20 years of hanging out in higher education. And that’s where I learned, um, especially because we were doing qualitative research. You’re looking for these, these things, right? You’re looking for the emotions. You’re looking how people make decisions.

You’re looking at, you know, what makes them happy, what makes them unhappy like you. That’s really, where you get the data that then you can go and implement and make changes to, to make their experience better. Like my, my ultimate mission is to make the customers experience better. Full stop. You make the customer experience better, you’re gonna make employee experience better, and your bottom line will be improve.

Totally. But there has to be the focus on that customer first. Mm-hmm. . Totally. And we, we do, we really miss that. So yeah, it was hard getting, you know, pushed out of that environment, but I ended, and I, you know, I wasn’t too thrilled about it. However, I’ve taken that lemon and sweetened it up, made lemonade, and then now bringing all that knowledge in and the skill set of, you know, using these research method.

In that setting. Yeah. Into the business world and to me, like I feel blessed mm-hmm. to be, you know, have B2B SaaS, a perfect place for me to come and share this experience with people. Yeah. And say, you know, we all hear that we sell to people, but until you continue to talk to your customers. You do forget.

Totally. It gets so easy to be caught up in strategy and metrics and forget that those strategy and metrics affect individual people. Yeah. But by listening tours, through those interviews, through these different methods, you end up constantly bringing yourself back that these are real people that, yeah, we are talking about who have real feelings and they are experiencing things.

How can we even go from, 10 seconds to a checkout, down to two seconds to make their experience better. Even something as small as that. Yeah, it really does make an make a big difference.

Paula: Yeah. Well, as reluctantly as you may have entered the private sector and business, Anita, you seem to be thriving, so.

Anita: I love it now.

I love it. They couldn’t pay me enough to go go back to the university.

Paula: Oh, brilliant. So listen, that’s all my questions, Anita. Is there anything else, and obviously we would make sure to link to everything in the show notes, uh, your LinkedIn profile and all of that. But is there any other final comments you want to say and please do tell us as well where we can find you.

Anita: Okay. So my second favorite place to hang out online besides Netflix is LinkedIn. Okay, so. Cool. It, you can find me over there. Please do like DM me, reach out, connect. Uh, you can send a little message and say you, you heard me here on, uh, uh, Paula’s podcast. I would love to connect and, and talk further about this stuff.

As you can hear, like I, like my hands are sweaty through this conversation. I’m so excited. I just love it. I think there’s just so much opportunity. Um, I think the biggest thing that I can leave you all with is, You know, we’re all sometimes a little scared to try something new. Mm-hmm. a listening tour, customer interviews, focus groups, all of those, because it really, really is about human to human interaction.

Yeah. And that can be really tough. Mm-hmm. . And I just wanna acknowledge that, that if you’re feeling resistance, that’s, totally normal. Okay. But just push yourself. If you’re in that C-suite, you’ve already pushed through many uncomfortable things to be there. Yeah. I just ask that you push just a little more here.

Mm. And you’re gonna find, Yep. People who are upset, people who are angry. You’re also gonna be very pleasantly surprised. Yeah. And some of the really good things your customers have to say that you have never heard before. And that’s really, if I, if you can hold on to anything from this whole conversation mm-hmm.

it’s that you’re also going to be very pleasantly surprised. So take the risk. push yourself just a little further , and just see what happens.

Paula: Perfect. On that note, I’m going to say, Anita Toth, Chief Churn Crusher. Thank you so much. From Let’s Talk Loyalty.

Anita: I love it. I love it. Thanks so much, Paula. Take care.

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