Welcome to the DNA and experience podcast from Cloud Up where we discuss how and why creating experience is so important in the psychology behind what makes an experience so great. Thanks for joining us. All right. Good morning, everyone. I am excited to have Nicole with me today. Nicole and I have been connected for so long on mostly Twitter. It’s expanded over the last six months year. So um, worked on a few things when she was at dribble. And Nicole has a lot of wealth of knowledge from her time at dribble and yelp and lots of other really well recognized companies in her work with marketing. And so I’m excited to have her on today to really talk about experience and kind of the future of the modern workplace content marketing wherever we kind of go down. Um, but I wanted to give her a chance to introduce herself and kind of go through her background and, um, what she’s, you know, most passion about other things. And then, uh, you know, I was at Disney with my family last week and she’s going for vacation next week, so we will. We’ll go in on some Disney stuff. Well,
yeah. Pray, pray for us. Thank you. I appreciate the kind intro. Yes, I am Nicole. War shower and my backgrounds Pretty varied. And I like to say that I play at the fun intersection of marketing, communications and community. Um, as Joe mentioned, I’ve built in lead remote teams at the likes of dribble and quite a long time at Yelp. And I think my kind of strategic point is that I really pride myself in jumping into the community and connecting with the customer right away is fast as I can. Um, and I have two Children as his Joe mentioned with the Disney note and also a gem. And I I can’t handle caffeine, and I love brownies. So nice cover the full gamut alone. I’m going. Yeah, that’s it. I’m impressed. So way got a drilling on the caffeine being I can’t handle managing my job and my kids without a little bit of caffeine. Yeah, No, go there. There’s a lot of people for the story, but years and years ago I gave up caffeine. I like for fun, which was I don’t know why I was probably smart at the time. And ever since then, if I have any caffeine anytime, like after maybe like 11 a.m. I will be up till about 4 a.m. And, um So it’s great if I have, like, a teeny bit, because then I feel like an absolute superhero, notably deficient, like put me next to, like, a campaign or something Thio, you know, pull together and I’m a mastermind. So if I use it very sparingly, it’s really effective. But if my decaf get swapped with a caffeinated coffee like I am shaking like mess, you don’t want that e love it alone.
So you know, we live in a world full of distraction. You’ve led lots of different content teams and kind of trying to help brands break through the noise. Uh, what it were some kind of tips and tricks on how you feel about that.
I think the 1st 1 I’d like to always share with whether it’s a team or even on a consulting project, is like tell me about your customer. Do you know your customer? And you know what are you trying to solve? What pain point can you alleviate for them? So you know everything’s a distraction, right, whether it’s social or whether it’s your family, your Children, you know a project that you’re working on. So if you can distill it down to knowing your customer knowing their problem and solve it, that’s really sticky. That’ll give you that longevity to create an experience that matters for me. The brands that stand out, how that clear, consistent message and how they’re gonna fix those problems for their core. You know, consumer and I think it’s really important also to know that you know, all customers are users. But not all users are customers, right? It’s someone who you know, you know their issues, you know how to solve them, and you want to make that. It’s seamless as possible. So just because it’s not a crazy experience doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable one for your customer.
I love I love the road that this question takes us down and feel like it’s different with with different people. And I like that you went down kind of the customer customer feedback loop almost and how important it is to really be connected and really understand. Uh, how you did be enabling your customer to use your know if you’re using a product, how they better in that type thing? So what is kind of the core or DNA of a good customer experience there? And if you’re really trying to focus on that loop and making sure you’re listening and providing a good experience, what is kind at the root of that,
The route to me of like a really good experience is kind of framing it out from start to finish. I think there’s a lot of brands that do this well, but also a lot that don’t, um, where you know, you have an amazing product. Do you have a really cool brand you like? Here you go, customer. Here is everything for you. What? You don’t lead them down That experience. You don’t show them how to use your product or your service. No examples. You don’t give great testimonials. And I’m not just saying that, you know, said Brand. Don’t have those pieces somewhere on their site. But that whole loop, that whole cycle has to be seamless. It has to be clear. And so that’s where I spent a lot of time playing with content to make sure that the customer, the consumer, the user, your target, if you will feels really welcomed, feels like they’re part of a community and that they know how to best. You know, use those pieces of your product or service that they feel that they’re being heard. You can anticipate their needs and what they’re looking to do or to solve that problem that they have.
Yeah, I think that makes sense. You you can have this, you know, like beautiful, top of funnel or awareness stage of the journey that you’re really driving business, too. But then, if they land on your site and if they don’t know you are, If you’re a smaller brand and you don’t quickly show them or bring them to value, it’s it’s basically just a bounce. Hey, what’s that right?
So sickly at another piece, I think is really valuable. To least consider is the after process. So the after they purchased it, or they’ve gotten to know that connected or given you their email. That’s currency right after they’ve done that. Then what? Um, sending them just a female of like, Hey, thanks for cropping. Thanks for that’s not enough. Um, I’m not saying you two go bombard them with 96,000 emails each. But think about that customer in terms of they just spent time or money or knowledge on your site. How can you give them over of that? How can you level them up? So if they went with your initial plan? Great, Cool. You get X amount for a month or week or whatever it is. But how can you bring them through that funnel of making them an ecstatic consumer? Not just someone who’s like, Oh, I got this thing from this place one time and it was fine. You want them to be part of that community? If you’ve got content pieces, can you deliver those to them? Um, if there’s a referral network and you deliver that and so making it a process where they feel involved on that their feedback is valid and value is hypercritical in my eyes.
Yeah, that’s a really good point. And it really kind of helps you enable your community. You know, that’s one thing that I think both dribble and yeah, yelp have done. You know, excellent job doing is creating this community of no yelps currency is free reviews. How are they, like, how did they get, you know, this massive community and then dribble, you know, is on the design side. And how did they kind of build that mass community? Well, I think it’s, you know, they put a focus on things you’re talking about.
Yeah, even to the to the content piece to that element as well as you know, when I was at dribble kind of figuring out the content side of it of who we want to highlight in the stories we want to tell, Um, you know, I don’t want to hit people over the head with a product like, That’s not what it’s there for. It’s there, too. Lift them up in ST, you know, true to the mission and making sure that we are supporting designers in every way in shape we can whether it’s leveling up their skill, um, or showcasing their talents or just out offering inspiration. And you can take that to yelp as well as you said, like reviews air free and everyone uses them. I use them all the time and that community aspect of I know Joan, he look, he knows sushi, you know, in Park City, and so, like, I’m gonna rely on him. But also, it’s the great way to experience local business. And so that feedback loop, even if you’re not reviewing, is so huge to to a local business to kind of take their their brand recognition and their connection to the community to that next level.
Definitely, if we look at it, kind of like how content has evolved. You know, one of my favorite things is is looking at, like, go back on your Facebook feed if you still have Facebook. And my my first post was maybe, like, 2006 or 2007 like I’ve recently been married and it was basically, like high school reunion, almost like it was reconnecting with friends I hadn’t seen in five or 10 years and like it was very conversational is like Joe to X person. A great to see you, You know, that type of thing. And now you look at it and it’s visuals and video, and obviously Facebook is doubled down on visuals with instagram and brands, you know are putting all visuals and video. How do you think those can kind of, uh, helping experience on and really kind of tie you to your brand with with where we’re at with content.
I think it’s don’t say it’s the only way to go, but it’s the only smart way to go in terms of visuals. You can pull stats from, you know, here to wherever but like video and visuals are, you know it gets the best engagement for any type of social post, for sure. But like beyond, like cliques and recognition and all that stuff, it’s just intelligent and smart to do it for your consumer and for your brand, as we were talking about earlier. Showing someone how to use something is amazing and like that should be integral in everything you do, whether it’s a campaign or whether it’s a product or service. Um, I, you know, they’re not hanging out with your customers are hang out. Deb team like picking out. But like so, what may seem intuitive to a product team or to an engineering team, or even to Occam’s team is not necessarily intuitive, too. You know, Jane down the street, who wants to buy a new look loss, so I think it’s taking a step back and saying, What type of visuals do I need to lead that customer down that path? And it’s not just you and us, but it’s also after you’ve done all the work. If you’re not seeing that conversion, what’s missing here? And maybe it is adding more visuals to lead them down. That passed.
They feel that they’re connected, that you’re really considering their experience now, one of the biggest like use cases we’ve seen a cloud app is people using the cloudapp screen recorder to record how to videos and, uh, recently, like I had John Knightley for Simo Blue Jeans on, um, a couple weeks ago, and he talked about how they used cloud up to kind of record videos. And then that was a part of, like their product launch. Yeah, used that collateral, and it was like, Hey, here’s this cool new feature and here’s also how to use it on Dhe. That’s kind of you know, it goes back to What we first talked about is unquestioned kind of the second question, which is, You know, you’re instantly enabling people to use that new feature and see the benefit versus like just what is going on The PR aspect.
You hope for the best way. We did a lot of that at Yelp. I think, you know, on the mobile side, the album is so powerful, there’s so much that you can access, you know, with your fingertips. But it also can get really crowded because you can access so much. And so there would be a lot of kind of sharing on the community side, you know? Oh, there’s this new feature, like, New for you. How do I find that? Where is it? Um, And so instead of doing like a big blog post But all the things that you could do, like sometimes it just takes a little bit of a nudge like, Hey, did you know that this there’s this new cool thing? Here’s how you access that. Here’s how using Here’s how I found the amazing Thai Place down the street or for dribble we did. Quite a bit of that. in terms of, you know, sharing fresh new features because guess what? Like most people have lives like that. They’re not like waiting for you to release the next feature. Cool. Yeah. Cool like it’s, you know, and the next. And so it has to be really, really compelling a really life changing for them to dig in and spend five minutes trying to figure out that feature on. Most people will just leave if it’s taking them that long. So if you’re finding that you’re getting that block or that obstacle on the way of someone you know, exploring something or using a new feature, new service or product or whatever it is, um, you know you can kind of have a stop gap with some visuals and explain that you know, don’t just tell them. Show them you can do through social or if you’re content. Um, and I think 11 other element that’s interesting to explore is how people use your product, how it wasn’t intended and that could be shared through visuals as well. So I’m not saying to hack something that way, but kind of, um and that’s a really cool way to explore those new avenues and then share back with your team or your engineering team. You’re Deb, Tina, say, like actually it was made this way, but the community found this other way to use it and like, look at what they’re doing. Like That’s incredible. That’s it. That’s a new potential revenue stream for you.
Yeah, that’s a really good point. Um, and I think, Yes, it’s kind of Ah, you nailed it with, Like, visual. How they’re kind of part of every piece of the journey, like even even blogged posts. Now you know what kind of best practices to have, uh, you know, image every I don’t know, paragraph repair, effort to get somebody with a number. That is because it’s just it’s, like, massive, Wouldn’t you know? It’s It’s a really delicate balance, right? You don’t wanna go too far in one direction, but people like to look at things. So it’s It’s especially when it’s not just a gorgeous stock photo, which listen, I love gorgeous dot com, But if it’s an explanatory piece that looks great and it’s designed with, like some good intently, that’s that’s pretty powerful. So what is? I always like to ask, what is a recent experience, you know, outside of work, probably not Amazon, because everybody loves Amazon. Um, but what’s the recent experience you’ve had with retail travel? Yeah, anything that you can kind of think of top of mind that a company provided for you.
It’s kind of kind of a little bit work related, but not really. Um, so I use 1/3 party email platform called Mix Max. Okay, It’s great for, like, template sizing things, sharing with teams. It does email tracking for opens and things like that. It’s a little feels a little voyeuristic, but I would never, you know, go that far. But it’s really helpful to set reminders and remind me to follow up with things on Biff. I’m doing a lot of freelance projects. It’s really helpful for me to stay on top of all of those pieces. And I was experiencing this really odd duplication the other day where anything I was sending it was doubling the content of my e mails like Precisely which made me look nutty. Um, yeah, it happened a couple times, and I sent a note to their their customer success. Tina, I was like, Hey, like something funky is going on. I was tracking my settings. Everything looked normal. I’ve used their product for a couple of years now, as I said, it really like it and they got back to me within a couple hours and said like Hey, like, you know, send us a screenshot, we wanna be able to investigate it for you and take a look. They solve my problem, Joe, within, like, an hour after that second email, Okay? Sent us this code, you know, refresh. Let’s take a look. And it was fixed. Could have been a fluke, but regardless, I had, like, maybe six or seven test emails. That was it was still there a ring before they push that fixed. So whatever they did or whatever they didn’t do made it made it work. But I guess the critical piece of this is that when they sent me that, like, do these three things visual, visual, visual visual, like, go here. Don’t just give me a long stream of, like, 16 things to find. Like, show me where, um, and they did an actual screen video to which was, like, I didn’t have to. It was super nice.
Yeah, I was that. I was, uh, so I was on a call with Web flow the other day and same type of thing, and they’re actually a customer of cloud app. So it’s kind of fun to like, see them using screenshots anger and screen recordings to close the ticket. Um, but yeah, I think to your point, like I wrote this in a post for Qualtrics a few weeks ago, that I have this experience with Patagonia, and, um, I had to return the shirt because I washed it the first time like you’re supposed to and it kind of like bled a little bit, but I have a decent experience along the whole path. But it was that customer support were like my wife was like, Oh, you know, I wonder if they’ll give you, like, friction to like return the shirt because you washed it might take the tag off and everything. And I was literally on the call for, like, 90 seconds. And they’re like, OK, the new shirts on the way. Um, there’s a UPS label put in the old shirt in Send it back, and it was just like you’re like, Wow, this. I mean, if you need for support like your loyal loyalty is just through the roof.
Yeah, I think customer support is like the unsung hero of all tech like all Cos to be honest, like a great customer support team with a really good excuse me messed messaging and ticketing system is magical. That was something that was really important on the durable side when I started, because it was it wasn’t framed out in a way that we could respond to the community. Now you’re not gonna respond to everybody. But on the social side, there wasn’t something that was in place to make sure that we were listening and having that feedback loop. So, um, that was like hyper critical to get that locked in right away. And, um, I said, even with, like, retail, if there’s a couple other companies like Chewy, for example, is unbelievable customer support like above and beyond that stuff. And then we talk about people aren’t loyal very much anymore to brands or companies. But man, like they get it right, they knocked it out of the park.
So with your kind of closing the loop on things, I want to actually shift a teeny bit because we didn’t go heavy in under remote work. But I think you have a lot of knowledge in that space. So tipping this conversation towards more remote with the last kind of question. What do you think is like the future of the modern workplace? You know, if we look, at cloud app has done a bunch of unique research and shown that, like, 57% of Gen z and millennials are working remotely the majority of the time. Uh, San Francisco’s really expensive, so people are living in different areas and, um, expanding your hiring pool, right? Where do you kind of see the future workplace heading?
I think the stats stats don’t lie. Um, And for me, I think there’s gonna be more remote. I think there’s gonna be more flexibility to work remote. And that could only happen if the tools like zoom like slack and everything else kind of keep up with the times. And there’s so many other tools that we kind of need or have or need to be combined, if you will, with remote at least my experience, like I can find all the tools I need. But it’s like a menu of things I have to keep open and use, which is nice, but it would be even better if there were kind of bucket id or pull together. I think remote only going to rise because people want to enjoy, enjoy their lives and commuting, frankly, is just like soul crushing. I did it for a while. I don’t wanna do it again. So I don’t think you’re gonna find too many people who who want to have that type of commune. And so if you want to find the talents and you do are especially here in a city that has, you know, those heavy commute times or this really expensive rents, what kind of commercial property costs it’s It’s just a smart way to go. Um, and I’ve found the best talent remotely, and I’m a huge proponent. I will sing its praises forever. I will say to I think in terms of changes for remote, we’re gonna have to get better remote managers and better amount leadership. I think that’s a skill that is really valuable. It’s also let’s really hard because you’re used to seeing your team helping them along their way. You know, being that kind of person, the office to walk by and can’t have that quick chat. You can certainly do that remotely, and I personally love it that way, but it requires even more person to person management. It requires you getting on a video call instead of just defaulting to the phone. It requires it having those conversations about their career trajectory more often because you’re not physically seeing them. Um, it’s kind of like that long distance relationship like it’s worth it if you if you put the work in. So I think, and the management leadership side, I think we need to see a lot more growth. There are a lot more tools and training some before we couldn’t really say like any company can be remote because it probably can’t. But the ones that are big enough, I think the leadership side has to catch up a little bit.
I really like that point. Um, yeah, man. Managing a remote team is definitely challenging. Um, but I I think it is. It is possible, like you said, and can be very rewarding.
Yeah, definitely. Can be.
Well, I, uh I have that soul crushing traffic and Disneyland way flew into Burbank, which is no one ever flying to Burbank. Everyone for l. A X is the best. Never flying a Burbank or Long Beach. Those were those were the hidden gems there, but, um, we flew in at 5 p.m. So we have that, like, two hours of traffic to get to Disney. Definitely. Soul crushing from the high of, like landing in California.
Yeah, you’re all excited, like, you know we’re here. Not you’re not there at all. Yeah,
No experience that. Think we don’t have it too much here in Utah, but I definitely experienced there. Well, the coal your legends. I hope you have something. And, uh, let’s definitely do this again soon.
I would love to. Joe, thanks so much for having me.
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