Carolyn Kiel, Host of Beyond 6 Seconds, features extraordinary stories from everyday people (new entrepreneurs, community volunteers & tech innovators, leaders +) and their triumphs & struggles. I’m honored to have been part of her podcast show and encourage DoingCXRight readers to listen to
my episode along with other inspirational speakers. During the interview, we discuss several topics including (1.) What inspired me to start DoingCXRight in 2017, and advice for others who are passionate about a topic, yet don’t know how to get started. (2.) How I balance work, family, friends, blogging, and life by being intentional about time management. (3.) How writing with authenticity has built my credibility as a blogger and woman in Corporate America. (4.) How I use feedback from my readers to refine the themes I write about. (5.) The types of networking, speaking and mentoring opportunities that opened up for me, and allows me to support others’ careers (especially women.)
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*All views expressed are Stacy’s & do not reflect opinions of or imply endorsement of employers or other organizations.
CAROLYN: Welcome to Beyond 6 Seconds, the podcast that goes beyond the six-second first impression to share the extraordinary stories and achievements of everyday people. I’m your host Carolyn Kiel.
On today’s episode, I’m speaking with Stacy Sherman. Stacy combines marketing know-how with a passion for Customer Experience. Having worked on the client-side and in agency environments, she has led projects for reputable brands including Verizon Wireless, Martha Stewart Crafts, ADP, and AT&T. Currently, she is the Director of Customer Experience (CX) at Schindler Elevator Corporation.
Stacy uses her expertise in developing and launching CX programs and Voice of Customer initiatives to maximize conversions through proven optimization techniques. Stacy’s CX areas of expertise include CX within new product development to ensure products launch with the highest probability of success; CX within specific channels (eCommerce/digital) and offline retail; and also CX within a sales organization driving employee engagement and a customer-centric culture.
Stacy lives and breathes CX. When she’s not at her day job, she shares her voice and passion at events, on podcasts, in industry articles and on her DoingCXRight blog, which provides mentorship and knowledge sharing with CX professionals looking to differentiate their companies and personal brand. Stacy, welcome to the podcast!
STACY: Thank you very much.
CAROLYN: So how did you get the inspiration to start your blog about customer experience?
STACY: Yeah, so first of all, I love networking and I love learning from people. I also enjoy sharing my experiences to help others too. And while I was doing that on a local area, I aspired to reach a much larger audience to share my passion for leveraging customer experience as a brand differentiator and building personal skills to be an effective leader in the CX field. And I knew what I needed to do to achieve my goals, which was leveraging the Internet, but I hemmed and hawed for a very long time, and not until 2017 did I decide to just follow Nike’s advice and “just do it.” And I made my vision become a reality and launched DoingCXRight which has continued to evolve ever since.
CAROLYN: Wow, that’s really cool! So once you actually had the idea to start a blog and decided to “just do it,” what did you do to get started?
STACY: Yeah I got started somewhat randomly. I should say it was, it was top of my mind, but the start date was random. I was introduced to a very smart woman, Liliana Petrova, who worked at JetBlue at the time doing similar work as I was at Verizon Wireless. And we would speak for hours and hours over the phone as we shared CX in common, but ironically what connected us was our differences, as we knew so much about CX but from different angles, having worked in different industries and coming from different cultures and different academic experiences.
Well to make a long story short, we decided to collaborate and write articles together, and I have to admit having a friend or even an acquaintance to jumpstart an idea like a blog is incredibly helpful and it reinforces what I’ve always believed which is, people come into our lives at the right time for the right reason and it’s, it’s really true.
CAROLYN: Yeah, that is an interesting bit of serendipity that you found each other at this one time and decided that you had enough of a connection and a good working relationship to start off a blog! How did you plan out your first few blog posts, like how did you even know what to start writing about?
STACY: Yeah, so what to write is not my problem. I have a list that is pages and pages long. What the challenge is: how to find the time to write. And so that’s really the struggle because I work full time, I’m a mom and I wear many different hats, and the key to balancing it all, I have to say, is being very organized, very focused and intentional on how I spend my time, and I can’t forget that having a very supportive family is extremely important because without their help I could never do it all.
With that said, one helpful habit that I’ve been doing a while is waking up early in the morning before emails and texts come in from family and friends and co-workers, and I found that I love the quiet time and noticed that I write my best articles as the sun rises. So to your question, the inspiration’s in my head. It’s just everywhere I go, I notice opportunities and examples to write about. But time is precious, and it’s very easy to say I have no time to do something. If you can figure out your passion and do something with it, then time spent becomes enjoyable and enhances your life, and for me, I’m living and breathing customer experience every day as a business leader and as a consumer, and it’s all connected, which makes blogging and mentoring so natural for me.
CAROLYN: That’s fantastic! You know, some of the other writers that I’ve spoken to as well talk about the importance of dedicating time to write and work on a side passion. So, yours is in the morning, which I think is a really creative time for a lot of people. I think that makes a lot of sense. what kind of things do you write on your blog?
STACY: I write a lot about practical how-to tips that I’ve gained over the years from on-the-job training and academic experiences (Read about my CX Certification). I like to share what good looks like having led CX at different size companies, without giving away any trade secrets. I typically focus on topics that apply to all industries and get inspiration for my articles as I travel through life. There’s so much to talk about!
CAROLYN: I see, yeah since you pretty much live and breathe CX throughout your life, I’d imagine there’s inspiration really everywhere in almost any interaction that you have throughout the day.
STACY: Absolutely, for sure.
CAROLYN: And how often do you post new content on the blog?
STACY: I would say once a week. I post a lot on social media because that’s very quick hits, but to sit down and write an article definitely takes a lot of thought power. So I would say 90 percent of the time I’m writing my own content and maybe 10 percent it’s an article I’ve read somewhere and then I’ll just share my thoughts on it. But I really, I try to really write my own content because I’m trying to have my own voice and share best practices for my own practical day-to-day doing CX and leadership. But yeah, it’s a lot of time.
CAROLYN: Oh yeah.
STACY: I love it.
CAROLYN: That’s awesome. So, tell me about the biggest challenge you faced in either launching or currently running your blog, and how do you address or overcome it?
STACY: I would say my biggest challenges are the same today as when I started DoingCXRight a few years ago. It has to do with the back end of the website. When a page doesn’t load or the site breaks in some way, it takes so much time to identify the issue and implement solutions. And I’m not technical, I don’t know coding nor do I want to learn it. So what I do when the issues occur is contact WordPress for help. It’s a huge pain point because there’s no customer service phone number to call, and the only way to get help is by paying for online chat support. I do it, but sometimes it helps and other times causes more frustration depending on who I’m chatting with. Fortunately, I found support from developers that I met from my prior job. I just recommend anyone who starts a blog to make friends with technical people. Find them and build your tribe because it’s hard if you’re not technical.
CAROLYN: Yeah I definitely feel your pain with that. I am just starting to build a new website for my podcast and I just worked with a developer but it’s not ready yet because it was, you know, the same as you said, just things breaking, things not quite working right, and then it is very time consuming, so I definitely agree to make friends who have that technical background. It makes it so much easier to have that support there to bring that to fruition. You’ve been working on the blog, you said, since 2017? Is that when you started?
CAROLYN: In that time, are there any memorable responses to posts that you’ve written or feedback you’ve gotten from your readers about the content on the blog that you’d like to share?
STACY: Yes definitely. The greatest compliments I continue to receive is that I write with authenticity. I keep it real. And I appreciate that feedback so much because I am the same person at work and at home. People pick up on that and view me as a credible source. I believe that’s the basis of my success as a blogger and a woman in corporate America too.
CAROLYN: Yeah, I think the best writing really has that voice of authenticity because it helps people connect to their experiences. So that’s wonderful that you’ve gotten that feedback. Very very cool. You mentioned a little earlier that your blog has continued to evolve since you started it about two years ago or so. How has your blog evolved over time?
STACY: Yeah. It’s changed a lot; my writing style and also what I share. Originally I wrote about random topics guessing what people wanted to learn about CX. As I gained an audience and followers, I got better at understanding what my audience cares about and narrowed my themes. For example, people want to know: how exactly to measure customer experience? How to collect voice of customer feedback, and when you have it, how do you close the loop effectively? Additional topics include: how to engage employees to deliver customer excellence, why create personas and journey maps, and how to get started? I’m focussing articles to answer these questions and more. My blog also changed because technology and CX tools continue to evolve. And given that I’m a CX strategist and practitioner, people turn to me to stay informed on what they can do to elevate their practice and careers.
CAROLYN: Wow, that is great! And you mentioned that you are now starting to write things based on what people are telling you that they want to learn about. How do your readers tell you? Do they literally e-mail you and tell you? Do they leave comments? Like, how do you have that communication back and forth with your readers and your followers?
STACY: Yes, all the above. They read my articles and connect with me on social media. Most commonly, people send me questions and comments through my website contact form. A lot of times that conversation will continue online as well as offline. So, it’s a variety of ways. I find “live” conversations to be most valuable through skype and in-person meetings. In general, my blog has been the vehicle to connect, of which many are like-minded people I would never have met otherwise. DoingCXRight is a blessing.
CAROLYN: That’s so cool that it’s actually creating those connections for you and probably opening up a lot of different new opportunities for you to do things and learn things! What kind of opportunities has your blog opened up for you?
STACY: Oh yes you’re exactly right. There are opportunities I never could have imagined. First of all, famous CX authors and speakers who I truly admire have featured me on social media and on their websites and contributed content to my site, including Shep Hyken, Annette Franz, Stan Phelps, and others (see my podcast episodes).
I’ve also had opportunities to speak at large events, enabling me to teach and inspire diverse audiences. It’s so interesting when I think about it because I used to be afraid of public speaking. Now, I love it. It’s amazing to think that my blog started out as a place to simply express my thoughts, and it turned into something much more. It accelerated my confidence and has driven me to leave my comfort zone. On that note, I want to highlight that my career has grown in the business world, particularly as a woman leader. Women starting out in the workplace or trying to elevate their career to the next level continue to contact me. It’s truly rewarding. Even my employer, Schindler Elevator Corporation, recently interviewed me and shared my advice on social media to help elevate other women, reiterating the importance of self-advocacy. Even today talking to you on this podcast, it’s an opportunity that came unexpectedly. So I’m really grateful for all of this and the things that I don’t even know about yet to come.
CAROLYN: That’s fantastic! We both know having worked in digital marketing how powerful it is to create and curate your own content and how over time, it helps establish you as a thought leader and an expert, and people start going to you, and it sounds like that’s exactly what’s been happening since you started your blog. That’s really awesome.
STACY: Yes. And, what you just said about thought leadership…that is my intention and purpose every day. It’s why DoingCXRight launched. I’m passionate about it, so I’m glad it’s coming through.
CAROLYN: Yeah it definitely is. What have you learned from your blogging so far?
STACY: So much. I’ve learned the meaning of taking chances and not being fearful if it doesn’t work out. I’ve learned to shove fear and negative thoughts away. If I had not done that, DoingCXRight would never exist. It’s so much easier to do nothing than put yourself out there for possible ridicule. It’s easier to not share my voice in fear that no one will care or read my articles, but I took the non-easy path. I said to myself in 2017 that the worst that happens is I learn something even if it’s what not to do. And I trusted certain people, like Richard Branson, who says that “when opportunities arise and you’re not sure you could do it, say yes, then learn and figure it out.” It is the best advice, with the understanding that success comes with a lot of hard work, time and commitment to figuring it out. When you love doing something that you’re passionate about, it becomes part of your routine and not work. It pure fun.
CAROLYN: Yeah definitely. And I think a lot of people can really relate to, you know, having an idea that they’re really passionate about, but they’re nervous to get started for all those reasons that you mentioned: the fear of no one reading it or getting rejected or just not being able to make an impact or not getting it perfectly. But you know, I think it’s just important to just start and know that you can continue to change and improve and adjust things. And I guess one of the cool things about starting out when no one has really discovered you yet is that you have that time to experiment and try new things without a lot of eyes on you, so that when you finally figure out what actually works and connects with people, you can continue to build your audience from there.
STACY: Yeah definitely. In fact, I’d make myself laugh sometimes when I read my first articles. I’m my worst critic and have grown a lot as a person and writer. We all learn by doing something over and over again. Practice makes perfect.
CAROLYN: Yeah exactly. Oh so, you know, you’ve been running your blog for about almost two years. What are your goals for your blog going forward?
STACY: Yeah it’s a great question. I am still figuring out my future strategy. I believe strongly in a crawl, walk, run approach and starting a blog was the crawl phase. Now I’m thinking a lot about how do I reach even more people in a scalable way with limited time. I have a lot of ideas for 2020 and beyond. Maybe I will write a book. Perhaps I’ll teach a night class as I’ve been offered by universities, and of course, I’ll continue to mentor people. I love advising and coaching, especially working parents. I have so much to offer them as I am a working mom and know what it means to balance and be successful doing it all. But to your question, there’s an endless opportunity. I’m simply allowing life to guide me on my course organically and see where it goes.
CAROLYN: That’s fantastic. And now you’ve got a large body of content and writings that you have, so I could see the blog developing and feeding into all those different new kinds of projects that you mentioned, like classes and books, because you’ve already got that great start underneath you, so that is awesome. Super!
CAROLYN: How can people get in touch with you if they want to learn more about your blog or about customer experience in general?
STACY: The best way to reach me is by email, which is DoingCXRight@gmail.com. And if you want to learn about customer experience to increase your own skills and/or to transform your organization, subscribe to my blog, read my articles, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. I share actionable tips daily.
CAROLYN: Awesome. So I’ll put a link to your blog and to your social accounts in the show notes of the podcast so that people can find it there too.
STACY: Oh good. Thank you.
CAROLYN: Stacy, thank you so much for coming on my podcast and sharing the story of your blog, DoingCXRight, and all of the behind-the-scenes of what it really took to get it to grow and to create new opportunities for you. As we close out, is there anything else that you’d like our listeners to know, or anything else that they can help or support you with?
STACY: Thank you for that. Yes. Learn about customer experience. Get educated. It’s a growing, booming field. Almost all top brands are hiring experts. Universities are creating new classes and degrees focused on CX, and at minimum, get certified. I can tell you a lot more about this having gone through it myself. CX is a growing field. Also, network with purpose as that’s helped me a lot. And as far as anything people can do to support me, I’d say again, join the conversations, and let’s collaborate and discuss best practices, especially for women listening right now. Let’s support one another more than ever before. I’m passionate about creating a place where the next generation of women like my daughter reach higher levels of management because they’re valued like any other human being. I’ve seen progress over recent years, but we still have a long way to go. I care about all of this. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express and share my personal views today. I’m grateful for you and those listening to this podcast.
CAROLYN: Absolutely. Thanks, Stacy, I really appreciate that.
Thanks for listening to Beyond 6 Seconds. Please help us spread the word about this podcast: share it with a friend, give us a shout out on your social media or write a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast player. You can find all of our episodes on our website, http://www.beyond6seconds.com . Until next time!