Nick Martin – Manager, Customer Experience – Quality, Training, and Development at Harry’s, Inc. [Customer Experience]
Nick kicks off the episode by talking about how he had to take a three-day winter survival course to get into high school, and then like every great CX leader, he brings the conversation back to feedback, coaching, effortless experience, and having Harry’s be as … forgetful as possible.
Nick Glimsdahl 0:03
Welcome to the press one for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Nick Martin. Nick is the manager of customer experience quality training and development at Harry’s. Nick, welcome to the press one for Nick podcast.
Nick Martin 0:17
Thanks so much for having me, Nick. And the interesting dilemma that I’m sure you’ve heard is, if they’re pressing one for Nick this time, which Nick? Are they going to get?
Nick Glimsdahl 0:24
Exactly? And the answer is yes. Both are amazing. So you just click on one, and you’ll be surprised, but you won’t be disappointed. So a question I ask everybody is maybe a little bit of nugget that people might not know about you or something neat that you’ve experienced? So that’s the question I’m going to ask you is what have you experienced in your life? Or what’s a talent that you have or something that people might not know about you?
Nick Martin 0:56
This is always an interesting question. For me. Harry’s has fun facts when we talk about new hires and everything. And one that I’ve used in the past that has, I guess, been interesting is that I grew up in the state of Maine, the greatest state, and in Maine, I took a winter survival course with a navy seal, from middle school into high school, which we were told we needed to take to get into high school, not sure if that’s true. But it was a three day winter survival course where we had to learn and then live in the winter in Maine, learn how to trap, learn how to set up shelter, learn how to tread water, with our clothes on for seven minutes, and all of those things. So that’s a pretty fascinating experience that most don’t have out there.
Nick Glimsdahl 1:41
Yeah, I don’t know of another person that I know of that said, Hey, to get into high school, you need to take a survival class. So my question to you is, who is the they told you that that you needed to do this?
Nick Martin 1:58
I’m not sure. But you know, I now currently live in New York City. So I don’t know if any of these skills are going to be put to use but you know, let’s pretend if there was a giant winter storm, I’m the person you’d look to
Nick Glimsdahl 2:11
write. Yeah, for anybody that lives in New York, go connect with Nick Martin right now on LinkedIn and find out how to be his friend because in the time of storm, you will need him. Winter is coming. Winter is coming. So for the people that don’t know, maybe explain a little bit about what you guys do at Harry’s.
Nick Martin 2:32
Yeah, Harry’s is a direct to consumer original brand. That is a men’s grooming company. And we’ve moved off. And we are available in retail. And our entire goal is just to make men’s grooming better for everyone out there. So most people will know that we started in shaving, but we’ve expanded from them. My favorite product right now is our body wash, actually. And I currently manage the quality training and development function for the customer experience team. I’ve done five different positions over six years in the CX operations, people management quality and a frontline associate. So it’s been a wild ride.
Nick Glimsdahl 3:15
So I guess the most important question based off of what you said is, is what is the scent of this favorite body wash?
Nick Martin 3:24
Oh, that’s the so my favorite scent is going to be fake. I will have to say the newest scent that we have red wood is getting close. But my favorite sand is fake. So if you’re out there, you’re at your Walmart, you’re at your target or you want to go to harrys.com and look for like the light red cap. The fake smell. It’s very Mediterranean coastline. I would I would suggest it they also have bar soap if you’re a bar soap person,
Nick Glimsdahl 3:53
huh? Yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s interesting. It’s not. And it’s unique. Because you would every time that I think of Harry’s, I don’t think of body wash. So it’s always good to kind of expand and say, hey, these guys have good products. Maybe I should try to find out and figure out what’s the next best product that you guys have. So go out there and take a peek. But, um, so you guys have a customer experience department, how many people are in your guys’s department?
Nick Martin 4:24
About 35 give or take at any moment in time, and that includes the management team.
Nick Glimsdahl 4:29
Okay. And you know, when it comes to the support, or what you guys are providing your your customers, you kind of have a concierge service. What does that look like?
Nick Martin 4:44
Great question. So from the beginning, we’ve wanted to create, like many companies when they started their customer experience, just a way to talk to your customers that felt special and individualized. So what we do is we proactively We prompt interaction to get input and feedback from our customers. So we can shape their experience. And by experience, I mean their customer experience, but also their, their customer journey and our product experience, their web experience and beyond. So we do a lot of proactive outreach from our cx team, and proactive conversations from end buyer, cx team, along the customer lifecycle that are pretty amazing insights into what we can provide for our customers. And we ask a lot of interesting questions. We get a lot of interesting insight, and then we build what customers say that that’s part of the beauty of being in such a tight relationship with your customers.
Nick Glimsdahl 5:45
Yeah. So you mentioned how you ask interesting questions, maybe explain and go into detail what those are.
Nick Martin 5:51
Yeah, well, I mean, we have some pretty great copywriters on our team. And I think, I think, you know, we’ll ask unique questions such as, hey, you know, what would you recommend for a product? Are you interested in any different scents or anything along those lines, but we also include something that’s, you know, inviting people ask us questions, including about shaving or life in general. And we get really interesting questions about life in general, it’s usually a fun time when our whole team will stop and say, Hey, someone just asked me this question that has something to do with life in general, does anyone have any couple seconds that we could brainstorm on really fun answered a really personalize this, there’s a surprising amount of dating questions that we get, which is interesting, I guess people are really in that, that dating, like mindset when they’re thinking about shaving or not shaving to get out for the night. So we incur a lot of first date questions, which is always cute and adorable. So
Nick Glimsdahl 6:51
that’s awesome. Is there? Any, you know, you mentioned life in general questions. So you don’t just your team doesn’t just say, hey, oh, yeah, you want the fig? bodywash? Yeah, you know, happy to do that. But you ask additional questions outside of those. So maybe those those life questions, what what are a few of those that, you know, people might not in customer service expect?
Nick Martin 7:21
Yeah, I think I mean, I think those are fairly rare. We open the door, and we ask them, I mean, customers are our transactional most of the time. But yeah, there’ll be questions that customers will ask about, you know, our favorite products that we’re excited to talk about, we will ask customers, their preference for the upcoming product, we have a lot of different requests. And, and one of the one of the more proud moments that I have, as a customer experience professional, is when I get the opportunity to come back to those individual customers from my team and say, Hey, you know, that you asked for body wash two years ago? Well, I’m excited to say that we listened Here it is. And here’s a here’s a free sample, or here’s a discount or, or let us know what you think that’s like a full circle moment. That doesn’t happen. If you’re not stressing and valuing your customer experience as much as you should be.
Nick Glimsdahl 8:21
Yeah. And how do you think that makes them feel?
Nick Martin 8:25
It’s those, that’s why I love it the most, because the responses that we get from those are pretty amazing. It makes you feel like, you know, you went down the street tier, your general store and like bought your normal Moxie soda to use a main reference. Just said hi and walked out. It’s that type of moment, but with a large or company online, so it’s truly a connection.
Nick Glimsdahl 8:54
It’s almost like, I guess my thought immediately went to the barbershop experience where you go and you’ve been going in your family prior has going in generation generations, and they know who Nick is. And so when you can develop that personalized experience, from a digital perspective, it’s not necessarily that barbershop experience, but in a way it is.
Nick Martin 9:20
Yep. Yeah. And it fits with our brand because in the values that we live, which is just, we are approachable, guys next door. And we and you know, not necessarily you know, the pinnacle of of some sports, you know, body figure or anything along those lines, but like we are the guys next door that are there and available to help you at any moment in time. And that fits really well. Yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 9:48
yeah, I am. I heard the other day somebody had a body for podcasting. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna use that one. You mentioned on our on our prior call that you spend some quality, some quality time coaching. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Nick Martin 10:09
Yeah, coaching is a significant emphasis that we have, specifically with our people management team. We lean heavily on this in training, onboarding and beyond. And so when I think about the development portion of the development program that I’m responsible for, I would split it into two real arms, which is a programmatic arm, which you can sort of think as your traditional skills based training or systems that you might use or are learning and development stipends or whatever it would be. But the other arm that we lean heavily into is coaching and equipping our direct people, managers with the tools, you know, the coaching tools, to empower and grow our associates within and beyond the role. And just as a note, when I, when I talk about beyond, I really do mean beyond, I’m thrilled to have previous cx associates that I’ve worked with, in the front line talking to customers that are now engineers on the Harry’s team, or on our recruiting team in the Harry’s team, or product managers or email marketers on the Harry’s team. And that is important to me, that growth, that career pathing is really important, because now it’s benefiting our customers still, but the whole company, the whole Harry’s org.
Nick Glimsdahl 11:34
Yeah, it’s really cool that you guys, when you’re developing, it’s not developing in that department, either. It’s saying, hey, you have the opportunity to grow with this organization as we grow in the department that you want. Yeah, yeah. So that’s really neat. Um, what does human first mentality mean to you,
Nick Martin 11:55
simply that we’re going to check in with the individual first before we check in with the work. So you know, one on one case, in a one on one setting, which is, you know, a weekly meeting that you might have with your direct. The first portion of that is, is checking in with individual. And I think that’s something that is become more important, when a lot of us right now are working remotely, and not having that water cooler moment. Or, you know, when you’re filling your cup of coffee in the morning, and you get to ask how was a weekend or whatever it is, and you’re just jumping directly into this virtual zoom meeting, or whatever it may be. And if you’re not approaching that with a human first mentality, then you’re missing a lot of the human connection and network that’s really important. So just like that human connection and network are important for the CX. It’s just as important for the E x. And we believe that a psychologically safe environment at work will provide a better outcome for customer experience.
Nick Glimsdahl 13:00
Yeah, the one thing that I heard there was you take the time that you schedule internally with meetings to have scheduled watercooler meetings? Yeah. Why is that important?
Nick Martin 13:17
I think that’s important, because I think what we saw originally, when we had meetings virtually, was that when everyone signed in, or one, one or two people signed in, it was quiet, or it was pretty stagnant until the meeting started, because it was just more difficult for that small talk. So there are agendas that I have with my team that will include on the agenda items that are, you know, warm up icebreakers, or literally, how was your weekend or anything that that really makes sure that you’re being intentional about those moments, not just to skip to work his work, because work is important, but it is not as important as every individual that is on your team? Yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 14:12
yeah. I think that’s such a really cool thing that you guys are doing. There’s, you know, there’s so many people that are working, sometimes more hours, because they’re working from home and don’t have that commute. And they’re trying to accomplish things and do more with less. And so if you can set that time apart and say, Hey, I know we’re scheduled for an hour, let’s schedule for an hour 10. And let’s talk for the first 10 minutes about you and they’re like, wait, what, like we’re not You mean, I get to settle down for a little bit and pump the brakes and actually talk for a minute like that differentiates you guys on that experience?
Nick Martin 14:46
Yeah, yeah. And it creates just an environment of the same environment that you had in person where it is a a safe or on the same team environment before we go into what happens. Our bodies are and what our goals are and just focus, focus.
Mm hmm. Yep.
Nick Glimsdahl 15:07
How important is effortless experience that Harry’s
Nick Martin 15:10
very, I talked about effortless experience a lot. And there’s a reason for it about four years ago, I was responsible for our quality at Harry’s and building the quality program. When originally we just had a look to your left, look to your right. This is how many people we have on the team, let’s make sure that we’re doing a great job. We, of course, reached past that as a hyper growth startup, and had to define how we coach and talk about and define quality. And one of the important things that came out of about a year and a half of really intensive research was effortless experiences good fit for Harry’s, it’s important that it’s not a one size fit fits all approach. Definitely not a good fit for everyone out there. But we believe that effortless experience is a really great way of creating and retaining loyal customers. And if you don’t know Harry’s can be a subscription service, it can be an order as needed, you can just go to harrys.com order one time, and go to retail options. But it also can be a subscription service, which is really easy. It just means that whatever you’re ordering will show up at your doorstep at whatever interval you want. It’s into your need, which is great if you’re shaving on a certain interval or whatever it is. And because of that, that that model, it’s really great that if there’s any sort of touch base that we need to have with a customer, their perceived effort, how much perceived effort they give to that touch base, is low, low low, so they can continue on being retained and loyal, and continues to spend with us explore new products with us and not churn as a customer. So we think about kind of mitigating disloyalty by reducing the amount of effort someone needs to give, to talk to us ask a question, answer a question, etc.
Nick Glimsdahl 17:08
Yeah, you mentioned on our call, that you at Harry’s want to be as forgetful as possible. It kind of caught me off guard a little bit. Because I’m like, Well, what do you mean, you want to be memorable? Right? You want to create these? You know, maybe not surprise and delight, but um, you know, you want to be as forgetful as possible. So I had to chew on that a little bit, or maybe had you explain it. So please explain what that means.
Nick Martin 17:33
Yeah, this is fine. I mean, I exaggerate a lot of things. So obviously, this is a bit of an exaggeration. But when I think about the type of contact, that is coming in to Harry’s, and I’m going to overgeneralize. Here, the cards are slightly stacked against you in some of these contacts where you feel like the answer should have actually been earlier in that customers journey. The maybe it was someone trying to modify their shave plan. So they’re trying to change how many blades they get, because they’re not getting enough, or whatever it might be. There is that option. It’s extremely user friendly. And we work really hard or web product team. I’m making that option on harrys.com. Excuse me, but we didn’t answer that question. Excuse me, we didn’t answer that question earlier that customers journey. So when they’re reaching out to us, it feels like they have taken time out of their day, in any sort of push to you know, throw some balloons up or give a cookie or whatever it might be, is not going to get the customer back to their life any faster. So in that particular type of contact. So the way we think about things, I like to think about it as you know, a kiosk to check in at your if anyone is flying anytime soon. check in on your next flight, or would you like to wait in line to have the option to talk to someone to check in at your next flight that fits that particular type of contact and are a lot of our contacts fit that moment where we just want it to be so smooth and effortless, that the customer is on their way back to the important things in life? That they almost forget that they had to call call us email us or whatever it
Nick Glimsdahl 19:31
Yeah, and that’s where it clicked for me is when you mentioned the kiosk at the airport. I’m the guy that walks up to the kiosk with my head down maybe wearing a hat even if the people at the very beginning at the at the line are trying to get my attention or smile at me or maybe even wave me over and I’m like, I got this. My goal is to get in get out and you know, move my bag over and put the sticker on it and leave as quick as possible. You know, I want to be able to sell serve The same is true in, in, in our, in our line of business.
Nick Martin 20:04
Yeah. And it’s, it’s not to say that we don’t have moments where we do something extraordinary and special, I talked about our, our proactive sort of concierge type service earlier, we have those moments. But over overall as an operation, we’re operationalizing to the idea that we want to reduce a perceived effort from someone coming in to make any sort of transaction or question and answer, and then we pick and choose those moments. Sort of specially.
Nick Glimsdahl 20:36
Yep. And then kind of just touching back on the effortless experience, is that, is that mean for both the employee or the customer? Or? Or one or the other? What which one for you at Harry’s? What does that mean to you?
Nick Martin 20:52
For us, it means both. Yes, you should always be focused on both, in fact, focusing on the employee experience, or the X is, is just as important and, and will help your customer experience. So if you make the job easier for your frontline associates, then they can make the job more effortless for your customer experience. When I think about this, and I’m we’ve all had that experience, we’ve contacted cx and maybe someone can’t, quote find you in the system, right? Like that is a good example of you did not make that employee experience easy enough. And now it’s translating to a very, very high effort, customer experience. The opposite way that this could work is instead of one person, me the customer trying to solve something, there’s two people me the customer, you the customer experience associate trying to solve something to people better than one, this feels like a team situation. Wow, my effort just would dropped by 50%. So that’s kind of the way that I think about that.
Nick Glimsdahl 22:00
Yep. No, I think that’s great. Inside when you’re when you’re interacting with customers, you’re your employees actually don’t have scripts. Why is that?
Nick Martin 22:12
Yeah. So I mean, there’s four general tenants, four pillars or so of effortless experience. And, and one of them is frontline rep autonomy. And, and that’s sort of why one of the reasons why we chose not to have scripts, you’re removing some of the tools in the tool belt that you have to help the customer by sending someone down one specific script. I think as more and more self service and AI and everything gets into CX, a lot of the similar types of contracts will be addressed earlier in the customer journey. And you will need more creativity on your team with the ones that are actually getting to your frontline agents. And so just more and more that script will be a weird fit, it won’t match the sentiment tone, and it won’t, will not provide a quality experience. Yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 23:15
I would agree with that, too. Because if if it doesn’t matter if somebody is a month in or two years, and they’re all going to try to read off a script, and that’s not natural. And they’re like, hey, Nick, I would love to offer you this brand new razor that we have, oh, wait, no, let me go to the next script. Because it didn’t work. instead of actually having the goal is to build that and trust with that person and be honest with them. And that kind of goes back to the general questions. Like, if you’re asking those additional questions that are unexpected, or, or a clarifying question. They’re like, Man, these people now get me and I’m more willing, at least from my perspective, I’m more willing to buy an additional product from them because they now know what I like they’re now getting my preferences. They see what I buy bought in the past and they’re making recommendations.
Nick Martin 24:10
Yeah. And it makes sense when you hear it. It’s so simple when you hear it and talk about it that the concept of being heard. But it is tied to behavioral psychology, and it is tied to significant amounts of research. So that that’s why we try.
Nick Glimsdahl 24:26
Yeah, it’s cool. Another really neat thing that you guys do is you have this program called Wow. Maybe dig a little bit into what that is.
Nick Martin 24:36
Yeah, it’s, it’s called customer Wow. It’s I mean, it’s i’s an internal program, but we call it to wow a customer, you have to spell Wow, in all caps. And you have to say it like you’re being loud. And it is it’s a budget that we have on our team that we allocate and give to our team in each instance. vigil has that budget on a monthly basis that they can spend however they’d like. And that’s the important part of this is there is very little direction given from the lane budget, lead the management myself, whoever it might be. This is, this is again about associate autonomy, we trust you. Here’s the credit card, once a month, you have this much money to do what you want to help customer. So the customer could be in a tough spot. And maybe it’s something that you want to send to the customer to help them out. You could have gotten in a tough spot. And maybe it’s something that you want to add to the customer experience to get yourself out. It’s a way that you can jump in with teammates. So we have a lot of teammates say, Hey, I just spoke to this customer. This is the situation. I had this cool idea to send them blank 10 ticket tickets to their favorite restaurant because they were talking about it and haven’t been in a while. Does anyone else want to join me in double our budget? And they’ll say, Yeah, that’s a great idea. I’ll join and double the budget. I was just actually reading through some interesting. Wow, that happened recently. And one of them stuck out to me, which someone mistakenly emailed us happens every once in a while. And customer experience. Everyone knows this. He might be like, the person that forgot the CC BCC situation and somehow ended up emailing firstname.lastname@example.org we so we got an email from someone that was talking about how they were helping a family in need. During COVID-19, which we thought was really touching. We didn’t, we weren’t supposed to get this email. But we were like, let’s help. So we ended up sending them a bunch of sets from Harry’s to help with the situation. Some sets from Flamingo, which is our amazing brand that sells for four women and it’s spectacular, I would highly suggest you check it out. Everyone checks it out. And we sent them some Target gift cards to help for the mom that was helping out the family. It was just a great moment and wasn’t you know, it was a moment that we talked about when we Wow, someone?
Nick Glimsdahl 27:27
Yeah, so two things about that is maybe three so that you give your associates that ability to make that decision and or combine it together. That you’re able to help people out and it’s behind the scenes is this isn’t a PR stunt. This isn’t like, Hey, I’m going to do this hoping this sucker goes viral. And we’re gonna make so much free advertising. It’s gonna be ridiculous, right? Yeah. And then And then the third thing is, you’re not giving away and sometimes you are but there’s a lot of times where you’re not giving away your product or saying, Hey, we’re going to donate Harry’s products because we still want our brand out there. People can buy a book people will people could buy a restaurant, gift card, because that is what they think that the associate or customer needs at that time. And I think that that kind of differentiation on experience makes people want to come back to because not only if they are that is that as a customer not expecting that, or the people that randomly sent the help at Harry’s email. But you did it anyways.
Nick Martin 28:41
Yeah, yeah. A few other of my favorites have been when we just donated to someone that was trying to fundraise for, you know, their, their their local walk, that they’re fundraising for their cause of choice or anything like that, where it has nothing to do with Harry’s it only has something to do with the fact that we want to just to let you know that we’re you know, humans in this together essentially.
Nick Glimsdahl 29:09
Yeah, I think it always comes back down to how you just said, it’s a human first mentality. At the end of the day, humans are doing business with humans. You know, our issues regardless if it’s the conversations that we’re having at the at the water cooler moments, or the conversations that we’re having over the phone. We’re always humans doing business with humans, and sometimes that’s out of the conversation. And it seems like with that wow, experience, you guys are kind of pulling that back in. Yeah, yeah. So it’s very cool. So, Nick, I wrap up every podcast with two questions. Okay. The first question and I’ll answer I’ll give you both at the same time, so you have time to think about it, but is what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year. And then the second question is, if you could leave a note to all the customer service professionals, and it would hit everybody’s desk at the same time, what would it say?
Nick Martin 30:10
Oh, wow, great questions, a first question. So a lot of people have certainly influenced me in terms of a book, I would recommend the happiness advantage by Shawn achor. I read this maybe three or four years ago, but when it has been quite a difficult time for a lot of people out there, I have leaned into some of the techniques that I read in that book, in terms of expressing gratitude. And, you know, not moving the goalposts of happiness, but trying to get the happiness now for myself, as well as my team, so the happiness advantage by Shawn achor for book I would say, if I could leave a note on everyone’s desk, I would probably just tell a joke. But if I were to answer something seriously, I would say lean into the creativity that you have on your team. I think everyone here in this industry knows that your team is full of extremely diverse, and just like staggeringly impressive talent. And I personally find that to be a really great source of inspiration.
Nick Glimsdahl 31:19
That’s awesome. Very cool. Um, what’s the best way for people to connect with you?
Nick Martin 31:25
I mean, LinkedIn, Nicholas Martin, is probably the best. Happy to connect with everyone on LinkedIn.
Nick Glimsdahl 31:33
Cool. And then before I forget, go to Harry’s. Harry’s com, correct? Yep. And get yourself not only shaving gear, but some fig body wash.
Nick Martin 31:46
Thanks so much, Nick.
Nick Glimsdahl 31:48
Yeah, Nick, I really appreciate your time, man. It’s been a blast to learn more about yourself and Harry’s and look forward to learning more and in keeping in touch and see what kind of products you guys have in the future.
Nick Martin 32:01
Thank you so much. I hope that you and everyone stays happy and healthy.
Nick Glimsdahl 32:05
The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.
Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:
- Customer service & customer experience leaders
- A hostage negotiator
- Award-winning authors
- Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
- Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
- Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:
- What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
- If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?
You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.
If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.
Subscribe on: Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotiListen on Googisten