Meet William Folsom, Head of Client Success
Tell us about yourself…
I’m a dad and husband. I’m also a down-home Southerner through and through. I believe every truly great experience starts with a genuine relationship: whether it’s your family and friends, the cashier at the convenience store, or interacting with your favorite airline brand, all those experiences reflect our relationships with the people in those moments. I’m here to connect and build strong relationships with great brands so we can strive for excellence together.
How did you get your start in Customer Experience?
See, there was this girl… and while we were dating, she would go to the only tanning salon in this tiny town. I would sit in that tanning salon, waiting on her of course, and listen to other customers have some pretty heated conversations about the level of service they were receiving. I would hear everything from “The bed wasn’t clean”, to “I’m not getting tanned because your bulbs are old.” What really bothered me was the employees were catching so much flak, but they were powerless to do anything about it. No one was happy – customers nor employees.
To me, it seemed so obvious what needed to be fixed. I found out who the owner was and approached him about buying the salon. I’d already had initial conversations with the bank and everything. I’ll never forget him laughing out loud at me and saying, “Why the hell would I ever sell? I have no competition and it just rakes in money.”
The next week, I stood outside of his salon and asked customers if they would go to another tanning salon if they had the option. Ninety-nine of 101 said yes, enthusiastically. Long story short, 6 months later, I opened a salon three doors down from that salon, had about 1,400 repeat customers within 3 months, and 13 months later, the older salon closed its doors.
I opened 2 more in other small towns with similar opportunities. There were a ton of life lessons and business lessons learned in the 7 years I owned my small tanning salon chain. By far, the most important thing I learned was if you build an experience your customers will love, they will take care of you. Insert your favorite field of dreams quote here.
What is your favorite customer experience benchmark?
I would have to say NPS. The likelihood of being recommended to friends and family, as a former business owner and multi-unit retailer leader, is something I take pride in. However, it’s really not about the score or the benchmarks – it’s deeper than that. It’s the “why,” the “how,” and the “what” behind the score. I used to explain it like this to my store managers: the score is just a thermometer, and sometimes, you can be sick without running a fever. Like other illnesses, bad habits can and will be passed to your team members.
What excites you about joining Chatter?
What excited me the most about my first call with Simon and Zack was hearing there was an opportunity to do my absolute favorite part of my current role, but for many different brands. Translating customer and employee insights into something a mid-level manager or frontline employee can understand is one thing. Taking insights one step further and actually helping operators take action, then watching those actions impact their customers, their own work lives, and of course their P&L is awesome. Those are the challenges and problems I like to dig into and solve. I get to help companies find the corner pieces of the 1,000–piece jigsaw puzzle that is their customer’s journey, help them see the big picture, and guide them towards which pieces to lay down next.
Other than creating incredible experiences, what other passions do you have?
One of my other big passions is farming and raising black angus cattle. I love getting my hands dirty and watching things grow. I think there’s a peace in it that grounds me in this crazy, chaotic world. I hope my young sons learn to love it as well. I feel there’s a different type of work ethic and resolve of character that is fostered, nurtured, and matured with #farmlife. It helps you not just see but feel what is truly important in life.