Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Can you manage a B2B relationship with customer providers and consumers? In this episode, Angie Hicks, CCO of ANGI Homeservices and co-founder of Angie’s List, shares how she built Angie’s List into the valuable service provider tool it is today, and how she transitioned her entrepreneurial and marketing experience into the customer experience role she currently holds at ANGI Homeservices (which acquired Angie’s List this year).
An Entrepreneur Must Persevere Through the Dark Times
Angie shared some great insights to shed light on how hard it can be to start and run your own business. Though she has seen much success, she mentioned that in may ways, some of the darkest periods of running a business were the early days. There’s so much hard work that goes into getting your business off the ground, and your initial successes are so small.
“You need a lot of perseverance; it’s the skillset that defined me as an entrepreneur and got me through those times,” said Angie.
There are certain survival characteristics of an entrepreneur and someone who leads a CX effort:
- The ability to press through dark times
- Stay optimistic
- Find ways to restate the same thing in different ways until it finally clicks for someone.
Think about this – as your business expands, ask yourself, are you learning new things and are you inspired by the people you’re working with?
“In many ways, Angie’s list embodies the idea of listening to your customers,” says Angie, as she described the importance of customer reviews for her business and customers.
Listen to and Empower Your Customers Through Reviews
In the beginning stages of Angie’s List, companies would complain about negative reviews from consumers. But at Angie’s List, the perspective was, that’s a part of being in business. The thing that’s different today, but beneficial, is that you can listen in to what consumers are saying; they were talking about you before, you just couldn’t see it. Now, you can see something about it and make improvements.
Angie’s List introduced the opportunity for companies to respond to reviews and provide their side of the story. This was good for the service providers and consumers because it allowed them to see more than just the customer POV. It’s important to know how the company will behave when things don’t go right. Angie’s advice for companies who receive negative reviews is to – relax after reading your negative review. Don’t react right away. Get a cup of coffee and come back to it. Remember, if you didn’t do something right and you can fix it – fix it. You’re going to make a loyal customer out of them if you can. As I always say, recovery is almost more important than when everything goes right. It shows the values of the company.
Don’t Forget About Customer Happiness
When you’re in a high-growth phase, you tend to focus on acquisition. Don’t be so focused on customer acquisition that you forget about customer happiness. Make sure they come back a second time. Remember the importance of customers staying and coming to do business again.
'Don’t be so focused on customer acquisition that you forget about customer happiness. Make sure they come back a second time' says @Angie_Hicks Click To Tweet
It’s important that we work to create a relationship that we know is going to be successful with the contractors. We know what success looks like and we know what failure looks like – so how do we make sure the service pros aren’t going to stumble in month 3 – if we know that’s where difficulties can arise. We want to give them the right resources to get them there.
What do you know NOW that you wish you knew THEN?
- The hardest thing for me was dealing with the confrontation around things not going well. And now I know just how valuable going through that was and being able to coach people who are having this problem as well.
- Think about setbacks as an opportunity, not as a negative. How can I be better? How can I learn?
- Keep yourself open to change and to feedback; don’t be closed off to it. If you don’t improve and evolve, you’re obsolete.
Angela R. Hicks Bowman, who goes by Angie Hicks, is the Chief Customer Officer of ANGI Homeservices. Prior to assuming this role in September 2017, Ms. Hicks co-founded Angie’s List in 1995 and served as its Chief Marketing Officer from May 2000 and on its board of directors from March 2013 through its acquisition by ANGI Homeservices.
Ms. Hicks earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from DePauw University, from which she received a Distinguished Alumni Award for Management and Entrepreneurship and the Robert C. McDermond Medal for Excellence in Entrepreneurship, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.
Ms. Hicks has received multiple awards for her entrepreneurial achievements, as well as her leadership in both the community and the technology field, including (among others) being named the Women Tech Founder of the Year in 2016 and awarded both the TechPoint Trailblazer Award and Harvard Business School’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2017.