April 2017 TMD: From Where I Sit – A Candidate’s Point of View

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April started off with a perspective that everyone at Daxko has seen at least once, but few of us consider as much as we should: the view from the other side of the hiring table. When someone is going through the interview process, what do they think of Daxko and how we conduct ourselves?

Talent Acquisition Specialist Beth Wolfe led a TMD entitled ‘From Where I Sit – A Candidate’s Point of View’ which went into detail about how we present ourselves and how our candidates like us. Beth started off by asking the unspoken but perhaps subconsciously thought about question: so what? Aren’t they trying to impress us? Why do we care how we come across in the interview process?

Well, of course they’re trying to impress us. As everyone surely remembers, interviewing is a scary process that makes even the calmest and collected persons anxious. Alleviating any trepidation an interviewee has is of course a high priority, which is one big reason we want to ensure our candidate experience is top-notch. Another big reason is like the customer loyalty post from recent memory: when someone goes to talk about Daxko online, be it through Glassdoor or Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, we want the review they leave to be a positive one. Not unlike purchasing a product on Amazon, reviews of a company’s interview process are important in providing the applicant an idea of what they’re getting into. Especially now more than ever, these online reviews are incredibly important, as we’ve seen a 444% over the past calendar year compared to the previous year.

How do we measure how our candidate’s experience goes? Well, again hearkening back to the customer loyalty TMD, we utilize NPS. Essentially, on a zero through ten scale, how likely is the candidate to recommend applying for a job at Daxko? We break this out across three different parts of the application process: the actual application itself, the interview and then the onboarding. Let’s look at the average score given at each part of the process:

  • Application – 8.8
  • Interview – 8.0
  • Onboarding – 9.5

Not too shabby! While anything above a 7 and below a 9 is considered ‘passive,’ we’re very close to breaking through to a score indicating ‘promoter’ on two of the three fronts.

This put us at the question to be answered: what can I do as a Daxko team member to make a candidate’s experience better? Beth told us about how when she was interviewing here, during her tour of the office, she was greeted by two Daxko veterans who introduced themselves and made her feel more at home with the company. She said that the peer interview is a great time to show our Daxko values and strengths to candidates, as well as a great time to be positive, to reassure any anxiety the interviewee might have. Transparency is important: tell the interviewee what the job is, as well as what it isn’t.

While I would consider myself personable, I was certainly bettered by having attended the TMD if for no other reason than I’d not thought much about how the candidate feels…well, since I was a candidate here. It makes absolute sense that we should be polite and cordial to an applicant, but going above and beyond to provide the best experience we can for a candidate, whether hired or not, will ensure that Daxko is well staffed for many years to come.

March 2017 TMD: Own it Like Oprah

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For March’s TMD, many teammates and I congregated in the Garage to learn how to Own It Like Oprah, courtesy of our VP of People, Dawn Burke. This TMD, promising tips to be an outstanding presenter, certainly did not disappoint, as I left the session with ideas to ponder and practices to perfect (at best; at worst, I had to break some old habits).

Dawn got right to the heart of things by asking the group how, on a day to day basis, we present materials. Her point, of course, was that everyone presents all the time, be it in Sales or onsite training a customer, or anything in between. This light conversation got the crowd engaged and feeling comfortable, which she later pointed out is a good technique to presenting well.

She then asked if there was anyone who had not heard of Oprah, to which the room was unsurprisingly silent. Be it for her magazine, her talk show, her book club, or her philanthropy, I would wager there are not many people who do not know Oprah. Her interviewing skills were the things we spoke about the most, how she has a way of making the interviewee feel as if they are the only person in the room as she asks questions, listens well and then asks follow-up questions. Her charisma and body language paint her as authentic, which makes her engaging.

This authenticity aspect was my big takeaway from the discussion: because Oprah is authentic, when she praises something, her viewers will see it as an honest and earnest recommendation and try it. Good examples include her Book Club and how those books rose to become best-sellers after Oprah’s recommendations. This authenticity led to a connection, and as Dawn put it, ‘the more you connect, the more you’re heard.’

Another excellent quote from Dawn, the one which she described as the biggest focal point of her presentation: ‘the reason you present is so people hear your message.’ Combined with the ‘authenticity’ piece above, it makes sense then that to successfully communicate your message to an audience, it is best to engage them well. Which leads us to Dawn’s 13 Tips on Talking (a name I just made up, but you’re welcome to it for a small fee, Dawn):

  1. It’s all about engagement. Dawn suggests immediately engaging the audience by captivating them with a story or some other form of ‘hook’ to immediately grab their attention. Anything that makes the audience want more will do, be it ‘Call me Ishmael’ or the opening riff on the guitar in the Rolling Stones’ song ‘Satisfaction.’
  1. Start strong. Similar to the above, generally speaking the first and last five minutes of any presentation are the ones that will stick with the audience. Hit the ground running and finish strong! A big point (for me, at least) that Dawn made here is that starting with an apology is seldom the best move.
  1. Slow down. Remember to breathe. Another important idea is to view the presentation as a conversation, which will make it feel more natural and, importantly, ease the feeling of wanting to sprint through the prepared material.
  1. Be aware of verbal garbage. The ‘empty calories of conversation,’ filler words should be avoided. Uh, um, like, y’know, ah…these are verbal ticks best avoided though, as Dawn points out, filling silence in this way is not as big a deal as many often make it out to be. Avoid using these when possible, but do not lose sleep over an errant ‘um.’
  1. Make eye contact. Making eye contact builds trust, though maintaining eye contact too long or in a manner that might be seen as inauthentic does more harm than good. Singling out one person and holding eye contact for too long makes all parties uncomfortable and scanning from side to side looks robotic. Move from person to person, do not linger too long.
  1. Know your audience. Without knowing your audience, you will have trouble connecting with them; without a connection, your communication will be hindered. Dawn revealed her questions in the earlier parts of the TMD were building rapport and a connection with the audience.
  1. Make Shakespeare proud. More for in person, but presentations, like Shakespearian plays, are better seen and not read, better as plays and not novels. Body language is crucial. Stand like an actor. Body language, though subconsciously, is more telling than speech.
  1. Hand-le with care. Continuing on that, your hands are the biggest tells your body has as to how you’re feeling. Are your hands in your pocket? That might come across as boredom. Are they across your chest? You now seem standoffish. Dawn recommends keeping them at your side or, if that induces too much discomfort, lightly linking your fingers together in front of your stomach.
  1. Don’t turn your back on the audience. Instead, use what she called the ‘actors’ cheat,’ which is when two actors are having a conversation and somewhat ‘open up’ to the audience, so that they’re included in the conversation. Turning your back to the audience is insulting at worst and, at best, it makes the presentation significantly harder to hear.
  1. Work the tools. Don’t let the tools work you. Have your technology together, have your files together, and know how everything works with one another.
  1. Have a Plan B. That being said, technology can and will fail, so it’s best to be prepared. There is no shame in taking a small break to resolve any issues that have sprung up before a presentation.
  1. Practice. A quote Dawn used here that I enjoyed: ‘make talking to yourself an art form.’ However, over practicing can lead to a rehearsed feeling, which is something we want to avoid entirely. Practice to the level of your own comfort and be comfortable in your material.
  1. Be yourself. You knew it was coming, but the last tip is to be authentic. Again, without a connection between the presenter and the audience, communication will be hampered. Be yourself, be authentic. Enough said.

As we were leaving, though, Dawn had one more piece of wisdom that seems to be the case regardless of any of the rules above: content trumps everything. Of course, the tips above are the stars for which we all shoot, but if your presentation is on a topic that is of immense interest to the audience, all the ‘ahs’ and ‘ums’ of the world will not be able to detract from your presentation.

February 2017 TMD: Customer Loyalty

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On Wednesday February 22nd, our Senior Vice President Molly Harrison kicked off our 2017 Team Member Development series with a presentation entitled ‘Why Customer Loyalty Matters & How We Measure It.’ She spoke to a packed room, occasionally handing off to other leaders in the company for other perspectives.

For those who don’t know or need a refresher, Team Member Development sessions (TMDs) are hour long sessions held every month or so in which a Daxko team member or guest speaker puts forth an idea and educates other team members about it. This can take many forms, from a discussion on how to lead even if you’re not in charge, to a presentation on how to be an outstanding presenter. These seminars are helpful in conveying information across the country, as well as developing the talent we’ve got latent in this company. We love providing professional development opportunities for our team members whenever possible, and TMDs are a convenient way to do just that.

This TMD, as you might be able to guess, is focused on why we at Daxko focus so much on building meaningful relationships with our customers and how we go about measuring it.

Why would a company care about customer loyalty? Why should a company go out of its way to build relationships with its clientele? To answer, Molly asked us to think of a time we were purchasing something online. Did we look at the reviews? When we were shopping around for a place to eat, did we ask friends their opinion? These simple interactions influence many decisions that we make: we’re not likely to eat at a restaurant that has been universally panned, while we would much prefer to eat somewhere that receives a thumbs-up from our friends.

For this same reason, we want Daxko to be well loved! We are interested in providing the best service, the best product and the best experience possible so that our customer’s lives are as stress-free as possible. Then, when it comes time for a friend to choose a ‘restaurant,’ we hope that Daxko is high up on that list.

As Peter Drucker is oft quoted as saying, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” How, though, do you go about measuring something as nebulous as customer loyalty? Charlie, our Engagement Solutions Team Lead, took the stage to explain. We use something known as the Net Promoter System (NPS). A quick survey is sent via email asking, on a scale from 0 to 10, how likely the recipient is to recommend Daxko to a friend or colleague. Upon receiving responses, we categorize customers into one of three categories:

  • Detractors
  • Passives
  • Promoters

We then find the percentage of promoters and subtract the percentage of detractors to figure out our Net Promoter Score. Always wanting to improve and searching for more details, we reach out to see what we could do to further improve the Daxko experience.

Placing a nice bow on the conversation, Molly once again took to the stage with a quote that summarizes the TMD nicely: ‘the benefits of long-term customer-centric focus are substantial, but so is the commitment.’ From a business perspective, it makes obvious sense to consistently keep the customer satisfied and to, when they are not pleased, see how we can resolve issues and fix problems. The overall goal of everyone in the company, then, must be to further Daxko as a ‘listening company,’ one that hears its customers and whose actions are not necessarily always pleasing, but are done in good faith.


McKee S. is a Project Manager who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.

Movin’ On Up: How I Managed the ‘Great Move’ from Customer Success to Implementation

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers, Talent | One Comment

About a month and a half ago, I was given the opportunity to take off my Customer Success hat and move over to the Implementation side of things, as a Project Manager/Solutions Analyst. The dual role would focus on getting our customers started and set for success on Daxko Operations, something with which I had only a little experience, helping launch the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South in December of 2015.

As clichéd as it is to say, the departure from the frontline of Customer Success was bittersweet. Feelings of sadness would creep in, even as I was excited about what the new role meant for me. I was anxious to move into something new, something bigger, only to be reminded of how good I had it by a teammate’s playful joking. It’s a good problem to have, not wanting to leave what you’ve got because of how good things are.

I am admittedly very bad with change. I knew that I wanted to move on, but leaving my Customer Success friends was difficult and saddening! What’s more, this was going to be something new and I might not be as comfortable in this new role as I was in my old one. How could I hope to climb to the same level of knowledge as I had in Customer Success?

These worry subsided as I realized a few things:

First, this ‘great move’ that I was worried about was all of twenty feet. Seriously, I can see my old desk and all of the frontline without even standing on my toes. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: I was being dramatic. Perhaps I was. But like most instances, it didn’t feel like ‘just drama’ at the time!

Next, I realized I already knew many people over here, including many teammates who had previously come from Customer Success, such as Kayla Ann, Kelsi, and Deeanna. I had worked with all of these guys for months when I had joined the Customer Success side. They not only made the switch, but were doing excellent work! What I might not know immediately, I could learn just as they had.

I still get to hang out with my former teammates even though all have transitioned to other teams.

I still get to hang out with my former teammates even though all have transitioned to other teams.

The last realization was that I could help lay the foundation for our customers in a way that would ensure their success going forward. While being on the frontline of Customer Success and answering questions for customers is a rewarding experience, having the ability to ensure things go smoothly for launching associations could be seen as a way of answering questions before they happen. I now have the ability to guide our customers through what might otherwise be a painful process, only for them to launch with everything working perfectly. My workflow has shifted from being reactive to proactive.

These three realizations made the transition less painful and substantially less scary. I wrapped up everything I was in the middle of for Customer Success, wrote some how-to guides around a few subjects and made the long, perilous five second walk to my new desk. I found balloons and new friends waiting for me. We went out to lunch at a sandwich place I really enjoy and the rest, as they say, is history.

This kind of cynical let down is the best: when you’re expecting nothing to go right and everything just fits right into place.


McKee S. is a Project Manager who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.

Daxko is looking for another Implementation Project Manager to join McKee and the rest of the team. Think you have what it takes? Apply here!