1742 – Customer Experience with David Ewing of Motiv

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the CEO of Motiv, David Ewing.

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David  introduced the philosophy of Motiv, a company that provides businesses with the tools, technology, and processes to create exceptional customer experiences. The goal is to acquire customers and retain them, maximizing their lifetime value and generating positive word-of-mouth.

David cited examples of unintuitive and frustrating interactions, suggesting that some companies might intentionally create a bad experience to discourage customers. He defined customer experience as the journey a customer goes through, from first hearing about a company to eventually ending their relationship.

David emphasized the significance of ‘moments that matter' – positive or negative experiences that shape a customer's attitude and behavior towards a brand. He shared a personal example of a joyous moment that mattered to him when an airline delay allowed him to meet an author he admired.

He also mentioned a heartwarming story of a company sending flowers to a customer whose dog had passed away, creating a lasting impression. These moments, he stressed, are crucial in building long-term customer loyalty.

David also highlighted the significance of having difficult conversations with customers, as it allows them to feel heard and often leads to more business. David G encourages entrepreneurs to pick up the phone and address any issues directly with customers, as it is unlikely that customers will switch to the competition just because their concerns are brought to light.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Importance of customer experience in business
  • Motiv's goal of providing tools and processes for exceptional customer experiences
  • Acquiring and retaining customers for maximum lifetime value and positive word-of-mouth
  • Small and medium-sized businesses struggling with user experience
  • Intentional creation of bad experiences by some companies
  • Definition of customer experience as the entire customer journey
  • Significance of moments that matter in shaping customer attitudes and behavior
  • Gathering feedback from customers and being open to criticism
  • Having difficult conversations with customers to address issues

About David Ewing:

David Ewing's career is a rich tapestry of roles that showcase his adaptability and leadership in various sectors. His tenure as the CEO of Motiv, starting February 2001, stands out as a period where he steered the company with a visionary approach.

Before this, David honed his business development and strategic planning skills as the Director of Business Development at Appareon from June 2000 to February 2001. Here, he was instrumental in shaping the company's growth strategies.

One of David's earlier notable positions was as the Director of the Continuous Improvement Team at NSS Technologies, where he worked from June 1994 to August 1997.

David led efforts to enhance machine efficiency, increase throughput, and implement cost-reduction strategies in this capacity. His leadership in this role was pivotal in improving the company's operational processes and overall performance.

David has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to different roles and industries throughout his career. His journey reflects a depth of experience in leading companies and fostering growth, implementing strategic initiatives, and driving continuous improvement.

David's professional story is consistent growth, learning, and adaptation, making him a valuable asset in any business context.

About Motiv:

Motiv is a company centered on the principle that great achievements originate from individuals with the courage to advocate for change. Specializing in enhancing customer experiences, Motiv primarily serves clients eager to take strategic risks to improve customer interactions, viewing these improvements as valuable investments.

Motiv’s expertise lies in implementing products from the Oracle Customer Experience suite. When clients engage Motiv, they entrust the company as a catalyst for positive change, helping them achieve their goals. This responsibility is seen by Motiv as a ‘sacred challenge', committing to being a proactive force for each client.

The company culture at Motiv emphasizes individual responsibility and collective commitment. Every team member at Motiv adopts the mantra, “I am Motiv,” signifying a personal dedication to driving change and improving the world, one customer experience at a time.

Tweetable Moments:

12:21 – “There is absolutely no substitute for having that difficult conversation with a customer because the catharsis of them just knowing that they've been heard almost always results in more business.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Motiv website at

Check out Motiv on LinkedIn at

Check out David Ewing on LinkedIn at

Check out David Ewing on Twitter at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, David Ewing. You are the founder and CEO of motive. Motiv is on the And that's motive. David, thank you so much for joining us.

David (00:01:14) - Hey thanks, Josh. It's great to be here.

Josh (00:01:16) - Yeah, absolutely. Give us an overview of what you do with motive.

David (00:01:20) - So what motive? We believe that the best customer experience wins. And we think that every company should have access to the tools, technology and processes that your fortune 500 companies have. And most oftentimes, they can do things a lot better than they can when they have those tools. So our whole approach is to make sure that not only do you get the customer, but once you do, you actually keep the customer because that's how you get lifetime value from all of your customers. Build those relationships and compound the word of mouth that they can bring to help you grow your business.

Josh (00:01:59) - Yeah, it's amazing how many I'd say, especially on the SMB side, where the user experience is just it's not great, right? Or I could also say, in fact, I was just thinking about this as I was having to do a government thing. I'm like, who designs this? I mean, this is just the most unintuitive, confusing, frustrating experience. And it was almost like, are they doing this intentionally? Are they intentionally trying to discourage me from doing this? You know, and that was my conspiratorial mind kicking in.

David (00:02:29) - Yeah, yeah, maybe sometimes when I look at those, I think they have the mindset of maybe if we give them a bad experience, they'll quit bugging us, right? Yeah. Right. Yeah.

Josh (00:02:39) - Exactly. Would you mind maybe just kind of defining from a consumer standpoint what would fall under that kind of customer experience?

David (00:02:49) - Yeah, yeah. So let's think about it like this. Whenever you're engaging with a company as a customer, you are going on a journey. That journey begins with you first hearing about that company. However, that may be how you build trust before you actually are willing to put your toe in the water to try their product or buy their product. And then everything that happens from that point forward until the day you say, you know what, I'm done. I don't need this anymore, right? And that could have involved many repeat interactions with that company. But at some point it comes to an end. That whole journey is what you have to master. If you are going to make sure that you create this really winning relationship with your customer that results in all the things you want, certainly you want profit from the customer over that lifetime, of course, but you also want the referrals, right? And you want that social buzz or review or whatever it is that you need from that customer to continue to emphasize and reinforce your brand promise.

David (00:03:52) - So that is the customer journey. And what we do at Motiv is we look at that journey and try to pinpoint all the moments that matter. And the thing about a moment that matters is it could be a hai hai when they're experiencing wonderment with your product, or it could be a tremendous low low where they're incredibly frustrated. And that might be because of something you did or something totally outside of your control. But either way, the customer is now associating that bad feeling with your brand. And so no matter which way you're going there, those moments that matter are when you have an opportunity to shape and change the lifetime value and experience that you have with that customer. So I'll give you an example of what you're doing. But at any of those moments, the key thing is to be able to do as much as you can to influence the customer's attitude. If you change their attitude, you change their behavior. So we're all going to have negative moments with customers, right? None of us has the perfect brand with the perfect solution.

David (00:04:56) - If you do, you're not innovating fast enough, right? So so when that moment that matters happens, how do you change the attitude? Let me give you an example of one that happened to me. It was not because of the brilliance of this airline, but it was a moment that mattered in my attitude changed. Here it was. I was in the waiting area for the flight, you know, standard flight. I don't even remember where I was going. And I happened to look across. And there is a niche little author that I really like, not a huge popular author. I'm not talking about Stephen King or somebody big like that, just somebody that I recognized. And I was sitting there thinking, oh my gosh, if only I had a few minutes, I would love to go chat with this person. And then guess what happened? The airline puts out an announcement and says the flight is going to be delayed 45 minutes and everybody's upset, right? Except for one guy. Me, I'm delighted.

David (00:05:46) - This is like my gold moment that the airlines late because I get to hang out with this author. Right. So my point on that story is everybody had the same experience with the airline. The flight is delayed, but. I had a different attitude about it because it was a tremendous benefit. And for me, now, that just was a lucky fluke for me, not something the airline did, but there are those moments that matter where companies can influence things deliberately. I'll give you a great example. This. Oftentimes, I'm in a meeting with people and we're journey mapping their customer. And I want to get everybody in the room thinking about wonderful customer experiences. And so I ask, where was a moment that mattered for you with a company that you loved or that was a magic I did? We can all talk about the complaints and the bad stuff, but where is a great, great moment? This one woman last month raise her hand and she had tears in her eyes and she said, you know what? My dog passed away.

David (00:06:44) - It was our family dog. We loved the family dog. And Chewie notice that we had stopped ordering food and they realize what had happened. And so chewy sent her flowers and said, we're really sorry about your loss. Now that's just amazing. That kind of stuff. Just I mean, that's a customer for life at that point, right? That's influencing something totally horrible that happened to this woman and at least doing one little thing to make it a little bit brighter. And if you can find moments that matter like that in your business, you don't have a customer for the next transaction. You have that customer for life. And that's. Yeah, you know.

Josh (00:07:26) - It's funny, like, I think we've all now heard that chewy example and how amazing that not only, you know, was this the right thing to do in that moment, but because it was so effective and so thoughtful that it's now in every textbook on. Right? Yeah. You know, that would be the gold standard of what we aspire for.

Josh (00:07:48) - What would be I don't know if, David, if you could think of any examples or any maybe customer that when you started evaluating what was going on that you witnessed this or maybe there's some notable examples that have come up in the news, or maybe there's a company that just has a reputation of some ways that maybe they really didn't do a great job, and or also like how we can learn from that because we might say, you know, in theory that could possibly happen to us because, you know, we're not watching that aspect of it. Or, you know, we start thinking about and we'll get into this about like how we can, you know, ensure that quality of service throughout the organization, throughout all of our systems will get, get to. But any other like warning signs of why this is such a big deal.

David (00:08:34) - Yeah. So I think everyone has thousands of examples of things that didn't go right. And so picking on any one company is unfair. So I'm going to pick on my own company and just say that despite your best intentions, it can always, always backfire.

David (00:08:51) - And it's just surprising sometimes that that that occurs. So I'll give you an example where we came in for a customer and wanted to offer them just we were we had the right intention. Right. Our intention was to just make this customer super, super happy. It was a medical provider, and we were going to help them shape their customer experience for their patients and do everything that they wanted to do in the best possible manner. They saw that there was a chance for them to double their throughput and just without adding any headcount, if they were just more efficient. And so at motive, we went ahead and we we did everything we could to shape this customer experience. But what we really missed on was the change management of helping everyone inside their organization understand what it is that we were doing and why. And so all of them kind of just hurdle shelved, right. And so we released this unbelievable system that made customer experience at their company smooth and transparent, and it was great for their end customers.

David (00:09:52) - But we really neglected how we would bring that through this company, because we were so excited to just get the solution ready that we didn't stop and listen to them and make sure that they were heard along the way. And as a result, the go live for that launch was delayed by several months. And, you know, it was it was a classic case of we had the best of intentions. We absolutely wanted to deliver, but we went so fast and so quick that we left them behind. And and you know, that that happened. And we had to learn a hard lesson. And it slowed everything down with that customer. And it was a it was a tough moment for everybody. But but you know, it happens. And I think the thing that everybody realizes is I think there's there's not a founder in the world that in their heart wants to create a mediocre or a lousy customer experience. Nobody says, you know, I can't wait to start this company and give people some. So so, you know, I mean, that's just not a thing, but it takes a lot more than intention to be able to deliver an amazing customer experience.

David (00:10:54) - The amount of thoughtfulness, preparation, systems and timing that you have to put into it so that when the unexpected occurs, the decision is not top down, but it's something that your team can do at the moment that matters. That's the essential missing ingredient, and I think that's where you miss in translation. Between a leadership team that is committed to their customer and the result of what their experience is at the boots on the ground, that gap comes from that. It's not intention.

Josh (00:11:25) - For the SMB founder leader. Maybe it's even like a just a solopreneur, right? That may be doing this. I think one of the most important things we could do is ask frequently and ask for honesty, like what was something that I could have done to make this a better experience for you and to be humble enough to do that. And I think a lot of times I can speak for myself. I think in the early days I didn't want to do that because I was afraid of bad news, and that was just like a turtle with his head in the shell.

Josh (00:11:56) - Right. And I just I didn't want to get my head bitten off, but unfortunately, there was probably some pretty valuable Intel that I could have used so that I can make sure that I have the best service on the planet if I keep asking. Oftentimes those fresh eyes are going to give you unique perspectives. And again, I'm sure this is a part of how motive works is truly gathering great data.

David (00:12:21) - You're 100% right, Josh. And I think the thing that I've seen from a lot of entrepreneurs, solo entrepreneurs or even large companies is sometimes they're afraid to ask their customers about this because either they can't take the criticism or not that they can't take it, but they cringe when they think about what's happening. They know that they need to do better. But what I have found is that there is absolutely no substitute for having that difficult conversation with a customer, because the catharsis of them just knowing that they've been heard almost always results in more business. So I will tell most of my entrepreneur customers, you could have had the worst customer service in the world, but if you just pick up the phone and talk to the customer about it and find out what they have to say, you probably going to get more business from them.

David (00:13:07) - It's very unlikely that they are going to say, you know what, I wasn't paying attention to how bad your service or your experience was, but now that you called it to my attention, I will switch to the competition. Not happen. But that's what everyone's actually afraid of. And and that's just not not where they need to be. Yeah.

Josh (00:13:27) - So talk more about who Motiv works with, where you come in and what engagement looks like.

David (00:13:33) - We work with a diverse set of companies, so we work with utilities who their main motivation is to make the experience of paying your bill better. We work with banks who are trying to help make a great experience for people who are consumers, who are trying to do a better job at getting a loan or opening accounts, or doing all the things there. We work with medical providers, and we help them with making sure that your grandmother can get to her appointment on time at the hospital, and that everything is smooth and easy, and that she's proactively receiving the recommendations for what new appointments she has.

David (00:14:08) - We work with manufacturing companies who are trying to provide parts and assemblies to other companies and make sure that they keep inventory on time and smooth, and that they're doing their job to be innovative to their customers. We work with construction companies who are trying to provide really great support services to maybe a major contractor on large commercial projects, and so customer experience just happens in every single one of those things, whether it's business to business or business to consumer, and being able to shape that customer experience to that. Our client is always the easiest to do business with and creates that fulfillment of the brand. Promise results in an emotion, right? It results in that emotion of appreciation, gratitude, love. You can call it a lot of different things, but it's that emotion that brings the customer back, right? And so if we can make sure that that customer experience is outstanding through sales, marketing, service, commerce, content, all of those different pieces, then the exponential growth begins to occur.

Josh (00:15:13) - Yeah. Your website motive c

Josh (00:15:18) - That's IVC x. Com. Let's talk about where folks go from here. We've had this conversation. They've been listening in there like okay I'm interested in continuing that conversation. What would you recommend they do? I don't know if you have any content that they can dig in, or is the appropriate next step to just grab a call.

David (00:15:34) - Yeah, motive has all sorts of blog articles. If someone's just looking to up their game individually and make an improvement, if they're looking to work with motive, that's also got lots of great resources. I also love working with other leaders, so if you go to LinkedIn and find me, I'm very easy to find. It's G. Ewing. I am there and always welcome the chance to link in with other leaders. I found that what my company is really all about. We've been doing this for 22 years and the essence our mission comes down to actually one word growth. And we have found that growth of our client's bottom line is certainly rewarding and helpful, but it's also growth of the people who are working at our client corporations.

David (00:16:22) - So helping those leaders become better, helping them through the change management process, helping them shape that customer experience, that growth is very, very important. And then finally, internally at Motiv, it is one of our biggest commitments is to our own people to make sure that they're growing as leaders and as people who can shape customer experience at not just one company, but at the multiple companies that we work with at Motiv.

Josh (00:16:47) - Yeah, I'm just going to point out you guys have gone through some pretty rapid growth pretty quickly. Motive was founded not that long ago, right? Very beginning of 2001. No, no, no, wait a minute. 22. Wait a minute. I am wrong here. What is. Oh, give me the timeline here because I misread your LinkedIn. So you guys have actually been in business for quite some time.

David (00:17:07) - We've been in business since 2001. Yeah. I mean, personally, my own journey has had some kind of some exciting roller coaster moments. I hired my first employee on September 10th, 2001.

David (00:17:17) - So right before my first payroll was the week of nine over 11. And yeah, that was a that was a tough moment. And so there's been lots of ups and downs in the journey at Motiv. But what we've found is a consistent bright spot. Our North Star has always been making sure that we're balancing our clients and helping them grow their businesses. And as a result, we've had shocks to the system from external sources. But we've always carried through because of the incredible loyalty of our clients. And so, yes, we were on the Inc 5002 years ago and can look forward to being back there in the next year. But we've been growing and scaling our practice. But it did take a while to build the craft and to make sure that we had something that we could scale so that we could continue to deliver on what I call client experience, and that our client experience would be superb.

Josh (00:18:10) - I love it. David G. Ewing, founder CEO of Motiv. Again, your website, Motiv

Josh (00:18:16) - Thank you so much, David, for joining us.

David (00:18:18) - Thank you Josh, it's been a great pleasure being here.

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