Creating World Class Customer Experience Using AI and Automation with Rick Elmore

by | Mar 29, 2024


In a conversation between Carl from Digital Remodeler and Rick Elmore, CEO of Simply Noted, they discuss leveraging automation and AI to enhance long-term customer value and experience. Simply Noted offers a handwritten notes platform utilizing advanced handwriting robots. Rick, a former athlete turned entrepreneur, shares his journey from sports to founding Simply Noted. He emphasizes the power of handwritten notes in customer engagement, citing a 99.2% open rate. The company integrates AI, such as ChatGPT, to assist with message creation and QR codes for tracking engagement. Clients, ranging from Fortune 100 to small businesses, benefit from personalized handwritten notes, enhancing relationships and driving referrals. With pricing starting at $3 per card, Simply Noted streamlines the process, handling printing, handwriting, and mailing in-house. Rick encourages an omni-channel approach, advocating for handwritten notes as a valuable tool in client communication. Those interested can request a free sample on the Simply Noted website or connect with Rick on LinkedIn for further discussion.


(00:06) hey it’s Carl with digital remodeler and I’m happy to have Rick Elmore with me today he’s the CEO and founder of Simply noted and today we’re going to be talking about how to increase your long-term customer value and your customer experience using things like Automation and AI to push your business forward so Rick good having you and just give us a little bit about yourself and we’ll Dive In awesome well thanks for having me it’s great to be here um yes so again my name is Rick Elmer the owner and founder of a company
(00:39) called simply noted it would simply note it does is you know we’re a handwritten notes platform and then we use the world’s best handwriting robots to automate and scale sending genuine handwritten notes so you know for a great like uh Customer Service Tool you know sending like automated thank you nodes anniversary notes you know annual reminders or even a cool prospecting tool because handwritten notes have such a high open rate um they have a 99.
(01:06) 2 percent open rate so that’s a little bit about our company but um the story how I got here is pretty amazing as well all right well why don’t you go ahead and lead the way I’d love to hear it yeah so my background’s in athletics um you know I grew up in like a lower middle class family you know being an athlete was my my vehicle to get me to where I eventually wanted to go played football with the University of Arizona um had a really good career there under Mike Stoops and you know led the pac-10 back then and multiple stack cat
(01:33) category is my Junior and Senior year and then was drafted into the NFL in 2011 to the Green Bay Packers so I got to live out my childhood dream and uh you know play professional sports for almost four years but you know eventually everybody has to hang up the cleats and shoulder pads and and get into the real world um didn’t know what I wanted to do so I got into the corporate world if that was in the medical sales and marketing world and basically took everything that you know everything that made me successful as an athlete being a
(02:03) hard worker passion desire perseverance rain grits you know being able to deal with failure get knocked down nine times get up ten and all those like things that were just instilled in you like as just like an early you know nine-year-old You Know It’s Just Sports are a great analogy for life but after six years of doing that um you know I was Rookie of the Year my my first year in corporate and in the next five years I was top one percenter top five sales rep just there was something that was not there for me
(02:30) um there’s an itch I could not scratch so I went back into my MBA and um this is like you know I think a lot of people out there are looking for like the next best you know the thing for them right like what inspires them what gets them going and going to my MBA uh it just changed my life I was in a marketing class about a year into the program and I had a marketing professor said handwritten notes had a 99.
(02:53) 2 percent open rate um he was going through all this you know success rates and marketing and they’re all novel like two percent eight percent twelve percent and he ends this lecture saying hey guys you know what works better now if not better than ever is a good old-fashioned handwritten note but 99.
(03:10) 2 open rate we live in a digital world now we’re in an AI world I mean AI is just revolutionized our business just in the last six months and it’s just that tactical you know way of connecting with clients are just so rare you know nobody ever does it anymore and mailboxes are empty so um thought there’d be a cool business like idea if we can help businesses scale it and automate it and that’s exactly what we’ve done I mean we’re working with you know Fortune 100 Fortune 500 5000 company just big big massive companies
(03:37) help them set up like triggers so like when someone pays an invoice automates card in their handwriting on their stationery and we use really cool robots that we built here in house we’ve invested over a million dollars in our technology only company in the world to build their own handwriting robot and it matters because we’re using technology from 2023 you know not technology from the 1980s that’s outdated and not purposely built to be a scalable purposely built writing robot so it’s a really cool product
(04:06) um when you get it in your hand you can’t you can’t help but believe it was written by a person because it’s just so authentic and so real um we use machine learning like like it’s just it’s it’s really cool I mean I have a sports background an athletic background a sales background I’ve started a robotic software and Industrial Automation company so yeah it’s been a pretty cool crazy ride that’s cool well it and I you just brought up a couple things that I I kind of want to dive into so so with your
(04:36) background I mean you know what led you how did you figure out this robotics piece and where did you have to turn to uh you know gain the expertise uh to help you put that together well number one I first off I would hate to have to compete with me because there’s no there’s no defeat in me like if I fail like I just get so much more motivated to keep going and I know that drives some and we have competitors in our space and I just know it drives them nuts because um again my background I’m from yeah I
(05:07) don’t come from money like I was the first person to go to college and it’s very personal to me to um change that for my family you know I want to be successful for my family and give back to those who helped me you know come to where I am today so I feel internally grateful for that but I feel internally driven to do that for them but um yeah um when I had that little idea of light bulb moment in the NBA class um I thought like if we can scale this and automate it there could be a business here so I bought a pen plotter
(05:36) which anybody can buy off of eBay but I bought it from China because I didn’t even know they were in the US and there’s a little three axis plotter and I mean what like there’s it just goes Left Right forward back up and down and people use them for ridiculous amounts of different applications you know people use it for medical purposes drawing um uh I mean there’s just tons of applications there so I I had it write letters for me um and there’s a little plug-in that people could use back then and it was
(06:07) really bad um like compared to like what we have now I just didn’t know any better like looking at the technology six years you know in the future I’m like embarrassed I even sent these notes but I sent these handwritten notes to doctors that I was trying to work with um about 500 of them and uh these doctors would call me back and like Rick like this is amazing like first off no rep is sending me a handwritten note and um like this is cool let’s let’s book a meeting and talk about this so like when
(06:36) I saw it work I just became like internally driven internally like so passionate about it like the entrepreneurial seizure moment um it was just Off to the Races and it took me about five years I mean this was not a success you know and I hate those stories where people say it was like oh this just took me like three months six months like that’s not the case whatsoever um you know we went through the the pen plotters and then we saw some technology out of Europe called a an auto pen we we tried that technology we found that
(07:05) wasn’t going to work and I was like you know these Technologies are so bad I gotta do something about it and build something myself so then I started going to engineering companies here in Arizona and I went through 14 phase zeros and if you this is a little nugget for anybody out there if you’re trying to solve a problem like you got to get 15 opinions before you make your decision and this is what I did I went to 14 different engineering companies and we call it a phase zero it’s basically like a
(07:30) discovery phase and you tell them about your idea and they basically you pay them to give you like a quote and like their ideas on how they’ll solve the problem what I did is I would pay them I would take their stuff pull the pricing off of it and like the logo of the company then I’d go to the next engineering company and say hey like here’s my idea this is what somebody else told me you know how they would do it criticize it and give me your feedback and I did that 14 times and uh you know it took about probably a
(07:57) year 12 months just to go through all those those phase zeros and found a company that I thought you know really comfortable with going on this project this journey of building the handwriting robot and uh yeah I mean we have a software engineer mechanical engineer electrical engineer a full stack developer like building Integrations online to communicate with the robots so it just came through trial and error you just you can’t take one or two people’s like opinions and solving problems you got to ask a lot of questions especially
(08:24) like when you’re ignorant about the problems you’re trying to solve like you can’t just assume like through ego like oh this is great I know it’s gonna work like but you have to ask right before you make that mistake right um because it could be a very expensive mistake so I’d rather you know measure 10 times cut once absolutely so so what things you you talked about is is how AI has has really changed your business in the last six months what are some of those drastic changes that you’ve seen with AI coming
(08:56) in well the way that we use it right now on our website um one of the biggest issues for people when building campaigns is like building like the sales copy or coming up with cadences or building out a plan and like chat CPT open AI we’ve actually integrated that into our website to help people come up with project ideas or what to say or improve messaging or develop a stronger call to action and we can also like natively through our website add QR codes so like you can dynamically track scans of like QR codes
(09:26) on the mail so like if you want to know who actually opened it right you can track it through the the QR code so we’re integrating tons of technology and we’re trying to you know use the vehicle like a tactical old school handwritten note but you know chat gbt is helping people take the mental stress away you know the decision fatigue of coming up with all these ideas so chapter gbts helping them come with a message or Cadence and then we’re using you know tools like QR codes and call tracking numbers to help our clients you know
(09:54) help them track their clients and see you know track roi’s response engagement rates that type of stuff okay excellent and then one of the things you I I caught you say earlier is that uh you can actually match up to the business owner’s handwriting did I hear that correctly so talk a little bit about that because some of us have really sloppy handwriting so yeah I’d love to hear about that yeah so this is one of the really cool things about our our system we’re not building fonts we’re actually training our
(10:28) machine learning handwriting engine like your way of writing so um I mean it even it even measures like how hard you push down on the paper so what we do is we have you guys fill out all this all these documents it takes about 45 minutes to write all all these silly sentences silly words that don’t even make any sense but they’re it’s on purpose because we’re seeing like how you naturally like connect letters or connect number or do anything we’re trying to pull all the characteristics of your handwriting style and then our
(10:57) graphic design team literally goes through and traces and teaches our machine learning handwriting engine like how you write so it’s not like literally just like plugging a random a everywhere or like an eight or a B like we’re literally learning how you write in our robots learn how you write and use machine learning to write like you so it’s pretty incredible um I mean it’s I would literally even just sending one card I’d rather have my machine or our machines write these notes because everyone like you said it does look a
(11:26) little nicer because like you know like your handwriting can get little I mean especially after not writing for a long time it can look really bad but um they just they do such a good job in creating such a I call it a beautiful product because it really is an enjoyable experience looking at it versus like what you said like when it writes you know when you write it can be really terrible um so yeah I mean really what we try to do is learn how you write and then our machines learn how you write and then write for you excellent excellent so so
(11:55) let’s talk about some some best uses uh obviously um you know sending out notes has been something that’s been uh out there for for many years there’s companies you know hey we’ll send birthday cards and things like that but but I agree with you and and even what your professor was teaching you know there’s just something about a handwritten note uh that has a lot more emotional connection and and so as you’ve uh you know watched your clients utilize uh the handwritten notes what have been some of the the best
(12:29) practices you’ve seen how are they best being applied and used and uh really generating a good return for the the client yeah so like you said there are tons of companies out there will send cards but like what separates us is we’re a platform and we’re handwritten um you know there’s like those companies out there like send out cards or you know you can upload a spreadsheet and they’ll send a printed card but there’s no software built to create a seamless experience so what we do is we work with
(12:58) companies to automate it or set up triggers from when they’re within their software so they don’t have to worry about it so you know software is like uh Salesforce HubSpot Zoho for like all the major crms or like service based Industries like job or service Titan um which I forget all those I mean there’s tons out there but we can integrate and automate it based off a trigger or an event um so it becomes like an enjoyable seamless process versus like a headache like that’s not it’s like an off-site
(13:24) third-party product um to where you don’t know what’s going on I mean it’s kind of like its own entity in itself we want to be an extension of your business be a partner with you um so you know exactly what’s going on every step in a way and and again it’s it’s all hand written but the way that people use us is simple thank you notes um those are the ones like the service based industries that we’ve seen like these like solar companies or roofing companies we’ve seen their like growth
(13:50) over the last three years like literally hockey stick and it’s always just think you know it’s been I’ll connect with them like they don’t even reach out anymore because it’s just been such a consistent service but I’ll reach out like hey how’s everything going they’re just like it’s great our clients love it like they always get great feedback so simple thank you cards or um you know maybe after a quote we have some garage door companies using us like after a quote you know to help them
(14:11) close it or an HVAC you know those are big ticket items you know six grand 10 grand 12 Grand and people have to think about it you know if they can receive a handwritten note from the rep that they met with in three days like it’s pretty powerful you know it helps you get that contract request to finish line so thank you cards for sure thank you for meeting thank you after our purchase anniversary inner reminders those are all can be automated or just like a simple like spreadsheet it’s just like mail merge
(14:38) um you know you can take all your customers in a spreadsheet upload it to our website and literally you can send five thousand fifty thousand custom handwritten notes really in your handwriting with your logo in one minute two minutes you just go hi first name use our AI to write the message check out you know with your spreadsheet there and it’s done so we’ve really tried to make it as easy as possible are you liking anything there’s a learning curve you just need to know all the buttons are right but once you do it once or
(15:02) twice you know our team’s really good in onboarding you know it just becomes like a seamless integratable process you know that’s a part of your business okay fantastic so you know with that so the you’ve got the the handwritten note that goes out uh I would presume that uh you also handle the mailing postage those types of things so tell us a little bit about that process if somebody’s uh using your service what does that look like they they have their trigger set yeah what happens from that point yeah
(15:32) so I mean we’re the only company that’s truly vertically integrated um that I’m aware of um this is kind of like a niche business but um we have like when you trigger an order you start an order it gets sent to our printing press so the same 200 000 printing press that um you know these large commercial printing companies have we have one of those in-house so I’ll get sent to our printer we print it and then we take it over to the machine that cuts and scores it then after it’s cut and scored we run
(15:56) it through our handwriting robots with all your data and then it’s machine or uh human quality controlled so a human looks at the card looks at the envelope they’re both handwritten make sure it looks great inserts it then we throw a real Forever stamp on it and put it in the mail for you so it’s all done within 24 hours unless you have massive orders you know our current uh production capacities around 10 to 15 000 but we just made a pretty substantial investment to to try to get that up to 50 000 handwritten notes a day by the
(16:24) end of the year so um it’s a really seamless painless process that’s done completely in-house our goal is to try to get that handwritten note to your client within three to four business days excellent and then just a you know because I know you’re dealing with large companies is this an appropriate fit for for the small you know insurance agent uh financial advisor uh you know single single person single person and assistant type office I think this is a great product for any service based um industry so if it’s Financial Service
(17:00) Insurance real estate you know relationships matter mortgage right where you can get referrals reviews matter um you know transactual type of things as well I think any type of service in transactual relationship-based businesses will Thrive with this type of product because it’s just so rare and people appreciate to be appreciated so it’s like if you just say thank you to your client like it just works like it’s a the law of reciprocity right like they’re going to feel appreciated and feel more inclined
(17:31) to refer their friends or write your review or you know there’s a really cool American Express study saying um that clients who uh feel more appreciated are seven times more likely to make a referral seven times more likely to forgive a mistake five times more likely um to refer uh to make a repeat purchase so I mean there’s tons of benefits to just building a better relationship with your client absolutely so so of course the the question everybody’s going to have is is how do you price this is it
(18:01) is it by individual node is it a package how how does your system work yeah our pricing starts at three dollars a card so if you think of like the relationship management of your each client is done for three bucks a year you know it’s better than an email which is automated let’s be honest everybody knows emails are automated nowadays handwritten notes is the last form of communication that people believe they can be automated and I feel like we’re to break the industry because as soon as people get you know
(18:29) really under understand that this technology exists like I think every form of communication then is now automated or done by robots but um Henry you know this is the last Forum that people really understand that can be automated so you know if you want to try to manage um client relationships like lower your turn you know get more referrals you know three bucks a year for each client you know it it seems you know it could be it seems to be worth it but we have clients who are sending really large volumes that can go you know down to a
(18:56) dollar okay excellent and then you know what is is kind of the the time frame uh once a person uh signs up for the service uh how quickly does it take to go through that handwriting process and and really get them set up to where they can start to send those notes out yeah it can be as fast as you want it’s usually it’s the homework you know that people have to do um you know setting up the the automation you know we can help with that but it’s usually you know if you have a CRM and you’re good with like
(19:28) inputting your data the easiest thing is to automate off a payment because usually you know the payment has their billing address or mailing address associated with that credit card but um it can be you know go to our website and send one card in literally two minutes you know anybody can use our website as like to send a card or send hundreds but if you want to like integrate it and do like your handwriting it’s going to take a few days because you’re gonna have to fill out that handwriting form which is
(19:52) going to take you about 45 minutes we’re gonna have to send you proofs make sure you love it and then to set up that integration um can take five minutes but you know people tend to like over complicate it it’s like hey let’s send an email then a handwritten note and then automate like a task or call it you know it’s like they think it through too much it’s just like just send it like a one trigger one event for a thank you note after a purchase you know but it can take anywhere from you know five minutes to a
(20:18) few days okay excellent and then is you you mentioned somebody can go to the website uh and and you know place a single note order if they wanted is there a place where where they can actually see this process at work or a way they can kind of take it for a test run what do you have available for them yeah we have a lot of great videos on our website just the videos tab at the top of the page also you can request a free sample we do a really good job of sending like a big sample kit um with like seven or eight writing
(20:47) samples handwriting Styles um case studies Flyers pricing and we’ll send that to you for free just go to the website top right hand corner of the home page it says request a sample um and what happens people get that and they’re like no way like is this really handwritten like and like they take the finger try to smudge the ink they see it’s actually like real pen and then they call us with their ideas so I I highly suggest like just to go to the website simply noted.
(21:13) com and request a free sample at the very least and I’m like even if it’s something you don’t want to do now like we I’m telling you so people like oh holidays like this is a huge thing for the holidays as well you know it’s our busiest time of the year So eventually there’s a there’s a reason to send somebody a handwritten note if it’s a holiday card a thank you card you know congrats um we’re a platform that helps you do it all okay excellent and then Rick any any final thoughts you have for for those
(21:38) that are listening today any uh golden nuggets that uh you think somebody needs to grab a hold of I just I think you know simply notice not the the one tool that fits all you know I run simply noted and I Know It Takes literally an entire Village you know of support from different tools so I would just think to take an omni-channel presence you know with your clients when you’re trying to think of growing your business lowering churn rate and proven client retention increasing lifetime value you need to have an email tool a texting tool a
(22:06) calling tool a data tool a mailing tool and I think you know a handwritten note’s a great tool to have in your tool belt that’s going to help you stand out and beat the competition okay excellent well Rick yo where where could they go again to find out more about uh simply noted yeah simply notice just how it’s spelled s as in Sam i m as and Mary ply noted.
(22:30) com and just request a free sample or just connect me on LinkedIn I’m on LinkedIn all day um it’s just Rick r-i-c-k Elmore e-l-m-o-r-e and I’ll be happy to to chat with you there all right Rick it’s been good having you on today and appreciate your time thank you so much it’s great to be here

Skip to content