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Episode 132 – Promise to Make Your Experiences Better

Join us as we discuss a new app that helps you see even if you can’t, why making and keeping your promises is key to a successful experience, and why dumping generic language may bring you closer to your customers.

Seeing, Guaranteeing, and Personalizing – Oh My!

Referenced in the Show

Starbucks offers Aira, creating accessible experience for blind and low vision customers
• The Guaranteed Customer Experience: How to Win Customers by Keeping Your Promises – by Jeff Toister

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Learn more about our Season 7 Partner – Solvvy – The NextGen Chatbot

Episode Transcript

Download a machine-transcribed, barely edited transcript of Episode 132 here or read it below:
(if anything doesn’t make sense or you have any questions about the transcript – just Contact us!)

Joey Coleman (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:08):
The podcast that celebrates remarkable customer experiences and inspires you to stand out from the competition by wowing your customers.

Joey Coleman (00:17):
Each episode, we bring you a healthy dose of inspiring stories, funny interactions, and practical takeaways. Marketing and customer experience thought leader, Dan Gingiss…

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
shares the mic with customer retention and employee experience expert, Joey Coleman, helping you to get people talking about your business.

Joey Coleman (00:40):
So get ready because it’s time to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:48):
Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show!

Joey Coleman (00:55):
Join us as we discuss: a new app that helps you see even if you can’t, why making and keeping your promises is key to a successful experience, and why dumping generic language may bring you closer to your customers.

Dan Gingiss (01:11):
Seeing, guaranteeing, and personalizing – Oh My!

Joey Coleman (01:21):
There are so many great customer experience articles to read, but who has the time?! We summarize them and offer clear takeaways you can implement starting tomorrow. Enjoy this segment of CX Press, where we read the articles so you don’t need to.

Dan Gingiss (01:39):
This week’s CX Press is titled, “Starbucks Offers Aira, Creating Accessible Experience for Blind and Low Vision Customers,” and it’s from You know – that that really high end media outlet?

Joey Coleman (01:54):
That regular, that regular website you go to for all your breaking CX news,

Dan Gingiss (02:00):
Exactly. Well, we actually just talked about accessibility recently in episode one 30 with the Accessibe software. And we also featured the Starbucks DC signing store in Episode 42 of Season Two. That’s the one…

Joey Coleman (02:15):
The one by Gallaudet.

Dan Gingiss (02:16):
Yeah, exactly. Now the coffee giant is partnering with San Diego based Aira technology corporation to connect blind and low vision people to trained visual interpreters who provide instant access to visual information through a third party smartphone app. Now the article tells the story of Susan Mazrui, now 58, who lost her vision at age 17, due to multiple sclerosis. If she could talk to her teenage self, the article details, she would say, quote, “you’d be amazed at what technology can do,” unquote. Mazrui says the app allows her to quote, “be every other customer” unquote. Now we’re going to play the audio portion of a video that is embedded with this article. And I must admit I got a little emotional watching it. You’ll note that the voice over also includes additional details from the video so that blind and low vision people can better understand what’s going on.

Voiceover Narrator (03:21):
Text appears over black at Starbucks. We want everyone to feel included and welcome including people who are blind and low vision. As a woman walks with a service dog, the distance to Starbucks decreases. You’ve entered an Aira Access Network. TEXT Upon entering an IRA access network. IRA explorers can tap a button on their phone and connect to a trained IRA agent on their phones. Hands tap a blue circular logo with a white a in the center. Now calling an Aira agent, thank you for calling Aira. How can I help you? Somewhere around here there should be a Starbucks. I’m just going to get you to help me find it. Let’s go to Starbucks. Um, and I need help getting to the front door and ordering and the doors should be on your left. And about 20 feet is this Starbucks. Social distancing is easy tonight. You’re the only customer in the store. There is a separation stickers on the floor and there is a brief summary sheet. Do you know if there’s anything new or seasonal on the menu? The pink drink it’s described as our crisp strawberry refreshers beverage and then Emily, where if the pickup counter? Is turn left and the drink is in the center. If you meet your hand at home, enjoying your pink drink and they will talk to you soon, thank you. This is my first car with IRA. This is a really cool! TEXT Aira agents available 24 hours a day who can see what they see this unlocks a world that is not always accessible for all people. IRA offers a more accessible Starbucks experience for blind and low vision customers. Sealed Starbucks bags, rest on a counter and a customer scans their phone at the checkout. The smiling Aira agent takes off her headset. As the woman, she guided passes, the glowing Starbucks sign logos appear on a white background, Aira and Starbucks.

Joey Coleman (05:39):
Dan, I gotta tell you, I was getting a little choked up watching that as well. And you know, part of the reason why is I think this Aira technology does such a great job of addressing a problem that, you know, frankly, I haven’t experienced personally, but when I watched the video and I listened to that audio clip, I realize how many people don’t have an experience that frankly I take for granted. And I’m not, I’m not proud of that. I’m sorry to admit that. So bluntly, but I love this idea that we’re starting to figure out ways to use technology, to level the playing field when it comes to our customers’ experiences.

Dan Gingiss (06:21):
I totally agree. And I thought the same thing, Joey, that we take vision for granted. There’s no question. And I’m sure, uh, even though I don’t know, Susan Mazuri probably did too until she was 17 and she lost her vision. And that’s when you realize how much you take it for granted, because it’s just there every day. And I, to me, again, just being honest, this kind of introduced a new idea for me of what it’s like to be blind or low vision and how you might be walking down the street without anybody to help you or without a service animal or just by yourself and how difficult that could be to even, you know, you, you, you heard in the video just to find the front door of the restaurant to get into it. It is a challenge. And so what I loved about this is it’s using existing technology. We’ve all used FaceTime, we’ve all used zoom. So we know what it’s like to dial up on the phone and have somebody answer on the other end to be able to see them. And now this person is literally the eyes for the person that needs it and can point them in the right direction and read menus for them and all this stuff. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. But it also, really, to me, it brought me closer to sort of the issue at hand, which is wow, that must’ve been really, really tough without this app. So Starbucks first tested the Aira service in seven us cities early this year, including by the way that DC signing store. Now it’s proven to be helpful for customers navigating the protocols and physical changes implemented in stores during COVID-19 as well, such as social distancing and you heard a little reference to that in the audio. Next up, Starbucks will offer new large print and braille menus in all us and Canada stores by this summer.

Joey Coleman (08:17):
Emily McKinnon, a Starbucks program manager focused on implementing inclusive store designs said this quote, “[w]e’re trying to keep accessibility in mind with every project it’s exciting work. And we have found that integrating inclusive design early into our processes can lead us to new innovation that benefits a wider range of customers. When you design with diversity in mind, it creates a better experience for everyone.” You know, Dan, I loved this quote because we’ve reached the point where every business should be doing this. Every business should be thinking about accessibility with every product, with ever with every service offering. Because when you do that, you inherently make the experience better. Not only for those customers, but for every customer, because you’re bringing more thoughtfulness, more consideration, more specificity to your rollouts and to the things you’re trying to design.

Dan Gingiss (09:19):
I completely agree. And I mentioned something similar in that piece we did on excessively. That was also my experience at discover. When I was involved with designing website enhancements, the more we focused on being accessible, the more we improve the digital experience for all of our customers. So no matter what business you’re in, besides being the right thing to do, most of us can’t afford to turn away any customers. And by designing with inclusivity in mind, we make the customer journey better for everyone.

Joey Coleman (09:53):
We’re excited to give you an overview of an important book you should know about as well as share some of our favorite passages as part of our next Book Report.

Dan Gingiss (10:05):
Today’s book report segment is about “The Guaranteed Customer Experience: How to Win Customers by Keeping Your Promises” by our friend, Jeff Toister. You may remember way back in Season One, Episode 14, that we covered his previous book, the service culture handbook let’s have the author, Jeff Toister introduce his book to our audience.

Jeff Toister (10:28):
I shouldn’t have to convince you about the value of customer experience. If you’re listening to this, you already understand the value, the challenge that you face and customer experience leaders everywhere grapple with every day. How do we consistently deliver a great customer experience in my new book, the guaranteed customer experience. I walk you through a step-by-step guide where you can do just that you can promise your customers an amazing experience and then deliver on that promise. Every time the model works by using a very familiar guarantee, but we’ve modernized it for customer experience. And if you break down a guarantee, there’s only three key parts. Step one, make a promise. Now this is a promise that has value to a customer. It addresses a problem that they’re trying to solve a guarantee by definition is a promise that provides assurance. So this promise should assure customers that she will take care of their needs. And that promise is what brings customers in step two, take action. It’s not enough to say that you’ll provide that great experience. You have to deliver it. That means having the systems, products and processes to keep your promise each and every time. But step three that’s recovery, because try as you might, there will be times when you, for whatever reason are unable to keep your promises and in those situations, trust can be broken. And that’s why you need a recovery plan to restore confidence and restore your customer’s trust that the next time around you will take care of them. And using that framework of a guarantee, you can win and retain more customers than your competition.

Dan Gingiss (12:23):
Now, I think this idea of making and keeping promises is really interesting because of how I view customer experience. And as you know, I was a 20 year marketer in corporate America, I tend to look at CX through a marketing lens. And I think that what’s interesting is that in recent years, marketing departments have really taken on the role of promising the customer experience to prospects and then having to make sure that the rest of the company can actually deliver on those promises.

Joey Coleman (12:54):
Yeah. And that’s not an easy task, you know, I’m reminded Dan of that famous tagline for Geico insurance, 15 minutes can save you 15%. I mean, that’s essentially two promises in one, you’ve got the fact that the application will only take 15 minutes and that the company can save you 15% off, whatever you’re currently paying to another insurance provider.

Dan Gingiss (13:15):
Exactly. And though most companies’ taglines may not be that direct in their promises, their marketing is often subtly suggesting what the customer experience will be like if you decide to do business with them.

Joey Coleman (13:27):
Hey Dan, do you mind if I share my favorite passage from Jeff’s book?

Dan Gingiss (13:31):
Of course my buddy, go ahead.

Joey Coleman (13:33):
Alrighty. Well, in a chapter called, The Power of a Promise, in a section called How Promises Help Employees, we have the following – and I quote, “[a] promise, can break down corporate silos and create tremendous clarity for employees. It can help them see beyond the individual tasks, they have to complete and understand the bigger picture. Employees and customer focused companies know the promises, their companies make the customers, and they know the role they play in upholding those promises.” endquote. Now, Dan, I’m guessing you think that I love this quote because of the reference to silos and it’s like a farm joke reference thing. You know, my [inaudible], I have, you know, folks (laughing).

Dan Gingiss (14:24):
All right, moving on! If you don’t know what we’re talking about, listen to like ten other episodes.

Joey Coleman (14:28):
Exactly. You know, the thing I love about this is, more and more folks in the customer experience space. And Jeff has understood this for many years. We’re recognizing that employee experience and customer experience are two sides of the same coin. And if you want to deliver a remarkable customer experience, you have to have your employees experiencing remarkable experiences themselves. And one to give a remarkable experience to your employees is to be crystal clear that they know what the promise is that’s being made externally and the role they play in delivering or upholding that promise. Now what’s interesting to me is that we also had the opportunity to talk to Jeff Toister and get his favorite passage from the book. And it’s an example of what happens when promises are broken. Here’s Jeff telling his favorite passage from the book.

Jeff Toister (15:22):
Chelsea Howell was experiencing a string of bad luck. First, she was laid off from her job a short while later, she was involved in a minor traffic accident that damaged your car and insurance claim covered the repairs. But a few days after getting her car back, she noticed a tire pressure warning light. Sure enough, one of the tires was leaking air, which made her worry about the cost of getting it fixed. “I didn’t have a lot of disposable income to replace a tire,” said Howell. She brought her car back to the shop that had done the accident repair, hoping the tire could be fixed as part of the insurance claim, but the mechanic refused to help her insisting that the tire had nothing to do with the accident. It was frustrating, said Howell, you’re an auto repair shop. Couldn’t you just take a look. It felt like all they cared about was dollars and cents. That’s when she remembered a previous positive experience with a tire shop called discount tire, a repair technician examined the tire when she got to the store and was able to patch it and reset the warning light in just a few minutes. The best part was there was no charge for the service. It was a relief said, Howell, why didn’t I just go there first after losing my job and getting into an accident, this was one less thing I had to worry about.

Dan Gingiss (16:45):
You know, I love this passage and it’s funny because I too picked a passage about a broken promise. So let me get to mine. And here’s the quote, “[i]n late 2009, Domino’s pizza offered at Mia culpa in a new advertising campaign. One video produced by the company, shared blunt feedback from customer focus, groups and surveys. Where’s the love asked one customer featured in the video. There doesn’t feel like there’s much love in Domino’s pizza. Another customer said Domino’s pizza crust to me is like cardboard CEO, Patrick Doyle directly addressed the feedback in that same video. You can either use negative comments to get you down, or you can use them to excite you and energize your process of making a better pizza. We did the latter. Now I loved this because as a Stewart listeners may know, and you may remember Joey, I am a former employee of Domino’s pizza.

Joey Coleman (17:44):
You are! I do remember at one point didn’t you deliver a pizza to the man, the myth, the legend – Michael Jordan?

Dan Gingiss (17:50):
I sure did!

Joey Coleman (17:51):
On more than one occasion actually, as I recall…

Dan Gingiss (17:53):
I went to his house twice, but only, but he answered only once. Okay. And, uh, but yes, I worked at Domino’s for, I don’t know, four, maybe three, four years. And then I come back over college breaks and work for a few weeks. So I, I really loved that role, loved the job. And I will tell you, first of all, the pizza, now, if you haven’t had Domino’s pizza in a long time, it is way better than you remember it.

Joey Coleman (18:18):
It’s way better! I had Domino’s for the first time in probably years, a few weeks ago. And it was, I actually have true confession here, I double-checked. I was like, is this really Domino’s? Cause like it was on my wife was kind enough to already put it on the plate. Uh, my brother had brought pizza over to the house from Domino’s and I was like, is this really Domino’s or you guys kind of pull on my leg. It was actually quite tasty.

Dan Gingiss (18:42):
Yeah. It’s definitely, it’s definitely much better than it was. And I, and what I love about this is that the brand figured out that there was a core problem with its product and it wasn’t afraid to face it. It wasn’t afraid to look it in the eye and say, how are we going to fix this? And you know, Domino’s has been an incredibly successful company since 2009 in no, in no small part due to the fact that the CEO was willing to get out there. And as Jeff said, offer a mea culpa. So I absolutely loved that example. There are plenty more where that came from in “The Guaranteed Customer Experience: How to Win Customers by Keeping Your Promises.” Check it out. It’s by our friend, Jeff Toister. We promise that you’ll love it.

Joey Coleman (19:34):
Almost everyone has interacted with chatbots, but all too often, it’s been a bad experience. In MythBusters, presented by Solvvy, we explore a common myth about CX chatbots and see how the right technology can create a positive experience every time.

Dan Gingiss (19:58):
Today’s myth about chatbots? Chatbots are expensive, not worth the investment. There are lots of chat bots and automation solutions on the market today that are offered at a wide variety of price points. You might initially think that some of the leading chat bot companies on the market are a bit too expensive and not worth the upfront investment. You might even be considering building a bot yourself versus buying from an established vendor as a way to save a bit in the short run.

Joey Coleman (20:24):
Now, the reality is that the right next gen chat bot is a great investment with fast ROI. A next gen chat bot can be deployed in days and start delivering strong results from day one. Now, while the cost might be a bit higher up front, the speed at which it can be rolled out and the effectiveness of the support provided, mean you start immediately and can see positive ROI in just a couple of months. By contrast, less expensive bots and those “do it yourself” efforts require engineering resources and possibly even outside consultants to implement, which adds up quickly. Once you’ve launched a next gen chat bot, you won’t require much maintenance at all. Unlike legacy chat-bots that need constant monitoring and updates and often a dedicated resource to manage all of this.

Dan Gingiss (21:16):
Ah – it’s the classic case of spending a little more upfront, Joey, to get lots more value down the road and not have to break any promises to customers.

Joey Coleman (21:28):
I see what you did there, Dan! Well, that’s another MythBusted, thanks to our friends and podcast supporters at Solvvy – the NextGen chatbot. Learn more about them at – that’s

Joey Coleman (21:46):
Have you ever found yourself saying, I wonder what Dan and Joey would think about this situation? Well, guess what? Now you can know! Just tag us on social or message us through our website with a customer experience scenario, a question, or anything else you’re curious about, and you’ll get to hear our answers when you Ask Us Anything!

Dan Gingiss (22:12):
We introduced a new segment this season called Ask Us Anything and it’s so great that people have been asking,

Joey Coleman (22:20):
Right? They ask, we answer. That’s how it goes, Dan, right?

Dan Gingiss (22:23):
Ah ha yep! Our friend Marcus Sheridan would be very proud of you for saying that Joey. So we recently received some feedback on a recent segment, as well as a question from listener Lisa Sedlak. She commented on the segment that we did on the clothing models at Stellar Equipment.

Joey Coleman (22:40):
Ah yes, that’s the one where they showed the sizing and the heights of the models and name them as well.

Dan Gingiss (22:46):
Indeed. That’s the one. Let’s hear what Lisa had to say about that as well as the question she had for Ask Us Anything.

Lisa Sedlak (22:55):
Hi, Dan and Joey, I was laughing during episode one 23, where Joey talked about the stellar equipment ad or the model’s name and size were shown to women’s retailers Modcloth and Torrid have been doing this for years. On Modcloth’s website, they show the model, her size and height, but they also show the clothing on thinner and larger women. For us larger folks, this is very helpful. They also encourage customers to share photo reviews with their sizes. Even though ModCloth can be pricey, I shopped there because I can see from the images how the item will look on me before buying and because of this, I have yet to return any items to Modcloth or Torrid. Now for a question, have y’all ever covered the use of personalizing responses to customers in a regulated industry? Like in finance, I have been debating with others about the importance of using “you” in a response to a customer instead of using the generic “user” for customer. Thanks a lot guys, Lisa from Blacksburg.

Dan Gingiss (24:05):
So Joey, we have indeed touched on personalization before, but Lisa’s question is quite specific. Do you have any thoughts?

Joey Coleman (24:14):
Oh, my friend. Do I have any thoughts?

Dan Gingiss (24:17):
It was a loaded question I know…

Joey Coleman (24:18):
And I, and I think this is going to be an interesting one because you come at this from your experiences and I’ll let you share kind of the background and kind of how you come to this perspective. I come at this from the perspective of a lawyer or at least a recovering lawyer. And…

Dan Gingiss (24:36):
and, and you were, you worked in government too.

Joey Coleman (24:38):
I did work in government – so I understand the regulation part, and here’s the thing. And I say this respectfully to my friends, my colleagues, all those people working in regulated industries – ,all too often in my experience, that is an excuse for poor customer experience. I’m sorry if we, uh, Oh, we’ve got these rules and these regulations, I get it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t personalize the communication. Now here’s the thing. Different people define the word personalization in different ways. It doesn’t necessarily mean using their name. It doesn’t necessarily mean talking specifically about their scenario, but what we can do is bring a certain piece of levity, or a certain feeling of familiarity, or connection to our communications in a way that makes them feel hyper-personalized and still in compliance with any regulations that may be involved in our communications.

Dan Gingiss (25:35):
So I think you’re spot on. And as you know, I worked in financial services for 14 years. And so I’m all too familiar with all of the regulations and the privacy rules and all this stuff. And you’re absolutely right that companies hide behind the regulations as a excuse for delivering subpar experiences. But I want to actually dissect Lisa’s question a little bit further because she did specifically mention using the word you. So I want to look at this from a grammar perspective because I’m a little bit of a grammar nerd.

Joey Coleman (26:08):
Uh, yes. Dan and I hear the Apple hasn’t fallen that far from the tree on this one. Has it?

Dan Gingiss (26:13):
Uh, no, actually it doesn’t. And uh, for those of you that don’t know, Joey is of course talking about my father who, bless his heart, has listened to every single episode of experience this, but always, and I mean, always lets me know if either one of us makes a grammatical error.

Joey Coleman (26:29):
And let’s be honest, Mr. Gingiss it’s usually me. Dan is usually the one going, yeah, you’re going to want to do a retake on that cause you just flubbed up the grammar and the good news is as if I didn’t have enough grammatical love from my Dan, I get it from my amazing wife Berit, who is also, I refer to her sometimes as Madame Grammarian, like the Madame Librarian. Yeah, no, I could do much better with the language, but I’ll let you get back to the grammar Dan.

Dan Gingiss (26:55):
Yeah. Well, but first of all, your wife and my father are going to tell you that what you should have said is it is usually I [inaudible],

Joey Coleman (27:06):
That was nicely done. That was nicely done. Good catch!

Dan Gingiss (27:09):
That was not scripted people!

Joey Coleman (27:11):
That was my plan to see if I could catch Dan and he caught me good job Dan!

Dan Gingiss (27:15):
Anyway, let’s get back to some grammar here. So she mentions the word you and you is of course a pronoun, which by definition is going to be more personal than a generic noun like customer or user or client. So that’s the grammar part, grammar lesson over. But I think in addition to that, we have to realize that customers themselves don’t think of themselves as users or clients. But if I say, Hey you!

Joey Coleman (27:41):
Yeah, Dan?

Dan Gingiss (27:42):
Thank you my friend for proving my point. You see folks when you work together, as long as Joey and I have you start to finish.

Joey Coleman (27:50):
each other’s sandwiches?!

Dan Gingiss (27:52):
Uh, something like that Joey, something like that. Personalizing down to the customer’s name is obviously a step ahead of you, in my opinion, and even better is allowing the customer to tell you what they want to be called. For example, I may apply for a credit card with the name Daniel, because it’s my legal name, but I’d much preferred if the online account center referred to me is Dan. I think you can relate C Joseph Coleman?

Joey Coleman (28:19):
Uh, yes I can. And for those of you that don’t know, that is my full legal name Dan was giving, or at least a good portion of my full legal name since it’s C Joseph Coleman the third. You know, one point that I’d like to share here, one story I’d like to share, is this type of personalization, this type of paying attention to what your customers want to be called can have direct impact on your bottom line. I’m going to roll the clock back to when I am applying to law schools. So I’m in my senior year of college. I applied to 13 law schools around the country and thankfully I got a number of acceptance letters, not all of them, but several and so I had some decisions to make. And the thing that sealed the deal that made me attend George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC is the acceptance letter said, “Dear Joey.” Now what you, our listeners know is that I go by Joey. But at that point in my life, I was going by Joey but on these types of forms, you had to fill out your full legal name, which is Charles Joseph Coleman, the third and many of the other acceptance letters said, “Dear Charles.” But the applications also had an area where you could put preferred nickname. And I always wrote in Joey GW was one of the only schools that referred to me by my preferred name. That’s why I went there. And while we don’t want to get too specific necessarily because it might make me sick, uh, talking about the cost of attending a top law school for three years, that had a direct bottom line implication on their acceptance rate and my willingness to go there because they called me by my name.

Dan Gingiss (29:59):
Folks, if you’re going to have a section on your application, that’s his preferred name? You might as well use it. We’ll fill it in, right? I mean just a little hint. Well, Lisa, thank you so much for your feedback and for your question, we’re going to send you out some signed copies of our books as a thank you and if you have a question you’d like answered in the next, ask us anything segment, just go to, click on Contact, and leave us a voice message like Lisa did. And we will tell your story and answer your question on a future episode.

Joey Coleman (30:40):
Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! You are the best listener ever.

Dan Gingiss (30:46):
And since you listened to the whole show…

Joey Coleman (30:48):
Yay, you!

Dan Gingiss (30:50):
We’re curious, was there a specific part of this episode that you enjoyed the most? If so, it would mean the world to us. If you could share it with a coworker, a friend, or someone that just loves listening to podcasts.

Joey Coleman (31:00):
And while you’re in the sharing mood, if you felt inclined to jump over to iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts and write us a review, we would so appreciate it. And when you do, don’t forget to let us know as we might have a little surprise for you.

Dan Gingiss (31:16):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more,

Joey Coleman (31:19):

Dan Gingiss (31:19):

Episode 119 – Using the Power of Nostalgia to Build Customer Connection

Join us as we discuss why your branding may spoil the experience, how to use nostalgia in unexpected ways, and what your culture says about your customer experience.

Packaging, Listening, and Interviewing – Oh My!

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Learn more about our Season 7 Partners – Solvvy – The NextGen Chatbot

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 119 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:08):
The podcast that celebrates remarkable customer experiences and inspires you to stand out from the competition by wowing your customers.

Joey Coleman (00:17):
Each episode, we bring you a healthy dose of inspiring stories, funny interactions, and practical takeaways. Marketing and customer experience thought leader, Dan Gingiss…

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
shares the mic with customer retention and employee experience expert, Joey Coleman, helping you to get people talking about your business.

Joey Coleman (00:40):
So get ready, because it’s time to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:49):
Get ready, for another episode of the Experience This! Show.

Dan Gingiss (00:54):
Join us as we discuss: why your branding may spoil the experience, how to use nostalgia in unexpected ways, and what your culture says about your customer experience.

Joey Coleman (01:07):
Packaging, Listening, and Interviewing – Oh my!

Joey Coleman (01:13):
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened?!

Joey Coleman (01:28):
Welcome back to Season Seven. Woo! We are so excited to be here with you. You know, who would have thunk back when we started out with Episode 1 that we would be coming to you in Episode 119 seven seasons later?! We are so pumped and excited for this season. We’ve got some new segments, we’ve got plenty of new stories, some new features for you to get more involved with the show. Woo! Lot to cover, but we’re going to get to that… Before we get started though, Dan, how was your holiday break brother?

Dan Gingiss (01:59):
Well, thanks for asking Joey and great to hear your voice again. It’s been a while since I’ve heard that melodic voice and great holiday season, as you may or may not know my birthday is on Christmas as well. So all the fun we had a great time and, you know, during the break, you and I also got to chat with our brand new partner for this season, Solvvy – The Next Generation Chatbot… And I’m really excited about this because I’ll be honest, I started off as a skeptic on chatbots and having talked with Solvvy, I’m now much more excited about chat bots because I understand them better and I understand what they can and can’t do. And that’s some of what we’re going to share with you, the audience during the season. And I think what will be a really cool segment,

Joey Coleman (02:49):
Absolutely super excited for these Solvvy conversations. You know, my holiday was a lot of fun as well. We’re settling in here in our new house in Iowa, which I’ll honest is a bit snow year and a good bit colder than it wasn’t Colorado, but we had a great Christmas with less people than usual. Like I’m sure with a lot of our listeners had that same experience. Yay, thanks COVID! But still had a lovely time. Although I must confess Dan, I had a bit of a customer experience snafu and I wanted to start things off on the show talking about it today.

Dan Gingiss (03:22):
Oh boy. So not everything was a holly jolly Christmas.

Joey Coleman (03:26):
No, no, it was not. And uh, to be honest, this is something we’ve talked about before on the show, but this time, this scenario showed up in a different way. So let me explain my incredible wife, Berit loves gifts and presents. If you were to look at the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and put her through the test, which we’ve done many a times, both. She and I have taken that test. She scores 12 out of 12 on gifts and presents. So I tried to surprise her with gifts and presents whenever I get the chance. And she’s very health conscious and we’re here in the Midwest now, and we’ve talked about farming and we have a family farm and I decided to order her an indoor lettuce farm. So it’s basically a vertical garden with grow lights that lets you grow more produce at home, which is better for the environment. It helps keep our family healthy too. And I was super excited about this gift and really wanted to surprise her because she loves surprises, especially when it comes to Christmas, but I’d never ordered for this company before and kind of didn’t know what to expect, but I signed up to receive the delivery alerts so I could make sure to sneak the box into the house. Cause I knew it was going to be a big box before she saw it.

Dan Gingiss (04:41):
Oh, I think I know where this is going,

Joey Coleman (04:44):
Dan. I think you may be correct. Well, here’s the scoop. So we’re coming up towards Christmas. We’re about two weeks out. I receive a message that the package was scheduled to be delivered on a Friday. I’m feeling good. We’re going to have plenty of time to wrap for Christmas, but on Wednesday morning, keep in mind. It’s supposed to be delivered on Friday. I come out to the kitchen to find Berit with kind of a guilty look on her face. Let me guess she had seen the present. Dan, not only had she seen the present, but the company who shall remain nameless here because it’s not really there. Now it’s debatable as to whether they’re to blame for this, but I just hope people will think differently after listening this segment – the company had written their name in huge letters all over all three of the large boxes and it was painfully obvious that this was a home-based lettuce growing kit, given the branding.

Dan Gingiss (05:42):
I have to laugh twice. I think I’ve laughed. Actually. Number one is I I’m still back at the whole concept of a lettuce farm, which I think is outstanding. But if you asked me, “Hey Dan, take a guess what we’re going to talk about in the first episode of 2021 it’s not what it’s not going to be. What I came up with

Joey Coleman (05:59):
And knowing you’re a big produce guy, Dan, I got to say you can grow more than lettuce. Okay. But let’s just say lettuce was the intention, the brand, there were some challenges.

Dan Gingiss (06:10):
All right, got you. Yep. And the other thing though that I was laughing about was you actually had the opposite experience a few years ago, I believe with a LEGO box.

Joey Coleman (06:19):
Yes, exactly. I regularly order from Lego and they go out of their way to ship their boxes blind – that is they ship them without any branding or labeling. Even the return address is impossible to decipher because they know that their products are often given as gifts.

Dan Gingiss (06:37):
I think that was Episode 56 of Season Three.

Joey Coleman (06:42):
Our loyal listeners will continue to be impressed with your rain man, esque knowledge of our back catalog of episodes. Dan, I guarantee. But yes, the fact that LEGO shipped the boxes blind way back in season three. And by the way, they still do it today because LEGO was another package that arrived at our house this Christmas and was a big hit. It shows that LEGO has thought through the trade-offs between promoting their brand and ruining the surprise when the package is delivered. Something that I wish this in-house, indoor, vertical farm would have done.

Dan Gingiss (07:16):
You know, I think this is interesting because I’m not so sure that the branding on the boxes does a whole lot. I mean, if you think about it, depending on the community that you live in, it might be sitting at someone’s doorstep that, you know, if you have any length of a driveway at all, you can’t see from the street. And so unless you’re trying to convince the mailman or mailwoman to, to purchase from your company, like, I don’t think this is one of these cases where millions of people are seeing it. Now

Joey Coleman (07:45):
It’s all about getting ups and FedEx drivers to buy more of your product!

Dan Gingiss (07:49):
It could be, I mean, I’m thinking two things, one, obviously the ubiquitous Amazon box, which you see a thousand times a day and almost any neighborhood, you know, that might be an exception. But I also, I wonder whether you know this, Joey, do you know that for years you were not allowed to have any branding on anything on any box shipped through the postal service. And that actually has changed. I have a feeling that Amazon ended up changing that, but for a while, if you, even, if you tried to reuse the box, for example, you had to cover up all the branding because the advertising wasn’t allowed.

Joey Coleman (08:22):
Well, I don’t exactly remember that whether it was allowed or not, I’ll defer to your expertise on this Dan. But I do agree with you that there’s kind of this healthy mix. And I know for example, Apple intentionally doesn’t say Apple on the box because they don’t want people stealing the boxes. Right? So I, and I also get that there’s this fine line between if your packaging also shows up in a retail environment, you might want to have a boxed in a certain way because it’s going to sit in a store and be visible. And it kind of almost becomes an in-store advertisement. But this company to my knowledge only sells online. And I just, I, you know, I’ll admit I was a little bit bummed that the surprise was given up. Not because of me, but because of the packaging of the box. So what could this company have done differently? Well, I’m not saying that branding, your packaging is bad. In fact, when done properly, it’s a great way to market and promote your offerings. However, if you think there is a chance that someone might purchase your product as a gift, especially around the holiday season, it would be a great experience to let purchasers choose their delivery packaging. Or if that’s too logistically complicated, at least let them know that the package will be arriving with lots of external branding so they can prepare themselves accordingly. You don’t want to be the brand that ruined Christmas. And there is nothing worse than creating a bad brand experience before the customers even opened the box.

Joey Coleman (09:57):
Just because you have required elements of your business doesn’t mean they need to be, Oh, it’s time to get creative, have some fun and make people sit up and take notice. Get your customers talking when you Make The Required Remarkable.

Joey Coleman (10:17):
I saw an interesting post on Medium recently from Tom Whitwell called “52 things I learned in 2020.” Tom is a managing consultant at Flux in London. And he shared a fascinating list of learnings, including one in particular that stood out to me. Number three on his list, “the hold music you hear when you phone Octopus Energy is personalized to your customer account. It’s a number one record from the year you were 14.

Dan Gingiss (10:44):
Well, first of all, octopus energy could be the best name of any energy company I’ve ever heard.

Joey Coleman (10:49):
It’s an awesome name!

Dan Gingiss (10:50):
but I love the concept of personalized hold music. I mean, we did talk about hold music way back in Season One, Episode 6, when we talked about that one impressed even me, ladies, I’m going to double down and say that we also talked about hold music on our other show, Experience Points – the game show – and Scott McCain was our guests that day. And, uh, we, we showed a couple of different, uh, hold music, examples, but nothing personalized to the year that you were 14 years old.

Joey Coleman (11:22):
This one feels really special. So when I first saw this, I had to learn more. So I checked out the octopus energy website and found some cheeky messaging. And I say cheeky, because they’re over in London that matched their creative hold music. Now this is how their about us page reads on the website. And I quote, “We’re doing energy better for you and for the environment. The energy industry in Britain is ruled by a handful of complacent, dinosaurs, peddling, fossil fuels, pricing, trickery, and poor customer service. In 2016, octopus entered the market to disrupt the status quo with energy that’s good for the planet, good for your wallet, and honestly, good for your soul. Since then, we’ve been picking up 30,000 customers a month on average, and now supply energy to 1.5 million UK homes and counting. To this day, 92% of our customers rate us as “five stars excellent” on Trustpilot. And we’re the only supplier to be recommended by consumer champion, which year after year, after a year, after a year.

Dan Gingiss (12:30):
Okay. Now I get the octopus joke because dinosaurs!

Joey Coleman (12:35):
There’s a lot of fun and games going on.

Dan Gingiss (12:39):
It’s outstanding! Gosh, where to start. You know, also I just love communication. I love words and how we talk to customers. And I do believe that every chance we have to communicate with customers in any channel is an opportunity to create an experience. That’s why we have this whole segment called Required Remarkable because so much of our communication is required and we don’t have to just make it boring. We can make it really interesting. And it seems like a, as they’re saying that what they’re doing is working because their customers love them. And let’s recall people, this is an energy company.

Joey Coleman (13:16):
Yeah. That’s the thing. This is an energy company and 92% of their customers rate them as five stars. Like we could just stop right there. I got to tell you, Dan, I wanted to become a customer of Octopus Energy and figure out how to make that happen – even though they’re based in the UK, because I was so intrigued by this! Well, and then I tracked down this specific page on their website that talks about their hold music and I quote, shut up and hold me at octopus energy, everything we make starts with the customer. So what does that mean for hold music? Well, if we have your birth date on file, we’ll play the song. That was number one when you were 14 years old. Keen to know what your octopus jam is? Just select your birth year below and we’ll let you know, and then you can type in your birth year and it tells you what the song would be. And I love this and think it’s a beautiful example of creating a required remarkable strategy that takes advantage of a nostalgia trend play.

Dan Gingiss (14:14):
Do go on Joey – say more about that…

Joey Coleman (14:17):
Well, I think, you know, as you mentioned earlier, Dan, we talk about this idea that there are required elements of your business, that you have the chance to make remarkable yet most businesses don’t do that. We’ve also talked about in previous episodes, uh, this whole idea of a nostalgia play, especially for folks who are over 30 and as you get older, the numbers that desire for nostalgia increases even more that if you can reach back and grab something from the past and bring it to the present, it gives us warm, fuzzy feelings inside. And I don’t know about you, but at about 14 music really started to play a different role in my life than it had before. And this idea of anchoring into some key songs that were right at that transitional period in life, I think is a great way to take customers of any age and bring them back to some really positive feelings around music.

Dan Gingiss (15:13):
Agreed and nostalgia, I think always plays it’s, it’s personalized in and of itself. We obviously all feel nostalgic about different things, but music is something that brings people together and, you know, the 14, I’m sure some report told them that 14 was the ideal year, but I think you’re right, that you know, that somewhere in your teenage years is where you really start connecting with music. And, and you remember those, those songs and, you know, Joey, I couldn’t help, but notice that you and I have the same birth year. We do. We do. I’m born at the beginning of the year. You’re a little youngster, you’re born more towards the end of the year, but I think it’d be, uh, I wonder if any of our listeners could guess given that you and I were born in 1973, what the number one song was when we were 14?

Mystery Singer (16:05):
Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you!

Joey Coleman (16:14):
Oh goodness. How about that? Who would have thought that two jokers like us would get to have the number one song when we were 14, be the song that is infamous on the internet?!

Dan Gingiss (16:25):
Fantastic. Love it. And it certainly that that song gets me home in every time and singing out loud. So I, I think it would work if I were waiting on, hold on. I also love the fact that I just want to go back to the fact that you said the website started with “Shut up and hold me!” And you know, I mean, I said before about the “I’m On Hold” song, my first experience ever with that song, I literally felt like I didn’t want the conference call to start because I wanted to hear the end of the song and think about how different that is from the feeling you normally have when you’re on hold. And so, yeah, obviously ideally, no one would be on hold ever. But given that, that does seem to be a fact of life playing a song that, you know, the person’s going to be rocking out to is a great idea.

Joey Coleman (17:15):
Absolutely. You know, friends auditing your customer touchpoints and looking for ways to enhance them is always a good idea, but it seems particularly timely at the beginning of a new year. You can get some fast wins. You can instill a sense of creativity and really start things off on the right foot or the right note as one might decide. So take some inspiration from the fine folks at Octopus Energy and go find ways to make the required elements of your business more remarkable.

Joey Coleman (17:50):
Almost everyone has interacted with chatbots, but all too often, it’s been a bad experience. In MythBusters – presented by Solvvy – we explore a common myth about CX chatbots and see how the right technology can create a positive experience, every time.

Joey Coleman (18:17):
Today’s myth about chatbots? Chatbots aren’t smart. Have you ever had the chance to ask a chat bot, something that you think is a very simple question and you get a response like I don’t understand or try asking again, that’s my chatbot robot voice, by the way, this is not only frustrating, but it leaves me feeling like I’m wasting my time. And as a result, I ended up desperately seeking a human.

Dan Gingiss (18:42):
Now while there is a myth that chatbots aren’t smart. The reality is that modern chatbots are intelligent. Chatbots are now using N L P – an abbreviation for natural language processing, which also allows a chat bot to interpret a customer question along with the intent behind it, regardless of how it’s expressed in a chat.

Joey Coleman (19:05):
For example, you might not have received a package that you were expecting, maybe something special you ordered for Christmas. If you were to type in, I haven’t received my package yet, or even more specifically, my indoor lettuce farm is missing modern chatbots like Solvvy interpret the intention you have to track or locate your package. The chatbot then guides the customer to the right place to do this. Fast resolution, a happy customer, no support ticket necessary!

Dan Gingiss (19:34):
Now that sounds like a much better customer experience. It is about time that the technology started to understand what I want. Even if I don’t say it as clearly as I could. We’ll learn more about advances in chat bot and support automation throughout the season.

Joey Coleman (19:50):
That’s another myth busted. Thanks to our friends at Solvvy – the NextGen chatbot.

Joey Coleman (20:00):
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wonder what Dan and Joey would think about this situation?” Well, guess what? Now you can know, just tag us on social or message us through our website with a customer experience, scenario, a question or anything else you’re curious about, and you’ll get to hear our answers. When you Ask Us Anything.

Joey Coleman (20:27):
We are super excited to introduce a brand new segment this season here in season seven, doing things, new friends called ask us anything.

Dan Gingiss (20:37):
Similar to the famous, ask me anything – or AMA – that started on Reddit in the ask us anything segment of our show. Listeners submit a scenario, question, or topic for Joey and me to discuss, but the topics will all be customer experience related.

Joey Coleman (20:54):
Now, part of the credit for this segment goes to Tony Amante Schepers – the Director of Operations, Customer Success, and Customer Experience at OYO USA. Tony recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about the importance of sharing your company culture as part of your interview process. And he tagged Dan and me to get our thoughts on the subject. Now let’s be honest. Tony’s a great guy. We appreciate him and tagging us always good to tag Dan. First on the socialist friends, he’s the social media expert gets stuff out there on the socials for Dan, if you want to tag me as well, that’s fine too. But long story short, we saw the article and we thought this would be a fun way to have a new segment on the show.

Dan Gingiss (21:36):
Agreed. So it worked Tony! Let’s give you a brief overview of his article. It was called “Four steps to sharing company culture during the interview process and why you need to.” In the article, Tony shares research that the number one reason, someone stays with an employer is culture. And the number one reason, someone leaves an employer is culture. He goes on to define company culture as quote the day-to-day way things get done, how coworkers communicate with each other, how they communicate to the client, how often leadership mingles with, and if they listen to those lower on the totem pole, the frequency in which wins are shared and celebrated company-wide. And the way in which losses are treated as learning moments, not slaps on the hand,” unquote.

Joey Coleman (22:26):
Tony notes that while there is certainly a lot of churn in the marketplace, when it comes to employment right now, quote, “What will keep an employee present once the pandemic and lockdown ends is the employer valuing the hire from day one.” And by “day one,” what Tony means is from the start of the interview process, he believes that quote it’s vital to show how company culture operates, how a business communicates internally to accomplish daily tasks.

Dan Gingiss (22:55):
Tony outlines the four steps to sharing company culture as follows: (1) Get an internal pulse check by surveying employees about how they rate internal communication and then sharing that broadly across the organization and with new hires. (2) Try out new modes of communication videos, social media, et cetera, show the world, the business and the faces behind it.

Joey Coleman (23:20):
Number three, conduct a culture fit interview, giving job candidates, a brief personality test to see if their approach to problem solving will be a good fit for your company culture. And number four, share how teams talk be transparent in the interview process about how employees use things like Slack, Microsoft Teams, email voicemails, happy hours, all hands meetings, et cetera. So now that laid the foundation of Tony’s hypothesis, that culture really matters and that you should show that as part of the interview process, what do you think about this Dan?

Dan Gingiss (23:56):
I love the idea because the culture is one of the things that’s really hard to suss out as an interviewee, right? If you think about it, you’re going in, you’re talking to people, their job is essentially to say nice things about the company. And so if you’re doing your research, you’re probably looking at sites like glass door, or you’re calling somebody who used to work there, or what have you to get the real scoop because the front that companies put on is, you know, might as well be put out by the PR department with no offense to PR departments, because it is always so positive. Right? And then you get there and it’s like, Oh, well, you know, you didn’t tell me this part. I’ll give you a real life example from my career Joey. I know, you know, this one is I signed on to be the head of global social media at McDonald’s and it was not until my first day of work that I learned that in McDonald’s culture, the United States is not part of global. That might’ve been something…

Joey Coleman (24:58):
Such a mind opening experience!

Dan Gingiss (25:00):
Yeah. I mean, I, it might’ve been something that would have been cool to discuss in the interview. It never came up. I didn’t know that the company was divided into domestic and global and that global meant everything, but the U S but man, that was a real eye opener on day one. And I think that, you know, the cultural things, like, I mean, he mentioned Slack. For example, I was at a company, a late stage startup was my first ever exposure to Slack. I fell in love with it. I loved it. My emails were much, I got much fewer emails during the day. It was a great way to communicate. But man, if you’ve never used it before, that might be something that’s scary or

Joey Coleman (25:42):
Or if you have you used it like I have and you didn’t like it… If I found out after I got on the job, that it was a Slack shop that everybody was using Slack, no offense to the great team at Slack and what they’ve built. I would not be super happy about that because it’s like, Oh, on top of fitting in, I need to fit in, in the way that you’re fitting in with the technology tools. And that was the one I really liked. You know, I liked all the examples that Tony gave, but that one in particular I thought was a great way to give people exposure. Like maybe let them see, not only that you use Slack, but what are some of the chats? What are the things that people are saying? I think channels is the phrase that they use in Slack, you know, invite them to your happy hour, invite your interviewees, to come to your happy hour and see are these the kinds of people we want to hang out with.

Dan Gingiss (26:32):
So, by the way, we have a very, the old segment we have not used in a really long time. It might even be in retirement. We’re going to have to pull it out. It’s called “Agree to Disagree!”

Joey Coleman (26:43):
Aww – bringing us back!

Dan Gingiss (26:43):
We’re going to have one about Slack, Joey, because I love Slack. I love it. Yeah. And I think we should have that conversation. So that’ll be a future episode. Thank you, Tony. You are just continuing to contribute to our show. But you’re right. The happy hours, the meetings, even what people, how, how people dress. What’s appropriate and not in terms of, you know, a lot in startup culture, there’s things like ping pong tables and, and snacks and all that sort of thing. And you get used to some of that stuff, but then it’s also, you know, you switched to a more traditional company and that stuff all goes away or things like open seating that’s become that, that pre COVID was becoming so popular. That is something personally that I never particularly enjoyed. I always liked having my own space where I can put a picture frame and you know, my coffee mug and stuff like that. And, and having to just show up and pick a cube every day was very unnerving to me. So I do think those are all things that are very relevant to culture. And then obviously what’s not being said here is that when employees are happy, when they like the culture, when they enjoy going to work every day, that then gets projected onto the customers and customers can see when employees like where they’re working. I mean, I always like to give the example of when you walk into a fast food restaurant and a, and that person behind the counter, it looks like you’re interrupting their otherwise pleasant day by wanting to place an order.

Joey Coleman (28:12):
Yeah – “sorry for interrupting you!”

Dan Gingiss (28:15):
Yeah. That gives you a good sense for what it’s like to work at that company.

Joey Coleman (28:18):
Absolutely. And I think the parallel, some people might be listening to this saying, well, wait a second guys, how does this connect to customer experience? Well, and as we talk about a lot on the show customer experience and employee experience are two sides of the same coin. I think when you think about the culture of your organization, that absolutely spills into your customer interactions, and you want to make sure that a new employee is going to get the fit. They’re going to want to understand how you communicate. I mean, go back to the earlier conversation we had in this episode about Octopus Energy. If you’re a buttoned up straight laced, you know, traditional, conservative, corporate business person, you’re probably not going to fit in well at a place like Octopus Energy. That’s my guess, just based on the language they use on their website. So I think at the end of the day, there’s a real opportunity to preview what it’s going to be like to be an employee as much as possible. Because if we can get folks to understand before they start the job, what the job is really going to be like, there’s a much higher likelihood that it’s going to be successful for everyone, not only the employee, but for the folks that are inviting this new employee in.

Dan Gingiss (29:33):
If you’d like to submit a question, a topic, or a theory about customer experience that you’d like us to discuss as part of our next, ask us anything segment it’s pretty easy. You could just tag us on social media like Tony did or visit, go to the contact page and send us a little message with your question. And Hey Tony, we’re going to send you a package of surprise and delight for asking our first question and well, we might do it for the second, third, fourth, fifth, and 20th questions too. We look forward to answering more of your questions throughout this season.

Joey Coleman (30:11):
Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! You are the best listener ever!

Dan Gingiss (30:17):
And since you listened to the whole show…

Joey Coleman (30:19):
Yay you!

Dan Gingiss (30:21):
We’re curious… Was there a specific part of this episode that you enjoyed the most? If so, it would mean the world to us if you could share it with a coworker, a friend, or someone that just loves listening to podcasts!

Joey Coleman (30:31):
And while you’re in the sharing mood, if you felt inclined to jump over to iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts and write us a review, we would so appreciate it. And when you do, don’t forget to let us know as we might have a little surprise for you!

Dan Gingiss (30:47):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey Coleman (30:49):

Dan Gingiss (30:51):