Book Report

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!

Episode 114 – What Are They They Thinking? Getting Inside Your Customer’s Mind

Join us as we discuss new ways to get inside your customer’s imagination, little details that help deliver big outcomes, and the excitement that comes from figuring out if something is real or not..

Imagining, Reading, and Faking – Oh My!

[Book Report] Inside Your Customer’s Imagination by Chip Bell

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Disruption – by Chip Bell (featured in the Inside Your Customer’s Imagination Songbook)

• Chip Bell – world-renowned authority on customer loyalty and service innovation
• Inside Your Customer’s Imagination – 5 Secrets for Creating Breakthrough Products, Services, and Solutions – by Chip Bell
Disruption as performed by Chip Bell (from the Inside Your Customer’s Imagination Song Book by Chip Bell)
• Inside Your Customer’s Imagination Songbook by Chip Bell
• Episode 33, Season 1 Would You Do That to Your Mother? by Jeanne Bliss
• Book Bonuses for Inside Your Customer’s Imagination by Chip Bell

[This Just Happened] Help Customers Read the Fine Print

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Auditor’s Office – Webster County (Iowa)
• Episode 60, Season 3 – The Warby Parker Experience

[Crossover Segment] Experience Points – Playing Fake or Fact with Neen James

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Episode 47, Season 2Attention Pays by Neen James
• Experience Points – presented by Avtex
• Neen James – leadership expert, best-selling author, and world class speaker on attention, productivity, and focus
• Fake or Fact?! – Celebrity Guest Neen James – Experience Points
• What Happened? – Celebrity Guest Neen James – Experience Points
• Think Fast – Celebrity Guest Neen James – Experience Points

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 114 here or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:08):
Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more!

Dan Gingiss (00:18):
Always upbeat, and definitely entertaining customer retention expert, Joey Coleman

Joey Coleman (00:23):
and social media expert, Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This!

[EPISODE 114 INTRO]
Joey Coleman (00:39):
Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show

Dan Gingiss (00:44):
Join us as we discuss new ways to get inside your customer’s imagination, little details that help deliver big outcomes. And the excitement that comes from figuring out if something is real or not!

Joey Coleman (00:59):
Imagining, Reading, and Faking. Oh My!

[SEGMENT INTRO – BOOK REPORT]
Joey Coleman (01:06):
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.

[BOOK REPORT][Inside Your Customer’s Imagination by Chip Bell]
Joey Coleman (01:18):
Earlier this fall, longtime friend of the Experience This Show and fellow customer experience speaker and author Chip Bell published his newest book – Inside Your Customer’s Imagination.

Dan Gingiss (01:31):
You know, Chip has actually written a staggering 24 books so far in his career, which if I’m not mistaken, Joey, even with your next book. And my next book is still six times or complaint.

Joey Coleman (01:46):
Yeah. 24 books is a really impressive body of work to say the least. And while we could certainly talk about any number of those books, what I’d love to focus on is his newest book for our discussion here today. And given that Chip has delivered so many different insights about customer experience over the years, I thought we should let him describe this newest book in his own words.

Chip Bell (02:11):
Every organization on the planet knows the only way to compete is through new products, services, and solutions. Most organizations turn to their R&D facility or best practices from other organizations or innovation centers. But wise organizations recognize there is genius and insight and ingenuity and the side, the imagination of their customers. They look for ways to get the customer to open that door from the inside, allowing them access collaboration and co-creation where their customer. But the question becomes, how do you, how do you get a customer to want to open that door, to invite you in? I’ve studied the cultures of the most innovative companies in the world and found that characteristic of their cultures are five secrets, secrets that all not only apply to an organizational culture, but also apply to relationships, especially relationships with customers. They include curiosity, grounding, discovery, trust, and passion. My new book Inside Your Customer’s Imagination provides the tools, techniques, perspectives, to go inside your customer’s imagination. How do you use these five secrets to get the customer, to invite you in? you know, a lot of organizations that you thought invented their own pop products and services came from customers. How back cake pops at Starbucks or Splash Sticks or the Frisbee or the, the Egg McMuffin. They didn’t come from corporate. They come from customers, look for ways to go inside your customer’s imagination.

Joey Coleman (04:19):
Now I love how chip encourages us to go beyond the ideas in our organization and to collaborate on new ideas from our customers. You know, lots of groups talk about having a, a skunkworks or customer insights or voice of the customer programs. But I feel like what chip is talking about is kind of taking it to the next level. Don’t you think Dan?

Dan Gingiss (04:40):
Absolutely. And especially your loyal fans are going to have amazing ideas if you just ask them and you know, the restaurant examples are great, but also a little bit more obvious, right? I mean, Starbucks has basically built a brand on people creating basically any drink they want the way nanny combination, there’s billions of different drinks. You can order at a Starbucks, but even thinking about a company that doesn’t sell food. How about something like an Intuit, which has been known for years of having some of the most engaged customers that have all these communities around the internet that talk about how to make TurboTax and all their other products better because they love the programs and actually want to help innovate and what company would turn that down.

Joey Coleman (05:36):
Absolutely. And I think there are so many companies that because of budgets or because of head count or because of just activities that they have going on often feel well, we can’t really invest in the research and development or the R&D as much as we would like to when they’re missing the opportunity to have R&D from their actual customers and get them involved. And so I think what is really unique about Chip’s book or one of the things that is really unique about the book is he gives you a playbook for how to do this, how to tap into the imagination of your customers. Now on top of that, speaking of playbook, he actually gives you a song book. Now that would be a song book, Dan. So.

Dan Gingiss (06:20):
I like this guy already!

Joey Coleman (06:21):
I figured you might. So chip is a musician. And what he actually did is he composed a number of songs that go along with the theme of the book. And so he’s got a bunch of different songs that we can play, you know, that are kind of illustrating some of the principles that he outlines.

Dan Gingiss (06:40):
Fantastic. Well, without further ado, we got to give our listeners a little taste of one of these songs from the song book that Chip Bell created for his book.

Chip Bell (07:43):
[inaudible] (signing “Disruption” from the Songbook)

Joey Coleman (07:45):
Dan, I gotta say, I love the creativity behind this. Now we’ve had some fun here on the Experience This! Show with music. And we had a singing episode that we did for the holidays, and I’m always a fan of an author pushing the envelope to try new ways to provide a content experience for readers. I mean, books have been around for millennia. And so how do you make a book stand out while you look about having you consider having different bonuses and having an audio bonus that is not the audio book, but rather the song book I thought was a really creative way to create a fun content experience. Now, speaking of the content experience, I’d love to share my favorite passage from Chip’s book inside your customers’ imagination. This comes from the chapter titled practice, eccentric listening, and I quote, “Start with empathy. Empathy starts with simply attentively listening while asking yourself, what must my customer be feeling right now? How might I feel if our roles were reversed, empathy begins by caring enough to give undivided attention. Think about what undivided really means. Not broken into parts. Empathy is enhanced through a reflective response. Receptivity to the customer’s feelings enables you to provide a tailor made reflective response that says I’ve been there as well. This gesture, another way of saying I am similar to you promotes the kinship and closeness that is vital to customer trust. Now we have spoken about empathy so many times we continue to speak about empathy on the Experience This! Show. And I imagine most of our listeners would agree that empathy is important. What I love about this passage is that chip highlights the importance of undivided attention and the importance of a reflective response.

Dan Gingiss (09:42):
You know, I happened to be reminded when you were reading the beginning of that passage about how might I feel if our roles are reversed and what most of my customers be feeling way back in season one in episode 33, we talked about our friend Jean Bliss’s book, which was called, would you do that to your mother?

Speaker 2 (10:00):
And, you know, she was sort of asking a similar question of like, can you stop and think about what you’re doing here to your customer and how they might feel? And, you know, we’ve said many times on this show, we’re all customers in our real life. So it’s not like these quote unquote customers are quote unquote aliens from quote unquote outer space quotes, quote, unquote, that’s true, but they’re just like us because they are consumers in their daily lives. So it’s not that hard to get into the head of your customers. So let’s now go to chip bell himself, the author, and have him read his favorite passage from the book.

Chip Bell (10:44):
There’s a beautiful golf course at the beginning of my long driveway, my Lake front home backs up to the shoreline, but fronts, the 13th tee box, uh, Jack Nicholas designed PGA course, it’s the setting for many golf tournaments. While the 13th hole is breathtaking, you play full hundred and 34 yards straight into the Lake. It’s the 14th hole that gets the golfers laments in the bar at the end of an arduous 18 holes, almost the entire 14th hole is played over the water where the Lake shoreline cuts deep into the golf course. Despite the fact that it’s a mirror, 186 yard par three hole, many a golfer has been psychologically distracted by the giant water trap and had their golf balls land in the water. But the best golfers know a secret – focus only on the hole. And don’t get distracted by the fact that your golf ball will be flying over water. It is a strong lesson for co-creating with your customer. It starts by having a clear focus. You can work on collaboratively.

Joey Coleman (12:05):
It makes me feel like I’m on the golf course. And combining my passage with chips, I must say that I empathize with the feeling of losing your focus because of the fear of hitting a golf ball into the water hazard. I’ve been there. I get anxious in those settings. You know, what I think is fascinating is focus is certainly something we all know is incredibly important, but I wonder how often we work to enhance our focusing abilities, what we do to get better at something as important as focusing.

Dan Gingiss (12:35):
Wait, what were you saying there, Joey?

Joey Coleman (12:38):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Focus on focusing, thinking of you, focusing Dan, what was your favorite passage from the book?

Dan Gingiss (12:45):
Well, I particularly liked this one and here’s the quote, “The ritual happens thousands of times every day in restaurants around the country. You’re in the middle of your meal and the maitre D or manager approaches your table with the query. How is everything? And you politely respond fine unless something is really, really bad or really, really good. The Inquirer thinks an evaluation has been rendered by the customer. The customer believes a fair-weather friendly greeting has been delivered. The question is only a question in its form, not in its tent. Sure. It has a question Mark at the end, but that is just for show. Make sure if you’re asking a question, you’re genuinely curious and earnest to hear what the customer has to say.” And I loved this because we do ask questions all the time. It might be in a survey, it might be a passing. How are you doing today? And if you don’t care about the answer, then rephrase the question such that you do, because otherwise you’re just sort of wasting the other person’s time. And I love this example because how many times have we been asked, how is everything? And truly, I probably say fine every time, even if it is really, really good or really, really bad, because you know, I’m in the middle of the conversation or whatever. And so it is kind of a wasted question. I thought it was a really good call out.

Joey Coleman (14:08):
I agree. And I love that line. The question is only a question in its form, not its intent. And we felt that when somebody asks, Oh, how are you doing today? And you’re like, you actually don’t care. I know you are asking because you think it’s the plight or the appropriate thing to do imagine instead in a restaurant scenario saying of all the things you’ve tasted on your plate thus far, which one surprised you the most or which one was unexpected or which one would you like me to bring you a little bit more of these type of engaging questions, change the conversation and to be frank, that’s why I liked Chip’s book so much. You know, there are so many books to read when it comes to customer experience. And what I loved is that Chip is offering new angles on familiar messages. Now, certainly we’ve all heard about collaborating with our customers. We’ve heard about showing empathy about practicing focused, listening, really caring about the things our customers tell us. But for some reason, when I was reading Chip’s book, it helped me to see these topics with new eyes. And it gave me new found enthusiasm for doubling down on imaginative ways to enhance customer experiences. Make sure you pick up a copy of Inside Your Customer’s Imagination by Chip Bell and find ways to take your customer interactions to new and exciting places.

Help Customers Read the Fine Print
Joey Coleman (15:32):
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened?

[THIS JUST HAPPENED][Help Customers Read the Fine Print]
Joey Coleman (15:47):
Listeners know, I recently moved to my hometown where I grew up a Fort Dodge Iowa. And because I moved during election season, I had to register to vote because I wanted to do my civic duty and vote. So I wanted to register to vote, but long story short in order to do that and to make sure I was well taken care of in time to get my vote counted. I had to go to the auditor’s office. Have you ever been to the County auditor’s office Dan?

Dan Gingiss (16:17):
Good Lord No!

Joey Coleman (16:19):
Yeah, this is the first for me as well. I was like, where is the auditor’s office and what do I need to do? And so I went online and I found out the information that I needed and how I would basically be able to register to vote and to vote at the same place at the same time while I was registering. So I was like, Oh, this is great. I can do my civic duty and we get everything taken care of. And when I walked into the auditor’s office, I observed something that I have never seen before on the reception desk, there was a little jar of pens. Now I’ve been in plenty of places where there’s a little jar of pens, but there was also a jar filled with reading glasses of different prescriptions that were available for public use. So that I presume basically somebody who’s going to read a government form or the fine print, and they’ve forgotten their glasses at home, or they need some to be able to read the forms they’re filling out. They can select a pair of reading glasses from the jar in case they don’t have theirs with them.

Dan Gingiss (17:21):
Now, setting aside the fact that during COVID I ain’t touching no,

Joey Coleman (17:25):
probably not a good idea during COVID we’ll avoid any commentary on the state of Iowa and their COVID response friends. Okay. We’re we’re just, we’re going to let that pass for now.

Dan Gingiss (17:35):
Yes, but overall, I think that’s a really interesting and thoughtful idea. I mean, I’ve seen the, like the reverse where they collect eyeglasses, you know, used eyeglasses so they can donate them or give them to people in need, but I’ve never seen here’s a choice of eyeglasses or reading glasses. If you can’t read the forums, I think that’s fascinating. And I’d love to ask them how often people use it. I mean, it must be reasonably enough because they have it, but I’ve never seen that before either. Great, great job. Noticing a di a unique experience. Yeah.

Joey Coleman (18:11):
Well, thanks, Dan. You know, as we say on the show, uh, Dana, and I say this to each other all the time, if you just pay attention, the show writes itself, folks, we can come up with these stories all day long because there’s so many interesting experiences out in the world. And I agree with you. I found myself wondering how did this happen? Did so many people forget their reading glasses like in their car. And to be clear, this, the auditor’s office is several floors up at the County courthouse. And it’s pretty far away from where the parking is. So I could see a scenario where, you know, somebody came to the auditor’s office and Oh, I forgot my reading glasses in the car and they’re not going to traipse all the way down. And then as the auditor having to read the form to the person, I don’t know, like I’m fascinated by what happened to create a jar of reading glasses sitting on the reception desk.

Dan Gingiss (18:58):
I am fascinated by that too. And I would certainly love to hear the answer. In fact, I think at some point we’re going to have to send you out to do an Experience This Live.

Joey Coleman (19:08):
I think we can do that over the auditor interview. I like it. Yeah. I think what’s interesting about this though, is the spirit of this example. I’m not saying that everybody listening should have a jar of reading glasses at your reception desk. What I am saying is we need to explore ways to help our customers do business with us. Now in past episodes, we talked about, for example, the coloring book that, uh, was available for kids at Warby Parker. So while their parents were shopping, the kids could color in the coloring book and be entertained.

Dan Gingiss (19:45):
Oh yeah, of course. That was Episode 60 in season three.

Joey Coleman (19:49):
Thank you, Rain Man, for that library reference to our past recorded episodes, listeners may or not remember that one, given that it was way back in season three, but I’ve also observed things like toys at the chiropractor’s office to keep the kids entertained while you’re getting an adjustment or books at the dentist office for if you’re waiting for a long time, you can kind of dive into a novel, these things that help people have a better experience. Why they’re doing business with you is one thing. But the reading glasses actually help them do business with you, right. To be able to see the forms you’re being asked to fill out. And so I thought this was an, was an interesting example.

Dan Gingiss (20:28):
Yeah. And I think that one of the things to remember here is know your customer. I’m guessing that people that come into the auditor’s office might be older and may have maybe more apt to need reading glasses. And that might be why I’m just guessing here, but that might be why they felt that it was necessary. You might find that your customers are technologically inclined, or if they’re sitting in a waiting room for a long time are on their phones. And so you might consider putting phone chargers in there because it’s just a nice touch and people appreciate it. And so it’s the little things that matter. We said it so many times on this show. And, uh, I think, uh, certainly if I were in need of reading glasses, I’d be really happy that they were there. And even if I weren’t, I think I’d at least notice them and sort of appreciate the gesture. Even if the gesture didn’t specifically benefit me.

Joey Coleman (21:26):
Absolutely. And that’s the thing, I’m not at a point where I need reading glasses, but I saw that and I immediately thought better of the auditor’s office. This is my first time in the auditor’s office. I’m in a new community. There’s so much negative criticism about government and government services and here I am trying to vote and I witness that the auditor’s office in Webster County in Iowa cared enough to put reading glasses in a jar for their customers or the citizens who were coming to the auditor’s office to use. So what’s the takeaway here, friends. The takeaway is not go get a bunch of reading glasses to put in your waiting room. The takeaway is to look at the places where your customers first come into interaction with you and maximize those first few minutes, make those first few minutes all about helping your customer to do business with you, helping them feel comfortable, helping them feel welcomed, helping them feel appreciated, helping them feel taken care of wherever you can anticipate what needs your customer has and deliver on those early in the relationship. That’s a great way to set a foundation for the remarkable customer experiences to come.

[SEGMENT INTRO – CROSSOVER SEGMENT – EXPERIENCE POINTS]
Joey Coleman (22:49):
As you’ve heard on the show throughout this season, we’ve got a brand new game show that we are doing called experience points and Dan and I thought it would be fun to share a crossover segment. So what you’re going to hear now is our good friend, Neen James, who is absolutely an incredible human being. You may recall. We talked about her book attention pays back in season two, episode 47, and you’re going to get a chance to hear Neen James, as she plays Experience Points and in the process wins some great money for her favorite charity. Well, teaching you a thing or two about creating remarkable customer experiences. So check out this episode of Experience Points with the incomparable Neen James

[CROSSOVER SEGMENT – EXPERIENCE POINTS][Fake or Fact with Neen James]
Rules Hostess (23:39):
In fake all fact examine three similar experiences. Some are real. Some are your task is to determine the fake from the fact each experience currently detected as worth 100 points. Three, correct answers will earn you 200 bonus points for a possible school of 500 points.

Joey Coleman (24:00):
Are you ready to get started?

Neen James (24:02):
Hey, I’m ready. Let’s do this.

Joey Coleman (24:04):
All right. Let’s jump into the game. So subscription boxes are all the rage so much so that the global research and advisory company Gartner projects that by 2023, 75% of all companies that sell direct to consumers will offer some type of subscription-based service. We’re going to show you three potential monthly subscriptions that someone could sign up for and you get to determine whether they are fake or fact here they are. The first one, a monthly subscription to bacon.

Neen James (24:44):
Fact! Absolutely hands down! Bacon goes with everything!

Joey Coleman (24:50):
Neen is so excited about bacon! Let me show you all three first and then you can tell us what you think they’re fake. I love that the fake, it just catapult you forward in the game. All Right. So Subscription number two, pickup trucks, where you get a new pickup truck every month subscription, number three guitars where you can get a new guitar every month. Now these are the three potential monthly subscriptions mean it’s your turn now to decide which ones are fake or fact and tell us why. So the first one is bacon. You rushed. I think we know your answer. You think it is fact. And why do you think it’s fact Neen?

Neen James (25:35):
Because everyone, almost everyone loves bacon. They may not want to admit that they love bacon, but they love it so much that they would happily subscribe to a monthly bacon box.

Joey Coleman (25:46):
I love the enthusiasm for bacon. I agree with you. I think there’s a lot of closet bacon lovers out there that may not want to admit it me. And you said that the monthly subscription to bacon was fact and you were indeed correct. There is a bacon subscription. Oh my goodness.

Dan Gingiss (26:05):
Bacon Freak!

Joey Coleman (26:06):
This one’s crazy. Yeah. It’s from a company called bacon free branding, by the way. Very cool branding. And I need to share this for those of you listening, as opposed to seeing the show via video, they offer a King size bacon is meat candy, bacon of the month club. Bacon is meat. Candy is what they call it. So big fans of bacon. Yes. Nene. You are correct. You are one for one. All right. The second faker fact option pickup trucks is a subscription to pick up trucks, fake, or fact, and why

Neen James (26:44):
Fake

Joey Coleman (26:45):
And what makes you say fake Neen?

Neen James (26:47):
Because I’m unsure about how you would handle the logistics of that. So I’m thinking from a logistics experience, point of view, you would just get kind of used to setting up all the things that you love about your pickup truck. And then you change to another one. So I’m going to say Fake.

Joey Coleman (27:04):
Interesting. And to be clear, you’re saying the experience for the customer of getting everything set up logistically, as opposed to the logistics of the pickup truck company, getting you a new pickup every month, correct? Gotcha. I like it. Well, Neen, you believe it’s fake. And in fact, it is fake! Two for two Neen! What’s fascinating about this one is there actually are car subscription companies. BMW offers one, Porsche, Mercedes. These various companies allow you to subscribe to a different car where you can go and swap out the car for a new one, but no one has done it for pickup trucks yet. So you are correct Neen feeling good. Let’s go to the third one guitars, a subscription to get a new guitar need fake or fact?

Neen James (27:53):
This is a hard one. I think he could go either way with this one. Cause I know people in my life who would happily subscribe to that box that I’m going to go with fake. And the reason I’m gonna go with fake is to be able to provide for the guitar lover who enjoys those premium products. I’m thinking that potentially the reason is because the price point is a very small market that would subscribe to that box.

Joey Coleman (28:22):
Gotcha. So Neen says fake, but sadly it’s fact, Oh, there is a group Guitar Affair. Is there a name that allows you to subscribe and get a new guitar every month you send the old one back and you get a new one, a last so close, but two for three needs. Why do you think subscription boxes are all the rage? Like everybody seems to be getting one or creating one. Why do you think that is?

Neen James (28:49):
I love being a butt and I’m one of those consumers. I get multiple subscription boxes. And one of the things that I love about it is it’s a curated experience with someone has done the work. And then, because there are certain products, for example, with beauty stores, I get samples that I go and buy the full product. So I like that it’s curated, it’s convenient. And I also liked that it’s like a little present to myself every single month. So that’s one of the reasons I like it. And I think that’s the same for most people also too, at the time of recording. But people are spending more time in their homes. That could be another reason why I think they’re increasing

Dan Gingiss (29:27):
With both the guitars and the pickup trucks. It’s more like a Netflix model. At least as Netflix started off with the DVDs where you get one a month, you return it and you get a new one. Obviously you’re not returning that bacon and they couldn’t probably rip it out of your hands. Neat. And once they gave you the bacon, but, uh, I think that’s really interesting because you have this sort of two types of subscription services, the one where you get something that you keep and it is like a present the other where you get something to borrow and you get to try new things that maybe you don’t even want to keep. I mean, I love the idea of driving a new BMW every month without necessarily having to pick my favorite. Right. Uh, so I think this is a definitely a clickable and I’ve talked with a lot of companies, including some clients that immediately jumped to this idea that there’s no way they could have a subscription box. I don’t necessarily think that’s true. Even if you’re in the service business, not the, not a product business. I think the concept of why subscription boxes work can work in almost any business. What do you think?

Neen James (30:33):
One of the things that I advocate for my clients is that if you really want to get the attention of a client, whether it is as a thank you for an opportunity you’ve had together, or if you romancing a new prospect, I often prescribe these subscription boxes because it lands on their desk or in their home every single month. And I personally had success with that in my own practice. And so I was with one of my luxury travel clients recently, and they manage all sorts of kinds of travelers, but I had found them subscription boxes for leisure, adventure, uh, cuisine, family. And so it was really interesting that when you start to drill into this, I would challenge clients to really think creatively about this, because think about dollar shave club, they instantly just kept sending it in, who knew that was going to be a thing. Right? And so I think we have to think about getting the attention of people in a different way. Subscription boxes is a beautiful way to elevate your branding. It’s a fantastic way to get to know your customers even more. So I think they need to stay.

Joey Coleman (31:38):
Absolutely. And you know, Neen, I think it’s interesting, you mentioned that idea of taking someone from the prospecting stage through to the customer stage. What I love about subscription boxes is the continued connection. It’s to your point, getting in front of that customer on a regular basis, a monthly basis. And it’s a way that’s more fun than say sending them an email that’s Oh, just checking in to see how things were going, right? None of us like receiving that email or even worse, that phone call, but having a small little gift or subscription arrive is a great way to make it about them as well. I think the more you can learn about your clients and identify what their personal interests are, if you send them a subscription box every month, they’re thinking of you, uh, anybody who’s, uh, had the chance to hear me speak knows that I’m a big fan of root beer and I’ve had a number of clients get me a subscription to the root beer of the month club and so every month when that six pack of root beer comes in, it doesn’t have their name on it. It doesn’t say, Hey, still thinking of you, but I remember who gave it to me. And so I think there’s a huge opportunity here from gifting out of curiosity, let’s dive a little bit deeper into the benefit of a business, the benefit rather to a business of considering these type of forever transactions, like the power to lock the customer in on a monthly basis. Even if it’s to your point earlier, like a small sample set, can you speak me into kind of what you’ve seen as far as the long-term value of being able to build that relationship over time?

Neen James (33:15):
If we think about attention is about connection, right? And so when you have, as the business invested your attention, and I’m getting to know that Joey likes root beer and when Joey receives that, that builds an instant, not just the connection, but a loyalty, because given an opportunity for Joey to make a purchasing decision in the future, you might have competitors, their products by be cheaper, they might be more convenient, but because of that sense of connection and loyalty, which you’ve built up through the simplicity of this gift, this subscription box, that’s part of the differentiator. And what it also do does I think is that there’s, I believe in like there’s an unconsciousness to this as well. So we have often with treating things as transactions, but if you can be more transformative and you can think about how do I consciously connect to this? How do I intentionally pay attention to this person? Not just for the short game, but for the long game, because it’s not just about influencing their experience. It’s the 200 people they’ll tell about receiving that root beer subscription box. So when you think about it as like dropping a pebble in a pond, it’s the ripple effect across not just the people they know, but the stories they’re going to tell. If they identify the essay yacht club at their chamber event, that’s the kind of press that you can’t pay for. And that’s why the simple thought of attention is about connection. It has this ripple effect as well.

Joey Coleman (34:44):
So true Neen and boy, I think plenty of our Watchers and listeners would love a subscription to the wisdom of Neen James. Dan let’s recap how Neen playing Fake or Fact?!

Dan Gingiss (34:56):
This game, correct answers are worth a hundred points. And you answered two questions correctly, which means you earned 200 points. Now that 200 points will be converted into $200. Thanks to our friends at Avtex for a donation to Operation Smile. Nice work!

Neen James (35:13):
Thank you Avtex!

Joey Coleman (35:14):
Congratulations Neen. This concludes this episode of Experience Points. Check out more games with Neen and our other celebrity contestants at ExperiencePointsGame.com. That’s ExperiencePointsGame.com. We’ll see you soon for more examples of remarkable experiences here at Experience Points presented by Avtex.

Dan Gingiss (35:45):
Hopefully you thought that was as fun as we did. Check out more games at ExperiencePointsGame.com. Again, it’s the Experience Points game show brought to you by our friends at Avtex. And hey, we just want to add this little note. We know that this week is Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a time to be thankful and Joey and I are so thankful for you, our listeners, thanks for sticking with us for so many episodes, six seasons, over a hundred episodes. We really appreciate you and are very thankful for you on this Thanksgiving 2020.

[SHOW OUTRO]
Joey Coleman (36:31):
Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (36:35):
We know there are tons of podcasts to listen, to magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman (36:45):
We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to ExperienceThisShow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This! Show!

Dan Gingiss (37:03):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey Coleman (37:06):
Experience

Dan Gingiss (37:08):
This!

Episode 111 – Take the Mystery Out of CX By Connecting with Your Customers


Join us as we discuss the mysteries of mystery shopping, texting for help, and why channel switching is a good way to anger your customers.

Mysteries, Queries, and Quandaries – Oh My!

[Book Report] The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper by Claire Boscq-Scott
• The Bailiwick of Jersey
• Kevin Peters, former President of Office Depot

[Dissecting the Experience] The Evolving Role of Text Messaging

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Message Me by Joshua March
• Conversocial
Podium
• The Confidante Miami Beach
• Hyatt Hotels
• Slalom Build
• “5 Ways To Stay Ahead of the Competition” – by Podium

[Partnership with Avtex] Playing Experience Points – Fake or Fact?

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Avtex
• Experience Points

[This Just Happened] Don’t Switch Them to a Different Channel

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 111 here or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:08):
Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more!

Dan Gingiss (00:18):
Always upbeat, and definitely entertaining customer retention expert, Joey Coleman…

Joey Coleman (00:23):
and social media expert, Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
So hold on to your headphones. It’s time to Experience This!

[EPISODE 111 INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:39):
Get ready for another episode of The Experience This Show!

Joey Coleman (00:44):
Join us as we discuss the mysteries of mystery shopping, texting for help, and why channel switching is a good way to anger your customers.

Dan Gingiss (00:55):
Mysteries, Queries, and Quandaries! Oh my!

[SEGMENT INTRO – BOOK REPORT]
Joey Coleman (01:03):
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.

[THIS JUST HAPPENED][The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper]
Dan Gingiss (01:15):
Have you ever been a mystery shopper, Joey?

Joey Coleman (01:18):
Well, Dan, if I tell you that kind of give away the mystery?

Dan Gingiss (01:22):
Ladies and gentlemen, he’s here all episode!

Joey Coleman (01:25):
All right, no – I’m just teasing. Ahh yes, I actually have had the chance to be a mystery shopper in the sense that lots of times when I do consulting projects with clients, I will tell them that the first thing I want to do is come in and be a mystery shopper and experience their brand and experience their space, which always makes showing up for the workshops that I lead then with teams, really interesting. Because I walk in and invariably, some of them are like, “Oh my gosh, he was in the store yesterday. What’s he going to say?” and that kind of thing. So yes, I have been a mystery shopper, but really only is a precursor to consulting engagements.

Dan Gingiss (02:02):
Okay. I got it. Well, the former Mrs. Gingiss and I actually participated in a very extensive mystery shopping program.

Joey Coleman (02:11):
Why am I not surprised that you have a history with an extensive mystery shopping program – I love it!

Dan Gingiss (02:18):
It was awesome.

Joey Coleman (02:19):
Yeah – I mean, it sounds like a Dan Gingiss type activity.

Dan Gingiss (02:22):
It was so much fun. And I think I’m going to convince you, you’re going to want to do it with Berit.

Joey Coleman (02:26):
Alright. Alright!

Dan Gingiss (02:27):
So Let Us Entertain You is a large restaurant group based in Chicago, it’s got more than a hundred restaurants. They’ve also got some restaurants in a bunch of other States, but most of them are in the Chicago area. They’re known for great food, huge dish sizes, you know, servings and really good service. And so we participated in their program, which is highly selective. And you have to go through this big training and all this stuff. And what they do is they send you out to a restaurant and you pay with your own credit card, but you’re reimbursed for the entire meal. They give you some stipulations, but they’re pretty minor. Like they’ll say “don’t order the lobster” or something like that. Pretty much you get, you can order anything you want. They, they pop for a bottle of wine. It’s an, it’s a lovely evening. And the only problem with it is, is that you have to go home afterwards,

Joey Coleman (03:22):
and write a book report!

Dan Gingiss (03:23):
And write a book report! The first time we did this, I’m not making this up, it took us two and a half hours.

Joey Coleman (03:30):
Oh, I totally believe that. Where you’re like, “Oh, this would be a great way to have an experience.” And then you’re like, “Oh my gosh, this was not worth the free meal.

Dan Gingiss (03:39):
Well, the first time I thought that now, eventually we got it down to about 45 minutes. But what they were asking was fascinating. They wanted to know the exact words that the waiter or waitress said when they first arrived at the table, they wanted to know if at any point the food was auctioned, which was explicitly prohibited that’s that’s “Okay, Who has the hamburger? Who has the steak?”

Joey Coleman (04:05):
I understand. I thought you were meaning like who wants to take her $5? Can I get, can I get a 7? I understand what you mean. Oh yeah. So if, if the wait staff didn’t remember who got what and then decided to broadcast it to your table.

Dan Gingiss (04:19):
Correct. They would ask how many times was your water filled? And you know, I was the water person smiling at you there. I mean, the details were so specific. I remember the first couple times they must’ve, you know, cause you also can’t share that you’re a mystery shopper. Right.

Joey Coleman (04:38):
And I’m wondering like, as you’re describing this, I imagine some of our listeners might be wondering too, like, are you taking notes during the meal? But an engine in a pre-social media era that was really difficult now it’s like, Oh, Dan’s tweeting again. Right. But you’re really taking notes on it, oh, we’re at five times they’ve refilled the water.

Dan Gingiss (04:56):
Well, let’s put it this way. It was long enough ago that anyone watching my ex-wife would have thought that she had a bladder problem because she had to visit the bathroom like six times to go take notes, take notes. Because I mean, I think we had phones, but we didn’t, but it wasn’t.

Joey Coleman (05:14):
It wasn’t the way we use phones today. Sure.

Dan Gingiss (05:17):
But in any event, I love this program. We actually got, we got to graduate after we did about 10 restaurants, we got to graduate to like their senior program, which was their fancier restaurants. Only let their, you know, their best reviewers go to their top restaurants. And it was a blast. I learned so much about paying attention and really focusing on what’s going on around you. And this came to fruition late last year I met a former colleague of mine and we were working on a project together for a client and we met at a restaurant. We sat down at the booth and he was asking me to kind of describe what customer experience was and what I was doing. And I said, well, let me give you an example. Did you notice when we sat down at this booth that the wall next to us was dirty, you know, his, his head switched to the left and was like, no, I’m like, that’s the first thing I noticed before we even sat down because I’m trained to just look for that kind of short and this mystery shopper stuff taught me that. And uh, so I was very thankful for the opportunity. Not only because I got a lot of great food and wine, but because I really learned how to pay attention to those details. So I love mystery shopping, which is why I was particularly interested in a brand new book that came out in August called The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper by Claire Boscq-Scott. Now Claire is from the Bailiwick of Jersey and I’m going to admit to everybody to look this up, okay? I’m not so good at geography. The Bailiwick of Jersey is a British dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. It’s part of the Channel Islands. It sounds lovely. But anyway, that’s where Claire is from. And she, in her book, she defines kind of why mystery shopping is really important for businesses and how it relates to customer experience. And a couple of things that she noted is she says, you can’t be in your business 24/7. Obviously you can’t be in two or three or 20 places at once. If you have multiple locations, you can’t improve. If you don’t get feedback, you can’t celebrate your successes. If you don’t get feedback, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. And you don’t know if you’re following your business vision. If all you do is sit in your ivory tower and never get out and see how things are actually being done.

Joey Coleman (07:39):
All very good reasons to kind of get out of my speed. I mean, this is kind of the management by walking around theory, right? You’ve got to be on the frontline, you’ve got to have exposure. And the problem, I would imagine that most business owners and managers face is if they go into their store, all their employees know who they are. So you get, of course you get better treatment because quote unquote, the bosses there, right? Whereas if it’s a mystery shopper, you get something closer to retail.

Dan Gingiss (08:08):
True. Although I would say as an asterisk to that Joey that a lot of executives set it up that way on purpose. So yeah, one of the companies I worked for, I won’t say who it was, but it was set up so that whenever the CEO called customer service, it was like, you know, he was calling the bat phone and, and so a little, you know, siren went off and he got a supervisor who took right, who took care of them immediately. So he never got the experience of an actual customer. I had the opportunity to use the bat phone and I said, no, thank you. I’d like to call the 800 number and see what everybody else sees makes sense. So anyway, uh, as usual with a book report, uh, I connected with Claire. She’s a lovely lady. And I asked her to introduce her new book to our audience. So here’s Claire with an overview of her book, The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper.

Claire Boscq-Scott (08:59):
Hello, this is Claire Boscq-Scott mystery, shopping and customer service. Global gallery. Yes. I’m here and super excited to be here with you on this podcast and to introduce you to my you Burke. Yes. Hi, exciting. Is this, let me introduce you to The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper. This is my new book launched a couple of weeks ago, which has already ranked number one on Amazon bestseller on customer service and The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper. If he doesn’t give it to you in the title, it is all about mystery shopping. Yes. How you can uncover hidden secret within your organization. How you can look at your employee performances and really improve your service, develop some new strategies and increase your customer loyalty. So the secret diary of a mystery shopper, it is, um, 11 years now, I’ve been running my own mystery shopping companies and I’ve been writing all those stories, the good, the bad and the exceptional, yes, because if we talk about exceptional, we will bring more exceptional stories in our book. So this is really a business book. It is, you know, for businesses to take it, read it with your team, read the stories, think about how this could affect your business. If you have that kind of experience and look at all the little tips and, you know, th the, uh, the consultancies, I guess also behind every of the stories. So, and I’m sure you’re going to really unsure reading some of those stories. Um, I’ve had people, you know, giving me stories, you know, when you talk about customer service, everybody’s got a story. So I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in the secret diary of a mystery shopper bye for now,

Joey Coleman (10:58):
I gotta admit Dan, I am intrigued. And I particularly liked the way Claire described the good, the bad and the exceptional. You know, I was waiting for her to say the good, the bad and the ugly, which lots of times I think is what people think of when they think of customer experience. I know you and I, when we started the Experience This Show made the conscious decision to tell the positive customer experience stories. And I think all too often, people are quicker to share the ugly customer experience story. So I like that. She’s all about the exceptional to bring more of those exceptional stories to the book so you can model what to do in your business as opposed to learn what not to do.

Dan Gingiss (11:38):
Absolutely. And folks, when you learn what you’re doing right by collecting positive feedback from customers, do more of it. I mean, when they tell you that they like it, that’s a great indication that you should be doing more of it. Just like when customers complain. That’s a pretty good hint that should stop doing something. And I have always said, whenever I get asked on podcasts, or when I’m interviewing, you know, what’s one tip that you can give to people in customer experience. I always give the same tip and it is become your own customer, become a customer of your company. If you don’t do that, there is no way that you can truly understand what it’s like to be a customer. What does that mean? It means get onto your website and create a login and a password, and then forget your password and try to go through the, forget your password.

Joey Coleman (12:24):
And you’ll realize just how insane your process is getting a new password. I really liked that Dan, I worked years ago with a company that was in the home heating oil and propane business, kind of a home services, energy company. And one of the things that really surprised me when we started is how many of their employees were not actually customers. And it actually, by the time we left there, a significant percentage were because we adopted a program where we said, we’re going to help subsidize getting employees to become customers because we wanted them to have that perspective and have that experience, even if they might not have the direct financial impact of the experience, we at least wanted them to go through the setup and the various customer service interactions so that we could hopefully make the business better.

Dan Gingiss (13:13):
Outstanding. It’s so such a great idea. I mean, think about a customer service agent. Who’s trying to help a customer navigate the website, but the agent’s never actually been on the website because…

Joey Coleman (13:23):
Exactly. So what are they doing? They’re reading through a manual or a click through on a web screen saying, Oh, and you should see in the top right corner, a purple box. Well, if they’ve never logged in, they don’t know what they’re seeing. And it does make all the difference.

Dan Gingiss (13:37):
And it can be very frustrating to the person on the other line. Okay. Joey, I think of all of our book reports, this is the best author, favorite passage that we’ve ever had.

Joey Coleman (13:49):
Ooh, pressure ladies and gentlemen tune in for this one. This is going to be interesting. I like it Dan!

Dan Gingiss (13:55):
Here’s Claire reading her favorite passage

Claire Boscq-Scott (13:59):
Can you steal jewelry. Okay. So that was a first, I just received an email from my client, a large jewelers who had finished a big safety and theft training with their stuff and wanted us to go and try to steal something from one of their shops. Wow. Okay. This was taking mystery, shopping into a whole new dimension. As this could have secondary implication. We had to think about this one before. What would happen if I get caught? What if the alarm goes off? What if the police has been called?! What if we get filmed on CCTV camera, you see where I’m coming from. Hmm, but after a good conversation, with my clients and arranging all the possibility, we agreed to perform the visit.

Dan Gingiss (14:59):
Okay. Tell me you don’t want to know the end of that story.

Joey Coleman (15:02):
Oh my gosh. Not only do I want to know the end of this story, but I’m kind of reminded, and this is going to be a little bit of a nostalgia throwback. We’ll see, which of our listeners are old enough to remember this movie years ago? I think this probably would have been maybe late eighties, mid eighties. There was a movie with Robert Redford called Sneakers that was all about like this business that specialized in hacking into other businesses. And I remember watching this thinking, Oh my gosh, this is what I want to do. I now think that I want to go work for Claire on these jewelry cases! Forget the restaurant ones, Claire, if you need help breaking into a bank, or a secure facility or stealing jewelry, call me, I will be your mystery guy.

Dan Gingiss (15:48):
I love it. And, uh, I was actually thinking Ocean’s 11 when I read that one, but yeah. All right. So I have a favorite passage as well. And, uh, you know, I combined two of my favorite things. Joey, I combined restaurants and bathrooms.

Joey Coleman (16:03):
Shocker – our loyal listeners are falling over right now. No friends. It’s more of the same from Dan Gingiss.

Dan Gingiss (16:10):
So here we go with, uh, another story that she tells in her book. Once we had a restaurant group who wanted to get their branches measured, and I was asked to bring my family with me, we arrived at the restaurant and as she loved being a little mystery shopper, I sent my daughter to the toilets to check them out. She was gone a good 10 minutes and as I was about to come and see where she was, she reappeared running back from the toilet and said, mom, mom, mom, you won’t believe what happened. I was on the toilet and the light went off. So I couldn’t see anything. I was a bit scared and eventually managed to open the door. And the light came back on. You can imagine the situation, the toilet lights were activated by a sensor. The door was tall enough to trigger it, but she wasn’t. The lights went off until she managed to open the door. Again. The point is what this group of restaurants did. After this visit, they readjusted all of their toilet sensors. So small people could also be picked up by the sensors. They also took it a step further. Having had this feedback from a six-year-old girl, they revisited their entire young customer experience and suddenly increased their family revenue by 40%.

Joey Coleman (17:22):
Ooh, I like it, Dan. I like it. You know, talk about taking a situation and not only fixing the problem, but using it to springboard into some additional enhancements for our customers as well. You know, we’ve talked about this on the show before, how often businesses miss the associated customers of their customers, right? The significant others, the spouses, the children of their primary customers who happen to be in their location or in their business, or tangentially touched by the business and how there’s an opportunity to enhance things there. I love it. Well, my favorite passage was about, uh, Kevin Peters, the President of Office Depot. And here’s the story from The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper.

Joey Coleman (18:09):
I parked and saw an associate leaning up against the brick facade, smoking a cigarette. Meanwhile, customers were walking out without any bags. This employee did nothing. He just watched them leave empty handed. At that point, I had a tough decision to make, should I blow my cover and alert the store manager? Or should I stay silent? I sat in the car a few minutes thinking it over. Finally, I decided I just can’t let this go. I went into the store and looked at the stantion that stands at the front of every location, displaying the name of the manager and his, or her picture. Guess who the store manager was? Yes, the guy smoking outside the store. So I went up to him and introduced myself and we had a good, long talk. He was ashamed of his behavior and he was sweating during the conversation. You promise to do a better job of taking care of customers. And I promised to keep in touch. Even today, we exchange emails every month to discuss his performance.

Dan Gingiss (19:08):
Joey, I’m telling you I want to work for a company someday that has a president like Kevin Peters and that was actually part of a, a larger story where he talked about visiting dozens and dozens and dozens of stores. And I have to tell you, my father, who was a business owner, uh, of, of a formal wear business, did the same thing. He traveled all around the country and visited his stores. And that’s when he learned the most about what was actually going on. You can’t tell this stuff from a report or a spreadsheet, or even frankly, from talking with your employees, you have to go out there and do it yourself. And so great job, Kevin Peters for being your own mystery shopper. I love it. So guys check out The Secret Diary of a Mystery Shopper by Claire Boscq-Scott. It is available on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. And, uh, don’t forget to be a mystery shopper in your own company.

[SEGMENT INTRO – THIS JUST HAPPENED]
Joey Coleman (20:06):
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement, or avoid, based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened?

[THIS JUST HAPPENED][The Evolving Role of Text Messaging]
Dan Gingiss (20:19):
Joey when you communicate with friends or family members, what’s the most common way that you connect with them?

Joey Coleman (20:28):
I would say at this point in the game, text messaging is the most common. And the way I know that this has really increased, especially in the last few months, is I am currently looking at the little indicator on my screen and I have 19 unread text messages. So my text messaging is almost starting to feel like my inbox for email, but that is definitely the tool I use the most.

Dan Gingiss (20:54):
Well, that would make me break out into hives. I couldn’t possibly let that happen, but I’m glad you said that because that’s how you and I connect to almost always when we’re in between shows where we’re texting all the time, ideas back and forth and questions, et cetera. And so I think that’s true of most people that that texting has become the mode of communication between two people. So there’s a line that I remember from a really great business book called message me. And it was written by a friend of mine, Joshua March, who was also the founder of a social media and messaging service platform called Conversocial. He wrote quote, I tell my family and friends to message me why can’t a brand. Just message me unquote. It seems so simple. Right? So during COVID-19, when customers have been stuck at home, texting has become a much more important communication method for companies, podium, a customer messaging platform for businesses reported that more than 60% of consumers received or exchanged text messages with a local business during the early days of the pandemic. Now I’m sure that number has gone way up since then. Joey, have you experienced texting with businesses during COVID?

Joey Coleman (22:11):
I have. And what’s interesting. I talked about one of these early on, I think, uh, not to pull a Dan, but I think it was back at episode one Oh three, when I talked about the eye doctor experience that we had. But even just in the last episode, we talked about the experience I had with movers and what I didn’t share. I don’t think during that segment is that because of COVID we were texting back and forth and I was actually texting videos of the house. You know, normally when you do a move, somebody from the moving company comes and they walk through the house and you show them all the stuff. Well, because of COVID, I was like, I really don’t want to have random people walking around inside the house if we can do this using technology. And so I would text, all right, I’m here. And we would, you know, I would shoot a little video and text it from that room and then I’d go to the next room and shoot another video. And so I basically just sent them a string of videos so they could do a virtual walkthrough of the house. So yeah, I’ve definitely been using texting more with businesses during this time, and I’ve really appreciated the businesses who’ve been willing to do that. Some are like, Oh, well, we don’t really have the tools set up for that. And I’m like, what do you mean you don’t have a cell phone? I come on. I don’t know what tools you need.

Dan Gingiss (23:26):
Exactly. And I mean, I do it all the time as well. I’ve gotten a lot of notifications for doctors or dentist appointments for me and the kids when my grub hub is about to be dropped off. I get a taxed when it’s time to pick up my groceries or my prescriptions, I get attacks. We talked in a previous episode about imperfect produce. I get every week they tell me when the drivers down the street and when he’s arriving at my house, I think it’s great. And it is, it’s such a great way to keep in contact and to understand what’s going on. So this got me thinking about why more companies aren’t using this simple and effective communication method for servicing their customers. And I remembered a story from right before COVID that I had wanted to tell on the show, and then I kind of passed on it because people stopped traveling, et cetera.

Joey Coleman (24:15):
It might’ve felt a little tone deaf to talk about, but no, I hear ya. I hear ya.

Dan Gingiss (24:20):
You know what? I think it’s relevant again. And so here it is. So I was on vacation in Miami. This was about December-ish. And I stayed at a hotel called the Confidant, which is owned by Hyatt. And when we checked in the receptionist pointed out that if we needed anything at all during our stay, we should text him. Now he said that sometimes there was a whole time on the guest services phone number. And of course the front desk was often helping other guests. But the text line he said was open 24 hours, seven days a week. And it had a response time of only a couple minutes because every hotel employee had access to it. Now, interestingly, during our stay, we forgot about the text line.

Joey Coleman (25:06):
Oh, of course you did, because most hotels don’t have a text line.

Dan Gingiss (25:09):
Exactly. And so we ended up standing in line at the front desk to ask about getting some additional water bottles for our room. And we waited patiently because sure enough, there was a line, there were a couple of people in front of us. And then when we finally got to the front of the line and told the receptionist what we want, and he said, you didn’t have to wait in line. You could have just texted and we would have dropped it off at our, in your room.

Joey Coleman (25:34):
Ah, Got it. So there they are trying to condition you and you know, it’s not like they didn’t tell you when you first checked in, but I do like how you got this reminder that you could save some time by texting. So it’s like, it’s a benefit to you, even though let’s be candid, there’s some business benefits to them to moving these to the texting channel.

Dan Gingiss (25:57):
Of course, of course. And they don’t want to, you know, they don’t want people seeing long lines at the front desk and all that sort of stuff. So I did some research on this because I was really interested in this texting program. Uh, you and I obviously, uh, when we are traveling and speaking, stay at a lot of hotels and this is the first time that I had experienced, uh, being asked to use a text line. So I found out that a company called SlalomBuild was actually the leader of the design and user experience for Hyatt’s mobile app. And what they said on their website was they have a case study about Hyatt. And they said that Hyatt recognizes that travelers. Don’t like to ask for things and they’ll often go without things, if it’s not easy to ask for it. Oh,

Joey Coleman (26:41):
Dan, this is so true. Are plenty of times where I’ve been in a situation in the hotel where I’ve thought, Oh, I wish I had blah, blah, blah, or whatever it may be. And I’ve thought, Oh, do I really want to go downstairs to the front desk? Or do I really want to call the front desk? Or, you know what, nevermind I’ll deal with that. So that’s an interesting that they kind of recognize that traveler behavior.

Dan Gingiss (27:03):
Yes. And folks, when you recognize a pain point in your customer experience, one of the best things you can do is fix it with their app. You know, obviously you could check in and check out, but at any point in the app, you can text the concierge to order room service, to ask for items, to be delivered to your room. If you need more coffee or another pillow or a toothbrush, you forgot your race or whatever. And not only can you request these items, but the app then gives you the delivery status and the timing of the items. Right. And so you don’t have to sit there while the kids are running around or whatever’s going on, or you’re trying to get them to bed and not know when they’re coming. And sometimes it seems like an eternity, right? Oh yeah.

Joey Coleman (27:47):
First of all, number one, I love the idea of digital hospitality. Number two. Yes. The status delivery and timing is huge because I will tell you, there have been many, many a time that we’ve been on the road and my wife and I have realized, Oh, we need, you know, an extra pillow or an extra sheet for the Haida to bed, or we’re going to put the kids on the couch or whatever it may be, and you’ve called down and he asked for it and they’re like, Oh, we’ll send somebody right up. And right up turns into five minutes and then 10 minutes. And then you’re like, Oh, are they coming? Or I don’t want to call them bug them 15 minutes. Oh, finally, I’ll call, Oh, just getting, we forgot about it. Sorry. And meanwhile, the kids are, or at least my kids are jumping off the walls. And it’s like having the ability to check on that delivery status and timing would be very useful,

Dan Gingiss (28:34):
Useful. Absolutely. And so Slalom and Hyatt collaborated on this and they set three different goals for the app. Now, number one was to increase engagement and improve the guest experience from booking through post departure. And we’ve talked a lot about it.

Joey Coleman (28:52):
I like it! you had me at post departure.

Dan Gingiss (28:55):
Exactly. Now number two is to gain a better insight into guests needs and preferences. And then to use that information to continue to enhance future experiences. Then the third goal was to build a flexible, scalable digital platform that enables industry leading features. And so one of the benefits that Hyatt saw from this is not only they did, they have more satisfied guests, but they also had increased bookings. They saw huge increases in mobile booking volume almost immediately after launching this app.

Joey Coleman (29:26):
Ahh, now see, Dan, I’ve got to admit in many ways, this doesn’t surprise me, but I am thrilled to hear that that’s what they saw because it gets back to a point that I made earlier in that often when we’re a hotel, we don’t think of using our personal mobile phone to interact with the hotel. And when you teach me that my phone is a way to communicate with the hotel I E via these text messages. Now I’m going to be comfortable thinking about using my phone for other ways to communicate with the hotel like mobile booking.

Dan Gingiss (29:57):
Exactly. So the takeaway here is that when you focus on improving the experience, especially in the channels of your customer’s choice, those customers will spend more, be more loyal. And they’ll tell their friends and family about you. In this case, Hyatt removed a customer pain point, which is having to ask for things. And they made it incredibly easy via text, which is a channel that they knew their guests were already comfortable with.

Joey Coleman (30:24):
You know, this makes perfect sense, Dan. And it really supports something that I saw from a report from the folks at Podium. The report was called Five Ways to Stay Ahead of the Competition and one of the main benefits of messaging for businesses is that they can be channel agnostic by employing a single messaging platform. So in other words, customer service agents don’t have to learn different messaging platforms like Facebook messenger and WhatsApp and Twitter direct message, which let’s be candid. They should talk to you, not to me, or really care what the customer is using because all of the messages can consolidate into a single agent inbox, which allows you to deliver a much more consistent experience across all your interactions. And let’s be candid. It’s like there’s a new app every week. There’s something new coming out all the time. So if you really want to be thinking and planning for the future, you’ve gotta be ready to handle this.

Dan Gingiss (31:17):
Absolutely. And it’s a great answer to the question I always get, which is which channel should I be in? My answer is always wherever your customers are. Right? Right. So, uh, one more thing that Podium said, which I think is a great thing to leave our listeners with. They said now is the time to start messaging your customers or risk losing them to businesses that do.

[PARTNERSHIP WITH AVTEX][Playing Experience Points – Fake or Fact]
Dan Gingiss (31:47):
So as we’ve been telling you, Joey and I are hosting a brand new game show called Experience Points. We are having so much fun with our celebrity contestants. It’s three different games in every episode. And one of them is called Fake or Fact. Let’s learn how Fake or Fact works

Rules Hostess (32:06):
In Fake or Fact examine three similar experiences. Some are real, some are not. Your task is to determine the fake from the fact. Each experience correctly detected is worth 100 points. Three correct answers will earn you 200 bonus points for a possible school of 500 points.

Joey Coleman (32:28):
Well, I got to tell you, Dan, one of the reasons I loved the concept behind this game is we’ve got some amazing contestants who’ve been there, done that got the t-shirt they know customer experience inside out. And this was kind of a fun way for you and I to play around with them a little bit, right? Tease them a little with some things that might be real or might not be real because let’s be candid when you’ve been in the customer experience game for a while, you come to realize that the horrors of customer experience, or the surprise and delight moments of customer experience, there’s a ton of them and you never really know what’s going to come next.

Dan Gingiss (33:01):
And I’ll tell you in this era of quote unquote fake news, it was a lot of fun to try to create the fake experiences and see if we could get people to think they were real and actually Joey, you and I did a pretty good job of that because we think so. Yeah, it was great. Yeah.

Joey Coleman (33:18):
And I mean, I don’t know if that speaks more to our character or our creativity, but we’ll let the audience decide, but it was super fun to be able to do this. It ends up being a fast paced game. It ends up being a game where you get to see what’s possible. And what I really loved about the games, not only Fake or Fact, but all the games we play unexperienced points is that they’re designed to help us create some teachable moments, to have some conversations with our customer experience, expert contestants, to suss out how companies should be thinking about their own customer experience. So it’s not just an entertaining way to spend a little bit of time, but there are some great takeaways you can apply in your business.

Dan Gingiss (33:59):
Absolutely. And I will say, I mean, Joey and I love recording this podcast Experience This, but I think this is the most fun we’ve ever had recording this game show because it is just so much it’s so entertaining the entire time. If you like this show, you will love Experience Points. So do us a favor, check it out at ExperiencePointsGame.com. That’s ExperiencedPointsGame.com. It’s brought to you by our friends, and sponsors of the Experience This Show as well, Avtex. Check them out at avtex.com. Thank you Avtex for keeping us employed and really allowing us to have a ton of fun!

[SEGMENT INTRO – THIS JUST HAPPENED]
Joey Coleman (34:41):
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened?

[THIS JUST HAPPENED][Don’t Switch Them to a Different Channel]
Dan Gingiss (34:54):
So like many small business owners applied for a forgivable business loan through the government paycheck protection program.

Joey Coleman (35:03):
Uh, the dreaded PPP – I’m not sure I’m going to like what’s coming Dan… Remember this is a positive experience program, I just, I know I have a number of friends who worked in kind of the administration of this program on the banking side and talk about some horror stories of just like wanting to do the best to help people out and just not getting good information and directions, especially at the beginning of how to process the applications, how to it, et cetera, et cetera.

Dan Gingiss (35:38):
Well, yes, you’re. And now you’re going to tell most of my story for me, but yes, this is about a bank. It’s not about the government. Joey, I don’t know what your hourly consulting rate is, but I can tell you that given the paltry sum that I actually ended up perceiving after all my castle, I think I pretty much broke even on the whole thing. So as I mentioned it, the Paycheck Protection Program or PPP, as you said, is a forgivable loan and it’s designed to help small businesses stay afloat and keep more people employed during the pandemic. Now it was kind of hastily announced at the beginning of the pandemic, if I could. And it actually took banks by surprise, and many of them were not prepared for what was an onslaught of loan applications. So I chose an online bank that had a great reputation and it was actually one of the first banks to set up an online application for the PPP loans. The process was actually really fast and easy. And so after being conditionally approved, I had to submit some evidential paperwork.

Joey Coleman (36:39):
Ooo that sounds fancy!

Dan Gingiss (36:42):
I use that because I know that we have a recovering attorney on the program.

Joey Coleman (36:45):
Yep – the first step is admitting you have a problem…

Dan Gingiss (36:47):
Evidential. Yeah. So I had to submit like my LLC formation documents and uh, I had to give him some bank information, whatever. And I also had to tell him, by the way, this is the important part, where did I want them to send the money? Right. And so I go through that familiar process, I know all our listeners have done it. You’ve done it before where you set up a new bank account and they, they put like 31, send me a penny. And then yeah. And you have to confirm both. You have to confirm it. Right. So everything went through flawlessly and it all seemed set.

Joey Coleman (37:17):
I’m sensing a punchline, but…

Dan Gingiss (37:20):
Nope, that’s the end of the story. See you next time on Experience This! Now the next time I logged in to check my status, the bank account that I had just set up was missing. Oh, of course. And there was a message asking me to add one. So this was curious since I had obviously already done it. And so I tried to add it again, but I got an error message. So I emailed the bank and I was assured that my account was registered.

Dan Gingiss (37:48):
Everything was fine. And even though the website didn’t show my bank account information, don’t worry. It was there.

Joey Coleman (37:55):
The age old theory of don’t trust what you’re seeing, trust what I’m saying. Oh great! Surprise, surprise!

Dan Gingiss (38:01):
I was a little skeptical, but okay. So a couple of weeks later I was told that I was approved for a PPP loan, but I never saw any deposit come through. So I checked the website again and I get this message. The small business association requires that paycheck protection program loans be dispersed within 20 days of approval. Since we did not receive signed loan documentation from you during this time, we had to spend your loan for the dime being, Oh my goodness. You gotta be kidding me. So yeah. So sitting here waiting for the deposit and then they basically tell me you didn’t get the deposit because you didn’t give us a bank account is essentially what happened. So I emailed them again. And this time I got no answer for over a week. So I decided to call and people, we don’t want to call it’s a last resort. Yeah, exactly younger. Okay. But I called and I got this recorded message. Of course.

Joey Coleman (38:55):
Surprise! Your call is very important to us. We are very overwhelmed right now..

Dan Gingiss (39:03):
Volume, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But what, the thing that annoyed me was is it the message kept telling me that everything I needed to know what’s on the website.

Joey Coleman (39:12):
Of course! Go to the website, go to the website! You’d already been to the website. Of course, of course.

Dan Gingiss (39:19):
So this just made me madder and madder as I’m listening to this thing. And it kept telling me to go to the very website that was not providing any information on why my loan loan had suddenly gone from approved to pending.

Joey Coleman (39:33):
You know, Dan, I think sometimes businesses just, they don’t remember that they’re dealing with customers that aren’t from 50 years ago. Right? I think the average customer today knows well, before you call, check the website, now that doesn’t always happen, but I know you always go to the website. First, most customers are trying to self serve and the best businesses should let them self serve. Let them go to the website and see, and guess what if they call you, it probably means that they couldn’t find the answer easily on your website or it’s not on your website.

Dan Gingiss (40:08):
I mean, if you’re going to tell people to go to the website, make sure the dang website works is all we’re asking for here. So finally, this is the best part. So I’m sitting there on hold like an idiot for five or 10 minutes, whatever it was. And all of a sudden the recorded message says your time in queue has expired. Please call back another time and hung up on me.

Joey Coleman (40:28):
So let me get this right… The hold service decided that it was tired of having you wait, so it kicked you out and have you call back another time.

Dan Gingiss (40:38):
It wasn’t after an hour, it was after five or 10 minutes and I was waiting on hold. So now I can’t get my question answered on the website. I can’t get my question answered on the phone and I’m literally handcuffed. I don’t have any idea what to do.

Joey Coleman (40:51):
You know – and I’m thinking somewhere, someone is being incentivized for hold times. Like someone on the bank is being incentivized for whole time. So they’re like, I’ve got an idea. Let’s kick people out after five minutes because then our longest whole time will be five minutes. Right? Write a brilliant sign, align the incentives here and make sure people do it not to mention. It’s like how absolutely infuriating. It’s like, you know, the person picking up and saying, Oh, let me transfer you. And you’re like, no, no, no. Don’t transfer me, click. And then you’re like, great. Now I’m completely lost and we’ll never speak to a human again.

Dan Gingiss (41:31):
Exactly. So listen, folks, when customers call you, don’t tell them to go to the website. What customers tweet you, don’t tell them to call you rest assured that your customers know the service channels that are available and they’re going to choose the channel they want, which isn’t always going to be the channel that you want. It’s the responsibility of the business to meet its customers where they are. My experience was so frustrating precisely because I tried to self-serve on the website. And then when I needed help, I was told to go to the website. Ugh!

[SHOW OUTRO]
Joey Coleman (42:10):
Wow! Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (42:15):
We know there are tons of podcasts to listen, to magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman (42:24):
We hope you enjoyed our discussions. And if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to ExperienceThisShow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience. And we want you to be part of the Experience This Show!

Dan Gingiss (42:43):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey Coleman (42:46):
Experience.

Dan Gingiss (42:46):
This!

Episode 106 – Make the Most of the Situation to Create A Remarkable Experience

Join us as we discuss admitting mistakes before your customers notice them, building fans by sharing secret recipes, and revisiting the power of customer evangelism.

Reprints, Recipes, and Re-Releases – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] Juniper Books Plans a Reprint Before Anyone Realized It Was Necessary

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Episode 101 – Making Things Beautiful Rockets Your Business Forward
Juniper Books
Books Everyone Should Own
• Don Quixote
Episode 30 – Grammar Police

[Dissecting the Experience] The Chik-fil-a Secret Menu

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Chik-fil-a
Tik Tok – Chik-fil-a Menu Hacks

[Partnership with Avtex] Experience Points: Fake or Fact?

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Avtex
• Experience Points

[Book Report] The Cult of the Customer by Shep Hyken

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Shep Hyken
• The Cult of the Customer – by Shep Hyken

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download an automated (non-corrected) transcript of Episode 106 here or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]

Dan Gingiss (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:08):
Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you, even more!

Dan Gingiss (00:18):
Always upbeat, and definitely entertaining customer retention, expert Joey Coleman.

Joey Coleman (00:23):
and social media expert. Dan Gingiss… serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss (00:31):
So hold onto your headphones… It’s time to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:39):
Get ready, for another episode of the Experience This! Show!

Dan Gingiss (00:45):
Join us as we discuss: admitting mistakes before your customers notice them, building fans by sharing secret recipes, and revisiting the power of customer evangelism…

Joey Coleman (00:57):
Reprints, recipes, and rereleases… Oh my!

Joey Coleman (01:03):
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 (01:18):
Hey Dan, let’s play “name that episode.”

Dan Gingiss (01:21):
Oh, you know I love that game!

Joey Coleman (01:24):
Yes I do. All right. Last season, I spoke about an experience I had with my friend Thatcher Wine’s company, Juniper Books.

Dan Gingiss (01:33):
I could never forget a name like Thatcher Wine.

Joey Coleman (01:37):
It’s a great name.

Dan Gingiss (01:37):
I remember it… it was Episode 101.

Joey Coleman (01:42):
You know, ladies and gentlemen, it’s amazing… My cohost is like the “Rain Man” of experience this episode numbers. Anyway, I know we spoke about the folks at Juniper Books, just a few episodes ago, but something happened between recording that episode and the one we’re recording now that I wanted to share. Now, as our listeners may remember, Juniper Books has a subscription program called, “Books Everyone Should Own” which they refer to as BESO (books everyone should own) – as in an acronym. It’s a series of classic books with refreshed, unique covers that are delivered monthly. Now, I got a subscription for my wife Berit and so each month she gets a new book in the mail.

Dan Gingiss (02:29):
I don’t know if you know this joy, but “beso” or “beso” means “kiss” in Spanish.

Joey Coleman (02:35):
Oh, there you go… I did not know that. Maybe they mean to pronounce it “beso.” I don’t know.

Dan Gingiss (02:43):
Anyway, I know that your wife Berit really enjoys books, so I’m imagining she is enjoying the ongoing surprise of getting a new book every month…

Joey Coleman (02:52):
You know, she does enjoy books and she loves surprises. And what’s interesting to me is that every time she gets a book, I get to see what it is. But to be honest, I don’t spend a ton of time looking at it because it’s her gift, which is why I was a bit caught off guard. When I received the following email from Juniper books one day. And to be clear, the reason I received this email is because I’m the one who gave the gift. So it’s my name on the account intentionally, because when I originally gifted her the gift, I didn’t want her to get an email about it. I wanted to surprise her. So the subject line of this email said, “Mistakes were Made” and the email reads as follows:

Joey Coleman (03:34):
Hello! Thank you for being a BESO subscriber. We hope you are enjoying your thoughtfully curated and designed collection of classics during these difficult times. We misprinted the recently shipped Don Quixote jacket and wanted to let you know that we will be sending you a replacement jacket in early August. The jacket you currently have has a placeholder text on the front inside flap that we neglected to remove before printing. We apologize for this air for 19 years, we have always stood behind our creations. We always want to make sure our books and jackets are of the finest quality that they look great on your shelves, feel good in your hands and that they stand the test of time. When the new jacket arrives, it will be pre folded. So you will be able to swap out the new jacket for the old one easily. Don’t forget that. One of the perks of being a member of one of our subscription programs is that you receive free shipping on any domestic orders@juniperbooks.com. Just be sure to sign into your account while shopping and your shipping discount will automatically apply. Our book sets are always great for gifting this summer and for the holidays, please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions. Thanks again,

Dan Gingiss (04:52):
You know, joy, fun fact, but Don Quixote is Spanish!

Joey Coleman (05:00):
Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Gingiss – social media expert, and Spanish translator in this segment.

Dan Gingiss (05:09):
Si señor! Anyway, uh, I know, I know you’re probably looking for my comment here and I could deliver it in Spanish, but I’m going to keep this show in English. What I love about this is that it’s proactive and they didn’t have to wait for somebody to figure out that something was wrong or that there was an error. A lot of companies, their first instinct is if we don’t say anything, no one will notice.

Speaker 2 (05:33):
Totally, totally. And what was cool about this is to be completely candid. Neither I, nor my wife had noticed, like this mistake could have gone unaddressed for frankly quite a long time, if not forever, had we not been alerted to this scenario? So it’s a great example of when something goes wrong, be proactive, but here’s where I felt they really closed the loop on this. So not long after receiving the first email, I received another email with the subject line mistakes were fixed and the email reads as follows. Hello, thank you again for being a BSO subscriber with Juniper books, I thought I’d follow up on my email of July 8th, alerting you. There was an issue with the donkey Otay jacket originally sent in June. The corrected jacket for your edition of Don Quixote should be arriving any day. Now, once it does simply remove the jacket currently on the book and easily replace it with your brand new one, we do apologize for the air. As noted in my email, we will always stand by our product and we want your collection to be perfect. Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you.

Dan Gingiss (06:49):
You know, I’m reminded here as I’m sure you were Joey of Episode 30 in Season 1.

Joey Coleman (06:56):
If you offered me a million dollars to tell you what we talked about in Episode 30, you would get to keep your million dollars… friends.

Dan Gingiss (07:05):
What we talked about was a tweet from the British clothing company, ASIS, which

Joey Coleman (07:12):
Do you remember this idea? Remember this? I didn’t remember that tweet Bart.

Dan Gingiss (07:16):
Yeah, of course. You’re blocking that out.

Joey Coleman (07:18):
I remembered the British clothing company.

Dan Gingiss (07:19):
But yeah, so they had a spelling error on one of their bags, the packages, their clothing, and you know, I always say most companies would have never noticed this spelling error. The one out of a hundred that did, would have thrown out the bags, but not a sauce. They ended up tweeting a picture of the error and they called it a limited edition and their tweet got more than 50,000 likes and however many thousand retweets just because they proactively admitted a mistake. They poked a little fun at themselves and had a little, you know, there was a little self-deprecating and I think it endeared people to the brand. And look, I wouldn’t say this example was quite as playful, but I think it stands to the same reason that they noticed the mistake. They’re very proud of their product. It wasn’t okay with them that it was wrong, regardless of whether it was okay with the customers. And so, like you said, at the Coleman family, it probably would have been okay. Nobody even noticed, but it wasn’t okay with them. And I think that says a lot about this company and it says to me that it’s the kind of company I want to do business with.

Speaker 2 (08:29):
Exactly Dan. And that’s the reason why I wanted to tell this story. Not because I’m a big fan of Juniper books, although I am not because, you know, they made this agregious error. They didn’t, it was a tiny little thing. But what does it say for someone you’re doing business with when they tell you that they’ve not lived up to their own standards? So often in the world of customer experience, the reason customer experiences go bad is because the companies fail to live up to the experience that their customers are expecting. It’s a completely different ball game and a completely different, uh, commitment to excellence. When as a brand, you say, you know what? We already sent out the product, you have it, no one’s going to be injured by this. This isn’t a product defect that we need to do a recall on this is a cosmetic thing at best.

Speaker 2 (09:22):
And probably something that less than 5% of customers would ever even notice. And yet for the folks at Juniper books that was not acceptable, they wanted to deliver the same standard that they had for the last 19 years. And you know, what’s great about this. They use the apology email to restate their brand commitment, to excellence in the apology email. As you may recall, they kind of referenced that free shipping perk of membership. So it’s not really an upsell. It’s more of a reminder that like, Hey, you have this perk of being a member that you might’ve forgotten about it. So Hey, if you want to take advantage of the perk, go ahead and do it. The tone was personal. It was honest. It was sincere. And they delivered the fix. You know, the newly printed jacket as planned on schedule as promised. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (10:15):
If you’re listening to the show, which obviously, if you can hear my voice right now, you clearly are. I would ask you to think about how would your company react to a mistake?

Speaker 2 (10:27):
Oh, be careful here, Dan, a lot of people are feeling self conscious right now. No kidding. They probably should people. Yeah, because they’re like, ah, my company would do nothing like this.

Speaker 1 (10:37):
Right? And then you should ask yourself why, but also, I mean, let’s run through the options here really fast, Joey. So we could do nothing and then what’s going to happen. Well, as you said, 5% of our customers are gonna call up. So we’re going to spend some call center, time, handling their calls. We’re going to have to do something for them, either refund their money, or maybe we print up a few extra jackets and we send it to them and then they’ll be happy and satisfied.

Speaker 2 (11:01):
And then maybe three months later, someone finally gets to reading Don Quixote. Cause it’s not a small book friends. And they then realize what the other people realized earlier. So then they call in and we hope to have printed enough, extra covers that we have some to send to them because God forbid, one of the other customers shares what had happened to them. They want to treat it, be treated the same. This is a problem that never ends.

Speaker 1 (11:25):
Right. And we have to stock these covers forever and all that stuff. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (11:28):
Instead we spent a little bit more

Speaker 1 (11:31):
Money now, maybe a lot more money now. And we sent the cover to everyone. But in the meantime, what we did is we made fans out of our customers and we got them telling their friends about us, talking about us, appreciating us more. I guarantee you, if you look at business metrics like, uh, how many of their customers

Speaker 2 (11:54):
Stay on this subscription program? Those will be extended. The, the tenure will be extended. More people will recommend them to their friends. A couple of people who host podcasts, they’ll talk about, Oh wait, that’s it. And that’s the crazy thing. Like, as I said in the previous segment, when we talked about the folks at junior pro books, you know, Thatcher wine is a friend of mine, like I’m a big fan of their brand. I’m a big fan of their coming. He has no idea. We’re talking about this on the show right now because I intentionally have not reached out to him. And instead, I’m just going to share the episode with him when it comes out, because here’s the secret friends and anybody who works in customer experience knows this. But I bet you’re frustrated because your boss and your boss’s boss don’t necessarily get this.

Speaker 2 (12:37):
It is incredibly difficult to directly draw ROI to this kind of activity. Because the return on this investment of doing the right thing probably doesn’t happen next month. It probably doesn’t happen next quarter. It may happen weeks from now or months from now or years from now. And you know, even talking about this story makes me think, gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve sent someone a gift from Juniper books, I should go do that. Right? So there are huge opportunities here. So what can we learn from this great example as set by Thatcher wine and his team at Jenner pro books? Well, friends, mistakes are going to happen. Even if you’ve been in business for almost two decades doing the same thing, the occasional error will slip through the cracks. How you respond, not only shows how much you prioritize and care about your customers, but it’s an indicator of whether you’ll still be in business 20 years from now, which I think is going to be the case for Juniper books. If you’re listening to our show and love books, like we do make sure to go over and show the fine folks at Juniper books, some love you can find the books. Everyone should own subscription series and lots of other beautifully designed books@juniperbooks.com.

Speaker 3 (13:57):
Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience.

Speaker 2 (14:14):
Loyal listeners know Dan, you were previously the senior director of global social media for McDonald’s. And I came across something recently and thought to myself, self. I bet Dan will be able to share a unique perspective on this situation. You know, friends, it’s okay to talk to yourself. It’s not okay to answer yourself. So true. So true. Alright. I’m getting nervous here because you know, our listeners probably also know that working at McDonald’s is not my favorite experience in my whole life. So what do you got for me? But the fries are great. Okay. I think you’re actually going to like this one, Dan. So here’s the scoop recently, a young woman who worked for Chick-fil-A made a tic talk video about a secret menu hack now. Oh, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Did the words tick tock video, just come out of your mouth, Joey.

Speaker 2 (15:10):
Yes, they did. My friend. Yes they did. Oh, wait, does this mean that you’re on tick tock? Oh, absolutely not. Absolutely. I got a long streak of not being on social media that I have to uphold. I am not on talk, but I heard about this story because of how it connects to customer and employee experience. And I went to track down more details and in doing so I learned this Anna was a 19 year old Chick-fil-A employee had just finished her shift one day and afterwards she got into the car and got on tick TechTalk and shared a secret hack that would allow customers to order the seasonal mango passion tea, lemonade year round. And she also shared with the way that you could get a large for 4 cents cheaper than the regular size drink. So here’s a little clip of what she said.

Speaker 4 (16:05):
Okay. So I work at Chick-Filet. So I’m here to give you all the tips and tricks on secret menu items, um, how to get things cheaper and just all that. Okay. And this is only a part one. Let me start off with the seasonal drinks. Um, okay. Someone’s washing your Cortez. Wow. Okay. Anyways, um, so I wanna start with the seasonal drinks. So right now we have a mango passion tea, uh, basically the large, it’s not really a large. So what you’re going to order is going to order an Arnold Palmer, which is a tea and lemonade mixture. You’re going to ask her for pumps and Mingo by doing that, you literally get double the mango passion tea for literally the same price you can kind of see here. But Arnold Palmer is two 69 and a large mega passion T is two 65. It’s the same price in part two. I’ll tell you guys about secret frost.

Speaker 2 (16:55):
All right. So this is interesting. Uh, you know, she points out the, the kind of price difference and kind of remixing some of the drinks. And it’s always nice to see a employee get excited about where they work and want to share that with others. And, you know, there’s this hack culture that people seem to be glomming on to where if we can just, you know, if we can find a way to hack something, it’s fine. So I’m guessing though that I dunno things maybe got out of hand a little bit, otherwise I’m not quite sure why you’re sharing this just yet. Well, as usual, Dan you’re absolutely right. So this little tick tock video went viral and while I’m not sure how many people saw it right away, estimates are that it has been seen by millions of people it’s received over 300,000 hearts, which I guess is like the tech talk of likes and has almost a thousand comments at the time we’re recording this.

Speaker 1 (17:54):
Well, you cannot buy that type of engagement on social media. So Chick-fil-A, must’ve been thrilled.

Speaker 2 (18:01):
No, you would think that’s the case, but sadly that wasn’t the case and his boss wasn’t as thrilled as you or I might’ve been. In fact, she posted a second video to tech talk less than a week after the first video with some music playing and the captions, while you’re hearing this music in the background, relate her experience of making the video, becoming tic talk famous and being super excited about it. When the video goes viral and then receiving a call from her boss to turn in her uniform because she was fired.

Speaker 1 (18:34):
Oh no. Oh no, they did it.

Speaker 2 (18:37):
Yes, they did.

Speaker 1 (18:39):
That. Second video went viral too. Oh my,

Speaker 2 (18:42):
Your friend did it indeed to this date. It’s estimated to have been seen by millions and millions of people with over 250,000 hearts and over 1500 comments. So it actually has more comments than the first video. The second video has attracted more attention than the first one did. Okay.

Speaker 1 (19:02):
Okay. So you’re right. I have a couple of things just to say about this.

Speaker 2 (19:05):
I have an opinion about this and let’s be candid as a general rule. Chick-fil-A usually gets the customer experience, right? Like people rave about how friendly the Chick-fil-A employees are and how they come out in line at the drive through to take care of you. And everybody seems to always have a smile on their face and be thank you left. And right. Like most people usually don’t have a bad experience with the staff at Chick-fil-A. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19:31):
I think the story here is actually not about Chick-fil-A. I agree. Let’s take a step back and let’s talk about secret menu items because this is actually a thing across the fast food and fast casual industry. And I did get to hear a lot about this at McDonald’s because I was working in social media. So I got to see all sorts of stuff, by the way, Joey, the things people do in a McDonald’s

Speaker 2 (19:57):
Well, the thing is anyone, any of it, any faster

Speaker 1 (19:59):
Food or fast casual restaurant, like I agree with you, that’s a story for another day. But one of the things that I figured out really quickly

Speaker 2 (20:08):
Was that the people that were sharing

Speaker 1 (20:11):
You hacks is really what we called them were some of our biggest fans. And some of these menu hacks were super creative. Some of them were really out there. I will never forget. There was one there’s two that I remember there was one guy that ordered a sandwich where he had one bun with every single piece of protein that McDonald’s offered. So there was like a fried chicken breast and a hamburger and a Mick rib and a sausage Patty from the big mafia lovers pizza. It was a heart attack. I would say that doesn’t sound good at all. Yeah. And then there was another guy, uh, this is a guy

Speaker 2 (20:55):
It’s always a guy. And I don’t say that to be a sexist. I say that because as a general rule,

Speaker 1 (20:59):
You guys are the weird ones. Yeah. Well, so when the, when McDonald’s installed the kiosks, there was an initially a, I don’t want to say an error, but basically something wrong, a little glitch. And it allowed you to essentially add up to, I think, 30 of any item on a sandwich. So a guy walked in and he said, okay, I want a hamburger. And I’d like 30 patties of beef. And I’d like 30 slices of cheese. And I’d like 30 pieces of lettuce and 30 tomatoes and 30 squirts of mustard and all this sort of, and all of this stuff. And the thing ended up pretty dang expensive sandwich. But it also, they ended up bringing it out to him on like three trays because the sandwich would be huge. Right. But that video went viral and you know, there were drink recipes and Starbucks has a huge secret menu. My favorite, by the way, is the peppermint Patty frappuccino. I don’t know why they don’t put that on the menu. Cause it is awesome.

Speaker 2 (22:02):
Well, and I know I’m not a Starbucks guy, but like in and out, burger is famous for its secret menu. You know, you can order a burger animal style. If you order it protein style, you don’t get the bond. It’s the gluten free version. It comes wrapped in lettuce. You know, a lot of these restaurants have these things and it’s not a huge deal. Like I understand in this particular scenario, Anna was suggesting something that would quote unquote, caused them to lose money. Now, granted it’s 4 cents and I don’t know about you, but I’d be willing as a business owner to shave 4 cents off the profit. If it meant someone came in and, or placed an order that they wouldn’t otherwise.

Speaker 1 (22:43):
I mean, look, if they, first of all, I it’s a little more than the 4 cents because I think what she was saying was you get more ingredients for your course out, but even so, uh, so what’s the worst that happens. A billion people come in and order it. I don’t think that’s a big, big problem. So the whole idea behind the secret menus or these hacks is that people figure stuff out right. When I was at discover and I worked in the rewards area, one of the things I found out is that if there’s a way to game the system, people will find it. And so we do the best we can to not allow people to really take advantage. But in this case with this employee and with the case of these special menu items or secret menu items, these are usually people that love your brand. They’re not trying to screw you over. They are trying to love you more. And so the surprising part about this story was that the company wasn’t thrilled that this video went viral and brought a lot of attention to a product offering that they have. Heck I didn’t even know they serve Arnold

Speaker 2 (23:46):
Palmers at Chick-fil-A and now I know you’re excited to go on. No, I totally agree with you, Dan. And I think the interesting thing about this is I can understand as a business owner, having an employee that does something that you’re less than thrilled about. Like I can try to put myself into the shoes of the franchise owner or the manager. Who’s like, Oh my gosh, this is bringing more heat than we would have liked. This is causing issues with corporate, et cetera, et cetera, whatever was going on. But to me, that’s not a let’s fire, the employee conversation. That’s a, how can we take this enthusiastic, energetic employee who is on a platform that most adults are trying to figure out, let alone actually create viral videos on and harness her ability and her personality to promote the brand in a way that we aren’t okay with.

Speaker 2 (24:41):
You know, I mean most brands have to just accept the fact that they can’t control the brand message on social media, the same way they can in their say, print advertising or what their marketing agency, you can’t control, what customers are going to do. And you really can’t even control what employees are going to do. But if the employee is going to do something, don’t fire them, redirect that focus and that energy into something, because what, the number of followers that she had, you could almost see where she did a weekly show on some type of a behind the scenes story at Chick-fil-A that would have built a huge following. And that’s

Speaker 1 (25:17):
Actually what I recommended to McDonald’s when we started seeing these secret menu items was let’s lean into this. Let’s be in on the joke because people are going to love the brand personality for that. Right. And again, I can’t see a downside, even I sorta get why, you know, you’re saying that it’s possible that the Boston may not have liked this, but I’m not seeing the business downside. To be honest with you.

Speaker 2 (25:45):
I think it’s a, it’s an old school way of thinking. I mean, and let’s be candid. We’re where these things, that big of secrets. I mean, for years McDonald’s talked about their special sauce, right? The secret special sauce. And wasn’t it. I mean, you know this better than I do, but wasn’t it McDonald’s Canada like did something with Twitter where they shared the recipe to the secret sauce.

Speaker 1 (26:06):
Yeah. I mean, they shared a lot of secrets because they had a program where they basically said to their customers, ask us any question, nothing’s off limits. We’ll answer it. And my favorite, one of those videos they showed, somebody said, why do your sandwiches always look better on TV than they do in real life? Which we probably all asked that question. And they went behind the scenes of a TV, commercial shoot. And they introduced you to the food. What was his name? What was his title? It was like the food artist. It was a food artist. Thank you, Joey. I remember got it

Speaker 2 (26:40):
From our buddy mutual friend, Marcus Sheridan. Who’s famous for the, they ask you answer book and methodology, which McDonald’s was following.

Speaker 1 (26:48):
Yes. And this guy had, I remember a tweezers and was placing Sesame seeds on the bun, just so that’s a job. Uh, so, but, but yeah, I mean, and you know what, that was a successful campaign. Big and people looked at McDonald’s Canada, cause McDonald’s us stubbornly wouldn’t do it. But McDonald’s Canada. They looked at them with more trust. They looked at them as a company that they wanted to do business with more or eat at more because, because they were open and honest and, and, and so again, if people are going to come in and order off the menu, or if you’re a retailer and they’re going to buy certain products and use them for ways that they weren’t to 10 intended that’s okay. You know, it, they’re still shopping with you. They’re spending money with you. And really, as I said, at the beginning, these tend to be some of your better customers. So I think the result of firing poor Ana here is that they may have also lost not just an employee, but they may have lost customers. Oh,

Speaker 2 (27:56):
Absolutely. Absolutely. And now they’ve got kind of a detractor of a former employee who interestingly enough, has filmed a third video where she basically goes through the entire menu, telling you all the ways to beat the men.

Speaker 1 (28:12):
I thought you were going to tell me that the third video was she’s now working at Popeye’s.

Speaker 2 (28:16):
Yeah, that would be great. I mean, let me tell you, if you’re out there employ this young woman, she like go hire her. So here’s the moral of the story friends. When you have a super engaged employee, especially one that is early in their career, recognize that mistakes may be made. And it’s up to you as the employer, not to compound these mistakes and instead to guide your employee to harness their talent into ways that allowed this employee to express themselves and their excitement for your brand, but ideally in ways that are a little bit more in alignment with your business operations, not to mention, if you have the opportunity to connect with your most rabid followers and fans, don’t miss it.

Speaker 1 (29:04):
Is it fake or is it fact the proverbial question, which we’re going to answer or rather our celebrity contestants are going to answer in the first of three games on our new game show, experience points

Speaker 2 (29:21):
In fake or fact contestants examine three similar experiences and try to figure out if each experience is real

Speaker 1 (29:29):
Fake. Every answer they get right is worth a hundred points.

Speaker 2 (29:33):
If they get all three answers, correct? They earn another 200 bonus points for a total possible score of five points, which converts into a $500 donation to the charity of their choosing. Thanks to our great friends at F techs.

Speaker 1 (29:51):
All right, Joey, let’s show him how this works. All right. Good idea, Dan,

Speaker 2 (29:56):
With one of our contestants, we talked about subscription programs. You know, those monthly boxes that you can subscribe to get a package to your house every month with a little moment of surprise and delight inside. And we asked, is there a subscription program for bacon?

Speaker 1 (30:15):
Yay. Exactly sure. Hope that one was fact,

Speaker 2 (30:20):
Let me ask, is it fake

Speaker 1 (30:22):
Or is it fact? Well, you’re going to have to tune into experience points to find out experience points is the new game show hosted by your friends, Dan Gingiss and Joey Coleman at brought to you by our friends, AV techs tune in to the video series and the podcast coming soon.

Speaker 2 (30:45):
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

Speaker 1 (30:57):
For this week’s book report. We wanted to talk about a true friend of the show, an F O J friend of Joey and FOD friend of Dan, the one and only godfather of customer service, chef hiking, my brother from another mother, as we like to call each other. And chef just recently, rereleased a book that is called the cult of the customer. Now you may remember that we reviewed his last book, be amazing or go home and also the convenience revolution in previous episodes. And so when the culture of the customer came out, we asked chef to talk to us a little bit about it, especially this whole idea of releasing a book. So here’s chef giving us an overview of the cult of the customer. I love everybody has chef hiking here, customer service and experience expert. Very excited that my friends, Dan and Joey are allowing me to share some information about my latest book.

Speaker 1 (31:56):
The cult of the customer create an amazing customer experience that turns satisfied customers into customer evangelist. So the title, that’s an interesting title, the cult of the customer, by the way, this is an updated and revised edition from a book that I wrote almost 12 years ago, same title, but updated stats and facts, unless they were evergreen. We replaced all of it with stats and information that were less than a year or so old. So everything’s updated, got rid of some stories, changed up a few stories. And why is the title, the cult of the customer? Because that’s what the publisher said. They wanted the title to be. So what is the cult of the customer? This is actually a cult you want to belong to. So I believe that all customers go through five phases as they go from the beginning of their journey to their final phase, which is one where they’re amazed and love the company.

Speaker 1 (32:49):
So, uh, rather than use the word phase, we’re actually using the word cult. And I’ll explain why in just a few minutes when I read an excerpt from the book. So let’s talk about the five calls by the way. This is for everybody in any organization that deals with customers and that’s everyone. Because if you don’t have an outside customer, you have an internal customer and you need to take care of them as well. And also the book is not meant to be read. It’s meant to be used there’s exercises in the back of the book that you can use on and on the five cults, number one, it’s uncertainty customers. Aren’t sure what they’re getting into. Number two, they get into alignment with the company, as they start to do business with them. Number three, they experience what it is you want them to experience. Hopefully it’s good. And when they experience it over and over again, it becomes predictable. Then it’s ownership. So you go from uncertainty to alignment, to experience to the cult of ownership. And finally, if it’s a positive and predictable experience where customers say, I always enjoy doing business with them, that word always in front of anything. Good to describe you. That means they’re in the cult of amazement. That’s where you want to be with your customer.

Speaker 2 (33:57):
I gotta be honest, and I’m not sure that prior to our conversation, I have ever thought of a cult as a good thing. I mean, it’s, it’s pretty interesting. You know, cults have kind of a bad rap, but what I love about Shep’s description here is this idea of your external and internal customers and paying attention to the changes that a customer’s feeling as they navigate through the customer journey with you and what they need at each phase. I particularly like that idea of predictability turning into ownership, because I think all too often, companies tried to jump right to the ownership phase instead of delivering that consistent, predictable experience that actually builds ownership. And I think what’s interesting here is while this book may be a little bit older and he’s obviously refreshed it and added new stories and new stats, I don’t know that this principle of the power of creating a cult of customers has ever been more true than it is today.

Speaker 1 (35:01):
Yeah. And Chuck likes to talk a lot about consistency. And I do think that that is a facet of customer experience that is often overlooked. Customers expect things to work every time. Or if you have a certain part of your experience, they expect it to be the same. I mean, it’s why people go to certain fast food restaurants, cause the French fries are the same all the time and that’s what they expect. And so consistency can be a really good thing, obviously, unless it is consistently a bad experience, but he likes to talk about how creating that consistency starts to gain this fandom or, or cult as he likes to call it. So one of the things that I love that we do on the show, Joey, I think it’s one of the, one of my favorite things that we decided to do when we launched the show is that when we highlight books, we don’t just do an interview with the author like everybody else does, but we have them do the overview that you just heard.

Speaker 1 (36:03):
And then we ask them to read us their favorite passage. And so here is Shep Hyken author of the call to the customer, reading his favorite passage from his book. What is the cult of the customer? Well, if you’re in business, it’s the cult you want to belong to first things first. There’s nothing scary about the word cult. If you stop and think about it, you’ll realize you can find the word cult inside words that you already know and use without any problem like culture and cultivate cult comes from the Latin word Cultus, which originally meant care or tending. What we’re proposing in this book is creating a corporate culture that is so focused on taking care of and tending to employees and customers that the culture itself creates evangelists. Please bear in mind. As you make your way through this book, a cult is nothing more or less than a system of shared belief, interest or experience. In other words, a group of people with shared agreement about what they will be cultivating together. For example, you may be passionate about bike riding and like to hang out with other cyclists on weekends, strictly speaking, that’s a cult. You may enjoy action hero, comic books and attend comic book conventions twice a year. That too is a cult. When it comes to business, I’m in a cult and I hope you are too. It’s the cult of the customer,

Speaker 2 (37:27):
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. You come to experience this to learn about amazing, remarkable experiences and to learn about Latin words. I love it as somebody who took four years of Latin in high school, I loved that ship breaks down

Speaker 1 (37:41):
The Latin, where

Speaker 2 (37:44):
It comes from, you know, while my passage doesn’t have any Latin in it, it does come from a chapter. That’s all about what the journey looks like from the inside. And so here’s my favorite passage. A moment of magic and above average experience typically is the result of someone’s consistent and patient focus on the complex task of consistently delivering moments of magic to internal customers. So they can in turn consistently deliver moments of magic to external customers. Believe it, this kind of experience must be modeled internally before it can be delivered on a consistent basis across the organization. Oh my goodness. I love this passage. It’s so echoes something that I share with audiences all the time, which is we cannot expect our employees

Speaker 1 (38:36):
To deliver a remarkable customer experience. If they don’t know what one is, if they have no context for a remarkable experience themselves and the best way to give your employees a remarkable customer experience context is to deliberate, remarkable experiences to your employees. So you start it with the employees, you show them by the way you treat them and the way you communicate with them and the way you interact with them, what remarkable is. And then when you ask them to deliver a remarkable experience to your customers, they understand what’s being asked, they’re familiar with this. They know what it looks like. They know what it feels like. And as a result, they’re able to do it. I totally agree. And you know, the opposite of that is when you walk into a fast food restaurant and the person behind the counter looks at you, like you’re interrupting their otherwise pleasant day by wanting to place an order.

Speaker 1 (39:28):
And so when your employees are miserable, they’re going to provide a miserable experience to your customer. So it makes all the sense in the world. Now I conveniently chose a favorite passage from a chapter called what the journey looks like from the outside. Ooh, an alternative perspective. I like it. So here we go, you make the right promise and you follow through specifically, you brand the experience and bring your customers into alignment. With that experience, then you deliver on the promise over and over again, through this repeated and predictable satisfaction, your customer’s confidence increases. Eventually you develop a network of evangelists who create a community of believers for your organization. I said before that Shep likes the word consistency. And that was consistent across both of our favorite passages. Is that doing things over and over the right way is going to lead to a better experience.

Speaker 1 (40:26):
And I talk about something very specific to this when I speak as well, which I think is why we both picked these passages. Why they spoke to us is that when you create remarkable experiences, that ends up your best sales and marketing strategy. And here’s why, because you get people to talk about your brand instead of you having to talk about your brand, let’s face it, Joey. We all know you’re awesome, but it’s your sounds a lot better when I say you’re awesome. Then when you say you’re awesome, right? I think you’re awesome. Awesome. Shep. Hyken awesome. This book is awesome. Friends, go out and pick up a copy of chef’s book. The cult of the customer on Amazon at your local indie bookstore, wherever fine books are sold and learn how to turn your customers into a cult.

Speaker 5 (41:22):
Wow.

Speaker 1 (41:23):
Thanks for joining us for another episode of experience this we know there are tons of podcasts to listen to magazines and books, to read reality TV, to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality

Speaker 3 (41:34):
Time listening to the two of us. We hope you enjoyed our discussions. And if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experience this show.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the experience this show. Thanks again for your time. And we’ll see you next week for more experience.

Speaker 5 (41:59):
Yes.

Episode 103 – Adding a Little Sparkle Makes Your Experience Remarkable

Join us as we discuss major shifts in customer expectations, a not-so-average birthday celebration, and turning customers into raving fans.

Pivoting, Celebrating, and Dedicating – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] COVID-19 and the Impact on Customer and Employee Experience

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Sitel Group
• How Coronovirus is Shaping Consumer Trends – by Sitel Group
• McKinsey
• Adapting Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus – by McKinsey
• Chief Marketing Officer of Sitel Group – Martin Wilkinson-Brown
• HIPPA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
• Statista
• Avtex
• Delivering Safe and Effective Customer Experiences Following COVID-19 – by Dan Gingiss on the Avtex blog
• We Could All Use Some Psychological First Aid – by Mary McNaughton-Cassill, Ph.D in Psychology Today Magazine

[This Just Happened] A “Sparkling” Birthday Surprise

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
• Open Table
• Rain Man
• Episode 66, Season Three
• Gaylord Texan Resort
• Episode 50, Season Two
• Chewy

[Partnership with Avtex] Coming Soon – to an Arcade Near You?

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Avtex
• Gauntlet
• Galaga
• Leaderboard

[Book Report] Fanocracy – by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans – by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott
• David Meerman Scott
• Reiko Scott
• Inbound Conference
• Delta Airlines
• Social Media Marketing World
• Newsjacking – by David Meerman Scott
• The New Rules of Marketing and PR – by David Meerman Scott
• Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead – by David Meerman Scott
• Tony Robbins
• One Simple Question for the Presidential Candidates: What are You a Fan of? (Democratic candidates video)
• Kamala Harris
• Chicago Cubs
• Space Exploration
• University of Notre Dame
• The Fighting Irish
• Notre Dame Glee Club
• LEGO
• The Grateful Dead
• Harry Potter
• NASA
• NASA Social Media Channels
• Bryan Kramer

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of Episode 103 here or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:08):
Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more!

Dan Gingiss (00:17):
Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer retention expert Joey Coleman…

Joey Coleman (00:23):
… and social media expert Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This!

[EPISODE 103 INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:38):
Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show

Joey Coleman (00:45):
Join us as we discuss major shifts in customer expectations, a not-so-average birthday celebration, and turning customers into raving fans.

Dan Gingiss (00:57):
Pivoting, celebrating, and dedicating! Oh my!

[SEGMENT INTRO – DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE]
Joey Coleman (01:05):
Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how, and why, they happen. Join us while we’re Dissecting the Experience.

[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE] COVID-19 and the Impact on Customer and Employee Experience
Dan Gingiss (01:22):
Welcome back to Season Six of the Experience This! Show. We are so happy to be back with you and so excited that you are here for another season chock full of great customer experiences. Now, obviously the world has changed just a bit in the past few months…

Joey Coleman (01:42):
Understatement!

Dan Gingiss (01:46):
With a certain pandemic ravaging the economy, people’s livelihoods, and of course their health. And new words and phrases have entered the lexicon like lockdowns, and quarantines, infection rates, stimulus bills, and there’s even a coin shortage in the United States. And many companies have either shuttered their doors, or unfortunately probably won’t live to see 2021. And entire industries have had to restructure and adapt in order to remain solvent, let alone competitive.

Joey Coleman (02:19):
You know, Dan we’ve also watched as the world has really grappled with important social issues like diversity and inclusion, which have affected how we look at hiring practices and changing customer demographics and even our political candidates. To put it mildly, there’s a lot that’s been going on since last time we all hung out together.

Dan Gingiss (02:39):
Exactly. And that is why Joey and I are so excited to be back here with you on the Experience This! Show, because if the past few months have taught us anything other than that, we each have the power to decide if we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution,

Joey Coleman (02:55):
Hint! Be part of the solution friends be part of the solution.

Dan Gingiss (02:58):
It is, that customer experience has actually never been more important. Our customers are depending on us, more now than ever, and they’re making future buying decisions based on their experiences with us right now. Some companies immediately got that and they pivoted to be more helpful and caring for their customers. Others kept plowing forward as if nothing had happened… occasionally checking a box by sending a copycat email, you know, the one: talking about their enhanced cleaning procedures and sending us to the CDC website.

Joey Coleman (03:31):
Oh geez. Yeah. You know, the reality friends is that those companies that have decided to take care of their customers during COVID-19 will have customers after COVID-19. Right? And the other thing that is going to stay the same,, along with the fact that great experiences work, they have worked, and they will continue to work, is that Dan and I are committed to continue bringing you examples of remarkable customer experiences that hopefully can, and should, inspire you to take action at your own company! We want to help you get more customers. We want to help you keep the ones you have. We want to help you by providing a regular little appetizer of customer experience delight – something to motivate you, something to get you thinking differently, something to get you to make the changes that will help your business not only survive going forward, but thrive going forward.

Dan Gingiss (04:24):
So in Season Six, we’re going to talk about things like: innovation in the audio book industry;

Joey Coleman (04:30):
Launching a new Peruvian restaurant by sending packages in the mail;

Dan Gingiss (04:35):
The behind the scenes people creating experiences at sporting events;

Joey Coleman (04:41):
How to keep connected to the customers that used to come to your place of business, but are now staying at home;

Dan Gingiss (04:46):
Creating custom Zoom backgrounds for your best customers to use;

Joey Coleman (04:51):
Crafting analog solutions in a digital world;

Dan Gingiss (04:54):
The reasons why people stay loyal to brands;

Joey Coleman (05:00):
And so, so much more. But before we get into all of that over the course of the next season, let’s start dissecting this COVID era experience.

Dan Gingiss (05:11):
You mean the 800 pound elephant in the room Joey?

Joey Coleman (05:14):
You know, we’ve got to address it right early on, right folks. And for anybody listening, who’s saying, “Oh my gosh, great, this entire Season Six is going to be about COVID-19!” No, no, no. It’s not. The entire show is going to be what it’s always been about: customer experience. But if we didn’t take time, in this very first segment of Season Six, to actually address the elephant in the room, we’d feel like we were letting you down.

Dan Gingiss (05:37):
So I found two resources that I really wanted to share with our audience that I think will help to frame this discussion. The first is a study from our old friends at Sitel Group called “COVID-19 the CX Impact.” And the second is a terrific article by the consulting company, McKinsey, you probably have heard of them.

Joey Coleman (05:57):
I have, once or twice.

Dan Gingiss (05:59):
called “Adapting Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus.” And across these two reports, I found that a few key trends really emerged. And that’s what I want to talk about in this segment. The first, which I think we all know conceptually, but are really seeing this happening at the speed of light, is the move to digital.

Joey Coleman (06:20):
And I think what you said about the speed of light is so true, right? Every company in January of 2020 had a digital strategy. Two months later, that digital strategy was probably their only strategy!

Dan Gingiss (06:33):
Exactly. Or they, or it was ripped up and they had to rewrite it.

Joey Coleman (06:36):
Yeah, exactly. It’s a new digital strategy!

Dan Gingiss (06:39):
So the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Sitel, Martin Wilkinson-Brown,

Joey Coleman (06:44):
Great guy, great guy and friend of ours.

Dan Gingiss (06:46):
He is, and he said this in the report and I’m quoting, “The key coronavirus consumer trend is that increasingly a brand is judged by the strength of its digital channels when it comes to customer experience. Now, the Sitel study found that as COVID-19 forced stores to close temporarily and for people to practice social distancing or even stay home, consumers looked to digital channels to serve their needs. 76% of respondents said that they’d made online purchases for things that they normally would have purchased in person. But what’s really important and interesting is that 57% said that they will continue this behavior once the pandemic ends. Now, McKinsey also found that, and I’m quoting again, “Digital adoption has grown strongly even among the most digitally resistant customers.” And so its article came to a similar conclusion quote, “[i]t’s likely that many customers who have converted to digital services will stick to them after the immediate health crisis is over. Companies who make this shift to digital and deliver superior experiences, have an opportunity to increase adoption and maintain these customer relationships after the crisis.”

Joey Coleman (08:03):
Dan, not only do I agree with everything that you said, whether it’s from the folks at Sitel or the folks at McKinsey, but we’ve experienced this in our own lives. We used to order some of our groceries online for delivery. Now we order all of our groceries online for delivery. I had never had the chance to really experience telemedicine before this, but ended up in a scenario where my wife Berit had something in her eye and we were trying to figure out whether we go to the eye doctor to get it looked at, but ugh – do we really want to be out like in a medical environment when there’s a pandemic going on?! And so we called the eye doctor and they were like, “just text us a picture of what’s going on. “And we texted the picture and they texted back and they’re like, “yeah, here’s what it is, nothing to worry about. It’ll be fine in about a week or two. And if it’s not, call us back.” Now, what’s fascinating about that, and sorry honey for the HIPAA violation I just committed there, but the moral of this story being, not only are the companies that have a digital strategy that have gained customers during this time going to potentially keep those customers, but the customer’s expectation for a digital solution is going to go up. I mean, I’m in a place where I don’t want to go to the doctor, if we can solve this via FaceTime or texting photos. I don’t want to go out and waste my time traveling from my home to whatever office it is, if we can do that electronically.

Dan Gingiss (09:34):
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Joey has just admitted to the world that his wife actually has an eye.

Joey Coleman (09:41):
Well, you know, I try to be conscious of, uh, divulging other people’s, I have medical professionals in the family, we talk about HIPAA a lot, I want to be a good consumer.

Dan Gingiss (09:50):
I understand. And you know, it is also created, this move to digital has also created different ways for us to evaluate companies. So for example Joey, I went immediately to curbside pickup for groceries and I stopped because after four or five weeks, I was tired of the groceries being wrong. I was tired of the order being wrong or of their being out of certain items. It became so frustrating to me that I ended up deciding to just go put on a KN-95 mask and go do it myself. I mean, folks, this has now been going on for multiple months, and so the move to digital has happened, it’s going to stay, and your company has got to excel at it – otherwise you’re going to lose customers to the competition. Let’s move on to the second trend in the article, which was the move to home delivery. McKinsey says that home delivery has gone from a convenience to a necessity. And as Joey pointed out, this isn’t just pizza delivery anymore. This is grocery stores, pharmacies, meal delivery services, even car dealerships that are picking up and dropping off cars at people’s homes for repair and maintenance appointments. I had a bicycle picked up and dropped off for a repair and maintenance appointment. According to Statista, the grocery delivery app Instacart saw month over month growth of 218% as the pandemic began.

Joey Coleman (11:17):
Yeah, well, it’s a good time to be in the home delivery business. If there’s an upside to the pandemic, it’s if your business, like Instacart, was primarily built around home delivery, you experienced growth at a very accelerated rate. As you alluded to though, Dan, part of the challenge with experiencing growth at an accelerated rate is that things break faster too. And so I know Instacart had to go out and hire a bunch of new shoppers, there were a bunch of people who sadly lost their jobs and were looking for jobs and as Instacart, Amazon, and some of the other companies who were seeing an increase in business were kind of there to fill the void of people that were looking for jobs, the problem was, there wasn’t a lot of time for training. And there wasn’t a lot of time to necessarily make sure that that Instacart shopper, who was going to be going to the store and shopping for your stuff, although you were doing, you know, curbside pickup Dan so that was theoretically store employees, but the reality is there’s, there’s a learning curve on this stuff too. I think what’s interesting though, is in this move to home delivery, we’ve had the chance as a society, at least here in the United States, and I think it’s been prevalent globally, but probably accelerated here in the U.S. because of how long this crisis has continued to affect the U.S. compared to some other countries who have gotten/done a better job – but we won’t get into that! – the moral of the story being we need to make these shifts and customers want the convenience. They want to be able to order this stuff from home. And I think more and more consumers are realizing that the shopping process versus the convenience of having delivery just isn’t always worth it. You know, sometimes it’s nice and sometimes as you alluded to, you know, if you want to get the order exactly right, you want to go do it yourself. But sometimes it’s okay if it’s not perfect, if it’s done. And I think that’s kind of what has happened across a lot of these home delivery services.

Dan Gingiss (13:15):
Absolutely. So the third trend is a focus on safety. And this applies to both customers and employees. And I actually got to write a blog post for our good friends and show sponsors, Avtex.

Joey Coleman (13:29):
Woo hoo! Avtex!

Dan Gingiss (13:29):
So if you go to avtex.com and look at their blog, you’ll see this post. And I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who created the famous hierarchy of needs in the 1960s.

Joey Coleman (13:45):
It’s such a nice little pyramid.

Dan Gingiss (13:47):
It’s a great pyramid. And it’s got five tiers of human needs ranked from the physiological at the bottom, which are the most basic needs, to self actualization at the top, which are the needs that are the most difficult to obtain. Well safety needs, which include both safety and security, are considered basic needs. And they’re ranked just above literally, food, and water, and warmth, and rest.

Joey Coleman (14:11):
Yeah, they’re right. This is the bottom of the pyramid folks. If you don’t have your safety needs taken care of, it’s kind of the case that nothing else matters.

Dan Gingiss (14:19):
Exactly. Which is why I am willing to predict here today, that “safety” is going to be the key word and key trend in customer experience in the next 6 to 12 months for sure. So Psychology Today Magazine noted that there are five elements to what is commonly referred to as “psychological first aid.” And this is something that’s often administered to victims of natural disasters and is equally applicable to the current pandemic. Now, those five elements are: (1) Help people feel safe, (2) create a sense of calm, (3) help regain a sense of control and self efficacy, (4) feed the need for social connection, and (5) believe in the power of hope. And I have to tell you, Joey, I kind of related to all five of these things right now.

Joey Coleman (15:09):
Oh, amen brother. Yeah. I mean, this is something that everyone needs and I don’t think you can experience full feelings of safety if you don’t have all of these things. Right?! And so I think there’s an opportunity for everyone listening to look at your business and say, are we helping our customers feel safe? Are we creating a sense of calm? Are we helping them to regain a sense of control or self efficacy? You know, what are we doing to help them to feel like they can get a little bit of their power back? How are we feeding their need for social connection? How are we giving them a feeling of hope? You know, this stuff isn’t just psychology mumbo jumbo that’s meant for a Psych 101 course. These are actionable steps that have been proven time and time again, as it relates to human needs, that if your business isn’t specifically addressing these, you’re missing a big opportunity. And I think what happened early on in this crisis is a lot of businesses read this as, “tell them you’re going to wear a mask and clean things up.” It’s like, okay, thanks that worked in week one and maybe week two. But as you pointed out, months later, you know, different people have different definitions of safety. Different people are experiencing different levels of calm. Different people want different levels of control and connection. But I think most people, still want hope. And that’s where I think every business has the opportunity to make sure they’re checking all five of these boxes.

Dan Gingiss (16:38):
Absolutely. And as with anything in customer experience, you have to start with your employees because if your employees don’t feel safe, they’re not going to be able to provide that safety to your customers. So everything has changed for businesses since March, and we know it can be overwhelming. The good news, I think for those of us focused on customer experience is that there has never been a more important time for CX.

Joey Coleman (17:03):
Never! In the history of customer experience, if you work in customer experience, this is the magical time – right now.

Dan Gingiss (17:11):
So since we can’t solve every issue all at once, we believe that starting with the three main trends identified in this segment, which is the move to digital, the move to home delivery, and a focus on safety, that will help us stay ahead of the curve and ensure that we continue to serve our customers during a very difficult time and beyond.

[SEGMENT INTRO – THIS JUST HAPPENED]
Joey Coleman (17:33):
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement, or avoid, based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened?!

[THIS JUST HAPPENED] A “Sparkling” Birthday Surprise
Dan Gingiss (17:46):
Before everything locked down, my family took our 14 year old son out for his birthday at his choice of a restaurant, and the guy’s got good taste, he chose Fleming’s Steak House.

Joey Coleman (17:59):
He does have good taste! I’m guessing my invitation might’ve gotten lost in the mail for that birthday celebration?

Dan Gingiss (18:05):
I think maybe you were on stage that night – that must have been it, yeah, I think you couldn’t do it.

Joey Coleman (18:11):
Ladies and gentlemen, did you see how quickly my good partner, and friend, Dan recovered on that? Yeah. Yeah. Blame it, blame it on being on stage with the audience. Okay. That’s fair. That’s fair.

Dan Gingiss (18:22):
So let me set this up for you. So like I do often, I booked, the restaurant reservation on Open Table, which as you know, is a third party reservation app. And there’s a spot in the, in the reservation, where it says, “are you celebrating anything?” And we said, yeah, we’re celebrating our son’s 14th birthday,

Joey Coleman (18:38):
Which let’s be honest, anytime you fill that out, you always wonder, are they going to do anything with that?

Dan Gingiss (18:43):
Exactly.

Joey Coleman (18:43):
I’ve filled it out plenty of times where they might as well have said, you know, what’s your horoscope for today, because it would’ve been about as impactful on the experience I had. Most restaurants don’t seem to pay attention to that field the way they could or should.

Dan Gingiss (18:58):
Exactly. Well we walked in and told them our name, and the guy took one look at us and pretty much figured out who the 14 year old was.

Joey Coleman (19:06):
It’s the hair, it was the hair wasn’t it?! That was the only way he knew.

Dan Gingiss (19:11):
And the impeccably dressed maitre d reached behind the counter and handed my son a hand signed birthday card. And the outside of it says “Happy Birthday.” And the inside says, “Thank you for celebrating with us. Best wishes from your friends at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.” And then somebody wrote in, “and many more.” And I was stunned because…

Joey Coleman (19:34):
You thought to yourself, “not only is this a great birthday, but we’re going to talk about this on the show! Ladies and gentlemen, the show writes itself. Dan and I go about our lives and the show writes itself!

Dan Gingiss (19:45):
Exactly. And that’s why we keep going and going like the Energizer bunny. So, I mean, I’ve celebrated a decent number of birthdays at restaurants and, uh, and I have never seen this happen. So he’s, uh, he’s walking us to the table and he kind of winks at my son and says something like, I can’t remember the exact words, but something like, you know, “we’re going to have something special for you after you, after your dinner.” And it was at that moment, Joey, where I realized we weren’t getting a slice of cake and a candle. Right. Because that’s what you get at a restaurant.

Joey Coleman (20:16):
Because you don’t set that expectation unless you’re going to do something special.

Dan Gingiss (20:20):
Yeah. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of cake and a candle. It’s really nice, but it is certainly not unexpected.

Joey Coleman (20:26):
Nor remarkable.

Dan Gingiss (20:27):
Right. So we had a lovely dinner and after the dinner was over the waiter returned with a plate that had, it’s a little hard to describe, but on one half of the plate, the chef had used cocoa powder and obviously a mold of some sort, or stencil, to write “Happy Birthday” in cocoa powder, which was super cool. And on the right side, instead of your typical slice of cake, was a box that had four handmade chocolates, each one in its own little section of the box, and coming out of the top was not a candle, but a sparkler.

Joey Coleman (21:09):
Oh, nice! Let’s get the fire extinguishers folks. This is going to be a big one!

Dan Gingiss (21:13):
I’m telling you if that’s the only, if it was a slice of cake and a sparkler, I think we would have all been impressed but the waiter explained to us that these are handmade by their pastry chef and you know, and they were amazing. Right?! And it was also a little bit lighter than a big piece of cake and all that.

Joey Coleman (21:33):
You each had a bite, basically, as opposed to seventy bites, which let’s be candid, if you’ve had the pleasure of eating at a nice steakhouse like Fleming’s, by the time you get to the dessert, usually there’s not enough room left. Right?! You’ve had your steak, you’ve had your sides. It’s been a filling meal.

Dan Gingiss (21:50):
So what I loved about this was, the presentation was amazing. It is one of these things, you and I talk about being shareable, right? I mean, what do you think my 14 year old son did, even for a guy like you, that’s not particularly social media savvy, what do you think he did when this thing came out?

Joey Coleman (22:06):
So given that he’s 14, I’m guessing that he snapped it or tick tock’d it or did something where he filmed a little video and put it onto social while he was sitting there.

Dan Gingiss (22:17):
Nice work, Joey! You got the nomenclature down!

Joey Coleman (22:20):
Ladies and gentlemen, he can talk the lingo! Even though I’m not on the platforms – don’t come looking for me, I’m not there. I just lurk. It’s awkward. It’s inconvenient. But I try my best.

Dan Gingiss (22:30):
But yes, he took a picture of it so that he could snap his friends. I took a picture of it because I knew…

Joey Coleman (22:35):
You tweeted!

Dan Gingiss (22:36):
I tweeted and I knew it was gonna make the show. But, uh, I think the lesson here, you know, you and I have talked about birthdays before and you told a great story a couple seasons ago about…

Joey Coleman (22:48):
Do it Rain Man! Do it Rain Man! What episode was it? I know you know

Dan Gingiss (22:51):
Oh – it was Episode 66 in Season Three.

Joey Coleman (22:52):
Yeah, see, ladies and gentlemen, you think we might do this research in advance before we start recording, but we don’t. Dan is just a savant, not the idiot part – the savant part, when it comes to knowing our episodes. It’s amazing! Yeah. Episode 66 – back when I was at the Gaylord Texan Resort on my birthday. Right? That’s the one you’re referring to.

Dan Gingiss (23:09):
And the whole thing that was remarkable to you, was that somebody remembered your birthday.

Joey Coleman (23:13):
Somebody who not only remembered my birthday, but they asked for my driver’s license and my credit card to confirm, and the receptionist at the Gaylord Texan Resort actually looked at my driver’s license, which has my birthday on it, and realized that she was reading the date of my birthday on the actual day of my birthday, and took the extra step to say happy birthday. And then, if you haven’t listened to that episode, go back and listen, it’s an oldie, but a goodie, they delivered a card that was signed by all the front desk staff and some of the other people in the senior management team to my room later that night along with some little birthday treats. So yeah, we all have birthdays, and yet how many businesses completely miss the opportunity to acknowledge a customer’s birthday when they know what the birthday is?

Dan Gingiss (24:03):
Exactly. Exactly. There must be dozens of companies that know our birthday. Every time we’ve applied for any sort of credit or a credit card, or a mortgage, or whatever it is, they know our birthday.

Joey Coleman (24:15):
All the utility companies, every single utility company knows your birthday. They do nothing with it.

Dan Gingiss (24:20):
So use your customer data to improve the experience. I mean, another example that I remember, one of my favorites was, Episode 50 Season Two, where we talked about Chewie and the best customer service email ever written, that included a reference to the customer’s cat’s name – Roma. Right? And how, how much that touched her because they remember her cat’s name and how personalized that was.

Joey Coleman (24:48):
Yeah. Everybody wants to make this harder than it is. Like let’s, let’s break it down a little bit, folks. Yes, you need to pay attention to gather the data, but then all you need to do is feed it back to the customer. What do I mean by that? You have to empower your employees to listen to the conversations they’re having, to observe their customers in the native habitat, to investigate what’s going on with the people who do business with you, to identify some of these key personal markers – a birthday, a pet’s name, a favorite hobby, the sports team they root for, their kids’ names, where their kids go to school, you know, their favorite place to go on vacation. The thing that you’re tracking doesn’t matter. It matters that you track it and that you use it. And I think that “using it” is where most businesses fall apart. I mean, we mentioned birthdays, most businesses that have a record of our birthdays Dan, don’t actually acknowledge our birthdays. And I don’t know about you, it wouldn’t take that much to stand out when it comes to acknowledging my birthday, right? They could send a birthday card. They could send a little, they could make a little happy birthday video from their entire team where they just sing happy birthday, not to me personally, but then send that video to me so that you get to see all the people who are working on your account or working on your business. It doesn’t have to be the same experience that other brands give. You can do something unique. You can do something special. And it’s not that hard to stand out.

Dan Gingiss (26:18):
Absolutely. And that’s what gets us back full circle to the birthday cake and the candle. The birthday cake and the candle is a lovely gesture, but it’s completely expected. The handmade box of chocolates with the sparkler and the handwritten card? That’s unexpected. So it’s not about spending more money, it’s just about being a little bit different and not doing it the same way everybody does it because you think that’s what people want, but actually going the other way, and trying to do something unique so that you are memorable and remarkable.

[PARTNERSHIP WITH AVTEX] Coming Soon – to an Arcade Near You?
Joey Coleman (27:00):
Hey Dan, should we tell them?

Dan Gingiss (27:01):
I don’t know… should we…

Joey Coleman (27:02):
Well, it’s kind of a secret, but it’s kind of a secret, but I kind of want to give them a hint.

Dan Gingiss (27:06):
But they told us to kind of keep quiet about it didn’t they?

Joey Coleman (27:10):
I know we’re not supposed to be talking about it just yet, but I want to talk about it just yet. Even though it’s not here yet. It’s coming soon.

Dan Gingiss (27:15):
All right – perhaps a little tease.

Joey Coleman (27:17):
Okay, it’s big. I’m excited about it. Are you excited about it?

Dan Gingiss (27:21):
I’m actually super pumped. Joey.

Joey Coleman (27:23):
I’m super excited about it. I haven’t been this excited about something probably since, uh, hanging out in the arcade playing Gauntlet.

Dan Gingiss (27:31):
Oh, you mean Galaga right?

Joey Coleman (27:33):
Oh, Galaga too! Gauntlet is a separate game. Galaga? Fabulous. Nice reference. But Gauntlet? Pretty awesome too. Because when you played video games, what did you get?

Dan Gingiss (27:43):
A whole lot of fun? I don’t know what the answer to that question.

Joey Coleman (27:46):
Oh my gosh, so great. You did get a whole lot of fun, but you also got points.

Dan Gingiss (27:49):
Ohh! Points…

Joey Coleman (27:52):
Leaderboard. Leaderboard! Who’s up?! Who’s got the points?! Who’s got the high score?! There’s going to be a chance for a high score…

Dan Gingiss (27:58):
Joey – what were your initials when you got on the…

Joey Coleman (28:01):
CJC baby? Yeah.

Dan Gingiss (28:02):
Oh, CJC. Yeah. I know this is going to surprise you, mine was CUB.

Joey Coleman (28:07):
Oh, shocker. I love it. I love it. Okay. So here’s the thing. We can’t talk a lot about it, but here’s what we can say. Our amazing friends and partners at Avtex, not only our sponsors of Season Six of the Experience This! Show, which we so love them for being our loyal partners on Experience This. But we’ve got a new thing coming. It’s not here yet. It’s coming soon. Not going to tell you when! But it’s going to be here before we know it.

Dan Gingiss (28:34):
I’m going to give them one hint, Joey.

Joey Coleman (28:36):
Okay. One hint.

Dan Gingiss (28:36):
I can’t help myself.

Joey Coleman (28:38):
Okay.

Dan Gingiss (28:38):
Here’s the hint: not only will you get to hear our voices, but you’re actually going to get to see our handsome faces.

Joey Coleman (28:48):
Ooo lah lah! Well, at least Dan’s handsome face. My face will be on the screen – not as handsome as Dan, but what can you say? It will be an experience and there might be some points. All right, stay tuned. There’s more coming.

[SEGMENT INTRO – BOOK REPORT]
Joey Coleman (29:00):
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.

[BOOK REPORT] Fanocracy by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott
Dan Gingiss (29:12):
For our first book report of Season Six, I wanted to highlight a new book called” Fanocracy.” And it is written by David Meerman Scott and his daughter Reiko Scott. Now David Meerman Scott is an entrepreneur and keynote speaker and I had a chance to see him at the Inbound Conference and then didn’t, I couldn’t, because I had some, I think I had a flight delay? And so I missed his presentation. I was really bummed.

Joey Coleman (29:40):
You must not have been flying on Delta! David’s a great guy though I gotta tell you. I’ve had the pleasure of being at the same events David has been at. He’s an amazing human being and this is a great book.

Dan Gingiss (29:49):
Yeah. He’s a great speaker as well. Because I did get to see him at Social Media Marketing World and he absolutely blew me away. So he’s a great speaker. He’s written 10 other books. I think he’s most famous for a book called “Newsjacking” and also “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and he actually wrote an entire book of marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead. And you’ll hear in a second, when he reads the overview of his book, that he has been to many, many, many Grateful Dead concerts. So he wrote his latest book with his 26 year old daughter Reiko on Fanocracy or how to create raving fans. And I have to tell you the first thing that impressed me about this book, the forward was by none other than Tony Robbins, so you kind of figure like, alright, this is going to be serious here.

Joey Coleman (30:36):
You gotta love that! You got to love… Tony’s a great guy and has a great message, and I loved that David’s book started out with that. You know, one of the things that I saw that was connected with the book and I actually saw a video of it, which really helped to bring it home, is David went around and he asked the 20 Democratic candidates for president the same question. And the question was this: “Besides your work and your family, what are you a fan of? Now, the reason he asked this, and the reason he says “besides your work and family” is because most people, when asked, “what are you a fan of?” their default answer is going to have something to do with their work or something to do with their family. But what David was trying to get to is, what are the other things that make you tick? What are the things that make you human? What are the things that make you special? And I say he asked the 20 Democratic candidates. He also says in the video, he went to a rally for Donald Trump. And he was going to ask, President Trump the same question, but the President didn’t take any questions, so he wasn’t able to ask the question. But he did share video from the Democratic candidates that he asked and a couple of interesting things came out from this. Number one, the variety of answers. Uh, the difference between how some candidates tried to dodge the question, or maybe pivot it back to one of their talking points. But the one that stood out to me was Kamala Harris. And when he asked her this question, first of all, she lit up like a Christmas tree. She was so excited about her answer and started talking about her love of jazz – and particularly listening to her father’s albums of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. And he actually shows video footage afterwards of her continuing the conversation with him after the event and it’s clear that he’s hit a nerve. And what I loved about this is, when we find the thing that someone is truly a fan about, they LOVE to talk about it.

Dan Gingiss (32:29):
Absolutely. And I love the word passion as well, which she clearly showed in this video and which the other respondents talked, used passion, as they were about the thing that they were interested in. And I’m going to give you about 30 seconds to think about this Joey, because I’m going to ask you as well, but for me, the thing about “what am I a fan of” has always been this, I mean if you ask anybody that knew me in high school, the first thing they’ll tell you is he’s a Chicago Cubs fan. And it was just part of my being and something that also I would light up about every time I’d get to talk about it. And I think it’s so important to have that thing that isn’t about work, and isn’t about family, although you can enjoy sometimes your hobbies with work friends and family friends, but it really is about what other part of your life just gets you going. And so for me, it is the Chicago Cubs. How about for you, Joey?

Joey Coleman (33:24):
You know, what’s interesting Dan, as I think about this question, and I want to be clear, I’m not trying to dodge it, the answer has kind of changed over time. You know, when I was growing up, I remember being very, very into space and space exploration. And then when I was in college, I went to the University of Notre Dame, I was very into the Fighting Irish and to the Notre Dame Glee Club who I sang with and I know we’ve shared on the show before, and we’ve even had a singing episode on the show, you know, you and I both have that common love of singing. But I think if you were to ask me today, what is the thing I do outside of work and outside of family that I absolutely love it’s actually takes me back to something I was a fan of when I was a kid that has kind of been reintroduced to me as an adult via my kids, and that is building with LEGO. I love building with LEGO and I love doing it with my boys, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say sometimes daddy works on the set when they’re asleep!

Dan Gingiss (34:20):
You put a few piece together? I love it!

Joey Coleman (34:21):
Just a couple, you know, not so much that they can tell that I advanced the game significantly, but occasionally I enjoy building my own… I don’t know what it is… It’s, it’s the creative nature, it’s seeing a finished product in fairly short order, but yeah, it’s a fun way for me to have some play in my life, which I think when play and passion meet, it gets really exciting.

Dan Gingiss (34:42):
That’s awesome. So as usual, we have asked the author to share with us an overview of the book in his own words. So here is David Meerman Scott talking about his new book with his daughter, Fanocracy.

David Meerman Scott (34:58):
Over the last few years, I noticed that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications at a time when people are hungry for a true human connection. So I started talking about that with my daughter Reiko – she’s now 27 – we started about five years ago having this discussion. And I said, Oh my God, I’m such a Grateful Dead geek! I’ve been to 75 Grateful Dead concerts, 804 live music concerts in my life. And Reiko said, “I know Daddy, I’m a massive Harry Potter fan.” So we got to thinking about how so much online is superficial and it bugs the hell out of people. When you get on an email list and you get a constant set of emails, or someone connects with you on LinkedIn and tries to sell you something, and yet at the same time, we’re fans of the things we love. So Reiko and I spent five years researching this idea of “fandom.” Our thesis is that fandom is something that any organization or any person can create. The same ideas that build fans of the Grateful Dead and build fans of Harry Potter, can be achieved by any organization. We found examples of all kinds of government agencies, nonprofits, B2B companies, software companies, consumer product brands, doctors, lawyers, dentists that have built fans. In fact, we found a government agency that has over 50 million fans. You can be walking down the street in any city in the world and not be surprised if somebody is walking towards you wearing a t-shirt with a NASA logo. NASA has 50 million fans. There’s no question after doing the research, which became our book “Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans” that my daughter Reiko and I learned that anybody can build fans and in our book we have a prescription for how anyone can do it.

Joey Coleman (37:03):
I love it. You know, when I hear the reference to his daughter’s love of Harry Potter, I have to admit my boys are just starting to get into Harry Potter. My boys are seven and four and we’re reading the Harry Potter books out loud at night to them. And the idea of someday writing a book with something that my boys love, co-authoring a book with them, is really appealing. The other thing I want to point out is that mention of NASA. I actually had the pleasure of working with NASA on a project years ago and it’s actually, when I list out my bio of companies I’ve worked with, it’s one of the ones that the most people react to. And I think he speaks to that, in the sense that they have 50 million fans. If you are associated with NASA, people are excited about that. And so I think what I love about the book and, you know, David highlights this in his overview and it really can be found in the pages of the book, is, when you can connect with people on something that they’re a fan of, or their fandom, it creates a different level of connection.

Dan Gingiss (38:06):
Absolutely. And, and we talked about it in the last segment too, about finding that one thing that personalizes the experience for your customers. And often times, that is something that they’re a fan of. And it’s no surprise that a lot of business gets done on golf courses, for example, right? Because people are fans of golf and they love playing, and it becomes not just a sport, but really a lifestyle, a religion almost. And everybody has one. And once you know it, you have this automatic conversation topic that you can have with them, even if you’re not particularly well versed in say jazz, you at least can start a conversation with somebody and you know that you’re going to kind of reel them in because you’re going to, you’re going to see them light up as Kamala Harris did when she was talking about it. So we also like to do something really cool here on the show, which is that we ask our authors to share with us their favorite passage from their book. And then Joey and I are going to share our favorite passages. So here again is David Meerman Scott reading his favorite passage from the book.

David Meerman Scott (39:19):
As we discussed our experiences over many nights across the dinner table, we began to consider the ideas that you will now find in our book. It was a sharp reminder to both of us, that hobbies and passions don’t disappear as soon as one is steps into adult or professional life. We both agree that the myth of unyielding professionalism can obscure our genuine connections. That’s why we chose to write this book. Exchanging texts about television shows or comic books has gotten daughter, Reiko, through study hours that extended far into nights that would have otherwise felt endless. And father David, has forged deep lifelong friendships with those who are as passionate about live music as he is. To love things outside work is to make meaningful connections with likeminded people. To achieve the success that comes with developing passionate fans of your business, fandom culture is necessary. Yet there’s another important reason to understand these ideas as we said earlier. Exposing ourselves to people who share our interests, leads us to live a happier life. And when you can introduce your fandom passions and bring in others who are completely different from you and they become fans, you create an ideal environment – a place where great things happen.

Dan Gingiss (40:44):
So I also selected my favorite passage, which I’d like to read now, and here it is: “The fundamental ingredient for true fandom, meaningful and active human connection, demonstrates a shift in the way a company relates to its customers. A true fanocracy mobilizes people to think, feel, and act together with a helpful, positive force during difficult times.” Now I love this for so many reasons. Obviously the human connection part we’ve said it many, many times on the show, to quote our mutual friend, Bryan Kramer,” It’s no longer B2C, or B2B, it’s H2H – human to human. And especially during a time where we’re all stuck at home, we’re craving human interaction. And I love the piece about it being a helpful, positive force during difficult times. As I noted earlier in the show, we’re all either part of the problem or were part of the solution. And hopefully out of this difficult time comes some good.

Joey Coleman (41:48):
You know, I think connection is always powerful and all too often, we talk about connection with our customers, but my favorite passage actually dives to the other side of the equation, that is, our employees. And in a chapter called “Develop Employees Who are Fans,” David writes, “Passionate employees are excited about you and their work and they are eager to tell others. People who feel trusted and are allowed to make their own decisions, become passionate about their company. Passion can become a habit.” I think whenever we are considering customer experience, we need to include employee experience in the same conversation. And as we think about developing fans of our brand, it’s important that our employees are fans as well. And I think the way to get into creating a fan-like relationship with your employees is to look at ways you can be fans of the things that they are fans of,, and vice versa. And as that connection builds your employee experience builds your customer experience builds, you will have more fans – both internally and externally.

Dan Gingiss (43:00):
So pick up “Fanocracy,” the new book by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott on Amazon or your favorite bookstore, and while we’ll be featuring a number of other awesome books this season, we always want to hear about the books that you’re reading as well. So please feel free to drop us a line. Our email addresses are so easy: joeyc [at] joeycoleman.com, dan [at] dangingiss.com. Let us know what you’re reading, because maybe it’s a book that we haven’t gotten to yet, and we’d love to feature it on a future episode.

[SHOW OUTRO]
Joey Coleman (43:36):
Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (43:41):
We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman (43:50):
We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it! Come on over to ExperienceThisShow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This! Show.

Dan Gingiss (44:09):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more.

Joey Coleman (44:12):
Experience!

Dan Gingiss (44:12):
This!

Episode 102 – Become Unforgettable Before Your Client Signs on the Dotted Line

Join us as we discuss infusing remarkable into your common interactions, switching the default mode to something legendary, and gaining attention with an international perspective.

Cabos, Cameos, and Canadian – Oh My!

[Required Remarkable] The Experience Before the Experience Matters Too

Several months ago Joey and his wife had the opportunity to stay at a resort that exemplified customer service from the first moment they walked into the hotel. Months later they are still raving about their experience at The Montage at Los Cabos. Why you might ask? Because they resort is committed to wowing their customers/guests from the moment they arrive.

The personalization started as Joey and his wife pulled up to the front door of the property and the bellman greeted them by name. When they checked in and were offered a signature cocktail, they declined, and immediately the staff offered them a non-alcoholic beverage – which, given their personal preferences was a much better option.

During check-in, Joey observed a family who was also checking in to the resort. While the parents were getting signed into the hotel, a small, remote control dune buggy pulling a wagon entered the lobby. The attached wagon was filled with custom stuffed animals (representative of the local wildlife including turtles, whales, marlin, foxes, etc.). The waiting children immediately reached in to grab a stuff animal, and when the mother hesitated, the hotel staff explained that the children could have as many animals as they wanted. Even before they were checked in, the parents and children thought this was the best hotel ever!

Once officially checked in, the service continued to exceed expectations. On the way to their room in a beautifully outfitted golf cart (already loaded with their bags when check-in was complete) every employee they passed stopped working and greeted Joey and his wife. Once in the room, the bell captain not only gave them a tour of the amenities, but he offered to chance the thermostat from a Celsius to Fahrenheit readout and then programmed it to Joey’s optimal temperature.

As if this amazing introduction to the resort wasn’t captivating enough, at dinner they enjoyed a unique appetizer (see image above) of whipped guacamole served in half of an avocado shell with a nut butter sphere instead of the avocado nut! When the staff once again inquired about an alcoholic drink, a polite decline led the staff to ask if they would want any alcohol during their stay and when Joey and his wife explained that they wouldn’t, they were never asked again during their stay! (now that a connected CRM folks!) A smoking cage dessert (see video below) capped off a meal to remember.

The Montage Los Cabos isn’t only a remarkable place for adults. Children receive special care and attention as well. A remarkable merit pins program allows children to receive prizes for participating in activities around the resort – which in the process allow their parents to relax and enjoy their vacation!

The resort also partners with a local conservation group to present “turtle releases” – a unique experience that guests are sure to post about on social media and talk about when they get home.

The Montage Los Cabos offers an amazing example of what happens when every step of the customer journey is crafted and curated to be remarkable.

[CX Press] Talk Like a Legend Today

Voice assistants are becoming more popular and more common in our everyday lives. Microsoft has Cortana, Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, and Google has… well, Google Assistant. This episode’s CX Press story comes from Architectural Digest and is written by Jordi Lippe-Mcgraw. The article is titled, “You Can Now Have John Legend as Your Google Assistant Voice” and details Google’s new initiative to let you change your voice assistant to sound like a celebrity.

The article notes that the use of voice assistants is projected to triple in the next few years – with an estimated 8 billion voice assistants operating just three years from now. At current rates, that means there will be more electronic voices than actual human voices on the planet in just three short years!

With the rise of voice assistants comes a unique opportunity to incorporate creative solutions into your business including:

  1. Find ways to be more playful. You can and should have fun with these new technologies. And don’t forget to include your clients. They can have fun too!
  2. Find ways to be more familiar. Bringing a sense of familiarity to the interactions your brand has with customers will make your customers feel more comfortable and connected to you.
  3. Find ways to incorporate voice assistants and voice commands into your work. Did you know you can say to your Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa “Play Experience This! Podcast” and you can hear our show?! If we can set this up, you should think about ways you can creatively incorporate voice into your customer interactions.

[Book Report] Think. Do. Say.

As consumers bear the onslaught of more and more information, coming faster and faster, from every direction imaginable, it is getting harder and harder to actually grab someone’s attention. Joey’s friend Ron Tite succeed in grabbing our attention however with his smart, fun, actionable new book: Think. Do. Say. Not only is the book playfully written, but it packs a powerful message in its pages. To be a great leader or a great company, Tite encourages a three step process of: Think. Do. Say.

We’ve got to be better than this, because at the end of the day, the real problem is that consumers, and colleagues, and leaders don’t know where to look and they don’t know who to trust. What we know is that great leaders and great organizations are all based on what they think, what they do and what they say, and all three together.

Ron Tite, author of Think. Do. Say.

Too many businesses focus exclusively on one, or sometimes two of these goals. But the best companies, those what will not only succeed today, but will stand the test of time, make sure to incorporate all three goals into their operations, philosophy, and messaging.

  • If you only do, you become a sweatshop/workaholic who isn’t loved by your colleagues.
  • If you only think, you never get things done.
  • If you only say, well, you will be found out when you don’t follow through.

If you want an easy to understand, important to apply, entertaining to read guide for navigating life in 2020, please go read Think. Do. Say.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 102 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

Joey Coleman: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan Gingiss: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer attention, expert Joey Coleman.

Joey Coleman: And social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

Joey Coleman: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss infusing remarkable into your common interactions, switching the default mode to something legendary, and gaining attention with an international perspective.

Joey Coleman: Cabos, cameos, and Canadian, oh my.

[Required Remarkable] The Montage – it’s all in the presentation

Joey Coleman: Just because you have required elements of your business doesn’t mean they need to be boring. 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: Dan, have you ever stayed at a hotel where every time you turned around, you witnessed something that would make for a great segment on our show?

Joey Coleman: I think you’re describing most of the Las Vegas strip, but outside of that …

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough.

Dan Gingiss: Not that often.

Joey Coleman: Well, I had an experience a few months ago, and instead of devoting segment after segment after segment to each of the remarkable experiences that I had, and in fact, we could have devoted an entire season to this place, it was that amazing, I decided to combine some of my best interactions into a single discussion, where we look at the things that are required elements of any typical hotel stay, but where the Montage Los Cabos, a stunning resort in Cabos San Lucas, Mexico, went above and beyond.

Dan Gingiss: I have a question.

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: Why couldn’t we have done this live together at this resort? Why do I have to sit and listen to this?

Joey Coleman: You know, that is a great and fair question. Let me just say, folks, I will, as they say, don’t bury the lede. The moral of the story here is if you have the opportunity to go to the Montage Los Cabos in Mexico, do whatever you can to get there. It is by far the most incredible hotel I have ever stayed at with a staff where, across the board, everyone just gets it. They get customer experience at a deep and meaningful level. Now in the interest of full disclosure, it is not an inexpensive resort. I was there for an event that I was speaking and presenting at, but it is absolutely stunning.

Joey Coleman: Let me give you an example of some of the things that they did that really stood out, and let’s begin with arrival. Now, I don’t know, listeners, if you’ve ever had the chance to stay at a hotel. I noticed especially in foreign countries where there’s kind of a gate as you enter the resort property where they get your name and they confirm, and then you drive through the property to the front lobby, if you will, where you check in.

Joey Coleman: So when we got to the gate, the person manning the gate asked us our names, we explained what our names were so they could confirm that we did indeed have reservations at the hotel, but what’s interesting is when we got to the front lobby in the check-in area at the main entrance to the hotel, the valets opened the door, I was there with my wife as well, and said, “Welcome home, Mr and Mrs. Coleman,” which was just a really nice touch. They called us by name, even though we’d never met them before. Now how did they know our name? Well, of course we had checked in at the gate a mile down the road, and that information had been properly transmitted to them. So that was really cool.

Joey Coleman: Well, then we go inside for the check in process, and as many folks who have checked into a hotel will know, it’s usually not the most exciting part of the hotel process. There’s paperwork, you’re giving your credit card, you’re getting your room keys. Invariably, they want to show you maps of the resort and tell you about their amenities and that kind of thing. It usually ends up taking a little bit longer than you would like it to take, plus you’ve just gotten off a flight or a long way of traveling, and there’s really an opportunity, I think, here to take a required pit stop and turn it into something special, which is exactly what the Montage did. They came up and offered us a signature mixed drink that they had presented. It was refreshing and it was beautiful, but to be honest, I don’t drink alcohol, and so I declined the drink, and almost as quickly as I had declined the drink, the person said, “Well, would a non-alcoholic beverage be more interesting, or a water?”

Joey Coleman: I said, “Well, actually, if you have a non alcoholic beverage, that’d be great.” They disappeared, and in under 30 seconds, we’re back with a custom non-alcoholic drink that was totally refreshing and I loved.

Joey Coleman: Last but not least, while we were checking in, there was a family next to us checking in. Now my wife and I were traveling just the two of us, but there was a family next door, and as I was watching the family check-in, I was reminded of all the times I’ve been at check in with my family after a long day of traveling, hoping, begging, pleading to just get the keys so we can get to the room, and this family was kind of having a similar experience, when all of the sudden, the door to the lobby opened, and in came a remote control dune buggy pulling a wagon.

Joey Coleman: Now the second this entered the lobby, the kids’ heads snapped around. It was two little kids, maybe ages three and five, somewhere in that age, snapped around. This dune buggy pulls right up to them, and the wagon that it’s pulling is filled with stuffed animals. Now these aren’t just any stuffed animals. These are custom stuffed animals representing the animals that live on or near the property. There’s a turtle, a dolphin, a whale, a fox, all these amazing stuffed animals that are specifically designed for the Montage, and the kids, without needing to be told, reach in and pull a stuffed animal out.

Joey Coleman: Now, one of the kids actually pulls out three stuffed animals, to which the mom is like, “No, no, no, just one,” to which the person behind the counter says, “She can take as many as she wants.”

Dan Gingiss: Dang.

Joey Coleman: They’re not even checked in, and this family is all in, and these kids think this is the greatest resort they’ve ever been to.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I was just going to say that we’ve talked about this in a past episode that oftentimes, the experience begins before the experience begins, and what’s so interesting is everything you’ve just mentioned is before your stay has actually begun.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. I don’t even have my room key.

Dan Gingiss: Right, and so you already love the place. You’ve already had a good experience before your experience has even started, and that isn’t possible in every business, but it is possible that your business could be thinking about how to create an experience before somebody actually does business with you, or before their prescribed experience begins, and it definitely sounds like this place is doing that.

Joey Coleman: Agreed, Dan, and we talk way back on episode 20 about the Fairmont Hotel, Banff Springs and how they gave stuffed animals to my boys as we were checking in. We talked about Darren Brown’s magic show, The Secret, on Broadway that had the show begin before the show actually began, but what I loved about the Montage is how they stacked these things. Multiple things happened right at the beginning that left me feeling really good.

Joey Coleman: So now that we’re checked in, it’s time to go to our room, but of course, as you’re probably already guessing, the transit from the lobby to our room is not going to be normal or the usual experience. We’re ushered outside where we meet a golf cart, which has been loaded already with our luggage that was taken out of the car and put in the golf cart while we were checking in, and this is actually a golf cart that is designed to transport people to their rooms with their luggage. So it’s not like we’re having to straddle the bags or some random guys holding onto the bags as you drive so long. No, it’s beautifully outfitted, there’s plenty of room.

Joey Coleman: As we drive towards our room, which is a little bit further away on the property, every time we pass a staff member raking the lawn or a housekeeper walking to a room or whatever they may do, they stop what they are doing, turn and look at us and say, “Buenos dias,” or greet us in some way. I’ve never experienced this at any hotel where the staff acknowledges you not only by saying something, but stops what they’re doing, stands and faces you, and it was actually, to be completely candid, almost a little disconcerting in the beginning because they track your body. So as you’re coming towards them, they’re looking at you, but as you walk away, they continue to look at you on the off chance that you might turn around and go back the other direction, that they don’t start working again until you’re basically out of sight. So this was really interesting.

Joey Coleman: Then we get to the room. Now checking into the room, it’s a gorgeous room at a beautiful resort, and I’ve stayed at hotels before where the bell captain bringing your bags says, “Oh, can I show you around the room?”, and usually what that means is, “Can I walk around the room and point out some things that you could have easily found on your own?”, and it’s not that interesting, but this review of the room was fantastic. Not only did he open the blinds to give us the full experience of the light flooding the room, and of course the blinds had been closed because it’s Mexico and it’s hot as can be, but he proceeds to then show us where the key light switches are. There are a dozen light switches, but he shows us where the one is that shuts off all the lights, and he shows us the one from where you can turn everything on and off while you’re in bed.

Joey Coleman: He then goes to the thermostat and says, “Let me switch this over from Celsius to Fahrenheit, because I imagine as Americans, you’d rather see the temperature displayed that way, and by the way, can you tell me what temperature you normally like to sleep at night? I’ll go ahead and program this accordingly so you don’t have to think about it.” Okay. I am completely enamored at this point, and then he takes us into the bathroom.

Joey Coleman: The bathroom has a shower inside the bathroom, which is not surprising, but it also has a shower outside, so you can shower inside or outside, kind of under the stars. Now granted, it’s got a wall around it, that’s so you have your privacy, but we’ve been in the room for five minutes, and I want to live in this room for the rest of my life.

Dan Gingiss: That’s awesome, and obviously in the hotel world, the room is where you’re going to spend a lot of time most often, and it’s, in some ways, a commodity because a hotel room generally has the same features in it. So when you can stand out by offering something that is unique, that’s how you become memorable.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. So then we get unpacked, we get settled in, and it’s been a long day of traveling, and it’s time to eat. So we’re going to go to a restaurant on the property. Now we’ve got a reservation for an early dinner. The plan is we’ll have dinner, we’ll retire early, call it a day, and be able to really explore and experience the resort the next day.

Joey Coleman: So when we get to the restaurant, they come up to take the drink order, as many wait servers will do when you first sit down at your table, but once again, I’m offered alcohol, and when I say that I don’t actually drink, the server says, “Well Mr. Coleman, I know you’re here for six days. Do you imagine at any point in this process you would be interested in an alcoholic drink?”, and I said, “Actually, no, I don’t drink, but thank you for the offer.” No server asked me if I wanted an alcoholic drink again the entire time over there.

Joey Coleman: So somehow they’ve got a CRM that they’re rolling that up, which is amazing. They bring out the appetizer. We ordered chips and guacamole. They had whipped avocado in a half shell. So the skin of the avocado, they had carved it out, they had whipped the guacamole, they had put it back in the hollowed out shell, and instead of the nut in the center of the avocado, they had a circular nut made of honey butter that just was divine.

Joey Coleman: Last but not least, after an incredible meal, we ordered dessert, and they brought some dessert drinks out that were in a smoking cage. I can’t describe this in any other way other than to say they opened a cage, a glass cage, on our table, smoke poured out of the cage, and inside were our two drinks. Now I say drinks. These were dessert drinks that we had ordered that were non alcoholic. Absolutely delicious. It was like drinking ice cream. It was kind of a Lecce caramel … I don’t even remember what it was, because the presentation was so incredible that it was a battle between what I had just seen with my eyes and what I was now tasting.

Joey Coleman: Folks, we’ve got a video of this that you can check out on the show notes page at experiencethisshow.com. It was an incredible meal.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, normally I would come in here and say something, but honestly, you are so energized about this, and I know you want to share more of this experience, so I’m just going to hand it back to you and sit back and listen.

Joey Coleman: You’re too kind. All right. I’ve got one more thing I want to talk about, which is what you do when you’re at a hotel. Now lots of times you go to a resort, maybe they have a swimming pool. If it’s on the beach, there’s the opportunity to go to the beach. What I love about the Montage Los Cabos is that not only were the things that you could kind of choose your own adventure on, but there were a number of things that were unique to that hotel that really stood out and made an impression on me.

Joey Coleman: The first one is what do you do with the kids? Now we weren’t traveling with our kids, but like many resorts that cater to families, they have play areas and playgrounds and a kids’ club, but the coolest thing that they had was the ability to collect Montage merit pins. Now the merit pins were on display in the lobby. They’re these beautiful metallic, super cool pins that if you did certain activities as a kid, you could earn this pin and then put it on a lanyard, and the goal was to collect all the pins.

Joey Coleman: Well, needless to say, some of our friends who had kids there were wanting to go spend time at the kids’ club and doing these activities, which by the way, hint, hint, gives the parents a break to actually enjoy the resort, and the coolest one they had is the opportunity to earn Lucas status. Now Lucas is the name they’ve given to a marlin, a fish that lives in the bay just outside the resort, and every once in a while, the marlin jumps and you can see it. So what they tell the kids is, when you’re on the beach with your parents, keep looking out on the bay, because if you’ve see it jump and you come tell us, you can earn the Lucas pin.

Joey Coleman: Now I don’t know about you Dan, my six year old, my four year old, when we go to the beach, most of my time is spent hoping that they don’t die from running into the waves or getting rolled or whatever it may be. I watched other kids sitting in the stand staring out across the bay, peacefully watching for the marlin to jump, while their parents read a book or also stared out and looked on the bay or just enjoyed the resort. It was incredible.

Joey Coleman: Last but not least, they had a turtle release. So the Montage has partnered with the local conservation group to raise sea turtles. They raise them on property, and then every once in a while, they release them. So they announce over this loudspeaker system throughout the entire property, it’s the only time I heard it announced, or used, rather, that in 20 minutes on the beach, they are going to release the turtles. Well, hundreds of people come down to the beach to watch these turtles waddle down the sand into the surf and swim out into the bay. Again, we’ve got a video of this at experiencethisshow.com in the show notes. Every time I turned around, there was something happening that was absolutely incredible.

Dan Gingiss: I tell ya, I think I’ve got a great idea, Joey. I think that we need to have an Experience This retreat where we just bring all of our listeners with us.

Joey Coleman: Nice, nice. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: We’re going to take over this whole place, and we’re just going to all finally understand how to do customer experience.

Joey Coleman: Oh my goodness, it was a masterclass in customer experience. Folks, the Montage Los Cabos is by far the most amazing hotel experience I’ve ever had. Why? Because at every turn, not only did they make the required remarkable, but they made it so incredibly remarkable that I’m still buzzing about it and about dozens of details about it months and months later. Rest assured that I can’t wait to get back to the Montage Los Cabos, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to visit experiencethisshow.com and check out the photos and the videos that I made about the various experiences we detailed in this segment. If nothing else, my hope is that it will give you the chance to see just how many touch points can come together to create a stellar, remarkable experience.

[CX Press] Talk Like a Legend

Joey Coleman: 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 CXPress where we read the articles so you don’t need to.

Joey Coleman: Unless you’re Chrissy Tiegen, it’s almost impossible to hear John Legend’s soothing voice everywhere you go, until now. Google recently made it possible for you to swap out your Google Assist’s voice with that of Academy award-winning, Tony award-winning, 10 time Grammy award winning singer John legend.

Dan Gingiss: To think I thought it was cool when I changed my Waze voice to Cookie Monster, which was fun, by the way.

Joey Coleman: I’m sure it was fun. The idea that we’re looking to ways to customize these voice assistants and make the interactions more personalized and more entertaining for us. I absolutely love. Well folks, this episode’s CXPress story comes from Architectural Digest, of all places, and is written by Jordy Lippe-McGraw. The article is entitled, “You Can Now Have John legend as your Google Assistant Voice,” and it details Google’s initiative to let you change your voice assistant to speak like a celebrity. Now to be clear, while Legend’s voice doesn’t work in every scenario, you can get answers from him to questions like, “What’s the weather?”, “What’s your favorite song?”, and, “How are you?” There are also some more lighthearted ones like, “What’s your best pickup line?”, and the command, “Serenade me.” To get a feel for what this would be like, let’s listen to the promo video Google shared when they announced this new feature

Speaker 3: Levels are set. You ready to rock and roll?

John Legend: I’m your Google Assistant. I can help you find the answers and have fun. The forecast is 72 and sunny.

John Legend: Okay, here’s one of my favorite songs.

John Legend: Happy birthday to the person whose birthday it is.

John Legend: Whoa. I’m feeling this new voice. You can find me on all kinds of devices, phones, Google Homes, and if I’m lucky, in your heart,

Dan Gingiss: Legend spent 10 days in a recording studio saying different phrases and sentences. So artificial intelligence technology could learn to mimic his voice. As he explained, Google has some kind of amazing algorithm, but it takes a lot of recording to do that. I have to say, having spent two days in the studio with you, Joey, to record our season of Experience This, 10 days is a lot of time.

Joey Coleman: It’s a lot of time, and folks, these are long days. If you’ve not had the opportunity to be in a recording studio, it’s a lot of fun, but you don’t realize how exhausting talking nonstop for a full day really is. So yeah, more credit to John. Obviously, he had spent plenty of time in the recording studio before he started working with Google, he had done a couple of gigs before that, but it’s still pretty impressive.

Joey Coleman: What I think is interesting is that we have this rise of voice assistants. Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Google has … Google Assistant? Come on Google, we could have come up with a little bit of a better name for that. Where’s the creativity? But this is only going to increase. In fact, the use of voice assistants is set to triple over the next few years, according to a forecast from UK-based analysts at Juniper Research. The firm estimates there will be eight billion digital voice assistance in use by 2023. That’s just three years from now.

Dan Gingiss: Hold on one second. There are only seven and a half billion people on the planet. You’re telling me that we’re going to have more voice assistants than actual voices?

Joey Coleman: In the next three years. That is the prediction.

Dan Gingiss: That is crazy. Now, to be fair, I get it. I think I have five Amazon devices in my house, maybe six.

Joey Coleman: Okay.

Dan Gingiss: So I get it.

Joey Coleman: Your phone can have a voice, your laptop can have a voice, your smart TV can have a voice, your voice assistant that’s in your Google Home or your Alexa or whatever may have a voice. So yeah, multiple people own multiple devices, and you can set all of those voices to be different.

Dan Gingiss: When I had the Cookie Monster voice, I have to tell you, it really did make driving more fun, and I usually have the voice turned off on Waze, but I wanted it turned on because I wanted to hear what he was going to say, and I remember one of my favorite ones was, “Police officer reported to head. Maybe we ask if he want cookie,” and you’re sitting there laughing in the car.

Joey Coleman: Because you’re laughing and you’re having fun, and what can be a stressful experience, driving and traffic, suddenly becomes a fun experience because of the interactivity. I love it, and I love this idea of choosing your voice. We spoke way back in season three, episode 68, about a gender neutral voice called Q. What’s next? We’ve got celebrity voices. I think there are a lot of different ways people could take this in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Well, and maybe AI advances to the point where you can have your voice assistant match the voice of a loved one. How about having the voice assistant be your spouse or one of your kids, or even, really getting out there, a deceased loved one?

Joey Coleman: Oh, sure.

Dan Gingiss: Can you imagine recording our parents’ voices now so that down the road, we could actually have them talk to us when they’re no longer with us? Freaky a little bit, but also pretty cool.

Joey Coleman: Pretty cool, and it kind of brings us back to that nostalgia trend that we talked about earlier. Often, when we see posts on social media, we talk to people who’ve experienced the death of a loved one. Sometimes years later, they talk about, “I can’t hear their voice anymore.” What if you could? What’s possible?

Joey Coleman: So beyond a better understanding of the rise of voice assistants and the novelty of putting a celebrity voice onto yours, what should our listeners do with this information? Well, we recommend you consider the following. Number one, find ways to be more playful. One of the best things about the partnership between John Legend and Google Assistant is that allows a technology solution, which is a robotic voice assistant, to take on a more playful tone. John Legend is known for being a larger than life personality, and his playfulness really comes through in the messages. Even the way he sings happy birthday in the recording that we shared earlier.

Joey Coleman: Number two, find ways to be more familiar. Can you align your brand with celebrities or stars or historical figures in a way that makes your brand feel more connected to the people your customers already know? Number three, find ways to incorporate voice assistants and voice commands into your work. For example, did you know that you can say to Alexa or Google Assistant, “Play Experience This,” and listen to our podcast? To set that up wasn’t that difficult, and you probably could find a way to experiment with voice in your business too.

[Book Report] Think, Do, Say

Joey Coleman: 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: I think one of the things most challenging to do in an increasingly busy and disjointed world is grab and hold someone’s attention.

Joey Coleman: Dan, I totally agree, and that’s why I’m such a fan of the book we’re going to discuss in this segment. Think, Do, Say is written by my good friend, Canadian speaker, award-winning advertising writer and creative director extraordinaire, Ron Tite. Not only is he a great writer and a big thinker, but he’s funny as can be, and his book is filled with witty and poignant statements about marketing, branding and customer experience. Things like, “Data is more than a character from Star Trek,” and, “I shouldn’t read your values. I should experience your values.” To give you an overview of the book, let’s hear from the author himself, Mr. Ron Tite.

Ron Tite: People today are inundated with nonstop content, broken promises, endless product extensions and pressure from lame articles like, “The Seven Things that Successful People Do Every Single Day.” Yeah, what do we do? We throw vanity metrics at them, we give superficial techniques on how to solve the problems and drive them towards a talk or a white paper and … Really? Come on. We’ve got to be better than this, because at the end of the day, the real problem is that consumers and colleagues and leaders don’t know where to look and they don’t know who to trust.

Ron Tite: What we know is that great leaders and great organizations are all based on what they think, what they do and what they say, and all three together, because if all you do as a leader is think, think, think, well, then you’re a think tank, and there’s a lot of competition out there because anybody with a Maya Angelou quote and an Instagram account is a philosopher these days. Now if all you do is do, do, do, well, then as an organization, you’re a sweatshop, and as a person, well, you’re probably not as popular with your colleagues as you think you are, because you’re probably defining your success by the number of hours you work, not the quality of those hours, and if as an organization or as a person, all you do is talk about the things you’re going to do, but you never actually do them, you’ll be found out.

Ron Tite: It is about thinking and doing and saying, and that is what this book explores.

Dan Gingiss: So going back to the title of this book, thinking, doing and saying, or think, do and say, I think that most brands are focusing on one or two of those, at best, and unfortunately, I think saying is the one they’re probably most focused on.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there’s a lot of truth to that.

Dan Gingiss: It’s like talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk and hope that we say something that our customers will listen to. Spending a little bit more time thinking and doing is not only good for us as individuals, but also for companies to take the time to listen to the world around you, listen to your customers, to your prospects, think about what you’re going to say before you’re going to say it, and don’t look at the world as your own branded megaphone.

Joey Coleman: So agree. I so agree. I am such a fan of the message in Think. Do. Say., Because not only is that powerful, but it’s written in a fun and playful way that’s just a delight to read. When it comes to my favorite passage, I had to go with the following, because I think it’s a new way of looking at what is a key factor in customer experience, and I quote, “If your answer to what your customers want you to do is ‘whatever they tell us on the feedback forms,’ you’re not doing it correctly. Reacting to consumer complaints isn’t an approach, it’s a reaction. It’s tough to build sustainable momentum if your customer’s always ahead of you. They don’t want you to be reactive. They want you to be proactive.”

Joey Coleman: Now, personally, Dan, I’m a big believer that customer service is reactive, whereas customer experience is proactive. We need to get out ahead of the customers and forge a path for them.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I agree with you mostly. I think that great customer service can be proactive as well, and that creates a great customer experience, right? When you identify a problem before it happens, for example, a company that goes out on social media and says, “We know our website’s down. We’re working to fix it.” Now you, Joey, may not have been to the website yet today, but they just prevented you from having a problem that you were going to call about, and I think that is service, but when it comes to my favorite passage, actually went kind of a different way. I like the fact that in the book, Tite talks about customer experience and encourages employees to consider, who do you do it for? In other words, who do you serve? Who is your customer? By asking who you do it for, you get to broaden the definition of the customer without getting into the messy conversations about what specifically qualifies.

Dan Gingiss: As I read this quote, it’s a little bit lengthy, I want the companies that are dealing with generic customer personas to really take note. Personas are a long held vehicle in customer experience, but one in which I think are often overused, because we think that as long as we have this persona down, which includes all of these people, that we’re going to cover everyone, and I think when you hear this, you’re going to understand that it’s really about the individual.

Dan Gingiss: Here comes to the quote. “No one understands who they do it for better than Netflix. It has millions of customers around the world. Each of them has unique viewing habits with different tastes in different genres. I’m no different. I love binging on Netflix. When I do, I enjoy watching crime dramas. When I go to Netflix, it asks me to select from the two users registered. When I sign in under my user profile the options before me are shows like The Killing, The Gunman, another gruesome tale of an unsolved murder starring people with British accents. When my wife signs in under her user profile, she doesn’t see The Killing. Her choices include Downton Abbey, Gilmore Girls, and whatever the programming equivalent of a hug is. If someone has been killed, Netflix knows that I want to see it. If someone has fallen in love, Netflix knows that my wife wants to see it. Honestly, if the only Netflix available was her Netflix, I would’ve canceled our account long ago. Netflix isn’t just collecting data to broadly get to know who they do it for. They’re using the data to customize the delivery of their product to the individual. My Netflix is my Netflix. The moment I select my user profile, Netflix isn’t doing it for anyone but me.”

Joey Coleman: I absolutely love this example, and I’m so glad you picked this as your passage, because it gives you a little bit of a flavor of the language Ron uses in the book and the way he writes and the way you present things. At the end of the day, you’re not being compared to the other players in your industry anymore, you’re being compared to the best experiences your customers have ever had, which means the convenience of Amazon, the beauty of Apple and the personalization of Netflix. If you don’t start benchmarking against the best experiences your customers have ever had, you won’t be delivering experiences much longer, because your customers are going to move on when you can’t keep up.

Joey Coleman: But what about Ron Tite, the author? What’s his favorite passage from the book? I’ll let him share it now.

Ron Tite: Chapter two. This is the chaos part. Get into a New York state of mind.

Ron Tite: Two ad campaigns I created have been featured in Times Square. As a Canadian ad guy mostly doing stuff north of the border, I was proud when my work made it to New York’s biggest stage. I mean, hell, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, right? Time Square is the most expensive promotional real estate in North America, with more lights, signs, bells, flashes and distractions than your average stretch of pavement. The Times Square Alliance reports that signage in the area generates 1.5 million impressions from over 380,000 pedestrians and 115,000 drivers and passengers every day. It may surprise you to find out that over 60,000 people live in the greater Times Square area too. That’s a ton of eyeballs, and they all need something to look at. Brands buy billboards because they want those eyes to look at their ads, but here’s the real problem. Buying the space is easy. Standing out is not.

Ron Tite: When a consumer stands in the middle of Times Square, they don’t even know where to look. Every inch of peripheral vision is filled with something that pulls the eyes away, blinking, moving, waving, animating, shining, flashing, ringing. Look here, no, here, no, here. Down on street level, it’s even worse. Evangelical preachers are trying to get you to convert. Buskers are performing for change. Food carts are hocking street meat. Scammers are asking you for bus money. Young comedians are papering a local comedy club. Curbside entrepreneurs are selling everything from tee shirts and theater tickets to recreational drugs and prostitution. So not only do they not know where to look, they don’t know who to trust either. They don’t know where to look, they don’t know who to trust.

Ron Tite: Well, I hate to break it to you, Billy Joel, but you’re not the only one in a New York state of mind, because today, Times Square isn’t just isolated between West 42nd and West 47th. It’s everywhere. Times Square is in Kentucky. It’s in Winnipeg. It’s at your desk. It’s in the middle of your living room. Times Square is in your pocket. It doesn’t matter where they’re located. Consumers, prospects, clients and colleagues don’t know where to look, and they don’t know who to trust.

Dan Gingiss: People don’t know where to look and don’t know who to trust. Well, let us tell you, folks, you need to look no further than Ron Tite’s book, Think, Do, Say, to get a digestible, actionable guide that will help you seize attention, and you can trust us on that.

Joey Coleman: Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This show.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time, and we’ll see you next week for more.

Joey Coleman: Experience!

Dan Gingiss: This!


Episode 101: How Trends Shape and Influence Customer Expectations

Join us as we discuss what the past decade can teach us about the next decade, how a bespoke publisher creates raving fans, and how the future of personal information is going to get even more messy.

Curation, Creation, and Contention – Oh My!

[Book Report] Understanding How Shifting Trends Can Impact Your Business

As individuals and businesses transition from decade to decade, they often spend time in reflection and evaluation of where they have been, where they are, and where they are going. Rarely do they make the time however to consider their positioning in a shifting global landscape.

Joey and Dan are both fans of their friend Rohit Bhargava and his newest book, Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future. In his book, Bhargava explores a variety of trends that he sees changing and sculpting the world today. He then outlines a process to help you think in terms of these trends and apply them to your own business.

For example, one of the emerging trends is Revivalism – which Bhargava describes as follows:

Overwhelmed by technology and a sense that life is now too complex and shallow, people seek out simpler experiences that offer a sense of nostalgia and remind them of a more trustworthy time.

Rohit Bhargava, author of Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future

CX professionals should consider how this trend of customers seeking “simpler experiences with a sense of nostalgia” can influence their organization’s product and service offerings.

Another trend Bhargava explores that is particularly relevant to customer experience is “The Human Mode.” He explains that this trend stems from the rise of artificial intelligence and creates a world where human interaction is increasingly valued as a luxury. Bhargava shares how humanity and vulnerability can be emphasized by blending a sense of empathy into products and processes. Interesting enough, this is exactly the type of messaging that caught Joey’s eye while walking through the airport and seeing an advertisement emphasizing humans over robots (see Episode 96).

From amplified identity, to instant knowledge, to data abundance, to flux commerce, Non Obvious Megatrends explores shifting customer behaviors and expectations that every business should be pay attention to and incorporate into their offerings. If you’re ready to deep dive into these topics and apply them to your business, go buy Non Obvious Megatrends today!

[Dissecting the Experience] Making Things Beautiful Rockets Your Business Forward

As it turns out, sometimes you can judge a book by it’s cover. The fascinating Boulder, Colorado-based company Juniper Books is committed to making your bookshelves more beautiful. They design book covers for books that have already been written in order to better showcase their story from your shelf.

Based on several experiences as a Juniper Books customer, Joey learned several maxims that can be applied to any business in order to enhance the customers’ experiences.

Beautiful design should be incorporated into every product and service you offer. Juniper Books takes existing books and gives them more beautiful covers so that the books jump of the shelf visually.

Find creative ways to do more business with your current customers. Juniper Books keeps loyal fans immersed in growing their book collections by offering a subscription for “Books Everyone Should Own” – a series of classic books with refreshed, unique covers.

Make each customer feel like they are the most important customer. When Joey placed a bulk order of the book, For the Love of Books by Juniper Books founder Thatcher Wine, Wine personalized every copy to add a special touch for the recipients to which Joey gifted the book.

P.S. To see Juniper Books in action, check out the GORGEOUS “coffee table must-have” For the Love of Books by Juniper Books founder Thatcher Wine (disclosure: Thatcher and Joey are friends – but Joey loved his work long before he met Thatcher in person!)

[Agree to Disagree] The Benefits and Costs of More Convenience

In every home and office around the world, shifting expectations reveal an ongoing battle: do we share our private information to achieve greater convenience, or do we protect our information and retain our privacy? While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, it’s not a simple “do it” or “don’t do it” decision for most individuals and organizations.

The Case in Favor of Privacy

  1. Limits the Power of Governments and Corporations – Whoever has the data, has the power. The more information we relinquish, the more likely it is to be used to manipulate our decisions, attitudes, and behaviors.
  2. Respects the Individual – When identity or private information is stolen, abused, or even mis-used, it disrespects the individual.
  3. Allows for Second Chances – Thanks to the “always on, often recorded” digital footprint of today, young people growing up online have every misstep and mistake cataloged for future review and analysis. This seems to accelerate expectations while offering little room for evolving thoughts or even honest mistakes.

The Case in Favor of Convenience

  1. Saves You Time – the one thing that we can’t produce more of is time. By sharing your likes, dislikes, past preferences, and past actions, organizations tracking your data can serve up realtime solutions and product offerings that save you countless hours of searching and remembering.
  2. Allows You to Think Less. When things like account numbers, passwords, and even past food orders are saved and cataloged, you don’t need to devote much active thought to navigating the details and minutia of your day. Things are taken care of and remembered for you.
  3. Makes Life Easier. When items can be ordered, used, re-ordered, and delivered without your direct involvement, life is just easier. Simplification of interactions makes continuing to do business with a company much easier.

As you consider your own habits and behaviors, don’t forget to apply these concepts to your business. What are you doing to make your customer experience more convenient? And, what are you doing to protect your customers’ privacy?

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 101 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

Joey Coleman: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan Gingiss: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer-retention expert, Joey Coleman…

Joey Coleman: … and social media expert, Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: Hold on to your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

Joey Coleman: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss what the past decade can teach us about the next decade, how a bespoke publisher creates raving fans and how the future of personal information is going to get even more messy.

Joey Coleman: Curation, creation, and contention, oh, my!

[Book Report] MegaTrends

Joey Coleman:   We are 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. As you reflect on the past decade and look forward to the next decade, we found a great resource to help you think bigger about the trends that are shaping the world. Let’s listen to my great friend and prolific author, Rohit Bhargava, as he describes his newest book.

Rohit Bhargava: Hey. This is Rohit Bhargava, and I wrote a book called Non‑Obvious Megatrends, which is all about how to see the world a little bit differently and how to put the pieces together across multiple industries and really do what I think we need to do a little bit more of in the world, which is be more open-minded and read the things that we don’t agree with and try and think for ourselves, and so the book outlines a process to do that, something that I call non-obvious thinking, and then it spotlights 10 different megatrends that I believe are changing the world and our culture and how we believe what we believe in and how we choose to buy or sell certain things, and one of the megatrends that I think is really relevant particularly when it comes to customer experience is a trend that I called human mode.

Rohit Bhargava: Human mode was a response to the idea that, in a world where we have more and more automation and we see more technology coming, we believe in and trust each other and the human power, and so human mode is partially about this idea that, in a situation where we have human contact, we treat that as a luxury and we choose to engage with people more, and we’re sometimes willing to even pay more for that, but the other side of it is that we expect that the things that we buy and the things that we consume are made with more empathy and are made in more human ways, and so one of the ideas that I really challenge people to think of is, instead of just looking at something that’s put out and saying that’s made in the USA or that’s made in Italy, what if we put it out that something was made with empathy? What would that look like?

Rohit Bhargava: A great example is what Starbucks has been doing across a couple of different locations where they employ entirely deaf or hearing-impaired workers in a particular location, and they have one of these in D.C. near where I live, near Gallaudet University, and it’s fascinating because not only are they doing something that is amazing for the community there, but, people who go in, whether they’re hearing impaired or not, are now trying to order their drinks using sign language, and I think that that’s what starts to happen. When we create these human experiences, we become more human ourselves, and that’s what I really love about that trend, so that’s one megatrend. There’s nine others, but I think there’s a lot of relationship between experiences, and, ultimately, what the book is about is trying to get you to think a little bit differently about the world, so I hope you enjoy it.

Dan Gingiss: When we first asked Rohit to share an overview of his book and talk about a trend that he thought specifically applied to customer experience, we actually had no idea that he was going to talk about the Starbucks near Gallaudet University where the staff is entirely deaf or hearing impaired.

Dan Gingiss: You may remember that we discussed this exact same Starbucks in episode 42 way back in season two of the show, so it was fun to hear him talk about that, and I want to just tell you, Joey, that, this morning, when I got my Starbucks, I noticed that the manager of the store had business cards out where you went to collect your coffee and the business cards had braille on them, and I thought that was really cool.

Joey Coleman: Oh, wow, that’s so cool. I love it. It seems like, Dan, maybe we’re trend spotters. We’re early on it. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: What do you mean it seems like? Of course, we are.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Yes, to be honest, I’ve been a huge fan of Rohit and his work for over a decade now, and this book is filled with ideas, trends and concepts that every business should be considering if they want to be around 10 years from now. My favorite passage from the book comes from the trend revivalism, and it reads as follows. “Overwhelmed by technology and a sense that life is now too complex and shallow, people seek out simpler experiences that offer a sense of nostalgia and remind them of a more trustworthy time.”

Joey Coleman: Now, to be honest, not only have I seen this behavior in the marketplace, I’ve actually felt myself feeling and acting this way more and more. I’m comforted by movies that I watched as a kid. I find myself pausing to listen to songs that were popular when I was coming of age. I’m increasingly more interested in spending time with old friends just chatting instead of seeking out new acquaintances while participating in activities.

Joey Coleman: I think I like this trend because I’m actually living this trend, but what about you, Dan? What was your favorite part of the book?

Dan Gingiss: I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I’m very happy that I’m in the old-friend category…

Joey Coleman: Yes, you are.

Dan Gingiss: … given that last time statement.

Joey Coleman: I’ve known Dan for a very long time, over 20 years at this point, and, yeah, you will be part of my revivalism trend.

Dan Gingiss: Thank goodness. I also definitely got into this book, thanks to Joey’s recommendation, and especially the way that Rohit illustrates the trends by telling interesting stories from around the world, and it’s really more of a global review, and we have been, I have been accused in times of having a US-centric view, which makes sense, I live in the United States, but I think it’s really important to know what’s going on globally on both a micro and a macro level.

Joey Coleman: To that point, Dan, if I may interrupt, folks, if you’re listening to the show and you don’t live in the United States, we would love to hear from you. Go to experiencethisshow.com. Click on the contact page, and there’s an orange button that, if you press it, it says, “Start recording.” If you press that, you can leave us a message. Tell us about a brand you’ve had an experience with. Tell us about how customer experience in your country or in your community is different. We would love to feature more international information and international stories on the show. It’s just that, sometimes, it’s more difficult for Dan and I to gather those and bring them back.

Dan Gingiss: Agreed, so I picked a passage as well, and my… My favorite passage came from the trend attention wealth, and here’s the quote. “Share your backstory. To break through the noise, share your backstory, letting customers know why and how you do what you do. Luxury brand Hermès, for example, launched a film that takes consumers inside one of its silk mills in Lyon, France, to illustrate how its products are made. If you can share your story in an interesting way, showing your craft or trade with humility and vulnerability, you might be able to interest current customers or, potentially, new ones to spend more time and money with you.”

Joey Coleman: I love it. In a book about future trends, we’re talking about telling your backstory in a more compelling fashion. Since the first humans walked the planet, we’ve gathered around the fire to tell stories about our experiences, and I find it ironic and, to be honest, encouraging that everything that is old is becoming new again.

Dan Gingiss: There’s your nostalgic revivalism again, isn’t it?

Joey Coleman: Look how it’s coming out. I love it. I definitely feel like I’ve identified the trend that most applies to me. Folks, there are incredible trends to explore in this book, including amplified identity, instant knowledge, data abundance, flux commerce and so many more that we’ve alluded to on this show over the past five seasons.

Joey Coleman: If you want to really dive deep into these fascinating topics and see how they can be applied to your business or industry, look no further than Rohit Bhargava’s final installment of his Trend Series, the book titled Non-Obvious Megatrends, How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future. It will really change how you see the world. Please press pause on this podcast right now and go order a copy of the book. It’s entertaining. It’s actionable, and it’ll help you stay relevant and successful in the crazy decade to come.

[Dissecting the Experience] Juniper Books

Dan Gingiss: Sometimes, a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation.

Joey Coleman: We dive into the nitty-gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience.

Joey Coleman: We absolutely love books here on the Experience This Show, books about customer experience, books about customer service, nonfiction books, fiction books, old books, new books and, yes, even books about books, which is how I got introduced to a fantastic company right here in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, called Juniper Books. I met the impressive CEO, Thatcher Wine, who, yes, lives up to his impressive name as well, at an event where he publicly shared his personal story from the stage. Then I got to spend some time with him at a few different fundraisers because our children attend the same school. Then I read his fantastic magnum opus, For the Love of Books, Designing and Curating a Home Library, and then I started doing business with his company.

Dan Gingiss: All right, I’m intrigued. What does his company do?

Joey Coleman: I’m happy to tell you, Dan, but, to get the full experience, I think it’d be useful to share a little backstory about Juniper Books. It was founded by Thatcher Wine in 2001, and Thatcher had always loved reading and collecting books, and he began his career sourcing one-of-a-kind and rare book collections for clients around the world. A few years later, he invented the concept of a custom book jacket, designing beautiful, engaging, aesthetically pleasing covers for incredible books, so they take a great book that’s already been written and design a new cover that you put on it that is more artful and more engaging. Today, Juniper Books works with thousands of customers in over 50 countries, helping them fall in love with books all over again.

Dan Gingiss: I have a confession to make. I have read maybe two E-books in my entire life…

Joey Coleman: Really?

Dan Gingiss: … because I still like having a physical book. It’s one of those things I just can’t trade in, and I used to, my first job out of college, I worked for this high-end collectibles company that had three different divisions, and one of them was called the Easton Press. The Easton Press is known for its beautiful leather-bound books.

Joey Coleman: Beautiful books, yeah, I’m very familiar with it.

Dan Gingiss: As an employee, I got a pretty sweet discount on these books…

Joey Coleman: Oh, nice.

Dan Gingiss: … and I subscribed to a couple of the collections, the most popular one being the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written, and they come in these just gorgeous bindings, and they look so great, and more than one person told me that my bookshelf made me look smarter, and I was like, “Even if I haven’t read all these books?” and they’re like, “Yeah, just having them on your shelf makes you look smarter.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and we talked earlier in the season about my buddy, Ryan Holiday, who is a prolific writer and reader, and one of the things he advocates very publicly is don’t feel bad about buying books that you haven’t read yet, that there’s something to be said for being surrounded by books and what that does to your brain and what that does to your commitment to growth and learning, and so I absolutely love that you have that collection.

Joey Coleman: It’s interesting, I love going to people’s homes and looking at the books they have and also looking at how people arrange books, which, if you’re interested in how you present your book collection, you’ve got to check out Thatcher’s book because it’s all about designing the bookshelves and the bookcases at your home. It’s this colorful coffee table book, so to speak, that is so rich in imagery and detail and suggestions. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Joey Coleman: Allow me if I may to share their mission from their website, because I think this helps to give everyone the full picture of what Juniper Books is all about. Juniper Books is dedicated to elevating the printed book by enhancing its design quality and aesthetic, deepening the meaning of books in our lives and facilitating the connection between the stories books tell us and the stories they tell about us. We chose the name Juniper Books for a reason. Juniper trees live for up to a thousand years. Printed books have been around for 500 years, and we’re doing our part to make sure they are around for at least 500 more.

Dan Gingiss: I love it, so you mentioned that you did business with them, and, based on what you’ve shared already, it wouldn’t surprise me if the experience was as impressive as what they do with their books.

Joey Coleman: You are correct as usual, my friend, so there were three interactions that I had that particularly stood out, and I thought it’d be interesting for us to discuss these as underlying principles that can and should be applied to every company. First, the products and services you offer should be beautifully designed. Juniper Books takes books that have already been written, books that already have jackets, and it redesigns them to be artwork for your shelf.

Joey Coleman: How many times have you read a book and realize that, when it’s sitting on your shelf, the appearance doesn’t do justice to what you know is inside the book on the pages? Juniper Books breathes new life into products that people already love, and it encourages them to display their collections in a way that encourages others to then ask about the books they have.

Dan Gingiss: I can definitely see how that can apply to other businesses. I mean, design and aesthetics matter a lot more than people think. Often, I’ll use a product and think this is a really good product, but it doesn’t stand out in any way for its design. If you look at brands like Apple, Mercedes, Lululemon, they have really brought design sensibility to functional product offerings, but many companies still skip that design part when they’re thinking about how to package or present their offerings.

Joey Coleman: It’s so true, Dan, and, to be honest, in 2020, it shocks me how many businesses aren’t evaluating the look and feel of their offerings and figuring out how to make them more beautiful, but there’s opportunities for growth. The second thing that businesses should consider is how can I do more business with my most loyal fans? Now, the typical business I think approaches this by asking, “How can I sell them more?” Juniper Books seems to have answered this question by asking, “How can I make them collect more?”

Joey Coleman: You see, people that buy books are often collectors of books without realizing that they’re collectors, and so Juniper created a subscription offering called Books Everyone Should Own, and I just love the name of it because it implies that, if you love books, you better subscribe to this because there may be books in it that you should own that you don’t, and they don’t tell you what the books are. It’s a subscription that comes every month over the mail. Now, Thatcher curates the books that are in this set, and they are timeless novels that are then mailed to the subscribers with a custom cover that has been designed by Juniper Books.

Dan Gingiss: It is a great name because it also creates this sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out.

Joey Coleman: Of course.

Dan Gingiss: You want to know what the next one is, so I think it is a naturally recurring subscription that, I think, my guess is its retention rate is pretty high on it as well. Any one of those themes that you just described could be applied to most businesses to come up with creative ways to serve their most loyal customers even more.

Dan Gingiss: I would suggest a couple of questions that people should ask themselves about their business. How can you send your products to your customer on a recurring basis? How can you do the hard work of selecting the perfect solution for their needs again and again? How can you combine some of your offerings with other offerings that might not be as obvious to your customers as it is to you, and how can you make your most loyal customers feel special and appreciated?

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, Dan. Instead of focusing on new customers in 2020, what if every business spent at least 50% of their efforts and their budgets and their thinking time devoted to deepening the connection with current customers? I mean, you already know who they are. You know what they like. You know how to reach them. Maybe it’s time to use this information and access, and the relationship that you already have, to build greater rapport and likely do even more business with your raving fans, which actually brings me to the third observation I wanted to make from my experiences with Juniper Books. Always make it personal.

Dan Gingiss: That makes sense. Personalization and customization are pretty regular themes here on our show. How does Juniper Books put their special twist on it?

Joey Coleman: They go above and beyond again and again. When I wanted to purchase a bunch of copies of Thatcher’s gorgeous book, For the Love of Books, to give to some friends that are crazy book fans, he kindly personalized each book and then carefully packaged them so I could mail them around the world in an easy and convenient way. When I wanted to give a gift subscription that was off schedule of the monthly subscription, so I was buying it at a time where it was going to be awhile before the first book hit, his design team created a custom card that was absolutely beautiful that I could send to the recipient while they were waiting to get their first book, so, with every turn, Juniper Books goes above and beyond with their commitment to aesthetics and design to create these personalized experiences that make me feel like I’m the most valuable customer they have.

Dan Gingiss: That’s really all you can ask from a company that you do business with and, as long as they continue making you feel that special, you’re going to keep coming back and buying more.

Joey Coleman: It’s so true, so what can you do to take the spirit of Juniper Books and use it to foster connection with your customers? First, make sure your offerings are beautifully designed, then get creative on ways to do even more business with your biggest fans and, finally, never stop making your individual customers feel like they are the most important person to your business.

[Agree to Disagree] Privacy vs. Convenience

Joey Coleman: We usually see eye to eye except when we don’t. See if you find yourself siding with Dan or Joey as we debate a hot topic on this segment of agree to disagree.

Dan Gingiss: There is a battle raging inside businesses, homes and even the minds of individuals almost every day. It’s something that many people are skirting around, but few are really addressing or considering. In a world where the more data we share, the less friction we experience, in a world where the more we give up, the more we seem to get, in a world where the more we provide, the less we struggle, Joey, which do you think is more important, privacy or convenience?

Joey Coleman: Wow, that’s a tough one, Dan, and, to be honest, I want to answer your question, but I’m not sure that it’s an either-or decision. I mean, there are certainly times when I guard my privacy stringently and there are other times when I will happily volunteer my personal details. There are times when I revel in a frictionless interaction and, of course, there are definitely times where I’ll happily experience less because I’m not willing to share more, and so, if I had to pick, and I guess I had to since this is an agree-to-disagree episode, I’m going to have to go with privacy being more important than convenience.

Joey Coleman: I mean, I believe this for a few reasons. Number one, it limits the power of governments and corporations. Let’s be honest, whoever has the data is in charge, and, while they incentivize you to give up your privacy and share your data to make your life easier, they don’t tell you all the things they’re going to do with your data, who they’re going to sell it to, how they’re going to protect it and how they’re going to use it to subconsciously manipulate you to do things that are in their best interest, but not necessarily in yours.

Dan Gingiss: My friend, this is an agree-to-disagree segment, so, probably not surprising to our listeners, I’m going to choose convenience and not just to say that it’s more important, but to really say, in my life, it’s something that I just genuinely stress more because I, like many individuals, probably don’t pay as much attention to privacy as I should.

Dan Gingiss: The number one thing that I think is important with convenience is that it saves you time. It’s the one resource that we can’t make more of, and I know because you and I have talked about this. We’re very busy people. We work late into the night. If we could work 28-hour days, we surely would do it every once in a while, but we can’t, and so anything that saves me time has so much value to me that I’m likely willing to give up a lot for it in terms of different resources, money and privacy being two of them.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, and I absolutely appreciate that and I enjoy the convenience, and I love the idea of having more time, but you know what I love even more? I love myself, and I don’t mean that from a place of ego. At the end of the day, privacy allows people to keep things for themselves. I mean, some people’s desire for privacy is brushed away because we have this view in society that it’s not that big of a deal if your information gets leaked or if we get some of your information. I mean, privacy is trivial, but the reality is, even if there isn’t a huge impact when details about your private life are shared more broadly, not honoring someone’s privacy demonstrates a lack of respect for the person. It demonstrates a lack of respect for their individuality. It really says, “I care more about my interest than your interest, so I want to know as much about you as possible, and then I’m going to use that to my advantage.”

Dan Gingiss: I certainly do believe that companies have an obligation to protect our privacy. I think one of the reasons I fall on the convenience side is because my expectation as a consumer is that companies are doing that. Now, no doubt, no doubt-

Joey Coleman: Sorry. Sorry. I got to interrupt. Your expectation, when all we hear on the news is breach after breach, when you’ve worked corporate America, you know what a nightmare their protections are. You’re confident that they’re going to do that?

Dan Gingiss: I didn’t say I was confident. I said it was my expectation. A lot of companies-

Joey Coleman: On a scale of one to 10, with one being they’re abysmal and 10 being they’re amazing, where do you fall on what you think the average company is doing with respect to that?

Dan Gingiss: In terms of meeting my expectations…

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: … or meeting your expectation? Some of them do it much better than others.

Joey Coleman: Oh, ladies and gentlemen, for those of you paying attention at home, that is the sound of Dan giving a score that is less than three, but not wanting to say a number that is less than three.

Dan Gingiss: Maybe, but I will say another thing on the side of convenience is sometimes I just don’t want to think about it. One of the problems with privacy is having to think a lot about passwords and other types of things. The number of, the amount of time I spend resetting passwords because I can’t remember all of the details that I’ve been asked individually because this company will allow an exclamation point and this one will only allow an asterisk and this one needs two numbers and whatever, it’s a huge waste of time, whereas the convenience factor allows me to actually think less. I mean, who wants to sit and have to remember to order paper towels or tissues or, hey, let’s go with something that might be private, hemorrhoid ointment, right? I’d rather just have somebody else take care of it for me and have the convenience and prioritize that first.

Joey Coleman: I find it fascinating that you used the word think so much in that justification of why you think convenience is more valuable because I feel the same way about privacy in the sense that I love privacy because it protects me on the times when maybe I didn’t think, so I believe that humans should be given the benefit of the doubt. I believe that humans should be forgiven. I believe that humans should be given second chances, and, when everything that we do is available publicly to the world and where things that we’ve done in the past where maybe we didn’t think it through and make the good choice gets dragged into the present to potentially be used against us, that to me is a huge argument in favor of privacy.

Joey Coleman: I mean, I’ll be candid, I’ve got a six-year-old and a four-year-old. I worry about the world they’re growing up in where there’s an expectation that they will live their lives online, where there’s an expectation that the stupid thing they say could be caught on video. The stupid thing they do could be caught on video and, 30 years down the road in a job interview, based on a Google search, that could be dragged up and used against them to not get a job, not get a promotion, not be able to get a date, fill in the blanks of the consequence.

Joey Coleman: I don’t know about you. I’ll just speak for myself. I am very, very happy that there is not video footage or a record of some of the stupid things I did as I was moving from, oh, let’s say age zero the present.

Dan Gingiss: I do think that you can in some ways control this. There are people that aren’t on Facebook and that aren’t… that don’t have a digital presence really to speak of. There are people that you can Google and get pretty much no results, believe it or not.

Joey Coleman: Sure.

Dan Gingiss: I made a choice awhile back to become active in social media understanding that that puts some privacy to risk, but I also try to control that by, for example, only posting pictures of my kids on Facebook where I’m only connected to friends and people that I know versus, on Twitter, where I’m connected to tens of thousands of people who I don’t know and haven’t met and don’t know if they’re even real people, so there is that piece of it, but also I think, unfortunately, we live in a world today where, despite your best efforts, somebody could still pull that old yearbook photo of you being a class clown or you writing something as we saw in a recent Supreme Court nominee’s situation that… and bring it online today, and that’s just a fact of our lives, and so, in today’s world, we have given up some privacy whether we want to or not, and, yes, is that sad? I think it is, but I think it is absolutely the life that we live today.

Dan Gingiss: The one other thing that I’ll push for in convenience is that Shep Hyken wrote a book about it, and I think that should be enough reason.

Joey Coleman: It’s a great book…

Dan Gingiss: That’s a book that we talked about.

Joey Coleman: … and that’s a great reason to be a fan of convenience.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, we talked about this book, I believe it was last season, called The Convenience Revolution, and, obviously, what he says in here is that convenience is one of the biggest parts of customer experience and one of the biggest ways to get people to like doing business with you.

Dan Gingiss: Now, to be fair, later this season, spoiler alert, we’re also going to highlight an article where he talks about fraud having an impact on the customer experience, and fraud is often the result of people, nefarious people, hackers, et cetera, violating somebody’s privacy, so they’re both pretty critical.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. I think, at the end of the day, I want to come back to something that you said as an aside early on, and the recovering attorney in me doesn’t want to use your words against you, but I will to win this debate. You said, “I probably think about privacy less than I should,” and I think, at the end of the day, that’s my big issue. My big issue is that, the corporations, your government, they aren’t thinking about your privacy at all.

Joey Coleman: Most humans aren’t thinking about their privacy nearly enough because they’re over-indexing on their desire for convenience, and I think we have only begun to experience the tip of the iceberg of the consequence of these choices of not thinking more specifically and more comprehensively about the information in the data that we’re sharing and how that giving up of our privacy may come back to bite us in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, since my lunch has just arrived, conveniently delivered by a driver, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

Joey Coleman: Agree to disagree. Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and, if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to we experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time, and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey Coleman: … Experience…

Dan Gingiss: … This.


Episode 91 – Make Spaces Fun and Familiar to Keep Customers Coming Back for More

Join us as we discuss reinventing the shopping mall, the experience of becoming a new manager, and how the comforts of home can make strange places feel more familiar.

Dreaming, Managing, and Alexa-ing – Oh My!

[CX Press] The “Shopping” Mall is Now the “Experience” Mall at American Dream

A new shopping mall in 2020 doesn’t usual garner headlines. But that’s not the case with the new American Dream. In Amanda Hess’ New York Times article, “Welcome to the Era of the Post-Shopping Mall,” she describes the opening of a new, 3-million-square-foot “mall” that is so ambitious that it transcends the word “mall.”

American Dream offers more than shopping. In fact, with 55% of the space allocated to entertainment and just 45% to retail, American Dream puts shopping activities on the back burner. Top attractions include:

  • Big Snow – an indoor ski hill filled with 5,500 tons of “real snow” that fall from the ceiling of a warehouse where the temperature is always 28 degrees
  • a live performance theater
  • Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park – boasting a roller coaster with the steepest drop in the world at 121.5-degrees
  • a National Hockey League-sized ice rink, and
  • DreamWorks Water Park (home to the world’s biggest wave pool)

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for the sweet life, and I will give you IT’SUGAR.

Sign at the entrance to IT’SUGAR store at American Dream Mall

Whether a focus on entertainment and experience can save the shopping mall remains to be seen, but American Dream promises to bring a vision into reality every day in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

[Book Report] Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader

Every year, millions of top performers are promoted to management-level jobs — only to discover that the tactics, techniques, and skills they used to get promoted are not the same tactics, techniques, and skills that will make them effective in their new role. It turns out that what it takes to be great as an individual contributor is NOT THE SAME as what it takes to be an excellent leader.

Acclaimed podcaster Ryan Hawk’s new book, Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader helps recently promoted leaders successfully transition to their new roles. Filled with great stories and actionable recommendations, Hawk’s book offers dozens of suggestions on enhancing your leadership abilities.

A person who is a “learning machine” is intentionally and constantly seeking new information with the goal of becoming better. Machines are not organic; they don’t spontaneously generate. They have to be built. And, increasingly in our modern digital age, they also must be programmed. The same is true for a person to become a learning machine. Like the interest that accrues over time in the long-term style of investing that Warren Buffet advocates, the benefits of building yourself into an engine of learning compound. It doesn’t matter what set of skills and deficiencies you bring to a job, an assignment, or a moment of adversity. What you have at the start won’t define how it ends because by being in constant learning mode you evolve throughout the process.

Ryan Hawk, author of Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader

If you’re a new manager transitioning from an individual contributor role to being in charge of a team, if you’re an experienced executive seeking guidance as you continue to navigate rocky terrain, or if you’re just an entrepreneur who hopes to improve team engagement and retention, Ryan Hawk’s book Welcome to Management needs to be on your bookshelf!

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

Any customer experience professional knows that the learning never stops – even if it happens on “summer vacation.” Don’t miss Engage 2020 this summer – hosted by our partners at Avtex!

June 21-24, 2020
The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel & Resort
Orlando, Florida

Engage 2020 offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities, including multiple learning tracks and specialized breakout sessions focused on a wide range of customer experience topics. At Engage 2020, you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on what you can do to move your organization’s experience strategy and delivery forward.

To learn more and reserve your tickets before they are sold out, visit: AvtexEngage.com

Don’t forget to use the promo code: EXPERIENCETHIS10
to save 10% off the ticket price!

[This Just Happened] Bringing the Comforts of Home to the Road

With voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri becoming so prevalent in peoples’ homes, it’s not that surprising that hotels are starting to provide voice assistants in their rooms. In the past, travelers usually wanted a hotel to have a very different feel than a home. Now it seems that most hotels are trying to bring the comforts of home into the hotel setting.

card on the desk next to Amazon Echo – encouraging guests to ask Alexa about the restaurant

What can you do to make customers feel at home in your establishment? Consider the following:

  • Explore ways to make the places your customers interact with you feel more like home. If a customer visits your office, store, or some other location that you oversee, figure out ways to make things feel more familiar to them.
  • Anticipate what your customers need – but still give them choice. While the hotel realized that ear plugs aren’t for everyone, I imagine almost all of their guests appreciate the hotel thinking ahead to provide them if there is a chance that sleep might be compromised by construction.
  • Experiment with creating small moments of delight. Even if you don’t implement major changes across your entire organization, try small enhancements.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 91 here or read it below:

Dan: Welcome to Experience This.

Joey: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer attention expert, Joey Coleman.

Joey: And social media expert, Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This. Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Dan: Join us as we discuss reinventing the shopping mall experience, the experience of becoming a new manager and how the comforts of home can make strange places feel more familiar.

Joey: Dreaming, managing and Alexa-ing. Oh my.

Dan: Is that a word?

[CX PRESS] 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.

Joey: Out of curiosity, Dan, when was the last time you were in a shopping mall?

Dan: So actually it was on Black Friday, and I was really interested-

Joey: Well, so a few months ago.

Dan: Yeah, it was recently and I was really interested to see how the malls were doing, the busiest day of the year. And I have to tell you, I was actually really surprised. It was very, very crowded. There were stores that I never hear about that were mobbed. Like footlocker, was wall-to-wall people, bath and body works was stuffed with people and I was really surprised to be honest.

Joey: Fair enough. Fair enough. Now granted, that was Black Friday, so it was the biggest shopping day of the year. I don’t really go to malls that much anymore, and in fact I never go on Black Friday for that very reason because it’s so crowded. I probably stepped foot in a shopping mall two times a year, maybe three times a year, which is why I was intrigued by an article I came across recently. This article comes from the New York times and is titled, Welcome to the Era of the Post-Shopping Mall. The article is by Amanda Hess and it describes the opening of American Dream, a 3 million square foot mall that is so ambitious that it transcends the word mall.

Dan: The leadership team at American Dream prefers to call their new development a quote, “Revolutionary, first of its kind community, an unrivaled destination for style and play and an incredible collection of unique experiences”. Located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. More than half of American Dream space is not retail stores but rather entertainment venues. I think the article sums it best when noting the psychic center of American social life has shifted from buying things to feeling them.

Joey: And the American dream is all about the feels as the kids say these days. Within the building are several enormous entertainment options including big snow, which is an indoor ski hill filled with 5,000 tons of real snow that falls from the ceiling of a warehouse where the temperature is always 28 degrees. It’s the largest indoor ski hill in the Western hemisphere, a live performance theater, a Nickelodeon universe theme park, boasting a roller coaster with the steepest drop in the world at 121.5 degrees, a national hockey league sized ice rink and DreamWorks Waterpark home to the world’s biggest wave pool.

Joey: It’s overwhelming just listing out the major attractions at American Dream. And for what it’s worth, you can see some interesting photographs by Ross Mantle in the article. Seriously, folks, this doesn’t look like a mall. It looks like an amusement park that had some stores built in it. Everything that used to be outside is now inside the mall.

Dan: What I found interesting about American Dream is that everyone talks about the death of retail thanks to e-commerce and here we have a group of investors, developers, retail establishments and entertainment properties that are betting big on the idea that people still want to go to the mall. And I think what’s smart here is that they’re not calling it the mall because I do think that there is-

Joey: There’s a stigma.

Dan: … there’s a stigma connotation and this clearly isn’t going to the mall. Now I’m assuming there’s stores here and you can purchase stuff and probably eat and all that sort of stuff, but I think this is the future because it is entirely experiential. I would guess without knowing the stores that are in there that stores like for example, the Lego store would have a great place in the American dream, because it’s a store that you go and experience and have fun at versus a store where you’re really just kind of walking through shelves of merchandise.

Joey: Absolutely, absolutely. And in fact, what I think is interesting and why the mall will continue to be a gathering place, at least in American society, is because people are social creatures. They want to have those interactions. They may not want to shop, but they want to be around other people and be entertained. And in fact, the article notes in what I thought was one of the nicest phrases in the article, “The Americans eye for sociological observation, was forged in the glow of the Orange Julius” and it just took me back. Remember the Orange Julius?

Dan: Yeah. It’s owned by Dairy Queen now.

Joey: There you go. Orange Julius was a blast. And I think the folks behind American Dream are indeed betting big. The prior developers spent $3 billion on the project and then the current team came in and spent another $2 billion. That’s $5 billion spent on the mall before a dollar has been spent in the mall.

Dan: Yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty big bet.

Joey: Absolutely. And I was fascinated by this story. So I did a little research beyond the CX Press article and learned that the developers who own American Dream also own the infamous Mall of America in Minneapolis.

Dan: Is it infamous or famous?

Joey: I think infamous. It’s both. Maybe?

Dan: Okay. Again – stigma and connotation.

Joey: They also own the West Edmonton mall, which now means these developers own three of the four largest malls on the continent of North America. But what stood out to me was the difference between these malls in terms of their ratio of retail to entertainment. Those two older malls, the Mall of America and West Edmonton mall have 20% entertainment and 80% retail. American Dream, on the other hand, has 55% entertainment and only 45% retail. So it’s truly more entertainment than shopping.

Dan: In fact, the developers turned down retailers that wanted to be in the mall but failed to offer more than a mere retail experience. Now, it’s not clear what retail establishments got turned down or how the developers defined beyond a mere retail experience, but it will be interesting to see if shoppers feel the same way. The fact that American Dream is home to IT’SUGAR, the world’s largest non-manufacturer candy store will probably help with people feeling hyped about the experience. In fact, the article describes a 60 foot replica of the statue of Liberty constructed from green jellybeans that stands at the entrance to the store.

Dan: She holds a lollipop for a torch and wears a sash that says, “You know you want it,” and her feet is written, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for the sweet life and I will give you IT’SUGAR.”

Joey: Okay, that certainly feels American in some regards, not all of which are necessarily positive, but what I think is interesting here is that once again we have an example of a brand that is zigging when everybody else is zagging. The folks at American Dream are saying, look, we think that the human condition is such that people will want to gather, they will want to be entertained and if they opt the opportunity to shop a little on the side, they’re happy to do that as well. Everything that is old is being reborn again. Everything that worked well in the past is being repackaged, reformulated, and re-conceived into something that is more experiential. In fact, I think if we get the chance, we should do a road trip and do an experience live episode…

Dan: Experience This live. Yeah, baby.

Joey: … from the American Dream.

Dan: Sign me up.

Joey: Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience. We often talk about customer experience and customer service books on this show, but today I want to share a book with our listeners that while not specifically about those topics, I think is a must read for anyone that wants to be a better leader in those areas of business. It’s by my great friend Ryan Hawk and it’s called Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader. Hawke’s book is a fantastic resource to deal with a major problem that we have in business today.

Joey: You see, every year millions of top performers are promoted to management level jobs only to discover that the tactics and techniques and skills that they use to get promoted are not the same tactics, techniques, and skills that will make them effective as managers in their new role. It turns out that what it takes to be great as an individual contributor is not the same as what it takes to be an excellent leader.

Dan: This is so true. And having been in corporate America for more than 20 years, I’ve seen this time and time again. And it introduces also this paradox because companies have figured out that when they want to hire people managers, they need to look for people with experience managing people. But that begs the question, how do you get experience managing people if you can’t be a manager? And so there’s this paradox and that’s one of the biggest parts of developing in your career is when you’re now in charge of other people’s careers and there are skills that have absolutely nothing to do with what made you good in your original job. The problem is that most companies don’t spend any time training on that or even letting people know what being a manager is going to be like. It’s just throw them in, see if they can swim.

Joey: Congratulations. You’ve been promoted.

Dan: Yeah, and it affects not only that employee, but all the employees, but all the employees that report up to him.

Joey: All the employees. And so then it becomes part of the employee experience, which as we talk about on the show, spills into the customer experience. I have not spent nearly as much time in corporate America as you have Dan, but I had a very similar experience in the sense that I joined a organization as part of the sales team and my boss had been the top salesperson the year before and then had been promoted to manage a team of 10 people. And let’s just say he was a much better salesperson than he was a manager. In fact, as the year went on, he started going out on the road into his sales teams territory to close deals and basically take commissions away from us so that he could hit the team numbers. Needless to say, it was mostly a disaster and over the of the year we went from having 10 people on the team to having two people on the team.

Dan: Whoopsie.

Joey: Whoops. Oh my goodness, what I would have given to be able to put a copy of Welcome to Management in front of that sales manager!

Dan: It really is a great book filled with practical, actionable advice and tools that are designed to make the transition to a new leader, a successful one. What I particularly enjoyed about the book is where the knowledge Hawk shares comes from, but I think it’s best to let him explain.

Ryan Hawk: I believe that every person has the ability to lead. It’s just a matter of learning how. I wanted to learn directly from the people who fascinated me the most. As fate would have it, the serendipity of a seat assignment for a flight to Lake Tahoe in 2014 set me on the unexpected path of doing just that. As I sat down and stretched by legs in my exit row seat, I found myself next to a friend of Todd Wagner. Todd Wagner founded broadcast.com and eventually sold it to Yahoo for billions. He did this with his partner, future investment shark and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Over the course of this flight out West, I told my new friend about my desire to learn more and to create my own cast of teachers in the form of people who have lived lives of excellent leadership.

Ryan Hawk: By the time we landed, he had agreed to connect me with someone on Todd’s team. Soon after I met Todd for dinner, Todd arrived about an hour early at the hotel where we were going to have dinner and I was fortunate to spend this time with the self made billionaire at the bar. He was as kind as he was wise. I was blown away by his intelligence and his humble nature. I peppered him with questions. I wanted to learn about the what, who, why, and how at broadcast.com. I was eager to hear how they looked, the leaders of Yahoo in the eye and said, “Look, you’re either going to buy us or you’ll have to compete with us. You decide.” Todd and Mark concluded their meeting and walked away with $5.7 billion. It was an incredible story, but I had one regret. I wished I had recorded the conversation I wanted to pass along what I had learned to others.

Ryan Hawk: That dinner gave me a taste of what I could learn if I went directly to the source of the knowledge I so badly wanted to gain. In fact, I started thinking about how to have more conversations like that one and how to share them with others. Through that confluence of events, I decided to create an interview format podcast as my own virtual PhD program and call it The Learning Leader Show.

Dan: On Ryan’s podcast, he has interviewed over 300 of the most forward thinking leaders around the world. From celebrated author Jim Collins to baseball, Darryl Strawberry to fortune 50 CEO Carly Fiorina, to coaching legend Jim Tressel, to retired four star general Stanley McChrystal, to podcast cohost Joey Coleman.

Joey: All right. All right. You’re too kind to include me on that list, Dan.

Dan: Oh no, no. My pleasure. Seriously, my pleasure. And in fact the way that Hawk builds his knowledge by talking to podcast guests from all walks of life is a nice segue to my favorite passage in the book. It comes very early on where Hawk outlines an important commonality of those who sustain excellence over an extended period of time. They become learning machines. Here’s the quote. “Learning hard things is an active exercise of thought. It is not simply a process of downloading information into our brains. When we have new ideas, perspectives or experiences, our thoughtful contemplation of what they are, why they exist and what to do with them is how learning happens. While it’s certainly possible to learn passively, this isn’t optimal. Passive learners have a low ceiling on their learning potential, whereas those who approach learning with purpose, focus and effort do far better.

Dan: If thoughtfulness is the instrument of learning. Intentionality is the power. A person as a learning machine, is intentionally and constantly seeking new information with the goal of becoming better. Machines are not organic. They don’t spontaneously generate they have to be built. And increasingly in our modern digital age, they also must be programmed. The same is true for a person to become a learning machine, like the interest that accrues over time in the longterm style of investing that Warren Buffet advocates, the benefits of building yourself into an engine of learning compound. It doesn’t matter what set of skills and deficiencies you bring to a job, an assignment, or a moment of adversity. What you have at the start won’t define how it ends because by being in a constant learning mode, you evolve throughout the process.”

Joey: I absolutely love it. I know you’ve committed to being a learning machine Dan, so I’m not surprised that that was your favorite passage. I’ve made that same commitment and in fact, I believe that anyone listening to this segment right now is a learning machine. You have a thirst for knowledge. You’re listening to a customer experience podcast talk about a leadership book for Pete’s sake because you can connect the dots. You’re optimistic and we hope we reward that faith that you’ll be able to apply the things that you learn in this conversation to your own life, both at work and at home. I love this drive to keep learning. And what I find fascinating about Hawk’s book is that time and time again, he shows how the most successful people in business, in sports, in industry, in the military and every other walk of life are committed to constantly learning and improving.

Dan: Yeah, and I think you’re right, it’s an interesting analogy to this show in that we often tell stories that don’t immediately evoke customer experience and yet we try to bring them back to you can apply them to your business. And I think that the best learners learn from other industries, learn from other things that they don’t know about. I was always encouraged in high school and college to take liberal arts courses just to expand my knowledge. So I took a history of music course. I took an art history course. No, I’ve never used those in my career, but they sort of got stored in the back of my head and have helped out at different times in my life. So I do think that if we’re open minded to learning about something that is not exactly what we’re doing at work every day, we generally can find in our brains a way to apply it to use it in our day to day life. So what Joey was your favorite part of the book?

Joey: Well, to be honest Dan, it’s difficult to narrow it down to one. Hawk writes in such an accessible and conversational style that I found myself zipping from chapter to chapter, picking up suggestions and bits of wisdom left and right. But that being said, one of the little nuggets that stood out to me the most was about little nuggets of information or as Hawk calls them the small details of human relations. As he notes in the book, “I found it incredibly useful to tend to the small details of human relations with the teams I’ve led. I utilize a get to know you document with team members and colleagues to better understand them as people. This has given me valuable intel so that I can show love to the people who love my team member.

Joey: I built some lasting relationships with those I’ve worked with by sending their kids a video game from their Amazon wishlist or some cookies along with a note that reads to Sarah and Jeremy. Your mom is absolutely crushing it at work. You should be very proud of her. I know she works hard to support you and your family. As a way of saying thank you, please enjoy these cookies and video game. Too many leaders neglect the tiny but important parts of serving the people on their team. As a manager and leader, it is mission critical to constantly analyze and pay attention to the small details they add up and can be the difference between success and failure. Some small details in your leadership role that matter include the manner in which you greet your team. Smile, ask about each of them personally, be direct, how you start a meeting. Are you boring? Do you have a plan? Is it impactful? The cleanliness of your desk, your process for organization. The list goes on and on. Small details matter.”

Joey: Now, I thought this was important and it’s not a big leap as little details matter is a fairly common maxim in the world of customer experience. But what I loved about this perspective is how Hawk applied this, not only externally to customers, but internally to your teammates, your employees, your direct reports. Do you spend as much time paying attention to the little details that matter to them as you do to your customers? My gut instinct is that you don’t, and so if you’re a new manager, transitioning from an individual contributor role to being in charge of a team, if you’re an experienced executive who seeks guidance as you continue to navigate rocky terrain or frankly, if you’re just an entrepreneur who hopes to improve your team engagement and retention, Ryan Hawk’s book, Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader needs to be on your bookshelf. Pick up a copy today and I promise that within a few pages you’ll already be leading from a better place.

Joey: We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened? I had something happened to me at a hotel recently, Dan, that had never happened before.

Dan: Oh boy. Hopefully, I didn’t involve-

Joey: No, no, no. Stay calm, stay calm. There’s so many places we could go with this. But what happened is that upon checking into my room and starting to get situated, I saw a familiar device sitting on the table next to the sofa. It was an Alexa and next to it was a sign that said, “Hungry, thirsty? Just ask Alexa what’s happening at Stoke restaurant and get a quick rundown of today’s feature, special events and happenings.”

Dan: So of course you tried it out?

Joey: Of course, I did and I even took some video which you can find on our show notes page at experiencethisshow.com and I’ll play the audio for you now. “Alexa, what’s happening at Stoke Restaurant?”

Alexa: Marriott Charlotte can help with that.

Speaker 6: Maybe head outside, the fall is in the air down in Stoke Bar. Come try the apple crisp, fresh apples and cinnamon mixed with Muddy Rivers Spice Carolina Rum, made right here in Charlotte. We look forward to seeing you for happy hour or maybe after dinner. Come see us soon.

Dan: Okay, that’s pretty cool. I mean, I’m a big fan of Alexa. I have one in almost every room of my house. I now have one in my car. I like Alexa. She would beat Siri in a wrestling match to the death any day, but I’ve never experienced it in a hotel.

Joey: I agree. This was the first time that had happened to me and voice assistants like Alexa and Google home and Siri are becoming so prevalent in people’s homes that it’s not surprising that some hotels are starting to provide voice assistance in their rooms. I guess what’s surprising is that given how many nights I spent in hotels during the year, this is the first time I’ve ever come across something like this and I find it fascinating to think about how do you make a hotel feel like home? In the past, travelers usually wanted a hotel to have a very different field than their house. Now it seems like most hotels are trying to bring the comforts of home into a hotel setting.

Dan: Yeah, you’re right. I mean I’ve been to hotels that let you choose your pillow from a pillow menu, for example. So you can sleep with something that more closely resembles to the one you use at home. There are hotels that’ll loan you work out clothes and shoes so you don’t have to bring them with you. I need to find those hotels because I hate bringing all that stuff. And if you visit a hotel frequently enough, you can even leave items behind that they will bring out when you return.

Joey: Well, and it runs both ways as well, right? There are many hotels that let you purchase the amenities you experience at the hotel. As part of their heavenly sleep experience, the Weston allows you to purchase complete bedding sets and even mattresses online for you to use in your own home. Now, not only does this allow them another way to recoup some of their investment in designing and purchasing beds and sheets in bulk, but it creates a scenario where every time someone crawls into their bed at home, they’re reminded of their stay at the Weston that led them to purchase this bed or sheets or pillows.

Dan: I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this story Joey, but I fell in love with a hotel in the Hong Kong airport. And airport hotels are not normally known as being stellar.

Joey: Places where you would fall in love with the experience.

Dan: But this is a hotel, it’s called Regal and it is actually in the airport, not offsite, it is literally in the airport and it is a beautiful hotel and I slept on the most comfortable pillows I’ve ever slept on. I happen to know that I was going to be back in Hong Kong in two weeks. So I asked them, “Do you sell your pillows?” And they were like, “Well, of course we do.” And I said, “How much are they?” And I was waiting something big. They said they were $35 a piece, which I thought was pretty nice. So I said, “I’ll take four, can you box them up for me?” I show up two weeks later they have shrink wrapped, like in vacuum pack, they vacuum packed the four pillows into a single box, which was light because it’s just pillow pillows.

Joey: Its pillows.

Dan: I just checked it with my bags and I still asleep on those pillows at home and I still think of the Regal hotel for exactly that reason.

Joey: Exactly. And so this whole connection between the home experience and those pillows are now in your house and you sleep on those pillows and you think of the hotel, it’s back and forth. The Alexa in the room wasn’t the only thing that stood out though. And as I arrived I realized that there was a major construction project happening on the street in front of the hotel.

Dan: That can be bad. You spend all day traveling and then you arrive and you find construction or you’re trying to work during the day and you hear all the jack hammering going on. So any regular traveler knows that you can expect a lot of noise when construction resumed early in the morning.

Joey: Yes. And it’s almost always earlier than I would like to wake up. Now what was interesting is how the hotel handled this. Now let’s be clear, folks. The construction on the street in front of the hotel isn’t the hotel’s fault. The city is making repairs to the street and I presume those repairs needed to be made. I’m sure the hotel isn’t happy about the inconvenience that it’s causing them or the guests. But that being said, while the construction isn’t their fault, it’s their problem and what are they going to do to deal with it? And the way they did it I thought was pretty effective. So next to the Alexa in my room was a note and a little package. Now let me share the contents of the note and it will explain to you what the package was in the process.

Joey: The note read, “Welcome to the Charlotte Marriott city center. We’re excited to host you at our hotel in the heart of uptown Charlotte. Our city has great energy that we know you’ll love, but that comes with some city noise on occasion.” And then the notes split into three sections, “Like white noise? Tell your trusted digital butler, Alexa, play white noise. Prefer no noise? Take these NASCAR grade noise reduction earplugs for a ride. Rather, make some noise? Please dial zero and we’ll give you some recommendations for how to join the fun around town.”

Dan: I love that it’s very creative and it addresses the different needs of different customers so it’s not a one size fits all and whether you liked white noise or no noise or you want to make some noise, they’ve got an answer for you. I think that’s extremely creative.

Joey: Yeah, I felt the openness to the different types of customers without the presumption that you’re going to be one type or another was great. And what I loved about the note was that it was pre-printed and will be valuable to visitors long after the construction outside is completed. In fact, they don’t even mention anything about the construction. They also provided the earplugs before being asked. In a keynote speech that I do about the changing face of the customer, I talk about how customers now expect brands to anticipate their needs before they even ask, and this is a great example of how to do that. Finally, they described the earplugs as being NASCAR grade.

Joey: Now, what many of our listeners might not know unless you’ve stayed at the Charlotte Marriott city center, is that it’s only a few blocks away from the NASCAR museum, which incidentally is worth a visit. It’s amazing. There’s some pictures in the show notes and by tying the earplugs to NASCAR, which is something that visitors like me are very familiar with since the event I was speaking at was kicking off at the NASCAR museum. It ties everything together to the location of the hotel without being blatantly obvious about it.

Dan: Yeah, I love it because they sound, no pun intended, like pretty cool earplugs. This isn’t your garden variety drugstore, 17,000 to a bag earplugs. These are pretty nice earplugs and I think that obviously NASCAR is a brand that is very, very familiar, especially in the south where you were and so good job on that.

Joey: Yeah, and speaking of branding, I think the earplugs were actually the same regular pharmacy earplugs that you could buy, but the way they positioned it before I’d even seen the package, I read the note and it made me feel like those were NASCAR earplugs even they weren’t. So what can we learn from my stay at the Charlotte Marriott city center? I think there’s a few things. Number one, we should explore ways to make the places your customers interact with you feel more like home. If they’re going to come to your office or your store or some other location that you oversee and are responsible for figure out ways to make them feel more familiar to your customers.

Joey: Number two, anticipate what your customers need, but still give them choice. While the hotel realized that earplugs aren’t for everyone, I imagine almost all of the guests appreciated the hotel thinking ahead to provide those just in case that was going to impact their ability to sleep, which is a major reason why most people stay at a hotel. And finally, number three, don’t be afraid to experiment with creating small moments of delight even if you don’t implement major changes across your entire organization. Try some small enhancements. Now, to be honest, I stayed at Marriott brand hotels over 50 nights last year, and yet the Charlotte city center location was the only hotel with an Alexa, and as a result, it’s one of the things that stood out the most in my 50 nights with this brand.

Joey: Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

Dan: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of the Experience This Show.

Dan: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey: Experience.

Dan: This.

Episode 90 – Using Video to Show What You’re Trying to Say

Join us as we discuss ten things that define your future customer, using video in place of print, and connecting with your customers offline!

Principles, Videos, and Tissues – Oh My!

[Book Report] The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business

Long time friend of the show and CX expert Blake Morgan’s new book, The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business divides customer experience into three defining buckets: Psychological, Technical, and Experiential.

In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt to the surrounding environment is paramount. Morgan illustrated this point by sharing the story of the Mexican Tetra:

In the permanent darkness of the caves in the lower Rio Grande, a translucent fish thrives. This albino looking cave dweller is not different than any other fish except for the fact that the fish is blind. However, this fish was not always blind. The entire species of this fish became blind over time, living in a dark cave with little oxygen. Finding food is difficult when living in darkness. Eyesight is not helpful and being efficient is critical to survival. Over time, these fish sacrificed their eyesight so they would be able to retain more energy to find food and survive in the difficult environment of the caves. The blind cave fish have 15% more energy than seeing fish. These small pinkish miracles are called Mexican Tetra. They evolved as their dark and uncertain environment required. They did not go into a cave and die. They learned to thrive in the cave by losing the sight that was useless to them in that environment, the blind cave fish remind us that it’s our ability to evolve, adapt, and embrace change that determines our ability to survive in the world. It’s no different for the businesses we create and run.

Blake Morgan, author of The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business

In order to succeed in the future, companies must pay more attention to how employees feel at work. With the right mindset, all employees can positively affect the customer’s experience. Employees need to have experienced high-quality customer experience so that they know what to deliver for customers.

Blake shares six tips for creating a customer-centric culture:

1) Hire emotionally intelligent leaders and managers.
2) Hire a diverse set of leaders who reflect a diverse customer base.
3) Normalize candid conversations to create a culture of transparency and open communication.
4) Encourage leadership to spend time out in the field talking to customers.
5) Ensure managers keep an open line of communication with employees while building and developing an employee-centric culture.
6) Talk to employees in order to learn what they like (or don’t like) about the organization’s culture.

[Dissecting the Experience] Explainer Videos

Tony Jones, the Innovation Director at Signal TV in the UK, shares creative ways for using video to enhance the customer experience. Using interesting customer data from profiles, subscriptions, and travel bookings, Signal TV creates personalized videos that are more engaging and easier to digest than words or even pictures sent via email. The better the data Signal TV has, the better the video they can create. For example, a personalized video not only welcomes a new car owner to their vehicle, but it also shares detailed information about the vehicle’s operation and clarifies how much the customer will pay each month.

What we’re doing is using customer data to tell a story that’s relevant to them and taking the most interesting and most relevant parts of those data points from their profile, their subscription, or their travel booking, for instance, and playing it back to them so that they understand it.

Tony Jones, Innovation Director at Signal TV

By using more video, companies experience a significant reduction in incoming customer center calls. Videos also leads to a large uptick in clickthroughs as opposed to sending standard emails.

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

Any customer experience professional knows that the learning never stops – even if it happens on “summer vacation.” Don’t miss Engage 2020 this summer – hosted by our partners at Avtex!

June 21-24, 2020
The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel & Resort
Orlando, Florida

Engage 2020 offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities, including multiple learning tracks and specialized breakout sessions focused on a wide range of customer experience topics. At Engage 2020, you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on what you can do to move your organization’s experience strategy and delivery forward.

To learn more and reserve your tickets before they are sold out, visit: AvtexEngage.com

Don’t forget to use the promo code: EXPERIENCETHIS10
to save 10% off the ticket price!

[Listener Stories] Puffs to the Rescue

Leandra jokingly shared on Twitter that she was spending a milestone birthday with her BFFs – Puffs and Musinex. Puffs posted a playful and sympathetic response on Twitter and then sent Leandra a handwritten note as well as a bunch of tissues to get her through the cold season.

Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note and a real-world interaction!

In an increasingly digital era, tangible touchpoints are exceedingly rare. People are dying for analog connection.

Joey Coleman, co-host of The Experience This! Show podcast

Leandra’s co-worker remarked (online no less), “That’s so sweet of Puffs! Because of your story alone, they’ve won my loyalty now too!” Don’t underestimate the power of a remarkable experience creating a lifelong fan in your direct customer – and their friends!

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 90 here or read it below:

Episode 80: Using Unexpected Gifts to Create Lifelong Loyalty

Join us as we discuss how past experiences can trigger current emotions, how creative play can produce qualified employment candidates, and how strategic appreciation can keep your customers coming back for more. 

Gift Giving, Code Breaking, and Artifact Creating – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] A Personalized Gift can Make a Lasting Impact

A few months ago, Joey was on a podcast with Ben Oosterveld, where Joey spoke about his book, Never Lose a Customer Again, and creating remarkable customer experiences. During the podcast, Ben asked Joey to tell him about something that made Joey nostalgic about his childhood.

Joey shared a story about how he loved G.I. Joe action figures when he was a child. Each action figure came with a “dossier card” and children were encouraged to clip and save these cards for their “G.I. Joe Command Files.” Joey collected the cards and in doing so, noticed that while each of the fictional characters hailed from a different place – none came from Iowa – let alone the small town of Fort Dodge, Iowa where Joey lived.

So, Joey (being Joey) decided to write the company (yep – he was about eleven years old at the time) and ask them to consider including a character from his hometown.

Joey never heard back from the toy company, but approximately two years later, a new G.I. Joe action figure was released named Crazy Legs. And wouldn’t you know it, Crazy Legs was from Fort Dodge, Iowa!

In many ways, Joey’s story made for a nice, nostalgic trip down memory lane. But what happened next was the reason for a segment on the Experience This! Show.

Several weeks after being a guest on the podcast, a package arrived in the mail from Ben Oosterveld. In the box was a mint-condition, Crazy Legs G.I. Joe action figure! Ben included a personal note apologizing for the delay in properly thanking Joey for being on the show but that it had taken a while to track down this 30+ year old action figure.

Sending a gift long after the interaction is not a wasted gift. Personalizing your gifts by listening to your clients’ stories and learning about their interests, can turn an average gift into something remarkable – creating a personal and emotional connection in the process.

When considering gifts for your customers/clients, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Unexpected gifts are the very best gifts.
  2. The more personalized the gift, the better.
  3. Listen for the “golden nuggets falling from the sky” (a phrase Joey’s dad use to use all the time) when a customer shares an unexpected tidbit that you can reference later.
  4. Nostalgia works even better with each passing year!

[CX Press] Recruiting New Employees Using Strategic Partnerships

According to Wikipedia, an escape room (also known as an escape game) is “a game in which a team of players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. The goal is often to escape from the site of the game.”

Craig Lord recently wrote a story in the Ottawa Business Journal titled, “Solving Escape Manor’s new room could land you a job as a Canadian codebreaker.” The article focuses on an Ottawa-based business called Escape Manor and their new cybersecurity-focused experience. The Escape Room partnered with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) – a federal agency in Canada that houses the Canadian government’s top codebreakers (basically, it’s the Canadian version of the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA)). CSE had discovered that many of their employees loved escape rooms. They realized that this common interest could be useful to their employment staffing efforts and as a result, the partnered with Escape Manor to design an escape room called “The Recruit.”

If participants successfully “escape” the room, they are given the opportunity to complete another puzzle. If they succeed at completing that puzzle, the participants are given the chance to voluntarily leave their information for the CSE – and potential earn themselves a job interview!

How can this example be applied to your own organization and your employee recruitment and retention efforts? Explore what your current employees are interested in and then work to create partnerships that are in alignment with your existing employees’ interests. Chances are good that if your top employees have a specific interest, your top candidates will probably share a similar interest. For example, if many of your star team members love adventure sports like rock climbing, consider partnering with a local rock climbing club to get your brand in front of prospective candidates.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Utilizing CRM to Increase Your Customer Experience

Using your CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) as a customer experience tool can allow you to drive your customer experience transformation. Most companies aren’t fully utilizing the capabilities of their CRM. Sometimes, the data in CRM isn’t as accurate as it could be. The other problem with CRMs is that often, different departments have different access to each customer’s data, which prevents the full picture of the customer from being relayed uniformly across the organization.

Here are three ways that CX leaders can use a CRM to improve customer experiences.

  1. Make it Easy for Customers to Do Business with You – Use customer data within the CRM to map journeys and eliminate pain points. Personalize experiences based on data to streamline interactions.
  2. Use Customer Data to Continually Improve Experiences – Gather and use customer feedback and track engagement trends. Consider where and when customers are interacting with you the most and then enhance those interactions.
  3. Use Customer Data to Look for New Ways to Foster Loyalty

Start the conversation with this question: What are the specific ways we are using our customer resource management tool to enhance the experience with our customers?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] Create an Artifact from the Gifts You Give

Many companies give gifts to their customers, but few do it well. When it comes to “strategic appreciation” – the act of letting your top clients know how much you really value them – the best book written on the topic is Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention by a great friend of the show, John Ruhlin. John doesn’t recommend the exact gifts to give, but rather he teaches the strategies and techniques to discover the right gifts for your clients.

The first gift Joey ever received from John Ruhlin left an indelible impression. John sent Joey and his family a beautiful, personalized set of knives and a companion knife block to store them. The knives have Joey and his wife’s name on them – as opposed to John’s name or the name of his company (The Ruhlin Group). The knives are “touched” twice a day – once when Joey’s wife prepares dinner, and once when Joey does the dishes. Each time Joey does the dishes he thinks fondly of John and his thoughtful gift.

Instead of gifting your clients with something that will register as a blip on the radar, choose an item that will serve as the artifact of your relationship, something that becomes woven into the very fabric of their lives.

John Ruhlin, author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention

When you give one of your client’s a quality gift, you don’t need to put your name on it. Your clients will remember you every time they see/use the gift because it was personal and meaningful. To apply the principles of strategic appreciation in your business, we recommend taking these two steps:

  1. Purchase and Read Giftology so you can learn the art of gifting!
  2. Reach out to John directly on his website, or if you prefer, leave us a voice message on the “Contact” page here at Experience This! and we’ll make a personal introduction.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 80 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This, where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan Gingiss: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer retention expert Joey Coleman-

Joey Coleman: And social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So, hold on to your headphones, it’s time to Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss how past experiences can trigger current emotions, how creative play can produce qualified employment candidates, and how strategic appreciation can keep your customers coming back for more.

Dan Gingiss: Gift-giving, code breaking and artifact creating, oh my.

THIS JUST HAPPENED: Crazy Legs Podcast Gift

Joey Coleman: Just because you have required elements of your business, doesn’t mean they need to be boring. 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.

I received a package the other day in the mail that to be honest, took my breath away.

Dan Gingiss: Really? I’m intrigued. What was it, Joey?

Joey Coleman: Well, I’m happy to tell you Dan, but first I need to share some backstory. A few months ago, I recorded a podcast with my friend Ben Oosterveld. He has a show called, From Within and it was a fun conversation about my book, Never Lose A Customer Again, and the power of creating remarkable customer experiences at every step of the customer journey.

So that you have more context, we’ll link to it in the show notes that experiencethisshow.com, if you’re interested in checking it out. During our conversation, Ben asked me a series of rapid fire questions, one of which was, what is something you’re nostalgic about from when you were a kid, a toy, a video game, et cetera? I told him about something that happened to me when I was about nine or 10 years old.

I loved GI Joe figures and back in the day, the packaging for GI Joe characters included a dossier card on the back that detailed some key facts and stories about these fictional characters. I loved cutting these cards off the back of the packages and keeping them. I would read them, I would review them when I was putting together teams of characters for special missions, it was great.

And after I’d been collecting for a while, I realized that there were no GI Joe characters from my home state of Iowa, let alone my hometown of Fort Dodge. And what could be seen as an early indicator of my, let’s see if we can just fix this problem, I decided to write a letter to Hasbro, the company that made GI Joe figures, to ask if they would consider making a GI Joe character from Iowa.

I never heard back from the company, but about a year later, a new GI Joe character was released named, Crazy Legs. And not only was he from Iowa, he was from Fort Dodge, Iowa. Now I don’t know if my letter influenced the toy makers at Hasbro. But what I do know is that as a kid, this quickly became one of my favorite characters.

So the other day I received a package and when I opened it, I found a mint condition, still in the box, Crazy Legs action figure with the dossier on the back that said he was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa. I kid you not, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

In the package was a note from Ben thanking me for being on his show and apologizing that it had taken him a while to thank me because it took him some time to track down the character on eBay, but that he hoped I would appreciate it.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. I have goosebumps listening to that story.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t that amazing?

Dan Gingiss: I was not a GI Joe fan as a kid, but I love that there is a GI Joey character from Fort Dodge, Iowa, named Crazy Legs. And I think that’s now going to be my new nickname for you.

Joey Coleman: There you go. Nice. Well, it’s interesting because my experience with receiving this Crazy Legs action figure from Ben, got me thinking about the key characteristics of good gifting in either a business or a personal setting. And I wanted to share some of those things that I’ve learned along the way with our listeners, especially as people start to think about end of year gifts for their clients and colleagues.

Number one, unexpected gifts are the best gifts. Many businesses talk about creating surprise and delight moments for their customers. The first word in that phrase is the key word, surprise. The fact that Ben’s package actually came six months after I had recorded his show, was better than had it come almost immediately.

I personally don’t think it’s ever too late to send a gift or a thank you and if the recipient is surprised to receive it, you’ve actually created a great emotional reaction.

Dan Gingiss: I definitely agree and I often say that surprise and delight is not a strategy. It has to be something that comes naturally because the harder you try to do it, the less personalized it becomes. And so I think what was great about this is that it was absolutely a surprise.

The six months thing certainly helped. And clearly he knew this, it was going to be something that was also a delight. But it’s not something that’s repeatable or scalable for him because his other customers or his other podcast guests are probably not GI Joe fans.

Joey Coleman: Agreed. Or they may be GI Joe fans, but they’re not necessarily Crazy Leg fans. So you’re right, that the personalization really is key. Which brings me to my second point, Dan. Thanks for that segue. The more personalized, the better.

Anyone can send a gift, but the more personal the gift, the happier the recipient. Now I know you mentioned you weren’t a GI Joe fan as a kid, Dan. What did you play? What was your toy, did you [crosstalk 00:06:18], like go to guy?

Dan Gingiss: Actually, I’m thinking here because now I want to go on this guy’s podcast because what I loved as a kid were pinball machines. So maybe I could get one of those.

Joey Coleman: Six months later, Dan gets, a freight truck pulls up to his house with a pinball machine. No, I hear you. You know, what’s interesting to me is how Ben pulled this story out of me that I hadn’t thought about in many years and then he acted on it.

Now this actually brings me to the third secret of quality gift-giving. Listen for the golden nuggets to fall from the sky, and I must confess, I borrowed that phrase from my dad. My dad would sit in the courtroom, he was a criminal defense lawyer and he would listen intently for the golden nuggets that might fall from the sky.

What I mean by that is the things that would be said by a witness or an expert or a police officer on the stand that he could catch, latch onto and make a central part of his argument before the jury, as to why they should find his client not guilty.

Now in the corporate world, this technique is not that different. We need to actively listen during our conversations to identify the interest and the hobbies and the personal likes and dislikes and desires and basically anything that is hyper personal about the person we’re speaking with, whether that’s a customer, an employee, a colleague, a vendor. We can then use that insight to identify personalized gifts and opportunities to surprise them.

Dan Gingiss: I think one of the companies that does this the best is a company that we’ve talked about several times on the podcast and I love to talk about onstage because it gets the best reaction of any company, which is chewy.com.

And in fact, true story, Joey and I were together yesterday and in the car I got a phone call from a really good friend of mine who recently had his dog die and he called to cancel his order for dog food. And the next day he and his wife got flowers in the mail from Chewy and were absolutely stunned.

And so it’s very similar in the sense that that was their golden nugget falling from the sky, is they heard that one of their customers had had this negative experience. And they acted on it.

Joey Coleman: So true, so true. So the gifts don’t necessarily have to come as a moment of delight. They can come as a moment of sorrow, but the key is to make them personalized. The final thing I’d like to note is that nostalgia works even better with each passing year.

I know that sounds a little silly, but by definition, nostalgia refers to a sentimental longing or a wistful affection for things from the past. What I found over time is that as I get older, the things that tie me back to my childhood, where I grew up, the old toys I played with, the games I played, the hobbies I had produced an even stronger emotional reaction for me.

So what can we learn from this story of an unexpected thank you gift for being a guest on a podcast? Why I think we can learn a few things. Number one, unexpected gifts are the very best gifts. Number two, the more personalized the better. Number three, don’t forget to listen for the golden nuggets to fall from the sky. And number four, nostalgia works even better with each passing year.

One final thought if I may. During that series of rapid fire questions on his From within podcast, Ben asked me, “What’s the best physical gift you’ve ever received?” Well, let’s just say that Ben’s gift of a vintage Crazy Legs, GI Joe figure just rocketed into the top three physical gifts I’ve ever received from anyone on any occasion. Thanks Ben. It meant the world to me.

CX PRESS – Recruits from the Escape Room

Joey Coleman: 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.

Okay Dan, this is a bit of a random question, but you’re used to it by now. Have you ever been to an escape room?

Dan Gingiss: I have not, but my kids have been pestering me to go and I really do want to try it out.

Joey Coleman: Oh man, you definitely need to go and I think you might even want to go more after you hear this story. So first of all, in case some of our listeners haven’t been to an escape room or aren’t familiar with that phrase. According to Wikipedia, an escape room is a game in which a team of players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.

The goal is often to escape from the room in which the game is being played. Craig Lorde recently wrote a story in the Ottawa Business Journal, titled, Solving Escape Manner’s new room could land you a job as a Canadian codebreaker.

The story is all about an Ottawa based business called Escape Manner and their new cybersecurity focused experience. The escape room partnered with the Communications Security Establishment or CSE, which is a federal agency in Canada that houses the Canadian government’s top code breakers.

Basically, it’s the Canadian version of the United States NSA, National Security Agency. Working with the CSE, the Escape Manor designed a new room called, The Recruit. In this game, participants will pretend to be a CSE freshman going through orientation when disaster strikes. As is usually the case in an escape room, the group will have to rely on quick thinking to solve the puzzles and save the day before it’s too late.

Dan Gingiss: It sounds amazing. Kind of sounds like Jack Bauer in an episode of 24.

Joey Coleman: Totally and it happens in a room. So because you mentioned you haven’t been, lots of times if you’re going to escape room, instead of like going out to a bar for the night or a restaurant, you get a couple of friends and you go to the escape room and it often takes anywhere from half an hour to two hours. You’re against a time limit, you’re solving clues, you’re having fun, you get to see which of your friends are smarter or clever than the others and you have a good time.

But what’s particularly interesting to me about the partnership between Escape Manor and the CSE is that CSE’s technical experts actually provided input on the puzzles and codes and the videos and imagery used in the game were filmed at CSE’s Ottawa headquarters. So this adds an incredible level of realism to the overall experience.

Dan Gingiss: As it turns out, the idea to collaborate on a cybersecurity and espionage themed escape room came up when CSEs marketing team was looking for new ways to spread the word about the agency’s work processing foreign signal intelligence and protecting Canadian computer networks.

Interestingly enough, as an agency that employs professional code breakers, CSE already had a lot of escape room fans among its staff. As such, the hope is that fans of escape rooms will potentially be good candidates for employment with CSE.

Joey Coleman: I absolutely love this idea and having worked in the intelligence community myself, I can honestly say that this sort of government/corporate partnership is something more countries should be considering.

In a world where cybersecurity is becoming more vital every day, finding creative and engaging ways to recruit new code breakers is something every intelligence agency on the planet is thinking about.

In addition, more and more corporations are bringing cybersecurity teams in house, so in the future, the need for these types of team members is only going to increase. But to be honest, this isn’t an entirely new idea.

Back in 1942 during the second world war, the British government worked with The Daily Telegraph to develop a very difficult crossword puzzle. Those who successfully solved it were encouraged to share their victory and later, at least as the story goes, some of these people were drafted by the war office to help break German codes.

Dan Gingiss: What the escape room is going to do to help CSE identify candidates isn’t that different than what was done back in World War II. If a group successfully completes the recruit game, they’ll be given the chance to do a bonus cryptographic puzzle.

If a player solves that puzzle, they will have the opportunity to voluntarily leave their contact information with the folks at Escape Manor, who will then pass it on to CSE. If a recruitment officer feels a candidate could be a good fit, they’ll reach out to discuss opportunities with the agency.

Joey Coleman: So how can you apply this kind of thinking to your organization? When it comes to recruiting new employees, consider the types of things your current employees like to do and then explore creative partnerships in a similar space. If your startup is filled with hard charging, type-A personalities who like to do adventure sports, you may want to partner with your local skydiving or mountain biking groups to find new candidates for employment.

If your business thrives based on a group of employees that are book club members after hours, you may want to offer to spend some of your marketing dollars to bring authors into your local community and then invite local book clubs to attend the event. Folks, you’re only limited by your own imagination. Who knows? Your next great hire could be hiding very close by.

START THE CONVERSATION – AVTEX

Joey Coleman:  Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation

This week’s Start the Conversation topic is CRM as a customer experience tool. Many organizations utilize CRM or customer relationship management systems to track relationships with customers and prospects.

But a CRM isn’t just a tracking tool. It’s also a customer experience tool. If you aren’t using a CRM and the data captured within it to drive your customer experience transformation, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to deliver better customer experiences.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three ways that CX leaders can use a CRM to improve customer experiences. One, make it easy for customers to do business with you. Use customer data within the CRM to map journeys and eliminate pain points and personalize experiences based on data to streamline interactions.

Two, use customer data to continually improve experiences. Gather and use customer feedback and track engagement trends, where and when customers are interacting with you the most. Three, use customer data to look for new ways to foster loyalty.

Joey Coleman: Now, what’s really interesting is when we think about CRM at most companies, especially big companies, two major problems emerge. Number one, not everyone is using the CRM, so it’s difficult to get the salespeople to put in data about prospects that people are actually serving the customers aren’t necessarily recording every interaction. And so the data that’s in the CRM isn’t always as accurate as it could or should be.

Secondly, there’s a huge problem in many organizations that the CRM for an individual customer or the data on an individual customer can only be accessed by certain departments. This blows my mind that a company would have different CRM software tools for different departments, but it happens all the time.

You need to have a unified approach. You need to have all the data about your prospects and your customers stored in one place that is accessible by everyone in your organization, not only for them to add to it as they learn new things and catch those little golden nuggets that may drop from the sky. But also to make sure that when they do interact with a customer, they are referencing the most up to date customer interactions recorded in the CRM.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about CRM as a customer experience tool, what are the specific ways we are using our customer resource management tool to enhance the experience with our customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with our friends at Avtex by going to experienceconversations.com. Again, that website is experienceconversations.com.

BOOK REPORT: Giftology by John Ruhlin

Joey Coleman: 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: I know we spoke about gifting earlier on in the show and it’s something that we both speak about regularly in our keynotes and workshops, but I think it would be in service to our listeners if we took some time to dive deep into this practice of giving gifts in a corporate setting.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, I wholeheartedly agree and this is a topic that comes up a lot, so I couldn’t think of a better way to discuss this than to do a book review of the best book I’ve come across on the topic of corporate gifting. In fact, it takes gifting beyond the usual behaviors and elevates it to strategic appreciation.

Now the book I’m speaking about is by my good friend, gifting expert, speaker and writer John Ruhlin. His book is titled Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals and Strengthen Client Retention.

It’s a quick read. To be honest, the first time I read it was cover a cover on a flight and it’s full of fantastic advice and examples for how to think differently about your business gifting activities.

Dan Gingiss: Let’s let John explain in his own words what his book Giftology is all about.

John Ruhlin: Most business leaders agree that relationships have been, are and always will be the most important asset they have for their professional careers in growing their businesses. However, most business owners don’t properly utilize the most simple, oldest and most powerful tool in their relationship building arsenal, the gift.

Giftology is this study of growing relationships through strategic gift giving. It is the science behind who to gift, when to gift, how to gift and the tried and true ROI driving method of what to gift. This is not a book about what gifts to buy. This is a book about what types of gifts create the most emotional impact, that get talked about the most and that when delivered with the right attitude, presentation and timing, win. over the entire inner circle, including assistance, family members and spouses.

Why is it important to get the inner circle on your side? Because five words about you from them, means more than 5,000 words from you about you. Giftology is the study of winning hearts, cutting through the noise and creating unbelievable experiences. Gifting is a business leader’s most powerful form of marketing for increasing referrals and cross selling and upselling opportunities.

And it is the marketing that up until now, has been the most poorly executed and vastly under utilized. If you’re a business leader who believes in generosity but doesn’t want to come across as [bribey 00:00:44] or back scratchy or quid pro quo, follow the methods of Giftology and watch as your ever deepening relationships, open doors and grant you access you never thought possible.

Joey Coleman: I love that. John is so right. Gifting is both an art and a science and it’s something that most businesses are giving little to no thought to. And I must confess, I’ve received some amazing gifts in the past and I think I’ve given some pretty great gifts too, but I am by no means as consistent about it as I could or should be.

Dan Gingiss: You know, I often bring up something that you mentioned in your book, because I see it so often, is that companies are giving branded or [logoed 00:00:44] items to their customers thinking that, that’s a gift.

And I seem to remember, I think it was you that said, or perhaps you were quoting John, that when you give somebody a branded item also known as swag, that that isn’t a gift, it’s marketing.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely.

Dan Gingiss: And that that’s a big difference.

Joey Coleman: It’s a gift for you. It’s a gift for your business to have them market. It’s not a gift for the recipient.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And so one of the passages that I loved in the book addresses this mistake directly. It says, and I’m quoting, “You would never go to someone’s wedding and give them a crystal vase from Tiffany and Company engraved with your name on it. So why would you give a corporate gift with your company name on it? Is it a promotion or a gift?”

This goes back to the idea of making sure something is personalized and not just branded. If it’s something all about them, it’s a gift. If it’s brand focused and all about you, with your colors, your logo, what you love, it’s a promotion.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, you’re right. This is something I talk about with clients and on stage all the time. Most companies are fooling themselves, that they’re gifting their customers. When in reality, they’re sending promotions to their customers. And if any of the listeners doubt the validity of this statement, I’d like you to imagine this scenario.

It’s Christmas morning or one of the nights of Hanukkah or your birthday and you receive a package from your grandmother. You open it up to find a sweater with her name on it. Now, you love your Nana and it was kind of her to get something for you, but you are not going to wear that sweater.

The same holds true for your customers. If you’re sending them apparel and swag that has your logo and marketing messages all over it, it’s not a gift. Stop it. Stop kidding yourself. Stop the behavior. It’s okay to send that stuff, but acknowledged that it’s a promotion.

As John noted in the passage that Dan has shared,. if it’s something all about them, it’s a gift. Now, speaking of favorite passages from the book, to be honest, I have dozens, but the one I want to share is this, “Instead of gifting your clients with something that will register as a blip on the radar, choose an item that will serve as the artifact of your relationship, something that becomes woven into the very fabric of their lives.”

Dan Gingiss: Wow. An artifact of your relationship, I definitely like the way John phrased that

Joey Coleman: I do as well, Dan, and you know, just the language he uses. Doesn’t that raise the bar when we think about gifting, instead of giving a gift, giving an artifact. It’s interesting, the first gift I ever received from John was indeed an artifact.

I had met him at an event, we had hit it off. We have similar messages and similar audiences. And a few days after I arrived back home, I received in the mail a custom engraved knife set for our kitchen. Now, these were beautiful Cutco butcher knives and a butcher block for them to go into. And the knives were all engraved with a message that said handcrafted exclusively for the Joey and Barrett-Coleman family.

Now, here’s the crazy thing. This gift is prominently displayed in our kitchen and it receives two touches every night. My wife uses the knives to prepare the meal and I clean and wash the knives every night after dinner. It’s truly become an artifact that serves as a reminder of my relationship with John and it’s been woven into the fabric of our day to day lives.

Dan Gingiss: I love it, but I’m sure that some of our listeners may be wondering how they can afford these types of gifts. How should they be thinking about their gifting budget?

Joey Coleman: Well, I’ve certainly wondered the same thing in the past, Dan. And I think it would actually be best if we turn to the author of Giftology, John Ruhlin, as he shares his thoughts on this specific question of how much to spend.

John Ruhlin: How much should I give is the number one question I am asked regarding Giftology. Gifting should be a part of your overall marketing and Biz Dev efforts. It should be something you actively budget for. If you do not have yet a budget, rely on the handwritten note, as we’ve talked about before.

But when you are able to invest money into gifting strategies, what you choose should be comparable to what it would cost for a nice dinner out with wine, great tickets to a ball game or a round a golf at an upscale club, an amount that typically falls somewhere between $100 and maybe $2,000 at the most.

Essentially, you’re gifting budget to retain and maintain clients should always fall somewhere between 2% and 10% of your current net profits or it should be a 20% redirect of your current marketing efforts overall.

Again, always ask yourself, what’s the most that I could do? Since it’s not uncommon for us to ask ourselves, what’s the least I can do without looking cheap, reprogramming your mindset might require some effort. Be honest. How many times have you been invited to a wedding or high school graduation and the first thing that comes into your mind is, do I really have to spend $250 or can I get away with $150?

Our natural tendency is to cut corners and go with the bare minimum. Most gifting strategies don’t work well because those implementing them are not willing to go out on a limb. They want the safe bets done as economically as possible. As a result, they typically reap few benefits. Remember that slow and steady wins the race. Be patient, invest in strategic gifting with a longterm view of the future as you would with a growth stock or asset allocation.

Over time, your investment will naturally compound. I always tell my clients, “If you’re not willing to commit to three years of hiring our outsource gifting agency, then I’m not going to guarantee any of the results.” You would never take a potential client out to dinner and demand their business before they’ve even opened the menu.

Giftology is a slow build, encouraging the relationship to develop over time. It’s an ongoing process. Again, it’s all about minimizing risk. People need to see what your true intentions are, that they’re genuine with no strings attached. Over time, you’ll tip the scales in your favor.

Don’t get me wrong, there are instances when you’ll see short term results, especially when you’re prospecting. But even when you invest a significant chunk of money to get someone’s attention, that’s what you’re getting, his or her attention. You’re not getting his or her loyalty or business. Not yet.

Joey Coleman: If you want to get someone’s attention and their loyalty or their business, you need to up your gifting game. There are two great ways to do that. Number one, go purchase and read John’s book, Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals and Strengthen Client Retention.

You can find it on Amazon or wherever you buy your books and we’ll link to it in the show notes at experiencethisshow.com. Secondly, you can reach out to John directly via his website, giftologyplan.com that’s Giftology, G-I-F-T-O-L-O-G-Y, plan, P-L-A-N, .com.

Or if you prefer, go to experiencethisshow.com and leave us a voice message on our contact page and we’ll make a personal introduction. John and his team are incredibly skilled at helping you maximize the impact of your gifting budget by finding personal and meaningful gifts that your clients will see as an artifact of your relationship.

Please don’t waste another dollar on an impersonal gift card or an everyone gets the same fruit basket, annual gift to your customers. Start practicing Giftology and get ready to take your customer experience to the next level.

Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience this.

Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more, Experience This.

Episode 78: Using Artificial Intelligence to Support Your Customers

Join us as we discuss using AI to train your customer service reps, the internal path to entrepreneurial peace, and the ways one customer can positively and negatively impact the experience of another customer.

Intervening, Introspection, and Interacting – Oh My!

[CX Press] How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Customer Service Agents to Communicate with More Clarity

As consumers, artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a bigger role in our lives every day. Interestingly enough, AI is also increasingly being used by customer experience professionals. Alejandro De La Garza detailed one of the new found uses for AI in his Time Magazine article, This AI Software Is ‘Coaching’ Customer Service Workers. Soon It Could Be Bossing You Around, Too.

In the article, De La Garza describes a new AI program – Cogito – and how it is helping customer service representatives to communicate more clearly, to empathize with frustrated callers, and to improve overall performance. Cogito recognizes tone, pitch, and various signs of discontentment in calls. It then gives realtime recommendations for customer service representatives to adjust their conversations – resulting in increased customer satisfaction. Historically, AI was used for operational, “behind the scenes” systems that were controlled by humans. Cogito is interesting because this new AI actually gives the humans using the software access to realtime advice and direction.

There’s a future where AI software like this becomes part of our normal day to day in conversations with parents, with spouses, and in preparing for job interviews.

Skylar Place, Chief Behavioral Scientist at Cogito

With great technological advances come new challenges. Technology is advancing so quickly that our brains are having to adapt more quickly than ever before. While many of us may believe our jobs are immune to AI, the truth is less certain. AI is advancing quickly, and no occupation is completely immune from AI’s impact. It’s time to shift the question from, “What if AI affects me?,” to “What will I do, and how will I adapt when AI becomes a regular part of my career?”

[Book Report] Find Encouragement and Inspiration as a Self Reliant Entrepreneur

In 1841, writer, speaker, and father of the transcendentalist movement Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Joey came across this quote in John Jantsch‘s fantastic new book, The Self Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. Most customer experience experts – if not entrepreneurs themselves – operate in an entrepreneurial environment. Jantsch works to educate, provoke, and inspire self reliant entrepreneurs through a series of daily readings and prompts that encourage readers to think deeper.

Reason of course, keeps us out in jail, prudently employed and modestly goal oriented, but achieving the impossible, implausible or heaven forbid, unconventional, better way of doing something requires setting unreasonable ambitions buttressed with unreasonable actions. In fact, progress depends on it. The only truly unreasonable act is to believe that everything is okay as it is.

John Jantsch, author of The Self Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business.

Entrepreneurs can benefit greatly by paying less attention to the fad of the moment, and giving more focus to the wisdom of the past. If you are ready to be motivated, challenged, and encouraged in your entrepreneurial endeavors, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Self Reliant Entrepreneur today.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Leveraging Data to Personalize Experiences

Data can sound like an incredibly tedious part of any business. However, customer data has many purposes, from tracking and charting transactions, to managing marketing outreach. By utilizing data gathered from customer interactions to personalize future experiences, a deeper and more committed relationship will often develop.

Here are three ways data can be used to personalize interactions with your customers:

  1. Using portal interaction data to automatically surface support content that better meets the customer’s needs and the most proved approach (historically) to achieving resolution.
  2. Streamlining contact center interactions by comparing the customer’s phone number or IP address against past interaction reports.
  3. Using trend data to identify common pain points and eliminating them, or creating specialized journeys for individual customer segments.

Start the conversation with this question: What customer data are we tracking, and are we effectively using it to drive better experiences?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Love It, Can’t Stand It] What Happens When One Customer’s Experience is Impacted by Another Customer’s Behavior

Sometimes, one customer’s actions can negatively impact another’s experience. Joey shared an unfortunate experience one of his friends had on an airplane, involving someone clipping their toenails in first class! While this was certainly not the airline’s fault, it obviously had an effect on his friend’s experience. When you are 35,000 feet in the air, you are subjected to the behavior of all the other people on your plane. Realizing that one customer can dramatically impact other customers’ experiences, here are a few things we love and cannot stand about airline travel:

Things We Can’t Stand:

  • Smelly food.
  • Passengers playing games or watching videos without wearing headphones.
  • People having loud conversations that people three rows away can hear.
  • Watching sensationalized news in an age where news is a negative trigger for many people.
  • Watching non-age appropriate content when seated next to a child. 
  • Cutting toenails or completing other personal grooming tasks like brushing hair, putting on deodorant, etc.
  • Taking off shoes and socks.

Things We Love:

  • The person in the window and the aisle seat giving the person in the middle both armrests without even discussing it – an unwritten rule of flying!
  • People who don’t recline their seat.
  • The person seated on the aisle graciously moving out of the way, so people can get in and out of their seat mid-flight. 
  • Passengers using the cabinet storage above them only after they’ve used the storage under their seat.
  • When people take time to read their seat-mates’ body language – do they want to talk, work, read, watch a movie? Whatever they want to do – let them do it!

It’s pretty easy to see how the behavior of one customer can dramatically impact customer experience – for better or for worse. And if that’s the case, what can companies do about it? One idea that is being implemented in many places is simply adopting a Code of Conduct for customers. These documents set clear expectations for what is allowed and what is not allowed – which can help insure that all customers have a great experience. Consider this: If your customers are in the same place, at the same time, how are YOU making sure they enjoy the experience without infringing on another customer’s enjoyment? 

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 78 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

Joey Coleman: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan Gingiss: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer attention expert Joey Coleman.

Joey Coleman: And social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss using AI to train your customer service reps. The internal path to entrepreneurial peace. And the ways one customer can positively and negatively impact the experience of another customer.

Dan Gingiss: Intervening, introspection, and interacting. Oh my.

[CX Press] Learn how AI is Guiding Customer Service Agents to Communicate with More Clarity

Joey Coleman: 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 CXpress where we read the articles so you don’t need to.

Dan Gingiss: We’ve spoken several times on the show about the way AI is becoming a bigger part of not only our everyday lives as consumers, but increasingly in our conversations as customer experience professionals.

Joey Coleman: Which is why we wanted to share an article we came across in Time Magazine by Alejandro Dela Garza. The article is titled This AI Software is Coaching Customer Service Workers. Soon, it could be bossing you around too. And it’s about an Artificial Intelligence or AI program named Cogito. Cogito is designed to help customer service workers communicate more clearly, empathize with frustrated callers and improve their overall experience. It does this by listening to the tone, pitch, word frequency and hundreds of other factors in customer service conversations. When it detects that something is wrong, an irritated customer or a call center agent taking too long to respond, or an agent who sounds bored, tired, irritated, rushed, or otherwise unpleasant, it displays a notification on the agent’s computer telling them to slow down or speed up or stop talking or start talking or try to sound more sympathetic.

Joey Coleman: Basically it’s like having a seasoned veteran listening in on your customer service calls and providing real time actionable advice on how to respond to the situations you’re facing.

Dan Gingiss: This is a pretty interesting application of AI in the customer service arena. Up until now we’ve seen AI play a more behind the scenes role as it’s used to analyze data, track behaviors and route inquiries to the best channel for resolution. This new software Cogito is pushing beyond that. While once AI was seen as a tool largely under human control, Cogito is an example of an AI use case that is beginning to tell humans what to do.

Joey Coleman: You know Dan, I can definitely see some pros and cons to this type of tool. While on one hand it seems that Cogito can give someone a nudge in the right direction. It starts to get a little bit problematic if everybody relies on a nudge instead of changing their ways. Now, to be honest, the customer service representatives discussed in the article felt that in general the program is useful. Managers at one company said that using Cogito in their call centers improved first call resolution metrics by 3.5%, improved customer satisfaction by 13% and helped agents reduce average call time.

Dan Gingiss: I can’t help but think of my dependence on my GPS. The more I use it, the more I depend on it.

Joey Coleman: Turn now, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: And yes. And I don’t even bother trying to figure out the directions myself anymore.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And I think that is a little bit of the problem, right? Because what happens when AI tools are, for lack of a better way of putting it, so involved with the conversation that customer service representatives are having, that the customer service representative doesn’t need to improve. They don’t need to get better. They don’t need to learn because the AI is nudging them the right way all the time.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Well, interestingly enough, everyone in the articles seem to think that we were still pretty far away from AI tools like this taking over call centers. The Cogito scientists felt that it was at least a decade away and the call center representatives noted that they didn’t feel threatened that Cogito would take their jobs because, and I’m quoting here, “People want to speak to a real person.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. One of the problems I see with this type of thinking is that humans have an incredibly difficult time understanding the exponential change that is happening on the planet today. I mean, if we look at science, our brains developed over millennia in an evolutionary fashion and now change is happening at an exponential rate. And our brains just aren’t designed to be able to comprehend the speed and the significance of the changes. I had an experienced not too long ago, Dan, where I was sitting at a table with a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, a financial advisor, and me, a professional speaker.

Dan Gingiss: It sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke.

Joey Coleman: It does sound like the beginning of a horrible joke, right? But what was interesting is we were talking about AI and we were going around the table. And what was fascinating to observe is that everyone at the table could see how all the other professions were going to be eliminated except for theirs. They would say, “Oh yeah, we’re not going to need doctors. We’re not going to do to lawyers, but accountants. You know accountants will still be necessary.” And it was fascinating to watch how people just couldn’t comprehend when it was that close to home. And I have to admit, I kind of felt that same type of thing going on in the article when the call center representative who was quoted was like, “Well, people want to speak to a real person.” Well, not all people, and not if that person doesn’t do what they hope they’re going to do. And not if that doesn’t resolve the way they think it’s going to resolve.

Joey Coleman: It’s just interesting to think about how these technologies are changing faster than our human brains are.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I’m a believer that AI can be really useful in helping humans do their jobs better. So I love the concept of having like an AI machine next to a call center agent telling them all of the details of the customer’s previous experience with the company, so that they don’t have to be on four different screens looking that stuff up. And then the agent can really spend the time giving that human to human interaction that I do think customers want. If you extend that out to a doctor, for example, there was this story about how IBM’s Watson detected some disease in somebody that 15 doctors couldn’t find. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Watson is going to do the surgery. I think it can definitely play that role in having access to so much data and being able to crunch it at a rate that our brains simply can’t handle, but next to a human that makes all of us that much smarter and that much better at our jobs.

Joey Coleman: I think it does, but again, with all great new technological advances come new challenges. One of the things that I thought was interesting in the article is they told the story of a woman who explained that after working with Cogito for a series of time, when she was in conversation with her boyfriend, he noticed a change in her speech patterns.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, wow.

Joey Coleman: That she was speaking more directly, that there wasn’t as much fluff or nuance. And the author alluded to the fact that isn’t it the fluff and the nuance that makes conversation between humans, human. And so what happens when we strip all of that away to just be about call times and resolution and, oh, the AI can anticipate exactly what the individual wants. It makes a little less personal empathy and personal  connection I think.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I can definitely see that happening. So Cogito’s chief behavioral scientist Skyler Place had some interesting and somewhat shocking observations about how the world will change in the next three years. Place observed, and I’m quoting, “There’s a future where AI software like this becomes part of our normal day to day in conversations with parents, with spouses and in preparing for job interviews.” The team at Cogito is already using an AI application internally to coach and advise on everyday employee interactions, but the CEO is quick to acknowledge that they aren’t, “Quite yet sure if the general population is ready for this.”

Joey Coleman: Not quite sure if the population is ready for this? Yeah, I don’t even think we’re close to ready for any of this, Dan. But I think at the end of the day it’s coming whether we like it or not. And so the question needs to shift, I believe from a place of are we ready for this to happen? To, what are we going to do when this happens? Because it’s no longer a question of if, it’s just a question of when.

[Book Report] Find Encouragement and Inspiration as a Self Reliant Entrepreneur

Joey Coleman: We spend hours and hours, nose deep in books. We believe that everything you read influences the experiences you create. So we’re happy to answer our favorite question. What are you reading?

Joey Coleman: In 1841 Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer, speaker, and father of the Transcendentalist Movement wrote the following. “Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoreous was misunderstood and Socrates and Jesus and Luther and Copernicus and Galileo and Newton and every pure and why spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Dan Gingiss: Have I stumbled into the wrong show? This is an interesting way to start things off. I don’t think we’ve ever opened a segment here on the Experience This Show with a philosophical quote, let alone one from the 1800s.

Joey Coleman: I think we have Dan and I appreciate you and our loyal listeners for humoring me. But I thought this quote was interesting for two reasons. First, I think it describes most people working in customer experience today. I think we’re frequently misunderstood by our coworkers and peers and colleagues, and yet I think that’s great. Customer experience while familiar to all of us is still a pretty evolving discipline in the corporate setting. But second, while I’ve heard that quote I shared before I came across it recently while working my way through a book that my good friend John Jantsch wrote. The book is called The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. Now, you may be familiar with John’s Duct Tape Marketing series of books, which are fantastic by the way. Especially Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.

Joey Coleman: But his newest book is a bit of a deviation in terms of topic and format. And so I wanted to discuss it in this segment of what are you reading?

Dan Gingiss: Okay, I’ll bite. How is it different from his other books?

Joey Coleman: Well, the self-reliant entrepreneur is more akin to a workbook than a typical business book, but the overall goal is pretty similar. It’s meant to inspire, to encourage, to provoke, to educate. Each day of the year receives its own entry, which includes inspirational writing from a transcendentalist movement writer, basically enough to get you thinking, pondering. And then each day’s entry concludes with a challenge question, asking you to apply the thinking from that day’s entry to your own life. Now, what does this have to do with customer experience? You might be wondering. Well, to be honest, many people who work in customer experience are either entrepreneurs or within their own organization, they play a entrepreneurial role leading the change to create organizational change.

Joey Coleman: Being an entrepreneur or even entrepreneurial can be quite difficult at times and frankly can feel pretty lonely. The book with its powerful self-reliance message, I think could be pretty useful to folks in those positions.

Dan Gingiss: But based on the way you describe the book, you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to get value it seems. Purchasing a copy to read the incredible text and make time to answer the questions at the end of the day’s entry could provide some fantastic introspection for anyone.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I think it could Dan, and that’s again why I was excited to talk about the book a little bit. I think there’s something for everybody in John’s book, The self-reliant entrepreneur. You should definitely consider picking up a copy on Amazon at Barnes & Noble or your local Indie bookstore. In passing I’ll share another quote from the book that I think describes a mantra that all CX professionals can follow. “Reason of course, keeps us out in jail, prudently employed and modestly goal oriented, but achieving the impossible, implausible or heaven forbid, unconventional, better way of doing something requires setting unreasonable ambitions buttressed with unreasonable actions. In fact, progress depends on it. The only truly unreasonable act is to believe that everything is okay as it is.” Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw put it this way, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. Today pledge to free yourself from the limitations of reason and give yourself permission to dream of things no reasonable person could.”

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Leveraging Data to Personalize Experiences

Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation.

Joey Coleman: This week, start the conversation topic is, leveraging data to personalize experiences. Customer data can be used for many purposes, including tracking interactions, charting transactions, and managing marketing outreach. Data gathered during customer interactions can also be used to personalize future experiences which often foster a deeper relationship with the customer.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three ways data can be used to personalize interactions. One, using portal interaction data to automatically surface support content that better meets the customer’s needs and historical approach to seeking resolutions. Two, streamlining contact center interactions by comparing the customer’s phone number or IP address against past interaction reports. Three, using trend data to identify common pain points and eliminating them or creating specialized journeys for individual customer segments.

Joey Coleman: We talked a lot on the show, Dan, about the power of personalization. And I think this has been proven time and time again. I know as a consumer when I call in to a call center and because I’m calling from my cell phone number, they recognize that and they answer the phone and call me by name and immediately get to anticipate what I might be calling about. Like for example, when I call Delta and they recognize me and they say, “Oh, Mr. Coleman, are you calling about your flight tomorrow to LaGuardia?” It just speeds the conversation. It makes me feel like I matter. It makes me feel like they actually care about my business. And so I think every business should spend more time thinking about creative ways to personalize their interactions.

Dan Gingiss: For sure. I mean, as consumers or even as a business’s clients, we know that the companies we do business with have data on us, so you might as well use it.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely.

Dan Gingiss: And use it to our benefit. And now for this week’s question about leveraging data to personalize experiences, what customer data are we tracking and are we effectively using it to drive better experiences? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex at experienceconversations.com. That website again is experienceconversations.com.

[Love It, Can’t Stand It] What Happens When One Customer’s Experience is Impacted by Another Customer’s Behavior

Joey Coleman: Sometimes the customer experience is amazing and sometimes we just want to cry. Get ready for the roller coaster ride in this edition of, I love it, I can’t stand it.

Joey Coleman: I was thinking about something the other day while I was flying, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: Congratulations Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I set myself up for that one, didn’t I? Didn’t I? Nice. Oh, well actually what I was thinking about was how on an airplane, one customer’s experience can be dramatically impacted by another customer’s behavior. And when that happens, the affected customer associates that experience not only with the other customer who quote unquote, caused it, but it also spins off onto the airline for better or for worse. And this got me thinking that it would be interesting to explore all the ways someone’s experience on an airplane could be dramatically impacted by the other customers. In short, how one company’s customer experience could be completely out of their control and what a company could do to monitor and adjust these feelings as need be if another customer infringes on the experience they’re trying to create.

Dan Gingiss: I’m guessing there might’ve been an incident on this plane that triggered this idea.

Joey Coleman: There was, but to be honest, it didn’t happen to me personally. I was on the plane thinking about a story a friend had told me, who this happened to them. They spend a lot of time on planes. They’re professional speakers as well. And at the risk of grossing anyone out, I will share this story, but I would encourage you folks, please stop eating or drinking if you’re doing either of those things right now while you’re listening to this show because you’re probably not going to like this story.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. Putting the coffee cup down. I’m getting a little nervous here Joey.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, let’s, let’s not have a spit take. And this is pretty intense. Okay, here it goes. My friend was flying in first-class here in the United States and noticed that a gentleman across the aisle and a row ahead of her had taken off his shoes while they were in mid flight. He then proceeded to take off his socks and just when my friend thought it could get no worse, the other passenger started clipping his toenails.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, come on.

Joey Coleman: I swear it’s a true story, it was terrible for everyone involved because not only were the toenails being clipped, but it’s not like they were being clipped onto a paper towel, they weren’t just being clipped onto the floor and onto the other people. And I don’t know how it works for you all, but sometimes when you cut a toenail, it doesn’t just gently fall right below the toe, it shoots off. There literally were toenails shooting across first-class.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, thank you for making me put that coffee down.

Joey Coleman: I know, right?

Dan Gingiss: I’m absolutely disgusted right now.

Joey Coleman: And this is why I thought my friend was lamenting that the flight attendants didn’t do anything about it. And they also commented on the fact that given this airline’s reputation for having maybe not the best attention to detail, that would those toenails be picked up by the cleaning crew or could it be several flights later and someone would still be finding the biological matter of a passenger who flew several flights before.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. I’m kind of in shock. Let’s change the subject.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough. Okay. Here’s the thing, and again, apologies to any of the listeners that were as disturbed and disgusted by that story as much as Dan and I were. But let’s change gears a little bit, and no pun intended, pull this back to 35,000 feet. I’d like to talk about all the things that can happen on a plane, stemming from one customer’s behavior, impacting another customer’s behavior. And I think what we can show here is how this impact can be positive or negative. And as a result, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the things we love and can’t stand. So Dan, why don’t you kick us off?

Dan Gingiss: Good. I want to go first.

Joey Coleman: All right?

Dan Gingiss: I cannot stand it when people bring smelly food onto a plane because sometimes it’s great and it smells like nice French fries and sometimes it’s a little fancier of a meal or a little spicy or what have you. And it permeates the entire plane.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, it really does. And if you don’t like that particular type of cuisine, if you like that type of cuisine, it’s usually fine.

Dan Gingiss: Well no, because then you’re hungry and you really want it.

Joey Coleman: But fair enough, fair enough. But if you don’t like that type of cuisine, it can get really ugly really fast.

Dan Gingiss: It’s bad.

Joey Coleman: The one that is showing up pretty much every time I fly now that is just ridiculous, is when passengers are playing games or watching videos on their phone and they’ve decided not to wear headphones. Because they’re like, I’m sure you want to hear the cards sliding across as I play solitaire. The little… Honestly?

Dan Gingiss: I kind of like that sound.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh, you like it?

Dan Gingiss: Only when I’m playing.

Joey Coleman: You like it at the beginning. But after two hours of a flight… The other day I finally was, “I can’t handle it anymore.” And I actually leaned forward and said to the person, “You do realize that this entire section can hear you’re playing solitaire, right.” And the person was like, “Oh no, sorry.” And I’m like, “How did you not know? Are you so numb and so unaware of your own behaviors?” Okay. I’m getting worked up.

Dan Gingiss: Speaking of which, I cannot stand it when there’s someone on the plane that believes that he is the most interesting man in the world and is going to talk loudly and share his knowledge with us for pretty much the entire flight.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and I love the gender specificity of that statement because it’s always a guy. It’s never a woman pontificating about the deals she’s closing and all the promotion she’s going to get. No, it’s some dude just harassing the person next to him. Totally agree. It’s ridiculous. One that I think I’ve observed people doing lately on flights is watching their favorite news channel, which is often fairly sensationalized in an age where news is a negative trigger for many people. I’ve actually seen the energetic shift when somebody flips on a news channel in front of them that clearly isn’t the news channel preference of the person sitting next to them and suddenly they realize they might be on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, and I’m not going to go back to your opening story because I’m still disgusted. But I have also seen people perform other personal grooming activities on a plane. Flossing teeth, putting on deodorant, that sort of thing.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. the putting on deodorant while sitting in the chair that that one’s, it’s rare, but when it happens, I’m just like, “How is this happening? Is somebody filming this? Are we in an episode of the Twilight zone or funniest home videos because I’m confused.”

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. There’s a bathroom on the plane for a reason.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I’ll say the last thing. Let’s do one more that we can’t stand. The last one is one that I’m personally sensitive to because I have a six year old and a three and a half year old. It’s when the person sitting next to us on the plane is watching clearly non age appropriate content when they have a child or children sitting next to them. Now thankfully when I fly with my kids we take up a row, so it’s not really an issue. But I have seen unaccompanied minors flying next to again, mostly guys who decided that they want to watch something like John Wick 3, which is an incredibly violent movie sitting next to two six-year-old twins and I’m thinking you do realize that they see the screen, right?

Dan Gingiss: Although to be fair, I’m going to push back on this one because you could flip the script and say that to that guy, the problem is the thing he can’t stand is having to sit next to two six-year-olds, right? Because now have to dictate what he gets to watch.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. But also when you get on the plane and there are 50 movies to choose from, I think it’s okay to say, “Look, I don’t care if you watch something that’s maybe a little more adult in its nature, but it doesn’t have to be pushing the adult with a capital A, boundaries.”

Dan Gingiss: True.

Joey Coleman: All right, so that’s enough bad news. What about the impact of positive experiences? What are some of the things you love, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Well, I appreciate it when the person on the window seat or the aisle seat understands that the person in the middle is really uncomfortable and allows them to have the armrests or at least most of the armrests rather than trying to fight them for it and make their experience even more miserable.

Joey Coleman: Oh, yes. We have talked about this before on the show when we talked about the changes that are coming to the middle seat. Yes. The rule is the person in the middle seat gets both armrests. I also really like it when people don’t put their seats all the way back or sometime, the best ones don’t put them back at all. It’s so ridiculous when I’ll be sitting on my laptop and next thing I know either the laptop is being jammed into my chest or it’s flipping off the table because the person in front of me has decided to throw their seat back with careless abandon, not even… I don’t know, if you’re going to put it back, at least go back slow, but just throw it back like, “Hey, don’t mind me while I sit in your lap?”

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think the sounds like you’re taking an, I can’t stand it and just flipping it into an I love it. Making it negative.

Joey Coleman: That’s kind of what happened right there. That’s true. That’s true.

Dan Gingiss: Tell us about your biggest mistake in business. Well, my biggest mistake is that I’m just too good at what I do.

Joey Coleman: It’s called taking a negative and turning it into a positive, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: But actually I believe that the airplane should just stop making the seats go back.

Joey Coleman: Agreed. 100%

Dan Gingiss: Like today with the amount of leg room there is, it’s not necessary to go back even three or four inches, just to stop it. Don’t make it [.

Joey Coleman: 100%.

Dan Gingiss: But I also appreciate… I love sitting on the aisle because I get a little extra leg room and can put the legs out into the aisle, et cetera. But when somebody wants to get up, I always stand up so that it’s easier for them to get out.

Joey Coleman: Of course it’s because you’re a decent human being.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And I like it when people do that to me versus me having to… That whole dance of trying to climb over someone and not touch them or their things. Is just so uncomfortable and all they have to do is stand up and it would eliminate that.

Joey Coleman: It really would. Another thing I love is when passengers decide to follow the rules and use the storage above their seats, only after they’ve used the storage under the seat in front of them. It never ceases to amaze me when you get on the plane. And lots of times I’m doing quick turns and quick connections. So I’ve got my carry-on backpack as well as my small carry-on bag and I get on the plane and the cabin space above or the luggage space above is taken by tiny purses and tiny backpacks and little things where I’m like, “Seriously, that could go under the seat.” So I love it when people do that.

Dan Gingiss: I do too. And I also appreciate when somebody takes the time to read their seatmates body language. And what I mean by that is, do they want to talk and be spoken to or do they just want to read and work quietly and watch a movie? It’s oftentimes people will act the way they want to act, not how the receiving person wants them to.

Joey Coleman: Yes, the pro tip on that folks. Get the headphones out of your bag immediately upon being seated. Put those in if you want to avoid the conversations. Well, I think what’s interesting here is, all of these examples are about the airlines, but let’s not get caught up in thinking that this is only an airline problem. Many of our listeners have interactions where they can have more than one customer in their place of business at the same time, restaurants, movie theaters, doctor’s offices, and someone who is a customer that’s not you, could be impacting or influencing your experience. And so I think there’s an opportunity for businesses to think a little more strategically about what kind of behaviors happen within their place of business from other customers.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I agree. And I think this is also true in the B2B world too. Is that we do business with companies and sometimes those companies annoy us in how their employees behave. Maybe they email us too often. Maybe the salesperson is calling me too often and I’ve asked him to stop or that I only want to speak to him once a week or whatever it is. You have to be able to read the other people in your environment and act accordingly.

Joey Coleman: Interestingly enough, it’s pretty easy to see how the behavior of another customer could dramatically impact your customer experience for better or for worse. What can a company do about it? Well, one option would be to adopt a code of conduct for your customers. Set clear expectations on what’s allowed and not allowed, and then be ready to celebrate or enforce the code as need be. We’re seeing this more and more with youth sporting events, for example, that have specific rules around parental behavior as opposed to child behavior.

Joey Coleman: Which is so needed, so needed. And I think it’s just a matter of time before we actually see this start to show up more in customer environments like restaurants and retail establishments and modes of transportation. Ask yourself this, if your customers are in the same place at the same time, how are you making sure that they enjoy the experience without infringing on another customer’s enjoyment?

Joey Coleman: Wow, thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about, experience. And we want you to be part of the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more.

Joey Coleman: Experience-

Dan Gingiss: This.