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!

Episode 88: How to Make Your Customers Go Away

Join us as we discuss how to make your customers go away, the exploding popularity of live chat, and how one retailer offers “returns made easy”… just not the one that advertises it.

Ignoring, Chatting, and Returning – Oh My!

[What Are You Reading?] What Not to Say

The co-founder and Emeritus chairman of Ritz Carlton says that Micah Solomon is his “go-to expert on exceptional customer service and building a customer-focused culture.” In Micah’s new book – Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away. The Simple Playbook for Delivering the Ultimate Customer Service Experience – we learn how that title was earned as Micah details top tips for creating exceptional service.

Micah talks about a system for customer-friendly language. For example, he says instead of saying, “Please hold,” a customer service agent should say, “May I please place you on a brief hold,” because it’s important that customers who are calling know that they have a choice whether to be put on hold or not.

I share the language to use and avoid when talking to customers, how to recruit, hire, onboard, train, and inspire the best employees, the ones that you really want in your customer facing positions. I talk about how to win over complainers and even talk about mystery shopping yourself to discover how your company is actually treating customers.

Micah Solomon, author of “Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away

Micah suggests changing the entire psychology of your customer engagements and then proceeds to provide step-by-step advice for how to do it. Check out Micah’s new book if you’re looking for detailed instructions for creating exceptional service.

[CX Press] Live Chat Benchmark Report 2020

Each year, Comm100 looks at millions of live chat sessions across its platform to identify trends and glean a sense of customer satisfaction across live chat tools. These results are then tallied and presented in a great report.

Looking back at 2019 live chat data for more than 56 million chats worldwide, there were plenty of surprises to be found… plus some not so surprising patterns that continue from previous years.

Jeff Epstein, Vice President of Marketing at Comm100

The report found that chat duration averaged just under 12 minutes, which is 2% longer than a year ago. Nearly 60% of Comm100’s live chat customers use canned messages. Chats per agent per month range from 597 at companies with more than 50 agents to a whopping 2,137 chats per agent per month for companies with 11 to 25 agents. Nearly three-quarters of all live chats in 2019 (or more than 42 million chats) were conducted on mobile devices – a massive increase of 82% over the year before!

[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] Holiday Returns

Dan had several returns to make after the holiday season and thought it was fascinating to observe how different the return policies were at different retailers.

He tested the process of returning an Amazon item at a Kohl’s store. Although the sign at Kohl’s advertised “returns made easy,” he found that the sign promised something different than what he experienced. Dan stood in a return line behind more than 25 people and waited for what felt like an eternity. When he finally got to the front of the line, Dan was told that he could not return both the Kohl’s item and the Amazon item to the same cashier. He actually had to stand in a separate line to return the Amazon item. Doh!

Looking beyond return policies, every business can learn from this interaction:

  1. Don’t promise something will be easy if your process is not easy.
  2. No matter how easy it is, think of ways to make it easier.
  3. If the return is involuntary, meaning the product is defective, damaged, or broken, you should do everything in your power to get a working item in the customer’s hands as soon as possible and make the return or exchange process exceedingly easy.
  4. Make all of your policies customer-centric instead of company-centric.

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 88 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. Don’t hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

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

Joey:                            Join us as we discuss how to make your customers go away, the exploding popularity of live chat, and how one retailer offers returns made easy, just not the one which advertises it.

Dan:                             Ignoring, chatting, and returning. Oh my.

Joey:                            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:                             I am super excited about today’s book report because I’ve been following this guy’s work for a long time. Micah Solomon is known as the customer service turnaround expert and he works as a customer service and customer experience consultant to some of the best companies in the world. In fact, on the back of his new book is a quote from the co-founder and Emeritus chairman of a little company called Ritz Carlton.

Joey:                            Oh, I’ve heard of them actually.

Dan:                             I thought you might. Who says that Micah is “his go-to expert on exceptional customer service and building a customer-focused culture.” Micah’s new book which just came out is called Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away. The simple playbook for delivering the ultimate customer service experience. We’re thrilled at Micah, recorded some exclusive audio for us.

Joey:                            Oh la la, exclusive audio.

Dan:                             You can only hear it here on the Experience This show folks. Here’s Micah talking about his new book.

Micah Solomon:            Hello, my name is Micah Solomon. I’m the author of a new book called Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away. The simple playbook for delivering the ultimate customer service experience. Let me tell you real briefly who I am, what I do. I’m a customer service turnaround expert, which means I spend my time consulting, speaking and training for a variety of quite fabulous companies across many industries. I help them transform their customer service, their customer experience, their company culture, and ultimately their bottom line results.

Micah Solomon:            I’ve included as much of that experience and insight as I could into my new book because even today, so many companies miss the mark when it comes to delivering exceptional customer service. I provide my readers with a practical step by step guide to crafting a customer service experience and a customer focused culture that can transform the performance and the brand reputation of just about any business, large or small or medium and sustainably improve the bottom line.

Micah Solomon:            I’ve included case studies and stories and interviews that I personally assembled from some of today’s best known, most beloved customer focused companies like Cleveland Clinic, USA Insurance, Ritz Carlton hotel company, Nordstrom, as well as some newer names that are doing fantastic job as well, like Dry Bar and Mod Pizza.

Micah Solomon:            I share the language to use and avoid when talking to customers, how to recruit, hire, onboard, train and inspire the best employees, the ones that you really want in your customer facing positions. I talk about how to win over complainers and even talk about mystery shopping yourself to discover how your company is actually treating customers. I really look forward to sharing this book with you. Thank you.

Joey:                            Ooh, I love me some good exclusive audio, Dan. Thanks for that. Micah. Solomon hints to his readers that the payoff for reading the book will be three fold. Number one, you’ll retain a higher proportion of your existing customers. Number two, you’ll increase per customer spending, and number three, you’ll attract new customers and you’ll do it all in a way that is almost entirely immune to being knocked off by your competitors.

Dan:                             Which is why we say that customer experience is the last true differentiator.

Joey:                            The ultimate differentiator.

Dan:                             So I also like this book because it is actually pretty funny, which I applaud Solomon for it because that in itself is unexpected from a business book. So I want to share my favorite passage and our listeners probably know by now that I love words and language so this part stuck out to me immediately.

Dan:                             Micah talks about a system for customer friendly language. And I’m quoting here, “when I undertake a customer service initiative, I typically develop for my client company a simple system, really just a phrasebook of words and phrases to avoid when interacting with customers. Each one paired with a preferable alternative or alternatives.” And then he goes into a bunch of examples that I want to share with you because I thought they were really interesting.

Dan:                             For example, he says instead of saying, “please hold,” a customer service agent should say, “may I please place you on a brief hold,” because it’s important that customers who are calling know that they have a choice whether to be put on hold or not.

Joey:                            Wait, we have a choice. Like I never feel like I have a choice in those scenarios. Right.

Dan:                             You don’t, but generally speaking, when somebody asks you, “can I put you on hold?” You say, “yes.”

Joey:                            Right. Exactly.

Dan:                             So but it’s interesting, because …

Joey:                            But by making it feel like a choice, we feel better about the fact that we’re being put on hold.

Dan:                             Yes. We’ve changed the whole psychology of the engagement. He then says don’t refer to elderly people as young lady or young man. It is insensitive and particularly insulting. And I have to add that there are two of these that actually really annoy the heck out of me. One of them happened to me just yesterday and I don’t know if this just happens to short bald guys or not. Maybe as a tall, wonderfully haired gentlemen, you don’t get this. But when somebody in a service industry refers to me as boss, I find that incredibly insulting. And unless I’m actually their boss, in which case then, then I’m okay with that.

Joey:                            Then you’re okay being called boss.

Dan:                             And I also don’t like when people refer to groups of adults as kids, you know, like, Hey kids, you know, or whatever. I find that to be insulting as well. And so I get what he’s saying with the elderly. And then the last thing is don’t say are we ready to order now or how are we doing today? If you mean you say you, not we. Don’t talk to adults as if they’re toddlers. So same theme there, but I definitely related to that.

Joey:                            Words matter. I love it. You know, my favorite passage from the book is from a section called the power of wow, and I quote, “a wow experience is when service goes beyond fulfilling basic customer expectations and does so in a creative, unexpected way. By creating a wow experience, you give rise to a story in the mind of your customer. Since humans tend to think and remember in terms of stories, the wow approach is one of the most effective ways to build lasting connections with customers. These wow stories have a good likelihood of living on in memory, encouraging customers to not only return, but to share their memories of the experience with friends, family, and coworkers, and through social media to the world.”

Joey:                            What I love about this quote is it’s so true and we’ve talked about this on the show many, many times. In fact, while Dan and I were riding in an Uber to the recording studio this morning to record this episode, we were talking with our driver and he mentioned that he was a musician and talked about a company called Sweetwater.

Joey:                            Now, Sweetwater sells gear for musicians, instruments, cables, etcetera. And he was relating this story about how he bought a cable, just a simple connector cable, and was shocked when the folks at Sweetwater called him a few days later to make sure that he received it, to check in on how it worked, to make sure everything was good and he’s like, it was just a cable. What I love about that is they created a wow moment by calling when it was unexpected that they would call for something that was really a small purchase. They made a customer for life.

Dan:                             And of course what he told us is now anytime he wants to order any musical equipment or supplies, he goes to Sweetwater.

Joey:                            Exactly. And I imagine, and we actually asked him about this, have you ever told this story before? And he said, well, I’ve told this story a ton to all the musicians I know. Folks, the best word of mouth marketing and advertising that you can buy doesn’t actually cost you money. It just costs you thoughtfulness. You have to pay attention and reach out and create those kinds of wow moments that will get your customers talking.

Joey:                            So interestingly enough, speaking of Sweetwater, before we recorded this segment, we were talking to our amazing sound engineer, Taylor, and he shared with us a unique story about Sweetwater and the fact that they’re famous in the industry with musicians.

Taylor:                          Yeah. It’s almost like a running joke at times of how personalized and how insistent their followup customer services, because not only do they call to follow up after you’ve made a purchase to check on how you liked it, it’s the same person every time. You have one dedicated, I think they call it sales engineer, who’s always the one who calls you.

Taylor:                          So for the last probably decade, anytime I’ve ever bought anything on Sweetwater Sound, I get a call from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it’s Nick Church from Sweetwater Sound, just checking in Taylor to see how you like that guitar strap you bought. And I’m like, it’s a guitar strap. It’s great. I love it. Nick. Thanks man.

Joey:                            What I love is that Nick has his wicked Aussie accent, but he lives in Indiana. Absolutely. Fantastic. So yeah, when you create these wow moments, people talk about it.

Dan:                             Shout out to you Nick Church.

Joey:                            But enough about my favorite passage. Let’s go to Micah Solomon and his favorite passage from the book.

Micah Solomon:            Unfortunately, the focus and attentiveness that are common when a business has only a few customers tend to slide when the customer roster begins to balloon. Employees stop signing their thank you notes by hand. Managers busy themselves with paperwork in their office hideaways rather than coming out into the open to greet even a long time or a VIP customer, and they’re certainly nowhere to be found if a customer conflict ever erupts and needs smoothing over.

Micah Solomon:            Jackie and Joanne, the quirky, charismatic telephone operators who knew the name and backstory of every customer who called in are edged into retirement and replaced. Although in reality, they’re irreplaceable with low paid rookies or a voice jail system. Is such lowering of standards inevitable? Decidedly not.

Micah Solomon:            If you stubbornly stick to your guns, the mantra you’ll need for this is, if you would have done it for your first customer, you’ll find a way to keep doing it for your 10,000, without rushing, without cutting corners, and without doing anything that would make a customer feel less than fully valued by your business.

Micah Solomon:            Remember, you need to never stop believing in the importance of the individual customer. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there’s an infinite supply of new customers out there for the taking. If only your marketing and sales departments would do their jobs. Tell yourself instead that not only are customers a limited commodity, there’s actually no such thing as customers in the plural. Rather, there’s just one customer, the one who’s being served right now.

Dan:                             Great stuff, as always, from customer service, turnaround expert Micah Solomon. Get his book on Amazon or wherever books are sold, and if you want to do a solid here at Experience This, use the link in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com and I believe we’ll receive an affiliate fee of a what, like 3 cents Joey?

Joey:                            I think it’s two, Dan.

Dan:                             Is that your 2 cents Joey?

Joey:                            Yeah. I’ll keep that 2 cents.

Dan:                             I see what you did there.

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

Dan:                             This week’s CX press is actually not an article but a new report out from Comm 100, a digital customer conversation platform. Each year, Comm 100 looks at millions of live chat sessions across its platform to get a sense for customer satisfaction and they tally up the results in a great report that we’ll link to in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com.

Dan:                             This year’s report found that the overall satisfaction rate for live chat was flat at 83%. According to the report, “while customer expectations are as high as ever, unfortunately it seems that service quality is stagnating. The plateau in customer satisfaction from 2018 to 19 should inspire action, not complacency in 2020 as it is still behind the peak achieved in 2015. Since many factors influence customer satisfaction, wait time, resolution time, professionalism, accessibility, product or service issues, staff turnover, etcetera, organizations should be conducting regular audits of the entire customer life cycle to identify what’s getting in the way of progress.”

Dan:                             Comm 100 Vice President of Marketing, Jeff Epstein, was kind enough to record some of his thoughts on this year’s report, including one of the big surprises to surface. Let’s take a listen.

Jeff Epstein:                  Looking back at 2019 live chat data for more than 56 million chats worldwide, there were plenty of surprises to be found plus some not so surprising patterns that continue from previous years. Let’s get to it, starting with the surprises.

Jeff Epstein:                  So are larger organizations really just customer service mills staffed by disengaged and poorly trained agents. It turns out this is a myth of epic proportions. According to our data, customer service teams have 50 or more agents lead the pack with an average customer satisfaction score of 88%, four to six points higher than any other team size, but there’s more to this story. This cohort also had the lowest average number of chats per agent and the highest use of canned messages among all groups. This cohort also had the most people waiting in line to chat, although they made up for it with the third lowest average wait time of just over 40 seconds.

Jeff Epstein:                  Now this tells me that despite the total volume of visitors and chats they’re dealing with, teams of 50 or more agents are totally exploding the myth that the big guys can’t get it right. They clearly have a thing or two they can teach smaller teams about managing check capacity, appropriate use of automation, and keeping wait times reasonable.

Jeff Epstein:                  Speaking of automation, both the use of AI powered chat bots and their effectiveness enjoyed substantial gains in 2019. Our chat bots went from handling about 26% of chats from start to finish to handling more than 68% without the need for human intervention, earning an average satisfaction rate of 87.6%. That’s more than four points higher than the total average rating across the board. I’m personally not surprised, but I’m betting you are.

Jeff Epstein:                  Less of a surprise is the continued growth in mobile chats which accounted for more than 74% of all chats on our system in 2019. Last year, about 50% of chats were mobile devices. I don’t think anyone needs any more evidence that ours is a mobile first smartphone led world, but there it is.

Jeff Epstein:                  And finally, co-browsing works people. With an average CSAT score of 88.7% compared to 83% overall. No surprise, right? Co-browsing is highly personal, highly secure and clearly highly effective at resolving customer queries.

Jeff Epstein:                  There you have it. Some of the surprises and affirmations from Comm 100s 2020 live chat benchmark report. Get the full story and your complete copy at www.comm100.com.

Joey:                            There were definitely some other interesting findings in this year’s live chat study that we wanted to talk about as well. For example, chat duration averaged just under 12 minutes, which is 2% longer than a year ago, so people are spending more time chatting, which is really fascinating when you think about it. Nearly 60% of Comm100s live chat customers use canned messages. Chats per agent per month range from 597 at companies with more than 50 agents to a whopping 2,137 chats per agent per month for companies with 11 to 25 agents. Nearly three quarters of all live chats in 2019 or more than 42 million chats were on mobile devices, a massive increase of 82% over the year before. And those co-browsing sessions that Jeff mentioned, this is where the agent can see the same screen as the customer. Those more than doubled from 2018. The good news for customers is that sessions are much shorter. A third of the time of a standard chat and average satisfaction is higher at nearly 89%.

Dan:                             I also found it interesting that only 2% of chats were proactive, meaning the agent reached out first. Kate Chapman, who you might remember we featured back in episode 34 for her article on blockchain technology is the learning and development manager at Comm100. On proactive chats, she noted, “brands have to strike a delicate balance when it comes to proactive chat invitations. In this case, at issue are the opposing forces of eagerness and helpfulness. Being too proactive can come across as intrusive, but reaching out at just the right moment can save a customer from a frustrating experience.”

Joey:                            I think this is the online equivalent of when you walk into the store and the second your foot crosses the threshold the, you know, store clerk is like, how can I help you? What can I help you find today? Right? Let us breathe a little, let us ease into it, but you also don’t want to go to the other side of the game where you’re standing there looking for someone looking for help. In an online environment, they have the opportunity to jump in and be proactive as well.

Joey:                            We’d also be remiss if we didn’t talk about chat bots and artificial intelligence or AI. Jeff mentioned that chat bots handled 68.9% of their chats from start to finish, up nearly three X from what they did in 2018. They also earned an average satisfaction rate of 87.58% which amazingly is nearly two points higher than the satisfaction rate with human led interactions. Folks, the robots are better at this then the people. Not surprisingly though, unresolved bot chats that get transferred to a human agent scored lower because the customer didn’t get the answer they needed from the bot.

Dan:                             So what can we learn from this report? First off, live chat is a very significant customer service channel that can often be overlooked compared to its legacy cousins, telephone and email or the seemingly sexier social media. This is a channel that is almost universally offered among companies and one that customers appear to really appreciate.

Dan:                             Secondly, the competition is getting better at live chat, which means that if it isn’t already a big focus in your company, it should be. And third, a mobile focus with an appropriate amount of artificial intelligence is absolutely key to success.

Dan:                             As Jeff mentioned, you can go to www.comm100.com. That’s C-O-M-M one zero zero dot com, under the resources tab to download a copy of your report and we’ll include that link in our show notes as well at www.experiencethisshow.com.

Joey:                            Dan, do you remember what you were doing last year on May 6th?

Dan:                             Ah, that’s an easy one. I was a speaker at Avtex Engage 2019.

Joey:                            Awesome! Do you know what our listeners should be doing this year on June 21st?

Dan:                             That’s another easy one, Joey. They should be checking in at the registration desk at Avtex Engage 2020.

Joey:                            Exactly! Now Dan, you and I get a chance to go to a lot of CX conferences, and let’s be candid, often they’re one of two things, either a technology user conference where they just put the word “CX” in the title to make everyone feel better about themselves…

Dan:                             It is trendy!

Joey:                            It is trendy! Or, it’s a whole series of sales pitches for a tech firm or a consulting firm and the call it a customer experience conference to make you feel better about yourself or maybe to make them feel better about themselves, I’m not exactly sure.

Dan:                             I’m not a big fan of the sales pitch from the stage. But no, what I remember about Engage 2019 was that first of all it was in my hometown of Chicago, so that was really fun. They had a great venue, a great stage, and it was a lot of fun. They had a different kind of content because it was really customer experience all of the time. It was everything CX.

Joey:                            I love it! And while this year’s event is not going to be in Chicago, it’s going to be in Orlando, Florida at the fantastic Walt Disneyworld Resort. I mean this is going to be a fantastic experience for everybody there. It’s a great event. Folks, there are so many opportunities for you to attend events, to attend conferences, but so often when you do, you just don’t get the value. We know that you’re going to get the value at this event. Why? Because, Dan’s been there before. So, go to www.avtexengage.com. That’s w-w-w-dot-a-v-t-e-x-engage-dot-com.

Dan:                             Hey, Joey, can I tell them the best part?

Joey:                            Tell them the best part.

Dan:                             If they use the secret code.

Joey:                            The secret code. Shhh… don’t tell anybody.

Dan:                             Don’t tell anybody.

Joey:                            It’s only for listeners of Experience This!

Dan:                             Please, no tweeting.

Joey:                            Don’t worry, I won’t tweet it either.

Dan:                             Use the code: experiencethis10 and you will save 10% off your ticket price. Hope to see you in Orlando, Florida in sunny Walt Disneyworld, in June.

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?

Dan:                             So I had several returns to make after the holiday season and I thought it was fascinating to observe how different the return policies were at different retailers. Now two in particular stood out to me, Amazon and Kohl’s. And it’s particularly interesting since as our astute listeners know, Amazon and Kohl’s have partnered up to allow returns of Amazon merchandise at Kohl’s stores.

Dan:                             But today I want to talk about their return process independently, as I had to return both Amazon and Kohl’s items recently.

Joey:                            So wait, let me make sure I understand this. You had items from Amazon to return and you had items from Kohl’s to return and they both allow, well, at least Kohls allows returns from Amazon at their stores.

Dan:                             Yes. It’s a little confusing, but that’s kind of, we’re getting to the point here.

Joey:                            I love it.

Dan:                             So in full disclosure, we don’t usually mention brands that are missing the boat in customer experience, but I can confidently say that I’m a customer of both of these brands and this story is meant to help listeners do better at their own companies.

Joey:                            So Dan, I know Amazon has many different ways to return a product. Sometimes they offer you the ability to print a label at home. Sometimes you can drop it off at a UPS store, but they also offer this ability to return the item directly to a Kohl’s retail store location. The only question is whether they pay for shipping or you do.

Dan:                             Yes, and I’ve always found that a little bit confusing. I think it has something to do with the choice that you make when you explain to them why you’re returning the product. But of course some people have learned you can just change the choice.

Joey:                            You can change the choice and change the impact.

Dan:                             But in any event, in this particular return, I got a new choice. I was able to bring the products to the nearest UPS store, which happens to be about 90 seconds from my house and not have to print a label or even put them in a box.

Joey:                            Wait, so all you had to do is take the item you want to return, go to the UPS store and that’s it. No printing of label, no boxing, no taping, no nothing.

Dan:                             Just handed the item to the nice gentleman at the UPS store. I handed it to him and showed him a QR code that Amazon had sent me on my phone. It was literally the easiest and fastest return I’ve ever made. Probably 15 seconds.

Joey:                            Wow, that’s impressive. Particularly because I was at a UPS store recently and they had a section on the counter that somebody had handwritten Amazon returns where people could drop their boxes off and there were people standing in line waiting to put their returns in those places because it didn’t look like it could be real. It was kind of one of these things where it’s like, well wait, don’t have to hand it in to someone. I just drop it here and then I’m done. And there was a lot of confusion, which now thank you for the insight, Dan, I understand what the confusion was all about.

Dan:                             Well, speaking of confusion, I then drove over to Kohls.

Joey:                            I love it.

Dan:                             And that’s only because of what happened online first. So I bought an item that actually didn’t function. It was defective. It stopped working.

Joey:                            Just broken out of the box?

Dan:                             Well, it worked for about 30 seconds and then like stopped working. Okay. So the thing didn’t work and I wanted to return it. Now I went to the return section on Kohl’s website and I learned that Kohl’s strongly prefers that you return their items to their store, even if you order them online. In fact, they have a strict policy of not paying for return shipping no matter what.

Dan:                             So naturally, I didn’t think that I should be paying for return shipping given that the product wasn’t working. So I picked up and drove to Kohl’s. Now as it turns out, I actually had to return something from Kohl’s and something from Amazon because of course this other Amazon item didn’t get that special UPS treatment. I don’t know why.

Joey:                            Folks, are you tracking along? This is so exciting.

Dan:                             So the first thing I noticed at Kohl’s were signs that said returns made easy.

Joey:                            Oh, you know buddy, I always get nervous. I always get nervous when somebody touts how easy things are that it might not live up to it.

Dan:                             Well, you know from both my keynotes and my book how much I like signs and how they contribute to the customer experience. So needless to say, with a sign like that, my expectations were high, that this would be an easy return experience.

Joey:                            Oh no, he’s setting us up folks. Do you sense the foreshadowing? I can feel it.

Dan:                             Well, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but I actually took a picture of that sign along with the more than 25 people standing in line waiting to return their items.

Joey:                            Anything but easy. Oh no. And it’s like if they wouldn’t have said easy, it wouldn’t have been that bad of a deal. It wouldn’t have made a photo. It wouldn’t have made it into the show. But because you said slash promised it was going to be easy, not so good.

Dan:                             Exactly. So I finally get to the front of the line. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it certainly seemed like an eternity. And then I realized that I could not return both the Kohl’s item and the Amazon item to the same cashier. I actually had to stand in a separate line to return the Amazon item.

Joey:                            Oh my goodness. You know, I was afraid of this. When this, I’ve never, I’ve returned items from Amazon. I’ve returned items from Kohls. I’ve never done both in the same trip and I was getting nervous. I mean, I can somewhat understand because undoubtedly they have different return processing fees and it’s, you know, they’re different brands, but it shouldn’t be the customer’s problem, like the customer shouldn’t feel the impact of those differences.

Dan:                             Exactly. So they did make it my problem and hence we’re talking about it here on the show. So what can we learn from these two experiences, one at the UPS store and one at Kohl’s.

Dan:                             Number one, don’t promise something is easy if your process is not easy.

Joey:                            It’s pretty simple folks. Let’s think about the words we use and choose them wisely.

Dan:                             Number two, no matter how easy it is, think of ways to make it easier. It used to be that you had to wait for a company to send you a return label via snail mail. Then it became easier once companies allowed you to print that label at home. And now Amazon has taken it another step forward by not even requiring a label at all.

Dan:                             Number three. If the return is involuntary, meaning the product is defective or damaged or broken, you should do everything in your power to get a working item in the customer’s hands as soon as possible and make the return or exchange process exceedingly easy. Remember, it’s not the customer’s fault that the item is damaged or not working. It’s a different story from I just don’t like this and want to return it.

Dan:                             And finally, make all of your policies customer-centric instead of company-centric.

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 87: The Extreme Application of Customer Personalization

Join us as we discuss a restaurant that makes meals specifically for you, a magician who wants you in on the trick, and a guide to living in the now, by learning from the past …

Sushi, Secrets, and Stillness – Oh My!

[CX Press] Taking Customer Personalization to the Extreme

How far can the trend towards customer personalization go? The trendspotters at Springwise explore a case of extreme application in their story, “Japanese Restaurant Will Test Your Saliva to Create the Perfect Sushi.”

Sushi Singularity – a new restaurant opening in Tokyo in 2020 – plans to use biometrics and 3D printers to create bespoke meals for every diner based on the individual diner’s personal health needs. After you make a reservation, the restaurant sends a collection kit in the mail to get samples of your saliva, feces, and urine. They then analyze these specimens to create a custom meal just for you – based on you personalized health ID.

3D printed sushi expands the possibilities of what your meal “looks like”

There are so many advances being made in personalized health, biome data, 3D printing, and hyper-personalization that I could envision a world in the very near future where people would think it’s odd to have food that wasn’t 100% customized for their personal DNA!

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

Sushi Singularity marries two trends in customer experience and innovation: 3D printing and personalization. And it does this in a very creative, albeit complex way. With this new standard for customer personalization, what will your customers expect when they interact with your business in 2020 and beyond?

Sushi Singularity – a futuristic take on sushi “just for you” (opening in 2020)

[Dissecting the Experience] A Magician Offers “Secrets” for Creating a Captivating Experience

When it comes to intriguing and captivating an audience, businesses around the world would be wise to study the spectacle created by two-time Olivier Award winner and world-famous mentalist Derren Brown in his show “Secret.”

The show (which regrettably is now closed) explored the stories and beliefs that guide our lives and did so in a magical, mesmerized fashion with three key takeaways for organizations:

  • The Show Begins “Before” the Show Begins – what are you doing to entice, engage, and entertain your audience (customers) before you deliver the product or service they specifically purchased?
  • Use Language to Keep Your Customers Engaged and Focused – an ongoing story, anchored with call backs helps customers maintain a state of wonder and concentration during your “performance.”
  • Enroll Your Customers in Something Special – what are you doing to let customers participate with you in a way that is so special that they must tell their friends all about it?

You don’t need to be a magician to create magic. You don’t need to be a mentalist to figure out what your customers are really thinking and then play with that information. All you need to do is learn from Derren Brown and his show “Secret” as it leaves clues for creating breathtaking interactions that will leave your customers raving to their friends and family.

[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!

[What Are You Reading?] When Modern Life Feels Overwhelming, Turn to the Wisdom of Ancient Masters

In a world that increasingly assaults our senses with emails, text messages, commercials, tweets, and dozens of other forms of communication, more and more people are seeking relief. A sense of peace and calm can be found in the pages of Ryan Holiday’s third book in his Stoic trilogy: Stillness is the Key

Buddhism. Stoicism. Epicureanism. Christianity. Hinduism. It’s all but impossible to find a philosophical school or religion that does NOT venerate this inner peace – this stillness – as the highest good and as the key to elite performance and a happy life. And when basically all the wisdom of the ancient world agrees on something, only a fool would decline to listen.

from Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

If you want some reading that is not specifically related to customer experience, but will help you experience life in a happier, more peaceful way, check out Ryan Holiday’s fantastic book Stillness is the Key.

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 87 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 a restaurant that makes meals specifically for you, a magician who wants you in on the trick, and a guide to living in the now by learning from the past.

Joey Coleman: Sushi, secrets, and stillness. Oh my!

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.

Joey Coleman: Welcome back to Season Five of the Experience This! Show. For those of our loyal listeners coming back for more, thanks for continuing to spend some time with us. For those of you that may be new to the Experience This! Show hold onto your hats cause we have a fantastic season for you, and we’re going to start it off with an interesting story that I came across.

Joey Coleman: Dan, I have a question. Have you ever heard about a restaurant and before it even opened or anyone you knew visited, you knew that you wanted to go there?

Dan Gingiss: Well, hey Joey, I’m excited to be back with you for season five and no, I have not heard of such a restaurant.

Joey Coleman: Well I had that experience recently when I was reading about a new restaurant opening soon in Tokyo and I wanted to share this CXPRESS article from a newsletter published by the team at Springwise. Springwise tracks interesting trends and the latest innovations and they shared a story titled, Japanese Restaurant Will Test Your Saliva to Create the Perfect Sushi.

Dan Gingiss: Now things are starting to make more sense. But wait, did you say saliva?

Joey Coleman: Yes, indeed, I did say saliva. So let me explain a bit. There is a new restaurant opening in Tokyo this year called Sushi Singularity. They plan to use biometrics and 3D printers to create bespoke meals for every diner based on the individual diner’s personal health needs.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. Now that is taking personalization to a new level.

Joey Coleman: Right? That’s what I thought and that’s why I was so interested in this. The restaurant’s a project by Japan based Open Meals and they plan to tailor the meal to your health. How will they do this, you might ask? When you make a reservation, you must do it at least two weeks before you want to dine at the restaurant. The restaurant will then send you a collection kit in the mail to get samples of your saliva, feces, and urine.

Dan Gingiss: Oh wait, hold on.

Joey Coleman: I figured I might throw him a curve ball with that one, ladies and gentlemen.

Dan Gingiss: Whoa, hold on. Now, you had me there and sushi. I was hungry for a little while, but now I think I’ve lost my appetite.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, no, I hear you, but bear with me. So once sushi singularity has your samples, so to speak, they will work with health technology companies to evaluate them and turn the results into a personalized health ID for each diner. This data then gets fed in devices like a CNC, or a computer numerical control machine, and a 3D printer, which will then custom create the sushi on a diner by diner basis. Nutrients will be added in based on the individual needs of each diner.

Dan Gingiss: Wait, time out. A 3D printer’s making my sushi?

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly. I know it sounds a little crazy, but just as I continue to tell about the story, I think you’re going to be as excited about this place as I am.

Dan Gingiss: So far, I’m not buying a ticket to Tokyo, but okay, if my health ID shows that, say I’m low on, I don’t know, magnesium, they would potentially put some into my salmon nigiri?

Joey Coleman: Well, yes, although since they’re going to be 3D printing the sushi one piece at a time, they won’t be inserting it into the salmon. Instead, they will build a piece of salmon nigiri that has all the flavor and the texture characteristics of salmon, without using an actual fish. And because they are 3D printing these pieces of sushi, they aren’t limited by the size, shape or colors of traditional fish.

Joey Coleman: In fact, one of their plan menu items, the dashi soup universe, is a cube shaped soup fashioned out of seaweed particles, or alginic acid, and white crystal and salt calcium lactate. Now I realize this is easier seen than explained, so if you go to our show notes at experiencethisshow.com, we’ve linked to a great promo video produced by Sushi Singularity that shows the entire sushi printing process and when you see the various shapes there’ll be able to print that diners will then eat. I think you’ll be as interested to see how this is all going to work as I am.

Dan Gingiss: You’re making a big assumption that diners are going to eat it first of all.

Joey Coleman: Here’s the thing, people are looking for unique experiences. We talk about this on the show all the time, and let’s be candid, if you’re in Tokyo, there are many sushi restaurants, so how do you stand out as a sushi restaurant in Tokyo? Well, one of ways, and I hate to give this away in the show, you print a piece of sushi that looks like an ancient Japanese temple that has all the tastes and characteristics of a piece of sushi, but it looks like you’re eating a little model of a building.

Dan Gingiss: But it isn’t actually fish.

Joey Coleman: But it is fish to your body. Hence the biometrics. When you eat fish, you’re not eating the piece of salmon saying, I’m thinking of the salmon swimming in the stream. No. Instead you’re enjoying the taste of the salmon. So if they get the flavor profiles that works, this is not that different than the move towards things like the impossible burger and burgers that aren’t actually made with meat, but they taste like that. This is just a variation on that same theme.

Dan Gingiss: What I think is interesting about this, and it’s mentioned in the article, is that Sushi Singularity is marrying two different trends, 3D printing and personalization. It’s clearly doing it in a very creative and complex way. And if that wasn’t enough, the video that we’re going to share on the show notes also shows how biometrics and fingerprint identification can be used to identify patrons when they enter the restaurant and produce custom menus and messages when they sit down and touch the table in front of them.

Joey Coleman: Now, let’s be candid. I get that this is a crazy concept, but I also felt myself thinking that this probably wouldn’t seem crazy if we were talking about this in the year 2030, or 10 years from now. There are so many advances being made in personalized health, biome data, 3D printing, and hyper personalization, that I can envision a world where in the very near future where people would think it’s odd to have food that isn’t a 100% customized to their personal DNA.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I know this isn’t an agree to disagree segment, joey.

Joey Coleman: But it’s turning into that. I can feel it.

Dan Gingiss: People also were saying 15 years ago when I was at a credit card company that credit cards were dead because we were going to only be using exclusively digital wallets and we’re not even close to that 15 years later, so I don’t think this is becoming a 100%. I don’t think this is a thing in 2030. It’s interesting in the sense that, and where I see the applications, are understanding your body and what your body needs and how your body’s needs are different from the next person’s needs and being able to influence what you eat because of that. Maybe you do need additional magnesium in your day, whereas your neighbor doesn’t because his magnesium is just fine. I think that’s really, really interesting.

Dan Gingiss: Where you lost me, and where I observed our audio engineer Taylor throwing up a little bit in his mouth over there, was this idea that we’re using this technology to create something that isn’t real, that is made up product coming out of a printer. I.

Dan Gingiss: Even the meatless burgers are produced in a similar way to burgers. They’re not printed out of an HP printer. That’s the part where you lost me, because I just… That does not sound appetizing.

Joey Coleman: All right. Fair enough. But here’s the deal. First of all, there are a number of restaurants around the world that 3D print food today. A number of restaurants that already do that. Some of the top chefs on the planet are experimenting with this because you can get taste profiles and flavors and combinations that you can’t find in “the real world.”

Joey Coleman: Number two, how many friends have you had, because I know I’ve had many, who because of a diet, or some type of dietary sensitivity, or a cleanse that they’re on, can’t get food at the restaurant that meets the requirements of what their health requires? This solves that problem.

Joey Coleman: Because imagine being in a situation where instead of just going to the pizza place to have a pizza and it’s like, wait, I’m gluten free, dairy free, I can’t order the pizza, instead of having them have to make the gluten free dairy free pizza, they can 3D print exactly what you want and make it look just like a pizza.

Joey Coleman: Now, here’s the thing I’d be willing to bet that if they 3D printed a piece of sushi at Sushi Singularity that looked exactly like a salmon nigiri piece, and gave you that to taste alongside a regular slice of salmon on a bed of rice, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Dan Gingiss: Careful where you’re going here. That’s absolutely untrue, because I’ve tasted these fake burgers and they taste like I’m licking the floor of a forest.

Joey Coleman: Today. Today they taste like that because the technology is new. What’s it going to be like in three years? In five years? Not to mention, by the way, how much of the food that we currently consume is not actually food.

Dan Gingiss: That’s a fair point.

Joey Coleman: So if we’re going to get up on our high horses about, well, I only eat food that’s actual food, then suddenly 75% of American’s diets just got eliminated.

Dan Gingiss: Please give me my Doritos back, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly.

Dan Gingiss: That’s my bag.

Joey Coleman: But look, it’s shaped like a triangle, like a wedge of cheese. They made it look like that so you would think it was cheese. That is the variation on the theme of Sushi Singularity.

Joey Coleman: Look, here’s the deal. Short of making a reservation and traveling to Tokyo for some personalized 3D printed sushi, which it’s clear Dan isn’t going to do anytime soon, how can you apply this story to your own business? This is what we’d like to do on Experience This! We like to tell you stories of interesting, unique things that are happening, but we want to help you translate that into your world as a listener. What can you apply?

Joey Coleman: In some ways the application is easier or harder based on your product or service offering, but what I like about this story is it forces us to dramatically expand our minds about what is going to be possible in the near future with wearables, data tracking, aggregative collection of biometrics, inexpensive 3D printing, and an increased expectation for hyper-personalization amongst the majority of customers.

Joey Coleman: It’s just a matter of time before your customers, regardless of your business or industry, are expecting this type of custom treatment in their interactions with you.

Joey Coleman: Now, while you wait to allow the technology to pair more specifically with your offerings, what are you going to do to shift your mindset about what you can do for your customers and how far you can take the interactions to make them feel special?

Joey Coleman: The time of giving your customers a standard menu and asking them to just point out what they want is fading quickly and the real masters are going to be the ones who can attract customers with offerings that are a 100% unique to them and therefore leaves the customer feeling 100% special and appreciated.

Joey Coleman: 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.

Joey Coleman: Have you ever been to a magic show, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Oh, yes, I have been to many and in fact, both of my kids were really into magic for a number of years, did some at home, and were always begging to go to shows. And so we’ve gone to a number of them and had a great time.

Joey Coleman: I love it. Well, as is often the case in our life experience as friends, I feel like I’m having a very similar experience. My kids are a little bit younger than your kids and we’re going through that phase right now. I’ve always had an interest in magic, but I have a six year old son who is a budding magician, so I’ve spent more time in the last year watching magic videos, working on magic tricks with my son, purchasing magic books, and going to magic shows, than ever before in the past.

Dan Gingiss: But I remember that you recently went to a show by yourself.

Joey Coleman: Correct. I was in New York City a few months ago and I got the chance to see two time Olivier Award Winner, Derren Brown, stun the crowd with a unique blend of mind reading, persuasion, and illusion.

Dan Gingiss: Is that the guy that’s got a special on Netflix?

Joey Coleman: He actually has several and they’re pretty fascinating explorations of human nature, persuasion, messaging, experience, although I want to clarify it, they’re a bit intense, so you probably want to watch them by yourself without the kids before you decide whether you want the kids to watch them too. But these explorations of human nature and experience are the things we talk about on this show every week, which is why I wanted to go see Derren Brown live on stage. And it’s not surprising to me that he lived up to the legend and then some.

Dan Gingiss: So tell us about this show while I go onto Netflix and make sure that I add it to my list.

Joey Coleman: Nice. So the show was called Derren Brown: Secret, and while it had an extended run at the fabled Cort Theatre in New York, it’s actually no longer open. The show explored the stories and beliefs that guide our lives and did so in a magical, mesmerizing fashion.

Joey Coleman: There are a few things about the show that I found particularly useful to think about in the context of customer experience. First of all, the show began before the show began. So while we’re waiting in line to enter the theater, and then again while sitting in the seats waiting for the show to start, staff members gave the audience the chance to participate in a number of activities. Audience members could have their pictures taken. They were given the opportunity to fill out secret forms. There were multiple ways the audience engaged with the show that would actually come back later when the performance began.

Joey Coleman: So for example, during the show, Derren Brown took the photos that people had taken before the show and used them to select people based on their photo alone to come up on the stage and participate in the act. He told them things about themselves that there was no way he could have known.

Joey Coleman: Now as a mentalist, it seemed like some of this could have been based on observation and commonalities in the human condition. But that being said, he also seemed to be reading people in real time and the impact as an audience member watching all of this play out was quite impressive.

Dan Gingiss: I love the idea idea of starting the show before the show and I can already see the connection back to our show and the businesses that we’re talking to. Because often when businesses think about their customer journey, they begin when the customer first steps foot in their store, or when they first get to the website, or first call, instead of considering that the show for them actually starts well before that.

Dan Gingiss: The part of the journey where the customer is working their way toward you may not be as obvious as it was in the theater setting because it might be something that they’re doing off on their own, such as going to Google and searching something, for example. But if we’re willing to look at it, there are a number of ways to engage our customers before they even get to us.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. So for example, when you purchase a ticket to a theater performance, I think the general presumption is that the show will start when the curtain goes up. In this instance, it was a real change from the usual expectation. The show began before I was even in the theater, let alone in my seat.

Joey Coleman: And if that wasn’t enough, this effort to actively engage the audience continued in each and every interaction and “trick” that was performed. In fact, when looking for volunteers for the different stage activities, Brown would throw Frisbees into the audience, including the highest balconies in the theater, and then ask the people who caught them to come down on and be participants. So this not only created a great bit of emotional theater, and as a speaker I found it a fascinating way to get volunteers, but it also helped reinforce the belief the audience had that every participant in the show was a random audience member. Something which I must confess, I’m still not sure about months later and is a big part of magic tricks.

Dan Gingiss: Well, and my mind always goes to, and I’m sorry for being a macabre person here, but my mind always goes to that guy in the front row of the top balcony that’s going to dive for the Frisbee and fall over. So to me it sounds dangerous, but again, it could be scripted, it could be in some way staged, and so it sounds like in any event that this show had many, many layers to it, which of course any good customer experience does as well.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, and that brings us to our second takeaway, that throughout the performance, Brown kept using language and callbacks to keep the audience focused.

Dan Gingiss: For listeners that may not be familiar with the phrase callback, it’s a term that’s very common in the world of comedy to describe a joke that refers to one previously told in the set. Basically you tell the joke once and then later in the show, the later the better, when you tell the joke again, it usually gets a much bigger laugh. This is because the person leading the show, whether it’s comedian, or magician, or even your random keynote speaker, makes the audience feel a sense of familiarity with the subject material and the person leading the show. It’s a great way to create rapport with an audience.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. So Brown did a great job during the show of using callbacks to get the audience on the same page and each time he did, it strengthened his connection with the audience. Not only did the entire show build to the finale, which he kept referencing throughout the show, but there were several times where he would actually say, now, watch over here because something is going to happen. And then a few minutes later he would say, did you see it?

Joey Coleman: And because the audience had been distracted by other things he was doing, they completely missed the thing that he had pointed out before that happened right in front of their eyes. He then encouraged them to watch that same place and promised it would happen again. And once again, a ton of people missed it the second time around.

Dan Gingiss: Never underestimate the stupidity of your audience.

Joey Coleman: Well, humans are fascinating is the way I like to say it, Dan, but I hear you. It made me think about customer experience and how it can be designed to repeat in a way that feels new and interesting and exciting. See all too often a repeat customer will have the same product or service experience with a brand. And I think most brands usually miss the chance to spice it up every once in a while.

Dan Gingiss: So can you tell our listeners what happened during intermission? Because you mentioned this to me after you saw the show and I thought it was really interesting.

Joey Coleman: I did too, Dan. During intermission, once again, the free time that was not officially part of the show, was used to continue the journey and create more experiential touchpoints. Ushers at the back of the stage had more secret forms that could be filled out in case you arrived at the theater late and missed the show antics.

Joey Coleman: In addition, audience members were invited to come onstage and select their favorite animal from a long list of animals and then later this seemingly random activity was featured in the big finale in a way that it seemed as if the audience had selected the outcome of the entire show. It was pretty amazing.

Dan Gingiss: How did that part work?

Joey Coleman: Well, incredibly well. It kept the audience on an emotional high during intermission. It also allowed them to catch a breather if they wanted. I was reminded of how often organizations barrage their customers with communication when sometimes giving the customer the chance to come up for air actually serves your longterm goals even better than continuing to stay in close communication with them.

Dan Gingiss: Fair enough. But I meant how did the intermission work when it came to the second half the show?

Joey Coleman: Oh, well, I’m not exactly sure. And I also feel compelled to keep the secret, which wasn’t just the name of the show. You see throughout the show, Derren Brown kept enrolling the audience in the big secret, making us promise again and again that we wouldn’t reveal too much to other people that hadn’t seen the show and thereby ruin it for them, which not only had the desired effect of making people feel like they were special and part of the in crowd, but months later, even after the show was closed, I still don’t want to reveal too much and give anything away.

Dan Gingiss: Even though the show isn’t running anymore.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Even though the show isn’t running anymore. Which brings me to my final observation. When you create connection with your customers and make them feel like they’re part of something special, they will, A, actively go out and recruit people to attend. In fact, that night I told an entire table of friends that lived in New York to make sure they went to see this show. And, B, the customers will protect the special aspects of your experience so that new customers can live it firsthand.

Joey Coleman: Throughout the show, Brown kept imploring us not to tell anyone the secret because it would ruin it for them, and by getting the customers to sign on to this commitment, he made sure we maintained a high level of interest, which almost guaranteed that people wouldn’t ruin the show for other prospective customers by telling them too much.

Dan Gingiss: I think there’s a really interesting opportunity here for our listeners to think about their own businesses. How are you enrolling advocates? How are you using mystery and intrigue to layer meaning and emotion into your various customer touch points? How can a sense of mystery, or intrigue, or even playfulness be incorporated into your customer journey?

Joey Coleman: Friends. You don’t need to be a magician to create magic. You don’t need to be a mentalist to figure out what your customers are really thinking and then play with that information. What you do have the opportunity to do is begin the show before it officially begins. Use callbacks to key phrases and moments in the customer journey to build rapport and connection with your customers. And figure out ways to enroll your customers in something special so they want to tell all of their friends about it, without giving away too many of your secrets.

Dan Gingiss: One are the biggest challenges that customer experience folks have at their organizations is convincing their colleagues, and boss, that CX is important. We often hear from our clients that while they believe in the value of creating remarkable customer experiences, their leadership team needs more convincing. If this sounds like your company keep listening.

Joey Coleman: Our partners at Avtex are hosting Engaged 2020 this summer in Orlando, Florida. They’re bringing an outstanding lineup of customer experience experts and thought leaders to offer insight about creating remarkable customer experiences and share the real economic impact that CX has on your bottom line.

Dan Gingiss: Now if that isn’t enough to convince you to come down to Florida and bring your boss with you, did we mention that the event is being hosted at Disney World?

Joey Coleman: Disney World.

Dan Gingiss: If you’re listening to this show, you know that the team at Disney is absolutely world-class at creating experiences that keep their customers coming back again and again. You also know that both Dan and Joey are huge Disney fans.

Dan Gingiss: At Engage 2020 you’ll get the unique chance to pull back the curtain on the Disney World experience through a series of special surprises right in the park.

Joey Coleman: As you think about where to spend your training and development dollars in the year to come, Engage 2020, which again is happening June 21st through 24th, needs to be on your calendar and we’re happy to share a special code just for listeners of Experience This! that will save you 10% off your ticket price. Just use the secret code experiencethis10.

Dan Gingiss: To learn more about the event, the agenda, and what you can expect at Engage 2020, visit www.avtexengage, that’s A-V-T-E-X engage.com, and we’ll see you at Engage 2020 this June.

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?

Dan Gingiss: Joey, it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to ask you what you’re reading beyond the books that are written about customer experience and customer service.

Joey Coleman: Well, it has been awhile, Dan, and to be honest, I’ve been reading a lot of books that probably would be defined as pure business, but I read a book at the end of last year that ended up being my most favorite book of 2019 and I’ve actually gone back and reread it since. It was that good.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. Tell me more. This sounds like a good one that I need to add to my own bookshelf.

Joey Coleman: You definitely should. So the book is called Stillness Is the Key, and in the interest of full disclosure, it’s by my good friend, the modern day philosopher, thinker, and writer Ryan Holiday. So to set the stage a bit, Stillness Is the Key, is the third book in Holiday’s trilogy about stoic philosophy.

Dan Gingiss: Stoic, philosophy. Let’s be careful here, Joey. This is not something that’s sounds like people are going to get excited about, after all it’s stoic.

Joey Coleman: Okay, I see what you did there. But, and you’re right, stoic philosophy doesn’t usually get folks super excited. But having read Holiday’s first two books in the trilogy, The Obstacle Is the Way, and Ego Is the Enemy, I was ready and waiting to see how he would bring everything together in this final book. And he didn’t disappoint.

Joey Coleman: So the book is divided into three parts, the mind, the spirit, and the body. And in each part of the book, Holiday offers a series of maxims and advice backed by diligent research into stories that you think you know, but you really don’t know the whole story.

Dan Gingiss: So how about you give us an example?

Joey Coleman: Okay, so in college and law school, I spent a good amount of time studying the American Presidency. And from the time I was very little, I was always fond of John F. Kennedy. I’ve studied his Presidency in classes. I’ve written papers about it. I’ve given speeches about it. I’ve listened to lectures about it. I’ve read numerous biographies. I know a fair amount of about JFK. I don’t think of myself as an expert on his Presidency, but I’ve spent enough time with it that I felt pretty comfortable that I knew most of the story.

Joey Coleman: But one of Kennedy’s most significant moments in his Presidency was the Cuban Missile Crisis, and in Stillness Is the Key, I got to see an entirely new side of the story.

Joey Coleman: So the book shares how Kennedy spent the entire crisis trying to get everyone around him, his advisors, the other elected officials, the military, the intelligence community to slow down so they could really think about the problem that was in front of them.

Joey Coleman: Now, all too often, especially in 2020, I think that situations and problems and crisis are coming at us so fast that rarely do we take the time to pump the brakes and think. We usually get locked into our initial impressions or go with our gut without making time to slow down and consider the situation all the way through.

Joey Coleman: During the crisis, Kennedy became fixated with insisting that people think about why the Russians did this. “What is the advantage they’re trying to get?” he would ask his advisors, with real interest.

Joey Coleman: He took his time and eventually ordered a blockade, which interestingly enough embodied one of his favorite expressions and I’m quoting from the book now, it used time as a tool. It gave both sides a chance to examine the stakes of the crisis and offered Khrushchev the opportunity to reevaluate his impression of Kennedy’s supposed weakness. In some, by taking the time and being still, Kennedy was able to slow things down and avert a potential nuclear war.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I find this really interesting if you bring it to today’s society and culture, that everybody always seems to be running, running, running. We’re using devices. We’ve got phone calls and emails and tweets to respond to. We’re going from meeting to meeting, to meeting, to meeting. Just getting home and sitting down on the couch after a long day is the new luxury, because we’ve spent the whole day moving.

Dan Gingiss: And so conceptually I think that slowing down makes a ton of sense and I’ve found that even taking, for example, a few minutes before bed to read a book, which is something I don’t do nearly as often as I should, just helps to remove the stress and get me to think a little bit more clearly. So I think conceptually this makes a lot of sense.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. And that was definitely the takeaway that I had from the book, is that there is so much rushing, why aren’t we slowing down?

Joey Coleman: Now I realize that the Kennedy story I shared is pretty dramatic, but rest assured that the entire book is filled with these types of fascinating behind the scenes stories of situations that you think you know about, but really there’s more to the story.

Joey Coleman: For example, he details what happened behind the scenes with the fall from grace when Tiger Woods personal and professional life imploded for all of us to see. He talks about Napoleon’s habits for opening and responding to mail. Shaw, Green’s batting slump with the Los Angeles Dodgers. And Fred Rogers, or Mr. Rogers as most of us know him as, ability to write programs for children that still resonate with today’s attention deficit kids.

Joey Coleman: Now, there’s so many times that we find ourselves faced with a challenge that we immediately jump in to solve or we go into triage mode. A customer complaints about a situation. A marketing campaign doesn’t produce the numbers we thought it would. A new competitor enters the marketplace. Instead of slowing down to truly evaluate the situation, we jump into action and we justify this behavior by citing our speed to answer, or our call resolution time, instead of taking the extra minutes, or hours, or, days to truly understand the situation and then decide what to do next.

Dan Gingiss: I’m going to be a tiny bit vulnerable here with you, Joey.

Joey Coleman: I like it.

Dan Gingiss: What I find is that in my professional life I’m able to do this. I’m able to advise a company, for example, don’t freak out that nobody’s responded to your social media message yet. It takes time, and relax, and let’s check it again in a week, and let’s not jump to conclusions.

Dan Gingiss: In my personal life, I’m not as good at that and I often jump into problem solving mode, or so I’ve been told, when somebody comes to me with a problem that they’re having, and sometimes as it pertains to me, it happens to be the women in my life often just want to talk and have somebody to talk to and somebody to listen, not to solve a problem. And I’ve even worked this little dealy out where I’m like if you can tell me ahead of time that you just want me to listen, then I’ll zip it and I won’t jump into problem solving mode.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I love it. A not uncommon experience in many couples and many relationships between men and women around the world. We could do a whole segment and episode, in fact we could do a whole season, on this topic alone. And what I think it illustrates is that we are so compelled to take action as opposed to savoring things.

Joey Coleman: And one of the things I actually tried to do when I was reading the book was saver it. Not only did I find myself slowing down consciously to enjoy Holiday’s prose, but I found myself limiting my reading time so that I could draw out the number of days that I would spend reading the book, as opposed to I got to get to the end of the book because I want the next book to read.

Dan Gingiss: So you weren’t binge reading, in other words?

Joey Coleman: I wasn’t binge reading. Exactly. And in an age where it seems like we’re encouraged to consume as much content as possible, as often as possible, it was a real treat to seek stillness in my own reading and savor this book.

Joey Coleman: In fact, Holiday quotes Blaise Pascal as saying, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Dan Gingiss: Is that Pascal, the French mathematician?

Joey Coleman: Exactly. And here’s the interesting thing, pascal was encouraging us to be still in 1654. How much easier do you think it was for him to be still almost 400 years ago?

Dan Gingiss: Children put your rocks down and pay attention.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. He didn’t have all the distractions that we have today and yet it was an issue back then. In fact, Holiday notes that if the quiet moments are the best moments, and if so many wise and virtuous people have sung their praises, why are they so rare? Well, the answer is that while we may naturally possess stillness, accessing it is not easy.

Joey Coleman: In Stillness Is the Key, not only does Holiday present the reasons for this type of approach to life, but he offers a roadmap of tips and techniques and behaviors that are designed to help his readers achieve the elusive stillness.

Joey Coleman: I think my feelings about this book can probably best be summed up by something Ryan holiday writes in the preface of the book, “Buddhism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Christianity, Hinduism. It’s all but impossible to find a philosophical school or religion that does not venerate this inner peace, this stillness, as the highest good and the key to elite performance and a happy life. And when basically all the wisdom of the ancient world agrees on something, only a fool decline to listen.”

Joey Coleman: Do yourself a favor, friends, go purchase a copy of Ryan Holiday’s book, Stillness Is the Key. You won’t be disappointed and it might just change the way you look at the world and the experiences you’re creating.

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 86: Discover How to Deliver a Truly Great Customer Experience

Join us as we discuss why customer satisfaction and profit might be at odds, a romance novelist who immerses herself in her characters, and how LEGO builds customer loyalty.

Dollars, Damsels, and Dumbledore – Oh My!

[CX Press] Customer Satisfaction vs. Profit

How do you measure a satisfied customer? How do you measure your success? Mary Drummond explores this in her latest article, Which is your CX Priority: Satisfied Customer or Profit?

Customer experience cannot stand on its own. Studies have shown that reducing customer defection can increase profits dramatically. This tells us that profits increase as customer loyalty increases.

It was about being able to tie customer experience, tie the experiences of the customers, what drives their decision to actually give money to your organization, find the experiences that matter and be able to focus and metrify those so that corporations can make decisions based on numbers that actually tie into the bottom line.

Mary Drummond, CMO of Worthix

Ultimately, the truth is you have to have both customer satisfaction and profit to succeed. The two will go hand in hand. When you create a great experience, build loyalty, and life-long customers, you also build a profitable organization.

[What Are You Reading] Immerse Yourself in the Experience

Romance novels may seem an odd addition to a customer experience podcast. However, one novelist Allie Pleiter, knows how to truly deliver a great customer experience. Dan met Allie at a national speaker event, and she told him that she often puts herself in the shoes of her customer. She wants to experience what she’s asking her readers to experience.

I go out of my way to make sure that that experience is as rich and engrossing and enthralling as possible. Now, for me, that means that I need to do whatever I can to actually experience what I want my reader to experience. That’s not only a good customer experiences, it’s also a lot of fun for me.

Allie Pleiter, Author, Speaker, and Coach

Allie understands the basic tenant of customer experience. She immerses herself in her character’s journey, which allows her to write more vivid imagery of what they are experiences, which actually provides a better experience for her readers. On average, Allie publishes four novels a year, and has sold over 1.4 million copies. So, we can say with some certainty, that putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is definitely a wise decision to provide a great customer experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Make an Effective Journey Map Today

Most customer experience experts are familiar with journey mapping. Journey maps can give you the information you need to truly understand your customer. However, many still fail to create truly effective journey maps that will actually improve experience design or experience improvements.

Here are four tips to help you with your journey mapping:

  1. Focus on one journey at a time. It’s important to chart individual journeys rather than attempt to create a map of all potential paths simultaneously.
  2. Identify customer personas who are most likely to engage in the journey to be mapped. 
  3. Use all available data sources to create depth and detail around the journey.
  4. Involve multiple departments to gain various perspectives during the journey mapping process.

As we walk into 2020, we want to challenge you to take a careful look at your own journey map. Things are constantly evolving and changing, and your company is too. Take a look at the journey map you are building and get ready for the new year!

Start the conversation with this question: Have we taken steps to truly understand the path our customers take to interact with our brand?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[This Just Happened] Why Giving your Employees Freedom can Lead to the Best Customer Experience

Sometimes, a customer service experience actually stands out for a good reason. When two loves collide – LEGO and Harry Potter – a little connection and personalization set this experience apart from all the others. This interaction between Liam, a Lego customer, and Ronald, a customer service agent, was found by Dan on LinkedIn.

If Ronald had been forced to stick to one script, this amazing interaction never would have happened. Instead, Ronald immediately created a connection with his client, and resolved the issue seamlessly, with care and empathy. The takeaway is simple: lock in a customer for life by creating connection. Look for a commonality and draw on that. It may not be Hogwarts, but you will find something.

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 86 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 on to your headphones. It’s time to experience this. 

Joey Coleman: Get ready for the final episode of season four of the Experience This! Show. 

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss why customer satisfaction and profit might be at odds, a romance novelist who immerses herself in her characters, and how Lego builds, get it, builds customer loyalty.

Joey Coleman: Dollar, damsels and Dumbledore. Oh, my. 

[CX Press] Customer Satisfaction vs. Profit

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

Dan Gingiss: Back in season two, episode 50, we shared an article by my good friend, Mary Drummond, the CMO of Worthix, a survey company that helps companies determine their actual worth to customers. Mary is a brilliant and prolific writer, so I thought it was high time we featured another one of her articles. Today’s is called Which is Your CX Priority, Satisfied Customers or Profit?

Joey Coleman: Oh, that’s tough. I can only choose one?

Dan Gingiss: Well, that’s what the article’s about actually. Mary laments that so many companies are having difficulty measuring the true value of customer experience, which of course makes it harder to secure resources for management, which then negatively affects the customer experience. Let’s hear from Mary directly. 

Mary Drummond: I spent a lot of time speaking to CX practitioners to executives inside corporations and to thought leaders on customer experience. One thing that seemed to be kind of an across the board message was that if that at some point executives and shareholders don’t start seeing profit in customer experience, then they’re going to start shutting down projects. That is probably the worst case scenario for our field, especially because we understand the value of customer experience. We understand the value of putting the customer first. 

What we need to be able to do is find a correlation with those numbers that can be shown to the decision makers in our organizations so we can prove that customer experience is profitable. I mean, it’s great to look at things from a holistic approach and try to see the big picture, but that big picture somehow has to tie into numbers or else it’s going to be useless for the people who have to base their decisions on these metrics. Right? 

So, I think that it wasn’t about how profits are more important than customers, especially because customers are what bring profit in the first place. It was more about being able to tie customer experience, tie the experiences of the customers what drives their decision to actually give money to your organization, find the experiences that matter and be able to focus and metrify those so that corporations can make decisions based on numbers that actually tie into the bottom line. So, that’s my point with this article. I hope you all give it a read, because it’s a really important message.

Dan Gingiss: Mary goes on to say that, “If companies want to maintain and increase profits with customers buying and re-buying their products and services, what they need to provide is an overall experience in which the benefits, both rational and emotional, outweigh the costs, both price and effort or time. 

Joey Coleman: Well, that sounds about right. But what’s the catch, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Well, Mary goes on to say that the success of your CX projects hinges on profitability. Why? Because it’s pretty difficult to get corporate buy-in for a project that won’t increase financial results. “This is a numbers game,” she says, “So, if you want to get your board excited, you’ll need to demonstrate the profit potential of designing and implementing experiences that positively impact customer’s decisions.” I think what she’s saying here is that you can’t just do CX to do CX.

Joey Coleman: Well, I totally agree with that, Dan. I think what’s interesting is lots of times the customer experience conversation gets framed as, “Well, you just hug it with the customers, and everything’s touchy feely and we’ll all be happy.” What’s interesting is that type of messaging certainly works for a lot of people who work in customer experience, but it doesn’t work for the bean counters. It doesn’t work for the financial folks in the organization that are like, “Well, what’s the value of a hug?”

I’m a big fan of some incredible research out of Harvard Business School and Stanford Business School that notes that just a five percent reduction in customer defection leads to a 25 to 100% increase in profits. So, lots of times the key benefit of customer experience is customer retention. If we can keep more of our customers, our profits go up. Why? Because most businesses are already operating at a profit. So, the incremental dollars that are spent by a customer who’s been there for a long time are more profitable than the first dollars they spent because we’ve already recouped the acquisition costs. So, I do think there is a clear financial bottom line profits reason for focusing on customer experience. It’s just about how we frame it in our conversations within our organizations. 

Dan Gingiss: I’m going to give you another example that will make the bean counters happy, which was some research done by Watermark Consulting. Now, what they did was they looked at the Forrester Customer Experience Index, which comes out every year and ranks companies based on their customer experience scores. Watermark took a look at the public companies on the list and they compared the return in the stock market over 11 years of the leaders in customer experience to the laggards in customer experience.

Now, what was amazing was that not only did the leaders steadily and handily out perform the S&P 500 but they performed almost 3X what the laggards did. So, the laggards were also laggards in the stock market. The leaders were also leaders in the stock market, and the leaders performed way better multiple times than the laggards. There is a connection here. The companies that were rising to the top of Forrester’s Customer Experience Index were also performing the best on Wall Street.

Joey Coleman: I love it because not only were they performing better than those who decided not to focus on customer experience or who had poor customer experiences, but if I understood the research right, they were performing better than the S&P 500 in general, which by the way, to be on the S&P 500 means that your business is doing well. As a general rule, those are the companies that are picked to be put into that 500 company basket. So, the fact that they were over-indexing on that group as well to me indicates that their dollars and cents really come together when it comes to focusing on customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So, I think to summarize Mary’s article, it isn’t really a choice between satisfaction or profit. You have to invest in the CX experiences that create both, that make customers happy and satisfied and therefore willing to spend more money with you. So, the takeaway is that just like any other corporate initiative, you can’t expect to get resources and executive buy-in without demonstrating clear results. So, make sure you have the analytics in place to track the actual impact of any customer experience initiative. 

[What Are You Reading] Romance Novels!

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? 

Dan Gingiss: Joey, are you a fan of the romance novel genre?

Joey Coleman: Well, you know, that’s an interesting question, Dan. Fan is probably too big of a word. I have read some romance novels, because I try to read across a lot of different genres. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an avid regular reader. 

Dan Gingiss: Well, I think after this segment you might become a bigger fan of one particular romance novelist. 

Joey Coleman: Ooh-la-la. Tell me more. You have my attention, Dan. 

Dan Gingiss: Well, her name is Allie Pleiter. She’s the best-selling author of more than 40 books. 

Joey Coleman: Wow, that’s a lot. Dan and I have each written one book, and we know how much goes into writing one book. 40 books, good for you, Allie. That’s a lot.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. She is releasing an average of four novels per year. She has sold more than 1.4 million books around the world. Now, I had the pleasure of meeting Allie recently at The National Speakers Association Influence Event where you and I were both roomies as I remember.

Joey Coleman: Yes. We’re not just co-hosts on the podcast. Occasionally when we’re at the same event, we get to be roomies. 

Dan Gingiss: As it turns out, she’s from my home state of Illinois. So, we met at an Illinois NSA Chapter dinner because she’s also a professional speaker and productivity coach. Anyway, I wouldn’t normally have included a discussion of a bunch of romance novels on our podcast, but Allie told me something really interesting about her writing method. You know how we often talk about putting yourself in the shoes of your customer?

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I mean, it’s basically one of the most repeated tenets of customer experience theory. 

Dan Gingiss: Well, Allie puts herself in the shoes of her fictional character. 

Joey Coleman: Wait a second. How does she do that?

Dan Gingiss: I think we should let her tell us in her own words.

Allie Pleiter: My primary customer experience is what a reader experiences when he or she reads one of my novels. I go out of my way to make sure that that experience is as rich and engrossing and enthralling as possible. Now, for me, that means that I need to do whatever I can to actually experience what I want my reader to experience. That’s not only a good customer experiences, it’s also a lot of fun for me. I’ve had a lot of tremendously fun adventures doing it.

I have talked to a circus and gone up onto a trapeze to get an idea of what that feels like. I’ve learned to work a ten foot bull whip, because I needed a character who used a whip as one of his weapons. That was an amazing experience. I’ve had a world-class barista show me how to work one of the most expensive and intricate coffee machines, espresso machines to show me what that was like and what it felt like to work that machinery or to wield that whip. One of my favorites recently was I was working on a book that involved a bison ranch. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days on the bison ranch, and they staged a bison stampeded for me so that I got to feel like what it was like to be in the middle of a hundred 2,000 pound animals coming at you.

Not only is that fun for me, and I think it shows up in the work in the fun that I’m having and the adventure that I’m not only going on but I’m pulling my reader on, but I think it makes for really vivid descriptions. It has a chance to bring a reader along with me and create a really visceral, emotional, wonderful experience for them as they read one of my books. That’s certainly what I hope happens, and I certainly have a tremendous amount of fun while I do it. 

Dan Gingiss: Isn’t that absolutely awesome? 

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love how she is flawlessly executing an important tenent of customer experience by replicating the experiences from a fictional world in the real world, at least if that makes sense.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. My head’s exploding a little bit, but yes it does. I mean, she’s not just going to write about a character that performs on a trapeze. She’s going to actually get on that trapeze herself. It’s got to make her a better writer, because frankly I don’t expect that many of her readers have been on a trapeze. There might be readers that could figure out that her description is not entirely accurate. For example, I would imagine you being a recovering lawyer that you probably can identify some things in lawyers in fictional text that may not be really accurate.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh, Dan, all the time. All the time. In fact, there are many legal movies and TV shows that I just refuse to watch because they get it so, so wrong. Same thing with watching shows about the intelligence community or espionage. I’m looking at it going, “Yeah, that’s not at all how it works.” The authors that are really good at writing about certain scenarios, like John Grisham is a well known and quality writer in the legal space or Tom Clancy was a well known writer in the espionage space. 

One of the things that made their fans such rabid fans is because they got the details right, the little things that no one would know. I remember years ago reading a Tom Clancy novel when I was working at the Central Intelligence Agency, and it was talking about fighting for a parking space. It was like this throwaway paragraph about fighting for a parking space at headquarters. I was reading this while I was on my to work knowing that there was going to be a search for a parking space. So, the fact that he knew this little nuance said, “Oh, this guy’s writing directly to me.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. I mean, one of my favorite authors of all time was Pat Conroy, may he rest in peace. He spent much of his life in Charleston and wrote about Charleston with that same level of detail that literally put you there with him smelling the smells and seeing the sights. I think that’s what made him such a good writer. 

In the genre that Allie writes about, she’s got all sorts of different characters doing all sorts of different things. That has resulted in her having all sort of really cool experiences by trying to experience them in advance of her characters.

Joey Coleman: Well, talk about creating a career for yourself that is based on experience. Not only has she clearly had a successful career as a writer and as a coach and an advisor, but she’s had a really fun career doing all these things that she writes about. 

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. Check out Allie at AlliePleiter.com. That’s www.A-L-L-I-E-P-L-E-I-T-E-R.com and her books including her newest one released in October on Amazon. We will include links on our show notes at www.ExperienceThisShow.com if you missed any of those. We are sure that you too will fall in love with romance novels.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Journey Mapping

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 journey mapping. In order to deliver quality experiences, it’s important to fully understand the paths that your customers take when interacting with your business. Creating customer journey maps based on real accurate data from real customers can help you visualize the steps that your customers must take to research your brand, seek assistance or information, and resolve issues and make purchases. 

While many CX leaders are familiar with or actively engaged in the journey mapping process, many fail to create the truly effective customer journey maps necessary to enable experience improvements or experience design. 

Dan Gingiss: When creating a journey map, be sure to, one, focus on one journey at a time. It’s important to chart individual journeys rather than attempting to create a map of all potential paths simultaneously. Two, identify customer personas who are most likely to engage in the journey to be mapped. Three, use all data available to create depth and detail around the journey. Four, involve multiple departments to gain various perspectives during the journey mapping process.

Joey Coleman: Dan, we’re here at the end of the year and thinking about 2020 to come, and I’m going to make a pretty bold statement. I don’t think there is a listener to our show whose business couldn’t benefit from going back and either re-looking at the journey maps they’ve already made or creating new ones, because what I’ve found, and I do a lot of journey mapping with my client, is that one of two things has happened. Either number one, the maps they made were made a long time ago and there’s a whole lot of new inputs and new interactions that aren’t showing up anywhere on the map that are affecting the journey dramatically. Or number two, they’ve actually never done a mapping process.

When we get them in the room to do the mapping process, I have yet to find a single employee at any company that can detail every interaction that happens in the journey. So, if you’re going to do journey mapping, make sure you have stakeholders from all the different departments so that you can actually track and record against every interaction that they have in the lifetime of the customer journey.

Dan Gingiss: I too have done a lot of journey maps both in my previous jobs and with clients now as a consultant. One thing that I find is it’s really important to also include the customer’s emotion at each stop of the journey, because that’s going to help you identify the places you need to work on. If the emotion is, for example, frustration, that might be one that you want to pay attention to. 

Now for this week’s question about journey mapping. Have we taken steps to truly understand the path our customers take to interact with our brand? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with our friends at Avtex at ExperienceConversations.com. That website again is ExperienceConversations.com.

[This Just Happened] Lego Customer Service

Joey Coleman: We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened?

Dan Gingiss: Joey, we know from a couple of episodes last season that you and your family are big Lego fans. Tell me, do you also like Harry Potter?

Joey Coleman: You know, it’s interesting, Dan. The Venn diagram I think between Lego fans and Harry Potter fans is pretty much entirely overlapping. So, yes, we are 100% Harry Potter fans. In fact, I’ve got a six year old and a three and a half year old. My six year old, he went to school this year for first grade and he came home the first day and he started telling us this story about a cat that could turn into a person and how they were sitting around class listening to this story about wizards and magic. My wife and I were a little bit disappointed, because it dawned on us that the school was introducing him to Harry Potter. It’s great. We love the school. They’re doing an amazing job-

Dan Gingiss: Even before you could, you mean.

Joey Coleman: But even before we could introduce him to Harry Potter, because we weren’t sure it’s that … It’s kind of like when you introduced your kids to Star Wars, it was while Wendy introduced them to Harry Potter. In short, yes, we are huge Harry Potter fans.

Dan Gingiss: All right. Well, you’re going to love this story then, because it is about both Lego and Harry Potter. I want to stipulate that I found this example on social media, LinkedIn as it turns out. It involves a web chat discussion between Liam, a Lego customer, and Ronald, a Lego customer service agent. 

It starts with Liam saying, “I’m looking for replacement building instructions for Hogwarts Castle. Please can you help? Thanks, Liam.” The customer service agent, Ronald, responds and says, “Hi, Liam. How are you doing today? Thanks for getting in touch. Did Harry perhaps discard his invisibility cloak a bit carelessly, or did a jar of pumpkin juice spill over the building instructions?” Liam answers,” Haha, not quite. The cleaners at my father-in-law’s nursing home used an expelliarmus spell on book one and it found its way into the bin. I understand how we can download them, but I was hoping to get a replacement sent out if possible, please. It’s just book one. We have books two to four still.”

Ronald answers, “Oh, no. Sadly I’m only a muggle and won’t be able to use a spell to make a new building instruction booklet magically appear on your doorstep in an instant, but I’m happy to send you a new book out from our warehouse in Demark. It will arrive within five to ten days. We have book one in stock. Can you please confirm your full name and address including postal code, email address and phone number? I’ll then setup a free of charge order for the new book straightaway.” Liam then answers, “I heard the flying car was out of order and that the owls are currently on strike. Snail mail will be absolutely fine. Thanks so much for your help. Muggles are definitely underrated. Here are my details.”

Ronald answers, “Brilliant. I’ll set everything up and you’ll receive a notification from our house elves in the warehouse as soon as they’ve dispatched the new book to your Lego Hogwarts Castle set, and it will be complete again. Is there perhaps anything else I can assist you with today, Liam?” Liam says, “No. That is all. Thank you. You have been amazing. The best conversation I’ve had all year.” Now, is that not one of the best customer service interactions you’ve ever seen?

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love it, love it, love it. When you have fans, and let’s be candid, ideally we’re striving for all of our customers to be fans, and you share a common affinity, which is very obvious here because the Lego customer is asking for the instructions for the Hogwarts Castle. So, we already know by default that there’s some appreciation of Harry Potter. The fact that the customer service rep also has an appreciation of Harry Potter, it allows the interaction to go to a completely different level. 

I love the personalization. I love the playfulness and the humor. It was almost like it seemed at one point they were trying to, I don’t want to say one-up each other on their knowledge, but there was definitely some references to less common elements of the Harry Potter genre. So, I thought it was really great how they interacted back and forth. Just made for, as I think the customer finally said at the end, a fantastic conversation.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. What I loved about it was that clearly Ronald, the agent, has the freedom to talk to customers in the way that he wants to. That allows him to express his own individuality, his own personality and his own fandom of Harry Potter. For someone else, it might be a Star Wars Lego that evokes that same kind of conversation. 

I think too often companies are so concerned about scripting customer service agents and making sure they stay to the script that they wouldn’t allow someone like Ronald to have fun with a customer like he got to do with Liam. 

Joey Coleman: Yeah. The reality is scripts in a customer service or customer service representative setting are usually designed to make sure that the right messaging happens when the reality is, everything we see in this example from Lego is the right messaging. It’s warm. It’s fun. It’s playful. It’s connective. These are the type of interactions you would hope that all of your customer service reps are having with all of your customers.

Dan Gingiss: Again, people may ask, “Well, I can’t possibly do this at my business, because I don’t have anything related to Harry Potter.” We would encourage you to look at your business, and more importantly listen to your customers, and find an opportunity to connect with them on a level that may have nothing to do with your business.

I mean, here, yes, it is a Hogwarts Castle, but truly they’re connecting on their love of Harry Potter not necessarily on their love of Lego, which is the business. That’s why I think it’s so great. So, you too could have somebody call in and you may find out they’re a coffee fan or you may find out that they’re a sports fan of a certain team. Let your agents talk to them about that and establish that human relationship. 

Joey Coleman: Well, and Dan, to kind of end up our season four, let me give some positive words about social media. One of the cool things about social media is you can use it as an investigatory tool. You can investigate your customers by going on their social media profiles, many of which are wide open, and seeing what they’re actually interested in. It never ceases to amaze me when I get the opportunity to connect on a passion I have with one of my clients.

I found out recently that one of my good friends and clients from Australia also loves drinking root beer. So, now every time we connect, it’s kind of a fun root beer interaction. How did I find that out? Not by talking to him about it. It could’ve come up that way, but I happened to see a post that he did about enjoying a root beer one night. I thought, “Huh, here’s a guy that likes something that I like.” So, I would posit that there are all sorts of points of commonality that you have with your customers if you’re willing to look in the same way that Ronald did from Lego. 

Dan Gingiss: The takeaway here is, let your employees have fun with customers when appropriate. If Ronald was forced to stick to a script or follow precise rules for answering customers, he never would have created, quote, the best conversation I’ve had all year, unquote, with Liam. Take it from Lego, this is how you lock in a customer for life. 

As we reach the end of the calendar year 2019, we also come to the end of season four of the Experience This! Show. 

Joey Coleman: Season four would not have happened without the support of many incredible people, including-

Dan Gingiss: Our partners at SAP Customer Experience, especially Federique Demonte Faginto, Margo Hilagmen and Jennifer Vandazand. Our friends at Yoko Co. who continue to maintain and update our website, including Stacy, Max and Chris. And the fantastic team at Avtex, especially Marshall Salisbury, Kurt Schroeder, Beth Ingbritzen and Andy Balgord who helped us start the conversation each week.

Joey Coleman: Our production team including Aaron Lasko and audio engineer superb Taylor Marvin from the incomparable Coupe Studios in Boulder, Colorado, Whitney, our virtual assistant and keeper of the show notes, and my law school roommate, Davin Sieman, who continues to serve as the composer of all of our show music. 

Dan Gingiss: Last, but certainly not least, to you, our loyal listeners. We could not keep doing the Experience This! Show if you didn’t show up every week on iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher or wherever you’re listening today and listen to us two goofballs talk about experience. 

Joey Coleman: Thanks for a wonderful season four. We hope you have a fantastic start to 2020. We’ll see you for season five of the Experience This! Show.

Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This!

Dan Gingiss: We know that 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. 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. We’ll see you next week for more-

Joey Coleman: Experience-

Dan Gingiss: This!

Episode 85: Stop Settling for Less than a Remarkable Experience

Join us as we discuss how raising the bar can come back to hurt you later, why fixing what ain’t broke might be a good idea, and why pricing mistakes can make you look silly.

Driving, Enhancing, and Calculating – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] Set a Standard of Excellence that can be Maintained as Your Company Grows

When Uber and Lyft first began to gain traction, the service was far greater than a normal taxi service. Drivers had bottles of water, they got out to help you with your bags, and they would engage in interesting conversation. The service customers received was closer to the experience of a private car or limousine service.

As Uber and Lyft have grown to available almost everywhere, the service experience isn’t as remarkable or consistent as in the beginning. You may be pampered by a great driver, or you be subjected to a driver playing offensive music. The ability for riders to rate the drivers, and drivers to rate the riders has added a new dimension to both delivering and receiving customer service.

What can every business learn from the ridesharing industry? Several things:

  1. If you build your brand on a foundation of high customer experience, you must maintain it if you want to maintain your reputation.
  2. If your employees regularly interact with your customers, you should set a standard of excellence so they understand what is expected.

[CX Press] Why You May Need to Fix What Isn’t Broken

Everyone has heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While the intention behind this statement may be well-meant, there are multiple problems with the maxim – from settling for a sub-standard status quo to neglecting the future potential of your business. In Becky Roemen‘s article, “Don’t Fix it if it isn’t Broke: 10 Reasons this Phrase is Holding Your CX Back,” Becky explains why it’s sometime best to fix things even before they are broken.

Technologies, processes, and workflows are the enablers of great customer experiences. Just as easily, neglected technologies, processes, and workflows are the preventers of great customer experiences. Waiting for one of these to break in order to give it attention is a declaration that your business is reactive rather than proactive.

Becky Roemen, Blogger at Tin Cans and String

Her article explores ten reasons, a few of which we highlight in the segment including:

  1. You’re Defining Broke Wrong – just because something is working, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most effective way to do a job.
  2. You’re Comfortable with “That’ll Have to Do” – this attitude insinuates that just being good enough is okay. In a competitive market, you need to rise to the challenge and provide an excellent customer experience, not just a normal one.
  3. Your Voice of the Customer Program is Weak – invest in a good Voice of the Customer program that gives you the data you need to implement a memorable customer experience.
  4. You are Too Focused on the Present Day – you must always be planning for the future state of your customer.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Balancing Security and Customer Experience

How many times do you get to a site, and it prompts you to enter a password? The balance of protecting your information, but also not hindering the customer experience is an interesting subject to explore.

Here are three things to consider when working on creating the right balance for security and CX:

  1. Remember the customers expect high security standards. That is a key part of their experience with your brand.
  2. You can still be creative in how you communicate security issues like password rules. While complex passwords may be valuable, complex instructions are not.
  3. Security, like customer experience, is really everyone’s job. Limit access to customer data to only those that need it to perform their jobs and ensure that physical security measures are in place to prevent internal or external data theft.

Start the conversation with this question: Are our security policies or processes negatively impacting our customers?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Say What?!] Watch the Numbers to Keep the Trust of Your Customers

Visitors to a county fair often see a sign detailing the price for one ride, a better deal for a few rides, and an even better offer (the “value” deal) for several rides. While many customers are exposed to these types of offers, how many actually do the math to figure out the best deal? Dan recently attended an event (and wrote about it in his Forbes article, “3 Examples of Savvy Customers Winning By Simply Doing The Math“) where the cost of one ride was $2, three rides was $5, and the five ride “value deal” was $10. The only problem with this offer? The value deal wasn’t the best deal. In fact, for paying for two $5 offers, a customer would get six rides instead of the five rides offered in the value deal for the same price. In this situation it’s difficult to know whether the company was just plain lazy, or whether they were trying to trick the customer.

Every single interaction with a brand contributes to the overall perception of the customer experience. And these errors make the companies look silly and reduce my opinion of them. In fact, they make me not trust them as much because you do question whether it’s nefarious.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of Experience This! Show podcast

More often than not, these types of pricing “offers” result in careless pricing mistakes. But don’t let pricing mistakes impact your customer experience. Keep an eye on what you are selling to your customers and don’t make them do the math on the best way to do business with you!

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

Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss how raising the bar can come back to hurt you later, why fixing what ain’t broke might be a good idea, and why pricing mistakes can make you look silly.

Dan Gingiss: Driving, enhancing and calculating. Oh, my.

[This Just Happened] Rideshare Then and Now

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: Do you remember your first trip using a rideshare app or rideshare service, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: I do. I was a little bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. I was kind of excited to try it. I was not in my own city, I remember that. And so, yeah, I got a really nice car, leather seats, the person was super friendly, I got offered a bottle of water and they got out of the car to help me with my luggage, and I was like, “Man, this is not that far from being in a limo and certainly is very far from being in a taxi.”

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I too remember my very first rideshare trip and thinking, “Oh, my gosh, the taxi industry is done, and this is so much more economical than town car service or a limo, but you feel like a celebrity. You feel like you’re being treated incredibly well.” As a general rule, my experience with rideshare apps, predominantly Uber and Lyft, I use both, has been like that until the last six months.

What I’ve noticed in the last six months is that I feel that the customer service has been dropping dramatically. I take rideshare services a lot because I fly to cities that I don’t know. When I come out of the airport, I jump in one of those as opposed to taking a taxi. They don’t get out of the car anymore, they don’t help with the luggage, rarely is there a bottle of water, they don’t have phone chargers, they often seem irritated. In the last few months, because it’s been a little warmer in some of the places I’ve been traveling, I’ve noticed an aversion to using the air conditioners, which is kind of, no pan intended, a blast from the past or a lack of glass.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I see what you did.

Joey Coleman: See what I did there? That takes me back to taxis when I lived in Washington, D.C. that were notorious. D.C. is hot as can be in the summer. They were notorious for not running the AC, and if you asked them to turn on the AC, first of all, they would look at you like you just asked them to donate a kidney to you, second of all, they would say, “Oh, the AC is broken.” And I’m like, “The AC is not broken.”

Dan Gingiss: Just like the credit card machine.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And so what I think is interesting here is when rideshare apps came into the market, they set the bar very high differentiating themselves from taxis by the customer service and the customer experience. Now that that’s going away, it kind of just feels like a taxi to me again.

Dan Gingiss: Well, it’s interesting that you point this out because I’m going to add two things to your list that have been bothering me lately. The first is that way too many drivers use incredibly strong scents in their cars, and there’s been times where I get in a car and the first thing I have to do is roll down the window because my eyes are watering at how strong the odor is. Relatedly, oftentimes I get into cars that smell like cigarette smoke, which is also something that I don’t particularly want to smell. But the other thing is I’m absolutely shocked at how drivers have their own music on the radio that’s generally really loud, and for whatever reason, most of the time, not my kind of music. No joke.

Joey Coleman: And you have a pretty broad musical appreciation, in my experience.

Dan Gingiss: I do, I do.

Joey Coleman: You know what I mean? So it’s not like Dan is… For those of you that haven’t spent as much time in cars listening to music with Dan as I have, it’s not like Dan gets in and it’s, “I’m only listening to ’80s diva music, okay? Nothing else, right? He’s got a broad… There’s nothing wrong with that.

Dan Gingiss: I like ’80s diva music.

Joey Coleman: He does like ’80s diva music.

Dan Gingiss: But no, for example, the last time I was in a rideshare, which was on the way to the airport to come see you here in Denver, Joey, the music that was playing was this extremely loud, extremely explicit song that had F-bombs flying all over the place, and I’m like, “That just doesn’t seem appropriate for a service provider, regardless of whether I like the music or not. It just doesn’t seem like it’s the kind of environment that you would want to create for a customer.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. So here’s the conundrum. We have the opportunity to rank the drivers. If you don’t mind my asking, would that result in a lower star rating from you?

Dan Gingiss: Well, that’s probably a subject for an entirely different segment. But I think one of the things that’s gotten complicated about the rideshares is they almost make you feel guilty to leave anything below a five-star rating.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. That’s the point I was hoping to get to. I 100% agree because there have been times where I’ve wanted to give them a lower ranking, but I also know that this is their livelihood and that this contributes to their overall ranking score, and that they’re also ranking me. I’ve also heard through the grapevine, I’m not entirely sure if this is true, but that the app increasingly builds into their algorithm whether or not you tip. So if you don’t tip, you get a lower score that the driver sees when they’re deciding whether to accept your ride or not.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, wow. That’s really interesting.

Joey Coleman: Right? That adds a whole other layer to this because it’s like, wait a second. I think with some of the apps, I’m not 100% sure on this, I don’t think the tip 100% goes to the driver. I think it gets factored in to the percentage that the business takes. So the rideshare apps are making more money by adding the tip, and if they’re taking a percentage, they’re obviously incentivizing you to tip because that’s going to increase their revenue.

Dan Gingiss: You and I were talking about this off air the other night about the number of places now that we’re expected to tip, and to me, I tip and tip generously for great service. But as you described, if it’s somebody that picks me up, doesn’t say hello, doesn’t help me with my bags, doesn’t speak a word while he’s driving and then drops me off, I’m not exactly sure why I’m supposed to tip for that. There wasn’t really any service provided other than the four wheels that got me from point A to point B. Whereas when I do get a friendly driver and I have a really nice conversation with them, and we hit it off, and he helps me with my bag or whatever, then I’m more than willing to tip because the service has been provided.

But I want to get into the why that this has changed because I have a hypothesis I want to run it by you and see if you agree. So when Uber and Lyft first came out, I had the opportunity to ride. It happened to be with an Uber driver in Seattle. I remember this was early days because I was sitting in the front seat. So it was probably one of the first times I had taken it.

Joey Coleman: Rookie move.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I didn’t know. I was speaking to her, and she used to be a taxi driver. What was interesting to me was she was explaining all the reasons she left taxi driving and became an Uber driver. A few of them were that she had to buy this really expensive taxi medallion that was thousands of dollars that didn’t even get her any insurance on her car, whereas Uber provided auto insurance for her. She had to have all this cash in her pocket and she was afraid of being robbed. She had to go to different parts of the city that she was uncomfortable with, all these things and she’s listing them one by one and explaining how Uber had basically resolved all of those.

This is when I realized that the rideshare industry, the reason it was so successful, is that it didn’t just solve all the problems of the passenger, it also solved the problems of the drivers. And so when you are able to connect both of those and provide, what is in essence, a service to both, you have a successful business. Now, what’s happened since then? What’s happened since then is all the taxi drivers that are going to leave taxi driving and move to rideshares have already done that.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: And so now the drivers that rideshare companies are attracting are people who are driving because they have to, not because they want to. So they’re doing it more begrudgingly, right? “I’m between jobs, I’m not making any money. I guess I’ll go drive for Uber or Lyft,” right? And you can see it on their faces. You can see, as you were sort of pointing out, that there are a number of drivers that look like they want to be anywhere but driving that vehicle.

Joey Coleman: Which nothing makes you feel more comforted as a passenger than looking to the front seat and seeing a driver who is clearly irritated to be in the car.

Dan Gingiss: I have two friends who have held other full-time jobs in the past who have decided to become Uber or Lyft drivers out of necessity because they had lost their job, maybe they got laid off and they just weren’t bringing in enough income to pay the bills. And so this is a relatively easy way for anyone with a car to earn some money and start paying the bills, but it doesn’t mean that they enjoy doing it, and they’re doing it out of necessity and there’s a chip on their shoulder a little bit because they feel like, “Man, I wish I really didn’t have to do this.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I think the other thing that we should flag, because I imagine some of our listeners are thinking this, Uber is a company, Lyft is a company that has a fleet, no pun intended, of employees that they’ve never met, employees that are using the app and have not really been trained, have not really signed on to a certain code or ethic of customer service, or maybe they did, but there’s really not a great way to police it. They’re not getting performance reviews and don’t have a direct manager necessarily who’s checking in on them every day. And so, of course, we run into this challenge where our frustration with the rideshare app might actually be a frustration with an individual driver who is way, way, way removed from the organization itself. But as we talk about a lot on the show, how any of your employees or teams that are representing or holding themselves out as representing your brand, however any of them act, and the impressions they give you, and the experiences they create for you can spin into your overall feeling.

So here’s the key takeaway from this segment, two things. Number one, if you distinguish yourself in the marketplace by having a better customer experience, you need to continue to maintain that bar. If you look at the marketplace and you say, “No one is providing a great customer experience. I’m going to raise the bar,” but then you get it and you bring a bunch of folks in, and new prospects, and new customers, and then you go back to the norm of how business was done in that industry, you will not be able to maintain your customers long term. Number two, if your business has employees that are regularly interacting with customers, it’s worth exploring, setting a standard for what that interaction looks like. The best way to set that standard is to model it by how you interact with your employees.

Look, rideshare apps are fantastic, they’re a great invention. Let’s just keep them moving forward. Let’s keep them as elevating the transportation experience instead of returning to the horse and buggy whip days of yesteryear.

[CX Press] If It Ain’t Broke…

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

Dan Gingiss: Today’s CX PRESS comes to us from Becky Roemen, whom I met as part of the CX Accelerator group, on her blog, Tin Cans and String. It’s called, “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke. 10 reasons this phrase is holding your CX back.”

Joey Coleman: Oh, I bet I can think of a couple of those 10.

Dan Gingiss: Seriously, well, Becky notes that corporate budgets are often allocated to the squeaky wheels, the things that are broken or maybe just the loudest executive. And the result is that many important initiatives can get ignored. “Technologies, processes, and workflows are the enablers of great customer experiences,” she says, “just as easily, neglected technologies, processes, and workflows are the preventers of great customer experiences.”

So the article lists 10 watch-outs to make sure your company is allocating resources in a way that will provide the most value to the customer. Now as always, we’re going to include the link to the article in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com so you can check out the whole thing, but we’ll list a few of the 10 things here that really stuck out to us.

Joey Coleman: Alrighty. Number one, you’re defining broke wrong. Just because the IVR or any other technology is physically working does not mean that it’s efficient, or hitting the mark, or a good customer experience. Blinking lights is not the inverse of broke.

Dan Gingiss: Number three on Becky’s list, you’re comfortable with that’ll have to do. The phrase itself indicates that status quo is okay. Here, in 2019 and moving forward, nearly every industry is competing on customer experience more than price or any other factor. With that sort of competitive landscape, you can’t afford good enough anymore when it comes to the customer experience or how you provide support to your customers.

Joey Coleman: Sorry, Dan, I’m still recovering from that’ll have to do. That one drives me bonkers, right? So lazy. Fix it, folks, come on. Number six on the list, your voice of the customer program is weak. Investing in a good voice of the customer program means that you will have the data you need to drive decisions with the customer’s voice.

Dan Gingiss: And we’ve talked about this before, it’s got to be action oriented data. So just reading reports about what your customers are saying is not enough. We don’t need more reports. We need more data that will help us take action based on what the customer is saying.

Finally number 10 on Becky’s list, you’re focusing too much on the present day. Now, the current state of affairs doesn’t reflect what can or will happen in the future, nor your preparation to take it on. Future state planning is an incredibly important activity for the customer experience team to take part in.

So Joey, I thought this article, and obviously there were six other items on the list, but I thought this was really interesting because she’s right in the sense that we often are looking for that blinking light, or that shouting executive, or that squeaky wheel to determine where to put resources. And the thing is, is that at the same time, all these systems that we have are growing older every day and every year, and they’re getting more and more out of date, but because they’re still functioning, we’re not working to improve them.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so we’re putting off until tomorrow a giant snowball that is building, right? I have a buddy who runs a technology company and he’s in a mastermind group I’m in, and was explaining to us something he’s been doing this year. Every three weeks, he carves off a day on his calendar, and on that day, he rebuilds one of their technology touchpoints. So he goes in and says, for example, “Oh, let’s look at the first email that you get when you sign up for our newsletter. Today, I’m only going to work on that. I’m going to make it best in class, best practice, really focus in, hammer it down, and also make sure that that technology piece is properly connected to the CRM and all the automations, and that they’re pulling the data they need and connecting everything together.”

What he’s found is while each of those days gives him the satisfaction of, “Wow, today I really fixed something. I accomplished something,” he’s a former technologist who’s now the CEO of the company, so it allows him to roll up his sleeves and get dirty, so to speak, and kind of get into the code, but what it also does is over the course of three months, he’s made dramatic improvements in these legacy systems that were working just fine, but he knew that they could be better.

Dan Gingiss: I love that. I have a similar example that is actually trying to fix things that are broke, but it’s related to the story you just told because when I was at Discover, I was finding that we weren’t ever able to prioritize small fixes because the technology cue was all about these giant enhancements, so you couldn’t get anybody’s attention with small fixes. So what I did was I actually collected nearly 100 small fixes and put them into one giant project, and that’s how I got it prioritized on the list, because when we finished that project, which really was only about a two-week or three-week project because these weren’t difficult fixes, they just, there were many of them, we had made such a big enhancement overall because we had gotten rid of so many pain points.

Joey Coleman: Folks, he’s not just pretty, he’s smart. Now, I love that idea, and I don’t know that there is a listener of our show that couldn’t implement that idea in their business. Make a list of all of the little things that you’ve been meaning to get to, and then take a week or take two weeks and make that the entire team’s focus, get everybody working on these things.

Lots of times, I think in larger organizations, so many of the projects are longterm, it’s the project for this quarter, the project for this year, and humans want to have a feeling of regular progress and milestones accomplished. So by giving a bunch of little bite size projects, combining them all into one master project, it allows you to get lots of dopamine hits along the way and have the whole team celebrating a big lift in the overall enhancement of the customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So the takeaway here is that the concept of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix, could actually be hurting your customer experience. Make sure you take stock of things that are working but not necessarily optimally and try to stay a step or two ahead, so you’re focused on where you’re going and not just where you are today.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Balancing Security and Customer Experience

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 balancing security and customer experience. Security is a critical component of customer relationships. Protecting personal information from prying eyes is a must for any organization. As security concerns grow and efforts to ensure customer privacy evolve, customer experiences can be negatively impacted. It’s important to balance security processes and policies with the needs of the customer and try to limit the negative impact security has on a customer’s experience during a single interaction and throughout the entire relationship. The other side of the coin is actually protecting customer data from breaches or leaks, which can cause catastrophic trust issues and affect brand perception.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three things to consider when thinking about security from a customer experience standpoint. One, remember the customers expect high security standards and that this is a key part of their experience with your brand. Two, you can still be creative in how you communicate security issues like password rules. While complex passwords may be valuable, complex instructions are not. Three, security, like customer experience, is really everyone’s job. Limit access to customer data to only those that need it to perform their jobs and ensure that physical security measures are in place to prevent internal or external data theft.

Joey Coleman: Oh, my goodness, I’m a big proponent of paying attention to security issues, but I’m an even bigger proponent of bringing customer experience to the security conversation. All too often, especially when we’re asked to create a login and password for a website, which by the way, unless we’re doing a financial transaction, I shouldn’t need a login and password for your site. If your site is just a content site where I can read white papers or watch videos, why are you passwording me in? I get that you might want to cookie me or track which ones I read, stop making me make a password to access your content that’s free anyway, just makes no sense to me.

But I think there’s a great opportunity as alluded to in Dan’s comments to make the experience part of the security. So when you say to me, when creating your password, it needs to have 15 letters and none of them can repeat, and at least one needs to be a capital, and we need a number, and we need a symbol, and you can’t use your name or any of your family members names, or variations of their names, or your pet’s names, or the name of our business brand in the password, it’s like they’re encouraging me to come up with a password that I’m actually not going to be able to remember, which means I’m going to have to access the reset password tool, which is going to repeat the process all over again,

Dan Gingiss: Couldn’t agree more. Don’t forget that you can only use certain symbols and not other symbols.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about balancing security and customer experience, are our security policies or processes negatively impacting our customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization, and then continue it with our friends at Avtex, who are at experienceconversations.com, again, that experienceconversations.com.

[Say What?!] Don’t Make your Customer do Math

Joey Coleman: It’s shocking how often people use 38 words to describe something when two would do the trick. We are looking at you lawyers and accountants. Words matter and there is no excuse for trying to hide what you mean. We explore words and messaging in this next generation of say what?

Dan Gingiss: “It was my understanding that there would be no math.” That line always draws a chuckle when I speak with people about how math is actually important in the customer experience. By the way, the quote is from a famous Saturday night live skit where Chevy Chase plays the role of Gerald Ford at a debate responding to a budgetary question.

Joey Coleman: I never knew that. That’s a nice little… Dan Gingiss, ladies and gentlemen, man of a million facts.

Dan Gingiss: Math, like politics, always seems to divide people.

Joey Coleman: What a…

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, see what I did there? Ask someone if they like math, and it’s usually either a confident yes or a defiant no. In many focus groups, some of which I participated in, the line, “I hate math,” comes up way more often than you might think. Now, local driving range offers buckets of golf balls to practice your swing, but if you’re not practicing math, you might miss the arbitrage opportunity presented by the sign out in front.

Upon first glance, it looks legitimate. There are several bucket sizes of balls; small, medium, large and jumbo, and correspondingly, increasing prices; $5, $9, $20 and $25, but the math doesn’t make sense. When you buy a small bucket of 40 balls for $5, for example, you’re paying $12.5 cents per ball, but when you buy the jumbo, which is 150 balls for $25, you’re actually paying $16.7 cents per ball. Now, as consumers were trained to believe that the jumbo is the better deal, but in this particular case, it is a much worse deal, and in fact, it’s the most expensive. Buying five small buckets cost the same $25 as the jumbo bucket, but it gets you 200 golf balls instead of 150.

Joey Coleman: I agree with you, Dan. When we start talking about math, at least for me, it makes it a lot more complicated, which is why we’re going to include some photos in the show notes over at experiencethisshow.com, so that you all can see the sign that Dan was talking about. I do think it’s fascinating because we have been conditioned in our society to choose the jumbo option, especially if it says the best price or whatever it may be, because our presumption is that it’s going to cost less, and this ends up being a trick, that in this case, the driving range is playing on, folks. I also wonder, how do you think they would react if you walked up and said, “I’d like five small buckets of balls.”?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, they’d probably think you’re crazy.

Joey Coleman: Because I know you did this, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: And I can tell you from experience, they think you’re nuts, right? So I actually don’t think they’re trying to trick people. I think the answer is they can’t do the math.

Joey Coleman: They just can’t. So it’s not that it’s nefarious intent on their part. It’s just lack of computational skill.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. I want to give another example, which we’ll also include in the show notes at experiencethisshow.com, and this one comes from my 13-year-old. So kudos to my 13-year-old who found this and recognized the problem. So he was at a big amusement park, a major brand, and he wanted to play one of the carnival games, and he noticed that one play of the carnival game was $2 and three plays were $5. Now, that part makes sense, but then there was the value play, again, the sign suggesting that this is the best value. It is, after all, called the value play. That one is five plays for $10. Now, for those of you who hate math, that’s the same $2 as buying just one play, not much of a value, right?

Joey Coleman: So then, once again, could you go up and say, “I’d like two, three plays, so I’d like six plays for $10.”

Dan Gingiss: Right, exactly. And they’ll probably look at you like, “Who is this guy who can’t do math?” Right? And the three plays for $5 actually works out to the best deal because it’s only a $1.67 per play instead of $2. So if you were making an economic decision, that’s exactly what you would do just as Joey said.

Here’s one more from my hometown of Chicago. One of my favorite treats in Chicago is called Chicago Mix popcorn, and it’s something that we do just wonderfully in my city. It is a mixture of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn together in the same bag. It is absolutely addicting and it’s delicious. But one brand has a sign that lists the prices of these bags, and it’s similar to the golf balls in the sense that, as the size of the bags go up, so do the prices. But here’s the weird thing about this one. The one pound bag, and one pound is equivalent to 16 ounces, is $13.95, but the two smaller bags are 6 ounces and 10 ounces. So if you bought a small and a medium bag, you would have that same one pound. But those two bags together only cost $12, which is actually 11% less expensive.

So again, Joey might ask, “Can you imagine somebody coming in and saying, “I’ll have a small bag and a medium bag,” instead of just ordering a large bag? But actually, you’d be saving money in doing so.

Joey Coleman: I think part of the challenge here is, we’ve just, as humans, gotten lazy. We see this when you go, and I don’t know if you ever end up paying cash for anything, Dan, but lots of times when you give cash to someone, if the cash register isn’t working, if they are, let’s say below the age of 50, they really struggle to make the change. If they’re above the age of 50, they have no problem cranking out the change. I’m not saying that to be ageist, it’s that I don’t think we’re teaching basic math and basic math skills the same way we used to.

I agree with you, I don’t think this is a nefarious intent by the majority of these companies, as much as it is just no one in the organization really likes to do the math, no one has actually looked at the numbers, and no one is actually feeling comfortable enough to say, “Wait a second, what we’re charging doesn’t make sense.”

Dan Gingiss: But here’s the thing. We talk a lot about how every single interaction with a brand contributes to the overall perception of the customer experience. And at least for me, somebody who can appreciate math, these errors make the companies look silly and they reduce my opinion of them. In fact, they make me not trust them as much because you do question whether it’s nefarious.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I was going to say, I think when you say you feel that it’s silly, I think the majority of people would feel taken advantage of.

Dan Gingiss: I think that’s definitely possible. Or they would look down on them and say, “These people aren’t very bright,” and neither one of those are particularly complimentary, right? So the point in saying this is that these mistakes seem like they’re smaller humorous, but they can actually have a pretty big impact on your brand image. So the takeaway here, math is important even if you don’t like math, and math errors can make your business look bad and cause customers to lose trust.

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 84: Empower Your Customers to Have the Best Experience Possible

Join us as we discuss a new hot spot in Vegas serving an unusual target market, creative ways to build a relationship with your desired audience, and thoughtless messages to long term customers.

Cleansing, Nursing, and Wasting – Oh My!

[CX Press] Standing Out in the Crowd by Seeking a Different Type of Customer

Las Vegas is known for many things: non-stop gambling, world-class restaurants, and breath-taking shows. Coming soon to Las Vegas? A new $850 million resort that won’t have gambling or shows – but will have people talking about the food. In the article Forget Blackjack by Rachel Cormack in Robb Report magazine, she details plans for the Majestic Las Vegas – a new resort designed to cater to a health and wellness-oriented clientele.

Pool at Majestic Las Vegas Opening in 2023

Not everyone goes to Las Vegas on vacation or to party. Some visit “Sin City” for conventions and conferences and because their company sends them for work, they aren’t as interested in gambling and nightclubs. A calm, soothing resort with a four-floor wellness center and a top notch spa may be just the experience that these visitors are looking for in their “Vegas vacation.”

[This Just Happened] Aligning with a Great Product to Establish a Future Customer

While walking through the Atlanta airport recently, Joey spotted a breastfeeding pods. These sleek, simple pods provide a comfortable and private space for women to feed their babies. Mamava offers these solutions for breastfeeding mamas on the go – in a time when women are increasingly more frustrated by laws that vary drastically from state to state about how and where they are allowed to feed their children.

Zappos recently partnered with Mamava, not to advertise their shoes, but to align themselves with a brand committed to serving one of their target markets – mothers. One can imagine that Zappos hopes this partnership will result in those using the pods to have positive feelings toward the Zappos brand. By providing breastfeeding mothers with a creative, comfortable, convenient solution, Zappos is not only doing something that aligns with their values, but they are making a long-term, strategic bet.

[Ask yourself] “What are the ways that we could create a better experience for our target audience – even if it’s not directly aligned with the services or the products we’re selling?”

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

Partnering with companies that have similar goals and similar target markets, to provide better experiences for your customers and potential customers, a brand can build long-term value and benefit. An investment in building your brand reputation today promises to result in great returns in the future.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Empowering Customers

Sometimes, a customer just wants to be able to solve their own problem without needing to involve another human. While human interaction and the ability to speak with a representative from your company is great, sometimes just empowering your customer to solve their problems on their own is actually providing a better customer experience.

Here are five ways you can empower your customer:

  1. Develop a robust self-help knowledge base on your website or mobile application.
  2. Create an intuitive IVR (interactive voice response) menu to allow customers to direct themselves to the proper support channel.
  3. Offer self-service portals to enable customers to complete specific tasks – such as updating account information or accessing key information securely.
  4. Maintain a chatbot on your website to guide customers to the resolutions they seek.
  5. Provide customers with the ability to easily escalate to “assisted service” at any point they desire.

Start the conversation with this question: Do we offer customers the tools and access they need to confidently resolve issues?

To continue the conversation, go to: ExperienceConversations.com.

[Dissecting the Experience] Stop Asking Your Customers the Same Questions, Year After Year

For over a decade, Joey has received hundreds of credit card offers from his bank. Despite NEVER responding to these mailers, Joey continues to receive these offers month after month. This has cost his bank hundreds of dollars, and yet when Joey goes in to the bank’s local branch, no-one asks him if he wants a credit card – or better yet, if he wants to opt-out of receiving these types of offers!

The reasoning for this is likely very simple: large banks (like many large organizations) operate in silos. One part of the bank (e.g., the retail branch division) does not communicate with the other side of the bank (e.g., credit card division). This behavior often leads to less-than-ideal experiences, miscommunications, and in this instance, a great deal of wasted effort, money, and paper on credit card offers.

By digging into the data a little bit, the bank could eliminate a significant pocket of that campaign that is never going to respond. And what they’ll find, is by mailing fewer people, and getting the same responses, the response rate goes up and their cost per account goes down.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of the Experience This! Show podcast

What can we learn from the overflowing amount of mailers Joey received? It’s important to pay attention to your customers and track their behavior. Work with other segments of your business to provide a unified experience across all of your departments/divisions. By making things easier for your customers and showing them that the “right hand knows what the left hand is doing,” not only will you provide them with a better experience, but you will prove that you value their business at an individual customer level.

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 84 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: So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this. Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss a new hotspot in Vegas, serving an unusual target market, creative ways to build the relationship with your desired audience and thoughtless messages to long-term customers.

Dan Gingiss: Cleansing, nursing, and wasting. Oh, my.

[CX Press] Wellness Hotel Las Vegas

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. When I say Las Vegas, what three words come to mind for you, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Eating, gambling, and shows in that order.

Joey Coleman: Eating, gambling, and shows. Great, well, what if I told you that wellness was a word that is increasingly going to be associated with Las Vegas?

Dan Gingiss: I would say that maybe you’ve been out in the desert heat too long, joey. Get out of the sun and cool off because wellness in Vegas…

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. I can understand the skepticism and I was surprised myself, Dan. But after reading this week’s CX PRESS, I’ve become more of a believer. The article is called Forget Blackjack. This new $850 million Las Vegas lux resort is going all in on wellness. And it was written by Rachel Cormack for the magazine, Robb Report. The article details plans for Majestic Las Vegas, a new high-rise hotel in the center of Sin City. Now, at first glance, this new resort seems like most Vegas resorts, 720 suites, 6 standalone restaurants with world-class chefs, a pool area with 50 cabanas, and a large space for live entertainment. Where this resort is not like most is that there will be absolutely no gambling.

Dan Gingiss: That’s it. I’m out, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, that’s not your thing.

Dan Gingiss: If I can’t play blackjack or shoot some craps, I don’t know what I’m doing in Las Vegas.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. And again, I get it that many people go to Vegas for the gambling, and they go for the eating. But there’s a percentage of people that go to Vegas who, that’s not their lifestyle. They have to be in Vegas for work, or maybe they’re going with some friends, but the whole debauchery, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, isn’t really their speed. And so this new hotel, the Majestic Las Vegas, actually is going to have a four-level state of the art, fitness, nutrition and spa center. So instead of being like Dan and playing blackjack or rolling craps, guess we’ll be able to get spa treatments and take yoga classes. As the resort developer Lorenzo Doumani notes, it is time for Las Vegas to provide a luxury option for those who visit our city, who wants something that is non-gaming.

Dan Gingiss: So I understand this even though it’s not a place that I would probably choose to stay at because more and more people have their different niche audiences that require sort of niche products to fill in the niche, if you will. And in this particular case, I get that there are people that go to Las Vegas who don’t want to drink, don’t want to gamble, don’t want to go to shows, and just want to relax. And if those things are not available in other hotels, and I’m not sure if they are, because again, the spa’s generally not a place that I spend a whole lot of time in, then I think…

Joey Coleman: We got to get damn getting more massages folks. We had a little conversation about this off air. I’m going to call you out. We got to get you a more massages, buddy.

Dan Gingiss: No, that’s really not my thing.

Joey Coleman: They’re so great. I know, but they’re so great. If folks message us, if you think Dan should spend more time in the spa, tweet at him on Twitter or DM him or whatever you do on Twitter and say, “Joey wanted me to share with you that I agree you should spend more time in the spa.”

Dan Gingiss: Or tweet at me and tell me if you think I should spend more time in the casino instead.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, fair enough, fair enough. So I think I agree with you, Dan, that there are obviously people that are going to Vegas for very specific reasons. But what surprised me or caught my attention about this article and why I wanted to talk about it is this hotel is kind of zigging when everyone else is zagging. I mean, they call it Sin City for a reason. And the fact that you would go to Sin City to get a cold-pressed juice and a massage and a cucumber rap is not really the story that usually gets told on social media or when you get back home.

Dan Gingiss: It sounds like Sinless City.

Joey Coleman: Sinless City. Yeah, that’s a good point. That should be part of their branding. But what I do think is important to acknowledge is that often people go to a city not because they choose to go, but because they have to go. And Vegas is definitely one of those cities. There are tons of conventions and conferences there, where you may be… I was actually just talking to someone the other day that had been to Vegas once, and they were completely turned off because it’s just not their vibe, but they had to go there for work. They were a meeting planner, hosting an event. Their company decided they were going to Vegas. And this I think gives the opportunity for businesses to have more flexibility, not only on where they hold their events, but if they have employees going to Vegas who are not kind of of the typical Vegas ilk, they can have them stay at the Majestic.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I mean, again, I’m all for offering different options for people. And I think for a certain part of the population, this is probably going to be a very appealing and something that they will choose over going to Vegas for gaming. And I think you’re right that Vegas in particular happens to be a place that people end up at sometimes despite themselves. They’re not because they want to be, but because they have to be. I’m one of those guys that gets excited when I get to go to Vegas. You’re probably one of those guys that you’re like, “Ah, Vegas again.”

Joey Coleman: No, I love Vegas. Vegas is one of my most favorite cities on the planet. But here’s the thing, I don’t drink, I don’t gamble, but I love the shows, I love the restaurants, and I love the spectacle of humanity, not to mention all the amazing customer experiences.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I totally agree. But let’s take this out of Vegas briefly for a context. I went to the movie theater last week with my wife. And I’m in the process of trying to get healthier when it comes to my diet. And we go to the theater because we want to see a movie and the only thing I can get at the theater from the concession stand that even remotely comes close to the diet I’m trying to maintain is a bottle of water. Literally, the only thing is the water. And I found myself thinking, “How many people go to the movies, especially in a place like Colorado, that is a general rule, the population is pretty healthy and would love it if there was a banana or an apple or something that they could get that wasn’t a box of candy?”

Dan Gingiss: Well, Joey, I think you’re missing something really important.

Joey Coleman: What’s that?

Dan Gingiss: Raisinets candy is fruit.

Joey Coleman: Oh, yeah I’ll get that next time folks. Next time Raisinets. Well, the moral of the story is if you’re going to Vegas, the good news is this hotel is scheduled to open in 2023. And it’s going to be located directly opposite the new Las Vegas Convention Center, which is opening two years earlier and it’s right in the heart of the city. So if the wellness trend we’re on now in the US continues, it likely is going to open to a line of prospective guests waiting to book stays. Who knows? Maybe some of those might be our listeners because by then let’s be candid, what happens in Vegas can be cleansed in Vegas.

[This Just Happened] Zappos Breastfeeding Pod

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 saw something in the Atlanta Airport last week and I was reminded that I’ve been meaning to bring this up on the show for some time. Dan, have you seen the Zappos branded lactation pod?

Dan Gingiss: I’m sorry, the what now?

Joey Coleman: You heard me correct, the Zappos branded lactation pod. So this is really cool. In the Atlanta Airport, and did a bunch of other airports around the country in public spaces, zappos has partnered with a company, Mamava, I think I’m pronouncing that right, to provide privacy pods for pumping or breastfeeding women. Now, what’s interesting about this is there’s such an amazing opportunity, I think, for brands to align their corporate values with societal values. So a growing number of women are rightfully so, in my opinion, frustrated by the different laws from state to state, the societal norms and the places where they’re being told or being told they can’t breastfeed in public.

This is a natural thing and the moral of this story is we have folks who are trying to take care of their child who can’t because of either the rules or the regulations. And Zappos has realized that by co-branding with Mamava, this company that makes these little pods that can just be dropped into a building. And think of it basically as like a three times the normal size phone booth with no windows. So you can just go in, it’s this quiet, serene place. I just thought it was a really interesting way for Zappos to become part of a solution for a target market I think they’re really trying to reach.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it’s interesting. I actually have seen… all joking aside, I saw one at Union Station in Chicago, which is the main train station. And it is interesting because it doesn’t take up a ton of space. It’s definitely visually appealing in the sense that will you pass it by? You’re like, “Whoa, what’s that?” It looks almost like it’s from outer space, or it was designed by somebody with some design skills. And I do think it’s interesting. On first glance, I’m thinking, “Well, Zappos is about shoes, and this is about breastfeeding, and I don’t really see the connection. But then the marketer in me kind of chimes in and says, “Well, women and mothers are probably big customers of Zappos. And this is a really interesting way for Zappos to get emotionally connected to them in a way that has nothing to do with shoes or feet.”

Joey Coleman: I agree. I’ve spent a little bit of time looking at the numbers behind this. The average American family spends $6,100 on their baby in the first year.

Dan Gingiss: I believe it.

Joey Coleman: Right now, let’s be clear, Zappos isn’t selling diapers, they’re not selling pacifiers and bibs. But that baby is eventually going to need shoes. And so I think this idea of partnering with someone who is providing a great service in your target audience’s marketplace that they need, so these pods to create the interaction and the brand awareness, if you will, is a really interesting way to do it. Now, to be very clear, when you go in these pods or when you’re walking around them, they’re not advertising shoes. It says Zappos, it has the Zappos logo. And we’ll include some photos of the one in the Atlanta Airport in the show notes at experiencethisshow.com. It has a giant picture of a baby. So it’s very clear what it’s for. And then it has a bunch of statistics on the benefits of breastfeeding on the side.

But what’s also interesting is it’s not necessarily just something that could be done for breastfeeding moms. I can envision these type of pods being dropped as a place for folks who maybe have some sensory challenges to be able to go into a place that’s a little quieter, that doesn’t have the hustle and bustle. And so if a brand was trying to associate with that target market, I think you could partner up and do a similar type thing. At the end of the day, it really gets us thinking, “What are the ways that we could create a better experience for our target audience even if it’s not directly aligned with the services or the products we’re selling?”

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and I think we should also say that kudos to Mamava for finding Zappos. If you look at the transaction the other around.

Joey Coleman: Totally, totally.

Dan Gingiss: Because Mamava’s clearly not as well known of a brand and to pair with someone like Zappos, who people see the Zappos logo and they recognize it instantly, probably brings a lot more positive attention to the Mamava brand, which I think is great for them.

Joey Coleman: Well, I also think this speaks to your acknowledgement that the Mamava brand has a very clean design aesthetic and it’s clear that they pay attention to design. Zappos is well known in all circles for having amazing customer experience and clean design. And so it really is a great partnership between two brands. And I’m like you, Dan, I presume that Mamava’s going to get a nice lift in their brand recognition and kind of the opinion about their brand because of the association with Zappos. So what do we do? How do we apply what we’ve seen with Zappos partnership with Mamava to your business? Well, I think there’s an opportunity to create better experiences for the audiences you’re trying to reach.

First, we would identify challenges or pain points that they’re feeling as a group that have no direct correlation to our business offerings. So I’m not saying, “Oh, you sell shoes, go where all the people who need shoes are.” It’s like no, get a connection that has nothing to do with your offering because it feels a lot less sale-sy that way. Second, figure out creative ways to solve the challenges that your target market is facing, either on your own or in partnership with providers. And third, don’t try to rush it. Don’t try to maximize the profitability of each interaction. One of the things that is the fastest way to eliminate any positive goodwill or feelings of positive customer satisfaction is to try to make the interaction into a sellable moment. Sit back, relax. Let your reputation for serving your target audience build. Don’t worry, they’ll remember you later when it’s relevant to both of you.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Empowering Customers

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 empowering customers. The moderate customer expects the ability to seek resolutions to issues, or answers to questions through a variety of channels. While some issues require the assistance of an agent, others can be resolved by the customer without agent involvement if the customer is empowered to do so. Providing self-service tools and content is the first step in empowering customers.

Dan Gingiss: There are many ways to empower customers, including, one, developing a robust self-help knowledge base on your website or mobile application, two, creating an intuitive IVR menu or interactive voice response menu to allow customers to direct themselves to the proper support channels, three, offering self-service portals to enable customers to complete specific tasks such as updating account information or accessing key information securely, four, maintaining a chatbot on your website or app to guide customers to the resolutions they seek, and five, the ability to easily escalate to assisted service at any point.

Joey Coleman: There’s a giant percentage of your customers that actually would like to solve the problem themselves. One of the things we talk about in customer experience all the time is, “Oh, you need to be responsive to the customer. You need to take into consideration their wants and needs. You have to have your call center agents ready to talk to them.” And it’s like, yeah, but if we actually rewind to the beginning of that, where we say we need to be responsive to their wants, often their want is not to talk to a human being, to be able to solve it themselves, to be able to read the documentation, to be able to have a self-healing device, to be able to sort it out on their own by navigating through a series of prompts or fix it tools. So don’t just presume that in order for it to be a great customer experience, there has to be a human involved. Often empowering the customer to solve this problem themselves or find the answer themselves is the way to actually make them feel the best.

Dan Gingiss: Couldn’t agree more, my buddy. And now, for this week’s question about empowering customers, do we offer customers the tools and access they need to confidently resolve issues themselves? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AV techs at experienceconversations.com, that’s experienceconversations.com

[Dissecting the Experience] Communicate Internally to Provide a Better Experience

Joey Coleman: It’s shocking how often people use 38 words to describe something when two would do the trick. We’re looking at you lawyers and accountants, words matter. And there is no excuse for trying to hide what you mean. We explore words and messaging in this next iteration of say what! Dan, does your bank send you any promotional offers in the mail?

Dan Gingiss: Sometimes I think the only thing I get in the mail are credit card offers.

Joey Coleman: I hear you, but do they come from your bank specifically? So there’s the difference of the credit card offers you get from like all their credit card companies, but then there’s the ones you specifically get from your bank. Do you get any of those?

Dan Gingiss: Not really, no. They already know me, and I have a lot of accounts with them and so they leave me alone.

Joey Coleman: Wow, interesting how that works. I’ll note what Dan said. They already know me. I already have accounts with them. I ask because my bank, which for context I’ve been with since 2003 that 16 years for those of you scoring along at home…

Dan Gingiss: Hold on, carry the one. Yep, he’s right guys, 16 years.

Joey Coleman: 16 years. My bank has been sending me two personal credit card solicitations and two business card solicitations every month for at least the last 10 years. Now, I never opened them. Well, I think I did maybe the first month. I never opened them, I never reply, I’m never going to get a credit card with my bank. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why no one at the bank has figured this out.

Dan Gingiss: Well, this is actually an issue that I have some familiarity with because as our listeners know, I worked at a credit card company for almost 10 years. And while I agree with you that this is a pretty weird situation in the sense that you’ve clearly made the statement with your inaction…

Joey Coleman: That would be once a month for a decade. For those of you again scoring at home, I know we don’t usually have math on the Experience This! show. That’s 128 rejections per offer. Mind you, I’m getting four offers per month. So 120 times 4, carry the 1, that’s 480 times that they have sent me an offer that I haven’t replied to.

Dan Gingiss: That’s many, many times. And the best that I can guess without defending them is that you are part of the larger group of people being mailed this offer. And at the end of every campaign, they take a look at the campaign as a whole, and they say, “Well, was it worth it for us to mail this out 10,000 times? Well, we got X hundred people to respond, and so our costs per account or CPA is at a level that is okay. And so great, this was a successful campaign. Let’s try it again next month.”

Now, that’s not great marketing because of course if we were doing better, we would dig into the data a little bit, and we would see, “Wow, there’s this guy, Joey, that we’ve mailed 480 times and he hasn’t said yes yet. So the chances of the investment being worth it to mail him the 481st time is not really high. He probably knows we’re here if he ever needs us and wants to be proactive about it.” So if I were there, I would be digging into the data a little bit harder to eliminate what I’m guessing is a sizeable pocket of that campaign that is never going to respond. And what they’ll find is by mailing fewer people and getting the same responses, the response rate goes up and their costs per account goes down.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I just I can’t fathom this. Something you said, Dan, really resonated with me when you said the bank they would be thinking, “Well, he knows we’re here.” Here’s the crazy thing. I have the bank’s mobile app, I receive a statement in the mail every month, I occasionally go into my branch to do something weird like send a wire or whatever it may be. There have been dozens, if not hundreds of opportunities for them to ask me, “Do you think you’re ever going to get a credit card from us?” Like I would actually appreciate that. I would appreciate the straightforwardness, the honesty, the just kind of directness of, “Look, we’ve been sending you a lot of mail. Do you even open that mail? Because it seems like you might not even open it and maybe you’d be excited to help save some trees by have us not sending you that mail.” If they actually said that, I would happily opt out of any of the offers.

Now, before anybody who’s listening says, “Well, Joey, I imagine you could go in and opt out of their marketing and promotional messages.” You’re right, I could. And I know this is the wrong answer, and I know environmentalists everywhere are infuriated by this type of answer, and I’m irritated at myself for giving this answer. But if you’re not going to make it easy for me, I’m probably not going to take time out of my day to figure it out. And I would actually love it if my bank would make it easy for me because not only would I take them up on the offer and feel better about myself and be able to contribute to a better environment, but I would say, “Huh, they know me, I know them, but they know me and they’re okay with the fact that I’m not going to get a credit card.”

Dan Gingiss: Well, first, I want to give you a suggestion. This is a free pro tip you.

Joey Coleman: Oh, pro tip from a man who used to work in the biz.

Dan Gingiss: I want you to take for the next year or so, I want you to take all the mailings and just throw them in a shoebox, just collect them. And then I want you to take one of the mailings with the self-addressed stamped envelope that comes… when it comes through them, you’re supposed to mail it back. And I want you to paste that on top of the shoebox, and I want you to ship all of their unopened letters back to them at their postal expense. And I think that will probably get their attention and my guess is they’ll stop mailing you.

Joey Coleman: Ooh, I like it, I like it.

Dan Gingiss: But in lieu of that, I do want to explain I think why you’re not getting the experience that you want when you walk into the branch or when you engage with them in other ways, and it’s unfortunately because companies of the size of your bank… and by the way, we are intentionally not naming the bank because we tend to tell positive stories on this show and applaud brands that are doing things well, and the ones that aren’t, we don’t really need to pile on to negativity. But instead, we try to use our show to explain how we might do it differently and help companies learn from it. So the name of the bank doesn’t really matter. But what I will tell you is the size of your bank is one that is internally an incredibly siloed organization.

And so the reality is the manager of your bank branch has absolutely nothing to do with the credit card department, nothing at all. In fact, he or she probably cannot access anything related to your credit card and certainly not related to the marketing of your credit card offers. So it’s just a different part of the company. Now, as consumers, we say, “But it’s my bank, and I look at it as a single company.” Unfortunately, many banks and many large companies are so siloed, which of course creates siloed experiences, which you’re talking about today.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so here’s the thing. Let me say a few words about silos. And I appreciate that observation, Dan. And I think you’re absolutely right. It’s also why you and I and all of the amazing customer experience professionals listening to the show will never go hungry because so many businesses are siloed and completely disjointed. And even though we all know that is consumers, we see it’s the bank. That’s who I’m doing business with. I don’t care that you have 738 departments that all have independent relationships with me. When I talked to you, I want all of you to know that I’m talking to you. So that makes perfect sense. But let me say a word about silos. So I grew up in Iowa. Iowa is known for those of you that are not from the United States, or maybe you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the Heartland, it is known for farms. And one of the things you will find on pretty much every grain farm in Iowa…

Dan Gingiss: Can I guess?

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: A silo?

Joey Coleman: It’s a silo, and silos are absolutely incredible on the farm. They are very useful. They keep the grain ready until it’s time to take it to market. You know where silos aren’t useful? In your organization. It’s not a good choice to have silos, and yet we use this as an excuse, as a justification for why we can’t make the experience better. Please, please consider sending this segment to your boss’s boss and saying, “We have silos in our organization that are costing our business money, not relationship, not reputation, money.” Because, Dan, as somebody who was in this business, what do you think ballpark, they’ve spent sending me over the last 10 years credit card offers? Like just spitball a number. You know how much these things cost.

Dan Gingiss: I would say Just you alone, it’s probably now north of $1,000.

Joey Coleman: $1,000 in marketing.

Dan Gingiss: And your lifetime value to them if you were to become a card member tomorrow is probably not $1,000.

Joey Coleman: There you go. So, folks, this isn’t a do-right because it’s the right thing to do conversation. It is, but it doesn’t have to be just that. This can be a conversation about, do the right thing for the bottom line, do the right thing for the environment, do the right thing and break down the silos. So what can we learn from the credit card mailer debacle that has been happening with my bank? It’s pretty straight forward. Pay attention to your customers. I both understand and appreciate that your marketing department wants to continue to upsell new products and new services, especially to your long-term customers. But after 10 years of me not responding, enough is enough. Take stock of your promotional messages. And to paraphrase the 2009 drama, recognize that your customer’s just not into you and that new credit card offer.

Dan Gingiss: Wow, 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 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 83: Enhance the Experience by Making Customer Needs a Priority

Join us as we discuss why trying to enhance the experience might actually cause you to lose customers, how customers are affected after a corporate merger or acquisition, and how to make standing in line — FUN!

Groceries, Transitions, and Waiting – Oh My!

[CX Press] Is the best customer experience always the right customer experience? (SAP)

Almost everyone has experienced the nightmare of walking into their usual grocery store only to discover that everything has moved! Not only is the food arranged differently, but the signs that call out the aisle number for specific foods haven’t been updated. In this moment, the typical shopper is totally lost. In an article for our friends at SAP by Jennifer Arnold, an age-old customer experience question is explored: Is the best customer experience always the right customer experience?

While a grocery store may think and feel that it is delivering an upgrade for its customers, the customers often end up shopping elsewhere. In the example shared in this segment, a larger store meant longer time spent shopping, newly installed marble counters were less convenient than former conveyer belts, and the overall increase in prices just didn’t feel worth it.

We don’t want to make changes for change’s sake. [A]s you’re looking at your business, you’re looking at improvements that you can potentially make. Choose the ones that are actually important to your customers so that you improve their experience in the process.

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

Before you make any changes that you see as updgades or enhancements, make sure to evaluate them from your customers’ perspective to make sure they feel the same way.

[Dissecting the Experience] How to Create a Successful Transition During a Merger

Anytime a company makes big changes, it can make a customer uncomfortable. In the case of mergers and acquisitions, the customer experience often gets overlooked. Darren Hakeman, head of corporate development and strategy at a company called 8 x 8 Inc, has walked through several acquisitions and shared some wisdom with us.

By maintaining some normality for your clients, you can alleviate concerns and anxieties that may arise from the merger or acquisition. Keeping certain aspects of your customers’ experience the same, like keeping their account managers, provides continuity in service and comfort amidst the change.

We wanted to make sure everyone stayed very focused on all the great stuff that was already in hand with this amazing customer base and continuing to take care of those customers as the team had been doing up to this point.

Darren Hakeman, Head of Corporate Development & Strategy at 8 x 8, Inc.

In any merger or acquisition it is crucial to pay attention to all of the little “experience details.” From recognizing that the people are the true acquisition, to acknowledging team member talents and concerns, to technology connections, to the overall approach to customer communications, each element needs to come together in order to make a successful transition.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: IVR Modernization

We have all had the experience with an Interactive Voice Response (or IVR) system where we call in for something, but then can’t figure out which number to push, so we just hit 0 until we find a person. Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, plays a critical role in many interactions between customers and contact centers. When executed properly, an IVR system can streamline a customer’s interactions and improve their perception of the experience. Done improperly, an IVR can lead to additional customer and employee frustration, cause unnecessary confusion, and negatively impact customer relationships.

To be effective, your IVR system must be:

  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Clear and comprehensible by the customer (not just your internal team)
  • Consistent in options and call routing
  • Integrated with multiple departments and technologies
  • Properly supported by knowledgeable agents (during interactions) and technicians (for ongoing maintenance and improvement)

Start the conversation with this question: Does our IVR system meet the needs and expectations of our customers?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[This Just Happened] Making the Most of the Line

One of the most overlooked customer experiences is the line. Everyone has to stand in line. How fast, how efficient, and how well organized that line is, can make a huge difference in a customer experience. For example, on a recent trip, Joey had to stand in three lines for one breakfast sandwich! One to order, a longer one to pay (because different restaurants were all using the same cash registers?!) and another to pick up his sandwich! This ridiculous, time consuming system resulted in a negative customer experience and was so “remarkable” that Joey wanted to discuss it on the show.

Compare this “line” experience to another one Joey had recently. While on a different trip, Joey’s friend encouraged him to visit an ice cream shop. The line wrapped around the corner, but the friend insisted it was worth the wait. The shop, Salt and Straw, moved the line so quickly that it felt like you were walking in a line instead of standing in one. The store paired this efficient system with a cheery employee at the front door saying, “You’re almost there” and bringing a touch of humor to the wait. Once inside, the ice cream shop had stories of their history, mission, values, and standards strategically placed on the walls and surrounding shelves – conveniently persuading customers about the value of the experience before they even trying the product. The ice cream was delicious, but long after the taste faded, the story and experience remained.

While lines cannot always be avoided, it is always possible to work at making the wait a positive experience for your customers.  Tell your story, share your commitment, entice intrigue, educate, entertain, and before you know it, people will happily stand in line to sample your products and services.

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 83 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: 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 why trying to enhance the experience might actually lose you customers, how customers are affected after a corporate merger or acquisition and how to make standing in line fun.

Joey Coleman: Groceries, transitions and waiting. Oh my.

CX PRESS: Grocery Store: Is the best customer experience always the right customer experience? (SAP)

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.

This week’s CXPRESS comes to us from our friends at SAP customer experience and can be found on their website the Future Of Commerce. The article was written by Jennifer Arnold and it asks the question, is the best customer experience always the right customer experience? Jennifer reminds readers that, “When planning for the best customer experience, don’t forget the customer.”

Dan Gingiss: Well hell, I’d say that’s right on so far.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I agree. Jennifer details’ how her local grocery store has completely remodeled and as she writes, gone all fancy polished floors, marble checkout counters, floor to ceiling windows, cappuccino machines, and the store is three times bigger than the old one. The only problem Jennifer and her friends now shop somewhere else.

Dan Gingiss: Oh no. What happened?

Joey Coleman: Well, for Jennifer and for her friends, the main benefit of the local grocery store prior to the remodeling was convenience. Jennifer observes that pre renovation I could whip through and tick everything off my weekly shopping list in 15 minutes flat. Post renovation the trip takes nearly twice as long. What’s worse? Those fancy marble checkouts are actually less efficient than the old conveyor belt. And of course prices have gone up through out the store.

Dan Gingiss: Ah, yes. The old, “We’re making enhancements we think you’re really going to like even though we don’t know you, haven’t you and are really only doing this because we think it’ll make us more money situation.” Followed by the, “And we’re going to raise prices to pay for the improvements.”

Joey Coleman: That’s basically the way this goes Dan. It seems like you’re familiar with this story. But what could the store have done instead to keep Jennifer as a customer? The answer they needed to understand their customer’s expectations, listen so as to understand not just what they were doing but how they were feeling and not try to be something that they’re not. As Jennifer Warren said in the article, “Only by understanding what your customers truly prioritize in the experiences they have with your brand can you then prioritize what customer experience enhancements will return the biggest bang for your buck and what to do to keep your customers loyal.”

Dan Gingiss: You know, I really could relate to this article because the same thing happened to me at my local grocery store.

Joey Coleman: Really?

Dan Gingiss: And one of the things that they did, I could not understand this, is they changed the location of almost every product in the store.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t that great when you’re like, “So you’ve conditioned me to know exactly where the things are I want, and I came today and it’s opposite day. Everything’s in a different location.”

Dan Gingiss: The funny thing was in some aisles, they literally just switched the sides of the aisle. So there was one aisle where one side was all the cereal and the other side was all the other breakfast stuff like oatmeal and granola bars and stuff. And I showed up one day and they had just switched to the sides and I couldn’t figure out why there were. There was no benefit that I could see. And all it did was confuse me. And so now I used to know where the bread is and now I’ve got to look all over for it, et cetera. And the interesting thing for me and the reason I stopped doing business with this particular grocery store was because the things that I didn’t like about it were not improved at all with the refurbishing of the store. So for example, the thing that bothers me the most is I have to check my receipt every single time because I would say at least half the time there’s a mistake on my receipt. There’s a sale item that I didn’t get the sale price.

Joey Coleman: Wait, there’s a mistake on the receipt, meaning … Okay.

Dan Gingiss: Like they charged me the wrong thing. Like there’s a sale item of buy one get one free and so I got two but they charged me for two instead of for one or whatever. There’s always something wrong. I bought one kind of apple and they charged me for the more expensive apple because the cashier typed in the wrong code. It literally happened every other time I was there.

Joey Coleman: Dan Gingiss pays attention to his grocery store receipts. We’re learning a lot here, ladies and gentlemen. I’m learning new things I didn’t know about Dan and I’ve known him for years.

Dan Gingiss: Dan Gingiss is the grocery shopper in the household. Fun fact, I actually like grocery shopping so I have not yet moved to mail order groceries or anything like that because I enjoy going to the grocery store. But the other thing that I didn’t like about this grocery store is I’d go into the produce section and there were no prices anywhere and I called over a guy and said-

Joey Coleman: The old, “Hey, yeah, we’ve got it. Just guess how much it’s going to cost. You’ll find out when you check out.”

Dan Gingiss: I remember grabbing a guy once and saying, “Well, how much are these peaches? And he said, “Oh, well they’re 2.99 a pound.” I said, “And how am I supposed to know that?” “Oh well there’s a sign there.” I said, “Really? Come show me where the sign is.” And he walks over. He goes, “Oh, Oh yeah, somebody must’ve moved the sign.” Yeah, well don’t expect me to-

Joey Coleman: Did they move it to the banana section or like-

Dan Gingiss: Who moved my sign?

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly.

Dan Gingiss: But I mean, how do you expect me to buy peaches when I don’t know how much they cost? This is pretty simple. And anyway, long story short, my grocery store also went through this big change where they made things a little fancy or whatever, but they didn’t fix any of the core problems. And finally I had had enough, I actually had to get myself to stop looking at the circular because every time I got the circular I’d be like, “Oh, grapes are on sale. I’m going to go there.” And it would draw me in. And so I’ve learned, I trained myself to just recycle the circular so that I don’t get teased by it. And I’m now going to a different grocery store that isn’t as fancy, but that the prices are always right. I don’t have to be worried about the receipt. I can find right produce and the right price and it’s just easier for me.

And so last thing I want to say on this is that Jennifer points to the word convenience. And as you may remember last season we talked about our mutual friend Shep Hyken’s book, The Convenience Revolution. This is absolutely something that people are looking for today. And so as you make changes you should be looking to make them more convenient, not less. And taking a grocery store where everybody knows the layout and the map of the place and completely shuffling everything is an inconvenience. Not an added convenience.

Joey Coleman: I have to admit Dan. Two things. Number one, I’m often left wondering when grocery stores move everything around why they did it. So we had a similar thing in our grocery store recently and I don’t know. I’m sure there’s science behind this and maybe you know the answer to this question. The little board that hangs above the aisles that tells you where things are and it has maybe 50 things listed in their aisle that is completely wrong now. Completely wrong cause it’s the old board. I would have thought that one of the first things you do when you move everything is fix the map to your store, which is basically the board that lists out all the items.

The other day I spent what must have been a good 20 minutes trying to find olives. I had no idea where they were. I’m looking all over. I’m trying to find them. The board says they’re an aisle 11, I go to aisle 11, it’s toilet paper. I’m like, “Olives are definitely not in this aisle. Something has been moved.” I’m looking all over and no one in the store … The staff didn’t know where things are.

So I agree with you. This really is a question of convenience. The second thing again, I want to reiterate, wow, Dan Gingiss has some interesting behaviors around grocery stores. I love it. I have actually … our family, we’ve started to migrate a little bit more towards the convenience of fact of having the groceries brought to the house cause we live in town now. It’s closer to the grocery store and it’s really much easier to do it that way because neither my wife or I super love going to the grocery store, but a lot of people do. And so what are you doing when it comes to convenience? I think the takeaway here is we don’t want to make changes for changes sake. So as you’re looking at your business, you’re looking at improvements that you that you can potentially make. Choose the ones that are actually important to your customers so that you improve their experience in the process

Dan Gingiss: And for more great customer experience content, please visit our friends at SAP customer experience either on Twitter ,if you’re so inclined to Joey, @SAP_CX or at their website at www.the-future-of-commerce.com. So that website again is The Future Of Commerce with hyphens between each of the words.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE – Post merger or acquisition

Joey Coleman: 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.

Dan Gingiss: Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Darren Hakeman, the head of corporate development and strategy for 8×8 A cloud based contact center solution that includes voice, video and chat. 8×8 has made several acquisitions of other companies over the years, and Darren was discussing the customer experience elements that must be considered in such a transaction. I’m going to share some of his comments here.

Darren Hakeman: Yeah, so, so I think one of the really important things is that a company understands why they’re making the acquisition and especially in the tech space. There’s a variety of reasons for pursuing different things. It could be specifically about acquiring a talent or team. It can be about acquiring a product or technology or in the best case, it’s about acquiring all those things, plus the solid and growing customer base.

Dan Gingiss: I then asked him, which has had more of an effect on the customer experience for his existing clients after an acquisition, the technology they acquired or the people, and he said, “Definitely the people.”

Joey Coleman: You know, it’s so funny. It’s always, always the people, but when you think of a corporate acquisition, you usually think of the product or technology being acquired. In fact, that’s usually what is touted in the press releases and the marketing and sales speak. It’s not, “Oh wait, we’ve added a bunch of quality team members to work on your project or your account or your service that we’re delivering.” Instead it’s, “We’ve got this really cool new technology that’s going to make it faster and louder and sleeker than ever before.” Folks, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the people.

Dan Gingiss: I then asked Darren what the top priorities should be when making an acquisition.

Darren Hakeman: We had to make it really clear across the board, priority number one was about taking care of the existing customers and growing the existing business. Very often everyone gets very excited about a new acquisition and all the possibilities and what … We wanted to make sure everyone stayed very focused on all the great stuff that was already in hand and this amazing customer base and continuing to take care of those customers as, as the team had been doing up to this.

Dan Gingiss: Darren went on to say that customers tend to be uncomfortable with change and they really hate uncertainty, so it’s very important to communicate to customers on both sides of the transaction very quickly. Letting them know what’s happening and that things won’t be changing dramatically on day one. Importantly, he also said that, “There is a concerted effort to keep clients with the same account manager so that the human relationship stays intact.”

Joey Coleman: I love this for so many reasons. First and foremost, pace yourselves. Humans don’t like change and I understand there might be legal or regulatory or financial reasons why you want the acquisition to close quickly, but lots of times that energy and that excitement and the anticipation around closing the deal spills over into the first few days of onboarding the new clients and everybody feels rushed. As a general rule, human beings don’t like change. They get nervous, they get anxious. This is going to be something new. It’s something that they’re unsure of. It brings back all the doubt and all the buyer’s remorse that they had when they originally decided to do business with you. What I love about Darren’s philosophy is that they focus on keeping a common point of contact, the same account manager, so that even though that account manager may have a different brand name on their business card, they may even report to a different office or have a different email. It’s the same person because at the end of the day, even in a B2B environment, people don’t do business with a business. People do business with people.

Dan Gingiss: I would say especially in a B2B environment. And I think one of the things that B2B companies often mess up is they use the salesperson to get the sale. And why does somebody buy? Because they like the salesperson because there’s a human connection. And then the first thing that happens when they sign the contract, they yank the salesperson away so he can go sell to somebody else.

Joey Coleman: And you’ll never see the sales person again. I mean literally you will never see the salesperson again.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. You get handed off to a brand new account team and you have to start over from square one creating that doubt that buyer’s remorse. So I think in a merger and acquisition transaction, this becomes even more important because the whole company name might be changing, the branding might be changing and customers are going to be nervous about this, but if they see that they’re working with the same person, it’s going to make them a lot more comfortable. Finally, I asked Darren, what are some of the key things that companies need to think about from a customer experience perspective when they enter into an M and A or merger and acquisition transaction? Here’s his answer.

Darren Hakeman: So as companies enter into an M and A transaction, they really need to be focused on the customer experience and ensuring that they’re ready to designate that as a priority. Because if it isn’t, you know, doing an acquisition is extremely difficult and there are a lot that draw the attention in time of employees on both sides. If you’re not really focused on that so absolutely critical that customer experience gets drawn out as a top priority, if not the number one priority. And it’s something that needs to be repeated day in and day out. As your integration teams start to come together from both sides, they’re going to be delving into the details of IT systems and the HR policies and accounting procedures.

And so without the daily mantra of take care of the customers, it can very easily be forgotten and to the team being acquired, but also to the acquiring team that may not have a full perspective of the challenges on the time of all the people in the new organization because it’s typically a … And they’re running 120 miles an hour and so both sides need to be cognizant of this. It’s really important, as you bring a new acquisition and that you … The new team, that key part of their value is their customers and what they’ve been doing to make those customers so happy along as something they need to keep, keep pushing and their number one job and the rest will take care of itself.

Joey Coleman: The takeaway here is that when companies go through a merger or an acquisition, everything must come together. The products and the services, the employees, HR and finance and legal departments and the customers. Done right, the combination of two companies can have benefits for everyone involved, but it’s critical to ensure that customer relationships don’t fall through the cracks while everyone is paying attention on how to get the technology to line up.

START THE CONVERSATION: Avtex, IVR Modernization

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.

Dan Gingiss: This week’s start the conversation topic is IVR modernization. Interactive voice response or IVR plays a critical role in many of today’s interactions between customers and a brand’s context. Center executed properly and IVR system can greatly streamline a customer’s interaction and improve their perception of the experience, but done improperly and IVR can lead to additional customer and employee frustration. Think pounding zero with your finger over and over and over again. Can cause unnecessary confusion and negatively impact customer relationships.

Joey Coleman: In order to be effective, your IVR system must do the following things. Number one, be intuitive and easy to use. Number two, be clear and comprehensible by the customer, not your internal team who wrote the IVR. Number three, be consistent in options and call routing. Don’t make me press eight this time and press four next time. Number four, be integrated with multiple departments and technologies and number five, be properly supported by knowledgeable agents during the interactions and technicians for ongoing maintenance and improvement.

Dan Gingiss: So I’m going to share something here that you may not know, Joey, because it really doesn’t apply to our generation. There actually is a big part of the population that likes interacting with the interactive voice response system. We all think of it as being a pain in the neck, in the credit card industry, almost always the first choice to press one is to hear your balance. That’s because it’s usually the number one reason why people call and many people, many, many people hit one, hear their balance and hang up. So it actually prevents having to talk to an agent. That’s when an IVR works well. When it doesn’t work well is when the menu items have changed because they’ve always changed.

Joey Coleman: They’re always changing, always.

Dan Gingiss: And we listened to nine choices and we can’t figure out which one is actually what we’re calling about. So we hit zero and I’m sorry there’s nobody available to talk to you and we get into this mess where we feel like we’re not being heard.

Joey Coleman: I absolutely agree and I think it also is the ones where you call in and there’s a limited number of things you can do. Like press one to change your flight, press two to hear the weather report, press three to see how much baggage fees are. And you’re like, “No, I wanted to find out if there was even a trip that I could take, wanted to book a flight or whatever.” It’s not even one of the options and instead I’m left pounding zero. But regardless, I think it’s time for this week’s question about IVR modernization. Does our IVR system meet the needs and expectations of our customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AV Techs at experienceconversations.com. That’s www.experienceconversations.com

THIS JUST HAPPENED: Making the Most of the Line

Joey Coleman: We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened?

Dan? I think I may have determined the most overlooked customer experience at the typical retail establishment.

Dan Gingiss: I don’t know Joey. There are so many.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. But this is one that I actually experience on a pretty regular basis that I think is a hot topic for discussion. What I’m talking about is the line. All too often companies make their customers stand in line. Want to place an order? Stand in line. Want to pick up your order? Stand in line. Want to pay for your order? Stand in line. Lines, lines, lines. They seem to be everywhere when you go into a brick and mortar establishment and in many ways I wonder if lines are partially the cause for the shift to more people shopping online, but I digress.

Dan Gingiss: This seems to be a topic that you’re pretty worked up about Joey.

Joey Coleman: To be honest, I am because for a couple of reasons. Number one, I think it is a super easy thing to fix and I think it’s something that most businesses are paying zero attention to. But to be honest, why I’m a little hyped up about it today is because in the last week I had what may have been my worst and my best line experiences in recent memory.

Dan Gingiss: I always like to end with the good news. So let’s start with the worst and then we can feel a sense of progress when you get to the best.

Joey Coleman: I like it. I like it. So picture the scene. I’m flying to Halifax, Canada, and I get stranded in LaGuardia overnight.

Dan Gingiss: Not my favorite place to be stranded.

Joey Coleman: Oh my goodness. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. Absolutely not the place to be stranded. I ended up needing to get a hotel. I need to come back the next morning for an early morning flight.

It has messed up my entire schedule. I get to the airport. I wasn’t able to eat dinner the night before and I’d like to get some breakfast. So I’m waiting in line to get my breakfast sandwich. I get to the front of the line and I placed my order and the gentleman there hands me a little slip of paper that says my order on it and says, “Now you have to go pay for this. I said, “Okay.” And I looked to my left and my right thinking, well of course I’ll just shift over and pay right here. Au contraire, mon frère. Instead I was sent back about 40 feet to a line that looked like it ran from LaGuardia through JFK to somewhere near Montreal. Okay. And I go and I stand in this line. Now this line, snakes along the front of four or five different eating establishments that are all using the same bank of three cash registers.

Now this probably makes sense to the business because they own all of the eating establishment, but as the person eating this makes zero sense. So I stand in this line and I get closer and I get closer and I get closer and I finally pay to which the individual hands me another receipt showing that I had paid and encourages me to go back to where I ordered my breakfast sandwich to then get in line to pick up my breakfast sandwich. It was madness. No one knew what was going on. The customers were frustrated. The employees seem frustrated, but as of course, they’re all having to explain this ridiculous line set up to every new customer and Oh, by the way, did I mention that this was at an airport? So guess what? There’s pretty much new customers every single minute of every single day.

Dan Gingiss: Well, first of all, this sounds exactly like LaGuardia to me. If you had said, “What airport do you think this is?”

Joey Coleman: That’s what it should’ve been? It should’ve been a guess this airport episode.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. However, if you are asking me to guess, just fun fact, you would have had to describe this a little bit differently because you may or may not know, but in New York they don’t stand in line.

Joey Coleman: Oh, excuse me.

Dan Gingiss: They stand on line.

Joey Coleman: You are correct. My friend. I did misspeak. I was in New York so I was standing on line.

Dan Gingiss: So that sounds like a pretty ridiculous experience. I feel your pain. Let’s get to the good experience though. What did that one look like?

Joey Coleman: All right, let me take some deep breaths here, calm down a little bit. So during this same week, I also had the chance to travel to the other side of the United States to California. I led a private workshop for a group of business owners and after it ended, I met up with my good friend, Clay, Abear. We had dinner and I was going to fly out the next morning.

Well after dinner, clay suggested that we grabbed some ice cream at his favorite ice cream shop, Salt and Straw.

Dan Gingiss: That’s a curious name for an ice cream place.

Joey Coleman: I have to admit, I too was intrigued and so I actually asked why it was named Salt And Straw. And as it turns out, they chose the name because their ice cream is handmade in small batches. The way they used to make ice cream back in the day. Ice cream was made by using rock salt to make it freeze and then it was packed in straw to keep it cold, hence Salt and Straw. And what I realized after seeing the name and experiencing the line at this store, it became very clear that they are all about thinking through the customer experience at every step along the way.

Dan Gingiss: I see what you did there.

Joey Coleman: You like that?

Dan Gingiss: It’s a line. You said steps.

Joey Coleman: We tried to keep this exciting for you folks. All right, I’m glad you caught it. So here’s what happened at Salt and Straw. When we walked up, there was a line that went down the street and around the corner. Now it was not as long as the line in LaGuardia, but it wasn’t that much shorter. I mean it was probably three quarters of the length of the line from LaGuardia. So it was really long.

Dan Gingiss: And usually when I see a lot of this going down the street and around the corner, I just keep walking around the corner.

Joey Coleman: Me too. It’s like, you know what? Life is too short. I’m not going to wait in line and I admit I was skeptical, but my buddy Clay was like, “Joey, this is worth it. We’re going to stand in line.” Because now we were on the West coast so we were in line and as usual Clay was so right.

First of all, the line moved very quickly. It wasn’t as much that you were standing in line as you were walking in a line. Okay. Second, as you approached the door to the ice cream shop, there was a Salt and Straw employee there with a big smile welcoming everyone in and telling them, You’re getting close.” They brought a little humor to it.

Dan Gingiss: I like it.

Joey Coleman: And this the line snaked through the store cause there was a line inside the store as well. There were signs on the walls and on the shelves that told the story of Salt and Straw, their commitment to quality ingredients. The fact that at each of their seven West coast locations, they have at least one custom flavor, that you can only get in that store. The reason they like to be part of the local food community, it was amazing. So as I’m working my way up to order my ice cream, I’m being sold on the history and the story and the mission and the values of this ice cream shop. And with each shift forward in the line, I was able to read more about the story and get more excited about their commitment.

Dan Gingiss: Well thanks a lot Joey, because now I’m hungry for ice cream.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, sadly I did not bring samples to our recording session. But guess what? When I finally got to taste the ice cream, it was delicious and any memories of needing to wait in line faded faster than I could eat the ice cream. Interestingly enough, though, the story of Salt and Straw stayed with me long after the flavors of the ice cream had faded. By making the most of my time in line. Salt and Straw sold me on their story, their commitment and their reason for being in business. I became a fan while I waited – something that is completely contrary to the emotions one usually feels when waiting in line to purchase, pick up or pay for something.

Now, let’s be candid. I’ll fully acknowledge that businesses can’t always eliminate the weight or the lines associated with using or experiencing their offerings. What they can do is make waiting in line an experience in and of itself. Tell your story, share your commitment, entice intrigue, educate, entertain, and before you know it, people will be standing in line and won’t mind one bit.

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. Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more Experience …

Dan Gingiss: This.


Episode 82: Make Sure Your Experiences are Accessible to ALL of Your Customers

 Join us as we discuss a restaurant designed to create an inclusive experience, the challenges of becoming an older customer, and how healthcare if failing the customers that need it most.

Pizzability, Usability, and Adaptability – Oh My!

[ExperienceThis! Live] Serving Up Remarkable Experiences and Great Pizza to An Inclusive Audience

Restaurants can be challenging for some individuals to navigate. From families with young children, to those with disabilities, finding a place to eat that would be considered “inclusive” can be difficult. Inclusive options aren’t just rare for customers – they are rare for prospective employees with intellectual and physical disabilities. Joey recently had the pleasure of experiencing an amazing restaurant in Denver, CO, called Pizzability. Pizzability was founded by Tiffany Fixter, a special needs teacher who saw a significant gap in the marketplace for training and employing people with disabilities. Her solution? Pizzability – a restaurant offering a “slice of community’ by employing individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. To bring things full circle, the restaurant also sources their toppings from a local farm that employs people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.

Each day, the restaurant is filled with people of all abilities, races, genders, and various walks of life. Pizzability provides special silverware for guests who may have trouble holding a utensil, noise-cancelling headphones for those who may struggle with a loud, busy atmosphere, and textured placemats for those who benefit from tactile surfaces.

My time at Pizzability was incredibly eye-opening about ways that customer-centric design can anticipate the needs of the many different types of customers that might come into your business.

Joey Coleman, co-host of the ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Not every business will make the commitment to implement all of the measures that Pizzability did, but there are benefits for every business making the time to consider ways to be more customer-centric in their design, operation, and offerings.

[CX Press] The World is Designed Against the Elderly

Average life expectancy continues to grow with women now expected to live until 81.1 years and men until 78.6 years. While improvements in overall life expectancy is certainly a positive thing, there are some problems that come with these changes. Don Norman, former VP of Apple and celebrated author, wrote an article in Fast Company magazine titled, “I Wrote the Book on User Friendly Design. What I see Today Terrifies Me.” As an expert on design, Norman observes that nothing is user-friendly for the elderly: fonts are too small, walking devices are ugly, and captions take up too much room on the TV – blocking important visual content with important text content.

The number of active, healthy oldsters is large – and increasing. We are not a niche market. And businesses should take note: We are good customers often with more free time and discretionary income than younger people.

Don Norman, author of Design of Everyday Things

Don challenges every in business to examine their product and service offerings. Are they user friendly for the older population? Create a focus group of people over 65 years old, and see if they can easily use your products and services. If your offerings are less usable as your customers get older, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Design Thinking

Design thinking is critical to creating a successful customer experience. Many companies struggle with creating new designs, and instead, default to only fixing their broken designs. In order to create a memorable customer experience, you must design experiences with an intentional focus of the customer’s viewpoint.

What exactly is design thinking? Here are three key components:

  1. Explore innovative ideas and solutions beyond what you think may be currently possible.
  2. Empathize with customers, keeping their needs and point of view at the forefront throughout the design process.
  3. Create experiences that address customer needs and expectations first, and business needs and goals second.

By designing experiences with intentionality, you begin to build empathy and connection with the people you serve. Start the conversation with this question: Is my organization actively engaging in design thinking?

To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Dissecting the Experience] The Healthcare System is Failing Seniors

Dan recently wrote a series of articles for Forbes and in the last one, Why An Aging Population Means Healthcare Customer Experience Must Adapt , he confronts the fact that it is absolutely necessary to start taking the needs of the aging population into consideration.

Healthcare is obviously not alone… [t]he aging population in the United States will be the largest of all time, and the 50 plus cohort controls 70% of consumer discretionary spending. Designing for seniors is no longer optional. It’s now a core responsibility for nearly every company, in every industry.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of the ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Treating people as intelligent humans worthy of respect will go a long way towards building trust with your customers. We must begin considering all of our customers, especially the aging, when designing customer interactions. By paying attention to the needs of the elderly, we build organizational empathy and show customer compassion – both of which will ultimately lead to an enhanced overall customer experience.

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 82 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: So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This. Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss a restaurant designed to create an inclusive experience, the challenges of becoming an older customer, and how healthcare is failing the customers that need it most.

Dan Gingiss: Pizzability, usability, and adaptability. Oh my.

ET LIVE: Pizzability

Joey Coleman: Sometimes we need to get out of the recording studio and experience things in person. Get ready to feel like you’re standing right next to us as you Experience This live.

Not too long ago, I heard about a restaurant concept that so piqued my interest I had to go check it out for myself. The restaurant is based in Denver, Colorado, and is called Pizzability. Pizzability is a pizzeria completely staffed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was founded by Tiffany Fixter, a special needs teacher who saw a need for jobs and training for adults with disabilities. Not only does Pizzability provide job training and skill development that will translate into future job opportunities for their employees, they also make a pretty delicious pizza as well.

In fact, they’ve taken their philosophy and applied it to all aspects of their business. They work with a Colorado farm that employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to provide produce for toppings. They’re constantly on the lookout for other vendors and suppliers that have a similar commitment to working with individuals who have disabilities.

Given that I live just up the road in Boulder, Colorado, I decided to take a little road trip to Denver and asked my good friend Nick Hemmert to join me for lunch at Pizzability. What follows is a recording of the conversation that we had while we were in the restaurant waiting for our order to be prepared.

Pizzability is a fascinating restaurant in Denver, Colorado in that the staff all have disabilities. The restaurant was designed to create a place where folks who had disabilities could actually come to work. As I’ve walked into Pizzability on a Friday afternoon at about 12:30 for lunch, the restaurant is absolutely packed. Packed to the gills. It’s almost standing room only.

What’s really fascinating to me and my buddy Nick Hemmert, who I’m sitting here talking with and we’re having lunch, is the fact that in many ways the customers are the staff and the staff are the customers. You were saying something about that, Nick.

Nick Hemmert: Yeah. What I appreciate about what I’m seeing here with 30 to 40 people that are literally standing, [crosstalk 00:03:41] finish their lunch and they’re just hanging around socializing. It’s a place for them to be able to do that at lunchtime.

Whereas, you just hear another person just get excited here a second ago. That’s accepting for this place. I think if they went to another restaurant for the traditional lunch on Friday, I don’t think they’d be able to have socialized time. Even if it was a coffee shop or a place that would be more socially acceptable.

I think it’s really great just to see that there are people of all different abilities here for lunch, not just those with unique abilities, with all abilities, having conversations and being able to be themselves.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there’s so many things about the restaurant that are incredibly thoughtful and clearly show that a lot of consideration has gone in not only to the customer experience but to the employee experience.

For example, when we walked up to order our menu was a single sheet of paper that had photos of the different types of pizza you can get. You circle the photo of the type of pizza that you want and then whether you want a single slice or a full pizza and then you write your name at the bottom. What becomes very apparent very quickly is that regardless of someone’s ability to maybe read or speak English, they’re able to look at the pictures and know exactly what you want. I’ll include some photos in the show notes, not only of the menu, but also of the recipes for the different pizzas are listed above the pizza preparation area. So it becomes very clear that anyone, just by looking at the pictures, is going to be able to build out the various recipes for the pizza that folks would order.

They also give us two little tickets for the gelato. This restaurant, Pizzability, serves pizza, they have drinks, and they have gelato for dessert. We got two tickets for gelato, which the staff person who gave them to me shared that the reason they give out the tickets is then when we come up, all we have to do is exchange a ticket and their staff know that one ticket is good for one scoop of gelato. It’s a great way to not only have some efficiency and how quickly they can turn tables, something that most restaurants pay attention to, but it really allows anyone on the other side of the counter, the staff member, to be able to take the order and process the order regardless of what their abilities may or may not be.

Nick Hemmert: The other thing I’m noticing too is the variety of different areas that they’ve created for people to sit. They have outdoor furniture. We’re sitting at a table that’s not the traditional outdoor table with an umbrella underneath it. Inside they have a traditional restaurant setting where they have small tables for two, tables for groups, they also have a bar where people can sit and actually watch the pizza being made or checkout the environment that’s going on.

Someone just came in with a dog mat and set it down next to their spot at the bar for their dog to just enjoy the environment as well.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I think what the thing that is most amazing to me is, I don’t know the last time I ate at a restaurant where the customer base was as diverse as it is here. Just based on observations, you pretty much can see folks of all races, all genders, it appears to be all walks of life if one were to just base an observation based on dress or where people are at, and the entire space has a very fun, inclusive, open feel to it.

What’s interesting is the doors to the restaurant, we’re sitting outside, the doors to the restaurant are propped open and it appears, again not entirely sure. They’ve got a garage door on one side that’s up and on this side of the restaurant are regular just double doors, but they’re propped open and I get the feeling based on looking at the ground and where their prop is, that they’re propped open all day, every day.

So unlike a typical restaurant, where lots of times even opening a door could be a challenge for someone depending on some physical challenges they may have, here you can roll in, you can walk in, you can just enter the space without any encumbrances and be right up to the bar, placing your order, right up to the counter, placing your order.

It’s got a great energy and a great vibe to it. I think so many businesses, so many restaurants, try to create a theme or a vibe. If I had I had to describe the vibe of Pizzability in one word, it’s inclusive.

Nick Hemmert: I agree.

Joey Coleman: Fantastic place. If you get the chance, highly recommend come to Denver, Colorado, come to Pizzability, you won’t be disappointed. There are some great lessons that we can take away that Dan and I are going to talk more about.

But thanks for joining us for an experience live and thanks to Nick for letting us record our conversation. Thanks so much.

Nick Hemmert: Thanks for having us.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. This sounds like an absolutely amazing place, Joey. I’m so glad that you found it because it’s just a perfect example of something that we like to share on this show. I’m reminded back in episode 42 where we talked about the Starbucks outside of DC, right near Gallaudet University that committed to having an entire store filled with employees that could speak sign language and that the store was a lot quieter than other stores because of that.

But I think this is such a great idea on so many fronts. I think it, number one, I love the fact that it is providing job opportunities and skill development. Number two, I think it’s providing for customers. I think some exposure to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the fact that they can work regular jobs, and that they can be a contributing part of society, I think it’s probably a MythBuster in a lot of ways for consumers.

Obviously because it is a restaurant, you did mention that they have delicious pizza too. And I think that’s really important, because I don’t think this experiment would work if the food wasn’t good.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. I think if the food wasn’t good you’d go once to say that you did it, or to say that you supported the cause, but it wouldn’t keep you coming back for more. And I have to tell you I was surprised not only at the inclusiveness of the restaurant, but the way they had everything set up. The pizza was great, the gelato was great. This is a place that I absolutely will go back to again. I also find myself thinking that when I have clients or friends come to Denver, I want to take them there because I think it’s so beautifully illustrates inclusive design and being conscious of the fact that you may have customers that are different than you and what can you do to design your business for that?

Dan Gingiss: It’s just if I can jump in. When I worked, particularly at Discover, also at Humana on the websites, a lot of the work is having to develop features and functionalities that are based on the rules outlined in the American Disabilities Act, that requires certain ways of consuming. What I found over time is that almost everything that we “had” to do, that the lawyers say, “Well, you have to do this to be in compliance with ADA,” ended up creating a better experience for everyone. Because it’s making things often simpler to read, or easier to manually click on, or whatever it is, whatever disability you’re trying to address, it actually makes the whole experience for smoother for everyone.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, and I think what was fascinating is after we finished recording, I was in the restaurant walking around and I noticed some other things that I hadn’t noticed the first time when we walked in. The restaurant has a menu of adaptive utensils. They have special utensils designed for different types of customers, including easy hold utensils that strap to your hand, for people that struggle to maintain grip strength, they have bendable utensils that have an adjustable head to make it easier to move the food to your mouth, and they have weighted utensils that help reduce spilled food caused by shaking hands.

Pizzability also had a wall filled with items to assist those dealing with sensory challenges, including a half dozen pairs of noise canceling headphones and textured mats for guests that benefit from tactile stimulation.

In short, my time at pizzability was incredibly eye-opening about the ways that customer centric design can anticipate the needs of many different types of customers that might come into your business.

Now, let’s be honest, not every business is going to be specifically designed to be as open and inclusive as Pizzability. That being said, there are dozens of little things you can do to make the people that purchase your products and services feel more comfortable, more considered, and more valued.

Dan Gingiss: If you want to see photos of Pizzability, their creative menu solution, and some of the other experience enhancing features that we spoke about in this segment, check out the show notes at experiencethisshow.com

CX PRESS: The World is Designed Against the Elderly

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.

I’ve got a question for you, Dan. Do you know what the average life expectancy is for a man and for a woman here in the United States?

Dan Gingiss: Well, I know that women tend to live longer then men and so I would guess that it’s maybe for a man say 75-ish and maybe a woman 80.

Joey Coleman: Very, very close, my friend. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the average life expectancy is 78.6 years for men and 81.1 years for women. But what’s more interesting is that as people grow older, life expectancy is actually increasing. What that means is that as time goes on, we’re continuing to live longer, and so for those people who are now 65 years old, the average life expectancy is actually 83 for men and over 85 for women. And this is only going to keep going up.

Now while generally speaking, this is certainly a good, there’s some pretty big problems with this shifting life expectancy, and a big concern is outlined in today’s CX Press article from the Fast Company website, and don’t worry folks, we’ll link to it in the show notes over at the experiencethisshow.com.

The article is titled, I Wrote the Book on User-friendly Design. What I see today horrifies me. And was written by Don Norman. Don is the 83 year old author of the industry Bible Design of Everyday Things, and a former Vice President at Apple.

Now Don Norman knows a thing or two about user-friendly design, as is probably obvious by his background and bio. He wrote the book. And in our article he explains the challenges that he faces in his own home. As a reminder, Don himself is 83, and I’m quoting, “Everyday household goods require knives and pliers to open. Containers with screw tops require more strength than my wife or I can muster. We solve this by using a plumber’s wrench to turn the caps. Companies insist on printing critical instructions in tiny fonts with very low contrast. Labels cannot be read without flashlights and magnifying glasses. And when companies do design things specifically for the elderly, they tend to be ugly devices that shout out to the world, I’m old and I can’t function.”

Dan Gingiss: I love that quote. I’m reminded of my mom, who both on her computer and her iPhone, has the font setting to something that is so big that to me it looks like she fits about three words on a page. But this is how she consumes.

I remember when I worked at Humana having to focus on that senior population that you can’t design it like you’re designing it for a millennial. It’s not how they consume, it’s not how they read. I think that obviously Don Norman, he’s the king and the emperor of design thinking, and it’s very interesting that he’s now at an age where he’s starting to experience this himself.

I often find that I’ll be sitting somewhere and even if it’s not a physical thing, for example, signing up for healthcare. Every year when I was in the corporate America and I was signing up for healthcare and I had this big spreadsheet going with all the comparisons, I was like, what do the dumb people do? Because, I’m pretty smart, I feel, and this is really hard and taking up a lot of time. It’s not designed to be easy.

Joey Coleman: I definitely had a variation on that theme. Having gone to law school, I often find myself reading things going, I’m struggling to understand this. How would you understand it if you didn’t have a law degree? But I think what’s interesting about the points that Don makes is not only is there a growing population of senior citizens, but we also have an increasingly large number of active healthy 65 plus year old people on the planet who aren’t a small market, and these people, in fact, usually have more time and more discretionary income that they’re happy to put into the marketplace if the marketplace is willing to design things that will meet their needs.

Now Don points out a few different challenges that older people face that businesses should take into consideration. The first one is reduced vision. When you think about your own products and services, how much of the associated text, whether it’s directions or warning labels, identification marks, etc, is written in a typeface that is so small you need a magnifying glass to read to?

Nick Hemmert: Or what about hearing loss? Don notes in the article that it’s become difficult for him to eat in a loud restaurant. He calls it torture and observes that quote, “More and more my wife and I select restaurants by their noise level rather than by their food quality.”

How many restaurants, coffee shops, and places where people gather are adding to the noise with loud music, loud machines and the hustle and bustle of customer traffic without considering the fact that some customers may be choosing not to do business with them because of the loud sounds at their business?

And don’t even get us started on technology that increasingly requires on touch. The increase in devices using display screens often with tiny lettering and touch sensitive areas. It makes it a challenge for anyone with diminishing eye hand coordination.

Joey Coleman: You know, the sad thing Dan, is that it’s actually even worse than this. As if the status quo wasn’t challenging enough. The companies that are targeting the senior market often do so in less than design conscious or experience conscious fashion. Products that are designed for the elderly, I’m just going to say it straight, they tend to be ugly.

Back in my great-grandmother’s time, a cane was often seen as a functional tool with an artistic accessory element. I remember very well, she had a black wooden cane with a silver eagles head on top of it with green jewels in the eyes. It was stunning. You could see it from across the room. Now canes and walkers look like they were designed to use the most metal, in the boxiest format, and ideally be strapped on the side of a rocket going to space. Today, a cane isn’t an accessory, it’s a medical device.

Dan Gingiss: It’s so funny you should bring up that example, because my mom had hip surgery last year, and she had to use a cane for a little while, and she asked her grandchildren to decorate it with stickers. So, all four grandchildren brought stickers and made her… She had the coolest cane around, and she said that people stopped her in the street because they thought her cane was so cool.

Joey Coleman: Right. And so we shift from having a cane being a sign of maybe things in your life that aren’t going the way you’d like them to go, a decrease in mobility, to a cane being a topic of conversation.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. In the field of design, paying attention to the potential use cases of all customers is called inclusive design. It anticipates a variety of needs and in the process helps everyone. Don notes that curb cuts, those gentle slopes between the sidewalk and the street were meant to help people who had trouble walking. But it turns out they help anyone wheeling things, carts, baby carriages, suitcases, and more.

Joey Coleman: You know, this is exactly what you were talking about from the work you used to do around ADA compliance. When we make a website more compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, it makes the website more usable for everyone.

So this isn’t just about, hey, let’s be kind to the elderly and do better designs for them, this is, let’s be more conscious of our design and design things that are going to help everyone experience our products and services better.

Let’s be candid, everybody listening to this show will at some point be older than they are right now and probably significantly older.

Dan Gingiss: That’s pretty deep.

Joey Coleman: Pretty deep. You like that?

Dan Gingiss: In fact, they are older than they were just a few seconds ago.

Joey Coleman: And that’s one to grow on. No, probably significantly older. We need to start thinking about more inclusive designs now and if not for the benefit for those who are elderly today, then we should do it for more selfish reasons, because we’re going to be the elderly of the future.

Here’s how you can start working on this now. Look at your products and services and honestly ask whether they’re user friendly for users of all ages. And don’t just take your own theoretical opinion on this. Talk to people who are elderly, give them your products, have them experience your services, and see what they have to say about your products.

Do a focus group with people over age 65, instead of just a focus group with the millennials. If we want to build something that is longterm, if we want to have products and services that can stand the test of time, we need to design those services and design those products to work for customers who are longterm themselves.

START THE CONVERSATION – DESIGN THINKING

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 the art of design thinking. Designing new experiences isn’t easy. Many organizations default to just fixing broken experiences, and in many cases that simply isn’t enough to meet your customer’s expectations. To amaze customers, you must design new experiences, or redesign old experiences with an intentional focus on the customer and with their point of view in mind.

Dan Gingiss: What exactly is design thinking? Here are three key components. One, exploring innovative ideas and solutions beyond what you think may be currently possible. Two, empathizing with customers, keeping their needs and point of view at the forefront throughout the design process. And three, creating experiences that address customer needs and expectations first, and business needs and goals second.

Joey Coleman: Interestingly enough, Dan, I think this is what actually got me interested in customer experience in the first place. Because I had been running an ad agency where we were doing a lot of design, literal design, designing logos, designing ad campaigns, graphics, business cards. And the more I started to think about all the experiences that folks were having, I realized that we could take that design thinking and extend it into the actual experiences, taking it beyond colors and type faces, and instead making it about how folks interact with all of the various products and services we offered.

I think adopting this type of design thinking is not only a must for the success of your business, but it’s something that’s really fun too. It’s a great way to engage your employees in a conversation that makes them feel that they have a voice, makes them feel that they’re being heard, and it allows them to build more empathy and connection with your customers and the types of people you serve.

Nick Hemmert: And now for this week’s question about the art of design thinking. Is my organization actively engaging in design thinking? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex at experienceconversations.com. Again, that’s www.experienceconversations.com

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: The Healthcare System is Failing Seniors

Joey Coleman: 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.

Dan Gingiss: I recently published a three part series on Forbes about the state of healthcare in the United States and the many, many customer experience opportunities that exist in an industry that is continually ranked at the bottom of most customer satisfaction surveys.

The first article in the series was called Why Treating Patients as Consumers Can Improve the Healthcare Experience. And the second one was, As Healthcare Goes Digital, Consumer Engagement and Experience Improve. But I really want to discuss the third one today, which fits in so well with this episode. Why an Aging Population Means HealthCare Customer Experience Must Adapt.

Now we’re all familiar with how difficult and unsatisfying the healthcare experience can be in the United States. It’s hard to sign up for healthcare. It’s hard to understand healthcare jargon, something that we talked about in episode 13. It’s often hard to schedule an appointment with a doctor unless you’re willing to wait weeks or even months, and there’s still tons of literal paperwork, stuff that should be digitized. Just try to piece together your entire health history in any meaningful way. Now imagine how much tougher this is on the older population.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, I thought there was one really poignant quote in your article, it came from David Stewart, a founding partner at Ageist, a company that is dedicated to promoting life after 50, and he said, “We have found that treating people as intelligent, informed adults gets better outcomes and a more positive view of the brand or a company.” I found that quote poignant, but the fact that it even needs to be said is pathetic and it shows that we’ve lost our way in the healthcare industry.

Dan Gingiss: Totally agree, Joey. That’s why I included it.

Joey Coleman: I get it. Well, let’s say the desired effect of creating an emotional rise out of your readers was achieved.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Thank you. I also got to talk with Geeta Wilson, who is the founder and CEO of a company called Consumer Society. It’s an early stage tech and experience design company building an enterprise experience management technology platform to connect all of the major industry players in healthcare, the insurance companies, healthcare professionals, and consumers. Now, full disclosure, Geeta and I worked together at Humana and she’s a good friend, but I asked her, is the healthcare system failing seniors today? And here’s what she said.

Geeta Wilson: The short answer is yes. While there have been gains in precision medicine, life sciences, and medical treatments, the administration and navigation of healthcare as a system remains complex and confusing to all consumers. When you add to this population differences related to aging, such as chronic conditions, digital literacy, and social determinants of health, the age and experience in healthcare falls short.

The industry is unprepared for a very different aging population than it has traditionally served in the past, for the last 30 plus years. Commonly known as the Silent Generation, accepts a more passive approach to health and receives medical opinion and authority without question. Very different from today.

The newer aging population will nearly double in size to about 80 million by 2030 and the industry is not prepared for this unless it starts to aggressively address some of the gaps in the consumer experience we’re seeing today. Older adults are poised to shape consumer and healthcare experiences in the years ahead.

At Consumer Society, we design experiences for specific segments and personas who have defining motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, in addition to their preferences and demographic characteristics. While all consumer needs are important, we think solving for the most complex demographic, that is an aging population with at least one chronic condition and perhaps an indifferent or antagonistic attitude towards their health, will set the stage for all populations and their needs to be met.

Dan Gingiss: Healthcare is obviously not alone. As we’ve discussed in this episode. The aging population in the United States will be the largest of all time, and the 50 plus cohort controls 70% of consumer discretionary spending in the United States. Designing for seniors is no longer optional. It’s now a core responsibility for nearly every company in every industry.

Joey Coleman: 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 This.


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

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

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.

Episode 72: If You Really Want to Show Your Customers that You are Loyal, Don’t Expire Their Loyalty Points!

Join us as we discuss one of the biggest annoyances in air travel, treating your most loyal customers poorly, and the importance of learning all you can about your customers.

Eliminating, Expiring, and Understanding – Oh My!

Read More