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 94: The COVID-19 Experience

Thanks for joining us for a special episode of the Experience This! Show podcast.

Depending on when you first became aware of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its impact on individuals, businesses, and society at large, chances are better than not that you’re now 100% aware of this pandemic situation.

We felt like this new, unprecedented situation called for a special episode. COVID-19 is already having significant impacts on customer and employee experience around the world and we can’t begin to imagine the longterm effects of this pandemic on all aspects of business going forward.

This is a serious topic, with serious implications, that we don’t fully understand just yet given the speed in which this virus has spread around the globe and the fact that scientists worldwide are working around the clock to understand. Our comments and discussions are based on the best information we have at the time of this recording – March 21, 2020.

For the first time in human history, everyone – regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, culture, creed, or socio-economic standing – is dealing with the same issues at the same time. While the world is filled with uncertainty, one thing remains clear today – as it has always been: people who take care of their customers and employees during a crisis will have customers and employees when things get better (which in time, they certainly will).

[Say What?] Communication in Times of Crisis

Everyone is communicating with their customers about COVID-19 right now – but most of the communications feel the same as they outline extra precautions being taken, enhanced cleaning protocols, and the like. While these communications certainly have a place, they aren’t as effective as they could be.

Some organizations are communicating with their customers in unique ways:

What can you do to make your communications during the COVID-19 pandemic more actionable and meaningful to your customers?

  1. Don’t Just “Check the Box” in Communicating with Customers – It’s not enough to send an email that says “we’re thinking of you.” Do more than the minimum required.
  2. Project Calm and Confidence – Let your customers know what you’re doing for them and make suggestions as to how they can take action to help themselves as well.
  3. Identify Opportunities to Provide Real Value in Context with Your Brand Offerings – You have expertise to share to help your customers navigate this situation. Don’t sell, but make every attempt to provide value based on your skills, knowledge, or expertise.

[Required Remarkable] Relaxing Policies & Procedures

Every business needs policies and procedures to function. That being said, policies and procedures are not meant for times of pandemic. What we’re seeing now is that the most forward thinking, customer-centric businesses are already adjusting and revising their policies to show that they are conscious of the dramatic impact COVID-19 is having on all of their customers. Examples of great changes in policies and procedures include:

What can you do to make your policies and procedures more conscious of the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Review All of Your Policies and Procedures NOW to Come Up with COVID-19 Conscious Versions – Focus on doing the right thing for your customers and employees.
  2. Be Empathetic – Brands endear themselves to customers and employees based on how the behave in times of crisis. What you do now will be remembered later.
  3. Put People Over Profits – Make the hard decisions to consistently put people (customers, employees, vendors, etc.) over profits. They won’t forget it.
  4. Trust Your Gut – You actually know exactly what to do – even if it feels difficult or challenging. Remember that EVERY business on the planet is dealing with COVID-19 right now. You’re not alone.

[Dissecting the Experience] Helping Your Employees

In the best of times, happy customers equals happy employees. The inverse (happy customers equals happy employees) stands true as well. These maxims apply during times of crises too.

As more companies come to grip with the realities of COVID-19, many companies are stepping forward to help their employees. By being flexible and doing all they can to make sure employees feel safe and taken care of, organizations are making it easier for their employees to keep taking care of their customers. Some employee-centric activies include:

  • Do not require anyone to come into work who doesn’t absolutely need to be there physically.
  • Practice social distancing religiously and make sure employees are equipped with proper protection (e.g., sanitizer, gloves, masks, etc.)
  • Be flexible in allowing employees to take care of their families during this stressful time – especially those with children who are suddenly home from school due to school closures around the country.

What can you do to make sure your employees are taken care of during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Happy Employees = Happy Customers – Don’t forget to take great care of the people that serve your customer.
  2. Front-Line Employees Represent Your Brand Now and Always – Make sure that the people who have the most contact with your customers have everything they need (professionally and personally) to deliver the customer experience you desire.
  3. You Will Need Your Employees in the Future – Just as you are going to need your customers after the COVID-19 crisis passes, you will also need your employees! This is the time to engender pride in and loyalty to the organization.

[This Just Happened] The Experience when You’re the Customer

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone. While many businesses are thinking about their customers and their employees, one category of people your business interacts with that are being hit hard by this virus are your suppliers.

Every business has suppliers, vendors, and merchants that provide critical products and services in order to keep the business running. Every individual has providers and merchants that deliver personal services they want, need, and/or appreciate. During this trying time, what are you doing to take care of your suppliers/providers so that they are still in business after the crisis ends?

Lots of businesses will struggle and close – especially small and local businesses – you can do your part to help them survive by following a four step process:

  1. Make a List of Your Key Suppliers – Both in your personal and professional life.
  2. Reach Out and Discuss the Situation – Address the elephant in the room that is the COVID-19 crisis and talk openly and honestly about your desire to continue to do business with your suppliers/providers during and after the pandemic.
  3. Get Creative – Purchase gift cards, pre-book appointments, pay for services that can’t be rendered during this time but are important to you so that the people delivering these to you are still in business when things start to return to normal.
  4. Thank Them – Customer service workers and account mangers are doing all they can to help in these trying times. In difficult circumstances, a kind word to an overwhelmed customer service representative doesn’t just help advance your position, but it’s the right thing to do.

[CX Press] Using Company Resources to Help

Every business has unique skills that can help their customers during the COVID-19 crisis. The most creative companies have identified ways to provide valuable resources to their customers and prospects alike – without worrying about monetizing every interaction. Some of the more generous COVID-19 “offers” include:

  • Loom (video recording and sharing service) – made Loom Pro free for teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities, and educational institutions.
  • LinkedIn – made sixteen of its learning courses free – highlighting courses that provide tips on how to stay productive, how to build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, and how to use virtual meeting tools.
  • Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Google, T-Mobile and Sprint have signed a pledge to keep Americans internet-connected for the next 60 days – even if people cannot afford to pay.
  • Even more generous offers from businesses can be found in this “running tally” from the team at JUST Capital here.

Some additional resources that we found to be extremely useful in their “positive” tone include:

10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Outbreaks From Around the World – by McKinley Corbley on Good News Network

The FutureLoop Pandemic Special Edition – by Peter Diamandis

What can you do to make sure your products, services, and expertise more easily available to people that can benefit from it during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Remember Your Unique Abilities – Companies have the unique ability to provide resources to dramatical help their communities of customers and prospects.
  2. Find a Way to Give Back, Even in a Small Way – Every little contribution helps when people are struggling at a global level.
  3. Make Time to Appreciate the Positives – Now more than ever it’s important to not get caught up in the negative news and instead look for positive stories of customer delight, employees going above and beyond, and organizations working together to help everyone navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

[Season 5 Sponsors] Thank You Avtex!

We want to thank our wonderful sponsor for Season 5 of the Experience This! Show – our good friends at Avtex.

Avtex’s knowledge and experience in orchestration allows them to help you leverage the people, processes, and technology you need to implement your plan. You can learn more about the great team at Avtex by visiting their website at www.avtex.com

Thank you for joining us in this unprecedented podcast episode of Experience This! Our normal episodes (all recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) will return next week.

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 94 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

Dan Gingiss: 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.

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

Dan Gingiss: And social media expert Dan Gingiss, serve as your host for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Joey Coleman: So hold on to your headphones it’s time to Experience This. Welcome to a special episode of Experience This. Depending on when you first became aware of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its impact on individuals, businesses, and society at large, chances are better than not that you’re now 100% aware of this pandemic situation.

Dan Gingiss: After fielding Dozens of emails, calls, and text messages from listeners of the Experience This show, our clients and past audience members, Joey and I thought it was important to deviate from our regularly scheduled programming, and do a special episode all about COVID-19 and its impact on customer experience.

Joey Coleman: Friends, this is a serious topic with serious implications that we don’t fully understand just yet given the speed at which this virus has spread around the globe, and the fact that scientists worldwide are working around the clock to understand what’s happening. Our comments and discussions are based on the best information we have at the time of this recording, on Saturday, March 21st 2020.

Dan Gingiss: Our goal in the episode, as in every episode of the Experience This show, is to discuss customer experience from a positive light. Telling the positive customer experience stories as a way of inspiring and encouraging our listeners to think deeper, wider, and more expansively about the role of customer experience in their organizations.

Joey Coleman: For the first time in human history, everyone, regardless of your age, your gender, your race, your nationality, your culture, your creed, your socio-economic standing, everyone on the planet is dealing with the exact same issue at the exact same time. Even if you’re in a place where the coronavirus COVID-19 hasn’t spread as much as some of the other places in the world, you’re still reading about it in the news, you’re seeing it on TV, you’re seeing posts about it on social media. The good news is, we’re all in this together. And as we’ve said many times on this show, the businesses that take care of their customers now will have customers when things get better, because the businesses that show empathy, that show care, that put customer experience as a primary focus will succeed.

Dan Gingiss: Now this episode is going to run longer than our usual episodes as we have a lot to cover. Instead of three segments, we’re actually going to bring you five different segments in this podcast. We want to thank our loyal sponsor Avtex for their continued support of season five, including this special episode. What does it take to shift the standard from meeting the bare minimum of customer needs to over-delivering at every touchpoint? It’s about being able to plan exceptional experiences and set those plans in motion. And that’s exactly what our friends at Avtex do? Visit them at www.avtex.com.

Dan Gingiss: 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 iteration of, say what!

Dan Gingiss: In 2018, when the European Union’s general data protection regulation, better known as GDPR went into effect, email inboxes were flooded with privacy policy updates. Now they’re inundated with urgent announcements about coronavirus measures from every company that has our email address on file. Most of these, including those from the major US airlines, say almost exactly the same thing. But some have taken the opportunity to stand out in a time of crisis. And these are the ones we can learn from and be inspired by.

Joey Coleman: In the first few weeks as the pandemic started to spread around the world, many airlines sent out email messages saying, guess what, we’re going to clean the planes even more than we’ve cleaned them in the past, and explained the materials they were using and how they were going to be making sure that it was safe to fly.

Joey Coleman: My favorite airline, Delta, which as loyal listeners of the show know, I fly all the time, sent an email that said, “Not only are we going to do additional cleaning on the plane, but here’s a video describing it.” And in the video, the head of customer experience at Delta described their usual cleaning process as well as their augmented cleaning process. And they actually showed people using a special, almost like fogging machine, that they had used that would disinfect the planes, and then wiping down the seats, and how they were doing this on every turn. And I got to be honest, as somebody who was already committed to delta and loyalty Delta, when I saw this video, I thought, wow, they really do care about me as a person and are going above and beyond the cleaning they normally do. And it left me feeling excited to fly again.

Dan Gingiss: And I want to share a contrasting story about this Joey is that after all the airlines had shared those emails about the cleaning process, I was waiting to take a flight that was late. And anybody who has been in business school and has done the Harvard business case on Southwest Airlines, knows that it takes an airline, at a minimum, 30 minutes to clean a plane under good circumstances. They can’t do it faster than that. And so this plane is late, it arrives late, the passengers exit the plane, and immediately they start the boarding process [crosstalk 00:06:23] environment. Yes, what happened to your enhanced cleaning process? Like, only if we’re not late, right. And so I did feel like, hey, if you’re going to tell people that you are spending the extra time, please take the extra time to do it.

Dan Gingiss: So another thing that I really liked, I saw two different emails from two different organizations having to do with food, one was Domino’s Pizza, and one was our friends at Imperfect Produce that we have talked about on a previous episode. Both of them sent emails talking about contact-less delivery, and that’s this idea that you don’t even have to interact with a delivery person, if you’re practicing social distancing, which we all should be doing.

Dan Gingiss: And so the way that works is the delivery people are gloved up, so they’re not actually touching your product. They don’t even touch your doorbell. They simply leave the item at your door and then you receive a text message that it’s there waiting for you. You don’t have to sign anything, you don’t have to exchange any pleasantries. And so this concept of contact-less delivery, I thought was really interesting just because it adheres to the situation at hand, which is, we got to stay away from each other even if we’re continuing to buy things and have things delivered.

Joey Coleman: I agree, Dan. And what impressed me, to be honest, is how quickly, at least with Domino’s, because I got that email, how quickly they built that opportunity or that option into the App. I mean, this was before cities we’re talking about stay in shelter orders, it’s before the lockdown had really started, it’s like they were anticipating the need for this. And I think wherever a brand can provide a little bit of insight into, hey, we imagine our customers are thinking about this, and so are we, that stands them in good standing in terms of their reputation.

Joey Coleman: I also got an interesting email from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and now some other companies have done it as well, but I got it from Enterprise first, that said, they were lowering the age minimum for renting a car. It used to be that you had to be 25 to rent a car, Enterprise came along and said, “We’re going to lower the rent a car age to 18.” And they explained in the email that the reason they were doing this is because so many colleges and universities around the country were closing and kids needed to get home with their stuff, and flights were becoming harder to get. And I just thought this was a great example of a customer centric message in this time where a lot of the emails were more about, hey, here’s how you can use these tools that we’ve already had, whereas Enterprise was saying, hey, we’re making some changes to acknowledge the realities of this pandemic situation.

Dan Gingiss: And what I love about that is that those college students are going to be loyal to Enterprise for years to come just as I was in college.

Joey Coleman: 100%, yes.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. I mean, when I was in college, Enterprise was one of the only companies that would rent to college students, and that’s kept me loyal all these years because it was the first company that I ever rented a car from. So, these are-

Joey Coleman: So forgive me Dan. What I loved about it too is I don’t have college aged children and I’m well past college age myself. But when I got this email, I’m not kidding you, I shared it with a couple of my friends who I knew had kids that were in college and had started to lament, oh my gosh, if their school closes, how are we going to get them home? I was able to forward this on and share it with some people.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, it’s awesome. Which is exactly as marketers what we want to happen.

Joey Coleman: Right, exactly. Word of mouth actually happened because it was a remarkable change in policy that we wanted to spread the word on.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So another message that resonated with me was from Charles Schwab. Now I’ve been a Charles Schwab customer since I graduated from college many years ago. And-

Joey Coleman: [inaudible 00:10:17] Folks when he rented that car.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And what I loved about it was that they didn’t talk to me about cleaning their offices, they didn’t talk to me about visiting the CDC website like everybody else did. They talked to me about what Schwab could do to help me now. And I want to read the introductory paragraph because the other thing that they did so well, was they showed empathy to the situation that all investors are in with what’s going on in the stock market.

Dan Gingiss: It says, “To our valued clients. At Schwab, we have a deep and abiding belief in seeing the world through clients eyes. That simple, powerful idea helps us stay focused on what’s most important, living up to The trust you place in us every day. With so much uncertainty in the financial markets and concerns about COVID-19, investing for the future may seem more complicated than ever. Please know that every one of us at Schwab is committed to helping you meet your long term investing goals. I also want to remind you of the resources available to you.”

Dan Gingiss: And then they list expert perspectives, which is their analysis and commentary, service options, and one to one guidance, so they’re actually offering the ability to meet with somebody to review your portfolio and determine next steps in such a turbulent market. And this letter was signed by the President and CEO, Walt Bettinger. I thought this was really cool because it was actionable. It wasn’t the same old that everybody was telling us, it was something that I could actually do. And it made me feel much better than I already was, which I had been positive on Schwab obviously for a long time, but it made me more confident in my choice.

Dan Gingiss: The other letter that I received that really stuck out to me was from a recent conference that I spoke at Catersource. And Catersource is the largest catering industry association in the country. And they also sent out a letter that I thought was so empathetic and offered real help, that it really, to me, stood out as a great example that other brands could emulate. And here’s how their letter started. “Dear Colleague, this will not be the type of traditional letter that you have been seeing transmitted from businesses across the globe. This is a letter to, for, and about you. We see you. We share your pain for the losses and massive disruption you have incurred over the past week, and we’ll continue to incur as social distancing and closing mandates continue. We understand the despair and anger you must be feeling, the distressing business decisions you have to make that were not in your strategy for 2020. This is also a letter about how Catersource can help you.”

Dan Gingiss: Again, like the Schwab letter, it combined genuine empathy with real solutions and real help at a difficult time.

Joey Coleman: I love it. So we have three key takeaways from this conversation. Number one, don’t just check the box in communicating with your customers, okay. Don’t send the same email that everybody else is sending. Think about what you can do differently, how your tone can be different, how your focus can be different, how you can actually change the conversation.

Joey Coleman: Number two, project calm and confidence. Never in the history of corporate communications, has there been a greater need for letting your customers know that you are paying attention, that you are thinking strategically, and you are doing everything in your power to be there for them.

Joey Coleman: And number three, identify opportunities to provide real value in context with your brand. Sending someone to the CDC website, while a fantastic and useful resource, if that’s not associated with your brand activities, you don’t need to include that in your messages. Instead, give clear action steps, things that you are an expert in, things that you would recommend your customers be doing at this challenging time. By doing that, they will remember you when the pandemic subsides.

Joey Coleman: Just because you have required elements of your business, doesn’t mean they need to be boring. It’s time to get creative, have some fun, and make people sit up and take notice. Get your customers talking when you make the required remarkable.

Joey Coleman: Every business needs policies and procedures in order to function. That being said, policies and procedures are not meant for times of pandemic. What we’re seeing now is that the most forward thinking, customer-centric businesses are already adjusting and revising their existing policies and procedures to show that they’re conscious of the dramatic impact COVID-19 is having on all of their customers.

Joey Coleman: For example, we talked earlier in the last segment about Delta Airlines. Now, I fly Delta a lot. In fact, last year, I logged over 160,000 miles on that individual airline. What happened when the COVID-19 crisis started to hit is that Delta came out, and many airlines did, saying, “We will give you a one year credit for any flight that you need to cancel. If you need to change the flight, there will be no change fees. And we’re going to waive any of the type of associated fees we’ve previously had on changes in ticket price, change fees, cancellation fees, etc, and you’ll just have this running credit.”

Joey Coleman: Now, as somebody who flies Delta a lot, that was fantastic because, as you might imagine, at the time this all started to hit, I had many, many Delta flights booked in the future. Frankly, to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars, which under a traditional policy, I would have lost. Thanks to Delta being more aware, I now have a credit that will allow me, when we all start flying again, to be able to buy those tickets with dollars I’ve already spent.

Joey Coleman: This made me love and appreciate Delta even more. It actually endeared me to the brand because of the way they had changed their policy to acknowledge the impact it was having on me personally as a flyer, even though we also know it was having an impact on them as people aren’t buying tickets and aren’t flying, that means that they’re actually struggling with money. But the good news is because they’re giving me the credit, they don’t have to refund the money, so they get to keep some of that cash and defer when they need to deliver on the service to me until later when it becomes easier to fly.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And American did something very similar and I appreciated it as well because I had a bunch of flights booked too. And obviously the airline industry is in a lot of trouble right now and it’s likely going to be the beneficiary of a government bailout. But ultimately, we are going to all start flying again, it’s going to happen at some point. And this is the moment where airlines and other companies can either retain their customer loyalty or they can aggravate their customers and send them to the competition. And I think both Delta and American have done a really nice job of retaining that loyalty.

Dan Gingiss: One thing that stuck out to me, Joey, I’m just wondering if you had thought of this as well, is that a lot of these fees that are being reversed and canceled, they didn’t exist 10 years ago. Remember, it [crosstalk 00:17:52] took the airline industry almost collapsing to start creating all these ridiculous nuisance fees, and I wonder whether the long term aspect of this may be, hopefully fingers crossed, that they start rethinking these ridiculous fees. My favorite one is now the one where it costs you money to redeem your miles.

Dan Gingiss: So you’ve earned all these miles and now you want to use them to buy a ticket, and that’ll be $75 each way to use your miles. I mean, whatever accountant came up with that idea, I’m sure it made billions of dollars for the airlines, but it is so customer un-centric, it is so anti-loyalty literally, because the whole idea of earning miles is that you’ve been loyal, and now all of a sudden we’re going to basically punish you to use those miles. I’m hoping that it causes some of the airlines to rethink some of these and maybe never bring them back.

Joey Coleman: I think you bring up a great point, Dan, and it’s really the case that this entire COVID-19 crisis, while incredibly stressful, while incredibly challenging and with huge costs both monetary, the cost of lives, I mean that the impacts of this are going to be felt for many, many years to come, right. Even once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, there will have been things that have happened that will be difficult for anybody to overcome.

Joey Coleman: What I do hope is that organizations, and hopefully the folks listening to our show, are looking and saying, in this downtime, in this period where business isn’t as usual, let’s actually look at everything. Let’s look at everything we’re doing and come at it from a lens of saying, I understand we were doing this in the past, but do we need to do it going forward? Is it the right choice? Is that the customer centric choice? Is it the way that we want to operate as a business? I think there’s a real opportunity here.

Dan Gingiss: I absolutely agree. And as we both have said recently, there is no more important time than right this second to be focusing on customer experience, because even if you don’t have customers right now because you’ve had to temporarily shut down your business, when things go back to normal, the question is going to be, are the customers going to come back or are they going to go somewhere else? And what you do right now is going to have such a big impact on that.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, we both have different utility companies, because we live in different states, and I believe we both have monopolies you Xcel Energy and me ComEd in terms of electricity, and I always love looking at utilities, especially monopolies, and how they act because customer experience, you could make an argument, they don’t need to focus on that, because we don’t have a choice in where we [crosstalk 00:20:39] get our electricity.

Joey Coleman: Yes. And we want electricity so therefore, you have who you have.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, but both of our utility companies, I think, did something very similar, while it didn’t necessarily benefit you or me specifically, I think we both felt really good about it. Which was, that they announced that they would not cancel anybody’s electricity for lack of payment. And that basically they guaranteed that all customers were going to have their electricity remain on during this crisis. And for people that were having trouble paying, they would work out a payment plan and basically allow you to punt it down the road and not worry about losing electricity on top of all the other worries that you have right now.

Joey Coleman: Hugely important and hugely valuable. And most utility companies have a rule that they can’t cut the power during the winter, especially in colder environments like you live in Chicago, and like I have here in Colorado. But the fact that the utility companies, at least it appears, I’m not sure about this, but it appears like they acted before there was legislation saying they couldn’t cut. To me, to your point, left me feeling better about my energy company. I was like, wow.

Joey Coleman: And God forbid I do end up in a situation where I couldn’t pay for my electric bill, I’m really excited to know that I’m taken care of. I thought that was a great example of when you’re messaging to your customers, even if the message doesn’t specifically affect them, like the Enterprise email about lowering the rental car age that we talked about in the last segment, it still has a lifting effect because it allows your customers to know that you’re thinking about them, even if the things you’re doing don’t actually impact them personally.

Joey Coleman: Speaking of things that I think are unexpected and delightful communications, I had a week long stay planned at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas that was actually supposed to happen this past week, and the hotel had to close down because of COVID-19. What I thought was really interesting is I got an email from them at about 2:00 AM, the night before we were technically supposed to be checking in. Now we had already decided we weren’t going on our trip. But the email said, “Because we’re closing the hotel down for the next month, we are refunding everyone’s deposits who has a reservation at our hotel.”

Joey Coleman: Now the MGM has 6,000 rooms, right, this is an enormous hotel. But the email went on to say, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to call in and tell us you’re canceling, you don’t have to call in and tell us you’re affected, give us some time, and they kind of implied in the next 24 hours, and we will reverse back and refund to all of your cards the cancellation. I thought this was a great example of a company saying, hey, we’re going to do something, but good news is, we’re taking care of it, you don’t have to ask, you don’t have to worry about it, it’s coming back your way.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I love that. And while not as proactive, I had a great experience. I had a hotel booked for three nights at the Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania. And this was a three night prepaid non-refundable rate. And I called up and said, hey, I had to cancel my trip. I actually said, I’m going to move it because I will be back, is it okay if I move it? And they said, “We’re just going to give you a refund. It’s fine, no questions asked.”

Dan Gingiss: And I’ll admit, I was a little surprised because it would have been so easy for them to hide behind their policy and say, I’m sorry, but you bought a non-refundable rate too bad for you. But they were very, very amenable and they, I think, have ensured that the next time I go there, and I go there a lot because I have a consulting client there, that I’m going to stay there. And so again, short term loss, because they lost some money from me, long term gain because they gained my loyalty.

Joey Coleman: So, what do we need to do in these crazy times? Number one, look at your policies and procedures now. Don’t wait. Get into them right now and come up with COVID-19 conscious versions. Versions of your policies and procedures that acknowledge the realities of the world today, and put your customers first.

Joey Coleman: Number two, be empathetic. Brands can really endear themselves based on how they behave in times of crisis. This is definitely a time of crisis, and the more empathy you can show towards the position your customers are in, the more likely your customers will be to stick with you through this crisis, and be back as loyal customers once things start to return to normal.

Joey Coleman: Number three, put people over profits. I understand as a business owner, that is easier said than done. But it is more important now than in any other time in your business’s history. We need to focus on our customers and our employees and doing the right thing for them, even if it means our profit margins are going to go down.

Joey Coleman: Now, employees listening, there’s going to need to be some assistance from the employees as well. But the employers have the opportunity to lead the charge. And last but not least, trust your gut. Remember that every business on the planet is in this same situation right now. It’s not Just you, it’s not just your industry, it’s not just the businesses in your town, every business on the planet is dealing with these challenges. There’s more time for empathy and grace for all of us if we just recognize that we’re all in this together, trust our guts, and do the right thing.

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: We’re now going to turn our attention to employees. Just as taking care of your customers in a time of stress and crisis is critical, it’s also important to focus on your employees, because similar to the best of times, happy employees equal happy customers. And unfortunately, the inverse is also true. So it’s very important to make sure that your employees remain healthy, safe, and confident.

Dan Gingiss: Now, there are a lot of places in the country, including my home state of Illinois, that already have shelters in place requirements, so people are working from home. There are other places in the country where people are still going into work, either because they are essential employees in essential businesses, or because their companies unfortunately have not yet made a decision to ask people to stay home.

Dan Gingiss: This is such a critical time to show employees that you care about them and that you understand that they are the engine behind your business. And oftentimes, they’re the front lines of your business that are talking to customers. Imagine asking an employee to talk to a customer and try to comfort them and make them feel safe when they don’t feel comforted or safe themselves. So the first thing is, please do not require anyone to come into work who doesn’t absolutely have to. The good news is, we live in an era where remote working has become popular anyway, Joey and I have worked from our homes for a while. Many people have worked from home for a long time and know how to do it. And we have the technological resources to do it.

Joey Coleman: Think about the definition of the word essential as well. I’ve been in some conversations in the last week where I heard employers talking about certain employees as being essential, and when I press them on it, they actually just decided that they wanted that employee to keep working, the functions that they needed that employee to do was not essential that they be performed at the office. They could have been performed by home. So I think there’s a real opportunity here because you’re employees are smart people too. If you’ve tagged them as essential, and they don’t feel that it’s essential, they may not feel comfortable speaking up because they want to keep their job. And I think there’s an opportunity for all managers and employers to really think about what is the true definition of essential in a pandemic crisis.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. Totally makes sense. I mean, unfortunately, not every employee is essential, even though they may think they are, or in the best of times, maybe they are. But right now essential employees is generally going to be a smaller list. Now, if employees must work in person in the office, it’s absolutely critical that you practice social distancing religiously. And that they have the proper protection, such as gloves, masks, sanitizer, etc, so that coming into work is literally not risking their lives, right.

Dan Gingiss: I mean, we all joke about how we spend more time at work than sometimes we spend at home or with our families, but work is important it is not worth risking our lives for. And so it is really important that if you are going to require people to come in, that they feel safe and that they feel protected.

Dan Gingiss: Another thing that I think is really important that sometimes we lose sight of even in the best of times, is that employees have families, and families are stressed during this time as well, especially those of us who have kids that are suddenly home from school, and bored, and we’re trying to keep them entertained while also keeping our jobs and working, and that causes even more stress. So just as we often talk about stepping into the shoes of your customer, it’s so important to step into the shoes of your employees and really understand what they’re going through right now.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I think we need to be thinking as employers, how are we going to handle an employee becoming sick? What are you doing to think ahead now for the employees who actually are essential? Is there an opportunity to cross-train? Is there an opportunity to do some scenario modeling where if that person who’s the linchpin in your business, either is personally sick, or has a spouse, or a significant other, or a child, or a parent that is sick, what are you going to do to hopefully be able to continue keep functioning using other people on your team? Most experts will tell you that it is better to have these conversations and think through these things before you’re in the thick of it, instead of waiting to try to troubleshoot these type of problems once you’re waist deep in the issue.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So, let’s look at some examples of companies that we think are doing the right thing by their employees, and hopefully, you can be inspired in your business to consider similar measures. So the first that I wanted to bring up was Facebook, which immediately came out and announced that it was giving $1,000 to every employee in order to help them. And obviously they have a lot of employees. And if you think about it, $1,000 doesn’t sound like a ton of money, except this is also what the US government is considering sending to everybody, right? So, if the US government sending $1,000, and now my employer is matching it, again, it’s a gesture of goodwill that I think gains loyalty from employees over time.

Joey Coleman: Well, and I think $1,000 actually, for the majority of Americans is a huge amount of money because most research shows that the typical family, when faced with an unexpected $400 expense, would not be able to weather that challenge. And so most families are facing a lot more than a $400 change in expense right now, not only in terms of costs, but in terms of where their income lies.

Joey Coleman: It’s interesting, a lot of the sports teams that are not able to have their events anymore, given the crowd rules etcetera, have created some interesting solutions as well, both in Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, a number of owners have stepped forward, notably Mark Cuban, to say, we’re going to pay the salaries of all of the people who normally work in our basketball arena. So there’s an opportunity here for businesses of all sizes to step forward.

Joey Coleman: I know a couple of CEOs who have decided that they’re not taking any pay for the next three months to be able to pay their employees for the next three months, so that they don’t have to lay people off or fire them. So there’s a lot of opportunities to get creative.

Dan Gingiss: And I love that example because so often, when bad things happen to good employees, the first thing that employees look to is the top executives, right. So when there’s layoffs, for example, and then you see that your top executive is making $50 million a year and gets another $100 million in stock options. And you’re like, well boy, if he had given up two or three of those millions of dollars, maybe we could have saved a lot of jobs. And so I think this is one of those things where if you’re able to do it, you really can gain so much loyalty from your employees versus the opposite, which again, can be anger and distrust of the company.

Dan Gingiss: I know Disney and universal have done similar things for their employees because as we all know, those parks are closed indefinitely and there’s a ton of people that work to keep those open, and whether they’re cast members, or people operating the food stations, or the ride stations, tons of employees and they’re really working hard to keep those people as well.

Dan Gingiss: Another example that I really liked was Starbucks, which decided to extend its mental health benefits for store employees. And I think why this is important is Starbucks is one of the places that is staying open and therefore is requiring baristas to come in and make coffees even though people can’t dine in and they can only take out, they’re still bringing in their employees. And obviously, this causes stress. And Starbucks acknowledged that and is now offering mental health benefits for free to their employees, which I think was an excellent move.

Joey Coleman: Folks, this is a huge one, I don’t care what business you’re in, if you are not taking time to consider the mental health of your employees right now, there is a big problem. So many people are uncertain. So many people are afraid. In fact, it’s rising to the level that there’s so much fear and uncertainty, I think it’s something that most people aren’t even talking about. I mean, to be completely blunt and transparent, before Dan and I started recording today, we just checked in on how each other are doing and what’s going on, because this is a stressful time for everyone.

Joey Coleman: This is an opportunity for you to look to your friends, look to your co-workers, look to your boss, as well as the people that report to you and check in on everybody’s mental and emotional state and how they’re doing. Business shouldn’t just be about, are we operating? And are we operating at efficiencies? And are people getting paid and are our employees getting paid, are our customers placing orders, etc? We should spend some time thinking about the mental and emotional health of the people we interact with too. And my hope is, while this is certainly a terribly challenging and difficult time, that more businesses will look to the opportunity in this time to say, how can we press reset, a reset that we’ve known that we’ve needed to do for a long time, and actually think a little bit more about what our employees are going through?

Dan Gingiss: So here are some takeaways from this segment. As always, happy employees equal happy customers. It is never more important than right now to focus on our employees and keeping them happy, healthy, and safe, so that they can focus on our customers and keeping them happy, healthy, and safe. Also, your frontline employees are representing your brand right now, as they always are. But in a time of crisis, if they’re stressed out, if they’re feeling beaten down, if they’re feeling under-appreciated or unappreciated, how is it that you think they’re going to project to your customers?

Dan Gingiss: So especially with frontline employees, right now, customer service agents, retail employees that need to continue working, people that are engaging with customers, these are the ones that we’ve got to focus on and keep in a good state and a positive state so that they then transmit that to customers. And finally, just as you’re going to need your customers after this crisis passes, you’re also going to need your employees. This is the time to engender pride in and loyalty to your organization.

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? The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone you interact with. And what we’ve already discussed how it’s impacting your customers and impacting your employees, we wanted to talk about a third category of people that your business interacts with that are being hit hard by this virus, your suppliers.

Joey Coleman: Everybody in their business life and in their personal life has folks that look out for you, people that you patronize. Whether that’s your chiropractor, the hairdresser you go to, or a business setting, the person who cleans your business office, who maybe helps support your IT infrastructure, whatever it may be, people that come to your office, or to your home, or you go to their office or to their home to take advantage of their services. And in this time where business is grinding to a halt, and more and more people are being encouraged to not only stay home and work, but to stay home and not travel outside of their homes, your suppliers are increasingly in jeopardy.

Joey Coleman: And so one of the things we want to address is the fact that in many businesses, the suppliers you interact with are actually small businesses or freelancers. People who don’t necessarily have the cash reserves that some of the larger brands we referred to earlier in the show do. And so the question becomes, what are you doing and what can you do to look after the people of which you are a customer?

Joey Coleman: So, for example, in a business setting, if you have somebody that comes to clean your office but your office isn’t going to be operating anymore from your office, what can you do to support them during this time when their revenues are going to be down? I know a lot of entrepreneurs I know have agreed to prepay for some of the cleaning that’s going to have to happen in the future, even though it’s not happening right now.

Joey Coleman: What are you doing to look at creative ways to reallocate resources? For example, I have an assistant who helps me scheduling with flights, and coordinating hotels, and logistics for my travel. Needless to say, I don’t anticipate traveling for the next month at least and potentially two or three or more. I’ve decided to have her work on other things that are important to my business, that are not necessarily related to my travel, but yet allows me to keep her on the payroll.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I’ve done something similar with my virtual assistant who was hired to really help me reach out to prospects and make them aware of my speaking capabilities, and the fact that I’m available for keynotes, and that sort of thing. And and right now, selling that is not a great idea because events are being canceled and people are not necessarily thinking in that direction. So I’ve been cross training him on some of the marketing that I’ve been doing for my business, my newsletter and some of the stuff that I do with taking audio and video and transcribing it into texts to make blog posts, and some of my social sharing and scheduled posts and all that sort of thing, and I’m really trying to cross train him so that he can continue to help, he can continue to be employed, and then I can continue moving my business along.

Dan Gingiss: And these are hard decisions to make, because let’s face it, Joey, just like so many others out there, you and I don’t know what’s going to happen to our business in the next few months or even years, or how long it is going to affect us. And so the initial instinct is to just hoard your money and don’t spend a dime. And I’m actually trying on a couple of different places to spend money right now, to invest in my business’s future, and to build some foundational stuff, because I do believe, as my grandmother always used to say, “This too shall pass.” And whenever it does pass, I want to be in a good position to pick up where I left off and maybe even be in a stronger spot than I was when this first started.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, Dan. And I think your grandmother had wise advice and it’s something that pretty much everybody’s agreeing, that there will come a time that this is not as big of a pandemic situation as it is right now, right. We’ve got ways to go before we get there, but it will get better. What are we doing now to make sure that the businesses that serve us, and the suppliers, and the vendors that we have relationships with continue to be in business? And this doesn’t just hit the business side of it, it hits the personal side. So, for example, my wife and I, and my two boys, obviously we get haircuts, right. So one of the things we did is we went to-

Dan Gingiss: Hey, that’s not too obvious for some of us, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. This is the difference between Dan and I folks. Dan takes care of all of his own hair trimming, I have a professional work on mine. Although some people who’ve seen me on stage or seen pictures of me might agree whether it’s that professional or not. But the moral of the story here is, hair salons are closed down. So we reached out to some of the folks that provide us with services, whether that’s massage, or chiropractic care, or hairdressers and offered to pre-buy haircuts in the future, pre-buy adjustments and massages in the future.

Joey Coleman: And the idea behind this was, yes, there’s a little bit of a hit from us from a point of view of expending money, but you can put that on a credit card and ride it for a month or two, and if that’s the thing that helps your favorite hairdresser, or your favorite massage therapist, or your favorite chiropractor, whatever Freelancer or small business you do business with, navigate through this crisis, not only have you ensured that you’ll be well taken afterwards, because they’ll still be there, but here’s what I can promise you, they’re not going to forget that you’ve stood by them during this time. They’re not going to forget the generosity that you extended to them. Now I’m not saying that’s why you should do it, but it certainly is a nice ancillary benefit if you’re in doubt about whether or not you should.

Dan Gingiss: For sure. And I think the smart companies, by the way, are showing that appreciation right now. So, there is a sushi restaurant in my hometown that obviously is suffering quite a bit. And a lot of residents have been recommending this sushi restaurant, obviously now just pickup and delivery. And what’s happening is when you order they are offering a discount for pickup, which is funny because that’s the only way you can order right now is pickup. And secondly, they are including a gift certificate with your order for a future order. So they’re basically already now saying … So as a customer, I feel good because I’m supporting a local restaurant that is clearly struggling. I can’t go sit in the restaurant, but I can still order out from it. And they’re showing that thankfulness back to me saying, hey, we really value you, thanks for supporting us during this difficult time. And that’s what the letter, there was a little handwritten note with the gift certificate, that’s what it said.

Dan Gingiss: And so, you feel good about that, right, because you feel good that you’re supporting a local business, and you feel good that they feel good, and that they’re willing to thank you for it.

Joey Coleman: Folks, during this pandemic, there are going to be a lot of businesses that will struggle and close, especially small and local businesses. You can do your part to help by following this four step process. Number one, determine who your key suppliers are, both personally and professionally.

Joey Coleman: Number two, reach out to them and discuss the status of the relationship. Any outstanding shipments, or supplies, or projects that maybe need to be put on pause, the payment terms. Have a conversation. Don’t wait for them to call you. This is not a conversation anybody is excited to have, but lean into it sooner rather than later.

Joey Coleman: Number three, get creative. Offer to pre-pay via gift cards, or pre-booked appointments, or pre-packaged, or even pay for services that aren’t rendered. If you’ve got somebody that’s been loyal to you for many, many years, and your business or your personal financial standing is in a place where you can afford to pay them for a month or two, even if they don’t deliver on the service, the investment you are making into that relationship long term, will far outweigh the dollar outlay today.

Joey Coleman: And last but not least, thank the workers that are doing their best in these new circumstances. For example, the person who carries out the groceries to the car when you’ve ordered online, the person who when you call to cancel a service or to get a refund is answering the phone and doing their best to process. A kind word right now not only helps everyone get through the day, but it’s an investment in those businesses being around tomorrow.

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.

Dan Gingiss: So we wanted to end this episode on a positive note. And rather than a traditional CX press segment where we just go through a single article, we wanted to share with you that we’ve seen lots of articles out there of positive things happening amidst this outbreak and pandemic.

Joey Coleman: Yes, folks, it’s not all doom gloom in the news. Don’t just get caught up in the stories that are about the terrible things that are happening. Look for the more positive stories too.

Dan Gingiss: And as it turns out, companies of all sizes often have resources that can help others in the community during a time of crisis. It might be money, or supplies, or facilities, or even just expertise. And we wanted to share some companies that we’ve seen that are doing just that. So Loom, a video recording and sharing service, has made their Loom Pro Edition free for teachers and students at K through 12 schools, universities, and educational institutions. As we all know, many students now are being forced to learn remotely. And loom is a service that can be used for that, and so they’re just putting their service out there for educational institutions.

Joey Coleman: Yes. And LinkedIn has decided to take 16 of its learning courses and make them free. Now these are courses that you used to have to pay for, but now they’re available to anyone and they provide tips on how to stay productive, how to build relationships when you’re not face to face, how to use virtual meeting tools, and how to balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way, which increasingly, as more people find themselves working from home with their children and their families, these are valuable tips and suggestions to help people navigate this new time.

Dan Gingiss: We talked in the last segment about how local restaurants are really struggling. So Uber Eats and DoorDash have both waived commission fees for independent restaurant partners to promote people supporting their local restaurants.

Joey Coleman: A good buddy of mine, Philip McKernan, an amazing coach and inspiring individual decided to make his books available for free. He decided to make his online courses available for free. And he launched a new virtual training program where each week he’s doing motivational check-in sessions that help people explore how do they navigate this new COVID-19 world. I think what’s great about this is there’s literally no business on the planet that can’t get creative about how they’re providing value, not only to their customers, but just to the public in large and their general broader community.

Dan Gingiss: I definitely agree. And one way to look at it is to focus on keeping things as normal as possible during a time when it’s anything but. And we’ve seen a lot of public companies stopping their stock buybacks, for example, and the reason for that is to make sure that they remain solvent and able to help their customers during an outbreak. I think we’ve also seen lots of companies, we talked about utilities in the first segment, but we’ve also seen all the cable companies, and telecommunications companies, and Google have made pledges to keep the internet going and alive for all Americans, even if people can’t afford to pay.

Dan Gingiss: Again, on a local level, for a smaller company, which a lot of our listeners run, think about how you can help even just your local community, it might just be the little town or suburb that you live in. What can you do to give back to your community because people are going to remember that when this passes?

Joey Coleman: Or the person in your neighborhood. Folks, this literally is a time to think as, in some ways, as small as possible. Think about the people who live on your street who are maybe immunocompromised or elderly, that you could leave a little note with your cell phone number that says, if you need somebody to go to the grocery store for you or to the pharmacists to pick things up for you, call my number and I can go out and do that. Now, again, we still want to encourage people to practice social distancing, to only go out if you absolutely need to, to maintain a significant physical distance at least three feet, closer to six if you can, away from anybody that you interact with, but there’s an opportunity to provide value to people beyond the groups who normally provide value to.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, the suburb I live in, somebody set up a Facebook group that was specifically for doing just that, for helping others and I’ve been asked to join it now by about 18 of my friends. And it’s a great way [crosstalk 00:52:42] Social media guy, Dan, I mean, come on. Well, it’s a great way to spread the word about being able to help the elderly or people who are immunocompromised during this time. So I love that.

Joey Coleman: I was just talking to my little brother earlier today, he lives in Springfield, Illinois, and at the time we’re recording this it’s not long after St. Patrick’s Day and they had a message go out in their neighborhood that said, if you want to participate, put some shamrocks on the windows, that way, when families are out walking around, because we want to encourage people to continue to exercise and continue to get outside, just stay away from other people when you do it, right. But they said, “Set it up so that your kids on a walk through the neighborhood at night can count the number of shamrocks.” And I thought, what a creative way to allow neighbors to connect with each other in a way that keeps folks healthy and abides by the idea of physical distancing, but still allows people to have some type of interaction with their community.

Dan Gingiss: I love it. Now if you want more inspiration, we recommend an article by Just Capital that is entitled Capitalism Meets Coronavirus, How Companies are Responding. And of course we’ll include the link in our show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com. But we’ve also created a shortened Bit.ly link that you can use if that’s what you prefer. And it is Bit.ly, which is B-I-T-.-L-Y /ET for Experience This, responses. And the E, the T, and the R in responses are all capitalized. So it’s Bit.ly/ETResponses, and that’ll get you to that Just Capital article.

Dan Gingiss: Now, we wanted to provide you with a couple of bonus articles as well to spread the Good News [inaudible 00:54:28], because hey, we got nothing but time here. And hopefully, you’ve got some time to listen. So, an article that I happened upon that I really liked is from an organization that I had actually never heard of, which is called the Good News Network. And I can tell you, I’m going to be following their stuff for now because I’m really tired of all the bad news. But this is an article called 10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Outbreaks from Around The World. And it was written by McKinley Cobly of the Good News Network, and this will also be shared our show notes, and there is also a Bit.ly link which is, Bit.ly/ETGoodNews, and again, ET, the G in good, and the N in news are capitalized.

Dan Gingiss: And some of the examples that they shared in this article are that US researchers have delivered the first COVID-19 vaccine to volunteers, human volunteers in an experimental test program. Also amidst national shortages of hand sanitizers, there are several alcohol distilleries around the country that have begun using their facilities to make their own sanitation products and sell them. And some of them are selling a lot of them. And finally, air pollution plummets in cities with high rates of quarantine. So, we’re excited to present to you a little bit later this season, a special environmental episode of Experience This, but I thought this was some good news too, that we were seeing positive environmental effects by people staying home.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And to conclude out our CX press episode of Good News that you can subscribe to or find, I’ve been a big fan of Dr. Peter Diamandis and his work for many years now. Peter is the chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching these large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs. So you might have heard of the X Prize. He also is an original founder of Singularity University, which is all about teaching people about exponential technologies.

Joey Coleman: And over the last two years, he’s built a machine learning algorithm that scrapes the world’s news and science journals and social feeds every day to understand how exponential technologies are impacting specific topics and industries. And he calls it, Future Loop. He sent out an email just two days ago about a new offering that they have. And I’m quoting from the email, “Future Loop Pandemic Special Edition, is a daily comprehensive update on the impact of exponential technologies like AI, robotics, drones, cellular medicine, CRISPR, networks and sensors, all about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you participate Future Loop will update you every day on the latest breakthroughs in detection, prevention, and cure of COVID-19. Now, this product is still in beta, but it’s powerful, high quality info and it’s free. Your mindset is your most important tool during the pandemic. Making sure you’re consuming the right information is critical to maintaining that mindset. Future loop offers data driven optimism.”

Joey Coleman: I just loved that. Data driven optimism. There’s a tool out there that you can subscribe to for free, that will deliver positive news that acknowledges the craziness that is the COVID-19 pandemic, but provides a glimmer of hope. So you can find this at our show notes at experiencethisshow.com, you can also, as Dan mentioned, if you want to check out the Bit.ly link, it’s Bit.ly/ETF, that’s Experience This and the F is the beginning of the word Future Loop, where future and loop are both capitalized. But again, if you didn’t have a chance to write that down or you don’t want to go, just go to experiencethisshow.com you’ll be able to find the show notes for this episode and you’ll be all set to get some data driven optimism in your inbox while you’re working from home in the coming days and weeks.

Dan Gingiss: So the takeaways of this multi-article CX press segment, number one, companies have the unique ability to provide resources to help the community. It may not be money, it could just be expertise. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost you anything, but you do have resources and think about how you can give back. Number two, find some way, even in a small way, to give back to your customers or to your community and show them how much you appreciate them in this difficult time and they will appreciate you back.

Dan Gingiss: And finally, number three, take some time to think about positive things and to read about positive things. It can be very easy in a time of crisis to get down, to get depressed, to get angry, and it’s nice to see that there are a lot of positive things happening in the world right now. Unfortunately, with the media situation that we find ourselves in, in the United States, it’s hard to find those things, and so we hope by giving you some of these resources, you can stay in tune with some of the positives going on in the world now.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks so much for listening to this special episode of the Experience This show. We will return to our regular schedule next Tuesday and have episodes ready for you through the first week of June. Please note that the rest of the episodes in season five have been pre-recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic. If you liked this episode, please do us a favor and tell your friends and colleagues. Our entire back catalog of more than 90 episodes is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Alexa, or your favorite podcast App.

Joey Coleman: And a special thanks to our wonderful friends Avtex. Avtex has been a fantastic sponsor of the show this season. We so appreciate their support and their continued involvement in helping bring Experience This to your ears every week. What we love about Avtex is that their approach brings together transformation and orchestration, which means they help you to define the areas of CX that need to be improved, and then create a roadmap for improving them. Avtex knowledge and experience in orchestration allows them to help you leverage the people, processes, and technology you need to implement your plan. You can learn more about the great folks at Avtex by visiting their website at www.avtex. That’s A-V-T-E-X.com.

Dan Gingiss: And finally, we are here for you our loyal listeners during this difficult time. If you have a question about how to respond to COVID-19 with a customer experience lens, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. Joey’s email is JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com. And my email is Dan@DanGingiss.com. Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next week on The Experience This show. 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, Experience …

Joey Coleman: … This.


Episode 93: Appeal to New Customers by Creating New Experiences

Join us as we discuss using modern tools to showcase classical art, a museum where kids can touch the exhibits, and how to create even more time to serve your customers.

Cezanne, Sand, and Systems – Oh My!

[CX Press] Reach New Customers with New Approaches to Creativity and Social Media

A museum filled with some of the world’s most renown artists – including Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh – may not seem like the place to find an Instagram artist – but now you can. The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has a new artist in residence – one whose art was previously found on Instagram. Elizabeth Stamp details this new development in her fascinating article, Paris Musee d’Orsay Hires First Artist in Residence, found in Architectural Digest.

Musee d’Orsay

Stamp shares how the museum is working to connect younger generations to older artists with the assistance of painter, illustrator, and writer Jean-Philippe Delhomme. Dehomme is taking over the museums’ Instagram account once a week and posting as though he is an artist featured at the museum. To see an example of how this works, consider the image below where Dehomme playfully comments as if he was Degas lamenting the fact that the painting is too tall to fit in one picture on Instagram.

For businesses that often feel paralyzed by having old or traditional products, or brands that don’t feel they’re “cool enough to be on the Insta,” this project with the Musee d’Orsay and Jean-Philippe Delhomme shows that anyone and anything can be new again – if you’re willing to experiment and try something different.

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

[This Just Happened] Let Guests Touch the Exhibits

Sometimes, it takes only one remarkable experience to make a place memorable. Other times, it’s unforgettable because of a series of remarkable experiences. Joey and his family were recently in downtown Miami, Florida, when they visited the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Most kids are enamored with science museums, but the Frost Museum set itself apart with three exhibits that Joey’s family won’t soon forget: a water current table, a sand table, and an interactive mangrove placement exhibit.

The sand table (pictured below) allowed visitors to move the sand to create new topographical formations. The map, projected down on the table, changed as the sand was moved to show the differences in topography highlighted by colors representing the new elevation.

The water current table (pictured below) allowed visitors to position barriers, locks, and spillways to observe how objects could speed up or slow down water currents.

These interactive exhibits created an unforgettable experience and made a lasting impression.

Consider This: What can you do to let your client tangibly feel your product? Instead of just one remarkable encounter, is it possible for you to take a step back and look for a way to provide a string of unforgettable experiences?

[What Are You Reading?] Create Organizational Efficiency by Employing Systems and Processes

A voracious reader with a stack of “books to read” that is taller than he is, Joey rarely reads a book twice. Unless it’s one written by his friend Mike Michalowicz. Joey read Mike’s book Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself last year, and recently read it again (it was that good!). Clockwork explores systems and processes that are designed to help streamline your business – and then gives clear guidance on how to implement them into your operations.

The best part is, streamlining your business doesn’t take a ridiculous amount of work to build a bunch of new systems. In fact, it is ridiculously easy when you realize that you already have all the systems. The goal is to simply extract them from where they’re already documented, in your head.

Mike Michalowicz, Author of Clockwork

This book is filled with ideas that will dramatically improve your customer experience using organizational efficiency. Pick up a copy today and make your business run better!

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 93 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 using modern tools to showcase classical art. A museum where kids can touch the exhibits. And how to create even more time to serve your customers. Cezanne, sand and systems. Oh my.

[CX Press] Instagram Artist in Residence

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: Brace yourself Dan, because I’m about to start a conversation that involves social media.

Dan Gingiss: Stop the presses ladies and gentlemen, this is nuts. You must be feeling sick today.

Joey Coleman: Well, things are a little crazy, I’ll admit. But I came across a story that I wanted to feature as a CX Press. The article comes from Architectural Digest and is written by Elizabeth Stamp. It’s titled “Paris’s Musee d’Orsay hires its first Instagram artist in residence” and it tells the story of a new development in an old museum.

Dan Gingiss: Well you’ve got my attention, you had me at Instagram, Joey.

Joey Coleman: I figured as much. Well, for listeners that may not be familiar with the Musee d’Orsay, it’s a museum in Paris, France, housed in a stunning Beaux Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. Now interestingly enough, the museum holds mainly French art dating from the same period that the building was built. Including paintings and sculptures, furniture and photos. It also houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh. In short, if you want to see some of the most famous French art from the turn of the last century, the Musee d’Orsay is the place to go, and almost 4 million visitors to the museum have done just that.

Joey Coleman: But now the museum is plunging into the modern era headfirst by hiring its first Instagram artist in residence. Painter, illustrator, writer Jean-Philippe Delhomme is its first Instagram artist in residence. Now, Delhomme is most famous to Americans for his cartoons that have appeared in the New Yorker, GQ and both British and French Vogue.

Dan Gingiss: As part of this project, Delhomme is creating a fictitious Instagram post from a famous artist or cultural figure, which is then shared to the museum’s Instagram followers each Monday throughout 2020. These cartoons imagine famous pieces being posted by their creators with comments and “shares” by other famous people from the era.

Joey Coleman: Now to be clear, these posts aren’t typical Instagram posts. The playfulness, cleverness, intriguing humor is often not in the image, which I think is more the norm for Instagram. Right Dan, or at least that’s what they tell me is happening over on Instagram? But rather, the adventure is in the text below the image. So for example, the artist Degas, famous for some rather tall paintings, and in one of the shares, a sketch of a famous Degas piece is cut off at the bottom, and then caption supposedly from Degas himself saying, “Sorry, I can’t show my long paintings all at once. Please swipe.” Now if you want to see this, you can go to our show notes page at experiencethisshow.com, and we’ve included a couple of the cartoons from their Instagram feed as well as a link to their feed.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, this is pretty clever. I’ve seen something similar in terms of there’s a number of Twitter, and I presume Instagram accounts, that are faux historical figures as if they were tweeting today.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: Right? And so you take somebody like Abraham Lincoln, right? And you give him a Twitter account and what is it that he would say today and how would he say it? And it’s kind of funny because it’s this a crossing of generations, literally hundreds and hundreds of years.

Joey Coleman: Right. Right.

Dan Gingiss: And so, this is interesting because you’re also taking the art piece into it. And so that the Degas example’s really cool and funny and clever. And I think what it probably serves to do frankly, is introduce some of this French art to a new audience. Because, your typical Instagram kid is probably not terribly knowledgeable about French art and this may be a really interesting way to connect with younger, potential patrons and get them interested.

Dan Gingiss: So Delhomme wrote a book last year called Artists’ Instagrams: The Never Seen Instagrams of the Greatest Artists, which imagined a book format in the same way that he is doing for the Musee d’Orsay.

Joey Coleman: Now what I think is interesting is that a book led to a gig as an Instagram influencer. Maybe there’s hope for me yet Dan, what do you think?

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I definitely think you got a face for Instagram, Joe.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there you go. Thank you. I appreciate that. Well, this initiative is just one way that the Musee d’Orsay is using modern platforms to share its collection. As you mentioned Dan, this whole idea of everything that is old is new again and the playfulness of taking historical figures and bringing them into a modern context. I agree. I think it opens up an entirely new audience to the museum. And I also really liked the fact that you can get pretty deep into the jokes, right? Because depending on who’s commenting, you really need to know the background of these artists to get the humor.

Joey Coleman: For example, in one of the samples that Delhomme has posted already, he has a piece and then he has an artist commenting on the piece. Then he has this random comment from someone else that just says, “I agree.” Well, the person he’s commenting from to say, “I agree,” was a well known French art critic in the time that was notorious for whether he would release his approval of something or not. And so again, the average person reading this, in fact the above-average person reading this, is going to have no idea what the reference is, but they get to go a little deeper and have some fun along the way.

Dan Gingiss: So let me ask you a question. Presumably there are also real live 2020 people commenting on these images as well. So how are they working that in?

Joey Coleman: I think it’s going to be interesting. There definitely are people commenting on the images below. They started doing this at the beginning of the year and so thus far the ones that I’ve seen posted are mostly, occasionally you’ll see somebody that jumps in and plays and kind of comments in that setting. I personally haven’t seen any with a faux artist or faux historian comment, but that’d be a really interesting thing to do. I wonder if any of those accounts will come over and comment on it. But the whole idea behind this initiative is to get a modern platform for sharing an old collection. And in fact, the museum’s head of contemporary programs is quoted in the article as saying, and I quote, “Our strategy aims to go from scholarship to Instagram and involves every part of the museum,” end quote. They’re even featuring discussions of classical works as videos shared on the museum’s Facebook and YouTube pages. So, the museum is really trying to embrace some of these technological tools to not only expose them to a new audience, but I think to increase the overall reach of their work.

Dan Gingiss: Well, and one of the benefits of the internet and social media is that we have more access to educational content than we’ve ever had in the history of humankind. And I think it makes sense that a museum, which is an educational institution, is taking advantage of that. If anything, you wonder what took them so long to get there. I think the Instagram thing is certainly new. But sharing videos on Facebook and YouTube is something I would expect today’s museums to be doing. One, because not everyone can get to Paris to actually see the work. And two because, in order to inspire people to want to come to Paris, you’ve got to teach them about what’s in your collection. And name alone is probably not going to draw them there except for, and maybe Musee d’Orsay could be one of those, but there’s a few museums in the entire world that you just go because it’s the number one tourist destination in the city. But other than that, in order to bring in a new population, you’re going to have to educate them first.

Joey Coleman: I agree Dan. I think what’s interesting here is, we often have a tendency as customer experience folks, to presume that everybody understands the power and the benefit of using these tools and reaching new customers and engaging in a different way. And I think the reality is, and I’m not being critical of the museum world because we see it in the corporate world and governments all the time, long-standing institutions are not super-excited about change. They’re not super-excited about adopting innovative tools or techniques. And so on one hand, yes, I agree with you, some museums have been early adopters in these technologies. What I like is that some of the museums have waited to make sure the technology is going to work, and then got creative about how they implemented it.

Dan Gingiss: Well, the flip side of it is, is that a lot of older institutions mistakenly believe that everybody knows about art. Or that everybody knows about whatever it is that they’re featuring in their museum, because they live in and breathe it every day. We talk about this with our corporate clients all the time is that, you may be involved every day in widgets and know everything about widgets, but that doesn’t mean that your customer or your prospective customer has the same love for widgets or to the same knowledge at all. And again, what I think is really interesting here is that, this is probably the first time that they’re able to expand their reach globally for a single location that’s located in Paris, France, and it can hit Joey Coleman in Boulder, Colorado and leave an impact.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Well throughout 2020, Delhomme’s illustrations will feature subjects from specific exhibitions that are happening at the Musee d’Orsay, as well as artists that are in the museum’s permanent collection. And what I love about this is how social media is being used to take specific moments in the present and extend them to a worldwide audience, while also bringing specific pieces of art from the past and sharing them with entirely new demographics in the present and in the years to come. For businesses that often feel paralyzed by having an old or traditional products, or brands that don’t feel they’re cool enough to be on the Insta, this project with the Musee d’Orsay and Jean-Philippe Delhomme shows that anyone and anything can be new again, if you’re willing to experiment and try something different.

Dan Gingiss: I love that you referred cool enough to be on the Insta.

Joey Coleman: Do you like that?

[This Just Happened] Frost Science Museum in Miami

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?

Joey Coleman: When you were a kid Dan, did you enjoy going to museums?

Dan Gingiss: Well I did Joey, and part of that comes from living in Chicago where we have amazing museums, and I would say that even though I’m not a kid anymore, I still do it.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Well, I must confess that while I enjoyed the learning that would happen when we went to museums, there were certainly some that stood out more than others for both their unique design and their interactive exhibits. And some that come to mind include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Chicago Field Museum, and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, that I imagine you might’ve visited once or twice when you were a kid.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I’ve been to both of those many, many times. The Museum of Science and Industry’s one of my favorites in the world and I would add the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago also is incredible.

Joey Coleman: Another great place, I totally agree. And in fact I have some very vivid memories of the coal mine exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry when I was a kid,.

Dan Gingiss: The Coleman exhibit?

Joey Coleman: That’d be the coal mine and not the Coleman exhibit.

Dan Gingiss: Oh.

Joey Coleman: But yeah, I remember it being so much fun, and I actually had an experience recently with my boys at a museum that left me thinking that they might have these same type of vivid memories in the future, because the museum we went to was so incredible.

Dan Gingiss: Tell me more. Which museum was it?

Joey Coleman: Well, we were actually in downtown Miami, and we went to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Now, as a general rule, I think most kids enjoy a good science museum, but my boys were completely enamored with the exhibits and particularly the experience of this museum. And in fact, there were three things that they’re still talking about weeks, even months later. The water current table, the sand table, and the interactive mangrove placement exhibit.

Dan Gingiss: Whoa, that’s a whole lot of words there. Let’s start with that sand table. That sounds fun.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so the sand table was really cool. Let me explain how it worked. We walked into a dark room with a large table in the middle of the room that was covered with sand. A projector above the table beamed down a colorful topographical map, and while many museums feature topographical maps to help educate their visitors, this was an application I’d never seen before. Because the table was low enough that young children could put their hands into the sand, and as they move the sand around the table, building up little mountains and carving out valleys, the colors being projected on the map altered to match the topography of the sand.

Dan Gingiss: Wait, so the map coloring changed as your kids move the sand around?

Joey Coleman: Exactly. Exactly. So they could learn about topography by actually creating topography with their hands and then seeing how the colors shifted. I know it sounds pretty crazy, but I actually found it mesmerizing and in fact, took some photos and filmed the video of the table and action so that our listeners can see what I’m talking about. So just visit the show notes for this episode at experiencethisshow.com and you too will be able to see how moving the sand allowed our kids to build mountains, create valleys, do rivers that went into the ocean, the whole thing. It was really quite impressive.

Dan Gingiss: I’m reminded of one of our favorite episodes back in season one, episode 24, where we talked with Steve Spangler and we had this whole discussion about hands-on science and how it’s so much better than reading from a textbook or watching a boring slideshow or whatever, that when kids can use their hands and actually experience the science happening in real time, they retain it more. But probably more importantly, they enjoy it more and it creates those memories you’re talking about.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And here’s the crazy thing. I don’t think those hardwired biological imperatives shift when we get older, right? Humans of all ages, whether you’re a kid or an adult, love to be able to get hands-on. And so when we think about the experiences we’re creating for our customers, what ways are there that we can come up with to actually let them hold the products or hold the experience in that type of interactive way?

Joey Coleman: Well, while the topographical sand table was definitely a cool thing, the mangrove placement exhibit outside was even more captivating to the kids.

Dan Gingiss: And I’m excited about this, because I still don’t even know what a mangrove placement exhibit is.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and I don’t know if that’s, for what it’s worth, that’s what it’s officially called. But that’s what you did. So let me set the scene for you. There’s an open deck outside that capitalizes on the incredible views of Miami and the harbor, and on this deck you get a feel for how coastal flooding could actually impact these locations. And so they had an exhibit set out that allowed you to move small models of mangrove trees around in a landscape. And then when you press a button, a wave would come in and the mangrove trees would either block or not block the wave from hitting the buildings in the model. And so because you could move the different trees around, it taught you how planting trees in different patterns can actually slow the waves. And then of course the kids bring the tide in, they could see whether their idea or their hypothesis about where they planted the trees worked to stop erosion.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, this reminds me of when I had the opportunity to take a cruise to Alaska. And we hear all about this concept of climate change and how things are altering on the earth. And not until I actually viewed the glaciers, which are broken into pieces and only a fraction of the size they once were, did it really hit home for me. And it’s a different kind of experience, but it goes to the same concept of, you know the old joke, “You had to be there?”

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: That’s kind of what this is, is that you have to be there to really see it. Otherwise, you’re reading descriptions. And today, everybody’s got a healthy dose of skepticism about what’s true and what’s not and whatever. But when you’re actually doing it and you see the impact, that was an overwhelming experience for me because I certainly had heard about the glaciers receding and breaking up, but when I saw it with my own eyes it was like this holy you-know-what moment that I don’t think I could have accomplished had I not actually seen it.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And at the risk of going off on a tangent, science is science. Facts are facts. There’s not a lot of dispute about that. However, I totally agree with you that being able to see it real-time. Being able to put your hands into an exhibit to move mangrove trees around for example, and see waves out in the ocean and think about those waves coming closer to the buildings that are there, and then play that out in a diorama in front of you, definitely got my boys thinking about this in a different way, and frankly, was a much more exciting way to explain these concepts to them then to sit down and say, “Boys, let’s talk about soil erosion and how it’s going to impact land developments,” right? It was definitely an interesting way to learn about this. And this exhibit, as well as the sand table, got me thinking that the more hands-on, the more powerful the experience.

Joey Coleman: In fact, the other exhibit that I mentioned, the water current table, was designed just like you might think the name implies. So a water current is running down this large sloped table with multiple tiers. And by moving barriers or locks in the river, you can adjust the flow and intensity of the current. So my kids ended up soaking wet, but in the process they enjoyed manipulating the water and seeing how it impacted the rest of the exhibit. To be honest, this kept them entertained for over 25 minutes. We actually had to say, “Guys, I know you’re having fun, but there’s the rest of the museum you want to see.”

Dan Gingiss: “Everybody out of the pool,” right?

Joey Coleman: Right. Like, “Everybody out of the pool. We got to go see all the other exhibits that are going on around here.” So I think it’s one of those things where, when we think about designing experiences for our customers, are your experiences so engaging, so interactive, that they lose track of time?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And one of the things that I talk about a lot in my keynotes is this idea of being immersive and that the best experiences are ones that you feel in your bones. And the best way to accomplish that, as far as I’m concerned, is to stop looking at individual touch points in your customer journey, and look at the entire thing together. Because, what’s happening at this museum is that, yeah, there’s different touch points in terms of each one of the exhibits, but each one of them is giving you this opportunity to feel it in your bones. And that’s why your kids remember it so much. And frankly, let’s be honest, that’s why you remember it so much, right?

Joey Coleman: Totally.

Dan Gingiss: This isn’t just a kid thing. People, consumers, humans, adults, whatever, are going to remember things that are more immersive in nature, much more than just a singular event like a smile or a thank you note, which are all important aspects, but they’ve got to add up to a bigger whole.

Joey Coleman: I couldn’t agree more, Dan. So folks, when you’re designing the experiences for your brand and your organization, think immersive. Think hands-on. Think colorful. Think, how can I build something that my customers will be so engaged in that they will actually lose track of time? And if you get the chance to head to the Frost Museum of Science and see this in action, don’t miss it. It’s well worth the visit.

[What Are You Reading?] Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz

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: So Joey, I know you spend a lot of time reading and it’s been all of six weeks since I asked you this question, but have you read any good books lately that might be interesting to our audience?

Joey Coleman: Well, I’ve definitely been reading a healthy mix of both fiction books and nonfiction books, Dan. But there’s one book that was high on my list of must-reads for 2020, and interestingly enough, I’d actually already read it before. And I wanted to read it again for two reasons. One, I think I’m actually ready for the message of the book this time. And number two, it’s in alignment with my top business goal for the year.

Dan Gingiss: Well, this is fascinating, especially because you read so many books that you have time to read a book a second time. This must be an important book for that to fall into that category, and I’m also interested in your top business goal. So, do share.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Well, I first read this book, which is called Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz last year. Now, I’ve always been impressed by Mike as a speaker, we’ve spoken at the same events many times. And also as a podcast host. He has a great show called Entrepreneurship Elevated, which I’ve actually had the pleasure of both listening to and being a guest on. And I’m really impressed by what a great writer he is. His messaging is super-clear. He has prose, is entertaining, and he packs a ton of value into books that can be consumed very quickly, but should actually be read more than once because they’re so rich with wisdom and actionable advice.

Dan Gingiss: Well, that is pretty high praise from a guy who reads a ton of books, so tell us a little bit more.

Joey Coleman: Well, I feel like it’s well deserved, especially when it comes to Mike and his work. The reason I went through Clockwork a second time, is because I’ve made some adjustments in my business this year to add more systems and processes, and I really want to do that even more. As a customer experience guy, one of my favorite things to do is connect with my customers. Whether it’s audiences that have seen me speak or listeners that have enjoyed our podcast, people that have read my book or clients I’ve worked with one-on-one, keeping in touch with all of these people, frankly gets more and more difficult each year. Because the systems, or frankly lack thereof in my business, combined with my hectic travel schedule, lead me with more things to do and fewer hours in the day, month after month.

Dan Gingiss: I think this is actually a very common issue that entrepreneurs have. I’m experiencing the same thing. Having moved from corporate America to being a solopreneur as well, is that there’s so much attention paid to, well I got to get my message out and I got to market to the masses. And I’ve gotta, for me anyway, post on social media and whatever it is. And it’s really important to remember that, the people who are keeping our business going every day, our existing customers, are the ones that literally put food on our table and literally keep our business running. And we have to keep reminding ourselves that they’re the people that deserve the most of our attention, not the least of our attention.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And I think most entrepreneurs, or at least I know I’ve been guilty of this, see systems as constraints and not fun. Or, they see systems as a requirement to really scale. And while they say they want to scale, they don’t really want to scale. I’ve been thinking of it differently, that systems give me time. And with that time I can go deeper with the people I want to go deeper with and have a better connection.

Dan Gingiss: And I’m going to bring up one more social media example here, but that’s exactly how my strategy has changed on Twitter over the years, is I actually now preschedule most of my tweets, which are sharing articles or our podcast episodes or what have you. But the reason that I do that is so that the time I do spend on Twitter, I can spend engaging with people. And so my time is spent talking with people, tweeting back and forth, establishing relationships. Whereas what I’ve systematized is the outgoing sharing of content-

Joey Coleman: Just a general post and things like that.

Dan Gingiss: … Yeah. And so I love the concept of being able to do that elsewhere in a business, because I’ve seen it work for me on Twitter.

Joey Coleman: Why I appreciate that. And to be honest, I was a little bit resistant to systems in the beginning. And what I love about Clockwork, is it outlines a very clear directive that you need to allocate your business’s time between doing, deciding, delegating, and designing. Now Mike calls this the 4D Mix, and he notes that getting it in the right proportion is crucial to help your business run yourself. He recommends an ideal mix for a company that is 80% doing, 2% deciding, 8% delegating, and 10% designing.

Dan Gingiss: That is a pretty interesting ratio and I hope you’re going to talk more about it because, both in the companies I’ve worked for, and again, trying to run my own business, I would say those ratios seem quite different from most organizations I know of.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Totally. To be honest, I’ve run a business for almost 20 years now and I’ve had a very different distribution across those 4Ds. To be honest, the book felt like therapy the first time I read it, and now it’s feeling like a roadmap. I love how Michalowicz doesn’t make you feel judged when you’re reading about all the ways you’ve messed up on your operational behaviors in the past. And in fact, one of the quotes that I highlighted from the book, saw him noting that quote, “Even as I write this, I still have to remind myself to work smarter, not harder,” end quote.

Joey Coleman: The fact that the author shares his struggles with the same things that I’m struggling with, made me realize this is a great person to learn from. And he also offers great encouragement in the book. I particularly enjoyed this passage about systems. “The best part is, streamlining your business doesn’t take a ridiculous amount of work to build a bunch of new systems. In fact, it is ridiculously easy when you realize that you already have all the systems. The goal is to simply extract them from where they’re already documented, in your head.” Now, that really resonated with me and frankly it got underlined and highlighted and rewritten many times because I want that to sink in. This doesn’t have to be a complex process. You just have to write down what you’re doing now, so that you can delegate it or automate it and have it done by someone else.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it goes against the grain of the old wisdom, if you want it done right, do it yourself. Right?

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: Which is pretty much what every entrepreneur thinks, and especially at the beginning it’s required. Because, when you first start off your business, you don’t have the luxury of having systems or staff or other people to delegate to. So the only person you’re delegating to is yourself. Right? So as you grow, that becomes really important. And I would say also from experience of being a manager, that delegating is really important because sometimes you have to let go and you have to let another person thrive and succeed and take care of something so that you can work on on something else.

Dan Gingiss: I’m also reminded as you said this quote about that the author’s in the same place and not showing judgment, is I actually think that is true of what we do here on this podcast, right? Is that, really everybody is in the same place of knowing they have to focus on customer experience, but maybe not knowing exactly how or being in a different place along the the curve. And, hopefully you don’t find us as hosts as judging anybody for not doing stuff. But it’s more about suggestions and ways that have worked for other companies and trying to find that inspiration to then apply to your own business. And so whether it’s systems or experience or marketing or whatever it is, I think it’s equally applicable.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think for what it’s worth, I don’t want to speak out of school here, but I think you’d agree with me, Dan, we’re also on the same boat. We know we could improve on our customer experience. This isn’t a finish line that you’re trying to get to. This is a constantly evolving process. And what I love about this book is that it’s chockfull of suggestions and systems to help businesses of any size, in any industry, increase their organizational efficiency. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you’re working as an intrepreneur, whether you’re just an employee in a large organization, there’s something there for you. So if you’re listening to this and you know you could do better. If you know you could be working smarter instead of harder.

Joey Coleman: If you think it’s time to incorporate more systems into your business so you can serve your customers even better and deliver more remarkable experiences, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Mike Michalowicz’s book, Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself. And while you’re in the mood to check out Mike’s work, pick up a copy of his new book coming out next month called, Fix This Next: Make the Vital Change That Will Level Up Your Business. Now to be honest, I haven’t read it yet, but having read all of Mike’s other books, I’ve got this one pre-ordered already and I’m sure it’s going to be a hit. Just think, with all of your new-found time, thanks to the systems you’re going to be implementing, you’ll have more time to serve your customers and read great books like these.

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 92: Discover How Listening to Customers Can Help Even the Most-Maligned Industries Improve Their CX

Join us as we discuss an immersive experience meant to inspire creative design, one place where the robots may be meeting their demise, and how to improve the most- maligned industry of all.

Operatories, Restaurants, and Post Offices – Oh My!

[Experience This! Live] How an Immersive Experience Inspires

An immersive experience of a dental office may not be appealing to you personally, but to a dentist, it’s a much desired interaction. In the small town of Pittston, Pennsylvania, Benco Dental (the largest privately-owned dental equipment and supplies distributor in the U.S.) provides a completely immersive experience for prospective clients (dentists) looking to redesign their offices. Dentists visit the showroom (free of charge) and spend the day planning every aspect of their operatories – the small rooms where patients receive dental treatments. Every aspect of the room is taken into consideration – from glove box placement, to lights, to artwork, and to floor material – to name but a few.

We make these deeper level connections with customers, where we’re not just talking about how many operatories and what color to paint the walls. We’re talking about, “what do you want your patients to feel when they come in?” and “what do you want them to remember when they leave?

Melissa Sprau, Design Manager at Benco Dental

Benco provides a full-day, immersive experience – even allowing dentists to move things around in the design room to customize and place tools exactly where they want them. By focusing on an all-encompassing experience, most dentists go from considering an office redesign, to knowing it’s necessary in order to stay relevant and modern.

[CX Press] Adjusting Technology and Shifting Focus

In Season 3, Episode 64, we spoke about CafeX, a cafe staffed with robot baristas. Recently, CafeX closed its San Francisco locations and in an article from Business Insider titled, Some of San Francisco’s robot-run restaurants are failing. writer Katie Canales shares that the baristas at CafeX aren’t the only robot casualties.

Every organization should have a department that is devoted to figuring out creative, new, interesting technological solutions – that may or may not work in the long term, but in the short term will help them keep thinking.

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

Creating lasting customer experiences comes with risk. By trying – and occasionally failing – we can continue to shift focus, adjust our methods and technology, and create new and lasting customer experiences. CafeX’s robot baristas were indeed impressive and their commitment to embracing new technologies promises more interesting experiences in the future.

[Avtex Engage 2020] Be Our Guest!

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!

[Dissecting the Experience] When the Government Utilizes Social Media to Improve CX

Social media has influenced industry by giving the customer a louder voice than ever before. In How to Enhance Citizen Experience with Social Media, the team at Propel Group examines four case studies that demonstrate social media’s potential to deepen citizen insights, deliver personalized service, and drive enhanced citizen satisfaction.

The four case study examples are seen in the image below:

Three Key Learnings from Case Study 1: NASA

  1. Build social media communities with purpose. NASA shows social media is not a vanity or numbers game. Each community is there to contribute.
  2. Give citizens a chance to participate. Seek out those passionate about your space and find ways to empower them.
  3. Trust your people online. NASA also equips astronauts and staff to share authentic stories that instill trust and credibility.

Three key learnings from Case Study 2: KLM

  1. Explore where social media can add value beyond its origins. It’s easy to assume you’ve ‘got’ social. Like KLM, keep looking for new opportunities. 
  2. Keep listening to citizens. Their feedback is continuous and accessible via social media. 
  3. Invest in tech when scale demands. Technology plays a key role for KLM’s social media operation, but it has the wins 1on the board to justify investment.

Three key learnings from Case Study 3: TSA

  1. Humanize your agency. In a highly secure, risk-averse environment, social media presents TSA’s human side. 
  2. Scale service capabilities. The steady flow of questions and content – combined with social media’s reach – drives service performance improvement. 
  3. Empower your people to contribute. Rather than avoiding engagement, stakeholders are thanked for sharing helpful questions and content. 

Three key learnings from Case Study 4: Australian Government Agency

  1. Start with audience behaviors and insights. By analyzing business investor behaviors, the agency knows both brand and individual staff have key roles on social media.
  2. Ensure training and governance rigor. While industry subject matter experts, staff needed guidance to apply their skills and expertise online. 
  3. Trust evidence over convention. In bucking the trend, the agency delivered a citizen-aligned, award-winning result

To download a copy of the full report from Propel, visit : How To Enhance Citizen Experience With Social Media.

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 92 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: Hold on to your headphones, it’s time to Experience This!

Introduction

Dan Gingiss: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss an immersive experience meant to inspire creative design, one place where the robots may be meeting their demise, and how to improve the most maligned industry of all.

Dan Gingiss: Operatories, restaurants, and post offices?! Oh My!

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.

Experience This! Live – Benco CenterPoint

Dan Gingiss: Pittston, Pennsylvania, about two and a half hours northwest of Philadelphia. Tucked away in an industrial park, up a long driveway, past a large sculpture of a tooth, sits Benco Dental. The largest privately owned dental equipment and supplies distributor in the United States. Inside, among the corporate offices and the hundreds of historical dentistry artifacts from the owner’s personal collection, sits CenterPoint Design. Home to an incredibly immersive experience for Benco’s dentist customers.

Dan Gingiss: CenterPoint is a showroom, one of three in the United States, featuring 25 fully equipped dental operatories. That’s the little room patients go into to get their teeth cleaned or for other dental procedures. Dentists are invited to spend a day touring the facility to get design ideas and inspiration for their own dental offices. Whether they are just starting out or perhaps redesigning an existing practice. Melissa Sprau is a design manager at Benco Dental, and recently led me on the same tour she gives to dozens of dentists each year.

Melissa Sprau: Welcome to CenterPoint, we’re so glad that you’re here and that you made the trip. Believe it or not, here in little Pittston, Pennsylvania, we actually have the largest dental equipment showroom in the world. We’re going to have a great day today and we encourage you to make yourself at home.

Dan Gingiss: Each of the operatories is filled with real dental equipment and supplies in order to replicate actual working conditions and help the dentists envision what a final design might look like.

Melissa Sprau: You’ll see, as we’re walking through the showroom, that we have our operatories set up in lots of different ways. You might even notice some redundancies in the equipment and the delivery systems. There’s more than what you might need in your typical work day in each operatory. We do this on purpose. We do this so that you can get in and get comfortable, and position the equipment in exactly the way that you want to work. We want you to try it as if it’s your own and really experience all of the different manufacturers, all of the different ways that you can set up a room, so that you leave here today feeling confident about the purchase that you’re going to make.

Dan Gingiss: That purchase just might be the biggest purchase a dentist makes for his or her practice, which is why Benco wants to ensure that its clients are completely comfortable with the design before making the decision to buy. Benco sells everything in the operatory, from the flooring tile to the box of exam gloves on the counter. Since every dentist is different, the showroom is meant to display all sorts of concepts, in a flexible manner that allows for mixing and matching

Melissa Sprau: To your patient, every operatory might look the same. They come in, they sit down in the chair, there’s a light overhead. But to you as the dentist, you’ve got a lot of decisions to make. In addition to just the nuts and bolts of the equipment and where it’s placed and how it affects your workflow, there’s also flooring, wall covering, ambient lighting and task lighting, all of these different elements to consider. As you walk through our space today, take these things into consideration and notice that they’re a little bit different in each of the rooms that we go to. We do that, purposely, to show you different approaches and really get you thinking bigger and thinking differently, and to show you all of the possibilities of the total aesthetic of the operatory, in addition to the functional elements of the operatory equipment.

Dan Gingiss: A stop at the design library allows the dentist to peruse hundreds of flooring samples, everything from carpet to vinyl tile to porcelain. There are also tons of wall coverings, ranging from fancy to fanciful, from upscale to made-for-kids. Everything is pre-qualified as appropriate for a commercial healthcare environment. And if a dentist doesn’t see exactly the right design, Benco has a solution for that as well.

Melissa Sprau: This portion of our showroom is a whole lot of fun. This is what we call our Sandbox. It doesn’t look like much. You’ll see these are some nondescript white boxes. They’re actually here to represent dental equipment. You can move and change the sizes of these boxes, they’re on castors, you can wheel them around, and if you look down, you’ll notice there’s measuring tapes all along the floor. The goal is to get in, make yourself comfortable, move these boxes around, put them anywhere you want, manipulate the sizes and the positions, until you create the ideal operatory space for you.

Melissa Sprau: The rulers down on the floor are going to help guide you so that you can understand the dimensions of the room. When we’re all done and you have everything place exactly where you like, look up, there’s a GoPro that’s hanging from the ceiling. It’s going to capture an image of the operatory layout that we’ve designed together so you know exactly the way you want to plan your space.

Dan Gingiss: Remarkably, Benco provides this experience free of charge, including travel, to dentists whom they know are looking to design or redesign an office. Why do they invest all this time, effort and money into prospective customers who may not even end up buying? Because they know that customer experience is their true differentiator.

Melissa Sprau: We’re not just trying to make a one time big purchase and walk away. We care about their long term health and their long term success, as a business, and we want to give them the tools to support that. We make these deeper level connections with customers, where we’re not just talking about how many operatories and what color to paint the walls, we’re talking about, what do you want your patients to feel when they come in and what do you want them to remember when they leave? Or “Doctor, what do you want to do to differentiate yourself from the practice up the street? What makes you love what you do and how can we help show that to the world through the design of your practice?”

Dan Gingiss: The result is that most dentists, after immersing themselves in the CenterPoint experience, go from thinking they might want to create a new office design to knowing they have to in order to stay modern and relevant. When they’re ready, Benco’s team of commercial interior designers will help them sketch out the entire office, up to and including, where those boxes of gloves go. Live from Pittston, Pennsylvania, this is Dan Gingiss for Experience This! Live. Full disclosure, Benco Dental is one of my consulting clients.

CX PRESS – Robot-Run Restaurants

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.

Dan Gingiss: Today’s CX Press is from Katie Canales at Business Insider. It’s called, Some of San Francisco’s Robot Run Restaurants are Failing. It could simply be that we still want to be served by humans, not machines. Now, if you’ll remember back in season three, episode 64, we talked about a San Francisco outlet called Cafe X. I talk about this in my keynotes because it’s a great example of a truly immersive experience. For those who don’t remember, you walk into this coffee shop and there’s actually no human beings. There are just kiosks where you can order your coffee and then a robot, that could only be described as a headless barista, makes your coffee and delivers it to you. It’s really quite remarkable. Alas, in January, Cafe X closed its San Francisco locations, though its stations at San Francisco International Airport and San Jose Airport are still open. It’s not the only robot casualty.

Dan Gingiss: Zume, known for its pizza making robots, shuttered its pizza business and pivoted into food truck technology and services in November 2019. And Eatsa Automat, where you could quickly order and then pick up your $7 quinoa bowls, prepared behind the scenes by unseen employees, through futuristic pickup windows lined against the wall of the restaurant, closed as well in July 2019. As the article states, “There could be multiple reasons why some of them have flopped, but perhaps a straightforward explanation is that we’re simply not ready to be served by robots in lieu of humans.” Joey, what are your thoughts on this?

Joey Coleman: Oh, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this. First of all, fascinated by this article because it tied directly back to something that we had talked about. Love that we’re coming back to talk about Cafe X. In the world of how we think about things, we often talk about the difference between causation and correlation, I think it may be the case that all of these examples are restaurants, and restaurants close all the time. It’s one of the hardest businesses, one of the most difficult industries to be involved in. While I appreciate that all of these had robots, I am sure that we could find a dozen other restaurants, within 20 square miles of each of these locations, that also closed in the last few years.

Joey Coleman: Now that being said, I do think it brings us to a bigger discussion of, sometimes being the first mover means you’re the first one to die as well. As we think about innovation and we think about adopting new technologies to enhance our customer experiences, sometimes it’s actually better to wait a little bit and see how it works before you make large investments. Now that being said, I also think when you do that, you run the risk of creating a stagnant organization that is not innovative. I think there’s some give and take balance here. How about you, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Well, I, after visiting Cafe X, obviously thought it was really an interesting experience, which is why I wanted to talk about it on the show. But it also occurs to me, that we talk so much about customers today wanting to have a human interaction with the brands that they do business with, but I’m not sure that’s true of every customer. I’m not sure it’s true, for example, of introverts who may not want to have a human to human interaction with their barista. They may just want to walk in, like you can at Starbucks, pre-order, walk in, grab your coffee, leave and never have to talk to anyone. For them, a robot experience might be absolutely perfect because they don’t have to say anything. I’m wondering if that’s at play here as well.

Dan Gingiss: But I also go back to my theory on chatbots, which is, that chatbots should not replace the human customer service agent, they actually should be used to help the human agent do a better job servicing the customer. If you imagine a human agent sitting next to a supercomputer that’s got every piece of data that they could ever want, instantly, it means that the agent can spend more time being human instead of clack, clack, clacking on their computer keyboard to find information. They can actually pay more attention to the conversation with the customer and be a better agent. I think that might be what’s happening here, is that the answer may be that these restaurants would not have failed if there was some human interaction to go along with the robot interaction.

Joey Coleman: I agree. I mean, I think two things about what you brought up there. Number one, the article does note that Cafe X kept its airport locations. What I think is interesting is in an airport scenario, it’s probably more of that quick, give me my coffee, I don’t need to have a big conversation with somebody because I’m running to the plane. Whereas, at a coffee shop, if I go to the shop to get my coffee, there’s a higher likelihood that I want to sit down there and enjoy it and be part of the third place ambiance and that experience. When we think about the yes, and of robots and humans, combining both as opposed to canceling one out with the other, I’m also reminded of what happened when banks introduced ATMs.Joey Coleman: When ATMs were first rolled out, a lot of people worried, this is the death of the teller. They aren’t going to have staff anymore. The reality is, if you look at the number, banks, three years later after ATMs were rolled out, had more

employees than they had before ATMs being introduced. The ATM became the thing that was for the simple transaction, hey, I just need some money for the weekend, I don’t need to talk to a teller about that. But it freed up the tellers to have the more complex conversations about loans and opening new accounts and things like that. I think there’s a piece here too, that it doesn’t have to be, can we involve robots in our organization or AI or chatbots or technology solutions? Rather say, how can we augment our experience by adding those things?

Dan Gingiss: I mean, sometimes technology for technology’s sake doesn’t really get us anywhere. I mean, I’ve never been to the Eatsa Automat, but I can tell you from the picture in the article, it basically looks like a vending machine. There’s a wall of little mailboxes-

Joey Coleman: What you might be familiar with as the very old technology of a vending machine, repackaged as robots making … Well, I don’t remember many vending machines that had quinoa or however we want to say it.

Dan Gingiss: True. But essentially, it’s the same concept. You put money in and you open a little slot and you take your food out. That’s what it does. I don’t know. I mean, I can see that being, especially in San Francisco where rents are really high, I mean, you could go with a much smaller footprint and what have you, I could see it potentially being a profitable business, but it only is a profitable business if you’re delivering something that customers actually want. Obviously, the quality of the food still has to be there and what have you.

Dan Gingiss: I agree with you that this does focus on the restaurant industry, which may or may not be relevant, but I do think it’s really interesting, and we felt that it was important for us to come back to this story because we did tout Cafe X as being really innovative and new, and again, I enjoyed the experience. So I think it is important for us to come back and say, “Hey, maybe it isn’t working out exactly how they thought, but the airport thing may be a good solution.” I think that Zume taking its pizza making robots and shifting a little bit into food trucks and other technology may be smart for them as well. This is something that we will keep an eye on.

Joey Coleman: I think, to be very clear, Cafe X did something really impressive. They did something impressive with technology that stood out to you, Dan, so much that you wanted to talk about it on the show. They still are doing something impressive with technology at their airport locations, it’s just, they’ve closed their store location that you went to. I also want to encourage our listeners to realize that, the way you create lasting customer experiences, is to make bets on customer experiences that might not last. You have to be willing to try things. You have to be willing to innovate. You have to be willing to push the envelope a little.

Joey Coleman: Even if it doesn’t work out, and that’s okay. I think, all too often, most organizations play it safe and we don’t want to try a new initiative unless we’re 100% sure it will exist. Every organization should have a skunkworks. Every organization should have a department that is devoted to figuring out creative, new, interesting technological solutions, that may or may not work in the long term, but in the short term will help us keep thinking. For now, the robots aren’t totally in charge, but that doesn’t mean they’re gone.

AVTEX PARTNER SEGMENT

Joey Coleman: Be our guest, be our guest, because Avtex is the best. Folks, on June 21st through 24th, we are going to have a three day customer experience extravaganza in beautiful Orlando, Florida, with our good friends, Avtex, as they host Engage 2020. Can you feel the love tonight?

Dan Gingiss: That’s right, folks. There’s going to be activities throughout the park, including behind the curtain experiences at the happiest place on earth.

Joey Coleman: Beauty and the Beast. We’re going to do a live episode on stage and you get to decide who’s the beauty and who’s the beast. Dan and I, a live episode of Experience This! from the stage at Avtex Engage 2020.

Joey Coleman: You should go, you should go, because you listen to the Experience This! Show. That’s right, go to www.avtexengage.com and use this special, secret code, [Experience This 10 00:18:04], and save 10% off your tickets. We will see you in Orlando, Florida. June 21st to 24th for Avtex Engage 2020.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE – CX in Government

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: We’ve covered a lot of industries here on the Experience This! Show, but why don’t we haven’t spent a lot of time on is the good old government. Now, we did have a love it, can’t stand it on government agencies in episode 42, and we discussed the U.S. government shutdown in episode 59, but today we’re going to take a deeper dive into customer experience in government agencies, through a new report out from an Australian social media consultancy called Propel. The report is called, How to Enhance Citizen Experience with Social Media. Now, in full disclosure, I found out about this report because I’m actually quoted in it on the first page, where I say, “But for social media, we wouldn’t be talking about customer experience.”

Joey Coleman: Hang on a second, I can’t let that one go. That’s a bold statement. Care to expand on that a little more, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. I was, as you know, a marketer for more than 20 years and when I first got into social media, it was on the marketing side and I immediately realized that this was the first marketing channel where people could actually talk back to you. That changed everything. Social media gave customers a voice, a public voice, for the first time, and they use that voice to demand a better customer experience. I believe that, but for them being given the voice in social media, we probably wouldn’t be talking about customer experience as much as we are today, because customers never had a way to express themselves in the past, at least not en masse.

Joey Coleman: I think, to me, and at the beginning I was like, Dan, I’m not sure I totally get it, but yes, en masse. I think customers could always complain. Customers could always say, “Hey, I don’t like this, we’d like it to be better.” They might even hold a little protest at a single location. But I will defer to you, Dan, and agree with you, listeners, I’m about to say something positive about social media hold on to your chairs. I agree with you that it allowed them to have a much bigger megaphone, on a global scale, and to bring people that weren’t part of the initial interaction into the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: And to force change, is really what they did.

Joey Coleman: I definitely agree with that. Well, it’s interesting, in the report, one of the things that I really thought was fascinating was this quote, “Without social media, government agencies would care far less about citizen experience. Until widespread citizen adoption of platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and online communities, agencies could largely control information flows and citizens had very few means to talk back.” Now, I’d say that pretty much rings true. It also made the communication that citizens had with their government happen more often than every two or four years when there was an election.

Dan Gingiss: I reached out to Roger Christie, who is the managing director at Propel, a social media consultancy based in Australia that helps teams through strategy and training. They’ve done a lot of work with public and private sector clients in the Asia Pacific region, but what’s different about them is that they focus on the people behind the platforms. Which is where their most recent report comes in. Here’s Roger talking about the new report.

Roger Christie: We pulled the enhancing citizen experience via social media report together because we wanted to showcase the progressive, but often really, just the simple, valuable work being done across government agencies, both here in Australia and around the world of course. I think there’s a general market perception that government is way behind the corporate sector in social media. But our experience, and certainly the examples in this report, show that that’s definitely not the case. There’s valuable lessons in here for both the public and private sectors.

Roger Christie: A lot of government agencies here are asking, how can we restore trust among citizens? Improving citizen experience actually has a lot to do with that, but I just don’t think that we’ve really seen or heard the role that social media can play in improving citizen experience or building trust. But if you look back at the examples we’ve included in this report, the likes of NASA, the TSA, and even a gov client that we’ve worked with here in Australia, that they show how listening to citizens online, or even just providing basic responsive service via social media, can have an enormous impact on trust and deliver tangible value to the agencies themselves.

Roger Christie: Some of the key trends we’ve observed are, those who enjoyed greater success with social media don’t actually hero social media. It’s actually all about empowering citizens. Getting them involved or providing faster service for them. Social media is just simply a means to do that. Listening was also a common theme, those who embed social listening as BAU, have a stronger awareness of citizen needs and the knowledge to know where to help them most. Industry leaders also recognize the need to commit properly to social media. Not in a way that suits internal structures, existing structures or processes, but in a way that suits citizens.

Roger Christie: I think the TSA is a great example of that where, most sensitive or security conscious agencies would run a mile from social media, or at least limit their activities to broadcast communications. The TSA debunks that. It actually invites questions from the public and builds trust and rapport in doing so.

Dan Gingiss: The report looks at four case studies that demonstrate social media’s potential to deepen citizen insights, deliver personalized, efficient service, and drive enhanced citizen satisfaction.

Joey Coleman: These are all definitely good things and the report offers four case study examples to illustrate how this works. The first case study is about NASA and how they empower citizens to solve problems in partnership. NASA uses social media to make space simple, relatable, and relevant to citizens, so it can crowdsource solutions to its biggest challenges.

Dan Gingiss: The second case study, which admittedly is not government, is KLM Airlines. Where, they resolve critical service blockages for customers. It explores how KLM uses social media to build trust and loyalty, an extensive business value, by being there for customers in the moments that matter most.

Joey Coleman: The third case study is our good friends at TSA, making citizens safety and security fast, fun and easy. TSA uses social media to humanize a traditionally serious topic and build, reach, trust and rapport with citizens.

Dan Gingiss: The fourth example is an Australian government agency that is driving industry investment via human connections. The report talks about how it uses social media to connect its people with industry prospects, and drive leads when institutional trust is low.

Joey Coleman: We could talk about all these case studies individually, and they’re all very interesting, but what we’d love to do instead is cover the three key learnings and then tell you how you can get the full report. The first one is NASA. The three key learnings that came from this case study include, building social media communities with purpose and how NASA shows social media is not a vanity or numbers game. Each community is there to actually contribute. To give citizens a chance to participate and seek out those that are passionate about your space and find ways to empower them. Last but not least, to trust people online. NASA also equips their astronauts and staff to share authentic stories that will instill trust and credibility into NASA’s mission.

Dan Gingiss: From the KLM case study, the three key learnings are, one, explore where social media can add value beyond its origins. It’s easy to assume you’ve got social. Like KLM, keep looking for new opportunities. Two, continue listening to citizens. Their feedback is continuous and accessible via social media. Three, invest in technology when scale demands. Technology plays a key role for KLM social media operation, but it has the wins on the board to justify the investment.

Joey Coleman: When it comes to the TSA case study, there were three key learnings as well. Number one, humanize your agency. In a highly secure risk adverse environment, social media presents the TSA’s human side. Number two, scale your service capabilities. The steady flow of questions and content, combined with social medias reach, drive service performance improvement. Last but not least number three, empower your people and citizens to contribute. Rather than avoiding engagement, stakeholders are thanked for sharing helpful questions and content with TSA.

Dan Gingiss: Finally, for the Australian government agency, the three key learnings. One, start with audience behaviors and insights. By analyzing business investor behaviors, the agency knew both brand and individual staff had key roles on social media. Two, ensure training and governance rigor. While industry subject matter experts, staff needed guidance to apply their skills and expertise online. Three, trust evidence over convention. In bucking the trend, the agency delivered a citizen aligned, award-winning result.

Dan Gingiss: To download your copy of the full report from Propel, How to Enhance Citizen Experience with Social Media, go to our website at www.experiencethisshow.com and we’ll include a helpful link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Is that a word?

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

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

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

Joey: Well, so a few months ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: There’s a stigma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Is it infamous or famous?

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

Dan: Okay. Again – stigma and connotation.

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

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

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

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

Dan: Experience This live. Yeah, baby.

Joey: … from the American Dream.

Dan: Sign me up.

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

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

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

Joey: Congratulations. You’ve been promoted.

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

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

Dan: Whoopsie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: So of course you tried it out?

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

Alexa: Marriott Charlotte can help with that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: Its pillows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: Experience.

Dan: This.

Episode 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.