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 108 – From Analog to Augmented – Creating Experiences Everywhere

Join us as we discuss the frustrating process of trying to pay your health insurance premiums, the boundaryless world of augmented reality, and planning your day without using electronics.

Payments, Pokemon, and Planning – Oh My!

[Make the Required Remarkable] Can I Please Just Give You My Money?!

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• IVR – Interactive Voice Response

[CX Press] Pokemon Invasion at the Magic Kingdom – an Augmented Reality Experience at Walt Disney World Resort

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Pokemon Go
Walt Disney World Resort
• The AR that Ate Disney World – by Josh Goldblum on MuseumNext
• Bluecadet Interactive
Haunted Mansion
Universal Studios
Urban Achieve App
Slavery at Monticello App
Ginza shopping district in Tokyo
• Episode 31, Season One – What Are You Reading? Ready Player One
Ready Player Two

[Partnership with Avtex] Experience Points: Think Fast!

• Experience Points

[Dissecting the Experience] Analog Planning Solutions Thriving in a Digital World

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Clay Hebert
• Analog – non-digital planning system
• Ugmonk – a design studio in Downingtown, PA, creating and curating products that combine form & function – founded by Jeff Sheldon, designer

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 108 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss (00:05): Welcome to experience this.

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

Dan Gingiss (00:17):
always upbeat, and definitely entertaining customer attention expert Joey Coleman.

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

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience. Yes.

Joey Coleman (00:39):
Get ready for another episode of the experience, this show!

Dan Gingiss (00:45):
Join us as we discuss the frustrating process of trying to pay your health insurance premiums, the boundaryless world of augmented reality and planning your day without using electronics.

Joey Coleman (01:00):
Payments, Pokemon, and planning. Oh my!.

Joey Coleman (01:08):
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.

[MAKE THE REQUIRED REMARKABLE] Can I Please Just Give You My Money?!
Joey Coleman (01:28):
Okay Dan, I know that we do our best to only discuss positive customer experiences here on the Experience This Show, but I had a doozy of an experience recently that offered so many opportunities for improvement that I wanted to share with our listeners.

Dan Gingiss (01:45):
Well, we know that bad experiences can often provide us with the most important takeaways on how not to do things, but this one sounds like a could have been pretty bad.

Joey Coleman (01:57):
It was pretty bad for sure. All right, allow me to set the stage… I do my best to set up all of my monthly subscriptions on auto-bill so that I (1) always make sure to pay my bills on time and (2) so that I don’t need to think about it. If I’m going to be subscribed to something and a bill is going to be coming every month, I like to just set up auto-bill plus auto-pay equals “auto-Joey doesn’t have to think about it!”

Dan Gingiss (02:22):
I love how organized you are and that makes perfect sense. Uh, I mean, look, it’s convenient for you as the customer and it’s convenient for the business because hey, they know that their money’s coming and it’s coming consistently.

Joey Coleman (02:35):
Yeah, right?! I mean, this should be a win/win for everyone, but let me explain how this particular business tried to make it lose/lose for everyone involved. Now I wanted to set up auto billing and auto payment, to a credit card, for my monthly health insurance premium payments.

Dan Gingiss (02:54):
Okay, let me stop you right there. So having worked in this industry, you just said the two words that are associated with perhaps some of the worst experiences (at least in the United States) that a customer can have. And those two words are the dreaded “health insurance.”

Joey Coleman (03:12):
It’s so true. It’s like it strikes fear in the hearts and minds of young children everywhere. Yeah, no, it’s ridiculous. And did they ever live up to that terrible reputation! I’m not going to say the name of the insurance company basically because Dan made me not say it before we started recording because I wanted to light these people up – but I imagined this story might apply to several insurance companies and if my provider happens to be listening in, hopefully they’ll make some improvements. So at the end of last year, I needed to get new insurance because my existing carrier quit providing coverage in the state where I live. So I found a new provider online, I applied and ta-da! – was approved for coverage. I then started getting bills, which I would pay as they came in. But I struggled to find the functionality to set up auto payments. Now, after many months of this, I received yet another paper invoice and thought, this is ridiculous, I’m going to solve this problem today! I’m going to set up auto payment and I’m going to save some trees in the process.

Dan Gingiss (04:21):
I love that you’re both efficient, and environmental, and clearly a man on a mission. But what strikes me here is that this really shouldn’t be your problem.

Joey Coleman (04:31):
It really shouldn’t. And this isn’t rocket science, uh, at the risk of breaking the fourth wall… We’re in 2020 people. We are in 2020 right now, sending something up to auto bill to a credit card and have that payment run every month should be, I don’t know the ante up chips for any business that seeks regular payment from its customers! I don’t understand. I don’t understand. But I digress. So I went to the website that was referenced on my paper bill to quote, “pay online.” But for some reason I couldn’t access the website using my saved username and password.

Dan Gingiss (05:09):
Okay – that never happens.

Joey Coleman (05:11):
Yeah, because that never happens. But this was a little bit strange Dan, because I was 100% sure that I had set up a username and password on the website before to fill out some paperwork for a doctor’s visit that I had. So I know I had done this before.

Dan Gingiss (05:30):
You know, I have to tell you, remembering passwords is my single biggest pet peeve. And I know a lot of people you’ve, you’ve spent a lot of time in the security world, passwords tend to be relatively useless anyway, and yet,

Joey Coleman (05:48):

Dan Gingiss (05:48):
And yet they just keep getting more and more complicated. I’ll tell you, without without giving up of my passwords, you know, there’s a certain digit that I end that I add to the end of mine. Uh, and then when they make me reset it or I forget it, I just add another one of those.

Joey Coleman (06:07):
It’s “password5” ladies and gentlemen – that’s Dan’s password! Password5 – after the Jackson Five!

Dan Gingiss (06:13):
So I can always gauge how annoyed I am with a company by how many times I have to hit this digit.

Joey Coleman (06:19):
and you have to change the number, I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it. Yeah. So here’s the thing. Most passwords? Total facade. It’s like security at the airport. It is designed to make you feel better, but it’s really not making you any safer. But for some reason, I went to this website and I couldn’t get in. Aand I tried and I was like, no, I know I have the password. And I had it actually saved and I knew what it was. And so when you can’t do something online, what do you do? You call the phone number. Which I did. And I was immediately placed into IVR hell.

Dan Gingiss (06:55):
Oh boy, IVR, the old “interactive voice response” system folks, you know, the one press 7, if you’re still listening and can’t believe we haven’t given you a relevant option yet!

Joey Coleman (07:08):
Exactly, exactly. And I kept saying, “representative!” “Representative!” “Operator! “Human! Human!” and pressing buttons until I finally got to actually speak to a human being

Dan Gingiss (07:19):
Quick question: did you, did you push zero really hard though, because of multiple times?!

Joey Coleman (07:23):
I want to figure out a way, you know, I know they do sentiment analysis on voices within IVR system to hear if the customer is getting worked up, they can route you to a more senior person. I want them to figure out how to connect the haptics of my phone, to the call center, so that when I’m jamming my finger on the zero and screaming, “Human! Human! Operator!” that they know I’m about to put my thumb through my phone and they get me to somebody who can help faster. But that’s what I would like to have happen… and I would like to say that when I got on the phone with a human, everything got set up and was easy peasy. But instead, the representative explained – now hold onto your seats folks – that they actually have two different websites: one ending in .org and the other one ending in, uh,
yeah, .org as well. The website is where you go to see your doctors’ appointments to get test results, to schedule visits, etc. And the website is where you go to pay your bill. They are two entirely different websites!

Dan Gingiss (08:38):
So wait, they have a separate website for paying the bill – that you can’t access from the main website where you have all of your other online interactions with them?!

Joey Coleman (08:46):
Exactly. 100% Dan, you got it! Okay. I had to create an entirely new username because as it turns out, for some reason you can’t have the same username and an entirely new password, because again, for some reason you can’t use the same password. So I had to have two separate usernames and two separate passwords for the same relationship with the insurance company. And after trying to give them money for over an hour, between my own troubleshooting and waiting to speak to a live person that could actually explain what was going on, I was finally able to set up my monthly bill so that it would auto-pay.

Dan Gingiss (09:29):
Well, Joey, on behalf of health insurance providers, everywhere, I’d like to apologize for your poor experience.

Joey Coleman (09:36):
I need therapy at this point for this. This is ridiculous.

Dan Gingiss (09:40):
I mean, there’s a bunch of things that obviously are going wrong here. And I’ve been trying to think, as you’ve been telling this story, why in the world, they would have a separate site. And most answers in the healthcare industry are unsatisfactory from a CX perspective, and from a customer’s perspective, it’s literally, I don’t care. Right? So my guess is there was some compliance reason that they did it so that they kept credit cards away from, you know, health information or they just outsourced it to somebody else. And they said, well, we’ll do this because it’s cheaper and faster for us, even if it’s not cheaper or faster for the customer.

Joey Coleman (10:17):
Yeah! And to me then I feel like the default is they actually didn’t care because as a recovering attorney and I’ll be the first to admit, I am not intimately familiar with all the particulars of HIPAA and the various compliance laws that health insurance companies are under, but for the life of me, in all of my experiences, I have never come across an organization that requires two separate usernames and two separate passwords to access the same company and pushes you through one website for every interaction except paying your bill. And then they push you through a different site. It makes no sense.

Dan Gingiss (10:56):
Yeah. And I mean, probably Joey, this was from the days when people paid their health insurance by writing a check and sticking it in the mail. And that’s probably the extent of the maturity of their payment processing systems. And so now that people want to pay online, the answer internally is, well, how do we do this quickly? And cheaply? I mean, this is just an inconvenience for us. And yet it isn’t – because when people pay online, they pay more quickly. They pay on time. They pay more accurately. There’s less processing – it’s actually, yeah, you, you have to pay a fee as a company generally for the transaction – but all in all, it’s going to end up a lot cheaper for the company. And to be perfectly honest Joey, even if it wasn’t, I still believe it’s incumbent upon the company to provide a payment experience that is simple. And I want to bring this to today because we’re seeing payments – I’ve also spent a lot of time in the payments industry – we’re seeing payments come back into the national storyline again, because people now are looking for touchless payments. And this used to be a thing that is sometimes they offered it, sometimes they didn’t… I’ve never been a huge Apple Pay or Google Pay user because I’m not even sure which stores take it and which stores don’t, and so what have you, and now all of a sudden, everybody wants it. And so many more places are offering. And I think you make a good point about that you’re just trying to give them money. A quick story – and very quick – is when I worked at Discover, as you may know, not every merchant in the US takes Discover either – and when I got to talk to some of the merchants, I would ask them, “why do you want to not accept a method of payment from your customer?” I mean, if they want to pay you in, I don’t know.

Joey Coleman (12:49):
anything other than a wagon full of wheat! But any type of “convertible” usable currency, whether it’s a credit card, whether it’s cash, you know, come on friends! It’s not that hard. And especially when it’s credit card, because I presume the folks you were talking to took other credit cards – they just didn’t take Discover.

Dan Gingiss (13:10):
But again, their reasoning might’ve been, Oh, well, you know, discover costs me a 100th of 1% higher per transaction in terms of a fee. It’s like, you know what? Your customer doesn’t care. They just want to use their card and you’re telling them no, and you think that doesn’t have an impact on their experience, but it absolutely does!

Joey Coleman (13:30):
Absolutely! And here’s the crazy thing. If it is difficult to pay you, what other aspects of this relationship am I not going to enjoy? If the act of me giving you money is going to cause me stress and a headache, what’s going to happen when you actually have to deliver on the service? What, what state do you think I’m going to be in? What do you think my pre-framed expectations are going to be? It’s a hot mess!

Dan Gingiss (13:57):
I’ll give you one more though. Joey… If it’s hard to pay you, I’m going to go find somebody who’s easy to pay!

Joey Coleman (14:04):
Oh, it’s funny you should say that Dan, because I spent today – in anticipation of recording our segment – trying to find a new insurance company because I’m done. I’m done! And I haven’t had any negative experiences with them in terms of the care, but I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m like, if it’s this hard to pay you, what’s it going to be like when I actually need you to cover a claim? What’s it going to be like when I need you to go to bat for me? So at the end of the day, here’s the thing – this segment is a required remarkable story. And while our stories usually talk about interactions that are worthy of making a remark about, we don’t often talk about the negative remarks. But I wanted to break from our tradition this time, to point out that you’re most commonly occurring activities: scheduling appointments, communicating with customers, taking payments, should be the easiest, most convenient, most efficient elements of your brand experience. And if your required interactions aren’t designed to maximize the customer experience, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to create a touch point worth talking about. And frankly, you’re going to be missing out on a lot more in the, not too distant future, because you’re not going to be in business anymore.

Joey Coleman (15:26):
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!

[CX PRESS] Pokemon Invasion at the Magic Kingdom – an Augmented Reality Experience at Walt Disney World Resort
Joey Coleman (15:41):
Dan, have you or your kids ever played Pokemon Go?

Dan Gingiss (15:48):
Okay. Well, first of all, I’m insulted by the fact that you think I played this. No!

Joey Coleman (15:52):
Hey, you know, it takes all different kinds. I know you’re a real tech guy. You’re aware of the socials, you’re on the Twitters, and you’re doing your thing. And I thought, you know, you, you pay attention to trends in technology. I thought you might’ve given it a dabble.

Dan Gingiss (16:05):
Yeah – no Pokemon Go for me. My son collected the cards for a while, but for whatever reason, neither of them got into the “Go” thing.

Joey Coleman (16:14):
Gotcha. Well, I haven’t either, but to be honest, that doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in augmented reality – or AR as people often call it. To be honest, that’s why I was intrigued by an article that I came across recently titled “The AR that Ate Disney World.” Now the article was on the MuseumNext website, that’s for those of you that aren’t regularly cruising the MuseumNext website for breaking CX news! Uh, but it was written by a former office mate and friend of mine, Josh Goldblum. Josh is the founding principle of Emmy award winning interactive design studio, Bluecadet Interactive. And in the article, Josh relates an interesting scenario that played out when he took his son to Disney World for the first time earlier this year (pre-COVID). He sets the scene as follows:

Joey Coleman (17:08):
“As the two of us stood in line at Haunted Mansion – me trying to introduce my son to the happiest place on earth and him getting increasingly restless, I finally gave up my phone and let him play a game. Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a massive AR scavenger hunt game that allows players to compete and collect location specific Pokemon. Here we are in the heart of the Disney empire and to my surprise, it had been fully and aggressively populated with Pokemon Go PokeStops and gyms. Even in the very heart of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Pokemon has staked its claim. There stands a statue of Walt Disney holding hands with Mickey, Cinderella’s Castle towering in the background. To say it’s a popular place to take a family picture or a selfie would be a massive understatement! It’s also a PokeStop. While tourists cued to take pictures, my son eagerly challenged other Pokemon trainers and collected rare Pokemon. He was ecstatic by what he was seeing, and it seemed to have much more to do with Pokemon brand IP than the famed IP of Disney corporation.

Dan Gingiss (18:20):
So I feel like we have to explain a little bit of this here because man, my head is spinning already. Uh, first of all, I was actually thinking about a story you told previously about Universal Studios and how good they are with the lines and how much I was really interesting to stand in line.

Joey Coleman (18:36):
They keep you engaged while you wait.

Dan Gingiss (18:39):
Right – and here’s the opposite. And so, uh, I think that was immediately disappointing, but this Pokemon game, from what I understand and what we’re talking about, augmented reality what’s happening here is, is people are using their phones and they use the camera part of their phone to sort of show where they are. And then things pop onto the screen that are not actually in the world (that’s why it’s augmented reality) things pop up onto the screen sort of on top of the camera video.

Joey Coleman (19:10):
Exactly! So you feel like you’re looking through the phone at the world and you know what the world is behind the phone (because you can see kind of around the phone and see it there), but what you’re seeing on the phone, includes other images, other characters, other items that aren’t there in the real world, but they’re in the augmented reality that you can see through your phone.

Dan Gingiss (19:34):
Right? And for this particular game, if you find the rare Pokemon or whatever it is…

Joey Coleman (19:37):
You get points. You can collect things. Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Gingiss (19:40):
So the fascinating thing here, and I’m guessing, this is why some of why you’re sharing this story is that Pokemon is not a Disney brand and Disney is famously very protective of its brand. And yet here is this gentleman and his son in line at a Disney park and then walking around the Disney park playing Pokemon. And I got to imagine the Disney folks are not real excited about that because they want everything, they want to control every facet of the experience. And

obviously they want it to be their branding. So I’ve kind of interested to hear what hear what happened next?

Joey Coleman (20:17):
Well, you’re, you’re spot on Dan, because I think like most businesses, there is a presumption that when you come to their property, or their place of business, or their office, or their restaurant, or their, you know, store, whatever it may be, that your only going to experience things that they have put there, and that are in the real world, and that they are going to be able to architect, and design, and dare I say, control the type of interactions you have. And despite the fact that Disney has big fences around the property, that you have to buy a ticket to get in, guess what?! The Pokemon characters come in. Now as Josh notes in this article, “the best AR puts new lenses on the world, around us, adding new interpretations.” He goes on to share how, “the urban archive app sends New Yorkers push notifications when they are near the sites of historic photos from the New York Public Libraries Archives. The Slavery at Monticello app features location-specific content that adds to the experience of exploring Thomas Jefferson’s home, a the folks at No Ad took an almost adversarial approach using AR to replace billboards with art – for an experiment in real life ad blocking. These applications of AR rewrite the world around us – without boundaries, or restrictions.

Dan Gingiss (21:47):
And I’ll give you an example related to the business world that I thought was really cool. And this was actually before AR became a thing in the United States. So I happened to be traveling in Japan and I was in Tokyo and there is a famous shopping district called Ginza – I don’t know if you’ve been there or not?

Joey Coleman (22:04):
Oh yes! Ginza is fantastic!

Dan Gingiss (22:06):
I actually took a – fun fact – I took a picture (a selfie) in front of a gigantic door that had a big G on it, which of course in my mind stood for “Gingiss” not Ginza. I digress… Anyway – and what, what this company had built was an AR app that as you’re walking down the street of Ginza, and you see all the stores on your left and right, that offers from those stores started popping up onto your screen because the screen knew that you were right next to Coach, the whatever, whatever store it was. And these offers would start popping up as you walked down the street, which I thought was really fascinating. So there’s definitely business applications for this, but it is a little bit intrusive. It’s a little bit, you know, I would say you called me a technology person before. I would say, this is really the early adopters right now that are using this for any business perspective. The gamesmanship part is, is kind of fun. I mean, the Pokemon Go thing had it to 15 minutes of fame in the, you know, in the world and it was a lot of fun. But I’m curious to know whether this technology ends up having applications that are more widespread going forward.

Joey Coleman (23:25):
Well, I think what’s interesting, Dan – and I agree with you, we are very much in the early stages and it’s why, you know, I want to do at least flag this in a segment on our podcast because we, we really haven’t talked about augmented reality before (that I’m recalling or certainly not in depth). And…

Dan Gingiss (23:42):
Wait a minute, do you want to ask the Episode Rainman whether we have?

Joey Coleman (23:44):
Okay Rainman – have we talked about augmented reality before at any point in the last six seasons?

Dan Gingiss (23:51): Actually…

Joey Coleman (23:52):
Oh sweet nectar of the gods. Unbelievable. Ladies and gentlemen, Dan Gingiss. He is the librarian of our history.

Dan Gingiss (24:00):

Joey Coleman (24:01):
I don’t remember the episode we recorded yesterday! Dan’s going to tell us about what we recorded years ago!

Dan Gingiss (24:07):
Well, it was years ago. It was Season One, Episode 31, we did a “What Are You Reading” segment on “Ready Player One.”

Joey Coleman (24:16):
Oh yes! Fantastic book! Segue… Ready Player Two is coming out soon – a sequel to the fabulous book Ready Player One. Fantastic! Fantastic! But anyway, we digress. So here’s the thing. You’re right. Dan, we are at the very edge. Most businesses aren’t even familiar with the concept of augmented reality, let alone doing anything to incorporate it into their experience, but here’s why I wanted to flag it. Now the possibilities for incorporating augmented reality into your brand and into your brand location are truly limitless. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. Now imagine Nike creating an impact for you, what their experience in the stores, but then take it one step further and imagine what would happen if Nike added in a digital cheering crowd in the bleachers where you run at your local track in the morning before work, right? Is there a monument in your town that you don’t like for whatever reason? Well, imagine being able to tell the rest of the story or your version of the story in augmented reality, while you’re waiting for the local government to make a decision about whether or not to remove the monument. Now, as Josh notes in the article, “In my own city of Philadelphia, we only have two monuments to women in the entire city. Solving that disparity will take a generation. And in the meantime, AR could memorialize and tell the stories of the women who should be commemorated with permanent monuments.” So we can actually start to think about taking our brand experiences and pushing the envelope well beyond the scope of the real estate we own and the experiences we can control.

Dan Gingiss (26:03):
I think that’s the neatest part about this story is that basically the folks at Pokemon go have invaded enemy territory, right? And have been able to bring their brand into an area that as we said, is, is famously closed off or, or at least is famously meticulously monitored. And, uh, and they’re able not in the real world, but in the augmented world to invade into Disney and bring their brand with them.

Joey Coleman (26:32):
Absolutely. Well, I’ll conclude this segment by giving Josh Goldbloom of Bluecadet Interactive, the last word he wraps up this CX press article” “The AR that Ate Disney World” with this hope: “The full power of AR will come when users can create and contribute their own content and worlds. We aren’t fully there yet, but already these tools are slipping into wider use. I look forward to a not too distant future where everyone has the opportunity, at least digitally, to design the world around them. Where access to a range of AR tools will allow us so many new ways of seeing.”


Joey Coleman (27:22):
Alright, give me 60 seconds on the clock Dan!

Dan Gingiss (27:24):
Wait, what?

Joey Coleman (27:25):
60 seconds! 60 seconds!

Dan Gingiss (27:27):
Okay. But what are you going to do with them?

Joey Coleman (27:29):
Okay. It’s not what I’m going to do with it, Dan. It’s what our celebrity contestants are going to do when they have just 60 seconds to answer a series of questions in the final game, we’ll play on our new game show, Experience Points – presented by our friends at Avtex, who transformed customer experience through CX design and orchestration.

Dan Gingiss (27:48):
In Think Fast, we ask five experience questions. Each question has two possible answers. Contestants need to think fast and answer fast because they have just 60 seconds to complete the game.

Joey Coleman (27:58):
Correct answers. Given before time runs out are worth a hundred points. If they correctly answer all five questions, the contestant earns a bonus of 500 points for a total possible score of 1000 points, which would mean a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choosing.

Dan Gingiss (28:14):
Alright, let’s show them how this works. Joey.

Joey Coleman (28:16):
Good idea. Dan, I’m going to ask you three quick questions from an upcoming episode of Experience Points. Are you ready?

Dan Gingiss (28:23):
I’m ready!

Joey Coleman (28:24):
All right. Let’s do this on your marks, get set, Go!

Joey Coleman (28:28):
What percentage of consumers have received a text message from a business: 54% or 84%?

Dan Gingiss (28:34):
Uh, 84%.

Joey Coleman (28:35):
Which group checks their phone the most within an hour: 30 to 44 year olds, or 45 to 60 year olds?

Dan Gingiss (28:43):
I’m going against the grain and saying 45 to 60.

Joey Coleman (28:46):
I love it. And what percentage of consumers respond to text messages in less than 10 minutes: 50% or 78%?

Dan Gingiss (28:54):

Joey Coleman (28:55):
Woo. That was fast.

Dan Gingiss (28:58):
How’d I do? How’d I do?

Joey Coleman (29:00):
Well, alas, Dan, we don’t have any more time on the clock. So people are gonna need to tune into Experience Points to learn more. See you there soon!

Joey Coleman (29:10):
Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how, and why, they happen. Join us while we’re Dissecting the Experience.

[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE] Analog Planning Solutions Thriving in a Digital World
Joey Coleman (29:27):
Dan, are you a Kickstarter guy?

Dan Gingiss (29:30):
Well, a Kickstarter guy. I don’t know. I mean, I’ve, I’ve backed a couple of projects on Kickstarter, but I I’m not on there very often I would say.

Joey Coleman (29:39):
Alrighty, well, I’ll make a little true confession here. I may have an addiction to Kickstarter. I support or in the language of Kickstarter, “back” a lot of projects there. In fact, I was looking at it earlier and today I have supported or backed over 110 projects on the platform.

Dan Gingiss (30:02):
Wow. That does sound like an addiction. Do they have a support group for that?

Joey Coleman (30:06):
If they do, I need to join and I’m not a member yet, but maybe I should be. What can I say? I think it’s a really fascinating platform.

Dan Gingiss (30:15):
All right. Well, some of our listeners may not be familiar with it, so maybe you can give us a starter description on Kickstarter.

Joey Coleman (30:23):
Okay, so here’s the idea behind Kickstarter. It starts with a project creator, somebody who has an idea of something they’d like to see in the world. They make a little video explaining what they want to create. They tell the story of why they think it would be useful. They sell you on the idea of you need this product or this thing they’re going to create too. And then they set up some pledge support levels – ,which are basically different levels that, you know, for a dollar you can just be that you’re a supporter and a fan. And they go up to where maybe for like a thousand dollars, you can get the original artwork that they’re going to create or something like that. And then they also list out some risks and challenges and their likelihood of being able to successfully complete the project. Now, the platform features everything from games to films, to music, to technology inventions, to comic books. Basically, if you’re a creator and you can present a solid story, you can get people to back your idea by pledging money in advance of your product being completed. And you then use those funds – minus a fee to Kickstarter, of course – to fulfill the pledges and deliver your product to these loyal patrons who have agreed to be first movers or first supporters of your new brand.

Dan Gingiss (31:41):
You know, I really like this in concept, even though I don’t do it as often as you do, because first of all, you know, from a customer experience perspective, you’re really measuring the audience before you invest heavily into the product or service. And I mean, let’s face it, you go on Kickstarter and nobody’s interested – that’s a pretty good indicator that maybe you should go find something else!

Joey Coleman (32:04):
Yeah, exactly – and maybe you’ve spent, you know, an hour to write up your description and shot a little video on your phone and you know, all right. Well, my great idea. Yeah, my mom, my by one and maybe my roommate, but that’s about it. It’s not going to have the traction in the marketplace.

Dan Gingiss (32:20): Exactly, exactly.

Joey Coleman (32:21):
But if you get it right, it can go bonkers. And there was something that I found on Kickstarter recently, and I wanted to tell you about the product, because I think you’ll be interested to hear about the product. I think our listeners will be interested to hear about our product and also about the success that this creator was able to have on the Kickstarter platform.

Dan Gingiss (32:46):
Well, Joey, if you are a backer, I’m all ears.

Joey Coleman (32:50):
All right. Well, I appreciate that, Dan. I’m not exactly sure if this is going to be your kind of thing, which will, uh, reveal itself here momentarily, but bear with me. Okay. This product is called “Analog” and it builds itself as the simplest productivity system. It’s designed by Jeff Sheldon. Now Jeff is best known for starting a company called Ugmonk. Ugmonk is design studio in Downington, Pennsylvania, that creates and curates products that combine form and function from simple minimal well-made t-shirts to desk organizers Ugmonk is a lot like buying from your neighborhood corner store. And as it says on their website, quote, “not only are you supporting our family, but you’re also supporting other extraordinarily hardworking small businesses with all that said, if I’m lucky enough to call you a customer, great, but if for whatever reason, you don’t see anything that catches your eye, please walk away with this: I encourage you to leave the world better than you found it by thoughtfully choosing quality over quantity, less over, more lasting, over trending and profound over popular.”

Dan Gingiss (33:59):
We’ll find out whether I like this guy’s product, but I can tell you, I already liked the guy. I mean, he seems like a great guy.

Joey Coleman (34:03):
Yeah! He’s got, he’s got great copywriting and he clearly is speaking to a very specific audience. Now I actually came to know about Jeff and Ugmonk and Analog years ago when I tagged along to a meeting that my good friend and a friend of the experience, this show Clay Hebert was having with Analog’s creator. So Jeff was using a prototype of the Analog product and I was enamoured from the start. Now this is going to sound crazy folks, okay?! Analog is a physical companion for your digital tools. What that means is it helps you prioritize and focus on your most important task. So think of it as a daily to do list that is captured on paper instead of in your phone or computer.

Dan Gingiss (34:54):
Okay. Yeah, I I’m I’m with you so far. I mean, I have like Post-It notes all over the place and you know, it’s very difficult to keep organized and uh, even with phones and stuff like that. So I get it. Tell me more…

Joey Coleman (35:07):
I too have Post-It notes all over and let’s be candid, when you pick up your phone, let’s say you have a “to do list” app on your phone. There’s probably a billion entries and you have to learn how to use the app. And then you have to remember when you do something to go on the app. And I don’t know about you. I have a certain excitement about writing down what the things I’m going to be focusing on that day and then crossing them off at the end of the day. And it sounds crazy, but the psychologist will say that there’s a reason that we like to do that. And what Jeff done with Analog is he’s taken this necessary element of keeping track of the things that are in our minds, in a cacophonous world, where we just have tons of things coming at us all the time, and has produced a beautiful solution. It’s gorgeously designed. There are three cards: there are Today cards, their are Next cards, and Someday cards. So you can kind of bucket the items on your to do list. You get a fresh start every day because you start with a new card. It’s tangible and physical. It’s not sitting around in zeros and ones, and bits and bots on the internet. It’s something that you can actually hold in your hand and the way he’s designed it is there’s a desk holder where you can kind of prop up the card on your desk, right next to your computer, so it’s physically in front of you, or you can keep it within arms reach. There’s like a little travel holder where you can carry along like a little stack of what are basically beautifully designed index cards,, to record what your various task and to do items are.

Dan Gingiss (36:38):
Well Joey – I’m a simple man. I actually like the aspect of the non-digital and I have found for a long time that I’m much better off keeping it to do list on a piece of paper with a pencil. I still like writing in pencil. There is something about writing it down that somehow keeps it in my memory. I agree with you on the idea of crossing it off. I’ve never thought of this, however, as having to be a beautiful work of art or an, you know, an experience more than a pad of paper. So it’s, it’s interesting. I think conceptually, I’m definitely with you, I’ve looked at some of the pictures and we’ll include them in our show notes that it is, it is beautiful. So if you know, if you want something beautiful on your desk to help you, uh, keep track of your day, I think this definitely fits the bill.

Joey Coleman (37:34):
I appreciate that. And I think what it speaks to is this combination of form and function. And I think so often when people are developing products, there were, there were kind of two pieces of this story. I wanted to tell number one, when people are thinking about products as a general rule, they have a tendency to over index on either form or function. Now, based on what you just said, Dan, you kind of are a guide that skews a little more towards function. You’d be just as happy with a Post-It note or a spiral notebook or somewhere. You can write it down where as I might be a guy who skews a little bit more towards form than function, where if it looks pretty, I’m going to be more excited about it. This is why, interestingly enough, I use a Mac laptop. You use a PC laptop, okay? It’s not a commentary on Mac or PC it’s that aesthetics react differently. And what I think is interesting is in our modern world, you can carve out a niche, or a niche, or a niche (depending on how you pronounce it) of customers that skew way either form or function. And in an increasingly digital world, people are craving these analog experiences. And I have to believe in a world where we’re doing more and more Zoom calls, and more and more conference calls, and we’re not having as many interactions outside the home with beautiful things and beautiful products that having something that you can hold in your hand is going to change the conversation. And here’s the interesting thing… I’m not the only one who thought this. So when Jeff started the Kickstarter project, he hoped to raise $6,000. When the project was done, he had raised over $451,000 from over 5,000 backers. It’s not just Joey that liked the Analog solution.

Dan Gingiss (39:26):
Well, that’s pretty impressive. I mean $451,000 – I’m not all that good at math, but it’s a lot more than $6,000 isn’t it?!

Joey Coleman (39:33):
And these, by the way, are preorders. He’s now able to go to the printer and print exactly how many he needs at the price points he needs, having factored in the delivery cost and mechanisms. And he knows that his product launch is going to be successful – and profitable – from day one. And most businesses don’t have that level of confidence when they roll a new product into the marketplace.

Dan Gingiss (40:00):
Absolutely. And that’s what I was saying before that I think it’s such a cool idea that you can kind of pretest with the market. And obviously this guy knows that he’s onto something. So I hope you’ll come back and tell us about it once the item arrives?

Joey Coleman (40:14):
I definitely will Dan, but here’s something that I already know. And this takes us back to an earlier episode. We had this season where we talked about the Kenneth Cole luggage. And in fact it was the last episode, the one just proceeding this one. When you find a brand that you love, that consistently delivers remarkable results and experiences, when that brand comes out with a new product or a new service offering, you want it. You buy it! You trust that the experience will continue to be remarkable – which is what I’m expecting from the fine folks at Ugmonk with their new product Analog.

Joey Coleman (40:56):
Wow, thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This

Dan Gingiss (41:00):
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 (41:10):
We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it! Come on over to 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 (41:27):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more

Joey Coleman (41:32):

Dan Gingiss (41:32):

Episode 107 – The “Behind the Scenes” Elements and People that Make for a Remarkable Experience

Join us as we discuss the story behind the story of America’s biggest winery, CX heroes who remain behind-the-scenes, and a lifetime warranty that over-delivered.

Wines, Horns, and Suitcases – Oh My!

[Make the Required Remarkable] Your Brand Spirit Should Be Evident in Everything You Do

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

Barefoot Wines – Making Things Beautiful Rockets Your Business Forward
The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand – by Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan
• The Shadow
• Ed Asner
** Note: audio clip from “The Barefoot Spirit” used with permission.

[CX Press] The People Behind the Scenes “Make” The Customer Experience

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

The goal-horn operator. The ‘Split the Pot’ seller. The Zamboni driver. Meet 8 behind-the-scenes people who make things go during Blackhawks games at the United Center – by Jimmy Greenfield of The Chicago Tribune

[Partnership with Avtex] Experience Points: What Happened?

• Experience Points

[This Just Happened] Kenneth Cole’s Luggage Secret? Avoid Customer “Baggage” with a Strong Warranty

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Kenneth Cole Luggage
Episode 89 – Travel Away with New Luggage
• Away Bags
• Episode 4 – Dissecting the Lands End Experience
• Episode 77 – How to Turn a Negative Experience into a Lifelong Customer

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download an automated (non-corrected) transcript of Episode 107 or read it below:


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

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

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

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

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

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

Episode 104 – Get People Talking with a Free Prize Inside

Join us as we discuss talking to customers in uncertain times, a remarkable credit card experience, and the power of Cracker Jack-esque surprises.

Canadian Professors, Apple Cards, and Inflatable Pools – Oh My!

[CX Press] Concrete Communication in Uncertain Times

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Michael Fishman
• Consumer Health Summit (CHS)
• M.I.T. Sloan Management Review
• Grant Packard (associate professor of marketing at York University in Toronto)
• Schulich School of Business at York University
• Sarah G. Moore (associate professor of marketing at the University of Alberta School of Business in Edmonton)
• University of Alberta School of Business
• Brent McFerran (associate professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia)
• Simon Fraser University – Beedie School of Business
• Speaking to Customers in Uncertain Times – by Packard, Moore, and McFerran in M.I.T. Sloan Management Review
• Professor Jonah Berger (associate professor of marketing at The Wharton School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
• The Wharton School of Business – University of Pennsylvania

[Dissecting the Experience] The Apple Credit Card – Changing the Landscape Again

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Apple
• iPhone
• AirPods
• Mac
• Apple Credit Card
• Discover Card
• Discover Wins JD Power Award
• JD Power Award
• William Tell
• iPad
• American Express (Amex) Black Card
• Apple white matte finish
• Apple logo
• Credit card chip design
• Goldman Sachs
• Mastercard
• Wallet app
• Apple Pay
• Apple Watch
• MacBook Pro laptop
• credit card cycle date
• First USA
• Chase Bank

[Partnership with Avtex] We Love Gameshows – Do You?

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Jeopardy!
• Wheel of Fortune
• Joker’s Wild
• Tic Tac Dough
• Press Your Luck

[This Just Happened] Inflatable Pools with a Free Prize Inside

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Marcus Sheridan – Pool Guy
• River Pools and Spas
• Inflatable Pools on Amazon
• Amazon
• Cracker Jack

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of Episode 104 here or read it below:


Dan Gingiss [00:00:05] Welcome to Experience This! 

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss [00:00:31] So hold on to your headphones, it’s time to Experience This!


Joey Coleman [00:00:39] Get ready for another episode of the experience, this show. 

Dan Gingiss [00:00:45] Join us as we discuss talking to customers in uncertain times, a remarkable credit card experience, and the power of Cracker Jack-esque surprises. 

Joey Coleman [00:00:59] Canadian professors, Apple cards, and inflatable pools! Oh, my! 


Joey Coleman [00:01:07] 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! 

[CX PRESS] Concrete Communication in Uncertain Times

Dan Gingiss [00:01:25] We’re living in a world that is fundamentally different from the world we were living in just a few months ago. As businesses work to navigate the experiences they’re delivering to customers, one of the big questions that everyone is wrestling with is how do we offer certainty in our communications when we’re speaking to people in uncertain times? 

Joey Coleman [00:01:47] Which is why we were intrigued by the following article that is our CX Press segment today. I want to give special thanks to my buddy Michael Fishman, who’s the founder of the Consumer Health Summit, who turned me on to a piece in the M.I.T. Sloan Management Review. The article is written by Grant Packard, associate professor of marketing at York University in Toronto; Sarah G. Moore, associate professor of marketing at the University of Alberta School of Business in Edmonton; and Brent McFerran, the associate professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Dan Gingiss [00:02:22] Wow. So that’s like “associate professor of marketing cubed” and a coast to coast group of Canadian professors. 

Joey Coleman [00:02:30] So true, Dan. So true! And let’s be honest, when it comes to creating great customer experiences, I’ve had the pleasure of spending enough time in Canada to know that our friendly neighbors to the north are absolute pros. And the fact that these three professors collaborated on a great article titled “Speaking to Customers in Uncertain Times” comes as no surprise to me, and I’m super excited to dive into it. The article begins with some clear yet frightening observations… and I quote:. 

Joey Coleman [00:02:59] “Businesses are increasingly operating in a low trust world. The levels at which people mistrust government, traditional media, and social media, are high – and rising… Add to the trust deficit a global pandemic, in which consumers have been asked to limit their visits to stores and restaurants and to shop online when possible. Those who do venture out face an uncertain and literally distanced service experience. They’re questioned about their health. Asked to line up and wear mask, shown where to walk, and reminded to avoid other customers and employees… This trust deficit persist outside the retail space. Individuals contacting customer service –  whether it airlines, banks or retailers – during the pandemic are waiting longer than ever and dealing with uncertainty and frustration about refunds and product availability… So customers are arriving at interactions in highly charged, emotional states. Many frontline workers with similar safety anxieties and changing directives from their supervisors are also stressed. Further due to staffing cuts, shuttered branches, and closed call centers, many customer service employees are working from home with less support from team members and supervisors… In short, the potential for fraught customer service experiences, in-person or otherwise, is higher than ever. 

Dan Gingiss [00:04:18] Ouch! I mean, that one is tough to swallow, but it is absolutely true. And I guess that’s what keeps us customer experience folks in business. I mean, trust is vital when it comes to customer experience and due to the fact that the current environment has eliminated, or drastically reduced, most of the face-to-face, nonverbal ways that people build trust – things like smiles, and head nods, and handshakes – we really are operating in an unprecedented environment. So given the reality of the world right now, what are we supposed to do about it? 

Joey Coleman [00:04:55] Well Dan, I’m glad you asked – but I’m even more excited about the fact that the article speaks to three very specific things that companies can do, that are all supported by a growing body of research on how the use of language can help. Now, whether we’re considering in-person interactions, or voice based phone conversations, or text based emails and chats, the three things that are recommended are as follows:. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:21] • Speaking to customers with specific dedicated attention,. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:23] • Establishing individual connection through the use of the word “I”,. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:28] And conveying care through warm words and the generous use of “thank yous.”. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:33] Now let’s jump into the first recommendation. (1) Provide customers with dedicated attention and concrete language. 

[00:05:41] New research that was conducted by Professor Packard (one of the authors of the article) in conjunction with Professor Jonah Berger of the Wharton School, shows that careful strategies around language not only can increase customer satisfaction, but they also influence how much money the customer spends in the days following a customer service interaction. The secret is to have your frontline employees use words that describe the customer’s interest in concrete, specific terms. This signals the customer that the representative is genuinely listening. 

Dan Gingiss [00:06:17] For example, when a customer contacts a call center to check about a pending delivery, the research shows a customer is more satisfied when they hear, “your package will be at your doorstep next Wednesday” rather than “your order will be there next week.” A package is more concrete than an order; a doorstep is more concrete than “there”; and Wednesday is more concrete than next week. 

Joey Coleman [00:06:41] In a similar fashion, “How can I help you?” can sound canned and rote instead. An employee should mentioned the distinct thing the customer is interested in. For example, at a coffee shop, an employee might say, “Can I get a coffee started for you?” At a hardware store, if a customer is looking at lawnmowers, the employee might say, “Can I help you find a mower?” The more specific, the better. Now, this also applies when responding to complaints. Rather than just saying, “Sure, I can look into that,” it’s more powerful to repeat the concrete thing the customer wants – such as, “Sure, I can look into why we sent you the wrong shoes.” In short, when employees go from generalized scripts to specific comments, it lets the customer know that they’re being heard at an individual level. The more concrete the language, the greater the feeling of attention and focus. 

Dan Gingiss [00:07:35] The next recommendation focuses on personal responsibility. (2) Bridge the trust deficit through individual connections. It’s easier for customers to believe in a single, caring individual than in a vast corporation. Research shows that when employees use the pronoun “I” (referring to the agent), rather than “we” (referring to the agent and the company), it signals that the specific agent the customer is speaking to can be depended on. This simple shift in language using “I” helps customers feel that the employee is actually acting on their behalf. 

Joey Coleman [00:08:11] Now, for example, and let’s be honest Dan, this is one you and I are all too familiar with… When an agent says, “I’m sorry to have to cancel your flight,” it conveys a more genuine, personal sense of remorse than, “we’re sorry to cancel the flight.” The word “we” not only decreases perceived empathy, but it makes it seem like the employee is avoiding responsibility and blaming the company. And this doesn’t just apply to changes in the customer’s plans… Rather than saying, “we probably have that in stock,” you should say, “I can probably find that in stock.” The phrase “we probably have that in stock” guesses about something the employee seems to have no control over – while, “I can probably find that in stock” conveys that specific employee’s desire to make a personal effort to address the issue. The final recommendation from the article is a big one for me personally. (3) Don’t just be competent – be caring. 

Dan Gingiss [00:09:08] You know, Joey, “I can probably find that that’s one of your favorite topics, incorporating empathy into the customer experience.”

Joey Coleman [00:09:15] Yes, indeed Dan! Yes, indeed! Organizations need to find ways to show warmth and competence when interacting with customers. As the article notes, “[i]t’s nearly impossible to be both warm and competent at the same time. Research has shown that people who try to be warm often seem less competent and those who try to be competent often seem less warm.” Now, that being said, new research on conversational dynamics shows that it’s critical for employees to speak both warmly (in other words, emotionally) and competently (that is rationally). The secret is when they do it. Employees need to convey different tones during different parts of the interaction. So the research shows that customers appreciate employees most when the conversations are bookended with warm, considerate words – while the more cognitive, solution oriented words make up the middle of the conversation. In other words, start with connection, then speak specifically about the concrete issue at hand, then closed with more warmth and empathy about the situation occurring in the first place. 

Dan Gingiss [00:10:23] You know, this seems fairly straightforward, but I also want to deviate for a moment to say that this stuff really does matter. I can just imagine some people may be rolling their eyes about, well, using this word here, and this word there. But this research is coming to a conclusion that is not necessarily new. It’s just sort of explained in a different way with, I think, a better structure around it. 

[00:10:51] But the words that we use and the way that we communicate to our customers is one of the biggest parts of customer experience that I think is also one of the most overlooked. And if you don’t have a call center, that’s okay. You can think about how you communicate in marketing materials, or on your Web site, or your mobile app, or if you have a brick and mortar store, what your employees say. There’s so many places where we communicate… And the best part about fixing your communication is it doesn’t cost you anything. So I also appreciated how the article reinforced the power of a simple “thank you” during a customer interaction. While past research indicated it was important to apologize in customer service contexts, new work reveals that signaling appreciation (such as saying “thank you”) is prized by customers and often is more effective than saying sorry. Although apologizing does acknowledge the company’s failure, it doesn’t alleviate consumers’ negative thoughts toward the business. In contrast, saying thank you, for example, “thank you for your patience about this” shifts attention away from the company’s failure and toward customers – making them feel more important to the company at a personal or individual level. 

Joey Coleman [00:12:02] In short, given a world where face time is increasingly both minimized and physically distanced, and where conversations are increasingly happening over the phone, or via some keystrokes, the most successful organizations are giving careful consideration to the specific words they use when speaking to their customers. Don’t forget to: (1) provide customers with dedicated attention and concrete language, (2) bridge the trust deficit through individual connections, and friends, (3) be caring and competent in your conversations. 


Joey Coleman [00:12:38] Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how, and why, they happen. Join us, while we’re Dissecting the Experience. 

[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE] The Apple Credit Card – Changing the Landscape Again

Joey Coleman [00:12:55] As you know, Dan, I’m a big fan of Apple. 

Dan Gingiss [00:12:59] Yeah, do I ever! You were giving me grief about being a P.C. guy right before we hit record on this episode! 

Joey Coleman [00:13:05] Yes, indeed I did, but I feel like it’s only fair, given that you give me so much grief about not being active on Twitter. 

Dan Gingiss [00:13:12] True. True. But I actually have many Apple products in my possession. I love my iPhone and AirPods, for example. It’s the Mac that I’m not so sure of. So I’m not sure that you’re making, and if I daresay, apples to apples comparison. 

Joey Coleman [00:13:27] Yeah… he went there, ladies and gentlemen. All right. Well, there’s actually a reason I’m bringing up Apple in our conversation, and that’s because I had an experience recently that I think you might have some unique insight into. I recently signed up for the new Apple credit card. 

Dan Gingiss [00:13:45] Well, you know that I like talking about credit cards Joey. 

Joey Coleman [00:13:48] I do! 

Dan Gingiss [00:13:48] As I’m sure our listeners know, I spent almost 10 years in the credit card industry at Discover Card, which is one of the smaller of both the issuers and networks in the United States, but that kind of made it a little bit more scrappy. And I was there, and part of the team, that won the J.D. Power Award for the first time, snagging it away from AMEX. And so, I love talking credit cards. Let’s do it! Tell me about the Apple card. 

Joey Coleman [00:14:16] All right. Well, I figure that this will come as no surprise to you or our loyal listeners, but while there are many credit card companies in the marketplace, just like there are many laptops and desktops, and tablet computer manufacturers, the experience Apple created is unique. 

Dan Gingiss [00:14:35] All right. I’ll take a bite at the “apple.” Do tell! 

Joey Coleman [00:14:39] Oh, geez… a reference to “biting the apple” and “William Tell” in the same sentence. Folks, he is on fire today! All right. Well, we need to get into this story. From the very outset, getting an Apple card felt different. I went online, I answered a few questions and I received my approval instantly. 

Dan Gingiss [00:14:58] Okay. Well, so far that sounds fairly common. 

Joey Coleman [00:15:00] Yeah, I get it. But what was different about the Apple card is that I was able to use it immediately to purchase the iPad that I was buying from Apple at the time. 

Dan Gingiss [00:15:10] OK. Now, that’s interesting! And I remember talking about this at Discover, trying to figure out, you know, you can’t get the card in the person’s hand fast enough, so how can we get something else, some other way, for them to use it? So it looks like in this case, the application basically was triggered from within your shopping cart? 

Joey Coleman [00:15:29] Correct. Now, granted, the shopping cart was at Apple, and the application was for an Apple credit card, so I get that it was easier for them than in many scenarios where the credit card is third party. But the fact that they integrated those two things, and they made it incredibly easy to sign up, and that I got to use the card immediately on the purchase I was making right then, it was my favorite two words Dan! 

Dan Gingiss [00:15:52] Well, I believe we call that “instant gratification.” 

Joey Coleman [00:15:55] Yes, indeed, instant gratification. But friends, it gets better. A few days later, I received my card in the mail. And this thing was beautiful!

Dan Gingiss [00:16:05] Now, I would expect that from an Apple product, but not necessarily from a credit card. I mean, maybe unless we’re talking like the Amex Black Card or something. 

Joey Coleman [00:16:15] Well, I hear you and the Amex by card is really nice, but this was a completely different experience. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a brand new customer and I got approved for kind of a basic credit limit. Not a big credit limit, just kind of their intro, you know, credit limit. But I received a premium experience. So let me describe it for you: the packaging was a thick cardboard card with an engraved Apple logo in relief. And when you opened up this white card on the inside, it showed a gorgeous color gradient that went from dark green in one corner to deep red in the other corner, to vibrant purple in the other corner, and it spread across the whole page just beautifully… it was like opening up a rainbow. And inside this color field was an inset where the card was placed. And the message, “activate your card, wake iPhone and hold here” was printed just below it. 

Dan Gingiss [00:17:12] Wait, wait, wait… “wake iPhone and hold it here?” Tell you more about that. 

Joey Coleman [00:17:15] I’m going to explain that, but before I explain that, let me tell you about the card, OK? And then I’ll explain what happened underneath it. So the card is metal. But more specifically, it’s titanium. It has that famous Apple white matte finish to it that’s created by layering multiple layers in some amazing process that was designed by the engineers at Apple before it gets engraved with the Apple logo in silver in the top left corner. And the only other thing on the front of the card is my name: etched in dark gray. And the chip, which, unlike the other chip cards that I have, shows a simple set of six ovals on the chip as opposed to a mismatched series of lines. No, seriously, friends, as you’re listening and you if you have a chip card, pull out the credit card you have, and look at the design aesthetic of the chip – and then realize that Apple, as usual, took every visual element into account when designing their Apple card. And they actually designed the look of the chip on the outside of the credit card. 

Dan Gingiss [00:18:20] I’m sorry. I’m actually doing what you just suggested Joey… and you’re right. They all look the same with these weird gray lines. 

Joey Coleman [00:18:30] Yeah. It’s like shards of metal, that you know, kind of got glued together in some type of a shape. The Apple card, it’s these six beautiful little ovals in the metal. 

Dan Gingiss [00:18:41] That’s pretty cool. So they put all of the disclaimers, and contact info, expiration date, CCW number, and bank logos and all that stuff on the back right? 

Joey Coleman [00:18:51] Actually, no. The only thing on the back of the card are two logos. Again, they’re etched in silver. One for Goldman Sachs (the issuing bank) and the other for MasterCard. 

Dan Gingiss [00:19:04] I got to say, that sounds kind of slick. 

Joey Coleman [00:19:06] Oh, brother, it is. And in fact, I feel special just holding this card – let alone using it! And speaking of using it, this is where Apple marries beautiful product design, with an unprecedented unboxing experience, and incredible software capabilities. So as I mentioned before, you get this beautiful card, you open it up, there’s this rainbow of delight. And to activate the card, it prompts me to wake my iPhone and hold it near the card. Now, when I did that, the Wallet app on my phone confirmed its proximity to the card, prompted me with a couple of easy questions, and my card was active. No calling an 800 number; no visiting a Web site to make my card live; no peeling the sticker off that says “remove the sticker once you’ve activated your card.” It all happened with ease, and grace, and now I could use my Apple Card on any device I had with Apple Pay: my iPhone, my Apple Watch, the iPad, the MacBook Pro laptop. It synched to all of these things instantly. Now, I should also mention the other items you asked about when it comes to where are they on the card… there actually isn’t any other information on the card. There’s no card number. There’s no expiration date. There’s no service phone numbers. There’s no CVV code. There’s no signature. There’s no copyright info. There’s nothing. It’s a barren titanium plain. It just feels elegant! Now, the reason for this lack of data on the card isn’t just for aesthetics – although let’s tell yah, the aesthetic is beautiful. It also helps with security – because if the card is stolen, or even viewed by someone in line behind you, no one can get your number. All of the associated details for the card are stored in the Wallet app on your phone. You can view your balance; your available credit; there’s a simple colored graph of weekly activity when a payment is due; your latest transactions. Each of these can be delved deeper into using the app and you don’t need to log into a separate Web site just to get more details. 

Dan Gingiss [00:21:09] So dumb guy question here: does this mean that you can’t use it for what we in the industry call, “card not present transactions” i.e., you can’t use it on the phone because you don’t have a number to read, or do you have to memorize the number? 

Joey Coleman [00:21:22] Oh now, here’s where it’s special. You can actually generate independent card numbers for your individual transactions. So you can generate one that you always use or if you’re giving your card over the phone and you don’t necessarily trust the person on the phone that you’re giving the card to, you can easily within the app generate a “one off use” number, give them that number, it gets used for that one charge and then that number will never get used again. 

Dan Gingiss [00:21:51] Yes. OK. So that I just want to let you know because, hey, you told you told the audience that I have some experience here. 

Joey Coleman [00:21:57] I do! 

Dan Gingiss [00:21:57] That is actually owned by Mastercard. That is not an Apple thing. That ability is for a Mastercard. 

Joey Coleman [00:22:05] OK, fair enough, fair enough. But that’s why we have, I presume, the Mastercard logo on the back of the card too. Right?! So they get some credit there. But yeah, it’s the fact that in a world where we’re increasingly worried about, you know, our credit card number being compromised, that we can create individual card numbers kind of on the fly, felt really cool to me. And you know, what they do on the back end around putting the customer first is also really unique as well. You know, a lot of credit card companies, and I say this respectfully because I have other cards as well, they try to hide the reality. Right?! Every credit card once their users to spend money, but it also wants you to keep a balance. And unlike other credit card companies, instead of hiding that information in a website or a monthly statement, Apple puts everything as clear as possible, right into the app. So you can see your weekly activity; you can click on a transaction and it shows you more information – this is all happening within the app. If you shop at one retailer multiple times, if you tap on any one location in the app, it will show you all the other transactions with that specific retailer as well as your running monthly total. When it comes time to pay, it allows you to see the interest you’ll be charged based on how much you pay off each month so you have a little kind of toggle switch where you can say, “well, I pay a little more, how much will my interest go down in the future?” They really make the paying of the card an experience and an interaction as well. 

Dan Gingiss [00:23:36] Man, I have so many things that I could say about this. I’m getting excited. And I think what’s going to happen is when we’re done recording, I’m going to apply for this card… 

Joey Coleman [00:23:43] Nice! Ooo – ladies and gentlemen, I may have swayed him over to getting an Apple card. I like it! I like it!

Dan Gingiss [00:23:49] There are a couple of things here that are really cool. First of all, they’re also giving you your cash back rewards in real time – which most cards do. Right?! It usually waits until you cycle at the end of the month. And I used to have this conversation all the time about this concept of a “cycle date,” – like who in the world, what customer thinks in terms of a cycle date right?! 

Joey Coleman [00:24:11] That would be No One. Even the people who work at the credit card company barely think of the cycle date. It’s like literally no customer thinks of this. 

Dan Gingiss [00:24:17] It’s an absolute made up concoction that every card uses and it doesn’t need to. And so the realtime thing makes a ton of sense. And also the paying more when you garner interest… When I was in business school back in 2001, I did a summer internship at First USA, which is now Chase Bank. And I was actually assigned, as a marketer, to the collections team – which was really a unique experience because you’re marketing to the people who aren’t paying you. This was kind of mind boggling to me. And what we ended up figuring out was that, by showing them graphically how long it was going to take to pay back their bill, and then how long it was going to take if they paid fifty extra dollars, one hundred extra dollars, etc., that it created, it got rid of this sick psychological barrier, in the sense that it gave them hope – like we talked about in the previous segment. I remember one guy, I’ll never forget him, he said, “as long as I can circle the date on my calendar when I’m going to be out of debt, then I’m OK. Even if it’s 15 years down the line, I just need to know when it is.” And true story, those graphs actually ultimately became the law of the land in the United States and now all credit card companies have to do that. And I think Apple, as usual, is taking it a step further because they’re actually encouraging people not to generate interest. And that is completely changing the game. 

Joey Coleman [00:25:51] Exactly. What credit card company wants you to pay your bill faster? Pretty much no credit card companies. So, I do think that Apple is completely redefining the game – as usual. But here’s the thing, friends. If you’re listening, you may be saying, “well, that’s nice and dandy for Apple, Joey. But how does this apply to my company and our product, and our service offerings? We don’t make computers. We’re not going to start issuing our own credit cards!” Friends – I get it. My goal in sharing this story is to inspire you. Inspire you to reimagine all the ways your customers interact with your products and services. To seek aesthetic beauty in the things you create. To place customer ease as your prime directive. To marry your offline customer interactions with your online customer interactions. There’s a reason why Apple is one of the fastest growing, most successful, most loved brands on the planet – and that’s because they make their customer experience a holistic driver in every product and service they create. So how can you infuse customer experience into every product and service you offer – so that your customers talk about how their required interactions with you, things like paying their bill, and receiving their bill, and interacting with your support team, and doing all the things that are necessary for their interactions with you – become worthy of remark. 

[PARTNERSHIP WITH AVTEX] We Love Game Shows – Do You?

Dan Gingiss [00:27:24] Joey, do you like game shows? 

Joey Coleman [00:27:26] You know, I actually do like game shows. Who doesn’t like a good game show? You know, you get a chance to laugh. You get a little entertained. Maybe you learn a thing or two. Game shows are great. 

Dan Gingiss [00:27:35] I love game shows. I’ve watched them since I was a kid when I was at home sick from school. I’d spend the whole day watching game shows. What were some of your favorites, or are some of your favorites?

Joey Coleman [00:27:48] Yeah. I got to say, I think I probably watched more back in the day, but one that has continued through my life is Jeopardy! Right?! It’s just, it’s fun… The whole family can play together. Everybody can yell at the TV at the same time. It rewards knowledge of useless trivia points. You learn a thing or two. I’m a big fan of Jeopardy! What about you? 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:10] And you know, it’s so funny because I think the world is divided into either Jeopardy fans or Wheel of Fortune fans, and I’m a Wheel of Fortune fan. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:17] Surprise surprise! Is anyone listening right now surprised that we’re on the opposite end of the game show spectrum? 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:23] Well, the reason is, is that I have always sucked at trivia. And so, I like watching Jeopardy, I just can’t play along. Whereas with Wheel of Fortune, I’m very good with words, I love the puzzles, and, you know, I’m screaming at the TV when there’s like only two letters showing and I’m like, how come you guys can’t see this?”. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:40] Nice. Nice! 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:41] When I was a kid, I watched Joker’s Wild and Tic Tac Toe. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:45] Well, what about Press Your Luck?! No whammies, no whammies, no whammies… that was always a really fun one, too. 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:49] Yeah. Absolutely loved it. The Price is Right, of course. And I mean on and on… So many great, great game shows. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:57] Why don’t more people do game shows? 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:59] I don’t know. I’m not sure. But I’ll tell you one thing, and I haven’t really told anyone this before, I kind of always wanted to be a game show host. 

Joey Coleman [00:29:08] You know, I feel like I knew that about you. I too, kind of like the game show host, if nothing else, to be able to do, ladies and gentlemen, the game show host voice. 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:17] What do you mean? You mean like this one? 

Joey Coleman [00:29:20] Yeah, exactly. As two guys that like horsing around, that’s really fun. You know what would be interesting? Are there many game shows around business? 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:29] I don’t know. I, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a game show or seen one. 

Joey Coleman [00:29:34] There really aren’t a lot. But, you know, I wonder what the experience would be like? 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:39] That’s a good point, Joey. Hmm… 

Joey Coleman [00:29:44] And what would be the point of having a game show about experience? You could experience, the point, of the show. 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:54] Wow – you’re really on point. 

Joey Coleman [00:29:58] Aww – it’ll be a fun experience. Folks – stay tuned for more. You’re gonna have an experience, and we’ll get to the point. 


Joey Coleman [00:30:06] We love telling stories and sharing key insights, you can implement – or avoid – based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened? 

[THIS JUST HAPPENED] Summer Surprise – Inflatable Pools with Bonus Gifts

Dan Gingiss [00:30:20] So Dan, I got to ask you, how did you spend your “socially distanced” summer? 

Dan Gingiss [00:30:26] Well, let’s see, I had two kids at home that were supposed to be at overnight camp, so I had to entertain them… 

Joey Coleman [00:30:32] So you were a camp counselor… Congratulations! 

Dan Gingiss [00:30:35] Yeah. Let’s see. I adopted a senior dog, who has been awesome. So I’ve been out walking a whole lot more and maybe most importantly, from a professional perspective, I wrote my second book. 

Joey Coleman [00:30:50] Ooo lah lah! 

Dan Gingiss [00:30:51] So I got that done. 

Joey Coleman [00:30:52] We’re gonna have to get more into that in a future segment of Experience This! The reason I ask, is because like a lot of other people, I think around the world, our family ended up spending a lot more time at home this summer – confined to our backyard – than we had actually planned. And as the summer went on, I started to think about ways to make our time in the backyard more enjoyable. So we got some new lawn furniture, which was great, so we could just sit outside and, you know, relax, and read, and hang out, while the kids played. And then we started talking about getting a pool. 

Dan Gingiss [00:31:26] Did you call our good friend Marcus Sheridan – the “pool guy?” 

Joey Coleman [00:31:30] Actually, I did not call the Pool Guy this time, but when it comes time to actually install a pool in the yard permanently, Marcus’s team at River Pools and Spas is definitely who I’ll be reaching out to. But in all honesty, since we rent our house and given that full disclosure, I didn’t really start thinking about this pool idea until about halfway through the month of June, I was looking for a faster solution that would be the best solution for this summer. 

Dan Gingiss [00:31:58] So you went online? 

Joey Coleman [00:31:59] Correct. And a simple search of inflatable pools on Amazon brought me to the magical place where five star reviews and in stock availability overlapped in a listing for an inflatable pool that I promptly ordered. And when it arrived, my two boys were thrilled at the idea of having a place to cool off in the backyard since the pools here in town were closed. 

Dan Gingiss [00:32:24] OK, so that sounds really nice, but you made me say the word “Cracker Jack-esque” surprise in the intro, which was really hard to say, and I just said it again. So what does this have to do with inflatable pools? 

Joey Coleman [00:32:34] Well, then I’m glad you asked. And hopefully the people that heard that Cracker Jack a reference, we’re wondering. Here’s the thing. I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of companies that sell their products on Amazon. And one of the common complaints I hear from these Amazon sellers is that while they love the access to the Amazon marketplace, they don’t like the limits on customer interaction and customer data that Amazon places on them when they use the Amazon platform. And so most sellers are lamenting the lack of connection to their buyers, and they’re frustrated that they don’t have an easy way to contact these people that purchase their products, and it just kind of creates a mess for everyone involved. 

Dan Gingiss [00:33:16] Yeah, I’ve definitely had that frustration as a consumer because you have to go through Amazon to get to whoever it is that sold you the product. 

Joey Coleman [00:33:25] Exactly. Which is why more and more companies that sell on Amazon have tried to incentivize purchasers to establish a direct relationship with them – as opposed to going through Amazon. And over the years, I’ve seen this through insert postcards that ask recipients to sign up for a newsletter, or directions that encourage purchasers to register for some random warranty, or even just fliers that say “visit our website and place your next order,” even though you place your order on Amazon because it was easy and simple to do. 

Dan Gingiss [00:33:58] Yeah. Not placing it on your website next time. Sorry. But those are not a particularly remarkable or surprise and delight worthy experiences. 

Joey Coleman [00:34:08] Correct. Which is why the inflatable pool company got my attention. So included in the packaging was a postcard that I’d love to share with you and our listeners. And the postcard read as follows: “Hello. Sincerely, thank you for your business and support. I hope the inflatable pool you purchased is everything you expected. Your satisfaction is my primary goal. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.” (and then they shared an email address). The card went on to say, “Also, to claim your air pump or rectangular pool cover, please reach out to me with your order number and country. Thanks again for your shopping. Wish you all the best. Ann”

Dan Gingiss [00:34:50] Ooo! I’m not sure which one I want: the air pump or the pool cover! 

Joey Coleman [00:34:55] Exactly. And that’s what I thought. Now Dan, I’ve received dozens of inserts from Amazon sellers over the year, and this is one of the first ones I was ever excited about replying to. Now, the pump is really useful if you don’t already have one. And the pool cover is going to be useful to anyone who orders the pool as it’s custom-sized to fit. So compared to silly warranty registrations, or uninspiring coupons for discounts on future purchases, this was actually something I wanted! And I felt that same anticipation and excitement that I had as a kid when I opened a box of Cracker Jack to find the free prize inside. But this time, I got to choose the free prize. 

Dan Gingiss [00:35:38] I love it. That’s actually a really, fun marketing technique to give people a choice. So which one did you choose? The pump or the pool cover? The pool cover or the pump? 

Joey Coleman [00:35:49] You might have guessed. I actually went with the pool cover – and I went with the pool cover for two reasons. Number one, I already had an air mattress pump that work just fine to inflate the pool. So I knew I was good there. And I also felt that the pool cover would come in useful over the long haul and be harder to replace because it was custom-sized to the pool. Now, what I love about this example is that almost every product you purchase has some associated products that the company tries to upsell you on. Extra parts, add ons, maintenance tools, etc. Tying a useful add on – in this case, the pool cover – to my original purchase was a fantastic way to motivate me to go out of my way to share my email with the inflatable pool company. Now, this experience left me wondering how many companies sell through third party distributors, or platforms like Amazon, and are frustrated that they don’t have access to their end users. How many companies have tried a host of uninspired ways to access these end users to no avail? How many companies basically say, throw up their hands and say, “well, there’s nothing we can do” and send the same boring, useless inserts as their competitors? Well, what if they did something different? Why not build into your product price the additional cost of a supplemental item and then offer that item for free to customers that are willing to establish a direct connection to you? Now, this probably won’t bother your distributors or the marketplace where you sell, especially if the only way to get the supplemental item – like the pool cover – is via the primary purchase of the primary item. So like, for example, when I go on Amazon and I look for the pool cover that matches the inflatable pool I bought – you can’t find it. You can’t find it on their website. The only way to get it is through this special offer. Now, the only way the inflatable pool company could have made this better would be to make an online form where I could input my information instead of asking me to send them an email. But to be honest, other than that, I thought this was a really smart way to create a remarkable experience and an ongoing customer interaction “after the sale,” which is something that every organization should be focused on doing. 


Joey Coleman [00:38:03] Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! 

Dan Gingiss [00:38:07] 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 [00:38:16] We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it! Come on over to and let us know what segments you enjoy, 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 [00:38:35] Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more. 

Joey Coleman [00:38:38] Experience… 

Dan Gingiss [00:38:39] This! 

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

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

Cabos, Cameos, and Canadian – Oh My!

[Required Remarkable] The Experience Before the Experience Matters Too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] Talk Like a Legend Today

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

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

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

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

[Book Report] Think. Do. Say.

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

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

Ron Tite, author of Think. Do. Say.

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Dan, have you ever stayed at a hotel where every time you turned around, you witnessed something that would make for a great segment on our show?

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

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough.

Dan Gingiss: Not that often.

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

Dan Gingiss: I have a question.

Joey Coleman: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Dang.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Nice, nice. I like it.

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

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

[CX Press] Talk Like a Legend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Okay.

Dan Gingiss: So I get it.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, sure.

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

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

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

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

[Book Report] Think, Do, Say

Joey Coleman: We’re excited to give you an overview of an important book you should know about, as well as share some of our favorite passages as part of our next book report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to 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 99 – The Upsides and Downsides of Investing in Customer Experience

Join us as we discuss a memorable employee onboarding experience, insurance for your… pizza?, and the cost of poor customer experience.

Training, Explaining, and Draining – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] Investing in the Employee Experience with Continuing Education

When Dan’s sister got a new job at the world famous consulting firm Deloitte, she went through an immersive training program at Deloitte University. Known by employees as “DU,” the quarter-mile-long, state-of-the-art facility represents an investment of over $300 million in order to create an immersive onboarding experience for new employees. DU offers classes, restaurants, and a place to stay during training – not to mention opportunities for employees to fully understand the culture of the organization while continuing the education necessary to further their careers.

This “corporate school” shows a commitment to their team members’ education. Last year, DU had over 10,000 graduates from their programs which include both employees and interns. The students love DU – as reflected by an overwhelming approval rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

As the global business landscape continues to shift and change, and new issues emerge, our goal is for DU to continue to lead the way in developing a workforce of the future – prepared to tackle tomorrow’s most crucial challenges.

Heidi Soltis-Berner, Managing Director of Deloitte University

By setting the tone for what it means to work at Deloitte via an immersive onboarding experience, the company shows just how much it values and appreciates its employees. While many companies provide continuing education to their employees, Deloitte’s investment in creating an experience goes far beyond the typical business training program.

[This Just Happened] Mitigating Customer Fears with Unexpected Insurance

Over the years, Domino’s Pizza has added many items to their menu. But a new menu item recently caught most of their customers by surprise: insurance. Now to be clear, this isn’t the typical insurance policy. Domino’s Delivery Insurance allows you to comfortable navigate the perils of ordering pizza. If your pizza gets cold on the way home, or the box gets turned upside down accidentally, or if your pizza arrives in any less-than-desired way, you can return it for a free replacement.

When you focus on your customer and understand both their needs and their worries, you can creatively address those through marketing and your product offering.

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

By offering insurance, Domino’s is mitigating customer worries and exceeding customer expectations. Even though it may not qualify as “real” insurance (in that you don’t need to pay a policy premium to receive the coverage), having this policy in place gives customers the added security that when they place an order, they will enjoy the arrival of their dinner safe and sound.

What are the fears and insecurities your customers face? What can you do to reassure them or reduce their concerns?

[Avtex Webinar] The 4 Phases to Managing CX Through Crisis

As we are all now aware, global pandemics, natural disasters, and other unforeseen events can wreak havoc on business plans. There isn’t a business that hasn’t dealt with this in the last month as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which is why our friends at Avtex (gracious sponsors of Season 5 of the Experience This! Show) are planning to share their Responding to Crisis with CX model in a FREE webinar on May 5, 2020 at 1:00pm EDT/ 12:00pm CDT.

To register for this webinar and receive a free copy of their white paper: “A Four-Phased Approach to Delivering Effective Customer Experience During a Crisis” go to:

[CX Press] The Cost of Neglecting Customer Experience

Many businesses talk about the return on investments in customer experience. But few consider the cost when customer experience isn’t a priority. In The Cost of Neglecting Customer Experience, Benedict Clark from explores the actual costs to a company when customer is ignored and in what will probably be no surprise to regular listeners of The Experience This! Show, the cost is significant.

You’d think it would be easy for businesses to keep customers front-of-mind. After all, they’re the reason they exist in the first place. But sometimes the temptation to cut corners, minimize costs, and try to maximize immediate returns simply proves too strong to resist. Before you know it, your customer experience has been critically compromised.

Benedict Clark, Content Editor for

Clark outlines the four main reasons companies often neglect CX including the fact that they:

  1. Don’t have the right technology.
  2. Don’t have the right culture.  
  3. Don’t have the right processes.
  4. Don’t have the right strategy.

He then proceeds to illustrate the real costs of neglecting CX including:

  • You lose sales – It is estimated that over $537 billion is lost every year due to poor customer service.
  • Your reputation suffers – Research from Temkin Group shows that 86% of buyers will pay more for a good experience.
  • You lose customers – Only 13% of clients who have a bad experience will return.
  • You miss out on talented staff – Research from CareerBuilder shows that 71% of workers in the US will not apply to work with a company experiencing negative press.

While the benefits of good customer experience are well documented, as this article shows there is a very real cost to NOT providing good customer experience.

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 99 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss a memorable employee onboarding experience, insurance for your pizza, and the cost of poor customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: Training, explaining and draining. Oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience]  Deloitte University

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: About a year ago, my sister started a new job at Deloitte, the global audit and consulting company. As a new employee, she had the opportunity to attend Deloitte University, a completely immersive onboarding experience that convinced her, as it does thousands of others, that she had made the right career decision to join the company since she spoke so highly of it. Upon her return, I had to check it out. I spoke with managing director, Heidi Soltis-Berner, who runs Deloitte University, or DU do those in the know, and I wrote an article in Forbes about it. Joey, I kid you not out of 100 plus articles I’ve written for Forbes, this article ranks number one in terms of views with nearly 35,000 as we’re recording this episode.

Joey Coleman: Wow, that’s awesome. I mean, obviously it made an impact on more than just Deloitte employees then.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, which is why I wanted to share the story with our audience as well, but first some facts and figures. Deloitte University was the result of a $300 million investment, the largest investment for employee development in the company’s history.

Dan Gingiss: Every year it serves nearly 10,000 college graduates and 4,300 interns who participate in first year training. Others participate again at various career milestones, such as after a promotion, and that averages an astounding 50,000 employees every year. The 2018 Deloitte millennial survey found that 50% of millennials say opportunities for continuous learning are very important, and 80% say that professional development or formal training is the most important thing for them to be their best. And 90% of the sessions at DU are led by partners, principles, and managing directors, sharing real world experiences and simulating interactions with clients.

Joey Coleman: I mean, for lack of a better way of putting it, Dan, this sounds like a really fun school and a really big school, right? I mean, when you just think about the logistics of managing 50,000 employees going through training, 10,000 new employee college graduates, I also found it interesting that over 4,000 interns go through training there. I think it’s, often when we think of interns, most companies are like, “Oh wait, we have an intern showing up today? Oh, what are we going to have them do?” And clearly Deloitte has decided to invest in these interns, who ideally most companies have interns to vet future potential employees. So it makes sense to make the investment early on.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And as you point out, this is a big and impressive facility. It is not your ordinary training facility. It’s located in Westlake, Texas, an upscale suburb of Fort Worth. And it’s five stories high in a quarter mile in length. There are more than 30 classrooms just on the first floor, while the other floors contain a total of 800 sleeping rooms, plus a restaurant, and a state of the art fitness facility.

Joey Coleman: Wait a minute. So it’s like a dorm with the classrooms attached and restaurant, this is like one stop learning, eating, sleeping, everything all bundled together.

Dan Gingiss: It is all except it’s more like a five star hotel than a dorm.

Joey Coleman: Nice.

Dan Gingiss: The floors with living quarters contained communal areas called city places. And I thought this was really cool. Each of the city places highlights a large Deloitte office around the world and they actually stock the city places with snacks and beverages that represent each one of those locations.

Joey Coleman: Oh, so it’s like Epcot center but for corporate training and development.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, exactly. And Heidi Soltis-Berner said that she tries to create her words, “A platinum level experience for employees,” so it really is like a high end hotel. In fact, I got Heidi to record us some exclusive audio talking about Deloitte University, so let’s hear from her in her own words.

Heidi Soltis-Be…: Deloitte University, or DU as we call it, is our 700,000 square foot state of the art leadership learning and development center located in West Lake, Texas. When we opened DU back in 2011 the idea of brick and mortar learning center went against conventional wisdom at the time. However, we made the bold decision to invest $300 million because we believed in the importance of a facility like DU to enhance and evolve our culture and the development of our people. It was the single biggest people focused investment in our organization’s history. Since 2011, we’ve delivered more than 6 million learning and development hours to our people, we’ve continued to invest in and evolve the DU, so it meets the needs of our professionals and the most pressing issues our clients face with innovations like our 5G partnership with AT&T and our digital hub, an example of the truly immersive experiences available.

Heidi Soltis-Be…: There are so many things that set DU apart, from our very focused intent on helping our people hone their soft skills in today’s digital age, our commitment to wellbeing, and our commitment to sustainability. DU has exceeded our original vision as well as the expectations of tens of thousands of people who experienced DU every year. In fact, DU has become the cultural home of Deloitte, bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and experiences from every aspect of our business to share new insights and bold ideas. Deloitte University’s global footprint now includes six campuses around the world, and above all DU is first and foremost about our people. As we look to the future, we are excited to see how the learning and development is taking shape. And we are proud to have been a first mover in this space. As the global business landscape continues to shift and change and new issues emerge, our goal is for DEU to continue to lead the way in developing a workforce of the future prepared to tackle tomorrow’s most crucial challenges.

Dan Gingiss: Now one other thing that Heidi does is she continually monitors guest experience with post-training surveys, and she has sustained a rating of 4.8 out of five with overwhelming positive feedback from participants. So what I think is so interesting about this, Joey, is that this sounds like it could be a independent for-profit college and yet it’s actually part of this really big company.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think it’s great that so many companies claim to care about the education and the growth and learning of their employees, but Deloitte has really invested. I mean $300 million, that is not an inconsequential sum. But what I love about this, and we’ve talked about this in previous episodes, is the commitment to continuous learning. The commitment to creating a space and an environment that fosters learning and innovation. I love that they sleep, and eat, and learn all in the same building because as you know, as a fellow speaker, all too often the place where you have the ballroom, where you’re giving the speeches might be in the hotel. But the second that people go to their rooms, nobody’s talking to each other anymore. Whereas it sounds like in this model, you know that everybody who’s “staying” at the facility is a deployed employee who has that point of commonality. And as a result I imagine there’s some interesting conversations or as they refer to in the interior design world collisions between different employees walking through the facility.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and I think it starts with the fact that the first time you see this is as a brand new employee. And you talk about in your book about the first 100 days of being a customer and very similarly, the things that you experienced in your first few days at work are really going to set the tone for how you feel about working for the company going forward. And I’ve been multiple times, I’ve been at companies where they don’t even have a computer set up for me on the first day.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: Right. Because IT couldn’t get around to it. And that sets a tone and you’re like, “Oh, okay, this is not really an organized company.” Whereas Deloitte is taking these people to Texas to have this immersive experience where one of the things that happens, like with my sisters, they walk out saying, “Wow, am I glad to be here.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And not only are they taking their new employees, they’re continuing to bring back their veteran employees for ongoing education. And I imagine the ability to give that platinum experience reminds the employees of the experience that Deloitte wants them to deliver to their customers. We talk a lot about the fact that you can’t ask an employee to deliver a remarkable customer experience if they don’t know what one is. It sounds like the employees of Deloitte who have spent time at DU absolutely understand what that level of an experience should feel like.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And even a step up is, it’s basically used as a form of reward, right? Is that when you get promoted or something big happens in your career, you get to go back and get this added training. And so it’s something that they’ve realized that their employees want and so then they’re offered, they’re able to offer it.

Dan Gingiss: So one last thing to just point out here is you don’t have to spend $300 million to do this for your employees. Sure, you may not have the same five star hotel set up with all of the city rooms and their snacks. But the point is, is that Deloitte has their finger on the pulse of especially the millennial employee population and what they’re looking for at work, and they’re providing it to them and creating happy employees, which as you said, create happy customers. So think about how you can do that within the auspices of your own organization. How you can focus on not just having that one week of employee orientation that has the same online classes that everybody’s taken for the last 15 years, but really trying to spruce it up, make it different, give people exposure to higher ups in the company, and really realize that that first week or two is going to set the tone for how they behave and act and work and commit to your company going forward.

[This Just Happened] Dominoes Insurance

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: So here’s a fun fact about me, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I know a lot of fun facts about you, Dan. What’s this one?

Dan Gingiss: Well, this is what I must confess. I often use in the two truths and a lie game. So if we ever play this, you’re going to have to pretend like you don’t know it.

Joey Coleman: I’m going to try to potentially avoid playing this game with you, Dan, but okay, I’ll bite.

Dan Gingiss: It’s a lot of fun. But anyway, the fun fact is that when I was in high school, I actually delivered a pizza to Michael Jordan.

Joey Coleman: Wait a second, the man, the myth, the legend himself, MJ? You, Dan Gingiss, delivered a pizza to him?

Dan Gingiss: Number 23 /45, yes I did.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I liked this /45 that shows that Dan is an actual fan. The 23 is an easy serve up folks, but the /45 is special. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: So it happened when I was working for Domino’s Pizza, which I did for almost four years, mostly as a delivery boy. But I also got to answer the phone and make pizzas and in fact when Michael called one time I was able to do all three. I picked up the phone, talked to him, took his order, made his pizza, and delivered his pizza, which was pretty cool.

Joey Coleman: Door to door service from Dan the Domino’s Man Gingiss, I love it.

Dan Gingiss: So I have always been fascinated by the Domino’s brand story, which as you probably know if you followed, has really evolved over the years. And a couple of years ago the CEO publicly admitted that their pizza didn’t really taste very good and they redid the recipe. And I will say objectively, if you have not had a Domino’s pizza in a long time and you’re still remembering what it tastes like when you were a teenager, try it again, it actually is pretty dang good.

Joey Coleman: Dan, no pun intended. I think I’ll bite, I’ll try that because I haven’t had Domino’s in a long time, and I do have memories of it being a very economic solution but not necessarily a gourmet solution, which is usually not what you’re looking for when you’re in college ordering pizza.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And I’m not sure that I would go so far as to say gourmet, but they still do have… It is still a very good economic solution as well. But in any event, one of Domino’s newest marketing initiatives is to actually offer insurance.

Joey Coleman: Okay, wait a second. We were just having a really nice positive conversation about pizza. I was salivating, I was getting excited about this, and now you mentioned the word insurance from a pizza company?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. So I thought that too, but it may not be what you think.

Dan Gingiss: It started with what they called carry out insurance, and I urge our listeners to Google the TV commercial on, you’ll find it on YouTube, it’s actually really funny. And sure enough on their website they talk about the things that are covered by their insurance program. The headline says, “Yeah, we cover that,” and it gives examples like, “I slipped on something slippery,” or, “Rain, so much rain,” or, “It got cold while I was stuck in gridlock,” or, “I braked, it flew,” or, “I was balancing it on my head and I don’t have great balance.” “My dog licked it.” “A stranger sneezed on it,” and so on and so forth. The deal is, is that if your pizza gets ruined or damaged in any way after leaving the store, you can bring it back and have it be remade for free. Now of course you have to bring the whole pizza back, you don’t get to eat all the slices but one and then claim that the dog licked it.

Dan Gingiss: So with the success of that program, Domino’s recently added delivery insurance. According to their website, it says, “Whether you’ve invited the gang over to watch the big game or you’re settling in for family movie night, Domino’s creates made to order meals that satisfy everyone. Domino’s stores do everything they can to make sure their pizza experts create your meal exactly the way you want it. Domino’s delivery insurance program provides extra peace of mind. Something wrong with your order? Simply make a claim and dominoes will make it right,” and they make it right by either providing a coupon for 20% off your next order or 60 rewards points, which is the equivalent of a free pizza redeemable in the next 30 days. Pretty cool, huh?

Joey Coleman: Yeah. This is actually an insurance program that I could get behind and what was funny is you were explaining the program, which I had not heard of before, I was reminded of the times where the pizza slid off the seat and the car because I broke fast and now the toppings are on the top of the pizza box instead of on top of the pizza, or where things did… I’ve thankfully never had a dog lick the pizza, but when you think about all the things that can go wrong and how frustrating that is because you’ve left to go get the pizza and come home and your family, or your friends, or even just you by yourself are excited to eat the pizza and now there’s an issue with the pizza. What I really like about this is that it gives customers peace of mind and makes them much more likely to trust the brand.

Joey Coleman: I mean, when you think about how often something happens that would necessitate if you will, a claim on this insurance policy. It’s not often enough that I think Domino’s would be too worried about it, but diminishing those fears could be pretty significant. It also acknowledges that mistakes happen, but customers shouldn’t be worried about it. I mean, I think all of us have had the experience at a restaurant where you walk away and you drop the drink and it spills and then you go back to have them refill the drink and it’s like, “I just spilled this right in front of you. Can you just refill it?” And sometimes they’re very gracious and happy to do that. Other times they’re like, “Well you can buy another one.” Finally, I like the fact that it eliminates a customer pain point of having to complain about a wrong order. Now they can just open the app or go to the website and report the issue and it gets solved and it gets solved in a good way, they get an entirely new pizza.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, this is a far cry from back in the day where they had the 30 minute guarantee for delivery.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I remember that.

Dan Gingiss: And I was a driver of back then and you know that may have caused a little bit of aggressive driving to make sure that I got there within the 30 minutes. But I like this because it’s so customer friendly and it clearly understands the customer perspective. I mean, look, we’ve all had a case, whether it be with pizza or some other food where the order is wrong, and part of that is because human beings are making the order, and so human error is inevitable. For Domino’s to come out in front of that and say, “Hey, we know this is going to happen,” like when their CEO said the pizza didn’t really taste good, it’s genuine and authentic and that’s what today’s customers are attracted to. So I think this builds a lot of brand value.

Joey Coleman: I love it when a brand speaks truth or speak something that all their customers know. When the CEO of Domino’s said, “Hey, our pizza doesn’t taste very good,” it wasn’t like there were huge customers going, “Oh my gosh, no, it’s the best pizza I’ve ever tasted,” customers are like, “Yep, that’s true. And we’re excited that you know that as well.” I think the same holds true for this insurance policy. It’s like, look, things happen that aren’t your fault and maybe even if they are your fault, it diminishes your experience of our brand. So we’re going to be there to back it up and help you out.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. Both of us know, I think a lot of our listeners know that self deprecating humor is usually very effective and it’s why I try to get in front and tell all the bald jokes before anybody else can. Right?

Joey Coleman: I do the same with the lawyer jokes, it’s totally fine.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So I think that’s one of the things that Domino’s has figured out, is they made this TV commercial, again, about the take carry out insurance is hilarious. This guy’s literally trying to get his pizza home and all these things keep happening that are preventing him from getting there. And then the commercials message is, “Don’t worry, we’ll make you a new one. Hot and fresh.”

Joey Coleman: Do you have to pay for the insurance or is it just a promotional program?

Dan Gingiss: Nah, it’s just part of-

Joey Coleman: So it’s just part of the marketing stick. It’s not that [inaudible 00:19:54]. So I think what’s interesting about that too is they’re taking something that we all like but don’t like to pay for. We all like the idea that our risk is mitigated with insurance, but it drives us a little crazy to A, pay for the insurance, and then B, worry about what things will be covered. They’re eliminating the two parts of insurance that we don’t like, paying for it and, “Oh, but we’re only covering this weird random thing. Not all the things we know are going to actually happen.”

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So the takeaway here is that when you focus on your customer and understand both their needs and their worries, you can creatively approach those through marketing and your product offering. As you said, Joey, our guess is that Domino’s probably doesn’t pay out on this assurance very often, primarily because the vast majority of the time they do get the order right, but they’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the advertising campaign across multiple channels, and in the process they’ve likely changed the minds of many of their consumers. Before we finish, I just want to say one more thing, to the customer that always used to order the small triple anchovy pizza, that’s just gross.

[CX Press] The Cost of Neglecting CX

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 CXPRESS article comes to us from Benedict Clark, the content editor at, which provides chat, video, and co-browsing solutions. The article is titled, The Cost of Neglecting CX.

Joey Coleman: Spoiler alert, folks, it’s a big cost.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, you are right on the money there, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I see what you did there. All right, fair enough.

Dan Gingiss: Anyway, the article begins by stating a somewhat obvious but still startling fact, “You think it’d be easy for businesses to keep customers front of mind after all, they’re the reason they exist in the first place, but sometimes the temptation to cut corners, minimize costs, and try to maximize immediate returns simply proves too strong to resist. Before you know it, your customer experience has been critically compromised. It just isn’t a sustainable approach.”

Joey Coleman: Clark goes on to identify four reasons why companies may neglect the customer experience. Number one, they don’t have the right technology. Number two, they don’t have the right culture. Number three, they don’t have the right processes. And number four, they don’t have the right strategy, which includes proper prioritization. So what are the actual costs of poor customer experience? Well, let’s discuss them.

Dan Gingiss: Number one, and probably the biggest, is you lose sales Vision Critical estimates the overall impact of bad customer experiences in the United States is more than $537 billion.

Joey Coleman: That’s billion with a B, right?

Dan Gingiss: [inaudible 00:23:00] billion.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, it’s huge. It’s a lot. Number two, your reputation suffers. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. And if you’re not providing that, people will know and they will tell other people, who will then tell other people, and this is bad.

Dan Gingiss: And here’s the other thing, folks, if you’re not providing it, someone else will. And so it’s not just that your customers are running away from you, they’ll be running toward your competitor.

Dan Gingiss: Number three, you lose customers. A study by Temkin Group found that 86% of customers that received a good customer experience said they would buy from the company again compared to just 13% who received very poor customer experience. The stats here are clear. If you deliver a positive experience, people want to continue being your customer. If you deliver a negative one, they’re going to find someone else to give their money to.

Joey Coleman: And last but not least, number four, you miss out on talented staff. More than 70% of US workers will not apply for a job at a company with negative press. What’s more, companies with bad reputations often have to pay employees more in order to stay. Folks, this stuff feeds upon itself. A bad customer experience leads to a bad employee experience, which then leads to a bad customer experience, which then leads to more bad employee experiences.

Joey Coleman: So when we think about having A players, and the most talented staff, and the people who will really deliver, they are attracted to companies with positive press. They are attracted to companies that deliver remarkable customer experiences.

Dan Gingiss: One of the things I like about this article is that it takes what we say on this show and flips it on its side. It comes to the same conclusion, but we’re always talking about why it’s so important to create a great positive experience. And what is often not talked about is what happens if you don’t, right? You and I, being in the business that we’re in and working with the companies that we work with, we’re used to being around people that agree with us that customer service and customer experience is something we should be focusing on. But this really takes a look at, “Okay, if you don’t buy this, if you want to just pretend that this customer experience revolution isn’t happening, okay, go forward, but do so at a huge risk.”

Dan Gingiss: And here’s what happens if you want to ignore this trend, losing customers, losing sales, losing reputation and losing employees, I’m not sure what’s left after that.

Joey Coleman: Well, and I think for all of our listeners who may have been in a situation where a boss, or a board of directors, or someone you report to ask you to justify the cost of a customer experience initiative, we all know that that’s sometimes difficult to do. How do you put a price on success? How do you put a price on what that looks like to create those remarkable interactions? This provides some interesting opportunities to say, “Well, I may not be able to tell you how much it’s going to improve our business, but I can tell you how much problem we’re going to be able to avoid and how much loss we’re going to be able to avoid by focusing on the customer experience.”

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And I think that that speaks as loudly to a finance department or to a CEO as the benefit that you can get from doing it. So it’s a great takeaway for our listeners to say, “Look, sometimes it’s difficult to calculate an exact return,” although I will argue that you should harder because I think generally it is calculable, if you, or calculatable, what word is that?

Joey Coleman: Either way you can add the numbers up and it’s bigger.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. Yeah. Calculatable I think I’m going to go with. You can calculate it because you can understand the lifetime value of a customer and the future value that that customer will bring by staying with you. You can also obviously estimate that same value if the customer walks out the door, and remember that when they walk out the door it’s a double negative because you’ve lost them as a customer and your competitor has gained them as a customer. So it’s like losing two.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. So it doubly hurts your bottom line because as your customer goes to that competitor, that competitor now has more revenue to work with, they have more profit to work with, they can start to compete with you in different ways, offer more technology solutions, offer more free things to the customer. And so to your point, Dan, you really are losing twice.

Dan Gingiss: So the article states that if you want to create a great customer experience, you should do three things. One, create conversations with your customers. Two, unite all of your departments. Man, is this one important to you? So tired of siloed departments.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, yeah. I say this all the time. As a guy who grew up in the Midwest in a farming community, silos are incredibly important and useful and valuable on a farm. In a company, they are terrible, they cause all kinds of problems. And here’s the thing I’m going to keep saying this until companies break down the silos in their organizations, because we’ve all heard it before, we’ve read it in the magazines, we’ve heard keynote speakers talk about this, and yet so many organizations, as soon as they break into their little fiefdoms or their departments or silos, it’s as if they’re competing against each other instead of competing against the competition to create great experiences for their customers.

Dan Gingiss: Right, we’re all on the same team. We all have the same logo on our business cards. And number three is to be omni-channel, which is another way to say be where your customers are. So as with all CXPRESS articles, we’ll include a link in the show notes at if you’d like to read the entire piece.

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, 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 97: The Benefits of Delivering Effortless Customer Experiences

Join us as we discuss how Amazon approaches customer service, a nefarious attempt to silence customers, and the unique challenges of replacing a mattress.

Servicing, Calling, and Relaxing – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] How Amazon Makes Customer Experience Effortless

Amazon is known for convenience and efficiency – two hallmarks of customer service. But customer service is not built overnight. It’s also not built without a team and strong intention. At Amazon, all of the employees follow six tenets of customer service. Amazon doesn’t just make a customer’s experience easy, they strive to make it effortless.

The six tenets (as shared by a loyal fan of the Experience This! Show from deep inside of Amazon) :

  1. Relentlessly advocate for customers
  2. Trust our customers and rely on associates to use good judgement.
  3. Anticipate customer needs and treat their time and attention as sacred.
  4. Deliver personalized, peculiar experiences that customers love.
  5. Make it simple to detect and systematically escalate problems.
  6. Eliminate customer effort through this sequential and systematic approach: defect elimination, self-service, automation, and support from an expert associate.

[W]hile your goal shouldn’t be to out-Amazon Amazon, you can definitely take inspiration for how Amazon does things to make your own company more successful.

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

Amazon is certainly in a class of its own, but their approach to customer service offers lessons any company can apply. Learning how to shift from making a customer experience easy, to actually making it effortless, could be the key to giving your company a global reputation for customer experience.

[CX Press] When Your Call Matters

Every customer wants to feel special and the voice recording when dialing in to a major corporation often includes a message reminding us of how important our call is. But as the old customer experience joke goes, if it was really that important to you, wouldn’t you answer the call instead of making me hold for an agent? The economics behind making it difficult for customers to complain was recently exposed in the Minnesota Star Tribune by Jackie Crosby in her article, “Your Call is Important to Us.” Based on research findings from the University of Minnesota, companies across all industries regularly apply a unit hassle cost to decide how important it is to answer a customer call. The unit hassle cost defined as is the impact of annoyance to a customer when inconvenienced. As it turns out, many people simply don’t find the inconvenience of complaining worth their time to get to a resolution – and thus, many companies successfully avoid needing to handle complaints.

Many companies want customers to give up before getting a resolution to the problem. Instead of making the customer experience effortless (like Amazon did in the previous segment), these companies make resolution so tedious that customers give up before their issue is resolved. While this may save money in the short run, it has a long term cost to the brand’s reputation.

[Listener Stories] Make Customers Happy When Things Don’t Work Out

A few episodes ago in episode 95, we spoke to Carol Clegg (a marketing consultant, retreat creator, and loyal listener of the Experience This! Show) about a great experience she had with a mattress return on Wayfair. As it turns out, Carol has been shopping for mattresses a lot lately and was fortunate enough to have another great experience, with another mattress company!

When Carol needed a new mattress she placed her online and when it arrived, she realized it wasn’t the best fit for her needs. When she called customer service to explore her options, they provided two easy alternatives: donate the mattress, or schedule a pick-up time to have it collected (at no cost) by the company.

By making it simple and easy for Carol, her confidence and happiness in the company increased – even though things didn’t work out as she had hoped. Not only did she feel good about the experience, but she told other people (including us) and we told A LOT of other people. By making things easy, if not effortless, you can even turn unsatisfied customers into raving fans.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 97 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.

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. So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

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

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss how Amazon approaches customer service.

Dan Gingiss: A nefarious attempt to silence customers, and the unique challenges of replacing a mattress. Servicing, calling and relaxing. Oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience] Amazon’s 6 Tenets

Dan Gingiss: 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: Like you Joey, I know people who know people. So when an anonymous Amazon employee offered up access to an internal sign at Amazon headquarters talking about the company’s six customer service tenets, I clearly paid attention. And I wrote about this for Forbes, but I also thought it would make a great dissecting the experience segment here on the Experience This show, because so many companies are talking about how to be more like Amazon. And I think these six customer service tenets provide a glimpse into the culture at Amazon and what makes them such an impressive company.

Joey Coleman: Now, as a reminder, folks, your goal shouldn’t be to be more like Amazon, because Amazon is always going to be the best Amazon out there. But what you can do is use these ideas as inspiration for your company and how to improve your own customer service.

Dan Gingiss: Okay, so without further ado, here are the six customer service tenets that are displayed at Amazon’s headquarters.

Dan Gingiss: The first one is relentlessly advocate for customers. Now, I love this because it’s saying that the employees have to be on the customer’s side. It’s realizing that without customers, we don’t have a business. The customers are not the enemy. The customers are the people that keep our business rolling, and relentlessly advocating that for them, I think is a great intentional use of language. Relentlessly means, never ending, never dropping the ball for the customer. And advocating means, focusing on making sure that the customers are getting the best deal, the best experience. And if that is the only thing that’s on this sign, I’d be impressed with this company.

Joey Coleman: I agree Dan. Number two, trust our customers and rely on associates to use good judgment. Folks, that’s not that complex. We should be more trusting of both our customers and our employees. People at their core are good. People at their core know how to do this stuff. Yet all too often, we lay our policy on policy, or we anticipate that there’s going to be fraud and nefarious behavior and so we won’t do nice things for people. When you trust your customers, they trust you back. Okay? When you trust your employees to use their good judgment and give them the freedom to do that, they will use their good judgment. And since happy employees create happy customers, and happy end customers create happy employees. The effect of trusting your customers and relying on your associates to use good judgment has a ripple that goes through your entire organization.

Dan Gingiss: Number three is anticipate customer needs and treat their time and attention as sacred. Now I think this one gets broken down into two parts. The anticipate the customer needs is really interesting because, Amazon is able to take an educated guess about why somebody is contacting them. For instance, if you just placed an order recently, it’s likely that you might be calling about that order. Joey, you shared a while back about an experience that you had downloading a video where they anticipated that your download speed was low and that you didn’t have a good experience and they refunded you without even asking. Anticipating customer needs is so critical because it makes people feel like you understand them and that you’re looking out for them.

Dan Gingiss: The treat your time and attention as sacred is also really cool because, let’s face it, a lot of companies abuse our time. A lot of companies make us wait on hold for a long time or they don’t answer our email or social media posts, and they force us to jump through all sorts of hoops to make a claim or get our refund or cancel an account. But Amazon knows that people don’t want to have to do that, and they know that by treating their customers well and valuing their time, they’re going to create even more loyalty.

Joey Coleman: Amazon customer service tenet number four, deliver personalized, peculiar experiences that customers love. Did that word peculiar surprise you? See, everyone’s trying to be personalized these days, but Amazon has proven time and time again that it’s not for everyone. By being just a little bit peculiar, Amazon in its products become so much more memorable. For example, Amazon is hidden all of these interesting things that you can tell Alexa to do, right? It’s in-home speaker system. Try asking Alexa to beatbox for example, and you’ll have an interesting experience. You might have also noticed the word love, and might be thinking, well, I’m not sure how to get people to actually love a business. Well, the way you get them to love your business is to love on them. To treat them as individuals. To deliver those type of personalized interactions that they can’t help but talk about.

Dan Gingiss: Number five, make it simple to detect and systematically escalate problems. One of the things I love about this one is that it’s operational in nature and we often overlook operations as contributors to customer experience. But in fact, when the operations fail is usually when people have customer experience problems. I love that they use the word simple, because making the customer service agent’s job easier helps them to value a customer’s time and provide a better interaction. And escalating problems is absolutely critical because if you can’t quickly escalate problems, that leads to potential outages or major public relations issues when things really get out of hand. We’ve all heard about different companies whose entire systems go down, and this becomes a really big PR nightmare. Whereas being able to escalate the first problem that came in through a single customer, may have prevented the bigger problem from happening later.

Joey Coleman: And the final customer service tenet used by Amazon to create remarkable interactions for their customers, number six, eliminate customer effort through this sequential and systematic approach. Defect elimination, self-service, automation, and support from an expert associate. I love this. Amazon doesn’t want to reduce customer effort, they want to eliminate it. And they set out a four-step process for doing that. Defect elimination. Let’s make sure that all of our products have zero defects and that they work right out of the box and people are feeling good. Self-service. Let’s empower our customers, have the opportunity to take care of themselves. Automation, let’s make everything convenient. Make things come to the customer before they even realize they need them. Try to systematize and structure things wherever possible to make it easy. And last but not least, support from an expert associate. Not the lowest paid employee in the organization. Not somebody who’s just in a call center, dialing it in, doing their job. But they want their associates to be seen internally and externally as experts. The more they can do this, the happier their customers are. And this sequential and approach makes so much sense.

Dan Gingiss: So, when people ask why Amazon is winning in so many different industries, it’s because they create an effortless experience for their customers. And these six customer tenants explain why. The main takeaway here is that why your goal shouldn’t be to out-Amazon Amazon, you can definitely take inspiration for how Amazon does things to make your own company more successful.

[CX Press] When Your Call Matters

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: When consumers are dealing with having to return gifts and other unwanted purchases, that often requires the dreaded call to customer service. We all know the common recorded message, “Please hold, your call is very important to us.” But new research out of the University of Minnesota and the University of Southern California, finds that actually your call might not be that important.

Joey Coleman: What you talking about Willis?

Dan Gingiss: That’s the topic of today’s CX Press article aptly titled, Your Call is Important to Us. Not really, because many companies try to wait you out, study shows. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit one of our most loyal listeners. Thanks dad …

Joey Coleman: Aw, Mr. Gingiss. Whoo-hoo.

Dan Gingiss: … for pointing out this article to me in the Chicago Tribune, although it was originally published by Jackie Crosby in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The researchers tried to take an academic view of customer frustration when trying to return merchandise. They found that companies quote, “Deliberately employ inefficient multi-step processes, hoping that you will give up so they can avoid giving you a replacement or refund.” Joey, are you still there?

Joey Coleman: I am Dan, but I am seething right now. I can’t decide whether I want to pick my chin up off the floor or whether I want to race out and find these people. This is insane. I can’t believe this behavior. And yet, in some ways I’m not surprised by this behavior.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. It almost seems like it should be an April fool’s joke, but alas it isn’t. The researchers actually developed a mathematical model they called unit hassle cost.

Joey Coleman: Of course it’s called the unit hassle cost. I love it.

Dan Gingiss: Sounds right. Sounds right. It’s related to David Hasslecosts. Sorry guys. Anyway, unit hassle cost is the level of annoyance or frustration a person experiences when being inconvenienced. And what they found was that customers with less severe complaints, often find the hassle of escalating the complaint or remaining on hold, just isn’t worth it. So if a company can estimate the hassle cost, perhaps with artificial intelligence, they can exploit it.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh. Folks, I’m getting riled. Seriously, because you know who else does this, insurance companies. Insurance companies are notorious, I’m going back to my days as a lawyer, for denying claims without even reading the claim. I had a situation one time where my little brother, who at the time was four, closed a pocket knife on his hand and sliced his hand very badly. I was practicing law. He was covered by my dad’s health insurance and the claim got denied. And it got denied, and when I called in to ask them about it, the agent actually said, “Oh yeah, I see where it wasn’t reviewed, it was just denied.” And I’m like, “Wait a second, what?” And he goes, “But I’m denying it again. This should have been worker’s comp.” And I was like, “He’s four.” And there was dead silence on the other end. And they’re like, “Okay, we’ll cover the claim.” And I’m thinking to myself, if I hadn’t pushed, if I hadn’t asked, the insurance that we paid for wouldn’t have been applied to an injury that is exactly why you have insurance.

Joey Coleman: It’s the same way when you have a complaint with a brand and you call in, they’re now thinking about just delaying the amount of time you’re on the call to get you to give up. This isn’t crazy.

Dan Gingiss: Well, let’s roll it back a little bit. The whole reason why the customer service department exists in a company is because something in the customer experience has gone wrong, causing the customer to need to contact.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. Customer service is reactive, right? It’s dealing with problems and helping answer questions.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, so that’s why it even exists in the first place. But now if you have companies that are trying to essentially exploit the idea of a customer calling when they have a problem and trying to take advantage of them, again, it’s almost like a double whammy. And I think what is really perplexing about the math here, I tried to look at this subjectively, because after all this was an academic endeavor here. But the idea of guessing the short-term gain of not having to refund an order, and comparing that to the long term loss of bad word of mouth and customers defecting to the competition, I just don’t see how the math works. It’s like you’re saving a few pennies today, but costing yourself tons of dollars down the road.

Joey Coleman: When did we decide that there would be math? I was told there would be no math. Here’s the crazy thing. So much of this has become numbers-driven that we’re missing the point. When you tell someone that you love them, do you ask them to quantify what the amount is? Well, do you love me more than yesterday? Or is it a little less or is it a 0.7 today and hopefully a 0.9 tomorrow? We need to stop bringing math to the conversation of customer experience. Now I get that we need to have ROI. I get that organizations are making investments and they’re trying to figure out how to maximize their dollars, but your point, Dan, short-term maximization of dollars and revenues and profits often results in long-term destruction of customer value, of customer loyalty, and of the overall experience.

Joey Coleman: Folks, if you work in a business, if you’re one of our listeners and you work in a business where they have talked about unit hassle costs, number one, please let us know. Number two, tell us the name of your brand because I don’t even want to do businesses with brands that are evaluating the unit hassle costs.

Dan Gingiss: And number three, run away quickly.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh.

Dan Gingiss: I agree. The fact that a company would even think of this means that something is broken at the core. But I would suggest to our listeners that there may be places in your customer journey where this is happening inadvertently, not on purpose, right? Is that we do create hassle for customers all over the place and we may not be trying to do it, but what’s happening is we’re not eliminating the hassle. So the reverse of this, and the reason why people love Amazon so much and why so many other companies are going out of business in the age of Amazon, is that they’re not even identifying the hassle or pain points that they are currently creating, and looking to eliminate them.

Dan Gingiss: Obviously, if you’ve gone over the ethical line of trying to create hassle, that’s a completely different story and that’s where I want you to run away. But the truth is, most companies create some sort of hassle for their customers and eliminating them is a great way to keep people happy and loyal.

Joey Coleman: Less friction equals happier customers. Less hassle equals happier customers. Folks, you know where these friction points exist in your business. It’s not one of those things where we need to quickly go out and survey all of our customers to find out where the problems are. Give me any gathering of employees from any organization, and I can guarantee that they’ll be able to point out where the organization needs to improve. And one key area to look at is, where are you forcing your customers to do things, because either that’s the way we’ve always had them do it. Or that’s what the form requires. Or that’s what our system and policy dictates. If any of those phrases are coming out of your mouth, there’s an opportunity for improvement right there.

Dan Gingiss: So instead of telling your customer, “Please hold, your call is very important to us,” try to eliminate the call in the first place by fixing the thing that caused it.

[Listener Stories] The Mattress

Joey Coleman: You listen to us, now we want to listen to you. By visiting our website and sharing your remarkable customer experiences with us, we can share them with a broader audience. Now sit back and enjoy our listener stories.

Dan Gingiss: Two episodes ago, we featured a listener story from Carol [Klegg 00:17:48], a marketing consultant at Travel Like a Local Today. Carol shared a story about ecommerce company Wayfair, and how they responded to a bed that was damaged in transit.

Dan Gingiss: Well, with most every bed comes a mattress. And it turned out that Carol had another great experience there. Let’s hear again directly from Carol.

Carol: Dan, this is Carol again from Retreats to Lisbon on Twitter and coming to you with my reason for adding the mattress company [Avia 00:18:16], and I’m probably not pronouncing that correctly, to my list that I want to make of wonderful customer experience. Bought this mattress online, hesitantly read plenty of reviews. Mattress arrived. Unpacked it, expecting it to be softer than it is and it’s like, oh my goodness, this is a king size mattress. And yes, I know they have a hundred day return policy, but what on earth is that going to look like? And this is going to be more effort than it’s worth to return it. And, just trying to think of all different ways. I thought, well, you know what? A phone call is a good place to start.

Carol: And so I called their number. Easy to get hold of. Answered the phone straight away. Listened to my discussion. All I wanted to know is what the process was if I do decide to return this mattress, and the options were awesome. The first one was, you can donate it. And the second one was, we will send somebody to pick up the mattress, wrap it up, take it away. And no cost, no charge for that. And we will send you your replacement mattress ahead of that time. And I was like, wow, this is just amazing. It’s like the solution, boom, done. Given to me and yes, so now I have the option, I have my a hundred days to try out the mattress knowing that I’m backed by this awesome customer service from this company and that I can take my time and make sure that, do I need to return it? And then know that I don’t need my husband home. I don’t need any help. That somebody will be coming here to just take care of it all for me. So, another company whose customer service and customer experience rocks.

Dan Gingiss: This story actually reminds me quite a bit of the story that Carol told about Wayfair earlier this season. They both have something in common, making things easy on the customer. The Harvard Business Review found that the number one most important factor in a customer’s loyalty is reducing customer effort. And that’s exactly what both Wayfair and this mattress company have done.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I think at the end of the day what’s interesting is, so often as businesses, we fail to recognize the extreme effort that our customers have to go through to interact with us. And wherever possible, reducing that effort has an inverse relationship to their increase in happiness. What I mean by that is, for each notch of effort that you can bring it down, my happiness of doing business with you will go up.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I want to point something else out about her comment here. So she’s talking about this mattress company that has a hundred-day return policy and clearly that is a marketing angle. It’s also a benefit of doing business with the company. But, what was interesting was, that that wasn’t clear to her. She said, “What on earth is that going to look like? And is this going to be more effort than it’s worth to return it?” So yeah, you could have a thousand-day return policy, but if it’s a pain in the neck to to return it, then that doesn’t have much value to me. Plus, and I’ve wondered this as well, once somebody sleeps on a mattress and then you return it, what happens next?

Joey Coleman: Ooh, I actually know the answer to this one Dan. Most of the mattress companies that have these type of policies, will then donate the mattress to a local homeless shelter.

Dan Gingiss: That’s awesome.

Joey Coleman: So they put it back into use as opposed to turning it around and selling it to another customer.

Dan Gingiss: Excellent. Excellent. But my point there is that, this company has a nice feature in its hundred-day return policy, but it isn’t communicating it effectively enough. And so, as we just got done talking about, one of the things that is clear here is that Carol had to call in the first place, right? Because, the whole transaction was causing her nervousness before she made the purchase, so she felt that she had to call and talk to somebody about it. And to me, if I were advising this company, that’s one of the first things I would look at is, why did Carol even have to call?

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I think it brings us back to the topic we talked about earlier in this season of the explainer video. This could be a great example where a company could have an explainer video that says, “Here’s how we handle if you want to send the mattress back. This is what we’ve done to make it easy, to make it convenient for you.” Lots of times, organizations have really customer-centric and customer-focused policies that are written about or presented in a way that the customer doesn’t realize it’s in their best interest. And so I think there’s always an opportunity, it’s why it’s great to have new employees or new customers and get their honest feedback, because they haven’t bought into the way you operate. They haven’t gotten use to the way you operate. And so they still have a little bit of that wonderment or surprise or uncertainty about your business operations, and that gives you the opportunity to identify places where you could be more clear or more focused in your messaging.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think a great example of this is when I was in the credit card industry. All the research showed that customers hate doing math. So when you talk about rewards programs, there’s actually not a huge difference to most customers between 1% back, one and a half percent back, 2% back, 3% back, because they can’t do the math anyway-

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: … and they don’t want to do the math.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: They conceptually understand that 2%’s better than 1%, but they’re not going through the calculations in their head to understand how much better. So it doesn’t have the impact that reflects the cost or the investment in doubling the rewards.

Joey Coleman: Well, and let’s look at the basics. 1% back versus 2% back. The average customer is going to look at that and go, “Well that’s just a single percent higher,” instead of saying, “That’s twice as much.” We see this show up in the investment world with fees, right? Your mutual fund fee. The difference between 1% and 2% is dramatic over the lifetime of the investment. So I agree with you. Wherever we can eliminate the math, that also helps eliminate the friction.

Dan Gingiss: So we want to thank again, Carol Klegg, for sharing her listener story.

Joey Coleman: Carol’s like the super-listener. Carol, you’re a rockstar. We love the fact that not only you tell this story, but then you came back with the follow-up story about the first story you submitted.

Dan Gingiss: And I can speak for Joey in saying that, “Carol, we do hope that after all of this, you are having a peaceful night’s sleep on your new bed and your new mattress.” And remember to our other listeners, that you too can share a story for use in a future episode. Just go to our website at Go to the contact section, and click on start recording, and you can leave us a digital voicemail with your experience that we will use in a future episode.

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, 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 96: Pairing Old and New Technologies is the Secret to Great Experiences

Join us as we discuss the connected community of the future, a response to the robot invasion, and paying for anything with one hand behind your back.

City Planning, Flame Fanning, and Palm Scanning – Oh My!

[CX Press] The City of the Future – Modern Technology, Eco-Friendly Infrastructure, and Immersive Experiences

What will the city of the future look like? Pretty soon – you’ll be able to see for yourself in Japan. Built on the site of an old Toyota factory, “Woven City” is a futuristic community that combines environmentally friendly buildings, modern technology, and immersive experiences to create a place that feels cutting edge – and at times a bit creepy. The article, “Toyota’s creepy new ‘prototype town’ is a real-life Westworld,” offers a preview of the future as seen through the eyes of Associate Editor of Co.Design Lilly Smith.

Woven City takes combines everything from artificial intelligence (AI), to human mobility, to robotics, to materials science, to sustainable energy, to autonomous vehicles – and places it all in one controlled environment. Toyota is incentivizing its own employees to live in this new city that is powered by solar energy and uses home-based AI to keep your refrigerator stocked while regularly checking in on your health.

These types of projects will likely become more and more common around the world as companies, governments, and communities try to figure out how to navigate a rapidly innovating world that still needs to accommodate a variety of different demographics of humans.

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

Would you be interested to call Woven City your home? What about your employees? Your customers? How are you preparing your business and your experiences for the way we will live in the future?

[This Just Happened] In a World of Automated Chatbots, Some Still Seek the Human Experience

Most frequent fliers fail to notice airport advertising as they rush from flight to flight. The fact that Joey was stopped in his tracks by a ten foot wide billboard while walking through yet another airport is certainly evidence that this advertiser is at least getting people’s attention. FirstBank’s “Find the real human” billboard is filled with images of robots – yet promises 24/7 customer support with a real human. In a world where automations, chat bots, and artificial intelligence assistants are getting more and more attention, FirstBank’s focus on the human experience stands out in the crowd.

Nobody else has your company’s humans… experience can be the thing that you stand on to be different from everybody else!

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

The best companies give customers the chance of engaging with the newest technology (e.g., an artificial intelligence assistance) or tried-and-true solutions (e.g., an empathetic customer service representative). By utilizing both technology and human elements, a company can offer a remarkable customer experience that stands out in the marketplace. FirstBank appeals to customers by differentiating themselves from the majority of banks that are emphasizing their technology as a key differentiator.

[CX Press] Explore the Possibility of the Power of Your Palm

The mechanisms used to make payments have evolved dramatically over the years. From paying with cash, to writing a check, to swiping a credit card, to clicking in an app, each change has placed new emphasis on convenience and ease. But what comes next? Amazon is betting that customers will enjoy paying with the palm of their hand! In the Wall Street Journal article by AnnaMaria Andriotis, Cash, Plastic Or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying with a Wave, the concept of paying by hand is presented as a very real possibility in the near future.

While this advancement certainly has some drawbacks (ranging from privacy concerns to the challenge of getting retailers to adopt new point-of-sale technologies) Amazon is willing to keep pushing the envelope with experiments in making it even easier to be a customer.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 96 here or read it below:

Welcome to Experience This! Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining. Customer attention, expert Joey Coleman 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. Join us as we discuss the connected community of the future, a response to the robot invasion and paying for anything with one hand behind your back. City planning, flame fanning and Palm scanning. Oh my.

[CX Press] Woven City

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

Joey: I’ve had the chance to watch a few episodes of the show Westworld, which is an interesting blend of fascinating and creepy, which is why I’m not surprised to see it referenced in the title of this episode, CXPRESS story. Our article was written by Lily Smith on and is titled Toyota’s Creepy New Prototype Town is a Real Life Westworld. The article describes plans for a prototype town which allows scientists and researchers to test an array of new technologies. From artificial intelligence to human mobility to robotics, material science, sustainable energy and autonomy. Everything can be experimented with in one controlled environment. Now folks, this isn’t the stuff of science fiction. This is an actual town called Woven City and it’s being built by Toyota Motor Corporation and starchitect Bjarke Ingels and his team at BIG or Bjarke Ingels Group that our loyal listeners may recall. We talked about back on episode 47. They planned to break ground near Mount Fuji in 2021.

Dan: As if building this type of town wasn’t interesting enough. Toyota has invited its employees and other tech curious individuals to move into this living laboratory as full time test subjects with an end goal of determining the future of the auto industry, urban planning and connected communities. Toyota gets to study and test autonomous technology and smart city infrastructure with their own people using their own technology as they try to corner the market on types of innovations.

Joey: It’s a pretty ambitious plan, Dan and plans call for a 175 acre development on the site of a recently closed Toyota factory. So talk about using stuff that you already have and repurposing it into new experiences. They’re going to have hydrogen power storage and water filtration systems underground that are paired with the system that autonomously delivers goods to the buildings above. So the goal is to focus on a connected digital sustainable ecosystem with power coming from photovoltaic panels on every roof and a hydrogen fuel cell generation system.

Dan: I’m sorry, did you say photovoltaic?

Joey: Photovoltaic panels, otherwise known in common parlance as solar panels.

Dan: Why can’t we just say solar panels?

Joey: Because it’s Toyota’s PR release that says photovoltaic panels and they’re also going to have in-home robotics. They’re going to have sensor based AI that will automatically restock the fridge, take out your trash, check the health of the homeowner, like that amazing sushi restaurant. Maybe there’ll be able to pair up with that we talked about at the beginning of this season. At the end of the day, Woven City is going to offer a high level of personalization, customization and convenience for the people that decide to make it their home.

Dan: I’m wondering if they can also get up and go to work in the morning and earn a paycheck and I can just lay on the couch all day. That sounds great.

Joey: I think it’s going to be a really interesting place.

Dan: Well, Woven City also plans to have three types of roadways. One for fast moving autonomous vehicles. One for mixed use by pedestrian and personal vehicles like bikes and skateboards and one for pedestrians only. Toyota released a video showing an artistic rendering of Woven City that you can view on our show notes page for this episode at So Joey, you ready to move into Woven City?

Joey: I have to admit if I lived in Japan I would seriously consider it. It sounds like a fascinating place and as we’ve talked about in previous conversations, this whole idea of immersive experiences, I think not only changes how you interact with products and offerings that you might purchase or be a part of, but I think it actually expands your mind. I think living in Woven City would make you think bigger.

Joey: It would make you think in a more connected way and that sounds really appealing to me. What about you?

Dan: Yeah, I think it’s interesting and one of the things I would look at is, I know it’s described as an ecosystem, but I think that it doesn’t necessarily mean that an AI robot that restocks your fridge is the technology we’re going to end up with. It may inform something else or give an idea for some improvement that is the real end goal. And I think, this description sounds to me a little robotic and less sort of human than I want in my life. But yet, I think the outcome of it may be that there’s a lot of things that could be taken care of in our lives that give us more time to read good books or be with friends or talk to customers or whatever it is that we don’t have time to do.

Dan: So I’m very interested. Well, I don’t think I’ll be a participant. I’m very interested to see the outcome. It’s like me watching survivor, one of my favorite shows. I don’t think I’d ever want to be a participant, but I’m sure happy to view it and watch other people do it.

Joey: Sure. No, and I appreciate what you say about that human element and I realize the description that we shared from the article that the bill at the beginning definitely sounded like the emphasis was more on the technology, but there’s actually an underlying story here and that’s that this city, Woven City is being built in Japan. Now what people that are listening to the show may or may not know about Japan is that it has the world’s oldest population and it’s aging very quickly. One third of the population is above the age of 60. One quarter is above the age of 65. One eighth is above the age of 75 and so when we think about the different needs of an aging population, most people default to a smaller solution like a nursing home or assisted living or a senior community. Woven City could offer all the benefits of community and convenience with less of the stigmatism associated with getting older.

Joey: And I think in some of the illustrations that they share in the video, they actually show multiple generations living in one home. And because of the technology and the connectivity and because of the safe streets with the autonomous cars, there’s a lot more opportunity for people who may have some diminishing capabilities to still live a very rich and experience filled life.

Dan: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. And I’m reminded of an episode last season, episode 82 where we talked about the healthcare system in the United States and how it’s failing seniors and the senior population also is exploding here in the US and I think that there’s no question that going forward, especially with another giant population in the millennials coming behind us, Joey. That solving the senior lifestyle and making sure that we can take care of our seniors and in a dignified way is one of the key world problems right now. And so that’ll be fascinating to see how they can accomplish that with technologies.

Joey: Yeah. So I think it’s really interesting that there are layers upon layers of this conversation. And to add another one, I think it’s also interesting to note that the buildings in Woven City are going to be made mostly of wood, so as to minimize the carbon footprint. They plan to use traditional Japanese wood joinery combined with robotic production methods. So in a way, this entire project attempts to marry the traditional old ways with modern innovative execution to create this fully sustainable environment.

Joey: And while it’s certainly too early to tell, these types of projects will likely become more and more common around the world as companies and governments and communities try to figure out how to navigate a rapidly innovative world that still needs to accommodate a variety of different demographics of humans. Would your company be a good fit to have an office in Woven City? Would your employees like to live in Woven City? The more we can plan and envision the future, the easier it will be to make that transition in the years and decades to come.

[This Just Happened] Humans Vs AI

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: I was walking through the airport the other day and-

Dan: Shocker Joey it must have been a day that ended in y.

Joey: Yes, exactly. Fair enough. And I came across an advertisement that was about six feet tall and 10 feet wide. Basically it was one of those light up billboards in the airport. And I must confess that usually I don’t pay that much attention to airport ads, but this one caught my eye and the reason it caught my eye is because in some ways it’s the first evidence, at least that I’ve seen in the marketplace as opposed to hearing about from consumers, that going the opposite direction can be a clear differentiator when it comes to the discussion of humans versus robots.

Joey: Now I feel like most internal business conversations, at least that I’ve been in in the last year, have found me talking to companies that want to increase automation. They want to incorporate more chatbots, they want to stand up AI capabilities and in no uncertain terms, figure out ways to get more robots working for them. But this ad for FirstBank was different. It showed a collection of over a hundred robots with a caption that said, find the real human. The subheading went on to say or just call FirstBank to get local 24/7 customer support with a real human.

Dan: I love it. That’s a shot across the bow from FirstBank.

Joey: It is.

Dan: And I think it’s pointing out, it’s playing to people’s fears, frankly, a little bit that the robots are not just coming, but that they’re going to take over and take everybody’s jobs away.

Joey: Right. And I think there’s also another layer of it that not only is it going to take your job away, but you’re not going to like interacting with the robot as much as you like interacting with a human. So it’s almost two fears. It’s the fear of what if I lose my job and the fear of what of I don’t lose my job, but all the other people I deal with lose their jobs and now all I have to interact with is robots.

Dan: Yeah, I agree. And I think this is a conundrum that many companies are facing. In particular, some of the early movers felt that chatbots and robots were going to take over and that this was a cost saving exercise. Hey, we can fire our entire customer service team if we just have the robots take over. I think they quickly figured out that that was not a real good idea because first of all, consumers are not ready for that yet. They want a human interaction. People I think are more than willing to use an automated chatbot when it’s a question that can be answered by an automated chatbot and lots of questions can. But as consumer issues become more complex or emotional, we often need a human on the other end to help us and so that handoff between robot and human becomes absolutely critical and teaching the robots to know when their time is up and when it’s time to pass it along is I think one of the key techniques that some of the early movers forgot to pay attention to.

Joey: Well it’s funny that you say that, Dan, because at an airport later that week I saw another FirstBank ad that speaks to this point. It was about the same size as the first one and it showed a large complicated maze with an icon representing a human in the middle. And the sign read, it shouldn’t be this hard to get a real human for help. It continued with that same call FirstBank to get local 24/7 customer support with a real human. Now for what it’s worth, you can see pictures of these two ads that I’ve been describing over at our show notes page for this episode on and the two ads while I should have expected would be coming, to be honest, really surprised me. I think so many businesses are focused on increasing their technology solution that it’s really fascinating to see a business doubling down in a large and prominent way on their human solution.

Dan: And I think the thing that is so important here is we talk all the time about customer experience being the last true differentiator. One of the reasons it’s the last true differentiator is because it’s delivered by your company’s humans. And your companies humans are unique. Nobody else has your company’s humans. So that’s why experience can be the thing that you stand on to be different from everybody else.

Dan: And I think FirstBank is noticing that and is saying, look when you call one of our branches, or when you call our 800 number, you’re going to talk to one of our humans. First of all, you’re going to talk to a human. And that’s a differentiator. But then also you’re going to talk to one of our humans. And presumably it’s not just about getting a human agent. It’s about getting a human agent who’s empathetic and who can resolve your problems and who’s going to be friendly and all that sort of stuff. So I think it’s a fascinating way to stand out from the crowd from a marketing perspective by really going against the grain and calling out some of these companies that again immediately saw robots and artificial intelligence as a cost saving measure, which is usually a big red flag when it comes to customer experience.

Joey: I agree, Dan. It’s interesting that you mentioned empathetic humans. I have the pleasure of being friends with some of the top researchers and entrepreneurs that are developing AI solutions. And one of the questions I always ask them when we hang out is, well what’s the thing we’re not going to be able to teach AI? And across the board the consensus answer. And it’s not that we’ll never be able to do it, but that it’s going to be the hardest thing to do is to teach AI empathy.

Dan: And that’s also the across the board answer on what is the most important factor in hiring a customer service agent.

Joey: Exactly, exactly. And so I think there’s this really interesting mix of experience being the differentiator now. I think there’s the possibility that within the next 10 years, the definition of what’s the best way to differentiate your company will not be answered with the word experience as much as it will be answered with the word empathy, which will be tied into experience and it’ll be part of the experience. But that kind of ever evolving and fine tuning of the messaging around the concept of empathy, I think is really coming.

Joey: So in the final analysis, should you seek out the chatbots and AI or stick with the humans? Well, I really don’t think, and I think Dan, you’re on the same page, that this is an either or scenario. I think the best companies will end up incorporating both solutions when it comes to delivering customer support, but I do think there’s an opportunity to make a bold move and decide if you want to stand out from the crowd by doing something that everyone else might see as bucking the trend. Often the best way to get attention for yourself is to do something very different than everyone else and draw attention in the process.

[CX Press] Amazon Pay by Hand

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: when it comes time to pay for something with a credit card, you can use a regular plastic card or some of the new metal credit cards. A virtual credit card, a phone that acts like a credit card. A watch that acts like a credit card, but what if you could just use your hand?

Joey: That sounds a little bit crazy, Dan but Amazon thinks it could work. Today’s CX PRESS comes from a wall street journal article by Anna Maria Andreatta. It’s titled Cash, Plastic Or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying with a Wave. The article outlines Amazon’s efforts to develop checkout terminals that would be placed in bricks and mortar stores. Shoppers would link their credit card information to their hands and then pay for purchases with the palm of their hand. Without having to pull out a physical card or their phone, they would put their hand on a scanner and their purchase would be paid for.

Dan: So I love this in concept, but I’m one of these guys that uses the self checkouts in the grocery store even though pretty much every time I have to call somebody because it doesn’t read the barcode, it doesn’t like that I didn’t place the item in the right place. So now they’re expecting this to be able to read my hand.

Joey: Right. I agreed that the technological challenges are definitely there, but I also think this makes sense for two key reasons. One, there are many coffee shops and fast food restaurants and other merchants that do a lot of repeat business with customers that are the same customer and they would certainly like to make it more convenient for everyone involved. In addition, it seems like all of the big four Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are constantly looking for ways to integrate themselves into their customer’s financial lives. I mean Apple rolled out their own credit card last year. Google is offering checking accounts. Now Facebook’s working on its own cryptocurrency and now Amazon, which already has a branded credit card is trying to integrate with you physically.

Dan: Well and I think if you look a little bit farther here, you see companies like Starbucks for example, have been working on technology for years that would allow a barista to know your order, your regular order as soon as you walk in the door. So if you think about this hand print or palm print, if that’s able to store credit card information, it’s able to store a whole lot of other information as well, such as Dan’s coffee orders so that by the time he reaches the counter they’re already making or maybe have already finished making his drink.

Joey: Exactly. And I think the possibilities for applying this type of technology are pretty endless in that regard.

Dan: Yeah, and obviously this is not shocking that Amazon is working on innovation because it seems to happen all the time. Back in episode 69 I shared my experience with the Amazon Go store where I was able to take items off the shelf and leave just by walking through a gate, never scanning anything, never paying anything and then getting charged via the app. And it worked amazingly well.

Joey: Yeah, and I mean I think what’s fascinating about this, Dan, is it’s all happening so quickly on such a large scale that many of the credit card companies, some financial institutions are trying to figure out whether these tech giants that are leading this innovation intend to be collaborators or competitors. And to be honest, I’m not 100% sure that the tech companies have decided yet which role they’re going to play. As the article notes, most parties involved in these conversations think that it is quote, safer to participate in big Tex payment ambitions than risk being left out. Either way, it’s not surprising that it’s happening and as Wall Street Journal finance reporter Liz Hoffman notes.

Liz Hoffman: It’s really about data. When a company like Apple or Google processes a payment for you, they find out a lot about you. They know what you bought, where you bought it, what time of the day or what day of the month your likely to spend money and that’s really valuable information for advertisers.

Joey: Now imagine a scenario where Amazon would integrate an individual consumer’s credit card purchase data with the consumers, spending habits. This could give Amazon more leverage to charge higher prices to advertisers based on the idea that they can predict better than anyone else what individual customers are likely to buy.

Dan: The amount of data that’s already collected coupled with almost daily increases is absolutely staggering. Juniper Research estimates by the end of 2020 over 100 million people worldwide will use Google Pay and over 227 million people worldwide will be using Apple Pay. This represents almost a doubling in users for each of these tech giants since 2018.

Joey: Yeah, it’s growing so fast, but it’s not just all about the Benjamins, it’s about the privacy as well. Each of these tech companies is playing in the financial space and they need to win over customers who are wary of providing even more personal information while also navigating a climate where regulators are increasingly skeptical of big tech at least as it relates to customer privacy and data.

Dan: I wonder why?

Joey: I wonder why, it’s so weird. I mean for years we’ve trusted credit card companies and banks with our financial data and tech companies now have started to come in and collect that personal data. Frankly, before most of us even realized what was happening and then they use that data in ways that were, well, lets at the very least say unsavory and at times, frankly, abysmal. And as this behavior spills into financial data. It’s not hard to imagine that these tech companies may be less than trustworthy when we examine their intentions for using our information.

Dan: Yeah, well and having worked in financial services for almost 15 years of my career. I can say that it is one of the most highly regulated industries and this becomes one of the challenges that the tech companies have. A lot of them are trying not to be listed as banks so that they’re not under some of these regulations, I remember even when we were bringing on new vendors at a financial services company. The hoops that they had to jump through to pass all the security tests and the risk tests and all this, literally people from our company going out to physically inspect warehouses or office spaces, making sure that there’re cameras and locks on the door and all that.

Dan: There were vendors that said, “We can’t do this. We’re going to go focus on another industry” because the requirements were so much higher than any other industry. So it’ll be interesting to see, granted the tech companies have plenty of money. But it’ll be interesting to see how they handle not just the privacy laws but all of the regulations around handling money and being financial instruments.

Joey: Yeah, and if past behavior is an indicator of future performance, the tech companies aren’t going to be excited about this. They push back strongly at the thought of any regulation and the very nature of entrepreneurial innovative endeavors, they’re rule breakers. They want to change, they want to do things differently, they want to go fast, they don’t want to slow down. And we see this even in the patent filings that large companies are doing. Amazon recently filed a patent application for a non contact biometric identification system that includes a hand scanner that generates images of a users and as companies invest to build out tech for these type of initiatives. Sometimes you can get an idea of where they’re headed before the official announcements are made, which is where this story comes from.

Dan: I think one of the other challenges that these tech companies is going to face is the retail establishment’s reluctance to adopt new technology. This even happened as the credit card industry as a whole moved to chip cards from swipe cards. It took so long in the United States to make that move, whereas-

Joey: It’s still not done. The number of times I walk into a place and I’ve got a chip in my card-

Dan: no chip.

Joey: And they’ve got a post it note that is taped onto the terminal that says no chips, swipe. It’s like seriously what, it’s 2020 what are we doing here?

Dan: Yeah. So I think it’s going to take a long time to get them to adopt this technology as well. And also, I mean my son, since he doesn’t have a credit card yet, when he’s out with friends, likes places that take Apple pay but he’s very frustrated at how few places do. So even some of this technology that’s been around for a while, like paying with your phone, you can’t just assume that you can walk out of your house without a wallet.

Joey: Well, and when we think as you pointed out, when we think about the retail establishments. How excited are they going to be to have Amazon in their store as a payment method? I don’t know if a store owner is going to be thrilled that somebody who walked in and purchased there is going to be reminded when they pay by scanning their palm, that they could have purchased the same item on Amazon and when Amazon now knows what they purchased and sends me an email that says, “Hey, you paid $10 for this today, but if you were to purchased it on Amazon, we could deliver it to you in two hours. You’d never leave your house and you’d only pay $7”, guess what? I’m going to shop on Amazon going forward.

Joey: So I think we’re left with a couple of questions. How are you using technology to learn more about your customers? How are you gathering data to make better predictions about what your customers want and don’t want to purchase? How are you going to adapt to the changing expectations of your customers, not only in terms of what they want for their products and services, but in terms of how they want to pay for your offerings? Raise your hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Raise your hand if you’re excited. Now, raise your hand if you just want to pay for your item and leave the store.

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. We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to 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 This!.

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

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

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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

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 But we’ve also created a shortened link that you can use if that’s what you prefer. And it is, 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, 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 link which is,, 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, you can also, as Dan mentioned, if you want to check out the link, it’s, 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 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

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 And my email is 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 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:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

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, 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 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, 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:

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:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

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!


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.


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 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.


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 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 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!.