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

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

Cabos, Cameos, and Canadian – Oh My!

[Required Remarkable] The Experience Before the Experience Matters Too

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] Talk Like a Legend Today

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

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

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

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

[Book Report] Think. Do. Say.

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

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

Ron Tite, author of Think. Do. Say.

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough.

Dan Gingiss: Not that often.

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

Dan Gingiss: I have a question.

Joey Coleman: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Dang.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Nice, nice. I like it.

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

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

[CX Press] Talk Like a Legend

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Okay.

Dan Gingiss: So I get it.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, sure.

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

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

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

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

[Book Report] Think, Do, Say

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience!

Dan Gingiss: This!


Episode 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: experienceconversations.com

[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 Acquire.io 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 Acquire.io

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.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 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 acquire.io, 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 www.experiencethisshow.com 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 experiencethisshow.com, and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of the Experience This! Show.

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 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: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 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 www.experiencethisshow.com. 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 experiencethisshow.com, and let us know what segments you enjoyed. What new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This show.

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

Joey Coleman: Experience…

Dan Gingiss: This!

Episode 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 FastCompany.com 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: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 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 fastcompany.com 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 experiencethisshow.com. 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 experiencethisshow.com 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, amazon.com 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 experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of the experience this show. Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week. For more Experience 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 www.avtex.com

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 94 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: 100%, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid, based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened? The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone you interact with. And what we’ve already discussed how it’s impacting your customers and impacting your employees, we wanted to talk about a third category of people that your business interacts with that are being hit hard by this virus, your suppliers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: And finally, we are here for you our loyal listeners during this difficult time. If you have a question about how to respond to COVID-19 with a customer experience lens, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. Joey’s email is JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com. And my email is Dan@DanGingiss.com. Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next week on The Experience This show. Wow, thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This. We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch, we don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.

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

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

Joey Coleman: … This.


Episode 93: Appeal to New Customers by Creating New Experiences

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

Cezanne, Sand, and Systems – Oh My!

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

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

Musee d’Orsay

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

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

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

[This Just Happened] Let Guests Touch the Exhibits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Michalowicz, Author of Clockwork

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 93 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This.

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss using modern tools to showcase classical art. A museum where kids can touch the exhibits. And how to create even more time to serve your customers. Cezanne, sand and systems. Oh my.

[CX Press] Instagram Artist in Residence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

Joey Coleman: Right. Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Do you like that?

[This Just Happened] Frost Science Museum in Miami

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: The Coleman exhibit?

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Totally.

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

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

[What Are You Reading?] Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz

Joey Coleman: We spend hours and hours, nose deep in books. We believe that everything you read influences the experiences you create. So we’re happy to answer our favorite question. What are you reading?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience …

Dan Gingiss: This.


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

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

Operatories, Restaurants, and Post Offices – Oh My!

[Experience This! Live] How an Immersive Experience Inspires

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

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

Melissa Sprau, Design Manager at Benco Dental

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

[CX Press] Adjusting Technology and Shifting Focus

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Be Our Guest!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Key Learnings from Case Study 1: NASA

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

Three key learnings from Case Study 2: KLM

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

Three key learnings from Case Study 3: TSA

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

Three key learnings from Case Study 4: Australian Government Agency

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 92 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Experience This! Live – Benco CenterPoint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CX PRESS – Robot-Run Restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AVTEX PARTNER SEGMENT

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

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

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

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

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE – CX in Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This!.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Is that a word?

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

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

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

Joey: Well, so a few months ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: There’s a stigma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Is it infamous or famous?

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

Dan: Okay. Again – stigma and connotation.

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

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

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

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

Dan: Experience This live. Yeah, baby.

Joey: … from the American Dream.

Dan: Sign me up.

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

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

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

Joey: Congratulations. You’ve been promoted.

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

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

Dan: Whoopsie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: So of course you tried it out?

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

Alexa: Marriott Charlotte can help with that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: Its pillows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: Experience.

Dan: This.

Episode 88: How to Make Your Customers Go Away

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

Ignoring, Chatting, and Returning – Oh My!

[What Are You Reading?] What Not to Say

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] Live Chat Benchmark Report 2020

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

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

Jeff Epstein, Vice President of Marketing at Comm100

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

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

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

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

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

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

[This Just Happened] Holiday Returns

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 88 here or read it below:

Dan:                             Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

Joey:                            And social media expert, Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. Don’t hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            Oh la la, exclusive audio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            The ultimate differentiator.

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            Right. Exactly.

Dan:                             So but it’s interesting, because …

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

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

Joey:                            Then you’re okay being called boss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan:                             Shout out to you Nick Church.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            I think it’s two, Dan.

Dan:                             Is that your 2 cents Joey?

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

Dan:                             I see what you did there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan:                             It is trendy!

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            Tell them the best part.

Dan:                             If they use the secret code.

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

Dan:                             Don’t tell anybody.

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

Dan:                             Please, no tweeting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            I love it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            I love it.

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

Joey:                            Just broken out of the box?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey:                            Experience.

Dan:                             This.


Episode 87: The Extreme Application of Customer Personalization

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

Sushi, Secrets, and Stillness – Oh My!

[CX Press] Taking Customer Personalization to the Extreme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 87 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: So hold onto your headphones it’s time to Experience This!.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh wait, hold on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: But it isn’t actually fish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That’s a fair point.

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

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

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly.

Dan Gingiss: That’s my bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Never underestimate the stupidity of your audience.

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: How did that part work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Disney World.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: We spend hours and hours nose deep in books. We believe that everything you read influences the experiences you create. So we’re happy to answer our favorite question, what are you reading?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: I like it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Is that Pascal, the French mathematician?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This!