Dissecting the Experience

Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty-gritty of customer interactions and dissect how – and why – they happened. Join us while we’re DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE!

Episode 87: The Extreme Application of Customer Personalization

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

Sushi, Secrets, and Stillness – Oh My!

[CX Press] Taking Customer Personalization to the Extreme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

from Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh wait, hold on.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: But it isn’t actually fish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That’s a fair point.

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

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

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly.

Dan Gingiss: That’s my bag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Never underestimate the stupidity of your audience.

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: How did that part work?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Disney World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: I like it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Is that Pascal, the French mathematician?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This!


Episode 84: Empower Your Customers to Have the Best Experience Possible

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

Cleansing, Nursing, and Wasting – Oh My!

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

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

Pool at Majestic Las Vegas Opening in 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Empowering Customers

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

Here are five ways you can empower your customer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 84 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] Wellness Hotel Las Vegas

Joey Coleman: There are so many great customer experience articles to read, but who has the time we summarize them and offer clear takeaways you can implement starting tomorrow. Enjoy this segment of CXPRESS, where we read the articles so you don’t need to. When I say Las Vegas, what three words come to mind for you, Dan?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: It sounds like Sinless City.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

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

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

Joey Coleman: What’s that?

Dan Gingiss: Raisinets candy is fruit.

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

[This Just Happened] Zappos Breastfeeding Pod

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

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

Dan Gingiss: I’m sorry, the what now?

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: I believe it.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Totally, totally.

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

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

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

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Empowering Customers

Joey Coleman:  Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Can I guess?

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: A silo?

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

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

Joey Coleman: $1,000 in marketing.

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This!


Episode 83: Enhance the Experience by Making Customer Needs a Priority

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

Groceries, Transitions, and Waiting – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: IVR Modernization

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

To be effective, your IVR system must be:

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

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

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

[This Just Happened] Making the Most of the Line

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 83 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss why trying to enhance the experience might actually lose you customers, how customers are affected after a corporate merger or acquisition and how to make standing in line fun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh no. What happened?

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Who moved my sign?

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE – Post merger or acquisition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

START THE CONVERSATION: Avtex, IVR Modernization

Joey Coleman:  Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: They’re always changing, always.

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

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

THIS JUST HAPPENED: Making the Most of the Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Not my favorite place to be stranded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, excuse me.

Dan Gingiss: They stand on line.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: I see what you did there.

Joey Coleman: You like that?

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: I like it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of The Experience This show. Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more Experience …

Dan Gingiss: This.


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

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

Pizzability, Usability, and Adaptability – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] The World is Designed Against the Elderly

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

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

Don Norman, author of Design of Everyday Things

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

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Design Thinking

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

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

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

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

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

[Dissecting the Experience] The Healthcare System is Failing Seniors

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 82 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

ET LIVE: Pizzability

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nick Hemmert: I agree.

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

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

Nick Hemmert: Thanks for having us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CX PRESS: The World is Designed Against the Elderly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That’s pretty deep.

Joey Coleman: Pretty deep. You like that?

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

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

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

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

START THE CONVERSATION – DESIGN THINKING

Joey Coleman:  Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can Start The Conversation.

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

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

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

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

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

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: The Healthcare System is Failing Seniors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Episode 81: Using Surprise and Delight to Transform the Customer Experience

Join us as we discuss the evolving role of the chief experience officer, a charity’s efforts to overhaul the donor experience, and a Thanksgiving treat for one bank’s customers.

Bandwidth, Barriers, and… Banksgiving? – Oh My!

[Dissecting The Experience] Discover the Critical Importance of a Chief Experience Officer in Your Company

Every company should have someone on the team who is primarily focused on the experience of the customers. Many companies have been slow to adopt this type of specific responsibility. A customer has two fundamental needs: a functional need, and an emotional need. Companies often take care of the fundamentals, but are hesitant to invest in the emotions of their customers. Kurt Schroeder, the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for Avtex, spends all day focused on the Avtex client experience. The CXO is a newer c-suite role that is actively developing. A CXO is primarily focused on how to continue to improve and deliver a better experience for customers.

A Chief Experience Officer oversees every interaction, which may sound like a CEO position. The differentiator is that the CEO has to focus on many areas, whereas the CXO is solely focused on the customer experience alone.

So, what do I do when I get here in the morning? I think about, “What are the areas of our organization and the experience that we’re rendering to our customers, that we really need to improve and make better and create differentiation in the market?”

Kurt Schroeder, Chief Experience Office (CXO) of Avtex

Every product can be replicated. Price can only win clients for so long. Without the differentiation of customer experience, you will not stand apart from the competition. If you don’t have a Chief Experience Officer, you should strongly consider getting one as it’s crucial to have a least one member of your team who wakes up thinking about ways to improve the customer experience.

[Dissecting the Experience] Learn About How One Amazing Organization has Provided Millions with Clean Water

Our typical podcast focuses on the customer’s experience, but today we dissect a donor experience with an amazing organization called Charity: Water. Charity: Water’s Mission is bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. What sets the experience apart is that the founder of Charity: Water set out to create an organization that would overcome any trust barriers that donors typically have. One hundred percent of donations go towards their mission while private donations cover the company’s overhead cost.

I asked people what their objections were and we created a business model that would speak to those objections.

Scott Harrison, Founder of Charity: Water

Many people are skeptical of where their money is going when they make a donation to a charity. Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water removed that barrier to trust. He also partnered with Google so that donors could actually see the wells they were contributing to build! Charity: Water designed an innovative way to raise funds for wells – by asking people to consider “giving up their birthday” and asking for donations in lieu of presents. This allows people to raise both public awareness and much needed funds for a great cause! By making the experience personal through stories and videos, and the incorporating videos of the actual wells that donors helped build, Charity: Water brings clean water to more than eight million people.

When you listen to your customers’ objections and build a business model that alleviates their fears, they will happily support you. While we’re at it, consider making a donation to Charity: Water today!

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: The Actual Cost of Poor Customer Experiences

It’s common knowledge that a poor customer experience is costly. Not only does it cost you the customer, but it has many additional ramifications. A poor experience can lead to a damaged reputation, unhappy employees and staffing challenges, and the inability to effectively launch new products. These may actually be more costly than the original loss of the customer’s purchase or business.

If you want to fully comprehend the impact of poor customer experiences, you should pay careful attention to:

  1. Online reviews
  2. Customer retention rates and Repeat purchase trends
  3. Social media conversations

One of the best things you can do in the time of a crisis, is to come out and confront it. People want information. Pay attention to the reviews and the conversations, and answer your customer’s concerns as quickly as you can.

Start the conversation with this question: How much are poor customer experiences impacting our bottom line?

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

[Dissecting the Experience] When Surprise and Delight Creates Happier Employees and Happier Customers

What would happen to the customer experience if the company truly followed through on answering your needs completely? We saved this article for this episode for good reason! Most banks end their customer service call with a simple question: Is there anything else we can do for you today? One bank, Ally, decided to answer that question for their customers. Wishes small, like cleaning up the yard, to wishes large, like a flight to Europe, were answered! In Ally Banksgiving: When a Simple Call to Your Bank Turns Into a Big Surprise, we see clients calling in for basic customer service needs and walking out with so much more!

I think when you’re able to do good things for both sides , they both end up winning. When you empower agents that are able and allowed to help customers, and in this particular case, really provide a surprise and delight moment, it makes their job more fun. This makes them happier, and makes them appear happier to customers.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

By empowering the employees, the company gave them the ability to surprise and delight the clients. The clients, so overwhelmed by the bank’s generosity, spread the story through nontraditional methods, like social media. Banks aren’t known for this behavior, so it set Ally apart from the competition.

We know that not every company has a budget to do something like this, but you can still surprise and delight your customers in meaningful ways without breaking the bank.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our North American listeners!

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 81 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This-

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the evolving role of the chief experience officer, a charity’s attempt at overhauling the donor experience and a Thanksgiving treat for one bank’s customers.

Joey Coleman: Bandwidth, barriers and Banksgiving? Oh, my. 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.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE — The Role of the CXO

Dan Gingiss: Well, hey. We’ve got another Experience This Live and we’re super excited, because this is the first time that Joey and I are doing an Experience This Live together. In fact, we are bringing in a third party to have a fireside chat. You see, we have located, in the wild, a real-life chief experience officer. So, we’re going to talk about this new C-suite-level role of a chief experience officer, a CXO. We’re going to learn all about it in this segment. So, we’re super excited to have Kurt Schroeder talk with us. He is the chief experience officer for Avtex Solutions, which, as you know, as loyal listeners, has been our great partner this season on the podcast.

Joey Coleman: Loving Avtex.

Dan Gingiss: What’s going on, Kurt?

Kurt Schroeder: Hey man, am I happy to be with you guys today. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: When you said, “Dan, we’ve invited in a third party.” I was thinking to myself, “It’s kind of always a party when you or I are in a conversation.” Folks, just so that you know, we had a couple of conversations with Kurt in advance of our hitting record, not only today but in previous days. Kurt’s a really fascinating guy with a unique perspective on this. As you know, loyal listeners, we don’t have interview guests. That’s not how we do things and that’s not what you’re listening to right now.

What we do try to do, is find interesting experiences and interesting perspectives, to bring them to you. We could have, let’s be candid, found a lot of different people that play a function of a CXO or a chief experience officer, but what we were excited to talk to Kurt about, is his unique perspective, not only in Avtex, right? Because they do a lot around the customer experience function with their clients, but just his role and how he sees the landscape, now and in the future. So, super excited for us to be having this conversation.

Joey Coleman: So, tell me, let’s just start with like what does a CX do? What do you do when you get to work every day, Kurt?

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, that’s a good question and sometimes, I wonder about that myself. So, I think the primary goal of the CXO role, at least as I portray it, is, I wake up every morning and I think about, “How do we continually improve and deliver a better experience for our customers?” So, why is that even important? I’m a firm believer that we live in a world that is, that everything is about the experience. We live in the experience economy, Joseph Pine wrote about that several years ago in his book, called The Experience Economy.

So, what that means is, products are largely undifferentiated. There’s the time to market, to replicate and make something better and newer and faster and more attractive. That time has shrunk down to weeks, maybe months at the most. So, what makes the difference? It’s the experience that the customer has with you. So, if you don’t have someone who is thinking about that, day-in, day-out, at night, when they’re waking, when they’re sleeping, when they’re eating, then I think you’re lagging behind. You’re missing a great opportunity. So, what do I do when I get here in the morning? I think about, “What are the areas of our organization and the experience that we’re rendering to our customers, that we really need to improve and make better and create differentiation in the market?”

Dan Gingiss: I love that, because we often say on this show, the customer experience is the last true differentiator and that, as you say, competing on product is really tough, because everything can be copied. I mean, the example I love to give is, Uber completely transformed an industry and then got copied by Lyft, right? And so, everything, even brand new technology can be copied. I always say that competing on price is a loser’s game, because you just ask the local gas station with the competing gas station across the street, that you can only compete on price for so long before everybody loses. So, what’s left is the experience. So, then, what I’m thinking about is, what’s the difference then, between the chief experience officer and a CEO? I mean, you would think that you would oversee every part of the company, because as we know, customer experience is really every interaction that a customer has with you.

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah. By the way, you do not want me messing around in finance, I’ll just skip that 

Joey Coleman: Oh, so I see your street cred, Kurt, as a customer experience person was just thrown down right there. “Don’t let me look at the spreadsheets. I don’t want to do the finance.”

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, so I think the biggest difference is just that. That is, a CEO has to be in-tune and equipped to deal with so many facets of the business. So, when push comes to shove, the CEO is going to have a focus in maybe a handful of areas. You need someone who is dedicated solely to what the customer experience looks like. Does the CEO care about that? Absolutely, and they should, but their mind is divided across so many challenges and opportunities and they need to make those decisions. You really need someone solely focused on the experience and bubbling up opportunities to improve the experience that the CEO then can make strategic decisions about.

Joey Coleman: Guys, I have a question that I think would be fun for us to riff on. I mean, you mentioned the book The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. Interestingly enough, that book celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

Kurt Schroeder: I know. That’s crazy, isn’t it?

Joey Coleman: Right? It’s shocking when you think about that, 20 years later. I mean, it will be legal next year. It’s very exciting for The Experience Economy, but what I find myself wondering is, “Why is it that so many businesses don’t have a chief experience officer?” I feel like, for the three of us and for many of our loyal listeners, we’ve already bought full-in to this concept. We understand that every organization should have someone who, as you said, and I think it’s funny, this is not at all scripted, ladies and gentlemen, but when you started out, Kurt, you said, “I wake up everyday, thinking about, ‘How do we continually improve and deliver the experience to our customers?'” That’s what we wish every employee thought, but let’s be candid; we know they don’t, but having someone in the organization that that is their primary thought, we know that all the research points to how successful that makes us. Why do you think so many companies have been slow to adopt that?

Kurt Schroeder: Well, I think there is a gap between what the research shows and what we’re practically able to believe. Here’s what I mean by that; customer experience is still kind of this squishy concept. I mean, look at when we talk to our clients about how to improve the experience, we talk about two fundamental needs that a customer has, regardless of whether it’s B to C or B to B, but two fundamental needs that a customer has in an interaction or an experience, which is they have a functional need, “What am I trying to achieve?” But, they also have an emotional need, “How do I need to feel through this?”

Well, look, I don’t want to talk about my feelings, and so, as soon as we start taking a business down the path of talking about how our customers feel, “How do they perceive us?” That is just starting to get way too squishy. So, I think we have organizations who retreat on that and are not willing to make the investment in the role, in order to really drive that and permeate it throughout the organization. So, I still think there’s a little bit of a gap between what the research shows, which is great. We know it proves it out, we know there’s financial viability in investing in customer experience, but there’s still a gap between, I call it the the the 12 inches between the heart and the mind. “In my heart, I know this is true, but in my mind I still can’t commit myself to make that investment.”

Dan Gingiss: Oh yeah, I think another aspect to this, Kurt, and it’s funny, because I actually just wrote a blog post for [inaudible 00:09:48] about this very topic, is that some companies, instead of having a CXO, are putting customer experience underneath marketing. So, you have a CMO or chief marketing officer that is also in charge of experience. I make the point in the article that I think either model can work, as long as, as Kurt says, that you have somebody with whom the buck stops, so that the experience has to land somewhere. The challenge, with it being under a marketing person, is that that person may or may not be trained in customer experience, because they may be classically trained as a marketer, right?

Having been a marketer for 20 years, there’s a ton of overlap between marketing and experience, but let’s face it, marketers are often most focused on acquiring new customers, or helping sales acquire new customers. I think that the CXO has to really turn inward and say, “All right, we’ve got all these existing customers, how do we keep them happy, keep them loyal, fix the leaky bucket that we know we have on the back end with customers leaving?” Again, being focused on that every day.

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, I mean, it’s a good observation. When we talk to clients and even when we look at ourselves internally, when someone says, “Well, what’s the purpose of rendering a customer experience?” And I said, “Well, it’s real simple. It should cover the landscape of, ‘Find more, win more, keep more and do more customers.'” So, as we think about the entirety of the journey that a customer has with you, it’s really along those four key things that you want as measurable outputs. Or, as the customer, are you are you winning your fair share? The customer experience that is rendered during the sales experience is very, very important.

We talked about the erosion, the loser’s game on price. You know what? If you’re not providing a differentiated experience from the beginning, then price is going to be the only decision-maker. So, we kind of look at those four areas and so, to your point about where it resides, who has purview, who has knowledge, who has oversight in those four areas that can really drive an impact to the business? Many times, in addition to marketing, we see the CX role really incubating out of customer service as well. So, I think between marketing and customer service, that’s where we see it really residing in most organizations, if it hasn’t been already elevated to a C-suite position.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think you bring up an excellent point, Kurt. I don’t want to turn our Experience This Live segment into an agree-to-disagree between Dan and I, but there are two things that I think are at play here. One of the challenges I personally have with having the chief experience officer or whoever’s in charge of experience report to the head of marketing or the head of customer service or the head of sales, is, to me, we can only be responsible for so many things. When the head of marketing or the head of sales, or even the head of customer service goes into a board meeting or a C-suite meeting with the other executives that are responsible for the different functionalities of the business, I think it’s going to be very difficult to champion marketing and customer experience in the same conversation, because there are times when those two things are in conflict. That’s just the reality.

So, I think having someone who’s solely responsible for that is really key, but, as a segue to why I think it hasn’t adopted thus far, is it’s adding another person to the C-suite. In many ways, to your point, Kurt, this person has at least involvement, if not oversight over sales, over marketing, over operations, over ongoing retention. We can see where it can get involved with things like compliance or finance. I mean, there are multiple aspects of the business that it touches and my gut instinct, I could be wrong, is that many organizations aren’t looking to have another vote at the table, right?

They already feel, when they go into their C-suite meetings that, “Oh, well, I’m in marketing and I’m constantly battling sales for attention or dollars. Or, “The blame is always being cast from customer service back onto marketing and I don’t want to have someone else that can kind of accuse me of not taking care of the customer or not doing my job or my spend or my allocation of resources properly.” So, I think there’s almost like a human condition, philosophical conversation here. If everyone feels like they’re responsible for customer experience, which I imagine, the three of us would agree that everyone plays a role, but if everyone feels like they’re responsible for it, lots of times, it means no one’s actually responsible for it.

Kurt Schroeder: I agree with that, and I think the other caveat that I would make onto that, it also depends on the organization’s DNA and how they grew up. Other words, if it’s an organization that was extremely product-centric from the beginning, then I’m not going to have a C position sitting at the table, because that’s not what we’re known for. So, it takes time. It takes some external disruption to really cause them to think about, “What do we want to be known for in the future and how does customer experience come into play?” The organizations that we see putting a C-level position in charge of customer experience are the organizations who have made the decision, or who have had the original DNA of the organization, based on a customer experience value proposition. They see the importance of it. So, it depends also a little bit on, what is the DNA of the organization? And whether they value that role sitting at the big table.

Dan Gingiss: Well, yeah, and speaking of the DNA, I think one of the things I wanted to chat about, is this idea that the CXO having this purview, this oversight of the entire customer journey, it seems like the role might be put in an uncomfortable position, quite often, of having to tell other people within the organization that their experienced sucks, right? Or that something’s wrong with it, or that we need to fix something. I’m wondering, especially as this role has continued to evolve over time, what’s the best way for it to interact with the rest of the company, so that you don’t have everybody else, I don’t know, worried when the CXO calls them, because it must mean that they’re doing something wrong?

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, “I’m from the IRS. I’m here to help.”

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: That’s so true. So true.

Kurt Schroeder: We don’t want to create that model. So, what I’ve seen is two models that I think most organizations play into. Bear with the analogy here. So, in a previous life, in a distant galaxy a long, long time ago, I worked for this organization called GE-

Joey Coleman: You folks might have heard of that organization. Yeah, well, once or somewhere along the road, I might’ve heard of them.

Kurt Schroeder: So, I’m a recovering Six Sigma Black Belt. So, I go to meetings and-

Dan Gingiss: Joey’s a recovering lawyer, so this is great.

Joey Coleman: I am, I am. Kurt, first step is admitting you have a problem, I like it.

Kurt Schroeder: That’s exactly right. So, let’s not quit the conversation because I’m bringing Six Sigma into this, but organizations that really adopted Six Sigma strongly, what they did is, they said, “Look, we’re going to have a set of black belts. Everyone is going to be a green belt. Other thing, Six Sigma’s going to be a competency within our organization.” Then, they usually had a senior level position, sometimes at the C-suite as a chief quality officer, who then would permeate that competency in the organization. So, it became a part of the DNA that just said, “Look, this is how we do our process improvement projects and how we continually improve and create efficiency in the organization.”

What I’m suggesting is, that’s not a bad model, as we think about CX. I think, as an example, journey mapping should be a core competency within every function in the organization. If you touch the customer or you’re supporting someone that touches the customer, you should really understand how to do a journey map, what are the inputs to that, because it helps create empathy and empathy is so important in moving towards designing a better future state, a better experience. So, the organizations that we see that are really doing well are looking at this as a core competency, not a function.

They’re looking at the role of the CXO to drive that competency throughout the organization. So, instead of getting the call from the CX person and then, “Well, we want to talk to you about the experience you’re providing.” It actually becomes more permeated through the organization, becomes embedded into their DNA and how they view working with the customer and providing the experience.

Joey Coleman: I feel like that scene from Jerry Maguire. Kurt, you had me at empathy. I totally agree and I love that idea of journey mapping being a core competency, so true. Well, as we had a feeling, leading into this conversation, the three of us could talk for hours and hours about this, but to me, the big takeaway is, if you don’t have a chief experience officer in your organization, you need to get one. You need to have someone who, like Kurt Schroeder, our chief experience officer at Avtex Solution and our guest for our fireside chat conversation today, you need to have somebody who wakes up in the morning and thinks about, “How do we continually improve and deliver the experience for our customers? How do we find more customers, win more customers, keep more customers and do more for those customers?” Think about the experience, every step of the way. Kurt, thanks so much for joining us for the conversation and being part of the Experience This Live.

Kurt Schroeder: Thank you. It was a pleasure being here.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Charity: Water

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: Usually, when we talk about dissecting the experience, it’s a customer experience that we’re referring to. This segment’s going to be a little different, because we’re going to talk about a major nonprofit and the incredible donor experience it provides its supporters. charity: water ‘s mission is to provide fresh, clean drinking water to rural communities throughout the world, that previously did not have access to it. charity: water ‘s founder, the amazing Scott Harrison, not only recognizes this as a critical health and economic crisis, he also set out to literally change how charities work.

Joey Coleman: This is such a great story, Dan. You and I, I know, have been involved in many nonprofits over the years and I know we’ve also both heard Scott speak and we’ve both also specifically contributed to charity: water in the past. As I recall, someone did a little something with charity: water for their birthday this past year, do you remember?

Dan Gingiss: I did and I was proud to raise almost $1,800 for this wonderful organization, but let’s come back to that. Scott Harrison recognized that people generally don’t trust charities, so he did two huge things to combat that. First, he said, and I’m quoting, “I asked people what their objections were and we created a business model that would speak to those objections.” Unquote. Talk about leveraging the voice of the customer. That led to the second piece, which was his goal to ensure that 100% of all donations would go toward building wells throughout the world to provide fresh water. How did he end up covering his overhead? By ingeniously asking wealthy benefactors and celebrities to pay to support the business. He literally set up two bank accounts, one to cover operational expenses and the other to build the wells.

Joey Coleman: This is absolutely brilliant. It removes the trust barrier almost entirely, because people really worry about where their money is going, when they’re donating to nonprofits and charity causes and whether it will actually be spent on the initiative that they think they’re donating towards, as opposed to all the administrative fees. But, Scott didn’t stop there. He went on to partner with Google to display all of the wells that charity: water has built on an interactive map, so that donors can continuously track their water output. His team is also amazing at marketing and tying all of these things together.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, and that’s where I wanted to come back to my birthday. So, charity: water does an amazing job of storytelling, so donors can actually see the impact of their donations. Regular emails detail success stories from around the world. Videos show some of the poorest communities in the world literally seeing fresh water for the first time in their lives and bursting into tears of joy. The videos can be quite emotional, but the organization also came up with the idea of having people donate their birthdays to provide water. That’s exactly what I did last year. I asked my friends and family to donate to charity: water in lieu of getting me a gift for my birthday. 35 people stepped up to donate almost $1,800. Thousands of people aged five to 95 have done this, with some raising only a few dollars and others raising into the six figures.

Joey Coleman: All told, charity: water has raised more than $300 million, thanks to the generosity of more than a million people around the world. This has allowed them to bring clean drinking water to more than 29,000 villages serving more than 8.4 million people. I mean, folks, this is massive scale, but something I’d like to riff on briefly about my experience donating to Dan’s birthday. This was several months ago, and about two weeks ago, I received an email from charity: water saying that the funds had been deployed to the field. Now, the ironic thing, and please don’t take this wrong, Dan, I had donated to a number of causes over the last year. When I first got the email, I was like, “Wait a second, when did I donate to charity: water? Oh, I donated for Dan’s birthday.”

So, it kind of had a double hit, in the sense that it made me feel positive about my donation to charity: water and they said, “Look, here’s where we’re building the wells.” I was able to see exactly the progress they’re making, but it also made me remember my good friend Dan Gingiss and think positively about his birthday. Now, usually, in our very busy lives, the only time we think about somebody’s birthday is right around their birthday, either the day of their birthday or, if it’s somebody who’s really close to you, maybe the week or two weeks before. I thought this was really cool, that it brought me back into connection with my friend and that that reminder was made by the nonprofit that I’d supported.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think that’s great and that’s part of what makes them so good at marketing. I mean, one of the objections that Scott heard from people, in terms of why they didn’t donate to charity, had to do with them not believing that their money actually went to a worthy cause. That people believe that it goes to the overhead or it pays giant salaries of the CEOs, et cetera. So, he’s made it a special mission to make sure that donors get to follow along and see their impact. Not just the impact around the world, but often, depending on what project you donate to, the impact of a specific community that your money has supported. So, I know, Joey, you got an email and I got an email recently about one community in Africa and there’s a story, there’s videos, there’s statistics about the amount of water that’s being pumped. It really gives you this feeling that the money you contributed made a difference. I think that is is absolutely huge.

Joey Coleman: It also doesn’t feel like the typical nonprofit output report. So often, when I’ve been involved in nonprofits in the past, when they share how your dollars have gone to work, what it ends up being is something that, it just reads really dry. It doesn’t read as being nearly as compelling as the ask was. As we mentioned earlier, charity: water’s team is filled with some brilliant marketers and they have a great design aesthetic. So, when I got this email, I remember very specifically stopping and reading the email and clicking through to the links to watch the video and being reminded that, “Oh, this was a small contribution on my part, that is having an enormous impact on the other side of the world, with this village that now has a well that previously had no access to clean drinking water.”

Dan Gingiss: So, you may be asking, “What does this have to do with my business?” I think the applicable takeaway here is to listen to your potential customer base, ask them what they like and don’t like, so you can, as Scott said, build a business model based on those objections. Then, keep communicating with customers, to let them know about their or your progress. This could be on a project that you’re working on together, if it’s a B2B arrangement or the status of their order, if you are a retailer. Please, if you are able, consider going to charitywater.org and supporting this incredibly worthy cause.

START THE CONVERSATION

Joey Coleman: Sometimes, all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can Start the Conversation.

Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start the Conversation topic is; the actual cost of poor customer experiences. It’s common knowledge that poor customer experiences can cost businesses financially, both in terms of lost customers and prospects, as well as in the loss of repeat transactions. Poor customer experiences can cost a business far beyond the dollars and cents however. They can also lead to a damaged reputation, unhappy employees and staffing challenges, and the inability to effectively launch new products. Certainly, the monetary costs of poor experiences is a driving force for many leaders, but these other factors are just as important, as they can lead to a cascading financial impact.

Joey Coleman: In order to gauge the impact of poor customer experiences, organizations need to pay attention to online reviews, customer retention rates, repeat purchase trends and social media conversations.

Dan Gingiss: I would add to that, that they need to pay attention to the news media and the coverage thereof, and also the importance of responding in a crisis. I’ve written about this quite a bit, that when a crisis is happening, one of the things that people are seeking the most is information. They want their fears to be relieved, they want to understand that you have the situation under control. Too often, companies in the middle of a crisis burrow themselves in their office and hide out, hoping the crisis goes away, rather than coming out in public and confronting it, which I think is a really big mistake.

Joey Coleman: Now, for this week’s question about the actual cost of poor customer experiences. How much are poor customer experiences impacting our bottom line? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex, at experienceconversations.com. That’s the website experienceconversations.com … 

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: “Banksgiving”

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

Dan Gingiss: I found this amazing story about Ally Bank that is almost a year old, but I purposely waited to share it in this episode. Nearly every customer service call ends with the same question, or some variation. “Is there anything else I can do to help you today?” Ally decided to find out what would happen if they actually granted whatever requests the customer said next, after that question. According to a story on its website, Ally says that, and I quote, “On a day we dubbed Banksgiving, we gave thanks to our customers by fully delivering on that basic question and surprising unsuspecting customers with whatever they needed.” Unquote. Now, do you see why I waited until this episode?

Joey Coleman: Uh-huh (affirmative) very sneaky, Dan, because it ’tis the season for giving thanks. I heard about this story too and I agreed that it is absolutely awesome. So, on Banksgiving, customer service agents surprised unsuspecting customers who had called in, by asking that standard question and then actually fulfilling the results. There were simple needs, like help with fall yard cleanup and a holiday visit to see the family and larger requests that could touch the lives of many, many people. They granted wishes big and small, from $25 gift cards to $55,000 to help a customer who helps others.

Dan Gingiss: There’s a terrific video that Ally put together that we will share in the show notes, at www.experiencethisshow.com, but I think this story is really great for two reasons. It’s a great example of a true surprise and delight moment for Ally’s customers, it’s also, though, a fun and empowering activity for Ally’s customer service agents. I think that when you’re able to do good things for both sides of the equation, both sides end up winning. When you have empowered agents that are able and allowed to help customers, and in this particular case, really provide a surprise and delight moment, it makes their job more fun, which makes them happier and makes them appear happier to customers. Of course, the customers got a real surprise, because they answered a question that is usually a rhetorical question, and in this particular case, it turned out to be real.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, when I was a kid, one of the lessons that I remember my dad really trying to instill in us, was that you need to remember that people love helping other people. That it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to ask for things. That’s what came up for me when we were talking about this story. I remember years ago, it used to be when you flew, you went to the airport, they printed out your ticket and they assigned your seat when you were checking in your luggage. There weren’t apps, you didn’t log in online. I realize I’m dating myself here a little, folks, but one of the things I adopted early on when I was traveling a lot is, when they asked me whether I would want a window seat or an aisle seat, I would always say, “I’d love an aisle seat in first class, if it’s available.”

The agent would kind of look up, realize what I had just asked, because it caught them off guard, I’m on a coach ticket, I’m asking for a first class seat. I kid you not, 80% of the time, they would smile and print out the first class seat. Now, that wouldn’t happen today, most likely, but the point I’m making is, when we give our employees the opportunity to exercise their own discretion for what type of things they reward and when they reward them, that’s how you create a culture of customer experience.

I also love the fact that in this story, Ally Bank, I mean, let’s be candid, banks aren’t notorious for giving away money. They’re not notorious for giving away prizes, or if they do, they’re usually, “Hey, everybody who opens a checking account gets a free toaster.” You know? It’s a kind of standard for everyone, as opposed to personalized. As we’ve talked about before, the personalization of the gift turns it into a surprise and delight moment that the customer will talk about. I know the customers that received these type of gifts from Ally Bank talked about it on social media. They talked about it in irregular media, this actually became a story because of the generosity of the bank.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think there’s also a learning on the other side, which is for the customer. I’m going to quote my dad here, who loves to say, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” I think that’s sort of the summary of the story with you and the first class tickets. In this particular case, what I think is so interesting, is that the customers actually did have to ask for something. I mean, most of the time, when someone says, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” It’s like, “No thanks. Have a great day.” Somehow, they elicited from customers, “No, really, is there anything else I can do for you today?” My guess is that this one guy said, “Well, I could really use $55,000, to help the soup kitchen that I run.” Then, the agent says, “Okay, done.” The guy had to have fallen out of his chair.

Joey Coleman: Right, right. Well, and probably didn’t believe it in the beginning. Was like, “Yeah, yeah. Right, sure.” Almost, the trust would run the other way then, right? Because the perception is, “Well, if you say you’re going to do it, are you really going to do it?” And then, when they did, I imagine it was magical.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, but this whole idea of, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” Is important, because sometimes, when you do find an employee of a company who is empowered and who is sort of willing to play ball with you, you can get a lot, as long as you’re willing to ask for it. Some people are too sheepish to even ask for it.

Joey Coleman: I also love that we’ve now had the chance to reference both of our dads and the things they used to say when we were growing up.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: So, good job, dads.

Dan Gingiss: Thank you, dads. Yep. So, the takeaway here is that not every company has the budget to do something like this, but you can still surprise and delight your customers or clients in meaningful ways, without breaking the bank. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our North American listeners, we give thanks for you.

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. 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 79: Customers Like to Share Their Remarkable Experiences

Join us as we discuss: A plethora of positive customer experience stories, a debate about all of those subscription boxes, and a man who creates music on the fly.

Sharing, Shaving, and Singing – Oh My!

[Listener Stories] Positive Experiences Get Shared More than Negative Experiences

When was the last time you had a remarkable experience? According to our friends at the Sitel Group, 30% of people will share when they have a negative customer experience. But, statistics show that nearly 50% of consumers will speak about a positive experience! Dan wanted to test these percentages, so he asked his Facebook friends to share a remarkable customer experience.

From OtterBox replacing cases with no questions asked, to Wegmans Food Markets calling to let a customer know that an item purchased weeks ago was recalled, the stories poured in. In each shared example, companies went above and beyond to make things right for their customers – without asking questions.

When our customers don’t even have to ask for our help and we acknowledge that something might have gone wrong, that’s how you create a customer for life. That’s how you create the kind of connection and interaction that will not only keep that customer loyal, but they will want to tell that story again and again!

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

We’d love to hear about your remarkable experiences! Click here to share your experience in our contact form or record a digital voicemail for us by clicking on the “Start Recording” button.

[Agree to Disagree] There’s a Subscription for That

The very mention of “subscription services” brings thoughts of glee or dread – depending on what you are signing up to receive! In the past, “subscription” referred to magazines, papers, and maybe a mail-delivery music or movie club. In recent years, online subscriptions have exploded and now represent a huge industry in the United States and around the world. There are subscription services for razors, dive bar shirts, and socks – just to name a few. Why do consumers enjoy subscription services?

  • Save Money – Joey likes subscription services that help customers save money like those offered by Chewy Autoship and Amazon Subscribe and Save. Dan doesn’t like these types of subscriptions because they make him spend MORE money.
  • Experience Convenience – Subscriptions allow customers to “set it and forget it.” The problem arises when you completely forget the subscription and end up paying for something you no longer need or use.
  • Get Access to New Product – Valued customers can get access to new products before they are released to the public. On the other hand, how many products is too many?!

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Technology’s Key Role in Customer Experience

Technology is integrated into almost every single interaction a customer has with any business. However, the amount of antiquated software out there is astounding. It’s important to ensure that the CX technologies you use are up to date and won’t negatively impact your customers’ interactions. Here are five technologies that could use a thorough and objective assessment to see if they are up to the task of delivering remarkable customer experiences:

  1. Contact Center platforms
  2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools
  3. Employee productivity tools
  4. Data and analytics solutions
  5. Middleware and integration-supporting applications

Start the conversation with this question: Do our current technology platforms adequately support our CX strategy?

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

[Dissecting the Experience] Create a Remarkable Experience Even When You Feel a Little Unprepared

When you attend a national speaker’s conference, you never know who will strike up a conversation! In an elevator at the National Speakers Association annual meeting, Dan met Harold Payne, a multi-platinum singer-songwriter who is also a master improviser. Harold improvises songs for the clients and conferences where he presents and was kind enough to create one for our show that you can listen to here.

When we think about customer experience, I think that’s often what it’s about: just creating a moment, creating a memory, creating something that when the individual who’s been to your event or your office goes back home, they remember an experience they can bring back to share with their friends.

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

By creating something special for your clients, you give them something to remember and to share.

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 79 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 veritable plethora of positive customer experience stories, a debate about all those subscription boxes and a man who creates music on the fly.

Joey Coleman: Sharing, shaving, and singing. Oh my.

LISTENER STORIES: One Question on Facebook

You listened 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: One of the statistics I like to share in my keynote presentations actually comes from our friends at Sytel Group, and it’s that while 30% of consumers say they’d share a bad customer experience on social media, nearly half of consumers say the exact same thing about a positive experience. This presents a huge opportunity for companies to start intentionally creating more positive experiences so their customers can’t wait to talk about them with friends and family. Now full disclosure, that’s what my keynote is about, how to do that. But for this segment, I wanted to see what would happen if I asked a simple question on Facebook. What was the last remarkable experience you had with a company? And boy, my friends did not disappoint.

Joey Coleman: Well Dan, you know I’m not nearly as much of a social media guy as you are, but I saw your post and I also know that our mutual friend Jay Baer talks about how half of word of mouth marketing is still offline. So getting people to talk positively about your brand can have effects both on and off social media.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly right, my friend Joey. So are you ready to hear some of the great experiences that I got from this single question?

Joey Coleman: I am and I’m excited to be able to share those because I must confess, I was surprised when I saw it by the number of people who commented. It was pretty nice.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: It warms my heart.

Dan Gingiss: That it’s great, so I appreciate that you read it as well so we’ll share them together back and forth.

Joey Coleman: Perfect.

Dan Gingiss: So my friend Sandy responded by saying that Bombas sent seven pairs of socks instead of the eight that she ordered. “The customer service department was swamped and they were unable to respond within the timeframe promised. They not only refunded my entire purchase amount, but issued me a $50 gift card for a future purchase.”

Joey Coleman: Nice. Jamie said OtterBox, “They will provide you with a new phone case if yours get stretched out or cracked. No questions asked.”

Dan Gingiss: Love OtterBox had them as a guest on my last podcast and I’m a frequent user of their products. My friend [Katie 00:03:26] said, “Glossier had apparently discovered an issue with the pigment changing in some makeup that I bought. I had not noticed any issues. They both refunded my money and sent me a new bottle once they’d fixed the issue.”

Joey Coleman: Margaret shared that Wegmans called her house to tell her that a bag of flour she bought weeks ago had been recalled.

Dan Gingiss: That one stunned me by the way.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, weeks ago.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. and a single item in a cart.

Joey Coleman: A single item.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. Fantastic.

Joey Coleman: Impressive.

Dan Gingiss: So a friend named Dan, this is not me.

Joey Coleman: Not Dan. We’re not just making it up, folks. It’s a different friend.

Dan Gingiss: A friend named Dan said, “I was processing payroll while our HR manager was on vacation.”

Joey Coleman: Oh, lucky-

Dan Gingiss: Dan, yes.

Joey Coleman: … Oh, what a great gig.

Dan Gingiss: “A unique situation came up, so I called ADP for help. The person quickly understood what was needed, entered it into our payroll system so I didn’t have to do it and potentially screw it up and double-checked the information. It was a lifesaver and I didn’t have to bother my HR manager on her vacation.”

Joey Coleman: Ooh, I want to clap that one. That was nice yeah.

Dan Gingiss: Great B2B example also. .

Joey Coleman: For those of you that are like, well, what about B2B? B2B, B2C, it’s all H2H people, human to human. Okay. Stacy shared that All-Clad, replaced two of her ten-year-old nonstick pans because they’d lost their nonstick. She received two brand new pans just last week. No questions asked.

Dan Gingiss: And Lisa G. Said, “The car dealer who offered to send a driver with my mom’s car to her house to swap out her repaired car for the loner because he knows how tough it is for me to get an additional aid to stay with my mom when there are car issues.”

Joey Coleman: Oh, I love it. Human touch. Jeffery shares, “I was at Whole Foods in the checkout line. An item I had from the Butcher Block, 1.5 pounds of pork chops wasn’t scanning out correctly because the barcode was faded. The cashier called them and told them to change out the toner on the scale. He proceeded to place the pork chops in my bag.” I asked him how much and he said they’re free today because of the inconvenience of waiting for them to change out the toner. When in our lifetimes can we actually cry out free pork chops, and have it ring true?”

Dan Gingiss: Now that’s a good day. Julia said, “Bentley’s Pet Store called me within 24 hours letting me know they overcharged me for my purchase by 50% and offered a credit. I would have never known. Love them.”

Joey Coleman: And finally Lisa B. shares, “I emailed Zappos to let them know that the Nike’s I bought for my daughter had a hole after a month of wear. They refunded my entire purchase without me needing to return the shoes.”

Dan Gingiss: So why are we sharing all of these stories? It’s to show that a number of brands in both B2C and B2B, that’s business to consumer and business to business, for those not in the know, are starting to figure this customer experience thing out. Which means that if your company hasn’t yet, you’re behind the competition. It’s also to demonstrate that no matter what business you’re in, you can do these kinds of things too.

Joey Coleman: Oh, so true Dan. So true. There is no excuse for not caring about your customers. Most of these examples we just shared were about doing the right thing for the customer. Not making them jump through a lot of hoops to get a refund, and frankly leaving them happier than if they hadn’t had a problem in the first place. It’s really powerful when we can take a momentary interaction with a customer, add a little dash of surprise and delight by giving them something unexpected and then sit back and watch how they tell the story, how they shared that this has been their experience maybe weeks, months later.

Dan Gingiss: I also think it’s really instructive to realize that a number of these examples came from things that went wrong first, right? The price tag wasn’t visible when they went to scan it or the shoes had a hole in it, and they turned into the answer to the question of what’s the last great experience that you had with a brand?

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. I also loved that a number of these examples were things that the customer didn’t actually know something had gone wrong, so the recall on the flour, the overcharging by 50%, this is the business taking a vested interest. If you remember several seasons ago, and I won’t call on our a savant Dan to point out which episode it was, but years ago we talked about an experience I had watching Amazon where my wife and I rented a movie on Amazon and it was buffering slowly and so the movie was a little garbled. And the next day I got an unexpected, unprompted email from Amazon, from their video services department saying, “Hey, we saw that you rented this video. We saw that there were some issues in the bandwidth during delivery, so we’ve credited you back the rental fee for free.” Again, when our customers don’t even have to ask for our help and we acknowledge that something might have gone wrong, that’s how you create a customer for life. That’s how you create the kind of connection and interaction that will not only keep that customer loyal, but they will want to tell that story again and again.

Dan Gingiss: So we’d like to hear your customer stories as well. If you’d do us a favor, go to experiencethisshow.com, click on contact in the upper right hand corner, and you will see a little SpeakPipe widget. And this is basically a digital voicemail where you can leave us a message that will come to our inboxes and tell us about the last time you had a remarkable experience with a brand and your story might just appear in a future episode.

AGREE TO DISAGREE: Subscription Services

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

Dan Gingiss: It used to be that a subscription referred to your daily newspaper or a monthly magazine, then came digital subscriptions like Netflix and Amazon Music. Then there was the Dollar Shave Club. Now you can subscribe to almost anything. The online subscription market more than doubled each year from 2011 to 2016 with the largest players among them generating more than $2.6 billion in 2016 sales, up from just $57 million in 2011 according to McKinsey. You may or may not know that 70% of subscription services are sold in the U.S., the rest of the world only accounts for 30%. There were $1.2 billion in capital investments in subscription services in 2018. It’s estimated to be a 10 plus billion dollar market just in the U.S. And not including Amazon. And the average subscriber has two different services with a third of customers having three or more subscription services. And so we ask is this a good thing?

Joey Coleman: Well, let me say this as a little disclaimer before I make my point. I think there there’s a separate conversation to have here around consumption in the environment and how all that fits in. But if we’re just talking about the concept of a subscription versus non-subscription, I actually think subscription services work really well, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they save the customer money. So if you’re a part of Amazon Subscribe & Save, or Chewy’s Autoship, everybody wins. The customer pays less. The company providing the subscription has a better idea of what their yield and what they’re through rates need to be so they can better forecast and make better use of their materials and their warehouse time. So overall it saves everybody money.

Number two, a subscription can be incredibly convenient. You can set it and forget it. Now, there are times where this can get a little bit out of control if you set it, forget it, and then all of a sudden you stock up on a lot of stuff you don’t need. But in the best uses of subscription services, you don’t have to remember to go to the store, which is great because let’s be candid, who really gets super excited about going to the store anymore? I know I don’t. I would much rather have it just show up at the house.

Number three, subscription services introduced me to new products and service opportunities that I might not otherwise know about. There’s a real opportunity here I think, to have curated experiences. To have someone else helping you to find the specific choices and expose you to the new possibilities within a subscription category service.

Dan Gingiss: Well Joey, since this segment is called Agree to Disagree, I’m going to have to disagree with you there.

Joey Coleman: Of course you are.

Dan Gingiss: I think subscription services have simply gone too far. First of all, they end up costing you more money because you get stuff that you don’t need. I use Amazon Subscribe & Save, but now I’m up to like $50 or $60 a month in stuff. And I always have to go back and double-check to make sure that I really need this stuff.

Secondly, I think companies are taking advantage of customers who are setting it and forgetting it. Even in the shave clubs and other things, sometimes you get three or four in a row and then you realize, “Well, I’ve got 24 razor blades now I’m going to be just fine shaving for a long, long time,” but it’s a pain to cancel and so people stay on and inertia takes over.

Joey Coleman: Don’t you shave your head every day, man? You go through a lot of razors I’m sure.

Dan Gingiss: It is pretty shiny.

Joey Coleman: It is shiny.

Dan Gingiss: Third, there are simply too many subscriptions out there. It absolutely boggles the mind. There’s the Bacon of the Month Club. There’s the Dive Bar Shirt Club, the Bagel of the Month Club, the Sock of the Month Club. And even one called Cannabox, which will send you cannabis supplies every month.

Joey Coleman: Wait a second. Are all of those real Dan?

Dan Gingiss: These are all real services [crosstalk 00:13:46] that I looked up on worldwide web.

Joey Coleman: No really, the dive bar one?

Dan Gingiss: Yes.

Joey Coleman: The dive bar one? Oh my gosh. Who really is sitting at home going, “Man, I wish I had some more t-shirts from dive bars I haven’t been to.

Dan Gingiss: It actually sounds kind of cool doesn’t it [crosstalk 00:13:58], now that you think about it.

Joey Coleman: It does sound kind of cool now that you think about it. Yeah it does. So I guess I’ve swayed you over them that you actually think it’s a good idea. Ladies and gentlemen, we call that the bait and switch. Dan fell for it. I reeled him in. Now, here’s the thing. I agree with you. If you are going to do subscription services, you have to pay attention to them. You really do because they can get out of control and I know I have suffered from that in the past where I’ve had subscription services and all of a sudden I’ve realized, wait a second, why am I still getting this? It goes from being a convenient way to get the things you need, to an inconvenient way to be billed for stuff you don’t want.

Dan Gingiss: And tell the audience Joey, how many magazine subscriptions you had until just recently?

Joey Coleman: Okay, until very recently I had a small addiction problem, two magazines. I was subscribed to 30 different magazines. Now prior to having children, I will confess I read these 30 magazines every month. I would basically had to read a magazine a day to keep up, but I really liked the format. I liked the tactile feel, I’m a visual learner. Some magazines worked better for me than reading online or just reading an article. I really liked it. But since having kids, I kind of woke up the other day, this is within the last month and realized, you know what, I don’t need to have as many subscriptions as I do. So I’m now down to just three, so I cut it by 90% [crosstalk 00:15:19] which saved a lot of money.

Dan Gingiss: Well the first step is admitting you have a problem Joey.

Joey Coleman: This is true. This is very true and that’s why I said see earlier disclaimer that you have to be responsible for your own subscriptions and not let them get out of control. That being said, as recent parents in the last few years, the fact that the diapers just show up without us having to think about it, that was a very convenient subscription that we will be very excited to not be part of in the near future. But the moral of the story is that worked well for us.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I think the message to companies is … subscriptions right now are a thing. They’re a fad. People are excited about them, they’re a trend. And what often happens is companies think, “Well, if this is trending, it’s something we need to jump on to.” And so what I want to suggest to listeners is, if you don’t have a product that is really relevant for a subscription service, don’t feel like this is a direction that you have to go. That being said, it is obviously a great way to get sustainable revenue from customers because they do set it and forget it, but it doesn’t work for everything. And I believe that there’s certainly some out there that can work really, really well, but that it really has gotten a little bit too far.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think subscription services are great.

Dan Gingiss: Well Joey, then I guess we’ll just have to, agree to disagree.

START THE CONVERSATION

Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start the Conversation topic is technology’s key role in customer experience. Technology’s vital role in meeting the changing demands of the modern consumer has long been recognized. Nearly every interaction occurring between a customer and an organization is driven or supported by at least one form of technology, and in many cases multiple platforms converge to support the interaction. Unfortunately, many CX leaders overlook the critical step of ensuring that these technologies are up to the challenge of supporting existing customer experience strategies or newly created experiences. This leaves the CX strategy vulnerable to failure or underperformance and may lead to challenges for both customers and employees.

Joey Coleman: It’s important to conduct a thorough and objective assessment of your customer experience technologies including these five key things. Contact center platforms. Customer relationship management or CRM tools. Employee productivity tools. Data and analytics solutions. Middleware and integration supporting applications.

Dan Gingiss: I have to tell you the Joey, having worked at a number of big companies, it is amazing how much old technology is still out there.

Joey Coleman: Ooh, legacy ware folks, it’s exciting.

Dan Gingiss: I mean stuff that was built in like the early nineties, late eighties.

Joey Coleman: Lotus Notes baby, Lotus Notes for everyone.

Dan Gingiss: Lotus Notes is just fantastic. And the thing is is that today customers expect more than that. Whether it’s a customer-facing piece of technology or it’s something that simply enables a customer experience, it really is important that this stuff gets upgraded for the times because the demand is so much higher today

Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about technology’s key role in CX, do our current technology platforms adequately support our customer experience strategy? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex at experienceconversations.com that’s experienceconversations.com.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Improv Singing!

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: No, Joey and I aren’t going to sing for you again, but someone else is. Meet Harold [Pain 00:19:49] , a multi-platinum singer/songwriter who is also a master improviser. He’s written songs for Snoop Dogg, Rod Stewart, Patti LaBelle, Lana Del Rey, and Bobby Womack. But he also creates songs on the spot at events and conferences, similar to the artists that you sometimes see summarizing keynotes with drawings for example. Let’s take a listen to a sample from Harold’s work.

Harold P.: (Singing).

Dan Gingiss: So I know this sounds cliche, but I actually met Harold in an elevator.

Joey Coleman: This is so classic. It’s like the ultimate elevator music story.

Dan Gingiss: It is. It is. We were actually Joey and I were both at the National Speakers Association Influence Conference in Denver.

Joey Coleman: I was not in the elevator.

Dan Gingiss: Joey was not in the elevator, but I was heading back up to the room, and I met this guy and we shook hands. So we started talking. I said, “So what do you do?” And he says, “Well I sing improv songs for events.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” And he went on to explain it and I thought that he was absolutely fascinating and that we just had to have him on the show. Actually, I asked him to tell us a little bit more about his business in an audio file so that you guys can hear it as well.

Harold P.: So what I do is create customized and sometimes improvise songs for keynotes, events and conferences like that. For example, for the Experience show, I might do something like (singing).

Joey Coleman: I love it because companies often are looking for ways to make their experience more creative or more fun. And while I and Dan both fully understand that the type of music or the improv that Harold is doing here may not be your cup of tea. It’s important to remember that when you’re designing customer experiences, it’s more about what your customers feel than what you feel. So these types of things work. It works for Harold. It works for a lot of other folks out there who are doing creative things to tie together events or add a little spark. I was at a company offsite not too long ago where they brought in somebody who played piano and they did improv. And in my speech I had mentioned a case study that the punchline was root beer. And later on in the evening when the piano player sat down and did a Billy Joel song, The Piano Man, he came to the part where he said, (singing).

And the crowd all thought it was funny and everybody got that it was about me. And it was just this little tiny thing that made it feel special, it created a little moment. And at the end of the day, when we think about customer experience, I think that’s often what it’s about. Just creating a moment, creating a memory, creating something that when the individual who’s been to your event or partook of your conference or come to your office goes back home, there was a funny little interaction or a little jingle in their head that they remember that they can bring back to share with their friends.

Dan Gingiss: Did you put bread in his jar and ask him, man, what are you doing here?

Joey Coleman: I did ask him what he was doing there. Yes, indeed. Indeed.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I love what Harold’s doing and I do think there’s something in it for everyone and he’s so creative about using different musical genres, being able to work with companies or events to prepare songs in advance or to do it in a more improv style where he’s listening to a speech for example. Wouldn’t you love at the end of your keynote to have a song written about what you just spoke about? It’s so cool.

Joey Coleman: I think it’d be a lot of fun and true confessions, I will throw down the gauntlet and challenge myself publicly that I will do this. I have thought about ending a keynote with singing for a long time. I know Dan, you sing in your keynotes regularly. I’ve seen that happen. Dan does a wicked rendition of a song from The Greatest Showman. It’s fantastic. So yeah, I think it could be a lot of fun. And what I like about this, again, this isn’t just about improv singing in events folks. Okay, let’s pull this back to the 35,000-foot level. This is about taking a risk. This is about trying something different. This is about being comfortable with creating a little experience or a little moment that maybe feels awkward or maybe feels not perfectly thought out and executed, but it creates something special and lets them know it’s real. There’s such a trend in all of customer experience to polish the edges and make everything seamless. That’s fine, but it also can have impact if we do something that’s unexpected. It can have impact if we deviate from the path just a little bit as long as it’s a fun experience. Now, Dan and I have discussed doing something like this on the show for the longest time and while we don’t have a full musical episode baked out just yet, what about something like this? Three-four.

(Singing).

Dan Gingiss: (Singing).

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 77 : Using Customization To Create Lifelong Loyalty

Join us as we discuss: The easiest return ever, a personalized image strategy, and how to dig deep into your personal space and share it with the world.

Cooks, Photographers, and Ditchers – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] How to Turn a Negative Experience into a Lifelong Customer

Many people look forward to Amazon Prime Day, scouting for goods that have been placed on a wishlist and then getting ready to finally purchase the coveted item. After eagerly anticipating Prime Day, Dan purchased some new pots and pans, waited for them to arrive, and finally received them – only to discover that one of the pots had a shattered lid.

First, he tried to call the manufacturer to return the set. Sadly, Dan couldn’t find the name of the company anywhere! Next, he called Amazon. When even Amazon couldn’t find the manufacturer of the set, without hesitation they accepted responsibility for the shattered lid and refunded the purchase price. No questions asked, no receipt necessary.!

It was incredible because she literally turned me, in a few moments, from being kind of irritated at this purchase, to once again believing that they [Amazon] are the greatest company on this planet.

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

When you give your customer the benefit of the doubt (like Amazon did with Dan) you not only honor their investment in doing business with your company, but you quickly neutralize a potentially negative experience. Sometimes, treating a customer this way can actually convert them from disgruntled purchaser to lifelong advocate.

Instead of focusing on the lost dollars that stem from one negative experience, consider the lifetime value of the customer and how taking the time to treat them right early on has the potential to build a long term customer relationship. When you treat your customers as friends, the benefits of that relationship will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

[Dissecting the Experience] Customizing and Personalizing Imagery To Create Connection

While scrolling through his Twitter feed, Dan, came across a fascinating thread/story shared by Rex Sorgatz. Rex logged into his Chase Bank account one day and was greeted by a picture of his neighborhood on the screen. Upon further investigation, Rex discovered that Chase actually commissioned photographers to take images in the 39 states where they have customers. The photographers captured images for each specific zip codes – including both day and night versions. To see this in action, visit the Chase website here. By changing the zip code and “day” or “night” tag, you can view a variety of custom images.

Interestingly enough, the images Chase uses aren’t the famous, iconic images one could expect to see on a large bank’s website. Instead, Chase opted to include images from local neighborhoods, small parks, and even a train. The images were curated to create a sense of belonging, connection, and personalization that a client would find surprising and engaging for their online bank account.

During his research, Rex discovered a few guidelines the bank used when sourcing and creating the images:

By creating these personalized and customized images, Chase managed to make their clients feel more connected – building trust and familiarity in what could have been an otherwise very cold and impersonal experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Gauging CX Effectiveness: KPIs that Matter

When attempting to gauge the effectiveness of a CX program, some leaders tend to focus on specific metrics, including sales numbers or customer acquisitions. Others rely on logistics-based metrics such as issue resolution times or call volume. Customer-focused metrics however, such as the Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) actually serve as better indicators of the effectiveness of a CX program.

Here are three things to consider when gauging CX effectiveness:

  1. Not all metrics are created equal; you have to use the ones that work for your business.
  2. Ensure both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the customer experience.
  3. CX should lead to better business results, so make sure you can draw a clear connection.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we focused on the right metrics when determining the success of our CX programs?

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

[Book Report] Using a Personal Brand to Create Consistency and Connection

Everyday, we are inundated with branding messages and in the process, given the opportunity to intentionally select our representative brands. Even with the most basic of decisions – from the name we use to the way we present ourselves on social media – personal branding forms an identity and familiarity for customers and colleagues alike. In the book Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success, by Leonard Kim and Ryan Foland, the authors explain that it’s crucial for everyone to create a vulnerable, honest, personal brand.

A personal brand helps you form deeper connections with people online and offline. And it’s able to move you ahead in your career, whether that’s an internal promotion at your company, whether it’s paving the way up to C-suite, getting sought out by a competing company for better pay, landing the job of your dreams, or just making sure that your career becomes recession-proof.

Ryan Foland, personal branding experience and co-author of Ditch the Act

If you are looking for a book that will help you grasp the value and advantages of developing your personal brand with intentionality, pick up a copy of Ditch the Act.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

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 77 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: So hold on to your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the easiest return ever, a personalized image strategy, and how to dig deep into your personal space and share it with the world.

Cooks, photographers, and ditchers, oh my!

[This Just Happened] Pots and Pans

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 this year on Amazon Prime Day I decided to finally order a new set of pots and pans.

Joey Coleman: Ooh la la! Pots and pans. Treat yourself to something special on Amazon Prime Day.

Dan Gingiss: Well I do like to cook.

Joey Coleman: That’s how Dan rolls, people; he rolls hard. And when this guy’s ready to splurge, we’re looking at pots and pans.

Dan Gingiss: Pots and pans, baby. I do like to cook, and my pots and pans we’re really getting old and ragged. So I picked out a set of pots and pans that I really liked that were on a great sale for Amazon Prime Day, ordered them up, waited my day and a half – or whatever it was – until they arrived-

Joey Coleman: Such a long time.

Dan Gingiss: I know, terrible. And I was so excited to open the box. And it’s like a 10 piece set, so it had two different size frying pans, it had a pot, and then it had, kind of like a double boiler kind of a thing. And there were, I believe, four different glass lids on top of these. Well I’m opening the box and I’m pulling out the pieces, and I see that one of the glass lids is completely shattered – I mean, 1,001 pieces. And so I’m disappointed because that doesn’t happen very often. And my first instinct was actually to call the manufacturer. So I’m looking on the box of this thing, and the box … It’s like the copper pot company, but it’s not even … It’s not even a trademark. I don’t know what brand it is, but meanwhile there’s absolutely no communication method at all. I Google it. I can’t-

Joey Coleman: And why do we think that is? Could it be because they don’t want you to contact them?

Dan Gingiss: It possibly is.

Joey Coleman: Hmm, I wonder.

Dan Gingiss: It possibly is. So I literally cannot find this company, so I called Amazon. Now what do you think, Joey, might have happened then?

Joey Coleman: Well this is a little bit of an unfair question because I have had my own experiences of contacting Amazon about problems, but what I imagine you might have thought would happen is what would happen with a typical company. You would call them and they would say, “Well wait a second, we’re just the store. We’re not the manufacturer. You need to contact the manufacturer. But you know, it also could have broken in delivery. You should probably talk to UPS as well.” It would have been a combination of the blame game of trying to point fingers at everyone else. Or, “Let’s make it so impossible for you to do this that you’re going to just give up.” And what I mean by that is, “Great. So we’re happy to take your return back. We’re just going to need a signed certified letter saying that you received it. We’re going to need three copies of your receipt. We’re going to need to know the name of the driver and what he was wearing, or she was wearing, when they dropped it off. And we’re going to need to know your Social Security number, what town you were born in, and the hospital where you had your first checkup.”

That’s my guess, is what most businesses require.

Dan Gingiss: Well believe it or not, that’s not what happened when I phoned Amazon. In fact, what happened was the woman did not know how to get in touch with the manufacturer either.

Joey Coleman: Oh my goodness. You know it’s bad when Amazon, the king of the retail world online, can’t get in touch with the manufacturer.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So what did she do? She said, “You know what? I am going to refund your purchase in its entirety. And why don’t you just keep the pots and pans?” And I thought to myself (a) that’s amazing (b) she just made my problem go away because, all of a sudden, I didn’t really care that I was missing a lid because I got free pots and pans!

Joey Coleman: Free pots and pans!

Dan Gingiss: And so it was incredible because she literally turned me, in a few moments, from being kind of irritated at this purchase, to once again believing that Amazon is the greatest company on this planet.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. What never ceases to amaze me … And Amazon is beautiful at this. You know? We are big fans in our household as well. We do a lot of business with Amazon. They are probably dollar-over-dollar the single biggest business that we buy from. What Amazon realized very early on in the process was that long-term customer relationships matter, and they would much rather sacrifice a small amount of profit today to gain your loyalty long term. They are brilliant at neutralizing negative experiences. They are brilliant at eliminating any type of hesitation or negative feeling you might have about them. I mean, at the end of the day the negative feeling was probably more directed at the manufacturer and/or the shipper. Because our presumption is it either got broken in route or it was broken when it was packaged. It wasn’t broken by Amazon. But what do they do? It’s not their fault but they make it their problem, and then they solve the problem.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. And I couldn’t be mad at the company because I couldn’t find the company.

Joey Coleman: You couldn’t find the company. Exactly.

Dan Gingiss: But, yeah. I mean, that is the way you handle a customer problem. And Joey’s right that, sure, they had to eat some money … Although my guess is they have a process to bill it back to the manufacturer. But either way they had to eat something, but it kept me a very happy customer that is going to come back and back.

And this reminds me of another story. When we had our first child somebody sent us flowers in the hospital from a really great company called ProFlowers, which is my personal favorite place to order flowers as well. And ProFlowers ships of flowers in a long box, and they always include a free vase so you get a glass vase with every shipment. And I opened the box of flowers and, maybe this is just a habit-

Joey Coleman: Let me guess: the vase was broken.

Dan Gingiss: The vase was shattered. Absolutely.

Joey Coleman: You know? This couldn’t be recipient error, at any point in this story, could it? This is one of those where Dan’s opening the box and he’s going, “There it is. Whoop … butterfingers.” It falls off his hand, “Oh, man! It arrived broken. How did that happen?”

Dan Gingiss: No, this is not user error, but thanks for suggesting that.

And I pulled out the flowers. And honestly I didn’t care about the vase because we’d used ProFlowers enough times that I had, like, 10 of them at home. But I decided to call them because as a customer experience guy, I thought they should know that the flowers arrived with a broken vase.

Joey Coleman: Healing the world of customer experience, one call at a time. Thank goodness.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. I can tell you, I would have wanted to know that as business owner.

Joey Coleman: Yes, of course.

Dan Gingiss: And so I called up and it was actually a hilarious conversation. The woman is like, “Mr. Gingiss, step away from the flowers.”

And I’m like, “No, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’ve safely removed them.”

She’s like, “No, I don’t want you to get cut. I want you to throw the whole thing out and we’re going to send you new flowers.”

And I said, “Seriously, it’s all right. I pulled out the flowers and I just wanted you to know. I’m not asking you for anything.”

Well PS, the conversation goes back and forth. And essentially what I got her to do was send me replacement flowers two weeks later when the first ones were dead. And she more than happily obliged, which I thought was terrific.

But again in that story too, what I loved about it was, number one, she’s focused on the issue at hand which is it’s a potentially dangerous situation if you’re sitting among glass shards, and she doesn’t want the company to be responsible for that so she’s concerned for my safety; and then secondly, it’s not even a question, it’s, “Either we’re going to refund your money or we’re going to resend you the product again,” and it doesn’t … They don’t ask you 900 questions to make sure you’re not lying about it or whatever it is. It’s just their nature. Their initial instinct is to fix the problem. And I think that is really the hallmark of a great customer service interaction.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t it amazing when somebody that we’ve decided to do business with, we’ve decided to give our hard earned cash over to, decides to give us the benefit of the doubt, decides to see us as upstanding citizens? Which is a lot easier to do when you’re looking at Dan Gingiss than when you’re looking at Joey Coleman. But nonetheless, it is impressive. Let me ask two clarifying questions, Dan. So how far out are we from Prime Day now? How many months has it been, give or take?

Dan Gingiss: As we’re recording right now it’s about, I think, two months.

Joey Coleman: It’s about two months. And how long since you received those ProFlowers flowers?

Dan Gingiss: That is, like, 13 years ago.

Joey Coleman: 13 years ago, yeah. So here’s the point I wanted to make with that. If you create a remarkable experience that catches your customer off guard, that leaves your customer going, “That was easy. That was painless,” they will keep telling the story. When you go above and beyond when a customer has a problem, they will love you even more – despite the fact that something had gone wrong, despite the fact that there was a negative experience. So folks, here’s the key takeaway. Stop worrying about today’s dollars. Start worrying about the lifetime value dollars. Stop worrying about, “What are we going to do with this negative experience?” And start thinking about, “How am I going to build a long term customer relationship?” The secret here is to just treat your customers as if they were your friends. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Help them out. Do for them what you wish would be done for you, and everything else will take care of itself.

Dan Gingiss: And remember: Without customers, we don’t have a business.

Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation.

[Dissecting the Experience] Personalized Imagery

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

Dan Gingiss: So I found this story on Twitter. You see, Joey, Twitter does have its advantages.

Joey Coleman: You know? You say that time and time and time again. I’m not doing the tweeting. I’m not getting on the Twitters. That’s not going to happen.

Dan Gingiss: Well believe it or not, I’ve given up trying to get you to.

Joey Coleman: Folks, that’s not true. That’s not true. You need to know this. So there’s the behind-the-scenes.

About once a month Dan will message me – maybe it’s more like once every two or three months – and he’ll say something like, “Hey, by the way. See you haven’t posted in awhile. If you wanted to go on today and post …”

And I’m just like, “Maybe or maybe not.”

Dan Gingiss: So if you want to talk to us about the show on Twitter …

Joey Coleman: Only talk to Dan. You can tag me. And every once in awhile, like once a year, I’ll come in and like a comment. But just, Dan is the social media go-to on the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: That’s @DGingiss, D-G-I-N-G-I-S-S.

Anyway, Twitter user, Rex Sorgatz … That’s a great name.

Joey Coleman: It is a great name. So he posted a series of 18 consecutive tweets where, well, he kind of dissected the experience like we do here on this show. And the experience he was looking at was logging into his bank’s website. Now he spent way too much time on this, but it was really interesting to see the results. So let me set this up for you. So his first tweet is about how he logged into his Chase bank account, and he noticed that the background photo was of his neighborhood. And he’s like, “Whoa, that’s kind of interesting.” So it caused him to wonder, “Does everybody see this photo?” And he then says, “This thread is an investigation into that question. Let’s call it Bank Stock Photo Regionalization.”

Now the long and short of it is he first found that in the URL of the landing page there was a zip code, his zip code. And so he changed the zip code to … I believe he went for (singing) 90210, and he saw that the picture changed to one in California. He looked at LA, San Francisco, San Diego, and he noticed that all of the images were of neighborhoods, not of well known locations. So when you went to San Francisco, you weren’t seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, you were seeing a neighborhood. And when you went to Chicago, my hometown, you see a street corner underneath an L train. You know? You don’t see the Sears or Willis Tower or Navy Pier or anything like that.

He then noticed that in the URL there was also the word “day,” and so he went in and changed the word “day” to “night” and saw a whole new set of images. And so he realized that Chase was also taking into account when you came to this landing page, and showing you a different neighborhood photo either in the daytime or at night.

So four or five tweets in, he says, “Oh, here’s a glitch.” He found out that Alaska, Hawaii, and New England all have the same photo during the day, but a different photo at night, which is kind of funny.

Those places totally look the same during the day. Totally.

Dan Gingiss: Totally. Exactly.

Now, some states … Also entire states had the same photos – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma. Basically the entire Midwest.

Joey Coleman: I take this as a personal affront. As a native Iowan, when I typed in my parents’ zip code – which is in Northwestern Iowa – I saw a picture of a windmill. Which I know exists but it exists in Southeastern Iowa, not Northwestern Iowa. So I recognized it. It’s a popular scene. It’s just not associated with the zip code.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So we’re going to include a link in the show notes so that you can go play around with this yourself. Or if you’re so inclined, you can go to bitly.com/ capital E, capital T, capital C-H-A-S-E. So that’s ETChase, ET being Experience This. But we’ll include that in the show notes and you can go play around.

And the last thing that he figured out was that these were not stock photos and that Chase had actually commissioned the photographers. And I have no idea how he did this, but he got ahold of the creative brief that Chase actually used. And it’s really interesting. It talks about particular brand attributes. So their personality’s about being trustworthy, and welcoming, and progressive, and contemporary. And the visuals are supposed to be authentic, and optimistic, and engaging. And they talk about the photography style.

And then there’s a list of places to avoid, which I thought was also really interesting. They didn’t want pictures of memorials, or universities, or religious buildings, or sports stadiums. And again I think the whole idea is that you’re not supposed to know the exact place where this is being taken, that it’s intentionally not the most popular places.

And then finally somebody else after seeing this long Twitter … not a rant, but a set of-

Joey Coleman: Exposé?

Dan Gingiss: Exposé … actually then created a map listing the seven regional default photos, and then the 39 different day and night pictures – there’s 39 days and 39 nights – and put them on a map so that you know, just by looking at the map, what picture you’re going to see.

Joey Coleman: That’s a lot of free time.

Dan Gingiss: It is a lot of free time.

Joey Coleman: That feels like a lot of free time.

Well here’s the thing. I will say, first of all, I actually … Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves: I see the benefit of something Dan found on Twitter.

Dan Gingiss: Whoo-hoo!

Joey Coleman: Because this is an interesting story, right? This is a great example of a company thinking about customization to match their personalization. Here’s what I mean by that. I think of customization and personalization as being two different things. Personalization is using the person’s name, using the individual identifiers about them. Customization is using identifiers and themes and interactions that are about a smaller segment of your group, or they identify where your customer is in the journey. So what’s interesting is when I type in the old zip code for where I used to live in Washington, D.C., as Dan alluded to, I was expecting – before knowing these were the rules – that I would see a picture of the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial, or the White House, or the Capitol, or some of the iconic imagery of Washington, D.C.

But I didn’t live on the mall next to the monuments. I lived in the neighborhood in Northwestern D.C. And what I actually got a picture of was the local park. And I know it’s the local park because I’d been to that park many times. Now it’s not a park that anyone in the world would know if you didn’t live in that neighborhood. And so I think what this does is by putting the image behind the login screen is it gives a very subconscious connection and familiarity. And at the end of the day, all humans are looking to feel connection. They’re looking to feel familiarity. And if a large bank like Chase can do this, at scale, that changes the game for how people think about their banking relationships.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think especially in this industry, if you think about it, all of the major banks are based in New York. And so they all have sort of the New York skyline as their background. You also probably have recognized over time that almost every bank uses blue as its main color. It’s sort of a financial color, right? So it becomes harder to stand out. And I think that, from a marketing perspective, this is great for Chase because it does make them unique. And when you get to that website and you see this beautiful image as a background, that’s not what you necessarily expect from a financial institution. It kind of reminds you that you are banking with somebody different. I think that was one of the things that I really liked. And, obviously, this guy who does have a lot of time on his hands, was clearly fascinated by it. But I love that he was able to dig all this up so that we can understand what went into it.

Joey Coleman: I think it’d be interesting, too, to look at the footprint of Chase Bank geographically. I wonder if they don’t have as big of a presence in the Midwest, and that’s why there’s more … You know? It might be that when they were putting together the creative brief … Because I want to give them the benefit of the doubt; this is a really interesting and fun idea. It might have been that they don’t have branches, or they don’t have a lot of customers, in Alaska and Hawaii, for example. So it was easier for them to do that.

What I’d be curious about, do you know, Dan, is it basing the zip code off of where you’re logging in from or the zip code on your account? So for example if I’m traveling would it show me, if I was logging into my Chase account from a hotel in Florida, pictures of Florida? Or would it show the pictures from my home account in Colorado? That’d be interesting to figure out too.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. I’m not sure. I would guess that it’s probably based on the location of your computer, and then there’s a cookie, and you would get that same one over and over again. But I’m not entirely sure how it works.

Joey Coleman: That would be kind of an interesting way. So the reason I asked this question, folks, is at the end of the day, every experience you create, you can enhance it. You can plus it. You can take it to the next level. So maybe the first pass, we’d do these personalized images based on your region. Maybe the next pass is to tie it to where you are; because in an increasingly mobile society, people are logging in from all over. And it’d be kind of interesting if it was identifying that I was in a completely different state when I was accessing my bank account.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And I mean obviously this could get scary, right? Because Google Earth has basically photos of every house, and whatever, and in theory you could-

Joey Coleman: Please don’t show me my house when I log into the bank account; I would really rather you not. So, thanks, don’t share those photos with them, Google.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. The takeaway here is that personalization and customization can help customers feel closer to the brand. It makes them feel that you’re listening to them, and that you know them, and it builds trust. And really, as one of our mutual friends likes to say, “We are all in the trust business.” And I believe that this is a kind of thing that really any organization can pull off either digitally, or even in your written communications.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Gauging CX Effectiveness: KPIs that Matter

Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start The Conversation topic is Gauging Customer Experience Effectiveness: KPIs that matter. And of course KPIs are key performance indicators.

When attempting to gauge the effectiveness of an experienced program, many leaders focus on specific metrics including sales numbers or customer acquisitions. Others rely on logistics-based metrics such as issue resolution times, or call volume, things in the call center. Now these are important metrics but other numbers are just as critical including things like customer effort score or CES, net promoter score or NPS, and customer satisfaction or C-SAT. These customer-focused metrics will likely reveal more about the effectiveness of a CX program than the financial or operational ones.

Joey Coleman: Here are four things to consider when gauging customer experience effectiveness:

Number one – not all metrics are created equal. You have to use the ones that work for your business.

Number two – ensure both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the customer experience.

Number three – customer experience should lead to better business results. So make sure you can draw a clear connection.

And number four – if you’re going to use all of these KPIs, be careful that you don’t walk yourself into an acronym nightmare where your staff doesn’t understand what you’re actually talking about when you say CES, NPS, C-SAT or KPI.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And to put it in another way I remember, when I was in corporate America, that I got report overload all the time. You open up your email and there’s all these reports. And everybody wants to make a report because they feel like by having a report it somehow justifies what they’re doing to management. But the thing is is that it doesn’t end with just the report of the numbers. It’s about analyzing and understanding what the numbers mean, and taking action off of them. And so I always found that it was more important to look for action-oriented data, rather than just a report that is able to say, “Hey, this is great.”

Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about gauging customer experience effectiveness: Are we focused on the right metrics when determining the success of our CX programs?

We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AVTECH at experienceconversations.com. Remember, go to experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] Ditch the Act

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 I found a book that I thought would really lead to an interesting conversation in our What Are You Reading segment. Now I met Ryan Foland first at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year and then again at Inbound where we were both speakers. He’s a great guy. He is of the red haired variety, and so he loves to refer to himself as a ginger.

Joey Coleman: I love that the bald the guy is commenting on the ginger.

Dan Gingiss: Well, hey, he calls himself a ginger, right?

But he’s a terrific guy. He’s smart. He’s really funny. And, Joey, of course you will love this: he is a ridiculously prolific tweeter. You think I tweet a lot.

Joey Coleman: Oh, that’s why I haven’t come across Ryan yet. Oh sorry, Ryan. I’ll look forward to meeting in person since I’ll never see you on the tweeters.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, you think I tweet a lot.

Anyway, Ryan is also a coach who helps leaders worldwide on the art of simplifying spoken and written messaging for greater impact. He’s the inventor of what he calls the 3-1-3 Method, which is a process whereby pitches begin as three sentences, condense into one sentences, and then boil down to three words. And he has a brand new book out with co author Leonard Kim. It’s about building a personal brand and it’s called Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You For Greater Success. so I asked Ryan to tell us a little bit about it.

Ryan Foland: Ditch the Act is a book that I wrote with Leonard Kim. It’s a deep-dive into why and how you should build an authentic personal brand. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why should I build a personal brand?” Let me actually ask you a better question: “Why shouldn’t you build a personal brand?” If you do not want to make deep connections with your employees and your colleagues in the office, then you don’t need to have a personal brand. If you have to reenter the job market in the future, and if you want to spend months – if not years – to land a new job, then don’t worry about having a personal brand either. A personal brand helps you form deeper connections with people online and offline. And it’s able to move you ahead in your career, whether that’s an internal promotion at your company, whether it’s paving the way up to C-suite, getting sought out by a competing company for better pay, landing the job of your dreams, or just making sure that your career becomes recession-proof.

Building a personal brand isn’t limited to one specific type of person. We show you it can work for anyone. Ditch the Act demonstrates how exposing your failures and your weaknesses is an essential element to creating an authentic personal brand. We’ll show you how ditching the act and getting vulnerable is the best way to differentiate and grow your brand, all while cultivating brand loyalty. Ditch the Act will teach you how to bring your intentional personal brand to life.

Here is the deal.

Let me give it to your real.

The key to connection is to learn to reveal.

You see, you are not perfect and neither am I.

And that is the exact reason we can see eye to eye.

Everybody’s different, but we are all the same.

To be perfectly imperfect is how you win the game.

If you only showcase good and do not share the bad.

You will miss connections that you never knew you had.

And that, my friends, is a rap.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, folks, he raps too. He’s even been known to do it on stage during his keynote.

Joey Coleman: I want to see you rap in your next keynote, Dan. Challenge! Gauntlet thrown down, ladies and gentlemen. We will post the video later on experiencethisshow.com.

Dan Gingiss: Hey, I do sing in my keynote every once in a while but rap is probably not happening.

Anyway, the reason I chose this book to talk about on the show is that … Joey, you and I, though we get along famously, have really different strategies for building our own personal brands. And so I was hoping that we might do as Ryan and Leonard say, and Ditch the Act for a few minutes, and talk openly about how we go about our personal branding.

Joey Coleman: Muy Interesante. All right, I’m in. Who’s starting? You or me?

Dan Gingiss: You, sir.

Joey Coleman: Okay. So personal branding is something that I’ve thought a decent amount about for two main reasons. Number one, my career path has been incredibly eclectic. For those of you that know me, or who are loyal listeners, I worked in the intelligence community. I worked in the white house, I was a teacher. I was a criminal defense lawyer. I sold promotional products. I ran an ad agency. Now I’m a full time speaker. And so one of the challenges when you can’t hold a job – I mean, when you change careers as frequently as I do – is that your personal brand is the thread that needs to continue through. And so I’ve made some very conscious decisions about markers throughout my career that I’ve wanted to keep going so that, even if I was doing a different job in a different place or working in a different industry, there were some common threads.

One, that some people may not realize was a very conscious decision on my part, was the fact that I go by the name Joey. Now my legal name is Charles Joseph Coleman III – nice and pretentious sounding. But for the exception of one year – it was an ill fated year, years ago – I’ve always gone by Joey. During that year I went by Joe; it didn’t stick. I went back to Joey. The crazy thing about going by Joey is when you hear the name Joey, you immediately think of one of a small category of people: either a small child under the age of 10, Joey Buttafuoco, Joey Lawrence, or Joey Tribbiani from Friends. I am okay being in the top four Joeys in your mind, and my hope is to elevate to be the number one Joey in your mind. So I think there are some things we can do around personal branding just even by the way we refer to ourselves.

Dan Gingiss: Well you are the number one Joey in my life, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Aw, thanks.

Dan Gingiss: And it’s interesting that you say that because when I was a child I went by Danny. And when I got to college I introduced myself as Danny, and every person I introduced myself then turned around and called me Dan. And so it just kind of happened organically where I became Dan from Danny. And I feel great about that because now that’s the one that I turn around to the most – with my mom being the core exception; she will never stop calling me Danny.

Joey Coleman: Oh I love it. I got to spend more time hanging out with a Mr. and Mrs. Gingiss.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

You know? My background has also shaped my personal brand. I came from corporate America and was there for almost 20 years, and spent a decent amount of time at three major brands and had to build a personal brand that worked with those brands as well. Because before I became a full time professional speaker and consultant, I was often speaking on behalf of those brands. So it was Dan Gingiss from Discover, Dan Gingiss from McDonald’s, Dan Gingiss from Humana, and so I had to represent the business brand or the corporate brand at the same time. And certainly some companies are more understanding of personal brand than others. I think the really forward thinking companies get that their employees having personal brands is a good thing for the company, because they get to be known as thought leaders in their own right and then the company gets the halo effect; versus sometimes the other way around where companies believe that you should lead with their own logo. But we all know that people trust and believe and find more credible their friends and their people they interact with in real life in the social world than they do companies.

And so I continued to build my personal brand as a thought leader, particularly in the social media space, because I had to jump into that space having very little experience professionally. I remember the day that I got my Twitter account and I signed up was also the day that I was put in charge of the social media team at Discover. And I was like, “Well I should probably figure this thing out,” and joined Twitter. So however many tens of thousands of tweets later, I’m clearly fully immersed.

Joey Coleman: Nothing like learning on the job.

You know? The interesting thing about that is – and we joke about it a lot on the show – I have made the conscious decision not to invest a lot of time and effort into social media. And Dan and I banter about this regularly as our listeners know, but one of the things that I think is important when you look at your personal brand is to really make it personal. Figure out the things that work for you. There are so many pundits and experts and advisors out there saying, “Well if you want to build your personal brand, you have to have your own website. You have to be prolific on social media. You need your own YouTube channel, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

No, not at all. You just need to do you. You need to figure out what is most important to you and what is most in alignment with the brand you’re trying to create. Because let’s be candid: In an increasingly transient economy where people are changing jobs, changing careers maybe a dozen times over a lifetime, if not more, the only thing that’s the same is you. The only thing that carries from one job to the next is you. And so if you’re not taking the time to invest in your personal brand, I promise you the career path is not going to be as fulfilling, as adventurous, as fun, and as results-impacting as it could be if you did focus on your personal brand.

Dan Gingiss: So we recommend to everyone, go out and get the new book from Ryan Foland and Leonard Kim. It’s called Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You For Greater Success. And we can’t wait to see your personal brands blossom.

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 76: How to Create Amazing Experiences Before They Become a Customer

Join us as we discuss the perils of automated outreach, the benefit of taking a few minutes to do your homework before speaking with a prospect, and how your reputation can precede you – in both good and bad ways.

Automating, Researching, and Anticipating – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] The Problem with Over-Automated Prospecting

The Experience This Show tries to focus on positive customer experiences, but on occasion, we address some less than positive interactions we come across. Joey recently attempted to access a free document/research paper download from a company, only to be asked to enter his email. He used an email that is reserved only for situations like this, and received an automated response to that email address filled with several questions the company wanted answered so they could determine whether he was a qualified lead for their offerings.

Let’s keep in mind that the customer experience starts at the first interaction – long before you, or they [the prospect], have even figured out if they might be a good customer.

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

Personalizing communications takes time and caring about people individually takes effort, but investing this time early in the relationship pays huge dividends later. Prospecting, lead qualifying, and moving people through your sales process can be a challenging and time-consuming task – but it is worth it. While automation can be useful, automating initial communications is dangerous and in almost all instances, not a good choice to make. Please don’t overwhelm a prospective customer with multiple questions and don’t ever imply that how they answer your questions will determine whether or not you care about them or even want to continue the conversation.  If you want website visitors to share their name and email address to access your gated content, you should be willing to make the effort necessary to personalize your first email to them.

[Dissecting the Experience] The Power of Personalized Prospecting

While working with the fantastic team at YokoCo to design a new website, Joey began exploring new ways to incorporate video into the site. In considering options for video players, he signed up for a free account with Wistia. Wistia then sent a personalized email – showing they had taken the time to research and learn more about his business – followed by the offer to set up a call with him to answer questions and discuss possible use cases. While intrigued by the email, it took two more efforts at outreach by Wistia, including a video message, before Joey scheduled a call with them. While Joey hasn’t upgraded to a paid account yet, he has stopped considering Wistia’s competitors.

The way we design initial communications and the level of personalization and personality we bring to the conversation often plays a major role in determining whether or not that person will EVER become a customer. So remember everyone – treat the prospect as well as you would treat a customer and the chance of that prospect becoming a customer in the future goes up dramatically!

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

Don’t wait until a prospect becomes a customer to treat them well. Start treating your prospect as if they are a valued customer from the outset, and in the process you will earn their respect and (hopefully) their business.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Developing Customer Centricity

Customer centricity means putting customers at the heart of every business decision. This sets the foundation for lasting relationships and customer experience success. Unfortunately, there are many challenges organizations must overcome in order to cultivate customer centricity throughout the entire business. These can include unyielding focus on revenue and profits, lack of awareness of a CX program, lack of buy-in from leadership, and more.

Here are three strategies for overcoming these challenges, and developing customer centricity in your business:

  1. Train leaders on customer centricity, its financial impact, and how to promote customer centricity within their individual teams/departments.
  2. Reward individual contributors for specific successes and their overall role in delivering customer centric experiences.
  3. Engage in internal active listening and empower all employees to share thoughts/concerns regarding customer needs/expectations.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we doing everything we can to develop a customer-centric approach throughout our organization?

To continue the conversation, visit: ExperienceConversations.com.

[This Just Happened] When Memes Hint at Shifting Realities

Social media posts often offer evidence of shifting customer experience behaviors. Memes are sometimes a clear way to see shifting trends. The meme Joey saw on Facebook about package delivery and customer experience is a great example of new trends in customer behavior and expectations:

You are being compared to every experience your customer has ever had, in ANY setting.

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

Are you raising the bar for the level of customer experience and customer service that you deliver in a way that is keeping up with the rest of the marketplace? Are you constantly exploring new ways to raise the level of the services you provide? Make sure you’re paying attention to shifting customer expectations before you find yourself featured in a meme that is less than flattering.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

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 76 here or read it below:

Episode 76

Learn How Prospecting Can Create Amazing Customer Experiences

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This. Get ready for another episode of the Experience This Show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss the perils of automated outreach, the benefit of taking a few minutes to do your homework before talking to a prospect, and how your reputation can proceed you in both good and bad ways.

Dan Gingiss: Automating, researching, and anticipating. Oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience] Automated Prospecting

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

Dan Gingiss: We do our best on this show to only discuss positive customer experiences. We feel that there’s enough discussion about negative experiences in the world that we don’t need to contribute. However, every once in awhile, we share a story about an experience they could have been so much better with just a little more thought and consideration.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, Dan. In fact, I recently went online to do some research on employee experience, and in the process, I had an interaction just like that. I came across a website offering several different white papers that were of interest to me. Now for the purposes of our conversations, we’ll call this company Pumpernickel. In order to access the white papers, I had to enter my email address so they could send me links to download the papers.

Now while this was a bit frustrating in and of itself, why they just didn’t let me download them in the first place without sharing my email, I have no idea. The papers seem to be so in alignment with what I was looking to find, I begrudgingly entered my throwaway email address.

Dan Gingiss: Your throwaway email address?

Joey Coleman: Yes, Dan. I have an email address that I can access, but it isn’t my main email address. I share it with websites that I don’t really need to have a personal connection with but require an email address to access their content. So for context of the rest of our conversation, let’s just pretend that my throwaway email address is NoOne@JoeyColeman.com.

Dan Gingiss: And, folks, that isn’t his real throw away address. Otherwise, he would be completely defeating-

Joey Coleman: I don’t want to give the throwaway address because then people will start to use the throwaway address and I really want it to be purely throw away.

Dan Gingiss: You know that’s funny, I get that, and I do the same thing. I have a Gmail account and a Yahoo account that actually look pretty similar in terms of their address. But I give the Yahoo one to all companies, and I get all my confirmations and receipts and spam and blah blah blah. And then my friends have the Gmail address, which is really where I have my human to human communication.

Joey Coleman: Right. And the crazy thing is the fact that you and I are having this conversation that we have fake email addresses. We could stop the segment right here, okay? Because if the businesses we deal with have created an environment where we need to come up with fake email addresses, stop behaving this way, folks, but I digress. Okay, the day after I received the papers that I had requested via email, I received another email that I’d like to share with you. And as a reminder, I’ve only edited the name of the company to protect the guilty.

Dan Gingiss: And he’s calling it Pumpernickel, which suddenly has me interested in bagels.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there you go. I figured if nothing else, if we were going to hear an email that could’ve been better, I’d make you feel hungry. All right, here’s the email and I’m quoting directly. “Hi there. Thanks for your interest in Pumpernickel. Saw you checked out some Pumpernickel resources. Plus I’d love to learn more about Joey Coleman’s current HR needs. Can you please provide the following? How many employees work at Joey Coleman? How many are you looking to hire in the next 12 months? Do you use Gmail or Outlook? What is your ATS? Are you interested in Pumpernickel’s operations platform or our standalone onboarding solution? Thanks in advance for the insight. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Dan Gingiss: And while you’re at it, Joey Coleman, could you just do my job for me, please? Because I’m unable to.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh. Ridiculous. Ridiculous.

Dan Gingiss: There are, wow. There are so many things about that email that I hate.

Joey Coleman: This is why we don’t usually talk about the negative examples because Dan and I just get worked up.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, and I love that they ask how many employees work at Joey Coleman.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Gingiss: It hasn’t even figured out what that Joey Coleman is actually a person. Yeah.

Joey Coleman: Is actually a human. A human, yeah. And to be frank, that actually left me thinking that this might have been an automated email scrape that was generated from my email address alone.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. It was.

Joey Coleman: They didn’t call me by my first name, which was odd because I had filled out a name in the name field when I was downloading.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, so you don’t use a fake name?

Joey Coleman: I actually used a fake name. I do, which I’m not going to tell you what my fake name is, but I use a fake one. But they didn’t use it. They didn’t personalize the salutation to start, “Hi there, No one.” Which is what they could have gotten from the email if they would’ve presumed, because remember the email was NoOne@JoeyColeman.

Dan Gingiss: By the way, yeah, I’m just going to interrupt you. Listeners, between you and me, I’m going to find out his fake name and I’ll tweet it out later. 

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And it’ll be on Twitter and the good news is I’ll never even know. But anyway, the moral of the story is they completely missed that Joey Coleman’s a personal name, not the name of a company.

Dan Gingiss: It also seemed like they were asking completely irrelevant questions. Like why does it matter if you use Gmail or Outlook? And what if you don’t use either of those, like if you’re still a Lotus Notes fan or a Yahoo fan?

Joey Coleman: Or a Yahoo fan, as Dan alluded to earlier.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: This is so true, but based on what I understand about Pumpernickel’s services, the email platform you’re on has little to no impact on the applicability of their offerings. I just don’t get it. I don’t get it.

Dan Gingiss: And speaking of not getting it, I’m sure others are asking when it asks, “What is your ATS?” Do you even know what that means?Because I don’t.

Joey Coleman: I have zero idea. Folks, if you’re using an acronym in your initial email to a cold prospect, in other words, someone who you don’t know and they don’t know you, please don’t use acronyms ever. It creates so much confusion and it immediately alienates you from the recipient. At best, it feels impersonal, and at worst it makes the recipient feel out of the loop or confused or frustrated that they don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

Dan Gingiss: You know it may just be me, but it seems like they’re asking all of their lead qualifying questions in a single email, and you said it before, but I think you’re absolutely right. How is this not a canned email that they just plugged in your company name?

Joey Coleman: I kind of almost hope that it is a canned email, because if it’s not and a human actually typed that email, I feel even worse about this situation than I did if it was an automation. Not only does it seem incredibly impersonal, but it also frankly feels incredibly lazy. It’s like these are the qualifying questions that a sales person would want answered in an initial sales call and here they’re going to ask them all in an email to decide if they want to keep emailing with me. It’s absolutely crazy.

Now, people who have been to some of my speeches or workshops know that I regularly draw analogies between customer experience and what it’s like when people first start dating. It’s easy to do that with this email as well. Now imagine a dating scenario where you connect with someone and decide to ask them for dinner for a first date. You then send an email that says something like this, and for those of you paying attention, I’m going to only slightly revise the email I received from Pumpernickel.

“Hi there. Thanks for your interest in me. I saw you checking me out. Plus, I’d love to learn more about your current needs. Can you please provide the following? How many relationships are you currently in? How many are you looking to be in over the next 12 months? Do you use Apple or Android? What’s your T2HU? Are you interested in me long term or as a one off solution? Thanks in advance for the insight. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Dan Gingiss: Joey.

Joey Coleman: That’s exactly what they just said to me.

Dan Gingiss: I’m the one in this scenario who is currently in a dating situation and I’m kind of glad it’s not you because that kind of email is probably not going to work. It’s actually a horrible idea.

Joey Coleman: And this is the point I make. If you wouldn’t do it in your personal lives, why the heck are you doing it in your professional lives? We shouldn’t be sending these type of emails. Now, I know personalizing a communication takes time. I know that caring about people as individuals takes effort. I know that prospecting and lead qualifying and moving people through your sales process is a challenge, but all that being said, please stop automating your initial communications. Please don’t overwhelm a prospective customer with a half dozen questions that imply that how they answer them will determine whether or not you care about them or want to continue the conversation. Folks, you can do better. We can all do better. Let’s keep in mind that the customer experience starts at the first interaction long before you or they have even figured out if they might be a good customer.

[Dissecting the Experience] Personalized Prospecting

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: Wow. After that last segment, I feel like I need a shower.

Joey Coleman: And I don’t blame you, Dan. That’s one of the benefits of a podcast though, folks. If you feel you need a shower too, just hit pause, come back to it later. Or you can play it while you’re in the shower. But I digress. Let me try to dig us out of the customer experience hole that that last segment put us into by sharing the example of how prospect qualifying via email should be done.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, please.

Joey Coleman: Okay, so I recently launched a new website at JoeyColeman.com, and in the planning and development stage, we considered several different ways to share videos on the site as well as some other websites that I have. Now, the awesome folks at Yoko Co who incidentally designed the ExperienceThisShow.com website helped me out and as part of that process suggested I sign up for a free account with several different video hosting platforms so that I could check out their respective offerings.

Now, one of the services I signed up with was Wistia. The day after signing up for my free account, I received the following email message. “Hi, Joey. Congratulations on your free Wistia account. Wow, there is so much to say, but no one likes long emails. What a career you have built for yourself. It must be so amazing to work with such large companies as Hyatt Hotels and NASA. Awesome that you are also helping others grow their knowledge with all of your speaking appearances. One last thing, I really liked how on your about page, you mentioned your family and how important they are to you. Now on to Wistia and video. How are you looking to use video? What would you be hoping to get out of video? Do you have 15 minutes to talk about your video goals and how Wistia can help? If so, here’s my calendar to choose a time that works for you. Thanks, Kristen.”

Dan Gingiss: Okay, now that, people, is how you do it. Let’s see, let’s pick this apart a little bit. First of all, she acknowledged that no one likes long emails, which is true, and she showed that she was witty and has a personality, which I love.

Joey Coleman: And even before that she called me by name.

Dan Gingiss: She did. 

Joey Coleman: It said, “Hi, Joey.”

Dan Gingiss: It’s true.

Joey Coleman: Hey, love that.

Dan Gingiss: I sort of wrote that one off as being honest but okay.

Joey Coleman: But not based on our last segment.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And I also, it is clear that she took some time to review your website and to learn about you., And granted she’s sort of citing some of it back to you to make sure you know that she knows about you, but it’s all good anyway because she did her homework about you. And the third thing that I really like, because I do this as well, is she gives you a link to her calendar so that you can easily make an appointment. And I’ll tell you, I started using Calendly about a year ago, and it is an absolute game-changer because you eliminate all those back and forth emails about, “Oh, when are you available? Are you available from any time between 9:30 and 11:30 next Thursday through Friday?” And so it makes it really easy for you to do it and it’s not nearly as pushy. I love it. I think it is an A-plus initial email.

Joey Coleman: I totally agree with you, Dan. And I admit I was intrigued even though I knew that this was really an email to hopefully shift me from the free account to a paid account. I thought it’d be interesting to connect with Kristen and if nothing else, see what motivated her to spend so much time personalizing an outreach message to me. I mean clearly she spent time on my website and learned more about me so that she could personalize and customize the message.

Dan Gingiss: So I assume you went ahead and scheduled a call with her.

Joey Coleman: Actually, no, to be totally honest, I got busy with other things. I was developing and building the website. There was a lot going on at that time and sadly I didn’t respond to her message.

Dan Gingiss: Ah, Joey. So what’s the end of the story? Did you ever connect with her?

Joey Coleman: Well, not exactly, but let’s just say Kristen didn’t take no for an answer either, which I really appreciated. A week later she sent me a video. Get it? She works for a video hosting company and the video encouraged me to reach out as well. This definitely got my attention and reinforced that the first communication wasn’t just a fluke.

Dan Gingiss: So then you scheduled a call with her?

Joey Coleman: Actually, no. Once again, I got busy with other things and I didn’t schedule the call. There was frankly so much going on at that time and while I was interested in learning more, it just wasn’t a priority right then and right there.

Dan Gingiss: I’m not sure I like this story.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I hear you. I don’t blame you, but the good news is it has a happy ending. A few weeks later I eventually got on a call with Kristen and we had a great conversation. I used the link, as you suggested, to schedule and it was super easy and fast. And I actually scheduled a call for the next morning. I explained what I was looking for. I learned a lot more about Wistia and in my conversation I actually realized that for now I was okay using their free service. But you know what the best part was, Dan? Kristen didn’t mind. Even though she didn’t get the upsell, we agreed to stay in touch and she asked my permission to reach out in a few months and see how I was doing and since then she’s checked in every once in a while to see how things are going.

Now, while I haven’t migrated to a paid account with Wistia just yet, what I have done is stopped considering all of their competitors. In short, Kristen won the business even though I’m not yet an official paying customer and the revenue hasn’t started to flow in for them. What I am ready to do is commit that when a transition to a paid account is needed, I’m not going to need any selling, I’m just going to do it.

Dan Gingiss: Well, even though I was giving you a hard time for not getting back to poor Kristin over at Wistia, I do think that your behavior is probably more common than not. I mean, companies usually hope that initial contact from a prospect, which could be subscribing to a newsletter or downloading a white paper or signing up for the free version as you did. They hope that it’s a sign of immediate interest, but in reality it’s often just the first step in a much longer process. The way we design those initial communications and the level of personalization and personality we bring to the conversation often plays a major role in determining whether or not that that person will ever become a paying customer. So remember, everyone, treat the prospect as well as you would treat a customer and the chance of that prospect becoming a customer in the future goes up dramatically.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Developing Customer Centricity

Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation. This week’s start the conversation topic is developing customer centricity. Putting customers at the heart of every business decision, customer centricity, sets the foundation for lasting relationships and customer experience success. Unfortunately, there are many challenges that organizations must overcome to develop customer centricity throughout the entire business, including unyielding focus on revenue and profits, lack of awareness of a customer experience program, lack of a buy-in from leadership, and many more.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three strategies for overcoming these challenges and developing customer centricity in your business. One, train leaders on customer centricity, its financial impact, and how to promote customer centricity within their individual teams and departments. Two, reward individual contributors for specific successes and their overall role in delivering customer-centric experiences. Three, engage in internal active listening and empower all employees to share thoughts or concerns regarding customer needs and expectations.

Joey Coleman: It’s interesting, Dan, this whole idea of customer centricity is frankly not new. It’s something that people have been talking about for a while, but so few companies actually do it. And I think part of the reason they don’t do it is because a small group of folks in the company buy into it philosophically and they presume that that’s enough to shift the whole culture.

The reality is not everyone in your organization feels that they’re responsible for the customer experience, and yet they are. There is no function in any business that doesn’t in some way impact the customer experience. And so I think we need to do things like reward people for creating great customer experiences. We need to make sure that the internal incentives are aligned for these type of remarkable customer experience creation moments. At the end of the day, by adopting a philosophy of customer centricity, we commit to an ongoing evolution and development of a different way of looking at our business, a way of putting the customers into every conversation.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about developing customer centricity. Are we doing everything we can to develop a customer centric approach throughout our organization? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own company and then continue it with our friends at Avtex by going to www.ExperienceConversations.com. Again, that’s ExperienceConversations.com

[This Just Happened] When Memes Hint at Shifting Realities

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? I was on Facebook the other day.

Dan Gingiss: Hold up, stop the presses. You were on social media, Joey?

Joey Coleman: Yes, Dan. I know it’s a shock to both you and probably to most of our loyal listeners, but every once in a while I go on social media. And while I don’t usually post anything, I do my best to observe what’s happening. I often find it’s not only a way to keep tabs on what’s going on in my Facebook friend’s lives, but I sometimes come across evidence of shifting customer experience behaviors, which is what I was hoping to talk about in this segment.

So while I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a meme of post that read as follows, and I’m quoting verbatim here folks, so please forgive me of what the post says is less than flattering about a brand that you love. “UPS, your package is in your city on a truck driven by Mike. It will arrive on your doorstep at 6:27 PM today. FedEx, your package is coming, you’ll get it when we get there. USPS, what package? Amazon. We’re already inside your apartment. Check the bathroom. Facebook, we know you were thinking about getting a toaster yesterday. Here are 20 ads for toaster ovens.”

Dan Gingiss: I love it.

Joey Coleman: Not bad, right? Not bad.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And just for some of our listeners who may not know what a meme is, a meme is a humorous image or it could be a video or sometimes just a piece of text and it’s often copied and imitated again and again sometimes with slight variations and then shared across the internet. And this one’s really funny because it’s obviously sort of taking advantage of some brand perceptions that may be true or not true, but it’s certainly a kind of tightening the screws on some of those perceptions.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. But what I liked about this, as I alluded to earlier, is it indicated, at least to me, a shift in customer expectations. So until about 45 years ago or so, the post office didn’t really have any major competitors. In the 1970s UPS and FedEx came onto the scene and for the longest time those three were the big players in getting things to your home, or at least here in the United States. And then in the mid-1990s Amazon came along, and for a while Amazon used UPS and then they added in FedEx and the US Postal Service.

Then they experimented with delivering using their own vehicles and now many of the deliveries are being made by private citizens working as independent contractors to make the deliveries. The point I’m trying to make here is that in just 45 years, a little bit less than my lifespan, the way items make it from the marketplace to your home has changed dramatically. The old maxim of, “Well, just pay attention to the competition,” doesn’t work anymore because companies like Amazon are becoming the competition for everyone.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I’m sure there are some businesses that Amazon is not going to compete with.

Joey Coleman: Well, I don’t disagree with you, Dan, and I probably could have explained that better. What I mean is that going forward, your competition isn’t the other people in your industry. It’s every experience your customers have ever had in any setting with anybody that they’re purchasing from. So you’re being compared to UPS and their give you an alert every step of the way notification.

Do you alert your customers every step of the way as you deliver your products and services? Can they check in remotely to see the progress you’re making on the offering that you’ve sold them? You’re being compared to Amazon and their, “We’re in the house already.” Do you make it beyond easy to reorder your products and services the way Amazon lets me push a button or ask Alexa and the next thing I know I have what I want at my house faster than I thought was humanly possible? Your competitors are the companies and brands and organizations that your customers are doing business with and having great experiences with in the process. That’s who you’re being measured against.

Dan Gingiss: And I want to jump in and say, because I know what some of our listeners are thinking, this is also true for B to B businesses. And the reason is that even in a B to B or business to business setting, you’re not marketing to an ivory tower. You’re marketing to another human being on the other end. And that human being is a consumer. So they have had experience with UPS and with Amazon. There’s no reason why a B to B company can’t update a client every step of the way on the process or the progress of a project that they’re working on. That’s a simple expectation that consumers now have, that the person on the other end of your B2B transaction also has.

Joey Coleman: Well, and folks, let’s be candid, your B is a C for all the hours they’re not at the office. And based on internet behavior at work, they’re also being a C at the office when they’re ordering stuff, when they should be working for you. So this whole contrived notion of, “Well, there’s B to B businesses and there are B to C businesses and they’re different.” Yeah, that played true maybe, I’ll give you a maybe, decades ago. It doesn’t apply today. It’s H to H. It’s humans to humans. So here’s the question to ask yourself: Are you raising the bar for the level of customer experience and customer service that you deliver in a way that is on pace and on par with the rest of the marketplace or with the entire world? Are you constantly exploring new ways to do that? Because if you’re not, you may end up becoming part of a meme on social media that you’re not too excited about.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 75: How to Live Up to the Standard of Making a Customer’s Entire Day

Join us as we discuss how sometimes what you see isn’t necessarily wise to believe, how to create a remarkable experience in a commoditized industry, and why the sense of smell plays a huge role in brand perception.

Manipulations, Massages, and Madelines – Oh My!

[Say What] Deepfake Videos Require Everyone to Be Skeptical

Most people are familiar with the age old maxim, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Increasingly, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and video editing, you simply cannot believe everything you see. Deepfakes are the product of human image synthesis compiled via artificial intelligence. By combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto source images or videos, deepfakes confuse the viewer and allow for videos that aren’t “real” to appear genuine. These videos can then be used to show real people (often celebrities) doing and saying things that they never actually said or did.

This is the video we reference created by Jordan Peele.

Throughout 2019, deepfakes were used for entertainment and satire (fairly harmless applications), as well as political and propaganda efforts (much more problematic). Because deepfakes are designed to purposefully deceive people and spread false information, they are going to increasingly become a challenge for companies and consumers alike. The more difficult it becomes to tell the difference between what is true and what is deception, the more challenging it will be to know whether a brand experience or impression is authentic or not.

[A]s brands and companies, we need to start thinking about how deepfakes could impact our customers’ experiences. What happens if trust erodes slowly, or in the converse, is wiped away because of a major event (caused by a deepfake video)?

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Fortunately, as quickly as deepfakes are emergining in society, companies are developing artificial intelligence solutions that can help recognize deep fakes before they are widely disseminated. While it is encouraging that companies are starting to develop the technology to expose these deceptive messages, the technology to create deepfakes is improving so quickly that the videos are getting more and more difficult to evaluate.

How can you help avoid the perils of deepfakes? First, don’t trust everything you see. Make sure to be discerning with any video that comes across your screen – especially those that seem out of character. Second, start thinking about the impact a deepfake could have on your customers’ experiences. Finally, put plans in place to mitigate the damage that could potentially happen.

[Dissecting the Experience] The Best Part of Your Day – at John Robert’s Spa

Earlier this season, we heard from customer service expert John DiJulius and discussed his newest book, The Relationship Economy. One of John’s businesses, the John Robert’s Spa – a full-service salon and spa with four locations in northeast Ohio – pairs high-quality services with John’s signature customer service.

Every employee of the salon/spa is given a card they are expected to keep with them at all times. The card outlines the standards they are expected to maintain and serves as a regular reminder of their commitment. The company’s vision statement is to be the best experience in our guests’ day. By outlining ways to live up to this standard, John sets an expectation that is both understandable and achievable.

Three Pillars that John Robert’s Employees Follow:

  • Mastering: John’s team strives to be the best trained and educated staff in the industry.
  • Emotional Connection: John’s team uses his signature “Secret Service” to connect with clients. The specialize in collecting and utilizing customer information – specifically about their customers’ family, occupation, recreation, and dreams (FORD).
  • Give More – John’s team is committed to a surprise and delight philosophy at all times.

We make them feel like the most important person in front of us and then finally give more. That’s our above and beyond pillar. Surprise and delight. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond. Be the best experience in our guest’s day – mastering, emotional connection, and give more.

John DiJulius, owner of John Robert’s Spa and author of The Relationship Economy

John sets a standard that is achievable, but he also sets a standard that makes the experience memorable and remarkable. This keeps employees focused on what matters. What can you do to set a standard that is achievable and understandable and will bring your customer experience to a new level?

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Social Media as a Customer Experience Channel

Most potential customers now turn immediately to social media when they need to research and interact with businesses. These platforms allow customers to read reviews, ask questions, and seek support for specific issues. Unfortunately, many businesses either fail to leverage social media as a CX tool or do a poor job of maintaining their CX channels. 

To use social media as a CX channel, businesses should:

  1. Know which platforms are most popular with their target audience and focus efforts there.
  2. Create detailed policies and procedures specifically for social channels (What sorts of interactions will these channels support? Who will support them? What tone will the organization take in communicating with customers and prospects?)
  3. Observe the effectiveness of their efforts and adjust as necessary.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we effectively using social media to support and engage customers?

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

[This Just Happened] The Smell of Experience

Can you remember a time when you walked into a place that smelled particularly amazing? Or perhaps, a certain smell that triggers a fond memory of your childhood? Or the scent of a specific vacation? The sense of smell is one of the most primal senses and it ties directly to our memories – triggering emotions quickly and deeply.

The sense of smell can positively affect your customer and user experience. When you walk into a store and it smells amazing, you will have a better time at the store. You will even buy more products. You will be more relaxed, happy. But imagine you walked into the local retail shop and it smelled really bad… You will walk right back out of there!

Tuli Kraus, Fresh Scents, Inc.

Is your business fully taking advantage of the sensory experience of scent? If your business has a physical presence or you offer physical products, smell should definitely be considered when designing your customer experience.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

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 75 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 how seeing isn’t necessarily believing, how to create a remarkable experience in a commodity industry, and why the sense of smell plays a huge role in brand perception.

Joey Coleman: Manipulations, Massages, and Mayhem. Oh my.

[Say What] Deepfakes

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

Dan, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’d like to make a bold prediction.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, boy. I love it when you do that, Joey.

Joey Coleman: All right. Now this, at initial glance, could be seen as a negative prediction, which is not my intention. I just think it’s an important topic that we’re seeing in the news more and more and I think we’re going to see it a lot more in, let’s say, the next six months to a year. Here’s my prediction. I think at least one well known brand is going to deal with a major, deep fake issue.

Dan Gingiss: Sorry, did you say deep fake? I’m not familiar with that concept.

Joey Coleman: Yes. A deep fake issue. A deep fake is a video created using artificial intelligence. The intention of the video is to show real people, often celebrities or spokespeople, people that we know, doing and saying things that they never actually did. Now that’s why we made this a Say What segment.

When it comes to deep fakes, it’s very difficult to believe what the person on the video is actually saying. Now, in the last year, we’ve seen deep fakes used for entertainment, for satire, and as both political and propaganda tools. In fact, former president Barack Obama and Jordan Peele created a deep fake video to illustrate how this works, which we’ll play for you now.

To be clear before we play it, this is not President Obama speaking. Because you can’t see the video. Although, you can see the video if you go over to our show notes at experiencethisshow.com. What you’re hearing is not President Obama actually, but it looks and sounds like him.

Jordan Peele: We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time. Even if they would never say those things. So for instance, they could have me say things like… I don’t know. Killmonger was right or Ben Carson is in the sunken place. Now you see, I would never say these things, at least not in a public address, but someone else would. Someone like Jordan Peele.

This is a dangerous time. Moving forward we need to be more vigilant with what we trust from the internet. It’s a time when we need to rely on trusted news sources. May sound basic, but how we move forward in the age of information is going to be the difference between whether we survive or whether we become some kind of dystopia.

Joey Coleman: What’s troubling about this video, and deep fakes in general, is that they are designed to intentionally mislead people and spread false information. I think we’re going to see some brands deal with public backlash because of messaging that is spread via deep fake videos about those brands.

Dan Gingiss: I remember seeing some of these as well, and I can’t decide what’s worse, that this is happening more and more, or that the technology is advancing so quickly that telling the difference between real video footage and deep fake is incredibly difficult.

Joey Coleman: I agree Dan, and this isn’t just going to be a challenge for social media companies and for video hosting companies and all the copyright issues and the way they might get sued. This is going to be a challenge for companies and consumers alike.

Dan Gingiss: It does sound pretty frightening from a brand perspective. Hopefully you’re going to share with us some things we can do to mitigate this.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Because here on Experience This, we like to tell positive stories, we don’t want to leave you hanging by getting you anxious and afraid of this. So here’s what we do. As customers and consumers, we need to learn not to trust everything we see. Now, I know that may feel like a sad moment and a sad time in our history, but the reality is we don’t want to presume everything is fake, but we need to be more discerning with what we hold as true.

I also think that as brands or companies, we need to start thinking about how deep fakes could impact our customer’s experiences. What happens if trust erodes slowly, or in the converse, is wiped away because of a major event? Having a deep fake strategy and being ready to counter any misleading videos or messages is something that mid and large sized brands should already be thinking about if they’re not.

Dan Gingiss: The good news is that several tech companies are developing sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to help recognize deep fakes. The software company Adobe has partnered with the University of California at Berkeley to train AI to recognize facial manipulation. This tool could eventually help consumers detect deep fakes and companies to spot deep fakes before they are widely disseminated.

Joey Coleman: You know, I am thrilled to hear that companies are, especially places like the University of California at Berkeley and Adobe, are working together to solve some of these problems, but I actually think in many ways the genie’s out of the bottle. This is going to be happening faster and causing bigger consequences than the average business or citizen is going to be able to keep up with or catch up too.

I think it’s just in many ways a dangerous time, and I hate that we have to teach people to be skeptical of what they see, because there’s this whole phrase that has been around since the beginning of human time almost, that seeing is believing, and now we actually are going to need to say, well, seeing isn’t believing. You need to figure out what you’re actually believing.

Dan Gingiss: Well, yeah, if we play the scenario out a little bit, let’s say that President Obama and Jordan Peele got together for another video, but this time it’s a video of president Obama speaking with the audio provided by Jordan Peele, and him talking about how he found a worm in his McDonald’s hamburger. And now all of a sudden, this is a video that gets passed around the internet and McDonald’s is dealing with a PR crisis because a former president got a worm in his burger, except it’s completely made up.

That’s the kind of thing that brands are going to have to be ready for, and their PR teams are going to at least have to have a plan for, as you say. And some of it may also be about educating the public specifically on deep fakes so that it’s not just this, don’t trust everything you see, which is amorphous, because the reality is we don’t know what we can trust in what we can’t, but maybe training the public on how to spot a deep fake. How to confirm whether something’s real or not. There are websites like Snopes that will either confirm or deny rumors spreading around the internet and consumers should be using sites like that to get the truth.

Joey Coleman: What I’d love is if most of the people on Facebook who have aunts and uncles and cousins that are on Facebook would start using Snopes, because the amount of times I see something posted, and I’m like, that’s just not true, that’s absolutely not true. I know you read on the internet that Abraham Lincoln said that the Tesla was his favorite car, but that’s just not true.

Dan Gingiss: But Joey, if it was on the internet, it has to be true.

Joey Coleman: If it’s on the internet it’s real. Yeah. Let’s see if we can maybe do our part. I know we played an audio clip earlier, folks. If you go to experiencethisshow.com, in the show notes we’re going to include video links to several examples of deep fake videos. I want to put a disclaimer out here. The majority of these thus far, the ones that have been really well done, have been done with political candidates. Which is terrifying in and of itself, so please don’t take our posting of these videos as being endorsements or critical, either way, of any of these candidates, but I think it’s useful to actually see just how professional these videos have become and just how realistic they seem. It’s actually pretty terrifying.

As I said at the beginning of this segment, our intention in discussing deep fakes is not to upset people or to speak negatively. Rather, our goal is to make our listeners aware of a growing problem so that they can A, be vigilant in their own video watching and B, start to think about how a deep fake would impact their customer’s experiences and what can be done now to set in place response scripts to mitigate that impact.

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: Earlier this season we heard from customer service expert John DiJulius, and talked about his new book, The Relationship Economy. Today we’re going to discuss one of John’s businesses, the John Roberts Spa, a full service salon and spa with four locations in Northeast Ohio. Started in 1993, the salons offer a combination of high quality services and John’s unmatched superior customer service. We’re going to dig into one of the many aspects which makes John Robert Spa so successful.

DiJulius hands out a card to every employee that they’re expected to carry around with them to remind them of the company’s purpose, customer service vision statement, some non-negotiable standards, and what he calls the nevers and always. Here’s John DiJulius to explain.

John DiJulius: I would like to share with you the John Roberts Spa customer service vision statement, pillars, and nevers and always. Every employee carries around a credo card with all of this on it. So our customer service vision statement, which I like to call the action statement, what we have to do every time we come in contact with anyone, be it 10 seconds or 90 minutes, it is to be the best experience in our guest’s day. Be the best part of our guest’s day. And why is that so important? Because our guests are dealing with craziness, chaos in their life, and we might be that one escape. They’re giving and giving and giving, and they come to us for a massage, hair cut, facial, pedicure, and most of all to be rejuvenated, to be refilled, so they can go back on and be Superman or Superwoman. What we’re all trying to be.

So to be the best experience in our guest’s day, that’s the what we have to do. The how is from the three pillars, mastering, emotional connection, and give more. The mastering pillar is to be operationally excellent. No one should be better at their jobs than we are. That can be the person answering the phones booking your appointment, the concierge hostess that’s greeting upon arrival, to the technician, hairdresser, esthetician, massage therapist.

The second pillar, emotional connection. We utilize our customer intelligence to personalize every experience. We collect and utilize Ford, F-O-R-D, family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. We make them feel like the most important person in front of us.

And then finally, give more. That’s our above and beyond pillar. Surprise and delight. The answer is always yes, regardless of the question. And whatever, whenever. Make their day. If it’s raining outside and they just got their hair done, ask them for their keys, pull the car around, walk them out with an umbrella, give them a John Roberts Spa umbrella, and they’ll bring it back the next time. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond. Be the best experience in our guest’s day, mastering, emotional connection, and give more.

Dan Gingiss: Pretty cool, huh Joey?

Joey Coleman: That is cool. And there’s so many pieces of that that we could dissect, but I got to say the one that really jumps out at me is that idea of wanting this to be the best part of their day. Wanting their experience at the spa to be the best part of the day. Because I think that sets a standard that is easily achievable and understandable by the staff and something that can be renewed every time that the customer comes back to the spa.

It allows you to not think, I have to create the best experience they’ve ever had in their entire life. You’re just trying to make it the best of the day, which I think is a great way to keep employees focused on what really matters.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And it’s also training them to keep their eyes open. It obviously doesn’t rain every day, so they don’t need an umbrella every single time. But it is great that the employees recognize that somebody who just got their hair done doesn’t want to walk out into the rain. A problem I don’t tend to have very often, but I can at least-

Joey Coleman: See folks, Dan made that one on his own, I was going to let that go, but he made it.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I can empathize. One of the things I thinks really cool is this list of nevers and always. John here lists 10 things that employees should never do and then a corresponding 10 things that they should always do, instead. Let’s take another listen.

John DiJulius: And then finally on our credo card, we have nevers and always. I’ll give you some examples. Something that no one in our staff represent our brand would never do or they will always do if the situation presents itself. Never points, always show them. That could be obviously face to face, someone asks you where the restroom is, or where the spa is, but that’s also over the phone. If someone calls up and asks for something, pointing would be saying, you can get that off our website. Showing them we’d be sending them a link.

Never say no. You cannot use that word. Now the always isn’t always say yes. Sometimes that’s not possible. The always is just focus on what you can do. Never say no problem. Always say certainly my pleasure, absolutely.

Some other ones never overshare. Always take care of it. Never show frustration publicly. Be a duck. Always be a duck. I want a duck. A duck is the most graceful, beautiful thing gliding across the water. What no one sees or knows is it’s paddling like hell underneath.

That is our credo cards. We go over this every day in appreciative title. One thing from it every day. So it’s always new. We can get probably 20 to 25 days out of a credo card without repeating it. That is our service vision pillars and nevers and always.

Dan Gingiss: I really like some of these and I think we’ve all experienced them with different companies that we do business with. This idea of when you’re in a really large home improvement store and you ask, hey, where are the nails? I’ve literally gotten this answer before, well you need to go down to aisle six, then turn left, then go past three different sections, then turn right, then you’ll see the washing machines, then head straight and then turn left and you’ll get there. And it’s like, yeah, I already forgot those instructions.

Joey Coleman: Can instead I follow the breadcrumbs, sir?

Dan Gingiss: And he’s saying, walk them there. Don’t point, just walk them there. And it’s such a big difference when somebody does that.

Joey Coleman: It really is. And at the risk of sounding old fashioned, it’s a return to grace and etiquette. When we were growing up, I don’t know about you guys, we were taught some of these things that I don’t think are taught as much anymore today. But that whole idea of being polite, calling people Mr. Smith, or Mrs. Smith, or Ms. Smith, and what we think of as the polite way to go through life, is not the normal way to go through life anymore.

In our effort to be more convenient and be more efficient, we’ve actually become more rude. And what I love is that John has this credo card that reminds his employees that at least when they’re there working in his shop, it’s about grace. It’s about politeness. It’s about really showing the customer the way, to deliver them that remarkable customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: The other thing I really liked, because you know I love language so much, is that he really focuses in on specific words that make a difference. John DiJulius has been saying for years that people should never say no problem in a customer service engagement. And the reason for that is that when a customer asks for something and you tell them no problem, you’ve now suggested to them that what they were asking for might have been a problem. And of course from their perspective it’s not a problem, it’s just something that they want.

It is also taking a negative word no, in front of problem, and turning it into a positive word, yes, or sure, or I’d be glad to, and I think this stuff does make a difference. You may not notice it in every interaction, but again, over time as you interact with the employees at John Robert Spa, you’re going to notice something different about them and you’re going to notice that they are more polite, that they are more graceful, that they’re using niceties, and you walk out of there feeling like you got more than just a haircut or a massage.

Joey Coleman: I also really liked his analogy to the duck. All too often I find myself in a business establishment where it’s clear that the staff is frustrated about something that has nothing to do with me. I walked into this environment. And while I wouldn’t want to suggest that folks shouldn’t be able to feel the emotions that they’re feeling and experience their emotions, there’s a difference between doing that on display for all of your customers to see, and doing it in more of a private setting or scenario. I think that standard for the team to look, we’re going to look graceful, we’re going to be elegant, even if it means underneath the system we’re running as fast as we can, is a great ideal to set for the staff.

Dan Gingiss: Never let them see you sweat, as the commercial used to say. The last thing I love about this is that, let’s face it, a salon is a commodity industry. I know in my hometown alone, there’s probably 10 choices that I could have if I wanted to go and get a massage. And so standing out with customer experience is absolutely critical because competing on price is a loser’s game and they’re essentially selling the same product. So the takeaway is when you properly train and prepare your employees to create a superior consistent experience and then show them how, you can develop the same reputation as John Roberts Spa of having a superior customer experience even in what is a commodity industry.

Joey Coleman: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can Start the Conversation.

Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start the Conversation topic is social media as a customer experience channel. Social media has become a preferred channel for customers to research and interact with businesses. These platforms allow customers to read reviews, ask questions, and seek support for specific issues. Unfortunately, many businesses either fail to leverage social media as a CX tool or do a poor job of maintaining their CX channels.

Joey Coleman: To use social as a CX channel, I talked to Dan and the folks at Avtechs because let’s be candid, I’m not really on social channels. But what businesses should do is number one, know which platforms are most popular with their target audience and focus efforts there. Number two, create detailed policies and procedures specifically for social channels. What sorts of interactions will these channels support? Who will support them? What tone will the organization take in communicating with customers and prospects? And number three, observe the effectiveness of their efforts and adjust as necessary.

Dan Gingiss: Well you’re right, Joey, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, because I literally wrote the book on the topic, which is called Winning at Social Customer Care and it will show you how to do those things that Joey just listed.

A couple of things that I want to point out here is it’s really important to be where your customers are in social media. I often get asked, especially after speeches, what social media channels should I be in? And my answer, which may not be as fulfilling as you might hope, is with another question, which is, which channels are your customers in?

When I worked at Humana and we were selling to seniors, it was not that important that we were in Snapchat, but it was very important that we were on Facebook. I also always suggest to people to respond to everyone, people who are complaining, people who are asking questions, and people who are complimenting you.

Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about social media as a customer experience channel, are we effectively using social media to support and engage customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtechs at experienceconversations.com. That’s www.experienceconversations.com.

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: I recently got the opportunity to speak at Inbound, one of the largest marketing conferences in the country, and I was invited to a networking dinner where I got to sit next to Naftuly Kraus, who goes by Tuli. His LinkedIn profile describes him as, The Scent Guy, because he works for a company called Fresh Scents Inc., which is a leader in the ambient marketing industry. The company provides nursing homes, schools, hospitals, gyms, office buildings, and more with, and I’m quoting, “scenting solutions” that are controlled by scent machines connected to mobile apps. The company’s website says, “With our sense of smell is so closely linked to memory, a pleasing aroma experience, or a bad one, can have lasting effects on a businesses bottom line.” I asked to Tuli to tell us a little bit more about the power of smell.

Tuli Kraus: Today I want to talk about how much of the sense of smell can positively affect your customer and user experience. When you walk into a store and it smells amazing, you will have a better time at the store. You might even buy more products. You will be more relaxed, happy. But imagine you walked into the local retail shop and it smelled really bad. You will walk right back out of there. You might’ve even tell your friends how bad your experience was.

Here’s a cool study that the Wheeling Jesuit University did. They had volunteers smell peppermint oil every two hours over the course of five days and when the study was over, they realized that these volunteers actually consumed 3,500 calories less, which was incredible.

There is a reason why these big hotel chains use great fragrances in the public areas, the common areas. I have friends that have come to me and said, “Tuli, have you ever been to this hotel in, for example, Colorado?” I said, “No,” and they tell me, “they have this amazing fragrance and it smells so good,” and I’m like, “Do you go there often?” They’re like, “I was there once a couple of years ago.” Just this just gives you an example how far deep in your brain the sense of smell can be stuck if it’s a good fragrance. Anyways, thanks for having me on the podcast. All the best guys.

Dan Gingiss: I don’t know about you Joey, but I found this to be absolutely fascinating, so I decided to research it a little bit more. According to Psychology Today, olfaction, which is also known as the sense of smell, is the most primal of our six senses. Throughout human evolution, the sense of smell has been key to our survival. A negative smell, such as a dead animal can trigger an instantaneous reflex to take flight, whereas a positive smell, such as burning wood or baking cookies, can trigger a sense of security. Smell directly ties to memories in a way that no other sense can. Humans are capable of distinguishing thousands of unique odors. So maybe The Rock was actually onto something when he yelled his signature question as a professional wrestler, “Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?”

Joey Coleman: Wow. I’m mostly stunned at this point because we are deep into four seasons of this podcast before we get our first professional wrestling reference in the show. Well done, Dan. Big fan of The Rock. I like it.

Well, if I may, let’s counter that with a literary reference that may play to another segment of our listeners. My wife Barrett is a voracious reader and early on in our relationship she introduced me to a fantastic book, In Remembrance of Things Past, and in this book, Marcel Proust illustrates how smell is linked to the earliest life experience and it’s stored in our memory and specific neural networks.

In this story, Proust describes very vividly how some forgotten childhood memories rocket back into the consciousness with the original intensity they had from the time, when a protagonist in the story that he’s writing about dips a Madeline Biscuit into a cup of tea.

First of all, honey, that one’s for you. Second of all, this concept is not new, thanks to The Rock. This is as, Dan noted out, primal in our existence as human beings, and I think a lot of businesses overlook the power of smell.

I have some good friends and clients, Steve and Katisha Weaver, who run a company in Ohio called Candle Lab, where you can actually go into their store, choose different scents, and then they mix them into candles or lotions. It’s actually a really unique and different experience because I don’t know about you, I’ve been gifted, shall I say, some of those scented candles that find their way being gifted right into a landfill somewhere as soon as I receive them.

Dan Gingiss: Or re-gifted.

Joey Coleman: Or re-gifted. But I actually try not to re-gift them because I’m like, why would anybody want this? But the thought of making my own was really fun.

And that’s where I think Tuli’s work as well as Steve and Katisha Weaver’s work is also a fantastic way to think about scent in your brand.

Dan Gingiss: For sure. And I just want to note for the record that while Proust was definitely onto something more than 100 years ago, The Rock clearly made smell cool again.

Joey Coleman: Oh, maybe that’s what it was.

Dan Gingiss: Tuli actually gave me a small vial of a scent that is absolutely recognizable as being from a major high end hotel chain. I can’t tell you which one because it’s one of his clients, but it was absolutely incredible because as soon as I smelled it, I could identify with that brand. And it turns out they’re not the only hotel chain that has their own smell. What I love about this is we often talk about how every interaction with the brand affects the overall customer experience, but rarely have we ever talked about an olfactory interaction.

I’ll tell you where I notice it the most. The first, and we have talked about this, is when I get into an Uber or Lyft and the car has a really heavy air freshener smell and I’ve got to immediately roll down the windows. That’s a negative connotation.

But on the positive side, I believe that every time I walk into a Starbucks I get that same pleasant smell that’s really comforting. It’s the smell of coffee, coffee beans, and usually some sort of baked goods combined. I believe that if I walked into a Starbucks blindfolded, I could probably tell you that I was in a Starbucks.

Joey Coleman: Well, and it’s interesting, so many smells are associated with specific industries. When we think about going into an open house in a real estate setting and looking at a home that you might buy, invariably they’re baking bread or chocolate chip cookies because they know those smells are really well received by the majority of people.

Or when you think about going into a hospital, often it smells like antiseptic cleaner and it has that more, yes, we’re glad it’s clean, but it feels a little on the chemically side and so automatically that’s creating emotions of fear, uncertainty, and angst in the patients that are coming to the hospital.

So I think the key takeaways here are that while smell may not be a part of every company’s customer experience, it should at least be something that you’re considering, especially if you are a business that has a physical presence. What are you doing to make sure that your brand not only looks good, but smells good?

Wow, thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience. This.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience This.

Episode 73: How to Overcome Negative Reviews and Create Stronger Customer Relationships

Join us as we discuss: The future of customer engagement, why it pays to read the fine print, and how human-to-human interactions are the key to customer experience success.

Engaging, Squinting, and Interacting… Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] A Site that Tells You What Customers Want

When it comes to customer experience topics, there are hundreds of places to find content. Recently, we got the chance to check out the site of one of our new partners on the podcast this year, SAP Customer Experience . While the site is hosted by SAP, you’d never know it because it’s only very lightly branded and really focuses on quality content. The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce offers dozens of thoughtful, intelligent, content-rich articles – all about CX. In addition, the site is designed as an experience – there are no popups, no sales pitches, they don’t sell the mailing list, and did we mention it’s FREE!

The site showcases articles and videos across six topics: commerce, customer experience, customer service, sales, marketing, and purpose (including things like diversity, gender equality, and thought leadership). The site is filled with a wide variety of articles – many of which are focused on identifying what customers really want.

What customers really want is a connected journey, based on trust. Trust is what people look for.

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce website is a great resource for customer experience professionals, and frankly anyone interested in CX (which to honest, is probably our whole listening audience)! Recently named “the best CX thought leadership portal in the industry” by Paul Greenberg on ZDnet, check out the new site from SAP today!

[Required Remarkable] Woman Wins $10K For Reading Fine Print

Do you read the fine print on your insurance policies? Don’t feel bad if the answer is no as most people don’t. But sometimes, reading the fine print can save you money – or even better, make you money. A story shared in People Magazine by Joelle Goldstein explains how a Georgia Woman Wins $10,000 for Reading the Fine Print on Her Insurance Policy Deep in the fine print of an insurance policy, a woman found a clause about a competition that included a prize of $10,000 for the first person to email and mention it. So she did. And she won $10,000!

I think there are opportunities for disclosures to be interactive. I’ve seen companies that have definitions attached to words that customers aren’t going to understand, or including pictures or video to explain some of the policies. A lot of people may not read, but they might consume a photo or a video.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Making the fine print, the ‘legalize,’ easier to understand and more entertaining, can help customers actually read the policies, and people will even respond to them. You may not want to offer a $10,000 reward to get people to read your legal disclosures, but by taking time to review your disclosures and update them with language designed to create an experience, even the most boring areas of your terms and conditions can become engaging for your customers.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Dealing with Negative Reviews

Negative online reviews are a part of doing business. No matter how hard a business tries, at some point customers are likely to encounter some frustration during their relationship. It’s your reaction to these negative reviews that matters.

You can use negative reviews as an opportunity to do better – not just for the one individual that you first disappoint, but for any customer who may encounter the same pain point or frustration. 

Here are three tips to take into consideration when dealing with negative reviews:

  1. Track common issues raised in reviews through active listening or Voice of the Customer programs.
  2. Develop a proactive outreach to negative reviewers to help address their concerns and fix the issue at hand.
  3. Create a strategy for tracking and resolving these issues.

You should always respond to everyone who leaves you negative feedback. Fix what’s wrong and then try to make the problem right. This can actually turn a client from a negative reviewer into one of your biggest advocates.

Start the conversation with this question: What actions are we taking to address our negative online reviews? To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] How to Build Stronger Customer Relationships in The Relationship Economy

John DiJulius – noted customer service guru – has a great new book called The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age. In the book, John states that in spite of (and because of) advances in technology, we’ve become a less connected society. We must get back to human-to-human interactions in order to build real relationships with our customers.

Today’s illiterate are those who have an inability to truly make a deep connection with others. Of all the skills that can be mastered, the one that will have the biggest impact on each of us personally and professionally, is the ability to build an instant rapport, an instant connection with others. Whether it be an acquaintance, friend, customer, co-worker, or a total stranger, this skill should be taught at home, in school, from pre-K to graduate school, and of course in business.

John DiJulius, author of The Relationship Economy

John DiJulius offers some specific guidelines that will help you become your customer’s most trusted advisor, including:

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Get to know your customer, not only professionally, but also personally.
  3. Be more committed to the success of your customer than they are.
  4. Don’t share how you can help them until you have completely understood their goals and their problems.
  5. Make sure your clients never meet anyone smarter than you at what you do.
  6. Be honest and transparent.
  7. Share bad news as quickly as you can.
  8. Be a resource broker by making the right connections and introductions.

If you want to learn how to build a business that nurtures human-to-human interactions and creates deep connections with customers in the process, make sure to read The Relationship Economy by John DiJulius.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the future of customer engagement, why it pays to read the fine print and how human to human interactions are the key to customer experience success.

Joey Coleman: Engaging, squinting, and interacting, oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience] A Site that Tells You What Customers Want

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: So Joey, I happened upon a great web resource for customer experience professionals and frankly anyone even interested in customer experience, which I have to assume is our entire listening audience. Seeing as how they’re currently listening to our show. Joey, this is no ordinary site. This site was recently named the best CX thought leadership portal in the industry by Paul Greenberg on ZDNet.

Joey Coleman: I’m intrigued. Tell me more Dan.

Dan Gingiss: Well, the site features articles and videos across six topics. First is commerce, which includes e-commerce, B2B, and B2C. The second is customer experience, which includes user experience, CRM or customer relationship management, public sector, and employee engagement. The third is customer service. Fourth is sales. Fifth is marketing. The sixth is purpose, which includes diversity, gender equality, et cetera. What’s cool is that the site is designed as an experience. There are no popup ads or auto play videos.

Dan Gingiss: All the articles can be read in less than 10 minutes. When you subscribe, you only receive content updates, no sales pitches. In fact, not only don’t they sell the mailing list, they don’t even let their own company use it for anything else. So this is an exclusive club.

Joey Coleman: This actually sounds too good to be true. All right. What’s the website we’re talking about?

Dan Gingiss: Patience, my dear Joey. I have been loving the thought leadership on this site because it’s not all internal people. They incorporate many different contributors throughout the industry. They have created a robust array of content and ideas for leaders in pretty much any industry, whether you’re in commerce, marketing, sales, CX, service, tech. In fact the site has more than 300 page one Google returns. So you know it’s highly credible and as you and our listeners know, thought leadership builds trust and authority. So the more we learn, the more we’re able to articulate our own thoughts and opinions with others.

Joey Coleman: Oh, so the site you’re talking about is I’m guessing either Fortune or the Wall Street Journal?

Dan Gingiss: You are not correct on either.

Joey Coleman: What?

Dan Gingiss: It’s actually the site of one of our new partners on the podcast this year. SAP Customer Experience. Though you’d never know it because it’s only very lightly branded and it really focuses only on quality content, not on selling you anything. It’s called the future of customer engagement and commerce. The URL is www.the-future-of-commerce.com and if you didn’t write all of that down, we’ll include it in the show notes. But it is the-future-of-commerce.com with hyphens between each of the words. Those six topics I listed before. They actually do map back to SAP core customer experience product, which is called C/4 HANA.

Joey Coleman: So wait a second, I actually think I’ve already come across this site. I was doing some research recently and I found a bunch of great articles there. Jason Rose wrote a piece called What Customers Want. Jeannie Walters wrote one called How to Avoid CX Disasters and Emily Morrow wrote about Four Ways to Improve Customer Service.

Joey Coleman: These were all great articles and I agree with you, it doesn’t have a kind of a promoted site feel that some of the portal sites in the industry have. I mean, let’s be candid, that’s why we’re interested in partnering with SAP because if we’re going to recommend that folks go check out a site, we don’t want it just to be a giant sales pitch.

Dan Gingiss: Every time I think I know something that you don’t, so sure, of course you’ve heard of this site before. So quote me this then if you read that article, what do customers want?

Joey Coleman: Well, Dan, I’m glad you asked. See, I spend less time on Twitter and more time on websites. What customers really want is a connected journey that’s based on trust. Trust is by far the leading quality that humans look for and need in the relationships we maintain, whether it’s in our personal life or at work or with the brands we choose to purchase from, or at least that’s what one of the articles on the site said.

Joey Coleman: In fact, 81% of global consumers say that trusting a brand is a deciding factor in their purchase decisions and once a company has gained the trust, they’ve also gained your loyalty.

Dan Gingiss: It does make you wonder why so many companies still have archaic policies and nuisance fees when trust is all they really need. Not to mention all those companies losing our personal data. So here’s something I’ll bet you don’t know. That the topics on the site also get featured on Twitter in the form of a monthly CX tweet chat, which I actually got to participate in recently and was a ton of fun. That allows readers to engage with the content and express their own thoughts on the topics.

Joey Coleman: My friend as usual you are correct. I don’t know the Twitters, I leave all the twittering to you.

Dan Gingiss: Well, thank you, I appreciate that. So do yourselves a favor, loyal listeners and bookmarked www.the-future-of-commerce.com for tons of great content that will inspire you to take the next step in your customer experience journey. While you’re at it, if you are not like Joey and you actually are on Twitter, follow our friends at SAP Customer Experience on Twitter and they are @sap_cx. I follow them. They have great content. A lot of it from this site that they share on Twitter. So it’s a really good follow. Thanks so much. The SAP Customer Experience team for being great partners with the Experience This show

[Required Remarkable] Woman Wins $10K For Reading Fine Print

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.

Dan Gingiss: So although this is a required remarkable segment, it’s actually based off of a great article in of all places. I’m sure a place that you read quite often, Joey People Magazine.

Joey Coleman: Only when I’m getting my haircut, Dan. Which is most people know is rarely.

Dan Gingiss: So there was an article earlier this year by Joelle Goldstein on People.com that is called, Georgia Woman Wins $10,000 for Reading the Fine Print on Her Insurance Policy. The subhead is, after years of constantly reading the fine print of documents Donelan Andrews’s meticulous work finally paid off.

Dan Gingiss: Now you can probably imagine the details of this story and we’re not going to go through the article, but I pick this out because we love to talk about fine print and legalese on this show. How it can actually detract from the experience if you’re not paying attention to it. So this insurance company did something really cool and basically buried a prize within the fine print, literally knowing that nobody was going to read it until this fine woman found it and actually won the prize.

Dan Gingiss: I absolutely love it. As I said, we’ve talked about fine print before on the show, even way back in season one, episode 11 when we talked about iflix which is the Asian competitor to Netflix. They have an email disclosure at the bottom that instead of saying the typical, “If you’re the unintended recipient of this email you must delete it immediately or we take your children.”

Dan Gingiss: They start with a headline that says covering our butts. What’s awesome about it is it actually gets you to read the disclosure because it’s interesting and the rest of it is just as humorous. That of course fills the lawyers dreams of people actually reading it. So that’s what happened in this story. I also remember a test that I did when I was at Discover where we had an ad and as with most credit card ads, there were a lot of asterisks throughout their fine print, right?

Joey Coleman: What? You’re kidding. No, not at all.

Dan Gingiss: What we did was we tested. I believed as a psychology major and also I’m a marketer. So I believed that an asterisk had a negative connotation that it basically told you there’s fine print and there’s something to look out for. So I did a test where the only thing I changed on the ad was I changed the asterisks to footnote numbers. Because I believed that a footnote number suggests there’s additional interesting information. Like when you see a footnote in a book or a scholarly article.

Joey Coleman: Folks, he’s not just pretty, he’s smart.

Dan Gingiss: Believe it or not, we saw a double digit increase in response rate by only changing the asterisks to the numbers. So this is really interesting topic and it’s why I picked out this article because I love that this woman won that money and that the insurance company paid it.

Joey Coleman: I think it’s great. I think it’s great that the lawyers who wrote that fine print had fun with it. Now whether it was them or the marketers involved in the company, who knows. But to be honest, I went to GW Law School in Washington, DC. I had a great legal research and writing professor. During your first year of law school, everybody is required to take a class called legal research and writing.

Joey Coleman: The point of the writing portion of that class was to try to get people to not write in legalese. That was the mission at least of my professor for that class. I remember very well his name is Ken Kryvoruka and Ken was great because he was always encouraging us to eliminate the legal words and write in common language.

Dan Gingiss: You mean like plain English?

Joey Coleman: Yes, plain English. Exactly. To make it much more legible, much more readable, much more understandable. That’s definitely something that I know there is a pocket of lawyers that are committed to. I know lots of times on the show and in my presentations I make fun of lawyers and I usually excuse that because I am one, but I know that there are lawyers that pay attention to this.

Joey Coleman: There is a legitimate concern that the lawyers have though. Because disclosures have really turned into the CYA tool for any potential issue that you might come across. So the best lawyers I find are the ones who are working with the marketing team to translate the legalese into something more entertaining.

Joey Coleman: Now, quick story. On my website, there is a privacy policy. Now I don’t collect any data, so there doesn’t really need to be a privacy policy. But I put one on there just for giggles and it’s written to have the legal CYA elements that I need. But it’s written to be entertaining when you read it.

Joey Coleman: Here’s the funny thing, about once a quarter, someone will email me and say, “Oh my gosh, I’m rolling on the ground laughing. I just read your privacy policy. Thank you so much for having fun with this.” So we try to practice what we preach. There is not, in my opinion, a business on the planet today that wouldn’t benefit from looking at their rules, their policies, their descriptions. And trying to inject a little fun, a little humor, a little levity, something to make it more exciting.

Joey Coleman: Now, I’m not saying you have to put in that there’s a $10,000 prize, but what I am saying is you can connect with your customers in an entirely different way because some of them are reading the fine print

Dan Gingiss: Just in case people don’t know what Joey’s legal acronym of CYA means, it’s kind of the equivalent of iflix covering our butts, but use your imagination for what the A stands for.

Joey Coleman: We keep this clean for the kids so you can listen to the podcast while you’re driving them to school folks.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. We don’t want that explicit tag added on.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. No explicit for the Experience This show.

Dan Gingiss: So I think there’s also opportunities for disclosures and other terms and conditions to be interactive. I’ve seen companies that have definitions attached to words that customers aren’t going to understand or that include pictures or even video in explaining some of the policies. Because a lot of people aren’t going to read, but they might consume a photo or a video.

Dan Gingiss: Remember that the goal of disclosures and legalese is to explain the finer details to a customer. I often get asked because I’ve worked in regulated industries both in financial services and in healthcare, which can be really difficult. How do you deal with that as a marketer? Where I start from is that regulators often have a good customer experience sense in mind when they create the regulations. The problem then is that they tell us how to execute on them and that is generally going to be in a way that isn’t that customer friendly.

Dan Gingiss: But if we start from the fact that the regulators, the lawyers, and the marketers all want customers to understand what they’re getting themselves into; that we all should have the same goal of making sure that the disclosures are easy to understand so that people do get what they’re going into. So I do think working together with those groups is probably the best way to make your language more understandable.

Dan Gingiss: So I want to send my personal congratulations to Donelan Andrews’ for her meticulous work as the headline said, in reading the terms and conditions and for winning the $10,000. But the takeaway obviously is that it shouldn’t take $10,000 to get people to read your legal disclosures. Take the time, read them yourself. If you find yourself falling asleep, drooling on the table, then that means your customers are doing the same thing, and use language to create an experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Dealing with Negative Reviews

Dan Gingiss: Sometimes all it takes is a single question to get your company thinking about an improved customer experience. Here’s an idea for how you can start the conversation

Dan Gingiss: This weeks’ Start the Conversation topic is dealing with negative reviews. Negative online reviews. Unfortunately, they’re a part of doing business. Try as hard as you might. Customers are likely to encounter some frustration during a lengthy relationship with the brand and they’re not afraid to share it out in public.

Dan Gingiss: So it’s how you react to these negative reviews that really matters. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to do better, not just for that one customer that you disappointed, but for any other customer that might encounter the same pain point or frustration down the road.

Joey Coleman: In order to put this into practice, here are three things to consider when dealing with your negative reviews. Number one, track the common issues that are raised in your reviews through active listening or voice of the customer programs. Number two, develop proactive outreach to negative reviewers in order to help address their concerns and fix the issue at hand.

Joey Coleman: Number three, create a strategy for tracking and resolving these issues. Don’t make it a system of one offs and you need to meticulously record and track these to make sure that every negative review is being effectively and efficiently addressed.

Dan Gingiss: Look, I’ve been talking about this for years. You need to respond to everyone who leaves you feedback. The one exception there would be trolls and we’re not talking about trolls here. We’re talking about people that have legitimate negative feedback and are leaving online negative reviews. Use it as a learning opportunity to fix what’s wrong, but also respond to them and try to resolve the individual’s problem.

Dan Gingiss: You will be shocked how many times I’ve seen in my career where somebody that starts off as a detractor get their problem resolved and then becomes a company advocate. You actually turn them around to be somebody that wants to promote your brand because how you reacted when times were tough.

Dan Gingiss: So it’s a huge opportunity to take advantage of. I recommend that every company not be afraid of complaints because as I like to say, the people who complain are the ones who care, the ones who don’t care have already left for your competitor.

Joey Coleman: Now for this week’s question about dealing with negative reviews, what actions are we taking to address our negative online reviews? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex@experienceconversations.com that’s experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] How to Build Stronger Customer Relationships in The Relationship Economy

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: So I’m super excited about this week’s book report, because it is by a great friend of the show and long time customer service guru. John DiJulius and he has a brand new book out called The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the digital Age.

Dan Gingiss: In the book he argues that in spite of and because of the advances in technology, we’ve all become a little bit less connected with each other. That we have to get back to H to H or human to human interactions in order to build real relationships with customers and brands. We’re going to have John tell us a little bit about his new book, The Relationship Economy.

John DiJulius: Today we are living in the digital disruption era. Technology has provided us with unprecedented advances, information, knowledge, instant access, and entertainment. As convenient as these advances have made our lives, it also changed the way we communicate, behave, and think, which has led to a dramatic decline in our people skills.

John DiJulius: As a society, we are now relationship disadvantaged. The pendulum has swung so far over to high-tech low touch and those who understand that human touch is the most important part of any experience, especially a great customer experience will flourish. Personally and professionally success is about creating and building human connections.

John DiJulius: Technological advancements are critical to every business staying relevant. However, technology by itself is not a differentiator. The more you place technology between the company and the customer, the more you remove the human experience. For anyone in any business to thrive in the future, they will have to master the art of relationship building. Organizations now need to reinvent their business model to marry digital and human experience in the best way possible.

John DiJulius: In a relationship economy, the primary currency is the connections and trust among customers, employees, and vendors that create significantly more value in what we sell. These relationships and connections help make price irrelevance. The relationship economy is about building a culture that recognizes the importance of each individual and making everyone part of a community that is working towards something bigger, a community that makes them feel cared for.

John DiJulius: The relationship economy is how strongly you feel about the people and businesses in your life. Relationships are the biggest differentiator in customer and brand loyalty. Relationships are at the center of all we do. Welcome to the relationship economy.

Joey Coleman: I love this book and I love John’s perspective on this. I think it’s really interesting that we live in an era where humans are more connected than at any other time in human history. You can be friends with someone thanks to the internet who lives on the other side of the world, who you’ve never met and you never will meet.

Joey Coleman: And yet if we talk to mental health professionals around the world, humans are experiencing more loneliness, more depression, more feelings of disconnection and disease than in any other time in human history. So this idea of focusing on relationships and the power of building relationships, again, both in our professional and our personal lives is so timely and so vital and so important.

Joey Coleman: At the end of the day, customer experience really is about relationship. If we boil it down to its core essence, customers crave a relationship with the businesses they interact with. In fact, I would posit that as more true today than at any other time in human history.

Joey Coleman: We have so many customers that want to do business with people who are friends. They want to do business with brands that stand for the same things that they do. In many ways, it’s kind of a reversion back to when we were more of an agrarian society where you went to the general store and they knew you by name and you knew them by name and everybody was in it together working alongside each other.

Joey Coleman: While businesses have grown, while technology has created distance between folks, that yearning for more relationship and more connection is truer today I think and is only increasing in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more and I would argue actually that although the technology has caused people to feel further apart, I actually think social media is one of the things that has caused this trend. The reason is is that social gave consumers a voice for the first time, but it also gave them an opportunity to interact with brands that they never had the chance to do before. Right?

Dan Gingiss: In the past, if you wanted to interact with a brand, you wrote them a letter or you called their 800 number. But that was really if you had a customer service problem and now all of a sudden we can talk to brands as friends. We can talk to them as really other humans and we get messages back that are often signed by Sally or Steve or whatever.

Dan Gingiss: So there’s a human on the other end. That has built a different kind of relationship between consumer and brand than ever existed before. I think what consumers are saying is, “We like that and we want more of it.”

Joey Coleman: Well, and I think reiterate your point Dan, that idea of we need to respond to our customers on social. The days of somebody putting an opinion or a critique in the suggestion box and that was the end of it are gone. The customers want that back and forth. Give and take interaction.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. So we on this show, love to ask authors what their favorite passage of their own book is. So here is John DiJulius reading his favorite passage from The Relationship Economy.

John DiJulius: Today’s illiterate are those who have an inability to truly make a deep connection with others. Of all the skills that can be mastered, the one that will have the biggest impact on each of us personally and professionally is the ability to build an instant rapport, an instant connection with others. Whether it be an acquaintance, friend, customer, coworker, or total stranger.

John DiJulius: This skill should be taught at home, in school from pre-K to graduate school, and of course in business. Unfortunately, it is rarely taught in any formal way. Make no mistake about it. The lack of social skills our society has today is the problem of business leaders to solve, and there’s three ways we have to do this.

John DiJulius: Number one, use technology to perform basic tasks, alternative convenience for customers, enabling employees to focus on what is most important. Building relationships that result in higher customer loyalty, retention, lifetime value, and job satisfaction. Number two, build a culture that creates emotional connections with your employees. Finally, number three, incorporate relationship building training for new and existing employees.

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love the way John compares this inability to make deep connection to illiteracy. It’s that important. This is such a crucial and vital piece of the customer experience and the relationship we’re trying to build with our customers.

Joey Coleman: I read this book cover to cover, there are so many fantastic passages, but my favorite quote or passage from the book is as follows. Being a trusted advisor means demonstrating that no one cares about your customer’s business like you do. You earn business by being generous with your knowledge and resources without asking for anything in return.

Joey Coleman: John then goes on to give some specific guidance on how to become a most trusted advisor. Trusted advisors is a phrase that is bandied about in board rooms and halls of business around the world all day, every day. But how do you actually do it? How do you get to that position of being a trusted advisor?

Joey Coleman: Well, there are eight key steps. Number one, love what you do. Number two, get to know your customer not only professionally but also personally. Number three, be more committed to the success of your customer than they are. Number four, don’t share how you can help them until you have completely understood what their goals and problems actually are.

Joey Coleman: Number five, make sure your clients never meet anyone smarter than you at what you do. Number six, be honest and transparent, which segues to number seven, share bad news as soon as you can. And number eight, be a resource broker by making the right connections and introductions at the right time that will benefit your customers.

Dan Gingiss: I love how John talks about being a trusted advisor because in full disclosure, Joey, John has been a trusted advisor for me for many years. He’s been a mentor and a teacher and a guy that I can bounce ideas off of, which I really appreciate. So he is one of these guys that doesn’t just write about it. He practices what he preaches.

Dan Gingiss: So I to really love the book and my favorite quote actually is sort of a quote of a quote because it comes within the book from founder and CEO Sheldon Wolitski of the Select Group, which is one of the leading IT recruiting and staffing companies.

Dan Gingiss: Here’s what Sheldon said, “I went out and hired a CXO chief experience officer and his whole role is to make sure that customers are having an amazing experience. It’s been an absolute game changer. We are just obsessed over this and it’s interesting. It’s actually given all of our employees a little bit more of a purpose in life as well and a purpose in their job. Before we were focused on revenue and placing people, but now we are focusing on impacting lives and that’s what we’ve really done. It’s really kind of the why behind why we do what we do. So it’s been a huge transformation.”

Dan Gingiss: I love that because most companies don’t yet have a chief experience officer, but it is becoming a title that is starting to be introduced and I think it’s a great case study to see that it can make a huge impact when the buck stops with someone on customer experience. Somebody who is able to take that 30,000 foot view and see the entirety of the customer journey with your company.

Joey Coleman: Folks, this is a great book. This is a great book for you. This is a great book for your team. This is a great book for anyone in your life that understands the importance of relationships or wants to reinvest and double down into the relationships they have. So go buy the book. Don’t rent the book, don’t check the book out of library.

Joey Coleman: Okay. You can check the book at our library if you really want to, but I’d encourage you to buy the book because this is the kind of book that you’re going to want to come back to again and again. The book is The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age by John DiJulius. A great speaker, a great author, a great customer experience professional. Go get The Relationship Economy today. 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 Experience This show.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience and we want you to be part of the Experience This show.

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.