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 101: How Trends Shape and Influence Customer Expectations

Join us as we discuss what the past decade can teach us about the next decade, how a bespoke publisher creates raving fans, and how the future of personal information is going to get even more messy.

Curation, Creation, and Contention – Oh My!

[Book Report] Understanding How Shifting Trends Can Impact Your Business

As individuals and businesses transition from decade to decade, they often spend time in reflection and evaluation of where they have been, where they are, and where they are going. Rarely do they make the time however to consider their positioning in a shifting global landscape.

Joey and Dan are both fans of their friend Rohit Bhargava and his newest book, Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future. In his book, Bhargava explores a variety of trends that he sees changing and sculpting the world today. He then outlines a process to help you think in terms of these trends and apply them to your own business.

For example, one of the emerging trends is Revivalism – which Bhargava describes as follows:

Overwhelmed by technology and a sense that life is now too complex and shallow, people seek out simpler experiences that offer a sense of nostalgia and remind them of a more trustworthy time.

Rohit Bhargava, author of Non Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future

CX professionals should consider how this trend of customers seeking “simpler experiences with a sense of nostalgia” can influence their organization’s product and service offerings.

Another trend Bhargava explores that is particularly relevant to customer experience is “The Human Mode.” He explains that this trend stems from the rise of artificial intelligence and creates a world where human interaction is increasingly valued as a luxury. Bhargava shares how humanity and vulnerability can be emphasized by blending a sense of empathy into products and processes. Interesting enough, this is exactly the type of messaging that caught Joey’s eye while walking through the airport and seeing an advertisement emphasizing humans over robots (see Episode 96).

From amplified identity, to instant knowledge, to data abundance, to flux commerce, Non Obvious Megatrends explores shifting customer behaviors and expectations that every business should be pay attention to and incorporate into their offerings. If you’re ready to deep dive into these topics and apply them to your business, go buy Non Obvious Megatrends today!

[Dissecting the Experience] Making Things Beautiful Rockets Your Business Forward

As it turns out, sometimes you can judge a book by it’s cover. The fascinating Boulder, Colorado-based company Juniper Books is committed to making your bookshelves more beautiful. They design book covers for books that have already been written in order to better showcase their story from your shelf.

Based on several experiences as a Juniper Books customer, Joey learned several maxims that can be applied to any business in order to enhance the customers’ experiences.

Beautiful design should be incorporated into every product and service you offer. Juniper Books takes existing books and gives them more beautiful covers so that the books jump of the shelf visually.

Find creative ways to do more business with your current customers. Juniper Books keeps loyal fans immersed in growing their book collections by offering a subscription for “Books Everyone Should Own” – a series of classic books with refreshed, unique covers.

Make each customer feel like they are the most important customer. When Joey placed a bulk order of the book, For the Love of Books by Juniper Books founder Thatcher Wine, Wine personalized every copy to add a special touch for the recipients to which Joey gifted the book.

P.S. To see Juniper Books in action, check out the GORGEOUS “coffee table must-have” For the Love of Books by Juniper Books founder Thatcher Wine (disclosure: Thatcher and Joey are friends – but Joey loved his work long before he met Thatcher in person!)

[Agree to Disagree] The Benefits and Costs of More Convenience

In every home and office around the world, shifting expectations reveal an ongoing battle: do we share our private information to achieve greater convenience, or do we protect our information and retain our privacy? While there are certainly advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, it’s not a simple “do it” or “don’t do it” decision for most individuals and organizations.

The Case in Favor of Privacy

  1. Limits the Power of Governments and Corporations – Whoever has the data, has the power. The more information we relinquish, the more likely it is to be used to manipulate our decisions, attitudes, and behaviors.
  2. Respects the Individual – When identity or private information is stolen, abused, or even mis-used, it disrespects the individual.
  3. Allows for Second Chances – Thanks to the “always on, often recorded” digital footprint of today, young people growing up online have every misstep and mistake cataloged for future review and analysis. This seems to accelerate expectations while offering little room for evolving thoughts or even honest mistakes.

The Case in Favor of Convenience

  1. Saves You Time – the one thing that we can’t produce more of is time. By sharing your likes, dislikes, past preferences, and past actions, organizations tracking your data can serve up realtime solutions and product offerings that save you countless hours of searching and remembering.
  2. Allows You to Think Less. When things like account numbers, passwords, and even past food orders are saved and cataloged, you don’t need to devote much active thought to navigating the details and minutia of your day. Things are taken care of and remembered for you.
  3. Makes Life Easier. When items can be ordered, used, re-ordered, and delivered without your direct involvement, life is just easier. Simplification of interactions makes continuing to do business with a company much easier.

As you consider your own habits and behaviors, don’t forget to apply these concepts to your business. What are you doing to make your customer experience more convenient? And, what are you doing to protect your customers’ privacy?

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 101 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: 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 what the past decade can teach us about the next decade, how a bespoke publisher creates raving fans and how the future of personal information is going to get even more messy.

Joey Coleman: Curation, creation, and contention, oh, my!

[Book Report] MegaTrends

Joey Coleman:   We are 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. As you reflect on the past decade and look forward to the next decade, we found a great resource to help you think bigger about the trends that are shaping the world. Let’s listen to my great friend and prolific author, Rohit Bhargava, as he describes his newest book.

Rohit Bhargava: Hey. This is Rohit Bhargava, and I wrote a book called Non‑Obvious Megatrends, which is all about how to see the world a little bit differently and how to put the pieces together across multiple industries and really do what I think we need to do a little bit more of in the world, which is be more open-minded and read the things that we don’t agree with and try and think for ourselves, and so the book outlines a process to do that, something that I call non-obvious thinking, and then it spotlights 10 different megatrends that I believe are changing the world and our culture and how we believe what we believe in and how we choose to buy or sell certain things, and one of the megatrends that I think is really relevant particularly when it comes to customer experience is a trend that I called human mode.

Rohit Bhargava: Human mode was a response to the idea that, in a world where we have more and more automation and we see more technology coming, we believe in and trust each other and the human power, and so human mode is partially about this idea that, in a situation where we have human contact, we treat that as a luxury and we choose to engage with people more, and we’re sometimes willing to even pay more for that, but the other side of it is that we expect that the things that we buy and the things that we consume are made with more empathy and are made in more human ways, and so one of the ideas that I really challenge people to think of is, instead of just looking at something that’s put out and saying that’s made in the USA or that’s made in Italy, what if we put it out that something was made with empathy? What would that look like?

Rohit Bhargava: A great example is what Starbucks has been doing across a couple of different locations where they employ entirely deaf or hearing-impaired workers in a particular location, and they have one of these in D.C. near where I live, near Gallaudet University, and it’s fascinating because not only are they doing something that is amazing for the community there, but, people who go in, whether they’re hearing impaired or not, are now trying to order their drinks using sign language, and I think that that’s what starts to happen. When we create these human experiences, we become more human ourselves, and that’s what I really love about that trend, so that’s one megatrend. There’s nine others, but I think there’s a lot of relationship between experiences, and, ultimately, what the book is about is trying to get you to think a little bit differently about the world, so I hope you enjoy it.

Dan Gingiss: When we first asked Rohit to share an overview of his book and talk about a trend that he thought specifically applied to customer experience, we actually had no idea that he was going to talk about the Starbucks near Gallaudet University where the staff is entirely deaf or hearing impaired.

Dan Gingiss: You may remember that we discussed this exact same Starbucks in episode 42 way back in season two of the show, so it was fun to hear him talk about that, and I want to just tell you, Joey, that, this morning, when I got my Starbucks, I noticed that the manager of the store had business cards out where you went to collect your coffee and the business cards had braille on them, and I thought that was really cool.

Joey Coleman: Oh, wow, that’s so cool. I love it. It seems like, Dan, maybe we’re trend spotters. We’re early on it. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: What do you mean it seems like? Of course, we are.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Yes, to be honest, I’ve been a huge fan of Rohit and his work for over a decade now, and this book is filled with ideas, trends and concepts that every business should be considering if they want to be around 10 years from now. My favorite passage from the book comes from the trend revivalism, and it reads as follows. “Overwhelmed by technology and a sense that life is now too complex and shallow, people seek out simpler experiences that offer a sense of nostalgia and remind them of a more trustworthy time.”

Joey Coleman: Now, to be honest, not only have I seen this behavior in the marketplace, I’ve actually felt myself feeling and acting this way more and more. I’m comforted by movies that I watched as a kid. I find myself pausing to listen to songs that were popular when I was coming of age. I’m increasingly more interested in spending time with old friends just chatting instead of seeking out new acquaintances while participating in activities.

Joey Coleman: I think I like this trend because I’m actually living this trend, but what about you, Dan? What was your favorite part of the book?

Dan Gingiss: I’d be remiss if I didn’t say I’m very happy that I’m in the old-friend category…

Joey Coleman: Yes, you are.

Dan Gingiss: … given that last time statement.

Joey Coleman: I’ve known Dan for a very long time, over 20 years at this point, and, yeah, you will be part of my revivalism trend.

Dan Gingiss: Thank goodness. I also definitely got into this book, thanks to Joey’s recommendation, and especially the way that Rohit illustrates the trends by telling interesting stories from around the world, and it’s really more of a global review, and we have been, I have been accused in times of having a US-centric view, which makes sense, I live in the United States, but I think it’s really important to know what’s going on globally on both a micro and a macro level.

Joey Coleman: To that point, Dan, if I may interrupt, folks, if you’re listening to the show and you don’t live in the United States, we would love to hear from you. Go to experiencethisshow.com. Click on the contact page, and there’s an orange button that, if you press it, it says, “Start recording.” If you press that, you can leave us a message. Tell us about a brand you’ve had an experience with. Tell us about how customer experience in your country or in your community is different. We would love to feature more international information and international stories on the show. It’s just that, sometimes, it’s more difficult for Dan and I to gather those and bring them back.

Dan Gingiss: Agreed, so I picked a passage as well, and my… My favorite passage came from the trend attention wealth, and here’s the quote. “Share your backstory. To break through the noise, share your backstory, letting customers know why and how you do what you do. Luxury brand Hermès, for example, launched a film that takes consumers inside one of its silk mills in Lyon, France, to illustrate how its products are made. If you can share your story in an interesting way, showing your craft or trade with humility and vulnerability, you might be able to interest current customers or, potentially, new ones to spend more time and money with you.”

Joey Coleman: I love it. In a book about future trends, we’re talking about telling your backstory in a more compelling fashion. Since the first humans walked the planet, we’ve gathered around the fire to tell stories about our experiences, and I find it ironic and, to be honest, encouraging that everything that is old is becoming new again.

Dan Gingiss: There’s your nostalgic revivalism again, isn’t it?

Joey Coleman: Look how it’s coming out. I love it. I definitely feel like I’ve identified the trend that most applies to me. Folks, there are incredible trends to explore in this book, including amplified identity, instant knowledge, data abundance, flux commerce and so many more that we’ve alluded to on this show over the past five seasons.

Joey Coleman: If you want to really dive deep into these fascinating topics and see how they can be applied to your business or industry, look no further than Rohit Bhargava’s final installment of his Trend Series, the book titled Non-Obvious Megatrends, How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future. It will really change how you see the world. Please press pause on this podcast right now and go order a copy of the book. It’s entertaining. It’s actionable, and it’ll help you stay relevant and successful in the crazy decade to come.

[Dissecting the Experience] Juniper Books

Dan Gingiss: Sometimes, a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation.

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.

Joey Coleman: We absolutely love books here on the Experience This Show, books about customer experience, books about customer service, nonfiction books, fiction books, old books, new books and, yes, even books about books, which is how I got introduced to a fantastic company right here in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, called Juniper Books. I met the impressive CEO, Thatcher Wine, who, yes, lives up to his impressive name as well, at an event where he publicly shared his personal story from the stage. Then I got to spend some time with him at a few different fundraisers because our children attend the same school. Then I read his fantastic magnum opus, For the Love of Books, Designing and Curating a Home Library, and then I started doing business with his company.

Dan Gingiss: All right, I’m intrigued. What does his company do?

Joey Coleman: I’m happy to tell you, Dan, but, to get the full experience, I think it’d be useful to share a little backstory about Juniper Books. It was founded by Thatcher Wine in 2001, and Thatcher had always loved reading and collecting books, and he began his career sourcing one-of-a-kind and rare book collections for clients around the world. A few years later, he invented the concept of a custom book jacket, designing beautiful, engaging, aesthetically pleasing covers for incredible books, so they take a great book that’s already been written and design a new cover that you put on it that is more artful and more engaging. Today, Juniper Books works with thousands of customers in over 50 countries, helping them fall in love with books all over again.

Dan Gingiss: I have a confession to make. I have read maybe two E-books in my entire life…

Joey Coleman: Really?

Dan Gingiss: … because I still like having a physical book. It’s one of those things I just can’t trade in, and I used to, my first job out of college, I worked for this high-end collectibles company that had three different divisions, and one of them was called the Easton Press. The Easton Press is known for its beautiful leather-bound books.

Joey Coleman: Beautiful books, yeah, I’m very familiar with it.

Dan Gingiss: As an employee, I got a pretty sweet discount on these books…

Joey Coleman: Oh, nice.

Dan Gingiss: … and I subscribed to a couple of the collections, the most popular one being the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written, and they come in these just gorgeous bindings, and they look so great, and more than one person told me that my bookshelf made me look smarter, and I was like, “Even if I haven’t read all these books?” and they’re like, “Yeah, just having them on your shelf makes you look smarter.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and we talked earlier in the season about my buddy, Ryan Holiday, who is a prolific writer and reader, and one of the things he advocates very publicly is don’t feel bad about buying books that you haven’t read yet, that there’s something to be said for being surrounded by books and what that does to your brain and what that does to your commitment to growth and learning, and so I absolutely love that you have that collection.

Joey Coleman: It’s interesting, I love going to people’s homes and looking at the books they have and also looking at how people arrange books, which, if you’re interested in how you present your book collection, you’ve got to check out Thatcher’s book because it’s all about designing the bookshelves and the bookcases at your home. It’s this colorful coffee table book, so to speak, that is so rich in imagery and detail and suggestions. It’s absolutely fantastic.

Joey Coleman: Allow me if I may to share their mission from their website, because I think this helps to give everyone the full picture of what Juniper Books is all about. Juniper Books is dedicated to elevating the printed book by enhancing its design quality and aesthetic, deepening the meaning of books in our lives and facilitating the connection between the stories books tell us and the stories they tell about us. We chose the name Juniper Books for a reason. Juniper trees live for up to a thousand years. Printed books have been around for 500 years, and we’re doing our part to make sure they are around for at least 500 more.

Dan Gingiss: I love it, so you mentioned that you did business with them, and, based on what you’ve shared already, it wouldn’t surprise me if the experience was as impressive as what they do with their books.

Joey Coleman: You are correct as usual, my friend, so there were three interactions that I had that particularly stood out, and I thought it’d be interesting for us to discuss these as underlying principles that can and should be applied to every company. First, the products and services you offer should be beautifully designed. Juniper Books takes books that have already been written, books that already have jackets, and it redesigns them to be artwork for your shelf.

Joey Coleman: How many times have you read a book and realize that, when it’s sitting on your shelf, the appearance doesn’t do justice to what you know is inside the book on the pages? Juniper Books breathes new life into products that people already love, and it encourages them to display their collections in a way that encourages others to then ask about the books they have.

Dan Gingiss: I can definitely see how that can apply to other businesses. I mean, design and aesthetics matter a lot more than people think. Often, I’ll use a product and think this is a really good product, but it doesn’t stand out in any way for its design. If you look at brands like Apple, Mercedes, Lululemon, they have really brought design sensibility to functional product offerings, but many companies still skip that design part when they’re thinking about how to package or present their offerings.

Joey Coleman: It’s so true, Dan, and, to be honest, in 2020, it shocks me how many businesses aren’t evaluating the look and feel of their offerings and figuring out how to make them more beautiful, but there’s opportunities for growth. The second thing that businesses should consider is how can I do more business with my most loyal fans? Now, the typical business I think approaches this by asking, “How can I sell them more?” Juniper Books seems to have answered this question by asking, “How can I make them collect more?”

Joey Coleman: You see, people that buy books are often collectors of books without realizing that they’re collectors, and so Juniper created a subscription offering called Books Everyone Should Own, and I just love the name of it because it implies that, if you love books, you better subscribe to this because there may be books in it that you should own that you don’t, and they don’t tell you what the books are. It’s a subscription that comes every month over the mail. Now, Thatcher curates the books that are in this set, and they are timeless novels that are then mailed to the subscribers with a custom cover that has been designed by Juniper Books.

Dan Gingiss: It is a great name because it also creates this sense of FOMO, or fear of missing out.

Joey Coleman: Of course.

Dan Gingiss: You want to know what the next one is, so I think it is a naturally recurring subscription that, I think, my guess is its retention rate is pretty high on it as well. Any one of those themes that you just described could be applied to most businesses to come up with creative ways to serve their most loyal customers even more.

Dan Gingiss: I would suggest a couple of questions that people should ask themselves about their business. How can you send your products to your customer on a recurring basis? How can you do the hard work of selecting the perfect solution for their needs again and again? How can you combine some of your offerings with other offerings that might not be as obvious to your customers as it is to you, and how can you make your most loyal customers feel special and appreciated?

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, Dan. Instead of focusing on new customers in 2020, what if every business spent at least 50% of their efforts and their budgets and their thinking time devoted to deepening the connection with current customers? I mean, you already know who they are. You know what they like. You know how to reach them. Maybe it’s time to use this information and access, and the relationship that you already have, to build greater rapport and likely do even more business with your raving fans, which actually brings me to the third observation I wanted to make from my experiences with Juniper Books. Always make it personal.

Dan Gingiss: That makes sense. Personalization and customization are pretty regular themes here on our show. How does Juniper Books put their special twist on it?

Joey Coleman: They go above and beyond again and again. When I wanted to purchase a bunch of copies of Thatcher’s gorgeous book, For the Love of Books, to give to some friends that are crazy book fans, he kindly personalized each book and then carefully packaged them so I could mail them around the world in an easy and convenient way. When I wanted to give a gift subscription that was off schedule of the monthly subscription, so I was buying it at a time where it was going to be awhile before the first book hit, his design team created a custom card that was absolutely beautiful that I could send to the recipient while they were waiting to get their first book, so, with every turn, Juniper Books goes above and beyond with their commitment to aesthetics and design to create these personalized experiences that make me feel like I’m the most valuable customer they have.

Dan Gingiss: That’s really all you can ask from a company that you do business with and, as long as they continue making you feel that special, you’re going to keep coming back and buying more.

Joey Coleman: It’s so true, so what can you do to take the spirit of Juniper Books and use it to foster connection with your customers? First, make sure your offerings are beautifully designed, then get creative on ways to do even more business with your biggest fans and, finally, never stop making your individual customers feel like they are the most important person to your business.

[Agree to Disagree] Privacy vs. Convenience

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: There is a battle raging inside businesses, homes and even the minds of individuals almost every day. It’s something that many people are skirting around, but few are really addressing or considering. In a world where the more data we share, the less friction we experience, in a world where the more we give up, the more we seem to get, in a world where the more we provide, the less we struggle, Joey, which do you think is more important, privacy or convenience?

Joey Coleman: Wow, that’s a tough one, Dan, and, to be honest, I want to answer your question, but I’m not sure that it’s an either-or decision. I mean, there are certainly times when I guard my privacy stringently and there are other times when I will happily volunteer my personal details. There are times when I revel in a frictionless interaction and, of course, there are definitely times where I’ll happily experience less because I’m not willing to share more, and so, if I had to pick, and I guess I had to since this is an agree-to-disagree episode, I’m going to have to go with privacy being more important than convenience.

Joey Coleman: I mean, I believe this for a few reasons. Number one, it limits the power of governments and corporations. Let’s be honest, whoever has the data is in charge, and, while they incentivize you to give up your privacy and share your data to make your life easier, they don’t tell you all the things they’re going to do with your data, who they’re going to sell it to, how they’re going to protect it and how they’re going to use it to subconsciously manipulate you to do things that are in their best interest, but not necessarily in yours.

Dan Gingiss: My friend, this is an agree-to-disagree segment, so, probably not surprising to our listeners, I’m going to choose convenience and not just to say that it’s more important, but to really say, in my life, it’s something that I just genuinely stress more because I, like many individuals, probably don’t pay as much attention to privacy as I should.

Dan Gingiss: The number one thing that I think is important with convenience is that it saves you time. It’s the one resource that we can’t make more of, and I know because you and I have talked about this. We’re very busy people. We work late into the night. If we could work 28-hour days, we surely would do it every once in a while, but we can’t, and so anything that saves me time has so much value to me that I’m likely willing to give up a lot for it in terms of different resources, money and privacy being two of them.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, and I absolutely appreciate that and I enjoy the convenience, and I love the idea of having more time, but you know what I love even more? I love myself, and I don’t mean that from a place of ego. At the end of the day, privacy allows people to keep things for themselves. I mean, some people’s desire for privacy is brushed away because we have this view in society that it’s not that big of a deal if your information gets leaked or if we get some of your information. I mean, privacy is trivial, but the reality is, even if there isn’t a huge impact when details about your private life are shared more broadly, not honoring someone’s privacy demonstrates a lack of respect for the person. It demonstrates a lack of respect for their individuality. It really says, “I care more about my interest than your interest, so I want to know as much about you as possible, and then I’m going to use that to my advantage.”

Dan Gingiss: I certainly do believe that companies have an obligation to protect our privacy. I think one of the reasons I fall on the convenience side is because my expectation as a consumer is that companies are doing that. Now, no doubt, no doubt-

Joey Coleman: Sorry. Sorry. I got to interrupt. Your expectation, when all we hear on the news is breach after breach, when you’ve worked corporate America, you know what a nightmare their protections are. You’re confident that they’re going to do that?

Dan Gingiss: I didn’t say I was confident. I said it was my expectation. A lot of companies-

Joey Coleman: On a scale of one to 10, with one being they’re abysmal and 10 being they’re amazing, where do you fall on what you think the average company is doing with respect to that?

Dan Gingiss: In terms of meeting my expectations…

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: … or meeting your expectation? Some of them do it much better than others.

Joey Coleman: Oh, ladies and gentlemen, for those of you paying attention at home, that is the sound of Dan giving a score that is less than three, but not wanting to say a number that is less than three.

Dan Gingiss: Maybe, but I will say another thing on the side of convenience is sometimes I just don’t want to think about it. One of the problems with privacy is having to think a lot about passwords and other types of things. The number of, the amount of time I spend resetting passwords because I can’t remember all of the details that I’ve been asked individually because this company will allow an exclamation point and this one will only allow an asterisk and this one needs two numbers and whatever, it’s a huge waste of time, whereas the convenience factor allows me to actually think less. I mean, who wants to sit and have to remember to order paper towels or tissues or, hey, let’s go with something that might be private, hemorrhoid ointment, right? I’d rather just have somebody else take care of it for me and have the convenience and prioritize that first.

Joey Coleman: I find it fascinating that you used the word think so much in that justification of why you think convenience is more valuable because I feel the same way about privacy in the sense that I love privacy because it protects me on the times when maybe I didn’t think, so I believe that humans should be given the benefit of the doubt. I believe that humans should be forgiven. I believe that humans should be given second chances, and, when everything that we do is available publicly to the world and where things that we’ve done in the past where maybe we didn’t think it through and make the good choice gets dragged into the present to potentially be used against us, that to me is a huge argument in favor of privacy.

Joey Coleman: I mean, I’ll be candid, I’ve got a six-year-old and a four-year-old. I worry about the world they’re growing up in where there’s an expectation that they will live their lives online, where there’s an expectation that the stupid thing they say could be caught on video. The stupid thing they do could be caught on video and, 30 years down the road in a job interview, based on a Google search, that could be dragged up and used against them to not get a job, not get a promotion, not be able to get a date, fill in the blanks of the consequence.

Joey Coleman: I don’t know about you. I’ll just speak for myself. I am very, very happy that there is not video footage or a record of some of the stupid things I did as I was moving from, oh, let’s say age zero the present.

Dan Gingiss: I do think that you can in some ways control this. There are people that aren’t on Facebook and that aren’t… that don’t have a digital presence really to speak of. There are people that you can Google and get pretty much no results, believe it or not.

Joey Coleman: Sure.

Dan Gingiss: I made a choice awhile back to become active in social media understanding that that puts some privacy to risk, but I also try to control that by, for example, only posting pictures of my kids on Facebook where I’m only connected to friends and people that I know versus, on Twitter, where I’m connected to tens of thousands of people who I don’t know and haven’t met and don’t know if they’re even real people, so there is that piece of it, but also I think, unfortunately, we live in a world today where, despite your best efforts, somebody could still pull that old yearbook photo of you being a class clown or you writing something as we saw in a recent Supreme Court nominee’s situation that… and bring it online today, and that’s just a fact of our lives, and so, in today’s world, we have given up some privacy whether we want to or not, and, yes, is that sad? I think it is, but I think it is absolutely the life that we live today.

Dan Gingiss: The one other thing that I’ll push for in convenience is that Shep Hyken wrote a book about it, and I think that should be enough reason.

Joey Coleman: It’s a great book…

Dan Gingiss: That’s a book that we talked about.

Joey Coleman: … and that’s a great reason to be a fan of convenience.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, we talked about this book, I believe it was last season, called The Convenience Revolution, and, obviously, what he says in here is that convenience is one of the biggest parts of customer experience and one of the biggest ways to get people to like doing business with you.

Dan Gingiss: Now, to be fair, later this season, spoiler alert, we’re also going to highlight an article where he talks about fraud having an impact on the customer experience, and fraud is often the result of people, nefarious people, hackers, et cetera, violating somebody’s privacy, so they’re both pretty critical.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. I think, at the end of the day, I want to come back to something that you said as an aside early on, and the recovering attorney in me doesn’t want to use your words against you, but I will to win this debate. You said, “I probably think about privacy less than I should,” and I think, at the end of the day, that’s my big issue. My big issue is that, the corporations, your government, they aren’t thinking about your privacy at all.

Joey Coleman: Most humans aren’t thinking about their privacy nearly enough because they’re over-indexing on their desire for convenience, and I think we have only begun to experience the tip of the iceberg of the consequence of these choices of not thinking more specifically and more comprehensively about the information in the data that we’re sharing and how that giving up of our privacy may come back to bite us in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, since my lunch has just arrived, conveniently delivered by a driver, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

Joey Coleman: Agree to disagree. 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 100 : The Best Experiences from the Experience This! Show

Join us as we look back on some of our favorite customer experience stories and celebrate our 100th episode with our Best of the Best show.

100 Episodes – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] The Best of “This Just Happened”

Wonderful customer experiences happen every day and this segment was designed to showcase personal and brand experiences we hear about from friends and family or that we experience ourselves! Over the last 100 episodes we’ve shared 65 “This Just Happened” stories so picking the best ones was challenging to say the least. Let’s count down the Top 5 experiences of “This Just Happened”:

5. EmpowerCX (Episode 65) – Our only episode recorded in front of a LIVE studio audience! We were thrilled to partner with our good friends at the Sitel Group to be the closing keynote of their EmpowerCX event in 2019. We had such a fun time working together that we went on to co-host a podcast for them that features their team members, research, and clients called Empower CX Now. If you enjoy The Experience This! Show, you should check out our other show too! 😉

4. Kids Talking to Alexa (Episode 1) Ahh the memories… Our first episode featured the way our children interacted with voice assistants like Alexa (including putting ice cream on the shopping list and asking Alexa to play “childish” songs) and how voice is beginning to changing the customer experience in dozens of industries.

3. Take on Me (Episode 18) Can the new version be better than the original? Joey was skeptical at first, but listening to the Norwegian synth-pop band A-ha offer up an acoustic version of their 80s pop classic “Take on Me,” reinforced the fact that experiences can always be improved upon.

2. Stephen Curry Basketball Shoes (Episode 57). When a young girl brought it to basketball superstar Stephen Curry’s attention that his shoes weren’t sized for girls, he not only wrote her a handwritten reply, but asked her to help design a new line of shoes for women. With proper care and attention, a brand misstep can become the stuff of legends…

1 . Chewy.com (Episode 17 & Episode 50) – The only brand to appear twice in our list, Chewy shows that attention to customer experience and little extra touches creates raving fans. When one of our listeners received a bouquet of flowers after their pet died, Chewy created a customer who definitely will be back.

The bar for customer experience is very low, and you don’t need to high jump over it. You just need to do a little bit better to stand out; make something ordinary into extraordinary. And then we’ll talk about it on this show!

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

[Dissecting the Experience] The Best of “Dissecting the Experience”

Over the first 100 episodes of our show, over half (54 to be exact!) featured a “Dissecting The Experience” segment. In this segment, we take a deeper dive into a featured experience to determine what really makes an interaction special/unique/noteworthy. makes them remarkable, and often it’s more than one thing. Let’s count down the Top 5 experiences of “Dissecting The Experience”:

5. Pizzability (Episode 82) The experiences you design for your customers should serve all of your customers – regardless of their unique abilities. Pizzability offers great food in a restaurant specifically designed to be accessible to it’s employees and customers – regardless of whatever needs they have.

4. Imperfect Produce (Episode 57) Just because it doesn’t look “pretty” doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for your offerings. Imperfect Produce delivers fresh product with a “less than perfect look” to customers that will happily place taste over image and are happy to contribute to the cause of reducing food waste.

3. Savannah Bananas (Episode 71). Have you ever been to a party where a baseball game broke out in the middle?! That’s what it’s like to attend a Savannah Bananas game. Located in Savannah, Georgia, the team is built on a “Fans First” culture that prioritizes incredible experiences above everything else. Next time you want to go to a sporting event, it’s worth the trip to Savannah to watch the Bananas… well… Go Bananas!

2. Website Navigation (Episode 48) Sometimes the littlest things are the biggest things and that certainly rings true when it comes to your website navigation. You’ll be shocked (we certainly were) to find out that what you think is easy to navigate often leaves your customers completely lost and confused.

1 . Steve Spangler Science (Episode 24) Our first ever “double-length” episode, we brought the experience home to our children when we introduced them to Steve Spangler’s incredible science kits. Bringing science experiments into the house not only creates remarkable experiences for young learners, but it turns them into raving fans of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) when they get back to the classroom.

To create a truly remarkable customer experience, you must go deep with your customers. When you design every single aspect of an interaction as part of one cohesive experience, the impact is noticeable, significant, and long-lasting.

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

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

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

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

[Required Remarkable] The Best of “Make the Required Remarkable”

Every business has dozens of required elements – but few put in the extra effort to make those required elements remarkable. By paying attention to the expected interactions and making them remarkable, patrons will realize that your commitment to customer experience runs deep. Let’s count down the Top 5 experiences of “Make the Required Remarkable”:

5. Birthday Wishes (Episode 66) What makes for a disappointing birthday? When someone that claims to care about you, and knows your birthday, doesn’t do anything to acknowledge your special day. Too many companies ask for your birthday information and then do nothing with it. Our one wish as we blow out our birthday candles? That brands start to acknowledge memorable milestones for their customers.

4. Women Wins $10K for Reading Fine Print (Episode 73) Sometimes, reading the fine print pays off. That was certainly the case for one woman who took advantage of some playful fine print in a disclaimer and won $10,000 in the process!

3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Episode 41) How do you bring a magical movie to life in the real world? Create an immersive experience like the one at Universal Studios and transport your customers into another realm that will captivate, inspire, and excite them – not to mention getting them to tell everyone they know about their experience.

2. “I’m on Hold” Music (Episode 6) What if the hold music people listened to while waiting to speak with you was designed to be part of the experience? That’s what we’re talking about when we say evaluate every customer touchpoint that you’re required to have and look for ways to make it remarkable!

1 . Your Customers are Cheating on You (Episode 1) For our very first segment of our very first episode, we turned to the Godfather of Customer Service – our good friend Shep Hyken and his belief (that we agree with!) that your competition is every other company with which your customers do business.

Thank You for Listening!

We’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t take this time to thank all of our loyal listeners who have stuck by us for 100 episodes.! Without you, there literally wouldn’t be a podcast. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for allowing us to take up some of your valuable time each week and for letting us do something we love doing. Here’s to the next 100 episodes!

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 100 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This, where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining customer attention expert, Joey Coleman and social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

Dan Gingiss: Get ready for a special 100th episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Woohoo. Join us as we look back on some of our favorite customer experience stories in three of our most popular segments, counting down to the best of the best.

Dan Gingiss: Episodes and episodes and episodes.

Joey Coleman: And episodes and episodes and episodes.

Dan Gingiss: And more episodes. Oh my.

The Best of ‘This Just Happened’

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: Welcome everyone to episode 100 of the Experience This show. I’m not going to lie, Joey. I think this is a pretty momentous occasion.

Joey Coleman: I’m not going to lie, Dan, I didn’t know if we’d make it. No, I’m just kidding. I knew we’d make it. But I too think this is kind of a fun marker, not only for us, but more importantly for our listeners. I mean at the end of the day, most podcasts don’t make it to 100 episodes. And who would have thunk way back when when our mutual friend Jay Baer was hosting a little gathering and you and I were standing next to each other talking and he came up and said, “Hey, I think you guys should do a podcast together,” that we’d be here in season five, 100 episodes later?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. But if we had known better back then and not recorded 40 episodes in season one.

Joey Coleman: Season one is really long. We would be much deeper in five seasons if we would have broken this up.

Dan Gingiss: We’d be at least in season seven. But anyway, that aside, we thought we’d do something a little bit different and a little bit special for our 100th episode. See, when we first started this podcast, we wanted to make it a unique listening experience, which is why one of our first decisions was to not make it an interview show like so many other business podcasts.

Joey Coleman: And that’s nothing against interview show, folks. Some of our favorite other podcasts are interview shows. It’s just we wanted to try something completely new, which ironically enough, hasn’t stopped a plethora of PR agents reaching out to pitch us on interviewing the CEOs of companies, even though we don’t do interviews. But I digress.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Well, the whole idea was is we felt like if we were going to teach people how to create remarkable experiences, we needed to make sure that we were creating a remarkable listening experience for our show. And to do that, we wanted to do something different. So we settled on three main segments per episode. And to make it even more interesting, we created nine different segment types. And we eventually added two more after that so that you never know quite what you’re going to get from each episode. Now when people ask me about the podcast and they haven’t listened to us, I liken it to the Price Is Right, except sadly without Bob Barker.

Joey Coleman: Dan Gingiss, come on down.

Dan Gingiss: Thank you Johnny. I’ll bid $1. In any event, after more than 300 individual segments, we thought we’d celebrate this week by looking back at some of our favorites for three of our most frequent segment categories. And the first one is This Just Happened. Believe it or not, we’ve had 65 This Just Happened stories over the years. So picking the top ones was quite challenging. These segments were created for us to share personal experiences and also brand experiences that we hear about from friends, family, and in social media. After all, remarkable experiences are the ones that are most often shared in the first place. So let’s count down the top five.

Joey Coleman: Number five is Empower CX. Episode 65, the only time we’ve done an episode completely live, but maybe not the last time. There might be some interesting things in the work, people. At the end of the day, a live experience was absolutely incredible for us, and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. In fact, we enjoyed working with our friends at Sitel so much that we created a second podcast with them where Dan and I are the host called Empower CX Now.

Dan Gingiss: Number four is kids talking to Alexa, which came in our very first episode, episode one. And that was so much fun in particular because I mentioned during that segment that one of the things my kids, much younger at the time, liked to do was to ask Alexa to play the poop song, which is a real song. As it turns out, I believe because of a Google alert, the writer of the poop song found out that we referenced his song and he emailed me, thanking me for the reference and telling me that he actually holds the Guinness Book Of World Records for the most songs written. He’s written 65,000 songs, including a whole bunch, I’m not making this up, about poop, puke and pee.

Joey Coleman: Wow. Here in the hundredth episode, we decide to digress into the unprofessional side. But nonetheless…

Dan Gingiss: Well I can tell you my kids that day thought that dad was a true hero because the guy who wrote the poop song was emailing him.

Joey Coleman: I absolutely love it. So number three was episode 18, the story of Take On Me. Now, you may be familiar with that classic ’80s tune Take On Me by Aha. Well, what had happened is they had recorded at a private concert an acoustic version that was not only as poignant and as catchy as the original one, but was in many ways haunting and marked a nostalgic time for all of us that had grown up listening to the song and the original version to hear it as a quiet, more acoustic version years later. Oh, my kids still request that song be played because it’s such a great version of the song.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it was awesome. And it was hard to believe that you could take what was almost a perfect ’80s song and even try to improve upon it, dare to improve upon it. But they did a great job. Number two, and this is one that I repeat quite often in my keynote speeches because I just love it, is the Stephen Curry basketball shoes story. This is where NBA all star, Stephen Curry, received a handwritten note from a girl named Riley who was very upset because she couldn’t find his shoes in girl sizes. Now she had done her homework. She knew that Stephen had daughters and was a big proponent of women’s sports and pointed this out in the letter, and asked for him to please make the shoes available in girl sizes. Stephen Curry, NBA all star, busy millionaire, on the court and off the court, entrepreneur, he took the time to write a handwritten note back to Riley.

Dan Gingiss: Not only telling her that he was correcting the oversight with the manufacturer, offering her the newest pair of his Curry shoes right off of the assembly line. But finally saying that in advance of International Women’s Day, he wanted Riley to help him design a brand new girl’s shoe, which she got to do. And there’s this awesome picture that was put out by Under Armor showing Riley holding her shoe, which she autographed for Stephen Curry. It was a wonderful story and the message there was if Stephen Curry can respond to his fans with a handwritten letter, can’t you do the same for your customers?

Joey Coleman: Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it. The power of the handwritten note, which brings us to number one, the top episode of This Just Happened over the last hundred episodes, five seasons is none other than chewy.com, the only company to appear twice on our This Just Happened list. Well we first talked about their amazing personal customer service in episode 17 after three different acquaintances of ours brought the company to our attention within the same week, folks. Okay. This happened within the same week. And I remember your friend Mike after losing his cat, Homey, completely stunned to receive a bouquet of flowers and a sympathy card from this amazing company. We talked about how important it is to treat customers well even on the way out. After all, Mike by definition was no longer a customer at the time. But of course when Mike got another cat, you can guess where he went back to purchasing food and supplies. Yes. That would be chewy.com. And then in episode 50, you shared what you thought was the greatest customer service email ever.

Dan Gingiss: Oh yeah. That one was to our listener, Mari Anhel, and I’ll never forget her cat Roma, and she had left a negative review on Chewy’s site about a particular brand of cat litter, not a Chewy brand, and she left a negative review because she wanted to warn other long haired cat owners that this particular litter did not work well for her cat. Chewy saw the review, proactively sent out an email saying, “We’re so sorry that you had a bad experience with this litter. We’ve gone ahead and refunded your money.” Please note that Mari Anhel never asked for a refund.

Dan Gingiss: The customer service agent then took the time to share four other litters and links to purchasing those that she thought might work better for her long haired cat, mentioned the cat by name and offered to put a picture of the cat up in their offices. I absolutely love this letter, and one of the things that I thought was amazing about it was despite how personalized it was, I truly believe that most of it was templated so that it is repeatable and scalable in their business, which again means you can do the same thing.

Joey Coleman: So is there one takeaway that you think people should have from listening to all of these This Just Happened segments Dan?

Dan Gingiss: I do, and we’ve said it many times on the show in different ways. The bar for customer experience is very, very low, and you don’t need to high jump over it. You just need to do a little bit better to stand out, make something ordinary into extraordinary, step over that low bar. You don’t have to worry about jumping. And then when you create that extraordinary experience, we’ll talk about it on our show.

The Best of ‘Dissecting The Experience’

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: Now continuing on in our 100th episode, we’re going to now look at Dissecting The Experience. We’ve had 54 Dissecting The Experience segments since we began the show. And we looked back at all of them to select our favorites. Now with Dissecting The Experience, we wanted to take a deeper dive into some experiences to really get at what makes them remarkable, and often it’s more than one thing. So without further ado, let’s count down the top five.

Joey Coleman: Number five is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission in Denver, Colorado called Pizzability. I had the opportunity to go to Pizzability and see how their entire restaurant experience is designed to be accessible, accessible to the different types of customers that they have, whether that’s utensils that were easier to hold, menus that you didn’t have to read, the ability to mark things by sight and by pointing as opposed to needing to speak. The entire experience was designed to be remarkable, frankly for an audience and a customer demographic who usually is struggling with the way things have been designed. It was a beautiful example of how you can make the experiences you create accessible to all of your customers, not just some of them.

Dan Gingiss: Number four is Imperfect Produce, which we covered in episode 57. This is one of my favorite companies based in San Francisco, and they help farmers by rescuing fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to the landfill simply because they aren’t as pretty as the produce that supermarkets and grocery stores demand. Sometimes they’re too big, sometimes they’re too small, sometimes they have a little bit of a dent, but they all taste perfectly good and there’s no need to waste them. So Imperfect boxes them up and ships them out as a subscription service that is so flexible. You get to pick exactly what you want in your box every week. I enjoy being a customer.

Dan Gingiss: And one of the things that keeps me there is they help to track the impact that I, Dan Gingiss, have had on the environment by participating in this service. The amount of produce, now over 500 pounds for me, that would have gone to the landfill, the amount of water and CO2 that’s saved from farmers not having to replant every year. And they all do it with a lot of wit and humor in their marketing, ranging from their billboard ads, which have a picture of dancing dates and saying, “We’ll help you get more dates,” to the messages on their box that include helpful information about storing fruits and vegetables but also things that make you smile, to some of the special goodies and surprises that they’ll insert in the box when you least expect it. It’s a terrific experience and very deserving of number four on our list.

Joey Coleman: Number three is the fantastic sports team, the Savannah Bananas. Back in episode 71, I shared an experience that my family and I had visiting the Savannah Bananas baseball team. Run by our good friends, Jesse and Emily Cole, the Savannah Bananas is not really a baseball team. Yeah, they play baseball, but it’s basically a party where a baseball game breaks out. They do amazing things like having a child hit the first pitch so that they run the bases and make sure they’re all working, which my oldest son got to do. Then they have another kid in the audience say, “Play ball,” to start the game, which my other son got to do. I got to throw in the first pitch, which of course was a banana, not a baseball. There were fireworks, there were promotions, there were stunts, there were games. And in the background, there was a baseball game that was played. Folks, if you get the chance to spend any time in the Southern East coast of the United States, find your way to a Savannah Bananas baseball game for a remarkable audience experience.

Dan Gingiss: Number two on the list is website navigation, a segment that we did in episode 48. And the reason why this went so high on the list for me was that it was something that I really, really learned from, even though I spent over three years managing website design and development for a Fortune 300 company. You see, what this piece of research found was that B2B companies, especially in the SAS space, which is software as a service space, almost all of them have the exact same navigation on their website. And this design agency was trying to get one of their clients to have different navigation, and the client was resisting because they wanted to be like all of their competitors. So this agency went out and did a big survey, and what they found was absolutely stunning. Customers had no idea where to find things on the website because the navigation that was being used had similar words like services and products and programs and other things where people couldn’t tell the difference between them.

Dan Gingiss: And so when asked, where do you think you would find this on the website? They had no idea. And that was a stunner for me and something that I really learned from and took to some consulting clients and to other companies that I know to use as advice. And that to me is really why we’re here, Joey, is to learn things and not just teach them to others, but to learn them ourselves. And that’s why I loved that segment.

Joey Coleman: Such a great segment, which brings us to the number one segment of Dissecting The Experience across 100 episodes of the Experience This show. Ladies and gentlemen, let me take you back to season one episode 24 when we had a double segment talking about Steve Spangler Science. Steve Spangler Science is a company that offers science kits that you can order to do experiments in your home. We did a box opening with each of our kids. We audio recorded this so that you could hear the oohs and the ahs as the kids got to experiment with science and learn in the process while also having fun.

Joey Coleman: We then paired this with An I Love It, Can’t Stand It segment about the things that are great and not so great about school. And we got the same kids who had played with the Steve Spangler Science kit to actually tell us about their experience of school and education. When it comes to being lifelong learners, I think we have a tendency as we become adults to focus more on books and podcasts and going to conferences instead of more kinesthetic learning experiences like doing experiments, blowing things up, making snow in your house, the crazy things you can do with Steve Spangler Science kits. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the top five examples of Dissecting The Experience. Dan, what do you think is the main takeaway from the segments? How can we dissect the takeaway?

Dan Gingiss: Dissect the dissection, if you will. Well, in order to create a truly remarkable customer experience, you have to go beyond just the surface, which is exactly why we called the segment Dissecting The Experience in the first place. All of these great examples showcase companies that are thinking about every single aspect of the experience as one cohesive thing, not as individual disconnected experiences created by siloed organizational charts. I think when you look at all of these examples plus a lot of the others that we’ve shared in this show, that’s really the key thing that we want people to remember is that when your organization is siloed, you might be able to improve one piece of the experience. But these are companies that have taken a look at everything from their marketing and advertising to their packaging, to their actual product or service to their customer service, to their social media. I could go on and on and on. And it all fits together into a cohesive experience. And if you want us to include your company in a future Dissecting The Experience, that’s what you’re going to have to do.

The Best of ‘Required Remarkable’

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 wrapping up our special 100th episode, we’re now going to talk about our Required Remarkable segment. But before we get into it, we do have to point out that we’ve had 75 CX Press segments, the most of any segment, but we chose not to create a top five list of those because they don’t really feel as rankable, if that makes sense. But we are going to look at Required Remarkable even though we’ve only done 15 of these segments because, and I think I can speak for you here, Joey, we both believe that these are the kinds of examples that companies absolutely must be paying attention to.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely Dan. And they may not always be the sexiest examples, although let’s be candid, the five we’re about to remind you about actually are, but that doesn’t make them any less important. See, the required things in your business are the things that you and your customers are taking for granted. And if you can make those things remarkable, that’s the way to catch them off guard. That’s the way to get people talking about your business, your brand, your services and your products. So let’s get into our top five examples of required remarkable experiences starting with number five.

Joey Coleman: From episode 66, birthday wishes. Folks, this is such an obvious thing for any company to do. So many companies ask you or record the information of what is your birthday, and then don’t do anything to acknowledge you on your birthday. As we get older, people don’t acknowledge our birthdays as much anymore. When you’re a kid and you have a birthday, you throw a party, invite over all of your friends. There’s pin the tail on the donkey. There’s pinatas, there’s cake, there’s cookies, there’s presents. There’s all kinds of hi-jinks and excitement. When you have your 46th birthday or your 53rd birthday, or even your 28th birthday or 34th birthday, these aren’t as memorable. There’s an opportunity for the businesses who know your birthday to stand out by acknowledging your special day.

Dan Gingiss: Number four on the list, woman wins $10,000 for reading the fine print.

Joey Coleman: As a lawyer, I loved this one. This was so good.

Dan Gingiss: This was episode 73 last season, and it was a story of a woman who actually sat down and read the fine print at her insurance company, and figured out by reading all of the disclosures that she had to do a certain thing, complete a certain task, to win $10,000. And the idea here was clear. The company knew that very few people read the fine print, and they wanted to see if even one person could do it. And this woman happened to be the lucky winner. But I loved it because it not only exposed a problem in the experience of fine print, which is that it’s almost intentional that people not read it, which is problematic because if you talk to the lawyers, they want people to read it.

Dan Gingiss: In fact, they assume people read it. And that’s what they’re allowed to do according to the law. As long as we put the fine print in front of customers, we can assume that we’ve done our part. But what we like to teach on this show is that there’s always an opportunity for creativity. There’s always an opportunity to bring marketing or design people in to make the required parts of your business more interesting and more fun. This insurance company did it by hiding a little Easter egg in the fine print, in the form of a $10,000 sweepstakes, and I am so proud of this woman for winning it,

Joey Coleman: Which brings us to number three. Number three takes us back to the very beginning of season two, episode 41, when we had the opportunity to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. It was as if we were in the movie. Everywhere we walked, the streets felt like the streets of Diagon Alley. Hogwarts was up on the hill. You had this experience that you were almost in the movie, even though you were in the amusement park. Characters walking around. There were singing frogs. There were magicians in robes. There were kids waving wands all over and creating opportunities for the buildings to come to life based on the interactivity of the spells that the children were casting. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter looked at all the details that are required in any operation and decided how can we make these details, these required elements more remarkable? From the food to the signage, to the design and architecture, to the various phrases that their staff used when they interacted with us, there were a stack of required elements that became truly remarkable.

Dan Gingiss: One of my favorite photographs of my kids is my son with a butterbeer mustache from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it’s just perfect. Number two on the list, one of our favorites is the I’m On Hold Music in episode six, season one. This is a fantastic example, maybe the quintessential example, of taking the required part of your business and making it remarkable. A conference call system decided that rather than put people on hold and have them listening to, I don’t know, a beep or elevator music or complete silence or your call is very important to us, they had somebody commission a song about waiting on hold. And I urge you to Google I’m on hold music, you’ll get to a YouTube video that is absolutely amazing. And the reason it was so remarkable is it literally changed the concept of waiting on hold. Usually when you’re on hold, you can’t wait for the person to join the call. In this case, when I heard this song, I didn’t want them to join the call because I wanted to hear the rest of the song.

Joey Coleman: It’s funny, Dan, that you picked this one. Just last week I was on a conference call with a new client that was booking me to a keynote speech at their annual meeting. And while I was waiting for them to log in, I heard the chorus I’m on hold, and I immediately was teleported back to our experience. So yeah. What a great example. Which brings us to the number one Required Remarkable segment of the first 100 episodes of Experience This. And that would be, yes, episode number one, the segment, your customers are cheating on you. Folks, this is the very first segment of the very first episode of Experience This. And I think that’s interesting for two reasons.

Joey Coleman: Number one, it represents the core foundation of what this show stands for. And here 100 episodes later, five seasons later, it is as pertinent today as it was then. Based on an article written by our mutual friend Shep Hyken, a legend in the customer service and customer experience space. The takeaway was that your competition has changed to become every other company your customer does business with. See, it used to be that your competitors were who your customers were comparing you to. Now your customers are comparing you to the best experience they’ve ever had. Cirque de Soleil, Tesla, Walt Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Emirates Air, all the amazing brands in the world that are creating remarkable experiences and taking these required elements and making them remarkable, that’s who you’re being compared to. So what are you doing to stand out?

Dan Gingiss: And I think it’s really important to note here that this applies just as much to B2B or business to business companies as it does to B2C or business to consumer companies. Because your customers in a B2B space are consumers. You are not selling to a building just because you sell to a business. You’re selling to a buyer who’s a human being, who has had consumer experiences at the brands that Joey just listed. And believe it or not, you’re being compared to them as well. So you may not think it, you may think if you’re in the B2B space that you’re being compared to other B2B purchases, but you’re actually being compared to every other experience with every other brand that your buyer has had.

Joey Coleman: Folks, the reason why I love this segment type so much, the Required Remarkable segment, is because this is the low hanging fruit in every single organization. If you are listening to this podcast, there are required elements of your business, hold music, email signature lines, contracts, proposals, the way you conduct your in person meetings, the way you deliver your deliverables. Your business is rife with opportunities to take required elements and make them remarkable.

Dan Gingiss: We’d certainly be remiss if we did take this time to thank you, all of our loyal listeners who have stuck by us for 100 episodes. Without you, there literally would not be a podcast. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to take some of your valuable time each week and for letting us do something that we love doing. So here’s to the next 100 episodes.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience…

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 99 – The Upsides and Downsides of Investing in Customer Experience

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

Training, Explaining, and Draining – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

Heidi Soltis-Berner, Managing Director of Deloitte University

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

[This Just Happened] Mitigating Customer Fears with Unexpected Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] The Cost of Neglecting Customer Experience

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

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

Benedict Clark, Content Editor for Acquire.io

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dissecting the Experience]  Deloitte University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Nice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

[This Just Happened] Dominoes Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I remember that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Nah, it’s just part of-

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

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

[CX Press] The Cost of Neglecting CX

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

Dan Gingiss: Today’s CXPRESS article comes to us from Benedict Clark, the content editor at acquire.io, which provides chat, video, and co-browsing solutions. The article is titled, The Cost of Neglecting CX.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 98 – Providing Great Experiences for Your Customers and the Earth

Join us as we discuss mobile phone cases you can bury in your garden, special privileges for those that make green choices, and the shifting expectations of thirsty customers!

Composting, Selecting, and Hydrating – Oh My!

A little disclaimer about this environmental episode of ExperienceThis!

In the last few years here in the United States, for some reason we’ve increasingly decided to make environmental issues into political issues. While we feel that there are certainly political and economic considerations that need to be brought into the conversation about the environment, the environment is something that impacts all of us – regardless of political affiliation. The environment is changing regardless of why we think it’s changing. We believe it’s time to spend less time discussing the why and more time discussing the what. We all live on the same planet and if we’re going to continue to create remarkable experiences, we’re going to need to have a planet to live on!

[Dissecting the Experience] Pela Case – Trendy and Environmentally Conscious Go Together

Consumers care more and more about where their products come from and what the company that creates them believes in. One company that stands out for both its products and its values is Pela Case. Pela offers the world’s first compostable mobile phone case and has created a company committed to creating zero waste with their products. They’re also doing all they can to create a waste free future for all of their customers.

The company sends out a mailer with each case they sell so that customers can easily return their old mobile phone case. Pela then uses the old case in future Pela products or makes sure it is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, your new Pela Case arrives with no packaging (those plastic clam shells drive us crazy and always end up leaving the worst cuts!) so it’s one less item of waste and uses less fuel to ship (because the weight of the packaging is less).

Pela Cases are sturdy, well-built, and environmentally conscious. Made from a material called flaxstic (which is a compostable material made of flax shive) the cases are trendy and environmentally conscious at the same time (one of the many reason’s why Joey protects his phone with a Pela case).

When you are done with the case (e.g., if you decide to upgrade to a new cell phone style/design/model), you can throw your old case in a compost bin (if you’re lucky enough to have curbside composting in your community), plant it in your yard, or send it back to Pela as described earlier. Pela also makes a variety of eco-conscious lifestyle products including sunglasses, screen protectors, and AirPods cases.

Many companies have a mission, we’re a mission that happens to have a company.

Matt Bertulli, CEO of Pela Case

Pela combines great products, profitability, great customer service, and environmental conscientiousness. These things are increasingly important to consumers (especially younger generations) and as proof of that growing interest, the Pela website is currently receiving over four million views per month.

Can you find a way to align what’s best for your company, with what’s best for your customers, with what’s best for the environment? As Pela shows – it is possible to accomplish all three goals with the same product.

[Make the Required Remarkable] Every Customer Touchpoint Shows What You Value

On a recent business trip, Joey needed to rent a car and was able to select a Toyota Prius. The next night, as he was looking for parking at an event, he noticed the best spots in the lot were reserved for fuel efficient vehicles.

The more you narrow the types of audiences you serve, the more comfortable you get with celebrating specific types of customers, the more successful your business will be… and the more your customers will start talking about you.

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

There are parking spots for the disabled, parking for expecting moms, and even parking for veterans. These all communicate with customers the priorities of the company in charge of the parking lot.

In fact, every interaction communicates with customers. If you have to pay for plastic bags at the grocery store, you know that the store is trying to reduce their waste. When a city rewards you for creating less trash, you know that they are trying to reduce their waste.

Sometimes, we need to make a statement about who we are trying to attract as customers. More and more often, people are looking for organizations that are doing their part to help the environment. Every touchpoint tells a customer about what you and your company value. Why shouldn’t that communication start in the parking lot?

[This Just Happened] Water at the Hole

It is estimated that Americans use more than 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, and yet only 23 percent of those get recycled! Recently, Joey committed to stop buying single use, plastic bottles of water and instead to use a reusable bottle he could fill while on his travels.

The point of segment isn’t to talk about Joey’s water consumption, but rather to consider two questions every business should constantly monitor:

  1. What happens when your customers shift behavior?
  2. What can you do to cater to these shifting behaviors? 

Customers are increasingly traveling with reusable water bottles – even when just running errands in their local community. More and more water fountains are being retrofitted to incorporate a water bottle filling station – some of which track and promote the number of “bottles saved” by filling up at the station. Delta Airlines partnered with the Atlanta Airport to help keep a the Flint River (which runs under the airport) flowing by restoring 1,000 gallons of water for every bottle filled at the airport. As part of this initiative, they have restored more than 23 million gallons of water!

More people make environmentally conscious decisions when it’s convenient. By putting water bottle refilling stations throughout the airport, it becomes easier for customers to use them. Observe the behaviors of your customers and then look for ways you can meet their shifting needs and desires. If you can work alongside your customers to be more innovative and make positive choices easier, you can improve customer experience and help the environment at the same time.

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 98 here or read it below:

[Introduction] Welcome to Experience This, where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining. Customer attention expert, Joey Coleman and social media expert, Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of Positive Customer Experience. So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

Joey Coleman: Get ready for a very special Earth Day episode of the Experience This! Show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss cell phone cases you can bury in your garden, special privileges for those that make green choices, and the shifting expectations of thirsty customers.

Joey Coleman: Composting, selecting and hydrating – Oh, my!

[Dissecting the Experience] Pela Case – Trendy and Environmentally Conscious Go Together

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: A little disclaimer about this environmental episode of Experience This. For some reason in the last few years here in America, we’ve increasingly decided to make environmental issues into political issues. While Dan and I feel that there are certainly political and economic considerations that need to be brought into the conversation about the environment, the environment is something that impacts all of us regardless of political affiliation. The environment is something that is changing regardless of why we think it’s changing. We believe that it’s time to spend less time discussing the why and more time discussing the what now. The fact that the matter is we all live on the same planet and all of our customers live on the same planet and if we’re going to continue to create remarkable experiences for our customers and remarkable experiences for our employees, we’re going to need to have a planet to live on.

Joey Coleman: Have you ever heard of compostable cell phone cases, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: I can’t say that I have, Joey.

Joey Coleman: I had a feeling that this might be a newer concept for you because frankly, it’s a fairly newer concept for me. And I wanted to talk about it because I was so intrigued by the story of the company that makes these, that I had to purchase one for myself. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Pela Case are the makers of the world’s first compostable phone cases. The company’s run by three of my friends, Matt Bertulli, Brad Peterson, and Jeremy Lang. And to be clear, they didn’t ask me to talk about their products on the show. In fact, prior to us recording this, they have no idea that I’m going to talk about their products and nor are they sponsors. But my experience with their product was so compelling that I needed to tell our listeners about it.

Dan Gingiss: We talk about in almost every episode that if you create a remarkable experience, you’re going to create people that not just want to talk about you, but need to talk about you to their friends, family, and in this particular case, podcast listeners. So it sounds like that’s what Pela did here.

Joey Coleman: They absolutely did, Dan.

Joey Coleman: So let me set the stage for you. I purchased a new iPhone that was a different size from my previous phone and so I needed a new case. Now it bothered me that while I was able to trade in my old iPhone to Apple for them to resell to a new customer, the change in phone size meant I had to throw out my old cell phone case and get a new one. And I hadn’t had that phone for that long. But as it turns out that wasn’t true.

Joey Coleman: Enter Pela Case. Pela was founded in 2011 by environmental consultant Jeremy Lang after a trip to Hawaii left him shocked to see how much plastic pollution had washed up on the beaches. So Jeremy took action and after much research, trial and error, he created a material called flack stick, a unique blend of plant based bio polymer mixed with flax shive. An annual renewable waste product of the flax oil seed harvest in Canada. Now using this flax stick, Pela created its flax shive phone case, a case that comes in both iPhone and Android model formats. The cool thing about this case, it completely breaks down into carbon water and organic biomass. In short, that means you can put your phone case into the compost or bury it in your garden when you’re finished with it and it will naturally and quickly decompose.

Dan Gingiss: And I’m sitting here with Joey and recording studio and actually looking at his phone case and it’s pretty cool. It looks like it has almost, you know those plantable cards that you get that have the seeds in them and you can grow something. That’s kind of what it looks like except I am guessing this is flax shive.

Joey Coleman: Those are the flax, that’s actually the flax shive that you can see in the case. They’re kind of little flecks of yellow on a black case. Which interestingly enough, if you’ll notice on the case, it has a honeycomb design with bumblebees on it. And this particular case, when you purchase it, they make a donation to support honeybees because they’re a huge part of the ecosystem. And if we could go do a whole segment on honeybees and how the impact that they play-

Dan Gingiss: But I will say just before you move on that it actually looks like a pretty normal case. I’m not sure if you had told me it was biodegradable or compostable that I would have known because it looks like it’s a black case, rubbery in texture. It feels pretty strong so it doesn’t look any different.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and it’s very strong. It protects the phone. It’s got great grip to it, which I know is something, especially with the new iPhones that feel like you’re holding a wet fish in your hand, they’re so slippery, you want to have a little grip. What I thought was really interesting about this whole setup is that it gave me the opportunity to not only make an environmental choice, but Pela Case did something with the old phone case that was interesting too.

Joey Coleman: They have a program called Pela 360. And this program excepts other company’s plastic phone cases that are then either up cycled into Pela products or properly recycled. So when a customer purchases a Pela Case, they also receive in the package an envelope that allows them to send their used Pela case when they’re done with it or a conventional plastic case back to Pela’s sustainability studio.

Joey Coleman: Now several national retailers are also interested in this program as well and plan to offer Pela 360 in their retail locations later this year.

Dan Gingiss: Mr. Coleman, I have a question. So why would somebody want to mail back their Pela Case if they can just plant it in their garden?

Joey Coleman: For some reason, if somebody might live in a place where they don’t have a garden. They might live in an urban environment where for them to go out and find a shovel and dig something and put it in, that’s a challenge. What’s really cool about the case though, here in Boulder, it’s filled with environmentally aware folks. We have curbside compost, for example, like in the same way that the trash is picked up on the curb every week, every other week the compost is picked up. So when I’m done with my case, I’ll be able to just throw it in the compost and that’s easier.

Joey Coleman: But they’re trying to think through all the reasons why someone wouldn’t make the right choice to eliminate those barriers and to make it very easy to make an environmental choice. What’s crazy to me is the impact that cell phone cases has on the environment. I have to admit, before I purchased my Pela Case, I had no idea how big this problem is. More than 1.5 billion phone cases are discarded every year. The majority of which are made with conventional plastic. And to make matters worse, the plastic recycling system isn’t working as well as it needs to, as less than 5% of all plastic gets recycled, the rest ends up in landfills.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and this is clearly a problem. I’ve been a big recycler my whole life, but even I have grown fatigued over the years as you find out that companies don’t know what to do with all of the recycling that we’re generating, and China no longer wants to take our recycling. There’s been stories of entire townships that have taken recycling and it’s all landed in the landfill anyway. And so it’s a huge problem and it’s a problem that a lot of companies are trying to address in different ways. I’ve used straws and silverware and coffee cups that are compostable or at a very least recyclable. But now coming up on biodegradable.

Dan Gingiss: I think it’s really interesting when it works. There are other times where I’ve had paper straws over a plastic straw and I find myself sucking on paper shards. And so the product itself doesn’t work very well. And I think that’s why I made the comment about your case is that we can’t forget, especially as experienced people, that the products we create still have to work.

Joey Coleman: It still has to work.

Dan Gingiss: It can’t just be environmentally friendly.

Joey Coleman: Just like any [inaudible 00:09:47] to sit down at the game is the product has to work.

Joey Coleman: And Dan, you’re so spot on. Increasingly more and more companies are looking at how can every facet of their business be environmentally aware. And it’s one of the things that I love about Pela because their commitment to the environment truly cuts into every interaction they have with you. The inset mailer that I received with my new phone case, which you can see some photos of on our show notes page for this episode at Experiencethisshow.com reads as follows, “Welcome to the Pela family. Thank you for helping us keep the planet clean and healthy. You’ll notice that your Pela case did not come with a package. We decided to eliminate this step to further reduce unnecessary waste. With the money we save on our packaging, we can donate even more funds to clean ocean initiatives around the world.” When I read this, I absolutely loved it.

Joey Coleman: I mean everywhere you look, people are paying more attention to use and reuse and the disposal of the things that are used. And it’s not just consumers that are interested in this. Okay. A few months ago, Marcy Venture Partners, co founded by American rapper Jay-Z, invested $5 million in Pela Case.

Dan Gingiss: Wait, wait, wait. Is this our first Jay-Z reference?

Joey Coleman: This is our first Jay-Z reference, I think. Definitely this season, maybe ever. And it’s not surprising to me that pillowcase case is catching the attention of consumers and investors alike, given the significant environmental improvements they’re making. So here are a couple of stats about this one little company. 25 employees, and what they’ve been able to do in terms of their environmental impact. Pela Case prevented 147,180 pounds of plastic from entering the waste stream. They protected 14,890 feet of coastline with the Surf Rider Foundation. Over 530,000 people have switched to using compostable phone cases, and the company has grown 3,509% in the past five years, and averages four million visitors to their website per month.

Joey Coleman: We talked in an earlier episode about the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. They’ve had four million visitors to their museum since they opened. This website’s getting four million visitors per month.

Dan Gingiss: So the learning here for our listeners is that environmentally concerned companies are drawing the attention of consumers. Consumers are seeking them out. And so it is one of these things that if you’re not thinking about, you really should be because especially with younger generations, but I think starting with our generation, Joey, with Gen X and younger, this is a hot topic. And people are choosing to do business with companies that are at least paying attention to this and trying to be environmentally conscious.

Joey Coleman: They are. And what’s great is when you start to pay attention to this a little bit in your company, it naturally takes on a life of its own. I mean, Pela started by making cell phone cases. They now make biodegradable sunglasses because that’s another thing that people often buy. They buy a new pair every season or every other season and what do they do with the old pairs? Well lots of times they end up in the trash. So Pela has made biodegradable sunglasses that work fantastically and are incredibly beautiful from an aesthetics point of view.

Joey Coleman: In fact, I was speaking with the CEO, Matt Bertulli not too long ago, and he said something to me in passing. “Joey, many companies have a mission. We’re a mission that happens to have a company.” And it’s absolutely inspiring to me what the folks at Pela are doing to make the world a better place. They’re designing beautiful products, they’re growing their business, they’re taking great care of both their customers and their employees. And in fact, Bertulli said, “Since day one, we’ve been focused on the most sustainable options when making our products, making products more easily accessible to our customers and lowering our carbon footprint are high priorities for us. The mobile phone industry is a great example of where quite a bit can be done to create better, more environmentally friendly products. Put simply, as a consumer, you can protect your phone and the planet. There doesn’t need to be a compromise.”

Dan Gingiss: I love that part about they’re not needing to be a compromise because what it means is there’s still profitability that can be had and they’re still satisfied customers that can be had, et cetera. So if you’re interested in learning more about Pela case, and of course, as Joey said, they’re not a sponsor. We don’t get anything for you going to this site. We’re just sharing it as a courtesy. It’s P-E-L-A-C-A-S-E.com to look at their phone cases or their biodegradable sunglasses. And again, the takeaway for you is think about what you can do to align what’s right for your business, what’s right for your customers and what’s right for the planet. It’s the earth day trifecta.

[Required Remarkable] Green Parking Spaces

Speaker 1: Just because you have required elements of your business doesn’t mean they need to be boring. It’s time to get creative, have some fun and make people sit up and take notice. Get your customers talking when you make the required remarkable.

Joey Coleman: Have you ever been rewarded for the car you choose to drive, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Rewarded how? I don’t think so. But why do you ask?

Joey Coleman: Well, recently I had an experience where I got special treatment for choosing a specific rental car, something that had never happened to me before. So here’s what happened. I flew to Washington DC for a series of meetings and speaking events and as such, decided to rent a car because most of my engagements were happening outside the city in Virginia and Maryland. DC has got a great public transportation system but I knew I was going to have to be going here, there and every there. So I rented a car. And as I went to the car rental place, I was thinking about Pela case and I was thinking about my increased effort to try to be more environmentally conscious. And so I decided to rent a Prius.

Dan Gingiss: That’s cool. I’m not even sure I’ve ever been offered the chance to rent a Prius, but I probably would take them up on the offer if it was there.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And it was comparably priced to the other rental cars. And of course in the back of my head I was thinking, “Well, I’ll help the environment. Plus I won’t have to pay for as much gas when I go back to the airport. So this’ll be a net win for everybody involved.” And then I headed out for a series of meetings. The day of meetings culminated with an event and dinner near the HEC warehouse in Ivy city, which is an up and coming part of Northeast Washington DC. And when I pulled into the parking garage and started to look for a spot, my eye caught something I’d never seen before. The very best parking spots in the garage, the ones that were closest to the stairs and elevators were painted green and reserved for low emitting fuel efficient vehicles.

Dan Gingiss: I love that. That’s a great reward for driving green. Although I have to tell you where my mind goes here. The only downside is it requires the non efficient cars to drive farther.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough. True, true. But I imagine it also creates a scenario where the non efficient car drivers see that and whether consciously or subconsciously they’re reminded that the choice they made there could be a benefit for making a different choice. So it was also interesting that it was painted next to the elevators. So I took the stairs, not the elevator, but that was the setup. And here’s what I thought. I made a decision the day before on what car to rent and now I was getting special treatment for picking the environmentally friendly choice.

Joey Coleman: If you want to see what these parking spots look like, by the way, go to our show notes at Experiencethisshow.com and you can see some photos that I took. But what I found impressive is that almost every business with a physical location has some type of parking option for their customers that are visiting. And yet how many businesses have made the time to think about making this required component, I.e Parking spaces for your visitors into something remarkable.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I’m reminded of some other parking options. I mean obviously handicapped parking has been around for a long time and I would put that as a required part of your business because it tends to be regulated and mandated. But now there’s some places that have special parking for expectant mothers or for veterans or for other things. And again, I’m somewhat split. I love the idea in concept. I think it is great for an expected mother, for example, not to have to walk quite as far. I’m also on the flip side, sometimes confused slash perturbed when I’m driving around in a parking spot and there’s so many allocated to different things. I literally can’t figure out which spot I’m supposed to park in.

Dan Gingiss: There was one recently where I could see the word veterans, but there was like four sentences of copy on there that I think had something to do with how you prove you’re a veteran with an ID card or whatever. And I’m like, “I don’t know what this is but I’m going to go find a different spot.” Because it just was sort of too confusing. So I think it’s something to watch out for but I think it rewarding for the green choice is a great way to get more people to choose green.

Joey Coleman: Right, I agree. And as with all initiatives you might adopt around making a required element of your business more remarkable, the goal is to make it remarkable, not complicated. And so I think there is definitely something to pay attention to there. What surprised me or kind of it reinforced for me maybe, is that every business has the opportunity to think about the environment in a different way and think about how their business footprint could contribute to making the environment better.

Joey Coleman: I also think it’s the case that there isn’t a business on the planet that doesn’t have at least a percentage of their customers, and that percentage may differ depending on the industry that you’re in, that aren’t increasingly committed to environmental causes. So I think you get the opportunity to build affinity with certain segments of the customers you serve by showing that you too are paying attention to this stuff.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and to give another example, my local grocery store not only rewards you for bringing your own grocery bags, the reusable grocery bags. I think they knock off like, I don’t know, ten cents per bag on your order, but they also have a monthly drawing for a gift card to the grocery store that you can only enter if you brought reusable bags. It’s a similar concept where they’re not pushing it.

Dan Gingiss: And I’ll be honest with you, much to my dismay, I’d say 90% of the people, maybe 95% of the people still choose the plastic bags. I mean, I wonder how much of an impact it’s making. But that said, when I put my name and phone number into the drawing box, the drawing box is full. So that means some people are making the choice to bring their own bags.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. So one tip and two stories. The tip, whenever I don’t take the plastic bag, like even if the gas station, you decided to grab a candy bar before a long road trip and they say, “Would you like a bag?” I always say, “No thanks. I’ll do my bit to help the environment.” I actually say that with the thought being that slowly but surely, the more we can work this into our conversations, the better it is for all of it. Two quick stories.

Joey Coleman: One, in Switzerland, not too long ago, they decided to start charging for garbage pickup by the pound. So they installed scales in all of the garbage trucks that would drive around and pick up people’s garbage. And they weighed your garbage and your bill for garbage collection was based on how much garbage you handed in. This was an effort to make the country more responsible about waste. In 60 days it dropped 90%.

Dan Gingiss: Wow.

Joey Coleman: 90%.

Dan Gingiss: Because people are just stashing it in their basement?

Joey Coleman: I think it’s because people looked at it and they said, “Oh my God, if I have to pay for it, I don’t want to do this.” A lot of jurisdictions have moved, the second story, have moved to you have to pay for the plastic bags. The more you have to pay, the more it will condition the behavior. When it’s you have to pay five cents for the plastic bag, well there’s not as much of an incentive. When you have to pay $5 for the plastic bag, it changes the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. In the town that my parents live in, you have to buy stickers for every garbage bag and you have to pay per garbage bag but recycling is free. So it does give you that incentive.

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love it. So how can all of this apply to your business? Well, let’s ask a couple of questions. Are there extra little perks you can give to your favorite customers? Can you treat customers better that align with your mission, vision, and values? Can you use design and positioning to court customers that fit a specific demographic you’re trying to attract?

Joey Coleman: All too often, companies are afraid to do something special for one type of customer at the risk of alienating another type of customer. But the best companies realize that it is as important to know what you’re against as what you stand for. The more you narrow the types of audiences you serve, or at the very least, the more comfortable you get with celebrating specific types of customers, the more successful your business will be and the more your customers will start talking about you. When is the last time someone remarked about the parking spaces in the garage or a parking lot next to your building? Every interaction is a chance to stand out. Every touchpoint offers the chance to do something special. Every required element of your business can be made into something remarkable.

[This Just Happened] Water at the Hole

Speaker 1: We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement or avoid based on our experiences. Can you believe that this just happened?

Joey Coleman: I noticed something while traveling in the past few months that I think represents an interesting conversation about how brands and companies are responding to changes in customer expectations and behaviors. And I was hoping to illustrate this point by talking about water.

Dan Gingiss: Water?

Joey Coleman: Yes, water. So allow me to explain. In the past when I travel for work, water was something that I didn’t really think that much about, at least consciously. I drink water in route to the airport and then throw out my plastic water bottle when I got to security because you’re not allowed to take it through security. I then go through security and on the other side I had purchased another plastic bottle of water. I then drink that bottle of water before getting on the plane. And then once on the plane I’d ask for water, which the flight attendant would pour out of a plastic water bottle into a plastic cup.

Joey Coleman: I then get off the plane and head to my hotel. Usually to discover that the hotel had provided several plastic bottles of water in my room, some of which are complimentary, others of which required me to pay an arm and leg to purchase.

Dan Gingiss: That is a lot of water and many plastic bottles. So I will, as a PSA to our listeners, let you know that you can take through an empty plastic bottle.

Joey Coleman: Yes, you can.

Dan Gingiss: If you’ve already drunk the water.

Joey Coleman: Yes, you can. But you have to drink all the water real quick and then take it through and then where do you fill it? Which actually brings me to the point that I wanted to make in our conversation today. But before I get to that, let’s talk about how big this problem is. Okay, first of all, buying all that extra water, it’s like $5 to $10 a bottle, right? So it’s expensive, but what’s worse than that is the impact it has on the earth of having that much plastic being only used once.

Joey Coleman: It’s estimated that Americans use over 50 billion plastic bottles of water per year and only 23% of those get recycled. In Lake Michigan alone, an equivalent of 100 Olympic size pools full of plastic bottles get dumped into the Lake every year.

Dan Gingiss: That’s my lake you’re talking about.

Joey Coleman: Your backyard. Over 100 Olympic size pools filled with plastic bottles. That’s how many plastic bottles get dumped in each year.

Dan Gingiss: And Joey, I don’t want to get you riled up here. And we did say at the beginning of the show that we weren’t going to get political or talk about the why of climate change. But I do think this particular issue is fascinating because when you and I were growing up, there was no such thing as bottled water.

Joey Coleman: It didn’t exist.

Dan Gingiss: So in one generation, humans have created this problem. That’s a fact.

Joey Coleman: 100%.

Dan Gingiss: You can’t argue that. It’s not about science, that’s a fact. We created this problem.

Joey Coleman: And I’ll go one step further, corporations have played a huge part in creating that problem because corporations have messaged out, “Well, the water in your tap, oh, it’s not as purified and isn’t electrolyte filled and as wonderful as this water.” When the reality is if we actually test the water, the stuff you’re drinking out of the plastic bottles, in most jurisdictions now, not in Flint, Michigan, oh my God, fix that problem, but in most jurisdictions, the water out of your tap is healthier and better for you than the water in the plastic bottle that you’re buying at the grocery store.

Joey Coleman: So I thought this was ridiculous. I wanted to stay hydrated, but I realized the impact I was having. So I set a goal in 2019 to try to make it through the year without purchasing a single plastic bottle of water. And the way I did that is I took one of those metal water bottles that I’d received, this swag at an event I had spoken at. I clipped it to my backpack and as I set out on my various trips. I started looking for water fountains where I could refill my reusable water bottle instead of stores selling single use plastic water bottles.

Dan Gingiss: And now that we’re in 2020, how did you do on your goal?

Joey Coleman: Well, to be honest, I did fairly well, especially considering my prior behavior. And I think it’s important when we think about environmental initiatives that improvement is better than perfection. So across 2019 I purchased less than ten plastic bottles of water during my travel, which when I think back to the fact that prior to that in 2018, I might’ve purchased ten in a single trip. That felt like really good progress.

Joey Coleman: And each time I did purchase one I felt a pang of frustration and made sure that I properly recycled that bottle. So at least I was doing a little bit better. But to be honest, this segment really isn’t about my personal water consumption or sustainability goals. It’s about finding what you’re looking for and having someone make it easier for you to find it.

Dan Gingiss: So what did you figure out through this experiment?

Joey Coleman: Well, I learned several things, but there are two significant things that I wanted to share and discuss in this segment. Number one, what happens in your space when customers shift their behaviors? And number two, what can brands do to cater to these shifting behaviors? So first of all, let’s talk about what happens in your space.

Joey Coleman: I’ve noticed that in the last few years, more and more water fountains that are located in public spaces and particularly airports are being retrofitted to include filling stations where it’s easy to fill a reusable water bottle. Now these filling stations even display a counter that shows how many disposable plastic water bottles have been saved by you using the water fountain instead of purchasing the water. And as I travel around, I regularly see filling stations touting over 300,000 bottles saved. Now I don’t know exactly, I’ve seen the counters rollover, it’s based on the amount of water they do. So I have to believe that these numbers are fairly accurate. And in fact, the Atlanta airport recently partnered with Delta Airlines to help keep a local river flowing. And they pledged to restore 1000 gallons of water for every water bottle filled at one of the fountains in the airport.

Joey Coleman: To date, they’ve restored 23.3 million gallons of water based on the behavior of Delta customers and people flying through Atlanta.

Dan Gingiss: Which I love because obviously in Atlanta it’s mostly Delta customers.

Joey Coleman: Well, that’s true. So it’s a nice little co-branding opportunity for them.

Dan Gingiss: But I’d also say the next step in that, because I’ve seen these filling stations too, they’re at my home airport of O’Hare and there’s actually a lot of them if you don’t have to walk very far to get one, et cetera. I think the next step though is that the stores in the airports have to stop selling plastic bottles and only sell reusable bottles. And then you will have an ecosystem that continues to work.

Joey Coleman: Right. And what we’ve learned about humans, and we talked a little bit about this with the garbage bags, while we all want to make the right choice, sometimes the convenience of the bad choice is just too overwhelming for us to make the change.

Dan Gingiss: But think about that pang that you said about buying a plastic bottle. What if the pang instead was having to pay $19.95 for a reusable bottle, which is going to annoy a lot of people, but it actually might change the behavior because they sure don’t want to do that the next time they come to the airport.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I think the crazy thing about reusable bottles, and I don’t know if you’ve had this experience, you’ve got to find the one that works for you. Like for me, because I carry a backpack when I go, I wanted a bottle that I could clip to a carabiner on the outside of my backpack so I didn’t get water on my computer. And finding a bottle that would fit the Caribbean or that looks pseudo professional on my backpack was something important. So it’s almost like we have an opportunity to think about the aesthetics and the packaging of these solutions as well when we’re designing these types of products.

Dan Gingiss: Which ironically has been going on in the backpack industry now for a while, right?

Joey Coleman: Correct.

Dan Gingiss: Because now backpacks are not just for school children anymore. I use one as well. They’re very stylish, they’re meant for business people to carry around laptops and other type stuff. So there’s no reason why this space couldn’t go in that direction.

Joey Coleman: It’s also become acceptable to wear both straps or the backpack instead of having to go visit a chiropractor every day. But I digress.

Joey Coleman: The second thing I noticed around the water is that certain brands are changing their behaviors to cater to their customer’s desires. So I stayed at two hotels last year, one in Miami and one in Baltimore, that had large water coolers in the lobby where they encouraged guests to fill their reusable water bottles before heading out for the day or heading to their room for the night. There were no complimentary bottles of water in the guest room. And the staff went out of their way to point out that the water was available. In addition to a hotel in Miami that we spoke about back in episode 70, the one hotel has a filtered water spigot in the guest room. So there’s the sink where you can wash your hands and brush your teeth. But next to it was a separate filtered water that said for your drinking pleasure. So they actually built that into the hotel room experience, which made finding my water very, very easy.

Dan Gingiss: And it’s interesting you mentioned that because I’ve been meaning to tell you this, Joey. I’ve been staying at the same hotel in one particular city that I continue to visit a consultant client at. And what’s happened is every day, I try to usually refuse the housekeeping, but sometimes you can’t. And when the housekeeping comes every day, not only do they make up the bed and replace the towels, but they’re now replacing all of the soap. So I’ve opened up a bar of soap, I’ve used it once to wash my hands and they’re giving me a brand new bar of soap. And not only that, but there’s always the sign that says, “Hang up your towel if you want to reuse your towel.” So I’ll do that and they take the towel anyway. So when I was checking out the last time, they said, “Is everything okay with your stay?” I said, “Actually, no. I have a complaint and-

Joey Coleman: And I’ve got to say I love that you couched it as a complaint because if you would’ve said, “I have a suggestion,” it probably wouldn’t have done it. It doesn’t alert the mind to the average front desk employee the way a complaint does. But you obviously did it in a professional and respectful manner.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, yeah. I said, “Look, I don’t think that you need to be taking my soap every day. The bars are designed to be a certain size to last for a few days in a hotel. That’s exactly their purpose.” And what’s interesting is this person immediately told me that it was a policy of the parent company, which I know not to be true because I stay at these hotels all the time and I’ve never seen it happen.

Joey Coleman: I think the opportunity then is to ask for the manager, speak to the manager directly, especially since it’s a place you go to regularly. And if not, write the letter to corporate saying, “This manager, this location quoted me this is your policy. I’ve stayed at other places where it’s not.” Like we get the opportunity potentially to become activist.

Joey Coleman: So friends, loyal listeners, please don’t get caught up in the specifics of the water that we talked about during this segment, but rather see this as an analogy that you can apply to your business. How is your business adapting to the shifting behaviors of your customers? Your customers likely use their cell phones all day, every. Do you have free chargers available in your lobby or waiting room? Your customers probably love to be online. Do you have open WiFi for people to use when they’re in your space or waiting to meet you? And some of your customers are likely looking to fill up their reusable water bottles.

Joey Coleman: Are you there to help them meet their needs and in the process, show them that you’re ready to cater to their future needs as they may arise. Go grab a glass of water and talk to your colleagues about ways to do this in your business. You’ll surely come up with some great customer experience enhancements and you’ll get hydrated in the process.

Speaker 1: Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

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

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

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

Episode 97: The Benefits of Delivering Effortless Customer Experiences

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

Servicing, Calling, and Relaxing – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] How Amazon Makes Customer Experience Effortless

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] When Your Call Matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 97 here or read it below:

 Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

Joey Coleman: … and social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

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

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

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

[Dissecting the Experience] Amazon’s 6 Tenets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] When Your Call Matters

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

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

Joey Coleman: What you talking about Willis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: And number three, run away quickly.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh.

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

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

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

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

[Listener Stories] The Mattress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That’s awesome.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience…

Dan Gingiss: This!

Episode 95: It’s The Little Things That Make You Stand Out from the Competition

Join us as we discuss the added difficulty of ordering very large items online, a loss of identity in one major travel industry, and what we love — and can’t stand! — about rental cars.

Sleeping, Renting, and Driving – Oh My!

[Listener Stories] What Happens When a Mistake Turns into a Remarkable Experience

We love to feature the great customer experiences our listeners have every day. While almost everyone has a negative customer experience to share, when someone has a remarkable experience with a company – even when the product isn’t delivered as promised – it’s worth exploring. Loyal listener Carol Clegg (marketing consultant and “creator of destination mastermind business retreats for solo women and business owners” at Travel Like A Local Today) reached out to share a remarkable experience she had with Wayfair.

Carol ordered a mattress and was notified that it was damaged in transit. This was obviously not the news she hoped for – especially since she needed this large, expensive item delivered within a specific time window for an Airbnb she and her husband owned. When she called Wayfair, the customer service representative was able to immediately handle the issue. The mattress was replaced, expedited, and the entire issue was resolved with a single call!

[S]he put that all together within minutes. I got the notification that it was on its way to me, and it was just her attitude, her willingness, her friendliness, and no questions asked! She took care of it. This is the customer experience that people need to have when they’re dealing with companies.

Carol Clegg, Marketing consultant and loyal listener of the Experience This! Show

The fact that this was a large purchase (both in size and price tag), with a time sensitive delivery window, made for a huge impact when things didn’t go as planned/promised. However, by remedying the situation quickly, efficiently, and effectively, a negative experience turned into a remarkable case of customer service. What can you do to empower and train your team to turn negative experiences into positive ones by going above and beyond?

P.S. Don’t forget – we love to hear from our listeners! Share your story with us today by leaving a recording here.

[Dissecting the Experience] When a Customer Experience is Indiscernible from Any Other

When traveling recently, Dan was quickly reminded that every single rental car company was eerily similar. Despite his investigatory efforts, he concluded that there was very little to differentiate one company from the next. The questions asked by the check-in staff were the same, the cars all looked the same, the contracts seemed to be written by the same lawyers. The entire industry had become so commoditized that each and every company looked and felt the same.

The real epiphany came when I was sitting in the rental car, and I realized that there was not a single differentiating feature that told me which rental car company I had rented from.

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

The car rental experience is filled with tedious, commoditized interactions that are ripe for disruption including:

  • The Contract – Rental agreements are lengthy, boring, and filled with language the average person can’t begin to understand let alone enjoy. Customers are left to initial here, here, here, and here, and then hope for the best.
  • Gas – Why are the only two options (a) bringing the car back with a full tank (which means you need to delay your race to catch your plane with a pitstop at an over-priced, airport gas station), or (b) commit to paying a high price for an entire tank of gas – regardless of how much you actually use?
  • Insurance – No one seems to understand or agree whether you should sign for or decline the offered insurance. Most people don’t even understand their own auto insurance policy – let alone options that are presented with a tone that reeks of “unnecessary upsell.”
  • Tolls – You’re visiting a new area and they expect you to be able to effectively determine whether you need to drive on toll roads or not? And they they charge you a fee for the privilege of using a toll road – even if you don’t drive on one? How does any of this make sense?
  • The Car – When you get in the car, there is nothing to identify the car as being in a specific company’s fleet. The cars all look and feel the same. The same makes. The same models. The same colors. The same interiors.

But it’s not just rental cars. Every industry has commoditized elements that are waiting to be disrupted. What elements of your industry are the same as your competition and what could you do to shake things up?

[Love It/Can’t Stand It] Love Upgrades, Hate the Lines…

While the rental car experience feels the same regardless of which brand you choose, it’s certainly not a good feeling. Certain aspects of the experience are great (upgrades, the chance to drive unique or unfamiliar cars, the ability to choose your ride in the garage, etc.) while others are beyond annoying (long lines after a long flight, needing to find a gas station right before returning, uncertainty about the insurance, etc.).

The point of this segments isn’t to pick on the rental car industry – but rather to show that every business has things customers love and can’t stand about the experience. Do you know what your customers love and can’t stand? If not, are you working to figure it out? If you do know, are you working to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives?

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 95 here or read it below:

Welcome to Experience This! Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer attention expert Joey Coleman, and social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So, hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

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

Joey: Join us as we discuss the added difficulty of ordering very large items online, a loss of identity in one major travel industry, and what we love and can’t stand about rental cars, sleeping, renting and driving. Oh my!

[Listener Stories] Learn to Provide an Experience People Can’t Stop Talking About 

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

Dan Gingiss: In case we haven’t mentioned it before, we love listener stories.

Joey Coleman: Oh, we do love them.

Dan Gingiss: We know that customer experience happens every single day, and there’s no way Joey and I can stay on top of every experience with every company. That’s why we depend on you, our loyal listeners, to share your great experiences with us, so we can talk about them here.

Joey Coleman: Now, as a reminder, you can share your experiences with us by going to experiencethisshow.com, the contact page, and then there’s a big orange button that says start recording. When you click on that button, you can just leave us a little voicemail. Now, why do we use the start recording? Well, if we get your listener story where possible, we’d like to include you telling your story instead of us just relating your story in our own words. So, check that out at experiencethisshow.com, the contact page, and then start recording your own listener story.

Dan Gingiss: So, today’s listener story comes to us from Carol Clegg, a marketing consultant and “creator of destination mastermind business retreats for solo women, business owners” at Travel Like A Local Today. Carol called in with this story about e-commerce company, Wayfair, a retailer that sells furniture and home goods. Let’s hear directly from Carol.

Carol Clegg: Hi, Dan. This is Carol here from retreats2Lisbon and Twitter, and I’m giving you some feedback on my great customer experience with Wayfair. It just makes my heart feel so good when you have a really good experience and somebody cares and somebody listens. So, I bought items before from Wayfair and know that their customer service is excellent. So, when I purchased some household things recently, one of them being a new bed for an Airbnb that we have, I was updated with their frequent text messages, which is wonderful, that the item was damaged in transit. That actually was a notification from FedEx.

Carol Clegg: I called Wayfair at their 1800 number. I did not hold on for long. I got to speak to a really nice person who immediately pulled up my order, no delay, no needing to check in with somebody else to get approval to do something. She could see that the order was on its way back to her, and she said to me, what would I like to do? I said I’d love a replacement and as quickly as possible because we’re traveling for December, and I really would like it to be delivered while my husband is still home, so he can assemble it, and I only have a really tiny window to do that. She put that altogether within minutes. I got the notification that my shipment was on its way to me. It was just her attitude, her willingness, her friendliness and no questions asked, take care of it, that was that wow. This is a customer experience that people need to have when they’re dealing with companies. So, you can tell that I am a little passionate about having the good experience as a customer. That’s because I think it’s so important.

Joey Coleman: Now, before we dive into the specifics of Carol’s story, I just want to go back to one of the first things she said. “It just makes my heart feel so good when you have a really good experience and somebody cares and somebody listens.” Wow. If that doesn’t inspire you to try to create a great experience for a customer, I’m not sure what would. Imagine what a customer whose heart feels good would do for your company. Well, if she’s like Carol, she’d tell a lot of other people about her experience.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, and that’s kind of the point of this segment on listener stories. We don’t ask you to share bad experiences because we hear enough about those in the media and in social media. We focus on the great ones because those companies deserve the word-of-mouth marketing they get from thrilled customers. So, let’s unpack the bed story. The first thing that I realized from this is that this is a big-ticket item in more than one way. It’s big because a bed is pricey, and it’s big because a bed is large in size.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: So, that in itself makes this a difficult transaction from the beginning.

Joey Coleman: Right, and no pun intended, bigger items with bigger prices have the potential for bigger problems. This is actually compounded by the time sensitive nature of the situation. As Carol noticed, they were going to be traveling, and they really wanted to get it delivered before they left. Now, I’ll be honest. I’ve been in that situation where you order something online, and I spend a lot of time on the road, and I’m trying to rush to get things there before I leave or I don’t want things to come after I’ve left especially like something like a bed that would sit on the porch waiting, sending a signal to every burglar and thief driving by that guess what? No one is home. So, there’s a lot of elements of this experience and challenges for Wayfair to deliver a remarkable experience for Carol.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. The things that stuck out to her, she was able to contact them and not have to hold or wait to talk to somebody, which of course is one of the major pain points of calling a toll-free number. The thing that I think really stood out the most was that there were absolutely no questions asked. If you didn’t like the bed, you could return it, and there’s no questions asked. That takes away the fear that people have. Every time we buy a big-ticket item, whether we want to or not, we have a little bit of buyer’s remorse. Should we have parted with that much money? Was it worth it, et cetera? When you can take that fear away from customers, they are going to trust you more, and they’re going to trust their own instincts in terms of making the purchase, which exactly is what I think Wayfair wants to happen.

Joey Coleman: We’ve talked about these types of guaranties and warranties on the show before. I don’t understand, Dan, why more companies don’t just move to the no questions asked. Now, I get it. There are some people that will abuse that, but I truly believe that the increase in your business that you will get from people that are loyal to you because you have a no questions asked policy far outweighs anybody that would abuse you.

Joey Coleman: In fact, years ago, I had the chance to do some consulting work with Zappos. They are infamous for their policy that you can return a pair of shoes up to 365 days after you’ve purchased them. I was having a conversation with the then CEO, Tony Hsieh about this policy and like, “Well, how does fraud work in this?” He said, “Look, Joey, we recognize that there’s some people that will abuse the system, and we track how often people call back and return the shoes later. Now, after they’ve reached a certain point, which we’re not going to disclose publicly what that threshold is, but I promise you, it’s really far down the road, we will actually just say to them, “Guess what? We’re not a good fit for you. We’re removing you from our customer ranks, and you can’t buy from us again”” The number of people that actually get removed is really small, so I think all businesses could stop and think about what is the no questions asked policy you could adopt for your product or service to create more customer loyalty.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. I think that’s a great story about Zappos because it often is the case that companies will find the exception first, and that will be the reason for not doing something. “Well, we can’t offer a no questions asked because people take advantage of it.” Well, yeah. A few people may take advantage of it, and you should put guardrails in place so that the gamers, as we used to call them at Discover, the gamers can’t win out all the time, but the truth is, is that if you have any sort of rewards or loyalty program, anything, any opportunity, any loophole at all, gamers are going to find it. Right? That is a cost of doing business, but it doesn’t mean that you should not create a great experience for every other customer because you’re afraid of two or three customers taking advantage of you.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Don’t let the fact that one or two may abuse it, stop you from helping all the others. In the same way that we often talk about on the show, don’t feel that you have to create the same experience for everyone. If you want to treat a handful of customers better than others or go above and beyond in this scenario for someone, it’s not as if that then becomes the rule that you have to follow every time. Wayfair doesn’t always have to treat their customers as well as they treated Carol. It’s amazing that they did, but don’t let the going above and beyond by a single agent stop you from doing more of it in the future.

Dan Gingiss: One last thing that I want to highlight before we finish this segment is, what did Carol do after having this great experience with Wayfair? Well, number one, she reached out to her favorite podcast hosts and shared the story, knowing that we would share it with more people. Presumably, she also told friends and family about it, but also, I think we know that the second thing is the next time Carol needs any kind of furniture or home goods, she’s going back to Wayfair. So, thanks again to Carol Clegg for sharing her listener story, and kudos to Wayfair for providing a remarkable customer experience.

[Dissecting the Experience] Rental Cars

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: All right, Joey. We’re going to ad lib a little game here-

Joey Coleman: Oh, great.

Dan Gingiss: … that we did not talk about ahead of time, but I think you’re going to be good at this. It’s called name that airport code.

Joey Coleman: Oh geez. All right.

Dan Gingiss: I know you’re a big traveler.

Joey Coleman: All right. I am.

Dan Gingiss: So, I know you can do it.

Joey Coleman: All right.

Dan Gingiss: Let’s start with an easy one. You’re from Denver. What’s Denver’s airport code?

Joey Coleman: DEN.

Dan Gingiss: Okay, and I’m from Chicago, and O’Hare is?

Joey Coleman: ORD.

Dan Gingiss: Right. If we go all the way West to Los Angeles, it is …

Joey Coleman: Probably LAX.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. Now, how about Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania?

Joey Coleman: Yeah, no idea.

Dan Gingiss: Well, for our astute listeners, it’s AVP-

Joey Coleman: AVP.

Dan Gingiss: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I had an interesting experience renting a car there recently. Now, to be fair, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, as you might imagine, is a small airport but nonetheless, it got me thinking. When I approached the counter, the very first question I was asked was, which rental car company? I took a step back, and I realized there were three stations at the counter, one for Avis and Budget, which are sister companies, one for Hertz and Dollar, which are also sister companies, and one for National and Enterprise. Ditto.

Dan Gingiss: Each station had a separate employee, and each had the same first question. So, it got me thinking about how the rental car industry has become so commoditized that even presumably competing brands are combining their experience into a singular, undifferentiated one. The real epiphany came when I was sitting in the rental car, and I realized that there was not a single differentiating feature that told me which rental car company I had rented from. It literally could have been any of them. So, I know you travel a lot too, Joey, and you probably noticed these same things, but I came up with five parts of the rental car customer experience where I think there’s an opportunity to differentiate, but it’s not just being done. So, you jump in with the experiences that you’ve had as we go along. Cool?

Joey Coleman: All right. That sounds good. Yeah, and I’m super excited we’re having this conversation because I, number one, can’t believe we haven’t talked about this before. I too find that there is zero differentiation, and number two, I am waiting eagerly for someone to come in and completely disrupt the rental car industry.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So, I do want to say that the five things I’ve come up with are very U.S. centered. I have heard, and occasionally, I’ve only rented a car once or twice overseas, but I’ve heard that the experience is quite different outside the United States and maybe quite better than the United States. So, for our international listeners, please know that we’re talking about U.S. based rental car companies here. Now, the first thing is the contract. The contract usually starts, the discussion about the contract usually starts with initial in these seven places, and then sign here.

Joey Coleman: Right, and you’re encouraged to do it as quickly as possible. It’s on a small screen that’s difficult to read, and it’s just like click, click, click, sign, and give me the keys.

Dan Gingiss: You’re actually giving them the benefit of the doubt because most of the time, I find it’s not on a screen at all. It’s still on paper.

Joey Coleman: Oh, interesting. Interesting.

Dan Gingiss: I would say that when you have to initial in seven places, that is already a pretty good sign that the experience is too complicated.

Joey Coleman: Yes. This is the classic case of the lawyers, and for those of you that may not remember, I’m a recovering attorney, so I have permission to make fun of lawyers. A classic case of the lawyers determining the customer experience, which should always be a red flag in your organization. Have customer experience people involved in the conversation. Now, as we talk about a lot on this show, required legal disclosure language is a great opportunity for a creative marketer to turn it into an experience. After all, the goal is to get the customer to read and understand the legal contract, yet that’s not usually the result. As I implied, folks are just encouraged like, “Just initial here. You don’t …” I’ve actually had car rental agents tell me, “You don’t need to read it. Just sign it.” That’s always a comforting feeling when signing a legal agreement that if something goes wrong, I have to buy a car.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, don’t say that to a lawyer, folks. That’s not a good sign. So, I say that instead, rental car companies could use icons and easy-to-understand language in the contracts. They could convert the process to an app or some sort of mobile digital thing like you were describing and/or ask the desk employees to explain it to every customer in plain English. So, instead of saying, “Just sign it. Don’t read it,” what they could say is, “Here are the seven things that you’re signing. If you want to read in more detail, the language is there for you.” So here’s the next one. The gas.

Joey Coleman: Oh.

Dan Gingiss: Now, there are usually two choices with neither one being a good option.

Joey Coleman: The bad choice and the even worse choice.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. It’s the we win and the you lose choices. You can either pay for an entire tank of gas upfront, which is usually at a reasonable per gallon rate, but if you’re traveling less than 300 miles, you end up paying for gas that you don’t use, or you can let the rental car company fill the gas tank when you return it, which is usually at a per gallon rate that is three times the average fill-up price. Of course, you can also fill up the tank yourself as long as you remember-

Joey Coleman: Oh, raise your hand if you’ve returned a rental car and not filled it up with gas.

Dan Gingiss: Yes.

Joey Coleman: That would be me so many times, I’ve lost track.

Dan Gingiss: Because either you forget or you run out of time or you can’t find a local gas station, et cetera.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. This is so absolutely ridiculous. There has to be a simpler way. Now, for example, one way a company could stand out would be to offer a worry-free return policy where they charge you a reasonable per gallon amount for the gas used, or why don’t you just charge me for the gas used? That’d be my favorite part. I’d be willing to pay the more expensive price if you only charge me for the number of gallons that I actually used while I had the car rented. This would completely change the rental car experience and create value for the customers in the process.

Dan Gingiss: Agreed. So, how about this one? Number three, the insurance. Now, let’s face it. Very few Americans understand the nuances of their insurance policies whether it’s health insurance, home or renter’s or auto insurance. We talked about this way back in episode nine when we looked at the poorly named explanation of benefits. It is neither an explanation nor a benefit in the healthcare industry and the language it uses that customers do not understand. In the rental car industry, this poses a big problem in the unfortunate event of a car accident while driving the rental car. It also results in customers often paying twice for the same insurance, once to their auto insurance company and once to the rental car company.

Joey Coleman: Oh, and I’ll go one step further, Dan. Depending on the credit card you have, there might be a third company you’re paying for insurance, and that would be your credit card company that includes in their annual fee certain coverages or if you have a credit card like I do with American Express, they have a program that I’ve opted into, which every time I pay for a rental car with my American Express, not only do they cover part but I have a separate rider that kicks in that they charge me separately with insurance, but you’re right. It’s like you need a law degree, or you have to have previously sold insurance to be able to navigate all of the twists and turns of insurance for your car.

Joey Coleman: Now, instead of offering a $20 per day insurance rider that most people turn down because you know they don’t want to pay $20 but some people unsuspectingly accept, why not add one or $2 to every rental and insure everyone automatically? It’d be one less thing for the drivers to worry about, it’d be something easy for the agencies to do, and they’re already charging you all of these random fees that get bundled in that are different than the price that is originally quoted. Bump that up just a little bit. Cover the insurance, and pitch it as a benefit to your renters.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. So, number four is the tolls. Now, it’s perfectly fair for rental car companies to charge customers for tolls used. What’s less fair is to also charge a per day fee for the benefit of having the E-ZPass device in your car.

Joey Coleman: I also love that the per day fee applies to every day of the rental period, not just the days that you use the E-ZPass. So, for example, if you’re going to rent a car for a week to go to the beach and you have to drive on the toll road on day one to get there and on day seven to get back to the airport, you get to pay for the days that your rental car was parked at the beach. Not that I’ve ever had something like this happen before.

Dan Gingiss: No, and if you read the fine print, which I know you as a recovering attorney do, it also is charged per calendar day, whereas, the rest of the contract is per 24 hours.

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: Meaning, if you rent a car on a Tuesday and return it on a Wednesday, you’re charged for one day of rental but two days of the toll because you have it on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, it’s absolutely insane especially because at the end of the day, the rental car company likely doesn’t incur any costs to have the toll reader in the car in the first place. Now, granted there’s certainly bookkeeping that needs to be done to allocate the right tolls to the right customers, but I agree, this is something that could be much simpler and fair to all the customers.

Dan Gingiss: Last but not least, in fact, maybe the most important is the car itself. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a bottle of water or a mint in the car when you pick it up? How about a sign that thanks you for being a customer and directs you to the telephone number if you need help with anything? Better yet, consider using the OnStar technology found in many cars to allow the driver to contact the rental car agency directly with a question or problem.

Dan Gingiss: Another idea would be to partner with SiriusXM to equip all cars in the fleet with a radio service. A nice added benefit, which would also serve as a perfect taste test to then market the subscription service to car owners, or consider painting the cars a more unique color than black, white or gray to make it easier to find a rental car in a crowded parking lot. The list goes on and on.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I couldn’t agree with you more here, Dan. In fact, on more than one occasion, I’m embarrassed to say I have walked out of a hotel and put my keys into the door of the wrong rental car to unlock the door because I was parked to another rental car of the same make and model that was the same color. Huge opportunity to stand out here. It’s difficult to tell any of these apart.

Joey Coleman: In addition, when it comes to being in the car, what I think is fascinating is, why is there no signage anywhere in the car, even on the key chains? Half the time, the key chains don’t have the name of the rental car company. If I was trying to create loyalty and I had that time of you sitting in the car, I would be doing things to make you think positively about my rental car company instead of making you just feel like this could be any car on the planet. Now, I will say there’s a brand that is trying to disrupt this world called Silvercar. Silvercar is owned by Audi, and all their rental cars are Audis. So, they’re super nice cars.

Dan Gingiss: Really? Shocking.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and they’re all silver but in this case, they’re all really nice cars, and they stand out in the crowd.

Dan Gingiss: So, that’s five ways we think that rental car companies can improve the customer experience. Did we miss any? If you have one you’d like to add, go to experiencethisshow.com and click on contact to leave us a message, and if there are other industries you’d like for us to cover in a similar way in a future episode, we’d love to hear that from you too.

[Love It/Can’t Stand It] Rental Car Companies

Sometimes, the customer experience is amazing, and sometimes, we just want to cry. Get ready for the rollercoaster ride in this edition of I love It, I Can’t Stand It.

Dan Gingiss: It’s time for another edition of I Love It, I Can’t Stand It where we take a look at an industry and try to identify all the things we think are going right and the things we wish we could get fixed.

Joey Coleman: By the way, folks, just as an aside, don’t get caught up in the industry we’re talking about. The point we’re trying to make with this segment is every industry has things that the customers love and can’t stand. One exercise you could do in 2020 with your team is to sit down and just make a list of all things your people love and all the things they can’t stand. Now, you’ve got your homework of what you want to work on to enhance in the new year.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So, since we just talked about my rental car experience, we thought it’d be fun to circle back and talk about this often overlooked travel experience. So, let’s start with the loves. Joey?

Joey Coleman: I love it that I can drive a type of car or a model that I haven’t driven before. Now, I’m not much of a car guy, but I do enjoy seeing the different car brands in action. So, if there’s a VW or a Kia or something I don’t drive very often, I’m psyched to get the chance to check it out.

Dan Gingiss: Similarly, I love it when I get a new car or a car that has very little mileage on it because it just feels like such a treat to drive a car where you’re only like the second or third or fourth person to drive it because I drive a nice car, but I’ve had it for a long time. It’s got a lot of miles on it so-

Joey Coleman: Doesn’t quite have that new car smell anymore.

Dan Gingiss: It’s kind of lost the new car smell.

Joey Coleman: I love it when they let me pick the car I want. A couple of the car rental places, you’d go out, and they’re like, “Just pick any car from this row.” What I also love about that is my six-year-old and my four-year-old sons, they get to pick the car, and it adds, after a long flight, it makes the rental car experience of waiting around to sign the contract, need everything done, a lot more enjoyable because they feel that if they’re patient and well-behaved during that process, they get to decide what we drive for the vacation.

Dan Gingiss: Likewise, I love it when, of course, they upgrade the car for me. Even if I don’t need a bigger car, and I usually don’t because I’m often traveling by myself, it just makes me feel good like I’m a valued customer. Certainly, if I have the family with me, it’s a godsend.

Joey Coleman: I love it when a toll device is already installed either inside the car or a license plate reader, and I don’t have to think about it. Often, when you’re in a new place, you don’t know which roads are toll roads and not toll roads. Most people aren’t traveling around with a bunch of change in their pockets anymore. So, it makes it a lot easier for you to navigate new territories when you don’t have to factor in tolls.

Dan Gingiss: Finally, we referenced this in the last segment. I love it when I get a car that isn’t white, black or gray because I can actually find it in the parking lot. When I do have that chance that you mentioned where I get to pick my own car, I will often go for one that is not one of those three colors. All right. Those are the things we love about renting cars, but of course, there are some things that stick out to us as opportunity areas. So, Joey, why don’t you get us started on the can’t stand?

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh. I’m going to try not to explode when I talk about this one, but the lines at the rental car counter are insane. Now, I get it that they want you to sign up for their loyalty programs so that you can pass right through and your name’s on the board, but sometimes, and I’m a partner with a lot of the different rental car companies, I don’t have one that I’m particularly loyal to. Lots of times, you get to an airport, a little random airport as it may be, and you’re forced to use a company you haven’t used before and then you have these lines.

Joey Coleman: In fact, I spent at a, what I would call a small to medium-sized airport in Wisconsin recently, I spent over an hour in line. I had my wife and my two boys with me, and by the time I finally got to the front to rent the car, the entire family was ready to be done with the vacation that had just started.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. Have you ever gotten there and there’s like six rental car counters from different brands and everyone’s in your line-

Joey Coleman: Exactly.

Dan Gingiss: … and the other ones are empty?

Joey Coleman: I’ve always thought there’s a huge opportunity. If I own a rental car company, what I would do is I would give all of those other brands the opportunity to say, “We will match your price right now.”So, whatever it is.” You could walk out of line with your contract or with your confirmation and say, “I was going to rent this type of car for 100 bucks instead of having those folks just sit there on their phones, playing Candy Crush.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Well, I can’t stand having to refill the gas tank before I return the car for a couple of reasons. First of all, I’m usually in a place that’s foreign to me, so I don’t know where the nearest gas station is, and then you’ve probably gone through this too. You try to find one that’s close to the airport, but of course, the ones that are close to the airport are really expensive, or you try to find one that’s a little bit farther away, but you hope that after you fill up, by the time you get there, it still says full, right? All this while you’re trying to catch your flight, so you’re worried about having enough time. It’s just a huge inconvenience. If that one thing could be removed, I think the whole experience would be a lot smoother.

Joey Coleman: Agreed, Dan. Agreed. I also can’t stand it when my car smells especially when it smells like cigarette smoke. Now, I know most of the rental car companies you get in the car, it’s got a big sign that says no smoking. Well, guess what? People smoke in the car. So, what I don’t understand is how the people that cleaned the car didn’t notice the smell and felt it was okay to put it back in the line because the car’s going to be cleaned. It’s going to be pulled around from that little spot into a new parking spot. Someone from the rental car company has been in the car and didn’t care enough about the experience for the customers to flag that, hey, we need to do something to get the smell out of this car.

Dan Gingiss: That’s a great point because that person that’s checking the car, they’re checking hundreds of cars every day. So, each individual car is not a big deal, but for the customer, that car is the entire deal, right? That one car is the entire deal, and so my one of my kind of stance is very similar, which is when there’s something wrong with the car, it hasn’t been checked out before I drive off. So, you drive off and the second you leave the place, you see a low tire pressure come on or you see something like that, and you’re like, “Oh crap. Now, I got to worry about car problems, and this is exactly why I’m renting a car, is to not worry about car problems. And these are things that need to be checked out ahead of time.

Joey Coleman: Agreed. I can’t stand the math and the evaluation that I have to do to figure out if the insurance is worth it or not, right, and which insurance. There’s always like seven levels of insurance. We cover if it’s a Tuesday and you get into a fender bender over here, but if you get this insurance, we cover every day of the week. You’re like, I’m not sure if I’m running on a Tuesday. I can’t remember. It’s like folks, there’s got to be an easier way to handle car rental insurance.

Dan Gingiss: Finally, this may sound petty, Joey, but I can’t stand that so many rental car companies still use dot matrix printers. The reason is, is I think the dot matrix-

Dan Gingiss: I think the dot matrix printer is symbolic of bigger things, right?

Joey Coleman: Oh, totally. If that’s your idea of the technology you’re bringing to the table for the experience, you’ve told me everything I need to know about how much you value the overall experience.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. You compare that to using an iPad or some sort of a technology where I can check in before I even get there. Think about the hotels we’ve talked about where you can now open up your hotel room door with your phone. You don’t even need a key, and yet, some rental car companies are still using [inaudible 00:31:03]. It makes no sense. So, those are the things that we love and can’t stand about rental cars. If we missed any, please let us know at experiencethisshow.com, and if you have an industry where you’d like to share your loves and can’t stands with us, go to experiencethisshow.com to the contact section and click on start recording to leave us a digital voicemail that we may use in a future segment.

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. 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.

Joey Coleman: Experience …Dan Gingiss: This.


Episode 94: The COVID-19 Experience

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

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

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

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

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

[Say What?] Communication in Times of Crisis

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

Some organizations are communicating with their customers in unique ways:

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

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

[Required Remarkable] Relaxing Policies & Procedures

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

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

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

[Dissecting the Experience] Helping Your Employees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] Using Company Resources to Help

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

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

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

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

The FutureLoop Pandemic Special Edition – by Peter Diamandis

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

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

[Season 5 Sponsors] Thank You Avtex!

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: 100%, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: … This.


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

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

Operatories, Restaurants, and Post Offices – Oh My!

[Experience This! Live] How an Immersive Experience Inspires

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

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

Melissa Sprau, Design Manager at Benco Dental

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

[CX Press] Adjusting Technology and Shifting Focus

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Be Our Guest!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Key Learnings from Case Study 1: NASA

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

Three key learnings from Case Study 2: KLM

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

Three key learnings from Case Study 3: TSA

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

Three key learnings from Case Study 4: Australian Government Agency

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Experience This! Live – Benco CenterPoint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CX PRESS – Robot-Run Restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AVTEX PARTNER SEGMENT

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

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

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

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

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE – CX in Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This!.

Episode 90 – Using Video to Show What You’re Trying to Say

Join us as we discuss ten things that define your future customer, using video in place of print, and connecting with your customers offline!

Principles, Videos, and Tissues – Oh My!

[Book Report] The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business

Long time friend of the show and CX expert Blake Morgan’s new book, The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business divides customer experience into three defining buckets: Psychological, Technical, and Experiential.

In a rapidly changing world, the ability to adapt to the surrounding environment is paramount. Morgan illustrated this point by sharing the story of the Mexican Tetra:

In the permanent darkness of the caves in the lower Rio Grande, a translucent fish thrives. This albino looking cave dweller is not different than any other fish except for the fact that the fish is blind. However, this fish was not always blind. The entire species of this fish became blind over time, living in a dark cave with little oxygen. Finding food is difficult when living in darkness. Eyesight is not helpful and being efficient is critical to survival. Over time, these fish sacrificed their eyesight so they would be able to retain more energy to find food and survive in the difficult environment of the caves. The blind cave fish have 15% more energy than seeing fish. These small pinkish miracles are called Mexican Tetra. They evolved as their dark and uncertain environment required. They did not go into a cave and die. They learned to thrive in the cave by losing the sight that was useless to them in that environment, the blind cave fish remind us that it’s our ability to evolve, adapt, and embrace change that determines our ability to survive in the world. It’s no different for the businesses we create and run.

Blake Morgan, author of The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles For Winning Tomorrow’s Business

In order to succeed in the future, companies must pay more attention to how employees feel at work. With the right mindset, all employees can positively affect the customer’s experience. Employees need to have experienced high-quality customer experience so that they know what to deliver for customers.

Blake shares six tips for creating a customer-centric culture:

1) Hire emotionally intelligent leaders and managers.
2) Hire a diverse set of leaders who reflect a diverse customer base.
3) Normalize candid conversations to create a culture of transparency and open communication.
4) Encourage leadership to spend time out in the field talking to customers.
5) Ensure managers keep an open line of communication with employees while building and developing an employee-centric culture.
6) Talk to employees in order to learn what they like (or don’t like) about the organization’s culture.

[Dissecting the Experience] Explainer Videos

Tony Jones, the Innovation Director at Signal TV in the UK, shares creative ways for using video to enhance the customer experience. Using interesting customer data from profiles, subscriptions, and travel bookings, Signal TV creates personalized videos that are more engaging and easier to digest than words or even pictures sent via email. The better the data Signal TV has, the better the video they can create. For example, a personalized video not only welcomes a new car owner to their vehicle, but it also shares detailed information about the vehicle’s operation and clarifies how much the customer will pay each month.

What we’re doing is using customer data to tell a story that’s relevant to them and taking the most interesting and most relevant parts of those data points from their profile, their subscription, or their travel booking, for instance, and playing it back to them so that they understand it.

Tony Jones, Innovation Director at Signal TV

By using more video, companies experience a significant reduction in incoming customer center calls. Videos also leads to a large uptick in clickthroughs as opposed to sending standard emails.

[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!

[Listener Stories] Puffs to the Rescue

Leandra jokingly shared on Twitter that she was spending a milestone birthday with her BFFs – Puffs and Musinex. Puffs posted a playful and sympathetic response on Twitter and then sent Leandra a handwritten note as well as a bunch of tissues to get her through the cold season.

Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note and a real-world interaction!

In an increasingly digital era, tangible touchpoints are exceedingly rare. People are dying for analog connection.

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

Leandra’s co-worker remarked (online no less), “That’s so sweet of Puffs! Because of your story alone, they’ve won my loyalty now too!” Don’t underestimate the power of a remarkable experience creating a lifelong fan in your direct customer – and their friends!

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 90 here or read it below:

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!