Listener Stories

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

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Episode Transcript

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

 Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dissecting the Experience] Amazon’s 6 Tenets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] When Your Call Matters

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

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

Joey Coleman: What you talking about Willis?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: And number three, run away quickly.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh.

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

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

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

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

[Listener Stories] The Mattress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That’s awesome.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience…

Dan Gingiss: This!

Episode 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:

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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, 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, 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 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, and if you have an industry where you’d like to share your loves and can’t stands with us, go to 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, 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 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:

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:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 90 here or read it below:

Episode 89: Disrupt the Marketplace by Giving Customers What They Want

Join us as we discuss brands that keep (and don’t keep) their promises, putting the functionalities you want into your luggage, and helpful parking lots.

Promises, Packing, and Parking – Oh My!

[Listener Stories] Keeping – and Not Keeping – Promises

Loyal listener Kyle Moeti called into the show to share three of his recent customer service experiences with brands and their promises. He even went as far as to title his voicemail for us, “Deodorant, Undies, and Wallets!” – which we loved! Thanks for listening and for sharing your stories Kyle!

When Kyle asked the representative from Schmidt’s Deodorant why the product regularly separated when used, he received a detailed response about how the products natural ingredients cause that to happen, along with suggestions on how to avoid this happening. After some back-and-forth correspondence, the rep sent Kyle two full-sized products to sample (not the mini travel size samples Kyle was expecting).

After corresponding with two other brands (Jockey and Tumi) regarding faulty products and how to return them, Kyle didn’t receive the responses he was promised from either brand. When customer representatives fail to deliver on their promises – especially in a faulty product/return/refund scenario, it takes a bad situation and makes it worse.

Unanswered customers actually can be worse than disgruntled customers because there is nothing worse than feeling unheard.

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

[This Just Happened] Travel Away with New Luggage

Contrary to other luggage brands Joey and Dan have experienced, the new “Away” brand luggage creates a remarkable experience by offering a generous return policy, a customer-friendly warranty, and fun messages on their packaging.

When designing products, first you need to get the product right and then you can move on to the product experience. In Joey’s experience with Away luggage, the product is great. It’s a good looking suitcase, it has a ton of interior storage, it’s very lightweight (even when full), and it’s made
from a durable polycarbonate shell – which means it’s strong as can be. In addition, an ejectable battery allows for a phone to be charged four times before it needs to be refreshed.

If the product doesn’t live up to your expectations, you usually don’t get the chance to get to the experience.

Joey Coleman, co-host of The Experience This! Show podcast
Playful messaging keeps Away customers engaged throughout the order process.

As if the product experience wasn’t impressive enough, an easy to use website, a comprehensive and customer-friendly warranty, and playful notes/messages on the packaging made for a series of interactions that Joey is still talking about – months later. Remarkable experiences create the word of mouth marketing buzz that most businesses would love to have.

Creative messaging inside the box delivers an unexpected, “outside the box” experience!

[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:

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

[This Just Happened] A Smart Parking Lot

Have you ever gone to the mall and forgotten where you parked your car? That will be an experience of the past when all parking lots adopt the same technology used by a Miami shopping mall to help visitors find misplaced vehicles in the parking lot.

When Joey forgot where he parked his car at a Miami mall, a kiosk allowed him to enter the license plate and the computer “found the car.” It then illuminated a map to allow Joey to navigate through the parking garage to find his “missing” vehicle.

“Park Assist” helps drivers remember where they parked in crowded parking garages.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 89 here or read it below:

Dan: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Join us as we discuss three different experiences by one listener, putting new functionality into your luggage, and two podcast stories about the same thing.

Joey: Promises, packing, and parking. Oh my.

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

Joey: Dan and I were thrilled to receive a message from our loyal listener, Kyle Moeti. We’ve heard from Kyle before and we’re excited to hear from again. How do we know he’s a loyal listener? Well, he used the fun three word format that we used to title our podcast episodes as the subject line of an email message that he sent us. It read: “Deodorant, Undies, and Wallets!” I’ll let Dan share the email.

Dan: First of all, that’s a great subject line for an email.

Joey: That’s a great subject line.

Dan: Who doesn’t open that one?

Joey: Exactly.

Dan: Kyle writes, 

“Hey guys, Schmidt’s Deodorant is a fantastic company. I emailed them a question about their deodorant separating. The agent, Marie eagerly responded, stating that since the deodorant is natural, it can separate, but here’s what you can do to counter that and went on to explain it. Her email was three to four paragraphs of detailed instructions about this and other helpful tips. I asked followups and each of her emails was as thorough. By the end of her second to last email to me, she says they’ll send me two of their new scents and lists them for me to pick. Based on this line of correspondence, and had she offered nothing, I’d have already been sold on the culture of the company. Her final email to me stated that the freebies were on their way.

At this point, I’m stoked to be getting a couple of travel-size sticks from a fresh off the press deodorants. Nope. She sent me a couple of full-size deodorants. It’s customer service like this that started with a simple question that made a lifetime customer out of me. She went above and beyond to make this ordinary experience extraordinary.

Similarly, I hit up Jockey on Twitter to let them know of a drop in quality from a few of boxers I had purchased more recently as compared to years earlier. My intent was to air my grievance, because they’re pricey garments, not expecting anything in return. The rep responds apologizing and says she can replace them. I say thank you, provide her my information, and then the world of social responses to my DM go dark. I follow up about a month later. Nothing. I, again, DMed them a month later. Crickets. This raised a lot more questions than it answered. I’m left scratching my head as to why that conversation went from trying to appease a disgruntled customer who may still purchase from them to ignoring and guaranteeing I won’t do business with them again.

Unfortunately, the stories of negative experiences vastly outweigh the positive. I bought a Tumi wallet after finally deciding I was going to pull the trigger on a pricier but better quality wallet that I’ve had. I received the wallet and it wasn’t what I expected since I had purchased it online. I called to seek a return, which was simple enough. I had a request to have the return put back on another card than I had purchased with since the glass card had been misplaced. The agent said that was impossible. I pled with her a bit and explained my situation. She said she’d look into it and get back to me within the day. I’m still waiting.

My question to this is, why do people keep their promises? As a marketer, I find that keeping your word is an incredibly easy, cheap, and most importantly, effective way of pleasing a customer. Thanks for taking the time to read these. I’ve loved the show since day one. Thanks for making such excellent content, Kyle.

Joey: Wowza. Well, first of all, thanks so much for sharing your stories, Kyle. We love featuring stories from our listeners. So if you want the chance to have your story featured on the Experience This show, visit the contact page and leave us a voice recording or send us an email. We love hearing from you. We want to share your experiences with our fellow listeners. Now, I think there’s three interesting examples here, Dan. Where should we dive in?

Dan: Well, I think we should take them in order. First of all, Schmidt’s Deodorant. like Kyle, I love the way that they were so responsive and engaging in their communications. They not only answered his question but went the extra mile to really explain it in great detail. And if that wasn’t enough, they sent him some free samples and let him pick the sense he wanted to receive.

Joey: Not only did they let Kyle pick, but they gave him a nice additional moment of surprise and delight when they sent full-size versions instead of the tiny sample versions that most companies would have sent. You know, I must confess, I’ve always wondered, why don’t they just send the full-size version? Yes, you may not use it and that could be wasteful, but the number of times that you’d be excited about receiving the larger size, even if you didn’t end up using it, I think that’s a story that would continue to pay dividends when it came to longterm loyalty.

Dan: I definitely agree. Send more than planned and you’re probably going to get a response that’s greater than you hoped for. Now, what about the exchanges with Jockey on Twitter? Well, I liked that they responded initially and that they offered to resolve the problem, which I think is really smart. They then moved him to DM, or direct message, which is a common strategy of brands, especially with people who are complaining, because let’s face it, they don’t want the complaint to be public, they want to take it private.

Dan: Had they solved his problem then in direct message, I think this story doesn’t ever get told because it’s fine and it works, but the problem is he goes to direct message and then he gets ignored, and so he’s still waiting to get these replacement undies. I just had to say undies again, because it was a fantastic word. Like he said so eloquently, it turned him from a fan of the brand to now somebody who’s not likely to buy from them again. This wasn’t a difficult thing to resolve, especially since they started down the path of resolving.

Joey: Yeah, and they said they’d resolve it. I mean, folks, as you well know, if you listen to the show with any sense of regularity, I’m not even really on Twitter and even I know that it’s bad form for social customer care. I mean, we should figure out a way to send this Jockey rep a copy of the fantastic Winning at Social Customer Care by Dan Gingiss. I mean, but I digress. Let’s talk about Kyle’s final story, Dan, with Tumi Luggage. I must admit, this one hits close to home, because I’ve had some challenges with that brand over the years.

Dan: Well, it’s a little too expensive for my tastes, so I’m going to have you talk about this one, but obviously it brought up some old wounds.

Joey: Well, it did. You see, I can empathize with Kyle and his decision to spend more than he normally would. Tumi’s products are definitely priced at a premium, which is marketers speak for saying they’re expensive, but I made the decision a few years ago to pay what was really a crazy amount to purchase some large Tumi suitcases for both my wife and me.

Joey: We were traveling a ton and I figured Tumi bags have a reputation of being the best, so I’ll make this investment because clearly I’ll get the value. Here’s where my situation ended up being similar to Kyle’s. I went back to the store to have them do some repairs where there had been damage and they were less than excited to fix it. Now, to be honest, this is a pretty typical response when you take a broken item back to the item to repair it, but the problem was it was in conflict with what the original salesperson had told me when he praised their lifetime warranty. As it turns out, he defined lifetime differently than I did. I thought it meant for my life, weirdly enough.

Dan: Wait a minute, that’s crazy, Joey.

Joey: He thought it meant for one year, and then a limited warranty for two to five years for these other things that were never going to happen anyway. Needless to say, this type of experience didn’t breed lifetime loyalty.

Dan: Yes, and that is definitely not the best experience. I’ve had the reverse happen with a couple of companies that do have lifetime warranties. I have to be honest with you, I’m always stunned when they do honor it, even though it’s called a lifetime warranty, so you would think they should, but that is an awfully generous component of a number of companies.

Joey: Absolutely. It’s one of those things that when they live up to it, you’re stunned. Why? Because usually, they don’t live up to it. The other folks, right?

Dan: Exactly. Well, if you’re going to look into things, you need to get back to the customer who brought the problem to your attention in the first place. We need systems to make sure that these types of complaints are answered. If it’s not possible on the first call, at least make a note of it and have a process to guarantee that you get back to the customer. Unanswered customers actually can be worse than disgruntled customers, because there’s nothing worse than feeling unheard.

Dan: I’ll even add to this. One thing that I recommend to companies is that you get back to people who even just make suggestions to your company. If somebody makes a suggestion, “Hey, Tumi Luggage, I think it’d be great if you added centered wheels to your luggage,” and then a year later you add centered wheels, you should get back to that person and say, “Hey, we took your great suggestion and that person will love you for it.

Joey: Well, rest assured, our loyal listeners, we hear you. As I said at the outset of this segment, we’d love to hear from you even more, so visit that contact page and leave us a voice recording by pressing the big orange button that says start recording or send us an email. We’d love to feature your experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly, on a future episode of Experience This.

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

Dan: Okay. Joey, you opened the door in the last segment that you might be in the market for a new suitcase. Did you ever find one?

Joey: I actually did. Once I knew that it was time to get a new suitcase, I started paying more attention to the bags I saw in the airport and the suitcases of my friends and colleagues and what they were using. I happened to be at an event with a good friend who had an Away bag and I found myself loading it into the back of an Uber as we headed to the airport together to catch our flights home after the event. I have to admit, I was thoroughly impressed.

Dan: What impressed you about a piece of luggage?

Joey: Well, there were a couple of things because I believe that luggage, while functional, can be impressive. First of all, it was featherweight light. We had been at an event for four days and this tiny carry-on roller bag felt like it weighed half as much as my bag. We had packed a similar amount, so it wasn’t just that I-

Dan: I was going to ask, yeah.

Joey: Yeah, I figured as much. We had packed a similar amount. As if that wasn’t enough, it had four wheels instead of the usual two. And these wheels had great spinners, and I don’t mean like spinners you see on the rims, right? I mean, the wheels spun around, so it was super easy to navigate through the airport.

Dan: It sounds like you may have taken it for a test drive.

Joey: Yes, I did. See, my friend let me drive his bag, if you will, while we were at the airport. I knew I wanted something different, and one of the big challenges I find with purchasing a new suitcase in 2020 is that you’re often buying based on a photo or a video on a website without ever getting to put your hands on the bag and test it out. In this way, the luggage buying experience, while more convenient with eCommerce, has some added new challenges that didn’t exist when you used to go to a luggage store and buy the bags you wanted and try them on for size.

Dan: For sure. I mean, we often talked about the fact that the product needs to be great first and then you layer on experience on top of that. How did the product and experience measure up this time?

Joey: Well, you’re right Dan. So often, if the product doesn’t live up to your expectations, you don’t even get a chance to get to the experience. But in this case, the product was great. It’s a good looking bag. It has a ton of interior storage. It’s very lightweight, even when filled. And it’s made from a durable polycarbonate shell, which is a fancy way of saying it is super strong and resilient. In addition, it has an ejectable battery that I can charge my phone four times on a single charge. Now, I didn’t even know that I was missing this capability in my old suitcase, and now I love being able to stand at the airport, right next to my bag, with my phone plugged into my bag, charging away, without needing to fight for one of those open outlets where everyone else is trying to charge their phone and laptop before they get on the plane.

Dan: Okay. I don’t want to digress too much, but is this one of those bags where they tell you that you have to take the battery out before you do something with it?

Joey: Yes, yes. Great follow up question since we’re promoting this bag. Some airlines, and I know Delta, because I fly Delta, make you remove the battery before you get on the plane. What’s interesting about Away bags is when they first came out, that wasn’t possible. Removing the battery wasn’t possible. What they did is designed a new bag with a removable battery and sent it free to everyone who had ever purchased one of their bags. So, early on they were winning customers left and right. But it’s super easy. You pop this little slot in the bag, press on the battery, it ejects, and then you can take it, and that way you can also charge while you’re on the plane if you’ve checked your bag.

Dan: But is that before you check it or before you carry it on?

Joey: Both. Even as a carry on, they want you-

Dan: So why does it have to be separate when you’re carrying on?

Joey: Because, and I was wondering, I was like, “Well, what’s the issue if you’re carrying it on?” They don’t want to then check your bag and put it underneath. The problem with these battery-based bags is when they put it underneath, so they want it out of there if you’re going to check it. The reason they have you get it out before you even walk on the plane is on the off chance that there isn’t enough room on the plane for your bag, they don’t want to have to remind you to remove it then, so they just have everybody remove it at the outset. It’s a little annoying, but the benefit of being able to charge your bag kind of trumps, in my experience, the inconvenience of popping it out before you get on there.

Dan: And just to clarify, Joey’s not charging his bag, he’s charging his phone with his bag.

Joey: Exactly. That’s what I meant to say. It’s a live show, ladies and gentlemen. Well, you know, here’s the thing. The overall experience was also great, going beyond the product. First of all, the Away Luggage website is easy to navigate and it offers clear specific descriptions of their products, including useful things like the exterior and interior measurements, and it promises that the bag is sized to fit in the overhead bin of most major airlines, something that’s very important when you’re considering a carry on. In addition, they specifically outline a warranty that I thought was very generous.

Dan: Given your last warranty experience, I’m curious as to what they offer.

Joey: Well, even the language around their warranty, Dan, was customer friendly, and I’m quoting here. “Put this piece to the test on your next trip and make sure it’s right for you. If not, you can return it anytime within the first 100 days of purchase.”

Dan: They clearly read your book, didn’t they, Joey?

Joey: We got to love a good First Hundred Days reference. What can I say?

Dan: Joey’s book talks about the first hundred days. Make sure to check it out and never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman.

Joey: You’re kind, you’re kind. But you know, I really love how they define their limited warranty, as well. Their limited warranty covers any damage to the shell, wheels, handles, zippers, and other functional elements of the luggage. Cracks or breaks in the shell? It’s covered. Wheels, handles, or telescoping handles that break off and are no longer usable? Covered. Zippers that can no longer be opened or closed? Covered. Fabric tears that render front pocket fabric nonfunctional? Covered. In short, they cover the important stuff. If it’s a cosmetic damage to your bag, that’s not covered, but that seems more than fair to me. They also covered the original purchaser and/or the original gift recipient if you decide to give a bag as a gift.

Dan: You’re saying they don’t cover when my shampoo explodes inside?

Joey: Right, but they cover all the things that you would hope a luggage manufacturer would cover. Now, granted, I get it that it might be the airline that throws your bag off the plane and causes your bag to break, but they recognize that they’re making a bag, and they know airlines, and they know that might happen.

Dan: Yeah, and I’m sure the price, by the way, reflects that, that it’s built in.

Joey: It does, but it’s not crazy. I got to tell you, it is on par with what a traveler, a regular traveler or a road warrior or a veteran traveler, is going to pay for a carry on.

Dan: Well, it certainly sounds more than fair, which brings us to a point we’ve discussed in previous episodes about warranties. When it comes to things going wrong with your products or services, the great majority of customers are not looking to take advantage of you. They just want reasonable coverage. So if you’re confident enough to sell your product, you should be confident enough to warranty it. If you’re not, it might be worth heading back into the research and development lab to come up with something that you will stand behind.

Joey: I totally agree, Dan. It’s not that complex. If you’re going to sell it, stand by it. If not, you’d better be ready to never sell for the same customer twice.

Joey: Well, now that I’ve shared a bit about the product, let me tell you about the experience. The confirmation emails about my order were playful and inspiring. Here’s what they said, and I quote, “You’re getting Away,” and the away, by the way, was capitalized, which is the name of the luggage. “Now the skies are open and the road is easy. Below is a summary of your order. We’ll send you an email is your items ship. If you personalize any of your pieces, your order will take a little longer to complete. You can find out more about when it will ship here. Also, if you ordered multiple items, they may ship separately. Our team works fast to get your order to you as quickly as possible, so we’re unable to make any changes now that it’s been placed.”

Dan: Tell me about this personalization. That sounds kind of interesting.

Joey: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that earlier. Since many bags look alike, right, especially when it comes to carry on luggage Away allows you to personalize your bag with painted or etched initials, as well as a collection of custom stickers. They realize that the airlines aren’t joking when they say, “Bags may look alike. Make sure you have the right one before exiting the plane.” And since they’ve designed such a good look and classy product, they’d rather handle the personalization and customization themselves instead of leaving customers to their own devices with Sharpie markers and colored ribbons.

Dan: That does dress it down a little bit.

Joey: It does dress it down, just a touch.

Dan: That’s pretty cool. You also mentioned packaging. Tell us about that.

Joey: Yeah, so folks, you need to go to the show notes at so you can see the photos I took. But the packaging is very well thought out from beginning to end. First of all, the suitcase ships in a perfectly-sized midnight blue box with large white lettering that says, “One for the road,” on one side and the bold, “Away” logo on the other side. When you open the box, a message on the interior lid reads, “Now the world is open. You can go anywhere, see everything, go off the grid, out of your comfort zone, or back to your roots. We’ll be with you every step of the way, so get out there and stay open.”

Dan: I love that messaging, because it suggests that they’re more than a product, they’re a relationship with a brand.

Joey: Exactly. And they recognize and acknowledge why people are buying bags. What can we learn from my luggage experience? Well, you need to get the product and the experience right. One without the other just doesn’t work. But when you deliver and even over deliver on both components, you can create raving fans that want to tell your story far and wide while becoming advocates in the process.

Dan: To tell our loyal podcast listeners that the quality of customer experience is important would be pretty much preaching to the choir. But my guess is that not everyone in your organization is singing in the same choir, if you know what I mean.

Joey: So true. We often hear from our clients that while they believe in the value of creating remarkable customer experiences, there’s at least one person in the leadership team, if not more, that needs convincing. Now, if this sounds like one of the challenges you are struggling with, ta-da, we have a solution for you.

Dan: Our partners and friends at AVTEX are hosting engage 2020 this summer in sunny Orlando Florida. During this three day immersive learning event, customer experience experts and thought leaders are going to offer their insight about designing and orchestrating remarkable customer experiences while also sharing evidence that these types of initiatives actually move the bottom line in your business, I.E., they can convince the doubters in your organization.

Joey: Exactly. I mean, at the end of the day, often it helps to have someone else convince your boss that your ideas are worth pursuing, and with sessions on journey mapping, and experience design, customer data trends, and contact center interactions, each session at Engage will provide ideas of things that you can immediately put into action to drive your experience activities forward. Oh, and by the way, your boss will become a believer, too.

Dan: I’m not sure if we mentioned this, but Orlando Florida is also home to a little place called Disney World, and as luck would have it, this event is being hosted at Disney World. Now, if you listen to this show, you know customer experience and you know that Disney is one of the best in the business. Joey and I both love Disney World so much. We’ve talked about it on this show. It is going to be really, really exciting to have an event right there in the heart of customer experience.

Joey: Well, not only that, Dan, but at Engage 2020, you’ll get the unique opportunity to pull back the curtain on the Disney World experience. Not only will you get to learn from the masters, but there’s going to be a series of special surprises, and I don’t want to give these away because it would ruin it, but you’re going to get the chance to experience the magic of the Magic Kingdom in person in a way that you’ve probably never experienced before.

Dan: As you are budgeting your training and development dollars this year, consider Engage 2020, which is happening June 21st through the 24th. We know that these educational dollars are not always unlimited, so we are here to help you save money, because if you use a special code just for Experience This listeners, you’ll save 10% off of your ticket. Instead of paying $500, you’ll pay only 450 when you use the code ExperienceThis10.

Joey: And you see, folks, we even did the math for you, because that’s our rule here at Experience This. We understand that no one likes to do math, so we’ll do the math for you. To learn more about the event, the agenda, what you can expect at engage 2020, visit That’s www A-V-T-E-X, AVTEX, Make sure to get your tickets before they’re gone and we’ll hope to see you at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Resort for AVTEX’s incredible event, Engage 2020.

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

Dan: As our loyal listeners will recall, in season three, we had the great fortune of partnering with the amazing folks at the Cytel Group. Not only did we regularly feature their fantastic customer experience content on the show, but the season culminated with a live episode at their Empower CX event.

Joey: We had so much fun working with Cytel that when they came to us with a special project for 2020, we were both flattered and thrilled to participate.

Dan: That special project is a new podcast called Empower CX Now.

Joey: And we’re the cohosts.

Dan: Now, to be clear, we’ll still be bringing you the Experience This show every Tuesday, but now you can get a double dose of Joey and Dan, as well as all things customer experience by listening to Empower CX Now.

Joey: Now, to give you a taste or at least a sound of what’s happening over at Empower CX Now, we have a special crossover segment for you. This segment is the one time that the same content will appear on both shows. In this segment of Experience This, we’ll be talking about a crazy night in Miami where I lost my car. Okay? And you can hear this same segment on the next episode of Empower CX Now, which is dropping in just two days.

Dan: Which, if you’re listening to this later, is on a Thursday, Experience This launches on Tuesdays, and Power CX Now will launch on Thursdays. If you can’t get enough of customer experience and you’re interested in adding another podcast to your playlist, we hope you’ll subscribe to Empower CX Now. That’s not a command, although you can do it right now, that’s the name of the show, Empower CX Now.

Joey: And now, without further ado, here’s the story of my missing car in Miami, courtesy of our friends at the Cytel Group and their new podcast, Empower CX Now.

Joey: We had an interesting experience happen last night. Dan and I are in Miami recording our Empower CX Now show episodes, and we haven’t to park the car in the parking lot at this kind of fantastic high-end shopping center mall set up, where I have to admit when we went in, knowing where the car is parked felt like it was going to be confusing. Okay? Just the nature and the structure of the parking garage upon parking the car, it was like, “This might be hard to remember where we parked.”

Dan: We should know that that’s true for me of any parking lot.

Joey: Fair enough. Fair enough. And so, coming back from dinner, I happened to notice that there was this giant screen next to the little kiosk where you would insert your parking ticket, and the screen said something to the effect of, “Forget where you parked your car?”

Dan: Always.

Joey: Always, always. Every single time. It’s a touch screen. And so, upon touching the screen, it said type in as many letters of the license plate as you remember, which I was not informed that there was going to be a test on our ability to remember the license plate. But thankfully when you think about a rental car, often they put the license plate on the key, and so we were able to type in part of the license plate. What was interesting is it shifted to a searching screen and then it popped up a photo of the car in the parking lot and said, “Is this your car?” Then when you clicked on it, it then proceeded to draw a map and show you where you are now and where the car is parked.

Joey: Now, this was fascinating for a number of reasons. Number one, yes folks, Big Brother is watching you at all times. Number two, the fact that they adopted a technology that allows them with a video camera to snap a photo and then do recognition in the photo of the text and convert that so that you can search by licensed plate, there was a lot of innovation going on here.

Dan: Well, a first thing that I just want to point out for our listeners here is, and what I love about this story is, when there are two customer experience dudes just walking through a parking lot and there’s a touch screen that says, “Lost your car?” Like, of course we’re going to go hit the touchscreen, right?

Joey: It’s like children in a candy store, let’s be honest. We get super excited about this stuff.

Dan: Exactly. I’m glad that you did, because this is fascinating. I love it because I am legitimately someone who suffers from poor directions. I’ll park the car and especially if I go to one of those big amusement parks where you’re one of 30,000 cars, about halfway walking from the car to the park, I’ll be like, “Uh oh, I forgot to write down where I parked.” This is a very useful piece of technology for me. But I also love that it’s proactive in the sense that it got to you before you needed it, right? It wasn’t, “Oh crud, I lost my car. Now what do I do?” It got to you ahead of that moment so you could have the comfort knowing that having parked in this lot that you weren’t going to lose your car.

Joey: Well, and what I can decide, Dan, is this is a bit of a chicken versus egg conversation, right? Pulling into the garage, it felt like one of those confusing garages. I’m left wondering, did they install the help you find your car cameras and kiosk technology because it was a confusing garage or is it that-

Dan: Let’s just make it confusing.

Joey: Yeah, or is it let’s design this technology, if we can make it work in this confusing garage, it’ll work everywhere. I’m not exactly sure. We didn’t have the opportunity to figure out the name of the company who’s actually developed this technology. But I think what this speaks to from a disruption point of view is when you look at any industry, and I mean literally any industry on the planet, there are opportunities for disruption. I mean, I doubt a lot of boardrooms and conference meetings right now there are conversations being held about how do we disrupt parking lots, right? You would think it’s not really a sexy on-the-edge industry, and yet, here’s the technology solution that is doing just that.

Dan: Yeah, and I think that is a great message is that it can be done in any industry. I often get questions, I know you do too, Joey, after we speak, or if we’re consulting, “Well, does this apply to my company? I’m a B2B, or I’m in this industry, or I’m a small company, or what have you.”

Joey: Little do they know these are fighting words for Dan and I.

Dan: Exactly. And so, yes, it does apply to your company. It applies because there is something going on in your company right now that is being done because it’s always been done that way, or because the legal department says that you needed to do it that way, or because your competitors do it that way. That presents an opportunity to think differently. I loved always asking the question, I really loved asking the blue sky questions about, well, what if? When I worked at a credit card company, what if we lived in a world where there was no plastic cards? Well, guess what? 15 years later, we’re in a world where a lot of people don’t use plastic cards like they used to because you can use your phone and other devices, so asking those questions of what if, what if no one ever lost their car in a parking lot again? It’s a wonderful world.

Joey: A wonderful world. I also love this idea, speaking of the questions to ask, what about just simply asking the question, how could our customer become frustrated in this moment and just opening it up? I’m sure when they were building the mall, the bulk of the thought went to who are the anchor tenants going to be, who is the architect that’s going to design it, how are we going to get foot traffic moving around to the various stores, et cetera?

Dan: Why the hell are we building a mall in 2020?

Joey: There’s a lot of questions that might be going on here, but I also wonder if there was a conscious question of what happens if somebody loses their car in the parking lot? I think the moral of the story here, folks, is in every business, you have the opportunity, should you choose to accept, to sit down and ask yourself some of these disruptive questions, to sit down and consider how might you make the experience more convenient for your customers? How can you eliminate friction for your customers? Where might the disruption in your industry be coming from that you haven’t thought of yet? I seriously doubt parking companies are sitting there going, “Well, what if somebody comes along and figures out a better way to find the car?” Right? So, what are the ways that you as an organization are being creative and opening yourselves up to different lines of thinking and different considerations?

Dan: Joey, I’m going to put you on the spot here.

Joey: Oh, here we go.

Dan: This is unscripted and he doesn’t know this question is coming.

Joey: Great.

Dan: What would you say to somebody that says, “Okay, great, this is really cool, but does it get any new customers to park in the lot?”

Joey: What I love … Okay, he just wanted to get me riled up, folks. Okay, here’s the thing. It may not get more customers to park in the lot, but what it will do is get customers to talk about their parking experience. Okay? We had this experience last night. We’re now sharing this on an episode of Empower CX Now. Ironically enough, we’re also sharing it on an episode of the Experience This show. We thought this story was so interesting that we’re sharing it across two podcasts at the same time. Why? Not because it’s about parking, but because an experience was created that got the attention of two customer experience guys. It left us thinking, why did they do this, how did they do this, when did they do this, and what impact will it have?

Dan: And boy, was it cool.

Joey: And boy, was it cool. What’s fascinating to me is so often in the world of customer experience, the conversation comes down to by those who aren’t involved in customer experience. Well, what’s the ROI of caring about our customers? Well, you know what I can tell you is the ROI of not caring about your customers. Okay? That is very clear. They leave. They quit doing business with you and you don’t get to have a business anymore. When we think of the core essence of disruption, 99 times out of 100, the disruptive players in any industry come to the table with an ethos of, “We’re going to care more than the competition. We’re going to care more than the legacy players. We’re going to do this smarter, we’re going to do it faster, we’re going to do it better. We’re going to put more stock in what our customer’s experience of our product than everybody else in the landscape who’s playing.” I think that’s the opportunity for a disruptor.

Dan: So, a challenge to the audience, or audiences, as it may be, find a place in your experience where there is currently a pain point or potential customer barrier, and knock it down. Get rid of it. In this particular parking lot, there is no longer the pain point of forgetting where you parked your car. I’ve, again, done that enough times that I know how painful that can be. There is something in your business that you can do right now to remove a similar pain point for your customers.

Joey: Where do you start this conversation? Well, our great friends at Cytel have put together a fantastic PDF for you to download for free that talks all about disruption. How should you be thinking about disruption? What are some prompting questions to start the conversation within your own organization about disruption, some examples of companies that are disrupting the industries that they’re playing in. We’ve got to get ourselves thinking differently. It’s not enough to say, “Well, we’ve always done it this way,” or, “Well, our competitors are only doing this.” No, we need to look broader. We need to consider more possibilities and opportunities. And this disruptor PDF that’s I tell is put together is absolutely a fantastic way to do that. How do you get it, you might ask? Go to That’s and download this PDF so that you too can become a disruptor.

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

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

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

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

Joey: Experience

Dan: This!

Episode 79: Customers Like to Share Their Remarkable Experiences

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

Sharing, Shaving, and Singing – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To continue the conversation, go to:

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan:

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey:

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 79 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LISTENER STORIES: One Question on Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: It warms my heart.

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

Joey Coleman: Perfect.

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That one stunned me by the way.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, weeks ago.

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

Joey Coleman: A single item.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. Fantastic.

Joey Coleman: Impressive.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, lucky-

Dan Gingiss: Dan, yes.

Joey Coleman: … Oh, what a great gig.

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Great B2B example also. .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE: Subscription Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Of course you are.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: It is pretty shiny.

Joey Coleman: It is shiny.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: No really, the dive bar one?

Dan Gingiss: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Harold P.: (Singing).

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: I was not in the elevator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Dan Gingiss: (Singing).

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

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

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to 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 69 – Why an Emoji Says More Than You Think

Join us as we discuss:  How to identify customer sentiment using more than just words, why asking for feedback shouldn’t annoy customers, and how a new store operates without cashiers.

Emojis, Surveys, and Sodas. Oh my!

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Episode 61 – Why Your Packaging is Your First Brand Ambassador

Join us as we discuss: whether some customers should get better service than others, the keys to employee learning and development, and how you can use packaging to make a great first impression.

Premium Service, Curriculum and Packaging. Oh my!

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Episode 56 – How to Turn Customers Into Champions of Your Brand

Join us as we discuss: what customers have to say about customer experience, how packaging can be designed for specific situations, and how one pizza brand saved New Year’s Eve. 

Surveys, Situations, and Saviors. Oh my!

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