I Love It – I Can’t Stand It

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!

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

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

Sleeping, Renting, and Driving – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 95 here or read it below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, we do love them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Dissecting the Experience] Rental Cars

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, great.

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

Joey Coleman: Oh geez. All right.

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

Joey Coleman: All right. I am.

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

Joey Coleman: All right.

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

Joey Coleman: DEN.

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

Joey Coleman: ORD.

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

Joey Coleman: Probably LAX.

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

Joey Coleman: Yeah, no idea.

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

Joey Coleman: AVP.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, interesting. Interesting.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh.

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Really? Shocking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Exactly.

Dan Gingiss: … and the other ones are empty?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch. We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us. We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to experiencethisshow.com, and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This! Show. Thanks again for your time, and we’ll see you next week for more.

Joey Coleman: Experience …Dan Gingiss: This.


Episode 78: Using Artificial Intelligence to Support Your Customers

Join us as we discuss using AI to train your customer service reps, the internal path to entrepreneurial peace, and the ways one customer can positively and negatively impact the experience of another customer.

Intervening, Introspection, and Interacting – Oh My!

[CX Press] How Artificial Intelligence is Helping Customer Service Agents to Communicate with More Clarity

As consumers, artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a bigger role in our lives every day. Interestingly enough, AI is also increasingly being used by customer experience professionals. Alejandro De La Garza detailed one of the new found uses for AI in his Time Magazine article, This AI Software Is ‘Coaching’ Customer Service Workers. Soon It Could Be Bossing You Around, Too.

In the article, De La Garza describes a new AI program – Cogito – and how it is helping customer service representatives to communicate more clearly, to empathize with frustrated callers, and to improve overall performance. Cogito recognizes tone, pitch, and various signs of discontentment in calls. It then gives realtime recommendations for customer service representatives to adjust their conversations – resulting in increased customer satisfaction. Historically, AI was used for operational, “behind the scenes” systems that were controlled by humans. Cogito is interesting because this new AI actually gives the humans using the software access to realtime advice and direction.

There’s a future where AI software like this becomes part of our normal day to day in conversations with parents, with spouses, and in preparing for job interviews.

Skylar Place, Chief Behavioral Scientist at Cogito

With great technological advances come new challenges. Technology is advancing so quickly that our brains are having to adapt more quickly than ever before. While many of us may believe our jobs are immune to AI, the truth is less certain. AI is advancing quickly, and no occupation is completely immune from AI’s impact. It’s time to shift the question from, “What if AI affects me?,” to “What will I do, and how will I adapt when AI becomes a regular part of my career?”

[Book Report] Find Encouragement and Inspiration as a Self Reliant Entrepreneur

In 1841, writer, speaker, and father of the transcendentalist movement Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Joey came across this quote in John Jantsch‘s fantastic new book, The Self Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. Most customer experience experts – if not entrepreneurs themselves – operate in an entrepreneurial environment. Jantsch works to educate, provoke, and inspire self reliant entrepreneurs through a series of daily readings and prompts that encourage readers to think deeper.

Reason of course, keeps us out in jail, prudently employed and modestly goal oriented, but achieving the impossible, implausible or heaven forbid, unconventional, better way of doing something requires setting unreasonable ambitions buttressed with unreasonable actions. In fact, progress depends on it. The only truly unreasonable act is to believe that everything is okay as it is.

John Jantsch, author of The Self Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business.

Entrepreneurs can benefit greatly by paying less attention to the fad of the moment, and giving more focus to the wisdom of the past. If you are ready to be motivated, challenged, and encouraged in your entrepreneurial endeavors, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Self Reliant Entrepreneur today.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Leveraging Data to Personalize Experiences

Data can sound like an incredibly tedious part of any business. However, customer data has many purposes, from tracking and charting transactions, to managing marketing outreach. By utilizing data gathered from customer interactions to personalize future experiences, a deeper and more committed relationship will often develop.

Here are three ways data can be used to personalize interactions with your customers:

  1. Using portal interaction data to automatically surface support content that better meets the customer’s needs and the most proved approach (historically) to achieving resolution.
  2. Streamlining contact center interactions by comparing the customer’s phone number or IP address against past interaction reports.
  3. Using trend data to identify common pain points and eliminating them, or creating specialized journeys for individual customer segments.

Start the conversation with this question: What customer data are we tracking, and are we effectively using it to drive better experiences?

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

[Love It, Can’t Stand It] What Happens When One Customer’s Experience is Impacted by Another Customer’s Behavior

Sometimes, one customer’s actions can negatively impact another’s experience. Joey shared an unfortunate experience one of his friends had on an airplane, involving someone clipping their toenails in first class! While this was certainly not the airline’s fault, it obviously had an effect on his friend’s experience. When you are 35,000 feet in the air, you are subjected to the behavior of all the other people on your plane. Realizing that one customer can dramatically impact other customers’ experiences, here are a few things we love and cannot stand about airline travel:

Things We Can’t Stand:

  • Smelly food.
  • Passengers playing games or watching videos without wearing headphones.
  • People having loud conversations that people three rows away can hear.
  • Watching sensationalized news in an age where news is a negative trigger for many people.
  • Watching non-age appropriate content when seated next to a child. 
  • Cutting toenails or completing other personal grooming tasks like brushing hair, putting on deodorant, etc.
  • Taking off shoes and socks.

Things We Love:

  • The person in the window and the aisle seat giving the person in the middle both armrests without even discussing it – an unwritten rule of flying!
  • People who don’t recline their seat.
  • The person seated on the aisle graciously moving out of the way, so people can get in and out of their seat mid-flight. 
  • Passengers using the cabinet storage above them only after they’ve used the storage under their seat.
  • When people take time to read their seat-mates’ body language – do they want to talk, work, read, watch a movie? Whatever they want to do – let them do it!

It’s pretty easy to see how the behavior of one customer can dramatically impact customer experience – for better or for worse. And if that’s the case, what can companies do about it? One idea that is being implemented in many places is simply adopting a Code of Conduct for customers. These documents set clear expectations for what is allowed and what is not allowed – which can help insure that all customers have a great experience. Consider this: If your customers are in the same place, at the same time, how are YOU making sure they enjoy the experience without infringing on another customer’s enjoyment? 

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 78 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss using AI to train your customer service reps. The internal path to entrepreneurial peace. And the ways one customer can positively and negatively impact the experience of another customer.

Dan Gingiss: Intervening, introspection, and interacting. Oh my.

[CX Press] Learn how AI is Guiding Customer Service Agents to Communicate with More Clarity

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

Dan Gingiss: We’ve spoken several times on the show about the way AI is becoming a bigger part of not only our everyday lives as consumers, but increasingly in our conversations as customer experience professionals.

Joey Coleman: Which is why we wanted to share an article we came across in Time Magazine by Alejandro Dela Garza. The article is titled This AI Software is Coaching Customer Service Workers. Soon, it could be bossing you around too. And it’s about an Artificial Intelligence or AI program named Cogito. Cogito is designed to help customer service workers communicate more clearly, empathize with frustrated callers and improve their overall experience. It does this by listening to the tone, pitch, word frequency and hundreds of other factors in customer service conversations. When it detects that something is wrong, an irritated customer or a call center agent taking too long to respond, or an agent who sounds bored, tired, irritated, rushed, or otherwise unpleasant, it displays a notification on the agent’s computer telling them to slow down or speed up or stop talking or start talking or try to sound more sympathetic.

Joey Coleman: Basically it’s like having a seasoned veteran listening in on your customer service calls and providing real time actionable advice on how to respond to the situations you’re facing.

Dan Gingiss: This is a pretty interesting application of AI in the customer service arena. Up until now we’ve seen AI play a more behind the scenes role as it’s used to analyze data, track behaviors and route inquiries to the best channel for resolution. This new software Cogito is pushing beyond that. While once AI was seen as a tool largely under human control, Cogito is an example of an AI use case that is beginning to tell humans what to do.

Joey Coleman: You know Dan, I can definitely see some pros and cons to this type of tool. While on one hand it seems that Cogito can give someone a nudge in the right direction. It starts to get a little bit problematic if everybody relies on a nudge instead of changing their ways. Now, to be honest, the customer service representatives discussed in the article felt that in general the program is useful. Managers at one company said that using Cogito in their call centers improved first call resolution metrics by 3.5%, improved customer satisfaction by 13% and helped agents reduce average call time.

Dan Gingiss: I can’t help but think of my dependence on my GPS. The more I use it, the more I depend on it.

Joey Coleman: Turn now, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: And yes. And I don’t even bother trying to figure out the directions myself anymore.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And I think that is a little bit of the problem, right? Because what happens when AI tools are, for lack of a better way of putting it, so involved with the conversation that customer service representatives are having, that the customer service representative doesn’t need to improve. They don’t need to get better. They don’t need to learn because the AI is nudging them the right way all the time.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Well, interestingly enough, everyone in the articles seem to think that we were still pretty far away from AI tools like this taking over call centers. The Cogito scientists felt that it was at least a decade away and the call center representatives noted that they didn’t feel threatened that Cogito would take their jobs because, and I’m quoting here, “People want to speak to a real person.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. One of the problems I see with this type of thinking is that humans have an incredibly difficult time understanding the exponential change that is happening on the planet today. I mean, if we look at science, our brains developed over millennia in an evolutionary fashion and now change is happening at an exponential rate. And our brains just aren’t designed to be able to comprehend the speed and the significance of the changes. I had an experienced not too long ago, Dan, where I was sitting at a table with a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, a financial advisor, and me, a professional speaker.

Dan Gingiss: It sounds like the beginning of a really bad joke.

Joey Coleman: It does sound like the beginning of a horrible joke, right? But what was interesting is we were talking about AI and we were going around the table. And what was fascinating to observe is that everyone at the table could see how all the other professions were going to be eliminated except for theirs. They would say, “Oh yeah, we’re not going to need doctors. We’re not going to do to lawyers, but accountants. You know accountants will still be necessary.” And it was fascinating to watch how people just couldn’t comprehend when it was that close to home. And I have to admit, I kind of felt that same type of thing going on in the article when the call center representative who was quoted was like, “Well, people want to speak to a real person.” Well, not all people, and not if that person doesn’t do what they hope they’re going to do. And not if that doesn’t resolve the way they think it’s going to resolve.

Joey Coleman: It’s just interesting to think about how these technologies are changing faster than our human brains are.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I’m a believer that AI can be really useful in helping humans do their jobs better. So I love the concept of having like an AI machine next to a call center agent telling them all of the details of the customer’s previous experience with the company, so that they don’t have to be on four different screens looking that stuff up. And then the agent can really spend the time giving that human to human interaction that I do think customers want. If you extend that out to a doctor, for example, there was this story about how IBM’s Watson detected some disease in somebody that 15 doctors couldn’t find. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Watson is going to do the surgery. I think it can definitely play that role in having access to so much data and being able to crunch it at a rate that our brains simply can’t handle, but next to a human that makes all of us that much smarter and that much better at our jobs.

Joey Coleman: I think it does, but again, with all great new technological advances come new challenges. One of the things that I thought was interesting in the article is they told the story of a woman who explained that after working with Cogito for a series of time, when she was in conversation with her boyfriend, he noticed a change in her speech patterns.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, wow.

Joey Coleman: That she was speaking more directly, that there wasn’t as much fluff or nuance. And the author alluded to the fact that isn’t it the fluff and the nuance that makes conversation between humans, human. And so what happens when we strip all of that away to just be about call times and resolution and, oh, the AI can anticipate exactly what the individual wants. It makes a little less personal empathy and personal  connection I think.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I can definitely see that happening. So Cogito’s chief behavioral scientist Skyler Place had some interesting and somewhat shocking observations about how the world will change in the next three years. Place observed, and I’m quoting, “There’s a future where AI software like this becomes part of our normal day to day in conversations with parents, with spouses and in preparing for job interviews.” The team at Cogito is already using an AI application internally to coach and advise on everyday employee interactions, but the CEO is quick to acknowledge that they aren’t, “Quite yet sure if the general population is ready for this.”

Joey Coleman: Not quite sure if the population is ready for this? Yeah, I don’t even think we’re close to ready for any of this, Dan. But I think at the end of the day it’s coming whether we like it or not. And so the question needs to shift, I believe from a place of are we ready for this to happen? To, what are we going to do when this happens? Because it’s no longer a question of if, it’s just a question of when.

[Book Report] Find Encouragement and Inspiration as a Self Reliant Entrepreneur

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

Joey Coleman: In 1841 Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer, speaker, and father of the Transcendentalist Movement wrote the following. “Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoreous was misunderstood and Socrates and Jesus and Luther and Copernicus and Galileo and Newton and every pure and why spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.”

Dan Gingiss: Have I stumbled into the wrong show? This is an interesting way to start things off. I don’t think we’ve ever opened a segment here on the Experience This Show with a philosophical quote, let alone one from the 1800s.

Joey Coleman: I think we have Dan and I appreciate you and our loyal listeners for humoring me. But I thought this quote was interesting for two reasons. First, I think it describes most people working in customer experience today. I think we’re frequently misunderstood by our coworkers and peers and colleagues, and yet I think that’s great. Customer experience while familiar to all of us is still a pretty evolving discipline in the corporate setting. But second, while I’ve heard that quote I shared before I came across it recently while working my way through a book that my good friend John Jantsch wrote. The book is called The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. Now, you may be familiar with John’s Duct Tape Marketing series of books, which are fantastic by the way. Especially Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.

Joey Coleman: But his newest book is a bit of a deviation in terms of topic and format. And so I wanted to discuss it in this segment of what are you reading?

Dan Gingiss: Okay, I’ll bite. How is it different from his other books?

Joey Coleman: Well, the self-reliant entrepreneur is more akin to a workbook than a typical business book, but the overall goal is pretty similar. It’s meant to inspire, to encourage, to provoke, to educate. Each day of the year receives its own entry, which includes inspirational writing from a transcendentalist movement writer, basically enough to get you thinking, pondering. And then each day’s entry concludes with a challenge question, asking you to apply the thinking from that day’s entry to your own life. Now, what does this have to do with customer experience? You might be wondering. Well, to be honest, many people who work in customer experience are either entrepreneurs or within their own organization, they play a entrepreneurial role leading the change to create organizational change.

Joey Coleman: Being an entrepreneur or even entrepreneurial can be quite difficult at times and frankly can feel pretty lonely. The book with its powerful self-reliance message, I think could be pretty useful to folks in those positions.

Dan Gingiss: But based on the way you describe the book, you don’t need to be an entrepreneur to get value it seems. Purchasing a copy to read the incredible text and make time to answer the questions at the end of the day’s entry could provide some fantastic introspection for anyone.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I think it could Dan, and that’s again why I was excited to talk about the book a little bit. I think there’s something for everybody in John’s book, The self-reliant entrepreneur. You should definitely consider picking up a copy on Amazon at Barnes & Noble or your local Indie bookstore. In passing I’ll share another quote from the book that I think describes a mantra that all CX professionals can follow. “Reason of course, keeps us out in jail, prudently employed and modestly goal oriented, but achieving the impossible, implausible or heaven forbid, unconventional, better way of doing something requires setting unreasonable ambitions buttressed with unreasonable actions. In fact, progress depends on it. The only truly unreasonable act is to believe that everything is okay as it is.” Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw put it this way, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. Today pledge to free yourself from the limitations of reason and give yourself permission to dream of things no reasonable person could.”

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Leveraging Data to Personalize Experiences

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.

Joey Coleman: This week, start the conversation topic is, leveraging data to personalize experiences. Customer data can be used for many purposes, including tracking interactions, charting transactions, and managing marketing outreach. Data gathered during customer interactions can also be used to personalize future experiences which often foster a deeper relationship with the customer.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three ways data can be used to personalize interactions. One, using portal interaction data to automatically surface support content that better meets the customer’s needs and historical approach to seeking resolutions. Two, streamlining contact center interactions by comparing the customer’s phone number or IP address against past interaction reports. Three, using trend data to identify common pain points and eliminating them or creating specialized journeys for individual customer segments.

Joey Coleman: We talked a lot on the show, Dan, about the power of personalization. And I think this has been proven time and time again. I know as a consumer when I call in to a call center and because I’m calling from my cell phone number, they recognize that and they answer the phone and call me by name and immediately get to anticipate what I might be calling about. Like for example, when I call Delta and they recognize me and they say, “Oh, Mr. Coleman, are you calling about your flight tomorrow to LaGuardia?” It just speeds the conversation. It makes me feel like I matter. It makes me feel like they actually care about my business. And so I think every business should spend more time thinking about creative ways to personalize their interactions.

Dan Gingiss: For sure. I mean, as consumers or even as a business’s clients, we know that the companies we do business with have data on us, so you might as well use it.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely.

Dan Gingiss: And use it to our benefit. And now for this week’s question about leveraging data to personalize experiences, what customer data are we tracking and are we effectively using it to drive better experiences? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex at experienceconversations.com. That website again is experienceconversations.com.

[Love It, Can’t Stand It] What Happens When One Customer’s Experience is Impacted by Another Customer’s Behavior

Joey Coleman: Sometimes the customer experience is amazing and sometimes we just want to cry. Get ready for the roller coaster ride in this edition of, I love it, I can’t stand it.

Joey Coleman: I was thinking about something the other day while I was flying, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: Congratulations Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I set myself up for that one, didn’t I? Didn’t I? Nice. Oh, well actually what I was thinking about was how on an airplane, one customer’s experience can be dramatically impacted by another customer’s behavior. And when that happens, the affected customer associates that experience not only with the other customer who quote unquote, caused it, but it also spins off onto the airline for better or for worse. And this got me thinking that it would be interesting to explore all the ways someone’s experience on an airplane could be dramatically impacted by the other customers. In short, how one company’s customer experience could be completely out of their control and what a company could do to monitor and adjust these feelings as need be if another customer infringes on the experience they’re trying to create.

Dan Gingiss: I’m guessing there might’ve been an incident on this plane that triggered this idea.

Joey Coleman: There was, but to be honest, it didn’t happen to me personally. I was on the plane thinking about a story a friend had told me, who this happened to them. They spend a lot of time on planes. They’re professional speakers as well. And at the risk of grossing anyone out, I will share this story, but I would encourage you folks, please stop eating or drinking if you’re doing either of those things right now while you’re listening to this show because you’re probably not going to like this story.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. Putting the coffee cup down. I’m getting a little nervous here Joey.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, let’s, let’s not have a spit take. And this is pretty intense. Okay, here it goes. My friend was flying in first-class here in the United States and noticed that a gentleman across the aisle and a row ahead of her had taken off his shoes while they were in mid flight. He then proceeded to take off his socks and just when my friend thought it could get no worse, the other passenger started clipping his toenails.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, come on.

Joey Coleman: I swear it’s a true story, it was terrible for everyone involved because not only were the toenails being clipped, but it’s not like they were being clipped onto a paper towel, they weren’t just being clipped onto the floor and onto the other people. And I don’t know how it works for you all, but sometimes when you cut a toenail, it doesn’t just gently fall right below the toe, it shoots off. There literally were toenails shooting across first-class.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, thank you for making me put that coffee down.

Joey Coleman: I know, right?

Dan Gingiss: I’m absolutely disgusted right now.

Joey Coleman: And this is why I thought my friend was lamenting that the flight attendants didn’t do anything about it. And they also commented on the fact that given this airline’s reputation for having maybe not the best attention to detail, that would those toenails be picked up by the cleaning crew or could it be several flights later and someone would still be finding the biological matter of a passenger who flew several flights before.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. I’m kind of in shock. Let’s change the subject.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough. Okay. Here’s the thing, and again, apologies to any of the listeners that were as disturbed and disgusted by that story as much as Dan and I were. But let’s change gears a little bit, and no pun intended, pull this back to 35,000 feet. I’d like to talk about all the things that can happen on a plane, stemming from one customer’s behavior, impacting another customer’s behavior. And I think what we can show here is how this impact can be positive or negative. And as a result, I thought it might be fun to talk about some of the things we love and can’t stand. So Dan, why don’t you kick us off?

Dan Gingiss: Good. I want to go first.

Joey Coleman: All right?

Dan Gingiss: I cannot stand it when people bring smelly food onto a plane because sometimes it’s great and it smells like nice French fries and sometimes it’s a little fancier of a meal or a little spicy or what have you. And it permeates the entire plane.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, it really does. And if you don’t like that particular type of cuisine, if you like that type of cuisine, it’s usually fine.

Dan Gingiss: Well no, because then you’re hungry and you really want it.

Joey Coleman: But fair enough, fair enough. But if you don’t like that type of cuisine, it can get really ugly really fast.

Dan Gingiss: It’s bad.

Joey Coleman: The one that is showing up pretty much every time I fly now that is just ridiculous, is when passengers are playing games or watching videos on their phone and they’ve decided not to wear headphones. Because they’re like, I’m sure you want to hear the cards sliding across as I play solitaire. The little… Honestly?

Dan Gingiss: I kind of like that sound.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh, you like it?

Dan Gingiss: Only when I’m playing.

Joey Coleman: You like it at the beginning. But after two hours of a flight… The other day I finally was, “I can’t handle it anymore.” And I actually leaned forward and said to the person, “You do realize that this entire section can hear you’re playing solitaire, right.” And the person was like, “Oh no, sorry.” And I’m like, “How did you not know? Are you so numb and so unaware of your own behaviors?” Okay. I’m getting worked up.

Dan Gingiss: Speaking of which, I cannot stand it when there’s someone on the plane that believes that he is the most interesting man in the world and is going to talk loudly and share his knowledge with us for pretty much the entire flight.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and I love the gender specificity of that statement because it’s always a guy. It’s never a woman pontificating about the deals she’s closing and all the promotion she’s going to get. No, it’s some dude just harassing the person next to him. Totally agree. It’s ridiculous. One that I think I’ve observed people doing lately on flights is watching their favorite news channel, which is often fairly sensationalized in an age where news is a negative trigger for many people. I’ve actually seen the energetic shift when somebody flips on a news channel in front of them that clearly isn’t the news channel preference of the person sitting next to them and suddenly they realize they might be on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, and I’m not going to go back to your opening story because I’m still disgusted. But I have also seen people perform other personal grooming activities on a plane. Flossing teeth, putting on deodorant, that sort of thing.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. the putting on deodorant while sitting in the chair that that one’s, it’s rare, but when it happens, I’m just like, “How is this happening? Is somebody filming this? Are we in an episode of the Twilight zone or funniest home videos because I’m confused.”

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. There’s a bathroom on the plane for a reason.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I’ll say the last thing. Let’s do one more that we can’t stand. The last one is one that I’m personally sensitive to because I have a six year old and a three and a half year old. It’s when the person sitting next to us on the plane is watching clearly non age appropriate content when they have a child or children sitting next to them. Now thankfully when I fly with my kids we take up a row, so it’s not really an issue. But I have seen unaccompanied minors flying next to again, mostly guys who decided that they want to watch something like John Wick 3, which is an incredibly violent movie sitting next to two six-year-old twins and I’m thinking you do realize that they see the screen, right?

Dan Gingiss: Although to be fair, I’m going to push back on this one because you could flip the script and say that to that guy, the problem is the thing he can’t stand is having to sit next to two six-year-olds, right? Because now have to dictate what he gets to watch.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. But also when you get on the plane and there are 50 movies to choose from, I think it’s okay to say, “Look, I don’t care if you watch something that’s maybe a little more adult in its nature, but it doesn’t have to be pushing the adult with a capital A, boundaries.”

Dan Gingiss: True.

Joey Coleman: All right, so that’s enough bad news. What about the impact of positive experiences? What are some of the things you love, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Well, I appreciate it when the person on the window seat or the aisle seat understands that the person in the middle is really uncomfortable and allows them to have the armrests or at least most of the armrests rather than trying to fight them for it and make their experience even more miserable.

Joey Coleman: Oh, yes. We have talked about this before on the show when we talked about the changes that are coming to the middle seat. Yes. The rule is the person in the middle seat gets both armrests. I also really like it when people don’t put their seats all the way back or sometime, the best ones don’t put them back at all. It’s so ridiculous when I’ll be sitting on my laptop and next thing I know either the laptop is being jammed into my chest or it’s flipping off the table because the person in front of me has decided to throw their seat back with careless abandon, not even… I don’t know, if you’re going to put it back, at least go back slow, but just throw it back like, “Hey, don’t mind me while I sit in your lap?”

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think the sounds like you’re taking an, I can’t stand it and just flipping it into an I love it. Making it negative.

Joey Coleman: That’s kind of what happened right there. That’s true. That’s true.

Dan Gingiss: Tell us about your biggest mistake in business. Well, my biggest mistake is that I’m just too good at what I do.

Joey Coleman: It’s called taking a negative and turning it into a positive, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: But actually I believe that the airplane should just stop making the seats go back.

Joey Coleman: Agreed. 100%

Dan Gingiss: Like today with the amount of leg room there is, it’s not necessary to go back even three or four inches, just to stop it. Don’t make it [.

Joey Coleman: 100%.

Dan Gingiss: But I also appreciate… I love sitting on the aisle because I get a little extra leg room and can put the legs out into the aisle, et cetera. But when somebody wants to get up, I always stand up so that it’s easier for them to get out.

Joey Coleman: Of course it’s because you’re a decent human being.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And I like it when people do that to me versus me having to… That whole dance of trying to climb over someone and not touch them or their things. Is just so uncomfortable and all they have to do is stand up and it would eliminate that.

Joey Coleman: It really would. Another thing I love is when passengers decide to follow the rules and use the storage above their seats, only after they’ve used the storage under the seat in front of them. It never ceases to amaze me when you get on the plane. And lots of times I’m doing quick turns and quick connections. So I’ve got my carry-on backpack as well as my small carry-on bag and I get on the plane and the cabin space above or the luggage space above is taken by tiny purses and tiny backpacks and little things where I’m like, “Seriously, that could go under the seat.” So I love it when people do that.

Dan Gingiss: I do too. And I also appreciate when somebody takes the time to read their seatmates body language. And what I mean by that is, do they want to talk and be spoken to or do they just want to read and work quietly and watch a movie? It’s oftentimes people will act the way they want to act, not how the receiving person wants them to.

Joey Coleman: Yes, the pro tip on that folks. Get the headphones out of your bag immediately upon being seated. Put those in if you want to avoid the conversations. Well, I think what’s interesting here is, all of these examples are about the airlines, but let’s not get caught up in thinking that this is only an airline problem. Many of our listeners have interactions where they can have more than one customer in their place of business at the same time, restaurants, movie theaters, doctor’s offices, and someone who is a customer that’s not you, could be impacting or influencing your experience. And so I think there’s an opportunity for businesses to think a little more strategically about what kind of behaviors happen within their place of business from other customers.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I agree. And I think this is also true in the B2B world too. Is that we do business with companies and sometimes those companies annoy us in how their employees behave. Maybe they email us too often. Maybe the salesperson is calling me too often and I’ve asked him to stop or that I only want to speak to him once a week or whatever it is. You have to be able to read the other people in your environment and act accordingly.

Joey Coleman: Interestingly enough, it’s pretty easy to see how the behavior of another customer could dramatically impact your customer experience for better or for worse. What can a company do about it? Well, one option would be to adopt a code of conduct for your customers. Set clear expectations on what’s allowed and not allowed, and then be ready to celebrate or enforce the code as need be. We’re seeing this more and more with youth sporting events, for example, that have specific rules around parental behavior as opposed to child behavior.

Joey Coleman: Which is so needed, so needed. And I think it’s just a matter of time before we actually see this start to show up more in customer environments like restaurants and retail establishments and modes of transportation. Ask yourself this, if your customers are in the same place at the same time, how are you making sure that they enjoy the experience without infringing on another customer’s enjoyment?

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience-

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 74: Paying Attention to Shifting Behaviors Can Lead to Increased Customer Satisfaction

Join us as we discuss rewriting your message to acknowledge current realities, the pros and cons of sharing your email address, and the perils of always being connected.

Binging, Auto-Adding, and Considering – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] Netflix Nailed It!

Joey and his two sons have a Saturday morning ritual. No matter what time the boys wake up, they all head to the basement (letting mom sleep in) for Saturday morning cartoons! In an effort to shake things up a bit, they recently started watching a show called Nailed It! on Netflix. On the show, home bakers with a poor track record in the kitchen seek redemption and cash by trying to re-creating edible masterpieces. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

While the episode was certainly entertaining, the most interesting part of the show came at the end, just after the winner was announced. The hostess signed off the current episode by welcoming the viewers to the next episode. This was brilliant as it assumed that Joey and his sons would continue to watch more episodes! With on-demand availability, people are now watching more than one episode in a single sitting. In fact, many people binge-watch shows like Nailed It! Amazingly, Nailed It has acknowledged this behavioral shift and adjusted their programming accordingly.

How are you adjusting your offerings to take into consideration the tectonic shifts that are occurring in customer behavior? Are you considering your content release schedule and what your customers want vs. what’s easiest for you?

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Sometimes, even if you are not an early adopter or raving fan of these shifting trends, you must realign your message with the present day realities of customer behavior. What are you doing to continuously evolve your offerings so that customers and prospects feel like you are taking their needs, wants, and behaviors into consideration? 

On that note, we want to make sure to take our listeners’ behaviors into consideration! Do you think we should release the entire season of ExperienceThis! Show once a week (like old TV), or all at once (like a Netflix show)? Please take 3 seconds to vote in the poll below and let us know!

Coming Soon
Do you think we should release the entire season of ExperienceThis! Show once a week (like we do currently), or all at once (like an entire season of your favorite TV show being released on Netflix or Amazon)?
Do you think we should release the entire season of ExperienceThis! Show once a week (like we do currently), or all at once (like an entire season of your favorite TV show being released on Netflix or Amazon)?
Do you think we should release the entire season of ExperienceThis! Show once a week (like we do currently), or all at once (like an entire season of your favorite TV show being released on Netflix or Amazon)?

[I Love It, I Can’t Stand It] Email Lists

Most people have a very complex relationship with email. On one hand, it helps us to do business in an increasingly digital age. On the other hand, our email inboxes are becoming more crowded by the minute! How your email is used and even abused by email lists is a topic for recipients and senders alike. When you give your email to someone, what they do with it can vary from actually using it to communicate, to adding you to one of many email distribution lists.

Things We Can’t Stand:

  • When someone we meet at an event adds us to their e-newsletter.
  • When companies share your email with third parties who in turn start marketing to you.
  • When you make a donation, and the cause/non-profit immediately starts emailing you for more donations.
  • When you want to access content on a website, you enter your email, and then a sales person starts reaching out to set up a call so they can pitch you.

Things We Love:

  • When people ask permission to introduce me to someone via email rather than in Messenger, or by text, or without asking!
  • When people are transparent about how many emails you will receive in the coming weeks after you provide your email for the first time.
  • When someone forwards you a newsletter and gives you the option of receiving more issues (instead of automatically subscribing you).
  • When people receive your email from a third party that you do have a relationship with, but acknowledge the mutual relationship when they send the first message.

Always consider the golden rule when you are dealing with email: Do unto others’ email as you would want done unto yours!

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Employee Experience Matters Too

While having satisfied customers may seem to be the most important focus, if your employees aren’t having a good experience, your customers will suffer as well. CX leaders are often solely focused on their customers’ experience, but the truth is, the employee experience matters too. Failing to consider the employee experience can lead to unnecessary stress, frustration, and staff turnover, especially when the employees are asked to do too much with too little support.

Here are three ways to improve the employee experience:

  1. Ensuring the organization’s CX technologies and tools are capable of supporting employees and the CX strategy.
  2. Integrating commonly used technology platforms to streamline routine activities, such as customer data review or entry.
  3. Continually reviewing processes and policies to eliminate common pain points or roadblocks that negatively impact employees.

Start the conversation with this question: Are my employees given the tools and support they need to do their jobs and execute our CX strategy?

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

[Book Report] Indistractible by Nir Eyal

The modern world is filled with distractions – most notably, the technology at our fingertips. In his book Indistractible: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, Nir Eyal addresses the hidden psychology that causes us to constantly be distracted. Interestingly enough, Nir’s first book was called Hooked, which addressed the four step process companies use to get customers “hooked” on their products. In Indistractible, Nir provides a way to break this ongoing, addictive cycle.

Now we should realize that distraction is not a new problem. But by understanding the root cause of distraction, the deeper psychology of why we go off track, we can make sure that we can get the best out of these technologies without letting them get the best of us.

Nir Eyal, author of Indistractible

An interesting aspect of this book, is that Nir doesn’t suggest technology abstinence. Instead, he suggests a four step process to help create boundaries, take back control over the distractions, and return balance in your life.

If you are ready to take control of your life again and establish some healthy boundaries for the role technology plays in your life, make sure to read Indistractible.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 74 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Now 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 scripting your message to acknowledge current realities, the pros and cons of sharing your email address, and the perils of always being connected.

Dan Gingiss: Binging, Auto Adding and Considering. Oh my!

[This Just Happened] Netflix Nailed it! (binge watching)

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

Joey Coleman: In our house, I have a Saturday morning ritual with my boys. Whenever they wake up, which to be honest is usually super early, they come and wake me up and we all go downstairs to our living room to watch cartoons together.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I remember those days. Mine are now teenagers and near teenagers, so we’re not really watching cartoons anymore.

Joey Coleman: Not as much into the cartoons anymore. No, I hear you. And to be honest, it’s one of the reasons I do it because not only does taking the boys allow my wife to sleep in after a long week, but it gives me some quality time together with my sons that I know won’t be as interesting to them as they get older.

Joey Coleman: So what we usually do is watch cartoons on Netflix. But recently we tried a new show that I had heard about and I thought they might enjoy, called Nailed It. Have you ever watched, Nailed It, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: So I have not watched Nailed It, but I want to ask a question before you even start. Was it something you thought they would enjoy or something Netflix thought that they would enjoy?

Joey Coleman: Good clarifying question. Netflix suggested it and I had also heard from our niece that she likes to watch the show. And so I thought, “All right, maybe the boys will like this too.” And to be honest, you can only do so many episodes of Paw Patrol and Octonauts before you say we got to throw something different into the system.

Dan Gingiss: And Spongebob. That was the one I could not stand.

Joey Coleman: Oh yeah, we don’t do SpongeBob at our house. We are a SpongeBob free home. Thankfully. Octonauts, Paw Patrol, love them. Great shows. But something that wasn’t a cartoon seemed like it might be interesting as well. So we decided to watch Nailed it.

Joey Coleman: Now for all of you that may not be familiar, Nailed It is a baking show that brings together three amateur bakers who compete against each other to win a $10,000 prize. Now, each round sees the host, comic Nicole Byer, and renowned pastry chef Jacques Torres, showcasing a beautifully made cake or cookies or a dessert of some type. And then the contestants are given a limited period of time, usually 20 minutes to two hours, to make something that looks just like the example. Now the phrase, Nailed It, comes from a popular trend on Pinterest to try to make what you see and even when you basically fail epically, you say “Nailed it.”

Dan Gingiss: Nailed it.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Okay, good. You knew that one. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: I can’t decide what’s more shocking, Joey, that you’re watching a baking show because I know you don’t know how to bake, or that you know about Pinterest and the concept of ‘nailed it.’

Joey Coleman: Well I resemble those remarks, Dan. I agree with you. I am not into baking but I can certainly appreciate a well-designed and baked dessert. I also love the concept of boldly claiming that you nailed it, when in reality your finished product looks nothing like what you saw on Pinterest. But to be honest, the thing I wanted to talk about has less to do with the show and more to do with what happened at the end of the show we were watching in the final few seconds.

Joey Coleman: I want to play for you a clip of the show so that you understand what I mean. By way of setting this up a bit, the host, Nicole, is going to announce the winner of the episode and then she’s going to encourage her guest hosts to shower the winner with money. They have this device that shoots the $10,000 bills all over the winner. The part to pay specific attention to is right after that when the host speaks directly to the viewer. Take a listen.

Nicole Byer: The winner is … Chris. Hit him with that cash.

Chris: I can finally say, “Chris, you nailed it.”

Nicole Byer: Thanks for joining us on Nailed It. The next episode starts in four, three, two, one.

Nicole Byer: Welcome to Nailed It.

Dan Gingiss: Very interesting. It’s as if the show is both encouraging the viewer to watch more and anticipating that they’re going to watch more right now.

Joey Coleman: Exactly, and this is the thing. I had never seen this before in any type of show. As anyone who is a subscriber to Netflix knows, as soon as you finish watching one episode of a show, they automatically start playing the next episode a few seconds later. This helps everyone involved. The viewer who’s engrossed in the TV doesn’t have to select the next episode and Netflix keeps you engaged and watching by automatically starting the next episode. But what caught my attention is that the producers and writers for the show Nailed It are so familiar with the typical binge watching that occurs on Netflix, that they actually built the prompt to stay watching into the script of the show.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. We have clearly come a long way since the way the shows ended when we were kids. I remember  it being this huge deal when a show would end with ‘to be continued.’ Because it was a two parter, whereas most of the time when we were kids, the episodes kind of stood on their own. So this is however completely taking that to a different place.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I mean there’s something completely different from tune in next week to the next episode starts in four, three, two, one and then it’s playing. Now I know consumers have been binge watching shows ever since it became possible to view things on demand. But I have never seen a show address this behavior so head on.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I agree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that either. The only thing I can maybe compare it to is that some of the reality shows like America’s Got Talent will have a live performance show on one night and then the results on the next night. And you almost can’t help but watch two nights in a row. But even then, it’s not immediate. And this is this understanding that the whole concept of binge-watching is now this moment. And I just wonder, how many episodes are there of this thing? How many hours into the night am I going to stay up if I just leave it going?

Joey Coleman: Right. And most of the research actually shows, since on demand TV has come out, the amount of time people spend watching in a single setting has increased dramatically. So overall TV usage and a lot of demographics is going down because there are so many other distractions. Your phone and the internet and things you could be doing on a laptop or an iPad. But when you do sit down to watch, binging is kind of a common practice and behavior.

Joey Coleman: So here’s our question for you, loyal listeners, how are you adjusting your offerings to take into consideration the tectonic shifts that are occurring in customer behavior? Are you considering your content release schedule and what your customers want? Or are you considering what’s easiest for you in terms of a production schedule? Does your messaging and positioning align with the present day realities of customer behavior, even if you yourself aren’t an early adopter or a raving fan of these shifting trends? What are you doing to constantly evolve your offerings so that customers and prospects alike feel like you’re taking their needs and their wants and their behaviors into consideration?

Dan Gingiss: Joey, you and I have talked about something related to this about our very show. One thing I think that our listeners and friends and, well, my social media followers know is that-

Joey Coleman: That was subtle, wasn’t it? For those of you keeping score at home, social media expert, Dan, one, non social media expert, Joey, zero.

Dan Gingiss: So what they all know is that you and I both practice what we preach.

Joey Coleman: We try to.

Dan Gingiss: That’s really important.

Joey Coleman: We try to.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. So to that end …

Joey Coleman: Yeah. So to that end, let’s put this to the test. You’re listening to our show and since season one, Dan and I have been having conversations outside of the recording room, discussing whether or not we should drop our shows, an entire season of the Experience This show, once a week like we currently do, or whether we should release an entire season all at once, a la Netflix. Thus far, we’ve decided to release the shows in a weekly fashion.

Joey Coleman: But it’s an ongoing discussion we’re having. In fact, we want to ask you what you think. Would you like to have an entire season of Experience This released all at once? Or do you like the fact that we drip a little bit out every week? We release a single episode. To do this, visit experiencethisshow.com and click on the listener poll at the top of the homepage. We’d love to see what all of you think and if there’s a strong consensus one way or the other, we’re happy to adjust the plans for future seasons of the Experience This show.

[I Love It, I Can’t Stand It] Email Lists

Joey Coleman: Sometimes the customer experiences is amazing. And sometimes we just want to cry. Get ready for the roller coaster ride in this edition of I Love It.

Dan Gingiss: I can’t stand it.

Joey Coleman: I’m in a very complicated relationship that I want to tell you about, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: Uh oh, this doesn’t sound good. Everything okay with you and Berit?

Joey Coleman: No, no. It’s all good. I’m not talking about my personal relationships. I’m talking about my relationship with email.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I can understand that. That is complicated.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so in fact, the specific aspect of my email that I want to talk about in this segment is how my email address gets used and regularly abused by other people. I thought it might actually be a ripe topic for us to discuss. And considering there some things that I absolutely love but many that I can’t stand, I thought this could be a good format for it. So that we end on a high note, let’s start with the things that we can’t stand about how our email is used in ways that are not exciting to us.

Joey Coleman: So for example, when I meet someone at an event and we exchange business cards and I think, “Oh, this is interesting. I’ll be in communication with this person.” And then they take the email on my business card, which is my personal email and add me without asking to their e-newsletter, which usually is about something that I have zero interest in. It drives me insane.

Dan Gingiss: How about when companies share my email address with third parties, that then start marketing to me? And this happens sometimes because I go by Dan, but every once in a while I’ll get something that’s addressed to Danny or Daniel or I’ll have my last name misspelled. And you can see it propagate as the name gets sold and sold over and over again.

Joey Coleman: So true. That’s kind of like what we’ve talked about in episodes in the past. As somebody who goes by Joey, if I get anything addressed to Joseph or to Joe, I know that they don’t actually know me. Yeah, I agree.

Joey Coleman: The other one that drives me crazy is when I donate to a friend’s cause. So like on Facebook, somebody says, “Hey, for my birthday I’m raising money for this cause.” And I donated to that cause. And then that cause automatically starts emailing me their newsletter, asking me for additional donations, giving me random thoughts. And I feel it’s one of those times where I feel like I want to say to them, “Folks, I appreciate you’re hopefully doing good work in the world. But the only reason I know about you, the only reason I’m interested in giving money to you is because my friend asked me to. I’m not actually interested in your cause.”

Dan Gingiss: You know when I share my email to access some content on a website for example, and then you get an email back from the sales team asking to set up a call so that they can sell me something. And it’s like, “Well, no, I really just wanted the content on your site and you put it up there and you made me put in an email. If I want to talk to you for a sales presentation, I know where to reach you.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And that one in particular happens to both of us, we’ve talked about this on the show before, all the time because we do a lot of research. We’re speakers, we’re writers. We’re trying to find things and it’s like there’s a giant disconnect between a company’s content arm and their sales arm. The content can stand alone and be free and it establishes you as a thought leader or as an industry leader. It doesn’t mean that I’m interested in buying your widgets.

Joey Coleman: Okay. So we’d better stop there because I get the feeling we could go on and on about all the ways that companies and people misuse email addresses. But let’s talk about some of the best practices for using a customer email address instead. Dan, why don’t you go ahead and start us off on this one?

Dan Gingiss: Well, I think one of the great ways to kind of overcome one of the things we can’t stand is when somebody forwards me say a single copy of a newsletter or a piece of content and then gives me the choice of continuing on to subscribe. So I’m okay with them sending the taster without signing me up continuously without my permission.

Joey Coleman: So true. And what about when people ask my permission to make an introduction and then they do it over email instead of connecting me via messenger or text message? Email has its purpose and I like it when it’s used that way, but before you share my email with another person, make sure that I’m okay with that.

Dan Gingiss: I also like it when people are transparent about the fact that sharing my email will bring a series or sequence of emails to my inbox over the coming days and weeks. We talk about setting customer expectations a lot on this podcast and this is very similar is that if you tell people, “Hey, when you give me your email, you’re going to hear from me twice a week or you’re going to hear from me every other week.” That makes me much more comfortable giving you my email rather than having no idea how often you’re going to use it and abuse it.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Last but not least, I love it when people do gain my email from a third party that I have a relationship with and then they acknowledge it or cite that when they send me the first message. So, “Oh, we got your information from so-and-so because they thought you might be interested in XYZ.” That I’m okay with. Friends, let’s be candid. Seth Godin addressed this way back in 1999 in his book Permission Marketing. And if you haven’t read it, go read it right now, as the concepts and the principles he outlines have certainly stood the test of time and clearly not enough people read the book because they wouldn’t be behaving this way if they had. In the meantime, please, please, please consider your customer’s emails to be sacred and follow the golden rule. Do onto those emails as you would have done unto yours.

[Start the Conversation] Employee Experience Matters Too

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.

Joey Coleman: This week’s start the conversation topic is employee experience matters too. CX leaders are often laser focused on the experience customers have while interacting with their brand. While the customer’s experience during an interaction is important, of course, so is the experience of employees who support customers during these interactions. Employees are often overlooked during customer experience planning. Failing to consider the employee can lead to unnecessary stress, frustration, and staff turnover, especially when the employees are asked to do too much with too little support.

Dan Gingiss: And believe you me, your customers can see it on your employee’s faces. A happy employee equals a happy customer. So here are three ways to improve employee experience. One, ensuring the organization’s customer experience technologies and tools are capable of supporting employees and the CX strategy. Two, integrating commonly used technology platforms to streamline routine activities, such as customer data review or data entry. Three, continually reviewing processes and policies to eliminate common pain points or roadblocks that negatively impact employees.

Joey Coleman: Dan, you’re so right. I often think of it as the customer experience and the employee experience being two sides of the same coin. As we elevate the customer experience, we by default elevate the employee experience. If the employee experience is in the tank and not doing well, the customer experience is going down too.

Joey Coleman: You can’t ask your employees to create a remarkable customer experience if they don’t know what one is. We need to, as employers, show our employees the same laser focus and dedication to their experience that we’re asking them to show when it comes to the experiences they create for our customers. So how might we do this? Well, one quick idea is from the concept of personalization. We think about all the different ways we personalize for our customers, but do we have that same kind of data about our employees? Do we know their spouse’s name? Do we know their anniversary, their birthday? Do we celebrate those things? Or are those the kinds of communications that are only reserved for data we collect from our customers? Something to think about.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about the importance of employee experience. Are my employees given the tools and support they need to do their jobs and execute on our customer experience strategy? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with our friends at AVTECH, by going to experienceconversations.com. Once again, that is experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] Indistractible

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

Joey Coleman: Dan, I have to tell you, I’ve been reading a book that I think you would enjoy, but it goes a little bit against the grain when it comes to social media.

Dan Gingiss: What do you mean?

Joey Coleman: So as you know, I’m not that active on social media. I know. Shocker, shocker.

Dan Gingiss: You don’t say.

Joey Coleman: We’ll pause a moment, everyone, so you can pick yourself up off the floor. But I’m willing to confess to you and to our loyal listeners that I don’t have the best relationship with social media. Not just because of the things you would say about how I need to be tweeting more and doing things like that. The fact of the matter is I regularly find myself mindlessly wandering through Facebook, scrolling through LinkedIn or even looking to see what you’re up to on Twitter. I know, it does actually happen.

Dan Gingiss: Hey, thanks buddy.

Joey Coleman: I know it’s shocking. You’re the only one I look at. It’s okay. The problem with this isn’t that I’m on social media. The problem is that technology is distracting me from things that I know are more to me. I say these things are more important to me and yet when it comes to my behavior, I still do them.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I feel you here, man. I mean this is the first year, 2019 is the first year that I have worked for myself. And so I now work from home every day. And dealing with distractions is literally a daily challenge for me. There’ve been days where I will intentionally go and sit out on my deck so that I’m not inside where I can see the refrigerator or I can go play with one of my pinball machines or-

Joey Coleman: Or I’ll just go fold that laundry. It will only take me a minute. Or maybe I can rearrange the linen closet today.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. What’s for dinner tonight? I better go shopping. But so, distractions can be both technological and not, but they’re very, very difficult to deal with. And I think technology in particular, because of its addictive nature, is one of the hardest ones to push out.

Joey Coleman: I totally agree. And that’s why I wanted to talk about this book I’ve been reading and how to take action on these things. But I’ll come back to the action part. So the book is called Indistractible, How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life. It’s written by my good friend Nir Eyal, who we talked about way back in season one, episode 32.

Dan Gingiss: Hey, look who’s the episodes savant now.

Joey Coleman: I know. How about that? Well, I knew I was going to be trying to convince you that technology and social media was a little bad. So I thought I’d play your role here.

Joey Coleman: So what’s fascinating to me is that Nir’s first book, Hooked, which was fantastic by the way, was all about how technology companies use a four step process embedded into their products to subtly encourage customer behavior. Another way to put that, to get you addicted. So through consecutive hook cycles, these products bring the user back again and again and it creates this repetitive behavior. Now in Nir’s newest book, Indistractible, he teaches readers how to counter those hooking behaviors. I had the chance to talk with him about why he thinks this book and its message are so important at this time in human history. Here’s what he had to say.

Nir Eyal: Becoming indistractible is the skill of the century. We’ve all seen how potentially distracting our devices can be in our day to day lives. Products like Facebook, your iPhone, Instagram, WhatsApp, Slack. I mean it goes on and on and the fact is these products are designed to hook you. I should know because my first book was a Wall Street Journal bestseller by the title Hooked, How To Build Habit Forming Products. Now I wrote Hooked so that all sorts of products can use the same techniques that the social media networks use, that all kinds of technology companies use to keep you hooked in order to build healthy habits in our lives.

Nir Eyal: However, there is a dark side. The cost of these products that are so engaging, that are so habit forming is that sometimes we can go overboard. Now we should realize that distraction is not a new problem. But by understanding the root cause of distraction, the deeper psychology of why we go off track, we can make sure that we can get the best out of these technologies without letting them get the best of us.

Dan Gingiss: Well, first of all, I absolutely love that this guy first writes about the addictive nature of technology and then writes about how to get yourself unaddicted from said technology. So that is a person who clearly has his eyes wide open and understands the changes of the world. So I think that’s super cool.

Dan Gingiss: This is a really complex topic because the technology to which we have become addicted is also a critical part of our lives and has changed our lives for all of the good reasons that Nir outlined in his first book. And so it’s really difficult because … My dad has a saying, if some is good, more is better. And I think that generally is true in life. But perhaps with these kinds of technologies, it may not be. So what are some of your favorite takeaways so far?

Joey Coleman: Well, first and foremost, I’ve noticed how increasingly distractable I’ve become over the years. So the fact that I’m even aware that there’s a problem, I think is moving in the right direction. There’s so many things that are vying for my attention. And to be honest, I often struggle to maintain specific focus without succumbing to avoidable interruptions and unnecessary distractions. At times, I get pretty frustrated with myself. But one of the things I’ve loved about Nir’s book is it’s helped me to see that there’s a hidden psychology that is driving all of us to distraction. It’s not that I’m bad, it’s that we’re hardwired to succumb to these type of challenges.

Dan Gingiss: So does he suggest that we just get rid of all of our social media, technology, phones, and every distraction in life?

Joey Coleman: No. He doesn’t. And what’s interesting is most people who ,when they hear about Nir’s book or they hear the title, they’re going to go, “Oh great. Then I have to just go cold turkey and get rid of everything and abstain.” And in fact he actually describes that solving the problem is not as simple as deleting apps and destroying cell phones. In fact, he says that’s a mistake because abstinence doesn’t actually work.

Joey Coleman: Instead he provides a four step process for making the most of technology without letting the technology take over your life.

Dan Gingiss: Well, that sounds more appealing than trashing my cell phone.

Joey Coleman: It does. I think it sounds more appealing and it also sounds more realistic. Nir does a great job of giving advice on how to raise indistractable children, for example, in an increasingly distracting world. Something that frankly hit home for me because of the way watch my son’s clamor for screen time, even though we limit screen time in our house pretty significantly. But what I did notice is going through this and reading this book is that while I will say to my sons, without hesitation or guilt, “We are not using the iPads today.” If someone said to me, “You are not using your phone today,” I think I’d react even more strongly than they do. I mean, they’re not happy when I say no iPad time. If somebody said to me, no iPhone time, I wouldn’t be happy at all.

Dan Gingiss: Well, as I like to say to my kids, the iPhone is a privilege, not a right.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough.

Dan Gingiss: And the thing is is that for you and I, Joey, we use our phones all day for business and it becomes a required part of doing our jobs. And yet we also use our phones for things like checking our social media platforms and playing games and other things that are obviously the privileges of life. And I think that the trick is making sure that that balance is in place.

Joey Coleman: I agree. I think all too often, and I am guilty of this too, so listeners, if this applies to you, please know I’m not judging. I claim that my phone is for business, but when I get into bed after a long day of work and it’s midnight and my wife’s already asleep and I go on Facebook and next thing I know it’s 2:30 AM. I’ve been scrolling and watching videos and entertaining myself. That’s not work. I’ve sacrificed sleep because of the addiction.

Dan Gingiss: And I definitely suggest that that’s a habit you may want to consider changing.

Joey Coleman: Oh, 100%.

Dan Gingiss: And similarly with the kids, sometimes they’re using it for educational purposes and many times it’s sitting mindlessly watching video after video after video. Kind of like we were talking previously. It’s really easy once you get onto YouTube, it’s kind of like Nailed It, is that as soon as you’re done with one video, another one pops up.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And as I mentioned earlier, the book has already produced actions and results in my life. Now we’ve talked a little bit here about social media in our phone. The book actually lays out simple and effective ways to improve your relationships across the board with family and friends and work. And one of the things I looked at specifically was my relationship with email. Prior to reading Nir’s book, I was constantly checking and rechecking email. I know it’s something that I know I shouldn’t do, but after reading Indistractible, I had a better understanding of why I do it.

Joey Coleman: So to fix this problem, I started scheduling long stretches of time where I would shut off my email on my laptop and put my phone into airplane mode. This lets email pile up instead of constantly bombarding me throughout the day. I also got aggressive on deleting apps from my phone, especially those that I noticed were distracting me the most. I can still access these sites on my laptop, but since laptop is tucked into my bag when I travel versus being in my hand or my pocket, like my phone, I find that I spend less time mindlessly consuming content. If I want to consume content, it takes a specific action, which by its very nature means it’s a more intentional activity.

Dan Gingiss: Well, as I said earlier, I feel you because all of this is very familiar to me and I have the same issues. And I think for me, it also involves going to a place where I’m not as likely to connect with email or go onto social media. It’s why I go outside. Sometimes the internet isn’t as good outside. And what I find is when I’m say, writing a post for Forbes, if I go put myself out of wifi range and sit down, I can write a post in 45 minutes to an hour. Whereas if I do it in my family room or living room where the wifi is great, I’ll get distracted so many times it’ll take me two hours to write the same post. So that’s one of the hints that I’ve at least used that I think has helped.

Joey Coleman: I love it and I think this is an evolving consideration and conversation for all of us. What I like the most about this book was not the tips, although there were certainly many, or the stories which were fantastic, or even the psychology which knowing Nir, it was incredibly well-researched and cited. What I enjoyed the most is that it shifted my thinking. I’m now more aware when a distraction tries to draw me in and I immediately take action to refocus or I figure out a way to minimize the likelihood of that distraction coming back in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Hey look, Joey, over here.

Joey Coleman: Squirrel?

Dan Gingiss: Hey. Hey.

Joey Coleman: Squirrel? So at the risk of distracting you from listening to this podcast, don’t worry, we’re nearing the end of the episode anyway, I recommend you go pick up a copy of Nir Eyal’s book Indistractible, How To Control Your Attention And Choose Your Life. Not only do I think you’ll enjoy it, but I think it could end up being the catalyst that allows you to take control of your life again and reestablish some healthy boundaries for the roles that technology plays in your life.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 65 – LIVE at EmpowerCX 2019

Join us as we discuss: the best parts of an international customer experience conference, the most remarkable experiences of the last year as shared by the listeners in our LIVE audience, and the true state of customer experience in 2019.

Highlights, Highfliers, and High Points. Oh my!

Read More

Episode 64 – The Importance of Understanding Your Target Market

Join us as we discuss: a coffee shop without any people in it, a bank advertisement without understandable words in it, and what we love and can’t stand about that one device with so many cool things in it.

Robots, Acronyms, and iPhones. Oh my!

Read More

Episode 53 – The Christmas Carol Customer Experience

Enjoy a series of “Christmas carol” variations as we explore call center agent best practices, the downside of a new website, the value of customers, the importance of keeping customers, the impending arrival of AI bots, twelve things to fix in the new year, and a holiday wish for listeners of the Show.

Reindeer, Jingle Bells, and Santa Claus – Oh my!

Read More

Episode 42: Delivering Remarkable Experiences to Specific Types of Customers at Specific Times

Join us as we discuss a coffee shop that caters to the deaf community, constructing a media stand without going crazy and, an entire state dedicated to customer experience.

Read More

Episode 39: Four Steps for Dealing With Customer Reviews Like a Pro

The best way to get and respond to customer reviews, unexpected CX when your car breaks down on a road trip, and the good and bad aspects of moving.

Read More

Episode 33: A Simple Way to Test Your Customer Experience

The question you need to ask yourself to test your customer experience, the greatest hits of retail failures, and the highs and lows of the retail experience.

Read More

Episode 30: Why Post-Purchase Engagement is the Key to a Successful Brand

How brands are using post-purchase engagement to position themselves in the lives of their customers, how one company turned a typo into viral marketing, and our listeners weigh in on the highs (and lows) of the hotel experience.

Read More