Mythbusters – by Solvvy

Episode 121 – The Sound and The Story

Join us as we discuss products that provide their own soundtrack, rockstars that aren’t real, and a story that made me want to try a brand new product.

Making, Faking, and Salting – Oh My!

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Learn more about our Season 7 Partner – Solvvy – The NextGen Chatbot

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 121 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:08):
The podcast that celebrates remarkable customer experiences and inspires you to stand out from the competition by wowing your customers.

Joey Coleman (00:17):
Each episode, we bring you a healthy dose of inspiring stories, funny interactions, and practical takeaways. Marketing and customer experience thought leader, Dan Gingiss…

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
shares the mic with customer retention and employee experience expert Joey Coleman, helping you to get people talking about your business.

Joey Coleman (00:40):
So get ready because it’s time to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:49):
Get ready, for another episode of the Experience This Show!

Dan Gingiss (00:53):
Join us as we discuss products that provide their own soundtrack, rockstars that aren’t real, and a story that made me want to try a brand new product.

Joey Coleman (01:06):
Making, faking, and salting – Oh my!

Joey Coleman (01:12):
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 (01:26):
We’ve spoken about LEGO many times before on the show and as our loyal listeners know, I am a big fan!

Dan Gingiss (01:34):
I sure hope you’re not going to make me go find all those episodes, but yes, we have brought up LEGO and, you know, just to say, Joey, I am also a big fan. Although I would say that when my kids stopped playing with LEGOs, I also did. And so, but I, I know the feeling of getting a new set and tearing, open the package and getting ready to build something new. And it’s, it’s definitely a ton of fun.

Joey Coleman (01:58):
It is, and I will say I played with LEGO as a kid growing up. I then didn’t do as much LEGO before I had kids. Now my boys at ages five and seven are right in the LEGO sweet spot, uh, where they’re old enough to not be playing with DUPLO and excited about building sets and can follow the directions. My five-year-old is regularly doing the super advanced sets and he gets a kick out of that. And I think it’s fun too. And so just a big fan, but that’s part of the reason why I wanted to come back to LEGO and no, I’m not going to make you Dan “Rain Man,” us with all the previous episodes. You’re right. But there was a new aspect of my LEGO experience that came up over the holidays that I wanted to share. So for Christmas, my two boys gave me the Iron Man LEGO art set.

Dan Gingiss (02:45):
Oh yeah. I think I saw that in a catalog or a circular or something. It’s the one where you make a portrait of iron man out of LEGO?

Joey Coleman (02:54):
You are correct. I love that you get circulars!

Dan Gingiss (02:55):
Oh, I get the Sunday paper, man. I read the ads.

Joey Coleman (03:00):
I love it. I love it. As part of their new art series, LEGO is celebrating some of the world’s most iconic artists and bands and characters with sets that allow you to not only make wall art to display, but each set comes with several building options. So not only could I make a portrait of the famous Iron Man, Mark III, which for those of you that are not huge Iron Man fans is the suit that he wore in the first Iron Man movie. But with those same pieces and that same board, if you will, I could also make the Hulkbuster Mark I or the Mark 85, which the Mark 85 is famous for being the suit that he wears in the final battle against Thanos in the last Avengers movie

Dan Gingiss (03:49):
You asically lost me. But I think I am going to say that I know enough to know that Hulk Buster refers to “Incredible” not “Hogan.”

Joey Coleman (03:58):
You are correct.

Dan Gingiss (03:59):
Okay. That’s good.

Joey Coleman (04:00):
That’s when Incredible Hulk got into like the costume and then they had to make the, a bigger costume so that Iron Man could fight Hulk it anyway, long story short, to be honest, I’m not as much of a comic book, aficionados as I might come off as in this conversation. But I was really intrigued by this, just this whole general concept of these LEGO art sets. And if that wasn’t enough, if you purchase three of the art sets, you can combine all of them to create a giant picture or as LEGO says the “Ultimate Iron Man” piece. So as you might imagine, I’m in the process of building the ultimate Ironman piece, which is what I wanted to talk about today.

Dan Gingiss (04:39):
I think this segment might be better with video cause I could see this.

Joey Coleman (04:43):
I think it definitely would be better with video and in the interest of full disclosure, maybe by the time we released this episode about, uh, don’t hold your breath fans. I don’t know that I will be able to, uh, complete this setup before then. But if you go online and you look at Ultimate Iron Man LEGO, you’ll see a picture of it, but long story short, instead of while video would make it great. I actually wanted to talk about the audio,

Dan Gingiss (05:07):
The audio? Our listeners are already experiencing the audio.

Joey Coleman (05:13):
Well, yes they are. But I wanted to talk about the audio experience of the Iron Man LEGO art set. So when you open the box, you find the assembly manual, as you might imagine. And in the front of that manual is a little QR code with the following text underneath it. And I quote, “LISTEN – start your exclusive podcast and immerse yourself in the Iron Man story. BUILD – follow the simple building instructions in this book to create your art piece, RELAX – LEGO art is the perfect way to disconnect de-stress and decompress.” Now, when you open the landing page that the QR links to there is a one hour and 30 minute podcast featuring interviews with comic book aficionados members of the Marvel comics team that worked on iron man and the two Lego designers that oversaw the creation of this specific LEGO art set. It’s entertaining, it’s educational. It’s just the sort of unique experience that adds an unexpected layer to the LEGO set.

Dan Gingiss (06:15):
Now, hold on, hold on. Before we go further, are you about to tell me that there’s going to be a new LEGO set that comes out with a QR code that links to the experience of this show?

Joey Coleman (06:23):
You know, that would be pretty fabulous. We would have to work on that. No, but I love this idea of, and I’m not a huge QR code guy, but ever since they made it so that your phone automatically links and you don’t have to like have a separate app and figure all that out, it makes it a lot easier. But I want to play a little sample of what you hear when you start off the podcast.

Guest Voices (06:46):
It was just an interesting idea. You know, of a guy who has to wear this big bulky armor as he did at first, but you still have to build in that weakness. What is his weakness? Wait a minute. Why is this thing on his chest? Oh, wait, he almost died. You know, he’s this very fragile guy in a certain way, but he’s also like one of the richest guys in the world, a great inventor and so forth. He’s a cool exec with a heart of steel. What else is there? Iron Man was always a, uh, an evolving look. It was interesting to see the story evolve because that first outfit that Iron Man had looked like a hot water tank.

LEGO Narrator (07:22):
Imagine crafting your own wall art. Maybe it’s a passion that fascinates you, or maybe it’s the promise of an immersive creative experience. Like no other, a piece of iconic art you can build for yourself, relax and reconnect with your creative side.

Joey Coleman (07:42):
Now this podcast, as you can tell is fun. It’s educational. It’s just some interesting yet relevant background sound to accompany you, building the LEGO set. And as I think Lego probably figured out, there are a lot of people who are fans enough of Iron Man to get the set, but they’re not crazy fans in the sense. And I, and I say that lovingly not pejoratively. They’re not going to know all the nuance of who drew, which comic and what the evolution of the various costumes were. But because they’re basically showing the different outfits that are Iron Man wore, the different armor suits, they’re walking you through the history and the evolution of the armor. And I got to say this podcast soundtrack thing that they did added an entirely new dimension to my LEGO experience. I’ve been building LEGO sets since I was seven years old and I’ve never considered what I’m listening to while I build the set.

Dan Gingiss (08:43):
So it’s fascinating because we’ve talked before about different senses on the show. We’ve talked about adding smell to a hotel, lobbies talked about the bookstore that I didn’t have any lights. And so this is interesting that we’re adding some audio here. What my question for you is does it make it easier or harder to put together the LEGO set? Like, are you busy listening to the podcast? And so now it’s hard to read the instructions or does it kind of just all flow together?

Joey Coleman (09:14):
Well, what’s interesting about the Lego art sets is the best way to describe it is it’s kind of like assembling a mosaic, right? You’re looking at a grid and they’re very specific little colored disc and you’re putting them in rows. So it’s kind of a rote task, you know, put the blue one here, put the black one here. Now put another blue one. So it doesn’t require kind of the same level of mental engagement that building a set where you’re building a tower or a ship or something like that might. So I actually found it additive. I could totally understand that thought of like, Oh, is it distracting? Which interestingly enough leads me to. The next thing I wanted to share, which is that not only is LEGO created soundtracks for the various Lego art sets and you can listen to these, by the way, on the LEGO website, you don’t need to purchase the set. You can just go listen to the various soundtracks they built, but they also recently announced another sound project and knowing how much you’re a Name That Tune kind of guy, Dan, I would like to play a little tune and see if you can guess what you’re listening to. Okay. So I’ll give you a hint, obviously it’s LEGO related, but see if you can tell me what this is

Random Sound (10:42):

  • sound

Dan Gingiss (10:43):
So it kind of sounds like a bunch of LEGOs falling down, but I’m not sure…

Joey Coleman (10:46):
You are so good at name that tune, Dan. Yes, it is a waterfall of LEGOs. And not only is it a waterfall of Legos, it’s a 30 minute track of LEGOs falling of like just falling and falling and falling and fall sound. Yeah. And what’s interesting is that is one of seven tracks on the white noise playlist from LEGO available on Spotify, which we’ll link to on our show notes page. So the interesting thing about this is LEGO has realized that some people might want sound in the background and they created these long play, looping 30 minute things that are just ambient background noise, but is LEGO related. Now I’ll be honest. It might be, uh, that might be a little too far for some people, but I just thought it was super creative that they did something like that.

Dan Gingiss (11:41):
Yeah, it is pretty neat. I mean, if it’s something that you want to listen to, I don’t know if does it help you go to sleep or…

Joey Coleman (11:46):
soothing background noise when you’re making Legos, guess.

Dan Gingiss (11:53):
It kind of sounds like maybe I should create one with like pinball sounds or something.

Joey Coleman (11:57):
Yeah – exactly! Well, and I think, I think the moral of the story is Lego has recognized that they can add another dimension to their experience by thinking about the auditory experience of what’s going on when people are building their LEGO set. So what can we learn from the incredible team at LEGO? Well, consider the environment where your customer is going to be using your product or your service consider why they use your product. And if the goal is something akin to LEGO users who have a goal of disconnecting and de-stressing and decompressing, you might want to help them achieve their goal by adding an auditory experience of your brand, what is the sound of your product? How can you use sound to entertain your customers? How can you use sound to educate your customers? Take note from the creative team at LEGO and make sound a bigger part of your customers’ experience.

Joey Coleman (12:53):
Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how, and why, they happen. Join us while we’re Dissecting The Experience.

Joey Coleman (13:11):
I’m curious, Dan, have you heard this singer before? I’m going to play a little clip:

Guest Voices (13:19):
You my número, número uno, but we overdosed You were there in my orbit like Pluto When we used to be close You said you were home, but I just caught you High at Chateau People said we would fade like a photo Didn’t think it would happen with you though I miss what we used to be Out every night in the streets.

Dan Gingiss (13:41):
Well, actually, Joey, this might surprise you… I have no clue.

Joey Coleman (13:49):
I had a feeling this one might be a little bit of a stretch, but before I explain, let me ask this. Is there anything that you can discern or tell me about this singer based on that little clip you just listened to?

Dan Gingiss (14:04):
Well, I mean, she’s females, it seems like a younger woman and uh, definitely, she was definitely saying some words in Spanish. That’s about all I got.

Joey Coleman (14:15):
All right. Well that is a pretty accurate guess. All things considered Dan you’re right? That she is a young singer. She’s 19 years old. She’s actually a Brazilian American model singer and Instagram influencer. And she’s also not human.

Dan Gingiss (14:32):
I’m sorry. I’ll rewind here. I’m sorry. Not human.

Joey Coleman (14:39):
Not human. Correct.

Dan Gingiss (14:40):
All right. I’m going to need an explanation here, Joey.

Joey Coleman (14:44):
All right. Well, I was definitely a little bit confused and wanted an explanation as well. When I first came across Lil Miquela, Dan, as it turns out, Lil Miquela is a computer generated persona created by the Los Angeles based firm Brud. Now Brud is a “transmedia studio that creates digital character driven story worlds that unfold across today’s social platforms.” Now I know that’s kind of a mouthful. That’s the way it’s described on their VC page. But the founder was previously a talent manager at Spotify and was helping artists build their personas. Now, instead of working with temperamental young recording artists, they build computer generated personas, and then bring them to life like Lil Miquela. She has over 27,000 followers on Twitter, which puts her at about 26,980 more than me. But here’s the real kicker. She has over 3 million followers on Instagram.

Dan Gingiss (15:50):
And do people know that she’s not real?

Joey Coleman (15:53):
That’s the kicker everybody’s in on it. Everybody’s in on the joke. They know that this is a computer generated avatar. It’s not a real human and they’re okay with that and they’re fans. And she interacts with people. Now we’ve spoken about something similar to this in our conversation about deep fakes being used in politics. And as you may recall, in that episode, we talked about deep fakes. It looks so real that they could confuse viewers. Now, Lil Miquela is admittedly, not real, but that takes us, I think, to a fascinating conversation about what’s real or not real. And whether that actually matters or not. Does it matter if the influencer promoting your brand or product is real? Does the analysis change when the audience knows the person isn’t real and they don’t care or better yet, they actually prefer knowing the person isn’t real like the case with Lil Miquela. Now I recently came across this website: ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com no, seriously, just type it in: ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com And when you go to this website, you’ll see a picture of a person, except it’s not a real person. It’s a computer generated image made using software from Nvidia to create an image that looks like a real person, but it isn’t a real person. And I’ll tell you, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between what is the fake person and what is the real person.

Dan Gingiss (17:20):
ThisPersonDoesNotExist. Woah! She’s pretty…

Joey Coleman (17:27):
Yeah!

Dan Gingiss (17:27):
It’s just not real.

Joey Coleman (17:29):
Now. Now wait. And after a couple of seconds, a little thing will pop up. That explains that they use software to create this person. And if you hit refresh, you’ll see a different face… You’ll see another person.

Dan Gingiss (17:42):
Wow.

Joey Coleman (17:43):
Except except these aren’t real people. Now what’s crazy is the same creators of ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com, they have a website for cats: ThisCatDoesNotExist.com. Horses: ThisHorseDoesNotExist.com. Art! Well, you get the picture. And yet all of the pictures they’re sharing are computer generated. They aren’t real. Now while this is arguably a very interesting and maybe strange thing for us to be talking about on the experience. This show, I think this type of technology has a ton of experiential applications. I mean, within the last year of COVID protocols and lockdowns, imagine if you could still shoot commercials with quote “people,” by building them inside the computer program, imagine a manager that never needed to worry about their singer trashing a hotel room. Imagine a studio that could have an actor, an actress that never ages. Now some of these concepts were explored way back in the 2002 movie Simone. You remember that one Dan with Al Pachino?

Dan Gingiss (18:42):
I think so…

Joey Coleman (18:44):
But what’s interesting is in that movie, Al Pacino creates this computer generated actress who goes on to win all these acting awards. And that was science fiction in 2002, but that’s reality in 2021. I mean, it’s not even 20 years later. And this thing that was a Hollywood concept movie is a software that you can go on YouTube and watch a tutorial of how to make it create fake people.

Dan Gingiss (19:12):
Well now see, I was Lil Miquela. Cause you know, when you watch the video on YouTube, you can kind of tell it’s a computer generated character and hey, if her music sounds good to people. That’s all good, but I’m still stuck on ThisPersonDoesNotExist that I keep hitting refresh and refresh. I’m like, wait a minute. These people don’t exist. They all look like unbelievably real. And that starts to get really, really scary, especially in a world that you and I have been living in, in the United States where real news fake, no news lie is true. We don’t even know the difference anymore. This can make that even more complicated.

Joey Coleman (19:50):
Absolutely. And when you think about your brand and when you think about, you know, spokespeople or influencers that you might want promoting your products or services, and then you think about customers that you might interact with, or customer photos that you might have on a website or use in your marketing materials. Do those have to be real people? I mean, I think at the end of the day, most Americans know when they see an advertisement that those are actors that they’re hired to play.

Dan Gingiss (20:21):
Or are they?!

Joey Coleman (20:23):
But here’s the crazy thing. What if they’re not, what if you can get them to say anything? What if you can make a video or a computer generated persona that looks like someone famous, but isn’t really them. I mean, there was an ad during the Super Bowl that was about all the lookalikes and it had Christopher Walken’s voice and then the final, this, we’re long enough after the Super Bowl, I feel like I don’t need to say spoiler alert, but at the end of the commercial, they pull back and it’s a guy who says, and I’m not Christopher Walken and they show the guy and he’s definitely not Christopher Walken. And yet all this time, you’ve thought Christopher Walken was doing the voiceover. I think this is just crazy. When we think about building brands and building experiences and building interactions with our customers and with our employees, what defines real?

Dan Gingiss (21:14):
Well. I think that we know in customer experience that authenticity being genuine are things that customers value. So in the situation of Lil Miquela where people know they’re listening to something, computer generated fantastic, right? I mean, that’s part of the allure. And so I love that. I think we gotta be very careful though, when we’re trying to deep, fake our own customers into thinking something is real when it’s not, you know, you could go down a whole lot of bad paths with this, including, you know, fake testimonials and all sorts of things that I think are, we certainly would not advise on this show, but like the deep fakes that we talked about, I think it’s great to know that this technology exists so that you can watch out for it – either you, or your competition, or whoever else – and be aware of it and look, let’s keep it real folks.

Joey Coleman (22:08):
Absolutely. I mean, I don’t think I want to be very clear. I’m not suggesting any of our listeners create deep fake customers or personas. But what I am suggesting is that the landscape of influencers and content creation is changing in ways that I think most people aren’t even aware of let alone, considering I’d ask those people who are listening to answer this question, honestly, had you even heard of Lil Miquela before this segment? Now the answer is no. I’d like to suggest that you ask some teenagers, you know, or some folks that are in their early twenties, if they’ve heard of Lil Miquela and if so, what if they, what do they think of her or her music, or if you’re not into regular conversations with, uh, teens or people in their early twenties go to Lil Miquela’s Instagram profile and look through some of the images, try to find ones that you know are fake, but look real and then read her posts and the comments and the interactions and see if you can get a feel for what the personality is like. And then ponder the fact that you’re considering a personality and a persona that is entirely computer generated, and then ask what would happen if you brought this same level of creative thinking and technology application to the experiences that you’re creating for your customer.

Joey Coleman (23:28):
Almost everyone has interacted with chatbots, but all too often, it’s been a bad experience. In MythBusters – presented by Solvvy – we explore a common myth about CX chatbots and see how the right technology can create a positive experience every time.

Joey Coleman (23:54):
Today’s myth about chatbots? Chatbots are difficult and expensive to build and manage. Most people think that chatbots require significant time and an entire engineering team to build, not to mention dedicated subject matter experts and even more engineers to manage on an ongoing basis. Once the chatbot is put in place. In other words, chatbots require lots of time, money, and resources.

Dan Gingiss (24:22):
Now, while there is a myth that chatbots are expensive and difficult to manage, the reality is that modern chatbots are easy to implement and can learn on their own. Unlike traditional chatbots that require you to code for every possible question and answer combination you might possibly see next gen chatbots are able to access your company’s help content and use that information to answer customer questions.

Joey Coleman (24:46):
You don’t need to have a whole team on standby either. The chat bot learns and updates answers dynamically, which means the chatbot continues to get better with each passing day. Now, the best part modern chatbots can be fully rolled out and implemented in weeks, not months, and often don’t require any engineering support, friends. This isn’t like creating a computer, generated Instagram influencer and growing her following to 3 million plus people. No! It’s much easier and it requires a much smaller investment.

Dan Gingiss (25:20):
Well, that sounds so much better than what I was thinking, Joey, because let’s be honest. I didn’t exactly go to school to be a computer engineer. And I like how that a project isn’t going to have costs that spiral out of control once I decide to jump in.

Joey Coleman (25:34):
That’s another myth busted, thanks to our friends at Solvvy – the Next Gen Chatbot.

Joey Coleman (25:43):
Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how, and why, they happen. Join us while we’re Dissecting the Experience.

Joey Coleman (26:00):
I receive a fair number of e-newsletters each week and every once in a while, something grabs my attention and causes me to act such was the case. When I was reading my buddy Nathan Barry’s newsletter. Now Nathan is the CEO of ConvertKit, a fantastic email marketing tool, and while his communications are often about advances in email technology or growing subscribers or turning audience members into fans, this particular email was all about salt.

Dan Gingiss (26:31):
Was it worth its salt?

Joey Coleman (26:34):
Gosh, I can’t believe you went there. Yes, yes, indeed. It was worth its salt. So Nathan told this story of some salt that his wife ordered from San Juan Island Sea Salt. That’s the name of the company. And the story was so different and so interesting that based on his telling of the story alone, I decided to order some, I then had my own experience with the salt, which I wanted to dissect in our conversation here today.

Dan Gingiss (27:02):
All right! Let’s spice things up!

Joey Coleman (27:07):
Sorry ladies and gentlemen, he’s out of control! All right. Let’s get into the salt. All right. So first things first I went to SanJuanIslandSeaSalt.com. Okay. Real easy to remember URL San Juan,

Dan Gingiss (27:21):
It’s real sea salt, right?

Joey Coleman (27:24):
This is not Lil Miquela’s favorite sea salt.. And I immediately saw this text, “Sunshine and seawater. It’s a simple formula. We rely on purely solar heat to evaporate our seawater. No fans, no heaters, no boiling.” Now Dan, you’ve never heard of San Juan Island sea salt before, correct?

Dan Gingiss (27:45):
I can’t say that I have Joey…

Joey Coleman (27:47):
But what do you think they sell?

Dan Gingiss (27:49):
Uh, I’m going to go out on a limb and say sea salt?

Joey Coleman (27:52):
Exactly. And where are they based?

Dan Gingiss (27:54):
Oh, how about San Juan Island?

Joey Coleman (27:57):
And how do you think they make the salt? What’s the process by which they make the salt?

Dan Gingiss (28:02):
Oh, well it’s a simple formula. They rely on purely solar heat to evaporate the seawater. No fans, no heaters, no boiling!

Joey Coleman (28:09):
Exactly. Now here’s the crazy thing. I know you are a huge fan of clear language and using specific, clear, easy to understand by everyone language in your marketing. And here I am three and a half seconds into their website experience. And I know exactly what they do. That’s not always the case when I go to a website. In fact, that’s rarely the case. When I go to a website now, a couple of the text, I just shared with the images of the water and the various greenhouses, where they had these trays of water laid out to dry in the sun. And then more images of them actually scooping salt out of the trays. And I get it. So now it’s time to check out their website navigation. So I see the following words for the navigation: Story, Salt, Shop, Honey, and Contact.

Dan Gingiss (28:57):
Well, this is very clear and straight forward and much better than navigation on a lot of companies, websites. We talked about this as well in a previous episode about how navigation I remember we had, we talked to those, to that design company that had gone through the B2B navigation site.

Joey Coleman (29:18):
Exactly! And basically found that the navigation was horrid. Yeah, actually, Oh,

Dan Gingiss (29:22):
Now I got it. Joey. It was Season two, episode 48. Of course it was Tank Design.

Joey Coleman (29:29):
Wow, impressive. Impressive. Yeah. I would not have remembered this specific episode or season as usual. I love it. I love it. So I decided that I would click on story because I to learn more,

Dan Gingiss (29:42):
You see, I would’ve chosen honey, but okay. Keep going.

Joey Coleman (29:44):
I figured as much exactly. Well then I learned that the business began when the founder is a young college student made sea salt for Christmas gifts. He and his friends boiled seawater on their parents’ stove, but it took forever. It made a huge mess in a wasted, a ton of electricity. So years later, after working on a vegetable farm, he thought he could use his greenhouse building skills to create a salt operation. That was more energy efficient. He created a batch, took some jars to the local farmer’s market and sold $700 the first day.

Dan Gingiss (30:14):
I love it. He was like a self-made man with salts. I mean, it’s, that’s a fantastic story. And I love that story is even part of their navigation and, and you’re right for going there because we all like a good story about a brand. We all want to hear where things come from. A lot of people, I know you and your wife care very much about how things are made and where they come from and how environmentally friendly it is and all that sort of thing. So this definitely sounds interesting.

Joey Coleman (30:43):
Yeah. You know, it’s salt, it’s something that we use pretty regularly. I would say almost every dinner. There’s some involvement in salt, either in the preparation of the meal or in the actual eating of the meal. And this is kind of a fun way to support a local small business. So I’m in, unlike in the story, I think it’s fascinating. And so I went to their shop and I purchased three jars of salt, their signature natural salt, a steak blend salt, and a bull kelp salt.

Dan Gingiss (31:15):
Of course you went for the bull kelp salt! What the heck is bull kelp salt anyway?

Joey Coleman (31:20):
Well, I was wondering the same thing. And when I read the description on their website, which I’m going to share here in a second, I was sold before I got to the last paragraph. So let me read this. And you tell me when you’ve moved from just being curious or intrigued to, I got to taste this. “Bull kelp (Nereocystis lutkeana) is the king of the vegetative waterworld here in the Pacific Northwest. It has always captured my imagination for the thick forest. It forms along our islands, Rocky shores and for its sheer growing ability. Its average growth rate is four inches a day. But what many people don’t realize is that bull kelp is also a delicious and nutritious seafood. It’s with this in mind that we bring you our Pacific Northwest inspired flavored salt. We source our bull kelp from a very cool small family business in British Columbia, Canada called BC kelp. The business is run by a lovely young couple and they wild harvest all different sorts of seaweed in a sustainable manner from the cold clean waters of the queen, Charlotte islands. In fact, they learned their trade studying under the legendary wild plant guru, Ryan Drum of Waldron Island. The taste and smell of this product will remind you of picnics on a Rocky Northwest beach in the summer briny, salty, with a deep green earthiness. We like our kelp salt on eggs potatoes. And of course, salmon rounding out local seafoods “merroir” like terroir for the sea.

Dan Gingiss (32:52):
Oh, sign me up. I’m hungry, man.

Joey Coleman (32:55):
I mean, I, I read this and I was like, Oh my gosh, the story is in the product listing. And like, I want to know about this couple and I’m intrigued like, Oh, they’re getting the kelp and they’re mixing it in. And then as it dries, I’ve got little kelp flakes blended in with the salt and I’m there. So I put everything in the cart and I get a message saying that because of COVID they were only shipping once a week. So understandably expect some delays receiving the salt and then they signed off with a message. It said, “Thank you for shopping with us. It allows our family to do what we love for a living and live in the most beautiful place in the world. We’re so grateful for the opportunity to serve you.”

Dan Gingiss (33:31):
I see. There you go. You just put some money on your credit card. You could have buyer’s remorse, but you get a message like that and you feel good about making that purchase.

Joey Coleman (33:40):
Absolutely. And let me tell you I’ve purchased salt at the grocery store many times over the years I’ve even purchased some kind of fancy salts. I’ve never felt like I’m actually helping a human live, their dream and help their family, and envisioning what their salt farm must look like. Now, despite thinking that it would be a week to 10 days before I received my salt, three days later, a package arrived in the mail with a sticker on the side that featured an infographic that explained the sea salt harvest process at San Juan Island Sea Salt and an illustration of Essene. I think I’m saying Essene’s name properly, but if I’m not, please forgive me. Evidently as Essene is the employee that packed our salt and it showed that as Essene’s favorite product offered by San Juan Sea Salt is their Chili Lime Salt, the favorite place on the Island is Ruben Tart park in the Moonlight, and a little factoid about Essene is that their first job ever was wrapping caramels with San Juan Island Sea Salt

Dan Gingiss (34:45):
Things here. Sign me up for some chili lime salt, please. And I also noticed that this company sells caramels with sea salt and sign me up for some of those too.

Joey Coleman (34:55):
Amen brother. Right? How classic that they’ve built this entire salt based ecosystem.

Dan Gingiss (35:02):
All right. So we got to get down to this. So yeah, open the package, cook up your salmon or whatever it is and you use it was this like better than the salt at the grocery store.

Joey Coleman (35:12):
Oh my gosh. Here’s the thing. Not only do I think it tasted better, but I actually thought about the story while I was eating it. And I shared with my family, Hey, guess how they made this salt? I’m talking to my boys about how we made salt and I’ll be honest. And maybe this shows bad parenting that prior to now, we’ve never had a conversation about where does our table salt come from,

Dan Gingiss (35:35):
Terrible.

Joey Coleman (35:37):
But I found myself talking about it and the boys were asking about the bull kelp and you know, how did it work and how, what does it mean to harvest kelp? And how does that work? And we’re now living in Iowa and we’ve got a family farm here and so we are going to be, you know, the boys were part of the harvest that we had last fall and they’re going to be part of the planting in the spring. So it just felt like this great opportunity to connect with the source of our food, which is you and I have talked about before is increasingly such a big part of what so many consumers are looking for. Now, you might be listening to this and thinking to yourself, okay, but Joey, I don’t have a sea salt company. I don’t have a product company. I don’t…

Dan Gingiss (36:20):
Bring it home Joey. That’s what they’re saying. Bring it home!

Joey Coleman (36:22):
Let’s dissect it. What can we do? Number one, make sure your website is straightforward and easy to navigate. Explain what you do quickly and efficiently. Go on your website right now and if in 3.5 seconds, a brand new visitor, who’s never even heard of your company knows doesn’t understand exactly what you do, start rewriting your copy. Number two, tell your story in a compelling way, your imagining what this family looks like. You’re imagining harvesting the bulk help. You’re imagining what it looks like to stand in these greenhouses and see the sun evaporating the seawater and leaving the salt that they then scoop into the jars. Why are you imaginating that? Why are you imaginating that? That’s classic

Dan Gingiss (37:04):
Why are you making up words?!

Joey Coleman (37:05):
Exactly. Why are you imagining that? Because they told a great story. So explain your inspirations, explain your evolutions. Number three, make it easy to give you money. Oh man, the checkout process should be smooth and you should manage expectation. And they did a great job. Number four, be sincere. Say, thank you. Explain how much you appreciate your customers’ patronage. Number five, deliver early. It’s better to tell me the package will be there in 10 days and then have it arrive in half that time then to tell me it will take two days and have it arrive on day three. And number six, use your packaging to continue telling your story long after the sale has concluded. Don’t make your packaging just about a brand expression. Make it a story expression. Now, if you’ve been intrigued by San Juan Island Sea Salt, I suggest you check them out. See if you like their story. And if you do buy some salt and by the way, there might be some salt sitting around here in some care packages that we send to some of our loyal listeners who reach out and share ideas with us for segments during season seven, or make suggestions for our new, ask us anything segment you might’ve heard about in one of our earlier episodes or take other steps just to let us know you’re listening. Hey, we want to send you some salt and whether it’s the chili lime salt or the bull kelp salt, you think you’re going to like it!

Dan Gingiss (38:23):
And it’s going to be worth it’s salt!

Joey Coleman (38:25):
Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! You are the best listener ever!

Dan Gingiss (38:36):
And since you listened to the whole show,

Joey Coleman (38:38):
Yay you!

Dan Gingiss (38:39):
We’re curious… Was there a specific part of this episode that you enjoyed the most? If so, it would mean the world to us if you could share it with a coworker, a friend, or someone that just loves listening to podcasts!

Joey Coleman (38:50):
And while you’re in the sharing mood, if you felt inclined to jump over to iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts and write us a review, we would so appreciate it. And when you do, don’t forget to let us know as we might have a little surprise for you.

Dan Gingiss (39:05):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more,

Joey Coleman (39:08):
Experience!

Dan Gingiss (39:08):
This!

Episode 120 – Zero In on Small, Personalized Touches

Join us as we discuss a portrait of your pet, zeroing in on customer centricity, and how “mini” — and even “no” — have become big..

Painting, Disrupting, and Adapting – Oh My!

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

Learn more about our Season 7 Partner – Solvvy – The NextGen Chatbot

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 120 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:08):
The podcast that celebrates remarkable customer experiences and inspires you to stand out from the competition by wowing your customers.

Joey Coleman (00:17):
Each episode, we bring you a healthy dose of inspiring stories, funny interactions, and practical takeaways. Marketing and customer experience thought leader, Dan Gingiss…

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
shares the mic with customer retention and employee experience expert Joey Coleman, helping you to get people talking about your business.

Joey Coleman (00:40):
So get, ready because it’s time to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:48):
Get ready, for another episode of the Experience This Show!

Joey Coleman (00:54):
Join us as we discuss: a portrait of your pet, zeroing in on customer centricity, and how “mini” and even “no” have become big.

Dan Gingiss (01:07):
Painting, Disrupting and Adapting – Oh my!

Joey Coleman (01:15):
There are so many great customer experience articles to read, but who has the time?! We summarize them and offer clear takeaways you can implement starting tomorrow. Enjoy this segment of CX Press – where we read the articles, so you don’t need to!

Dan Gingiss (01:33):
This week’s CX Press comes to us from one of my local newspapers, the Chicago Sun Times, and it’s entitled, “Cezanne or Chewy?” Now we’ve talked about Chewy, the online pet supplies retailer in two previous episodes – Episode 17 where we shared some customer stories, and Episode 50 where we talked about what I called “the greatest customer service email in the history of customer service or email.” Now they’ve achieved the trifecta!

Joey Coleman (02:06):
Has anybody else even come close to the trifecta Dan? I don’t think so. Like I know we’ve talked about Amazon and Apple. We’ve talked about lots of great brand experiences, but I don’t think anybody – but Chewy – has done three separate segments totally on their business.

Dan Gingiss (02:21):
I think it is possible this is a first… I’d have to go back and look in the archives.

Joey Coleman (02:25):
Woo! I’m feeling excited. This is, this is groundbreaking stuff here.

Dan Gingiss (02:28):
Well, Chewy was in the news again just after New Year’s with this story. And I know you’re a pretty big art fan, Joey, but can you even imagine how a famed artist like Paul Cezanne gets compared to a pet supplies company?

Joey Coleman (02:43):
I can not. I can not. I, as you know, am definitely familiar with Cezanne’s work and am a fan of Cezanne’s work, but Cezanne plus Chewy? I’m confused.

Dan Gingiss (02:52):
Well, it turns out that Chewy sends out more than a thousand hand-painted portraits of its’ customers pets every week… just as a surprise to say, thank you. Now, not surprisingly, the pictures have become social media gold. As many of the lucky recipients post them online for their friends and followers to fawn over. And one customer even told the Sun Times, quote, “I just want to buy everything from them. They’re a big company. I was shocked that they did something so personal.”

Joey Coleman (03:25):
Oh, I love it. I love this story. I love this behavior by Chewy. I love the personalization. But most importantly, I want to go back to that quote from the article. “I just want to buy everything from them. They’re a big company. I was shocked they did something so personal.” There’s two pieces of this puzzle friends: if you create remarkable customer experiences, your customers will want to do business with you again, and again, and again, and again. And the bigger you are, the less they expect something personal. Or if you’re in an industry that is not notoriously known for personal interactions and you do something personal, it is going to shock and all them, this is definitely, you know, while I get that, not everybody who’s listening is going to start sending, you know, hand painted portraits of their customers’ pets to them, there is a variation on this theme in every listener’s business.

Dan Gingiss (04:25):
Well, and I would go so far as to say that being big is not an excuse for not trying this.

Joey Coleman (04:31):
Totally! Totally!

Dan Gingiss (04:33):
And so look, they don’t send it to every customer and that’s okay. They’re sending it to a lot of customers, but just because they’re big doesn’t mean that they can’t make something like this happen, and operationalize it, and scale it. Now, they’re a little bit secretive about how they select which pets they feature. You can’t purchase the portraits – even if you ask really nicely to customer service, they’ll say no. The article says that Chewy works with hundreds of artists around the country who create them based on customer photographs. So obviously there’s some process in which customers have to send or upload a photograph of their pet,

Joey Coleman (05:09):
But this is also a great way by the way, to, you know, give back for them too, for lack of a better way of putting it for chewy to support some local artists as well. I mean, hundreds of local artists, it sounds like.

Dan Gingiss (05:21):
Absolutely for sure. And one of the most interesting parts for me of this article was there was a big discussion about how well chewy is doing as a company. And let me just give you some stats. The company has become the number two in the pet supplies industry with a 34% market share. Now, Amazon is first at 50% – and it’s benefited from two different pandemic trends. The first is that people are staying home and not venturing out to big box retailers and people are adopting new pets at a record pace. In fact, Chewy added 5 million new customers in 2020 and its stock price tripled. So anybody that asks you does customer experience pay off? Is there an ROI to customer experience? Here’s perhaps the only company that we featured on three different segments on a customer experience show and look at how well their business is doing. So this stuff works now, is it cheap? No – they’re paying artists, they’re shipping out these portraits. It’s some money. There’s no question they’re investing in this, but look, what happens. These customers get the portraits. They feel so great about chewy. They want to go share it with their friends and followers on social media, which of course is basically doing Chewy’s marketing for the company, right? So this is marketing dollars that is much better spent in my opinion than buying a Facebook ad or sending out yet another email campaign.

Joey Coleman (06:58):
Absolutely. And Dan, I guarantee that the folks at Chewy that are responsible for coordinating these paintings are having fun to. Talk about a fantastically unexpected moment of surprise and delight for the customer… But I would imagine, you know, getting the art back from the artist and seeing the paintings and seeing the photographs of those and knowing when the customer receives them, how happy they’re going to be. And then seeing the posts on social media, this kind of gets back into that whole thing we talked about in our last episode, this idea of your culture being part of the customer experience. They create better experiences for the customers, which by default create better experiences for the employees, and these things have a tendency to feed in a fulfilling.

Dan Gingiss (07:43):
And another thing I would add here is I know some listeners are saying, okay, that’s great, but Julia is a pet supplies company. So of course they’re going to do portraits of their pets. But I think almost every company has an opportunity to do something personalized for their customers. So let’s say that you’re a B2B software company, right? Couldn’t be any farther away from a retail pet supplies company. But you know, what’s been happening over the last year. You’ve been on more zoom calls with people and you know, what’s been happening during those zoom calls. People’s pets come into the picture, their dogs, their cats, they’re all over the place. So you actually know that your clients have pets. Now, you don’t have to send them a portrait, but can you imagine what would happen if one of your clients received a bag of treats in the mail from you for their pet, the way that people think about their pets as family members that is going to go a really long way with people. We also know a lot more about people’s kids and spouses and everybody else has been running over and running through the picture in the last year. And I think that’s a good thing because it adds a level of familiarity between people that wasn’t there before, even between colleagues at the same company that wasn’t there before. And I think that we can leverage this as businesses because the more that we know about people, the better we can connect with them. I just had a call the other day with somebody where I was doing sort of them the favor, right. They called on me for some advice and help, and I met with him for half an hour. And the next thing I knew, I got a package in the mail from Amazon and it was a t-shirt that had a pinball machine on it that said “Pinball Wizard!

Joey Coleman (09:22):
Oh, nice. Right to Dan’s heart ladies and gentlemen.

Dan Gingiss (09:25):
He knew that that’s something that I loved. We didn’t even talk about pinball!

Joey Coleman (09:28):
Chicago Cubs, pinball wizard, pinball games, board games, and I don’t know… imperfect produce! Those are like four high listing, uh, loves of Dan Gingiss, ladies and gentlemen.

Dan Gingiss (09:42):
And what I thought was great was that we didn’t even talk about it. You know, he saw that somewhere online. He learned that about me, it’s in one of my bios or whatever. And man, I mean, how much better is that than just sending something random or not sending anything at all.

Joey Coleman (09:57):
Or sending something with your logo on it. I mean, at the end of the day, friends, this far into the pandemic, if you aren’t creating personal connections with the people that you are literally seeing into their homes, again, whether that’s your clients, your customers, your colleagues, your coworkers, you’re missing a huge opportunity. And if you don’t want to go so far as to order them a gift or a present, what about just asking them a question, being on the Zoom call with them and saying, Hey, that looks like a really interesting piece of art behind you. What is that? Or where did you get that? Or, Hey, is that a photograph I see on your desk? Who’s in the photograph or was that a streaker that just ran by? Oh, that was your three-year-old. Oh, well, do we need to end the call? You know, there’s any number of ways that we can engage in a personal way to bring a little more humanity back to our discussions. You know, one of the things I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about over the course of the last year and is going to be a subject of a future book is this idea that we talk about customer experience and we talk about employee experience, but at the end of the day, isn’t it really all just human experience. And the more we lean into the human experience, I think the better interactions, the better reactions, the better situations, the better scenarios we’ll be able to create, not only for the people we interact with, but for ourselves as well.

Joey Coleman (11:25):
We’re excited to give you an overview of an important book you should know about – as well as share some of our favorite passages – as part of our next Book Report.

Dan Gingiss (11:41):
Today’s book report is “The Zero In Formula: The Definitive Guide to Building a Disruptive and Sustainable Business Through Customer Centric Innovation” by author Dennis Geelen. The book is brand new, just released in 2021, and starts with an important question: can a business be disruption proof? A pandemic reveals the answers. There are also lots of case studies, including from Coca Cola, Goodwill, and Kodak. And it also contains a self-assessment tool that helps companies rate their effectiveness when it comes to customer centric and innovative strategies, tools, and practices. Now, as always, we ask the authors to summarize the book for us. So here’s Dennis Geelen describing the Zero In Formula, in his own words:

Dennis Geelen (12:31):
The Zero In Formula was written specifically for business owners and leaders. Whether you’re looking to start a new company or you’ve been in business for several years, I believe that all organizations larger, small in all industries face two major challenges that eventually decide their longterm fate. And that’s the problem of indifference. So why is that two challenges? Because the indifference can either be external. Your customers are internal, your team members. You end up with indifferent customers when there’s no compelling reason to purchase your product or service, rather than your competitors. Internally, many businesses end up with indifferent employees who are complacent because they’re just not passionate about coming to work each day, the company has no compelling purpose or direction, or the culture is either too rigid or too stale. The Zero In Formula is a guidebook to help leaders win the battle against indifference by laying out a framework for a customer centric and innovative company. When your business is truly customer centric, you are intentional about having proper strategies and tools in place to know your customers and building your company around, serving them and giving them the ultimate customer experience. An innovative organization is one where new ideas for products and services and experiences and processes that better serve your customers, don’t happen by accident. Innovative companies understand the principles and practices required to cultivate a culture of collaborative teamwork, focused on finding new and better ways of doing things. The book is full of tools, templates, and strategies that any leader can apply to their own business or team. And it’s chocked full of examples and stories from businesses and leaders around the globe. That’s going to help the reader relate and resonate. My consulting practice is called Zero In, and this book and feels the formula that I use when working with my business clients, allowing you to harness these proven tactics in your company, to become a customer centric and innovative as possible and set your business up for longterm success.

Joey Coleman (14:37):
I think the call-out about indifference emerging from both external and internal forces is spot on. We know that happy employees equal happy customers, but the word indifference is so powerful because that’s when people decide to leave a company when they don’t care. You know, it’s interesting. I remember in school being asked the question like in junior high, what is the opposite of love? And a lot of kids in the class thought, and myself included at first, the opposite of love was hate. When the reality is the opposite of love is indifference. It’s that you actually don’t care at all. And I think that is so true and so often people are, you know, worried about who the haters are, is our friend Jay Baer would say, when the reality is we need to pay more attention to things we’re doing that are creating moments of indifference. You know, on every book report, we love having the author pick their favorite passage as well. And so enjoy while Dennis reads his favorite section from the book:

Dennis Geelen (15:43):
The story of Greg Meade, Chris Mead, Mike Del Papa, and their company CrossNet is one of just over 627,000 new businesses starting up in the U S each year. New technologies, new ways of communicating, connecting, and selling means more products, more services, and more business models to meet newfound needs. It’s easier now to start up a business than in any era in the past, the internet provides access to the tools and resources. You need to understand how to start a business at your fingertips. If capital is required, there’s venture capitalists and angel investors looking to help finance the next big business idea. Stats for the U.S. show that there are over 30 million small businesses in the country alone making up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses. Starting a company is easy, but just starting is not the goal studies show. 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 45% fail in the first five years and 65% in the first 10 years, only 25% of businesses survive 15 years or more. Why? What mistakes are businesses making? If there’s more demands, if it’s easier to market and sell to people around the world. And if the, if you have the information and resources required to start a business, what’s the problem? To put it simply, with more businesses, there’s more competition. Will CrossNet be a long-term successful game, product and company, for sure, off to a terrific start, but many opportunities and challenges lie ahead for the young entrepreneurs. How will they face those challenges? Time will be the ultimate judge, but as you will see in this chapter, CrossNet has a big leg up on other businesses by deciding to build theirs on a proper foundation, you know,

Dan Gingiss (17:35):
Like to share my favorite passage from the book as well, and then give Joey a chance to do so. For me, it was a setup in the introduction that called out two reasons why so many companies fail and here they are: “(1) they lose sight of the purpose behind why they started after some success. The focus turns to maximizing quarterly revenues, finding efficiencies for standardizing their processes. There are no longer the customer centric and innovative company that they were in the beginning. (2) They’re not flexible and adaptable to handle major challenges that come their way and economic downturn, a new player in the industry, a change in customer habits will disrupt their business model. They’re too rigid or stubborn to adapt and customers end up leaving.

Joey Coleman (18:31):
Oh, if there’s anything that the last year has taught, hopefully every business on the planet, is the importance of adaptability friends. I can’t imagine that your business today has the exact same service offerings and exact same product offerings, delivered in the same way that it did a year ago. And it’s so funny because pre-pandemic, I think this concept of adapting was something that was, you know, regularly thrown around. Well, either adapter become extinct. And, you know, it was kind of a trope that was used in a lot of different business books and business discussions. But I think every business has had to do that and has realized that we probably weren’t as flexible as we had believed that we were. My favorite quote is as follows: “If after collecting data surveying and talking to your customers, you are still not able to understand the emotions they feel and subsequently empathize with them, I highly suggest you put yourself in their shoes. There’s credence to the old saying, “do not judge a man until you walk a mile in his shoes” and “do unto others, as you would have them do onto you.” Ultimately, if you are able to know exactly what your customers are feeling that caused them to want, or need your products or services, how it makes them feel when your product or services provide the value they need, how it feels when your products or services do not provide the value they require, then you are now set up to do something about it and serve them the way you would want to be served the best way to understand how your customers feel is to experience and feel the same things yourself.

Dan Gingiss (20:16):
You know, I’m so glad you selected that passage, Joey, because I’m often asked what’s one tip that you can give to companies if they need to start thinking about customer experience or to really change how they’re doing things. And my tip is always become a customer of your own company. It is unbelievable to me how many companies there are, where the executives, the employees, are not customers of their own companies. So they have no idea what customers actually go through.

Joey Coleman (20:49):
Or if they are customers, Dan, they get the special VIP helpline. They don’t have to call into the main call center. They get to, you know, have a private, “immediately picked up” solution to all of their tech problems.

Dan Gingiss (21:03):
They’ve got the Bat Phone on their desk. Right?

Joey Coleman (21:05):
Exactly. Exactly.

Dan Gingiss (21:06):
And yeah. And so that’s not understanding how customers experience you either. And I’ll tell you another thing is if you sit through call listening in a, in a contact center, you’ll be amazed when you hear the customer’s own voice talk about doing business with you. It is eye-opening, it’s humbling and you’ll learn what you’re doing well and what you’re not. And so I think this is so key to get into your customer’s shoes and either become a customer or, you know, in some businesses, it may be impossible for you to do that. You’ve got to saddle up next to an existing customer and have them walk you through what it’s like. Or you’ve got to listen in your call center and hear what people have to say. So I thought this was a really great book to kick off 2021. This idea of avoiding indifference with your employees and your customers is so important. And the idea of understanding the experience from your customer’s eyes, all terrific tips. We encourage you to pick up the Zero In Formula: The Definitive Guide to Building a Disruptive and Sustainable Business Through Customer Centric Innovation” by Dennis Geelen, wherever fine books are sold.

Joey Coleman (22:22):
Almost everyone has interacted with chatbots, but all too often, it’s been a bad experience. In MythBusters – presented by Solvvy – we explore a common myth about CX chatbots and see how the right technology can create a positive experience, every time.

Dan Gingiss (22:47):
Today’s myth about chatbots? they’re designed to replace your support team. Many people think that adding a chat bot means you’ll no longer need live agent support. That support seems there’ll be downsize and that personalization and the high quality of support will inevitably suffer.

Joey Coleman (23:05):
Now while people worry all about the replacement of the support team, the reality is that modern chat bots effectively supplement your team. They don’t replace it. You will always need agents for your VIP customers and for your extremely complex issues. That being said, we can all agree that it’s no fun answering basic, repetitive questions all day long things like password resets, or collecting basic information so that you can find a customer’s account.

Dan Gingiss (23:36):
Chatbots can be invaluable in helping your team to scale during surges and activity, holidays, system outages, and other situations. Modern chatbots are also able to collect some info about a customer’s issue and pass that along to an agent to help speed up resolution time.

Joey Coleman (23:54):
I liked it because while I’m okay with the chat bot, answering a simple question. When I want to talk to a human, I want to talk to a human. We’ll learn more about advances in chat bot and support automation throughout the season.

Dan Gingiss (24:08):
That’s another myth busted – thanks to our friends at Solvvy – the Next Gen Chatbot.

Joey Coleman (24:13):
With a pandemic, sweeping the globe and shifting the way organizations interact with their customers. Many of the old ways of operating just don’t work anymore. As we all navigate a COVID-19 world, it’s time to Redesign the Experience.

Dan Gingiss (24:34):
You may remember way back in episode 46, that we talked about Sipsmith gin and its ingenious pop-up experience to get people, to taste their product in a new way.

Joey Coleman (24:45):
Which I always thought was funny because we’re going to be drinking gin and trying to say Sipsmith gin, Sipsmith gin.

Dan Gingiss (24:53):
Exactly. Keep sipping away! There was the impeccably dressed bartender, the choice of several tonic flavors, the garnish bar with more than a dozen options. And then the personalized name tag that each taster created and of course shared their creation on social media. I love that example so much that I’ve included it in my keynote presentations, and it’ll be in my new book coming out this year (but more on that in a future episode) – anyway, live tastings aren’t exactly popular right now due to the pandemic. So alcohol companies have had to adapt. And one fascinating trend is the return of the 50 milliliter mini bottle.

Joey Coleman (25:32):
Wait, you mean like the ones they have on airplanes or in the hotel minibar?

Dan Gingiss (25:37):
Yes, my world traveling friend, you are correct. And don’t worry. I know that you don’t drink alcohol, but there is something for you in this segment too, if you will just bear with me.

Joey Coleman (25:48):
All right. I’ll hang in there!

Dan Gingiss (25:50):
Many craft distillers have started producing more mini bottles due to tasting room closures and canceled events. As Scott Harris, co-founder of Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, told Whiskey Advocate magazine quote “Store tastings have stopped completely nationwide and without tastings, there is no easy way to get customers to try our products before committing to a larger 750 milliliter purchase.” Not surprisingly whiskey advocate focused on whiskey, examples of the trend, and they range from a $2 Bushmills Red Bush Irish whiskey to a $20 Johnny Walker Blue Label, even coveted single malts have gotten into the game. And one distiller compass box saw success packaging for different mini bottles into a set, essentially a tasting a box. This is a trend that is likely to continue because it gives people the ability to try before they buy any much lower cost. And importantly, just to Sipsmith figured out in a way that they would more typically consume the drink versus a plastic cup shot in the grocery.

Joey Coleman (27:01):
You know, I really liked this idea, Dan, because not only does it give you a little bit of a sampler, but it’s a much better experience for the brand, right? And those little bottles, they’re kind of fun. And, you know, I know from our mutual friend, Rohit Bhargava, there’s actually a mini liquor bottle museum in Scandinavia. Like these are fun, little design pieces. Uh, and I liked the idea that they’re, they’re pivoting and they’re adapting to this new world they’re in and creating something that, you know, consumers will get a chance to try it, you know, before they buy it or make a smaller investment to try it. But I got to admit, I’m a little curious, I mean, while this is interesting, you had mentioned there was a specific part of the story that you said I’d be excited about.

Dan Gingiss (27:43):
Well, actually it’s about a different pandemic trend related to alcohol, and that is that people are drinking more at home. And so there is a newfound demand for, are you ready for it? Non-alcoholic beer.

Joey Coleman (28:00):
Haha! Like, O’Douls and stuff like that?

Dan Gingiss (28:03):
Actually, specifically not like, O’Douls. It’s the craft breweries that are now getting into the game, creating Brown ales, wheat beers, IPA’s coffee, stouts, and even Oktoberfest varieties all without alcohol. Now this follows the success of a very big brand Heineken debuting it’s Heineken 0.0 product in 2019, which quickly became the number one selling non-alcoholic beer in the United States, knocking out your friends at O’Douls by the way. Now, according to the Chicago Tribune, non-alcoholic beer sales were up 38% in 2020. And although it still only represents one half of 1% of the entire beer industry, NAs are sprouting up everywhere and industry observers think that this trend has legs.

Joey Coleman (28:53):
Well, Dan, I am definitely interested in this one. I have not been a consumer of alcohol for wow. Probably close to we’re fast approaching 20 years now, more than 20 years now that I think about it. But what I love about this pivot or this kind of additional offering to the marketplace is, there are so many scenarios where I find myself at a bar or at a happy hour, obviously pre-pandemic and I’m sure this will come back post pandemic where there’s really nothing that I’m excited to order. You know, uh, as our listeners know, I’m a root beer fan. If there’s a root beer, I’m feeling good. If there isn’t a root beer, my default is usually a 7-Up or Sprite and grenadine, which is effectually known in most circles as a Shirley Temple, but it sounds more manly when I order it.

Dan Gingiss (29:48):
Or a kiddie cocktail!

Joey Coleman (29:48):
I like the idea of being able to have different options that, you know, maybe give more of a beer vibe or more importantly, kind of a beer look, because I know that’s important for some people when they’re out networking, they want to have a look as if they’re drinking a beer along with it. So I think this is an interesting, uh, an interesting trend to say the least.

Dan Gingiss (30:09):
Well, and also, I mean, you’re not the only person I know who doesn’t drink or who has stopped drinking alcohol. And there is often this residual desire for the, for the taste of it without the effect of the alcohol. And I think that what’s long been the case, is that NA beers have been a somewhat poor substitute that it just doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t have the bite or it doesn’t have the flavor or whatever. And when I started reading this list of like brown ales and coffee stouts and stuff like that, I think that sounds terrific and, and even as a person who is fine having a beer with alcohol in it, I would be more inclined in certain situations to order the non-alcoholic variety, because now I’ve got something to choose from that actually is interesting.

Joey Coleman (30:59):
Well, and you buy into the marketing, right? And the branding. And I’m not saying that as a, as a bad thing, right? Why do most people choose the products or the services they choose? There’s a heavy influence of branding. And I agree with you, it sounds a lot better to get, you know, a wheat beer or a coffee stout than what I often heard talked about in the bars. I didn’t say this, but, you know, an “O’Don’ts” as opposed to “O’Douls.” Right? And so I think there’s certainly space in the market for these type of offerings.

Dan Gingiss (31:28):
Yeah. And I think, again, the summary here is I thought, I mean, within the span of a week or so, I saw two articles about these two different trends in two different publications. And, you know, the miniature bottle thing is really interesting because companies are having trouble getting people to taste. And when you buy a 750 milliliter bottle, you’re usually forking out, you know, 30, 40, 50, 70, $90. And so people want to taste it before they buy it, which makes sense and they don’t have an avenue to do that. With the non-alcoholic beer piece, you have other parts of the pandemic that have affected this trend. People are drinking more at home and they’re realizing, Hey, I probably should cut back. And also, you know, people are looking for different things and this gives a new choice if you will, uh, to somebody who maybe wants a non-alcoholic option and doesn’t have to succumb to the Shirley temple or the orange juice or whatever it’s going to be. So I thought both of these were really interesting trends that have appeared because of the pandemic, but trends that demonstrate that pandemic era pivots may just create the next big thing. And even if not, are probably here to stay.

Joey Coleman (32:51):
Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! You are the best listener ever!

Dan Gingiss (32:57):
And since you listened to the whole show…

Joey Coleman (32:59):
Yay, you!

Dan Gingiss (33:00):
We’re curious… Was there a specific part of this episode that you enjoyed the most? If so, it would mean the world to us if you could share it with a coworker, a friend, or someone that just loves listening to podcasts!

Joey Coleman (33:11):
And while you’re in the sharing mood, if you felt inclined to jump over to iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts and write us a review, we would so appreciate it. And when you do, don’t forget to let us know as we might have a little surprise for you!

Dan Gingiss (33:26):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey Coleman (33:29):
Experience!

Dan Gingiss (33:29):
This!

Episode 119 – Using the Power of Nostalgia to Build Customer Connection

Join us as we discuss why your branding may spoil the experience, how to use nostalgia in unexpected ways, and what your culture says about your customer experience.

Packaging, Listening, and Interviewing – Oh My!

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

Learn more about our Season 7 Partners – Solvvy – The NextGen Chatbot

Episode Transcript

Download an unedited transcript of Episode 119 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (00:08):
The podcast that celebrates remarkable customer experiences and inspires you to stand out from the competition by wowing your customers.

Joey Coleman (00:17):
Each episode, we bring you a healthy dose of inspiring stories, funny interactions, and practical takeaways. Marketing and customer experience thought leader, Dan Gingiss…

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
shares the mic with customer retention and employee experience expert, Joey Coleman, helping you to get people talking about your business.

Joey Coleman (00:40):
So get ready, because it’s time to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:49):
Get ready, for another episode of the Experience This! Show.

Dan Gingiss (00:54):
Join us as we discuss: why your branding may spoil the experience, how to use nostalgia in unexpected ways, and what your culture says about your customer experience.

Joey Coleman (01:07):
Packaging, Listening, and Interviewing – Oh my!

Joey Coleman (01:13):
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 (01:28):
Welcome back to Season Seven. Woo! We are so excited to be here with you. You know, who would have thunk back when we started out with Episode 1 that we would be coming to you in Episode 119 seven seasons later?! We are so pumped and excited for this season. We’ve got some new segments, we’ve got plenty of new stories, some new features for you to get more involved with the show. Woo! Lot to cover, but we’re going to get to that… Before we get started though, Dan, how was your holiday break brother?

Dan Gingiss (01:59):
Well, thanks for asking Joey and great to hear your voice again. It’s been a while since I’ve heard that melodic voice and great holiday season, as you may or may not know my birthday is on Christmas as well. So all the fun we had a great time and, you know, during the break, you and I also got to chat with our brand new partner for this season, Solvvy – The Next Generation Chatbot… And I’m really excited about this because I’ll be honest, I started off as a skeptic on chatbots and having talked with Solvvy, I’m now much more excited about chat bots because I understand them better and I understand what they can and can’t do. And that’s some of what we’re going to share with you, the audience during the season. And I think what will be a really cool segment,

Joey Coleman (02:49):
Absolutely super excited for these Solvvy conversations. You know, my holiday was a lot of fun as well. We’re settling in here in our new house in Iowa, which I’ll honest is a bit snow year and a good bit colder than it wasn’t Colorado, but we had a great Christmas with less people than usual. Like I’m sure with a lot of our listeners had that same experience. Yay, thanks COVID! But still had a lovely time. Although I must confess Dan, I had a bit of a customer experience snafu and I wanted to start things off on the show talking about it today.

Dan Gingiss (03:22):
Oh boy. So not everything was a holly jolly Christmas.

Joey Coleman (03:26):
No, no, it was not. And uh, to be honest, this is something we’ve talked about before on the show, but this time, this scenario showed up in a different way. So let me explain my incredible wife, Berit loves gifts and presents. If you were to look at the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and put her through the test, which we’ve done many a times, both. She and I have taken that test. She scores 12 out of 12 on gifts and presents. So I tried to surprise her with gifts and presents whenever I get the chance. And she’s very health conscious and we’re here in the Midwest now, and we’ve talked about farming and we have a family farm and I decided to order her an indoor lettuce farm. So it’s basically a vertical garden with grow lights that lets you grow more produce at home, which is better for the environment. It helps keep our family healthy too. And I was super excited about this gift and really wanted to surprise her because she loves surprises, especially when it comes to Christmas, but I’d never ordered for this company before and kind of didn’t know what to expect, but I signed up to receive the delivery alerts so I could make sure to sneak the box into the house. Cause I knew it was going to be a big box before she saw it.

Dan Gingiss (04:41):
Oh, I think I know where this is going,

Joey Coleman (04:44):
Dan. I think you may be correct. Well, here’s the scoop. So we’re coming up towards Christmas. We’re about two weeks out. I receive a message that the package was scheduled to be delivered on a Friday. I’m feeling good. We’re going to have plenty of time to wrap for Christmas, but on Wednesday morning, keep in mind. It’s supposed to be delivered on Friday. I come out to the kitchen to find Berit with kind of a guilty look on her face. Let me guess she had seen the present. Dan, not only had she seen the present, but the company who shall remain nameless here because it’s not really there. Now it’s debatable as to whether they’re to blame for this, but I just hope people will think differently after listening this segment – the company had written their name in huge letters all over all three of the large boxes and it was painfully obvious that this was a home-based lettuce growing kit, given the branding.

Dan Gingiss (05:42):
I have to laugh twice. I think I’ve laughed. Actually. Number one is I I’m still back at the whole concept of a lettuce farm, which I think is outstanding. But if you asked me, “Hey Dan, take a guess what we’re going to talk about in the first episode of 2021 it’s not what it’s not going to be. What I came up with

Joey Coleman (05:59):
And knowing you’re a big produce guy, Dan, I got to say you can grow more than lettuce. Okay. But let’s just say lettuce was the intention, the brand, there were some challenges.

Dan Gingiss (06:10):
All right, got you. Yep. And the other thing though that I was laughing about was you actually had the opposite experience a few years ago, I believe with a LEGO box.

Joey Coleman (06:19):
Yes, exactly. I regularly order from Lego and they go out of their way to ship their boxes blind – that is they ship them without any branding or labeling. Even the return address is impossible to decipher because they know that their products are often given as gifts.

Dan Gingiss (06:37):
I think that was Episode 56 of Season Three.

Joey Coleman (06:42):
Our loyal listeners will continue to be impressed with your rain man, esque knowledge of our back catalog of episodes. Dan, I guarantee. But yes, the fact that LEGO shipped the boxes blind way back in season three. And by the way, they still do it today because LEGO was another package that arrived at our house this Christmas and was a big hit. It shows that LEGO has thought through the trade-offs between promoting their brand and ruining the surprise when the package is delivered. Something that I wish this in-house, indoor, vertical farm would have done.

Dan Gingiss (07:16):
You know, I think this is interesting because I’m not so sure that the branding on the boxes does a whole lot. I mean, if you think about it, depending on the community that you live in, it might be sitting at someone’s doorstep that, you know, if you have any length of a driveway at all, you can’t see from the street. And so unless you’re trying to convince the mailman or mailwoman to, to purchase from your company, like, I don’t think this is one of these cases where millions of people are seeing it. Now

Joey Coleman (07:45):
It’s all about getting ups and FedEx drivers to buy more of your product!

Dan Gingiss (07:49):
It could be, I mean, I’m thinking two things, one, obviously the ubiquitous Amazon box, which you see a thousand times a day and almost any neighborhood, you know, that might be an exception. But I also, I wonder whether you know this, Joey, do you know that for years you were not allowed to have any branding on anything on any box shipped through the postal service. And that actually has changed. I have a feeling that Amazon ended up changing that, but for a while, if you, even, if you tried to reuse the box, for example, you had to cover up all the branding because the advertising wasn’t allowed.

Joey Coleman (08:22):
Well, I don’t exactly remember that whether it was allowed or not, I’ll defer to your expertise on this Dan. But I do agree with you that there’s kind of this healthy mix. And I know for example, Apple intentionally doesn’t say Apple on the box because they don’t want people stealing the boxes. Right? So I, and I also get that there’s this fine line between if your packaging also shows up in a retail environment, you might want to have a boxed in a certain way because it’s going to sit in a store and be visible. And it kind of almost becomes an in-store advertisement. But this company to my knowledge only sells online. And I just, I, you know, I’ll admit I was a little bit bummed that the surprise was given up. Not because of me, but because of the packaging of the box. So what could this company have done differently? Well, I’m not saying that branding, your packaging is bad. In fact, when done properly, it’s a great way to market and promote your offerings. However, if you think there is a chance that someone might purchase your product as a gift, especially around the holiday season, it would be a great experience to let purchasers choose their delivery packaging. Or if that’s too logistically complicated, at least let them know that the package will be arriving with lots of external branding so they can prepare themselves accordingly. You don’t want to be the brand that ruined Christmas. And there is nothing worse than creating a bad brand experience before the customers even opened the box.

Joey Coleman (09:57):
Just because you have required elements of your business doesn’t mean they need to be, Oh, it’s time to get creative, have some fun and make people sit up and take notice. Get your customers talking when you Make The Required Remarkable.

Joey Coleman (10:17):
I saw an interesting post on Medium recently from Tom Whitwell called “52 things I learned in 2020.” Tom is a managing consultant at Flux in London. And he shared a fascinating list of learnings, including one in particular that stood out to me. Number three on his list, “the hold music you hear when you phone Octopus Energy is personalized to your customer account. It’s a number one record from the year you were 14.

Dan Gingiss (10:44):
Well, first of all, octopus energy could be the best name of any energy company I’ve ever heard.

Joey Coleman (10:49):
It’s an awesome name!

Dan Gingiss (10:50):
but I love the concept of personalized hold music. I mean, we did talk about hold music way back in Season One, Episode 6, when we talked about that one impressed even me, ladies, I’m going to double down and say that we also talked about hold music on our other show, Experience Points – the game show – and Scott McCain was our guests that day. And, uh, we, we showed a couple of different, uh, hold music, examples, but nothing personalized to the year that you were 14 years old.

Joey Coleman (11:22):
This one feels really special. So when I first saw this, I had to learn more. So I checked out the octopus energy website and found some cheeky messaging. And I say cheeky, because they’re over in London that matched their creative hold music. Now this is how their about us page reads on the website. And I quote, “We’re doing energy better for you and for the environment. The energy industry in Britain is ruled by a handful of complacent, dinosaurs, peddling, fossil fuels, pricing, trickery, and poor customer service. In 2016, octopus entered the market to disrupt the status quo with energy that’s good for the planet, good for your wallet, and honestly, good for your soul. Since then, we’ve been picking up 30,000 customers a month on average, and now supply energy to 1.5 million UK homes and counting. To this day, 92% of our customers rate us as “five stars excellent” on Trustpilot. And we’re the only supplier to be recommended by consumer champion, which year after year, after a year, after a year.

Dan Gingiss (12:30):
Okay. Now I get the octopus joke because dinosaurs!

Joey Coleman (12:35):
There’s a lot of fun and games going on.

Dan Gingiss (12:39):
It’s outstanding! Gosh, where to start. You know, also I just love communication. I love words and how we talk to customers. And I do believe that every chance we have to communicate with customers in any channel is an opportunity to create an experience. That’s why we have this whole segment called Required Remarkable because so much of our communication is required and we don’t have to just make it boring. We can make it really interesting. And it seems like a, as they’re saying that what they’re doing is working because their customers love them. And let’s recall people, this is an energy company.

Joey Coleman (13:16):
Yeah. That’s the thing. This is an energy company and 92% of their customers rate them as five stars. Like we could just stop right there. I got to tell you, Dan, I wanted to become a customer of Octopus Energy and figure out how to make that happen – even though they’re based in the UK, because I was so intrigued by this! Well, and then I tracked down this specific page on their website that talks about their hold music and I quote, shut up and hold me at octopus energy, everything we make starts with the customer. So what does that mean for hold music? Well, if we have your birth date on file, we’ll play the song. That was number one when you were 14 years old. Keen to know what your octopus jam is? Just select your birth year below and we’ll let you know, and then you can type in your birth year and it tells you what the song would be. And I love this and think it’s a beautiful example of creating a required remarkable strategy that takes advantage of a nostalgia trend play.

Dan Gingiss (14:14):
Do go on Joey – say more about that…

Joey Coleman (14:17):
Well, I think, you know, as you mentioned earlier, Dan, we talk about this idea that there are required elements of your business, that you have the chance to make remarkable yet most businesses don’t do that. We’ve also talked about in previous episodes, uh, this whole idea of a nostalgia play, especially for folks who are over 30 and as you get older, the numbers that desire for nostalgia increases even more that if you can reach back and grab something from the past and bring it to the present, it gives us warm, fuzzy feelings inside. And I don’t know about you, but at about 14 music really started to play a different role in my life than it had before. And this idea of anchoring into some key songs that were right at that transitional period in life, I think is a great way to take customers of any age and bring them back to some really positive feelings around music.

Dan Gingiss (15:13):
Agreed and nostalgia, I think always plays it’s, it’s personalized in and of itself. We obviously all feel nostalgic about different things, but music is something that brings people together and, you know, the 14, I’m sure some report told them that 14 was the ideal year, but I think you’re right, that you know, that somewhere in your teenage years is where you really start connecting with music. And, and you remember those, those songs and, you know, Joey, I couldn’t help, but notice that you and I have the same birth year. We do. We do. I’m born at the beginning of the year. You’re a little youngster, you’re born more towards the end of the year, but I think it’d be, uh, I wonder if any of our listeners could guess given that you and I were born in 1973, what the number one song was when we were 14?

Mystery Singer (16:05):
Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you!

Joey Coleman (16:14):
Oh goodness. How about that? Who would have thought that two jokers like us would get to have the number one song when we were 14, be the song that is infamous on the internet?!

Dan Gingiss (16:25):
Fantastic. Love it. And it certainly that that song gets me home in every time and singing out loud. So I, I think it would work if I were waiting on, hold on. I also love the fact that I just want to go back to the fact that you said the website started with “Shut up and hold me!” And you know, I mean, I said before about the “I’m On Hold” song, my first experience ever with that song, I literally felt like I didn’t want the conference call to start because I wanted to hear the end of the song and think about how different that is from the feeling you normally have when you’re on hold. And so, yeah, obviously ideally, no one would be on hold ever. But given that, that does seem to be a fact of life playing a song that, you know, the person’s going to be rocking out to is a great idea.

Joey Coleman (17:15):
Absolutely. You know, friends auditing your customer touchpoints and looking for ways to enhance them is always a good idea, but it seems particularly timely at the beginning of a new year. You can get some fast wins. You can instill a sense of creativity and really start things off on the right foot or the right note as one might decide. So take some inspiration from the fine folks at Octopus Energy and go find ways to make the required elements of your business more remarkable.

Joey Coleman (17:50):
Almost everyone has interacted with chatbots, but all too often, it’s been a bad experience. In MythBusters – presented by Solvvy – we explore a common myth about CX chatbots and see how the right technology can create a positive experience, every time.

Joey Coleman (18:17):
Today’s myth about chatbots? Chatbots aren’t smart. Have you ever had the chance to ask a chat bot, something that you think is a very simple question and you get a response like I don’t understand or try asking again, that’s my chatbot robot voice, by the way, this is not only frustrating, but it leaves me feeling like I’m wasting my time. And as a result, I ended up desperately seeking a human.

Dan Gingiss (18:42):
Now while there is a myth that chatbots aren’t smart. The reality is that modern chatbots are intelligent. Chatbots are now using N L P – an abbreviation for natural language processing, which also allows a chat bot to interpret a customer question along with the intent behind it, regardless of how it’s expressed in a chat.

Joey Coleman (19:05):
For example, you might not have received a package that you were expecting, maybe something special you ordered for Christmas. If you were to type in, I haven’t received my package yet, or even more specifically, my indoor lettuce farm is missing modern chatbots like Solvvy interpret the intention you have to track or locate your package. The chatbot then guides the customer to the right place to do this. Fast resolution, a happy customer, no support ticket necessary!

Dan Gingiss (19:34):
Now that sounds like a much better customer experience. It is about time that the technology started to understand what I want. Even if I don’t say it as clearly as I could. We’ll learn more about advances in chat bot and support automation throughout the season.

Joey Coleman (19:50):
That’s another myth busted. Thanks to our friends at Solvvy – the NextGen chatbot.

Joey Coleman (20:00):
Have you ever found yourself saying, “I wonder what Dan and Joey would think about this situation?” Well, guess what? Now you can know, just tag us on social or message us through our website with a customer experience, scenario, a question or anything else you’re curious about, and you’ll get to hear our answers. When you Ask Us Anything.

Joey Coleman (20:27):
We are super excited to introduce a brand new segment this season here in season seven, doing things, new friends called ask us anything.

Dan Gingiss (20:37):
Similar to the famous, ask me anything – or AMA – that started on Reddit in the ask us anything segment of our show. Listeners submit a scenario, question, or topic for Joey and me to discuss, but the topics will all be customer experience related.

Joey Coleman (20:54):
Now, part of the credit for this segment goes to Tony Amante Schepers – the Director of Operations, Customer Success, and Customer Experience at OYO USA. Tony recently wrote an article on LinkedIn about the importance of sharing your company culture as part of your interview process. And he tagged Dan and me to get our thoughts on the subject. Now let’s be honest. Tony’s a great guy. We appreciate him and tagging us always good to tag Dan. First on the socialist friends, he’s the social media expert gets stuff out there on the socials for Dan, if you want to tag me as well, that’s fine too. But long story short, we saw the article and we thought this would be a fun way to have a new segment on the show.

Dan Gingiss (21:36):
Agreed. So it worked Tony! Let’s give you a brief overview of his article. It was called “Four steps to sharing company culture during the interview process and why you need to.” In the article, Tony shares research that the number one reason, someone stays with an employer is culture. And the number one reason, someone leaves an employer is culture. He goes on to define company culture as quote the day-to-day way things get done, how coworkers communicate with each other, how they communicate to the client, how often leadership mingles with, and if they listen to those lower on the totem pole, the frequency in which wins are shared and celebrated company-wide. And the way in which losses are treated as learning moments, not slaps on the hand,” unquote.

Joey Coleman (22:26):
Tony notes that while there is certainly a lot of churn in the marketplace, when it comes to employment right now, quote, “What will keep an employee present once the pandemic and lockdown ends is the employer valuing the hire from day one.” And by “day one,” what Tony means is from the start of the interview process, he believes that quote it’s vital to show how company culture operates, how a business communicates internally to accomplish daily tasks.

Dan Gingiss (22:55):
Tony outlines the four steps to sharing company culture as follows: (1) Get an internal pulse check by surveying employees about how they rate internal communication and then sharing that broadly across the organization and with new hires. (2) Try out new modes of communication videos, social media, et cetera, show the world, the business and the faces behind it.

Joey Coleman (23:20):
Number three, conduct a culture fit interview, giving job candidates, a brief personality test to see if their approach to problem solving will be a good fit for your company culture. And number four, share how teams talk be transparent in the interview process about how employees use things like Slack, Microsoft Teams, email voicemails, happy hours, all hands meetings, et cetera. So now that laid the foundation of Tony’s hypothesis, that culture really matters and that you should show that as part of the interview process, what do you think about this Dan?

Dan Gingiss (23:56):
I love the idea because the culture is one of the things that’s really hard to suss out as an interviewee, right? If you think about it, you’re going in, you’re talking to people, their job is essentially to say nice things about the company. And so if you’re doing your research, you’re probably looking at sites like glass door, or you’re calling somebody who used to work there, or what have you to get the real scoop because the front that companies put on is, you know, might as well be put out by the PR department with no offense to PR departments, because it is always so positive. Right? And then you get there and it’s like, Oh, well, you know, you didn’t tell me this part. I’ll give you a real life example from my career Joey. I know, you know, this one is I signed on to be the head of global social media at McDonald’s and it was not until my first day of work that I learned that in McDonald’s culture, the United States is not part of global. That might’ve been something…

Joey Coleman (24:58):
Such a mind opening experience!

Dan Gingiss (25:00):
Yeah. I mean, I, it might’ve been something that would have been cool to discuss in the interview. It never came up. I didn’t know that the company was divided into domestic and global and that global meant everything, but the U S but man, that was a real eye opener on day one. And I think that, you know, the cultural things, like, I mean, he mentioned Slack. For example, I was at a company, a late stage startup was my first ever exposure to Slack. I fell in love with it. I loved it. My emails were much, I got much fewer emails during the day. It was a great way to communicate. But man, if you’ve never used it before, that might be something that’s scary or

Joey Coleman (25:42):
Or if you have you used it like I have and you didn’t like it… If I found out after I got on the job, that it was a Slack shop that everybody was using Slack, no offense to the great team at Slack and what they’ve built. I would not be super happy about that because it’s like, Oh, on top of fitting in, I need to fit in, in the way that you’re fitting in with the technology tools. And that was the one I really liked. You know, I liked all the examples that Tony gave, but that one in particular I thought was a great way to give people exposure. Like maybe let them see, not only that you use Slack, but what are some of the chats? What are the things that people are saying? I think channels is the phrase that they use in Slack, you know, invite them to your happy hour, invite your interviewees, to come to your happy hour and see are these the kinds of people we want to hang out with.

Dan Gingiss (26:32):
So, by the way, we have a very, the old segment we have not used in a really long time. It might even be in retirement. We’re going to have to pull it out. It’s called “Agree to Disagree!”

Joey Coleman (26:43):
Aww – bringing us back!

Dan Gingiss (26:43):
We’re going to have one about Slack, Joey, because I love Slack. I love it. Yeah. And I think we should have that conversation. So that’ll be a future episode. Thank you, Tony. You are just continuing to contribute to our show. But you’re right. The happy hours, the meetings, even what people, how, how people dress. What’s appropriate and not in terms of, you know, a lot in startup culture, there’s things like ping pong tables and, and snacks and all that sort of thing. And you get used to some of that stuff, but then it’s also, you know, you switched to a more traditional company and that stuff all goes away or things like open seating that’s become that, that pre COVID was becoming so popular. That is something personally that I never particularly enjoyed. I always liked having my own space where I can put a picture frame and you know, my coffee mug and stuff like that. And, and having to just show up and pick a cube every day was very unnerving to me. So I do think those are all things that are very relevant to culture. And then obviously what’s not being said here is that when employees are happy, when they like the culture, when they enjoy going to work every day, that then gets projected onto the customers and customers can see when employees like where they’re working. I mean, I always like to give the example of when you walk into a fast food restaurant and a, and that person behind the counter, it looks like you’re interrupting their otherwise pleasant day by wanting to place an order.

Joey Coleman (28:12):
Yeah – “sorry for interrupting you!”

Dan Gingiss (28:15):
Yeah. That gives you a good sense for what it’s like to work at that company.

Joey Coleman (28:18):
Absolutely. And I think the parallel, some people might be listening to this saying, well, wait a second guys, how does this connect to customer experience? Well, and as we talk about a lot on the show customer experience and employee experience are two sides of the same coin. I think when you think about the culture of your organization, that absolutely spills into your customer interactions, and you want to make sure that a new employee is going to get the fit. They’re going to want to understand how you communicate. I mean, go back to the earlier conversation we had in this episode about Octopus Energy. If you’re a buttoned up straight laced, you know, traditional, conservative, corporate business person, you’re probably not going to fit in well at a place like Octopus Energy. That’s my guess, just based on the language they use on their website. So I think at the end of the day, there’s a real opportunity to preview what it’s going to be like to be an employee as much as possible. Because if we can get folks to understand before they start the job, what the job is really going to be like, there’s a much higher likelihood that it’s going to be successful for everyone, not only the employee, but for the folks that are inviting this new employee in.

Dan Gingiss (29:33):
If you’d like to submit a question, a topic, or a theory about customer experience that you’d like us to discuss as part of our next, ask us anything segment it’s pretty easy. You could just tag us on social media like Tony did or visit ExperienceThisShow.com, go to the contact page and send us a little message with your question. And Hey Tony, we’re going to send you a package of surprise and delight for asking our first question and well, we might do it for the second, third, fourth, fifth, and 20th questions too. We look forward to answering more of your questions throughout this season.

Joey Coleman (30:11):
Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! You are the best listener ever!

Dan Gingiss (30:17):
And since you listened to the whole show…

Joey Coleman (30:19):
Yay you!

Dan Gingiss (30:21):
We’re curious… Was there a specific part of this episode that you enjoyed the most? If so, it would mean the world to us if you could share it with a coworker, a friend, or someone that just loves listening to podcasts!

Joey Coleman (30:31):
And while you’re in the sharing mood, if you felt inclined to jump over to iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts and write us a review, we would so appreciate it. And when you do, don’t forget to let us know as we might have a little surprise for you!

Dan Gingiss (30:47):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey Coleman (30:49):
Experience!

Dan Gingiss (30:51):
This!