Say What!

It’s shocking how often people use 38 words to describe something when 2 would do the trick – we’re looking at you lawyers and accountants! Words matter and there is no excuse for trying to hide what you mean. We explore words and messaging in this next iteration of SAY WHAT?!

Episode 85: Stop Settling for Less than a Remarkable Experience

Join us as we discuss how raising the bar can come back to hurt you later, why fixing what ain’t broke might be a good idea, and why pricing mistakes can make you look silly.

Driving, Enhancing, and Calculating – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] Set a Standard of Excellence that can be Maintained as Your Company Grows

When Uber and Lyft first began to gain traction, the service was far greater than a normal taxi service. Drivers had bottles of water, they got out to help you with your bags, and they would engage in interesting conversation. The service customers received was closer to the experience of a private car or limousine service.

As Uber and Lyft have grown to available almost everywhere, the service experience isn’t as remarkable or consistent as in the beginning. You may be pampered by a great driver, or you be subjected to a driver playing offensive music. The ability for riders to rate the drivers, and drivers to rate the riders has added a new dimension to both delivering and receiving customer service.

What can every business learn from the ridesharing industry? Several things:

  1. If you build your brand on a foundation of high customer experience, you must maintain it if you want to maintain your reputation.
  2. If your employees regularly interact with your customers, you should set a standard of excellence so they understand what is expected.

[CX Press] Why You May Need to Fix What Isn’t Broken

Everyone has heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While the intention behind this statement may be well-meant, there are multiple problems with the maxim – from settling for a sub-standard status quo to neglecting the future potential of your business. In Becky Roemen‘s article, “Don’t Fix it if it isn’t Broke: 10 Reasons this Phrase is Holding Your CX Back,” Becky explains why it’s sometime best to fix things even before they are broken.

Technologies, processes, and workflows are the enablers of great customer experiences. Just as easily, neglected technologies, processes, and workflows are the preventers of great customer experiences. Waiting for one of these to break in order to give it attention is a declaration that your business is reactive rather than proactive.

Becky Roemen, Blogger at Tin Cans and String

Her article explores ten reasons, a few of which we highlight in the segment including:

  1. You’re Defining Broke Wrong – just because something is working, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most effective way to do a job.
  2. You’re Comfortable with “That’ll Have to Do” – this attitude insinuates that just being good enough is okay. In a competitive market, you need to rise to the challenge and provide an excellent customer experience, not just a normal one.
  3. Your Voice of the Customer Program is Weak – invest in a good Voice of the Customer program that gives you the data you need to implement a memorable customer experience.
  4. You are Too Focused on the Present Day – you must always be planning for the future state of your customer.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Balancing Security and Customer Experience

How many times do you get to a site, and it prompts you to enter a password? The balance of protecting your information, but also not hindering the customer experience is an interesting subject to explore.

Here are three things to consider when working on creating the right balance for security and CX:

  1. Remember the customers expect high security standards. That is a key part of their experience with your brand.
  2. You can still be creative in how you communicate security issues like password rules. While complex passwords may be valuable, complex instructions are not.
  3. Security, like customer experience, is really everyone’s job. Limit access to customer data to only those that need it to perform their jobs and ensure that physical security measures are in place to prevent internal or external data theft.

Start the conversation with this question: Are our security policies or processes negatively impacting our customers?

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

[Say What?!] Watch the Numbers to Keep the Trust of Your Customers

Visitors to a county fair often see a sign detailing the price for one ride, a better deal for a few rides, and an even better offer (the “value” deal) for several rides. While many customers are exposed to these types of offers, how many actually do the math to figure out the best deal? Dan recently attended an event (and wrote about it in his Forbes article, “3 Examples of Savvy Customers Winning By Simply Doing The Math“) where the cost of one ride was $2, three rides was $5, and the five ride “value deal” was $10. The only problem with this offer? The value deal wasn’t the best deal. In fact, for paying for two $5 offers, a customer would get six rides instead of the five rides offered in the value deal for the same price. In this situation it’s difficult to know whether the company was just plain lazy, or whether they were trying to trick the customer.

Every single interaction with a brand contributes to the overall perception of the customer experience. And these errors make the companies look silly and reduce my opinion of them. In fact, they make me not trust them as much because you do question whether it’s nefarious.

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

More often than not, these types of pricing “offers” result in careless pricing mistakes. But don’t let pricing mistakes impact your customer experience. Keep an eye on what you are selling to your customers and don’t make them do the math on the best way to do business with you!

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 85 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss how raising the bar can come back to hurt you later, why fixing what ain’t broke might be a good idea, and why pricing mistakes can make you look silly.

Dan Gingiss: Driving, enhancing and calculating. Oh, my.

[This Just Happened] Rideshare Then and Now

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: Do you remember your first trip using a rideshare app or rideshare service, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: I do. I was a little bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if it was going to work. I was kind of excited to try it. I was not in my own city, I remember that. And so, yeah, I got a really nice car, leather seats, the person was super friendly, I got offered a bottle of water and they got out of the car to help me with my luggage, and I was like, “Man, this is not that far from being in a limo and certainly is very far from being in a taxi.”

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I too remember my very first rideshare trip and thinking, “Oh, my gosh, the taxi industry is done, and this is so much more economical than town car service or a limo, but you feel like a celebrity. You feel like you’re being treated incredibly well.” As a general rule, my experience with rideshare apps, predominantly Uber and Lyft, I use both, has been like that until the last six months.

What I’ve noticed in the last six months is that I feel that the customer service has been dropping dramatically. I take rideshare services a lot because I fly to cities that I don’t know. When I come out of the airport, I jump in one of those as opposed to taking a taxi. They don’t get out of the car anymore, they don’t help with the luggage, rarely is there a bottle of water, they don’t have phone chargers, they often seem irritated. In the last few months, because it’s been a little warmer in some of the places I’ve been traveling, I’ve noticed an aversion to using the air conditioners, which is kind of, no pan intended, a blast from the past or a lack of glass.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I see what you did.

Joey Coleman: See what I did there? That takes me back to taxis when I lived in Washington, D.C. that were notorious. D.C. is hot as can be in the summer. They were notorious for not running the AC, and if you asked them to turn on the AC, first of all, they would look at you like you just asked them to donate a kidney to you, second of all, they would say, “Oh, the AC is broken.” And I’m like, “The AC is not broken.”

Dan Gingiss: Just like the credit card machine.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And so what I think is interesting here is when rideshare apps came into the market, they set the bar very high differentiating themselves from taxis by the customer service and the customer experience. Now that that’s going away, it kind of just feels like a taxi to me again.

Dan Gingiss: Well, it’s interesting that you point this out because I’m going to add two things to your list that have been bothering me lately. The first is that way too many drivers use incredibly strong scents in their cars, and there’s been times where I get in a car and the first thing I have to do is roll down the window because my eyes are watering at how strong the odor is. Relatedly, oftentimes I get into cars that smell like cigarette smoke, which is also something that I don’t particularly want to smell. But the other thing is I’m absolutely shocked at how drivers have their own music on the radio that’s generally really loud, and for whatever reason, most of the time, not my kind of music. No joke.

Joey Coleman: And you have a pretty broad musical appreciation, in my experience.

Dan Gingiss: I do, I do.

Joey Coleman: You know what I mean? So it’s not like Dan is… For those of you that haven’t spent as much time in cars listening to music with Dan as I have, it’s not like Dan gets in and it’s, “I’m only listening to ’80s diva music, okay? Nothing else, right? He’s got a broad… There’s nothing wrong with that.

Dan Gingiss: I like ’80s diva music.

Joey Coleman: He does like ’80s diva music.

Dan Gingiss: But no, for example, the last time I was in a rideshare, which was on the way to the airport to come see you here in Denver, Joey, the music that was playing was this extremely loud, extremely explicit song that had F-bombs flying all over the place, and I’m like, “That just doesn’t seem appropriate for a service provider, regardless of whether I like the music or not. It just doesn’t seem like it’s the kind of environment that you would want to create for a customer.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. So here’s the conundrum. We have the opportunity to rank the drivers. If you don’t mind my asking, would that result in a lower star rating from you?

Dan Gingiss: Well, that’s probably a subject for an entirely different segment. But I think one of the things that’s gotten complicated about the rideshares is they almost make you feel guilty to leave anything below a five-star rating.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. That’s the point I was hoping to get to. I 100% agree because there have been times where I’ve wanted to give them a lower ranking, but I also know that this is their livelihood and that this contributes to their overall ranking score, and that they’re also ranking me. I’ve also heard through the grapevine, I’m not entirely sure if this is true, but that the app increasingly builds into their algorithm whether or not you tip. So if you don’t tip, you get a lower score that the driver sees when they’re deciding whether to accept your ride or not.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, wow. That’s really interesting.

Joey Coleman: Right? That adds a whole other layer to this because it’s like, wait a second. I think with some of the apps, I’m not 100% sure on this, I don’t think the tip 100% goes to the driver. I think it gets factored in to the percentage that the business takes. So the rideshare apps are making more money by adding the tip, and if they’re taking a percentage, they’re obviously incentivizing you to tip because that’s going to increase their revenue.

Dan Gingiss: You and I were talking about this off air the other night about the number of places now that we’re expected to tip, and to me, I tip and tip generously for great service. But as you described, if it’s somebody that picks me up, doesn’t say hello, doesn’t help me with my bags, doesn’t speak a word while he’s driving and then drops me off, I’m not exactly sure why I’m supposed to tip for that. There wasn’t really any service provided other than the four wheels that got me from point A to point B. Whereas when I do get a friendly driver and I have a really nice conversation with them, and we hit it off, and he helps me with my bag or whatever, then I’m more than willing to tip because the service has been provided.

But I want to get into the why that this has changed because I have a hypothesis I want to run it by you and see if you agree. So when Uber and Lyft first came out, I had the opportunity to ride. It happened to be with an Uber driver in Seattle. I remember this was early days because I was sitting in the front seat. So it was probably one of the first times I had taken it.

Joey Coleman: Rookie move.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I didn’t know. I was speaking to her, and she used to be a taxi driver. What was interesting to me was she was explaining all the reasons she left taxi driving and became an Uber driver. A few of them were that she had to buy this really expensive taxi medallion that was thousands of dollars that didn’t even get her any insurance on her car, whereas Uber provided auto insurance for her. She had to have all this cash in her pocket and she was afraid of being robbed. She had to go to different parts of the city that she was uncomfortable with, all these things and she’s listing them one by one and explaining how Uber had basically resolved all of those.

This is when I realized that the rideshare industry, the reason it was so successful, is that it didn’t just solve all the problems of the passenger, it also solved the problems of the drivers. And so when you are able to connect both of those and provide, what is in essence, a service to both, you have a successful business. Now, what’s happened since then? What’s happened since then is all the taxi drivers that are going to leave taxi driving and move to rideshares have already done that.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: And so now the drivers that rideshare companies are attracting are people who are driving because they have to, not because they want to. So they’re doing it more begrudgingly, right? “I’m between jobs, I’m not making any money. I guess I’ll go drive for Uber or Lyft,” right? And you can see it on their faces. You can see, as you were sort of pointing out, that there are a number of drivers that look like they want to be anywhere but driving that vehicle.

Joey Coleman: Which nothing makes you feel more comforted as a passenger than looking to the front seat and seeing a driver who is clearly irritated to be in the car.

Dan Gingiss: I have two friends who have held other full-time jobs in the past who have decided to become Uber or Lyft drivers out of necessity because they had lost their job, maybe they got laid off and they just weren’t bringing in enough income to pay the bills. And so this is a relatively easy way for anyone with a car to earn some money and start paying the bills, but it doesn’t mean that they enjoy doing it, and they’re doing it out of necessity and there’s a chip on their shoulder a little bit because they feel like, “Man, I wish I really didn’t have to do this.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I think the other thing that we should flag, because I imagine some of our listeners are thinking this, Uber is a company, Lyft is a company that has a fleet, no pun intended, of employees that they’ve never met, employees that are using the app and have not really been trained, have not really signed on to a certain code or ethic of customer service, or maybe they did, but there’s really not a great way to police it. They’re not getting performance reviews and don’t have a direct manager necessarily who’s checking in on them every day. And so, of course, we run into this challenge where our frustration with the rideshare app might actually be a frustration with an individual driver who is way, way, way removed from the organization itself. But as we talk about a lot on the show, how any of your employees or teams that are representing or holding themselves out as representing your brand, however any of them act, and the impressions they give you, and the experiences they create for you can spin into your overall feeling.

So here’s the key takeaway from this segment, two things. Number one, if you distinguish yourself in the marketplace by having a better customer experience, you need to continue to maintain that bar. If you look at the marketplace and you say, “No one is providing a great customer experience. I’m going to raise the bar,” but then you get it and you bring a bunch of folks in, and new prospects, and new customers, and then you go back to the norm of how business was done in that industry, you will not be able to maintain your customers long term. Number two, if your business has employees that are regularly interacting with customers, it’s worth exploring, setting a standard for what that interaction looks like. The best way to set that standard is to model it by how you interact with your employees.

Look, rideshare apps are fantastic, they’re a great invention. Let’s just keep them moving forward. Let’s keep them as elevating the transportation experience instead of returning to the horse and buggy whip days of yesteryear.

[CX Press] If It Ain’t Broke…

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

Dan Gingiss: Today’s CX PRESS comes to us from Becky Roemen, whom I met as part of the CX Accelerator group, on her blog, Tin Cans and String. It’s called, “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke. 10 reasons this phrase is holding your CX back.”

Joey Coleman: Oh, I bet I can think of a couple of those 10.

Dan Gingiss: Seriously, well, Becky notes that corporate budgets are often allocated to the squeaky wheels, the things that are broken or maybe just the loudest executive. And the result is that many important initiatives can get ignored. “Technologies, processes, and workflows are the enablers of great customer experiences,” she says, “just as easily, neglected technologies, processes, and workflows are the preventers of great customer experiences.”

So the article lists 10 watch-outs to make sure your company is allocating resources in a way that will provide the most value to the customer. Now as always, we’re going to include the link to the article in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com so you can check out the whole thing, but we’ll list a few of the 10 things here that really stuck out to us.

Joey Coleman: Alrighty. Number one, you’re defining broke wrong. Just because the IVR or any other technology is physically working does not mean that it’s efficient, or hitting the mark, or a good customer experience. Blinking lights is not the inverse of broke.

Dan Gingiss: Number three on Becky’s list, you’re comfortable with that’ll have to do. The phrase itself indicates that status quo is okay. Here, in 2019 and moving forward, nearly every industry is competing on customer experience more than price or any other factor. With that sort of competitive landscape, you can’t afford good enough anymore when it comes to the customer experience or how you provide support to your customers.

Joey Coleman: Sorry, Dan, I’m still recovering from that’ll have to do. That one drives me bonkers, right? So lazy. Fix it, folks, come on. Number six on the list, your voice of the customer program is weak. Investing in a good voice of the customer program means that you will have the data you need to drive decisions with the customer’s voice.

Dan Gingiss: And we’ve talked about this before, it’s got to be action oriented data. So just reading reports about what your customers are saying is not enough. We don’t need more reports. We need more data that will help us take action based on what the customer is saying.

Finally number 10 on Becky’s list, you’re focusing too much on the present day. Now, the current state of affairs doesn’t reflect what can or will happen in the future, nor your preparation to take it on. Future state planning is an incredibly important activity for the customer experience team to take part in.

So Joey, I thought this article, and obviously there were six other items on the list, but I thought this was really interesting because she’s right in the sense that we often are looking for that blinking light, or that shouting executive, or that squeaky wheel to determine where to put resources. And the thing is, is that at the same time, all these systems that we have are growing older every day and every year, and they’re getting more and more out of date, but because they’re still functioning, we’re not working to improve them.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so we’re putting off until tomorrow a giant snowball that is building, right? I have a buddy who runs a technology company and he’s in a mastermind group I’m in, and was explaining to us something he’s been doing this year. Every three weeks, he carves off a day on his calendar, and on that day, he rebuilds one of their technology touchpoints. So he goes in and says, for example, “Oh, let’s look at the first email that you get when you sign up for our newsletter. Today, I’m only going to work on that. I’m going to make it best in class, best practice, really focus in, hammer it down, and also make sure that that technology piece is properly connected to the CRM and all the automations, and that they’re pulling the data they need and connecting everything together.”

What he’s found is while each of those days gives him the satisfaction of, “Wow, today I really fixed something. I accomplished something,” he’s a former technologist who’s now the CEO of the company, so it allows him to roll up his sleeves and get dirty, so to speak, and kind of get into the code, but what it also does is over the course of three months, he’s made dramatic improvements in these legacy systems that were working just fine, but he knew that they could be better.

Dan Gingiss: I love that. I have a similar example that is actually trying to fix things that are broke, but it’s related to the story you just told because when I was at Discover, I was finding that we weren’t ever able to prioritize small fixes because the technology cue was all about these giant enhancements, so you couldn’t get anybody’s attention with small fixes. So what I did was I actually collected nearly 100 small fixes and put them into one giant project, and that’s how I got it prioritized on the list, because when we finished that project, which really was only about a two-week or three-week project because these weren’t difficult fixes, they just, there were many of them, we had made such a big enhancement overall because we had gotten rid of so many pain points.

Joey Coleman: Folks, he’s not just pretty, he’s smart. Now, I love that idea, and I don’t know that there is a listener of our show that couldn’t implement that idea in their business. Make a list of all of the little things that you’ve been meaning to get to, and then take a week or take two weeks and make that the entire team’s focus, get everybody working on these things.

Lots of times, I think in larger organizations, so many of the projects are longterm, it’s the project for this quarter, the project for this year, and humans want to have a feeling of regular progress and milestones accomplished. So by giving a bunch of little bite size projects, combining them all into one master project, it allows you to get lots of dopamine hits along the way and have the whole team celebrating a big lift in the overall enhancement of the customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So the takeaway here is that the concept of if it ain’t broke, don’t fix, could actually be hurting your customer experience. Make sure you take stock of things that are working but not necessarily optimally and try to stay a step or two ahead, so you’re focused on where you’re going and not just where you are today.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Balancing Security and Customer Experience

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

This week’s Start the Conversation topic is balancing security and customer experience. Security is a critical component of customer relationships. Protecting personal information from prying eyes is a must for any organization. As security concerns grow and efforts to ensure customer privacy evolve, customer experiences can be negatively impacted. It’s important to balance security processes and policies with the needs of the customer and try to limit the negative impact security has on a customer’s experience during a single interaction and throughout the entire relationship. The other side of the coin is actually protecting customer data from breaches or leaks, which can cause catastrophic trust issues and affect brand perception.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three things to consider when thinking about security from a customer experience standpoint. One, remember the customers expect high security standards and that this is a key part of their experience with your brand. Two, you can still be creative in how you communicate security issues like password rules. While complex passwords may be valuable, complex instructions are not. Three, security, like customer experience, is really everyone’s job. Limit access to customer data to only those that need it to perform their jobs and ensure that physical security measures are in place to prevent internal or external data theft.

Joey Coleman: Oh, my goodness, I’m a big proponent of paying attention to security issues, but I’m an even bigger proponent of bringing customer experience to the security conversation. All too often, especially when we’re asked to create a login and password for a website, which by the way, unless we’re doing a financial transaction, I shouldn’t need a login and password for your site. If your site is just a content site where I can read white papers or watch videos, why are you passwording me in? I get that you might want to cookie me or track which ones I read, stop making me make a password to access your content that’s free anyway, just makes no sense to me.

But I think there’s a great opportunity as alluded to in Dan’s comments to make the experience part of the security. So when you say to me, when creating your password, it needs to have 15 letters and none of them can repeat, and at least one needs to be a capital, and we need a number, and we need a symbol, and you can’t use your name or any of your family members names, or variations of their names, or your pet’s names, or the name of our business brand in the password, it’s like they’re encouraging me to come up with a password that I’m actually not going to be able to remember, which means I’m going to have to access the reset password tool, which is going to repeat the process all over again,

Dan Gingiss: Couldn’t agree more. Don’t forget that you can only use certain symbols and not other symbols.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about balancing security and customer experience, are our security policies or processes negatively impacting our customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization, and then continue it with our friends at Avtex, who are at experienceconversations.com, again, that experienceconversations.com.

[Say What?!] Don’t Make your Customer do Math

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

Dan Gingiss: “It was my understanding that there would be no math.” That line always draws a chuckle when I speak with people about how math is actually important in the customer experience. By the way, the quote is from a famous Saturday night live skit where Chevy Chase plays the role of Gerald Ford at a debate responding to a budgetary question.

Joey Coleman: I never knew that. That’s a nice little… Dan Gingiss, ladies and gentlemen, man of a million facts.

Dan Gingiss: Math, like politics, always seems to divide people.

Joey Coleman: What a…

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, see what I did there? Ask someone if they like math, and it’s usually either a confident yes or a defiant no. In many focus groups, some of which I participated in, the line, “I hate math,” comes up way more often than you might think. Now, local driving range offers buckets of golf balls to practice your swing, but if you’re not practicing math, you might miss the arbitrage opportunity presented by the sign out in front.

Upon first glance, it looks legitimate. There are several bucket sizes of balls; small, medium, large and jumbo, and correspondingly, increasing prices; $5, $9, $20 and $25, but the math doesn’t make sense. When you buy a small bucket of 40 balls for $5, for example, you’re paying $12.5 cents per ball, but when you buy the jumbo, which is 150 balls for $25, you’re actually paying $16.7 cents per ball. Now, as consumers were trained to believe that the jumbo is the better deal, but in this particular case, it is a much worse deal, and in fact, it’s the most expensive. Buying five small buckets cost the same $25 as the jumbo bucket, but it gets you 200 golf balls instead of 150.

Joey Coleman: I agree with you, Dan. When we start talking about math, at least for me, it makes it a lot more complicated, which is why we’re going to include some photos in the show notes over at experiencethisshow.com, so that you all can see the sign that Dan was talking about. I do think it’s fascinating because we have been conditioned in our society to choose the jumbo option, especially if it says the best price or whatever it may be, because our presumption is that it’s going to cost less, and this ends up being a trick, that in this case, the driving range is playing on, folks. I also wonder, how do you think they would react if you walked up and said, “I’d like five small buckets of balls.”?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, they’d probably think you’re crazy.

Joey Coleman: Because I know you did this, Dan.

Dan Gingiss: And I can tell you from experience, they think you’re nuts, right? So I actually don’t think they’re trying to trick people. I think the answer is they can’t do the math.

Joey Coleman: They just can’t. So it’s not that it’s nefarious intent on their part. It’s just lack of computational skill.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. I want to give another example, which we’ll also include in the show notes at experiencethisshow.com, and this one comes from my 13-year-old. So kudos to my 13-year-old who found this and recognized the problem. So he was at a big amusement park, a major brand, and he wanted to play one of the carnival games, and he noticed that one play of the carnival game was $2 and three plays were $5. Now, that part makes sense, but then there was the value play, again, the sign suggesting that this is the best value. It is, after all, called the value play. That one is five plays for $10. Now, for those of you who hate math, that’s the same $2 as buying just one play, not much of a value, right?

Joey Coleman: So then, once again, could you go up and say, “I’d like two, three plays, so I’d like six plays for $10.”

Dan Gingiss: Right, exactly. And they’ll probably look at you like, “Who is this guy who can’t do math?” Right? And the three plays for $5 actually works out to the best deal because it’s only a $1.67 per play instead of $2. So if you were making an economic decision, that’s exactly what you would do just as Joey said.

Here’s one more from my hometown of Chicago. One of my favorite treats in Chicago is called Chicago Mix popcorn, and it’s something that we do just wonderfully in my city. It is a mixture of cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn together in the same bag. It is absolutely addicting and it’s delicious. But one brand has a sign that lists the prices of these bags, and it’s similar to the golf balls in the sense that, as the size of the bags go up, so do the prices. But here’s the weird thing about this one. The one pound bag, and one pound is equivalent to 16 ounces, is $13.95, but the two smaller bags are 6 ounces and 10 ounces. So if you bought a small and a medium bag, you would have that same one pound. But those two bags together only cost $12, which is actually 11% less expensive.

So again, Joey might ask, “Can you imagine somebody coming in and saying, “I’ll have a small bag and a medium bag,” instead of just ordering a large bag? But actually, you’d be saving money in doing so.

Joey Coleman: I think part of the challenge here is, we’ve just, as humans, gotten lazy. We see this when you go, and I don’t know if you ever end up paying cash for anything, Dan, but lots of times when you give cash to someone, if the cash register isn’t working, if they are, let’s say below the age of 50, they really struggle to make the change. If they’re above the age of 50, they have no problem cranking out the change. I’m not saying that to be ageist, it’s that I don’t think we’re teaching basic math and basic math skills the same way we used to.

I agree with you, I don’t think this is a nefarious intent by the majority of these companies, as much as it is just no one in the organization really likes to do the math, no one has actually looked at the numbers, and no one is actually feeling comfortable enough to say, “Wait a second, what we’re charging doesn’t make sense.”

Dan Gingiss: But here’s the thing. We talk a lot about how every single interaction with a brand contributes to the overall perception of the customer experience. And at least for me, somebody who can appreciate math, these errors make the companies look silly and they reduce my opinion of them. In fact, they make me not trust them as much because you do question whether it’s nefarious.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I was going to say, I think when you say you feel that it’s silly, I think the majority of people would feel taken advantage of.

Dan Gingiss: I think that’s definitely possible. Or they would look down on them and say, “These people aren’t very bright,” and neither one of those are particularly complimentary, right? So the point in saying this is that these mistakes seem like they’re smaller humorous, but they can actually have a pretty big impact on your brand image. So the takeaway here, math is important even if you don’t like math, and math errors can make your business look bad and cause customers to lose trust.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience…

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 75: How to Live Up to the Standard of Making a Customer’s Entire Day

Join us as we discuss how sometimes what you see isn’t necessarily wise to believe, how to create a remarkable experience in a commoditized industry, and why the sense of smell plays a huge role in brand perception.

Manipulations, Massages, and Madelines – Oh My!

[Say What] Deepfake Videos Require Everyone to Be Skeptical

Most people are familiar with the age old maxim, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Increasingly, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence and video editing, you simply cannot believe everything you see. Deepfakes are the product of human image synthesis compiled via artificial intelligence. By combining and superimposing existing images and videos onto source images or videos, deepfakes confuse the viewer and allow for videos that aren’t “real” to appear genuine. These videos can then be used to show real people (often celebrities) doing and saying things that they never actually said or did.

This is the video we reference created by Jordan Peele.

Throughout 2019, deepfakes were used for entertainment and satire (fairly harmless applications), as well as political and propaganda efforts (much more problematic). Because deepfakes are designed to purposefully deceive people and spread false information, they are going to increasingly become a challenge for companies and consumers alike. The more difficult it becomes to tell the difference between what is true and what is deception, the more challenging it will be to know whether a brand experience or impression is authentic or not.

[A]s brands and companies, we need to start thinking about how deepfakes could impact our customers’ experiences. What happens if trust erodes slowly, or in the converse, is wiped away because of a major event (caused by a deepfake video)?

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Fortunately, as quickly as deepfakes are emergining in society, companies are developing artificial intelligence solutions that can help recognize deep fakes before they are widely disseminated. While it is encouraging that companies are starting to develop the technology to expose these deceptive messages, the technology to create deepfakes is improving so quickly that the videos are getting more and more difficult to evaluate.

How can you help avoid the perils of deepfakes? First, don’t trust everything you see. Make sure to be discerning with any video that comes across your screen – especially those that seem out of character. Second, start thinking about the impact a deepfake could have on your customers’ experiences. Finally, put plans in place to mitigate the damage that could potentially happen.

[Dissecting the Experience] The Best Part of Your Day – at John Robert’s Spa

Earlier this season, we heard from customer service expert John DiJulius and discussed his newest book, The Relationship Economy. One of John’s businesses, the John Robert’s Spa – a full-service salon and spa with four locations in northeast Ohio – pairs high-quality services with John’s signature customer service.

Every employee of the salon/spa is given a card they are expected to keep with them at all times. The card outlines the standards they are expected to maintain and serves as a regular reminder of their commitment. The company’s vision statement is to be the best experience in our guests’ day. By outlining ways to live up to this standard, John sets an expectation that is both understandable and achievable.

Three Pillars that John Robert’s Employees Follow:

  • Mastering: John’s team strives to be the best trained and educated staff in the industry.
  • Emotional Connection: John’s team uses his signature “Secret Service” to connect with clients. The specialize in collecting and utilizing customer information – specifically about their customers’ family, occupation, recreation, and dreams (FORD).
  • Give More – John’s team is committed to a surprise and delight philosophy at all times.

We make them feel like the most important person in front of us and then finally give more. That’s our above and beyond pillar. Surprise and delight. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond. Be the best experience in our guest’s day – mastering, emotional connection, and give more.

John DiJulius, owner of John Robert’s Spa and author of The Relationship Economy

John sets a standard that is achievable, but he also sets a standard that makes the experience memorable and remarkable. This keeps employees focused on what matters. What can you do to set a standard that is achievable and understandable and will bring your customer experience to a new level?

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Social Media as a Customer Experience Channel

Most potential customers now turn immediately to social media when they need to research and interact with businesses. These platforms allow customers to read reviews, ask questions, and seek support for specific issues. Unfortunately, many businesses either fail to leverage social media as a CX tool or do a poor job of maintaining their CX channels. 

To use social media as a CX channel, businesses should:

  1. Know which platforms are most popular with their target audience and focus efforts there.
  2. Create detailed policies and procedures specifically for social channels (What sorts of interactions will these channels support? Who will support them? What tone will the organization take in communicating with customers and prospects?)
  3. Observe the effectiveness of their efforts and adjust as necessary.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we effectively using social media to support and engage customers?

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

[This Just Happened] The Smell of Experience

Can you remember a time when you walked into a place that smelled particularly amazing? Or perhaps, a certain smell that triggers a fond memory of your childhood? Or the scent of a specific vacation? The sense of smell is one of the most primal senses and it ties directly to our memories – triggering emotions quickly and deeply.

The sense of smell can positively affect your customer and user experience. When you walk into a store and it smells amazing, you will have a better time at the store. You will even buy more products. You will be more relaxed, happy. But imagine you walked into the local retail shop and it smelled really bad… You will walk right back out of there!

Tuli Kraus, Fresh Scents, Inc.

Is your business fully taking advantage of the sensory experience of scent? If your business has a physical presence or you offer physical products, smell should definitely be considered when designing your customer experience.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 75 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss how seeing isn’t necessarily believing, how to create a remarkable experience in a commodity industry, and why the sense of smell plays a huge role in brand perception.

Joey Coleman: Manipulations, Massages, and Mayhem. Oh my.

[Say What] Deepfakes

Joey Coleman: It’s shocking how often people use 38 words to describe something when two would do the trick. We’re looking at you lawyers and accountants. Words matter and there is no excuse for trying to hide what you mean. We explore words and messaging in this next iteration of, Say What?

Dan, I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’d like to make a bold prediction.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, boy. I love it when you do that, Joey.

Joey Coleman: All right. Now this, at initial glance, could be seen as a negative prediction, which is not my intention. I just think it’s an important topic that we’re seeing in the news more and more and I think we’re going to see it a lot more in, let’s say, the next six months to a year. Here’s my prediction. I think at least one well known brand is going to deal with a major, deep fake issue.

Dan Gingiss: Sorry, did you say deep fake? I’m not familiar with that concept.

Joey Coleman: Yes. A deep fake issue. A deep fake is a video created using artificial intelligence. The intention of the video is to show real people, often celebrities or spokespeople, people that we know, doing and saying things that they never actually did. Now that’s why we made this a Say What segment.

When it comes to deep fakes, it’s very difficult to believe what the person on the video is actually saying. Now, in the last year, we’ve seen deep fakes used for entertainment, for satire, and as both political and propaganda tools. In fact, former president Barack Obama and Jordan Peele created a deep fake video to illustrate how this works, which we’ll play for you now.

To be clear before we play it, this is not President Obama speaking. Because you can’t see the video. Although, you can see the video if you go over to our show notes at experiencethisshow.com. What you’re hearing is not President Obama actually, but it looks and sounds like him.

Jordan Peele: We’re entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time. Even if they would never say those things. So for instance, they could have me say things like… I don’t know. Killmonger was right or Ben Carson is in the sunken place. Now you see, I would never say these things, at least not in a public address, but someone else would. Someone like Jordan Peele.

This is a dangerous time. Moving forward we need to be more vigilant with what we trust from the internet. It’s a time when we need to rely on trusted news sources. May sound basic, but how we move forward in the age of information is going to be the difference between whether we survive or whether we become some kind of dystopia.

Joey Coleman: What’s troubling about this video, and deep fakes in general, is that they are designed to intentionally mislead people and spread false information. I think we’re going to see some brands deal with public backlash because of messaging that is spread via deep fake videos about those brands.

Dan Gingiss: I remember seeing some of these as well, and I can’t decide what’s worse, that this is happening more and more, or that the technology is advancing so quickly that telling the difference between real video footage and deep fake is incredibly difficult.

Joey Coleman: I agree Dan, and this isn’t just going to be a challenge for social media companies and for video hosting companies and all the copyright issues and the way they might get sued. This is going to be a challenge for companies and consumers alike.

Dan Gingiss: It does sound pretty frightening from a brand perspective. Hopefully you’re going to share with us some things we can do to mitigate this.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Because here on Experience This, we like to tell positive stories, we don’t want to leave you hanging by getting you anxious and afraid of this. So here’s what we do. As customers and consumers, we need to learn not to trust everything we see. Now, I know that may feel like a sad moment and a sad time in our history, but the reality is we don’t want to presume everything is fake, but we need to be more discerning with what we hold as true.

I also think that as brands or companies, we need to start thinking about how deep fakes could impact our customer’s experiences. What happens if trust erodes slowly, or in the converse, is wiped away because of a major event? Having a deep fake strategy and being ready to counter any misleading videos or messages is something that mid and large sized brands should already be thinking about if they’re not.

Dan Gingiss: The good news is that several tech companies are developing sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence to help recognize deep fakes. The software company Adobe has partnered with the University of California at Berkeley to train AI to recognize facial manipulation. This tool could eventually help consumers detect deep fakes and companies to spot deep fakes before they are widely disseminated.

Joey Coleman: You know, I am thrilled to hear that companies are, especially places like the University of California at Berkeley and Adobe, are working together to solve some of these problems, but I actually think in many ways the genie’s out of the bottle. This is going to be happening faster and causing bigger consequences than the average business or citizen is going to be able to keep up with or catch up too.

I think it’s just in many ways a dangerous time, and I hate that we have to teach people to be skeptical of what they see, because there’s this whole phrase that has been around since the beginning of human time almost, that seeing is believing, and now we actually are going to need to say, well, seeing isn’t believing. You need to figure out what you’re actually believing.

Dan Gingiss: Well, yeah, if we play the scenario out a little bit, let’s say that President Obama and Jordan Peele got together for another video, but this time it’s a video of president Obama speaking with the audio provided by Jordan Peele, and him talking about how he found a worm in his McDonald’s hamburger. And now all of a sudden, this is a video that gets passed around the internet and McDonald’s is dealing with a PR crisis because a former president got a worm in his burger, except it’s completely made up.

That’s the kind of thing that brands are going to have to be ready for, and their PR teams are going to at least have to have a plan for, as you say. And some of it may also be about educating the public specifically on deep fakes so that it’s not just this, don’t trust everything you see, which is amorphous, because the reality is we don’t know what we can trust in what we can’t, but maybe training the public on how to spot a deep fake. How to confirm whether something’s real or not. There are websites like Snopes that will either confirm or deny rumors spreading around the internet and consumers should be using sites like that to get the truth.

Joey Coleman: What I’d love is if most of the people on Facebook who have aunts and uncles and cousins that are on Facebook would start using Snopes, because the amount of times I see something posted, and I’m like, that’s just not true, that’s absolutely not true. I know you read on the internet that Abraham Lincoln said that the Tesla was his favorite car, but that’s just not true.

Dan Gingiss: But Joey, if it was on the internet, it has to be true.

Joey Coleman: If it’s on the internet it’s real. Yeah. Let’s see if we can maybe do our part. I know we played an audio clip earlier, folks. If you go to experiencethisshow.com, in the show notes we’re going to include video links to several examples of deep fake videos. I want to put a disclaimer out here. The majority of these thus far, the ones that have been really well done, have been done with political candidates. Which is terrifying in and of itself, so please don’t take our posting of these videos as being endorsements or critical, either way, of any of these candidates, but I think it’s useful to actually see just how professional these videos have become and just how realistic they seem. It’s actually pretty terrifying.

As I said at the beginning of this segment, our intention in discussing deep fakes is not to upset people or to speak negatively. Rather, our goal is to make our listeners aware of a growing problem so that they can A, be vigilant in their own video watching and B, start to think about how a deep fake would impact their customer’s experiences and what can be done now to set in place response scripts to mitigate that impact.

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

Dan Gingiss: Earlier this season we heard from customer service expert John DiJulius, and talked about his new book, The Relationship Economy. Today we’re going to discuss one of John’s businesses, the John Roberts Spa, a full service salon and spa with four locations in Northeast Ohio. Started in 1993, the salons offer a combination of high quality services and John’s unmatched superior customer service. We’re going to dig into one of the many aspects which makes John Robert Spa so successful.

DiJulius hands out a card to every employee that they’re expected to carry around with them to remind them of the company’s purpose, customer service vision statement, some non-negotiable standards, and what he calls the nevers and always. Here’s John DiJulius to explain.

John DiJulius: I would like to share with you the John Roberts Spa customer service vision statement, pillars, and nevers and always. Every employee carries around a credo card with all of this on it. So our customer service vision statement, which I like to call the action statement, what we have to do every time we come in contact with anyone, be it 10 seconds or 90 minutes, it is to be the best experience in our guest’s day. Be the best part of our guest’s day. And why is that so important? Because our guests are dealing with craziness, chaos in their life, and we might be that one escape. They’re giving and giving and giving, and they come to us for a massage, hair cut, facial, pedicure, and most of all to be rejuvenated, to be refilled, so they can go back on and be Superman or Superwoman. What we’re all trying to be.

So to be the best experience in our guest’s day, that’s the what we have to do. The how is from the three pillars, mastering, emotional connection, and give more. The mastering pillar is to be operationally excellent. No one should be better at their jobs than we are. That can be the person answering the phones booking your appointment, the concierge hostess that’s greeting upon arrival, to the technician, hairdresser, esthetician, massage therapist.

The second pillar, emotional connection. We utilize our customer intelligence to personalize every experience. We collect and utilize Ford, F-O-R-D, family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. We make them feel like the most important person in front of us.

And then finally, give more. That’s our above and beyond pillar. Surprise and delight. The answer is always yes, regardless of the question. And whatever, whenever. Make their day. If it’s raining outside and they just got their hair done, ask them for their keys, pull the car around, walk them out with an umbrella, give them a John Roberts Spa umbrella, and they’ll bring it back the next time. Look for opportunities to go above and beyond. Be the best experience in our guest’s day, mastering, emotional connection, and give more.

Dan Gingiss: Pretty cool, huh Joey?

Joey Coleman: That is cool. And there’s so many pieces of that that we could dissect, but I got to say the one that really jumps out at me is that idea of wanting this to be the best part of their day. Wanting their experience at the spa to be the best part of the day. Because I think that sets a standard that is easily achievable and understandable by the staff and something that can be renewed every time that the customer comes back to the spa.

It allows you to not think, I have to create the best experience they’ve ever had in their entire life. You’re just trying to make it the best of the day, which I think is a great way to keep employees focused on what really matters.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And it’s also training them to keep their eyes open. It obviously doesn’t rain every day, so they don’t need an umbrella every single time. But it is great that the employees recognize that somebody who just got their hair done doesn’t want to walk out into the rain. A problem I don’t tend to have very often, but I can at least-

Joey Coleman: See folks, Dan made that one on his own, I was going to let that go, but he made it.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I can empathize. One of the things I thinks really cool is this list of nevers and always. John here lists 10 things that employees should never do and then a corresponding 10 things that they should always do, instead. Let’s take another listen.

John DiJulius: And then finally on our credo card, we have nevers and always. I’ll give you some examples. Something that no one in our staff represent our brand would never do or they will always do if the situation presents itself. Never points, always show them. That could be obviously face to face, someone asks you where the restroom is, or where the spa is, but that’s also over the phone. If someone calls up and asks for something, pointing would be saying, you can get that off our website. Showing them we’d be sending them a link.

Never say no. You cannot use that word. Now the always isn’t always say yes. Sometimes that’s not possible. The always is just focus on what you can do. Never say no problem. Always say certainly my pleasure, absolutely.

Some other ones never overshare. Always take care of it. Never show frustration publicly. Be a duck. Always be a duck. I want a duck. A duck is the most graceful, beautiful thing gliding across the water. What no one sees or knows is it’s paddling like hell underneath.

That is our credo cards. We go over this every day in appreciative title. One thing from it every day. So it’s always new. We can get probably 20 to 25 days out of a credo card without repeating it. That is our service vision pillars and nevers and always.

Dan Gingiss: I really like some of these and I think we’ve all experienced them with different companies that we do business with. This idea of when you’re in a really large home improvement store and you ask, hey, where are the nails? I’ve literally gotten this answer before, well you need to go down to aisle six, then turn left, then go past three different sections, then turn right, then you’ll see the washing machines, then head straight and then turn left and you’ll get there. And it’s like, yeah, I already forgot those instructions.

Joey Coleman: Can instead I follow the breadcrumbs, sir?

Dan Gingiss: And he’s saying, walk them there. Don’t point, just walk them there. And it’s such a big difference when somebody does that.

Joey Coleman: It really is. And at the risk of sounding old fashioned, it’s a return to grace and etiquette. When we were growing up, I don’t know about you guys, we were taught some of these things that I don’t think are taught as much anymore today. But that whole idea of being polite, calling people Mr. Smith, or Mrs. Smith, or Ms. Smith, and what we think of as the polite way to go through life, is not the normal way to go through life anymore.

In our effort to be more convenient and be more efficient, we’ve actually become more rude. And what I love is that John has this credo card that reminds his employees that at least when they’re there working in his shop, it’s about grace. It’s about politeness. It’s about really showing the customer the way, to deliver them that remarkable customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: The other thing I really liked, because you know I love language so much, is that he really focuses in on specific words that make a difference. John DiJulius has been saying for years that people should never say no problem in a customer service engagement. And the reason for that is that when a customer asks for something and you tell them no problem, you’ve now suggested to them that what they were asking for might have been a problem. And of course from their perspective it’s not a problem, it’s just something that they want.

It is also taking a negative word no, in front of problem, and turning it into a positive word, yes, or sure, or I’d be glad to, and I think this stuff does make a difference. You may not notice it in every interaction, but again, over time as you interact with the employees at John Robert Spa, you’re going to notice something different about them and you’re going to notice that they are more polite, that they are more graceful, that they’re using niceties, and you walk out of there feeling like you got more than just a haircut or a massage.

Joey Coleman: I also really liked his analogy to the duck. All too often I find myself in a business establishment where it’s clear that the staff is frustrated about something that has nothing to do with me. I walked into this environment. And while I wouldn’t want to suggest that folks shouldn’t be able to feel the emotions that they’re feeling and experience their emotions, there’s a difference between doing that on display for all of your customers to see, and doing it in more of a private setting or scenario. I think that standard for the team to look, we’re going to look graceful, we’re going to be elegant, even if it means underneath the system we’re running as fast as we can, is a great ideal to set for the staff.

Dan Gingiss: Never let them see you sweat, as the commercial used to say. The last thing I love about this is that, let’s face it, a salon is a commodity industry. I know in my hometown alone, there’s probably 10 choices that I could have if I wanted to go and get a massage. And so standing out with customer experience is absolutely critical because competing on price is a loser’s game and they’re essentially selling the same product. So the takeaway is when you properly train and prepare your employees to create a superior consistent experience and then show them how, you can develop the same reputation as John Roberts Spa of having a superior customer experience even in what is a commodity industry.

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

Dan Gingiss: This week’s Start the Conversation topic is social media as a customer experience channel. Social media has become a preferred channel for customers to research and interact with businesses. These platforms allow customers to read reviews, ask questions, and seek support for specific issues. Unfortunately, many businesses either fail to leverage social media as a CX tool or do a poor job of maintaining their CX channels.

Joey Coleman: To use social as a CX channel, I talked to Dan and the folks at Avtechs because let’s be candid, I’m not really on social channels. But what businesses should do is number one, know which platforms are most popular with their target audience and focus efforts there. Number two, create detailed policies and procedures specifically for social channels. What sorts of interactions will these channels support? Who will support them? What tone will the organization take in communicating with customers and prospects? And number three, observe the effectiveness of their efforts and adjust as necessary.

Dan Gingiss: Well you’re right, Joey, this is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, because I literally wrote the book on the topic, which is called Winning at Social Customer Care and it will show you how to do those things that Joey just listed.

A couple of things that I want to point out here is it’s really important to be where your customers are in social media. I often get asked, especially after speeches, what social media channels should I be in? And my answer, which may not be as fulfilling as you might hope, is with another question, which is, which channels are your customers in?

When I worked at Humana and we were selling to seniors, it was not that important that we were in Snapchat, but it was very important that we were on Facebook. I also always suggest to people to respond to everyone, people who are complaining, people who are asking questions, and people who are complimenting you.

Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about social media as a customer experience channel, are we effectively using social media to support and engage customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtechs at experienceconversations.com. That’s www.experienceconversations.com.

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

Dan Gingiss: I recently got the opportunity to speak at Inbound, one of the largest marketing conferences in the country, and I was invited to a networking dinner where I got to sit next to Naftuly Kraus, who goes by Tuli. His LinkedIn profile describes him as, The Scent Guy, because he works for a company called Fresh Scents Inc., which is a leader in the ambient marketing industry. The company provides nursing homes, schools, hospitals, gyms, office buildings, and more with, and I’m quoting, “scenting solutions” that are controlled by scent machines connected to mobile apps. The company’s website says, “With our sense of smell is so closely linked to memory, a pleasing aroma experience, or a bad one, can have lasting effects on a businesses bottom line.” I asked to Tuli to tell us a little bit more about the power of smell.

Tuli Kraus: Today I want to talk about how much of the sense of smell can positively affect your customer and user experience. When you walk into a store and it smells amazing, you will have a better time at the store. You might even buy more products. You will be more relaxed, happy. But imagine you walked into the local retail shop and it smelled really bad. You will walk right back out of there. You might’ve even tell your friends how bad your experience was.

Here’s a cool study that the Wheeling Jesuit University did. They had volunteers smell peppermint oil every two hours over the course of five days and when the study was over, they realized that these volunteers actually consumed 3,500 calories less, which was incredible.

There is a reason why these big hotel chains use great fragrances in the public areas, the common areas. I have friends that have come to me and said, “Tuli, have you ever been to this hotel in, for example, Colorado?” I said, “No,” and they tell me, “they have this amazing fragrance and it smells so good,” and I’m like, “Do you go there often?” They’re like, “I was there once a couple of years ago.” Just this just gives you an example how far deep in your brain the sense of smell can be stuck if it’s a good fragrance. Anyways, thanks for having me on the podcast. All the best guys.

Dan Gingiss: I don’t know about you Joey, but I found this to be absolutely fascinating, so I decided to research it a little bit more. According to Psychology Today, olfaction, which is also known as the sense of smell, is the most primal of our six senses. Throughout human evolution, the sense of smell has been key to our survival. A negative smell, such as a dead animal can trigger an instantaneous reflex to take flight, whereas a positive smell, such as burning wood or baking cookies, can trigger a sense of security. Smell directly ties to memories in a way that no other sense can. Humans are capable of distinguishing thousands of unique odors. So maybe The Rock was actually onto something when he yelled his signature question as a professional wrestler, “Do you smell what The Rock is cooking?”

Joey Coleman: Wow. I’m mostly stunned at this point because we are deep into four seasons of this podcast before we get our first professional wrestling reference in the show. Well done, Dan. Big fan of The Rock. I like it.

Well, if I may, let’s counter that with a literary reference that may play to another segment of our listeners. My wife Barrett is a voracious reader and early on in our relationship she introduced me to a fantastic book, In Remembrance of Things Past, and in this book, Marcel Proust illustrates how smell is linked to the earliest life experience and it’s stored in our memory and specific neural networks.

In this story, Proust describes very vividly how some forgotten childhood memories rocket back into the consciousness with the original intensity they had from the time, when a protagonist in the story that he’s writing about dips a Madeline Biscuit into a cup of tea.

First of all, honey, that one’s for you. Second of all, this concept is not new, thanks to The Rock. This is as, Dan noted out, primal in our existence as human beings, and I think a lot of businesses overlook the power of smell.

I have some good friends and clients, Steve and Katisha Weaver, who run a company in Ohio called Candle Lab, where you can actually go into their store, choose different scents, and then they mix them into candles or lotions. It’s actually a really unique and different experience because I don’t know about you, I’ve been gifted, shall I say, some of those scented candles that find their way being gifted right into a landfill somewhere as soon as I receive them.

Dan Gingiss: Or re-gifted.

Joey Coleman: Or re-gifted. But I actually try not to re-gift them because I’m like, why would anybody want this? But the thought of making my own was really fun.

And that’s where I think Tuli’s work as well as Steve and Katisha Weaver’s work is also a fantastic way to think about scent in your brand.

Dan Gingiss: For sure. And I just want to note for the record that while Proust was definitely onto something more than 100 years ago, The Rock clearly made smell cool again.

Joey Coleman: Oh, maybe that’s what it was.

Dan Gingiss: Tuli actually gave me a small vial of a scent that is absolutely recognizable as being from a major high end hotel chain. I can’t tell you which one because it’s one of his clients, but it was absolutely incredible because as soon as I smelled it, I could identify with that brand. And it turns out they’re not the only hotel chain that has their own smell. What I love about this is we often talk about how every interaction with the brand affects the overall customer experience, but rarely have we ever talked about an olfactory interaction.

I’ll tell you where I notice it the most. The first, and we have talked about this, is when I get into an Uber or Lyft and the car has a really heavy air freshener smell and I’ve got to immediately roll down the windows. That’s a negative connotation.

But on the positive side, I believe that every time I walk into a Starbucks I get that same pleasant smell that’s really comforting. It’s the smell of coffee, coffee beans, and usually some sort of baked goods combined. I believe that if I walked into a Starbucks blindfolded, I could probably tell you that I was in a Starbucks.

Joey Coleman: Well, and it’s interesting, so many smells are associated with specific industries. When we think about going into an open house in a real estate setting and looking at a home that you might buy, invariably they’re baking bread or chocolate chip cookies because they know those smells are really well received by the majority of people.

Or when you think about going into a hospital, often it smells like antiseptic cleaner and it has that more, yes, we’re glad it’s clean, but it feels a little on the chemically side and so automatically that’s creating emotions of fear, uncertainty, and angst in the patients that are coming to the hospital.

So I think the key takeaways here are that while smell may not be a part of every company’s customer experience, it should at least be something that you’re considering, especially if you are a business that has a physical presence. What are you doing to make sure that your brand not only looks good, but smells good?

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience This.

Episode 72: If You Really Want to Show Your Customers that You are Loyal, Don’t Expire Their Loyalty Points!

Join us as we discuss one of the biggest annoyances in air travel, treating your most loyal customers poorly, and the importance of learning all you can about your customers.

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Robots, Acronyms, and iPhones. Oh my!

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Episode 63 – Remarkable Experiences Down Under

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Prima Donnas, Penguins, and Pasta. Oh my!

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Episode 62 – How to Build Community with Communication

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Glasses, Voices, and Choices. Oh my!

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Episode 55 – The Power of a Personalized Customer Experience

Happy New Year! Join us as we discuss: how a cable company made it easier to find the shows you want, a personalized way to introduce yourself to new customers, and a collection of New Year’s resolutions from the world of customer experience.  

Instructions, Introductions, and Resolutions. Oh my!

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Episode 53 – The Christmas Carol Customer Experience

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

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

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