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Episode 82: Make Sure Your Experiences are Accessible to ALL of Your Customers

 Join us as we discuss a restaurant designed to create an inclusive experience, the challenges of becoming an older customer, and how healthcare if failing the customers that need it most.

Pizzability, Usability, and Adaptability – Oh My!

[ExperienceThis! Live] Serving Up Remarkable Experiences and Great Pizza to An Inclusive Audience

Restaurants can be challenging for some individuals to navigate. From families with young children, to those with disabilities, finding a place to eat that would be considered “inclusive” can be difficult. Inclusive options aren’t just rare for customers – they are rare for prospective employees with intellectual and physical disabilities. Joey recently had the pleasure of experiencing an amazing restaurant in Denver, CO, called Pizzability. Pizzability was founded by Tiffany Fixter, a special needs teacher who saw a significant gap in the marketplace for training and employing people with disabilities. Her solution? Pizzability – a restaurant offering a “slice of community’ by employing individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. To bring things full circle, the restaurant also sources their toppings from a local farm that employs people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.

Each day, the restaurant is filled with people of all abilities, races, genders, and various walks of life. Pizzability provides special silverware for guests who may have trouble holding a utensil, noise-cancelling headphones for those who may struggle with a loud, busy atmosphere, and textured placemats for those who benefit from tactile surfaces.

My time at Pizzability was incredibly eye-opening about ways that customer-centric design can anticipate the needs of the many different types of customers that might come into your business.

Joey Coleman, co-host of the ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Not every business will make the commitment to implement all of the measures that Pizzability did, but there are benefits for every business making the time to consider ways to be more customer-centric in their design, operation, and offerings.

[CX Press] The World is Designed Against the Elderly

Average life expectancy continues to grow with women now expected to live until 81.1 years and men until 78.6 years. While improvements in overall life expectancy is certainly a positive thing, there are some problems that come with these changes. Don Norman, former VP of Apple and celebrated author, wrote an article in Fast Company magazine titled, “I Wrote the Book on User Friendly Design. What I see Today Terrifies Me.” As an expert on design, Norman observes that nothing is user-friendly for the elderly: fonts are too small, walking devices are ugly, and captions take up too much room on the TV – blocking important visual content with important text content.

The number of active, healthy oldsters is large – and increasing. We are not a niche market. And businesses should take note: We are good customers often with more free time and discretionary income than younger people.

Don Norman, author of Design of Everyday Things

Don challenges every in business to examine their product and service offerings. Are they user friendly for the older population? Create a focus group of people over 65 years old, and see if they can easily use your products and services. If your offerings are less usable as your customers get older, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Design Thinking

Design thinking is critical to creating a successful customer experience. Many companies struggle with creating new designs, and instead, default to only fixing their broken designs. In order to create a memorable customer experience, you must design experiences with an intentional focus of the customer’s viewpoint.

What exactly is design thinking? Here are three key components:

  1. Explore innovative ideas and solutions beyond what you think may be currently possible.
  2. Empathize with customers, keeping their needs and point of view at the forefront throughout the design process.
  3. Create experiences that address customer needs and expectations first, and business needs and goals second.

By designing experiences with intentionality, you begin to build empathy and connection with the people you serve. Start the conversation with this question: Is my organization actively engaging in design thinking?

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

[Dissecting the Experience] The Healthcare System is Failing Seniors

Dan recently wrote a series of articles for Forbes and in the last one, Why An Aging Population Means Healthcare Customer Experience Must Adapt , he confronts the fact that it is absolutely necessary to start taking the needs of the aging population into consideration.

Healthcare is obviously not alone… [t]he aging population in the United States will be the largest of all time, and the 50 plus cohort controls 70% of consumer discretionary spending. Designing for seniors is no longer optional. It’s now a core responsibility for nearly every company, in every industry.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of the ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Treating people as intelligent humans worthy of respect will go a long way towards building trust with your customers. We must begin considering all of our customers, especially the aging, when designing customer interactions. By paying attention to the needs of the elderly, we build organizational empathy and show customer compassion – both of which will ultimately lead to an enhanced overall customer experience.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 82 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 a restaurant designed to create an inclusive experience, the challenges of becoming an older customer, and how healthcare is failing the customers that need it most.

Dan Gingiss: Pizzability, usability, and adaptability. Oh my.

ET LIVE: Pizzability

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

Not too long ago, I heard about a restaurant concept that so piqued my interest I had to go check it out for myself. The restaurant is based in Denver, Colorado, and is called Pizzability. Pizzability is a pizzeria completely staffed by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was founded by Tiffany Fixter, a special needs teacher who saw a need for jobs and training for adults with disabilities. Not only does Pizzability provide job training and skill development that will translate into future job opportunities for their employees, they also make a pretty delicious pizza as well.

In fact, they’ve taken their philosophy and applied it to all aspects of their business. They work with a Colorado farm that employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to provide produce for toppings. They’re constantly on the lookout for other vendors and suppliers that have a similar commitment to working with individuals who have disabilities.

Given that I live just up the road in Boulder, Colorado, I decided to take a little road trip to Denver and asked my good friend Nick Hemmert to join me for lunch at Pizzability. What follows is a recording of the conversation that we had while we were in the restaurant waiting for our order to be prepared.

Pizzability is a fascinating restaurant in Denver, Colorado in that the staff all have disabilities. The restaurant was designed to create a place where folks who had disabilities could actually come to work. As I’ve walked into Pizzability on a Friday afternoon at about 12:30 for lunch, the restaurant is absolutely packed. Packed to the gills. It’s almost standing room only.

What’s really fascinating to me and my buddy Nick Hemmert, who I’m sitting here talking with and we’re having lunch, is the fact that in many ways the customers are the staff and the staff are the customers. You were saying something about that, Nick.

Nick Hemmert: Yeah. What I appreciate about what I’m seeing here with 30 to 40 people that are literally standing, [crosstalk 00:03:41] finish their lunch and they’re just hanging around socializing. It’s a place for them to be able to do that at lunchtime.

Whereas, you just hear another person just get excited here a second ago. That’s accepting for this place. I think if they went to another restaurant for the traditional lunch on Friday, I don’t think they’d be able to have socialized time. Even if it was a coffee shop or a place that would be more socially acceptable.

I think it’s really great just to see that there are people of all different abilities here for lunch, not just those with unique abilities, with all abilities, having conversations and being able to be themselves.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there’s so many things about the restaurant that are incredibly thoughtful and clearly show that a lot of consideration has gone in not only to the customer experience but to the employee experience.

For example, when we walked up to order our menu was a single sheet of paper that had photos of the different types of pizza you can get. You circle the photo of the type of pizza that you want and then whether you want a single slice or a full pizza and then you write your name at the bottom. What becomes very apparent very quickly is that regardless of someone’s ability to maybe read or speak English, they’re able to look at the pictures and know exactly what you want. I’ll include some photos in the show notes, not only of the menu, but also of the recipes for the different pizzas are listed above the pizza preparation area. So it becomes very clear that anyone, just by looking at the pictures, is going to be able to build out the various recipes for the pizza that folks would order.

They also give us two little tickets for the gelato. This restaurant, Pizzability, serves pizza, they have drinks, and they have gelato for dessert. We got two tickets for gelato, which the staff person who gave them to me shared that the reason they give out the tickets is then when we come up, all we have to do is exchange a ticket and their staff know that one ticket is good for one scoop of gelato. It’s a great way to not only have some efficiency and how quickly they can turn tables, something that most restaurants pay attention to, but it really allows anyone on the other side of the counter, the staff member, to be able to take the order and process the order regardless of what their abilities may or may not be.

Nick Hemmert: The other thing I’m noticing too is the variety of different areas that they’ve created for people to sit. They have outdoor furniture. We’re sitting at a table that’s not the traditional outdoor table with an umbrella underneath it. Inside they have a traditional restaurant setting where they have small tables for two, tables for groups, they also have a bar where people can sit and actually watch the pizza being made or checkout the environment that’s going on.

Someone just came in with a dog mat and set it down next to their spot at the bar for their dog to just enjoy the environment as well.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I think what the thing that is most amazing to me is, I don’t know the last time I ate at a restaurant where the customer base was as diverse as it is here. Just based on observations, you pretty much can see folks of all races, all genders, it appears to be all walks of life if one were to just base an observation based on dress or where people are at, and the entire space has a very fun, inclusive, open feel to it.

What’s interesting is the doors to the restaurant, we’re sitting outside, the doors to the restaurant are propped open and it appears, again not entirely sure. They’ve got a garage door on one side that’s up and on this side of the restaurant are regular just double doors, but they’re propped open and I get the feeling based on looking at the ground and where their prop is, that they’re propped open all day, every day.

So unlike a typical restaurant, where lots of times even opening a door could be a challenge for someone depending on some physical challenges they may have, here you can roll in, you can walk in, you can just enter the space without any encumbrances and be right up to the bar, placing your order, right up to the counter, placing your order.

It’s got a great energy and a great vibe to it. I think so many businesses, so many restaurants, try to create a theme or a vibe. If I had I had to describe the vibe of Pizzability in one word, it’s inclusive.

Nick Hemmert: I agree.

Joey Coleman: Fantastic place. If you get the chance, highly recommend come to Denver, Colorado, come to Pizzability, you won’t be disappointed. There are some great lessons that we can take away that Dan and I are going to talk more about.

But thanks for joining us for an experience live and thanks to Nick for letting us record our conversation. Thanks so much.

Nick Hemmert: Thanks for having us.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. This sounds like an absolutely amazing place, Joey. I’m so glad that you found it because it’s just a perfect example of something that we like to share on this show. I’m reminded back in episode 42 where we talked about the Starbucks outside of DC, right near Gallaudet University that committed to having an entire store filled with employees that could speak sign language and that the store was a lot quieter than other stores because of that.

But I think this is such a great idea on so many fronts. I think it, number one, I love the fact that it is providing job opportunities and skill development. Number two, I think it’s providing for customers. I think some exposure to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the fact that they can work regular jobs, and that they can be a contributing part of society, I think it’s probably a MythBuster in a lot of ways for consumers.

Obviously because it is a restaurant, you did mention that they have delicious pizza too. And I think that’s really important, because I don’t think this experiment would work if the food wasn’t good.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. I think if the food wasn’t good you’d go once to say that you did it, or to say that you supported the cause, but it wouldn’t keep you coming back for more. And I have to tell you I was surprised not only at the inclusiveness of the restaurant, but the way they had everything set up. The pizza was great, the gelato was great. This is a place that I absolutely will go back to again. I also find myself thinking that when I have clients or friends come to Denver, I want to take them there because I think it’s so beautifully illustrates inclusive design and being conscious of the fact that you may have customers that are different than you and what can you do to design your business for that?

Dan Gingiss: It’s just if I can jump in. When I worked, particularly at Discover, also at Humana on the websites, a lot of the work is having to develop features and functionalities that are based on the rules outlined in the American Disabilities Act, that requires certain ways of consuming. What I found over time is that almost everything that we “had” to do, that the lawyers say, “Well, you have to do this to be in compliance with ADA,” ended up creating a better experience for everyone. Because it’s making things often simpler to read, or easier to manually click on, or whatever it is, whatever disability you’re trying to address, it actually makes the whole experience for smoother for everyone.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, and I think what was fascinating is after we finished recording, I was in the restaurant walking around and I noticed some other things that I hadn’t noticed the first time when we walked in. The restaurant has a menu of adaptive utensils. They have special utensils designed for different types of customers, including easy hold utensils that strap to your hand, for people that struggle to maintain grip strength, they have bendable utensils that have an adjustable head to make it easier to move the food to your mouth, and they have weighted utensils that help reduce spilled food caused by shaking hands.

Pizzability also had a wall filled with items to assist those dealing with sensory challenges, including a half dozen pairs of noise canceling headphones and textured mats for guests that benefit from tactile stimulation.

In short, my time at pizzability was incredibly eye-opening about the ways that customer centric design can anticipate the needs of many different types of customers that might come into your business.

Now, let’s be honest, not every business is going to be specifically designed to be as open and inclusive as Pizzability. That being said, there are dozens of little things you can do to make the people that purchase your products and services feel more comfortable, more considered, and more valued.

Dan Gingiss: If you want to see photos of Pizzability, their creative menu solution, and some of the other experience enhancing features that we spoke about in this segment, check out the show notes at experiencethisshow.com

CX PRESS: The World is Designed Against the Elderly

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

I’ve got a question for you, Dan. Do you know what the average life expectancy is for a man and for a woman here in the United States?

Dan Gingiss: Well, I know that women tend to live longer then men and so I would guess that it’s maybe for a man say 75-ish and maybe a woman 80.

Joey Coleman: Very, very close, my friend. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the average life expectancy is 78.6 years for men and 81.1 years for women. But what’s more interesting is that as people grow older, life expectancy is actually increasing. What that means is that as time goes on, we’re continuing to live longer, and so for those people who are now 65 years old, the average life expectancy is actually 83 for men and over 85 for women. And this is only going to keep going up.

Now while generally speaking, this is certainly a good, there’s some pretty big problems with this shifting life expectancy, and a big concern is outlined in today’s CX Press article from the Fast Company website, and don’t worry folks, we’ll link to it in the show notes over at the experiencethisshow.com.

The article is titled, I Wrote the Book on User-friendly Design. What I see today horrifies me. And was written by Don Norman. Don is the 83 year old author of the industry Bible Design of Everyday Things, and a former Vice President at Apple.

Now Don Norman knows a thing or two about user-friendly design, as is probably obvious by his background and bio. He wrote the book. And in our article he explains the challenges that he faces in his own home. As a reminder, Don himself is 83, and I’m quoting, “Everyday household goods require knives and pliers to open. Containers with screw tops require more strength than my wife or I can muster. We solve this by using a plumber’s wrench to turn the caps. Companies insist on printing critical instructions in tiny fonts with very low contrast. Labels cannot be read without flashlights and magnifying glasses. And when companies do design things specifically for the elderly, they tend to be ugly devices that shout out to the world, I’m old and I can’t function.”

Dan Gingiss: I love that quote. I’m reminded of my mom, who both on her computer and her iPhone, has the font setting to something that is so big that to me it looks like she fits about three words on a page. But this is how she consumes.

I remember when I worked at Humana having to focus on that senior population that you can’t design it like you’re designing it for a millennial. It’s not how they consume, it’s not how they read. I think that obviously Don Norman, he’s the king and the emperor of design thinking, and it’s very interesting that he’s now at an age where he’s starting to experience this himself.

I often find that I’ll be sitting somewhere and even if it’s not a physical thing, for example, signing up for healthcare. Every year when I was in the corporate America and I was signing up for healthcare and I had this big spreadsheet going with all the comparisons, I was like, what do the dumb people do? Because, I’m pretty smart, I feel, and this is really hard and taking up a lot of time. It’s not designed to be easy.

Joey Coleman: I definitely had a variation on that theme. Having gone to law school, I often find myself reading things going, I’m struggling to understand this. How would you understand it if you didn’t have a law degree? But I think what’s interesting about the points that Don makes is not only is there a growing population of senior citizens, but we also have an increasingly large number of active healthy 65 plus year old people on the planet who aren’t a small market, and these people, in fact, usually have more time and more discretionary income that they’re happy to put into the marketplace if the marketplace is willing to design things that will meet their needs.

Now Don points out a few different challenges that older people face that businesses should take into consideration. The first one is reduced vision. When you think about your own products and services, how much of the associated text, whether it’s directions or warning labels, identification marks, etc, is written in a typeface that is so small you need a magnifying glass to read to?

Nick Hemmert: Or what about hearing loss? Don notes in the article that it’s become difficult for him to eat in a loud restaurant. He calls it torture and observes that quote, “More and more my wife and I select restaurants by their noise level rather than by their food quality.”

How many restaurants, coffee shops, and places where people gather are adding to the noise with loud music, loud machines and the hustle and bustle of customer traffic without considering the fact that some customers may be choosing not to do business with them because of the loud sounds at their business?

And don’t even get us started on technology that increasingly requires on touch. The increase in devices using display screens often with tiny lettering and touch sensitive areas. It makes it a challenge for anyone with diminishing eye hand coordination.

Joey Coleman: You know, the sad thing Dan, is that it’s actually even worse than this. As if the status quo wasn’t challenging enough. The companies that are targeting the senior market often do so in less than design conscious or experience conscious fashion. Products that are designed for the elderly, I’m just going to say it straight, they tend to be ugly.

Back in my great-grandmother’s time, a cane was often seen as a functional tool with an artistic accessory element. I remember very well, she had a black wooden cane with a silver eagles head on top of it with green jewels in the eyes. It was stunning. You could see it from across the room. Now canes and walkers look like they were designed to use the most metal, in the boxiest format, and ideally be strapped on the side of a rocket going to space. Today, a cane isn’t an accessory, it’s a medical device.

Dan Gingiss: It’s so funny you should bring up that example, because my mom had hip surgery last year, and she had to use a cane for a little while, and she asked her grandchildren to decorate it with stickers. So, all four grandchildren brought stickers and made her… She had the coolest cane around, and she said that people stopped her in the street because they thought her cane was so cool.

Joey Coleman: Right. And so we shift from having a cane being a sign of maybe things in your life that aren’t going the way you’d like them to go, a decrease in mobility, to a cane being a topic of conversation.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. In the field of design, paying attention to the potential use cases of all customers is called inclusive design. It anticipates a variety of needs and in the process helps everyone. Don notes that curb cuts, those gentle slopes between the sidewalk and the street were meant to help people who had trouble walking. But it turns out they help anyone wheeling things, carts, baby carriages, suitcases, and more.

Joey Coleman: You know, this is exactly what you were talking about from the work you used to do around ADA compliance. When we make a website more compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, it makes the website more usable for everyone.

So this isn’t just about, hey, let’s be kind to the elderly and do better designs for them, this is, let’s be more conscious of our design and design things that are going to help everyone experience our products and services better.

Let’s be candid, everybody listening to this show will at some point be older than they are right now and probably significantly older.

Dan Gingiss: That’s pretty deep.

Joey Coleman: Pretty deep. You like that?

Dan Gingiss: In fact, they are older than they were just a few seconds ago.

Joey Coleman: And that’s one to grow on. No, probably significantly older. We need to start thinking about more inclusive designs now and if not for the benefit for those who are elderly today, then we should do it for more selfish reasons, because we’re going to be the elderly of the future.

Here’s how you can start working on this now. Look at your products and services and honestly ask whether they’re user friendly for users of all ages. And don’t just take your own theoretical opinion on this. Talk to people who are elderly, give them your products, have them experience your services, and see what they have to say about your products.

Do a focus group with people over age 65, instead of just a focus group with the millennials. If we want to build something that is longterm, if we want to have products and services that can stand the test of time, we need to design those services and design those products to work for customers who are longterm themselves.

START THE CONVERSATION – DESIGN THINKING

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 the art of design thinking. Designing new experiences isn’t easy. Many organizations default to just fixing broken experiences, and in many cases that simply isn’t enough to meet your customer’s expectations. To amaze customers, you must design new experiences, or redesign old experiences with an intentional focus on the customer and with their point of view in mind.

Dan Gingiss: What exactly is design thinking? Here are three key components. One, exploring innovative ideas and solutions beyond what you think may be currently possible. Two, empathizing with customers, keeping their needs and point of view at the forefront throughout the design process. And three, creating experiences that address customer needs and expectations first, and business needs and goals second.

Joey Coleman: Interestingly enough, Dan, I think this is what actually got me interested in customer experience in the first place. Because I had been running an ad agency where we were doing a lot of design, literal design, designing logos, designing ad campaigns, graphics, business cards. And the more I started to think about all the experiences that folks were having, I realized that we could take that design thinking and extend it into the actual experiences, taking it beyond colors and type faces, and instead making it about how folks interact with all of the various products and services we offered.

I think adopting this type of design thinking is not only a must for the success of your business, but it’s something that’s really fun too. It’s a great way to engage your employees in a conversation that makes them feel that they have a voice, makes them feel that they’re being heard, and it allows them to build more empathy and connection with your customers and the types of people you serve.

Nick Hemmert: And now for this week’s question about the art of design thinking. Is my organization actively engaging in design thinking? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex at experienceconversations.com. Again, that’s www.experienceconversations.com

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: The Healthcare System is Failing Seniors

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

Dan Gingiss: I recently published a three part series on Forbes about the state of healthcare in the United States and the many, many customer experience opportunities that exist in an industry that is continually ranked at the bottom of most customer satisfaction surveys.

The first article in the series was called Why Treating Patients as Consumers Can Improve the Healthcare Experience. And the second one was, As Healthcare Goes Digital, Consumer Engagement and Experience Improve. But I really want to discuss the third one today, which fits in so well with this episode. Why an Aging Population Means HealthCare Customer Experience Must Adapt.

Now we’re all familiar with how difficult and unsatisfying the healthcare experience can be in the United States. It’s hard to sign up for healthcare. It’s hard to understand healthcare jargon, something that we talked about in episode 13. It’s often hard to schedule an appointment with a doctor unless you’re willing to wait weeks or even months, and there’s still tons of literal paperwork, stuff that should be digitized. Just try to piece together your entire health history in any meaningful way. Now imagine how much tougher this is on the older population.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, I thought there was one really poignant quote in your article, it came from David Stewart, a founding partner at Ageist, a company that is dedicated to promoting life after 50, and he said, “We have found that treating people as intelligent, informed adults gets better outcomes and a more positive view of the brand or a company.” I found that quote poignant, but the fact that it even needs to be said is pathetic and it shows that we’ve lost our way in the healthcare industry.

Dan Gingiss: Totally agree, Joey. That’s why I included it.

Joey Coleman: I get it. Well, let’s say the desired effect of creating an emotional rise out of your readers was achieved.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Thank you. I also got to talk with Geeta Wilson, who is the founder and CEO of a company called Consumer Society. It’s an early stage tech and experience design company building an enterprise experience management technology platform to connect all of the major industry players in healthcare, the insurance companies, healthcare professionals, and consumers. Now, full disclosure, Geeta and I worked together at Humana and she’s a good friend, but I asked her, is the healthcare system failing seniors today? And here’s what she said.

Geeta Wilson: The short answer is yes. While there have been gains in precision medicine, life sciences, and medical treatments, the administration and navigation of healthcare as a system remains complex and confusing to all consumers. When you add to this population differences related to aging, such as chronic conditions, digital literacy, and social determinants of health, the age and experience in healthcare falls short.

The industry is unprepared for a very different aging population than it has traditionally served in the past, for the last 30 plus years. Commonly known as the Silent Generation, accepts a more passive approach to health and receives medical opinion and authority without question. Very different from today.

The newer aging population will nearly double in size to about 80 million by 2030 and the industry is not prepared for this unless it starts to aggressively address some of the gaps in the consumer experience we’re seeing today. Older adults are poised to shape consumer and healthcare experiences in the years ahead.

At Consumer Society, we design experiences for specific segments and personas who have defining motivations, attitudes, and behaviors, in addition to their preferences and demographic characteristics. While all consumer needs are important, we think solving for the most complex demographic, that is an aging population with at least one chronic condition and perhaps an indifferent or antagonistic attitude towards their health, will set the stage for all populations and their needs to be met.

Dan Gingiss: Healthcare is obviously not alone. As we’ve discussed in this episode. The aging population in the United States will be the largest of all time, and the 50 plus cohort controls 70% of consumer discretionary spending in the United States. Designing for seniors is no longer optional. It’s now a core responsibility for nearly every company in every industry.

Joey Coleman: 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 This.


Episode 81: Using Surprise and Delight to Transform the Customer Experience

Join us as we discuss the evolving role of the chief experience officer, a charity’s efforts to overhaul the donor experience, and a Thanksgiving treat for one bank’s customers.

Bandwidth, Barriers, and… Banksgiving? – Oh My!

[Dissecting The Experience] Discover the Critical Importance of a Chief Experience Officer in Your Company

Every company should have someone on the team who is primarily focused on the experience of the customers. Many companies have been slow to adopt this type of specific responsibility. A customer has two fundamental needs: a functional need, and an emotional need. Companies often take care of the fundamentals, but are hesitant to invest in the emotions of their customers. Kurt Schroeder, the Chief Experience Officer (CXO) for Avtex, spends all day focused on the Avtex client experience. The CXO is a newer c-suite role that is actively developing. A CXO is primarily focused on how to continue to improve and deliver a better experience for customers.

A Chief Experience Officer oversees every interaction, which may sound like a CEO position. The differentiator is that the CEO has to focus on many areas, whereas the CXO is solely focused on the customer experience alone.

So, what do I do when I get here in the morning? I think about, “What are the areas of our organization and the experience that we’re rendering to our customers, that we really need to improve and make better and create differentiation in the market?”

Kurt Schroeder, Chief Experience Office (CXO) of Avtex

Every product can be replicated. Price can only win clients for so long. Without the differentiation of customer experience, you will not stand apart from the competition. If you don’t have a Chief Experience Officer, you should strongly consider getting one as it’s crucial to have a least one member of your team who wakes up thinking about ways to improve the customer experience.

[Dissecting the Experience] Learn About How One Amazing Organization has Provided Millions with Clean Water

Our typical podcast focuses on the customer’s experience, but today we dissect a donor experience with an amazing organization called Charity: Water. Charity: Water’s Mission is bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. What sets the experience apart is that the founder of Charity: Water set out to create an organization that would overcome any trust barriers that donors typically have. One hundred percent of donations go towards their mission while private donations cover the company’s overhead cost.

I asked people what their objections were and we created a business model that would speak to those objections.

Scott Harrison, Founder of Charity: Water

Many people are skeptical of where their money is going when they make a donation to a charity. Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity: Water removed that barrier to trust. He also partnered with Google so that donors could actually see the wells they were contributing to build! Charity: Water designed an innovative way to raise funds for wells – by asking people to consider “giving up their birthday” and asking for donations in lieu of presents. This allows people to raise both public awareness and much needed funds for a great cause! By making the experience personal through stories and videos, and the incorporating videos of the actual wells that donors helped build, Charity: Water brings clean water to more than eight million people.

When you listen to your customers’ objections and build a business model that alleviates their fears, they will happily support you. While we’re at it, consider making a donation to Charity: Water today!

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: The Actual Cost of Poor Customer Experiences

It’s common knowledge that a poor customer experience is costly. Not only does it cost you the customer, but it has many additional ramifications. A poor experience can lead to a damaged reputation, unhappy employees and staffing challenges, and the inability to effectively launch new products. These may actually be more costly than the original loss of the customer’s purchase or business.

If you want to fully comprehend the impact of poor customer experiences, you should pay careful attention to:

  1. Online reviews
  2. Customer retention rates and Repeat purchase trends
  3. Social media conversations

One of the best things you can do in the time of a crisis, is to come out and confront it. People want information. Pay attention to the reviews and the conversations, and answer your customer’s concerns as quickly as you can.

Start the conversation with this question: How much are poor customer experiences impacting our bottom line?

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

[Dissecting the Experience] When Surprise and Delight Creates Happier Employees and Happier Customers

What would happen to the customer experience if the company truly followed through on answering your needs completely? We saved this article for this episode for good reason! Most banks end their customer service call with a simple question: Is there anything else we can do for you today? One bank, Ally, decided to answer that question for their customers. Wishes small, like cleaning up the yard, to wishes large, like a flight to Europe, were answered! In Ally Banksgiving: When a Simple Call to Your Bank Turns Into a Big Surprise, we see clients calling in for basic customer service needs and walking out with so much more!

I think when you’re able to do good things for both sides , they both end up winning. When you empower agents that are able and allowed to help customers, and in this particular case, really provide a surprise and delight moment, it makes their job more fun. This makes them happier, and makes them appear happier to customers.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

By empowering the employees, the company gave them the ability to surprise and delight the clients. The clients, so overwhelmed by the bank’s generosity, spread the story through nontraditional methods, like social media. Banks aren’t known for this behavior, so it set Ally apart from the competition.

We know that not every company has a budget to do something like this, but you can still surprise and delight your customers in meaningful ways without breaking the bank.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our North American listeners!

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 81 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.

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the evolving role of the chief experience officer, a charity’s attempt at overhauling the donor experience and a Thanksgiving treat for one bank’s customers.

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

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE — The Role of the CXO

Dan Gingiss: Well, hey. We’ve got another Experience This Live and we’re super excited, because this is the first time that Joey and I are doing an Experience This Live together. In fact, we are bringing in a third party to have a fireside chat. You see, we have located, in the wild, a real-life chief experience officer. So, we’re going to talk about this new C-suite-level role of a chief experience officer, a CXO. We’re going to learn all about it in this segment. So, we’re super excited to have Kurt Schroeder talk with us. He is the chief experience officer for Avtex Solutions, which, as you know, as loyal listeners, has been our great partner this season on the podcast.

Joey Coleman: Loving Avtex.

Dan Gingiss: What’s going on, Kurt?

Kurt Schroeder: Hey man, am I happy to be with you guys today. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart and I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: When you said, “Dan, we’ve invited in a third party.” I was thinking to myself, “It’s kind of always a party when you or I are in a conversation.” Folks, just so that you know, we had a couple of conversations with Kurt in advance of our hitting record, not only today but in previous days. Kurt’s a really fascinating guy with a unique perspective on this. As you know, loyal listeners, we don’t have interview guests. That’s not how we do things and that’s not what you’re listening to right now.

What we do try to do, is find interesting experiences and interesting perspectives, to bring them to you. We could have, let’s be candid, found a lot of different people that play a function of a CXO or a chief experience officer, but what we were excited to talk to Kurt about, is his unique perspective, not only in Avtex, right? Because they do a lot around the customer experience function with their clients, but just his role and how he sees the landscape, now and in the future. So, super excited for us to be having this conversation.

Joey Coleman: So, tell me, let’s just start with like what does a CX do? What do you do when you get to work every day, Kurt?

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, that’s a good question and sometimes, I wonder about that myself. So, I think the primary goal of the CXO role, at least as I portray it, is, I wake up every morning and I think about, “How do we continually improve and deliver a better experience for our customers?” So, why is that even important? I’m a firm believer that we live in a world that is, that everything is about the experience. We live in the experience economy, Joseph Pine wrote about that several years ago in his book, called The Experience Economy.

So, what that means is, products are largely undifferentiated. There’s the time to market, to replicate and make something better and newer and faster and more attractive. That time has shrunk down to weeks, maybe months at the most. So, what makes the difference? It’s the experience that the customer has with you. So, if you don’t have someone who is thinking about that, day-in, day-out, at night, when they’re waking, when they’re sleeping, when they’re eating, then I think you’re lagging behind. You’re missing a great opportunity. So, what do I do when I get here in the morning? I think about, “What are the areas of our organization and the experience that we’re rendering to our customers, that we really need to improve and make better and create differentiation in the market?”

Dan Gingiss: I love that, because we often say on this show, the customer experience is the last true differentiator and that, as you say, competing on product is really tough, because everything can be copied. I mean, the example I love to give is, Uber completely transformed an industry and then got copied by Lyft, right? And so, everything, even brand new technology can be copied. I always say that competing on price is a loser’s game, because you just ask the local gas station with the competing gas station across the street, that you can only compete on price for so long before everybody loses. So, what’s left is the experience. So, then, what I’m thinking about is, what’s the difference then, between the chief experience officer and a CEO? I mean, you would think that you would oversee every part of the company, because as we know, customer experience is really every interaction that a customer has with you.

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah. By the way, you do not want me messing around in finance, I’ll just skip that 

Joey Coleman: Oh, so I see your street cred, Kurt, as a customer experience person was just thrown down right there. “Don’t let me look at the spreadsheets. I don’t want to do the finance.”

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, so I think the biggest difference is just that. That is, a CEO has to be in-tune and equipped to deal with so many facets of the business. So, when push comes to shove, the CEO is going to have a focus in maybe a handful of areas. You need someone who is dedicated solely to what the customer experience looks like. Does the CEO care about that? Absolutely, and they should, but their mind is divided across so many challenges and opportunities and they need to make those decisions. You really need someone solely focused on the experience and bubbling up opportunities to improve the experience that the CEO then can make strategic decisions about.

Joey Coleman: Guys, I have a question that I think would be fun for us to riff on. I mean, you mentioned the book The Experience Economy by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore. Interestingly enough, that book celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

Kurt Schroeder: I know. That’s crazy, isn’t it?

Joey Coleman: Right? It’s shocking when you think about that, 20 years later. I mean, it will be legal next year. It’s very exciting for The Experience Economy, but what I find myself wondering is, “Why is it that so many businesses don’t have a chief experience officer?” I feel like, for the three of us and for many of our loyal listeners, we’ve already bought full-in to this concept. We understand that every organization should have someone who, as you said, and I think it’s funny, this is not at all scripted, ladies and gentlemen, but when you started out, Kurt, you said, “I wake up everyday, thinking about, ‘How do we continually improve and deliver the experience to our customers?'” That’s what we wish every employee thought, but let’s be candid; we know they don’t, but having someone in the organization that that is their primary thought, we know that all the research points to how successful that makes us. Why do you think so many companies have been slow to adopt that?

Kurt Schroeder: Well, I think there is a gap between what the research shows and what we’re practically able to believe. Here’s what I mean by that; customer experience is still kind of this squishy concept. I mean, look at when we talk to our clients about how to improve the experience, we talk about two fundamental needs that a customer has, regardless of whether it’s B to C or B to B, but two fundamental needs that a customer has in an interaction or an experience, which is they have a functional need, “What am I trying to achieve?” But, they also have an emotional need, “How do I need to feel through this?”

Well, look, I don’t want to talk about my feelings, and so, as soon as we start taking a business down the path of talking about how our customers feel, “How do they perceive us?” That is just starting to get way too squishy. So, I think we have organizations who retreat on that and are not willing to make the investment in the role, in order to really drive that and permeate it throughout the organization. So, I still think there’s a little bit of a gap between what the research shows, which is great. We know it proves it out, we know there’s financial viability in investing in customer experience, but there’s still a gap between, I call it the the the 12 inches between the heart and the mind. “In my heart, I know this is true, but in my mind I still can’t commit myself to make that investment.”

Dan Gingiss: Oh yeah, I think another aspect to this, Kurt, and it’s funny, because I actually just wrote a blog post for [inaudible 00:09:48] about this very topic, is that some companies, instead of having a CXO, are putting customer experience underneath marketing. So, you have a CMO or chief marketing officer that is also in charge of experience. I make the point in the article that I think either model can work, as long as, as Kurt says, that you have somebody with whom the buck stops, so that the experience has to land somewhere. The challenge, with it being under a marketing person, is that that person may or may not be trained in customer experience, because they may be classically trained as a marketer, right?

Having been a marketer for 20 years, there’s a ton of overlap between marketing and experience, but let’s face it, marketers are often most focused on acquiring new customers, or helping sales acquire new customers. I think that the CXO has to really turn inward and say, “All right, we’ve got all these existing customers, how do we keep them happy, keep them loyal, fix the leaky bucket that we know we have on the back end with customers leaving?” Again, being focused on that every day.

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, I mean, it’s a good observation. When we talk to clients and even when we look at ourselves internally, when someone says, “Well, what’s the purpose of rendering a customer experience?” And I said, “Well, it’s real simple. It should cover the landscape of, ‘Find more, win more, keep more and do more customers.'” So, as we think about the entirety of the journey that a customer has with you, it’s really along those four key things that you want as measurable outputs. Or, as the customer, are you are you winning your fair share? The customer experience that is rendered during the sales experience is very, very important.

We talked about the erosion, the loser’s game on price. You know what? If you’re not providing a differentiated experience from the beginning, then price is going to be the only decision-maker. So, we kind of look at those four areas and so, to your point about where it resides, who has purview, who has knowledge, who has oversight in those four areas that can really drive an impact to the business? Many times, in addition to marketing, we see the CX role really incubating out of customer service as well. So, I think between marketing and customer service, that’s where we see it really residing in most organizations, if it hasn’t been already elevated to a C-suite position.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think you bring up an excellent point, Kurt. I don’t want to turn our Experience This Live segment into an agree-to-disagree between Dan and I, but there are two things that I think are at play here. One of the challenges I personally have with having the chief experience officer or whoever’s in charge of experience report to the head of marketing or the head of customer service or the head of sales, is, to me, we can only be responsible for so many things. When the head of marketing or the head of sales, or even the head of customer service goes into a board meeting or a C-suite meeting with the other executives that are responsible for the different functionalities of the business, I think it’s going to be very difficult to champion marketing and customer experience in the same conversation, because there are times when those two things are in conflict. That’s just the reality.

So, I think having someone who’s solely responsible for that is really key, but, as a segue to why I think it hasn’t adopted thus far, is it’s adding another person to the C-suite. In many ways, to your point, Kurt, this person has at least involvement, if not oversight over sales, over marketing, over operations, over ongoing retention. We can see where it can get involved with things like compliance or finance. I mean, there are multiple aspects of the business that it touches and my gut instinct, I could be wrong, is that many organizations aren’t looking to have another vote at the table, right?

They already feel, when they go into their C-suite meetings that, “Oh, well, I’m in marketing and I’m constantly battling sales for attention or dollars. Or, “The blame is always being cast from customer service back onto marketing and I don’t want to have someone else that can kind of accuse me of not taking care of the customer or not doing my job or my spend or my allocation of resources properly.” So, I think there’s almost like a human condition, philosophical conversation here. If everyone feels like they’re responsible for customer experience, which I imagine, the three of us would agree that everyone plays a role, but if everyone feels like they’re responsible for it, lots of times, it means no one’s actually responsible for it.

Kurt Schroeder: I agree with that, and I think the other caveat that I would make onto that, it also depends on the organization’s DNA and how they grew up. Other words, if it’s an organization that was extremely product-centric from the beginning, then I’m not going to have a C position sitting at the table, because that’s not what we’re known for. So, it takes time. It takes some external disruption to really cause them to think about, “What do we want to be known for in the future and how does customer experience come into play?” The organizations that we see putting a C-level position in charge of customer experience are the organizations who have made the decision, or who have had the original DNA of the organization, based on a customer experience value proposition. They see the importance of it. So, it depends also a little bit on, what is the DNA of the organization? And whether they value that role sitting at the big table.

Dan Gingiss: Well, yeah, and speaking of the DNA, I think one of the things I wanted to chat about, is this idea that the CXO having this purview, this oversight of the entire customer journey, it seems like the role might be put in an uncomfortable position, quite often, of having to tell other people within the organization that their experienced sucks, right? Or that something’s wrong with it, or that we need to fix something. I’m wondering, especially as this role has continued to evolve over time, what’s the best way for it to interact with the rest of the company, so that you don’t have everybody else, I don’t know, worried when the CXO calls them, because it must mean that they’re doing something wrong?

Kurt Schroeder: Yeah, “I’m from the IRS. I’m here to help.”

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: That’s so true. So true.

Kurt Schroeder: We don’t want to create that model. So, what I’ve seen is two models that I think most organizations play into. Bear with the analogy here. So, in a previous life, in a distant galaxy a long, long time ago, I worked for this organization called GE-

Joey Coleman: You folks might have heard of that organization. Yeah, well, once or somewhere along the road, I might’ve heard of them.

Kurt Schroeder: So, I’m a recovering Six Sigma Black Belt. So, I go to meetings and-

Dan Gingiss: Joey’s a recovering lawyer, so this is great.

Joey Coleman: I am, I am. Kurt, first step is admitting you have a problem, I like it.

Kurt Schroeder: That’s exactly right. So, let’s not quit the conversation because I’m bringing Six Sigma into this, but organizations that really adopted Six Sigma strongly, what they did is, they said, “Look, we’re going to have a set of black belts. Everyone is going to be a green belt. Other thing, Six Sigma’s going to be a competency within our organization.” Then, they usually had a senior level position, sometimes at the C-suite as a chief quality officer, who then would permeate that competency in the organization. So, it became a part of the DNA that just said, “Look, this is how we do our process improvement projects and how we continually improve and create efficiency in the organization.”

What I’m suggesting is, that’s not a bad model, as we think about CX. I think, as an example, journey mapping should be a core competency within every function in the organization. If you touch the customer or you’re supporting someone that touches the customer, you should really understand how to do a journey map, what are the inputs to that, because it helps create empathy and empathy is so important in moving towards designing a better future state, a better experience. So, the organizations that we see that are really doing well are looking at this as a core competency, not a function.

They’re looking at the role of the CXO to drive that competency throughout the organization. So, instead of getting the call from the CX person and then, “Well, we want to talk to you about the experience you’re providing.” It actually becomes more permeated through the organization, becomes embedded into their DNA and how they view working with the customer and providing the experience.

Joey Coleman: I feel like that scene from Jerry Maguire. Kurt, you had me at empathy. I totally agree and I love that idea of journey mapping being a core competency, so true. Well, as we had a feeling, leading into this conversation, the three of us could talk for hours and hours about this, but to me, the big takeaway is, if you don’t have a chief experience officer in your organization, you need to get one. You need to have someone who, like Kurt Schroeder, our chief experience officer at Avtex Solution and our guest for our fireside chat conversation today, you need to have somebody who wakes up in the morning and thinks about, “How do we continually improve and deliver the experience for our customers? How do we find more customers, win more customers, keep more customers and do more for those customers?” Think about the experience, every step of the way. Kurt, thanks so much for joining us for the conversation and being part of the Experience This Live.

Kurt Schroeder: Thank you. It was a pleasure being here.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Charity: Water

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

Dan Gingiss: Usually, when we talk about dissecting the experience, it’s a customer experience that we’re referring to. This segment’s going to be a little different, because we’re going to talk about a major nonprofit and the incredible donor experience it provides its supporters. charity: water ‘s mission is to provide fresh, clean drinking water to rural communities throughout the world, that previously did not have access to it. charity: water ‘s founder, the amazing Scott Harrison, not only recognizes this as a critical health and economic crisis, he also set out to literally change how charities work.

Joey Coleman: This is such a great story, Dan. You and I, I know, have been involved in many nonprofits over the years and I know we’ve also both heard Scott speak and we’ve both also specifically contributed to charity: water in the past. As I recall, someone did a little something with charity: water for their birthday this past year, do you remember?

Dan Gingiss: I did and I was proud to raise almost $1,800 for this wonderful organization, but let’s come back to that. Scott Harrison recognized that people generally don’t trust charities, so he did two huge things to combat that. First, he said, and I’m quoting, “I asked people what their objections were and we created a business model that would speak to those objections.” Unquote. Talk about leveraging the voice of the customer. That led to the second piece, which was his goal to ensure that 100% of all donations would go toward building wells throughout the world to provide fresh water. How did he end up covering his overhead? By ingeniously asking wealthy benefactors and celebrities to pay to support the business. He literally set up two bank accounts, one to cover operational expenses and the other to build the wells.

Joey Coleman: This is absolutely brilliant. It removes the trust barrier almost entirely, because people really worry about where their money is going, when they’re donating to nonprofits and charity causes and whether it will actually be spent on the initiative that they think they’re donating towards, as opposed to all the administrative fees. But, Scott didn’t stop there. He went on to partner with Google to display all of the wells that charity: water has built on an interactive map, so that donors can continuously track their water output. His team is also amazing at marketing and tying all of these things together.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, and that’s where I wanted to come back to my birthday. So, charity: water does an amazing job of storytelling, so donors can actually see the impact of their donations. Regular emails detail success stories from around the world. Videos show some of the poorest communities in the world literally seeing fresh water for the first time in their lives and bursting into tears of joy. The videos can be quite emotional, but the organization also came up with the idea of having people donate their birthdays to provide water. That’s exactly what I did last year. I asked my friends and family to donate to charity: water in lieu of getting me a gift for my birthday. 35 people stepped up to donate almost $1,800. Thousands of people aged five to 95 have done this, with some raising only a few dollars and others raising into the six figures.

Joey Coleman: All told, charity: water has raised more than $300 million, thanks to the generosity of more than a million people around the world. This has allowed them to bring clean drinking water to more than 29,000 villages serving more than 8.4 million people. I mean, folks, this is massive scale, but something I’d like to riff on briefly about my experience donating to Dan’s birthday. This was several months ago, and about two weeks ago, I received an email from charity: water saying that the funds had been deployed to the field. Now, the ironic thing, and please don’t take this wrong, Dan, I had donated to a number of causes over the last year. When I first got the email, I was like, “Wait a second, when did I donate to charity: water? Oh, I donated for Dan’s birthday.”

So, it kind of had a double hit, in the sense that it made me feel positive about my donation to charity: water and they said, “Look, here’s where we’re building the wells.” I was able to see exactly the progress they’re making, but it also made me remember my good friend Dan Gingiss and think positively about his birthday. Now, usually, in our very busy lives, the only time we think about somebody’s birthday is right around their birthday, either the day of their birthday or, if it’s somebody who’s really close to you, maybe the week or two weeks before. I thought this was really cool, that it brought me back into connection with my friend and that that reminder was made by the nonprofit that I’d supported.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think that’s great and that’s part of what makes them so good at marketing. I mean, one of the objections that Scott heard from people, in terms of why they didn’t donate to charity, had to do with them not believing that their money actually went to a worthy cause. That people believe that it goes to the overhead or it pays giant salaries of the CEOs, et cetera. So, he’s made it a special mission to make sure that donors get to follow along and see their impact. Not just the impact around the world, but often, depending on what project you donate to, the impact of a specific community that your money has supported. So, I know, Joey, you got an email and I got an email recently about one community in Africa and there’s a story, there’s videos, there’s statistics about the amount of water that’s being pumped. It really gives you this feeling that the money you contributed made a difference. I think that is is absolutely huge.

Joey Coleman: It also doesn’t feel like the typical nonprofit output report. So often, when I’ve been involved in nonprofits in the past, when they share how your dollars have gone to work, what it ends up being is something that, it just reads really dry. It doesn’t read as being nearly as compelling as the ask was. As we mentioned earlier, charity: water’s team is filled with some brilliant marketers and they have a great design aesthetic. So, when I got this email, I remember very specifically stopping and reading the email and clicking through to the links to watch the video and being reminded that, “Oh, this was a small contribution on my part, that is having an enormous impact on the other side of the world, with this village that now has a well that previously had no access to clean drinking water.”

Dan Gingiss: So, you may be asking, “What does this have to do with my business?” I think the applicable takeaway here is to listen to your potential customer base, ask them what they like and don’t like, so you can, as Scott said, build a business model based on those objections. Then, keep communicating with customers, to let them know about their or your progress. This could be on a project that you’re working on together, if it’s a B2B arrangement or the status of their order, if you are a retailer. Please, if you are able, consider going to charitywater.org and supporting this incredibly worthy cause.

START THE CONVERSATION

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; the actual cost of poor customer experiences. It’s common knowledge that poor customer experiences can cost businesses financially, both in terms of lost customers and prospects, as well as in the loss of repeat transactions. Poor customer experiences can cost a business far beyond the dollars and cents however. They can also lead to a damaged reputation, unhappy employees and staffing challenges, and the inability to effectively launch new products. Certainly, the monetary costs of poor experiences is a driving force for many leaders, but these other factors are just as important, as they can lead to a cascading financial impact.

Joey Coleman: In order to gauge the impact of poor customer experiences, organizations need to pay attention to online reviews, customer retention rates, repeat purchase trends and social media conversations.

Dan Gingiss: I would add to that, that they need to pay attention to the news media and the coverage thereof, and also the importance of responding in a crisis. I’ve written about this quite a bit, that when a crisis is happening, one of the things that people are seeking the most is information. They want their fears to be relieved, they want to understand that you have the situation under control. Too often, companies in the middle of a crisis burrow themselves in their office and hide out, hoping the crisis goes away, rather than coming out in public and confronting it, which I think is a really big mistake.

Joey Coleman: Now, for this week’s question about the actual cost of poor customer experiences. How much are poor customer experiences impacting our bottom line? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex, at experienceconversations.com. That’s the website experienceconversations.com … 

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: “Banksgiving”

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

Dan Gingiss: I found this amazing story about Ally Bank that is almost a year old, but I purposely waited to share it in this episode. Nearly every customer service call ends with the same question, or some variation. “Is there anything else I can do to help you today?” Ally decided to find out what would happen if they actually granted whatever requests the customer said next, after that question. According to a story on its website, Ally says that, and I quote, “On a day we dubbed Banksgiving, we gave thanks to our customers by fully delivering on that basic question and surprising unsuspecting customers with whatever they needed.” Unquote. Now, do you see why I waited until this episode?

Joey Coleman: Uh-huh (affirmative) very sneaky, Dan, because it ’tis the season for giving thanks. I heard about this story too and I agreed that it is absolutely awesome. So, on Banksgiving, customer service agents surprised unsuspecting customers who had called in, by asking that standard question and then actually fulfilling the results. There were simple needs, like help with fall yard cleanup and a holiday visit to see the family and larger requests that could touch the lives of many, many people. They granted wishes big and small, from $25 gift cards to $55,000 to help a customer who helps others.

Dan Gingiss: There’s a terrific video that Ally put together that we will share in the show notes, at www.experiencethisshow.com, but I think this story is really great for two reasons. It’s a great example of a true surprise and delight moment for Ally’s customers, it’s also, though, a fun and empowering activity for Ally’s customer service agents. I think that when you’re able to do good things for both sides of the equation, both sides end up winning. When you have empowered agents that are able and allowed to help customers, and in this particular case, really provide a surprise and delight moment, it makes their job more fun, which makes them happier and makes them appear happier to customers. Of course, the customers got a real surprise, because they answered a question that is usually a rhetorical question, and in this particular case, it turned out to be real.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, when I was a kid, one of the lessons that I remember my dad really trying to instill in us, was that you need to remember that people love helping other people. That it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to ask for things. That’s what came up for me when we were talking about this story. I remember years ago, it used to be when you flew, you went to the airport, they printed out your ticket and they assigned your seat when you were checking in your luggage. There weren’t apps, you didn’t log in online. I realize I’m dating myself here a little, folks, but one of the things I adopted early on when I was traveling a lot is, when they asked me whether I would want a window seat or an aisle seat, I would always say, “I’d love an aisle seat in first class, if it’s available.”

The agent would kind of look up, realize what I had just asked, because it caught them off guard, I’m on a coach ticket, I’m asking for a first class seat. I kid you not, 80% of the time, they would smile and print out the first class seat. Now, that wouldn’t happen today, most likely, but the point I’m making is, when we give our employees the opportunity to exercise their own discretion for what type of things they reward and when they reward them, that’s how you create a culture of customer experience.

I also love the fact that in this story, Ally Bank, I mean, let’s be candid, banks aren’t notorious for giving away money. They’re not notorious for giving away prizes, or if they do, they’re usually, “Hey, everybody who opens a checking account gets a free toaster.” You know? It’s a kind of standard for everyone, as opposed to personalized. As we’ve talked about before, the personalization of the gift turns it into a surprise and delight moment that the customer will talk about. I know the customers that received these type of gifts from Ally Bank talked about it on social media. They talked about it in irregular media, this actually became a story because of the generosity of the bank.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I think there’s also a learning on the other side, which is for the customer. I’m going to quote my dad here, who loves to say, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” I think that’s sort of the summary of the story with you and the first class tickets. In this particular case, what I think is so interesting, is that the customers actually did have to ask for something. I mean, most of the time, when someone says, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” It’s like, “No thanks. Have a great day.” Somehow, they elicited from customers, “No, really, is there anything else I can do for you today?” My guess is that this one guy said, “Well, I could really use $55,000, to help the soup kitchen that I run.” Then, the agent says, “Okay, done.” The guy had to have fallen out of his chair.

Joey Coleman: Right, right. Well, and probably didn’t believe it in the beginning. Was like, “Yeah, yeah. Right, sure.” Almost, the trust would run the other way then, right? Because the perception is, “Well, if you say you’re going to do it, are you really going to do it?” And then, when they did, I imagine it was magical.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, but this whole idea of, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” Is important, because sometimes, when you do find an employee of a company who is empowered and who is sort of willing to play ball with you, you can get a lot, as long as you’re willing to ask for it. Some people are too sheepish to even ask for it.

Joey Coleman: I also love that we’ve now had the chance to reference both of our dads and the things they used to say when we were growing up.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: So, good job, dads.

Dan Gingiss: Thank you, dads. Yep. So, the takeaway here is that not every company has the budget to do something like this, but you can still surprise and delight your customers or clients in meaningful ways, without breaking the bank. Happy Thanksgiving to all of our North American listeners, we give thanks for you.

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. 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 80: Using Unexpected Gifts to Create Lifelong Loyalty

Join us as we discuss how past experiences can trigger current emotions, how creative play can produce qualified employment candidates, and how strategic appreciation can keep your customers coming back for more. 

Gift Giving, Code Breaking, and Artifact Creating – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] A Personalized Gift can Make a Lasting Impact

A few months ago, Joey was on a podcast with Ben Oosterveld, where Joey spoke about his book, Never Lose a Customer Again, and creating remarkable customer experiences. During the podcast, Ben asked Joey to tell him about something that made Joey nostalgic about his childhood.

Joey shared a story about how he loved G.I. Joe action figures when he was a child. Each action figure came with a “dossier card” and children were encouraged to clip and save these cards for their “G.I. Joe Command Files.” Joey collected the cards and in doing so, noticed that while each of the fictional characters hailed from a different place – none came from Iowa – let alone the small town of Fort Dodge, Iowa where Joey lived.

So, Joey (being Joey) decided to write the company (yep – he was about eleven years old at the time) and ask them to consider including a character from his hometown.

Joey never heard back from the toy company, but approximately two years later, a new G.I. Joe action figure was released named Crazy Legs. And wouldn’t you know it, Crazy Legs was from Fort Dodge, Iowa!

In many ways, Joey’s story made for a nice, nostalgic trip down memory lane. But what happened next was the reason for a segment on the Experience This! Show.

Several weeks after being a guest on the podcast, a package arrived in the mail from Ben Oosterveld. In the box was a mint-condition, Crazy Legs G.I. Joe action figure! Ben included a personal note apologizing for the delay in properly thanking Joey for being on the show but that it had taken a while to track down this 30+ year old action figure.

Sending a gift long after the interaction is not a wasted gift. Personalizing your gifts by listening to your clients’ stories and learning about their interests, can turn an average gift into something remarkable – creating a personal and emotional connection in the process.

When considering gifts for your customers/clients, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Unexpected gifts are the very best gifts.
  2. The more personalized the gift, the better.
  3. Listen for the “golden nuggets falling from the sky” (a phrase Joey’s dad use to use all the time) when a customer shares an unexpected tidbit that you can reference later.
  4. Nostalgia works even better with each passing year!

[CX Press] Recruiting New Employees Using Strategic Partnerships

According to Wikipedia, an escape room (also known as an escape game) is “a game in which a team of players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles, and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time. The goal is often to escape from the site of the game.”

Craig Lord recently wrote a story in the Ottawa Business Journal titled, “Solving Escape Manor’s new room could land you a job as a Canadian codebreaker.” The article focuses on an Ottawa-based business called Escape Manor and their new cybersecurity-focused experience. The Escape Room partnered with the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) – a federal agency in Canada that houses the Canadian government’s top codebreakers (basically, it’s the Canadian version of the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA)). CSE had discovered that many of their employees loved escape rooms. They realized that this common interest could be useful to their employment staffing efforts and as a result, the partnered with Escape Manor to design an escape room called “The Recruit.”

If participants successfully “escape” the room, they are given the opportunity to complete another puzzle. If they succeed at completing that puzzle, the participants are given the chance to voluntarily leave their information for the CSE – and potential earn themselves a job interview!

How can this example be applied to your own organization and your employee recruitment and retention efforts? Explore what your current employees are interested in and then work to create partnerships that are in alignment with your existing employees’ interests. Chances are good that if your top employees have a specific interest, your top candidates will probably share a similar interest. For example, if many of your star team members love adventure sports like rock climbing, consider partnering with a local rock climbing club to get your brand in front of prospective candidates.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Utilizing CRM to Increase Your Customer Experience

Using your CRM (Customer Relationship Management software) as a customer experience tool can allow you to drive your customer experience transformation. Most companies aren’t fully utilizing the capabilities of their CRM. Sometimes, the data in CRM isn’t as accurate as it could be. The other problem with CRMs is that often, different departments have different access to each customer’s data, which prevents the full picture of the customer from being relayed uniformly across the organization.

Here are three ways that CX leaders can use a CRM to improve customer experiences.

  1. Make it Easy for Customers to Do Business with You – Use customer data within the CRM to map journeys and eliminate pain points. Personalize experiences based on data to streamline interactions.
  2. Use Customer Data to Continually Improve Experiences – Gather and use customer feedback and track engagement trends. Consider where and when customers are interacting with you the most and then enhance those interactions.
  3. Use Customer Data to Look for New Ways to Foster Loyalty

Start the conversation with this question: What are the specific ways we are using our customer resource management tool to enhance the experience with our customers?

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

[Book Report] Create an Artifact from the Gifts You Give

Many companies give gifts to their customers, but few do it well. When it comes to “strategic appreciation” – the act of letting your top clients know how much you really value them – the best book written on the topic is Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention by a great friend of the show, John Ruhlin. John doesn’t recommend the exact gifts to give, but rather he teaches the strategies and techniques to discover the right gifts for your clients.

The first gift Joey ever received from John Ruhlin left an indelible impression. John sent Joey and his family a beautiful, personalized set of knives and a companion knife block to store them. The knives have Joey and his wife’s name on them – as opposed to John’s name or the name of his company (The Ruhlin Group). The knives are “touched” twice a day – once when Joey’s wife prepares dinner, and once when Joey does the dishes. Each time Joey does the dishes he thinks fondly of John and his thoughtful gift.

Instead of gifting your clients with something that will register as a blip on the radar, choose an item that will serve as the artifact of your relationship, something that becomes woven into the very fabric of their lives.

John Ruhlin, author of Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Client Retention

When you give one of your client’s a quality gift, you don’t need to put your name on it. Your clients will remember you every time they see/use the gift because it was personal and meaningful. To apply the principles of strategic appreciation in your business, we recommend taking these two steps:

  1. Purchase and Read Giftology so you can learn the art of gifting!
  2. Reach out to John directly on his website, or if you prefer, leave us a voice message on the “Contact” page here at Experience This! and we’ll make a personal introduction.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 80 here or read it below:

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

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. So, hold on to your headphones, it’s time to Experience This.

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

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss how past experiences can trigger current emotions, how creative play can produce qualified employment candidates, and how strategic appreciation can keep your customers coming back for more.

Dan Gingiss: Gift-giving, code breaking and artifact creating, oh my.

THIS JUST HAPPENED: Crazy Legs Podcast Gift

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

I received a package the other day in the mail that to be honest, took my breath away.

Dan Gingiss: Really? I’m intrigued. What was it, Joey?

Joey Coleman: Well, I’m happy to tell you Dan, but first I need to share some backstory. A few months ago, I recorded a podcast with my friend Ben Oosterveld. He has a show called, From Within and it was a fun conversation about my book, Never Lose A Customer Again, and the power of creating remarkable customer experiences at every step of the customer journey.

So that you have more context, we’ll link to it in the show notes that experiencethisshow.com, if you’re interested in checking it out. During our conversation, Ben asked me a series of rapid fire questions, one of which was, what is something you’re nostalgic about from when you were a kid, a toy, a video game, et cetera? I told him about something that happened to me when I was about nine or 10 years old.

I loved GI Joe figures and back in the day, the packaging for GI Joe characters included a dossier card on the back that detailed some key facts and stories about these fictional characters. I loved cutting these cards off the back of the packages and keeping them. I would read them, I would review them when I was putting together teams of characters for special missions, it was great.

And after I’d been collecting for a while, I realized that there were no GI Joe characters from my home state of Iowa, let alone my hometown of Fort Dodge. And what could be seen as an early indicator of my, let’s see if we can just fix this problem, I decided to write a letter to Hasbro, the company that made GI Joe figures, to ask if they would consider making a GI Joe character from Iowa.

I never heard back from the company, but about a year later, a new GI Joe character was released named, Crazy Legs. And not only was he from Iowa, he was from Fort Dodge, Iowa. Now I don’t know if my letter influenced the toy makers at Hasbro. But what I do know is that as a kid, this quickly became one of my favorite characters.

So the other day I received a package and when I opened it, I found a mint condition, still in the box, Crazy Legs action figure with the dossier on the back that said he was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa. I kid you not, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

In the package was a note from Ben thanking me for being on his show and apologizing that it had taken him a while to thank me because it took him some time to track down the character on eBay, but that he hoped I would appreciate it.

Dan Gingiss: Wow. I have goosebumps listening to that story.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t that amazing?

Dan Gingiss: I was not a GI Joe fan as a kid, but I love that there is a GI Joey character from Fort Dodge, Iowa, named Crazy Legs. And I think that’s now going to be my new nickname for you.

Joey Coleman: There you go. Nice. Well, it’s interesting because my experience with receiving this Crazy Legs action figure from Ben, got me thinking about the key characteristics of good gifting in either a business or a personal setting. And I wanted to share some of those things that I’ve learned along the way with our listeners, especially as people start to think about end of year gifts for their clients and colleagues.

Number one, unexpected gifts are the best gifts. Many businesses talk about creating surprise and delight moments for their customers. The first word in that phrase is the key word, surprise. The fact that Ben’s package actually came six months after I had recorded his show, was better than had it come almost immediately.

I personally don’t think it’s ever too late to send a gift or a thank you and if the recipient is surprised to receive it, you’ve actually created a great emotional reaction.

Dan Gingiss: I definitely agree and I often say that surprise and delight is not a strategy. It has to be something that comes naturally because the harder you try to do it, the less personalized it becomes. And so I think what was great about this is that it was absolutely a surprise.

The six months thing certainly helped. And clearly he knew this, it was going to be something that was also a delight. But it’s not something that’s repeatable or scalable for him because his other customers or his other podcast guests are probably not GI Joe fans.

Joey Coleman: Agreed. Or they may be GI Joe fans, but they’re not necessarily Crazy Leg fans. So you’re right, that the personalization really is key. Which brings me to my second point, Dan. Thanks for that segue. The more personalized, the better.

Anyone can send a gift, but the more personal the gift, the happier the recipient. Now I know you mentioned you weren’t a GI Joe fan as a kid, Dan. What did you play? What was your toy, did you [crosstalk 00:06:18], like go to guy?

Dan Gingiss: Actually, I’m thinking here because now I want to go on this guy’s podcast because what I loved as a kid were pinball machines. So maybe I could get one of those.

Joey Coleman: Six months later, Dan gets, a freight truck pulls up to his house with a pinball machine. No, I hear you. You know, what’s interesting to me is how Ben pulled this story out of me that I hadn’t thought about in many years and then he acted on it.

Now this actually brings me to the third secret of quality gift-giving. Listen for the golden nuggets to fall from the sky, and I must confess, I borrowed that phrase from my dad. My dad would sit in the courtroom, he was a criminal defense lawyer and he would listen intently for the golden nuggets that might fall from the sky.

What I mean by that is the things that would be said by a witness or an expert or a police officer on the stand that he could catch, latch onto and make a central part of his argument before the jury, as to why they should find his client not guilty.

Now in the corporate world, this technique is not that different. We need to actively listen during our conversations to identify the interest and the hobbies and the personal likes and dislikes and desires and basically anything that is hyper personal about the person we’re speaking with, whether that’s a customer, an employee, a colleague, a vendor. We can then use that insight to identify personalized gifts and opportunities to surprise them.

Dan Gingiss: I think one of the companies that does this the best is a company that we’ve talked about several times on the podcast and I love to talk about onstage because it gets the best reaction of any company, which is chewy.com.

And in fact, true story, Joey and I were together yesterday and in the car I got a phone call from a really good friend of mine who recently had his dog die and he called to cancel his order for dog food. And the next day he and his wife got flowers in the mail from Chewy and were absolutely stunned.

And so it’s very similar in the sense that that was their golden nugget falling from the sky, is they heard that one of their customers had had this negative experience. And they acted on it.

Joey Coleman: So true, so true. So the gifts don’t necessarily have to come as a moment of delight. They can come as a moment of sorrow, but the key is to make them personalized. The final thing I’d like to note is that nostalgia works even better with each passing year.

I know that sounds a little silly, but by definition, nostalgia refers to a sentimental longing or a wistful affection for things from the past. What I found over time is that as I get older, the things that tie me back to my childhood, where I grew up, the old toys I played with, the games I played, the hobbies I had produced an even stronger emotional reaction for me.

So what can we learn from this story of an unexpected thank you gift for being a guest on a podcast? Why I think we can learn a few things. Number one, unexpected gifts are the very best gifts. Number two, the more personalized the better. Number three, don’t forget to listen for the golden nuggets to fall from the sky. And number four, nostalgia works even better with each passing year.

One final thought if I may. During that series of rapid fire questions on his From within podcast, Ben asked me, “What’s the best physical gift you’ve ever received?” Well, let’s just say that Ben’s gift of a vintage Crazy Legs, GI Joe figure just rocketed into the top three physical gifts I’ve ever received from anyone on any occasion. Thanks Ben. It meant the world to me.

CX PRESS – Recruits from the Escape Room

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

Okay Dan, this is a bit of a random question, but you’re used to it by now. Have you ever been to an escape room?

Dan Gingiss: I have not, but my kids have been pestering me to go and I really do want to try it out.

Joey Coleman: Oh man, you definitely need to go and I think you might even want to go more after you hear this story. So first of all, in case some of our listeners haven’t been to an escape room or aren’t familiar with that phrase. According to Wikipedia, an escape room is a game in which a team of players cooperatively discover clues, solve puzzles and accomplish tasks in one or more rooms in order to progress and accomplish a specific goal in a limited amount of time.

The goal is often to escape from the room in which the game is being played. Craig Lorde recently wrote a story in the Ottawa Business Journal, titled, Solving Escape Manner’s new room could land you a job as a Canadian codebreaker.

The story is all about an Ottawa based business called Escape Manner and their new cybersecurity focused experience. The escape room partnered with the Communications Security Establishment or CSE, which is a federal agency in Canada that houses the Canadian government’s top code breakers.

Basically, it’s the Canadian version of the United States NSA, National Security Agency. Working with the CSE, the Escape Manor designed a new room called, The Recruit. In this game, participants will pretend to be a CSE freshman going through orientation when disaster strikes. As is usually the case in an escape room, the group will have to rely on quick thinking to solve the puzzles and save the day before it’s too late.

Dan Gingiss: It sounds amazing. Kind of sounds like Jack Bauer in an episode of 24.

Joey Coleman: Totally and it happens in a room. So because you mentioned you haven’t been, lots of times if you’re going to escape room, instead of like going out to a bar for the night or a restaurant, you get a couple of friends and you go to the escape room and it often takes anywhere from half an hour to two hours. You’re against a time limit, you’re solving clues, you’re having fun, you get to see which of your friends are smarter or clever than the others and you have a good time.

But what’s particularly interesting to me about the partnership between Escape Manor and the CSE is that CSE’s technical experts actually provided input on the puzzles and codes and the videos and imagery used in the game were filmed at CSE’s Ottawa headquarters. So this adds an incredible level of realism to the overall experience.

Dan Gingiss: As it turns out, the idea to collaborate on a cybersecurity and espionage themed escape room came up when CSEs marketing team was looking for new ways to spread the word about the agency’s work processing foreign signal intelligence and protecting Canadian computer networks.

Interestingly enough, as an agency that employs professional code breakers, CSE already had a lot of escape room fans among its staff. As such, the hope is that fans of escape rooms will potentially be good candidates for employment with CSE.

Joey Coleman: I absolutely love this idea and having worked in the intelligence community myself, I can honestly say that this sort of government/corporate partnership is something more countries should be considering.

In a world where cybersecurity is becoming more vital every day, finding creative and engaging ways to recruit new code breakers is something every intelligence agency on the planet is thinking about.

In addition, more and more corporations are bringing cybersecurity teams in house, so in the future, the need for these types of team members is only going to increase. But to be honest, this isn’t an entirely new idea.

Back in 1942 during the second world war, the British government worked with The Daily Telegraph to develop a very difficult crossword puzzle. Those who successfully solved it were encouraged to share their victory and later, at least as the story goes, some of these people were drafted by the war office to help break German codes.

Dan Gingiss: What the escape room is going to do to help CSE identify candidates isn’t that different than what was done back in World War II. If a group successfully completes the recruit game, they’ll be given the chance to do a bonus cryptographic puzzle.

If a player solves that puzzle, they will have the opportunity to voluntarily leave their contact information with the folks at Escape Manor, who will then pass it on to CSE. If a recruitment officer feels a candidate could be a good fit, they’ll reach out to discuss opportunities with the agency.

Joey Coleman: So how can you apply this kind of thinking to your organization? When it comes to recruiting new employees, consider the types of things your current employees like to do and then explore creative partnerships in a similar space. If your startup is filled with hard charging, type-A personalities who like to do adventure sports, you may want to partner with your local skydiving or mountain biking groups to find new candidates for employment.

If your business thrives based on a group of employees that are book club members after hours, you may want to offer to spend some of your marketing dollars to bring authors into your local community and then invite local book clubs to attend the event. Folks, you’re only limited by your own imagination. Who knows? Your next great hire could be hiding very close by.

START THE CONVERSATION – AVTEX

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 CRM as a customer experience tool. Many organizations utilize CRM or customer relationship management systems to track relationships with customers and prospects.

But a CRM isn’t just a tracking tool. It’s also a customer experience tool. If you aren’t using a CRM and the data captured within it to drive your customer experience transformation, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to deliver better customer experiences.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three ways that CX leaders can use a CRM to improve customer experiences. One, make it easy for customers to do business with you. Use customer data within the CRM to map journeys and eliminate pain points and personalize experiences based on data to streamline interactions.

Two, use customer data to continually improve experiences. Gather and use customer feedback and track engagement trends, where and when customers are interacting with you the most. Three, use customer data to look for new ways to foster loyalty.

Joey Coleman: Now, what’s really interesting is when we think about CRM at most companies, especially big companies, two major problems emerge. Number one, not everyone is using the CRM, so it’s difficult to get the salespeople to put in data about prospects that people are actually serving the customers aren’t necessarily recording every interaction. And so the data that’s in the CRM isn’t always as accurate as it could or should be.

Secondly, there’s a huge problem in many organizations that the CRM for an individual customer or the data on an individual customer can only be accessed by certain departments. This blows my mind that a company would have different CRM software tools for different departments, but it happens all the time.

You need to have a unified approach. You need to have all the data about your prospects and your customers stored in one place that is accessible by everyone in your organization, not only for them to add to it as they learn new things and catch those little golden nuggets that may drop from the sky. But also to make sure that when they do interact with a customer, they are referencing the most up to date customer interactions recorded in the CRM.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about CRM as a customer experience tool, what are the specific ways we are using our customer resource management tool to enhance the experience with our customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with our friends at Avtex by going to experienceconversations.com. Again, that website is experienceconversations.com.

BOOK REPORT: Giftology by John Ruhlin

Joey Coleman: 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: I know we spoke about gifting earlier on in the show and it’s something that we both speak about regularly in our keynotes and workshops, but I think it would be in service to our listeners if we took some time to dive deep into this practice of giving gifts in a corporate setting.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, I wholeheartedly agree and this is a topic that comes up a lot, so I couldn’t think of a better way to discuss this than to do a book review of the best book I’ve come across on the topic of corporate gifting. In fact, it takes gifting beyond the usual behaviors and elevates it to strategic appreciation.

Now the book I’m speaking about is by my good friend, gifting expert, speaker and writer John Ruhlin. His book is titled Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals and Strengthen Client Retention.

It’s a quick read. To be honest, the first time I read it was cover a cover on a flight and it’s full of fantastic advice and examples for how to think differently about your business gifting activities.

Dan Gingiss: Let’s let John explain in his own words what his book Giftology is all about.

John Ruhlin: Most business leaders agree that relationships have been, are and always will be the most important asset they have for their professional careers in growing their businesses. However, most business owners don’t properly utilize the most simple, oldest and most powerful tool in their relationship building arsenal, the gift.

Giftology is this study of growing relationships through strategic gift giving. It is the science behind who to gift, when to gift, how to gift and the tried and true ROI driving method of what to gift. This is not a book about what gifts to buy. This is a book about what types of gifts create the most emotional impact, that get talked about the most and that when delivered with the right attitude, presentation and timing, win. over the entire inner circle, including assistance, family members and spouses.

Why is it important to get the inner circle on your side? Because five words about you from them, means more than 5,000 words from you about you. Giftology is the study of winning hearts, cutting through the noise and creating unbelievable experiences. Gifting is a business leader’s most powerful form of marketing for increasing referrals and cross selling and upselling opportunities.

And it is the marketing that up until now, has been the most poorly executed and vastly under utilized. If you’re a business leader who believes in generosity but doesn’t want to come across as [bribey 00:00:44] or back scratchy or quid pro quo, follow the methods of Giftology and watch as your ever deepening relationships, open doors and grant you access you never thought possible.

Joey Coleman: I love that. John is so right. Gifting is both an art and a science and it’s something that most businesses are giving little to no thought to. And I must confess, I’ve received some amazing gifts in the past and I think I’ve given some pretty great gifts too, but I am by no means as consistent about it as I could or should be.

Dan Gingiss: You know, I often bring up something that you mentioned in your book, because I see it so often, is that companies are giving branded or [logoed 00:00:44] items to their customers thinking that, that’s a gift.

And I seem to remember, I think it was you that said, or perhaps you were quoting John, that when you give somebody a branded item also known as swag, that that isn’t a gift, it’s marketing.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely.

Dan Gingiss: And that that’s a big difference.

Joey Coleman: It’s a gift for you. It’s a gift for your business to have them market. It’s not a gift for the recipient.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And so one of the passages that I loved in the book addresses this mistake directly. It says, and I’m quoting, “You would never go to someone’s wedding and give them a crystal vase from Tiffany and Company engraved with your name on it. So why would you give a corporate gift with your company name on it? Is it a promotion or a gift?”

This goes back to the idea of making sure something is personalized and not just branded. If it’s something all about them, it’s a gift. If it’s brand focused and all about you, with your colors, your logo, what you love, it’s a promotion.

Joey Coleman: You know, Dan, you’re right. This is something I talk about with clients and on stage all the time. Most companies are fooling themselves, that they’re gifting their customers. When in reality, they’re sending promotions to their customers. And if any of the listeners doubt the validity of this statement, I’d like you to imagine this scenario.

It’s Christmas morning or one of the nights of Hanukkah or your birthday and you receive a package from your grandmother. You open it up to find a sweater with her name on it. Now, you love your Nana and it was kind of her to get something for you, but you are not going to wear that sweater.

The same holds true for your customers. If you’re sending them apparel and swag that has your logo and marketing messages all over it, it’s not a gift. Stop it. Stop kidding yourself. Stop the behavior. It’s okay to send that stuff, but acknowledged that it’s a promotion.

As John noted in the passage that Dan has shared,. if it’s something all about them, it’s a gift. Now, speaking of favorite passages from the book, to be honest, I have dozens, but the one I want to share is this, “Instead of gifting your clients with something that will register as a blip on the radar, choose an item that will serve as the artifact of your relationship, something that becomes woven into the very fabric of their lives.”

Dan Gingiss: Wow. An artifact of your relationship, I definitely like the way John phrased that

Joey Coleman: I do as well, Dan, and you know, just the language he uses. Doesn’t that raise the bar when we think about gifting, instead of giving a gift, giving an artifact. It’s interesting, the first gift I ever received from John was indeed an artifact.

I had met him at an event, we had hit it off. We have similar messages and similar audiences. And a few days after I arrived back home, I received in the mail a custom engraved knife set for our kitchen. Now, these were beautiful Cutco butcher knives and a butcher block for them to go into. And the knives were all engraved with a message that said handcrafted exclusively for the Joey and Barrett-Coleman family.

Now, here’s the crazy thing. This gift is prominently displayed in our kitchen and it receives two touches every night. My wife uses the knives to prepare the meal and I clean and wash the knives every night after dinner. It’s truly become an artifact that serves as a reminder of my relationship with John and it’s been woven into the fabric of our day to day lives.

Dan Gingiss: I love it, but I’m sure that some of our listeners may be wondering how they can afford these types of gifts. How should they be thinking about their gifting budget?

Joey Coleman: Well, I’ve certainly wondered the same thing in the past, Dan. And I think it would actually be best if we turn to the author of Giftology, John Ruhlin, as he shares his thoughts on this specific question of how much to spend.

John Ruhlin: How much should I give is the number one question I am asked regarding Giftology. Gifting should be a part of your overall marketing and Biz Dev efforts. It should be something you actively budget for. If you do not have yet a budget, rely on the handwritten note, as we’ve talked about before.

But when you are able to invest money into gifting strategies, what you choose should be comparable to what it would cost for a nice dinner out with wine, great tickets to a ball game or a round a golf at an upscale club, an amount that typically falls somewhere between $100 and maybe $2,000 at the most.

Essentially, you’re gifting budget to retain and maintain clients should always fall somewhere between 2% and 10% of your current net profits or it should be a 20% redirect of your current marketing efforts overall.

Again, always ask yourself, what’s the most that I could do? Since it’s not uncommon for us to ask ourselves, what’s the least I can do without looking cheap, reprogramming your mindset might require some effort. Be honest. How many times have you been invited to a wedding or high school graduation and the first thing that comes into your mind is, do I really have to spend $250 or can I get away with $150?

Our natural tendency is to cut corners and go with the bare minimum. Most gifting strategies don’t work well because those implementing them are not willing to go out on a limb. They want the safe bets done as economically as possible. As a result, they typically reap few benefits. Remember that slow and steady wins the race. Be patient, invest in strategic gifting with a longterm view of the future as you would with a growth stock or asset allocation.

Over time, your investment will naturally compound. I always tell my clients, “If you’re not willing to commit to three years of hiring our outsource gifting agency, then I’m not going to guarantee any of the results.” You would never take a potential client out to dinner and demand their business before they’ve even opened the menu.

Giftology is a slow build, encouraging the relationship to develop over time. It’s an ongoing process. Again, it’s all about minimizing risk. People need to see what your true intentions are, that they’re genuine with no strings attached. Over time, you’ll tip the scales in your favor.

Don’t get me wrong, there are instances when you’ll see short term results, especially when you’re prospecting. But even when you invest a significant chunk of money to get someone’s attention, that’s what you’re getting, his or her attention. You’re not getting his or her loyalty or business. Not yet.

Joey Coleman: If you want to get someone’s attention and their loyalty or their business, you need to up your gifting game. There are two great ways to do that. Number one, go purchase and read John’s book, Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals and Strengthen Client Retention.

You can find it on Amazon or wherever you buy your books and we’ll link to it in the show notes at experiencethisshow.com. Secondly, you can reach out to John directly via his website, giftologyplan.com that’s Giftology, G-I-F-T-O-L-O-G-Y, plan, P-L-A-N, .com.

Or if you prefer, go to experiencethisshow.com and leave us a voice message on our contact page and we’ll make a personal introduction. John and his team are incredibly skilled at helping you maximize the impact of your gifting budget by finding personal and meaningful gifts that your clients will see as an artifact of your relationship.

Please don’t waste another dollar on an impersonal gift card or an everyone gets the same fruit basket, annual gift to your customers. Start practicing Giftology and get ready to take your customer experience to the next level.

Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience this.

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

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

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

Episode 79: Customers Like to Share Their Remarkable Experiences

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

Sharing, Shaving, and Singing – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LISTENER STORIES: One Question on Facebook

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: It warms my heart.

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

Joey Coleman: Perfect.

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: That one stunned me by the way.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, weeks ago.

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

Joey Coleman: A single item.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. Fantastic.

Joey Coleman: Impressive.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, lucky-

Dan Gingiss: Dan, yes.

Joey Coleman: … Oh, what a great gig.

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Great B2B example also. .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGREE TO DISAGREE: Subscription Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Of course you are.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: It is pretty shiny.

Joey Coleman: It is shiny.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: No really, the dive bar one?

Dan Gingiss: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

START THE CONVERSATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Improv Singing!

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

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

Harold P.: (Singing).

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: I was not in the elevator.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Singing).

Dan Gingiss: (Singing).

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

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

Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to 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 78: Using Artificial Intelligence to Support Your Customers

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

Intervening, Introspection, and Interacting – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

Skylar Place, Chief Behavioral Scientist at Cogito

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things We Can’t Stand:

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

Things We Love:

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Turn now, Dan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh, wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Congratulations Joey.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh, come on.

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

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

Joey Coleman: I know, right?

Dan Gingiss: I’m absolutely disgusted right now.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Good. I want to go first.

Joey Coleman: All right?

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: It’s bad.

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

Dan Gingiss: I kind of like that sound.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh, you like it?

Dan Gingiss: Only when I’m playing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: True.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Agreed. 100%

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

Joey Coleman: 100%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience-

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 77 : Using Customization To Create Lifelong Loyalty

Join us as we discuss: The easiest return ever, a personalized image strategy, and how to dig deep into your personal space and share it with the world.

Cooks, Photographers, and Ditchers – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] How to Turn a Negative Experience into a Lifelong Customer

Many people look forward to Amazon Prime Day, scouting for goods that have been placed on a wishlist and then getting ready to finally purchase the coveted item. After eagerly anticipating Prime Day, Dan purchased some new pots and pans, waited for them to arrive, and finally received them – only to discover that one of the pots had a shattered lid.

First, he tried to call the manufacturer to return the set. Sadly, Dan couldn’t find the name of the company anywhere! Next, he called Amazon. When even Amazon couldn’t find the manufacturer of the set, without hesitation they accepted responsibility for the shattered lid and refunded the purchase price. No questions asked, no receipt necessary.!

It was incredible because she literally turned me, in a few moments, from being kind of irritated at this purchase, to once again believing that they [Amazon] are the greatest company on this planet.

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

When you give your customer the benefit of the doubt (like Amazon did with Dan) you not only honor their investment in doing business with your company, but you quickly neutralize a potentially negative experience. Sometimes, treating a customer this way can actually convert them from disgruntled purchaser to lifelong advocate.

Instead of focusing on the lost dollars that stem from one negative experience, consider the lifetime value of the customer and how taking the time to treat them right early on has the potential to build a long term customer relationship. When you treat your customers as friends, the benefits of that relationship will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

[Dissecting the Experience] Customizing and Personalizing Imagery To Create Connection

While scrolling through his Twitter feed, Dan, came across a fascinating thread/story shared by Rex Sorgatz. Rex logged into his Chase Bank account one day and was greeted by a picture of his neighborhood on the screen. Upon further investigation, Rex discovered that Chase actually commissioned photographers to take images in the 39 states where they have customers. The photographers captured images for each specific zip codes – including both day and night versions. To see this in action, visit the Chase website here. By changing the zip code and “day” or “night” tag, you can view a variety of custom images.

Interestingly enough, the images Chase uses aren’t the famous, iconic images one could expect to see on a large bank’s website. Instead, Chase opted to include images from local neighborhoods, small parks, and even a train. The images were curated to create a sense of belonging, connection, and personalization that a client would find surprising and engaging for their online bank account.

During his research, Rex discovered a few guidelines the bank used when sourcing and creating the images:

By creating these personalized and customized images, Chase managed to make their clients feel more connected – building trust and familiarity in what could have been an otherwise very cold and impersonal experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Gauging CX Effectiveness: KPIs that Matter

When attempting to gauge the effectiveness of a CX program, some leaders tend to focus on specific metrics, including sales numbers or customer acquisitions. Others rely on logistics-based metrics such as issue resolution times or call volume. Customer-focused metrics however, such as the Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) actually serve as better indicators of the effectiveness of a CX program.

Here are three things to consider when gauging CX effectiveness:

  1. Not all metrics are created equal; you have to use the ones that work for your business.
  2. Ensure both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the customer experience.
  3. CX should lead to better business results, so make sure you can draw a clear connection.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we focused on the right metrics when determining the success of our CX programs?

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

[Book Report] Using a Personal Brand to Create Consistency and Connection

Everyday, we are inundated with branding messages and in the process, given the opportunity to intentionally select our representative brands. Even with the most basic of decisions – from the name we use to the way we present ourselves on social media – personal branding forms an identity and familiarity for customers and colleagues alike. In the book Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success, by Leonard Kim and Ryan Foland, the authors explain that it’s crucial for everyone to create a vulnerable, honest, personal brand.

A personal brand helps you form deeper connections with people online and offline. And it’s able to move you ahead in your career, whether that’s an internal promotion at your company, whether it’s paving the way up to C-suite, getting sought out by a competing company for better pay, landing the job of your dreams, or just making sure that your career becomes recession-proof.

Ryan Foland, personal branding experience and co-author of Ditch the Act

If you are looking for a book that will help you grasp the value and advantages of developing your personal brand with intentionality, pick up a copy of Ditch the Act.

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 77 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 on to your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

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

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the easiest return ever, a personalized image strategy, and how to dig deep into your personal space and share it with the world.

Cooks, photographers, and ditchers, oh my!

[This Just Happened] Pots and Pans

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

Dan Gingiss: So this year on Amazon Prime Day I decided to finally order a new set of pots and pans.

Joey Coleman: Ooh la la! Pots and pans. Treat yourself to something special on Amazon Prime Day.

Dan Gingiss: Well I do like to cook.

Joey Coleman: That’s how Dan rolls, people; he rolls hard. And when this guy’s ready to splurge, we’re looking at pots and pans.

Dan Gingiss: Pots and pans, baby. I do like to cook, and my pots and pans we’re really getting old and ragged. So I picked out a set of pots and pans that I really liked that were on a great sale for Amazon Prime Day, ordered them up, waited my day and a half – or whatever it was – until they arrived-

Joey Coleman: Such a long time.

Dan Gingiss: I know, terrible. And I was so excited to open the box. And it’s like a 10 piece set, so it had two different size frying pans, it had a pot, and then it had, kind of like a double boiler kind of a thing. And there were, I believe, four different glass lids on top of these. Well I’m opening the box and I’m pulling out the pieces, and I see that one of the glass lids is completely shattered – I mean, 1,001 pieces. And so I’m disappointed because that doesn’t happen very often. And my first instinct was actually to call the manufacturer. So I’m looking on the box of this thing, and the box … It’s like the copper pot company, but it’s not even … It’s not even a trademark. I don’t know what brand it is, but meanwhile there’s absolutely no communication method at all. I Google it. I can’t-

Joey Coleman: And why do we think that is? Could it be because they don’t want you to contact them?

Dan Gingiss: It possibly is.

Joey Coleman: Hmm, I wonder.

Dan Gingiss: It possibly is. So I literally cannot find this company, so I called Amazon. Now what do you think, Joey, might have happened then?

Joey Coleman: Well this is a little bit of an unfair question because I have had my own experiences of contacting Amazon about problems, but what I imagine you might have thought would happen is what would happen with a typical company. You would call them and they would say, “Well wait a second, we’re just the store. We’re not the manufacturer. You need to contact the manufacturer. But you know, it also could have broken in delivery. You should probably talk to UPS as well.” It would have been a combination of the blame game of trying to point fingers at everyone else. Or, “Let’s make it so impossible for you to do this that you’re going to just give up.” And what I mean by that is, “Great. So we’re happy to take your return back. We’re just going to need a signed certified letter saying that you received it. We’re going to need three copies of your receipt. We’re going to need to know the name of the driver and what he was wearing, or she was wearing, when they dropped it off. And we’re going to need to know your Social Security number, what town you were born in, and the hospital where you had your first checkup.”

That’s my guess, is what most businesses require.

Dan Gingiss: Well believe it or not, that’s not what happened when I phoned Amazon. In fact, what happened was the woman did not know how to get in touch with the manufacturer either.

Joey Coleman: Oh my goodness. You know it’s bad when Amazon, the king of the retail world online, can’t get in touch with the manufacturer.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So what did she do? She said, “You know what? I am going to refund your purchase in its entirety. And why don’t you just keep the pots and pans?” And I thought to myself (a) that’s amazing (b) she just made my problem go away because, all of a sudden, I didn’t really care that I was missing a lid because I got free pots and pans!

Joey Coleman: Free pots and pans!

Dan Gingiss: And so it was incredible because she literally turned me, in a few moments, from being kind of irritated at this purchase, to once again believing that Amazon is the greatest company on this planet.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. What never ceases to amaze me … And Amazon is beautiful at this. You know? We are big fans in our household as well. We do a lot of business with Amazon. They are probably dollar-over-dollar the single biggest business that we buy from. What Amazon realized very early on in the process was that long-term customer relationships matter, and they would much rather sacrifice a small amount of profit today to gain your loyalty long term. They are brilliant at neutralizing negative experiences. They are brilliant at eliminating any type of hesitation or negative feeling you might have about them. I mean, at the end of the day the negative feeling was probably more directed at the manufacturer and/or the shipper. Because our presumption is it either got broken in route or it was broken when it was packaged. It wasn’t broken by Amazon. But what do they do? It’s not their fault but they make it their problem, and then they solve the problem.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. And I couldn’t be mad at the company because I couldn’t find the company.

Joey Coleman: You couldn’t find the company. Exactly.

Dan Gingiss: But, yeah. I mean, that is the way you handle a customer problem. And Joey’s right that, sure, they had to eat some money … Although my guess is they have a process to bill it back to the manufacturer. But either way they had to eat something, but it kept me a very happy customer that is going to come back and back.

And this reminds me of another story. When we had our first child somebody sent us flowers in the hospital from a really great company called ProFlowers, which is my personal favorite place to order flowers as well. And ProFlowers ships of flowers in a long box, and they always include a free vase so you get a glass vase with every shipment. And I opened the box of flowers and, maybe this is just a habit-

Joey Coleman: Let me guess: the vase was broken.

Dan Gingiss: The vase was shattered. Absolutely.

Joey Coleman: You know? This couldn’t be recipient error, at any point in this story, could it? This is one of those where Dan’s opening the box and he’s going, “There it is. Whoop … butterfingers.” It falls off his hand, “Oh, man! It arrived broken. How did that happen?”

Dan Gingiss: No, this is not user error, but thanks for suggesting that.

And I pulled out the flowers. And honestly I didn’t care about the vase because we’d used ProFlowers enough times that I had, like, 10 of them at home. But I decided to call them because as a customer experience guy, I thought they should know that the flowers arrived with a broken vase.

Joey Coleman: Healing the world of customer experience, one call at a time. Thank goodness.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. I can tell you, I would have wanted to know that as business owner.

Joey Coleman: Yes, of course.

Dan Gingiss: And so I called up and it was actually a hilarious conversation. The woman is like, “Mr. Gingiss, step away from the flowers.”

And I’m like, “No, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’ve safely removed them.”

She’s like, “No, I don’t want you to get cut. I want you to throw the whole thing out and we’re going to send you new flowers.”

And I said, “Seriously, it’s all right. I pulled out the flowers and I just wanted you to know. I’m not asking you for anything.”

Well PS, the conversation goes back and forth. And essentially what I got her to do was send me replacement flowers two weeks later when the first ones were dead. And she more than happily obliged, which I thought was terrific.

But again in that story too, what I loved about it was, number one, she’s focused on the issue at hand which is it’s a potentially dangerous situation if you’re sitting among glass shards, and she doesn’t want the company to be responsible for that so she’s concerned for my safety; and then secondly, it’s not even a question, it’s, “Either we’re going to refund your money or we’re going to resend you the product again,” and it doesn’t … They don’t ask you 900 questions to make sure you’re not lying about it or whatever it is. It’s just their nature. Their initial instinct is to fix the problem. And I think that is really the hallmark of a great customer service interaction.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t it amazing when somebody that we’ve decided to do business with, we’ve decided to give our hard earned cash over to, decides to give us the benefit of the doubt, decides to see us as upstanding citizens? Which is a lot easier to do when you’re looking at Dan Gingiss than when you’re looking at Joey Coleman. But nonetheless, it is impressive. Let me ask two clarifying questions, Dan. So how far out are we from Prime Day now? How many months has it been, give or take?

Dan Gingiss: As we’re recording right now it’s about, I think, two months.

Joey Coleman: It’s about two months. And how long since you received those ProFlowers flowers?

Dan Gingiss: That is, like, 13 years ago.

Joey Coleman: 13 years ago, yeah. So here’s the point I wanted to make with that. If you create a remarkable experience that catches your customer off guard, that leaves your customer going, “That was easy. That was painless,” they will keep telling the story. When you go above and beyond when a customer has a problem, they will love you even more – despite the fact that something had gone wrong, despite the fact that there was a negative experience. So folks, here’s the key takeaway. Stop worrying about today’s dollars. Start worrying about the lifetime value dollars. Stop worrying about, “What are we going to do with this negative experience?” And start thinking about, “How am I going to build a long term customer relationship?” The secret here is to just treat your customers as if they were your friends. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Help them out. Do for them what you wish would be done for you, and everything else will take care of itself.

Dan Gingiss: And remember: Without customers, we don’t have a business.

Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation.

[Dissecting the Experience] Personalized Imagery

Joey Coleman: We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience.

Dan Gingiss: So I found this story on Twitter. You see, Joey, Twitter does have its advantages.

Joey Coleman: You know? You say that time and time and time again. I’m not doing the tweeting. I’m not getting on the Twitters. That’s not going to happen.

Dan Gingiss: Well believe it or not, I’ve given up trying to get you to.

Joey Coleman: Folks, that’s not true. That’s not true. You need to know this. So there’s the behind-the-scenes.

About once a month Dan will message me – maybe it’s more like once every two or three months – and he’ll say something like, “Hey, by the way. See you haven’t posted in awhile. If you wanted to go on today and post …”

And I’m just like, “Maybe or maybe not.”

Dan Gingiss: So if you want to talk to us about the show on Twitter …

Joey Coleman: Only talk to Dan. You can tag me. And every once in awhile, like once a year, I’ll come in and like a comment. But just, Dan is the social media go-to on the Experience This Show.

Dan Gingiss: That’s @DGingiss, D-G-I-N-G-I-S-S.

Anyway, Twitter user, Rex Sorgatz … That’s a great name.

Joey Coleman: It is a great name. So he posted a series of 18 consecutive tweets where, well, he kind of dissected the experience like we do here on this show. And the experience he was looking at was logging into his bank’s website. Now he spent way too much time on this, but it was really interesting to see the results. So let me set this up for you. So his first tweet is about how he logged into his Chase bank account, and he noticed that the background photo was of his neighborhood. And he’s like, “Whoa, that’s kind of interesting.” So it caused him to wonder, “Does everybody see this photo?” And he then says, “This thread is an investigation into that question. Let’s call it Bank Stock Photo Regionalization.”

Now the long and short of it is he first found that in the URL of the landing page there was a zip code, his zip code. And so he changed the zip code to … I believe he went for (singing) 90210, and he saw that the picture changed to one in California. He looked at LA, San Francisco, San Diego, and he noticed that all of the images were of neighborhoods, not of well known locations. So when you went to San Francisco, you weren’t seeing the Golden Gate Bridge, you were seeing a neighborhood. And when you went to Chicago, my hometown, you see a street corner underneath an L train. You know? You don’t see the Sears or Willis Tower or Navy Pier or anything like that.

He then noticed that in the URL there was also the word “day,” and so he went in and changed the word “day” to “night” and saw a whole new set of images. And so he realized that Chase was also taking into account when you came to this landing page, and showing you a different neighborhood photo either in the daytime or at night.

So four or five tweets in, he says, “Oh, here’s a glitch.” He found out that Alaska, Hawaii, and New England all have the same photo during the day, but a different photo at night, which is kind of funny.

Those places totally look the same during the day. Totally.

Dan Gingiss: Totally. Exactly.

Now, some states … Also entire states had the same photos – Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma. Basically the entire Midwest.

Joey Coleman: I take this as a personal affront. As a native Iowan, when I typed in my parents’ zip code – which is in Northwestern Iowa – I saw a picture of a windmill. Which I know exists but it exists in Southeastern Iowa, not Northwestern Iowa. So I recognized it. It’s a popular scene. It’s just not associated with the zip code.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So we’re going to include a link in the show notes so that you can go play around with this yourself. Or if you’re so inclined, you can go to bitly.com/ capital E, capital T, capital C-H-A-S-E. So that’s ETChase, ET being Experience This. But we’ll include that in the show notes and you can go play around.

And the last thing that he figured out was that these were not stock photos and that Chase had actually commissioned the photographers. And I have no idea how he did this, but he got ahold of the creative brief that Chase actually used. And it’s really interesting. It talks about particular brand attributes. So their personality’s about being trustworthy, and welcoming, and progressive, and contemporary. And the visuals are supposed to be authentic, and optimistic, and engaging. And they talk about the photography style.

And then there’s a list of places to avoid, which I thought was also really interesting. They didn’t want pictures of memorials, or universities, or religious buildings, or sports stadiums. And again I think the whole idea is that you’re not supposed to know the exact place where this is being taken, that it’s intentionally not the most popular places.

And then finally somebody else after seeing this long Twitter … not a rant, but a set of-

Joey Coleman: Exposé?

Dan Gingiss: Exposé … actually then created a map listing the seven regional default photos, and then the 39 different day and night pictures – there’s 39 days and 39 nights – and put them on a map so that you know, just by looking at the map, what picture you’re going to see.

Joey Coleman: That’s a lot of free time.

Dan Gingiss: It is a lot of free time.

Joey Coleman: That feels like a lot of free time.

Well here’s the thing. I will say, first of all, I actually … Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves: I see the benefit of something Dan found on Twitter.

Dan Gingiss: Whoo-hoo!

Joey Coleman: Because this is an interesting story, right? This is a great example of a company thinking about customization to match their personalization. Here’s what I mean by that. I think of customization and personalization as being two different things. Personalization is using the person’s name, using the individual identifiers about them. Customization is using identifiers and themes and interactions that are about a smaller segment of your group, or they identify where your customer is in the journey. So what’s interesting is when I type in the old zip code for where I used to live in Washington, D.C., as Dan alluded to, I was expecting – before knowing these were the rules – that I would see a picture of the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial, or the White House, or the Capitol, or some of the iconic imagery of Washington, D.C.

But I didn’t live on the mall next to the monuments. I lived in the neighborhood in Northwestern D.C. And what I actually got a picture of was the local park. And I know it’s the local park because I’d been to that park many times. Now it’s not a park that anyone in the world would know if you didn’t live in that neighborhood. And so I think what this does is by putting the image behind the login screen is it gives a very subconscious connection and familiarity. And at the end of the day, all humans are looking to feel connection. They’re looking to feel familiarity. And if a large bank like Chase can do this, at scale, that changes the game for how people think about their banking relationships.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I totally agree. And I think especially in this industry, if you think about it, all of the major banks are based in New York. And so they all have sort of the New York skyline as their background. You also probably have recognized over time that almost every bank uses blue as its main color. It’s sort of a financial color, right? So it becomes harder to stand out. And I think that, from a marketing perspective, this is great for Chase because it does make them unique. And when you get to that website and you see this beautiful image as a background, that’s not what you necessarily expect from a financial institution. It kind of reminds you that you are banking with somebody different. I think that was one of the things that I really liked. And, obviously, this guy who does have a lot of time on his hands, was clearly fascinated by it. But I love that he was able to dig all this up so that we can understand what went into it.

Joey Coleman: I think it’d be interesting, too, to look at the footprint of Chase Bank geographically. I wonder if they don’t have as big of a presence in the Midwest, and that’s why there’s more … You know? It might be that when they were putting together the creative brief … Because I want to give them the benefit of the doubt; this is a really interesting and fun idea. It might have been that they don’t have branches, or they don’t have a lot of customers, in Alaska and Hawaii, for example. So it was easier for them to do that.

What I’d be curious about, do you know, Dan, is it basing the zip code off of where you’re logging in from or the zip code on your account? So for example if I’m traveling would it show me, if I was logging into my Chase account from a hotel in Florida, pictures of Florida? Or would it show the pictures from my home account in Colorado? That’d be interesting to figure out too.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. I’m not sure. I would guess that it’s probably based on the location of your computer, and then there’s a cookie, and you would get that same one over and over again. But I’m not entirely sure how it works.

Joey Coleman: That would be kind of an interesting way. So the reason I asked this question, folks, is at the end of the day, every experience you create, you can enhance it. You can plus it. You can take it to the next level. So maybe the first pass, we’d do these personalized images based on your region. Maybe the next pass is to tie it to where you are; because in an increasingly mobile society, people are logging in from all over. And it’d be kind of interesting if it was identifying that I was in a completely different state when I was accessing my bank account.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And I mean obviously this could get scary, right? Because Google Earth has basically photos of every house, and whatever, and in theory you could-

Joey Coleman: Please don’t show me my house when I log into the bank account; I would really rather you not. So, thanks, don’t share those photos with them, Google.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. The takeaway here is that personalization and customization can help customers feel closer to the brand. It makes them feel that you’re listening to them, and that you know them, and it builds trust. And really, as one of our mutual friends likes to say, “We are all in the trust business.” And I believe that this is a kind of thing that really any organization can pull off either digitally, or even in your written communications.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Gauging CX Effectiveness: KPIs that Matter

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 Gauging Customer Experience Effectiveness: KPIs that matter. And of course KPIs are key performance indicators.

When attempting to gauge the effectiveness of an experienced program, many leaders focus on specific metrics including sales numbers or customer acquisitions. Others rely on logistics-based metrics such as issue resolution times, or call volume, things in the call center. Now these are important metrics but other numbers are just as critical including things like customer effort score or CES, net promoter score or NPS, and customer satisfaction or C-SAT. These customer-focused metrics will likely reveal more about the effectiveness of a CX program than the financial or operational ones.

Joey Coleman: Here are four things to consider when gauging customer experience effectiveness:

Number one – not all metrics are created equal. You have to use the ones that work for your business.

Number two – ensure both quantitative and qualitative analysis of the customer experience.

Number three – customer experience should lead to better business results. So make sure you can draw a clear connection.

And number four – if you’re going to use all of these KPIs, be careful that you don’t walk yourself into an acronym nightmare where your staff doesn’t understand what you’re actually talking about when you say CES, NPS, C-SAT or KPI.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And to put it in another way I remember, when I was in corporate America, that I got report overload all the time. You open up your email and there’s all these reports. And everybody wants to make a report because they feel like by having a report it somehow justifies what they’re doing to management. But the thing is is that it doesn’t end with just the report of the numbers. It’s about analyzing and understanding what the numbers mean, and taking action off of them. And so I always found that it was more important to look for action-oriented data, rather than just a report that is able to say, “Hey, this is great.”

Joey Coleman: And now for this week’s question about gauging customer experience effectiveness: Are we focused on the right metrics when determining the success of our CX programs?

We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AVTECH at experienceconversations.com. Remember, go to experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] Ditch the Act

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

Dan Gingiss: So I found a book that I thought would really lead to an interesting conversation in our What Are You Reading segment. Now I met Ryan Foland first at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year and then again at Inbound where we were both speakers. He’s a great guy. He is of the red haired variety, and so he loves to refer to himself as a ginger.

Joey Coleman: I love that the bald the guy is commenting on the ginger.

Dan Gingiss: Well, hey, he calls himself a ginger, right?

But he’s a terrific guy. He’s smart. He’s really funny. And, Joey, of course you will love this: he is a ridiculously prolific tweeter. You think I tweet a lot.

Joey Coleman: Oh, that’s why I haven’t come across Ryan yet. Oh sorry, Ryan. I’ll look forward to meeting in person since I’ll never see you on the tweeters.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, you think I tweet a lot.

Anyway, Ryan is also a coach who helps leaders worldwide on the art of simplifying spoken and written messaging for greater impact. He’s the inventor of what he calls the 3-1-3 Method, which is a process whereby pitches begin as three sentences, condense into one sentences, and then boil down to three words. And he has a brand new book out with co author Leonard Kim. It’s about building a personal brand and it’s called Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You For Greater Success. so I asked Ryan to tell us a little bit about it.

Ryan Foland: Ditch the Act is a book that I wrote with Leonard Kim. It’s a deep-dive into why and how you should build an authentic personal brand. Now you may be asking yourself, “Why should I build a personal brand?” Let me actually ask you a better question: “Why shouldn’t you build a personal brand?” If you do not want to make deep connections with your employees and your colleagues in the office, then you don’t need to have a personal brand. If you have to reenter the job market in the future, and if you want to spend months – if not years – to land a new job, then don’t worry about having a personal brand either. A personal brand helps you form deeper connections with people online and offline. And it’s able to move you ahead in your career, whether that’s an internal promotion at your company, whether it’s paving the way up to C-suite, getting sought out by a competing company for better pay, landing the job of your dreams, or just making sure that your career becomes recession-proof.

Building a personal brand isn’t limited to one specific type of person. We show you it can work for anyone. Ditch the Act demonstrates how exposing your failures and your weaknesses is an essential element to creating an authentic personal brand. We’ll show you how ditching the act and getting vulnerable is the best way to differentiate and grow your brand, all while cultivating brand loyalty. Ditch the Act will teach you how to bring your intentional personal brand to life.

Here is the deal.

Let me give it to your real.

The key to connection is to learn to reveal.

You see, you are not perfect and neither am I.

And that is the exact reason we can see eye to eye.

Everybody’s different, but we are all the same.

To be perfectly imperfect is how you win the game.

If you only showcase good and do not share the bad.

You will miss connections that you never knew you had.

And that, my friends, is a rap.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, folks, he raps too. He’s even been known to do it on stage during his keynote.

Joey Coleman: I want to see you rap in your next keynote, Dan. Challenge! Gauntlet thrown down, ladies and gentlemen. We will post the video later on experiencethisshow.com.

Dan Gingiss: Hey, I do sing in my keynote every once in a while but rap is probably not happening.

Anyway, the reason I chose this book to talk about on the show is that … Joey, you and I, though we get along famously, have really different strategies for building our own personal brands. And so I was hoping that we might do as Ryan and Leonard say, and Ditch the Act for a few minutes, and talk openly about how we go about our personal branding.

Joey Coleman: Muy Interesante. All right, I’m in. Who’s starting? You or me?

Dan Gingiss: You, sir.

Joey Coleman: Okay. So personal branding is something that I’ve thought a decent amount about for two main reasons. Number one, my career path has been incredibly eclectic. For those of you that know me, or who are loyal listeners, I worked in the intelligence community. I worked in the white house, I was a teacher. I was a criminal defense lawyer. I sold promotional products. I ran an ad agency. Now I’m a full time speaker. And so one of the challenges when you can’t hold a job – I mean, when you change careers as frequently as I do – is that your personal brand is the thread that needs to continue through. And so I’ve made some very conscious decisions about markers throughout my career that I’ve wanted to keep going so that, even if I was doing a different job in a different place or working in a different industry, there were some common threads.

One, that some people may not realize was a very conscious decision on my part, was the fact that I go by the name Joey. Now my legal name is Charles Joseph Coleman III – nice and pretentious sounding. But for the exception of one year – it was an ill fated year, years ago – I’ve always gone by Joey. During that year I went by Joe; it didn’t stick. I went back to Joey. The crazy thing about going by Joey is when you hear the name Joey, you immediately think of one of a small category of people: either a small child under the age of 10, Joey Buttafuoco, Joey Lawrence, or Joey Tribbiani from Friends. I am okay being in the top four Joeys in your mind, and my hope is to elevate to be the number one Joey in your mind. So I think there are some things we can do around personal branding just even by the way we refer to ourselves.

Dan Gingiss: Well you are the number one Joey in my life, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Aw, thanks.

Dan Gingiss: And it’s interesting that you say that because when I was a child I went by Danny. And when I got to college I introduced myself as Danny, and every person I introduced myself then turned around and called me Dan. And so it just kind of happened organically where I became Dan from Danny. And I feel great about that because now that’s the one that I turn around to the most – with my mom being the core exception; she will never stop calling me Danny.

Joey Coleman: Oh I love it. I got to spend more time hanging out with a Mr. and Mrs. Gingiss.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

You know? My background has also shaped my personal brand. I came from corporate America and was there for almost 20 years, and spent a decent amount of time at three major brands and had to build a personal brand that worked with those brands as well. Because before I became a full time professional speaker and consultant, I was often speaking on behalf of those brands. So it was Dan Gingiss from Discover, Dan Gingiss from McDonald’s, Dan Gingiss from Humana, and so I had to represent the business brand or the corporate brand at the same time. And certainly some companies are more understanding of personal brand than others. I think the really forward thinking companies get that their employees having personal brands is a good thing for the company, because they get to be known as thought leaders in their own right and then the company gets the halo effect; versus sometimes the other way around where companies believe that you should lead with their own logo. But we all know that people trust and believe and find more credible their friends and their people they interact with in real life in the social world than they do companies.

And so I continued to build my personal brand as a thought leader, particularly in the social media space, because I had to jump into that space having very little experience professionally. I remember the day that I got my Twitter account and I signed up was also the day that I was put in charge of the social media team at Discover. And I was like, “Well I should probably figure this thing out,” and joined Twitter. So however many tens of thousands of tweets later, I’m clearly fully immersed.

Joey Coleman: Nothing like learning on the job.

You know? The interesting thing about that is – and we joke about it a lot on the show – I have made the conscious decision not to invest a lot of time and effort into social media. And Dan and I banter about this regularly as our listeners know, but one of the things that I think is important when you look at your personal brand is to really make it personal. Figure out the things that work for you. There are so many pundits and experts and advisors out there saying, “Well if you want to build your personal brand, you have to have your own website. You have to be prolific on social media. You need your own YouTube channel, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

No, not at all. You just need to do you. You need to figure out what is most important to you and what is most in alignment with the brand you’re trying to create. Because let’s be candid: In an increasingly transient economy where people are changing jobs, changing careers maybe a dozen times over a lifetime, if not more, the only thing that’s the same is you. The only thing that carries from one job to the next is you. And so if you’re not taking the time to invest in your personal brand, I promise you the career path is not going to be as fulfilling, as adventurous, as fun, and as results-impacting as it could be if you did focus on your personal brand.

Dan Gingiss: So we recommend to everyone, go out and get the new book from Ryan Foland and Leonard Kim. It’s called Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You For Greater Success. And we can’t wait to see your personal brands blossom.

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 76: How to Create Amazing Experiences Before They Become a Customer

Join us as we discuss the perils of automated outreach, the benefit of taking a few minutes to do your homework before speaking with a prospect, and how your reputation can precede you – in both good and bad ways.

Automating, Researching, and Anticipating – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] The Problem with Over-Automated Prospecting

The Experience This Show tries to focus on positive customer experiences, but on occasion, we address some less than positive interactions we come across. Joey recently attempted to access a free document/research paper download from a company, only to be asked to enter his email. He used an email that is reserved only for situations like this, and received an automated response to that email address filled with several questions the company wanted answered so they could determine whether he was a qualified lead for their offerings.

Let’s keep in mind that the customer experience starts at the first interaction – long before you, or they [the prospect], have even figured out if they might be a good customer.

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

Personalizing communications takes time and caring about people individually takes effort, but investing this time early in the relationship pays huge dividends later. Prospecting, lead qualifying, and moving people through your sales process can be a challenging and time-consuming task – but it is worth it. While automation can be useful, automating initial communications is dangerous and in almost all instances, not a good choice to make. Please don’t overwhelm a prospective customer with multiple questions and don’t ever imply that how they answer your questions will determine whether or not you care about them or even want to continue the conversation.  If you want website visitors to share their name and email address to access your gated content, you should be willing to make the effort necessary to personalize your first email to them.

[Dissecting the Experience] The Power of Personalized Prospecting

While working with the fantastic team at YokoCo to design a new website, Joey began exploring new ways to incorporate video into the site. In considering options for video players, he signed up for a free account with Wistia. Wistia then sent a personalized email – showing they had taken the time to research and learn more about his business – followed by the offer to set up a call with him to answer questions and discuss possible use cases. While intrigued by the email, it took two more efforts at outreach by Wistia, including a video message, before Joey scheduled a call with them. While Joey hasn’t upgraded to a paid account yet, he has stopped considering Wistia’s competitors.

The way we design initial communications and the level of personalization and personality we bring to the conversation often plays a major role in determining whether or not that person will EVER become a customer. So remember everyone – treat the prospect as well as you would treat a customer and the chance of that prospect becoming a customer in the future goes up dramatically!

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

Don’t wait until a prospect becomes a customer to treat them well. Start treating your prospect as if they are a valued customer from the outset, and in the process you will earn their respect and (hopefully) their business.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Developing Customer Centricity

Customer centricity means putting customers at the heart of every business decision. This sets the foundation for lasting relationships and customer experience success. Unfortunately, there are many challenges organizations must overcome in order to cultivate customer centricity throughout the entire business. These can include unyielding focus on revenue and profits, lack of awareness of a CX program, lack of buy-in from leadership, and more.

Here are three strategies for overcoming these challenges, and developing customer centricity in your business:

  1. Train leaders on customer centricity, its financial impact, and how to promote customer centricity within their individual teams/departments.
  2. Reward individual contributors for specific successes and their overall role in delivering customer centric experiences.
  3. Engage in internal active listening and empower all employees to share thoughts/concerns regarding customer needs/expectations.

Start the conversation with this question: Are we doing everything we can to develop a customer-centric approach throughout our organization?

To continue the conversation, visit: ExperienceConversations.com.

[This Just Happened] When Memes Hint at Shifting Realities

Social media posts often offer evidence of shifting customer experience behaviors. Memes are sometimes a clear way to see shifting trends. The meme Joey saw on Facebook about package delivery and customer experience is a great example of new trends in customer behavior and expectations:

You are being compared to every experience your customer has ever had, in ANY setting.

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

Are you raising the bar for the level of customer experience and customer service that you deliver in a way that is keeping up with the rest of the marketplace? Are you constantly exploring new ways to raise the level of the services you provide? Make sure you’re paying attention to shifting customer expectations before you find yourself featured in a meme that is less than flattering.

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 76 here or read it below:

Episode 76

Learn How Prospecting Can Create Amazing Customer Experiences

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 the perils of automated outreach, the benefit of taking a few minutes to do your homework before talking to a prospect, and how your reputation can proceed you in both good and bad ways.

Dan Gingiss: Automating, researching, and anticipating. Oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience] Automated Prospecting

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 Gingiss: We do our best on this show to only discuss positive customer experiences. We feel that there’s enough discussion about negative experiences in the world that we don’t need to contribute. However, every once in awhile, we share a story about an experience they could have been so much better with just a little more thought and consideration.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, Dan. In fact, I recently went online to do some research on employee experience, and in the process, I had an interaction just like that. I came across a website offering several different white papers that were of interest to me. Now for the purposes of our conversations, we’ll call this company Pumpernickel. In order to access the white papers, I had to enter my email address so they could send me links to download the papers.

Now while this was a bit frustrating in and of itself, why they just didn’t let me download them in the first place without sharing my email, I have no idea. The papers seem to be so in alignment with what I was looking to find, I begrudgingly entered my throwaway email address.

Dan Gingiss: Your throwaway email address?

Joey Coleman: Yes, Dan. I have an email address that I can access, but it isn’t my main email address. I share it with websites that I don’t really need to have a personal connection with but require an email address to access their content. So for context of the rest of our conversation, let’s just pretend that my throwaway email address is NoOne@JoeyColeman.com.

Dan Gingiss: And, folks, that isn’t his real throw away address. Otherwise, he would be completely defeating-

Joey Coleman: I don’t want to give the throwaway address because then people will start to use the throwaway address and I really want it to be purely throw away.

Dan Gingiss: You know that’s funny, I get that, and I do the same thing. I have a Gmail account and a Yahoo account that actually look pretty similar in terms of their address. But I give the Yahoo one to all companies, and I get all my confirmations and receipts and spam and blah blah blah. And then my friends have the Gmail address, which is really where I have my human to human communication.

Joey Coleman: Right. And the crazy thing is the fact that you and I are having this conversation that we have fake email addresses. We could stop the segment right here, okay? Because if the businesses we deal with have created an environment where we need to come up with fake email addresses, stop behaving this way, folks, but I digress. Okay, the day after I received the papers that I had requested via email, I received another email that I’d like to share with you. And as a reminder, I’ve only edited the name of the company to protect the guilty.

Dan Gingiss: And he’s calling it Pumpernickel, which suddenly has me interested in bagels.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there you go. I figured if nothing else, if we were going to hear an email that could’ve been better, I’d make you feel hungry. All right, here’s the email and I’m quoting directly. “Hi there. Thanks for your interest in Pumpernickel. Saw you checked out some Pumpernickel resources. Plus I’d love to learn more about Joey Coleman’s current HR needs. Can you please provide the following? How many employees work at Joey Coleman? How many are you looking to hire in the next 12 months? Do you use Gmail or Outlook? What is your ATS? Are you interested in Pumpernickel’s operations platform or our standalone onboarding solution? Thanks in advance for the insight. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Dan Gingiss: And while you’re at it, Joey Coleman, could you just do my job for me, please? Because I’m unable to.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh. Ridiculous. Ridiculous.

Dan Gingiss: There are, wow. There are so many things about that email that I hate.

Joey Coleman: This is why we don’t usually talk about the negative examples because Dan and I just get worked up.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, and I love that they ask how many employees work at Joey Coleman.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Yeah.

Dan Gingiss: It hasn’t even figured out what that Joey Coleman is actually a person. Yeah.

Joey Coleman: Is actually a human. A human, yeah. And to be frank, that actually left me thinking that this might have been an automated email scrape that was generated from my email address alone.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. It was.

Joey Coleman: They didn’t call me by my first name, which was odd because I had filled out a name in the name field when I was downloading.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, so you don’t use a fake name?

Joey Coleman: I actually used a fake name. I do, which I’m not going to tell you what my fake name is, but I use a fake one. But they didn’t use it. They didn’t personalize the salutation to start, “Hi there, No one.” Which is what they could have gotten from the email if they would’ve presumed, because remember the email was NoOne@JoeyColeman.

Dan Gingiss: By the way, yeah, I’m just going to interrupt you. Listeners, between you and me, I’m going to find out his fake name and I’ll tweet it out later. 

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And it’ll be on Twitter and the good news is I’ll never even know. But anyway, the moral of the story is they completely missed that Joey Coleman’s a personal name, not the name of a company.

Dan Gingiss: It also seemed like they were asking completely irrelevant questions. Like why does it matter if you use Gmail or Outlook? And what if you don’t use either of those, like if you’re still a Lotus Notes fan or a Yahoo fan?

Joey Coleman: Or a Yahoo fan, as Dan alluded to earlier.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: This is so true, but based on what I understand about Pumpernickel’s services, the email platform you’re on has little to no impact on the applicability of their offerings. I just don’t get it. I don’t get it.

Dan Gingiss: And speaking of not getting it, I’m sure others are asking when it asks, “What is your ATS?” Do you even know what that means?Because I don’t.

Joey Coleman: I have zero idea. Folks, if you’re using an acronym in your initial email to a cold prospect, in other words, someone who you don’t know and they don’t know you, please don’t use acronyms ever. It creates so much confusion and it immediately alienates you from the recipient. At best, it feels impersonal, and at worst it makes the recipient feel out of the loop or confused or frustrated that they don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

Dan Gingiss: You know it may just be me, but it seems like they’re asking all of their lead qualifying questions in a single email, and you said it before, but I think you’re absolutely right. How is this not a canned email that they just plugged in your company name?

Joey Coleman: I kind of almost hope that it is a canned email, because if it’s not and a human actually typed that email, I feel even worse about this situation than I did if it was an automation. Not only does it seem incredibly impersonal, but it also frankly feels incredibly lazy. It’s like these are the qualifying questions that a sales person would want answered in an initial sales call and here they’re going to ask them all in an email to decide if they want to keep emailing with me. It’s absolutely crazy.

Now, people who have been to some of my speeches or workshops know that I regularly draw analogies between customer experience and what it’s like when people first start dating. It’s easy to do that with this email as well. Now imagine a dating scenario where you connect with someone and decide to ask them for dinner for a first date. You then send an email that says something like this, and for those of you paying attention, I’m going to only slightly revise the email I received from Pumpernickel.

“Hi there. Thanks for your interest in me. I saw you checking me out. Plus, I’d love to learn more about your current needs. Can you please provide the following? How many relationships are you currently in? How many are you looking to be in over the next 12 months? Do you use Apple or Android? What’s your T2HU? Are you interested in me long term or as a one off solution? Thanks in advance for the insight. I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Dan Gingiss: Joey.

Joey Coleman: That’s exactly what they just said to me.

Dan Gingiss: I’m the one in this scenario who is currently in a dating situation and I’m kind of glad it’s not you because that kind of email is probably not going to work. It’s actually a horrible idea.

Joey Coleman: And this is the point I make. If you wouldn’t do it in your personal lives, why the heck are you doing it in your professional lives? We shouldn’t be sending these type of emails. Now, I know personalizing a communication takes time. I know that caring about people as individuals takes effort. I know that prospecting and lead qualifying and moving people through your sales process is a challenge, but all that being said, please stop automating your initial communications. Please don’t overwhelm a prospective customer with a half dozen questions that imply that how they answer them will determine whether or not you care about them or want to continue the conversation. Folks, you can do better. We can all do better. Let’s keep in mind that the customer experience starts at the first interaction long before you or they have even figured out if they might be a good customer.

[Dissecting the Experience] Personalized Prospecting

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: Wow. After that last segment, I feel like I need a shower.

Joey Coleman: And I don’t blame you, Dan. That’s one of the benefits of a podcast though, folks. If you feel you need a shower too, just hit pause, come back to it later. Or you can play it while you’re in the shower. But I digress. Let me try to dig us out of the customer experience hole that that last segment put us into by sharing the example of how prospect qualifying via email should be done.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, please.

Joey Coleman: Okay, so I recently launched a new website at JoeyColeman.com, and in the planning and development stage, we considered several different ways to share videos on the site as well as some other websites that I have. Now, the awesome folks at Yoko Co who incidentally designed the ExperienceThisShow.com website helped me out and as part of that process suggested I sign up for a free account with several different video hosting platforms so that I could check out their respective offerings.

Now, one of the services I signed up with was Wistia. The day after signing up for my free account, I received the following email message. “Hi, Joey. Congratulations on your free Wistia account. Wow, there is so much to say, but no one likes long emails. What a career you have built for yourself. It must be so amazing to work with such large companies as Hyatt Hotels and NASA. Awesome that you are also helping others grow their knowledge with all of your speaking appearances. One last thing, I really liked how on your about page, you mentioned your family and how important they are to you. Now on to Wistia and video. How are you looking to use video? What would you be hoping to get out of video? Do you have 15 minutes to talk about your video goals and how Wistia can help? If so, here’s my calendar to choose a time that works for you. Thanks, Kristen.”

Dan Gingiss: Okay, now that, people, is how you do it. Let’s see, let’s pick this apart a little bit. First of all, she acknowledged that no one likes long emails, which is true, and she showed that she was witty and has a personality, which I love.

Joey Coleman: And even before that she called me by name.

Dan Gingiss: She did. 

Joey Coleman: It said, “Hi, Joey.”

Dan Gingiss: It’s true.

Joey Coleman: Hey, love that.

Dan Gingiss: I sort of wrote that one off as being honest but okay.

Joey Coleman: But not based on our last segment.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And I also, it is clear that she took some time to review your website and to learn about you., And granted she’s sort of citing some of it back to you to make sure you know that she knows about you, but it’s all good anyway because she did her homework about you. And the third thing that I really like, because I do this as well, is she gives you a link to her calendar so that you can easily make an appointment. And I’ll tell you, I started using Calendly about a year ago, and it is an absolute game-changer because you eliminate all those back and forth emails about, “Oh, when are you available? Are you available from any time between 9:30 and 11:30 next Thursday through Friday?” And so it makes it really easy for you to do it and it’s not nearly as pushy. I love it. I think it is an A-plus initial email.

Joey Coleman: I totally agree with you, Dan. And I admit I was intrigued even though I knew that this was really an email to hopefully shift me from the free account to a paid account. I thought it’d be interesting to connect with Kristen and if nothing else, see what motivated her to spend so much time personalizing an outreach message to me. I mean clearly she spent time on my website and learned more about me so that she could personalize and customize the message.

Dan Gingiss: So I assume you went ahead and scheduled a call with her.

Joey Coleman: Actually, no, to be totally honest, I got busy with other things. I was developing and building the website. There was a lot going on at that time and sadly I didn’t respond to her message.

Dan Gingiss: Ah, Joey. So what’s the end of the story? Did you ever connect with her?

Joey Coleman: Well, not exactly, but let’s just say Kristen didn’t take no for an answer either, which I really appreciated. A week later she sent me a video. Get it? She works for a video hosting company and the video encouraged me to reach out as well. This definitely got my attention and reinforced that the first communication wasn’t just a fluke.

Dan Gingiss: So then you scheduled a call with her?

Joey Coleman: Actually, no. Once again, I got busy with other things and I didn’t schedule the call. There was frankly so much going on at that time and while I was interested in learning more, it just wasn’t a priority right then and right there.

Dan Gingiss: I’m not sure I like this story.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I hear you. I don’t blame you, but the good news is it has a happy ending. A few weeks later I eventually got on a call with Kristen and we had a great conversation. I used the link, as you suggested, to schedule and it was super easy and fast. And I actually scheduled a call for the next morning. I explained what I was looking for. I learned a lot more about Wistia and in my conversation I actually realized that for now I was okay using their free service. But you know what the best part was, Dan? Kristen didn’t mind. Even though she didn’t get the upsell, we agreed to stay in touch and she asked my permission to reach out in a few months and see how I was doing and since then she’s checked in every once in a while to see how things are going.

Now, while I haven’t migrated to a paid account with Wistia just yet, what I have done is stopped considering all of their competitors. In short, Kristen won the business even though I’m not yet an official paying customer and the revenue hasn’t started to flow in for them. What I am ready to do is commit that when a transition to a paid account is needed, I’m not going to need any selling, I’m just going to do it.

Dan Gingiss: Well, even though I was giving you a hard time for not getting back to poor Kristin over at Wistia, I do think that your behavior is probably more common than not. I mean, companies usually hope that initial contact from a prospect, which could be subscribing to a newsletter or downloading a white paper or signing up for the free version as you did. They hope that it’s a sign of immediate interest, but in reality it’s often just the first step in a much longer process. The way we design those initial communications and the level of personalization and personality we bring to the conversation often plays a major role in determining whether or not that that person will ever become a paying customer. So remember, everyone, treat the prospect as well as you would treat a customer and the chance of that prospect becoming a customer in the future goes up dramatically.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Developing Customer Centricity

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 developing customer centricity. Putting customers at the heart of every business decision, customer centricity, sets the foundation for lasting relationships and customer experience success. Unfortunately, there are many challenges that organizations must overcome to develop customer centricity throughout the entire business, including unyielding focus on revenue and profits, lack of awareness of a customer experience program, lack of a buy-in from leadership, and many more.

Dan Gingiss: Here are three strategies for overcoming these challenges and developing customer centricity in your business. One, train leaders on customer centricity, its financial impact, and how to promote customer centricity within their individual teams and departments. Two, reward individual contributors for specific successes and their overall role in delivering customer-centric experiences. Three, engage in internal active listening and empower all employees to share thoughts or concerns regarding customer needs and expectations.

Joey Coleman: It’s interesting, Dan, this whole idea of customer centricity is frankly not new. It’s something that people have been talking about for a while, but so few companies actually do it. And I think part of the reason they don’t do it is because a small group of folks in the company buy into it philosophically and they presume that that’s enough to shift the whole culture.

The reality is not everyone in your organization feels that they’re responsible for the customer experience, and yet they are. There is no function in any business that doesn’t in some way impact the customer experience. And so I think we need to do things like reward people for creating great customer experiences. We need to make sure that the internal incentives are aligned for these type of remarkable customer experience creation moments. At the end of the day, by adopting a philosophy of customer centricity, we commit to an ongoing evolution and development of a different way of looking at our business, a way of putting the customers into every conversation.

Dan Gingiss: And now for this week’s question about developing customer centricity. Are we doing everything we can to develop a customer centric approach throughout our organization? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own company and then continue it with our friends at Avtex by going to www.ExperienceConversations.com. Again, that’s ExperienceConversations.com

[This Just Happened] When Memes Hint at Shifting Realities

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

Dan Gingiss: Hold up, stop the presses. You were on social media, Joey?

Joey Coleman: Yes, Dan. I know it’s a shock to both you and probably to most of our loyal listeners, but every once in a while I go on social media. And while I don’t usually post anything, I do my best to observe what’s happening. I often find it’s not only a way to keep tabs on what’s going on in my Facebook friend’s lives, but I sometimes come across evidence of shifting customer experience behaviors, which is what I was hoping to talk about in this segment.

So while I was scrolling through Facebook, I came across a meme of post that read as follows, and I’m quoting verbatim here folks, so please forgive me of what the post says is less than flattering about a brand that you love. “UPS, your package is in your city on a truck driven by Mike. It will arrive on your doorstep at 6:27 PM today. FedEx, your package is coming, you’ll get it when we get there. USPS, what package? Amazon. We’re already inside your apartment. Check the bathroom. Facebook, we know you were thinking about getting a toaster yesterday. Here are 20 ads for toaster ovens.”

Dan Gingiss: I love it.

Joey Coleman: Not bad, right? Not bad.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And just for some of our listeners who may not know what a meme is, a meme is a humorous image or it could be a video or sometimes just a piece of text and it’s often copied and imitated again and again sometimes with slight variations and then shared across the internet. And this one’s really funny because it’s obviously sort of taking advantage of some brand perceptions that may be true or not true, but it’s certainly a kind of tightening the screws on some of those perceptions.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. But what I liked about this, as I alluded to earlier, is it indicated, at least to me, a shift in customer expectations. So until about 45 years ago or so, the post office didn’t really have any major competitors. In the 1970s UPS and FedEx came onto the scene and for the longest time those three were the big players in getting things to your home, or at least here in the United States. And then in the mid-1990s Amazon came along, and for a while Amazon used UPS and then they added in FedEx and the US Postal Service.

Then they experimented with delivering using their own vehicles and now many of the deliveries are being made by private citizens working as independent contractors to make the deliveries. The point I’m trying to make here is that in just 45 years, a little bit less than my lifespan, the way items make it from the marketplace to your home has changed dramatically. The old maxim of, “Well, just pay attention to the competition,” doesn’t work anymore because companies like Amazon are becoming the competition for everyone.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I’m sure there are some businesses that Amazon is not going to compete with.

Joey Coleman: Well, I don’t disagree with you, Dan, and I probably could have explained that better. What I mean is that going forward, your competition isn’t the other people in your industry. It’s every experience your customers have ever had in any setting with anybody that they’re purchasing from. So you’re being compared to UPS and their give you an alert every step of the way notification.

Do you alert your customers every step of the way as you deliver your products and services? Can they check in remotely to see the progress you’re making on the offering that you’ve sold them? You’re being compared to Amazon and their, “We’re in the house already.” Do you make it beyond easy to reorder your products and services the way Amazon lets me push a button or ask Alexa and the next thing I know I have what I want at my house faster than I thought was humanly possible? Your competitors are the companies and brands and organizations that your customers are doing business with and having great experiences with in the process. That’s who you’re being measured against.

Dan Gingiss: And I want to jump in and say, because I know what some of our listeners are thinking, this is also true for B to B businesses. And the reason is that even in a B to B or business to business setting, you’re not marketing to an ivory tower. You’re marketing to another human being on the other end. And that human being is a consumer. So they have had experience with UPS and with Amazon. There’s no reason why a B to B company can’t update a client every step of the way on the process or the progress of a project that they’re working on. That’s a simple expectation that consumers now have, that the person on the other end of your B2B transaction also has.

Joey Coleman: Well, and folks, let’s be candid, your B is a C for all the hours they’re not at the office. And based on internet behavior at work, they’re also being a C at the office when they’re ordering stuff, when they should be working for you. So this whole contrived notion of, “Well, there’s B to B businesses and there are B to C businesses and they’re different.” Yeah, that played true maybe, I’ll give you a maybe, decades ago. It doesn’t apply today. It’s H to H. It’s humans to humans. So here’s the question to ask yourself: Are you raising the bar for the level of customer experience and customer service that you deliver in a way that is on pace and on par with the rest of the marketplace or with the entire world? Are you constantly exploring new ways to do that? Because if you’re not, you may end up becoming part of a meme on social media that you’re not too excited about.

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.

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

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

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

[This Just Happened] Netflix Nailed It!

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

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

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

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

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

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

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

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

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

Things We Can’t Stand:

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

Things We Love:

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

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

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Employee Experience Matters Too

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

Here are three ways to improve the employee experience:

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

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

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

[Book Report] Indistractible by Nir Eyal

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

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

Nir Eyal, author of Indistractible

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Nailed it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nicole Byer: Welcome to Nailed It.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: We try to.

Dan Gingiss: That’s really important.

Joey Coleman: We try to.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. So to that end …

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: I can’t stand it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Start the Conversation] Employee Experience Matters Too

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Book Report] Indistractible

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

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

Dan Gingiss: What do you mean?

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

Dan Gingiss: You don’t say.

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

Dan Gingiss: Hey, thanks buddy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Oh, 100%.

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Hey look, Joey, over here.

Joey Coleman: Squirrel?

Dan Gingiss: Hey. Hey.

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 73: How to Overcome Negative Reviews and Create Stronger Customer Relationships

Join us as we discuss: The future of customer engagement, why it pays to read the fine print, and how human-to-human interactions are the key to customer experience success.

Engaging, Squinting, and Interacting… Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] A Site that Tells You What Customers Want

When it comes to customer experience topics, there are hundreds of places to find content. Recently, we got the chance to check out the site of one of our new partners on the podcast this year, SAP Customer Experience . While the site is hosted by SAP, you’d never know it because it’s only very lightly branded and really focuses on quality content. The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce offers dozens of thoughtful, intelligent, content-rich articles – all about CX. In addition, the site is designed as an experience – there are no popups, no sales pitches, they don’t sell the mailing list, and did we mention it’s FREE!

The site showcases articles and videos across six topics: commerce, customer experience, customer service, sales, marketing, and purpose (including things like diversity, gender equality, and thought leadership). The site is filled with a wide variety of articles – many of which are focused on identifying what customers really want.

What customers really want is a connected journey, based on trust. Trust is what people look for.

Joey Coleman, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce website is a great resource for customer experience professionals, and frankly anyone interested in CX (which to honest, is probably our whole listening audience)! Recently named “the best CX thought leadership portal in the industry” by Paul Greenberg on ZDnet, check out the new site from SAP today!

[Required Remarkable] Woman Wins $10K For Reading Fine Print

Do you read the fine print on your insurance policies? Don’t feel bad if the answer is no as most people don’t. But sometimes, reading the fine print can save you money – or even better, make you money. A story shared in People Magazine by Joelle Goldstein explains how a Georgia Woman Wins $10,000 for Reading the Fine Print on Her Insurance Policy Deep in the fine print of an insurance policy, a woman found a clause about a competition that included a prize of $10,000 for the first person to email and mention it. So she did. And she won $10,000!

I think there are opportunities for disclosures to be interactive. I’ve seen companies that have definitions attached to words that customers aren’t going to understand, or including pictures or video to explain some of the policies. A lot of people may not read, but they might consume a photo or a video.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of ExperienceThis! Show podcast

Making the fine print, the ‘legalize,’ easier to understand and more entertaining, can help customers actually read the policies, and people will even respond to them. You may not want to offer a $10,000 reward to get people to read your legal disclosures, but by taking time to review your disclosures and update them with language designed to create an experience, even the most boring areas of your terms and conditions can become engaging for your customers.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Dealing with Negative Reviews

Negative online reviews are a part of doing business. No matter how hard a business tries, at some point customers are likely to encounter some frustration during their relationship. It’s your reaction to these negative reviews that matters.

You can use negative reviews as an opportunity to do better – not just for the one individual that you first disappoint, but for any customer who may encounter the same pain point or frustration. 

Here are three tips to take into consideration when dealing with negative reviews:

  1. Track common issues raised in reviews through active listening or Voice of the Customer programs.
  2. Develop a proactive outreach to negative reviewers to help address their concerns and fix the issue at hand.
  3. Create a strategy for tracking and resolving these issues.

You should always respond to everyone who leaves you negative feedback. Fix what’s wrong and then try to make the problem right. This can actually turn a client from a negative reviewer into one of your biggest advocates.

Start the conversation with this question: What actions are we taking to address our negative online reviews? To continue the conversation, go to: experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] How to Build Stronger Customer Relationships in The Relationship Economy

John DiJulius – noted customer service guru – has a great new book called The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age. In the book, John states that in spite of (and because of) advances in technology, we’ve become a less connected society. We must get back to human-to-human interactions in order to build real relationships with our customers.

Today’s illiterate are those who have an inability to truly make a deep connection with others. Of all the skills that can be mastered, the one that will have the biggest impact on each of us personally and professionally, is the ability to build an instant rapport, an instant connection with others. Whether it be an acquaintance, friend, customer, co-worker, or a total stranger, this skill should be taught at home, in school, from pre-K to graduate school, and of course in business.

John DiJulius, author of The Relationship Economy

John DiJulius offers some specific guidelines that will help you become your customer’s most trusted advisor, including:

  1. Love what you do.
  2. Get to know your customer, not only professionally, but also personally.
  3. Be more committed to the success of your customer than they are.
  4. Don’t share how you can help them until you have completely understood their goals and their problems.
  5. Make sure your clients never meet anyone smarter than you at what you do.
  6. Be honest and transparent.
  7. Share bad news as quickly as you can.
  8. Be a resource broker by making the right connections and introductions.

If you want to learn how to build a business that nurtures human-to-human interactions and creates deep connections with customers in the process, make sure to read The Relationship Economy by John DiJulius.

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 73 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

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

Joey Coleman: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining. Customer retention expert Joey Coleman.

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

Joey Coleman: Now hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this. Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss the future of customer engagement, why it pays to read the fine print and how human to human interactions are the key to customer experience success.

Joey Coleman: Engaging, squinting, and interacting, oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience] A Site that Tells You What Customers Want

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

Dan Gingiss: So Joey, I happened upon a great web resource for customer experience professionals and frankly anyone even interested in customer experience, which I have to assume is our entire listening audience. Seeing as how they’re currently listening to our show. Joey, this is no ordinary site. This site was recently named the best CX thought leadership portal in the industry by Paul Greenberg on ZDNet.

Joey Coleman: I’m intrigued. Tell me more Dan.

Dan Gingiss: Well, the site features articles and videos across six topics. First is commerce, which includes e-commerce, B2B, and B2C. The second is customer experience, which includes user experience, CRM or customer relationship management, public sector, and employee engagement. The third is customer service. Fourth is sales. Fifth is marketing. The sixth is purpose, which includes diversity, gender equality, et cetera. What’s cool is that the site is designed as an experience. There are no popup ads or auto play videos.

Dan Gingiss: All the articles can be read in less than 10 minutes. When you subscribe, you only receive content updates, no sales pitches. In fact, not only don’t they sell the mailing list, they don’t even let their own company use it for anything else. So this is an exclusive club.

Joey Coleman: This actually sounds too good to be true. All right. What’s the website we’re talking about?

Dan Gingiss: Patience, my dear Joey. I have been loving the thought leadership on this site because it’s not all internal people. They incorporate many different contributors throughout the industry. They have created a robust array of content and ideas for leaders in pretty much any industry, whether you’re in commerce, marketing, sales, CX, service, tech. In fact the site has more than 300 page one Google returns. So you know it’s highly credible and as you and our listeners know, thought leadership builds trust and authority. So the more we learn, the more we’re able to articulate our own thoughts and opinions with others.

Joey Coleman: Oh, so the site you’re talking about is I’m guessing either Fortune or the Wall Street Journal?

Dan Gingiss: You are not correct on either.

Joey Coleman: What?

Dan Gingiss: It’s actually the site of one of our new partners on the podcast this year. SAP Customer Experience. Though you’d never know it because it’s only very lightly branded and it really focuses only on quality content, not on selling you anything. It’s called the future of customer engagement and commerce. The URL is www.the-future-of-commerce.com and if you didn’t write all of that down, we’ll include it in the show notes. But it is the-future-of-commerce.com with hyphens between each of the words. Those six topics I listed before. They actually do map back to SAP core customer experience product, which is called C/4 HANA.

Joey Coleman: So wait a second, I actually think I’ve already come across this site. I was doing some research recently and I found a bunch of great articles there. Jason Rose wrote a piece called What Customers Want. Jeannie Walters wrote one called How to Avoid CX Disasters and Emily Morrow wrote about Four Ways to Improve Customer Service.

Joey Coleman: These were all great articles and I agree with you, it doesn’t have a kind of a promoted site feel that some of the portal sites in the industry have. I mean, let’s be candid, that’s why we’re interested in partnering with SAP because if we’re going to recommend that folks go check out a site, we don’t want it just to be a giant sales pitch.

Dan Gingiss: Every time I think I know something that you don’t, so sure, of course you’ve heard of this site before. So quote me this then if you read that article, what do customers want?

Joey Coleman: Well, Dan, I’m glad you asked. See, I spend less time on Twitter and more time on websites. What customers really want is a connected journey that’s based on trust. Trust is by far the leading quality that humans look for and need in the relationships we maintain, whether it’s in our personal life or at work or with the brands we choose to purchase from, or at least that’s what one of the articles on the site said.

Joey Coleman: In fact, 81% of global consumers say that trusting a brand is a deciding factor in their purchase decisions and once a company has gained the trust, they’ve also gained your loyalty.

Dan Gingiss: It does make you wonder why so many companies still have archaic policies and nuisance fees when trust is all they really need. Not to mention all those companies losing our personal data. So here’s something I’ll bet you don’t know. That the topics on the site also get featured on Twitter in the form of a monthly CX tweet chat, which I actually got to participate in recently and was a ton of fun. That allows readers to engage with the content and express their own thoughts on the topics.

Joey Coleman: My friend as usual you are correct. I don’t know the Twitters, I leave all the twittering to you.

Dan Gingiss: Well, thank you, I appreciate that. So do yourselves a favor, loyal listeners and bookmarked www.the-future-of-commerce.com for tons of great content that will inspire you to take the next step in your customer experience journey. While you’re at it, if you are not like Joey and you actually are on Twitter, follow our friends at SAP Customer Experience on Twitter and they are @sap_cx. I follow them. They have great content. A lot of it from this site that they share on Twitter. So it’s a really good follow. Thanks so much. The SAP Customer Experience team for being great partners with the Experience This show

[Required Remarkable] Woman Wins $10K For Reading Fine Print

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

Dan Gingiss: So although this is a required remarkable segment, it’s actually based off of a great article in of all places. I’m sure a place that you read quite often, Joey People Magazine.

Joey Coleman: Only when I’m getting my haircut, Dan. Which is most people know is rarely.

Dan Gingiss: So there was an article earlier this year by Joelle Goldstein on People.com that is called, Georgia Woman Wins $10,000 for Reading the Fine Print on Her Insurance Policy. The subhead is, after years of constantly reading the fine print of documents Donelan Andrews’s meticulous work finally paid off.

Dan Gingiss: Now you can probably imagine the details of this story and we’re not going to go through the article, but I pick this out because we love to talk about fine print and legalese on this show. How it can actually detract from the experience if you’re not paying attention to it. So this insurance company did something really cool and basically buried a prize within the fine print, literally knowing that nobody was going to read it until this fine woman found it and actually won the prize.

Dan Gingiss: I absolutely love it. As I said, we’ve talked about fine print before on the show, even way back in season one, episode 11 when we talked about iflix which is the Asian competitor to Netflix. They have an email disclosure at the bottom that instead of saying the typical, “If you’re the unintended recipient of this email you must delete it immediately or we take your children.”

Dan Gingiss: They start with a headline that says covering our butts. What’s awesome about it is it actually gets you to read the disclosure because it’s interesting and the rest of it is just as humorous. That of course fills the lawyers dreams of people actually reading it. So that’s what happened in this story. I also remember a test that I did when I was at Discover where we had an ad and as with most credit card ads, there were a lot of asterisks throughout their fine print, right?

Joey Coleman: What? You’re kidding. No, not at all.

Dan Gingiss: What we did was we tested. I believed as a psychology major and also I’m a marketer. So I believed that an asterisk had a negative connotation that it basically told you there’s fine print and there’s something to look out for. So I did a test where the only thing I changed on the ad was I changed the asterisks to footnote numbers. Because I believed that a footnote number suggests there’s additional interesting information. Like when you see a footnote in a book or a scholarly article.

Joey Coleman: Folks, he’s not just pretty, he’s smart.

Dan Gingiss: Believe it or not, we saw a double digit increase in response rate by only changing the asterisks to the numbers. So this is really interesting topic and it’s why I picked out this article because I love that this woman won that money and that the insurance company paid it.

Joey Coleman: I think it’s great. I think it’s great that the lawyers who wrote that fine print had fun with it. Now whether it was them or the marketers involved in the company, who knows. But to be honest, I went to GW Law School in Washington, DC. I had a great legal research and writing professor. During your first year of law school, everybody is required to take a class called legal research and writing.

Joey Coleman: The point of the writing portion of that class was to try to get people to not write in legalese. That was the mission at least of my professor for that class. I remember very well his name is Ken Kryvoruka and Ken was great because he was always encouraging us to eliminate the legal words and write in common language.

Dan Gingiss: You mean like plain English?

Joey Coleman: Yes, plain English. Exactly. To make it much more legible, much more readable, much more understandable. That’s definitely something that I know there is a pocket of lawyers that are committed to. I know lots of times on the show and in my presentations I make fun of lawyers and I usually excuse that because I am one, but I know that there are lawyers that pay attention to this.

Joey Coleman: There is a legitimate concern that the lawyers have though. Because disclosures have really turned into the CYA tool for any potential issue that you might come across. So the best lawyers I find are the ones who are working with the marketing team to translate the legalese into something more entertaining.

Joey Coleman: Now, quick story. On my website, there is a privacy policy. Now I don’t collect any data, so there doesn’t really need to be a privacy policy. But I put one on there just for giggles and it’s written to have the legal CYA elements that I need. But it’s written to be entertaining when you read it.

Joey Coleman: Here’s the funny thing, about once a quarter, someone will email me and say, “Oh my gosh, I’m rolling on the ground laughing. I just read your privacy policy. Thank you so much for having fun with this.” So we try to practice what we preach. There is not, in my opinion, a business on the planet today that wouldn’t benefit from looking at their rules, their policies, their descriptions. And trying to inject a little fun, a little humor, a little levity, something to make it more exciting.

Joey Coleman: Now, I’m not saying you have to put in that there’s a $10,000 prize, but what I am saying is you can connect with your customers in an entirely different way because some of them are reading the fine print

Dan Gingiss: Just in case people don’t know what Joey’s legal acronym of CYA means, it’s kind of the equivalent of iflix covering our butts, but use your imagination for what the A stands for.

Joey Coleman: We keep this clean for the kids so you can listen to the podcast while you’re driving them to school folks.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. We don’t want that explicit tag added on.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. No explicit for the Experience This show.

Dan Gingiss: So I think there’s also opportunities for disclosures and other terms and conditions to be interactive. I’ve seen companies that have definitions attached to words that customers aren’t going to understand or that include pictures or even video in explaining some of the policies. Because a lot of people aren’t going to read, but they might consume a photo or a video.

Dan Gingiss: Remember that the goal of disclosures and legalese is to explain the finer details to a customer. I often get asked because I’ve worked in regulated industries both in financial services and in healthcare, which can be really difficult. How do you deal with that as a marketer? Where I start from is that regulators often have a good customer experience sense in mind when they create the regulations. The problem then is that they tell us how to execute on them and that is generally going to be in a way that isn’t that customer friendly.

Dan Gingiss: But if we start from the fact that the regulators, the lawyers, and the marketers all want customers to understand what they’re getting themselves into; that we all should have the same goal of making sure that the disclosures are easy to understand so that people do get what they’re going into. So I do think working together with those groups is probably the best way to make your language more understandable.

Dan Gingiss: So I want to send my personal congratulations to Donelan Andrews’ for her meticulous work as the headline said, in reading the terms and conditions and for winning the $10,000. But the takeaway obviously is that it shouldn’t take $10,000 to get people to read your legal disclosures. Take the time, read them yourself. If you find yourself falling asleep, drooling on the table, then that means your customers are doing the same thing, and use language to create an experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Dealing with Negative Reviews

Dan Gingiss: 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 weeks’ Start the Conversation topic is dealing with negative reviews. Negative online reviews. Unfortunately, they’re a part of doing business. Try as hard as you might. Customers are likely to encounter some frustration during a lengthy relationship with the brand and they’re not afraid to share it out in public.

Dan Gingiss: So it’s how you react to these negative reviews that really matters. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to do better, not just for that one customer that you disappointed, but for any other customer that might encounter the same pain point or frustration down the road.

Joey Coleman: In order to put this into practice, here are three things to consider when dealing with your negative reviews. Number one, track the common issues that are raised in your reviews through active listening or voice of the customer programs. Number two, develop proactive outreach to negative reviewers in order to help address their concerns and fix the issue at hand.

Joey Coleman: Number three, create a strategy for tracking and resolving these issues. Don’t make it a system of one offs and you need to meticulously record and track these to make sure that every negative review is being effectively and efficiently addressed.

Dan Gingiss: Look, I’ve been talking about this for years. You need to respond to everyone who leaves you feedback. The one exception there would be trolls and we’re not talking about trolls here. We’re talking about people that have legitimate negative feedback and are leaving online negative reviews. Use it as a learning opportunity to fix what’s wrong, but also respond to them and try to resolve the individual’s problem.

Dan Gingiss: You will be shocked how many times I’ve seen in my career where somebody that starts off as a detractor get their problem resolved and then becomes a company advocate. You actually turn them around to be somebody that wants to promote your brand because how you reacted when times were tough.

Dan Gingiss: So it’s a huge opportunity to take advantage of. I recommend that every company not be afraid of complaints because as I like to say, the people who complain are the ones who care, the ones who don’t care have already left for your competitor.

Joey Coleman: Now for this week’s question about dealing with negative reviews, what actions are we taking to address our negative online reviews? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with Avtex@experienceconversations.com that’s experienceconversations.com.

[Book Report] How to Build Stronger Customer Relationships in The Relationship Economy

Joey Coleman: 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: So I’m super excited about this week’s book report, because it is by a great friend of the show and long time customer service guru. John DiJulius and he has a brand new book out called The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the digital Age.

Dan Gingiss: In the book he argues that in spite of and because of the advances in technology, we’ve all become a little bit less connected with each other. That we have to get back to H to H or human to human interactions in order to build real relationships with customers and brands. We’re going to have John tell us a little bit about his new book, The Relationship Economy.

John DiJulius: Today we are living in the digital disruption era. Technology has provided us with unprecedented advances, information, knowledge, instant access, and entertainment. As convenient as these advances have made our lives, it also changed the way we communicate, behave, and think, which has led to a dramatic decline in our people skills.

John DiJulius: As a society, we are now relationship disadvantaged. The pendulum has swung so far over to high-tech low touch and those who understand that human touch is the most important part of any experience, especially a great customer experience will flourish. Personally and professionally success is about creating and building human connections.

John DiJulius: Technological advancements are critical to every business staying relevant. However, technology by itself is not a differentiator. The more you place technology between the company and the customer, the more you remove the human experience. For anyone in any business to thrive in the future, they will have to master the art of relationship building. Organizations now need to reinvent their business model to marry digital and human experience in the best way possible.

John DiJulius: In a relationship economy, the primary currency is the connections and trust among customers, employees, and vendors that create significantly more value in what we sell. These relationships and connections help make price irrelevance. The relationship economy is about building a culture that recognizes the importance of each individual and making everyone part of a community that is working towards something bigger, a community that makes them feel cared for.

John DiJulius: The relationship economy is how strongly you feel about the people and businesses in your life. Relationships are the biggest differentiator in customer and brand loyalty. Relationships are at the center of all we do. Welcome to the relationship economy.

Joey Coleman: I love this book and I love John’s perspective on this. I think it’s really interesting that we live in an era where humans are more connected than at any other time in human history. You can be friends with someone thanks to the internet who lives on the other side of the world, who you’ve never met and you never will meet.

Joey Coleman: And yet if we talk to mental health professionals around the world, humans are experiencing more loneliness, more depression, more feelings of disconnection and disease than in any other time in human history. So this idea of focusing on relationships and the power of building relationships, again, both in our professional and our personal lives is so timely and so vital and so important.

Joey Coleman: At the end of the day, customer experience really is about relationship. If we boil it down to its core essence, customers crave a relationship with the businesses they interact with. In fact, I would posit that as more true today than at any other time in human history.

Joey Coleman: We have so many customers that want to do business with people who are friends. They want to do business with brands that stand for the same things that they do. In many ways, it’s kind of a reversion back to when we were more of an agrarian society where you went to the general store and they knew you by name and you knew them by name and everybody was in it together working alongside each other.

Joey Coleman: While businesses have grown, while technology has created distance between folks, that yearning for more relationship and more connection is truer today I think and is only increasing in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more and I would argue actually that although the technology has caused people to feel further apart, I actually think social media is one of the things that has caused this trend. The reason is is that social gave consumers a voice for the first time, but it also gave them an opportunity to interact with brands that they never had the chance to do before. Right?

Dan Gingiss: In the past, if you wanted to interact with a brand, you wrote them a letter or you called their 800 number. But that was really if you had a customer service problem and now all of a sudden we can talk to brands as friends. We can talk to them as really other humans and we get messages back that are often signed by Sally or Steve or whatever.

Dan Gingiss: So there’s a human on the other end. That has built a different kind of relationship between consumer and brand than ever existed before. I think what consumers are saying is, “We like that and we want more of it.”

Joey Coleman: Well, and I think reiterate your point Dan, that idea of we need to respond to our customers on social. The days of somebody putting an opinion or a critique in the suggestion box and that was the end of it are gone. The customers want that back and forth. Give and take interaction.

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. So we on this show, love to ask authors what their favorite passage of their own book is. So here is John DiJulius reading his favorite passage from The Relationship Economy.

John DiJulius: Today’s illiterate are those who have an inability to truly make a deep connection with others. Of all the skills that can be mastered, the one that will have the biggest impact on each of us personally and professionally is the ability to build an instant rapport, an instant connection with others. Whether it be an acquaintance, friend, customer, coworker, or total stranger.

John DiJulius: This skill should be taught at home, in school from pre-K to graduate school, and of course in business. Unfortunately, it is rarely taught in any formal way. Make no mistake about it. The lack of social skills our society has today is the problem of business leaders to solve, and there’s three ways we have to do this.

John DiJulius: Number one, use technology to perform basic tasks, alternative convenience for customers, enabling employees to focus on what is most important. Building relationships that result in higher customer loyalty, retention, lifetime value, and job satisfaction. Number two, build a culture that creates emotional connections with your employees. Finally, number three, incorporate relationship building training for new and existing employees.

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love the way John compares this inability to make deep connection to illiteracy. It’s that important. This is such a crucial and vital piece of the customer experience and the relationship we’re trying to build with our customers.

Joey Coleman: I read this book cover to cover, there are so many fantastic passages, but my favorite quote or passage from the book is as follows. Being a trusted advisor means demonstrating that no one cares about your customer’s business like you do. You earn business by being generous with your knowledge and resources without asking for anything in return.

Joey Coleman: John then goes on to give some specific guidance on how to become a most trusted advisor. Trusted advisors is a phrase that is bandied about in board rooms and halls of business around the world all day, every day. But how do you actually do it? How do you get to that position of being a trusted advisor?

Joey Coleman: Well, there are eight key steps. Number one, love what you do. Number two, get to know your customer not only professionally but also personally. Number three, be more committed to the success of your customer than they are. Number four, don’t share how you can help them until you have completely understood what their goals and problems actually are.

Joey Coleman: Number five, make sure your clients never meet anyone smarter than you at what you do. Number six, be honest and transparent, which segues to number seven, share bad news as soon as you can. And number eight, be a resource broker by making the right connections and introductions at the right time that will benefit your customers.

Dan Gingiss: I love how John talks about being a trusted advisor because in full disclosure, Joey, John has been a trusted advisor for me for many years. He’s been a mentor and a teacher and a guy that I can bounce ideas off of, which I really appreciate. So he is one of these guys that doesn’t just write about it. He practices what he preaches.

Dan Gingiss: So I to really love the book and my favorite quote actually is sort of a quote of a quote because it comes within the book from founder and CEO Sheldon Wolitski of the Select Group, which is one of the leading IT recruiting and staffing companies.

Dan Gingiss: Here’s what Sheldon said, “I went out and hired a CXO chief experience officer and his whole role is to make sure that customers are having an amazing experience. It’s been an absolute game changer. We are just obsessed over this and it’s interesting. It’s actually given all of our employees a little bit more of a purpose in life as well and a purpose in their job. Before we were focused on revenue and placing people, but now we are focusing on impacting lives and that’s what we’ve really done. It’s really kind of the why behind why we do what we do. So it’s been a huge transformation.”

Dan Gingiss: I love that because most companies don’t yet have a chief experience officer, but it is becoming a title that is starting to be introduced and I think it’s a great case study to see that it can make a huge impact when the buck stops with someone on customer experience. Somebody who is able to take that 30,000 foot view and see the entirety of the customer journey with your company.

Joey Coleman: Folks, this is a great book. This is a great book for you. This is a great book for your team. This is a great book for anyone in your life that understands the importance of relationships or wants to reinvest and double down into the relationships they have. So go buy the book. Don’t rent the book, don’t check the book out of library.

Joey Coleman: Okay. You can check the book at our library if you really want to, but I’d encourage you to buy the book because this is the kind of book that you’re going to want to come back to again and again. The book is The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age by John DiJulius. A great speaker, a great author, a great customer experience professional. Go get The Relationship Economy today. 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 Experience This show.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.