This Just Happened

We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement – or avoid! – based on our experiences. Can you believe that THIS JUST HAPPENED?!

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

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

Promises, Packing, and Parking – Oh My!

[Listener Stories] Keeping – and Not Keeping – Promises

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

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

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

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

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

[This Just Happened] Travel Away with New Luggage

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

Any customer experience professional knows that the learning never stops – even if it happens on “summer vacation.” Don’t miss Engage 2020 this summer – hosted by our partners at Avtex!

June 21-24, 2020
The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel & Resort
Orlando, Florida

Engage 2020 offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities, including multiple learning tracks and specialized breakout sessions focused on a wide range of customer experience topics. At Engage 2020, you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on what you can do to move your organization’s experience strategy and delivery forward.

To learn more and reserve your tickets before they are sold out, visit: AvtexEngage.com

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

[This Just Happened] A Smart Parking Lot

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: 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 89 here or read it below:

Dan: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: That’s a great subject line.

Dan: Who doesn’t open that one?

Joey: Exactly.

Dan: Kyle writes, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: What impressed you about a piece of luggage?

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

Dan: I was going to ask, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: That does dress it down a little bit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: And we’re the cohosts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Always.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan: Let’s just make it confusing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: Oh, here we go.

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

Joey: Great.

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

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

Dan: And boy, was it cool.

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

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

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

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

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

Joey: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to we 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: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey: Experience

Dan: This!


Episode 88: How to Make Your Customers Go Away

Join us as we discuss how to make your customers go away, the exploding popularity of live chat, and how one retailer offers “returns made easy”… just not the one that advertises it.

Ignoring, Chatting, and Returning – Oh My!

[What Are You Reading?] What Not to Say

The co-founder and Emeritus chairman of Ritz Carlton says that Micah Solomon is his “go-to expert on exceptional customer service and building a customer-focused culture.” In Micah’s new book – Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away. The Simple Playbook for Delivering the Ultimate Customer Service Experience – we learn how that title was earned as Micah details top tips for creating exceptional service.

Micah talks about a system for customer-friendly language. For example, he says instead of saying, “Please hold,” a customer service agent should say, “May I please place you on a brief hold,” because it’s important that customers who are calling know that they have a choice whether to be put on hold or not.

I share the language to use and avoid when talking to customers, how to recruit, hire, onboard, train, and inspire the best employees, the ones that you really want in your customer facing positions. I talk about how to win over complainers and even talk about mystery shopping yourself to discover how your company is actually treating customers.

Micah Solomon, author of “Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away

Micah suggests changing the entire psychology of your customer engagements and then proceeds to provide step-by-step advice for how to do it. Check out Micah’s new book if you’re looking for detailed instructions for creating exceptional service.

[CX Press] Live Chat Benchmark Report 2020

Each year, Comm100 looks at millions of live chat sessions across its platform to identify trends and glean a sense of customer satisfaction across live chat tools. These results are then tallied and presented in a great report.

Looking back at 2019 live chat data for more than 56 million chats worldwide, there were plenty of surprises to be found… plus some not so surprising patterns that continue from previous years.

Jeff Epstein, Vice President of Marketing at Comm100

The report found that chat duration averaged just under 12 minutes, which is 2% longer than a year ago. Nearly 60% of Comm100’s live chat customers use canned messages. Chats per agent per month range from 597 at companies with more than 50 agents to a whopping 2,137 chats per agent per month for companies with 11 to 25 agents. Nearly three-quarters of all live chats in 2019 (or more than 42 million chats) were conducted on mobile devices – a massive increase of 82% over the year before!

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

Any customer experience professional knows that the learning never stops – even if it happens on “summer vacation.” Don’t miss Engage 2020 this summer – hosted by our partners at Avtex!

June 21-24, 2020
The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel & Resort
Orlando, Florida

Engage 2020 offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities, including multiple learning tracks and specialized breakout sessions focused on a wide range of customer experience topics. At Engage 2020, you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on what you can do to move your organization’s experience strategy and delivery forward.

To learn more and reserve your tickets before they are sold out, visit: AvtexEngage.com

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

[This Just Happened] Holiday Returns

Dan had several returns to make after the holiday season and thought it was fascinating to observe how different the return policies were at different retailers.

He tested the process of returning an Amazon item at a Kohl’s store. Although the sign at Kohl’s advertised “returns made easy,” he found that the sign promised something different than what he experienced. Dan stood in a return line behind more than 25 people and waited for what felt like an eternity. When he finally got to the front of the line, Dan was told that he could not return both the Kohl’s item and the Amazon item to the same cashier. He actually had to stand in a separate line to return the Amazon item. Doh!

Looking beyond return policies, every business can learn from this interaction:

  1. Don’t promise something will be easy if your process is not easy.
  2. No matter how easy it is, think of ways to make it easier.
  3. If the return is involuntary, meaning the product is defective, damaged, or broken, you should do everything in your power to get a working item in the customer’s hands as soon as possible and make the return or exchange process exceedingly easy.
  4. Make all of your policies customer-centric instead of company-centric.

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 88 here or read it below:

Dan:                             Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

Joey:                            And social media expert, Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. Don’t hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

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

Joey:                            Join us as we discuss how to make your customers go away, the exploding popularity of live chat, and how one retailer offers returns made easy, just not the one which advertises it.

Dan:                             Ignoring, chatting, and returning. Oh my.

Joey:                            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:                             I am super excited about today’s book report because I’ve been following this guy’s work for a long time. Micah Solomon is known as the customer service turnaround expert and he works as a customer service and customer experience consultant to some of the best companies in the world. In fact, on the back of his new book is a quote from the co-founder and Emeritus chairman of a little company called Ritz Carlton.

Joey:                            Oh, I’ve heard of them actually.

Dan:                             I thought you might. Who says that Micah is “his go-to expert on exceptional customer service and building a customer-focused culture.” Micah’s new book which just came out is called Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away. The simple playbook for delivering the ultimate customer service experience. We’re thrilled at Micah, recorded some exclusive audio for us.

Joey:                            Oh la la, exclusive audio.

Dan:                             You can only hear it here on the Experience This show folks. Here’s Micah talking about his new book.

Micah Solomon:            Hello, my name is Micah Solomon. I’m the author of a new book called Ignore Your Customers and They’ll Go Away. The simple playbook for delivering the ultimate customer service experience. Let me tell you real briefly who I am, what I do. I’m a customer service turnaround expert, which means I spend my time consulting, speaking and training for a variety of quite fabulous companies across many industries. I help them transform their customer service, their customer experience, their company culture, and ultimately their bottom line results.

Micah Solomon:            I’ve included as much of that experience and insight as I could into my new book because even today, so many companies miss the mark when it comes to delivering exceptional customer service. I provide my readers with a practical step by step guide to crafting a customer service experience and a customer focused culture that can transform the performance and the brand reputation of just about any business, large or small or medium and sustainably improve the bottom line.

Micah Solomon:            I’ve included case studies and stories and interviews that I personally assembled from some of today’s best known, most beloved customer focused companies like Cleveland Clinic, USA Insurance, Ritz Carlton hotel company, Nordstrom, as well as some newer names that are doing fantastic job as well, like Dry Bar and Mod Pizza.

Micah Solomon:            I share the language to use and avoid when talking to customers, how to recruit, hire, onboard, train and inspire the best employees, the ones that you really want in your customer facing positions. I talk about how to win over complainers and even talk about mystery shopping yourself to discover how your company is actually treating customers. I really look forward to sharing this book with you. Thank you.

Joey:                            Ooh, I love me some good exclusive audio, Dan. Thanks for that. Micah. Solomon hints to his readers that the payoff for reading the book will be three fold. Number one, you’ll retain a higher proportion of your existing customers. Number two, you’ll increase per customer spending, and number three, you’ll attract new customers and you’ll do it all in a way that is almost entirely immune to being knocked off by your competitors.

Dan:                             Which is why we say that customer experience is the last true differentiator.

Joey:                            The ultimate differentiator.

Dan:                             So I also like this book because it is actually pretty funny, which I applaud Solomon for it because that in itself is unexpected from a business book. So I want to share my favorite passage and our listeners probably know by now that I love words and language so this part stuck out to me immediately.

Dan:                             Micah talks about a system for customer friendly language. And I’m quoting here, “when I undertake a customer service initiative, I typically develop for my client company a simple system, really just a phrasebook of words and phrases to avoid when interacting with customers. Each one paired with a preferable alternative or alternatives.” And then he goes into a bunch of examples that I want to share with you because I thought they were really interesting.

Dan:                             For example, he says instead of saying, “please hold,” a customer service agent should say, “may I please place you on a brief hold,” because it’s important that customers who are calling know that they have a choice whether to be put on hold or not.

Joey:                            Wait, we have a choice. Like I never feel like I have a choice in those scenarios. Right.

Dan:                             You don’t, but generally speaking, when somebody asks you, “can I put you on hold?” You say, “yes.”

Joey:                            Right. Exactly.

Dan:                             So but it’s interesting, because …

Joey:                            But by making it feel like a choice, we feel better about the fact that we’re being put on hold.

Dan:                             Yes. We’ve changed the whole psychology of the engagement. He then says don’t refer to elderly people as young lady or young man. It is insensitive and particularly insulting. And I have to add that there are two of these that actually really annoy the heck out of me. One of them happened to me just yesterday and I don’t know if this just happens to short bald guys or not. Maybe as a tall, wonderfully haired gentlemen, you don’t get this. But when somebody in a service industry refers to me as boss, I find that incredibly insulting. And unless I’m actually their boss, in which case then, then I’m okay with that.

Joey:                            Then you’re okay being called boss.

Dan:                             And I also don’t like when people refer to groups of adults as kids, you know, like, Hey kids, you know, or whatever. I find that to be insulting as well. And so I get what he’s saying with the elderly. And then the last thing is don’t say are we ready to order now or how are we doing today? If you mean you say you, not we. Don’t talk to adults as if they’re toddlers. So same theme there, but I definitely related to that.

Joey:                            Words matter. I love it. You know, my favorite passage from the book is from a section called the power of wow, and I quote, “a wow experience is when service goes beyond fulfilling basic customer expectations and does so in a creative, unexpected way. By creating a wow experience, you give rise to a story in the mind of your customer. Since humans tend to think and remember in terms of stories, the wow approach is one of the most effective ways to build lasting connections with customers. These wow stories have a good likelihood of living on in memory, encouraging customers to not only return, but to share their memories of the experience with friends, family, and coworkers, and through social media to the world.”

Joey:                            What I love about this quote is it’s so true and we’ve talked about this on the show many, many times. In fact, while Dan and I were riding in an Uber to the recording studio this morning to record this episode, we were talking with our driver and he mentioned that he was a musician and talked about a company called Sweetwater.

Joey:                            Now, Sweetwater sells gear for musicians, instruments, cables, etcetera. And he was relating this story about how he bought a cable, just a simple connector cable, and was shocked when the folks at Sweetwater called him a few days later to make sure that he received it, to check in on how it worked, to make sure everything was good and he’s like, it was just a cable. What I love about that is they created a wow moment by calling when it was unexpected that they would call for something that was really a small purchase. They made a customer for life.

Dan:                             And of course what he told us is now anytime he wants to order any musical equipment or supplies, he goes to Sweetwater.

Joey:                            Exactly. And I imagine, and we actually asked him about this, have you ever told this story before? And he said, well, I’ve told this story a ton to all the musicians I know. Folks, the best word of mouth marketing and advertising that you can buy doesn’t actually cost you money. It just costs you thoughtfulness. You have to pay attention and reach out and create those kinds of wow moments that will get your customers talking.

Joey:                            So interestingly enough, speaking of Sweetwater, before we recorded this segment, we were talking to our amazing sound engineer, Taylor, and he shared with us a unique story about Sweetwater and the fact that they’re famous in the industry with musicians.

Taylor:                          Yeah. It’s almost like a running joke at times of how personalized and how insistent their followup customer services, because not only do they call to follow up after you’ve made a purchase to check on how you liked it, it’s the same person every time. You have one dedicated, I think they call it sales engineer, who’s always the one who calls you.

Taylor:                          So for the last probably decade, anytime I’ve ever bought anything on Sweetwater Sound, I get a call from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it’s Nick Church from Sweetwater Sound, just checking in Taylor to see how you like that guitar strap you bought. And I’m like, it’s a guitar strap. It’s great. I love it. Nick. Thanks man.

Joey:                            What I love is that Nick has his wicked Aussie accent, but he lives in Indiana. Absolutely. Fantastic. So yeah, when you create these wow moments, people talk about it.

Dan:                             Shout out to you Nick Church.

Joey:                            But enough about my favorite passage. Let’s go to Micah Solomon and his favorite passage from the book.

Micah Solomon:            Unfortunately, the focus and attentiveness that are common when a business has only a few customers tend to slide when the customer roster begins to balloon. Employees stop signing their thank you notes by hand. Managers busy themselves with paperwork in their office hideaways rather than coming out into the open to greet even a long time or a VIP customer, and they’re certainly nowhere to be found if a customer conflict ever erupts and needs smoothing over.

Micah Solomon:            Jackie and Joanne, the quirky, charismatic telephone operators who knew the name and backstory of every customer who called in are edged into retirement and replaced. Although in reality, they’re irreplaceable with low paid rookies or a voice jail system. Is such lowering of standards inevitable? Decidedly not.

Micah Solomon:            If you stubbornly stick to your guns, the mantra you’ll need for this is, if you would have done it for your first customer, you’ll find a way to keep doing it for your 10,000, without rushing, without cutting corners, and without doing anything that would make a customer feel less than fully valued by your business.

Micah Solomon:            Remember, you need to never stop believing in the importance of the individual customer. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there’s an infinite supply of new customers out there for the taking. If only your marketing and sales departments would do their jobs. Tell yourself instead that not only are customers a limited commodity, there’s actually no such thing as customers in the plural. Rather, there’s just one customer, the one who’s being served right now.

Dan:                             Great stuff, as always, from customer service, turnaround expert Micah Solomon. Get his book on Amazon or wherever books are sold, and if you want to do a solid here at Experience This, use the link in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com and I believe we’ll receive an affiliate fee of a what, like 3 cents Joey?

Joey:                            I think it’s two, Dan.

Dan:                             Is that your 2 cents Joey?

Joey:                            Yeah. I’ll keep that 2 cents.

Dan:                             I see what you did there.

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

Dan:                             This week’s CX press is actually not an article but a new report out from Comm 100, a digital customer conversation platform. Each year, Comm 100 looks at millions of live chat sessions across its platform to get a sense for customer satisfaction and they tally up the results in a great report that we’ll link to in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com.

Dan:                             This year’s report found that the overall satisfaction rate for live chat was flat at 83%. According to the report, “while customer expectations are as high as ever, unfortunately it seems that service quality is stagnating. The plateau in customer satisfaction from 2018 to 19 should inspire action, not complacency in 2020 as it is still behind the peak achieved in 2015. Since many factors influence customer satisfaction, wait time, resolution time, professionalism, accessibility, product or service issues, staff turnover, etcetera, organizations should be conducting regular audits of the entire customer life cycle to identify what’s getting in the way of progress.”

Dan:                             Comm 100 Vice President of Marketing, Jeff Epstein, was kind enough to record some of his thoughts on this year’s report, including one of the big surprises to surface. Let’s take a listen.

Jeff Epstein:                  Looking back at 2019 live chat data for more than 56 million chats worldwide, there were plenty of surprises to be found plus some not so surprising patterns that continue from previous years. Let’s get to it, starting with the surprises.

Jeff Epstein:                  So are larger organizations really just customer service mills staffed by disengaged and poorly trained agents. It turns out this is a myth of epic proportions. According to our data, customer service teams have 50 or more agents lead the pack with an average customer satisfaction score of 88%, four to six points higher than any other team size, but there’s more to this story. This cohort also had the lowest average number of chats per agent and the highest use of canned messages among all groups. This cohort also had the most people waiting in line to chat, although they made up for it with the third lowest average wait time of just over 40 seconds.

Jeff Epstein:                  Now this tells me that despite the total volume of visitors and chats they’re dealing with, teams of 50 or more agents are totally exploding the myth that the big guys can’t get it right. They clearly have a thing or two they can teach smaller teams about managing check capacity, appropriate use of automation, and keeping wait times reasonable.

Jeff Epstein:                  Speaking of automation, both the use of AI powered chat bots and their effectiveness enjoyed substantial gains in 2019. Our chat bots went from handling about 26% of chats from start to finish to handling more than 68% without the need for human intervention, earning an average satisfaction rate of 87.6%. That’s more than four points higher than the total average rating across the board. I’m personally not surprised, but I’m betting you are.

Jeff Epstein:                  Less of a surprise is the continued growth in mobile chats which accounted for more than 74% of all chats on our system in 2019. Last year, about 50% of chats were mobile devices. I don’t think anyone needs any more evidence that ours is a mobile first smartphone led world, but there it is.

Jeff Epstein:                  And finally, co-browsing works people. With an average CSAT score of 88.7% compared to 83% overall. No surprise, right? Co-browsing is highly personal, highly secure and clearly highly effective at resolving customer queries.

Jeff Epstein:                  There you have it. Some of the surprises and affirmations from Comm 100s 2020 live chat benchmark report. Get the full story and your complete copy at www.comm100.com.

Joey:                            There were definitely some other interesting findings in this year’s live chat study that we wanted to talk about as well. For example, chat duration averaged just under 12 minutes, which is 2% longer than a year ago, so people are spending more time chatting, which is really fascinating when you think about it. Nearly 60% of Comm100s live chat customers use canned messages. Chats per agent per month range from 597 at companies with more than 50 agents to a whopping 2,137 chats per agent per month for companies with 11 to 25 agents. Nearly three quarters of all live chats in 2019 or more than 42 million chats were on mobile devices, a massive increase of 82% over the year before. And those co-browsing sessions that Jeff mentioned, this is where the agent can see the same screen as the customer. Those more than doubled from 2018. The good news for customers is that sessions are much shorter. A third of the time of a standard chat and average satisfaction is higher at nearly 89%.

Dan:                             I also found it interesting that only 2% of chats were proactive, meaning the agent reached out first. Kate Chapman, who you might remember we featured back in episode 34 for her article on blockchain technology is the learning and development manager at Comm100. On proactive chats, she noted, “brands have to strike a delicate balance when it comes to proactive chat invitations. In this case, at issue are the opposing forces of eagerness and helpfulness. Being too proactive can come across as intrusive, but reaching out at just the right moment can save a customer from a frustrating experience.”

Joey:                            I think this is the online equivalent of when you walk into the store and the second your foot crosses the threshold the, you know, store clerk is like, how can I help you? What can I help you find today? Right? Let us breathe a little, let us ease into it, but you also don’t want to go to the other side of the game where you’re standing there looking for someone looking for help. In an online environment, they have the opportunity to jump in and be proactive as well.

Joey:                            We’d also be remiss if we didn’t talk about chat bots and artificial intelligence or AI. Jeff mentioned that chat bots handled 68.9% of their chats from start to finish, up nearly three X from what they did in 2018. They also earned an average satisfaction rate of 87.58% which amazingly is nearly two points higher than the satisfaction rate with human led interactions. Folks, the robots are better at this then the people. Not surprisingly though, unresolved bot chats that get transferred to a human agent scored lower because the customer didn’t get the answer they needed from the bot.

Dan:                             So what can we learn from this report? First off, live chat is a very significant customer service channel that can often be overlooked compared to its legacy cousins, telephone and email or the seemingly sexier social media. This is a channel that is almost universally offered among companies and one that customers appear to really appreciate.

Dan:                             Secondly, the competition is getting better at live chat, which means that if it isn’t already a big focus in your company, it should be. And third, a mobile focus with an appropriate amount of artificial intelligence is absolutely key to success.

Dan:                             As Jeff mentioned, you can go to www.comm100.com. That’s C-O-M-M one zero zero dot com, under the resources tab to download a copy of your report and we’ll include that link in our show notes as well at www.experiencethisshow.com.

Joey:                            Dan, do you remember what you were doing last year on May 6th?

Dan:                             Ah, that’s an easy one. I was a speaker at Avtex Engage 2019.

Joey:                            Awesome! Do you know what our listeners should be doing this year on June 21st?

Dan:                             That’s another easy one, Joey. They should be checking in at the registration desk at Avtex Engage 2020.

Joey:                            Exactly! Now Dan, you and I get a chance to go to a lot of CX conferences, and let’s be candid, often they’re one of two things, either a technology user conference where they just put the word “CX” in the title to make everyone feel better about themselves…

Dan:                             It is trendy!

Joey:                            It is trendy! Or, it’s a whole series of sales pitches for a tech firm or a consulting firm and the call it a customer experience conference to make you feel better about yourself or maybe to make them feel better about themselves, I’m not exactly sure.

Dan:                             I’m not a big fan of the sales pitch from the stage. But no, what I remember about Engage 2019 was that first of all it was in my hometown of Chicago, so that was really fun. They had a great venue, a great stage, and it was a lot of fun. They had a different kind of content because it was really customer experience all of the time. It was everything CX.

Joey:                            I love it! And while this year’s event is not going to be in Chicago, it’s going to be in Orlando, Florida at the fantastic Walt Disneyworld Resort. I mean this is going to be a fantastic experience for everybody there. It’s a great event. Folks, there are so many opportunities for you to attend events, to attend conferences, but so often when you do, you just don’t get the value. We know that you’re going to get the value at this event. Why? Because, Dan’s been there before. So, go to www.avtexengage.com. That’s w-w-w-dot-a-v-t-e-x-engage-dot-com.

Dan:                             Hey, Joey, can I tell them the best part?

Joey:                            Tell them the best part.

Dan:                             If they use the secret code.

Joey:                            The secret code. Shhh… don’t tell anybody.

Dan:                             Don’t tell anybody.

Joey:                            It’s only for listeners of Experience This!

Dan:                             Please, no tweeting.

Joey:                            Don’t worry, I won’t tweet it either.

Dan:                             Use the code: experiencethis10 and you will save 10% off your ticket price. Hope to see you in Orlando, Florida in sunny Walt Disneyworld, in June.

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

Dan:                             So I had several returns to make after the holiday season and I thought it was fascinating to observe how different the return policies were at different retailers. Now two in particular stood out to me, Amazon and Kohl’s. And it’s particularly interesting since as our astute listeners know, Amazon and Kohl’s have partnered up to allow returns of Amazon merchandise at Kohl’s stores.

Dan:                             But today I want to talk about their return process independently, as I had to return both Amazon and Kohl’s items recently.

Joey:                            So wait, let me make sure I understand this. You had items from Amazon to return and you had items from Kohl’s to return and they both allow, well, at least Kohls allows returns from Amazon at their stores.

Dan:                             Yes. It’s a little confusing, but that’s kind of, we’re getting to the point here.

Joey:                            I love it.

Dan:                             So in full disclosure, we don’t usually mention brands that are missing the boat in customer experience, but I can confidently say that I’m a customer of both of these brands and this story is meant to help listeners do better at their own companies.

Joey:                            So Dan, I know Amazon has many different ways to return a product. Sometimes they offer you the ability to print a label at home. Sometimes you can drop it off at a UPS store, but they also offer this ability to return the item directly to a Kohl’s retail store location. The only question is whether they pay for shipping or you do.

Dan:                             Yes, and I’ve always found that a little bit confusing. I think it has something to do with the choice that you make when you explain to them why you’re returning the product. But of course some people have learned you can just change the choice.

Joey:                            You can change the choice and change the impact.

Dan:                             But in any event, in this particular return, I got a new choice. I was able to bring the products to the nearest UPS store, which happens to be about 90 seconds from my house and not have to print a label or even put them in a box.

Joey:                            Wait, so all you had to do is take the item you want to return, go to the UPS store and that’s it. No printing of label, no boxing, no taping, no nothing.

Dan:                             Just handed the item to the nice gentleman at the UPS store. I handed it to him and showed him a QR code that Amazon had sent me on my phone. It was literally the easiest and fastest return I’ve ever made. Probably 15 seconds.

Joey:                            Wow, that’s impressive. Particularly because I was at a UPS store recently and they had a section on the counter that somebody had handwritten Amazon returns where people could drop their boxes off and there were people standing in line waiting to put their returns in those places because it didn’t look like it could be real. It was kind of one of these things where it’s like, well wait, don’t have to hand it in to someone. I just drop it here and then I’m done. And there was a lot of confusion, which now thank you for the insight, Dan, I understand what the confusion was all about.

Dan:                             Well, speaking of confusion, I then drove over to Kohls.

Joey:                            I love it.

Dan:                             And that’s only because of what happened online first. So I bought an item that actually didn’t function. It was defective. It stopped working.

Joey:                            Just broken out of the box?

Dan:                             Well, it worked for about 30 seconds and then like stopped working. Okay. So the thing didn’t work and I wanted to return it. Now I went to the return section on Kohl’s website and I learned that Kohl’s strongly prefers that you return their items to their store, even if you order them online. In fact, they have a strict policy of not paying for return shipping no matter what.

Dan:                             So naturally, I didn’t think that I should be paying for return shipping given that the product wasn’t working. So I picked up and drove to Kohl’s. Now as it turns out, I actually had to return something from Kohl’s and something from Amazon because of course this other Amazon item didn’t get that special UPS treatment. I don’t know why.

Joey:                            Folks, are you tracking along? This is so exciting.

Dan:                             So the first thing I noticed at Kohl’s were signs that said returns made easy.

Joey:                            Oh, you know buddy, I always get nervous. I always get nervous when somebody touts how easy things are that it might not live up to it.

Dan:                             Well, you know from both my keynotes and my book how much I like signs and how they contribute to the customer experience. So needless to say, with a sign like that, my expectations were high, that this would be an easy return experience.

Joey:                            Oh no, he’s setting us up folks. Do you sense the foreshadowing? I can feel it.

Dan:                             Well, maybe I shouldn’t have done this, but I actually took a picture of that sign along with the more than 25 people standing in line waiting to return their items.

Joey:                            Anything but easy. Oh no. And it’s like if they wouldn’t have said easy, it wouldn’t have been that bad of a deal. It wouldn’t have made a photo. It wouldn’t have made it into the show. But because you said slash promised it was going to be easy, not so good.

Dan:                             Exactly. So I finally get to the front of the line. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it certainly seemed like an eternity. And then I realized that I could not return both the Kohl’s item and the Amazon item to the same cashier. I actually had to stand in a separate line to return the Amazon item.

Joey:                            Oh my goodness. You know, I was afraid of this. When this, I’ve never, I’ve returned items from Amazon. I’ve returned items from Kohls. I’ve never done both in the same trip and I was getting nervous. I mean, I can somewhat understand because undoubtedly they have different return processing fees and it’s, you know, they’re different brands, but it shouldn’t be the customer’s problem, like the customer shouldn’t feel the impact of those differences.

Dan:                             Exactly. So they did make it my problem and hence we’re talking about it here on the show. So what can we learn from these two experiences, one at the UPS store and one at Kohl’s.

Dan:                             Number one, don’t promise something is easy if your process is not easy.

Joey:                            It’s pretty simple folks. Let’s think about the words we use and choose them wisely.

Dan:                             Number two, no matter how easy it is, think of ways to make it easier. It used to be that you had to wait for a company to send you a return label via snail mail. Then it became easier once companies allowed you to print that label at home. And now Amazon has taken it another step forward by not even requiring a label at all.

Dan:                             Number three. If the return is involuntary, meaning the product is defective or damaged or broken, you should do everything in your power to get a working item in the customer’s hands as soon as possible and make the return or exchange process exceedingly easy. Remember, it’s not the customer’s fault that the item is damaged or not working. It’s a different story from I just don’t like this and want to return it.

Dan:                             And finally, make all of your policies customer-centric instead of company-centric.

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

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

Joey:                            We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to 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:                             Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more …

Joey:                            Experience.

Dan:                             This.


Episode 86: Discover How to Deliver a Truly Great Customer Experience

Join us as we discuss why customer satisfaction and profit might be at odds, a romance novelist who immerses herself in her characters, and how LEGO builds customer loyalty.

Dollars, Damsels, and Dumbledore – Oh My!

[CX Press] Customer Satisfaction vs. Profit

How do you measure a satisfied customer? How do you measure your success? Mary Drummond explores this in her latest article, Which is your CX Priority: Satisfied Customer or Profit?

Customer experience cannot stand on its own. Studies have shown that reducing customer defection can increase profits dramatically. This tells us that profits increase as customer loyalty increases.

It was about being able to tie customer experience, tie the experiences of the customers, what drives their decision to actually give money to your organization, find the experiences that matter and be able to focus and metrify those so that corporations can make decisions based on numbers that actually tie into the bottom line.

Mary Drummond, CMO of Worthix

Ultimately, the truth is you have to have both customer satisfaction and profit to succeed. The two will go hand in hand. When you create a great experience, build loyalty, and life-long customers, you also build a profitable organization.

[What Are You Reading] Immerse Yourself in the Experience

Romance novels may seem an odd addition to a customer experience podcast. However, one novelist Allie Pleiter, knows how to truly deliver a great customer experience. Dan met Allie at a national speaker event, and she told him that she often puts herself in the shoes of her customer. She wants to experience what she’s asking her readers to experience.

I go out of my way to make sure that that experience is as rich and engrossing and enthralling as possible. Now, for me, that means that I need to do whatever I can to actually experience what I want my reader to experience. That’s not only a good customer experiences, it’s also a lot of fun for me.

Allie Pleiter, Author, Speaker, and Coach

Allie understands the basic tenant of customer experience. She immerses herself in her character’s journey, which allows her to write more vivid imagery of what they are experiences, which actually provides a better experience for her readers. On average, Allie publishes four novels a year, and has sold over 1.4 million copies. So, we can say with some certainty, that putting yourself in your customer’s shoes is definitely a wise decision to provide a great customer experience.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Make an Effective Journey Map Today

Most customer experience experts are familiar with journey mapping. Journey maps can give you the information you need to truly understand your customer. However, many still fail to create truly effective journey maps that will actually improve experience design or experience improvements.

Here are four tips to help you with your journey mapping:

  1. Focus on one journey at a time. It’s important to chart individual journeys rather than attempt to create a map of all potential paths simultaneously.
  2. Identify customer personas who are most likely to engage in the journey to be mapped. 
  3. Use all available data sources to create depth and detail around the journey.
  4. Involve multiple departments to gain various perspectives during the journey mapping process.

As we walk into 2020, we want to challenge you to take a careful look at your own journey map. Things are constantly evolving and changing, and your company is too. Take a look at the journey map you are building and get ready for the new year!

Start the conversation with this question: Have we taken steps to truly understand the path our customers take to interact with our brand?

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

[This Just Happened] Why Giving your Employees Freedom can Lead to the Best Customer Experience

Sometimes, a customer service experience actually stands out for a good reason. When two loves collide – LEGO and Harry Potter – a little connection and personalization set this experience apart from all the others. This interaction between Liam, a Lego customer, and Ronald, a customer service agent, was found by Dan on LinkedIn.

If Ronald had been forced to stick to one script, this amazing interaction never would have happened. Instead, Ronald immediately created a connection with his client, and resolved the issue seamlessly, with care and empathy. The takeaway is simple: lock in a customer for life by creating connection. Look for a commonality and draw on that. It may not be Hogwarts, but you will find something.

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 86 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 on to your headphones. It’s time to experience this. 

Joey Coleman: Get ready for the final episode of season four of the Experience This! Show. 

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss why customer satisfaction and profit might be at odds, a romance novelist who immerses herself in her characters, and how Lego builds, get it, builds customer loyalty.

Joey Coleman: Dollar, damsels and Dumbledore. Oh, my. 

[CX Press] Customer Satisfaction vs. Profit

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

Dan Gingiss: Back in season two, episode 50, we shared an article by my good friend, Mary Drummond, the CMO of Worthix, a survey company that helps companies determine their actual worth to customers. Mary is a brilliant and prolific writer, so I thought it was high time we featured another one of her articles. Today’s is called Which is Your CX Priority, Satisfied Customers or Profit?

Joey Coleman: Oh, that’s tough. I can only choose one?

Dan Gingiss: Well, that’s what the article’s about actually. Mary laments that so many companies are having difficulty measuring the true value of customer experience, which of course makes it harder to secure resources for management, which then negatively affects the customer experience. Let’s hear from Mary directly. 

Mary Drummond: I spent a lot of time speaking to CX practitioners to executives inside corporations and to thought leaders on customer experience. One thing that seemed to be kind of an across the board message was that if that at some point executives and shareholders don’t start seeing profit in customer experience, then they’re going to start shutting down projects. That is probably the worst case scenario for our field, especially because we understand the value of customer experience. We understand the value of putting the customer first. 

What we need to be able to do is find a correlation with those numbers that can be shown to the decision makers in our organizations so we can prove that customer experience is profitable. I mean, it’s great to look at things from a holistic approach and try to see the big picture, but that big picture somehow has to tie into numbers or else it’s going to be useless for the people who have to base their decisions on these metrics. Right? 

So, I think that it wasn’t about how profits are more important than customers, especially because customers are what bring profit in the first place. It was more about being able to tie customer experience, tie the experiences of the customers what drives their decision to actually give money to your organization, find the experiences that matter and be able to focus and metrify those so that corporations can make decisions based on numbers that actually tie into the bottom line. So, that’s my point with this article. I hope you all give it a read, because it’s a really important message.

Dan Gingiss: Mary goes on to say that, “If companies want to maintain and increase profits with customers buying and re-buying their products and services, what they need to provide is an overall experience in which the benefits, both rational and emotional, outweigh the costs, both price and effort or time. 

Joey Coleman: Well, that sounds about right. But what’s the catch, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Well, Mary goes on to say that the success of your CX projects hinges on profitability. Why? Because it’s pretty difficult to get corporate buy-in for a project that won’t increase financial results. “This is a numbers game,” she says, “So, if you want to get your board excited, you’ll need to demonstrate the profit potential of designing and implementing experiences that positively impact customer’s decisions.” I think what she’s saying here is that you can’t just do CX to do CX.

Joey Coleman: Well, I totally agree with that, Dan. I think what’s interesting is lots of times the customer experience conversation gets framed as, “Well, you just hug it with the customers, and everything’s touchy feely and we’ll all be happy.” What’s interesting is that type of messaging certainly works for a lot of people who work in customer experience, but it doesn’t work for the bean counters. It doesn’t work for the financial folks in the organization that are like, “Well, what’s the value of a hug?”

I’m a big fan of some incredible research out of Harvard Business School and Stanford Business School that notes that just a five percent reduction in customer defection leads to a 25 to 100% increase in profits. So, lots of times the key benefit of customer experience is customer retention. If we can keep more of our customers, our profits go up. Why? Because most businesses are already operating at a profit. So, the incremental dollars that are spent by a customer who’s been there for a long time are more profitable than the first dollars they spent because we’ve already recouped the acquisition costs. So, I do think there is a clear financial bottom line profits reason for focusing on customer experience. It’s just about how we frame it in our conversations within our organizations. 

Dan Gingiss: I’m going to give you another example that will make the bean counters happy, which was some research done by Watermark Consulting. Now, what they did was they looked at the Forrester Customer Experience Index, which comes out every year and ranks companies based on their customer experience scores. Watermark took a look at the public companies on the list and they compared the return in the stock market over 11 years of the leaders in customer experience to the laggards in customer experience.

Now, what was amazing was that not only did the leaders steadily and handily out perform the S&P 500 but they performed almost 3X what the laggards did. So, the laggards were also laggards in the stock market. The leaders were also leaders in the stock market, and the leaders performed way better multiple times than the laggards. There is a connection here. The companies that were rising to the top of Forrester’s Customer Experience Index were also performing the best on Wall Street.

Joey Coleman: I love it because not only were they performing better than those who decided not to focus on customer experience or who had poor customer experiences, but if I understood the research right, they were performing better than the S&P 500 in general, which by the way, to be on the S&P 500 means that your business is doing well. As a general rule, those are the companies that are picked to be put into that 500 company basket. So, the fact that they were over-indexing on that group as well to me indicates that their dollars and cents really come together when it comes to focusing on customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: So, I think to summarize Mary’s article, it isn’t really a choice between satisfaction or profit. You have to invest in the CX experiences that create both, that make customers happy and satisfied and therefore willing to spend more money with you. So, the takeaway is that just like any other corporate initiative, you can’t expect to get resources and executive buy-in without demonstrating clear results. So, make sure you have the analytics in place to track the actual impact of any customer experience initiative. 

[What Are You Reading] Romance Novels!

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? 

Dan Gingiss: Joey, are you a fan of the romance novel genre?

Joey Coleman: Well, you know, that’s an interesting question, Dan. Fan is probably too big of a word. I have read some romance novels, because I try to read across a lot of different genres. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an avid regular reader. 

Dan Gingiss: Well, I think after this segment you might become a bigger fan of one particular romance novelist. 

Joey Coleman: Ooh-la-la. Tell me more. You have my attention, Dan. 

Dan Gingiss: Well, her name is Allie Pleiter. She’s the best-selling author of more than 40 books. 

Joey Coleman: Wow, that’s a lot. Dan and I have each written one book, and we know how much goes into writing one book. 40 books, good for you, Allie. That’s a lot.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. She is releasing an average of four novels per year. She has sold more than 1.4 million books around the world. Now, I had the pleasure of meeting Allie recently at The National Speakers Association Influence Event where you and I were both roomies as I remember.

Joey Coleman: Yes. We’re not just co-hosts on the podcast. Occasionally when we’re at the same event, we get to be roomies. 

Dan Gingiss: As it turns out, she’s from my home state of Illinois. So, we met at an Illinois NSA Chapter dinner because she’s also a professional speaker and productivity coach. Anyway, I wouldn’t normally have included a discussion of a bunch of romance novels on our podcast, but Allie told me something really interesting about her writing method. You know how we often talk about putting yourself in the shoes of your customer?

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I mean, it’s basically one of the most repeated tenets of customer experience theory. 

Dan Gingiss: Well, Allie puts herself in the shoes of her fictional character. 

Joey Coleman: Wait a second. How does she do that?

Dan Gingiss: I think we should let her tell us in her own words.

Allie Pleiter: My primary customer experience is what a reader experiences when he or she reads one of my novels. I go out of my way to make sure that that experience is as rich and engrossing and enthralling as possible. Now, for me, that means that I need to do whatever I can to actually experience what I want my reader to experience. That’s not only a good customer experiences, it’s also a lot of fun for me. I’ve had a lot of tremendously fun adventures doing it.

I have talked to a circus and gone up onto a trapeze to get an idea of what that feels like. I’ve learned to work a ten foot bull whip, because I needed a character who used a whip as one of his weapons. That was an amazing experience. I’ve had a world-class barista show me how to work one of the most expensive and intricate coffee machines, espresso machines to show me what that was like and what it felt like to work that machinery or to wield that whip. One of my favorites recently was I was working on a book that involved a bison ranch. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days on the bison ranch, and they staged a bison stampeded for me so that I got to feel like what it was like to be in the middle of a hundred 2,000 pound animals coming at you.

Not only is that fun for me, and I think it shows up in the work in the fun that I’m having and the adventure that I’m not only going on but I’m pulling my reader on, but I think it makes for really vivid descriptions. It has a chance to bring a reader along with me and create a really visceral, emotional, wonderful experience for them as they read one of my books. That’s certainly what I hope happens, and I certainly have a tremendous amount of fun while I do it. 

Dan Gingiss: Isn’t that absolutely awesome? 

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love how she is flawlessly executing an important tenent of customer experience by replicating the experiences from a fictional world in the real world, at least if that makes sense.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. My head’s exploding a little bit, but yes it does. I mean, she’s not just going to write about a character that performs on a trapeze. She’s going to actually get on that trapeze herself. It’s got to make her a better writer, because frankly I don’t expect that many of her readers have been on a trapeze. There might be readers that could figure out that her description is not entirely accurate. For example, I would imagine you being a recovering lawyer that you probably can identify some things in lawyers in fictional text that may not be really accurate.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh, Dan, all the time. All the time. In fact, there are many legal movies and TV shows that I just refuse to watch because they get it so, so wrong. Same thing with watching shows about the intelligence community or espionage. I’m looking at it going, “Yeah, that’s not at all how it works.” The authors that are really good at writing about certain scenarios, like John Grisham is a well known and quality writer in the legal space or Tom Clancy was a well known writer in the espionage space. 

One of the things that made their fans such rabid fans is because they got the details right, the little things that no one would know. I remember years ago reading a Tom Clancy novel when I was working at the Central Intelligence Agency, and it was talking about fighting for a parking space. It was like this throwaway paragraph about fighting for a parking space at headquarters. I was reading this while I was on my to work knowing that there was going to be a search for a parking space. So, the fact that he knew this little nuance said, “Oh, this guy’s writing directly to me.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. I mean, one of my favorite authors of all time was Pat Conroy, may he rest in peace. He spent much of his life in Charleston and wrote about Charleston with that same level of detail that literally put you there with him smelling the smells and seeing the sights. I think that’s what made him such a good writer. 

In the genre that Allie writes about, she’s got all sorts of different characters doing all sorts of different things. That has resulted in her having all sort of really cool experiences by trying to experience them in advance of her characters.

Joey Coleman: Well, talk about creating a career for yourself that is based on experience. Not only has she clearly had a successful career as a writer and as a coach and an advisor, but she’s had a really fun career doing all these things that she writes about. 

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. Check out Allie at AlliePleiter.com. That’s www.A-L-L-I-E-P-L-E-I-T-E-R.com and her books including her newest one released in October on Amazon. We will include links on our show notes at www.ExperienceThisShow.com if you missed any of those. We are sure that you too will fall in love with romance novels.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Journey Mapping

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 journey mapping. In order to deliver quality experiences, it’s important to fully understand the paths that your customers take when interacting with your business. Creating customer journey maps based on real accurate data from real customers can help you visualize the steps that your customers must take to research your brand, seek assistance or information, and resolve issues and make purchases. 

While many CX leaders are familiar with or actively engaged in the journey mapping process, many fail to create the truly effective customer journey maps necessary to enable experience improvements or experience design. 

Dan Gingiss: When creating a journey map, be sure to, one, focus on one journey at a time. It’s important to chart individual journeys rather than attempting to create a map of all potential paths simultaneously. Two, identify customer personas who are most likely to engage in the journey to be mapped. Three, use all data available to create depth and detail around the journey. Four, involve multiple departments to gain various perspectives during the journey mapping process.

Joey Coleman: Dan, we’re here at the end of the year and thinking about 2020 to come, and I’m going to make a pretty bold statement. I don’t think there is a listener to our show whose business couldn’t benefit from going back and either re-looking at the journey maps they’ve already made or creating new ones, because what I’ve found, and I do a lot of journey mapping with my client, is that one of two things has happened. Either number one, the maps they made were made a long time ago and there’s a whole lot of new inputs and new interactions that aren’t showing up anywhere on the map that are affecting the journey dramatically. Or number two, they’ve actually never done a mapping process.

When we get them in the room to do the mapping process, I have yet to find a single employee at any company that can detail every interaction that happens in the journey. So, if you’re going to do journey mapping, make sure you have stakeholders from all the different departments so that you can actually track and record against every interaction that they have in the lifetime of the customer journey.

Dan Gingiss: I too have done a lot of journey maps both in my previous jobs and with clients now as a consultant. One thing that I find is it’s really important to also include the customer’s emotion at each stop of the journey, because that’s going to help you identify the places you need to work on. If the emotion is, for example, frustration, that might be one that you want to pay attention to. 

Now for this week’s question about journey mapping. Have we taken steps to truly understand the path our customers take to interact with our brand? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with our friends at Avtex at ExperienceConversations.com. That website again is ExperienceConversations.com.

[This Just Happened] Lego Customer Service

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: Joey, we know from a couple of episodes last season that you and your family are big Lego fans. Tell me, do you also like Harry Potter?

Joey Coleman: You know, it’s interesting, Dan. The Venn diagram I think between Lego fans and Harry Potter fans is pretty much entirely overlapping. So, yes, we are 100% Harry Potter fans. In fact, I’ve got a six year old and a three and a half year old. My six year old, he went to school this year for first grade and he came home the first day and he started telling us this story about a cat that could turn into a person and how they were sitting around class listening to this story about wizards and magic. My wife and I were a little bit disappointed, because it dawned on us that the school was introducing him to Harry Potter. It’s great. We love the school. They’re doing an amazing job-

Dan Gingiss: Even before you could, you mean.

Joey Coleman: But even before we could introduce him to Harry Potter, because we weren’t sure it’s that … It’s kind of like when you introduced your kids to Star Wars, it was while Wendy introduced them to Harry Potter. In short, yes, we are huge Harry Potter fans.

Dan Gingiss: All right. Well, you’re going to love this story then, because it is about both Lego and Harry Potter. I want to stipulate that I found this example on social media, LinkedIn as it turns out. It involves a web chat discussion between Liam, a Lego customer, and Ronald, a Lego customer service agent. 

It starts with Liam saying, “I’m looking for replacement building instructions for Hogwarts Castle. Please can you help? Thanks, Liam.” The customer service agent, Ronald, responds and says, “Hi, Liam. How are you doing today? Thanks for getting in touch. Did Harry perhaps discard his invisibility cloak a bit carelessly, or did a jar of pumpkin juice spill over the building instructions?” Liam answers,” Haha, not quite. The cleaners at my father-in-law’s nursing home used an expelliarmus spell on book one and it found its way into the bin. I understand how we can download them, but I was hoping to get a replacement sent out if possible, please. It’s just book one. We have books two to four still.”

Ronald answers, “Oh, no. Sadly I’m only a muggle and won’t be able to use a spell to make a new building instruction booklet magically appear on your doorstep in an instant, but I’m happy to send you a new book out from our warehouse in Demark. It will arrive within five to ten days. We have book one in stock. Can you please confirm your full name and address including postal code, email address and phone number? I’ll then setup a free of charge order for the new book straightaway.” Liam then answers, “I heard the flying car was out of order and that the owls are currently on strike. Snail mail will be absolutely fine. Thanks so much for your help. Muggles are definitely underrated. Here are my details.”

Ronald answers, “Brilliant. I’ll set everything up and you’ll receive a notification from our house elves in the warehouse as soon as they’ve dispatched the new book to your Lego Hogwarts Castle set, and it will be complete again. Is there perhaps anything else I can assist you with today, Liam?” Liam says, “No. That is all. Thank you. You have been amazing. The best conversation I’ve had all year.” Now, is that not one of the best customer service interactions you’ve ever seen?

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love it, love it, love it. When you have fans, and let’s be candid, ideally we’re striving for all of our customers to be fans, and you share a common affinity, which is very obvious here because the Lego customer is asking for the instructions for the Hogwarts Castle. So, we already know by default that there’s some appreciation of Harry Potter. The fact that the customer service rep also has an appreciation of Harry Potter, it allows the interaction to go to a completely different level. 

I love the personalization. I love the playfulness and the humor. It was almost like it seemed at one point they were trying to, I don’t want to say one-up each other on their knowledge, but there was definitely some references to less common elements of the Harry Potter genre. So, I thought it was really great how they interacted back and forth. Just made for, as I think the customer finally said at the end, a fantastic conversation.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. What I loved about it was that clearly Ronald, the agent, has the freedom to talk to customers in the way that he wants to. That allows him to express his own individuality, his own personality and his own fandom of Harry Potter. For someone else, it might be a Star Wars Lego that evokes that same kind of conversation. 

I think too often companies are so concerned about scripting customer service agents and making sure they stay to the script that they wouldn’t allow someone like Ronald to have fun with a customer like he got to do with Liam. 

Joey Coleman: Yeah. The reality is scripts in a customer service or customer service representative setting are usually designed to make sure that the right messaging happens when the reality is, everything we see in this example from Lego is the right messaging. It’s warm. It’s fun. It’s playful. It’s connective. These are the type of interactions you would hope that all of your customer service reps are having with all of your customers.

Dan Gingiss: Again, people may ask, “Well, I can’t possibly do this at my business, because I don’t have anything related to Harry Potter.” We would encourage you to look at your business, and more importantly listen to your customers, and find an opportunity to connect with them on a level that may have nothing to do with your business.

I mean, here, yes, it is a Hogwarts Castle, but truly they’re connecting on their love of Harry Potter not necessarily on their love of Lego, which is the business. That’s why I think it’s so great. So, you too could have somebody call in and you may find out they’re a coffee fan or you may find out that they’re a sports fan of a certain team. Let your agents talk to them about that and establish that human relationship. 

Joey Coleman: Well, and Dan, to kind of end up our season four, let me give some positive words about social media. One of the cool things about social media is you can use it as an investigatory tool. You can investigate your customers by going on their social media profiles, many of which are wide open, and seeing what they’re actually interested in. It never ceases to amaze me when I get the opportunity to connect on a passion I have with one of my clients.

I found out recently that one of my good friends and clients from Australia also loves drinking root beer. So, now every time we connect, it’s kind of a fun root beer interaction. How did I find that out? Not by talking to him about it. It could’ve come up that way, but I happened to see a post that he did about enjoying a root beer one night. I thought, “Huh, here’s a guy that likes something that I like.” So, I would posit that there are all sorts of points of commonality that you have with your customers if you’re willing to look in the same way that Ronald did from Lego. 

Dan Gingiss: The takeaway here is, let your employees have fun with customers when appropriate. If Ronald was forced to stick to a script or follow precise rules for answering customers, he never would have created, quote, the best conversation I’ve had all year, unquote, with Liam. Take it from Lego, this is how you lock in a customer for life. 

As we reach the end of the calendar year 2019, we also come to the end of season four of the Experience This! Show. 

Joey Coleman: Season four would not have happened without the support of many incredible people, including-

Dan Gingiss: Our partners at SAP Customer Experience, especially Federique Demonte Faginto, Margo Hilagmen and Jennifer Vandazand. Our friends at Yoko Co. who continue to maintain and update our website, including Stacy, Max and Chris. And the fantastic team at Avtex, especially Marshall Salisbury, Kurt Schroeder, Beth Ingbritzen and Andy Balgord who helped us start the conversation each week.

Joey Coleman: Our production team including Aaron Lasko and audio engineer superb Taylor Marvin from the incomparable Coupe Studios in Boulder, Colorado, Whitney, our virtual assistant and keeper of the show notes, and my law school roommate, Davin Sieman, who continues to serve as the composer of all of our show music. 

Dan Gingiss: Last, but certainly not least, to you, our loyal listeners. We could not keep doing the Experience This! Show if you didn’t show up every week on iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher or wherever you’re listening today and listen to us two goofballs talk about experience. 

Joey Coleman: Thanks for a wonderful season four. We hope you have a fantastic start to 2020. We’ll see you for season five of the Experience This! Show.

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

Dan Gingiss: We know that 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. 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. We’ll see you next week for more-

Joey Coleman: Experience-

Dan Gingiss: This!

Episode 85: Stop Settling for Less than a Remarkable Experience

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

Driving, Enhancing, and Calculating – Oh My!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Becky Roemen, Blogger at Tin Cans and String

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

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

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

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

Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

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

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

[This Just Happened] Rideshare Then and Now

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I see what you did.

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

Dan Gingiss: Just like the credit card machine.

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

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

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

Dan Gingiss: I do, I do.

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

Dan Gingiss: I like ’80s diva music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Rookie move.

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[CX Press] If It Ain’t Broke…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: What a…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Experience…

Dan Gingiss: This.

Episode 84: Empower Your Customers to Have the Best Experience Possible

Join us as we discuss a new hot spot in Vegas serving an unusual target market, creative ways to build a relationship with your desired audience, and thoughtless messages to long term customers.

Cleansing, Nursing, and Wasting – Oh My!

[CX Press] Standing Out in the Crowd by Seeking a Different Type of Customer

Las Vegas is known for many things: non-stop gambling, world-class restaurants, and breath-taking shows. Coming soon to Las Vegas? A new $850 million resort that won’t have gambling or shows – but will have people talking about the food. In the article Forget Blackjack by Rachel Cormack in Robb Report magazine, she details plans for the Majestic Las Vegas – a new resort designed to cater to a health and wellness-oriented clientele.

Pool at Majestic Las Vegas Opening in 2023

Not everyone goes to Las Vegas on vacation or to party. Some visit “Sin City” for conventions and conferences and because their company sends them for work, they aren’t as interested in gambling and nightclubs. A calm, soothing resort with a four-floor wellness center and a top notch spa may be just the experience that these visitors are looking for in their “Vegas vacation.”

[This Just Happened] Aligning with a Great Product to Establish a Future Customer

While walking through the Atlanta airport recently, Joey spotted a breastfeeding pods. These sleek, simple pods provide a comfortable and private space for women to feed their babies. Mamava offers these solutions for breastfeeding mamas on the go – in a time when women are increasingly more frustrated by laws that vary drastically from state to state about how and where they are allowed to feed their children.

Zappos recently partnered with Mamava, not to advertise their shoes, but to align themselves with a brand committed to serving one of their target markets – mothers. One can imagine that Zappos hopes this partnership will result in those using the pods to have positive feelings toward the Zappos brand. By providing breastfeeding mothers with a creative, comfortable, convenient solution, Zappos is not only doing something that aligns with their values, but they are making a long-term, strategic bet.

[Ask yourself] “What are the ways that we could create a better experience for our target audience – even if it’s not directly aligned with the services or the products we’re selling?”

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

Partnering with companies that have similar goals and similar target markets, to provide better experiences for your customers and potential customers, a brand can build long-term value and benefit. An investment in building your brand reputation today promises to result in great returns in the future.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Empowering Customers

Sometimes, a customer just wants to be able to solve their own problem without needing to involve another human. While human interaction and the ability to speak with a representative from your company is great, sometimes just empowering your customer to solve their problems on their own is actually providing a better customer experience.

Here are five ways you can empower your customer:

  1. Develop a robust self-help knowledge base on your website or mobile application.
  2. Create an intuitive IVR (interactive voice response) menu to allow customers to direct themselves to the proper support channel.
  3. Offer self-service portals to enable customers to complete specific tasks – such as updating account information or accessing key information securely.
  4. Maintain a chatbot on your website to guide customers to the resolutions they seek.
  5. Provide customers with the ability to easily escalate to “assisted service” at any point they desire.

Start the conversation with this question: Do we offer customers the tools and access they need to confidently resolve issues?

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

[Dissecting the Experience] Stop Asking Your Customers the Same Questions, Year After Year

For over a decade, Joey has received hundreds of credit card offers from his bank. Despite NEVER responding to these mailers, Joey continues to receive these offers month after month. This has cost his bank hundreds of dollars, and yet when Joey goes in to the bank’s local branch, no-one asks him if he wants a credit card – or better yet, if he wants to opt-out of receiving these types of offers!

The reasoning for this is likely very simple: large banks (like many large organizations) operate in silos. One part of the bank (e.g., the retail branch division) does not communicate with the other side of the bank (e.g., credit card division). This behavior often leads to less-than-ideal experiences, miscommunications, and in this instance, a great deal of wasted effort, money, and paper on credit card offers.

By digging into the data a little bit, the bank could eliminate a significant pocket of that campaign that is never going to respond. And what they’ll find, is by mailing fewer people, and getting the same responses, the response rate goes up and their cost per account goes down.

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

What can we learn from the overflowing amount of mailers Joey received? It’s important to pay attention to your customers and track their behavior. Work with other segments of your business to provide a unified experience across all of your departments/divisions. By making things easier for your customers and showing them that the “right hand knows what the left hand is doing,” not only will you provide them with a better experience, but you will prove that you value their business at an individual customer level.

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 84 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 new hotspot in Vegas, serving an unusual target market, creative ways to build the relationship with your desired audience and thoughtless messages to long-term customers.

Dan Gingiss: Cleansing, nursing, and wasting. Oh, my.

[CX Press] Wellness Hotel Las Vegas

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. When I say Las Vegas, what three words come to mind for you, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Eating, gambling, and shows in that order.

Joey Coleman: Eating, gambling, and shows. Great, well, what if I told you that wellness was a word that is increasingly going to be associated with Las Vegas?

Dan Gingiss: I would say that maybe you’ve been out in the desert heat too long, joey. Get out of the sun and cool off because wellness in Vegas…

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. I can understand the skepticism and I was surprised myself, Dan. But after reading this week’s CX PRESS, I’ve become more of a believer. The article is called Forget Blackjack. This new $850 million Las Vegas lux resort is going all in on wellness. And it was written by Rachel Cormack for the magazine, Robb Report. The article details plans for Majestic Las Vegas, a new high-rise hotel in the center of Sin City. Now, at first glance, this new resort seems like most Vegas resorts, 720 suites, 6 standalone restaurants with world-class chefs, a pool area with 50 cabanas, and a large space for live entertainment. Where this resort is not like most is that there will be absolutely no gambling.

Dan Gingiss: That’s it. I’m out, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, that’s not your thing.

Dan Gingiss: If I can’t play blackjack or shoot some craps, I don’t know what I’m doing in Las Vegas.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. And again, I get it that many people go to Vegas for the gambling, and they go for the eating. But there’s a percentage of people that go to Vegas who, that’s not their lifestyle. They have to be in Vegas for work, or maybe they’re going with some friends, but the whole debauchery, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, isn’t really their speed. And so this new hotel, the Majestic Las Vegas, actually is going to have a four-level state of the art, fitness, nutrition and spa center. So instead of being like Dan and playing blackjack or rolling craps, guess we’ll be able to get spa treatments and take yoga classes. As the resort developer Lorenzo Doumani notes, it is time for Las Vegas to provide a luxury option for those who visit our city, who wants something that is non-gaming.

Dan Gingiss: So I understand this even though it’s not a place that I would probably choose to stay at because more and more people have their different niche audiences that require sort of niche products to fill in the niche, if you will. And in this particular case, I get that there are people that go to Las Vegas who don’t want to drink, don’t want to gamble, don’t want to go to shows, and just want to relax. And if those things are not available in other hotels, and I’m not sure if they are, because again, the spa’s generally not a place that I spend a whole lot of time in, then I think…

Joey Coleman: We got to get damn getting more massages folks. We had a little conversation about this off air. I’m going to call you out. We got to get you a more massages, buddy.

Dan Gingiss: No, that’s really not my thing.

Joey Coleman: They’re so great. I know, but they’re so great. If folks message us, if you think Dan should spend more time in the spa, tweet at him on Twitter or DM him or whatever you do on Twitter and say, “Joey wanted me to share with you that I agree you should spend more time in the spa.”

Dan Gingiss: Or tweet at me and tell me if you think I should spend more time in the casino instead.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, fair enough, fair enough. So I think I agree with you, Dan, that there are obviously people that are going to Vegas for very specific reasons. But what surprised me or caught my attention about this article and why I wanted to talk about it is this hotel is kind of zigging when everyone else is zagging. I mean, they call it Sin City for a reason. And the fact that you would go to Sin City to get a cold-pressed juice and a massage and a cucumber rap is not really the story that usually gets told on social media or when you get back home.

Dan Gingiss: It sounds like Sinless City.

Joey Coleman: Sinless City. Yeah, that’s a good point. That should be part of their branding. But what I do think is important to acknowledge is that often people go to a city not because they choose to go, but because they have to go. And Vegas is definitely one of those cities. There are tons of conventions and conferences there, where you may be… I was actually just talking to someone the other day that had been to Vegas once, and they were completely turned off because it’s just not their vibe, but they had to go there for work. They were a meeting planner, hosting an event. Their company decided they were going to Vegas. And this I think gives the opportunity for businesses to have more flexibility, not only on where they hold their events, but if they have employees going to Vegas who are not kind of of the typical Vegas ilk, they can have them stay at the Majestic.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I mean, again, I’m all for offering different options for people. And I think for a certain part of the population, this is probably going to be a very appealing and something that they will choose over going to Vegas for gaming. And I think you’re right that Vegas in particular happens to be a place that people end up at sometimes despite themselves. They’re not because they want to be, but because they have to be. I’m one of those guys that gets excited when I get to go to Vegas. You’re probably one of those guys that you’re like, “Ah, Vegas again.”

Joey Coleman: No, I love Vegas. Vegas is one of my most favorite cities on the planet. But here’s the thing, I don’t drink, I don’t gamble, but I love the shows, I love the restaurants, and I love the spectacle of humanity, not to mention all the amazing customer experiences.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I totally agree. But let’s take this out of Vegas briefly for a context. I went to the movie theater last week with my wife. And I’m in the process of trying to get healthier when it comes to my diet. And we go to the theater because we want to see a movie and the only thing I can get at the theater from the concession stand that even remotely comes close to the diet I’m trying to maintain is a bottle of water. Literally, the only thing is the water. And I found myself thinking, “How many people go to the movies, especially in a place like Colorado, that is a general rule, the population is pretty healthy and would love it if there was a banana or an apple or something that they could get that wasn’t a box of candy?”

Dan Gingiss: Well, Joey, I think you’re missing something really important.

Joey Coleman: What’s that?

Dan Gingiss: Raisinets candy is fruit.

Joey Coleman: Oh, yeah I’ll get that next time folks. Next time Raisinets. Well, the moral of the story is if you’re going to Vegas, the good news is this hotel is scheduled to open in 2023. And it’s going to be located directly opposite the new Las Vegas Convention Center, which is opening two years earlier and it’s right in the heart of the city. So if the wellness trend we’re on now in the US continues, it likely is going to open to a line of prospective guests waiting to book stays. Who knows? Maybe some of those might be our listeners because by then let’s be candid, what happens in Vegas can be cleansed in Vegas.

[This Just Happened] Zappos Breastfeeding Pod

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 saw something in the Atlanta Airport last week and I was reminded that I’ve been meaning to bring this up on the show for some time. Dan, have you seen the Zappos branded lactation pod?

Dan Gingiss: I’m sorry, the what now?

Joey Coleman: You heard me correct, the Zappos branded lactation pod. So this is really cool. In the Atlanta Airport, and did a bunch of other airports around the country in public spaces, zappos has partnered with a company, Mamava, I think I’m pronouncing that right, to provide privacy pods for pumping or breastfeeding women. Now, what’s interesting about this is there’s such an amazing opportunity, I think, for brands to align their corporate values with societal values. So a growing number of women are rightfully so, in my opinion, frustrated by the different laws from state to state, the societal norms and the places where they’re being told or being told they can’t breastfeed in public.

This is a natural thing and the moral of this story is we have folks who are trying to take care of their child who can’t because of either the rules or the regulations. And Zappos has realized that by co-branding with Mamava, this company that makes these little pods that can just be dropped into a building. And think of it basically as like a three times the normal size phone booth with no windows. So you can just go in, it’s this quiet, serene place. I just thought it was a really interesting way for Zappos to become part of a solution for a target market I think they’re really trying to reach.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it’s interesting. I actually have seen… all joking aside, I saw one at Union Station in Chicago, which is the main train station. And it is interesting because it doesn’t take up a ton of space. It’s definitely visually appealing in the sense that will you pass it by? You’re like, “Whoa, what’s that?” It looks almost like it’s from outer space, or it was designed by somebody with some design skills. And I do think it’s interesting. On first glance, I’m thinking, “Well, Zappos is about shoes, and this is about breastfeeding, and I don’t really see the connection. But then the marketer in me kind of chimes in and says, “Well, women and mothers are probably big customers of Zappos. And this is a really interesting way for Zappos to get emotionally connected to them in a way that has nothing to do with shoes or feet.”

Joey Coleman: I agree. I’ve spent a little bit of time looking at the numbers behind this. The average American family spends $6,100 on their baby in the first year.

Dan Gingiss: I believe it.

Joey Coleman: Right now, let’s be clear, Zappos isn’t selling diapers, they’re not selling pacifiers and bibs. But that baby is eventually going to need shoes. And so I think this idea of partnering with someone who is providing a great service in your target audience’s marketplace that they need, so these pods to create the interaction and the brand awareness, if you will, is a really interesting way to do it. Now, to be very clear, when you go in these pods or when you’re walking around them, they’re not advertising shoes. It says Zappos, it has the Zappos logo. And we’ll include some photos of the one in the Atlanta Airport in the show notes at experiencethisshow.com. It has a giant picture of a baby. So it’s very clear what it’s for. And then it has a bunch of statistics on the benefits of breastfeeding on the side.

But what’s also interesting is it’s not necessarily just something that could be done for breastfeeding moms. I can envision these type of pods being dropped as a place for folks who maybe have some sensory challenges to be able to go into a place that’s a little quieter, that doesn’t have the hustle and bustle. And so if a brand was trying to associate with that target market, I think you could partner up and do a similar type thing. At the end of the day, it really gets us thinking, “What are the ways that we could create a better experience for our target audience even if it’s not directly aligned with the services or the products we’re selling?”

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and I think we should also say that kudos to Mamava for finding Zappos. If you look at the transaction the other around.

Joey Coleman: Totally, totally.

Dan Gingiss: Because Mamava’s clearly not as well known of a brand and to pair with someone like Zappos, who people see the Zappos logo and they recognize it instantly, probably brings a lot more positive attention to the Mamava brand, which I think is great for them.

Joey Coleman: Well, I also think this speaks to your acknowledgement that the Mamava brand has a very clean design aesthetic and it’s clear that they pay attention to design. Zappos is well known in all circles for having amazing customer experience and clean design. And so it really is a great partnership between two brands. And I’m like you, Dan, I presume that Mamava’s going to get a nice lift in their brand recognition and kind of the opinion about their brand because of the association with Zappos. So what do we do? How do we apply what we’ve seen with Zappos partnership with Mamava to your business? Well, I think there’s an opportunity to create better experiences for the audiences you’re trying to reach.

First, we would identify challenges or pain points that they’re feeling as a group that have no direct correlation to our business offerings. So I’m not saying, “Oh, you sell shoes, go where all the people who need shoes are.” It’s like no, get a connection that has nothing to do with your offering because it feels a lot less sale-sy that way. Second, figure out creative ways to solve the challenges that your target market is facing, either on your own or in partnership with providers. And third, don’t try to rush it. Don’t try to maximize the profitability of each interaction. One of the things that is the fastest way to eliminate any positive goodwill or feelings of positive customer satisfaction is to try to make the interaction into a sellable moment. Sit back, relax. Let your reputation for serving your target audience build. Don’t worry, they’ll remember you later when it’s relevant to both of you.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: Empowering Customers

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 empowering customers. The moderate customer expects the ability to seek resolutions to issues, or answers to questions through a variety of channels. While some issues require the assistance of an agent, others can be resolved by the customer without agent involvement if the customer is empowered to do so. Providing self-service tools and content is the first step in empowering customers.

Dan Gingiss: There are many ways to empower customers, including, one, developing a robust self-help knowledge base on your website or mobile application, two, creating an intuitive IVR menu or interactive voice response menu to allow customers to direct themselves to the proper support channels, three, offering self-service portals to enable customers to complete specific tasks such as updating account information or accessing key information securely, four, maintaining a chatbot on your website or app to guide customers to the resolutions they seek, and five, the ability to easily escalate to assisted service at any point.

Joey Coleman: There’s a giant percentage of your customers that actually would like to solve the problem themselves. One of the things we talk about in customer experience all the time is, “Oh, you need to be responsive to the customer. You need to take into consideration their wants and needs. You have to have your call center agents ready to talk to them.” And it’s like, yeah, but if we actually rewind to the beginning of that, where we say we need to be responsive to their wants, often their want is not to talk to a human being, to be able to solve it themselves, to be able to read the documentation, to be able to have a self-healing device, to be able to sort it out on their own by navigating through a series of prompts or fix it tools. So don’t just presume that in order for it to be a great customer experience, there has to be a human involved. Often empowering the customer to solve this problem themselves or find the answer themselves is the way to actually make them feel the best.

Dan Gingiss: Couldn’t agree more, my buddy. And now, for this week’s question about empowering customers, do we offer customers the tools and access they need to confidently resolve issues themselves? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AV techs at experienceconversations.com, that’s experienceconversations.com

[Dissecting the Experience] Communicate Internally to Provide a Better Experience

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, does your bank send you any promotional offers in the mail?

Dan Gingiss: Sometimes I think the only thing I get in the mail are credit card offers.

Joey Coleman: I hear you, but do they come from your bank specifically? So there’s the difference of the credit card offers you get from like all their credit card companies, but then there’s the ones you specifically get from your bank. Do you get any of those?

Dan Gingiss: Not really, no. They already know me, and I have a lot of accounts with them and so they leave me alone.

Joey Coleman: Wow, interesting how that works. I’ll note what Dan said. They already know me. I already have accounts with them. I ask because my bank, which for context I’ve been with since 2003 that 16 years for those of you scoring along at home…

Dan Gingiss: Hold on, carry the one. Yep, he’s right guys, 16 years.

Joey Coleman: 16 years. My bank has been sending me two personal credit card solicitations and two business card solicitations every month for at least the last 10 years. Now, I never opened them. Well, I think I did maybe the first month. I never opened them, I never reply, I’m never going to get a credit card with my bank. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why no one at the bank has figured this out.

Dan Gingiss: Well, this is actually an issue that I have some familiarity with because as our listeners know, I worked at a credit card company for almost 10 years. And while I agree with you that this is a pretty weird situation in the sense that you’ve clearly made the statement with your inaction…

Joey Coleman: That would be once a month for a decade. For those of you again scoring at home, I know we don’t usually have math on the Experience This! show. That’s 128 rejections per offer. Mind you, I’m getting four offers per month. So 120 times 4, carry the 1, that’s 480 times that they have sent me an offer that I haven’t replied to.

Dan Gingiss: That’s many, many times. And the best that I can guess without defending them is that you are part of the larger group of people being mailed this offer. And at the end of every campaign, they take a look at the campaign as a whole, and they say, “Well, was it worth it for us to mail this out 10,000 times? Well, we got X hundred people to respond, and so our costs per account or CPA is at a level that is okay. And so great, this was a successful campaign. Let’s try it again next month.”

Now, that’s not great marketing because of course if we were doing better, we would dig into the data a little bit, and we would see, “Wow, there’s this guy, Joey, that we’ve mailed 480 times and he hasn’t said yes yet. So the chances of the investment being worth it to mail him the 481st time is not really high. He probably knows we’re here if he ever needs us and wants to be proactive about it.” So if I were there, I would be digging into the data a little bit harder to eliminate what I’m guessing is a sizeable pocket of that campaign that is never going to respond. And what they’ll find is by mailing fewer people and getting the same responses, the response rate goes up and their costs per account goes down.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. I just I can’t fathom this. Something you said, Dan, really resonated with me when you said the bank they would be thinking, “Well, he knows we’re here.” Here’s the crazy thing. I have the bank’s mobile app, I receive a statement in the mail every month, I occasionally go into my branch to do something weird like send a wire or whatever it may be. There have been dozens, if not hundreds of opportunities for them to ask me, “Do you think you’re ever going to get a credit card from us?” Like I would actually appreciate that. I would appreciate the straightforwardness, the honesty, the just kind of directness of, “Look, we’ve been sending you a lot of mail. Do you even open that mail? Because it seems like you might not even open it and maybe you’d be excited to help save some trees by have us not sending you that mail.” If they actually said that, I would happily opt out of any of the offers.

Now, before anybody who’s listening says, “Well, Joey, I imagine you could go in and opt out of their marketing and promotional messages.” You’re right, I could. And I know this is the wrong answer, and I know environmentalists everywhere are infuriated by this type of answer, and I’m irritated at myself for giving this answer. But if you’re not going to make it easy for me, I’m probably not going to take time out of my day to figure it out. And I would actually love it if my bank would make it easy for me because not only would I take them up on the offer and feel better about myself and be able to contribute to a better environment, but I would say, “Huh, they know me, I know them, but they know me and they’re okay with the fact that I’m not going to get a credit card.”

Dan Gingiss: Well, first, I want to give you a suggestion. This is a free pro tip you.

Joey Coleman: Oh, pro tip from a man who used to work in the biz.

Dan Gingiss: I want you to take for the next year or so, I want you to take all the mailings and just throw them in a shoebox, just collect them. And then I want you to take one of the mailings with the self-addressed stamped envelope that comes… when it comes through them, you’re supposed to mail it back. And I want you to paste that on top of the shoebox, and I want you to ship all of their unopened letters back to them at their postal expense. And I think that will probably get their attention and my guess is they’ll stop mailing you.

Joey Coleman: Ooh, I like it, I like it.

Dan Gingiss: But in lieu of that, I do want to explain I think why you’re not getting the experience that you want when you walk into the branch or when you engage with them in other ways, and it’s unfortunately because companies of the size of your bank… and by the way, we are intentionally not naming the bank because we tend to tell positive stories on this show and applaud brands that are doing things well, and the ones that aren’t, we don’t really need to pile on to negativity. But instead, we try to use our show to explain how we might do it differently and help companies learn from it. So the name of the bank doesn’t really matter. But what I will tell you is the size of your bank is one that is internally an incredibly siloed organization.

And so the reality is the manager of your bank branch has absolutely nothing to do with the credit card department, nothing at all. In fact, he or she probably cannot access anything related to your credit card and certainly not related to the marketing of your credit card offers. So it’s just a different part of the company. Now, as consumers, we say, “But it’s my bank, and I look at it as a single company.” Unfortunately, many banks and many large companies are so siloed, which of course creates siloed experiences, which you’re talking about today.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so here’s the thing. Let me say a few words about silos. And I appreciate that observation, Dan. And I think you’re absolutely right. It’s also why you and I and all of the amazing customer experience professionals listening to the show will never go hungry because so many businesses are siloed and completely disjointed. And even though we all know that is consumers, we see it’s the bank. That’s who I’m doing business with. I don’t care that you have 738 departments that all have independent relationships with me. When I talked to you, I want all of you to know that I’m talking to you. So that makes perfect sense. But let me say a word about silos. So I grew up in Iowa. Iowa is known for those of you that are not from the United States, or maybe you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting the Heartland, it is known for farms. And one of the things you will find on pretty much every grain farm in Iowa…

Dan Gingiss: Can I guess?

Joey Coleman: Yes.

Dan Gingiss: A silo?

Joey Coleman: It’s a silo, and silos are absolutely incredible on the farm. They are very useful. They keep the grain ready until it’s time to take it to market. You know where silos aren’t useful? In your organization. It’s not a good choice to have silos, and yet we use this as an excuse, as a justification for why we can’t make the experience better. Please, please consider sending this segment to your boss’s boss and saying, “We have silos in our organization that are costing our business money, not relationship, not reputation, money.” Because, Dan, as somebody who was in this business, what do you think ballpark, they’ve spent sending me over the last 10 years credit card offers? Like just spitball a number. You know how much these things cost.

Dan Gingiss: I would say Just you alone, it’s probably now north of $1,000.

Joey Coleman: $1,000 in marketing.

Dan Gingiss: And your lifetime value to them if you were to become a card member tomorrow is probably not $1,000.

Joey Coleman: There you go. So, folks, this isn’t a do-right because it’s the right thing to do conversation. It is, but it doesn’t have to be just that. This can be a conversation about, do the right thing for the bottom line, do the right thing for the environment, do the right thing and break down the silos. So what can we learn from the credit card mailer debacle that has been happening with my bank? It’s pretty straight forward. Pay attention to your customers. I both understand and appreciate that your marketing department wants to continue to upsell new products and new services, especially to your long-term customers. But after 10 years of me not responding, enough is enough. Take stock of your promotional messages. And to paraphrase the 2009 drama, recognize that your customer’s just not into you and that new credit card offer.

Dan Gingiss: Wow, thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience this! 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 83: Enhance the Experience by Making Customer Needs a Priority

Join us as we discuss why trying to enhance the experience might actually cause you to lose customers, how customers are affected after a corporate merger or acquisition, and how to make standing in line — FUN!

Groceries, Transitions, and Waiting – Oh My!

[CX Press] Is the best customer experience always the right customer experience? (SAP)

Almost everyone has experienced the nightmare of walking into their usual grocery store only to discover that everything has moved! Not only is the food arranged differently, but the signs that call out the aisle number for specific foods haven’t been updated. In this moment, the typical shopper is totally lost. In an article for our friends at SAP by Jennifer Arnold, an age-old customer experience question is explored: Is the best customer experience always the right customer experience?

While a grocery store may think and feel that it is delivering an upgrade for its customers, the customers often end up shopping elsewhere. In the example shared in this segment, a larger store meant longer time spent shopping, newly installed marble counters were less convenient than former conveyer belts, and the overall increase in prices just didn’t feel worth it.

We don’t want to make changes for change’s sake. [A]s you’re looking at your business, you’re looking at improvements that you can potentially make. Choose the ones that are actually important to your customers so that you improve their experience in the process.

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

Before you make any changes that you see as updgades or enhancements, make sure to evaluate them from your customers’ perspective to make sure they feel the same way.

[Dissecting the Experience] How to Create a Successful Transition During a Merger

Anytime a company makes big changes, it can make a customer uncomfortable. In the case of mergers and acquisitions, the customer experience often gets overlooked. Darren Hakeman, head of corporate development and strategy at a company called 8 x 8 Inc, has walked through several acquisitions and shared some wisdom with us.

By maintaining some normality for your clients, you can alleviate concerns and anxieties that may arise from the merger or acquisition. Keeping certain aspects of your customers’ experience the same, like keeping their account managers, provides continuity in service and comfort amidst the change.

We wanted to make sure everyone stayed very focused on all the great stuff that was already in hand with this amazing customer base and continuing to take care of those customers as the team had been doing up to this point.

Darren Hakeman, Head of Corporate Development & Strategy at 8 x 8, Inc.

In any merger or acquisition it is crucial to pay attention to all of the little “experience details.” From recognizing that the people are the true acquisition, to acknowledging team member talents and concerns, to technology connections, to the overall approach to customer communications, each element needs to come together in order to make a successful transition.

[Start the Conversation] Avtex: IVR Modernization

We have all had the experience with an Interactive Voice Response (or IVR) system where we call in for something, but then can’t figure out which number to push, so we just hit 0 until we find a person. Interactive Voice Response, or IVR, plays a critical role in many interactions between customers and contact centers. When executed properly, an IVR system can streamline a customer’s interactions and improve their perception of the experience. Done improperly, an IVR can lead to additional customer and employee frustration, cause unnecessary confusion, and negatively impact customer relationships.

To be effective, your IVR system must be:

  • Intuitive and easy to use
  • Clear and comprehensible by the customer (not just your internal team)
  • Consistent in options and call routing
  • Integrated with multiple departments and technologies
  • Properly supported by knowledgeable agents (during interactions) and technicians (for ongoing maintenance and improvement)

Start the conversation with this question: Does our IVR system meet the needs and expectations of our customers?

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

[This Just Happened] Making the Most of the Line

One of the most overlooked customer experiences is the line. Everyone has to stand in line. How fast, how efficient, and how well organized that line is, can make a huge difference in a customer experience. For example, on a recent trip, Joey had to stand in three lines for one breakfast sandwich! One to order, a longer one to pay (because different restaurants were all using the same cash registers?!) and another to pick up his sandwich! This ridiculous, time consuming system resulted in a negative customer experience and was so “remarkable” that Joey wanted to discuss it on the show.

Compare this “line” experience to another one Joey had recently. While on a different trip, Joey’s friend encouraged him to visit an ice cream shop. The line wrapped around the corner, but the friend insisted it was worth the wait. The shop, Salt and Straw, moved the line so quickly that it felt like you were walking in a line instead of standing in one. The store paired this efficient system with a cheery employee at the front door saying, “You’re almost there” and bringing a touch of humor to the wait. Once inside, the ice cream shop had stories of their history, mission, values, and standards strategically placed on the walls and surrounding shelves – conveniently persuading customers about the value of the experience before they even trying the product. The ice cream was delicious, but long after the taste faded, the story and experience remained.

While lines cannot always be avoided, it is always possible to work at making the wait a positive experience for your customers.  Tell your story, share your commitment, entice intrigue, educate, entertain, and before you know it, people will happily stand in line to sample your products and services.

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 83 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 why trying to enhance the experience might actually lose you customers, how customers are affected after a corporate merger or acquisition and how to make standing in line fun.

Joey Coleman: Groceries, transitions and waiting. Oh my.

CX PRESS: Grocery Store: Is the best customer experience always the right customer experience? (SAP)

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.

This week’s CXPRESS comes to us from our friends at SAP customer experience and can be found on their website the Future Of Commerce. The article was written by Jennifer Arnold and it asks the question, is the best customer experience always the right customer experience? Jennifer reminds readers that, “When planning for the best customer experience, don’t forget the customer.”

Dan Gingiss: Well hell, I’d say that’s right on so far.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I agree. Jennifer details’ how her local grocery store has completely remodeled and as she writes, gone all fancy polished floors, marble checkout counters, floor to ceiling windows, cappuccino machines, and the store is three times bigger than the old one. The only problem Jennifer and her friends now shop somewhere else.

Dan Gingiss: Oh no. What happened?

Joey Coleman: Well, for Jennifer and for her friends, the main benefit of the local grocery store prior to the remodeling was convenience. Jennifer observes that pre renovation I could whip through and tick everything off my weekly shopping list in 15 minutes flat. Post renovation the trip takes nearly twice as long. What’s worse? Those fancy marble checkouts are actually less efficient than the old conveyor belt. And of course prices have gone up through out the store.

Dan Gingiss: Ah, yes. The old, “We’re making enhancements we think you’re really going to like even though we don’t know you, haven’t you and are really only doing this because we think it’ll make us more money situation.” Followed by the, “And we’re going to raise prices to pay for the improvements.”

Joey Coleman: That’s basically the way this goes Dan. It seems like you’re familiar with this story. But what could the store have done instead to keep Jennifer as a customer? The answer they needed to understand their customer’s expectations, listen so as to understand not just what they were doing but how they were feeling and not try to be something that they’re not. As Jennifer Warren said in the article, “Only by understanding what your customers truly prioritize in the experiences they have with your brand can you then prioritize what customer experience enhancements will return the biggest bang for your buck and what to do to keep your customers loyal.”

Dan Gingiss: You know, I really could relate to this article because the same thing happened to me at my local grocery store.

Joey Coleman: Really?

Dan Gingiss: And one of the things that they did, I could not understand this, is they changed the location of almost every product in the store.

Joey Coleman: Isn’t that great when you’re like, “So you’ve conditioned me to know exactly where the things are I want, and I came today and it’s opposite day. Everything’s in a different location.”

Dan Gingiss: The funny thing was in some aisles, they literally just switched the sides of the aisle. So there was one aisle where one side was all the cereal and the other side was all the other breakfast stuff like oatmeal and granola bars and stuff. And I showed up one day and they had just switched to the sides and I couldn’t figure out why there were. There was no benefit that I could see. And all it did was confuse me. And so now I used to know where the bread is and now I’ve got to look all over for it, et cetera. And the interesting thing for me and the reason I stopped doing business with this particular grocery store was because the things that I didn’t like about it were not improved at all with the refurbishing of the store. So for example, the thing that bothers me the most is I have to check my receipt every single time because I would say at least half the time there’s a mistake on my receipt. There’s a sale item that I didn’t get the sale price.

Joey Coleman: Wait, there’s a mistake on the receipt, meaning … Okay.

Dan Gingiss: Like they charged me the wrong thing. Like there’s a sale item of buy one get one free and so I got two but they charged me for two instead of for one or whatever. There’s always something wrong. I bought one kind of apple and they charged me for the more expensive apple because the cashier typed in the wrong code. It literally happened every other time I was there.

Joey Coleman: Dan Gingiss pays attention to his grocery store receipts. We’re learning a lot here, ladies and gentlemen. I’m learning new things I didn’t know about Dan and I’ve known him for years.

Dan Gingiss: Dan Gingiss is the grocery shopper in the household. Fun fact, I actually like grocery shopping so I have not yet moved to mail order groceries or anything like that because I enjoy going to the grocery store. But the other thing that I didn’t like about this grocery store is I’d go into the produce section and there were no prices anywhere and I called over a guy and said-

Joey Coleman: The old, “Hey, yeah, we’ve got it. Just guess how much it’s going to cost. You’ll find out when you check out.”

Dan Gingiss: I remember grabbing a guy once and saying, “Well, how much are these peaches? And he said, “Oh, well they’re 2.99 a pound.” I said, “And how am I supposed to know that?” “Oh well there’s a sign there.” I said, “Really? Come show me where the sign is.” And he walks over. He goes, “Oh, Oh yeah, somebody must’ve moved the sign.” Yeah, well don’t expect me to-

Joey Coleman: Did they move it to the banana section or like-

Dan Gingiss: Who moved my sign?

Joey Coleman: Yeah, exactly.

Dan Gingiss: But I mean, how do you expect me to buy peaches when I don’t know how much they cost? This is pretty simple. And anyway, long story short, my grocery store also went through this big change where they made things a little fancy or whatever, but they didn’t fix any of the core problems. And finally I had had enough, I actually had to get myself to stop looking at the circular because every time I got the circular I’d be like, “Oh, grapes are on sale. I’m going to go there.” And it would draw me in. And so I’ve learned, I trained myself to just recycle the circular so that I don’t get teased by it. And I’m now going to a different grocery store that isn’t as fancy, but that the prices are always right. I don’t have to be worried about the receipt. I can find right produce and the right price and it’s just easier for me.

And so last thing I want to say on this is that Jennifer points to the word convenience. And as you may remember last season we talked about our mutual friend Shep Hyken’s book, The Convenience Revolution. This is absolutely something that people are looking for today. And so as you make changes you should be looking to make them more convenient, not less. And taking a grocery store where everybody knows the layout and the map of the place and completely shuffling everything is an inconvenience. Not an added convenience.

Joey Coleman: I have to admit Dan. Two things. Number one, I’m often left wondering when grocery stores move everything around why they did it. So we had a similar thing in our grocery store recently and I don’t know. I’m sure there’s science behind this and maybe you know the answer to this question. The little board that hangs above the aisles that tells you where things are and it has maybe 50 things listed in their aisle that is completely wrong now. Completely wrong cause it’s the old board. I would have thought that one of the first things you do when you move everything is fix the map to your store, which is basically the board that lists out all the items.

The other day I spent what must have been a good 20 minutes trying to find olives. I had no idea where they were. I’m looking all over. I’m trying to find them. The board says they’re an aisle 11, I go to aisle 11, it’s toilet paper. I’m like, “Olives are definitely not in this aisle. Something has been moved.” I’m looking all over and no one in the store … The staff didn’t know where things are.

So I agree with you. This really is a question of convenience. The second thing again, I want to reiterate, wow, Dan Gingiss has some interesting behaviors around grocery stores. I love it. I have actually … our family, we’ve started to migrate a little bit more towards the convenience of fact of having the groceries brought to the house cause we live in town now. It’s closer to the grocery store and it’s really much easier to do it that way because neither my wife or I super love going to the grocery store, but a lot of people do. And so what are you doing when it comes to convenience? I think the takeaway here is we don’t want to make changes for changes sake. So as you’re looking at your business, you’re looking at improvements that you that you can potentially make. Choose the ones that are actually important to your customers so that you improve their experience in the process

Dan Gingiss: And for more great customer experience content, please visit our friends at SAP customer experience either on Twitter ,if you’re so inclined to Joey, @SAP_CX or at their website at www.the-future-of-commerce.com. So that website again is The Future Of Commerce with hyphens between each of the words.

DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE – Post merger or acquisition

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: Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Darren Hakeman, the head of corporate development and strategy for 8×8 A cloud based contact center solution that includes voice, video and chat. 8×8 has made several acquisitions of other companies over the years, and Darren was discussing the customer experience elements that must be considered in such a transaction. I’m going to share some of his comments here.

Darren Hakeman: Yeah, so, so I think one of the really important things is that a company understands why they’re making the acquisition and especially in the tech space. There’s a variety of reasons for pursuing different things. It could be specifically about acquiring a talent or team. It can be about acquiring a product or technology or in the best case, it’s about acquiring all those things, plus the solid and growing customer base.

Dan Gingiss: I then asked him, which has had more of an effect on the customer experience for his existing clients after an acquisition, the technology they acquired or the people, and he said, “Definitely the people.”

Joey Coleman: You know, it’s so funny. It’s always, always the people, but when you think of a corporate acquisition, you usually think of the product or technology being acquired. In fact, that’s usually what is touted in the press releases and the marketing and sales speak. It’s not, “Oh wait, we’ve added a bunch of quality team members to work on your project or your account or your service that we’re delivering.” Instead it’s, “We’ve got this really cool new technology that’s going to make it faster and louder and sleeker than ever before.” Folks, it’s not about the technology, it’s about the people.

Dan Gingiss: I then asked Darren what the top priorities should be when making an acquisition.

Darren Hakeman: We had to make it really clear across the board, priority number one was about taking care of the existing customers and growing the existing business. Very often everyone gets very excited about a new acquisition and all the possibilities and what … We wanted to make sure everyone stayed very focused on all the great stuff that was already in hand and this amazing customer base and continuing to take care of those customers as, as the team had been doing up to this.

Dan Gingiss: Darren went on to say that customers tend to be uncomfortable with change and they really hate uncertainty, so it’s very important to communicate to customers on both sides of the transaction very quickly. Letting them know what’s happening and that things won’t be changing dramatically on day one. Importantly, he also said that, “There is a concerted effort to keep clients with the same account manager so that the human relationship stays intact.”

Joey Coleman: I love this for so many reasons. First and foremost, pace yourselves. Humans don’t like change and I understand there might be legal or regulatory or financial reasons why you want the acquisition to close quickly, but lots of times that energy and that excitement and the anticipation around closing the deal spills over into the first few days of onboarding the new clients and everybody feels rushed. As a general rule, human beings don’t like change. They get nervous, they get anxious. This is going to be something new. It’s something that they’re unsure of. It brings back all the doubt and all the buyer’s remorse that they had when they originally decided to do business with you. What I love about Darren’s philosophy is that they focus on keeping a common point of contact, the same account manager, so that even though that account manager may have a different brand name on their business card, they may even report to a different office or have a different email. It’s the same person because at the end of the day, even in a B2B environment, people don’t do business with a business. People do business with people.

Dan Gingiss: I would say especially in a B2B environment. And I think one of the things that B2B companies often mess up is they use the salesperson to get the sale. And why does somebody buy? Because they like the salesperson because there’s a human connection. And then the first thing that happens when they sign the contract, they yank the salesperson away so he can go sell to somebody else.

Joey Coleman: And you’ll never see the sales person again. I mean literally you will never see the salesperson again.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. You get handed off to a brand new account team and you have to start over from square one creating that doubt that buyer’s remorse. So I think in a merger and acquisition transaction, this becomes even more important because the whole company name might be changing, the branding might be changing and customers are going to be nervous about this, but if they see that they’re working with the same person, it’s going to make them a lot more comfortable. Finally, I asked Darren, what are some of the key things that companies need to think about from a customer experience perspective when they enter into an M and A or merger and acquisition transaction? Here’s his answer.

Darren Hakeman: So as companies enter into an M and A transaction, they really need to be focused on the customer experience and ensuring that they’re ready to designate that as a priority. Because if it isn’t, you know, doing an acquisition is extremely difficult and there are a lot that draw the attention in time of employees on both sides. If you’re not really focused on that so absolutely critical that customer experience gets drawn out as a top priority, if not the number one priority. And it’s something that needs to be repeated day in and day out. As your integration teams start to come together from both sides, they’re going to be delving into the details of IT systems and the HR policies and accounting procedures.

And so without the daily mantra of take care of the customers, it can very easily be forgotten and to the team being acquired, but also to the acquiring team that may not have a full perspective of the challenges on the time of all the people in the new organization because it’s typically a … And they’re running 120 miles an hour and so both sides need to be cognizant of this. It’s really important, as you bring a new acquisition and that you … The new team, that key part of their value is their customers and what they’ve been doing to make those customers so happy along as something they need to keep, keep pushing and their number one job and the rest will take care of itself.

Joey Coleman: The takeaway here is that when companies go through a merger or an acquisition, everything must come together. The products and the services, the employees, HR and finance and legal departments and the customers. Done right, the combination of two companies can have benefits for everyone involved, but it’s critical to ensure that customer relationships don’t fall through the cracks while everyone is paying attention on how to get the technology to line up.

START THE CONVERSATION: Avtex, IVR Modernization

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 IVR modernization. Interactive voice response or IVR plays a critical role in many of today’s interactions between customers and a brand’s context. Center executed properly and IVR system can greatly streamline a customer’s interaction and improve their perception of the experience, but done improperly and IVR can lead to additional customer and employee frustration. Think pounding zero with your finger over and over and over again. Can cause unnecessary confusion and negatively impact customer relationships.

Joey Coleman: In order to be effective, your IVR system must do the following things. Number one, be intuitive and easy to use. Number two, be clear and comprehensible by the customer, not your internal team who wrote the IVR. Number three, be consistent in options and call routing. Don’t make me press eight this time and press four next time. Number four, be integrated with multiple departments and technologies and number five, be properly supported by knowledgeable agents during the interactions and technicians for ongoing maintenance and improvement.

Dan Gingiss: So I’m going to share something here that you may not know, Joey, because it really doesn’t apply to our generation. There actually is a big part of the population that likes interacting with the interactive voice response system. We all think of it as being a pain in the neck, in the credit card industry, almost always the first choice to press one is to hear your balance. That’s because it’s usually the number one reason why people call and many people, many, many people hit one, hear their balance and hang up. So it actually prevents having to talk to an agent. That’s when an IVR works well. When it doesn’t work well is when the menu items have changed because they’ve always changed.

Joey Coleman: They’re always changing, always.

Dan Gingiss: And we listened to nine choices and we can’t figure out which one is actually what we’re calling about. So we hit zero and I’m sorry there’s nobody available to talk to you and we get into this mess where we feel like we’re not being heard.

Joey Coleman: I absolutely agree and I think it also is the ones where you call in and there’s a limited number of things you can do. Like press one to change your flight, press two to hear the weather report, press three to see how much baggage fees are. And you’re like, “No, I wanted to find out if there was even a trip that I could take, wanted to book a flight or whatever.” It’s not even one of the options and instead I’m left pounding zero. But regardless, I think it’s time for this week’s question about IVR modernization. Does our IVR system meet the needs and expectations of our customers? We encourage you to start the conversation within your own organization and then continue it with AV Techs at experienceconversations.com. That’s www.experienceconversations.com

THIS JUST HAPPENED: Making the Most of the Line

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? I think I may have determined the most overlooked customer experience at the typical retail establishment.

Dan Gingiss: I don’t know Joey. There are so many.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough. But this is one that I actually experience on a pretty regular basis that I think is a hot topic for discussion. What I’m talking about is the line. All too often companies make their customers stand in line. Want to place an order? Stand in line. Want to pick up your order? Stand in line. Want to pay for your order? Stand in line. Lines, lines, lines. They seem to be everywhere when you go into a brick and mortar establishment and in many ways I wonder if lines are partially the cause for the shift to more people shopping online, but I digress.

Dan Gingiss: This seems to be a topic that you’re pretty worked up about Joey.

Joey Coleman: To be honest, I am because for a couple of reasons. Number one, I think it is a super easy thing to fix and I think it’s something that most businesses are paying zero attention to. But to be honest, why I’m a little hyped up about it today is because in the last week I had what may have been my worst and my best line experiences in recent memory.

Dan Gingiss: I always like to end with the good news. So let’s start with the worst and then we can feel a sense of progress when you get to the best.

Joey Coleman: I like it. I like it. So picture the scene. I’m flying to Halifax, Canada, and I get stranded in LaGuardia overnight.

Dan Gingiss: Not my favorite place to be stranded.

Joey Coleman: Oh my goodness. I’m getting choked up just thinking about it. Absolutely not the place to be stranded. I ended up needing to get a hotel. I need to come back the next morning for an early morning flight.

It has messed up my entire schedule. I get to the airport. I wasn’t able to eat dinner the night before and I’d like to get some breakfast. So I’m waiting in line to get my breakfast sandwich. I get to the front of the line and I placed my order and the gentleman there hands me a little slip of paper that says my order on it and says, “Now you have to go pay for this. I said, “Okay.” And I looked to my left and my right thinking, well of course I’ll just shift over and pay right here. Au contraire, mon frère. Instead I was sent back about 40 feet to a line that looked like it ran from LaGuardia through JFK to somewhere near Montreal. Okay. And I go and I stand in this line. Now this line, snakes along the front of four or five different eating establishments that are all using the same bank of three cash registers.

Now this probably makes sense to the business because they own all of the eating establishment, but as the person eating this makes zero sense. So I stand in this line and I get closer and I get closer and I get closer and I finally pay to which the individual hands me another receipt showing that I had paid and encourages me to go back to where I ordered my breakfast sandwich to then get in line to pick up my breakfast sandwich. It was madness. No one knew what was going on. The customers were frustrated. The employees seem frustrated, but as of course, they’re all having to explain this ridiculous line set up to every new customer and Oh, by the way, did I mention that this was at an airport? So guess what? There’s pretty much new customers every single minute of every single day.

Dan Gingiss: Well, first of all, this sounds exactly like LaGuardia to me. If you had said, “What airport do you think this is?”

Joey Coleman: That’s what it should’ve been? It should’ve been a guess this airport episode.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. However, if you are asking me to guess, just fun fact, you would have had to describe this a little bit differently because you may or may not know, but in New York they don’t stand in line.

Joey Coleman: Oh, excuse me.

Dan Gingiss: They stand on line.

Joey Coleman: You are correct. My friend. I did misspeak. I was in New York so I was standing on line.

Dan Gingiss: So that sounds like a pretty ridiculous experience. I feel your pain. Let’s get to the good experience though. What did that one look like?

Joey Coleman: All right, let me take some deep breaths here, calm down a little bit. So during this same week, I also had the chance to travel to the other side of the United States to California. I led a private workshop for a group of business owners and after it ended, I met up with my good friend, Clay, Abear. We had dinner and I was going to fly out the next morning.

Well after dinner, clay suggested that we grabbed some ice cream at his favorite ice cream shop, Salt and Straw.

Dan Gingiss: That’s a curious name for an ice cream place.

Joey Coleman: I have to admit, I too was intrigued and so I actually asked why it was named Salt And Straw. And as it turns out, they chose the name because their ice cream is handmade in small batches. The way they used to make ice cream back in the day. Ice cream was made by using rock salt to make it freeze and then it was packed in straw to keep it cold, hence Salt and Straw. And what I realized after seeing the name and experiencing the line at this store, it became very clear that they are all about thinking through the customer experience at every step along the way.

Dan Gingiss: I see what you did there.

Joey Coleman: You like that?

Dan Gingiss: It’s a line. You said steps.

Joey Coleman: We tried to keep this exciting for you folks. All right, I’m glad you caught it. So here’s what happened at Salt and Straw. When we walked up, there was a line that went down the street and around the corner. Now it was not as long as the line in LaGuardia, but it wasn’t that much shorter. I mean it was probably three quarters of the length of the line from LaGuardia. So it was really long.

Dan Gingiss: And usually when I see a lot of this going down the street and around the corner, I just keep walking around the corner.

Joey Coleman: Me too. It’s like, you know what? Life is too short. I’m not going to wait in line and I admit I was skeptical, but my buddy Clay was like, “Joey, this is worth it. We’re going to stand in line.” Because now we were on the West coast so we were in line and as usual Clay was so right.

First of all, the line moved very quickly. It wasn’t as much that you were standing in line as you were walking in a line. Okay. Second, as you approached the door to the ice cream shop, there was a Salt and Straw employee there with a big smile welcoming everyone in and telling them, You’re getting close.” They brought a little humor to it.

Dan Gingiss: I like it.

Joey Coleman: And this the line snaked through the store cause there was a line inside the store as well. There were signs on the walls and on the shelves that told the story of Salt and Straw, their commitment to quality ingredients. The fact that at each of their seven West coast locations, they have at least one custom flavor, that you can only get in that store. The reason they like to be part of the local food community, it was amazing. So as I’m working my way up to order my ice cream, I’m being sold on the history and the story and the mission and the values of this ice cream shop. And with each shift forward in the line, I was able to read more about the story and get more excited about their commitment.

Dan Gingiss: Well thanks a lot Joey, because now I’m hungry for ice cream.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, sadly I did not bring samples to our recording session. But guess what? When I finally got to taste the ice cream, it was delicious and any memories of needing to wait in line faded faster than I could eat the ice cream. Interestingly enough, though, the story of Salt and Straw stayed with me long after the flavors of the ice cream had faded. By making the most of my time in line. Salt and Straw sold me on their story, their commitment and their reason for being in business. I became a fan while I waited – something that is completely contrary to the emotions one usually feels when waiting in line to purchase, pick up or pay for something.

Now, let’s be candid. I’ll fully acknowledge that businesses can’t always eliminate the weight or the lines associated with using or experiencing their offerings. What they can do is make waiting in line an experience in and of itself. Tell your story, share your commitment, entice intrigue, educate, entertain, and before you know it, people will be standing in line and won’t mind one bit.

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