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Episode 104 – Get People Talking with a Free Prize Inside

Join us as we discuss talking to customers in uncertain times, a remarkable credit card experience, and the power of Cracker Jack-esque surprises.

Canadian Professors, Apple Cards, and Inflatable Pools – Oh My!

[CX Press] Concrete Communication in Uncertain Times

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Michael Fishman
• Consumer Health Summit (CHS)
• M.I.T. Sloan Management Review
• Grant Packard (associate professor of marketing at York University in Toronto)
• Schulich School of Business at York University
• Sarah G. Moore (associate professor of marketing at the University of Alberta School of Business in Edmonton)
• University of Alberta School of Business
• Brent McFerran (associate professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia)
• Simon Fraser University – Beedie School of Business
• Speaking to Customers in Uncertain Times – by Packard, Moore, and McFerran in M.I.T. Sloan Management Review
• Professor Jonah Berger (associate professor of marketing at The Wharton School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
• The Wharton School of Business – University of Pennsylvania

[Dissecting the Experience] The Apple Credit Card – Changing the Landscape Again

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Apple
• iPhone
• AirPods
• Mac
• Apple Credit Card
• Discover Card
• Discover Wins JD Power Award
• JD Power Award
• William Tell
• iPad
• American Express (Amex) Black Card
• Apple white matte finish
• Apple logo
• Credit card chip design
• Goldman Sachs
• Mastercard
• Wallet app
• Apple Pay
• Apple Watch
• MacBook Pro laptop
• credit card cycle date
• First USA
• Chase Bank

[Partnership with Avtex] We Love Gameshows – Do You?

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Jeopardy!
• Wheel of Fortune
• Joker’s Wild
• Tic Tac Dough
• Press Your Luck

[This Just Happened] Inflatable Pools with a Free Prize Inside

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Marcus Sheridan – Pool Guy
• River Pools and Spas
• Inflatable Pools on Amazon
• Amazon
• Cracker Jack

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of Episode 103 here or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]

Dan Gingiss [00:00:05] Welcome to Experience This! 

Joey Coleman [00:00:08] 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 [00:00:18] Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer retention expert Joey Coleman… 

Joey Coleman [00:00:23] …and social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. 

Dan Gingiss [00:00:31] So hold on to your headphones, it’s time to Experience This!

[EPISODE 104 INTRO]

Joey Coleman [00:00:39] Get ready for another episode of the experience, this show. 

Dan Gingiss [00:00:45] Join us as we discuss talking to customers in uncertain times, a remarkable credit card experience, and the power of Cracker Jack-esque surprises. 

Joey Coleman [00:00:59] Canadian professors, Apple cards, and inflatable pools! Oh, my! 

[SEGMENT INTRO – CX PRESS]

Joey Coleman [00:01:07] 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! 

[CX PRESS] Concrete Communication in Uncertain Times

Dan Gingiss [00:01:25] We’re living in a world that is fundamentally different from the world we were living in just a few months ago. As businesses work to navigate the experiences they’re delivering to customers, one of the big questions that everyone is wrestling with is how do we offer certainty in our communications when we’re speaking to people in uncertain times? 

Joey Coleman [00:01:47] Which is why we were intrigued by the following article that is our CX Press segment today. I want to give special thanks to my buddy Michael Fishman, who’s the founder of the Consumer Health Summit, who turned me on to a piece in the M.I.T. Sloan Management Review. The article is written by Grant Packard, associate professor of marketing at York University in Toronto; Sarah G. Moore, associate professor of marketing at the University of Alberta School of Business in Edmonton; and Brent McFerran, the associate professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Dan Gingiss [00:02:22] Wow. So that’s like “associate professor of marketing cubed” and a coast to coast group of Canadian professors. 

Joey Coleman [00:02:30] So true, Dan. So true! And let’s be honest, when it comes to creating great customer experiences, I’ve had the pleasure of spending enough time in Canada to know that our friendly neighbors to the north are absolute pros. And the fact that these three professors collaborated on a great article titled “Speaking to Customers in Uncertain Times” comes as no surprise to me, and I’m super excited to dive into it. The article begins with some clear yet frightening observations… and I quote:. 

Joey Coleman [00:02:59] “Businesses are increasingly operating in a low trust world. The levels at which people mistrust government, traditional media, and social media, are high – and rising… Add to the trust deficit a global pandemic, in which consumers have been asked to limit their visits to stores and restaurants and to shop online when possible. Those who do venture out face an uncertain and literally distanced service experience. They’re questioned about their health. Asked to line up and wear mask, shown where to walk, and reminded to avoid other customers and employees… This trust deficit persist outside the retail space. Individuals contacting customer service –  whether it airlines, banks or retailers – during the pandemic are waiting longer than ever and dealing with uncertainty and frustration about refunds and product availability… So customers are arriving at interactions in highly charged, emotional states. Many frontline workers with similar safety anxieties and changing directives from their supervisors are also stressed. Further due to staffing cuts, shuttered branches, and closed call centers, many customer service employees are working from home with less support from team members and supervisors… In short, the potential for fraught customer service experiences, in-person or otherwise, is higher than ever. 

Dan Gingiss [00:04:18] Ouch! I mean, that one is tough to swallow, but it is absolutely true. And I guess that’s what keeps us customer experience folks in business. I mean, trust is vital when it comes to customer experience and due to the fact that the current environment has eliminated, or drastically reduced, most of the face-to-face, nonverbal ways that people build trust – things like smiles, and head nods, and handshakes – we really are operating in an unprecedented environment. So given the reality of the world right now, what are we supposed to do about it? 

Joey Coleman [00:04:55] Well Dan, I’m glad you asked – but I’m even more excited about the fact that the article speaks to three very specific things that companies can do, that are all supported by a growing body of research on how the use of language can help. Now, whether we’re considering in-person interactions, or voice based phone conversations, or text based emails and chats, the three things that are recommended are as follows:. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:21] • Speaking to customers with specific dedicated attention,. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:23] • Establishing individual connection through the use of the word “I”,. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:28] And conveying care through warm words and the generous use of “thank yous.”. 

Joey Coleman [00:05:33] Now let’s jump into the first recommendation. (1) Provide customers with dedicated attention and concrete language. 

[00:05:41] New research that was conducted by Professor Packard (one of the authors of the article) in conjunction with Professor Jonah Berger of the Wharton School, shows that careful strategies around language not only can increase customer satisfaction, but they also influence how much money the customer spends in the days following a customer service interaction. The secret is to have your frontline employees use words that describe the customer’s interest in concrete, specific terms. This signals the customer that the representative is genuinely listening. 

Dan Gingiss [00:06:17] For example, when a customer contacts a call center to check about a pending delivery, the research shows a customer is more satisfied when they hear, “your package will be at your doorstep next Wednesday” rather than “your order will be there next week.” A package is more concrete than an order; a doorstep is more concrete than “there”; and Wednesday is more concrete than next week. 

Joey Coleman [00:06:41] In a similar fashion, “How can I help you?” can sound canned and rote instead. An employee should mentioned the distinct thing the customer is interested in. For example, at a coffee shop, an employee might say, “Can I get a coffee started for you?” At a hardware store, if a customer is looking at lawnmowers, the employee might say, “Can I help you find a mower?” The more specific, the better. Now, this also applies when responding to complaints. Rather than just saying, “Sure, I can look into that,” it’s more powerful to repeat the concrete thing the customer wants – such as, “Sure, I can look into why we sent you the wrong shoes.” In short, when employees go from generalized scripts to specific comments, it lets the customer know that they’re being heard at an individual level. The more concrete the language, the greater the feeling of attention and focus. 

Dan Gingiss [00:07:35] The next recommendation focuses on personal responsibility. (2) Bridge the trust deficit through individual connections. It’s easier for customers to believe in a single, caring individual than in a vast corporation. Research shows that when employees use the pronoun “I” (referring to the agent), rather than “we” (referring to the agent and the company), it signals that the specific agent the customer is speaking to can be depended on. This simple shift in language using “I” helps customers feel that the employee is actually acting on their behalf. 

Joey Coleman [00:08:11] Now, for example, and let’s be honest Dan, this is one you and I are all too familiar with… When an agent says, “I’m sorry to have to cancel your flight,” it conveys a more genuine, personal sense of remorse than, “we’re sorry to cancel the flight.” The word “we” not only decreases perceived empathy, but it makes it seem like the employee is avoiding responsibility and blaming the company. And this doesn’t just apply to changes in the customer’s plans… Rather than saying, “we probably have that in stock,” you should say, “I can probably find that in stock.” The phrase “we probably have that in stock” guesses about something the employee seems to have no control over – while, “I can probably find that in stock” conveys that specific employee’s desire to make a personal effort to address the issue. The final recommendation from the article is a big one for me personally. (3) Don’t just be competent – be caring. 

Dan Gingiss [00:09:08] You know, Joey, “I can probably find that that’s one of your favorite topics, incorporating empathy into the customer experience.”

Joey Coleman [00:09:15] Yes, indeed Dan! Yes, indeed! Organizations need to find ways to show warmth and competence when interacting with customers. As the article notes, “[i]t’s nearly impossible to be both warm and competent at the same time. Research has shown that people who try to be warm often seem less competent and those who try to be competent often seem less warm.” Now, that being said, new research on conversational dynamics shows that it’s critical for employees to speak both warmly (in other words, emotionally) and competently (that is rationally). The secret is when they do it. Employees need to convey different tones during different parts of the interaction. So the research shows that customers appreciate employees most when the conversations are bookended with warm, considerate words – while the more cognitive, solution oriented words make up the middle of the conversation. In other words, start with connection, then speak specifically about the concrete issue at hand, then closed with more warmth and empathy about the situation occurring in the first place. 

Dan Gingiss [00:10:23] You know, this seems fairly straightforward, but I also want to deviate for a moment to say that this stuff really does matter. I can just imagine some people may be rolling their eyes about, well, using this word here, and this word there. But this research is coming to a conclusion that is not necessarily new. It’s just sort of explained in a different way with, I think, a better structure around it. 

[00:10:51] But the words that we use and the way that we communicate to our customers is one of the biggest parts of customer experience that I think is also one of the most overlooked. And if you don’t have a call center, that’s okay. You can think about how you communicate in marketing materials, or on your Web site, or your mobile app, or if you have a brick and mortar store, what your employees say. There’s so many places where we communicate… And the best part about fixing your communication is it doesn’t cost you anything. So I also appreciated how the article reinforced the power of a simple “thank you” during a customer interaction. While past research indicated it was important to apologize in customer service contexts, new work reveals that signaling appreciation (such as saying “thank you”) is prized by customers and often is more effective than saying sorry. Although apologizing does acknowledge the company’s failure, it doesn’t alleviate consumers’ negative thoughts toward the business. In contrast, saying thank you, for example, “thank you for your patience about this” shifts attention away from the company’s failure and toward customers – making them feel more important to the company at a personal or individual level. 

Joey Coleman [00:12:02] In short, given a world where face time is increasingly both minimized and physically distanced, and where conversations are increasingly happening over the phone, or via some keystrokes, the most successful organizations are giving careful consideration to the specific words they use when speaking to their customers. Don’t forget to: (1) provide customers with dedicated attention and concrete language, (2) bridge the trust deficit through individual connections, and friends, (3) be caring and competent in your conversations. 

[SEGMENT INTRO – DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE]

Joey Coleman [00:12:38] 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. 

[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE] The Apple Credit Card – Changing the Landscape Again

Joey Coleman [00:12:55] As you know, Dan, I’m a big fan of Apple. 

Dan Gingiss [00:12:59] Yeah, do I ever! You were giving me grief about being a P.C. guy right before we hit record on this episode! 

Joey Coleman [00:13:05] Yes, indeed I did, but I feel like it’s only fair, given that you give me so much grief about not being active on Twitter. 

Dan Gingiss [00:13:12] True. True. But I actually have many Apple products in my possession. I love my iPhone and AirPods, for example. It’s the Mac that I’m not so sure of. So I’m not sure that you’re making, and if I daresay, apples to apples comparison. 

Joey Coleman [00:13:27] Yeah… he went there, ladies and gentlemen. All right. Well, there’s actually a reason I’m bringing up Apple in our conversation, and that’s because I had an experience recently that I think you might have some unique insight into. I recently signed up for the new Apple credit card. 

Dan Gingiss [00:13:45] Well, you know that I like talking about credit cards Joey. 

Joey Coleman [00:13:48] I do! 

Dan Gingiss [00:13:48] As I’m sure our listeners know, I spent almost 10 years in the credit card industry at Discover Card, which is one of the smaller of both the issuers and networks in the United States, but that kind of made it a little bit more scrappy. And I was there, and part of the team, that won the J.D. Power Award for the first time, snagging it away from AMEX. And so, I love talking credit cards. Let’s do it! Tell me about the Apple card. 

Joey Coleman [00:14:16] All right. Well, I figure that this will come as no surprise to you or our loyal listeners, but while there are many credit card companies in the marketplace, just like there are many laptops and desktops, and tablet computer manufacturers, the experience Apple created is unique. 

Dan Gingiss [00:14:35] All right. I’ll take a bite at the “apple.” Do tell! 

Joey Coleman [00:14:39] Oh, geez… a reference to “biting the apple” and “William Tell” in the same sentence. Folks, he is on fire today! All right. Well, we need to get into this story. From the very outset, getting an Apple card felt different. I went online, I answered a few questions and I received my approval instantly. 

Dan Gingiss [00:14:58] Okay. Well, so far that sounds fairly common. 

Joey Coleman [00:15:00] Yeah, I get it. But what was different about the Apple card is that I was able to use it immediately to purchase the iPad that I was buying from Apple at the time. 

Dan Gingiss [00:15:10] OK. Now, that’s interesting! And I remember talking about this at Discover, trying to figure out, you know, you can’t get the card in the person’s hand fast enough, so how can we get something else, some other way, for them to use it? So it looks like in this case, the application basically was triggered from within your shopping cart? 

Joey Coleman [00:15:29] Correct. Now, granted, the shopping cart was at Apple, and the application was for an Apple credit card, so I get that it was easier for them than in many scenarios where the credit card is third party. But the fact that they integrated those two things, and they made it incredibly easy to sign up, and that I got to use the card immediately on the purchase I was making right then, it was my favorite two words Dan! 

Dan Gingiss [00:15:52] Well, I believe we call that “instant gratification.” 

Joey Coleman [00:15:55] Yes, indeed, instant gratification. But friends, it gets better. A few days later, I received my card in the mail. And this thing was beautiful!

Dan Gingiss [00:16:05] Now, I would expect that from an Apple product, but not necessarily from a credit card. I mean, maybe unless we’re talking like the Amex Black Card or something. 

Joey Coleman [00:16:15] Well, I hear you and the Amex by card is really nice, but this was a completely different experience. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a brand new customer and I got approved for kind of a basic credit limit. Not a big credit limit, just kind of their intro, you know, credit limit. But I received a premium experience. So let me describe it for you: the packaging was a thick cardboard card with an engraved Apple logo in relief. And when you opened up this white card on the inside, it showed a gorgeous color gradient that went from dark green in one corner to deep red in the other corner, to vibrant purple in the other corner, and it spread across the whole page just beautifully… it was like opening up a rainbow. And inside this color field was an inset where the card was placed. And the message, “activate your card, wake iPhone and hold here” was printed just below it. 

Dan Gingiss [00:17:12] Wait, wait, wait… “wake iPhone and hold it here?” Tell you more about that. 

Joey Coleman [00:17:15] I’m going to explain that, but before I explain that, let me tell you about the card, OK? And then I’ll explain what happened underneath it. So the card is metal. But more specifically, it’s titanium. It has that famous Apple white matte finish to it that’s created by layering multiple layers in some amazing process that was designed by the engineers at Apple before it gets engraved with the Apple logo in silver in the top left corner. And the only other thing on the front of the card is my name: etched in dark gray. And the chip, which, unlike the other chip cards that I have, shows a simple set of six ovals on the chip as opposed to a mismatched series of lines. No, seriously, friends, as you’re listening and you if you have a chip card, pull out the credit card you have, and look at the design aesthetic of the chip – and then realize that Apple, as usual, took every visual element into account when designing their Apple card. And they actually designed the look of the chip on the outside of the credit card. 

Dan Gingiss [00:18:20] I’m sorry. I’m actually doing what you just suggested Joey… and you’re right. They all look the same with these weird gray lines. 

Joey Coleman [00:18:30] Yeah. It’s like shards of metal, that you know, kind of got glued together in some type of a shape. The Apple card, it’s these six beautiful little ovals in the metal. 

Dan Gingiss [00:18:41] That’s pretty cool. So they put all of the disclaimers, and contact info, expiration date, CCW number, and bank logos and all that stuff on the back right? 

Joey Coleman [00:18:51] Actually, no. The only thing on the back of the card are two logos. Again, they’re etched in silver. One for Goldman Sachs (the issuing bank) and the other for MasterCard. 

Dan Gingiss [00:19:04] I got to say, that sounds kind of slick. 

Joey Coleman [00:19:06] Oh, brother, it is. And in fact, I feel special just holding this card – let alone using it! And speaking of using it, this is where Apple marries beautiful product design, with an unprecedented unboxing experience, and incredible software capabilities. So as I mentioned before, you get this beautiful card, you open it up, there’s this rainbow of delight. And to activate the card, it prompts me to wake my iPhone and hold it near the card. Now, when I did that, the Wallet app on my phone confirmed its proximity to the card, prompted me with a couple of easy questions, and my card was active. No calling an 800 number; no visiting a Web site to make my card live; no peeling the sticker off that says “remove the sticker once you’ve activated your card.” It all happened with ease, and grace, and now I could use my Apple Card on any device I had with Apple Pay: my iPhone, my Apple Watch, the iPad, the MacBook Pro laptop. It synched to all of these things instantly. Now, I should also mention the other items you asked about when it comes to where are they on the card… there actually isn’t any other information on the card. There’s no card number. There’s no expiration date. There’s no service phone numbers. There’s no CVV code. There’s no signature. There’s no copyright info. There’s nothing. It’s a barren titanium plain. It just feels elegant! Now, the reason for this lack of data on the card isn’t just for aesthetics – although let’s tell yah, the aesthetic is beautiful. It also helps with security – because if the card is stolen, or even viewed by someone in line behind you, no one can get your number. All of the associated details for the card are stored in the Wallet app on your phone. You can view your balance; your available credit; there’s a simple colored graph of weekly activity when a payment is due; your latest transactions. Each of these can be delved deeper into using the app and you don’t need to log into a separate Web site just to get more details. 

Dan Gingiss [00:21:09] So dumb guy question here: does this mean that you can’t use it for what we in the industry call, “card not present transactions” i.e., you can’t use it on the phone because you don’t have a number to read, or do you have to memorize the number? 

Joey Coleman [00:21:22] Oh now, here’s where it’s special. You can actually generate independent card numbers for your individual transactions. So you can generate one that you always use or if you’re giving your card over the phone and you don’t necessarily trust the person on the phone that you’re giving the card to, you can easily within the app generate a “one off use” number, give them that number, it gets used for that one charge and then that number will never get used again. 

Dan Gingiss [00:21:51] Yes. OK. So that I just want to let you know because, hey, you told you told the audience that I have some experience here. 

Joey Coleman [00:21:57] I do! 

Dan Gingiss [00:21:57] That is actually owned by Mastercard. That is not an Apple thing. That ability is for a Mastercard. 

Joey Coleman [00:22:05] OK, fair enough, fair enough. But that’s why we have, I presume, the Mastercard logo on the back of the card too. Right?! So they get some credit there. But yeah, it’s the fact that in a world where we’re increasingly worried about, you know, our credit card number being compromised, that we can create individual card numbers kind of on the fly, felt really cool to me. And you know, what they do on the back end around putting the customer first is also really unique as well. You know, a lot of credit card companies, and I say this respectfully because I have other cards as well, they try to hide the reality. Right?! Every credit card once their users to spend money, but it also wants you to keep a balance. And unlike other credit card companies, instead of hiding that information in a website or a monthly statement, Apple puts everything as clear as possible, right into the app. So you can see your weekly activity; you can click on a transaction and it shows you more information – this is all happening within the app. If you shop at one retailer multiple times, if you tap on any one location in the app, it will show you all the other transactions with that specific retailer as well as your running monthly total. When it comes time to pay, it allows you to see the interest you’ll be charged based on how much you pay off each month so you have a little kind of toggle switch where you can say, “well, I pay a little more, how much will my interest go down in the future?” They really make the paying of the card an experience and an interaction as well. 

Dan Gingiss [00:23:36] Man, I have so many things that I could say about this. I’m getting excited. And I think what’s going to happen is when we’re done recording, I’m going to apply for this card… 

Joey Coleman [00:23:43] Nice! Ooo – ladies and gentlemen, I may have swayed him over to getting an Apple card. I like it! I like it!

Dan Gingiss [00:23:49] There are a couple of things here that are really cool. First of all, they’re also giving you your cash back rewards in real time – which most cards do. Right?! It usually waits until you cycle at the end of the month. And I used to have this conversation all the time about this concept of a “cycle date,” – like who in the world, what customer thinks in terms of a cycle date right?! 

Joey Coleman [00:24:11] That would be No One. Even the people who work at the credit card company barely think of the cycle date. It’s like literally no customer thinks of this. 

Dan Gingiss [00:24:17] It’s an absolute made up concoction that every card uses and it doesn’t need to. And so the realtime thing makes a ton of sense. And also the paying more when you garner interest… When I was in business school back in 2001, I did a summer internship at First USA, which is now Chase Bank. And I was actually assigned, as a marketer, to the collections team – which was really a unique experience because you’re marketing to the people who aren’t paying you. This was kind of mind boggling to me. And what we ended up figuring out was that, by showing them graphically how long it was going to take to pay back their bill, and then how long it was going to take if they paid fifty extra dollars, one hundred extra dollars, etc., that it created, it got rid of this sick psychological barrier, in the sense that it gave them hope – like we talked about in the previous segment. I remember one guy, I’ll never forget him, he said, “as long as I can circle the date on my calendar when I’m going to be out of debt, then I’m OK. Even if it’s 15 years down the line, I just need to know when it is.” And true story, those graphs actually ultimately became the law of the land in the United States and now all credit card companies have to do that. And I think Apple, as usual, is taking it a step further because they’re actually encouraging people not to generate interest. And that is completely changing the game. 

Joey Coleman [00:25:51] Exactly. What credit card company wants you to pay your bill faster? Pretty much no credit card companies. So, I do think that Apple is completely redefining the game – as usual. But here’s the thing, friends. If you’re listening, you may be saying, “well, that’s nice and dandy for Apple, Joey. But how does this apply to my company and our product, and our service offerings? We don’t make computers. We’re not going to start issuing our own credit cards!” Friends – I get it. My goal in sharing this story is to inspire you. Inspire you to reimagine all the ways your customers interact with your products and services. To seek aesthetic beauty in the things you create. To place customer ease as your prime directive. To marry your offline customer interactions with your online customer interactions. There’s a reason why Apple is one of the fastest growing, most successful, most loved brands on the planet – and that’s because they make their customer experience a holistic driver in every product and service they create. So how can you infuse customer experience into every product and service you offer – so that your customers talk about how their required interactions with you, things like paying their bill, and receiving their bill, and interacting with your support team, and doing all the things that are necessary for their interactions with you – become worthy of remark. 

[PARTNERSHIP WITH AVTEX] We Love Game Shows – Do You?

Dan Gingiss [00:27:24] Joey, do you like game shows? 

Joey Coleman [00:27:26] You know, I actually do like game shows. Who doesn’t like a good game show? You know, you get a chance to laugh. You get a little entertained. Maybe you learn a thing or two. Game shows are great. 

Dan Gingiss [00:27:35] I love game shows. I’ve watched them since I was a kid when I was at home sick from school. I’d spend the whole day watching game shows. What were some of your favorites, or are some of your favorites?

Joey Coleman [00:27:48] Yeah. I got to say, I think I probably watched more back in the day, but one that has continued through my life is Jeopardy! Right?! It’s just, it’s fun… The whole family can play together. Everybody can yell at the TV at the same time. It rewards knowledge of useless trivia points. You learn a thing or two. I’m a big fan of Jeopardy! What about you? 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:10] And you know, it’s so funny because I think the world is divided into either Jeopardy fans or Wheel of Fortune fans, and I’m a Wheel of Fortune fan. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:17] Surprise surprise! Is anyone listening right now surprised that we’re on the opposite end of the game show spectrum? 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:23] Well, the reason is, is that I have always sucked at trivia. And so, I like watching Jeopardy, I just can’t play along. Whereas with Wheel of Fortune, I’m very good with words, I love the puzzles, and, you know, I’m screaming at the TV when there’s like only two letters showing and I’m like, how come you guys can’t see this?”. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:40] Nice. Nice! 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:41] When I was a kid, I watched Joker’s Wild and Tic Tac Toe. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:45] Well, what about Press Your Luck?! No whammies, no whammies, no whammies… that was always a really fun one, too. 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:49] Yeah. Absolutely loved it. The Price is Right, of course. And I mean on and on… So many great, great game shows. 

Joey Coleman [00:28:57] Why don’t more people do game shows? 

Dan Gingiss [00:28:59] I don’t know. I’m not sure. But I’ll tell you one thing, and I haven’t really told anyone this before, I kind of always wanted to be a game show host. 

Joey Coleman [00:29:08] You know, I feel like I knew that about you. I too, kind of like the game show host, if nothing else, to be able to do, ladies and gentlemen, the game show host voice. 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:17] What do you mean? You mean like this one? 

Joey Coleman [00:29:20] Yeah, exactly. As two guys that like horsing around, that’s really fun. You know what would be interesting? Are there many game shows around business? 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:29] I don’t know. I, I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a game show or seen one. 

Joey Coleman [00:29:34] There really aren’t a lot. But, you know, I wonder what the experience would be like? 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:39] That’s a good point, Joey. Hmm… 

Joey Coleman [00:29:44] And what would be the point of having a game show about experience? You could experience, the point, of the show. 

Dan Gingiss [00:29:54] Wow – you’re really on point. 

Joey Coleman [00:29:58] Aww – it’ll be a fun experience. Folks – stay tuned for more. You’re gonna have an experience, and we’ll get to the point. 

[SEGMENT INTRO – THIS JUST HAPPENED]

Joey Coleman [00:30:06] We love telling stories and sharing key insights, you can implement – or avoid – based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened? 

[THIS JUST HAPPENED] Summer Surprise – Inflatable Pools with Bonus Gifts

Dan Gingiss [00:30:20] So Dan, I got to ask you, how did you spend your “socially distanced” summer? 

Dan Gingiss [00:30:26] Well, let’s see, I had two kids at home that were supposed to be at overnight camp, so I had to entertain them… 

Joey Coleman [00:30:32] So you were a camp counselor… Congratulations! 

Dan Gingiss [00:30:35] Yeah. Let’s see. I adopted a senior dog, who has been awesome. So I’ve been out walking a whole lot more and maybe most importantly, from a professional perspective, I wrote my second book. 

Joey Coleman [00:30:50] Ooo lah lah! 

Dan Gingiss [00:30:51] So I got that done. 

Joey Coleman [00:30:52] We’re gonna have to get more into that in a future segment of Experience This! The reason I ask, is because like a lot of other people, I think around the world, our family ended up spending a lot more time at home this summer – confined to our backyard – than we had actually planned. And as the summer went on, I started to think about ways to make our time in the backyard more enjoyable. So we got some new lawn furniture, which was great, so we could just sit outside and, you know, relax, and read, and hang out, while the kids played. And then we started talking about getting a pool. 

Dan Gingiss [00:31:26] Did you call our good friend Marcus Sheridan – the “pool guy?” 

Joey Coleman [00:31:30] Actually, I did not call the Pool Guy this time, but when it comes time to actually install a pool in the yard permanently, Marcus’s team at River Pools and Spas is definitely who I’ll be reaching out to. But in all honesty, since we rent our house and given that full disclosure, I didn’t really start thinking about this pool idea until about halfway through the month of June, I was looking for a faster solution that would be the best solution for this summer. 

Dan Gingiss [00:31:58] So you went online? 

Joey Coleman [00:31:59] Correct. And a simple search of inflatable pools on Amazon brought me to the magical place where five star reviews and in stock availability overlapped in a listing for an inflatable pool that I promptly ordered. And when it arrived, my two boys were thrilled at the idea of having a place to cool off in the backyard since the pools here in town were closed. 

Dan Gingiss [00:32:24] OK, so that sounds really nice, but you made me say the word “Cracker Jack-esque” surprise in the intro, which was really hard to say, and I just said it again. So what does this have to do with inflatable pools? 

Joey Coleman [00:32:34] Well, then I’m glad you asked. And hopefully the people that heard that Cracker Jack a reference, we’re wondering. Here’s the thing. I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of companies that sell their products on Amazon. And one of the common complaints I hear from these Amazon sellers is that while they love the access to the Amazon marketplace, they don’t like the limits on customer interaction and customer data that Amazon places on them when they use the Amazon platform. And so most sellers are lamenting the lack of connection to their buyers, and they’re frustrated that they don’t have an easy way to contact these people that purchase their products, and it just kind of creates a mess for everyone involved. 

Dan Gingiss [00:33:16] Yeah, I’ve definitely had that frustration as a consumer because you have to go through Amazon to get to whoever it is that sold you the product. 

Joey Coleman [00:33:25] Exactly. Which is why more and more companies that sell on Amazon have tried to incentivize purchasers to establish a direct relationship with them – as opposed to going through Amazon. And over the years, I’ve seen this through insert postcards that ask recipients to sign up for a newsletter, or directions that encourage purchasers to register for some random warranty, or even just fliers that say “visit our website and place your next order,” even though you place your order on Amazon because it was easy and simple to do. 

Dan Gingiss [00:33:58] Yeah. Not placing it on your website next time. Sorry. But those are not a particularly remarkable or surprise and delight worthy experiences. 

Joey Coleman [00:34:08] Correct. Which is why the inflatable pool company got my attention. So included in the packaging was a postcard that I’d love to share with you and our listeners. And the postcard read as follows: “Hello. Sincerely, thank you for your business and support. I hope the inflatable pool you purchased is everything you expected. Your satisfaction is my primary goal. If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.” (and then they shared an email address). The card went on to say, “Also, to claim your air pump or rectangular pool cover, please reach out to me with your order number and country. Thanks again for your shopping. Wish you all the best. Ann”

Dan Gingiss [00:34:50] Ooo! I’m not sure which one I want: the air pump or the pool cover! 

Joey Coleman [00:34:55] Exactly. And that’s what I thought. Now Dan, I’ve received dozens of inserts from Amazon sellers over the year, and this is one of the first ones I was ever excited about replying to. Now, the pump is really useful if you don’t already have one. And the pool cover is going to be useful to anyone who orders the pool as it’s custom-sized to fit. So compared to silly warranty registrations, or uninspiring coupons for discounts on future purchases, this was actually something I wanted! And I felt that same anticipation and excitement that I had as a kid when I opened a box of Cracker Jack to find the free prize inside. But this time, I got to choose the free prize. 

Dan Gingiss [00:35:38] I love it. That’s actually a really, fun marketing technique to give people a choice. So which one did you choose? The pump or the pool cover? The pool cover or the pump? 

Joey Coleman [00:35:49] You might have guessed. I actually went with the pool cover – and I went with the pool cover for two reasons. Number one, I already had an air mattress pump that work just fine to inflate the pool. So I knew I was good there. And I also felt that the pool cover would come in useful over the long haul and be harder to replace because it was custom-sized to the pool. Now, what I love about this example is that almost every product you purchase has some associated products that the company tries to upsell you on. Extra parts, add ons, maintenance tools, etc. Tying a useful add on – in this case, the pool cover – to my original purchase was a fantastic way to motivate me to go out of my way to share my email with the inflatable pool company. Now, this experience left me wondering how many companies sell through third party distributors, or platforms like Amazon, and are frustrated that they don’t have access to their end users. How many companies have tried a host of uninspired ways to access these end users to no avail? How many companies basically say, throw up their hands and say, “well, there’s nothing we can do” and send the same boring, useless inserts as their competitors? Well, what if they did something different? Why not build into your product price the additional cost of a supplemental item and then offer that item for free to customers that are willing to establish a direct connection to you? Now, this probably won’t bother your distributors or the marketplace where you sell, especially if the only way to get the supplemental item – like the pool cover – is via the primary purchase of the primary item. So like, for example, when I go on Amazon and I look for the pool cover that matches the inflatable pool I bought – you can’t find it. You can’t find it on their website. The only way to get it is through this special offer. Now, the only way the inflatable pool company could have made this better would be to make an online form where I could input my information instead of asking me to send them an email. But to be honest, other than that, I thought this was a really smart way to create a remarkable experience and an ongoing customer interaction “after the sale,” which is something that every organization should be focused on doing. 

[SHOW OUTRO]

Joey Coleman [00:38:03] Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This! 

Dan Gingiss [00:38:07] 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 [00:38:16] 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 enjoy, 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 [00:38:35] Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more. 

Joey Coleman [00:38:38] Experience… 

Dan Gingiss [00:38:39] This! 

Episode 103 – Adding a Little Sparkle Makes Your Experience Remarkable

Join us as we discuss major shifts in customer expectations, a not-so-average birthday celebration, and turning customers into raving fans.

Pivoting, Celebrating, and Dedicating – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] COVID-19 and the Impact on Customer and Employee Experience

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Sitel Group
• How Coronovirus is Shaping Consumer Trends – by Sitel Group
• McKinsey
• Adapting Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus – by McKinsey
• Chief Marketing Officer of Sitel Group – Martin Wilkinson-Brown
• HIPPA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
• Statista
• Avtex
• Delivering Safe and Effective Customer Experiences Following COVID-19 – by Dan Gingiss on the Avtex blog
• We Could All Use Some Psychological First Aid – by Mary McNaughton-Cassill, Ph.D in Psychology Today Magazine

[This Just Happened] A “Sparkling” Birthday Surprise

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
• Open Table
• Rain Man
• Episode 66, Season Three
• Gaylord Texan Resort
• Episode 50, Season Two
• Chewy

[Partnership with Avtex] Coming Soon – to an Arcade Near You?

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Avtex
• Gauntlet
• Galaga
• Leaderboard

[Book Report] Fanocracy – by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott

Things We Mentioned in This Segment:

• Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans – by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott
• David Meerman Scott
• Reiko Scott
• Inbound Conference
• Delta Airlines
• Social Media Marketing World
• Newsjacking – by David Meerman Scott
• The New Rules of Marketing and PR – by David Meerman Scott
• Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead – by David Meerman Scott
• Tony Robbins
• One Simple Question for the Presidential Candidates: What are You a Fan of? (Democratic candidates video)
• Kamala Harris
• Chicago Cubs
• Space Exploration
• University of Notre Dame
• The Fighting Irish
• Notre Dame Glee Club
• LEGO
• The Grateful Dead
• Harry Potter
• NASA
• NASA Social Media Channels
• Bryan Kramer

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 Episode 103 here or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:05):
Welcome to Experience This!

Joey Coleman (00:08):
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 (00:17):
Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer retention expert Joey Coleman…

Joey Coleman (00:23):
… and social media expert Dan Gingiss, serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience.

Dan Gingiss (00:30):
So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This!

[EPISODE 103 INTRO]
Dan Gingiss (00:38):
Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show

Joey Coleman (00:45):
Join us as we discuss major shifts in customer expectations, a not-so-average birthday celebration, and turning customers into raving fans.

Dan Gingiss (00:57):
Pivoting, celebrating, and dedicating! Oh my!

[SEGMENT INTRO – DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE]
Joey Coleman (01:05):
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.

[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE] COVID-19 and the Impact on Customer and Employee Experience
Dan Gingiss (01:22):
Welcome back to Season Six of the Experience This! Show. We are so happy to be back with you and so excited that you are here for another season chock full of great customer experiences. Now, obviously the world has changed just a bit in the past few months…

Joey Coleman (01:42):
Understatement!

Dan Gingiss (01:46):
With a certain pandemic ravaging the economy, people’s livelihoods, and of course their health. And new words and phrases have entered the lexicon like lockdowns, and quarantines, infection rates, stimulus bills, and there’s even a coin shortage in the United States. And many companies have either shuttered their doors, or unfortunately probably won’t live to see 2021. And entire industries have had to restructure and adapt in order to remain solvent, let alone competitive.

Joey Coleman (02:19):
You know, Dan we’ve also watched as the world has really grappled with important social issues like diversity and inclusion, which have affected how we look at hiring practices and changing customer demographics and even our political candidates. To put it mildly, there’s a lot that’s been going on since last time we all hung out together.

Dan Gingiss (02:39):
Exactly. And that is why Joey and I are so excited to be back here with you on the Experience This! Show, because if the past few months have taught us anything other than that, we each have the power to decide if we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution,

Joey Coleman (02:55):
Hint! Be part of the solution friends be part of the solution.

Dan Gingiss (02:58):
It is, that customer experience has actually never been more important. Our customers are depending on us, more now than ever, and they’re making future buying decisions based on their experiences with us right now. Some companies immediately got that and they pivoted to be more helpful and caring for their customers. Others kept plowing forward as if nothing had happened… occasionally checking a box by sending a copycat email, you know, the one: talking about their enhanced cleaning procedures and sending us to the CDC website.

Joey Coleman (03:31):
Oh geez. Yeah. You know, the reality friends is that those companies that have decided to take care of their customers during COVID-19 will have customers after COVID-19. Right? And the other thing that is going to stay the same,, along with the fact that great experiences work, they have worked, and they will continue to work, is that Dan and I are committed to continue bringing you examples of remarkable customer experiences that hopefully can, and should, inspire you to take action at your own company! We want to help you get more customers. We want to help you keep the ones you have. We want to help you by providing a regular little appetizer of customer experience delight – something to motivate you, something to get you thinking differently, something to get you to make the changes that will help your business not only survive going forward, but thrive going forward.

Dan Gingiss (04:24):
So in Season Six, we’re going to talk about things like: innovation in the audio book industry;

Joey Coleman (04:30):
Launching a new Peruvian restaurant by sending packages in the mail;

Dan Gingiss (04:35):
The behind the scenes people creating experiences at sporting events;

Joey Coleman (04:41):
How to keep connected to the customers that used to come to your place of business, but are now staying at home;

Dan Gingiss (04:46):
Creating custom Zoom backgrounds for your best customers to use;

Joey Coleman (04:51):
Crafting analog solutions in a digital world;

Dan Gingiss (04:54):
The reasons why people stay loyal to brands;

Joey Coleman (05:00):
And so, so much more. But before we get into all of that over the course of the next season, let’s start dissecting this COVID era experience.

Dan Gingiss (05:11):
You mean the 800 pound elephant in the room Joey?

Joey Coleman (05:14):
You know, we’ve got to address it right early on, right folks. And for anybody listening, who’s saying, “Oh my gosh, great, this entire Season Six is going to be about COVID-19!” No, no, no. It’s not. The entire show is going to be what it’s always been about: customer experience. But if we didn’t take time, in this very first segment of Season Six, to actually address the elephant in the room, we’d feel like we were letting you down.

Dan Gingiss (05:37):
So I found two resources that I really wanted to share with our audience that I think will help to frame this discussion. The first is a study from our old friends at Sitel Group called “COVID-19 the CX Impact.” And the second is a terrific article by the consulting company, McKinsey, you probably have heard of them.

Joey Coleman (05:57):
I have, once or twice.

Dan Gingiss (05:59):
called “Adapting Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus.” And across these two reports, I found that a few key trends really emerged. And that’s what I want to talk about in this segment. The first, which I think we all know conceptually, but are really seeing this happening at the speed of light, is the move to digital.

Joey Coleman (06:20):
And I think what you said about the speed of light is so true, right? Every company in January of 2020 had a digital strategy. Two months later, that digital strategy was probably their only strategy!

Dan Gingiss (06:33):
Exactly. Or they, or it was ripped up and they had to rewrite it.

Joey Coleman (06:36):
Yeah, exactly. It’s a new digital strategy!

Dan Gingiss (06:39):
So the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of Sitel, Martin Wilkinson-Brown,

Joey Coleman (06:44):
Great guy, great guy and friend of ours.

Dan Gingiss (06:46):
He is, and he said this in the report and I’m quoting, “The key coronavirus consumer trend is that increasingly a brand is judged by the strength of its digital channels when it comes to customer experience. Now, the Sitel study found that as COVID-19 forced stores to close temporarily and for people to practice social distancing or even stay home, consumers looked to digital channels to serve their needs. 76% of respondents said that they’d made online purchases for things that they normally would have purchased in person. But what’s really important and interesting is that 57% said that they will continue this behavior once the pandemic ends. Now, McKinsey also found that, and I’m quoting again, “Digital adoption has grown strongly even among the most digitally resistant customers.” And so its article came to a similar conclusion quote, “[i]t’s likely that many customers who have converted to digital services will stick to them after the immediate health crisis is over. Companies who make this shift to digital and deliver superior experiences, have an opportunity to increase adoption and maintain these customer relationships after the crisis.”

Joey Coleman (08:03):
Dan, not only do I agree with everything that you said, whether it’s from the folks at Sitel or the folks at McKinsey, but we’ve experienced this in our own lives. We used to order some of our groceries online for delivery. Now we order all of our groceries online for delivery. I had never had the chance to really experience telemedicine before this, but ended up in a scenario where my wife Berit had something in her eye and we were trying to figure out whether we go to the eye doctor to get it looked at, but ugh – do we really want to be out like in a medical environment when there’s a pandemic going on?! And so we called the eye doctor and they were like, “just text us a picture of what’s going on. “And we texted the picture and they texted back and they’re like, “yeah, here’s what it is, nothing to worry about. It’ll be fine in about a week or two. And if it’s not, call us back.” Now, what’s fascinating about that, and sorry honey for the HIPAA violation I just committed there, but the moral of this story being, not only are the companies that have a digital strategy that have gained customers during this time going to potentially keep those customers, but the customer’s expectation for a digital solution is going to go up. I mean, I’m in a place where I don’t want to go to the doctor, if we can solve this via FaceTime or texting photos. I don’t want to go out and waste my time traveling from my home to whatever office it is, if we can do that electronically.

Dan Gingiss (09:34):
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Joey has just admitted to the world that his wife actually has an eye.

Joey Coleman (09:41):
Well, you know, I try to be conscious of, uh, divulging other people’s, I have medical professionals in the family, we talk about HIPAA a lot, I want to be a good consumer.

Dan Gingiss (09:50):
I understand. And you know, it is also created, this move to digital has also created different ways for us to evaluate companies. So for example Joey, I went immediately to curbside pickup for groceries and I stopped because after four or five weeks, I was tired of the groceries being wrong. I was tired of the order being wrong or of their being out of certain items. It became so frustrating to me that I ended up deciding to just go put on a KN-95 mask and go do it myself. I mean, folks, this has now been going on for multiple months, and so the move to digital has happened, it’s going to stay, and your company has got to excel at it – otherwise you’re going to lose customers to the competition. Let’s move on to the second trend in the article, which was the move to home delivery. McKinsey says that home delivery has gone from a convenience to a necessity. And as Joey pointed out, this isn’t just pizza delivery anymore. This is grocery stores, pharmacies, meal delivery services, even car dealerships that are picking up and dropping off cars at people’s homes for repair and maintenance appointments. I had a bicycle picked up and dropped off for a repair and maintenance appointment. According to Statista, the grocery delivery app Instacart saw month over month growth of 218% as the pandemic began.

Joey Coleman (11:17):
Yeah, well, it’s a good time to be in the home delivery business. If there’s an upside to the pandemic, it’s if your business, like Instacart, was primarily built around home delivery, you experienced growth at a very accelerated rate. As you alluded to though, Dan, part of the challenge with experiencing growth at an accelerated rate is that things break faster too. And so I know Instacart had to go out and hire a bunch of new shoppers, there were a bunch of people who sadly lost their jobs and were looking for jobs and as Instacart, Amazon, and some of the other companies who were seeing an increase in business were kind of there to fill the void of people that were looking for jobs, the problem was, there wasn’t a lot of time for training. And there wasn’t a lot of time to necessarily make sure that that Instacart shopper, who was going to be going to the store and shopping for your stuff, although you were doing, you know, curbside pickup Dan so that was theoretically store employees, but the reality is there’s, there’s a learning curve on this stuff too. I think what’s interesting though, is in this move to home delivery, we’ve had the chance as a society, at least here in the United States, and I think it’s been prevalent globally, but probably accelerated here in the U.S. because of how long this crisis has continued to affect the U.S. compared to some other countries who have gotten/done a better job – but we won’t get into that! – the moral of the story being we need to make these shifts and customers want the convenience. They want to be able to order this stuff from home. And I think more and more consumers are realizing that the shopping process versus the convenience of having delivery just isn’t always worth it. You know, sometimes it’s nice and sometimes as you alluded to, you know, if you want to get the order exactly right, you want to go do it yourself. But sometimes it’s okay if it’s not perfect, if it’s done. And I think that’s kind of what has happened across a lot of these home delivery services.

Dan Gingiss (13:15):
Absolutely. So the third trend is a focus on safety. And this applies to both customers and employees. And I actually got to write a blog post for our good friends and show sponsors, Avtex.

Joey Coleman (13:29):
Woo hoo! Avtex!

Dan Gingiss (13:29):
So if you go to avtex.com and look at their blog, you’ll see this post. And I’m sure you’ve heard of the famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who created the famous hierarchy of needs in the 1960s.

Joey Coleman (13:45):
It’s such a nice little pyramid.

Dan Gingiss (13:47):
It’s a great pyramid. And it’s got five tiers of human needs ranked from the physiological at the bottom, which are the most basic needs, to self actualization at the top, which are the needs that are the most difficult to obtain. Well safety needs, which include both safety and security, are considered basic needs. And they’re ranked just above literally, food, and water, and warmth, and rest.

Joey Coleman (14:11):
Yeah, they’re right. This is the bottom of the pyramid folks. If you don’t have your safety needs taken care of, it’s kind of the case that nothing else matters.

Dan Gingiss (14:19):
Exactly. Which is why I am willing to predict here today, that “safety” is going to be the key word and key trend in customer experience in the next 6 to 12 months for sure. So Psychology Today Magazine noted that there are five elements to what is commonly referred to as “psychological first aid.” And this is something that’s often administered to victims of natural disasters and is equally applicable to the current pandemic. Now, those five elements are: (1) Help people feel safe, (2) create a sense of calm, (3) help regain a sense of control and self efficacy, (4) feed the need for social connection, and (5) believe in the power of hope. And I have to tell you, Joey, I kind of related to all five of these things right now.

Joey Coleman (15:09):
Oh, amen brother. Yeah. I mean, this is something that everyone needs and I don’t think you can experience full feelings of safety if you don’t have all of these things. Right?! And so I think there’s an opportunity for everyone listening to look at your business and say, are we helping our customers feel safe? Are we creating a sense of calm? Are we helping them to regain a sense of control or self efficacy? You know, what are we doing to help them to feel like they can get a little bit of their power back? How are we feeding their need for social connection? How are we giving them a feeling of hope? You know, this stuff isn’t just psychology mumbo jumbo that’s meant for a Psych 101 course. These are actionable steps that have been proven time and time again, as it relates to human needs, that if your business isn’t specifically addressing these, you’re missing a big opportunity. And I think what happened early on in this crisis is a lot of businesses read this as, “tell them you’re going to wear a mask and clean things up.” It’s like, okay, thanks that worked in week one and maybe week two. But as you pointed out, months later, you know, different people have different definitions of safety. Different people are experiencing different levels of calm. Different people want different levels of control and connection. But I think most people, still want hope. And that’s where I think every business has the opportunity to make sure they’re checking all five of these boxes.

Dan Gingiss (16:38):
Absolutely. And as with anything in customer experience, you have to start with your employees because if your employees don’t feel safe, they’re not going to be able to provide that safety to your customers. So everything has changed for businesses since March, and we know it can be overwhelming. The good news, I think for those of us focused on customer experience is that there has never been a more important time for CX.

Joey Coleman (17:03):
Never! In the history of customer experience, if you work in customer experience, this is the magical time – right now.

Dan Gingiss (17:11):
So since we can’t solve every issue all at once, we believe that starting with the three main trends identified in this segment, which is the move to digital, the move to home delivery, and a focus on safety, that will help us stay ahead of the curve and ensure that we continue to serve our customers during a very difficult time and beyond.

[SEGMENT INTRO – THIS JUST HAPPENED]
Joey Coleman (17:33):
We love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement, or avoid, based on our experiences. Can you believe that This Just Happened?!

[THIS JUST HAPPENED] A “Sparkling” Birthday Surprise
Dan Gingiss (17:46):
Before everything locked down, my family took our 14 year old son out for his birthday at his choice of a restaurant, and the guy’s got good taste, he chose Fleming’s Steak House.

Joey Coleman (17:59):
He does have good taste! I’m guessing my invitation might’ve gotten lost in the mail for that birthday celebration?

Dan Gingiss (18:05):
I think maybe you were on stage that night – that must have been it, yeah, I think you couldn’t do it.

Joey Coleman (18:11):
Ladies and gentlemen, did you see how quickly my good partner, and friend, Dan recovered on that? Yeah. Yeah. Blame it, blame it on being on stage with the audience. Okay. That’s fair. That’s fair.

Dan Gingiss (18:22):
So let me set this up for you. So like I do often, I booked, the restaurant reservation on Open Table, which as you know, is a third party reservation app. And there’s a spot in the, in the reservation, where it says, “are you celebrating anything?” And we said, yeah, we’re celebrating our son’s 14th birthday,

Joey Coleman (18:38):
Which let’s be honest, anytime you fill that out, you always wonder, are they going to do anything with that?

Dan Gingiss (18:43):
Exactly.

Joey Coleman (18:43):
I’ve filled it out plenty of times where they might as well have said, you know, what’s your horoscope for today, because it would’ve been about as impactful on the experience I had. Most restaurants don’t seem to pay attention to that field the way they could or should.

Dan Gingiss (18:58):
Exactly. Well we walked in and told them our name, and the guy took one look at us and pretty much figured out who the 14 year old was.

Joey Coleman (19:06):
It’s the hair, it was the hair wasn’t it?! That was the only way he knew.

Dan Gingiss (19:11):
And the impeccably dressed maitre d reached behind the counter and handed my son a hand signed birthday card. And the outside of it says “Happy Birthday.” And the inside says, “Thank you for celebrating with us. Best wishes from your friends at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar.” And then somebody wrote in, “and many more.” And I was stunned because…

Joey Coleman (19:34):
You thought to yourself, “not only is this a great birthday, but we’re going to talk about this on the show! Ladies and gentlemen, the show writes itself. Dan and I go about our lives and the show writes itself!

Dan Gingiss (19:45):
Exactly. And that’s why we keep going and going like the Energizer bunny. So, I mean, I’ve celebrated a decent number of birthdays at restaurants and, uh, and I have never seen this happen. So he’s, uh, he’s walking us to the table and he kind of winks at my son and says something like, I can’t remember the exact words, but something like, you know, “we’re going to have something special for you after you, after your dinner.” And it was at that moment, Joey, where I realized we weren’t getting a slice of cake and a candle. Right. Because that’s what you get at a restaurant.

Joey Coleman (20:16):
Because you don’t set that expectation unless you’re going to do something special.

Dan Gingiss (20:20):
Yeah. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of cake and a candle. It’s really nice, but it is certainly not unexpected.

Joey Coleman (20:26):
Nor remarkable.

Dan Gingiss (20:27):
Right. So we had a lovely dinner and after the dinner was over the waiter returned with a plate that had, it’s a little hard to describe, but on one half of the plate, the chef had used cocoa powder and obviously a mold of some sort, or stencil, to write “Happy Birthday” in cocoa powder, which was super cool. And on the right side, instead of your typical slice of cake, was a box that had four handmade chocolates, each one in its own little section of the box, and coming out of the top was not a candle, but a sparkler.

Joey Coleman (21:09):
Oh, nice! Let’s get the fire extinguishers folks. This is going to be a big one!

Dan Gingiss (21:13):
I’m telling you if that’s the only, if it was a slice of cake and a sparkler, I think we would have all been impressed but the waiter explained to us that these are handmade by their pastry chef and you know, and they were amazing. Right?! And it was also a little bit lighter than a big piece of cake and all that.

Joey Coleman (21:33):
You each had a bite, basically, as opposed to seventy bites, which let’s be candid, if you’ve had the pleasure of eating at a nice steakhouse like Fleming’s, by the time you get to the dessert, usually there’s not enough room left. Right?! You’ve had your steak, you’ve had your sides. It’s been a filling meal.

Dan Gingiss (21:50):
So what I loved about this was, the presentation was amazing. It is one of these things, you and I talk about being shareable, right? I mean, what do you think my 14 year old son did, even for a guy like you, that’s not particularly social media savvy, what do you think he did when this thing came out?

Joey Coleman (22:06):
So given that he’s 14, I’m guessing that he snapped it or tick tock’d it or did something where he filmed a little video and put it onto social while he was sitting there.

Dan Gingiss (22:17):
Nice work, Joey! You got the nomenclature down!

Joey Coleman (22:20):
Ladies and gentlemen, he can talk the lingo! Even though I’m not on the platforms – don’t come looking for me, I’m not there. I just lurk. It’s awkward. It’s inconvenient. But I try my best.

Dan Gingiss (22:30):
But yes, he took a picture of it so that he could snap his friends. I took a picture of it because I knew…

Joey Coleman (22:35):
You tweeted!

Dan Gingiss (22:36):
I tweeted and I knew it was gonna make the show. But, uh, I think the lesson here, you know, you and I have talked about birthdays before and you told a great story a couple seasons ago about…

Joey Coleman (22:48):
Do it Rain Man! Do it Rain Man! What episode was it? I know you know

Dan Gingiss (22:51):
Oh – it was Episode 66 in Season Three.

Joey Coleman (22:52):
Yeah, see, ladies and gentlemen, you think we might do this research in advance before we start recording, but we don’t. Dan is just a savant, not the idiot part – the savant part, when it comes to knowing our episodes. It’s amazing! Yeah. Episode 66 – back when I was at the Gaylord Texan Resort on my birthday. Right? That’s the one you’re referring to.

Dan Gingiss (23:09):
And the whole thing that was remarkable to you, was that somebody remembered your birthday.

Joey Coleman (23:13):
Somebody who not only remembered my birthday, but they asked for my driver’s license and my credit card to confirm, and the receptionist at the Gaylord Texan Resort actually looked at my driver’s license, which has my birthday on it, and realized that she was reading the date of my birthday on the actual day of my birthday, and took the extra step to say happy birthday. And then, if you haven’t listened to that episode, go back and listen, it’s an oldie, but a goodie, they delivered a card that was signed by all the front desk staff and some of the other people in the senior management team to my room later that night along with some little birthday treats. So yeah, we all have birthdays, and yet how many businesses completely miss the opportunity to acknowledge a customer’s birthday when they know what the birthday is?

Dan Gingiss (24:03):
Exactly. Exactly. There must be dozens of companies that know our birthday. Every time we’ve applied for any sort of credit or a credit card, or a mortgage, or whatever it is, they know our birthday.

Joey Coleman (24:15):
All the utility companies, every single utility company knows your birthday. They do nothing with it.

Dan Gingiss (24:20):
So use your customer data to improve the experience. I mean, another example that I remember, one of my favorites was, Episode 50 Season Two, where we talked about Chewie and the best customer service email ever written, that included a reference to the customer’s cat’s name – Roma. Right? And how, how much that touched her because they remember her cat’s name and how personalized that was.

Joey Coleman (24:48):
Yeah. Everybody wants to make this harder than it is. Like let’s, let’s break it down a little bit, folks. Yes, you need to pay attention to gather the data, but then all you need to do is feed it back to the customer. What do I mean by that? You have to empower your employees to listen to the conversations they’re having, to observe their customers in the native habitat, to investigate what’s going on with the people who do business with you, to identify some of these key personal markers – a birthday, a pet’s name, a favorite hobby, the sports team they root for, their kids’ names, where their kids go to school, you know, their favorite place to go on vacation. The thing that you’re tracking doesn’t matter. It matters that you track it and that you use it. And I think that “using it” is where most businesses fall apart. I mean, we mentioned birthdays, most businesses that have a record of our birthdays Dan, don’t actually acknowledge our birthdays. And I don’t know about you, it wouldn’t take that much to stand out when it comes to acknowledging my birthday, right? They could send a birthday card. They could send a little, they could make a little happy birthday video from their entire team where they just sing happy birthday, not to me personally, but then send that video to me so that you get to see all the people who are working on your account or working on your business. It doesn’t have to be the same experience that other brands give. You can do something unique. You can do something special. And it’s not that hard to stand out.

Dan Gingiss (26:18):
Absolutely. And that’s what gets us back full circle to the birthday cake and the candle. The birthday cake and the candle is a lovely gesture, but it’s completely expected. The handmade box of chocolates with the sparkler and the handwritten card? That’s unexpected. So it’s not about spending more money, it’s just about being a little bit different and not doing it the same way everybody does it because you think that’s what people want, but actually going the other way, and trying to do something unique so that you are memorable and remarkable.

[PARTNERSHIP WITH AVTEX] Coming Soon – to an Arcade Near You?
Joey Coleman (27:00):
Hey Dan, should we tell them?

Dan Gingiss (27:01):
I don’t know… should we…

Joey Coleman (27:02):
Well, it’s kind of a secret, but it’s kind of a secret, but I kind of want to give them a hint.

Dan Gingiss (27:06):
But they told us to kind of keep quiet about it didn’t they?

Joey Coleman (27:10):
I know we’re not supposed to be talking about it just yet, but I want to talk about it just yet. Even though it’s not here yet. It’s coming soon.

Dan Gingiss (27:15):
All right – perhaps a little tease.

Joey Coleman (27:17):
Okay, it’s big. I’m excited about it. Are you excited about it?

Dan Gingiss (27:21):
I’m actually super pumped. Joey.

Joey Coleman (27:23):
I’m super excited about it. I haven’t been this excited about something probably since, uh, hanging out in the arcade playing Gauntlet.

Dan Gingiss (27:31):
Oh, you mean Galaga right?

Joey Coleman (27:33):
Oh, Galaga too! Gauntlet is a separate game. Galaga? Fabulous. Nice reference. But Gauntlet? Pretty awesome too. Because when you played video games, what did you get?

Dan Gingiss (27:43):
A whole lot of fun? I don’t know what the answer to that question.

Joey Coleman (27:46):
Oh my gosh, so great. You did get a whole lot of fun, but you also got points.

Dan Gingiss (27:49):
Ohh! Points…

Joey Coleman (27:52):
Leaderboard. Leaderboard! Who’s up?! Who’s got the points?! Who’s got the high score?! There’s going to be a chance for a high score…

Dan Gingiss (27:58):
Joey – what were your initials when you got on the…

Joey Coleman (28:01):
CJC baby? Yeah.

Dan Gingiss (28:02):
Oh, CJC. Yeah. I know this is going to surprise you, mine was CUB.

Joey Coleman (28:07):
Oh, shocker. I love it. I love it. Okay. So here’s the thing. We can’t talk a lot about it, but here’s what we can say. Our amazing friends and partners at Avtex, not only our sponsors of Season Six of the Experience This! Show, which we so love them for being our loyal partners on Experience This. But we’ve got a new thing coming. It’s not here yet. It’s coming soon. Not going to tell you when! But it’s going to be here before we know it.

Dan Gingiss (28:34):
I’m going to give them one hint, Joey.

Joey Coleman (28:36):
Okay. One hint.

Dan Gingiss (28:36):
I can’t help myself.

Joey Coleman (28:38):
Okay.

Dan Gingiss (28:38):
Here’s the hint: not only will you get to hear our voices, but you’re actually going to get to see our handsome faces.

Joey Coleman (28:48):
Ooo lah lah! Well, at least Dan’s handsome face. My face will be on the screen – not as handsome as Dan, but what can you say? It will be an experience and there might be some points. All right, stay tuned. There’s more coming.

[SEGMENT INTRO – BOOK REPORT]
Joey Coleman (29:00):
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.

[BOOK REPORT] Fanocracy by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott
Dan Gingiss (29:12):
For our first book report of Season Six, I wanted to highlight a new book called” Fanocracy.” And it is written by David Meerman Scott and his daughter Reiko Scott. Now David Meerman Scott is an entrepreneur and keynote speaker and I had a chance to see him at the Inbound Conference and then didn’t, I couldn’t, because I had some, I think I had a flight delay? And so I missed his presentation. I was really bummed.

Joey Coleman (29:40):
You must not have been flying on Delta! David’s a great guy though I gotta tell you. I’ve had the pleasure of being at the same events David has been at. He’s an amazing human being and this is a great book.

Dan Gingiss (29:49):
Yeah. He’s a great speaker as well. Because I did get to see him at Social Media Marketing World and he absolutely blew me away. So he’s a great speaker. He’s written 10 other books. I think he’s most famous for a book called “Newsjacking” and also “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and he actually wrote an entire book of marketing lessons from the Grateful Dead. And you’ll hear in a second, when he reads the overview of his book, that he has been to many, many, many Grateful Dead concerts. So he wrote his latest book with his 26 year old daughter Reiko on Fanocracy or how to create raving fans. And I have to tell you the first thing that impressed me about this book, the forward was by none other than Tony Robbins, so you kind of figure like, alright, this is going to be serious here.

Joey Coleman (30:36):
You gotta love that! You got to love… Tony’s a great guy and has a great message, and I loved that David’s book started out with that. You know, one of the things that I saw that was connected with the book and I actually saw a video of it, which really helped to bring it home, is David went around and he asked the 20 Democratic candidates for president the same question. And the question was this: “Besides your work and your family, what are you a fan of? Now, the reason he asked this, and the reason he says “besides your work and family” is because most people, when asked, “what are you a fan of?” their default answer is going to have something to do with their work or something to do with their family. But what David was trying to get to is, what are the other things that make you tick? What are the things that make you human? What are the things that make you special? And I say he asked the 20 Democratic candidates. He also says in the video, he went to a rally for Donald Trump. And he was going to ask, President Trump the same question, but the President didn’t take any questions, so he wasn’t able to ask the question. But he did share video from the Democratic candidates that he asked and a couple of interesting things came out from this. Number one, the variety of answers. Uh, the difference between how some candidates tried to dodge the question, or maybe pivot it back to one of their talking points. But the one that stood out to me was Kamala Harris. And when he asked her this question, first of all, she lit up like a Christmas tree. She was so excited about her answer and started talking about her love of jazz – and particularly listening to her father’s albums of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. And he actually shows video footage afterwards of her continuing the conversation with him after the event and it’s clear that he’s hit a nerve. And what I loved about this is, when we find the thing that someone is truly a fan about, they LOVE to talk about it.

Dan Gingiss (32:29):
Absolutely. And I love the word passion as well, which she clearly showed in this video and which the other respondents talked, used passion, as they were about the thing that they were interested in. And I’m going to give you about 30 seconds to think about this Joey, because I’m going to ask you as well, but for me, the thing about “what am I a fan of” has always been this, I mean if you ask anybody that knew me in high school, the first thing they’ll tell you is he’s a Chicago Cubs fan. And it was just part of my being and something that also I would light up about every time I’d get to talk about it. And I think it’s so important to have that thing that isn’t about work, and isn’t about family, although you can enjoy sometimes your hobbies with work friends and family friends, but it really is about what other part of your life just gets you going. And so for me, it is the Chicago Cubs. How about for you, Joey?

Joey Coleman (33:24):
You know, what’s interesting Dan, as I think about this question, and I want to be clear, I’m not trying to dodge it, the answer has kind of changed over time. You know, when I was growing up, I remember being very, very into space and space exploration. And then when I was in college, I went to the University of Notre Dame, I was very into the Fighting Irish and to the Notre Dame Glee Club who I sang with and I know we’ve shared on the show before, and we’ve even had a singing episode on the show, you know, you and I both have that common love of singing. But I think if you were to ask me today, what is the thing I do outside of work and outside of family that I absolutely love it’s actually takes me back to something I was a fan of when I was a kid that has kind of been reintroduced to me as an adult via my kids, and that is building with LEGO. I love building with LEGO and I love doing it with my boys, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say sometimes daddy works on the set when they’re asleep!

Dan Gingiss (34:20):
You put a few piece together? I love it!

Joey Coleman (34:21):
Just a couple, you know, not so much that they can tell that I advanced the game significantly, but occasionally I enjoy building my own… I don’t know what it is… It’s, it’s the creative nature, it’s seeing a finished product in fairly short order, but yeah, it’s a fun way for me to have some play in my life, which I think when play and passion meet, it gets really exciting.

Dan Gingiss (34:42):
That’s awesome. So as usual, we have asked the author to share with us an overview of the book in his own words. So here is David Meerman Scott talking about his new book with his daughter, Fanocracy.

David Meerman Scott (34:58):
Over the last few years, I noticed that the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications at a time when people are hungry for a true human connection. So I started talking about that with my daughter Reiko – she’s now 27 – we started about five years ago having this discussion. And I said, Oh my God, I’m such a Grateful Dead geek! I’ve been to 75 Grateful Dead concerts, 804 live music concerts in my life. And Reiko said, “I know Daddy, I’m a massive Harry Potter fan.” So we got to thinking about how so much online is superficial and it bugs the hell out of people. When you get on an email list and you get a constant set of emails, or someone connects with you on LinkedIn and tries to sell you something, and yet at the same time, we’re fans of the things we love. So Reiko and I spent five years researching this idea of “fandom.” Our thesis is that fandom is something that any organization or any person can create. The same ideas that build fans of the Grateful Dead and build fans of Harry Potter, can be achieved by any organization. We found examples of all kinds of government agencies, nonprofits, B2B companies, software companies, consumer product brands, doctors, lawyers, dentists that have built fans. In fact, we found a government agency that has over 50 million fans. You can be walking down the street in any city in the world and not be surprised if somebody is walking towards you wearing a t-shirt with a NASA logo. NASA has 50 million fans. There’s no question after doing the research, which became our book “Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans” that my daughter Reiko and I learned that anybody can build fans and in our book we have a prescription for how anyone can do it.

Joey Coleman (37:03):
I love it. You know, when I hear the reference to his daughter’s love of Harry Potter, I have to admit my boys are just starting to get into Harry Potter. My boys are seven and four and we’re reading the Harry Potter books out loud at night to them. And the idea of someday writing a book with something that my boys love, co-authoring a book with them, is really appealing. The other thing I want to point out is that mention of NASA. I actually had the pleasure of working with NASA on a project years ago and it’s actually, when I list out my bio of companies I’ve worked with, it’s one of the ones that the most people react to. And I think he speaks to that, in the sense that they have 50 million fans. If you are associated with NASA, people are excited about that. And so I think what I love about the book and, you know, David highlights this in his overview and it really can be found in the pages of the book, is, when you can connect with people on something that they’re a fan of, or their fandom, it creates a different level of connection.

Dan Gingiss (38:06):
Absolutely. And, and we talked about it in the last segment too, about finding that one thing that personalizes the experience for your customers. And often times, that is something that they’re a fan of. And it’s no surprise that a lot of business gets done on golf courses, for example, right? Because people are fans of golf and they love playing, and it becomes not just a sport, but really a lifestyle, a religion almost. And everybody has one. And once you know it, you have this automatic conversation topic that you can have with them, even if you’re not particularly well versed in say jazz, you at least can start a conversation with somebody and you know that you’re going to kind of reel them in because you’re going to, you’re going to see them light up as Kamala Harris did when she was talking about it. So we also like to do something really cool here on the show, which is that we ask our authors to share with us their favorite passage from their book. And then Joey and I are going to share our favorite passages. So here again is David Meerman Scott reading his favorite passage from the book.

David Meerman Scott (39:19):
As we discussed our experiences over many nights across the dinner table, we began to consider the ideas that you will now find in our book. It was a sharp reminder to both of us, that hobbies and passions don’t disappear as soon as one is steps into adult or professional life. We both agree that the myth of unyielding professionalism can obscure our genuine connections. That’s why we chose to write this book. Exchanging texts about television shows or comic books has gotten daughter, Reiko, through study hours that extended far into nights that would have otherwise felt endless. And father David, has forged deep lifelong friendships with those who are as passionate about live music as he is. To love things outside work is to make meaningful connections with likeminded people. To achieve the success that comes with developing passionate fans of your business, fandom culture is necessary. Yet there’s another important reason to understand these ideas as we said earlier. Exposing ourselves to people who share our interests, leads us to live a happier life. And when you can introduce your fandom passions and bring in others who are completely different from you and they become fans, you create an ideal environment – a place where great things happen.

Dan Gingiss (40:44):
So I also selected my favorite passage, which I’d like to read now, and here it is: “The fundamental ingredient for true fandom, meaningful and active human connection, demonstrates a shift in the way a company relates to its customers. A true fanocracy mobilizes people to think, feel, and act together with a helpful, positive force during difficult times.” Now I love this for so many reasons. Obviously the human connection part we’ve said it many, many times on the show, to quote our mutual friend, Bryan Kramer,” It’s no longer B2C, or B2B, it’s H2H – human to human. And especially during a time where we’re all stuck at home, we’re craving human interaction. And I love the piece about it being a helpful, positive force during difficult times. As I noted earlier in the show, we’re all either part of the problem or were part of the solution. And hopefully out of this difficult time comes some good.

Joey Coleman (41:48):
You know, I think connection is always powerful and all too often, we talk about connection with our customers, but my favorite passage actually dives to the other side of the equation, that is, our employees. And in a chapter called “Develop Employees Who are Fans,” David writes, “Passionate employees are excited about you and their work and they are eager to tell others. People who feel trusted and are allowed to make their own decisions, become passionate about their company. Passion can become a habit.” I think whenever we are considering customer experience, we need to include employee experience in the same conversation. And as we think about developing fans of our brand, it’s important that our employees are fans as well. And I think the way to get into creating a fan-like relationship with your employees is to look at ways you can be fans of the things that they are fans of,, and vice versa. And as that connection builds your employee experience builds your customer experience builds, you will have more fans – both internally and externally.

Dan Gingiss (43:00):
So pick up “Fanocracy,” the new book by David Meerman Scott and Reiko Scott on Amazon or your favorite bookstore, and while we’ll be featuring a number of other awesome books this season, we always want to hear about the books that you’re reading as well. So please feel free to drop us a line. Our email addresses are so easy: joeyc [at] joeycoleman.com, dan [at] dangingiss.com. Let us know what you’re reading, because maybe it’s a book that we haven’t gotten to yet, and we’d love to feature it on a future episode.

[SHOW OUTRO]
Joey Coleman (43:36):
Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This!

Dan Gingiss (43:41):
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 (43:50):
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 (44:09):
Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more.

Joey Coleman (44:12):
Experience!

Dan Gingiss (44:12):
This!

Episode 100 : The Best Experiences from the Experience This! Show

Join us as we look back on some of our favorite customer experience stories and celebrate our 100th episode with our Best of the Best show.

100 Episodes – Oh My!

[This Just Happened] The Best of “This Just Happened”

Wonderful customer experiences happen every day and this segment was designed to showcase personal and brand experiences we hear about from friends and family or that we experience ourselves! Over the last 100 episodes we’ve shared 65 “This Just Happened” stories so picking the best ones was challenging to say the least. Let’s count down the Top 5 experiences of “This Just Happened”:

5. EmpowerCX (Episode 65) – Our only episode recorded in front of a LIVE studio audience! We were thrilled to partner with our good friends at the Sitel Group to be the closing keynote of their EmpowerCX event in 2019. We had such a fun time working together that we went on to co-host a podcast for them that features their team members, research, and clients called Empower CX Now. If you enjoy The Experience This! Show, you should check out our other show too! 😉

4. Kids Talking to Alexa (Episode 1) Ahh the memories… Our first episode featured the way our children interacted with voice assistants like Alexa (including putting ice cream on the shopping list and asking Alexa to play “childish” songs) and how voice is beginning to changing the customer experience in dozens of industries.

3. Take on Me (Episode 18) Can the new version be better than the original? Joey was skeptical at first, but listening to the Norwegian synth-pop band A-ha offer up an acoustic version of their 80s pop classic “Take on Me,” reinforced the fact that experiences can always be improved upon.

2. Stephen Curry Basketball Shoes (Episode 57). When a young girl brought it to basketball superstar Stephen Curry’s attention that his shoes weren’t sized for girls, he not only wrote her a handwritten reply, but asked her to help design a new line of shoes for women. With proper care and attention, a brand misstep can become the stuff of legends…

1 . Chewy.com (Episode 17 & Episode 50) – The only brand to appear twice in our list, Chewy shows that attention to customer experience and little extra touches creates raving fans. When one of our listeners received a bouquet of flowers after their pet died, Chewy created a customer who definitely will be back.

The bar for customer experience is very low, and you don’t need to high jump over it. You just need to do a little bit better to stand out; make something ordinary into extraordinary. And then we’ll talk about it on this show!

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

[Dissecting the Experience] The Best of “Dissecting the Experience”

Over the first 100 episodes of our show, over half (54 to be exact!) featured a “Dissecting The Experience” segment. In this segment, we take a deeper dive into a featured experience to determine what really makes an interaction special/unique/noteworthy. makes them remarkable, and often it’s more than one thing. Let’s count down the Top 5 experiences of “Dissecting The Experience”:

5. Pizzability (Episode 82) The experiences you design for your customers should serve all of your customers – regardless of their unique abilities. Pizzability offers great food in a restaurant specifically designed to be accessible to it’s employees and customers – regardless of whatever needs they have.

4. Imperfect Produce (Episode 57) Just because it doesn’t look “pretty” doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for your offerings. Imperfect Produce delivers fresh product with a “less than perfect look” to customers that will happily place taste over image and are happy to contribute to the cause of reducing food waste.

3. Savannah Bananas (Episode 71). Have you ever been to a party where a baseball game broke out in the middle?! That’s what it’s like to attend a Savannah Bananas game. Located in Savannah, Georgia, the team is built on a “Fans First” culture that prioritizes incredible experiences above everything else. Next time you want to go to a sporting event, it’s worth the trip to Savannah to watch the Bananas… well… Go Bananas!

2. Website Navigation (Episode 48) Sometimes the littlest things are the biggest things and that certainly rings true when it comes to your website navigation. You’ll be shocked (we certainly were) to find out that what you think is easy to navigate often leaves your customers completely lost and confused.

1 . Steve Spangler Science (Episode 24) Our first ever “double-length” episode, we brought the experience home to our children when we introduced them to Steve Spangler’s incredible science kits. Bringing science experiments into the house not only creates remarkable experiences for young learners, but it turns them into raving fans of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) when they get back to the classroom.

To create a truly remarkable customer experience, you must go deep with your customers. When you design every single aspect of an interaction as part of one cohesive experience, the impact is noticeable, significant, and long-lasting.

[Avtex Webinar] The 4 Phases to Managing CX Through Crisis

As we are all now aware, global pandemics, natural disasters, and other unforeseen events can wreak havoc on business plans. There isn’t a business that hasn’t dealt with this in the last two months as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which is why our friends at Avtex (gracious sponsors of Season 5 of the Experience This! Show) are planning to share their Responding to Crisis with CX model in a FREE webinar on May 5, 2020 at 1:00pm EDT/ 12:00pm CDT.

To register for this webinar and receive a free copy of their white paper: “A Four-Phased Approach to Delivering Effective Customer Experience During a Crisis” go to: experienceconversations.com

[Required Remarkable] The Best of “Make the Required Remarkable”

Every business has dozens of required elements – but few put in the extra effort to make those required elements remarkable. By paying attention to the expected interactions and making them remarkable, patrons will realize that your commitment to customer experience runs deep. Let’s count down the Top 5 experiences of “Make the Required Remarkable”:

5. Birthday Wishes (Episode 66) What makes for a disappointing birthday? When someone that claims to care about you, and knows your birthday, doesn’t do anything to acknowledge your special day. Too many companies ask for your birthday information and then do nothing with it. Our one wish as we blow out our birthday candles? That brands start to acknowledge memorable milestones for their customers.

4. Women Wins $10K for Reading Fine Print (Episode 73) Sometimes, reading the fine print pays off. That was certainly the case for one woman who took advantage of some playful fine print in a disclaimer and won $10,000 in the process!

3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Episode 41) How do you bring a magical movie to life in the real world? Create an immersive experience like the one at Universal Studios and transport your customers into another realm that will captivate, inspire, and excite them – not to mention getting them to tell everyone they know about their experience.

2. “I’m on Hold” Music (Episode 6) What if the hold music people listened to while waiting to speak with you was designed to be part of the experience? That’s what we’re talking about when we say evaluate every customer touchpoint that you’re required to have and look for ways to make it remarkable!

1 . Your Customers are Cheating on You (Episode 1) For our very first segment of our very first episode, we turned to the Godfather of Customer Service – our good friend Shep Hyken and his belief (that we agree with!) that your competition is every other company with which your customers do business.

Thank You for Listening!

We’d certainly be remiss if we didn’t take this time to thank all of our loyal listeners who have stuck by us for 100 episodes.! Without you, there literally wouldn’t be a podcast. So thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for allowing us to take up some of your valuable time each week and for letting us do something we love doing. Here’s to the next 100 episodes!

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 100 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. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining customer attention expert, Joey Coleman and social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So hold onto your headphones. It’s time to experience this.

Dan Gingiss: Get ready for a special 100th episode of the Experience This show.

Joey Coleman: Woohoo. Join us as we look back on some of our favorite customer experience stories in three of our most popular segments, counting down to the best of the best.

Dan Gingiss: Episodes and episodes and episodes.

Joey Coleman: And episodes and episodes and episodes.

Dan Gingiss: And more episodes. Oh my.

The Best of ‘This Just Happened’

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: Welcome everyone to episode 100 of the Experience This show. I’m not going to lie, Joey. I think this is a pretty momentous occasion.

Joey Coleman: I’m not going to lie, Dan, I didn’t know if we’d make it. No, I’m just kidding. I knew we’d make it. But I too think this is kind of a fun marker, not only for us, but more importantly for our listeners. I mean at the end of the day, most podcasts don’t make it to 100 episodes. And who would have thunk way back when when our mutual friend Jay Baer was hosting a little gathering and you and I were standing next to each other talking and he came up and said, “Hey, I think you guys should do a podcast together,” that we’d be here in season five, 100 episodes later?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. But if we had known better back then and not recorded 40 episodes in season one.

Joey Coleman: Season one is really long. We would be much deeper in five seasons if we would have broken this up.

Dan Gingiss: We’d be at least in season seven. But anyway, that aside, we thought we’d do something a little bit different and a little bit special for our 100th episode. See, when we first started this podcast, we wanted to make it a unique listening experience, which is why one of our first decisions was to not make it an interview show like so many other business podcasts.

Joey Coleman: And that’s nothing against interview show, folks. Some of our favorite other podcasts are interview shows. It’s just we wanted to try something completely new, which ironically enough, hasn’t stopped a plethora of PR agents reaching out to pitch us on interviewing the CEOs of companies, even though we don’t do interviews. But I digress.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. Well, the whole idea was is we felt like if we were going to teach people how to create remarkable experiences, we needed to make sure that we were creating a remarkable listening experience for our show. And to do that, we wanted to do something different. So we settled on three main segments per episode. And to make it even more interesting, we created nine different segment types. And we eventually added two more after that so that you never know quite what you’re going to get from each episode. Now when people ask me about the podcast and they haven’t listened to us, I liken it to the Price Is Right, except sadly without Bob Barker.

Joey Coleman: Dan Gingiss, come on down.

Dan Gingiss: Thank you Johnny. I’ll bid $1. In any event, after more than 300 individual segments, we thought we’d celebrate this week by looking back at some of our favorites for three of our most frequent segment categories. And the first one is This Just Happened. Believe it or not, we’ve had 65 This Just Happened stories over the years. So picking the top ones was quite challenging. These segments were created for us to share personal experiences and also brand experiences that we hear about from friends, family, and in social media. After all, remarkable experiences are the ones that are most often shared in the first place. So let’s count down the top five.

Joey Coleman: Number five is Empower CX. Episode 65, the only time we’ve done an episode completely live, but maybe not the last time. There might be some interesting things in the work, people. At the end of the day, a live experience was absolutely incredible for us, and the audience seemed to enjoy it as well. In fact, we enjoyed working with our friends at Sitel so much that we created a second podcast with them where Dan and I are the host called Empower CX Now.

Dan Gingiss: Number four is kids talking to Alexa, which came in our very first episode, episode one. And that was so much fun in particular because I mentioned during that segment that one of the things my kids, much younger at the time, liked to do was to ask Alexa to play the poop song, which is a real song. As it turns out, I believe because of a Google alert, the writer of the poop song found out that we referenced his song and he emailed me, thanking me for the reference and telling me that he actually holds the Guinness Book Of World Records for the most songs written. He’s written 65,000 songs, including a whole bunch, I’m not making this up, about poop, puke and pee.

Joey Coleman: Wow. Here in the hundredth episode, we decide to digress into the unprofessional side. But nonetheless…

Dan Gingiss: Well I can tell you my kids that day thought that dad was a true hero because the guy who wrote the poop song was emailing him.

Joey Coleman: I absolutely love it. So number three was episode 18, the story of Take On Me. Now, you may be familiar with that classic ’80s tune Take On Me by Aha. Well, what had happened is they had recorded at a private concert an acoustic version that was not only as poignant and as catchy as the original one, but was in many ways haunting and marked a nostalgic time for all of us that had grown up listening to the song and the original version to hear it as a quiet, more acoustic version years later. Oh, my kids still request that song be played because it’s such a great version of the song.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it was awesome. And it was hard to believe that you could take what was almost a perfect ’80s song and even try to improve upon it, dare to improve upon it. But they did a great job. Number two, and this is one that I repeat quite often in my keynote speeches because I just love it, is the Stephen Curry basketball shoes story. This is where NBA all star, Stephen Curry, received a handwritten note from a girl named Riley who was very upset because she couldn’t find his shoes in girl sizes. Now she had done her homework. She knew that Stephen had daughters and was a big proponent of women’s sports and pointed this out in the letter, and asked for him to please make the shoes available in girl sizes. Stephen Curry, NBA all star, busy millionaire, on the court and off the court, entrepreneur, he took the time to write a handwritten note back to Riley.

Dan Gingiss: Not only telling her that he was correcting the oversight with the manufacturer, offering her the newest pair of his Curry shoes right off of the assembly line. But finally saying that in advance of International Women’s Day, he wanted Riley to help him design a brand new girl’s shoe, which she got to do. And there’s this awesome picture that was put out by Under Armor showing Riley holding her shoe, which she autographed for Stephen Curry. It was a wonderful story and the message there was if Stephen Curry can respond to his fans with a handwritten letter, can’t you do the same for your customers?

Joey Coleman: Oh, I love it. I love it. I love it. The power of the handwritten note, which brings us to number one, the top episode of This Just Happened over the last hundred episodes, five seasons is none other than chewy.com, the only company to appear twice on our This Just Happened list. Well we first talked about their amazing personal customer service in episode 17 after three different acquaintances of ours brought the company to our attention within the same week, folks. Okay. This happened within the same week. And I remember your friend Mike after losing his cat, Homey, completely stunned to receive a bouquet of flowers and a sympathy card from this amazing company. We talked about how important it is to treat customers well even on the way out. After all, Mike by definition was no longer a customer at the time. But of course when Mike got another cat, you can guess where he went back to purchasing food and supplies. Yes. That would be chewy.com. And then in episode 50, you shared what you thought was the greatest customer service email ever.

Dan Gingiss: Oh yeah. That one was to our listener, Mari Anhel, and I’ll never forget her cat Roma, and she had left a negative review on Chewy’s site about a particular brand of cat litter, not a Chewy brand, and she left a negative review because she wanted to warn other long haired cat owners that this particular litter did not work well for her cat. Chewy saw the review, proactively sent out an email saying, “We’re so sorry that you had a bad experience with this litter. We’ve gone ahead and refunded your money.” Please note that Mari Anhel never asked for a refund.

Dan Gingiss: The customer service agent then took the time to share four other litters and links to purchasing those that she thought might work better for her long haired cat, mentioned the cat by name and offered to put a picture of the cat up in their offices. I absolutely love this letter, and one of the things that I thought was amazing about it was despite how personalized it was, I truly believe that most of it was templated so that it is repeatable and scalable in their business, which again means you can do the same thing.

Joey Coleman: So is there one takeaway that you think people should have from listening to all of these This Just Happened segments Dan?

Dan Gingiss: I do, and we’ve said it many times on the show in different ways. The bar for customer experience is very, very low, and you don’t need to high jump over it. You just need to do a little bit better to stand out, make something ordinary into extraordinary, step over that low bar. You don’t have to worry about jumping. And then when you create that extraordinary experience, we’ll talk about it on our show.

The Best of ‘Dissecting The Experience’

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: Now continuing on in our 100th episode, we’re going to now look at Dissecting The Experience. We’ve had 54 Dissecting The Experience segments since we began the show. And we looked back at all of them to select our favorites. Now with Dissecting The Experience, we wanted to take a deeper dive into some experiences to really get at what makes them remarkable, and often it’s more than one thing. So without further ado, let’s count down the top five.

Joey Coleman: Number five is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission in Denver, Colorado called Pizzability. I had the opportunity to go to Pizzability and see how their entire restaurant experience is designed to be accessible, accessible to the different types of customers that they have, whether that’s utensils that were easier to hold, menus that you didn’t have to read, the ability to mark things by sight and by pointing as opposed to needing to speak. The entire experience was designed to be remarkable, frankly for an audience and a customer demographic who usually is struggling with the way things have been designed. It was a beautiful example of how you can make the experiences you create accessible to all of your customers, not just some of them.

Dan Gingiss: Number four is Imperfect Produce, which we covered in episode 57. This is one of my favorite companies based in San Francisco, and they help farmers by rescuing fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to the landfill simply because they aren’t as pretty as the produce that supermarkets and grocery stores demand. Sometimes they’re too big, sometimes they’re too small, sometimes they have a little bit of a dent, but they all taste perfectly good and there’s no need to waste them. So Imperfect boxes them up and ships them out as a subscription service that is so flexible. You get to pick exactly what you want in your box every week. I enjoy being a customer.

Dan Gingiss: And one of the things that keeps me there is they help to track the impact that I, Dan Gingiss, have had on the environment by participating in this service. The amount of produce, now over 500 pounds for me, that would have gone to the landfill, the amount of water and CO2 that’s saved from farmers not having to replant every year. And they all do it with a lot of wit and humor in their marketing, ranging from their billboard ads, which have a picture of dancing dates and saying, “We’ll help you get more dates,” to the messages on their box that include helpful information about storing fruits and vegetables but also things that make you smile, to some of the special goodies and surprises that they’ll insert in the box when you least expect it. It’s a terrific experience and very deserving of number four on our list.

Joey Coleman: Number three is the fantastic sports team, the Savannah Bananas. Back in episode 71, I shared an experience that my family and I had visiting the Savannah Bananas baseball team. Run by our good friends, Jesse and Emily Cole, the Savannah Bananas is not really a baseball team. Yeah, they play baseball, but it’s basically a party where a baseball game breaks out. They do amazing things like having a child hit the first pitch so that they run the bases and make sure they’re all working, which my oldest son got to do. Then they have another kid in the audience say, “Play ball,” to start the game, which my other son got to do. I got to throw in the first pitch, which of course was a banana, not a baseball. There were fireworks, there were promotions, there were stunts, there were games. And in the background, there was a baseball game that was played. Folks, if you get the chance to spend any time in the Southern East coast of the United States, find your way to a Savannah Bananas baseball game for a remarkable audience experience.

Dan Gingiss: Number two on the list is website navigation, a segment that we did in episode 48. And the reason why this went so high on the list for me was that it was something that I really, really learned from, even though I spent over three years managing website design and development for a Fortune 300 company. You see, what this piece of research found was that B2B companies, especially in the SAS space, which is software as a service space, almost all of them have the exact same navigation on their website. And this design agency was trying to get one of their clients to have different navigation, and the client was resisting because they wanted to be like all of their competitors. So this agency went out and did a big survey, and what they found was absolutely stunning. Customers had no idea where to find things on the website because the navigation that was being used had similar words like services and products and programs and other things where people couldn’t tell the difference between them.

Dan Gingiss: And so when asked, where do you think you would find this on the website? They had no idea. And that was a stunner for me and something that I really learned from and took to some consulting clients and to other companies that I know to use as advice. And that to me is really why we’re here, Joey, is to learn things and not just teach them to others, but to learn them ourselves. And that’s why I loved that segment.

Joey Coleman: Such a great segment, which brings us to the number one segment of Dissecting The Experience across 100 episodes of the Experience This show. Ladies and gentlemen, let me take you back to season one episode 24 when we had a double segment talking about Steve Spangler Science. Steve Spangler Science is a company that offers science kits that you can order to do experiments in your home. We did a box opening with each of our kids. We audio recorded this so that you could hear the oohs and the ahs as the kids got to experiment with science and learn in the process while also having fun.

Joey Coleman: We then paired this with An I Love It, Can’t Stand It segment about the things that are great and not so great about school. And we got the same kids who had played with the Steve Spangler Science kit to actually tell us about their experience of school and education. When it comes to being lifelong learners, I think we have a tendency as we become adults to focus more on books and podcasts and going to conferences instead of more kinesthetic learning experiences like doing experiments, blowing things up, making snow in your house, the crazy things you can do with Steve Spangler Science kits. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the top five examples of Dissecting The Experience. Dan, what do you think is the main takeaway from the segments? How can we dissect the takeaway?

Dan Gingiss: Dissect the dissection, if you will. Well, in order to create a truly remarkable customer experience, you have to go beyond just the surface, which is exactly why we called the segment Dissecting The Experience in the first place. All of these great examples showcase companies that are thinking about every single aspect of the experience as one cohesive thing, not as individual disconnected experiences created by siloed organizational charts. I think when you look at all of these examples plus a lot of the others that we’ve shared in this show, that’s really the key thing that we want people to remember is that when your organization is siloed, you might be able to improve one piece of the experience. But these are companies that have taken a look at everything from their marketing and advertising to their packaging, to their actual product or service to their customer service, to their social media. I could go on and on and on. And it all fits together into a cohesive experience. And if you want us to include your company in a future Dissecting The Experience, that’s what you’re going to have to do.

The Best of ‘Required Remarkable’

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

Dan Gingiss: So wrapping up our special 100th episode, we’re now going to talk about our Required Remarkable segment. But before we get into it, we do have to point out that we’ve had 75 CX Press segments, the most of any segment, but we chose not to create a top five list of those because they don’t really feel as rankable, if that makes sense. But we are going to look at Required Remarkable even though we’ve only done 15 of these segments because, and I think I can speak for you here, Joey, we both believe that these are the kinds of examples that companies absolutely must be paying attention to.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely Dan. And they may not always be the sexiest examples, although let’s be candid, the five we’re about to remind you about actually are, but that doesn’t make them any less important. See, the required things in your business are the things that you and your customers are taking for granted. And if you can make those things remarkable, that’s the way to catch them off guard. That’s the way to get people talking about your business, your brand, your services and your products. So let’s get into our top five examples of required remarkable experiences starting with number five.

Joey Coleman: From episode 66, birthday wishes. Folks, this is such an obvious thing for any company to do. So many companies ask you or record the information of what is your birthday, and then don’t do anything to acknowledge you on your birthday. As we get older, people don’t acknowledge our birthdays as much anymore. When you’re a kid and you have a birthday, you throw a party, invite over all of your friends. There’s pin the tail on the donkey. There’s pinatas, there’s cake, there’s cookies, there’s presents. There’s all kinds of hi-jinks and excitement. When you have your 46th birthday or your 53rd birthday, or even your 28th birthday or 34th birthday, these aren’t as memorable. There’s an opportunity for the businesses who know your birthday to stand out by acknowledging your special day.

Dan Gingiss: Number four on the list, woman wins $10,000 for reading the fine print.

Joey Coleman: As a lawyer, I loved this one. This was so good.

Dan Gingiss: This was episode 73 last season, and it was a story of a woman who actually sat down and read the fine print at her insurance company, and figured out by reading all of the disclosures that she had to do a certain thing, complete a certain task, to win $10,000. And the idea here was clear. The company knew that very few people read the fine print, and they wanted to see if even one person could do it. And this woman happened to be the lucky winner. But I loved it because it not only exposed a problem in the experience of fine print, which is that it’s almost intentional that people not read it, which is problematic because if you talk to the lawyers, they want people to read it.

Dan Gingiss: In fact, they assume people read it. And that’s what they’re allowed to do according to the law. As long as we put the fine print in front of customers, we can assume that we’ve done our part. But what we like to teach on this show is that there’s always an opportunity for creativity. There’s always an opportunity to bring marketing or design people in to make the required parts of your business more interesting and more fun. This insurance company did it by hiding a little Easter egg in the fine print, in the form of a $10,000 sweepstakes, and I am so proud of this woman for winning it,

Joey Coleman: Which brings us to number three. Number three takes us back to the very beginning of season two, episode 41, when we had the opportunity to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. It was as if we were in the movie. Everywhere we walked, the streets felt like the streets of Diagon Alley. Hogwarts was up on the hill. You had this experience that you were almost in the movie, even though you were in the amusement park. Characters walking around. There were singing frogs. There were magicians in robes. There were kids waving wands all over and creating opportunities for the buildings to come to life based on the interactivity of the spells that the children were casting. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter looked at all the details that are required in any operation and decided how can we make these details, these required elements more remarkable? From the food to the signage, to the design and architecture, to the various phrases that their staff used when they interacted with us, there were a stack of required elements that became truly remarkable.

Dan Gingiss: One of my favorite photographs of my kids is my son with a butterbeer mustache from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it’s just perfect. Number two on the list, one of our favorites is the I’m On Hold Music in episode six, season one. This is a fantastic example, maybe the quintessential example, of taking the required part of your business and making it remarkable. A conference call system decided that rather than put people on hold and have them listening to, I don’t know, a beep or elevator music or complete silence or your call is very important to us, they had somebody commission a song about waiting on hold. And I urge you to Google I’m on hold music, you’ll get to a YouTube video that is absolutely amazing. And the reason it was so remarkable is it literally changed the concept of waiting on hold. Usually when you’re on hold, you can’t wait for the person to join the call. In this case, when I heard this song, I didn’t want them to join the call because I wanted to hear the rest of the song.

Joey Coleman: It’s funny, Dan, that you picked this one. Just last week I was on a conference call with a new client that was booking me to a keynote speech at their annual meeting. And while I was waiting for them to log in, I heard the chorus I’m on hold, and I immediately was teleported back to our experience. So yeah. What a great example. Which brings us to the number one Required Remarkable segment of the first 100 episodes of Experience This. And that would be, yes, episode number one, the segment, your customers are cheating on you. Folks, this is the very first segment of the very first episode of Experience This. And I think that’s interesting for two reasons.

Joey Coleman: Number one, it represents the core foundation of what this show stands for. And here 100 episodes later, five seasons later, it is as pertinent today as it was then. Based on an article written by our mutual friend Shep Hyken, a legend in the customer service and customer experience space. The takeaway was that your competition has changed to become every other company your customer does business with. See, it used to be that your competitors were who your customers were comparing you to. Now your customers are comparing you to the best experience they’ve ever had. Cirque de Soleil, Tesla, Walt Disney, Netflix, Amazon, Emirates Air, all the amazing brands in the world that are creating remarkable experiences and taking these required elements and making them remarkable, that’s who you’re being compared to. So what are you doing to stand out?

Dan Gingiss: And I think it’s really important to note here that this applies just as much to B2B or business to business companies as it does to B2C or business to consumer companies. Because your customers in a B2B space are consumers. You are not selling to a building just because you sell to a business. You’re selling to a buyer who’s a human being, who has had consumer experiences at the brands that Joey just listed. And believe it or not, you’re being compared to them as well. So you may not think it, you may think if you’re in the B2B space that you’re being compared to other B2B purchases, but you’re actually being compared to every other experience with every other brand that your buyer has had.

Joey Coleman: Folks, the reason why I love this segment type so much, the Required Remarkable segment, is because this is the low hanging fruit in every single organization. If you are listening to this podcast, there are required elements of your business, hold music, email signature lines, contracts, proposals, the way you conduct your in person meetings, the way you deliver your deliverables. Your business is rife with opportunities to take required elements and make them remarkable.

Dan Gingiss: We’d certainly be remiss if we did take this time to thank you, all of our loyal listeners who have stuck by us for 100 episodes. Without you, there literally would not be a podcast. So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to take some of your valuable time each week and for letting us do something that we love doing. So here’s to the next 100 episodes.

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 99 – The Upsides and Downsides of Investing in Customer Experience

Join us as we discuss a memorable employee onboarding experience, insurance for your… pizza?, and the cost of poor customer experience.

Training, Explaining, and Draining – Oh My!

[Dissecting the Experience] Investing in the Employee Experience with Continuing Education

When Dan’s sister got a new job at the world famous consulting firm Deloitte, she went through an immersive training program at Deloitte University. Known by employees as “DU,” the quarter-mile-long, state-of-the-art facility represents an investment of over $300 million in order to create an immersive onboarding experience for new employees. DU offers classes, restaurants, and a place to stay during training – not to mention opportunities for employees to fully understand the culture of the organization while continuing the education necessary to further their careers.

This “corporate school” shows a commitment to their team members’ education. Last year, DU had over 10,000 graduates from their programs which include both employees and interns. The students love DU – as reflected by an overwhelming approval rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

As the global business landscape continues to shift and change, and new issues emerge, our goal is for DU to continue to lead the way in developing a workforce of the future – prepared to tackle tomorrow’s most crucial challenges.

Heidi Soltis-Berner, Managing Director of Deloitte University

By setting the tone for what it means to work at Deloitte via an immersive onboarding experience, the company shows just how much it values and appreciates its employees. While many companies provide continuing education to their employees, Deloitte’s investment in creating an experience goes far beyond the typical business training program.

[This Just Happened] Mitigating Customer Fears with Unexpected Insurance

Over the years, Domino’s Pizza has added many items to their menu. But a new menu item recently caught most of their customers by surprise: insurance. Now to be clear, this isn’t the typical insurance policy. Domino’s Delivery Insurance allows you to comfortable navigate the perils of ordering pizza. If your pizza gets cold on the way home, or the box gets turned upside down accidentally, or if your pizza arrives in any less-than-desired way, you can return it for a free replacement.

When you focus on your customer and understand both their needs and their worries, you can creatively address those through marketing and your product offering.

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

By offering insurance, Domino’s is mitigating customer worries and exceeding customer expectations. Even though it may not qualify as “real” insurance (in that you don’t need to pay a policy premium to receive the coverage), having this policy in place gives customers the added security that when they place an order, they will enjoy the arrival of their dinner safe and sound.

What are the fears and insecurities your customers face? What can you do to reassure them or reduce their concerns?

[Avtex Webinar] The 4 Phases to Managing CX Through Crisis

As we are all now aware, global pandemics, natural disasters, and other unforeseen events can wreak havoc on business plans. There isn’t a business that hasn’t dealt with this in the last month as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which is why our friends at Avtex (gracious sponsors of Season 5 of the Experience This! Show) are planning to share their Responding to Crisis with CX model in a FREE webinar on May 5, 2020 at 1:00pm EDT/ 12:00pm CDT.

To register for this webinar and receive a free copy of their white paper: “A Four-Phased Approach to Delivering Effective Customer Experience During a Crisis” go to: experienceconversations.com

[CX Press] The Cost of Neglecting Customer Experience

Many businesses talk about the return on investments in customer experience. But few consider the cost when customer experience isn’t a priority. In The Cost of Neglecting Customer Experience, Benedict Clark from Acquire.io explores the actual costs to a company when customer is ignored and in what will probably be no surprise to regular listeners of The Experience This! Show, the cost is significant.

You’d think it would be easy for businesses to keep customers front-of-mind. After all, they’re the reason they exist in the first place. But sometimes the temptation to cut corners, minimize costs, and try to maximize immediate returns simply proves too strong to resist. Before you know it, your customer experience has been critically compromised.

Benedict Clark, Content Editor for Acquire.io

Clark outlines the four main reasons companies often neglect CX including the fact that they:

  1. Don’t have the right technology.
  2. Don’t have the right culture.  
  3. Don’t have the right processes.
  4. Don’t have the right strategy.

He then proceeds to illustrate the real costs of neglecting CX including:

  • You lose sales – It is estimated that over $537 billion is lost every year due to poor customer service.
  • Your reputation suffers – Research from Temkin Group shows that 86% of buyers will pay more for a good experience.
  • You lose customers – Only 13% of clients who have a bad experience will return.
  • You miss out on talented staff – Research from CareerBuilder shows that 71% of workers in the US will not apply to work with a company experiencing negative press.

While the benefits of good customer experience are well documented, as this article shows there is a very real cost to NOT providing good customer experience.

Links We Referenced

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Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

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Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

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Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire Episode 99 here or read it below:

Dan Gingiss: Welcome to Experience This!

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

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

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss a memorable employee onboarding experience, insurance for your pizza, and the cost of poor customer experience.

Dan Gingiss: Training, explaining and draining. Oh my.

[Dissecting the Experience]  Deloitte University

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: About a year ago, my sister started a new job at Deloitte, the global audit and consulting company. As a new employee, she had the opportunity to attend Deloitte University, a completely immersive onboarding experience that convinced her, as it does thousands of others, that she had made the right career decision to join the company since she spoke so highly of it. Upon her return, I had to check it out. I spoke with managing director, Heidi Soltis-Berner, who runs Deloitte University, or DU do those in the know, and I wrote an article in Forbes about it. Joey, I kid you not out of 100 plus articles I’ve written for Forbes, this article ranks number one in terms of views with nearly 35,000 as we’re recording this episode.

Joey Coleman: Wow, that’s awesome. I mean, obviously it made an impact on more than just Deloitte employees then.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, which is why I wanted to share the story with our audience as well, but first some facts and figures. Deloitte University was the result of a $300 million investment, the largest investment for employee development in the company’s history.

Dan Gingiss: Every year it serves nearly 10,000 college graduates and 4,300 interns who participate in first year training. Others participate again at various career milestones, such as after a promotion, and that averages an astounding 50,000 employees every year. The 2018 Deloitte millennial survey found that 50% of millennials say opportunities for continuous learning are very important, and 80% say that professional development or formal training is the most important thing for them to be their best. And 90% of the sessions at DU are led by partners, principles, and managing directors, sharing real world experiences and simulating interactions with clients.

Joey Coleman: I mean, for lack of a better way of putting it, Dan, this sounds like a really fun school and a really big school, right? I mean, when you just think about the logistics of managing 50,000 employees going through training, 10,000 new employee college graduates, I also found it interesting that over 4,000 interns go through training there. I think it’s, often when we think of interns, most companies are like, “Oh wait, we have an intern showing up today? Oh, what are we going to have them do?” And clearly Deloitte has decided to invest in these interns, who ideally most companies have interns to vet future potential employees. So it makes sense to make the investment early on.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And as you point out, this is a big and impressive facility. It is not your ordinary training facility. It’s located in Westlake, Texas, an upscale suburb of Fort Worth. And it’s five stories high in a quarter mile in length. There are more than 30 classrooms just on the first floor, while the other floors contain a total of 800 sleeping rooms, plus a restaurant, and a state of the art fitness facility.

Joey Coleman: Wait a minute. So it’s like a dorm with the classrooms attached and restaurant, this is like one stop learning, eating, sleeping, everything all bundled together.

Dan Gingiss: It is all except it’s more like a five star hotel than a dorm.

Joey Coleman: Nice.

Dan Gingiss: The floors with living quarters contained communal areas called city places. And I thought this was really cool. Each of the city places highlights a large Deloitte office around the world and they actually stock the city places with snacks and beverages that represent each one of those locations.

Joey Coleman: Oh, so it’s like Epcot center but for corporate training and development.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, exactly. And Heidi Soltis-Berner said that she tries to create her words, “A platinum level experience for employees,” so it really is like a high end hotel. In fact, I got Heidi to record us some exclusive audio talking about Deloitte University, so let’s hear from her in her own words.

Heidi Soltis-Be…: Deloitte University, or DU as we call it, is our 700,000 square foot state of the art leadership learning and development center located in West Lake, Texas. When we opened DU back in 2011 the idea of brick and mortar learning center went against conventional wisdom at the time. However, we made the bold decision to invest $300 million because we believed in the importance of a facility like DU to enhance and evolve our culture and the development of our people. It was the single biggest people focused investment in our organization’s history. Since 2011, we’ve delivered more than 6 million learning and development hours to our people, we’ve continued to invest in and evolve the DU, so it meets the needs of our professionals and the most pressing issues our clients face with innovations like our 5G partnership with AT&T and our digital hub, an example of the truly immersive experiences available.

Heidi Soltis-Be…: There are so many things that set DU apart, from our very focused intent on helping our people hone their soft skills in today’s digital age, our commitment to wellbeing, and our commitment to sustainability. DU has exceeded our original vision as well as the expectations of tens of thousands of people who experienced DU every year. In fact, DU has become the cultural home of Deloitte, bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and experiences from every aspect of our business to share new insights and bold ideas. Deloitte University’s global footprint now includes six campuses around the world, and above all DU is first and foremost about our people. As we look to the future, we are excited to see how the learning and development is taking shape. And we are proud to have been a first mover in this space. As the global business landscape continues to shift and change and new issues emerge, our goal is for DEU to continue to lead the way in developing a workforce of the future prepared to tackle tomorrow’s most crucial challenges.

Dan Gingiss: Now one other thing that Heidi does is she continually monitors guest experience with post-training surveys, and she has sustained a rating of 4.8 out of five with overwhelming positive feedback from participants. So what I think is so interesting about this, Joey, is that this sounds like it could be a independent for-profit college and yet it’s actually part of this really big company.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think it’s great that so many companies claim to care about the education and the growth and learning of their employees, but Deloitte has really invested. I mean $300 million, that is not an inconsequential sum. But what I love about this, and we’ve talked about this in previous episodes, is the commitment to continuous learning. The commitment to creating a space and an environment that fosters learning and innovation. I love that they sleep, and eat, and learn all in the same building because as you know, as a fellow speaker, all too often the place where you have the ballroom, where you’re giving the speeches might be in the hotel. But the second that people go to their rooms, nobody’s talking to each other anymore. Whereas it sounds like in this model, you know that everybody who’s “staying” at the facility is a deployed employee who has that point of commonality. And as a result I imagine there’s some interesting conversations or as they refer to in the interior design world collisions between different employees walking through the facility.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and I think it starts with the fact that the first time you see this is as a brand new employee. And you talk about in your book about the first 100 days of being a customer and very similarly, the things that you experienced in your first few days at work are really going to set the tone for how you feel about working for the company going forward. And I’ve been multiple times, I’ve been at companies where they don’t even have a computer set up for me on the first day.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: Right. Because IT couldn’t get around to it. And that sets a tone and you’re like, “Oh, okay, this is not really an organized company.” Whereas Deloitte is taking these people to Texas to have this immersive experience where one of the things that happens, like with my sisters, they walk out saying, “Wow, am I glad to be here.”

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And not only are they taking their new employees, they’re continuing to bring back their veteran employees for ongoing education. And I imagine the ability to give that platinum experience reminds the employees of the experience that Deloitte wants them to deliver to their customers. We talk a lot about the fact that you can’t ask an employee to deliver a remarkable customer experience if they don’t know what one is. It sounds like the employees of Deloitte who have spent time at DU absolutely understand what that level of an experience should feel like.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And even a step up is, it’s basically used as a form of reward, right? Is that when you get promoted or something big happens in your career, you get to go back and get this added training. And so it’s something that they’ve realized that their employees want and so then they’re offered, they’re able to offer it.

Dan Gingiss: So one last thing to just point out here is you don’t have to spend $300 million to do this for your employees. Sure, you may not have the same five star hotel set up with all of the city rooms and their snacks. But the point is, is that Deloitte has their finger on the pulse of especially the millennial employee population and what they’re looking for at work, and they’re providing it to them and creating happy employees, which as you said, create happy customers. So think about how you can do that within the auspices of your own organization. How you can focus on not just having that one week of employee orientation that has the same online classes that everybody’s taken for the last 15 years, but really trying to spruce it up, make it different, give people exposure to higher ups in the company, and really realize that that first week or two is going to set the tone for how they behave and act and work and commit to your company going forward.

[This Just Happened] Dominoes Insurance

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 here’s a fun fact about me, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I know a lot of fun facts about you, Dan. What’s this one?

Dan Gingiss: Well, this is what I must confess. I often use in the two truths and a lie game. So if we ever play this, you’re going to have to pretend like you don’t know it.

Joey Coleman: I’m going to try to potentially avoid playing this game with you, Dan, but okay, I’ll bite.

Dan Gingiss: It’s a lot of fun. But anyway, the fun fact is that when I was in high school, I actually delivered a pizza to Michael Jordan.

Joey Coleman: Wait a second, the man, the myth, the legend himself, MJ? You, Dan Gingiss, delivered a pizza to him?

Dan Gingiss: Number 23 /45, yes I did.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I liked this /45 that shows that Dan is an actual fan. The 23 is an easy serve up folks, but the /45 is special. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: So it happened when I was working for Domino’s Pizza, which I did for almost four years, mostly as a delivery boy. But I also got to answer the phone and make pizzas and in fact when Michael called one time I was able to do all three. I picked up the phone, talked to him, took his order, made his pizza, and delivered his pizza, which was pretty cool.

Joey Coleman: Door to door service from Dan the Domino’s Man Gingiss, I love it.

Dan Gingiss: So I have always been fascinated by the Domino’s brand story, which as you probably know if you followed, has really evolved over the years. And a couple of years ago the CEO publicly admitted that their pizza didn’t really taste very good and they redid the recipe. And I will say objectively, if you have not had a Domino’s pizza in a long time and you’re still remembering what it tastes like when you were a teenager, try it again, it actually is pretty dang good.

Joey Coleman: Dan, no pun intended. I think I’ll bite, I’ll try that because I haven’t had Domino’s in a long time, and I do have memories of it being a very economic solution but not necessarily a gourmet solution, which is usually not what you’re looking for when you’re in college ordering pizza.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And I’m not sure that I would go so far as to say gourmet, but they still do have… It is still a very good economic solution as well. But in any event, one of Domino’s newest marketing initiatives is to actually offer insurance.

Joey Coleman: Okay, wait a second. We were just having a really nice positive conversation about pizza. I was salivating, I was getting excited about this, and now you mentioned the word insurance from a pizza company?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. So I thought that too, but it may not be what you think.

Dan Gingiss: It started with what they called carry out insurance, and I urge our listeners to Google the TV commercial on, you’ll find it on YouTube, it’s actually really funny. And sure enough on their website they talk about the things that are covered by their insurance program. The headline says, “Yeah, we cover that,” and it gives examples like, “I slipped on something slippery,” or, “Rain, so much rain,” or, “It got cold while I was stuck in gridlock,” or, “I braked, it flew,” or, “I was balancing it on my head and I don’t have great balance.” “My dog licked it.” “A stranger sneezed on it,” and so on and so forth. The deal is, is that if your pizza gets ruined or damaged in any way after leaving the store, you can bring it back and have it be remade for free. Now of course you have to bring the whole pizza back, you don’t get to eat all the slices but one and then claim that the dog licked it.

Dan Gingiss: So with the success of that program, Domino’s recently added delivery insurance. According to their website, it says, “Whether you’ve invited the gang over to watch the big game or you’re settling in for family movie night, Domino’s creates made to order meals that satisfy everyone. Domino’s stores do everything they can to make sure their pizza experts create your meal exactly the way you want it. Domino’s delivery insurance program provides extra peace of mind. Something wrong with your order? Simply make a claim and dominoes will make it right,” and they make it right by either providing a coupon for 20% off your next order or 60 rewards points, which is the equivalent of a free pizza redeemable in the next 30 days. Pretty cool, huh?

Joey Coleman: Yeah. This is actually an insurance program that I could get behind and what was funny is you were explaining the program, which I had not heard of before, I was reminded of the times where the pizza slid off the seat and the car because I broke fast and now the toppings are on the top of the pizza box instead of on top of the pizza, or where things did… I’ve thankfully never had a dog lick the pizza, but when you think about all the things that can go wrong and how frustrating that is because you’ve left to go get the pizza and come home and your family, or your friends, or even just you by yourself are excited to eat the pizza and now there’s an issue with the pizza. What I really like about this is that it gives customers peace of mind and makes them much more likely to trust the brand.

Joey Coleman: I mean, when you think about how often something happens that would necessitate if you will, a claim on this insurance policy. It’s not often enough that I think Domino’s would be too worried about it, but diminishing those fears could be pretty significant. It also acknowledges that mistakes happen, but customers shouldn’t be worried about it. I mean, I think all of us have had the experience at a restaurant where you walk away and you drop the drink and it spills and then you go back to have them refill the drink and it’s like, “I just spilled this right in front of you. Can you just refill it?” And sometimes they’re very gracious and happy to do that. Other times they’re like, “Well you can buy another one.” Finally, I like the fact that it eliminates a customer pain point of having to complain about a wrong order. Now they can just open the app or go to the website and report the issue and it gets solved and it gets solved in a good way, they get an entirely new pizza.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, this is a far cry from back in the day where they had the 30 minute guarantee for delivery.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I remember that.

Dan Gingiss: And I was a driver of back then and you know that may have caused a little bit of aggressive driving to make sure that I got there within the 30 minutes. But I like this because it’s so customer friendly and it clearly understands the customer perspective. I mean, look, we’ve all had a case, whether it be with pizza or some other food where the order is wrong, and part of that is because human beings are making the order, and so human error is inevitable. For Domino’s to come out in front of that and say, “Hey, we know this is going to happen,” like when their CEO said the pizza didn’t really taste good, it’s genuine and authentic and that’s what today’s customers are attracted to. So I think this builds a lot of brand value.

Joey Coleman: I love it when a brand speaks truth or speak something that all their customers know. When the CEO of Domino’s said, “Hey, our pizza doesn’t taste very good,” it wasn’t like there were huge customers going, “Oh my gosh, no, it’s the best pizza I’ve ever tasted,” customers are like, “Yep, that’s true. And we’re excited that you know that as well.” I think the same holds true for this insurance policy. It’s like, look, things happen that aren’t your fault and maybe even if they are your fault, it diminishes your experience of our brand. So we’re going to be there to back it up and help you out.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. Both of us know, I think a lot of our listeners know that self deprecating humor is usually very effective and it’s why I try to get in front and tell all the bald jokes before anybody else can. Right?

Joey Coleman: I do the same with the lawyer jokes, it’s totally fine.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So I think that’s one of the things that Domino’s has figured out, is they made this TV commercial, again, about the take carry out insurance is hilarious. This guy’s literally trying to get his pizza home and all these things keep happening that are preventing him from getting there. And then the commercials message is, “Don’t worry, we’ll make you a new one. Hot and fresh.”

Joey Coleman: Do you have to pay for the insurance or is it just a promotional program?

Dan Gingiss: Nah, it’s just part of-

Joey Coleman: So it’s just part of the marketing stick. It’s not that [inaudible 00:19:54]. So I think what’s interesting about that too is they’re taking something that we all like but don’t like to pay for. We all like the idea that our risk is mitigated with insurance, but it drives us a little crazy to A, pay for the insurance, and then B, worry about what things will be covered. They’re eliminating the two parts of insurance that we don’t like, paying for it and, “Oh, but we’re only covering this weird random thing. Not all the things we know are going to actually happen.”

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So the takeaway here is that when you focus on your customer and understand both their needs and their worries, you can creatively approach those through marketing and your product offering. As you said, Joey, our guess is that Domino’s probably doesn’t pay out on this assurance very often, primarily because the vast majority of the time they do get the order right, but they’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the advertising campaign across multiple channels, and in the process they’ve likely changed the minds of many of their consumers. Before we finish, I just want to say one more thing, to the customer that always used to order the small triple anchovy pizza, that’s just gross.

[CX Press] The Cost of Neglecting CX

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.

Dan Gingiss: Today’s CXPRESS article comes to us from Benedict Clark, the content editor at acquire.io, which provides chat, video, and co-browsing solutions. The article is titled, The Cost of Neglecting CX.

Joey Coleman: Spoiler alert, folks, it’s a big cost.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, you are right on the money there, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh, I see what you did there. All right, fair enough.

Dan Gingiss: Anyway, the article begins by stating a somewhat obvious but still startling fact, “You think it’d be easy for businesses to keep customers front of mind after all, they’re the reason they exist in the first place, but sometimes the temptation to cut corners, minimize costs, and try to maximize immediate returns simply proves too strong to resist. Before you know it, your customer experience has been critically compromised. It just isn’t a sustainable approach.”

Joey Coleman: Clark goes on to identify four reasons why companies may neglect the customer experience. Number one, they don’t have the right technology. Number two, they don’t have the right culture. Number three, they don’t have the right processes. And number four, they don’t have the right strategy, which includes proper prioritization. So what are the actual costs of poor customer experience? Well, let’s discuss them.

Dan Gingiss: Number one, and probably the biggest, is you lose sales Vision Critical estimates the overall impact of bad customer experiences in the United States is more than $537 billion.

Joey Coleman: That’s billion with a B, right?

Dan Gingiss: [inaudible 00:23:00] billion.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, it’s huge. It’s a lot. Number two, your reputation suffers. 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. And if you’re not providing that, people will know and they will tell other people, who will then tell other people, and this is bad.

Dan Gingiss: And here’s the other thing, folks, if you’re not providing it, someone else will. And so it’s not just that your customers are running away from you, they’ll be running toward your competitor.

Dan Gingiss: Number three, you lose customers. A study by Temkin Group found that 86% of customers that received a good customer experience said they would buy from the company again compared to just 13% who received very poor customer experience. The stats here are clear. If you deliver a positive experience, people want to continue being your customer. If you deliver a negative one, they’re going to find someone else to give their money to.

Joey Coleman: And last but not least, number four, you miss out on talented staff. More than 70% of US workers will not apply for a job at a company with negative press. What’s more, companies with bad reputations often have to pay employees more in order to stay. Folks, this stuff feeds upon itself. A bad customer experience leads to a bad employee experience, which then leads to a bad customer experience, which then leads to more bad employee experiences.

Joey Coleman: So when we think about having A players, and the most talented staff, and the people who will really deliver, they are attracted to companies with positive press. They are attracted to companies that deliver remarkable customer experiences.

Dan Gingiss: One of the things I like about this article is that it takes what we say on this show and flips it on its side. It comes to the same conclusion, but we’re always talking about why it’s so important to create a great positive experience. And what is often not talked about is what happens if you don’t, right? You and I, being in the business that we’re in and working with the companies that we work with, we’re used to being around people that agree with us that customer service and customer experience is something we should be focusing on. But this really takes a look at, “Okay, if you don’t buy this, if you want to just pretend that this customer experience revolution isn’t happening, okay, go forward, but do so at a huge risk.”

Dan Gingiss: And here’s what happens if you want to ignore this trend, losing customers, losing sales, losing reputation and losing employees, I’m not sure what’s left after that.

Joey Coleman: Well, and I think for all of our listeners who may have been in a situation where a boss, or a board of directors, or someone you report to ask you to justify the cost of a customer experience initiative, we all know that that’s sometimes difficult to do. How do you put a price on success? How do you put a price on what that looks like to create those remarkable interactions? This provides some interesting opportunities to say, “Well, I may not be able to tell you how much it’s going to improve our business, but I can tell you how much problem we’re going to be able to avoid and how much loss we’re going to be able to avoid by focusing on the customer experience.”

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And I think that that speaks as loudly to a finance department or to a CEO as the benefit that you can get from doing it. So it’s a great takeaway for our listeners to say, “Look, sometimes it’s difficult to calculate an exact return,” although I will argue that you should harder because I think generally it is calculable, if you, or calculatable, what word is that?

Joey Coleman: Either way you can add the numbers up and it’s bigger.

Dan Gingiss: Okay. Yeah. Calculatable I think I’m going to go with. You can calculate it because you can understand the lifetime value of a customer and the future value that that customer will bring by staying with you. You can also obviously estimate that same value if the customer walks out the door, and remember that when they walk out the door it’s a double negative because you’ve lost them as a customer and your competitor has gained them as a customer. So it’s like losing two.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. So it doubly hurts your bottom line because as your customer goes to that competitor, that competitor now has more revenue to work with, they have more profit to work with, they can start to compete with you in different ways, offer more technology solutions, offer more free things to the customer. And so to your point, Dan, you really are losing twice.

Dan Gingiss: So the article states that if you want to create a great customer experience, you should do three things. One, create conversations with your customers. Two, unite all of your departments. Man, is this one important to you? So tired of siloed departments.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, yeah. I say this all the time. As a guy who grew up in the Midwest in a farming community, silos are incredibly important and useful and valuable on a farm. In a company, they are terrible, they cause all kinds of problems. And here’s the thing I’m going to keep saying this until companies break down the silos in their organizations, because we’ve all heard it before, we’ve read it in the magazines, we’ve heard keynote speakers talk about this, and yet so many organizations, as soon as they break into their little fiefdoms or their departments or silos, it’s as if they’re competing against each other instead of competing against the competition to create great experiences for their customers.

Dan Gingiss: Right, we’re all on the same team. We all have the same logo on our business cards. And number three is to be omni-channel, which is another way to say be where your customers are. So as with all CXPRESS articles, we’ll include a link in the show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com if you’d like to read the entire piece.

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 98 – Providing Great Experiences for Your Customers and the Earth

Join us as we discuss mobile phone cases you can bury in your garden, special privileges for those that make green choices, and the shifting expectations of thirsty customers!

Composting, Selecting, and Hydrating – Oh My!

A little disclaimer about this environmental episode of ExperienceThis!

In the last few years here in the United States, for some reason we’ve increasingly decided to make environmental issues into political issues. While we feel that there are certainly political and economic considerations that need to be brought into the conversation about the environment, the environment is something that impacts all of us – regardless of political affiliation. The environment is changing regardless of why we think it’s changing. We believe it’s time to spend less time discussing the why and more time discussing the what. We all live on the same planet and if we’re going to continue to create remarkable experiences, we’re going to need to have a planet to live on!

[Dissecting the Experience] Pela Case – Trendy and Environmentally Conscious Go Together

Consumers care more and more about where their products come from and what the company that creates them believes in. One company that stands out for both its products and its values is Pela Case. Pela offers the world’s first compostable mobile phone case and has created a company committed to creating zero waste with their products. They’re also doing all they can to create a waste free future for all of their customers.

The company sends out a mailer with each case they sell so that customers can easily return their old mobile phone case. Pela then uses the old case in future Pela products or makes sure it is disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, your new Pela Case arrives with no packaging (those plastic clam shells drive us crazy and always end up leaving the worst cuts!) so it’s one less item of waste and uses less fuel to ship (because the weight of the packaging is less).

Pela Cases are sturdy, well-built, and environmentally conscious. Made from a material called flaxstic (which is a compostable material made of flax shive) the cases are trendy and environmentally conscious at the same time (one of the many reason’s why Joey protects his phone with a Pela case).

When you are done with the case (e.g., if you decide to upgrade to a new cell phone style/design/model), you can throw your old case in a compost bin (if you’re lucky enough to have curbside composting in your community), plant it in your yard, or send it back to Pela as described earlier. Pela also makes a variety of eco-conscious lifestyle products including sunglasses, screen protectors, and AirPods cases.

Many companies have a mission, we’re a mission that happens to have a company.

Matt Bertulli, CEO of Pela Case

Pela combines great products, profitability, great customer service, and environmental conscientiousness. These things are increasingly important to consumers (especially younger generations) and as proof of that growing interest, the Pela website is currently receiving over four million views per month.

Can you find a way to align what’s best for your company, with what’s best for your customers, with what’s best for the environment? As Pela shows – it is possible to accomplish all three goals with the same product.

[Make the Required Remarkable] Every Customer Touchpoint Shows What You Value

On a recent business trip, Joey needed to rent a car and was able to select a Toyota Prius. The next night, as he was looking for parking at an event, he noticed the best spots in the lot were reserved for fuel efficient vehicles.

The more you narrow the types of audiences you serve, the more comfortable you get with celebrating specific types of customers, the more successful your business will be… and the more your customers will start talking about you.

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

There are parking spots for the disabled, parking for expecting moms, and even parking for veterans. These all communicate with customers the priorities of the company in charge of the parking lot.

In fact, every interaction communicates with customers. If you have to pay for plastic bags at the grocery store, you know that the store is trying to reduce their waste. When a city rewards you for creating less trash, you know that they are trying to reduce their waste.

Sometimes, we need to make a statement about who we are trying to attract as customers. More and more often, people are looking for organizations that are doing their part to help the environment. Every touchpoint tells a customer about what you and your company value. Why shouldn’t that communication start in the parking lot?

[This Just Happened] Water at the Hole

It is estimated that Americans use more than 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, and yet only 23 percent of those get recycled! Recently, Joey committed to stop buying single use, plastic bottles of water and instead to use a reusable bottle he could fill while on his travels.

The point of segment isn’t to talk about Joey’s water consumption, but rather to consider two questions every business should constantly monitor:

  1. What happens when your customers shift behavior?
  2. What can you do to cater to these shifting behaviors? 

Customers are increasingly traveling with reusable water bottles – even when just running errands in their local community. More and more water fountains are being retrofitted to incorporate a water bottle filling station – some of which track and promote the number of “bottles saved” by filling up at the station. Delta Airlines partnered with the Atlanta Airport to help keep a the Flint River (which runs under the airport) flowing by restoring 1,000 gallons of water for every bottle filled at the airport. As part of this initiative, they have restored more than 23 million gallons of water!

More people make environmentally conscious decisions when it’s convenient. By putting water bottle refilling stations throughout the airport, it becomes easier for customers to use them. Observe the behaviors of your customers and then look for ways you can meet their shifting needs and desires. If you can work alongside your customers to be more innovative and make positive choices easier, you can improve customer experience and help the environment at the same time.

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 98 here or read it below:

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

Joey Coleman: Get ready for a very special Earth Day episode of the Experience This! Show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss cell phone cases you can bury in your garden, special privileges for those that make green choices, and the shifting expectations of thirsty customers.

Joey Coleman: Composting, selecting and hydrating – Oh, my!

[Dissecting the Experience] Pela Case – Trendy and Environmentally Conscious Go Together

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.

Joey Coleman: A little disclaimer about this environmental episode of Experience This. For some reason in the last few years here in America, we’ve increasingly decided to make environmental issues into political issues. While Dan and I feel that there are certainly political and economic considerations that need to be brought into the conversation about the environment, the environment is something that impacts all of us regardless of political affiliation. The environment is something that is changing regardless of why we think it’s changing. We believe that it’s time to spend less time discussing the why and more time discussing the what now. The fact that the matter is we all live on the same planet and all of our customers live on the same planet and if we’re going to continue to create remarkable experiences for our customers and remarkable experiences for our employees, we’re going to need to have a planet to live on.

Joey Coleman: Have you ever heard of compostable cell phone cases, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: I can’t say that I have, Joey.

Joey Coleman: I had a feeling that this might be a newer concept for you because frankly, it’s a fairly newer concept for me. And I wanted to talk about it because I was so intrigued by the story of the company that makes these, that I had to purchase one for myself. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Pela Case are the makers of the world’s first compostable phone cases. The company’s run by three of my friends, Matt Bertulli, Brad Peterson, and Jeremy Lang. And to be clear, they didn’t ask me to talk about their products on the show. In fact, prior to us recording this, they have no idea that I’m going to talk about their products and nor are they sponsors. But my experience with their product was so compelling that I needed to tell our listeners about it.

Dan Gingiss: We talk about in almost every episode that if you create a remarkable experience, you’re going to create people that not just want to talk about you, but need to talk about you to their friends, family, and in this particular case, podcast listeners. So it sounds like that’s what Pela did here.

Joey Coleman: They absolutely did, Dan.

Joey Coleman: So let me set the stage for you. I purchased a new iPhone that was a different size from my previous phone and so I needed a new case. Now it bothered me that while I was able to trade in my old iPhone to Apple for them to resell to a new customer, the change in phone size meant I had to throw out my old cell phone case and get a new one. And I hadn’t had that phone for that long. But as it turns out that wasn’t true.

Joey Coleman: Enter Pela Case. Pela was founded in 2011 by environmental consultant Jeremy Lang after a trip to Hawaii left him shocked to see how much plastic pollution had washed up on the beaches. So Jeremy took action and after much research, trial and error, he created a material called flack stick, a unique blend of plant based bio polymer mixed with flax shive. An annual renewable waste product of the flax oil seed harvest in Canada. Now using this flax stick, Pela created its flax shive phone case, a case that comes in both iPhone and Android model formats. The cool thing about this case, it completely breaks down into carbon water and organic biomass. In short, that means you can put your phone case into the compost or bury it in your garden when you’re finished with it and it will naturally and quickly decompose.

Dan Gingiss: And I’m sitting here with Joey and recording studio and actually looking at his phone case and it’s pretty cool. It looks like it has almost, you know those plantable cards that you get that have the seeds in them and you can grow something. That’s kind of what it looks like except I am guessing this is flax shive.

Joey Coleman: Those are the flax, that’s actually the flax shive that you can see in the case. They’re kind of little flecks of yellow on a black case. Which interestingly enough, if you’ll notice on the case, it has a honeycomb design with bumblebees on it. And this particular case, when you purchase it, they make a donation to support honeybees because they’re a huge part of the ecosystem. And if we could go do a whole segment on honeybees and how the impact that they play-

Dan Gingiss: But I will say just before you move on that it actually looks like a pretty normal case. I’m not sure if you had told me it was biodegradable or compostable that I would have known because it looks like it’s a black case, rubbery in texture. It feels pretty strong so it doesn’t look any different.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and it’s very strong. It protects the phone. It’s got great grip to it, which I know is something, especially with the new iPhones that feel like you’re holding a wet fish in your hand, they’re so slippery, you want to have a little grip. What I thought was really interesting about this whole setup is that it gave me the opportunity to not only make an environmental choice, but Pela Case did something with the old phone case that was interesting too.

Joey Coleman: They have a program called Pela 360. And this program excepts other company’s plastic phone cases that are then either up cycled into Pela products or properly recycled. So when a customer purchases a Pela Case, they also receive in the package an envelope that allows them to send their used Pela case when they’re done with it or a conventional plastic case back to Pela’s sustainability studio.

Joey Coleman: Now several national retailers are also interested in this program as well and plan to offer Pela 360 in their retail locations later this year.

Dan Gingiss: Mr. Coleman, I have a question. So why would somebody want to mail back their Pela Case if they can just plant it in their garden?

Joey Coleman: For some reason, if somebody might live in a place where they don’t have a garden. They might live in an urban environment where for them to go out and find a shovel and dig something and put it in, that’s a challenge. What’s really cool about the case though, here in Boulder, it’s filled with environmentally aware folks. We have curbside compost, for example, like in the same way that the trash is picked up on the curb every week, every other week the compost is picked up. So when I’m done with my case, I’ll be able to just throw it in the compost and that’s easier.

Joey Coleman: But they’re trying to think through all the reasons why someone wouldn’t make the right choice to eliminate those barriers and to make it very easy to make an environmental choice. What’s crazy to me is the impact that cell phone cases has on the environment. I have to admit, before I purchased my Pela Case, I had no idea how big this problem is. More than 1.5 billion phone cases are discarded every year. The majority of which are made with conventional plastic. And to make matters worse, the plastic recycling system isn’t working as well as it needs to, as less than 5% of all plastic gets recycled, the rest ends up in landfills.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and this is clearly a problem. I’ve been a big recycler my whole life, but even I have grown fatigued over the years as you find out that companies don’t know what to do with all of the recycling that we’re generating, and China no longer wants to take our recycling. There’s been stories of entire townships that have taken recycling and it’s all landed in the landfill anyway. And so it’s a huge problem and it’s a problem that a lot of companies are trying to address in different ways. I’ve used straws and silverware and coffee cups that are compostable or at a very least recyclable. But now coming up on biodegradable.

Dan Gingiss: I think it’s really interesting when it works. There are other times where I’ve had paper straws over a plastic straw and I find myself sucking on paper shards. And so the product itself doesn’t work very well. And I think that’s why I made the comment about your case is that we can’t forget, especially as experienced people, that the products we create still have to work.

Joey Coleman: It still has to work.

Dan Gingiss: It can’t just be environmentally friendly.

Joey Coleman: Just like any [inaudible 00:09:47] to sit down at the game is the product has to work.

Joey Coleman: And Dan, you’re so spot on. Increasingly more and more companies are looking at how can every facet of their business be environmentally aware. And it’s one of the things that I love about Pela because their commitment to the environment truly cuts into every interaction they have with you. The inset mailer that I received with my new phone case, which you can see some photos of on our show notes page for this episode at Experiencethisshow.com reads as follows, “Welcome to the Pela family. Thank you for helping us keep the planet clean and healthy. You’ll notice that your Pela case did not come with a package. We decided to eliminate this step to further reduce unnecessary waste. With the money we save on our packaging, we can donate even more funds to clean ocean initiatives around the world.” When I read this, I absolutely loved it.

Joey Coleman: I mean everywhere you look, people are paying more attention to use and reuse and the disposal of the things that are used. And it’s not just consumers that are interested in this. Okay. A few months ago, Marcy Venture Partners, co founded by American rapper Jay-Z, invested $5 million in Pela Case.

Dan Gingiss: Wait, wait, wait. Is this our first Jay-Z reference?

Joey Coleman: This is our first Jay-Z reference, I think. Definitely this season, maybe ever. And it’s not surprising to me that pillowcase case is catching the attention of consumers and investors alike, given the significant environmental improvements they’re making. So here are a couple of stats about this one little company. 25 employees, and what they’ve been able to do in terms of their environmental impact. Pela Case prevented 147,180 pounds of plastic from entering the waste stream. They protected 14,890 feet of coastline with the Surf Rider Foundation. Over 530,000 people have switched to using compostable phone cases, and the company has grown 3,509% in the past five years, and averages four million visitors to their website per month.

Joey Coleman: We talked in an earlier episode about the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. They’ve had four million visitors to their museum since they opened. This website’s getting four million visitors per month.

Dan Gingiss: So the learning here for our listeners is that environmentally concerned companies are drawing the attention of consumers. Consumers are seeking them out. And so it is one of these things that if you’re not thinking about, you really should be because especially with younger generations, but I think starting with our generation, Joey, with Gen X and younger, this is a hot topic. And people are choosing to do business with companies that are at least paying attention to this and trying to be environmentally conscious.

Joey Coleman: They are. And what’s great is when you start to pay attention to this a little bit in your company, it naturally takes on a life of its own. I mean, Pela started by making cell phone cases. They now make biodegradable sunglasses because that’s another thing that people often buy. They buy a new pair every season or every other season and what do they do with the old pairs? Well lots of times they end up in the trash. So Pela has made biodegradable sunglasses that work fantastically and are incredibly beautiful from an aesthetics point of view.

Joey Coleman: In fact, I was speaking with the CEO, Matt Bertulli not too long ago, and he said something to me in passing. “Joey, many companies have a mission. We’re a mission that happens to have a company.” And it’s absolutely inspiring to me what the folks at Pela are doing to make the world a better place. They’re designing beautiful products, they’re growing their business, they’re taking great care of both their customers and their employees. And in fact, Bertulli said, “Since day one, we’ve been focused on the most sustainable options when making our products, making products more easily accessible to our customers and lowering our carbon footprint are high priorities for us. The mobile phone industry is a great example of where quite a bit can be done to create better, more environmentally friendly products. Put simply, as a consumer, you can protect your phone and the planet. There doesn’t need to be a compromise.”

Dan Gingiss: I love that part about they’re not needing to be a compromise because what it means is there’s still profitability that can be had and they’re still satisfied customers that can be had, et cetera. So if you’re interested in learning more about Pela case, and of course, as Joey said, they’re not a sponsor. We don’t get anything for you going to this site. We’re just sharing it as a courtesy. It’s P-E-L-A-C-A-S-E.com to look at their phone cases or their biodegradable sunglasses. And again, the takeaway for you is think about what you can do to align what’s right for your business, what’s right for your customers and what’s right for the planet. It’s the earth day trifecta.

[Required Remarkable] Green Parking Spaces

Speaker 1: 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.

Joey Coleman: Have you ever been rewarded for the car you choose to drive, Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Rewarded how? I don’t think so. But why do you ask?

Joey Coleman: Well, recently I had an experience where I got special treatment for choosing a specific rental car, something that had never happened to me before. So here’s what happened. I flew to Washington DC for a series of meetings and speaking events and as such, decided to rent a car because most of my engagements were happening outside the city in Virginia and Maryland. DC has got a great public transportation system but I knew I was going to have to be going here, there and every there. So I rented a car. And as I went to the car rental place, I was thinking about Pela case and I was thinking about my increased effort to try to be more environmentally conscious. And so I decided to rent a Prius.

Dan Gingiss: That’s cool. I’m not even sure I’ve ever been offered the chance to rent a Prius, but I probably would take them up on the offer if it was there.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And it was comparably priced to the other rental cars. And of course in the back of my head I was thinking, “Well, I’ll help the environment. Plus I won’t have to pay for as much gas when I go back to the airport. So this’ll be a net win for everybody involved.” And then I headed out for a series of meetings. The day of meetings culminated with an event and dinner near the HEC warehouse in Ivy city, which is an up and coming part of Northeast Washington DC. And when I pulled into the parking garage and started to look for a spot, my eye caught something I’d never seen before. The very best parking spots in the garage, the ones that were closest to the stairs and elevators were painted green and reserved for low emitting fuel efficient vehicles.

Dan Gingiss: I love that. That’s a great reward for driving green. Although I have to tell you where my mind goes here. The only downside is it requires the non efficient cars to drive farther.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Fair enough. True, true. But I imagine it also creates a scenario where the non efficient car drivers see that and whether consciously or subconsciously they’re reminded that the choice they made there could be a benefit for making a different choice. So it was also interesting that it was painted next to the elevators. So I took the stairs, not the elevator, but that was the setup. And here’s what I thought. I made a decision the day before on what car to rent and now I was getting special treatment for picking the environmentally friendly choice.

Joey Coleman: If you want to see what these parking spots look like, by the way, go to our show notes at Experiencethisshow.com and you can see some photos that I took. But what I found impressive is that almost every business with a physical location has some type of parking option for their customers that are visiting. And yet how many businesses have made the time to think about making this required component, I.e Parking spaces for your visitors into something remarkable.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I’m reminded of some other parking options. I mean obviously handicapped parking has been around for a long time and I would put that as a required part of your business because it tends to be regulated and mandated. But now there’s some places that have special parking for expectant mothers or for veterans or for other things. And again, I’m somewhat split. I love the idea in concept. I think it is great for an expected mother, for example, not to have to walk quite as far. I’m also on the flip side, sometimes confused slash perturbed when I’m driving around in a parking spot and there’s so many allocated to different things. I literally can’t figure out which spot I’m supposed to park in.

Dan Gingiss: There was one recently where I could see the word veterans, but there was like four sentences of copy on there that I think had something to do with how you prove you’re a veteran with an ID card or whatever. And I’m like, “I don’t know what this is but I’m going to go find a different spot.” Because it just was sort of too confusing. So I think it’s something to watch out for but I think it rewarding for the green choice is a great way to get more people to choose green.

Joey Coleman: Right, I agree. And as with all initiatives you might adopt around making a required element of your business more remarkable, the goal is to make it remarkable, not complicated. And so I think there is definitely something to pay attention to there. What surprised me or kind of it reinforced for me maybe, is that every business has the opportunity to think about the environment in a different way and think about how their business footprint could contribute to making the environment better.

Joey Coleman: I also think it’s the case that there isn’t a business on the planet that doesn’t have at least a percentage of their customers, and that percentage may differ depending on the industry that you’re in, that aren’t increasingly committed to environmental causes. So I think you get the opportunity to build affinity with certain segments of the customers you serve by showing that you too are paying attention to this stuff.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and to give another example, my local grocery store not only rewards you for bringing your own grocery bags, the reusable grocery bags. I think they knock off like, I don’t know, ten cents per bag on your order, but they also have a monthly drawing for a gift card to the grocery store that you can only enter if you brought reusable bags. It’s a similar concept where they’re not pushing it.

Dan Gingiss: And I’ll be honest with you, much to my dismay, I’d say 90% of the people, maybe 95% of the people still choose the plastic bags. I mean, I wonder how much of an impact it’s making. But that said, when I put my name and phone number into the drawing box, the drawing box is full. So that means some people are making the choice to bring their own bags.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. So one tip and two stories. The tip, whenever I don’t take the plastic bag, like even if the gas station, you decided to grab a candy bar before a long road trip and they say, “Would you like a bag?” I always say, “No thanks. I’ll do my bit to help the environment.” I actually say that with the thought being that slowly but surely, the more we can work this into our conversations, the better it is for all of it. Two quick stories.

Joey Coleman: One, in Switzerland, not too long ago, they decided to start charging for garbage pickup by the pound. So they installed scales in all of the garbage trucks that would drive around and pick up people’s garbage. And they weighed your garbage and your bill for garbage collection was based on how much garbage you handed in. This was an effort to make the country more responsible about waste. In 60 days it dropped 90%.

Dan Gingiss: Wow.

Joey Coleman: 90%.

Dan Gingiss: Because people are just stashing it in their basement?

Joey Coleman: I think it’s because people looked at it and they said, “Oh my God, if I have to pay for it, I don’t want to do this.” A lot of jurisdictions have moved, the second story, have moved to you have to pay for the plastic bags. The more you have to pay, the more it will condition the behavior. When it’s you have to pay five cents for the plastic bag, well there’s not as much of an incentive. When you have to pay $5 for the plastic bag, it changes the conversation.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. In the town that my parents live in, you have to buy stickers for every garbage bag and you have to pay per garbage bag but recycling is free. So it does give you that incentive.

Joey Coleman: I love it. I love it. So how can all of this apply to your business? Well, let’s ask a couple of questions. Are there extra little perks you can give to your favorite customers? Can you treat customers better that align with your mission, vision, and values? Can you use design and positioning to court customers that fit a specific demographic you’re trying to attract?

Joey Coleman: All too often, companies are afraid to do something special for one type of customer at the risk of alienating another type of customer. But the best companies realize that it is as important to know what you’re against as what you stand for. The more you narrow the types of audiences you serve, or at the very least, the more comfortable you get with celebrating specific types of customers, the more successful your business will be and the more your customers will start talking about you. When is the last time someone remarked about the parking spaces in the garage or a parking lot next to your building? Every interaction is a chance to stand out. Every touchpoint offers the chance to do something special. Every required element of your business can be made into something remarkable.

[This Just Happened] Water at the Hole

Speaker 1: 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: I noticed something while traveling in the past few months that I think represents an interesting conversation about how brands and companies are responding to changes in customer expectations and behaviors. And I was hoping to illustrate this point by talking about water.

Dan Gingiss: Water?

Joey Coleman: Yes, water. So allow me to explain. In the past when I travel for work, water was something that I didn’t really think that much about, at least consciously. I drink water in route to the airport and then throw out my plastic water bottle when I got to security because you’re not allowed to take it through security. I then go through security and on the other side I had purchased another plastic bottle of water. I then drink that bottle of water before getting on the plane. And then once on the plane I’d ask for water, which the flight attendant would pour out of a plastic water bottle into a plastic cup.

Joey Coleman: I then get off the plane and head to my hotel. Usually to discover that the hotel had provided several plastic bottles of water in my room, some of which are complimentary, others of which required me to pay an arm and leg to purchase.

Dan Gingiss: That is a lot of water and many plastic bottles. So I will, as a PSA to our listeners, let you know that you can take through an empty plastic bottle.

Joey Coleman: Yes, you can.

Dan Gingiss: If you’ve already drunk the water.

Joey Coleman: Yes, you can. But you have to drink all the water real quick and then take it through and then where do you fill it? Which actually brings me to the point that I wanted to make in our conversation today. But before I get to that, let’s talk about how big this problem is. Okay, first of all, buying all that extra water, it’s like $5 to $10 a bottle, right? So it’s expensive, but what’s worse than that is the impact it has on the earth of having that much plastic being only used once.

Joey Coleman: It’s estimated that Americans use over 50 billion plastic bottles of water per year and only 23% of those get recycled. In Lake Michigan alone, an equivalent of 100 Olympic size pools full of plastic bottles get dumped into the Lake every year.

Dan Gingiss: That’s my lake you’re talking about.

Joey Coleman: Your backyard. Over 100 Olympic size pools filled with plastic bottles. That’s how many plastic bottles get dumped in each year.

Dan Gingiss: And Joey, I don’t want to get you riled up here. And we did say at the beginning of the show that we weren’t going to get political or talk about the why of climate change. But I do think this particular issue is fascinating because when you and I were growing up, there was no such thing as bottled water.

Joey Coleman: It didn’t exist.

Dan Gingiss: So in one generation, humans have created this problem. That’s a fact.

Joey Coleman: 100%.

Dan Gingiss: You can’t argue that. It’s not about science, that’s a fact. We created this problem.

Joey Coleman: And I’ll go one step further, corporations have played a huge part in creating that problem because corporations have messaged out, “Well, the water in your tap, oh, it’s not as purified and isn’t electrolyte filled and as wonderful as this water.” When the reality is if we actually test the water, the stuff you’re drinking out of the plastic bottles, in most jurisdictions now, not in Flint, Michigan, oh my God, fix that problem, but in most jurisdictions, the water out of your tap is healthier and better for you than the water in the plastic bottle that you’re buying at the grocery store.

Joey Coleman: So I thought this was ridiculous. I wanted to stay hydrated, but I realized the impact I was having. So I set a goal in 2019 to try to make it through the year without purchasing a single plastic bottle of water. And the way I did that is I took one of those metal water bottles that I’d received, this swag at an event I had spoken at. I clipped it to my backpack and as I set out on my various trips. I started looking for water fountains where I could refill my reusable water bottle instead of stores selling single use plastic water bottles.

Dan Gingiss: And now that we’re in 2020, how did you do on your goal?

Joey Coleman: Well, to be honest, I did fairly well, especially considering my prior behavior. And I think it’s important when we think about environmental initiatives that improvement is better than perfection. So across 2019 I purchased less than ten plastic bottles of water during my travel, which when I think back to the fact that prior to that in 2018, I might’ve purchased ten in a single trip. That felt like really good progress.

Joey Coleman: And each time I did purchase one I felt a pang of frustration and made sure that I properly recycled that bottle. So at least I was doing a little bit better. But to be honest, this segment really isn’t about my personal water consumption or sustainability goals. It’s about finding what you’re looking for and having someone make it easier for you to find it.

Dan Gingiss: So what did you figure out through this experiment?

Joey Coleman: Well, I learned several things, but there are two significant things that I wanted to share and discuss in this segment. Number one, what happens in your space when customers shift their behaviors? And number two, what can brands do to cater to these shifting behaviors? So first of all, let’s talk about what happens in your space.

Joey Coleman: I’ve noticed that in the last few years, more and more water fountains that are located in public spaces and particularly airports are being retrofitted to include filling stations where it’s easy to fill a reusable water bottle. Now these filling stations even display a counter that shows how many disposable plastic water bottles have been saved by you using the water fountain instead of purchasing the water. And as I travel around, I regularly see filling stations touting over 300,000 bottles saved. Now I don’t know exactly, I’ve seen the counters rollover, it’s based on the amount of water they do. So I have to believe that these numbers are fairly accurate. And in fact, the Atlanta airport recently partnered with Delta Airlines to help keep a local river flowing. And they pledged to restore 1000 gallons of water for every water bottle filled at one of the fountains in the airport.

Joey Coleman: To date, they’ve restored 23.3 million gallons of water based on the behavior of Delta customers and people flying through Atlanta.

Dan Gingiss: Which I love because obviously in Atlanta it’s mostly Delta customers.

Joey Coleman: Well, that’s true. So it’s a nice little co-branding opportunity for them.

Dan Gingiss: But I’d also say the next step in that, because I’ve seen these filling stations too, they’re at my home airport of O’Hare and there’s actually a lot of them if you don’t have to walk very far to get one, et cetera. I think the next step though is that the stores in the airports have to stop selling plastic bottles and only sell reusable bottles. And then you will have an ecosystem that continues to work.

Joey Coleman: Right. And what we’ve learned about humans, and we talked a little bit about this with the garbage bags, while we all want to make the right choice, sometimes the convenience of the bad choice is just too overwhelming for us to make the change.

Dan Gingiss: But think about that pang that you said about buying a plastic bottle. What if the pang instead was having to pay $19.95 for a reusable bottle, which is going to annoy a lot of people, but it actually might change the behavior because they sure don’t want to do that the next time they come to the airport.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I think the crazy thing about reusable bottles, and I don’t know if you’ve had this experience, you’ve got to find the one that works for you. Like for me, because I carry a backpack when I go, I wanted a bottle that I could clip to a carabiner on the outside of my backpack so I didn’t get water on my computer. And finding a bottle that would fit the Caribbean or that looks pseudo professional on my backpack was something important. So it’s almost like we have an opportunity to think about the aesthetics and the packaging of these solutions as well when we’re designing these types of products.

Dan Gingiss: Which ironically has been going on in the backpack industry now for a while, right?

Joey Coleman: Correct.

Dan Gingiss: Because now backpacks are not just for school children anymore. I use one as well. They’re very stylish, they’re meant for business people to carry around laptops and other type stuff. So there’s no reason why this space couldn’t go in that direction.

Joey Coleman: It’s also become acceptable to wear both straps or the backpack instead of having to go visit a chiropractor every day. But I digress.

Joey Coleman: The second thing I noticed around the water is that certain brands are changing their behaviors to cater to their customer’s desires. So I stayed at two hotels last year, one in Miami and one in Baltimore, that had large water coolers in the lobby where they encouraged guests to fill their reusable water bottles before heading out for the day or heading to their room for the night. There were no complimentary bottles of water in the guest room. And the staff went out of their way to point out that the water was available. In addition to a hotel in Miami that we spoke about back in episode 70, the one hotel has a filtered water spigot in the guest room. So there’s the sink where you can wash your hands and brush your teeth. But next to it was a separate filtered water that said for your drinking pleasure. So they actually built that into the hotel room experience, which made finding my water very, very easy.

Dan Gingiss: And it’s interesting you mentioned that because I’ve been meaning to tell you this, Joey. I’ve been staying at the same hotel in one particular city that I continue to visit a consultant client at. And what’s happened is every day, I try to usually refuse the housekeeping, but sometimes you can’t. And when the housekeeping comes every day, not only do they make up the bed and replace the towels, but they’re now replacing all of the soap. So I’ve opened up a bar of soap, I’ve used it once to wash my hands and they’re giving me a brand new bar of soap. And not only that, but there’s always the sign that says, “Hang up your towel if you want to reuse your towel.” So I’ll do that and they take the towel anyway. So when I was checking out the last time, they said, “Is everything okay with your stay?” I said, “Actually, no. I have a complaint and-

Joey Coleman: And I’ve got to say I love that you couched it as a complaint because if you would’ve said, “I have a suggestion,” it probably wouldn’t have done it. It doesn’t alert the mind to the average front desk employee the way a complaint does. But you obviously did it in a professional and respectful manner.

Dan Gingiss: Oh, yeah. I said, “Look, I don’t think that you need to be taking my soap every day. The bars are designed to be a certain size to last for a few days in a hotel. That’s exactly their purpose.” And what’s interesting is this person immediately told me that it was a policy of the parent company, which I know not to be true because I stay at these hotels all the time and I’ve never seen it happen.

Joey Coleman: I think the opportunity then is to ask for the manager, speak to the manager directly, especially since it’s a place you go to regularly. And if not, write the letter to corporate saying, “This manager, this location quoted me this is your policy. I’ve stayed at other places where it’s not.” Like we get the opportunity potentially to become activist.

Joey Coleman: So friends, loyal listeners, please don’t get caught up in the specifics of the water that we talked about during this segment, but rather see this as an analogy that you can apply to your business. How is your business adapting to the shifting behaviors of your customers? Your customers likely use their cell phones all day, every. Do you have free chargers available in your lobby or waiting room? Your customers probably love to be online. Do you have open WiFi for people to use when they’re in your space or waiting to meet you? And some of your customers are likely looking to fill up their reusable water bottles.

Joey Coleman: Are you there to help them meet their needs and in the process, show them that you’re ready to cater to their future needs as they may arise. Go grab a glass of water and talk to your colleagues about ways to do this in your business. You’ll surely come up with some great customer experience enhancements and you’ll get hydrated in the process.

Speaker 1: 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 96: Pairing Old and New Technologies is the Secret to Great Experiences

Join us as we discuss the connected community of the future, a response to the robot invasion, and paying for anything with one hand behind your back.

City Planning, Flame Fanning, and Palm Scanning – Oh My!

[CX Press] The City of the Future – Modern Technology, Eco-Friendly Infrastructure, and Immersive Experiences

What will the city of the future look like? Pretty soon – you’ll be able to see for yourself in Japan. Built on the site of an old Toyota factory, “Woven City” is a futuristic community that combines environmentally friendly buildings, modern technology, and immersive experiences to create a place that feels cutting edge – and at times a bit creepy. The FastCompany.com article, “Toyota’s creepy new ‘prototype town’ is a real-life Westworld,” offers a preview of the future as seen through the eyes of Associate Editor of Co.Design Lilly Smith.

Woven City takes combines everything from artificial intelligence (AI), to human mobility, to robotics, to materials science, to sustainable energy, to autonomous vehicles – and places it all in one controlled environment. Toyota is incentivizing its own employees to live in this new city that is powered by solar energy and uses home-based AI to keep your refrigerator stocked while regularly checking in on your health.

These types of projects will likely become more and more common around the world as companies, governments, and communities try to figure out how to navigate a rapidly innovating world that still needs to accommodate a variety of different demographics of humans.

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

Would you be interested to call Woven City your home? What about your employees? Your customers? How are you preparing your business and your experiences for the way we will live in the future?

[This Just Happened] In a World of Automated Chatbots, Some Still Seek the Human Experience

Most frequent fliers fail to notice airport advertising as they rush from flight to flight. The fact that Joey was stopped in his tracks by a ten foot wide billboard while walking through yet another airport is certainly evidence that this advertiser is at least getting people’s attention. FirstBank’s “Find the real human” billboard is filled with images of robots – yet promises 24/7 customer support with a real human. In a world where automations, chat bots, and artificial intelligence assistants are getting more and more attention, FirstBank’s focus on the human experience stands out in the crowd.

Nobody else has your company’s humans… experience can be the thing that you stand on to be different from everybody else!

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

The best companies give customers the chance of engaging with the newest technology (e.g., an artificial intelligence assistance) or tried-and-true solutions (e.g., an empathetic customer service representative). By utilizing both technology and human elements, a company can offer a remarkable customer experience that stands out in the marketplace. FirstBank appeals to customers by differentiating themselves from the majority of banks that are emphasizing their technology as a key differentiator.

[CX Press] Explore the Possibility of the Power of Your Palm

The mechanisms used to make payments have evolved dramatically over the years. From paying with cash, to writing a check, to swiping a credit card, to clicking in an app, each change has placed new emphasis on convenience and ease. But what comes next? Amazon is betting that customers will enjoy paying with the palm of their hand! In the Wall Street Journal article by AnnaMaria Andriotis, Cash, Plastic Or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying with a Wave, the concept of paying by hand is presented as a very real possibility in the near future.

While this advancement certainly has some drawbacks (ranging from privacy concerns to the challenge of getting retailers to adopt new point-of-sale technologies) Amazon is willing to keep pushing the envelope with experiments in making it even easier to be a customer.

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 96 here or read it below:

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

Get ready for another episode of the experience, this show. Join us as we discuss the connected community of the future, a response to the robot invasion and paying for anything with one hand behind your back. City planning, flame fanning and Palm scanning. Oh my.

[CX Press] Woven City

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.

Joey: I’ve had the chance to watch a few episodes of the show Westworld, which is an interesting blend of fascinating and creepy, which is why I’m not surprised to see it referenced in the title of this episode, CXPRESS story. Our article was written by Lily Smith on fastcompany.com and is titled Toyota’s Creepy New Prototype Town is a Real Life Westworld. The article describes plans for a prototype town which allows scientists and researchers to test an array of new technologies. From artificial intelligence to human mobility to robotics, material science, sustainable energy and autonomy. Everything can be experimented with in one controlled environment. Now folks, this isn’t the stuff of science fiction. This is an actual town called Woven City and it’s being built by Toyota Motor Corporation and starchitect Bjarke Ingels and his team at BIG or Bjarke Ingels Group that our loyal listeners may recall. We talked about back on episode 47. They planned to break ground near Mount Fuji in 2021.

Dan: As if building this type of town wasn’t interesting enough. Toyota has invited its employees and other tech curious individuals to move into this living laboratory as full time test subjects with an end goal of determining the future of the auto industry, urban planning and connected communities. Toyota gets to study and test autonomous technology and smart city infrastructure with their own people using their own technology as they try to corner the market on types of innovations.

Joey: It’s a pretty ambitious plan, Dan and plans call for a 175 acre development on the site of a recently closed Toyota factory. So talk about using stuff that you already have and repurposing it into new experiences. They’re going to have hydrogen power storage and water filtration systems underground that are paired with the system that autonomously delivers goods to the buildings above. So the goal is to focus on a connected digital sustainable ecosystem with power coming from photovoltaic panels on every roof and a hydrogen fuel cell generation system.

Dan: I’m sorry, did you say photovoltaic?

Joey: Photovoltaic panels, otherwise known in common parlance as solar panels.

Dan: Why can’t we just say solar panels?

Joey: Because it’s Toyota’s PR release that says photovoltaic panels and they’re also going to have in-home robotics. They’re going to have sensor based AI that will automatically restock the fridge, take out your trash, check the health of the homeowner, like that amazing sushi restaurant. Maybe there’ll be able to pair up with that we talked about at the beginning of this season. At the end of the day, Woven City is going to offer a high level of personalization, customization and convenience for the people that decide to make it their home.

Dan: I’m wondering if they can also get up and go to work in the morning and earn a paycheck and I can just lay on the couch all day. That sounds great.

Joey: I think it’s going to be a really interesting place.

Dan: Well, Woven City also plans to have three types of roadways. One for fast moving autonomous vehicles. One for mixed use by pedestrian and personal vehicles like bikes and skateboards and one for pedestrians only. Toyota released a video showing an artistic rendering of Woven City that you can view on our show notes page for this episode at experiencethisshow.com. So Joey, you ready to move into Woven City?

Joey: I have to admit if I lived in Japan I would seriously consider it. It sounds like a fascinating place and as we’ve talked about in previous conversations, this whole idea of immersive experiences, I think not only changes how you interact with products and offerings that you might purchase or be a part of, but I think it actually expands your mind. I think living in Woven City would make you think bigger.

Joey: It would make you think in a more connected way and that sounds really appealing to me. What about you?

Dan: Yeah, I think it’s interesting and one of the things I would look at is, I know it’s described as an ecosystem, but I think that it doesn’t necessarily mean that an AI robot that restocks your fridge is the technology we’re going to end up with. It may inform something else or give an idea for some improvement that is the real end goal. And I think, this description sounds to me a little robotic and less sort of human than I want in my life. But yet, I think the outcome of it may be that there’s a lot of things that could be taken care of in our lives that give us more time to read good books or be with friends or talk to customers or whatever it is that we don’t have time to do.

Dan: So I’m very interested. Well, I don’t think I’ll be a participant. I’m very interested to see the outcome. It’s like me watching survivor, one of my favorite shows. I don’t think I’d ever want to be a participant, but I’m sure happy to view it and watch other people do it.

Joey: Sure. No, and I appreciate what you say about that human element and I realize the description that we shared from the article that the bill at the beginning definitely sounded like the emphasis was more on the technology, but there’s actually an underlying story here and that’s that this city, Woven City is being built in Japan. Now what people that are listening to the show may or may not know about Japan is that it has the world’s oldest population and it’s aging very quickly. One third of the population is above the age of 60. One quarter is above the age of 65. One eighth is above the age of 75 and so when we think about the different needs of an aging population, most people default to a smaller solution like a nursing home or assisted living or a senior community. Woven City could offer all the benefits of community and convenience with less of the stigmatism associated with getting older.

Joey: And I think in some of the illustrations that they share in the video, they actually show multiple generations living in one home. And because of the technology and the connectivity and because of the safe streets with the autonomous cars, there’s a lot more opportunity for people who may have some diminishing capabilities to still live a very rich and experience filled life.

Dan: Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. And I’m reminded of an episode last season, episode 82 where we talked about the healthcare system in the United States and how it’s failing seniors and the senior population also is exploding here in the US and I think that there’s no question that going forward, especially with another giant population in the millennials coming behind us, Joey. That solving the senior lifestyle and making sure that we can take care of our seniors and in a dignified way is one of the key world problems right now. And so that’ll be fascinating to see how they can accomplish that with technologies.

Joey: Yeah. So I think it’s really interesting that there are layers upon layers of this conversation. And to add another one, I think it’s also interesting to note that the buildings in Woven City are going to be made mostly of wood, so as to minimize the carbon footprint. They plan to use traditional Japanese wood joinery combined with robotic production methods. So in a way, this entire project attempts to marry the traditional old ways with modern innovative execution to create this fully sustainable environment.

Joey: And while it’s certainly too early to tell, these types of projects will likely become more and more common around the world as companies and governments and communities try to figure out how to navigate a rapidly innovative world that still needs to accommodate a variety of different demographics of humans. Would your company be a good fit to have an office in Woven City? Would your employees like to live in Woven City? The more we can plan and envision the future, the easier it will be to make that transition in the years and decades to come.

[This Just Happened] Humans Vs AI

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: I was walking through the airport the other day and-

Dan: Shocker Joey it must have been a day that ended in y.

Joey: Yes, exactly. Fair enough. And I came across an advertisement that was about six feet tall and 10 feet wide. Basically it was one of those light up billboards in the airport. And I must confess that usually I don’t pay that much attention to airport ads, but this one caught my eye and the reason it caught my eye is because in some ways it’s the first evidence, at least that I’ve seen in the marketplace as opposed to hearing about from consumers, that going the opposite direction can be a clear differentiator when it comes to the discussion of humans versus robots.

Joey: Now I feel like most internal business conversations, at least that I’ve been in in the last year, have found me talking to companies that want to increase automation. They want to incorporate more chatbots, they want to stand up AI capabilities and in no uncertain terms, figure out ways to get more robots working for them. But this ad for FirstBank was different. It showed a collection of over a hundred robots with a caption that said, find the real human. The subheading went on to say or just call FirstBank to get local 24/7 customer support with a real human.

Dan: I love it. That’s a shot across the bow from FirstBank.

Joey: It is.

Dan: And I think it’s pointing out, it’s playing to people’s fears, frankly, a little bit that the robots are not just coming, but that they’re going to take over and take everybody’s jobs away.

Joey: Right. And I think there’s also another layer of it that not only is it going to take your job away, but you’re not going to like interacting with the robot as much as you like interacting with a human. So it’s almost two fears. It’s the fear of what if I lose my job and the fear of what of I don’t lose my job, but all the other people I deal with lose their jobs and now all I have to interact with is robots.

Dan: Yeah, I agree. And I think this is a conundrum that many companies are facing. In particular, some of the early movers felt that chatbots and robots were going to take over and that this was a cost saving exercise. Hey, we can fire our entire customer service team if we just have the robots take over. I think they quickly figured out that that was not a real good idea because first of all, consumers are not ready for that yet. They want a human interaction. People I think are more than willing to use an automated chatbot when it’s a question that can be answered by an automated chatbot and lots of questions can. But as consumer issues become more complex or emotional, we often need a human on the other end to help us and so that handoff between robot and human becomes absolutely critical and teaching the robots to know when their time is up and when it’s time to pass it along is I think one of the key techniques that some of the early movers forgot to pay attention to.

Joey: Well it’s funny that you say that, Dan, because at an airport later that week I saw another FirstBank ad that speaks to this point. It was about the same size as the first one and it showed a large complicated maze with an icon representing a human in the middle. And the sign read, it shouldn’t be this hard to get a real human for help. It continued with that same call FirstBank to get local 24/7 customer support with a real human. Now for what it’s worth, you can see pictures of these two ads that I’ve been describing over at our show notes page for this episode on experiencethisshow.com and the two ads while I should have expected would be coming, to be honest, really surprised me. I think so many businesses are focused on increasing their technology solution that it’s really fascinating to see a business doubling down in a large and prominent way on their human solution.

Dan: And I think the thing that is so important here is we talk all the time about customer experience being the last true differentiator. One of the reasons it’s the last true differentiator is because it’s delivered by your company’s humans. And your companies humans are unique. Nobody else has your company’s humans. So that’s why experience can be the thing that you stand on to be different from everybody else.

Dan: And I think FirstBank is noticing that and is saying, look when you call one of our branches, or when you call our 800 number, you’re going to talk to one of our humans. First of all, you’re going to talk to a human. And that’s a differentiator. But then also you’re going to talk to one of our humans. And presumably it’s not just about getting a human agent. It’s about getting a human agent who’s empathetic and who can resolve your problems and who’s going to be friendly and all that sort of stuff. So I think it’s a fascinating way to stand out from the crowd from a marketing perspective by really going against the grain and calling out some of these companies that again immediately saw robots and artificial intelligence as a cost saving measure, which is usually a big red flag when it comes to customer experience.

Joey: I agree, Dan. It’s interesting that you mentioned empathetic humans. I have the pleasure of being friends with some of the top researchers and entrepreneurs that are developing AI solutions. And one of the questions I always ask them when we hang out is, well what’s the thing we’re not going to be able to teach AI? And across the board the consensus answer. And it’s not that we’ll never be able to do it, but that it’s going to be the hardest thing to do is to teach AI empathy.

Dan: And that’s also the across the board answer on what is the most important factor in hiring a customer service agent.

Joey: Exactly, exactly. And so I think there’s this really interesting mix of experience being the differentiator now. I think there’s the possibility that within the next 10 years, the definition of what’s the best way to differentiate your company will not be answered with the word experience as much as it will be answered with the word empathy, which will be tied into experience and it’ll be part of the experience. But that kind of ever evolving and fine tuning of the messaging around the concept of empathy, I think is really coming.

Joey: So in the final analysis, should you seek out the chatbots and AI or stick with the humans? Well, I really don’t think, and I think Dan, you’re on the same page, that this is an either or scenario. I think the best companies will end up incorporating both solutions when it comes to delivering customer support, but I do think there’s an opportunity to make a bold move and decide if you want to stand out from the crowd by doing something that everyone else might see as bucking the trend. Often the best way to get attention for yourself is to do something very different than everyone else and draw attention in the process.

[CX Press] Amazon Pay by Hand

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: when it comes time to pay for something with a credit card, you can use a regular plastic card or some of the new metal credit cards. A virtual credit card, a phone that acts like a credit card. A watch that acts like a credit card, but what if you could just use your hand?

Joey: That sounds a little bit crazy, Dan but Amazon thinks it could work. Today’s CX PRESS comes from a wall street journal article by Anna Maria Andreatta. It’s titled Cash, Plastic Or Hand? Amazon Envisions Paying with a Wave. The article outlines Amazon’s efforts to develop checkout terminals that would be placed in bricks and mortar stores. Shoppers would link their credit card information to their hands and then pay for purchases with the palm of their hand. Without having to pull out a physical card or their phone, they would put their hand on a scanner and their purchase would be paid for.

Dan: So I love this in concept, but I’m one of these guys that uses the self checkouts in the grocery store even though pretty much every time I have to call somebody because it doesn’t read the barcode, it doesn’t like that I didn’t place the item in the right place. So now they’re expecting this to be able to read my hand.

Joey: Right. I agreed that the technological challenges are definitely there, but I also think this makes sense for two key reasons. One, there are many coffee shops and fast food restaurants and other merchants that do a lot of repeat business with customers that are the same customer and they would certainly like to make it more convenient for everyone involved. In addition, it seems like all of the big four Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon are constantly looking for ways to integrate themselves into their customer’s financial lives. I mean Apple rolled out their own credit card last year. Google is offering checking accounts. Now Facebook’s working on its own cryptocurrency and now Amazon, which already has a branded credit card is trying to integrate with you physically.

Dan: Well and I think if you look a little bit farther here, you see companies like Starbucks for example, have been working on technology for years that would allow a barista to know your order, your regular order as soon as you walk in the door. So if you think about this hand print or palm print, if that’s able to store credit card information, it’s able to store a whole lot of other information as well, such as Dan’s coffee orders so that by the time he reaches the counter they’re already making or maybe have already finished making his drink.

Joey: Exactly. And I think the possibilities for applying this type of technology are pretty endless in that regard.

Dan: Yeah, and obviously this is not shocking that Amazon is working on innovation because it seems to happen all the time. Back in episode 69 I shared my experience with the Amazon Go store where I was able to take items off the shelf and leave just by walking through a gate, never scanning anything, never paying anything and then getting charged via the app. And it worked amazingly well.

Joey: Yeah, and I mean I think what’s fascinating about this, Dan, is it’s all happening so quickly on such a large scale that many of the credit card companies, some financial institutions are trying to figure out whether these tech giants that are leading this innovation intend to be collaborators or competitors. And to be honest, I’m not 100% sure that the tech companies have decided yet which role they’re going to play. As the article notes, most parties involved in these conversations think that it is quote, safer to participate in big Tex payment ambitions than risk being left out. Either way, it’s not surprising that it’s happening and as Wall Street Journal finance reporter Liz Hoffman notes.

Liz Hoffman: It’s really about data. When a company like Apple or Google processes a payment for you, they find out a lot about you. They know what you bought, where you bought it, what time of the day or what day of the month your likely to spend money and that’s really valuable information for advertisers.

Joey: Now imagine a scenario where Amazon would integrate an individual consumer’s credit card purchase data with the consumers, amazon.com spending habits. This could give Amazon more leverage to charge higher prices to advertisers based on the idea that they can predict better than anyone else what individual customers are likely to buy.

Dan: The amount of data that’s already collected coupled with almost daily increases is absolutely staggering. Juniper Research estimates by the end of 2020 over 100 million people worldwide will use Google Pay and over 227 million people worldwide will be using Apple Pay. This represents almost a doubling in users for each of these tech giants since 2018.

Joey: Yeah, it’s growing so fast, but it’s not just all about the Benjamins, it’s about the privacy as well. Each of these tech companies is playing in the financial space and they need to win over customers who are wary of providing even more personal information while also navigating a climate where regulators are increasingly skeptical of big tech at least as it relates to customer privacy and data.

Dan: I wonder why?

Joey: I wonder why, it’s so weird. I mean for years we’ve trusted credit card companies and banks with our financial data and tech companies now have started to come in and collect that personal data. Frankly, before most of us even realized what was happening and then they use that data in ways that were, well, lets at the very least say unsavory and at times, frankly, abysmal. And as this behavior spills into financial data. It’s not hard to imagine that these tech companies may be less than trustworthy when we examine their intentions for using our information.

Dan: Yeah, well and having worked in financial services for almost 15 years of my career. I can say that it is one of the most highly regulated industries and this becomes one of the challenges that the tech companies have. A lot of them are trying not to be listed as banks so that they’re not under some of these regulations, I remember even when we were bringing on new vendors at a financial services company. The hoops that they had to jump through to pass all the security tests and the risk tests and all this, literally people from our company going out to physically inspect warehouses or office spaces, making sure that there’re cameras and locks on the door and all that.

Dan: There were vendors that said, “We can’t do this. We’re going to go focus on another industry” because the requirements were so much higher than any other industry. So it’ll be interesting to see, granted the tech companies have plenty of money. But it’ll be interesting to see how they handle not just the privacy laws but all of the regulations around handling money and being financial instruments.

Joey: Yeah, and if past behavior is an indicator of future performance, the tech companies aren’t going to be excited about this. They push back strongly at the thought of any regulation and the very nature of entrepreneurial innovative endeavors, they’re rule breakers. They want to change, they want to do things differently, they want to go fast, they don’t want to slow down. And we see this even in the patent filings that large companies are doing. Amazon recently filed a patent application for a non contact biometric identification system that includes a hand scanner that generates images of a users and as companies invest to build out tech for these type of initiatives. Sometimes you can get an idea of where they’re headed before the official announcements are made, which is where this story comes from.

Dan: I think one of the other challenges that these tech companies is going to face is the retail establishment’s reluctance to adopt new technology. This even happened as the credit card industry as a whole moved to chip cards from swipe cards. It took so long in the United States to make that move, whereas-

Joey: It’s still not done. The number of times I walk into a place and I’ve got a chip in my card-

Dan: no chip.

Joey: And they’ve got a post it note that is taped onto the terminal that says no chips, swipe. It’s like seriously what, it’s 2020 what are we doing here?

Dan: Yeah. So I think it’s going to take a long time to get them to adopt this technology as well. And also, I mean my son, since he doesn’t have a credit card yet, when he’s out with friends, likes places that take Apple pay but he’s very frustrated at how few places do. So even some of this technology that’s been around for a while, like paying with your phone, you can’t just assume that you can walk out of your house without a wallet.

Joey: Well, and when we think as you pointed out, when we think about the retail establishments. How excited are they going to be to have Amazon in their store as a payment method? I don’t know if a store owner is going to be thrilled that somebody who walked in and purchased there is going to be reminded when they pay by scanning their palm, that they could have purchased the same item on Amazon and when Amazon now knows what they purchased and sends me an email that says, “Hey, you paid $10 for this today, but if you were to purchased it on Amazon, we could deliver it to you in two hours. You’d never leave your house and you’d only pay $7”, guess what? I’m going to shop on Amazon going forward.

Joey: So I think we’re left with a couple of questions. How are you using technology to learn more about your customers? How are you gathering data to make better predictions about what your customers want and don’t want to purchase? How are you going to adapt to the changing expectations of your customers, not only in terms of what they want for their products and services, but in terms of how they want to pay for your offerings? Raise your hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Raise your hand if you’re excited. Now, raise your hand if you just want to pay for your item and leave the store.

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. 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 This!.

Episode 94: The COVID-19 Experience

Thanks for joining us for a special episode of the Experience This! Show podcast.

Depending on when you first became aware of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and its impact on individuals, businesses, and society at large, chances are better than not that you’re now 100% aware of this pandemic situation.

We felt like this new, unprecedented situation called for a special episode. COVID-19 is already having significant impacts on customer and employee experience around the world and we can’t begin to imagine the longterm effects of this pandemic on all aspects of business going forward.

This is a serious topic, with serious implications, that we don’t fully understand just yet given the speed in which this virus has spread around the globe and the fact that scientists worldwide are working around the clock to understand. Our comments and discussions are based on the best information we have at the time of this recording – March 21, 2020.

For the first time in human history, everyone – regardless of age, gender, race, nationality, culture, creed, or socio-economic standing – is dealing with the same issues at the same time. While the world is filled with uncertainty, one thing remains clear today – as it has always been: people who take care of their customers and employees during a crisis will have customers and employees when things get better (which in time, they certainly will).

[Say What?] Communication in Times of Crisis

Everyone is communicating with their customers about COVID-19 right now – but most of the communications feel the same as they outline extra precautions being taken, enhanced cleaning protocols, and the like. While these communications certainly have a place, they aren’t as effective as they could be.

Some organizations are communicating with their customers in unique ways:

What can you do to make your communications during the COVID-19 pandemic more actionable and meaningful to your customers?

  1. Don’t Just “Check the Box” in Communicating with Customers – It’s not enough to send an email that says “we’re thinking of you.” Do more than the minimum required.
  2. Project Calm and Confidence – Let your customers know what you’re doing for them and make suggestions as to how they can take action to help themselves as well.
  3. Identify Opportunities to Provide Real Value in Context with Your Brand Offerings – You have expertise to share to help your customers navigate this situation. Don’t sell, but make every attempt to provide value based on your skills, knowledge, or expertise.

[Required Remarkable] Relaxing Policies & Procedures

Every business needs policies and procedures to function. That being said, policies and procedures are not meant for times of pandemic. What we’re seeing now is that the most forward thinking, customer-centric businesses are already adjusting and revising their policies to show that they are conscious of the dramatic impact COVID-19 is having on all of their customers. Examples of great changes in policies and procedures include:

What can you do to make your policies and procedures more conscious of the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Review All of Your Policies and Procedures NOW to Come Up with COVID-19 Conscious Versions – Focus on doing the right thing for your customers and employees.
  2. Be Empathetic – Brands endear themselves to customers and employees based on how the behave in times of crisis. What you do now will be remembered later.
  3. Put People Over Profits – Make the hard decisions to consistently put people (customers, employees, vendors, etc.) over profits. They won’t forget it.
  4. Trust Your Gut – You actually know exactly what to do – even if it feels difficult or challenging. Remember that EVERY business on the planet is dealing with COVID-19 right now. You’re not alone.

[Dissecting the Experience] Helping Your Employees

In the best of times, happy customers equals happy employees. The inverse (happy customers equals happy employees) stands true as well. These maxims apply during times of crises too.

As more companies come to grip with the realities of COVID-19, many companies are stepping forward to help their employees. By being flexible and doing all they can to make sure employees feel safe and taken care of, organizations are making it easier for their employees to keep taking care of their customers. Some employee-centric activies include:

  • Do not require anyone to come into work who doesn’t absolutely need to be there physically.
  • Practice social distancing religiously and make sure employees are equipped with proper protection (e.g., sanitizer, gloves, masks, etc.)
  • Be flexible in allowing employees to take care of their families during this stressful time – especially those with children who are suddenly home from school due to school closures around the country.

What can you do to make sure your employees are taken care of during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Happy Employees = Happy Customers – Don’t forget to take great care of the people that serve your customer.
  2. Front-Line Employees Represent Your Brand Now and Always – Make sure that the people who have the most contact with your customers have everything they need (professionally and personally) to deliver the customer experience you desire.
  3. You Will Need Your Employees in the Future – Just as you are going to need your customers after the COVID-19 crisis passes, you will also need your employees! This is the time to engender pride in and loyalty to the organization.

[This Just Happened] The Experience when You’re the Customer

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone. While many businesses are thinking about their customers and their employees, one category of people your business interacts with that are being hit hard by this virus are your suppliers.

Every business has suppliers, vendors, and merchants that provide critical products and services in order to keep the business running. Every individual has providers and merchants that deliver personal services they want, need, and/or appreciate. During this trying time, what are you doing to take care of your suppliers/providers so that they are still in business after the crisis ends?

Lots of businesses will struggle and close – especially small and local businesses – you can do your part to help them survive by following a four step process:

  1. Make a List of Your Key Suppliers – Both in your personal and professional life.
  2. Reach Out and Discuss the Situation – Address the elephant in the room that is the COVID-19 crisis and talk openly and honestly about your desire to continue to do business with your suppliers/providers during and after the pandemic.
  3. Get Creative – Purchase gift cards, pre-book appointments, pay for services that can’t be rendered during this time but are important to you so that the people delivering these to you are still in business when things start to return to normal.
  4. Thank Them – Customer service workers and account mangers are doing all they can to help in these trying times. In difficult circumstances, a kind word to an overwhelmed customer service representative doesn’t just help advance your position, but it’s the right thing to do.

[CX Press] Using Company Resources to Help

Every business has unique skills that can help their customers during the COVID-19 crisis. The most creative companies have identified ways to provide valuable resources to their customers and prospects alike – without worrying about monetizing every interaction. Some of the more generous COVID-19 “offers” include:

  • Loom (video recording and sharing service) – made Loom Pro free for teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities, and educational institutions.
  • LinkedIn – made sixteen of its learning courses free – highlighting courses that provide tips on how to stay productive, how to build relationships when you’re not face-to-face, and how to use virtual meeting tools.
  • Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Google, T-Mobile and Sprint have signed a pledge to keep Americans internet-connected for the next 60 days – even if people cannot afford to pay.
  • Even more generous offers from businesses can be found in this “running tally” from the team at JUST Capital here.

Some additional resources that we found to be extremely useful in their “positive” tone include:

10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Outbreaks From Around the World – by McKinley Corbley on Good News Network

The FutureLoop Pandemic Special Edition – by Peter Diamandis

What can you do to make sure your products, services, and expertise more easily available to people that can benefit from it during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Remember Your Unique Abilities – Companies have the unique ability to provide resources to dramatical help their communities of customers and prospects.
  2. Find a Way to Give Back, Even in a Small Way – Every little contribution helps when people are struggling at a global level.
  3. Make Time to Appreciate the Positives – Now more than ever it’s important to not get caught up in the negative news and instead look for positive stories of customer delight, employees going above and beyond, and organizations working together to help everyone navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

[Season 5 Sponsors] Thank You Avtex!

We want to thank our wonderful sponsor for Season 5 of the Experience This! Show – our good friends at Avtex.

Avtex’s knowledge and experience in orchestration allows them to help you leverage the people, processes, and technology you need to implement your plan. You can learn more about the great team at Avtex by visiting their website at www.avtex.com

Thank you for joining us in this unprecedented podcast episode of Experience This! Our normal episodes (all recorded prior to the COVID-19 pandemic) will return next week.

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 94 here or read it below:

Joey Coleman: Welcome to Experience This.

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

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

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

Joey Coleman: So hold on to your headphones it’s time to Experience This. Welcome to a special episode of Experience This. Depending on when you first became aware of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and its impact on individuals, businesses, and society at large, chances are better than not that you’re now 100% aware of this pandemic situation.

Dan Gingiss: After fielding Dozens of emails, calls, and text messages from listeners of the Experience This show, our clients and past audience members, Joey and I thought it was important to deviate from our regularly scheduled programming, and do a special episode all about COVID-19 and its impact on customer experience.

Joey Coleman: Friends, this is a serious topic with serious implications that we don’t fully understand just yet given the speed at which this virus has spread around the globe, and the fact that scientists worldwide are working around the clock to understand what’s happening. Our comments and discussions are based on the best information we have at the time of this recording, on Saturday, March 21st 2020.

Dan Gingiss: Our goal in the episode, as in every episode of the Experience This show, is to discuss customer experience from a positive light. Telling the positive customer experience stories as a way of inspiring and encouraging our listeners to think deeper, wider, and more expansively about the role of customer experience in their organizations.

Joey Coleman: For the first time in human history, everyone, regardless of your age, your gender, your race, your nationality, your culture, your creed, your socio-economic standing, everyone on the planet is dealing with the exact same issue at the exact same time. Even if you’re in a place where the coronavirus COVID-19 hasn’t spread as much as some of the other places in the world, you’re still reading about it in the news, you’re seeing it on TV, you’re seeing posts about it on social media. The good news is, we’re all in this together. And as we’ve said many times on this show, the businesses that take care of their customers now will have customers when things get better, because the businesses that show empathy, that show care, that put customer experience as a primary focus will succeed.

Dan Gingiss: Now this episode is going to run longer than our usual episodes as we have a lot to cover. Instead of three segments, we’re actually going to bring you five different segments in this podcast. We want to thank our loyal sponsor Avtex for their continued support of season five, including this special episode. What does it take to shift the standard from meeting the bare minimum of customer needs to over-delivering at every touchpoint? It’s about being able to plan exceptional experiences and set those plans in motion. And that’s exactly what our friends at Avtex do? Visit them at www.avtex.com.

Dan Gingiss: 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 iteration of, say what!

Dan Gingiss: In 2018, when the European Union’s general data protection regulation, better known as GDPR went into effect, email inboxes were flooded with privacy policy updates. Now they’re inundated with urgent announcements about coronavirus measures from every company that has our email address on file. Most of these, including those from the major US airlines, say almost exactly the same thing. But some have taken the opportunity to stand out in a time of crisis. And these are the ones we can learn from and be inspired by.

Joey Coleman: In the first few weeks as the pandemic started to spread around the world, many airlines sent out email messages saying, guess what, we’re going to clean the planes even more than we’ve cleaned them in the past, and explained the materials they were using and how they were going to be making sure that it was safe to fly.

Joey Coleman: My favorite airline, Delta, which as loyal listeners of the show know, I fly all the time, sent an email that said, “Not only are we going to do additional cleaning on the plane, but here’s a video describing it.” And in the video, the head of customer experience at Delta described their usual cleaning process as well as their augmented cleaning process. And they actually showed people using a special, almost like fogging machine, that they had used that would disinfect the planes, and then wiping down the seats, and how they were doing this on every turn. And I got to be honest, as somebody who was already committed to delta and loyalty Delta, when I saw this video, I thought, wow, they really do care about me as a person and are going above and beyond the cleaning they normally do. And it left me feeling excited to fly again.

Dan Gingiss: And I want to share a contrasting story about this Joey is that after all the airlines had shared those emails about the cleaning process, I was waiting to take a flight that was late. And anybody who has been in business school and has done the Harvard business case on Southwest Airlines, knows that it takes an airline, at a minimum, 30 minutes to clean a plane under good circumstances. They can’t do it faster than that. And so this plane is late, it arrives late, the passengers exit the plane, and immediately they start the boarding process [crosstalk 00:06:23] environment. Yes, what happened to your enhanced cleaning process? Like, only if we’re not late, right. And so I did feel like, hey, if you’re going to tell people that you are spending the extra time, please take the extra time to do it.

Dan Gingiss: So another thing that I really liked, I saw two different emails from two different organizations having to do with food, one was Domino’s Pizza, and one was our friends at Imperfect Produce that we have talked about on a previous episode. Both of them sent emails talking about contact-less delivery, and that’s this idea that you don’t even have to interact with a delivery person, if you’re practicing social distancing, which we all should be doing.

Dan Gingiss: And so the way that works is the delivery people are gloved up, so they’re not actually touching your product. They don’t even touch your doorbell. They simply leave the item at your door and then you receive a text message that it’s there waiting for you. You don’t have to sign anything, you don’t have to exchange any pleasantries. And so this concept of contact-less delivery, I thought was really interesting just because it adheres to the situation at hand, which is, we got to stay away from each other even if we’re continuing to buy things and have things delivered.

Joey Coleman: I agree, Dan. And what impressed me, to be honest, is how quickly, at least with Domino’s, because I got that email, how quickly they built that opportunity or that option into the App. I mean, this was before cities we’re talking about stay in shelter orders, it’s before the lockdown had really started, it’s like they were anticipating the need for this. And I think wherever a brand can provide a little bit of insight into, hey, we imagine our customers are thinking about this, and so are we, that stands them in good standing in terms of their reputation.

Joey Coleman: I also got an interesting email from Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and now some other companies have done it as well, but I got it from Enterprise first, that said, they were lowering the age minimum for renting a car. It used to be that you had to be 25 to rent a car, Enterprise came along and said, “We’re going to lower the rent a car age to 18.” And they explained in the email that the reason they were doing this is because so many colleges and universities around the country were closing and kids needed to get home with their stuff, and flights were becoming harder to get. And I just thought this was a great example of a customer centric message in this time where a lot of the emails were more about, hey, here’s how you can use these tools that we’ve already had, whereas Enterprise was saying, hey, we’re making some changes to acknowledge the realities of this pandemic situation.

Dan Gingiss: And what I love about that is that those college students are going to be loyal to Enterprise for years to come just as I was in college.

Joey Coleman: 100%, yes.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. I mean, when I was in college, Enterprise was one of the only companies that would rent to college students, and that’s kept me loyal all these years because it was the first company that I ever rented a car from. So, these are-

Joey Coleman: So forgive me Dan. What I loved about it too is I don’t have college aged children and I’m well past college age myself. But when I got this email, I’m not kidding you, I shared it with a couple of my friends who I knew had kids that were in college and had started to lament, oh my gosh, if their school closes, how are we going to get them home? I was able to forward this on and share it with some people.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, it’s awesome. Which is exactly as marketers what we want to happen.

Joey Coleman: Right, exactly. Word of mouth actually happened because it was a remarkable change in policy that we wanted to spread the word on.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So another message that resonated with me was from Charles Schwab. Now I’ve been a Charles Schwab customer since I graduated from college many years ago. And-

Joey Coleman: [inaudible 00:10:17] Folks when he rented that car.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And what I loved about it was that they didn’t talk to me about cleaning their offices, they didn’t talk to me about visiting the CDC website like everybody else did. They talked to me about what Schwab could do to help me now. And I want to read the introductory paragraph because the other thing that they did so well, was they showed empathy to the situation that all investors are in with what’s going on in the stock market.

Dan Gingiss: It says, “To our valued clients. At Schwab, we have a deep and abiding belief in seeing the world through clients eyes. That simple, powerful idea helps us stay focused on what’s most important, living up to The trust you place in us every day. With so much uncertainty in the financial markets and concerns about COVID-19, investing for the future may seem more complicated than ever. Please know that every one of us at Schwab is committed to helping you meet your long term investing goals. I also want to remind you of the resources available to you.”

Dan Gingiss: And then they list expert perspectives, which is their analysis and commentary, service options, and one to one guidance, so they’re actually offering the ability to meet with somebody to review your portfolio and determine next steps in such a turbulent market. And this letter was signed by the President and CEO, Walt Bettinger. I thought this was really cool because it was actionable. It wasn’t the same old that everybody was telling us, it was something that I could actually do. And it made me feel much better than I already was, which I had been positive on Schwab obviously for a long time, but it made me more confident in my choice.

Dan Gingiss: The other letter that I received that really stuck out to me was from a recent conference that I spoke at Catersource. And Catersource is the largest catering industry association in the country. And they also sent out a letter that I thought was so empathetic and offered real help, that it really, to me, stood out as a great example that other brands could emulate. And here’s how their letter started. “Dear Colleague, this will not be the type of traditional letter that you have been seeing transmitted from businesses across the globe. This is a letter to, for, and about you. We see you. We share your pain for the losses and massive disruption you have incurred over the past week, and we’ll continue to incur as social distancing and closing mandates continue. We understand the despair and anger you must be feeling, the distressing business decisions you have to make that were not in your strategy for 2020. This is also a letter about how Catersource can help you.”

Dan Gingiss: Again, like the Schwab letter, it combined genuine empathy with real solutions and real help at a difficult time.

Joey Coleman: I love it. So we have three key takeaways from this conversation. Number one, don’t just check the box in communicating with your customers, okay. Don’t send the same email that everybody else is sending. Think about what you can do differently, how your tone can be different, how your focus can be different, how you can actually change the conversation.

Joey Coleman: Number two, project calm and confidence. Never in the history of corporate communications, has there been a greater need for letting your customers know that you are paying attention, that you are thinking strategically, and you are doing everything in your power to be there for them.

Joey Coleman: And number three, identify opportunities to provide real value in context with your brand. Sending someone to the CDC website, while a fantastic and useful resource, if that’s not associated with your brand activities, you don’t need to include that in your messages. Instead, give clear action steps, things that you are an expert in, things that you would recommend your customers be doing at this challenging time. By doing that, they will remember you when the pandemic subsides.

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.

Joey Coleman: Every business needs policies and procedures in order to function. That being said, policies and procedures are not meant for times of pandemic. What we’re seeing now is that the most forward thinking, customer-centric businesses are already adjusting and revising their existing policies and procedures to show that they’re conscious of the dramatic impact COVID-19 is having on all of their customers.

Joey Coleman: For example, we talked earlier in the last segment about Delta Airlines. Now, I fly Delta a lot. In fact, last year, I logged over 160,000 miles on that individual airline. What happened when the COVID-19 crisis started to hit is that Delta came out, and many airlines did, saying, “We will give you a one year credit for any flight that you need to cancel. If you need to change the flight, there will be no change fees. And we’re going to waive any of the type of associated fees we’ve previously had on changes in ticket price, change fees, cancellation fees, etc, and you’ll just have this running credit.”

Joey Coleman: Now, as somebody who flies Delta a lot, that was fantastic because, as you might imagine, at the time this all started to hit, I had many, many Delta flights booked in the future. Frankly, to the tune of 10s of thousands of dollars, which under a traditional policy, I would have lost. Thanks to Delta being more aware, I now have a credit that will allow me, when we all start flying again, to be able to buy those tickets with dollars I’ve already spent.

Joey Coleman: This made me love and appreciate Delta even more. It actually endeared me to the brand because of the way they had changed their policy to acknowledge the impact it was having on me personally as a flyer, even though we also know it was having an impact on them as people aren’t buying tickets and aren’t flying, that means that they’re actually struggling with money. But the good news is because they’re giving me the credit, they don’t have to refund the money, so they get to keep some of that cash and defer when they need to deliver on the service to me until later when it becomes easier to fly.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. And American did something very similar and I appreciated it as well because I had a bunch of flights booked too. And obviously the airline industry is in a lot of trouble right now and it’s likely going to be the beneficiary of a government bailout. But ultimately, we are going to all start flying again, it’s going to happen at some point. And this is the moment where airlines and other companies can either retain their customer loyalty or they can aggravate their customers and send them to the competition. And I think both Delta and American have done a really nice job of retaining that loyalty.

Dan Gingiss: One thing that stuck out to me, Joey, I’m just wondering if you had thought of this as well, is that a lot of these fees that are being reversed and canceled, they didn’t exist 10 years ago. Remember, it [crosstalk 00:17:52] took the airline industry almost collapsing to start creating all these ridiculous nuisance fees, and I wonder whether the long term aspect of this may be, hopefully fingers crossed, that they start rethinking these ridiculous fees. My favorite one is now the one where it costs you money to redeem your miles.

Dan Gingiss: So you’ve earned all these miles and now you want to use them to buy a ticket, and that’ll be $75 each way to use your miles. I mean, whatever accountant came up with that idea, I’m sure it made billions of dollars for the airlines, but it is so customer un-centric, it is so anti-loyalty literally, because the whole idea of earning miles is that you’ve been loyal, and now all of a sudden we’re going to basically punish you to use those miles. I’m hoping that it causes some of the airlines to rethink some of these and maybe never bring them back.

Joey Coleman: I think you bring up a great point, Dan, and it’s really the case that this entire COVID-19 crisis, while incredibly stressful, while incredibly challenging and with huge costs both monetary, the cost of lives, I mean that the impacts of this are going to be felt for many, many years to come, right. Even once we’re on the other side of the pandemic, there will have been things that have happened that will be difficult for anybody to overcome.

Joey Coleman: What I do hope is that organizations, and hopefully the folks listening to our show, are looking and saying, in this downtime, in this period where business isn’t as usual, let’s actually look at everything. Let’s look at everything we’re doing and come at it from a lens of saying, I understand we were doing this in the past, but do we need to do it going forward? Is it the right choice? Is that the customer centric choice? Is it the way that we want to operate as a business? I think there’s a real opportunity here.

Dan Gingiss: I absolutely agree. And as we both have said recently, there is no more important time than right this second to be focusing on customer experience, because even if you don’t have customers right now because you’ve had to temporarily shut down your business, when things go back to normal, the question is going to be, are the customers going to come back or are they going to go somewhere else? And what you do right now is going to have such a big impact on that.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, we both have different utility companies, because we live in different states, and I believe we both have monopolies you Xcel Energy and me ComEd in terms of electricity, and I always love looking at utilities, especially monopolies, and how they act because customer experience, you could make an argument, they don’t need to focus on that, because we don’t have a choice in where we [crosstalk 00:20:39] get our electricity.

Joey Coleman: Yes. And we want electricity so therefore, you have who you have.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, but both of our utility companies, I think, did something very similar, while it didn’t necessarily benefit you or me specifically, I think we both felt really good about it. Which was, that they announced that they would not cancel anybody’s electricity for lack of payment. And that basically they guaranteed that all customers were going to have their electricity remain on during this crisis. And for people that were having trouble paying, they would work out a payment plan and basically allow you to punt it down the road and not worry about losing electricity on top of all the other worries that you have right now.

Joey Coleman: Hugely important and hugely valuable. And most utility companies have a rule that they can’t cut the power during the winter, especially in colder environments like you live in Chicago, and like I have here in Colorado. But the fact that the utility companies, at least it appears, I’m not sure about this, but it appears like they acted before there was legislation saying they couldn’t cut. To me, to your point, left me feeling better about my energy company. I was like, wow.

Joey Coleman: And God forbid I do end up in a situation where I couldn’t pay for my electric bill, I’m really excited to know that I’m taken care of. I thought that was a great example of when you’re messaging to your customers, even if the message doesn’t specifically affect them, like the Enterprise email about lowering the rental car age that we talked about in the last segment, it still has a lifting effect because it allows your customers to know that you’re thinking about them, even if the things you’re doing don’t actually impact them personally.

Joey Coleman: Speaking of things that I think are unexpected and delightful communications, I had a week long stay planned at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas that was actually supposed to happen this past week, and the hotel had to close down because of COVID-19. What I thought was really interesting is I got an email from them at about 2:00 AM, the night before we were technically supposed to be checking in. Now we had already decided we weren’t going on our trip. But the email said, “Because we’re closing the hotel down for the next month, we are refunding everyone’s deposits who has a reservation at our hotel.”

Joey Coleman: Now the MGM has 6,000 rooms, right, this is an enormous hotel. But the email went on to say, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to call in and tell us you’re canceling, you don’t have to call in and tell us you’re affected, give us some time, and they kind of implied in the next 24 hours, and we will reverse back and refund to all of your cards the cancellation. I thought this was a great example of a company saying, hey, we’re going to do something, but good news is, we’re taking care of it, you don’t have to ask, you don’t have to worry about it, it’s coming back your way.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I love that. And while not as proactive, I had a great experience. I had a hotel booked for three nights at the Mohegan Sun Pocono in Pennsylvania. And this was a three night prepaid non-refundable rate. And I called up and said, hey, I had to cancel my trip. I actually said, I’m going to move it because I will be back, is it okay if I move it? And they said, “We’re just going to give you a refund. It’s fine, no questions asked.”

Dan Gingiss: And I’ll admit, I was a little surprised because it would have been so easy for them to hide behind their policy and say, I’m sorry, but you bought a non-refundable rate too bad for you. But they were very, very amenable and they, I think, have ensured that the next time I go there, and I go there a lot because I have a consulting client there, that I’m going to stay there. And so again, short term loss, because they lost some money from me, long term gain because they gained my loyalty.

Joey Coleman: So, what do we need to do in these crazy times? Number one, look at your policies and procedures now. Don’t wait. Get into them right now and come up with COVID-19 conscious versions. Versions of your policies and procedures that acknowledge the realities of the world today, and put your customers first.

Joey Coleman: Number two, be empathetic. Brands can really endear themselves based on how they behave in times of crisis. This is definitely a time of crisis, and the more empathy you can show towards the position your customers are in, the more likely your customers will be to stick with you through this crisis, and be back as loyal customers once things start to return to normal.

Joey Coleman: Number three, put people over profits. I understand as a business owner, that is easier said than done. But it is more important now than in any other time in your business’s history. We need to focus on our customers and our employees and doing the right thing for them, even if it means our profit margins are going to go down.

Joey Coleman: Now, employees listening, there’s going to need to be some assistance from the employees as well. But the employers have the opportunity to lead the charge. And last but not least, trust your gut. Remember that every business on the planet is in this same situation right now. It’s not Just you, it’s not just your industry, it’s not just the businesses in your town, every business on the planet is dealing with these challenges. There’s more time for empathy and grace for all of us if we just recognize that we’re all in this together, trust our guts, and do the right thing.

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: We’re now going to turn our attention to employees. Just as taking care of your customers in a time of stress and crisis is critical, it’s also important to focus on your employees, because similar to the best of times, happy employees equal happy customers. And unfortunately, the inverse is also true. So it’s very important to make sure that your employees remain healthy, safe, and confident.

Dan Gingiss: Now, there are a lot of places in the country, including my home state of Illinois, that already have shelters in place requirements, so people are working from home. There are other places in the country where people are still going into work, either because they are essential employees in essential businesses, or because their companies unfortunately have not yet made a decision to ask people to stay home.

Dan Gingiss: This is such a critical time to show employees that you care about them and that you understand that they are the engine behind your business. And oftentimes, they’re the front lines of your business that are talking to customers. Imagine asking an employee to talk to a customer and try to comfort them and make them feel safe when they don’t feel comforted or safe themselves. So the first thing is, please do not require anyone to come into work who doesn’t absolutely have to. The good news is, we live in an era where remote working has become popular anyway, Joey and I have worked from our homes for a while. Many people have worked from home for a long time and know how to do it. And we have the technological resources to do it.

Joey Coleman: Think about the definition of the word essential as well. I’ve been in some conversations in the last week where I heard employers talking about certain employees as being essential, and when I press them on it, they actually just decided that they wanted that employee to keep working, the functions that they needed that employee to do was not essential that they be performed at the office. They could have been performed by home. So I think there’s a real opportunity here because you’re employees are smart people too. If you’ve tagged them as essential, and they don’t feel that it’s essential, they may not feel comfortable speaking up because they want to keep their job. And I think there’s an opportunity for all managers and employers to really think about what is the true definition of essential in a pandemic crisis.

Dan Gingiss: Yes. Totally makes sense. I mean, unfortunately, not every employee is essential, even though they may think they are, or in the best of times, maybe they are. But right now essential employees is generally going to be a smaller list. Now, if employees must work in person in the office, it’s absolutely critical that you practice social distancing religiously. And that they have the proper protection, such as gloves, masks, sanitizer, etc, so that coming into work is literally not risking their lives, right.

Dan Gingiss: I mean, we all joke about how we spend more time at work than sometimes we spend at home or with our families, but work is important it is not worth risking our lives for. And so it is really important that if you are going to require people to come in, that they feel safe and that they feel protected.

Dan Gingiss: Another thing that I think is really important that sometimes we lose sight of even in the best of times, is that employees have families, and families are stressed during this time as well, especially those of us who have kids that are suddenly home from school, and bored, and we’re trying to keep them entertained while also keeping our jobs and working, and that causes even more stress. So just as we often talk about stepping into the shoes of your customer, it’s so important to step into the shoes of your employees and really understand what they’re going through right now.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And I think we need to be thinking as employers, how are we going to handle an employee becoming sick? What are you doing to think ahead now for the employees who actually are essential? Is there an opportunity to cross-train? Is there an opportunity to do some scenario modeling where if that person who’s the linchpin in your business, either is personally sick, or has a spouse, or a significant other, or a child, or a parent that is sick, what are you going to do to hopefully be able to continue keep functioning using other people on your team? Most experts will tell you that it is better to have these conversations and think through these things before you’re in the thick of it, instead of waiting to try to troubleshoot these type of problems once you’re waist deep in the issue.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So, let’s look at some examples of companies that we think are doing the right thing by their employees, and hopefully, you can be inspired in your business to consider similar measures. So the first that I wanted to bring up was Facebook, which immediately came out and announced that it was giving $1,000 to every employee in order to help them. And obviously they have a lot of employees. And if you think about it, $1,000 doesn’t sound like a ton of money, except this is also what the US government is considering sending to everybody, right? So, if the US government sending $1,000, and now my employer is matching it, again, it’s a gesture of goodwill that I think gains loyalty from employees over time.

Joey Coleman: Well, and I think $1,000 actually, for the majority of Americans is a huge amount of money because most research shows that the typical family, when faced with an unexpected $400 expense, would not be able to weather that challenge. And so most families are facing a lot more than a $400 change in expense right now, not only in terms of costs, but in terms of where their income lies.

Joey Coleman: It’s interesting, a lot of the sports teams that are not able to have their events anymore, given the crowd rules etcetera, have created some interesting solutions as well, both in Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, a number of owners have stepped forward, notably Mark Cuban, to say, we’re going to pay the salaries of all of the people who normally work in our basketball arena. So there’s an opportunity here for businesses of all sizes to step forward.

Joey Coleman: I know a couple of CEOs who have decided that they’re not taking any pay for the next three months to be able to pay their employees for the next three months, so that they don’t have to lay people off or fire them. So there’s a lot of opportunities to get creative.

Dan Gingiss: And I love that example because so often, when bad things happen to good employees, the first thing that employees look to is the top executives, right. So when there’s layoffs, for example, and then you see that your top executive is making $50 million a year and gets another $100 million in stock options. And you’re like, well boy, if he had given up two or three of those millions of dollars, maybe we could have saved a lot of jobs. And so I think this is one of those things where if you’re able to do it, you really can gain so much loyalty from your employees versus the opposite, which again, can be anger and distrust of the company.

Dan Gingiss: I know Disney and universal have done similar things for their employees because as we all know, those parks are closed indefinitely and there’s a ton of people that work to keep those open, and whether they’re cast members, or people operating the food stations, or the ride stations, tons of employees and they’re really working hard to keep those people as well.

Dan Gingiss: Another example that I really liked was Starbucks, which decided to extend its mental health benefits for store employees. And I think why this is important is Starbucks is one of the places that is staying open and therefore is requiring baristas to come in and make coffees even though people can’t dine in and they can only take out, they’re still bringing in their employees. And obviously, this causes stress. And Starbucks acknowledged that and is now offering mental health benefits for free to their employees, which I think was an excellent move.

Joey Coleman: Folks, this is a huge one, I don’t care what business you’re in, if you are not taking time to consider the mental health of your employees right now, there is a big problem. So many people are uncertain. So many people are afraid. In fact, it’s rising to the level that there’s so much fear and uncertainty, I think it’s something that most people aren’t even talking about. I mean, to be completely blunt and transparent, before Dan and I started recording today, we just checked in on how each other are doing and what’s going on, because this is a stressful time for everyone.

Joey Coleman: This is an opportunity for you to look to your friends, look to your co-workers, look to your boss, as well as the people that report to you and check in on everybody’s mental and emotional state and how they’re doing. Business shouldn’t just be about, are we operating? And are we operating at efficiencies? And are people getting paid and are our employees getting paid, are our customers placing orders, etc? We should spend some time thinking about the mental and emotional health of the people we interact with too. And my hope is, while this is certainly a terribly challenging and difficult time, that more businesses will look to the opportunity in this time to say, how can we press reset, a reset that we’ve known that we’ve needed to do for a long time, and actually think a little bit more about what our employees are going through?

Dan Gingiss: So here are some takeaways from this segment. As always, happy employees equal happy customers. It is never more important than right now to focus on our employees and keeping them happy, healthy, and safe, so that they can focus on our customers and keeping them happy, healthy, and safe. Also, your frontline employees are representing your brand right now, as they always are. But in a time of crisis, if they’re stressed out, if they’re feeling beaten down, if they’re feeling under-appreciated or unappreciated, how is it that you think they’re going to project to your customers?

Dan Gingiss: So especially with frontline employees, right now, customer service agents, retail employees that need to continue working, people that are engaging with customers, these are the ones that we’ve got to focus on and keep in a good state and a positive state so that they then transmit that to customers. And finally, just as you’re going to need your customers after this crisis passes, you’re also going to need your employees. This is the time to engender pride in and loyalty to your organization.

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? The COVID-19 crisis is impacting everyone you interact with. And what we’ve already discussed how it’s impacting your customers and impacting your employees, we wanted to talk about a third category of people that your business interacts with that are being hit hard by this virus, your suppliers.

Joey Coleman: Everybody in their business life and in their personal life has folks that look out for you, people that you patronize. Whether that’s your chiropractor, the hairdresser you go to, or a business setting, the person who cleans your business office, who maybe helps support your IT infrastructure, whatever it may be, people that come to your office, or to your home, or you go to their office or to their home to take advantage of their services. And in this time where business is grinding to a halt, and more and more people are being encouraged to not only stay home and work, but to stay home and not travel outside of their homes, your suppliers are increasingly in jeopardy.

Joey Coleman: And so one of the things we want to address is the fact that in many businesses, the suppliers you interact with are actually small businesses or freelancers. People who don’t necessarily have the cash reserves that some of the larger brands we referred to earlier in the show do. And so the question becomes, what are you doing and what can you do to look after the people of which you are a customer?

Joey Coleman: So, for example, in a business setting, if you have somebody that comes to clean your office but your office isn’t going to be operating anymore from your office, what can you do to support them during this time when their revenues are going to be down? I know a lot of entrepreneurs I know have agreed to prepay for some of the cleaning that’s going to have to happen in the future, even though it’s not happening right now.

Joey Coleman: What are you doing to look at creative ways to reallocate resources? For example, I have an assistant who helps me scheduling with flights, and coordinating hotels, and logistics for my travel. Needless to say, I don’t anticipate traveling for the next month at least and potentially two or three or more. I’ve decided to have her work on other things that are important to my business, that are not necessarily related to my travel, but yet allows me to keep her on the payroll.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, I’ve done something similar with my virtual assistant who was hired to really help me reach out to prospects and make them aware of my speaking capabilities, and the fact that I’m available for keynotes, and that sort of thing. And and right now, selling that is not a great idea because events are being canceled and people are not necessarily thinking in that direction. So I’ve been cross training him on some of the marketing that I’ve been doing for my business, my newsletter and some of the stuff that I do with taking audio and video and transcribing it into texts to make blog posts, and some of my social sharing and scheduled posts and all that sort of thing, and I’m really trying to cross train him so that he can continue to help, he can continue to be employed, and then I can continue moving my business along.

Dan Gingiss: And these are hard decisions to make, because let’s face it, Joey, just like so many others out there, you and I don’t know what’s going to happen to our business in the next few months or even years, or how long it is going to affect us. And so the initial instinct is to just hoard your money and don’t spend a dime. And I’m actually trying on a couple of different places to spend money right now, to invest in my business’s future, and to build some foundational stuff, because I do believe, as my grandmother always used to say, “This too shall pass.” And whenever it does pass, I want to be in a good position to pick up where I left off and maybe even be in a stronger spot than I was when this first started.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely, Dan. And I think your grandmother had wise advice and it’s something that pretty much everybody’s agreeing, that there will come a time that this is not as big of a pandemic situation as it is right now, right. We’ve got ways to go before we get there, but it will get better. What are we doing now to make sure that the businesses that serve us, and the suppliers, and the vendors that we have relationships with continue to be in business? And this doesn’t just hit the business side of it, it hits the personal side. So, for example, my wife and I, and my two boys, obviously we get haircuts, right. So one of the things we did is we went to-

Dan Gingiss: Hey, that’s not too obvious for some of us, Joey.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. This is the difference between Dan and I folks. Dan takes care of all of his own hair trimming, I have a professional work on mine. Although some people who’ve seen me on stage or seen pictures of me might agree whether it’s that professional or not. But the moral of the story here is, hair salons are closed down. So we reached out to some of the folks that provide us with services, whether that’s massage, or chiropractic care, or hairdressers and offered to pre-buy haircuts in the future, pre-buy adjustments and massages in the future.

Joey Coleman: And the idea behind this was, yes, there’s a little bit of a hit from us from a point of view of expending money, but you can put that on a credit card and ride it for a month or two, and if that’s the thing that helps your favorite hairdresser, or your favorite massage therapist, or your favorite chiropractor, whatever Freelancer or small business you do business with, navigate through this crisis, not only have you ensured that you’ll be well taken afterwards, because they’ll still be there, but here’s what I can promise you, they’re not going to forget that you’ve stood by them during this time. They’re not going to forget the generosity that you extended to them. Now I’m not saying that’s why you should do it, but it certainly is a nice ancillary benefit if you’re in doubt about whether or not you should.

Dan Gingiss: For sure. And I think the smart companies, by the way, are showing that appreciation right now. So, there is a sushi restaurant in my hometown that obviously is suffering quite a bit. And a lot of residents have been recommending this sushi restaurant, obviously now just pickup and delivery. And what’s happening is when you order they are offering a discount for pickup, which is funny because that’s the only way you can order right now is pickup. And secondly, they are including a gift certificate with your order for a future order. So they’re basically already now saying … So as a customer, I feel good because I’m supporting a local restaurant that is clearly struggling. I can’t go sit in the restaurant, but I can still order out from it. And they’re showing that thankfulness back to me saying, hey, we really value you, thanks for supporting us during this difficult time. And that’s what the letter, there was a little handwritten note with the gift certificate, that’s what it said.

Dan Gingiss: And so, you feel good about that, right, because you feel good that you’re supporting a local business, and you feel good that they feel good, and that they’re willing to thank you for it.

Joey Coleman: Folks, during this pandemic, there are going to be a lot of businesses that will struggle and close, especially small and local businesses. You can do your part to help by following this four step process. Number one, determine who your key suppliers are, both personally and professionally.

Joey Coleman: Number two, reach out to them and discuss the status of the relationship. Any outstanding shipments, or supplies, or projects that maybe need to be put on pause, the payment terms. Have a conversation. Don’t wait for them to call you. This is not a conversation anybody is excited to have, but lean into it sooner rather than later.

Joey Coleman: Number three, get creative. Offer to pre-pay via gift cards, or pre-booked appointments, or pre-packaged, or even pay for services that aren’t rendered. If you’ve got somebody that’s been loyal to you for many, many years, and your business or your personal financial standing is in a place where you can afford to pay them for a month or two, even if they don’t deliver on the service, the investment you are making into that relationship long term, will far outweigh the dollar outlay today.

Joey Coleman: And last but not least, thank the workers that are doing their best in these new circumstances. For example, the person who carries out the groceries to the car when you’ve ordered online, the person who when you call to cancel a service or to get a refund is answering the phone and doing their best to process. A kind word right now not only helps everyone get through the day, but it’s an investment in those businesses being around tomorrow.

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.

Dan Gingiss: So we wanted to end this episode on a positive note. And rather than a traditional CX press segment where we just go through a single article, we wanted to share with you that we’ve seen lots of articles out there of positive things happening amidst this outbreak and pandemic.

Joey Coleman: Yes, folks, it’s not all doom gloom in the news. Don’t just get caught up in the stories that are about the terrible things that are happening. Look for the more positive stories too.

Dan Gingiss: And as it turns out, companies of all sizes often have resources that can help others in the community during a time of crisis. It might be money, or supplies, or facilities, or even just expertise. And we wanted to share some companies that we’ve seen that are doing just that. So Loom, a video recording and sharing service, has made their Loom Pro Edition free for teachers and students at K through 12 schools, universities, and educational institutions. As we all know, many students now are being forced to learn remotely. And loom is a service that can be used for that, and so they’re just putting their service out there for educational institutions.

Joey Coleman: Yes. And LinkedIn has decided to take 16 of its learning courses and make them free. Now these are courses that you used to have to pay for, but now they’re available to anyone and they provide tips on how to stay productive, how to build relationships when you’re not face to face, how to use virtual meeting tools, and how to balance family and work dynamics in a healthy way, which increasingly, as more people find themselves working from home with their children and their families, these are valuable tips and suggestions to help people navigate this new time.

Dan Gingiss: We talked in the last segment about how local restaurants are really struggling. So Uber Eats and DoorDash have both waived commission fees for independent restaurant partners to promote people supporting their local restaurants.

Joey Coleman: A good buddy of mine, Philip McKernan, an amazing coach and inspiring individual decided to make his books available for free. He decided to make his online courses available for free. And he launched a new virtual training program where each week he’s doing motivational check-in sessions that help people explore how do they navigate this new COVID-19 world. I think what’s great about this is there’s literally no business on the planet that can’t get creative about how they’re providing value, not only to their customers, but just to the public in large and their general broader community.

Dan Gingiss: I definitely agree. And one way to look at it is to focus on keeping things as normal as possible during a time when it’s anything but. And we’ve seen a lot of public companies stopping their stock buybacks, for example, and the reason for that is to make sure that they remain solvent and able to help their customers during an outbreak. I think we’ve also seen lots of companies, we talked about utilities in the first segment, but we’ve also seen all the cable companies, and telecommunications companies, and Google have made pledges to keep the internet going and alive for all Americans, even if people can’t afford to pay.

Dan Gingiss: Again, on a local level, for a smaller company, which a lot of our listeners run, think about how you can help even just your local community, it might just be the little town or suburb that you live in. What can you do to give back to your community because people are going to remember that when this passes?

Joey Coleman: Or the person in your neighborhood. Folks, this literally is a time to think as, in some ways, as small as possible. Think about the people who live on your street who are maybe immunocompromised or elderly, that you could leave a little note with your cell phone number that says, if you need somebody to go to the grocery store for you or to the pharmacists to pick things up for you, call my number and I can go out and do that. Now, again, we still want to encourage people to practice social distancing, to only go out if you absolutely need to, to maintain a significant physical distance at least three feet, closer to six if you can, away from anybody that you interact with, but there’s an opportunity to provide value to people beyond the groups who normally provide value to.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, the suburb I live in, somebody set up a Facebook group that was specifically for doing just that, for helping others and I’ve been asked to join it now by about 18 of my friends. And it’s a great way [crosstalk 00:52:42] Social media guy, Dan, I mean, come on. Well, it’s a great way to spread the word about being able to help the elderly or people who are immunocompromised during this time. So I love that.

Joey Coleman: I was just talking to my little brother earlier today, he lives in Springfield, Illinois, and at the time we’re recording this it’s not long after St. Patrick’s Day and they had a message go out in their neighborhood that said, if you want to participate, put some shamrocks on the windows, that way, when families are out walking around, because we want to encourage people to continue to exercise and continue to get outside, just stay away from other people when you do it, right. But they said, “Set it up so that your kids on a walk through the neighborhood at night can count the number of shamrocks.” And I thought, what a creative way to allow neighbors to connect with each other in a way that keeps folks healthy and abides by the idea of physical distancing, but still allows people to have some type of interaction with their community.

Dan Gingiss: I love it. Now if you want more inspiration, we recommend an article by Just Capital that is entitled Capitalism Meets Coronavirus, How Companies are Responding. And of course we’ll include the link in our show notes at www.experiencethisshow.com. But we’ve also created a shortened Bit.ly link that you can use if that’s what you prefer. And it is Bit.ly, which is B-I-T-.-L-Y /ET for Experience This, responses. And the E, the T, and the R in responses are all capitalized. So it’s Bit.ly/ETResponses, and that’ll get you to that Just Capital article.

Dan Gingiss: Now, we wanted to provide you with a couple of bonus articles as well to spread the Good News [inaudible 00:54:28], because hey, we got nothing but time here. And hopefully, you’ve got some time to listen. So, an article that I happened upon that I really liked is from an organization that I had actually never heard of, which is called the Good News Network. And I can tell you, I’m going to be following their stuff for now because I’m really tired of all the bad news. But this is an article called 10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Outbreaks from Around The World. And it was written by McKinley Cobly of the Good News Network, and this will also be shared our show notes, and there is also a Bit.ly link which is, Bit.ly/ETGoodNews, and again, ET, the G in good, and the N in news are capitalized.

Dan Gingiss: And some of the examples that they shared in this article are that US researchers have delivered the first COVID-19 vaccine to volunteers, human volunteers in an experimental test program. Also amidst national shortages of hand sanitizers, there are several alcohol distilleries around the country that have begun using their facilities to make their own sanitation products and sell them. And some of them are selling a lot of them. And finally, air pollution plummets in cities with high rates of quarantine. So, we’re excited to present to you a little bit later this season, a special environmental episode of Experience This, but I thought this was some good news too, that we were seeing positive environmental effects by people staying home.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And to conclude out our CX press episode of Good News that you can subscribe to or find, I’ve been a big fan of Dr. Peter Diamandis and his work for many years now. Peter is the chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching these large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs. So you might have heard of the X Prize. He also is an original founder of Singularity University, which is all about teaching people about exponential technologies.

Joey Coleman: And over the last two years, he’s built a machine learning algorithm that scrapes the world’s news and science journals and social feeds every day to understand how exponential technologies are impacting specific topics and industries. And he calls it, Future Loop. He sent out an email just two days ago about a new offering that they have. And I’m quoting from the email, “Future Loop Pandemic Special Edition, is a daily comprehensive update on the impact of exponential technologies like AI, robotics, drones, cellular medicine, CRISPR, networks and sensors, all about the COVID-19 pandemic. If you participate Future Loop will update you every day on the latest breakthroughs in detection, prevention, and cure of COVID-19. Now, this product is still in beta, but it’s powerful, high quality info and it’s free. Your mindset is your most important tool during the pandemic. Making sure you’re consuming the right information is critical to maintaining that mindset. Future loop offers data driven optimism.”

Joey Coleman: I just loved that. Data driven optimism. There’s a tool out there that you can subscribe to for free, that will deliver positive news that acknowledges the craziness that is the COVID-19 pandemic, but provides a glimmer of hope. So you can find this at our show notes at experiencethisshow.com, you can also, as Dan mentioned, if you want to check out the Bit.ly link, it’s Bit.ly/ETF, that’s Experience This and the F is the beginning of the word Future Loop, where future and loop are both capitalized. But again, if you didn’t have a chance to write that down or you don’t want to go, just go to experiencethisshow.com you’ll be able to find the show notes for this episode and you’ll be all set to get some data driven optimism in your inbox while you’re working from home in the coming days and weeks.

Dan Gingiss: So the takeaways of this multi-article CX press segment, number one, companies have the unique ability to provide resources to help the community. It may not be money, it could just be expertise. It doesn’t necessarily have to cost you anything, but you do have resources and think about how you can give back. Number two, find some way, even in a small way, to give back to your customers or to your community and show them how much you appreciate them in this difficult time and they will appreciate you back.

Dan Gingiss: And finally, number three, take some time to think about positive things and to read about positive things. It can be very easy in a time of crisis to get down, to get depressed, to get angry, and it’s nice to see that there are a lot of positive things happening in the world right now. Unfortunately, with the media situation that we find ourselves in, in the United States, it’s hard to find those things, and so we hope by giving you some of these resources, you can stay in tune with some of the positives going on in the world now.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks so much for listening to this special episode of the Experience This show. We will return to our regular schedule next Tuesday and have episodes ready for you through the first week of June. Please note that the rest of the episodes in season five have been pre-recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic. If you liked this episode, please do us a favor and tell your friends and colleagues. Our entire back catalog of more than 90 episodes is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Alexa, or your favorite podcast App.

Joey Coleman: And a special thanks to our wonderful friends Avtex. Avtex has been a fantastic sponsor of the show this season. We so appreciate their support and their continued involvement in helping bring Experience This to your ears every week. What we love about Avtex is that their approach brings together transformation and orchestration, which means they help you to define the areas of CX that need to be improved, and then create a roadmap for improving them. Avtex knowledge and experience in orchestration allows them to help you leverage the people, processes, and technology you need to implement your plan. You can learn more about the great folks at Avtex by visiting their website at www.avtex. That’s A-V-T-E-X.com.

Dan Gingiss: And finally, we are here for you our loyal listeners during this difficult time. If you have a question about how to respond to COVID-19 with a customer experience lens, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. Joey’s email is JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com. And my email is Dan@DanGingiss.com. Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next week on The Experience This show. 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, Experience …

Joey Coleman: … This.


Episode 93: Appeal to New Customers by Creating New Experiences

Join us as we discuss using modern tools to showcase classical art, a museum where kids can touch the exhibits, and how to create even more time to serve your customers.

Cezanne, Sand, and Systems – Oh My!

[CX Press] Reach New Customers with New Approaches to Creativity and Social Media

A museum filled with some of the world’s most renown artists – including Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh – may not seem like the place to find an Instagram artist – but now you can. The Musée d’Orsay in Paris has a new artist in residence – one whose art was previously found on Instagram. Elizabeth Stamp details this new development in her fascinating article, Paris Musee d’Orsay Hires First Artist in Residence, found in Architectural Digest.

Musee d’Orsay

Stamp shares how the museum is working to connect younger generations to older artists with the assistance of painter, illustrator, and writer Jean-Philippe Delhomme. Dehomme is taking over the museums’ Instagram account once a week and posting as though he is an artist featured at the museum. To see an example of how this works, consider the image below where Dehomme playfully comments as if he was Degas lamenting the fact that the painting is too tall to fit in one picture on Instagram.

For businesses that often feel paralyzed by having old or traditional products, or brands that don’t feel they’re “cool enough to be on the Insta,” this project with the Musee d’Orsay and Jean-Philippe Delhomme shows that anyone and anything can be new again – if you’re willing to experiment and try something different.

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

[This Just Happened] Let Guests Touch the Exhibits

Sometimes, it takes only one remarkable experience to make a place memorable. Other times, it’s unforgettable because of a series of remarkable experiences. Joey and his family were recently in downtown Miami, Florida, when they visited the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Most kids are enamored with science museums, but the Frost Museum set itself apart with three exhibits that Joey’s family won’t soon forget: a water current table, a sand table, and an interactive mangrove placement exhibit.

The sand table (pictured below) allowed visitors to move the sand to create new topographical formations. The map, projected down on the table, changed as the sand was moved to show the differences in topography highlighted by colors representing the new elevation.

The water current table (pictured below) allowed visitors to position barriers, locks, and spillways to observe how objects could speed up or slow down water currents.

These interactive exhibits created an unforgettable experience and made a lasting impression.

Consider This: What can you do to let your client tangibly feel your product? Instead of just one remarkable encounter, is it possible for you to take a step back and look for a way to provide a string of unforgettable experiences?

[What Are You Reading?] Create Organizational Efficiency by Employing Systems and Processes

A voracious reader with a stack of “books to read” that is taller than he is, Joey rarely reads a book twice. Unless it’s one written by his friend Mike Michalowicz. Joey read Mike’s book Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself last year, and recently read it again (it was that good!). Clockwork explores systems and processes that are designed to help streamline your business – and then gives clear guidance on how to implement them into your operations.

The best part is, streamlining your business doesn’t take a ridiculous amount of work to build a bunch of new systems. In fact, it is ridiculously easy when you realize that you already have all the systems. The goal is to simply extract them from where they’re already documented, in your head.

Mike Michalowicz, Author of Clockwork

This book is filled with ideas that will dramatically improve your customer experience using organizational efficiency. Pick up a copy today and make your business run better!

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 93 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 using modern tools to showcase classical art. A museum where kids can touch the exhibits. And how to create even more time to serve your customers. Cezanne, sand and systems. Oh my.

[CX Press] Instagram Artist in Residence

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.

Joey Coleman: Brace yourself Dan, because I’m about to start a conversation that involves social media.

Dan Gingiss: Stop the presses ladies and gentlemen, this is nuts. You must be feeling sick today.

Joey Coleman: Well, things are a little crazy, I’ll admit. But I came across a story that I wanted to feature as a CX Press. The article comes from Architectural Digest and is written by Elizabeth Stamp. It’s titled “Paris’s Musee d’Orsay hires its first Instagram artist in residence” and it tells the story of a new development in an old museum.

Dan Gingiss: Well you’ve got my attention, you had me at Instagram, Joey.

Joey Coleman: I figured as much. Well, for listeners that may not be familiar with the Musee d’Orsay, it’s a museum in Paris, France, housed in a stunning Beaux Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. Now interestingly enough, the museum holds mainly French art dating from the same period that the building was built. Including paintings and sculptures, furniture and photos. It also houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, and van Gogh. In short, if you want to see some of the most famous French art from the turn of the last century, the Musee d’Orsay is the place to go, and almost 4 million visitors to the museum have done just that.

Joey Coleman: But now the museum is plunging into the modern era headfirst by hiring its first Instagram artist in residence. Painter, illustrator, writer Jean-Philippe Delhomme is its first Instagram artist in residence. Now, Delhomme is most famous to Americans for his cartoons that have appeared in the New Yorker, GQ and both British and French Vogue.

Dan Gingiss: As part of this project, Delhomme is creating a fictitious Instagram post from a famous artist or cultural figure, which is then shared to the museum’s Instagram followers each Monday throughout 2020. These cartoons imagine famous pieces being posted by their creators with comments and “shares” by other famous people from the era.

Joey Coleman: Now to be clear, these posts aren’t typical Instagram posts. The playfulness, cleverness, intriguing humor is often not in the image, which I think is more the norm for Instagram. Right Dan, or at least that’s what they tell me is happening over on Instagram? But rather, the adventure is in the text below the image. So for example, the artist Degas, famous for some rather tall paintings, and in one of the shares, a sketch of a famous Degas piece is cut off at the bottom, and then caption supposedly from Degas himself saying, “Sorry, I can’t show my long paintings all at once. Please swipe.” Now if you want to see this, you can go to our show notes page at experiencethisshow.com, and we’ve included a couple of the cartoons from their Instagram feed as well as a link to their feed.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, this is pretty clever. I’ve seen something similar in terms of there’s a number of Twitter, and I presume Instagram accounts, that are faux historical figures as if they were tweeting today.

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: Right? And so you take somebody like Abraham Lincoln, right? And you give him a Twitter account and what is it that he would say today and how would he say it? And it’s kind of funny because it’s this a crossing of generations, literally hundreds and hundreds of years.

Joey Coleman: Right. Right.

Dan Gingiss: And so, this is interesting because you’re also taking the art piece into it. And so that the Degas example’s really cool and funny and clever. And I think what it probably serves to do frankly, is introduce some of this French art to a new audience. Because, your typical Instagram kid is probably not terribly knowledgeable about French art and this may be a really interesting way to connect with younger, potential patrons and get them interested.

Dan Gingiss: So Delhomme wrote a book last year called Artists’ Instagrams: The Never Seen Instagrams of the Greatest Artists, which imagined a book format in the same way that he is doing for the Musee d’Orsay.

Joey Coleman: Now what I think is interesting is that a book led to a gig as an Instagram influencer. Maybe there’s hope for me yet Dan, what do you think?

Dan Gingiss: Oh, I definitely think you got a face for Instagram, Joe.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, there you go. Thank you. I appreciate that. Well, this initiative is just one way that the Musee d’Orsay is using modern platforms to share its collection. As you mentioned Dan, this whole idea of everything that is old is new again and the playfulness of taking historical figures and bringing them into a modern context. I agree. I think it opens up an entirely new audience to the museum. And I also really liked the fact that you can get pretty deep into the jokes, right? Because depending on who’s commenting, you really need to know the background of these artists to get the humor.

Joey Coleman: For example, in one of the samples that Delhomme has posted already, he has a piece and then he has an artist commenting on the piece. Then he has this random comment from someone else that just says, “I agree.” Well, the person he’s commenting from to say, “I agree,” was a well known French art critic in the time that was notorious for whether he would release his approval of something or not. And so again, the average person reading this, in fact the above-average person reading this, is going to have no idea what the reference is, but they get to go a little deeper and have some fun along the way.

Dan Gingiss: So let me ask you a question. Presumably there are also real live 2020 people commenting on these images as well. So how are they working that in?

Joey Coleman: I think it’s going to be interesting. There definitely are people commenting on the images below. They started doing this at the beginning of the year and so thus far the ones that I’ve seen posted are mostly, occasionally you’ll see somebody that jumps in and plays and kind of comments in that setting. I personally haven’t seen any with a faux artist or faux historian comment, but that’d be a really interesting thing to do. I wonder if any of those accounts will come over and comment on it. But the whole idea behind this initiative is to get a modern platform for sharing an old collection. And in fact, the museum’s head of contemporary programs is quoted in the article as saying, and I quote, “Our strategy aims to go from scholarship to Instagram and involves every part of the museum,” end quote. They’re even featuring discussions of classical works as videos shared on the museum’s Facebook and YouTube pages. So, the museum is really trying to embrace some of these technological tools to not only expose them to a new audience, but I think to increase the overall reach of their work.

Dan Gingiss: Well, and one of the benefits of the internet and social media is that we have more access to educational content than we’ve ever had in the history of humankind. And I think it makes sense that a museum, which is an educational institution, is taking advantage of that. If anything, you wonder what took them so long to get there. I think the Instagram thing is certainly new. But sharing videos on Facebook and YouTube is something I would expect today’s museums to be doing. One, because not everyone can get to Paris to actually see the work. And two because, in order to inspire people to want to come to Paris, you’ve got to teach them about what’s in your collection. And name alone is probably not going to draw them there except for, and maybe Musee d’Orsay could be one of those, but there’s a few museums in the entire world that you just go because it’s the number one tourist destination in the city. But other than that, in order to bring in a new population, you’re going to have to educate them first.

Joey Coleman: I agree Dan. I think what’s interesting here is, we often have a tendency as customer experience folks, to presume that everybody understands the power and the benefit of using these tools and reaching new customers and engaging in a different way. And I think the reality is, and I’m not being critical of the museum world because we see it in the corporate world and governments all the time, long-standing institutions are not super-excited about change. They’re not super-excited about adopting innovative tools or techniques. And so on one hand, yes, I agree with you, some museums have been early adopters in these technologies. What I like is that some of the museums have waited to make sure the technology is going to work, and then got creative about how they implemented it.

Dan Gingiss: Well, the flip side of it is, is that a lot of older institutions mistakenly believe that everybody knows about art. Or that everybody knows about whatever it is that they’re featuring in their museum, because they live in and breathe it every day. We talk about this with our corporate clients all the time is that, you may be involved every day in widgets and know everything about widgets, but that doesn’t mean that your customer or your prospective customer has the same love for widgets or to the same knowledge at all. And again, what I think is really interesting here is that, this is probably the first time that they’re able to expand their reach globally for a single location that’s located in Paris, France, and it can hit Joey Coleman in Boulder, Colorado and leave an impact.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Well throughout 2020, Delhomme’s illustrations will feature subjects from specific exhibitions that are happening at the Musee d’Orsay, as well as artists that are in the museum’s permanent collection. And what I love about this is how social media is being used to take specific moments in the present and extend them to a worldwide audience, while also bringing specific pieces of art from the past and sharing them with entirely new demographics in the present and in the years to come. For businesses that often feel paralyzed by having an old or traditional products, or brands that don’t feel they’re cool enough to be on the Insta, this project with the Musee d’Orsay and Jean-Philippe Delhomme shows that anyone and anything can be new again, if you’re willing to experiment and try something different.

Dan Gingiss: I love that you referred cool enough to be on the Insta.

Joey Coleman: Do you like that?

[This Just Happened] Frost Science Museum in Miami

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

Joey Coleman: When you were a kid Dan, did you enjoy going to museums?

Dan Gingiss: Well I did Joey, and part of that comes from living in Chicago where we have amazing museums, and I would say that even though I’m not a kid anymore, I still do it.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough. Well, I must confess that while I enjoyed the learning that would happen when we went to museums, there were certainly some that stood out more than others for both their unique design and their interactive exhibits. And some that come to mind include the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Chicago Field Museum, and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, that I imagine you might’ve visited once or twice when you were a kid.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I’ve been to both of those many, many times. The Museum of Science and Industry’s one of my favorites in the world and I would add the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago also is incredible.

Joey Coleman: Another great place, I totally agree. And in fact I have some very vivid memories of the coal mine exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry when I was a kid,.

Dan Gingiss: The Coleman exhibit?

Joey Coleman: That’d be the coal mine and not the Coleman exhibit.

Dan Gingiss: Oh.

Joey Coleman: But yeah, I remember it being so much fun, and I actually had an experience recently with my boys at a museum that left me thinking that they might have these same type of vivid memories in the future, because the museum we went to was so incredible.

Dan Gingiss: Tell me more. Which museum was it?

Joey Coleman: Well, we were actually in downtown Miami, and we went to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Now, as a general rule, I think most kids enjoy a good science museum, but my boys were completely enamored with the exhibits and particularly the experience of this museum. And in fact, there were three things that they’re still talking about weeks, even months later. The water current table, the sand table, and the interactive mangrove placement exhibit.

Dan Gingiss: Whoa, that’s a whole lot of words there. Let’s start with that sand table. That sounds fun.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, so the sand table was really cool. Let me explain how it worked. We walked into a dark room with a large table in the middle of the room that was covered with sand. A projector above the table beamed down a colorful topographical map, and while many museums feature topographical maps to help educate their visitors, this was an application I’d never seen before. Because the table was low enough that young children could put their hands into the sand, and as they move the sand around the table, building up little mountains and carving out valleys, the colors being projected on the map altered to match the topography of the sand.

Dan Gingiss: Wait, so the map coloring changed as your kids move the sand around?

Joey Coleman: Exactly. Exactly. So they could learn about topography by actually creating topography with their hands and then seeing how the colors shifted. I know it sounds pretty crazy, but I actually found it mesmerizing and in fact, took some photos and filmed the video of the table and action so that our listeners can see what I’m talking about. So just visit the show notes for this episode at experiencethisshow.com and you too will be able to see how moving the sand allowed our kids to build mountains, create valleys, do rivers that went into the ocean, the whole thing. It was really quite impressive.

Dan Gingiss: I’m reminded of one of our favorite episodes back in season one, episode 24, where we talked with Steve Spangler and we had this whole discussion about hands-on science and how it’s so much better than reading from a textbook or watching a boring slideshow or whatever, that when kids can use their hands and actually experience the science happening in real time, they retain it more. But probably more importantly, they enjoy it more and it creates those memories you’re talking about.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And here’s the crazy thing. I don’t think those hardwired biological imperatives shift when we get older, right? Humans of all ages, whether you’re a kid or an adult, love to be able to get hands-on. And so when we think about the experiences we’re creating for our customers, what ways are there that we can come up with to actually let them hold the products or hold the experience in that type of interactive way?

Joey Coleman: Well, while the topographical sand table was definitely a cool thing, the mangrove placement exhibit outside was even more captivating to the kids.

Dan Gingiss: And I’m excited about this, because I still don’t even know what a mangrove placement exhibit is.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, and I don’t know if that’s, for what it’s worth, that’s what it’s officially called. But that’s what you did. So let me set the scene for you. There’s an open deck outside that capitalizes on the incredible views of Miami and the harbor, and on this deck you get a feel for how coastal flooding could actually impact these locations. And so they had an exhibit set out that allowed you to move small models of mangrove trees around in a landscape. And then when you press a button, a wave would come in and the mangrove trees would either block or not block the wave from hitting the buildings in the model. And so because you could move the different trees around, it taught you how planting trees in different patterns can actually slow the waves. And then of course the kids bring the tide in, they could see whether their idea or their hypothesis about where they planted the trees worked to stop erosion.

Dan Gingiss: Joey, this reminds me of when I had the opportunity to take a cruise to Alaska. And we hear all about this concept of climate change and how things are altering on the earth. And not until I actually viewed the glaciers, which are broken into pieces and only a fraction of the size they once were, did it really hit home for me. And it’s a different kind of experience, but it goes to the same concept of, you know the old joke, “You had to be there?”

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: That’s kind of what this is, is that you have to be there to really see it. Otherwise, you’re reading descriptions. And today, everybody’s got a healthy dose of skepticism about what’s true and what’s not and whatever. But when you’re actually doing it and you see the impact, that was an overwhelming experience for me because I certainly had heard about the glaciers receding and breaking up, but when I saw it with my own eyes it was like this holy you-know-what moment that I don’t think I could have accomplished had I not actually seen it.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And at the risk of going off on a tangent, science is science. Facts are facts. There’s not a lot of dispute about that. However, I totally agree with you that being able to see it real-time. Being able to put your hands into an exhibit to move mangrove trees around for example, and see waves out in the ocean and think about those waves coming closer to the buildings that are there, and then play that out in a diorama in front of you, definitely got my boys thinking about this in a different way, and frankly, was a much more exciting way to explain these concepts to them then to sit down and say, “Boys, let’s talk about soil erosion and how it’s going to impact land developments,” right? It was definitely an interesting way to learn about this. And this exhibit, as well as the sand table, got me thinking that the more hands-on, the more powerful the experience.

Joey Coleman: In fact, the other exhibit that I mentioned, the water current table, was designed just like you might think the name implies. So a water current is running down this large sloped table with multiple tiers. And by moving barriers or locks in the river, you can adjust the flow and intensity of the current. So my kids ended up soaking wet, but in the process they enjoyed manipulating the water and seeing how it impacted the rest of the exhibit. To be honest, this kept them entertained for over 25 minutes. We actually had to say, “Guys, I know you’re having fun, but there’s the rest of the museum you want to see.”

Dan Gingiss: “Everybody out of the pool,” right?

Joey Coleman: Right. Like, “Everybody out of the pool. We got to go see all the other exhibits that are going on around here.” So I think it’s one of those things where, when we think about designing experiences for our customers, are your experiences so engaging, so interactive, that they lose track of time?

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And one of the things that I talk about a lot in my keynotes is this idea of being immersive and that the best experiences are ones that you feel in your bones. And the best way to accomplish that, as far as I’m concerned, is to stop looking at individual touch points in your customer journey, and look at the entire thing together. Because, what’s happening at this museum is that, yeah, there’s different touch points in terms of each one of the exhibits, but each one of them is giving you this opportunity to feel it in your bones. And that’s why your kids remember it so much. And frankly, let’s be honest, that’s why you remember it so much, right?

Joey Coleman: Totally.

Dan Gingiss: This isn’t just a kid thing. People, consumers, humans, adults, whatever, are going to remember things that are more immersive in nature, much more than just a singular event like a smile or a thank you note, which are all important aspects, but they’ve got to add up to a bigger whole.

Joey Coleman: I couldn’t agree more, Dan. So folks, when you’re designing the experiences for your brand and your organization, think immersive. Think hands-on. Think colorful. Think, how can I build something that my customers will be so engaged in that they will actually lose track of time? And if you get the chance to head to the Frost Museum of Science and see this in action, don’t miss it. It’s well worth the visit.

[What Are You Reading?] Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz

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: So Joey, I know you spend a lot of time reading and it’s been all of six weeks since I asked you this question, but have you read any good books lately that might be interesting to our audience?

Joey Coleman: Well, I’ve definitely been reading a healthy mix of both fiction books and nonfiction books, Dan. But there’s one book that was high on my list of must-reads for 2020, and interestingly enough, I’d actually already read it before. And I wanted to read it again for two reasons. One, I think I’m actually ready for the message of the book this time. And number two, it’s in alignment with my top business goal for the year.

Dan Gingiss: Well, this is fascinating, especially because you read so many books that you have time to read a book a second time. This must be an important book for that to fall into that category, and I’m also interested in your top business goal. So, do share.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Well, I first read this book, which is called Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz last year. Now, I’ve always been impressed by Mike as a speaker, we’ve spoken at the same events many times. And also as a podcast host. He has a great show called Entrepreneurship Elevated, which I’ve actually had the pleasure of both listening to and being a guest on. And I’m really impressed by what a great writer he is. His messaging is super-clear. He has prose, is entertaining, and he packs a ton of value into books that can be consumed very quickly, but should actually be read more than once because they’re so rich with wisdom and actionable advice.

Dan Gingiss: Well, that is pretty high praise from a guy who reads a ton of books, so tell us a little bit more.

Joey Coleman: Well, I feel like it’s well deserved, especially when it comes to Mike and his work. The reason I went through Clockwork a second time, is because I’ve made some adjustments in my business this year to add more systems and processes, and I really want to do that even more. As a customer experience guy, one of my favorite things to do is connect with my customers. Whether it’s audiences that have seen me speak or listeners that have enjoyed our podcast, people that have read my book or clients I’ve worked with one-on-one, keeping in touch with all of these people, frankly gets more and more difficult each year. Because the systems, or frankly lack thereof in my business, combined with my hectic travel schedule, lead me with more things to do and fewer hours in the day, month after month.

Dan Gingiss: I think this is actually a very common issue that entrepreneurs have. I’m experiencing the same thing. Having moved from corporate America to being a solopreneur as well, is that there’s so much attention paid to, well I got to get my message out and I got to market to the masses. And I’ve gotta, for me anyway, post on social media and whatever it is. And it’s really important to remember that, the people who are keeping our business going every day, our existing customers, are the ones that literally put food on our table and literally keep our business running. And we have to keep reminding ourselves that they’re the people that deserve the most of our attention, not the least of our attention.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. And I think most entrepreneurs, or at least I know I’ve been guilty of this, see systems as constraints and not fun. Or, they see systems as a requirement to really scale. And while they say they want to scale, they don’t really want to scale. I’ve been thinking of it differently, that systems give me time. And with that time I can go deeper with the people I want to go deeper with and have a better connection.

Dan Gingiss: And I’m going to bring up one more social media example here, but that’s exactly how my strategy has changed on Twitter over the years, is I actually now preschedule most of my tweets, which are sharing articles or our podcast episodes or what have you. But the reason that I do that is so that the time I do spend on Twitter, I can spend engaging with people. And so my time is spent talking with people, tweeting back and forth, establishing relationships. Whereas what I’ve systematized is the outgoing sharing of content-

Joey Coleman: Just a general post and things like that.

Dan Gingiss: … Yeah. And so I love the concept of being able to do that elsewhere in a business, because I’ve seen it work for me on Twitter.

Joey Coleman: Why I appreciate that. And to be honest, I was a little bit resistant to systems in the beginning. And what I love about Clockwork, is it outlines a very clear directive that you need to allocate your business’s time between doing, deciding, delegating, and designing. Now Mike calls this the 4D Mix, and he notes that getting it in the right proportion is crucial to help your business run yourself. He recommends an ideal mix for a company that is 80% doing, 2% deciding, 8% delegating, and 10% designing.

Dan Gingiss: That is a pretty interesting ratio and I hope you’re going to talk more about it because, both in the companies I’ve worked for, and again, trying to run my own business, I would say those ratios seem quite different from most organizations I know of.

Joey Coleman: Yeah. Totally. To be honest, I’ve run a business for almost 20 years now and I’ve had a very different distribution across those 4Ds. To be honest, the book felt like therapy the first time I read it, and now it’s feeling like a roadmap. I love how Michalowicz doesn’t make you feel judged when you’re reading about all the ways you’ve messed up on your operational behaviors in the past. And in fact, one of the quotes that I highlighted from the book, saw him noting that quote, “Even as I write this, I still have to remind myself to work smarter, not harder,” end quote.

Joey Coleman: The fact that the author shares his struggles with the same things that I’m struggling with, made me realize this is a great person to learn from. And he also offers great encouragement in the book. I particularly enjoyed this passage about systems. “The best part is, streamlining your business doesn’t take a ridiculous amount of work to build a bunch of new systems. In fact, it is ridiculously easy when you realize that you already have all the systems. The goal is to simply extract them from where they’re already documented, in your head.” Now, that really resonated with me and frankly it got underlined and highlighted and rewritten many times because I want that to sink in. This doesn’t have to be a complex process. You just have to write down what you’re doing now, so that you can delegate it or automate it and have it done by someone else.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it goes against the grain of the old wisdom, if you want it done right, do it yourself. Right?

Joey Coleman: Right.

Dan Gingiss: Which is pretty much what every entrepreneur thinks, and especially at the beginning it’s required. Because, when you first start off your business, you don’t have the luxury of having systems or staff or other people to delegate to. So the only person you’re delegating to is yourself. Right? So as you grow, that becomes really important. And I would say also from experience of being a manager, that delegating is really important because sometimes you have to let go and you have to let another person thrive and succeed and take care of something so that you can work on on something else.

Dan Gingiss: I’m also reminded as you said this quote about that the author’s in the same place and not showing judgment, is I actually think that is true of what we do here on this podcast, right? Is that, really everybody is in the same place of knowing they have to focus on customer experience, but maybe not knowing exactly how or being in a different place along the the curve. And, hopefully you don’t find us as hosts as judging anybody for not doing stuff. But it’s more about suggestions and ways that have worked for other companies and trying to find that inspiration to then apply to your own business. And so whether it’s systems or experience or marketing or whatever it is, I think it’s equally applicable.

Joey Coleman: Well, I think for what it’s worth, I don’t want to speak out of school here, but I think you’d agree with me, Dan, we’re also on the same boat. We know we could improve on our customer experience. This isn’t a finish line that you’re trying to get to. This is a constantly evolving process. And what I love about this book is that it’s chockfull of suggestions and systems to help businesses of any size, in any industry, increase their organizational efficiency. So whether you’re an entrepreneur, whether you’re working as an intrepreneur, whether you’re just an employee in a large organization, there’s something there for you. So if you’re listening to this and you know you could do better. If you know you could be working smarter instead of harder.

Joey Coleman: If you think it’s time to incorporate more systems into your business so you can serve your customers even better and deliver more remarkable experiences, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Mike Michalowicz’s book, Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself. And while you’re in the mood to check out Mike’s work, pick up a copy of his new book coming out next month called, Fix This Next: Make the Vital Change That Will Level Up Your Business. Now to be honest, I haven’t read it yet, but having read all of Mike’s other books, I’ve got this one pre-ordered already and I’m sure it’s going to be a hit. Just think, with all of your new-found time, thanks to the systems you’re going to be implementing, you’ll have more time to serve your customers and read great books like these.

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 91 – Make Spaces Fun and Familiar to Keep Customers Coming Back for More

Join us as we discuss reinventing the shopping mall, the experience of becoming a new manager, and how the comforts of home can make strange places feel more familiar.

Dreaming, Managing, and Alexa-ing – Oh My!

[CX Press] The “Shopping” Mall is Now the “Experience” Mall at American Dream

A new shopping mall in 2020 doesn’t usual garner headlines. But that’s not the case with the new American Dream. In Amanda Hess’ New York Times article, “Welcome to the Era of the Post-Shopping Mall,” she describes the opening of a new, 3-million-square-foot “mall” that is so ambitious that it transcends the word “mall.”

American Dream offers more than shopping. In fact, with 55% of the space allocated to entertainment and just 45% to retail, American Dream puts shopping activities on the back burner. Top attractions include:

  • Big Snow – an indoor ski hill filled with 5,500 tons of “real snow” that fall from the ceiling of a warehouse where the temperature is always 28 degrees
  • a live performance theater
  • Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park – boasting a roller coaster with the steepest drop in the world at 121.5-degrees
  • a National Hockey League-sized ice rink, and
  • DreamWorks Water Park (home to the world’s biggest wave pool)

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for the sweet life, and I will give you IT’SUGAR.

Sign at the entrance to IT’SUGAR store at American Dream Mall

Whether a focus on entertainment and experience can save the shopping mall remains to be seen, but American Dream promises to bring a vision into reality every day in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

[Book Report] Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader

Every year, millions of top performers are promoted to management-level jobs — only to discover that the tactics, techniques, and skills they used to get promoted are not the same tactics, techniques, and skills that will make them effective in their new role. It turns out that what it takes to be great as an individual contributor is NOT THE SAME as what it takes to be an excellent leader.

Acclaimed podcaster Ryan Hawk’s new book, Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader helps recently promoted leaders successfully transition to their new roles. Filled with great stories and actionable recommendations, Hawk’s book offers dozens of suggestions on enhancing your leadership abilities.

A person who is a “learning machine” is intentionally and constantly seeking new information with the goal of becoming better. Machines are not organic; they don’t spontaneously generate. They have to be built. And, increasingly in our modern digital age, they also must be programmed. The same is true for a person to become a learning machine. Like the interest that accrues over time in the long-term style of investing that Warren Buffet advocates, the benefits of building yourself into an engine of learning compound. It doesn’t matter what set of skills and deficiencies you bring to a job, an assignment, or a moment of adversity. What you have at the start won’t define how it ends because by being in constant learning mode you evolve throughout the process.

Ryan Hawk, author of Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader

If you’re a new manager transitioning from an individual contributor role to being in charge of a team, if you’re an experienced executive seeking guidance as you continue to navigate rocky terrain, or if you’re just an entrepreneur who hopes to improve team engagement and retention, Ryan Hawk’s book Welcome to Management needs to be on your bookshelf!

[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] Bringing the Comforts of Home to the Road

With voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and Siri becoming so prevalent in peoples’ homes, it’s not that surprising that hotels are starting to provide voice assistants in their rooms. In the past, travelers usually wanted a hotel to have a very different feel than a home. Now it seems that most hotels are trying to bring the comforts of home into the hotel setting.

card on the desk next to Amazon Echo – encouraging guests to ask Alexa about the restaurant

What can you do to make customers feel at home in your establishment? Consider the following:

  • Explore ways to make the places your customers interact with you feel more like home. If a customer visits your office, store, or some other location that you oversee, figure out ways to make things feel more familiar to them.
  • Anticipate what your customers need – but still give them choice. While the hotel realized that ear plugs aren’t for everyone, I imagine almost all of their guests appreciate the hotel thinking ahead to provide them if there is a chance that sleep might be compromised by construction.
  • Experiment with creating small moments of delight. Even if you don’t implement major changes across your entire organization, try small enhancements.

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 91 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. So hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This. Get ready for another episode of the Experience This show.

Dan: Join us as we discuss reinventing the shopping mall experience, the experience of becoming a new manager and how the comforts of home can make strange places feel more familiar.

Joey: Dreaming, managing and Alexa-ing. Oh my.

Dan: Is that a word?

[CX PRESS] 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.

Joey: Out of curiosity, Dan, when was the last time you were in a shopping mall?

Dan: So actually it was on Black Friday, and I was really interested-

Joey: Well, so a few months ago.

Dan: Yeah, it was recently and I was really interested to see how the malls were doing, the busiest day of the year. And I have to tell you, I was actually really surprised. It was very, very crowded. There were stores that I never hear about that were mobbed. Like footlocker, was wall-to-wall people, bath and body works was stuffed with people and I was really surprised to be honest.

Joey: Fair enough. Fair enough. Now granted, that was Black Friday, so it was the biggest shopping day of the year. I don’t really go to malls that much anymore, and in fact I never go on Black Friday for that very reason because it’s so crowded. I probably stepped foot in a shopping mall two times a year, maybe three times a year, which is why I was intrigued by an article I came across recently. This article comes from the New York times and is titled, Welcome to the Era of the Post-Shopping Mall. The article is by Amanda Hess and it describes the opening of American Dream, a 3 million square foot mall that is so ambitious that it transcends the word mall.

Dan: The leadership team at American Dream prefers to call their new development a quote, “Revolutionary, first of its kind community, an unrivaled destination for style and play and an incredible collection of unique experiences”. Located in East Rutherford, New Jersey. More than half of American Dream space is not retail stores but rather entertainment venues. I think the article sums it best when noting the psychic center of American social life has shifted from buying things to feeling them.

Joey: And the American dream is all about the feels as the kids say these days. Within the building are several enormous entertainment options including big snow, which is an indoor ski hill filled with 5,000 tons of real snow that falls from the ceiling of a warehouse where the temperature is always 28 degrees. It’s the largest indoor ski hill in the Western hemisphere, a live performance theater, a Nickelodeon universe theme park, boasting a roller coaster with the steepest drop in the world at 121.5 degrees, a national hockey league sized ice rink and DreamWorks Waterpark home to the world’s biggest wave pool.

Joey: It’s overwhelming just listing out the major attractions at American Dream. And for what it’s worth, you can see some interesting photographs by Ross Mantle in the article. Seriously, folks, this doesn’t look like a mall. It looks like an amusement park that had some stores built in it. Everything that used to be outside is now inside the mall.

Dan: What I found interesting about American Dream is that everyone talks about the death of retail thanks to e-commerce and here we have a group of investors, developers, retail establishments and entertainment properties that are betting big on the idea that people still want to go to the mall. And I think what’s smart here is that they’re not calling it the mall because I do think that there is-

Joey: There’s a stigma.

Dan: … there’s a stigma connotation and this clearly isn’t going to the mall. Now I’m assuming there’s stores here and you can purchase stuff and probably eat and all that sort of stuff, but I think this is the future because it is entirely experiential. I would guess without knowing the stores that are in there that stores like for example, the Lego store would have a great place in the American dream, because it’s a store that you go and experience and have fun at versus a store where you’re really just kind of walking through shelves of merchandise.

Joey: Absolutely, absolutely. And in fact, what I think is interesting and why the mall will continue to be a gathering place, at least in American society, is because people are social creatures. They want to have those interactions. They may not want to shop, but they want to be around other people and be entertained. And in fact, the article notes in what I thought was one of the nicest phrases in the article, “The Americans eye for sociological observation, was forged in the glow of the Orange Julius” and it just took me back. Remember the Orange Julius?

Dan: Yeah. It’s owned by Dairy Queen now.

Joey: There you go. Orange Julius was a blast. And I think the folks behind American Dream are indeed betting big. The prior developers spent $3 billion on the project and then the current team came in and spent another $2 billion. That’s $5 billion spent on the mall before a dollar has been spent in the mall.

Dan: Yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty big bet.

Joey: Absolutely. And I was fascinated by this story. So I did a little research beyond the CX Press article and learned that the developers who own American Dream also own the infamous Mall of America in Minneapolis.

Dan: Is it infamous or famous?

Joey: I think infamous. It’s both. Maybe?

Dan: Okay. Again – stigma and connotation.

Joey: They also own the West Edmonton mall, which now means these developers own three of the four largest malls on the continent of North America. But what stood out to me was the difference between these malls in terms of their ratio of retail to entertainment. Those two older malls, the Mall of America and West Edmonton mall have 20% entertainment and 80% retail. American Dream, on the other hand, has 55% entertainment and only 45% retail. So it’s truly more entertainment than shopping.

Dan: In fact, the developers turned down retailers that wanted to be in the mall but failed to offer more than a mere retail experience. Now, it’s not clear what retail establishments got turned down or how the developers defined beyond a mere retail experience, but it will be interesting to see if shoppers feel the same way. The fact that American Dream is home to IT’SUGAR, the world’s largest non-manufacturer candy store will probably help with people feeling hyped about the experience. In fact, the article describes a 60 foot replica of the statue of Liberty constructed from green jellybeans that stands at the entrance to the store.

Dan: She holds a lollipop for a torch and wears a sash that says, “You know you want it,” and her feet is written, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for the sweet life and I will give you IT’SUGAR.”

Joey: Okay, that certainly feels American in some regards, not all of which are necessarily positive, but what I think is interesting here is that once again we have an example of a brand that is zigging when everybody else is zagging. The folks at American Dream are saying, look, we think that the human condition is such that people will want to gather, they will want to be entertained and if they opt the opportunity to shop a little on the side, they’re happy to do that as well. Everything that is old is being reborn again. Everything that worked well in the past is being repackaged, reformulated, and re-conceived into something that is more experiential. In fact, I think if we get the chance, we should do a road trip and do an experience live episode…

Dan: Experience This live. Yeah, baby.

Joey: … from the American Dream.

Dan: Sign me up.

Joey: 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. We often talk about customer experience and customer service books on this show, but today I want to share a book with our listeners that while not specifically about those topics, I think is a must read for anyone that wants to be a better leader in those areas of business. It’s by my great friend Ryan Hawk and it’s called Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader. Hawke’s book is a fantastic resource to deal with a major problem that we have in business today.

Joey: You see, every year millions of top performers are promoted to management level jobs only to discover that the tactics and techniques and skills that they use to get promoted are not the same tactics, techniques, and skills that will make them effective as managers in their new role. It turns out that what it takes to be great as an individual contributor is not the same as what it takes to be an excellent leader.

Dan: This is so true. And having been in corporate America for more than 20 years, I’ve seen this time and time again. And it introduces also this paradox because companies have figured out that when they want to hire people managers, they need to look for people with experience managing people. But that begs the question, how do you get experience managing people if you can’t be a manager? And so there’s this paradox and that’s one of the biggest parts of developing in your career is when you’re now in charge of other people’s careers and there are skills that have absolutely nothing to do with what made you good in your original job. The problem is that most companies don’t spend any time training on that or even letting people know what being a manager is going to be like. It’s just throw them in, see if they can swim.

Joey: Congratulations. You’ve been promoted.

Dan: Yeah, and it affects not only that employee, but all the employees, but all the employees that report up to him.

Joey: All the employees. And so then it becomes part of the employee experience, which as we talk about on the show, spills into the customer experience. I have not spent nearly as much time in corporate America as you have Dan, but I had a very similar experience in the sense that I joined a organization as part of the sales team and my boss had been the top salesperson the year before and then had been promoted to manage a team of 10 people. And let’s just say he was a much better salesperson than he was a manager. In fact, as the year went on, he started going out on the road into his sales teams territory to close deals and basically take commissions away from us so that he could hit the team numbers. Needless to say, it was mostly a disaster and over the of the year we went from having 10 people on the team to having two people on the team.

Dan: Whoopsie.

Joey: Whoops. Oh my goodness, what I would have given to be able to put a copy of Welcome to Management in front of that sales manager!

Dan: It really is a great book filled with practical, actionable advice and tools that are designed to make the transition to a new leader, a successful one. What I particularly enjoyed about the book is where the knowledge Hawk shares comes from, but I think it’s best to let him explain.

Ryan Hawk: I believe that every person has the ability to lead. It’s just a matter of learning how. I wanted to learn directly from the people who fascinated me the most. As fate would have it, the serendipity of a seat assignment for a flight to Lake Tahoe in 2014 set me on the unexpected path of doing just that. As I sat down and stretched by legs in my exit row seat, I found myself next to a friend of Todd Wagner. Todd Wagner founded broadcast.com and eventually sold it to Yahoo for billions. He did this with his partner, future investment shark and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Over the course of this flight out West, I told my new friend about my desire to learn more and to create my own cast of teachers in the form of people who have lived lives of excellent leadership.

Ryan Hawk: By the time we landed, he had agreed to connect me with someone on Todd’s team. Soon after I met Todd for dinner, Todd arrived about an hour early at the hotel where we were going to have dinner and I was fortunate to spend this time with the self made billionaire at the bar. He was as kind as he was wise. I was blown away by his intelligence and his humble nature. I peppered him with questions. I wanted to learn about the what, who, why, and how at broadcast.com. I was eager to hear how they looked, the leaders of Yahoo in the eye and said, “Look, you’re either going to buy us or you’ll have to compete with us. You decide.” Todd and Mark concluded their meeting and walked away with $5.7 billion. It was an incredible story, but I had one regret. I wished I had recorded the conversation I wanted to pass along what I had learned to others.

Ryan Hawk: That dinner gave me a taste of what I could learn if I went directly to the source of the knowledge I so badly wanted to gain. In fact, I started thinking about how to have more conversations like that one and how to share them with others. Through that confluence of events, I decided to create an interview format podcast as my own virtual PhD program and call it The Learning Leader Show.

Dan: On Ryan’s podcast, he has interviewed over 300 of the most forward thinking leaders around the world. From celebrated author Jim Collins to baseball, Darryl Strawberry to fortune 50 CEO Carly Fiorina, to coaching legend Jim Tressel, to retired four star general Stanley McChrystal, to podcast cohost Joey Coleman.

Joey: All right. All right. You’re too kind to include me on that list, Dan.

Dan: Oh no, no. My pleasure. Seriously, my pleasure. And in fact the way that Hawk builds his knowledge by talking to podcast guests from all walks of life is a nice segue to my favorite passage in the book. It comes very early on where Hawk outlines an important commonality of those who sustain excellence over an extended period of time. They become learning machines. Here’s the quote. “Learning hard things is an active exercise of thought. It is not simply a process of downloading information into our brains. When we have new ideas, perspectives or experiences, our thoughtful contemplation of what they are, why they exist and what to do with them is how learning happens. While it’s certainly possible to learn passively, this isn’t optimal. Passive learners have a low ceiling on their learning potential, whereas those who approach learning with purpose, focus and effort do far better.

Dan: If thoughtfulness is the instrument of learning. Intentionality is the power. A person as a learning machine, is intentionally and constantly seeking new information with the goal of becoming better. Machines are not organic. They don’t spontaneously generate they have to be built. And increasingly in our modern digital age, they also must be programmed. The same is true for a person to become a learning machine, like the interest that accrues over time in the longterm style of investing that Warren Buffet advocates, the benefits of building yourself into an engine of learning compound. It doesn’t matter what set of skills and deficiencies you bring to a job, an assignment, or a moment of adversity. What you have at the start won’t define how it ends because by being in a constant learning mode, you evolve throughout the process.”

Joey: I absolutely love it. I know you’ve committed to being a learning machine Dan, so I’m not surprised that that was your favorite passage. I’ve made that same commitment and in fact, I believe that anyone listening to this segment right now is a learning machine. You have a thirst for knowledge. You’re listening to a customer experience podcast talk about a leadership book for Pete’s sake because you can connect the dots. You’re optimistic and we hope we reward that faith that you’ll be able to apply the things that you learn in this conversation to your own life, both at work and at home. I love this drive to keep learning. And what I find fascinating about Hawk’s book is that time and time again, he shows how the most successful people in business, in sports, in industry, in the military and every other walk of life are committed to constantly learning and improving.

Dan: Yeah, and I think you’re right, it’s an interesting analogy to this show in that we often tell stories that don’t immediately evoke customer experience and yet we try to bring them back to you can apply them to your business. And I think that the best learners learn from other industries, learn from other things that they don’t know about. I was always encouraged in high school and college to take liberal arts courses just to expand my knowledge. So I took a history of music course. I took an art history course. No, I’ve never used those in my career, but they sort of got stored in the back of my head and have helped out at different times in my life. So I do think that if we’re open minded to learning about something that is not exactly what we’re doing at work every day, we generally can find in our brains a way to apply it to use it in our day to day life. So what Joey was your favorite part of the book?

Joey: Well, to be honest Dan, it’s difficult to narrow it down to one. Hawk writes in such an accessible and conversational style that I found myself zipping from chapter to chapter, picking up suggestions and bits of wisdom left and right. But that being said, one of the little nuggets that stood out to me the most was about little nuggets of information or as Hawk calls them the small details of human relations. As he notes in the book, “I found it incredibly useful to tend to the small details of human relations with the teams I’ve led. I utilize a get to know you document with team members and colleagues to better understand them as people. This has given me valuable intel so that I can show love to the people who love my team member.

Joey: I built some lasting relationships with those I’ve worked with by sending their kids a video game from their Amazon wishlist or some cookies along with a note that reads to Sarah and Jeremy. Your mom is absolutely crushing it at work. You should be very proud of her. I know she works hard to support you and your family. As a way of saying thank you, please enjoy these cookies and video game. Too many leaders neglect the tiny but important parts of serving the people on their team. As a manager and leader, it is mission critical to constantly analyze and pay attention to the small details they add up and can be the difference between success and failure. Some small details in your leadership role that matter include the manner in which you greet your team. Smile, ask about each of them personally, be direct, how you start a meeting. Are you boring? Do you have a plan? Is it impactful? The cleanliness of your desk, your process for organization. The list goes on and on. Small details matter.”

Joey: Now, I thought this was important and it’s not a big leap as little details matter is a fairly common maxim in the world of customer experience. But what I loved about this perspective is how Hawk applied this, not only externally to customers, but internally to your teammates, your employees, your direct reports. Do you spend as much time paying attention to the little details that matter to them as you do to your customers? My gut instinct is that you don’t, and so if you’re a new manager, transitioning from an individual contributor role to being in charge of a team, if you’re an experienced executive who seeks guidance as you continue to navigate rocky terrain or frankly, if you’re just an entrepreneur who hopes to improve your team engagement and retention, Ryan Hawk’s book, Welcome to Management: How to Grow From Top Performer to Excellent Leader needs to be on your bookshelf. Pick up a copy today and I promise that within a few pages you’ll already be leading from a better place.

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? I had something happened to me at a hotel recently, Dan, that had never happened before.

Dan: Oh boy. Hopefully, I didn’t involve-

Joey: No, no, no. Stay calm, stay calm. There’s so many places we could go with this. But what happened is that upon checking into my room and starting to get situated, I saw a familiar device sitting on the table next to the sofa. It was an Alexa and next to it was a sign that said, “Hungry, thirsty? Just ask Alexa what’s happening at Stoke restaurant and get a quick rundown of today’s feature, special events and happenings.”

Dan: So of course you tried it out?

Joey: Of course, I did and I even took some video which you can find on our show notes page at experiencethisshow.com and I’ll play the audio for you now. “Alexa, what’s happening at Stoke Restaurant?”

Alexa: Marriott Charlotte can help with that.

Speaker 6: Maybe head outside, the fall is in the air down in Stoke Bar. Come try the apple crisp, fresh apples and cinnamon mixed with Muddy Rivers Spice Carolina Rum, made right here in Charlotte. We look forward to seeing you for happy hour or maybe after dinner. Come see us soon.

Dan: Okay, that’s pretty cool. I mean, I’m a big fan of Alexa. I have one in almost every room of my house. I now have one in my car. I like Alexa. She would beat Siri in a wrestling match to the death any day, but I’ve never experienced it in a hotel.

Joey: I agree. This was the first time that had happened to me and voice assistants like Alexa and Google home and Siri are becoming so prevalent in people’s homes that it’s not surprising that some hotels are starting to provide voice assistance in their rooms. I guess what’s surprising is that given how many nights I spent in hotels during the year, this is the first time I’ve ever come across something like this and I find it fascinating to think about how do you make a hotel feel like home? In the past, travelers usually wanted a hotel to have a very different field than their house. Now it seems like most hotels are trying to bring the comforts of home into a hotel setting.

Dan: Yeah, you’re right. I mean I’ve been to hotels that let you choose your pillow from a pillow menu, for example. So you can sleep with something that more closely resembles to the one you use at home. There are hotels that’ll loan you work out clothes and shoes so you don’t have to bring them with you. I need to find those hotels because I hate bringing all that stuff. And if you visit a hotel frequently enough, you can even leave items behind that they will bring out when you return.

Joey: Well, and it runs both ways as well, right? There are many hotels that let you purchase the amenities you experience at the hotel. As part of their heavenly sleep experience, the Weston allows you to purchase complete bedding sets and even mattresses online for you to use in your own home. Now, not only does this allow them another way to recoup some of their investment in designing and purchasing beds and sheets in bulk, but it creates a scenario where every time someone crawls into their bed at home, they’re reminded of their stay at the Weston that led them to purchase this bed or sheets or pillows.

Dan: I don’t know if I’ve ever told you this story Joey, but I fell in love with a hotel in the Hong Kong airport. And airport hotels are not normally known as being stellar.

Joey: Places where you would fall in love with the experience.

Dan: But this is a hotel, it’s called Regal and it is actually in the airport, not offsite, it is literally in the airport and it is a beautiful hotel and I slept on the most comfortable pillows I’ve ever slept on. I happen to know that I was going to be back in Hong Kong in two weeks. So I asked them, “Do you sell your pillows?” And they were like, “Well, of course we do.” And I said, “How much are they?” And I was waiting something big. They said they were $35 a piece, which I thought was pretty nice. So I said, “I’ll take four, can you box them up for me?” I show up two weeks later they have shrink wrapped, like in vacuum pack, they vacuum packed the four pillows into a single box, which was light because it’s just pillow pillows.

Joey: Its pillows.

Dan: I just checked it with my bags and I still asleep on those pillows at home and I still think of the Regal hotel for exactly that reason.

Joey: Exactly. And so this whole connection between the home experience and those pillows are now in your house and you sleep on those pillows and you think of the hotel, it’s back and forth. The Alexa in the room wasn’t the only thing that stood out though. And as I arrived I realized that there was a major construction project happening on the street in front of the hotel.

Dan: That can be bad. You spend all day traveling and then you arrive and you find construction or you’re trying to work during the day and you hear all the jack hammering going on. So any regular traveler knows that you can expect a lot of noise when construction resumed early in the morning.

Joey: Yes. And it’s almost always earlier than I would like to wake up. Now what was interesting is how the hotel handled this. Now let’s be clear, folks. The construction on the street in front of the hotel isn’t the hotel’s fault. The city is making repairs to the street and I presume those repairs needed to be made. I’m sure the hotel isn’t happy about the inconvenience that it’s causing them or the guests. But that being said, while the construction isn’t their fault, it’s their problem and what are they going to do to deal with it? And the way they did it I thought was pretty effective. So next to the Alexa in my room was a note and a little package. Now let me share the contents of the note and it will explain to you what the package was in the process.

Joey: The note read, “Welcome to the Charlotte Marriott city center. We’re excited to host you at our hotel in the heart of uptown Charlotte. Our city has great energy that we know you’ll love, but that comes with some city noise on occasion.” And then the notes split into three sections, “Like white noise? Tell your trusted digital butler, Alexa, play white noise. Prefer no noise? Take these NASCAR grade noise reduction earplugs for a ride. Rather, make some noise? Please dial zero and we’ll give you some recommendations for how to join the fun around town.”

Dan: I love that it’s very creative and it addresses the different needs of different customers so it’s not a one size fits all and whether you liked white noise or no noise or you want to make some noise, they’ve got an answer for you. I think that’s extremely creative.

Joey: Yeah, I felt the openness to the different types of customers without the presumption that you’re going to be one type or another was great. And what I loved about the note was that it was pre-printed and will be valuable to visitors long after the construction outside is completed. In fact, they don’t even mention anything about the construction. They also provided the earplugs before being asked. In a keynote speech that I do about the changing face of the customer, I talk about how customers now expect brands to anticipate their needs before they even ask, and this is a great example of how to do that. Finally, they described the earplugs as being NASCAR grade.

Joey: Now, what many of our listeners might not know unless you’ve stayed at the Charlotte Marriott city center, is that it’s only a few blocks away from the NASCAR museum, which incidentally is worth a visit. It’s amazing. There’s some pictures in the show notes and by tying the earplugs to NASCAR, which is something that visitors like me are very familiar with since the event I was speaking at was kicking off at the NASCAR museum. It ties everything together to the location of the hotel without being blatantly obvious about it.

Dan: Yeah, I love it because they sound, no pun intended, like pretty cool earplugs. This isn’t your garden variety drugstore, 17,000 to a bag earplugs. These are pretty nice earplugs and I think that obviously NASCAR is a brand that is very, very familiar, especially in the south where you were and so good job on that.

Joey: Yeah, and speaking of branding, I think the earplugs were actually the same regular pharmacy earplugs that you could buy, but the way they positioned it before I’d even seen the package, I read the note and it made me feel like those were NASCAR earplugs even they weren’t. So what can we learn from my stay at the Charlotte Marriott city center? I think there’s a few things. Number one, we should explore ways to make the places your customers interact with you feel more like home. If they’re going to come to your office or your store or some other location that you oversee and are responsible for figure out ways to make them feel more familiar to your customers.

Joey: Number two, anticipate what your customers need, but still give them choice. While the hotel realized that earplugs aren’t for everyone, I imagine almost all of the guests appreciated the hotel thinking ahead to provide those just in case that was going to impact their ability to sleep, which is a major reason why most people stay at a hotel. And finally, number three, don’t be afraid to experiment with creating small moments of delight even if you don’t implement major changes across your entire organization. Try some small enhancements. Now, to be honest, I stayed at Marriott brand hotels over 50 nights last year, and yet the Charlotte city center location was the only hotel with an Alexa, and as a result, it’s one of the things that stood out the most in my 50 nights with this brand.

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 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!