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 Credit Card
• Discover Card
• Discover Wins JD Power Award
• JD Power Award
• William Tell
• American Express (Amex) Black Card
• Apple white matte finish
• Apple logo
• Credit card chip design
• Goldman Sachs
• 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:
[This Just Happened] Inflatable Pools with a Free Prize Inside
Things We Mentioned in This Segment:
Host Contact Information
Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com
Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss
Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com
Download a transcript of Episode 103 here or read it below:
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.
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!