Episode 44: When Small Mistakes Turn Into BIG Problems

Join us as we discuss several major customer experience fails that were so easy to avoid including: a server blaming the kitchen for a food mistake, a professional sports team not valuing a 34-year season ticket holder, and a B2B partnership that faltered when one company publicly bad mouths the other!

[CX Press] “Don’t Blame Me. I Just Work Here” [1:15 – 9:37]

Our great friend and customer service expert, Shep Hyken, wrote a blog post titled, “Don’t blame me, I just work here” where he shared an incident he personally experienced at an expensive steak restaurant. When the server delivered salads to the entire table, it was very clear to everyone at the table that one of the salads was drastically smaller than the others – and we’re not just talking about a missing tomato! The salad was noticeably “less of an experience” – and yet the server didn’t care – going so far as to deflect any personal blame and then walk away.

“It may not be your fault, but it’s your problem.” – the incredibly wise and talented Berit Coleman (to whom Joey Coleman is lucky enough to be married)

  • Mistakes happen in every business. When they do, the best businesses acknowledge the inconvenience and take steps to correct the situation – instead of deflecting blame and walking away.
  • Remarkable customer experiences often hinge on having well-trained, happy employees who proudly represent your brand and understand their critical contribution to the customer experience.

[Dissecting The Experience] A Season-Ending Fiasco [9:38 – 19:40]

Dan’s good friend, Steve (not his real name, of course) decided not to renew his NBA season tickets after 34 years! Naturally, this caught Dan’s attention and he wrote an article for Forbes describing the situation: “Why Loyalty Must Go Both Ways with Your Best Customers.” It’s stunning how often companies let their MVPs quit doing business with them, and do so in a way that only supports the customer’s decision to go!

Make your most-valued customers feel like MVPs as often as possible! – Dan Gingiss 

  • Customer loyalty is earned. Please don’t take it for granted. Be grateful for long-time customers and reward them for their continued patronage (e.g., like a baseball cap with the number of years they have been a season ticket holder).
  • If you find email communication impersonal, most likely your customer feels the same way. Any attempt to win back a customer should find you raising your game. A personal phone call from a senior executive may be just the “ticket” to get a departing customer to come back!
  • The customer experience and the feeling of appreciation should be remarkable for both the one-time buyer and the 34-year loyal fan. Be grateful for all of your customers and make sure the long-term customers feel particularly appreciated.

[This Just Happened] Bashing B2B [19:41 – 28:56]

If you can’t speak nicely about someone, don’t say anything at all! The same holds true when speaking about your business partners. If you can’t find anything nice to say about a business partner, then maybe they shouldn’t be your partner?!

Never, ever, EVER speak poorly about a customer, a partner, a colleague, a vendor, etc. It only makes you look untrustworthy.

  • Speaking from the stage gives you an incredible platform to showcase your trustworthiness and lets the audience see what it’s like to do business with you.
  • The experiences you give to your vendors/partners are just as important as the experiences you give your customers. It is almost impossible to be in business alone so make sure to choose your partners wisely and speak confidently about their skills when sharing your opinions.
  • Your reputation hinges on the company you keep. Make sure you give careful consideration to your business partners.

[Three Takeaways] Questions to Consider for Episode 44 [28:56 – 30:51]

  1. Have you properly trained your employees to take responsibility and not to make excuses to customers?
  2. Are you paying attention to your highest value customers or are you taking them for granted?
  3. Are you acting like a partner to your partners?

Links We Referenced

Don’t blame me, I just work here.” by Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken

Dan’s interview with Scott Wise – Scotty’s Brewhouse

Why Loyalty Must Go Both Ways with Your Best Customers.” by Dan Gingiss (in Forbes)

Host Contact Information

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com



Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire here Episode 44 – When Small Mistakes Turn Into BIG Problems 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.

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

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

So, hold onto your headphones, it’s time to Experience This!

Get ready for another episode of The Experience This! Show.


Join us as we discuss examples of major customer experience fails that were so easy to avoid, including a server blaming the kitchen for a food mistake, a professional sports team not valuing a 34-year season ticket holder, and a B2B partnership that has gone awry, one company publicly bad mouth the other.

Salads, sports, and stupidity. Oh my!


There are so many great customer experience articles to read. But who has 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: “Don’t Blame Me, I Just Work Here”]

Dan Gingiss: So, most of the time we talk about positive customer experiences on The Experience This! Show, but today we thought we’d try something a little bit different. Each segment in today’s episode is about a customer experience fail and what we can all learn from it.

Joey Coleman: Wah wah.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks for the noise… for the music.

Joey Coleman: I couldn’t resist.

Dan Gingiss: So, you probably know about me and Joey that we don’t really like to name names when we’re talking about companies that have failed, because there’s plenty of people out there that are already doing that and that are piling onto these companies and social media, and elsewhere so we don’t believe that the names really matter. It’s the takeaways that do so take that into consideration as we present three very interesting customer experience fails and the first one that we’re going to start with is a CX Press that is brought to us by our old friend, Shep Hyken, who wrote on Hyken.com a blog post called, “Don’t blame me, I just work here” and Shep describes an incident that he had personally at an expensive steak restaurant – where the entire table ordered salads and the server comes and delivers the salads, and it is very clear to everyone at the table that one of the salads is way smaller than the other. It’s not like missing a tomato.

Joey Coleman: It’s like, who’s the little guy who gets the little salad, right?

Dan Gingiss: Somebody got the kid’s portion, right!

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh!

Dan Gingiss: And, of course, you know the server doesn’t even see anything wrong and apparently the friend of Shep’s spoke up and mentioned it, and the server actually replied, “I don’t make them, I just serve them” and then he walked away.

Joey Coleman: Just when you thought the story could get no more surreal, they just walked away. I love it. You know my wife has this wonderful quote that she gave me, and to be clear she was not speaking in the context of our personal relationship. She was helping me with a speech but the quote she came up with that I think is so apropo to this is, “It may not be your fault but it’s your problem.” And I think if businesses were to adopt a mantra for these type of scenarios I would propose that this would be a good mantra. Okay. It’s not the server’s fault. The server didn’t make the salad but when you walk out, and you place the salads down, the server had to notice that somebody got that kiddie sized salad; not the grown-up salad, right. I mean… I can understand if it was like, “oh we’re busy and I forgot that you got the one without croutons” or something like that. I can understand mistakes happen that makes sense but like the actual act of placing the plates. The server had to notice this, and then it’s compounded by the customer saying, “hey, by the way, this one seems a lot smaller than the others” and to respond with just the disdain of, “I don’t make them, I just serve them” yes and walk away is just ridiculous. And this wasn’t at, you know… this was at a nice restaurant, as I understand it.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, high-end restaurant and I like Berit’s quote and I would even add to it to say that it becomes your problem yes but, “…it also becomes an opportunity” because this is where the server really could have made a great impact and made the experience better by, hopefully, doing something above and beyond but at the very least recognizing that the customer was right. And maybe the server didn’t notice right away, maybe he went in the back and grabbed six salads or however many people were sitting with Shep, and just you know was too focused on balancing them all to realize that one of them was smaller, but when the customer speaks up, that’s definitely your opportunity to make something better. So, Shep says that he felt the server failed them in three different ways. One – he didn’t take care of his customer; two – he didn’t represent the brand while the brand being the high-end restaurant, and three – he blamed someone else.

Joey Coleman: Yeah, all three of these are bad things, right! And the crazy thing is when you hire employees, I believe in empowering them to create fun experiences, and so the opportunity to take a bad experience and turning it into a good one is really easy. I mean in this setting, I can imagine a scenario especially since so many people are eating healthy, you could say “OK so clearly we have one salad here that’s too small. This is going to go to the person who ordered a salad because everybody else was ordering one, and you thought you should but doesn’t want to eat a whole salad. Is there a taker?” Is anybody interested in that approach? Now if I was at the table, I’d be like, “Oh my goodness that’s me. Right over here. Thank you.” And it would be fun, and it would be playful or a chance to say “oh my gosh, you know we got a new shrink-ray back in the kitchen that sometimes the food goes over it-it shrinks the food and I’m guessing one of the salads got caught in that. I’m so sorry. Let me go back and turn that thing off before anybody else gets a small salad.” Right! You could have fun with it and be playful with it and that would create the kind of story that the customers would keep talking about long after the dinner ended.

Dan Gingiss: Sure, and you also have to wonder a server that says something like that you have to wonder what he says to other people about other things and how he feels about his job. He clearly is disgruntled in some way because he’s not focused on what it is that we expect servers to be focused on. But this story from Shep reminded me of a completely different and opposite story. I had the pleasure a couple of years ago of interviewing for my previous podcast a guy named Scott Wise, who is founder and CEO of Scotty’s Brewhouse. It’s a chain of pizza breweries that run through Indiana and also some other places in the Midwest. And one of the things that stuck with me about Scotty is that he told me that when people ask him what he does for a living he says that he’s in the customer service business. And I pushed him on it because I said wait a minute I thought you were in the restaurant business. And he said that to him you can have a restaurant that has fantastic food and crappy service and you’ll have no customers. But if you have a restaurant that has good food or great food and exceptional service then you’ll have loyal customers that come back again and again. So here he is, he’s a restaurant owner and his belief is that the experience is actually more important than the food. You obviously can’t have bad food and certainly, the quality of the food is part of the experience. But if you’re going to take one or the other that his belief is that you have a great experience with good food versus a crappy experience with great food. What do you think?

Joey Coleman:  I totally agree. And I also think the experience needs to be in alignment with the expectation for the product. What I mean by that is if this was at a fast food restaurant or kind of a corner dive, you wouldn’t expect a great waiter. Right? You would kind of be like OK whatever. You know they’re getting whoever they can. But this is an expensive high-end steak restaurant. Right? And knowing Shep and I say this respectfully, Shep’s a connoisseur of food, he’s eating with friends, it’s probably a really nice restaurant. And to me, they’re probably spending so much time in that restaurant focused on menu planning and the preparation of the food and making sure everything comes out at the right temperature and, etc., etc. And yet the person handling the product to the customer is failing to deliver on the experience. You got to get your employees involved in the experience as well and every employee you have contributes to the overall experience that customers have with your brand.

Dan Gingiss: And to your point, just a single employee can ruin that entire experience. So, you know this seems like it’s an obvious blunder and I don’t want you to make the mistake of thinking that nobody on your team would ever do that, because if you think about it this happened at a very high-end steakhouse and it happened to one of the most recognizable people in the customer service and customer experience world. And that to me suggests that it probably wasn’t an isolated case and is indicative of either lack of training or something else that has gone wrong at the restaurant to create a bad experience likely for the employee who is now passing it on to the customer.


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


Dan Gingiss: So, a good friend of mine recently recounted a story of deciding not to renew his season ticket package to his favorite professional basketball team after, are you ready for this? Thirty-four years.

Joey Coleman: Wait a second. He was a customer for 34-years and decided not to renew?

Dan Gingiss: That is right. And, of course, that caught my attention which meant that I had to both write about it for Forbes, where will include a link in the show notes and talk about it here on The Experience This! Show because it’s pretty rare that you have a customer for 34 years, to begin with, and, then even rarer that you just let them leave?

Joey Coleman: Yeah, I’m in shock.

That is exactly what happened with this professional basketball team which was unbelievable to me. So, basically every year customers are asked, fans are asked to renew their season ticket membership. But it’s just sort of this automated impersonal process. And so…

Joey Coleman: …which, by the way, is a problem already, right. Like if season tickets to professional sporting events are not cheap.

Dan Gingiss: No.

Joey Coleman: By any means.

Dan Gingiss: …no, and in fact, I did a little math for my Forbes article to try to estimate how much my friend had spent in 34 years. And I don’t know where receipts are, but I basically looked up the average ticket price of an NBA game and I was assuming just one ticket.

Joey Coleman: Let’s be candid. Very rarely does a season ticket holder just buy one ticket, right. You want to go with a friend. Sometimes you have two, sometimes you have three. Yeah absolutely.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, well my calculation was that it was easily a hundred thousand dollars that he had spent in 34 years of buying tickets…

Joey Coleman: …and I guarantee that and I love you dearly, but I guarantee that didn’t take into account inflation and ticket price increases and all of those things that were just a rough estimate…

Dan Gingiss: …or about beers and hot dogs and nachos, I mean. None of that, right? And parking and whatever. So, now you have to say this guy was a loyal fan and a loyal customer is obviously an understatement. So, about a couple of months ago my friend gets an email from a team employee who is basically indicated as an account service executive which sounds pretty damn friendly.

Joey Coleman: Oo La La

Dan Gingiss: And the email says I hope all is well and you’re enjoying the start of your summer. I wanted to touch base in regard to your season ticket plans for next year as our renewal deadline has passed. Please let me know if there’s anything I can assist you with or if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you.

Joey Coleman: So, let me get this right, “Hey we haven’t heard from you. The deadline has passed which is the first time you’ve missed the deadline in 34 years. But let me send you a less than personalized email to see if I get your attention,” and kind of almost implying in the email that you did something wrong by letting the deadline pass.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, and not only was the email itself impersonal but I actually was surprised that the channel they used because I felt like email was an impersonal channel. I mean, if you’ve got a season ticket holder for 34 years that hasn’t renewed, I’d expect frankly the president of the team to pick up the phone and call. Or maybe… maybe a player on the team.

Joey Coleman: At the very least! Yeah, I mean that would be amazing. I don’t disagree but at the very least the account executive who’s responsible for these particular seats should pick up the phone and call. I mean it sounds like an anomaly. Now we don’t know. I don’t know what your friend did in the previous years but 34 years in I got to imagine they’re looking at that when they call up the records. You know what I mean it’s not like this is showing up as a one-time buyer.

Dan Gingiss: And what’s interesting is he told me, this is not in the article, but in a previous year he had missed the deadline and they did call him, and he ended up renewing. And so, you know obviously…

Joey Coleman: So, folks it works if you actually reach out to your customers and say, “hey I’m sure this was an oversight on your part. We’d love to get you set up again for next year.” Pick up the phone. Get it done.

Dan Gingiss: I’m going to go out on a limb and guess, I have no idea but I’m going to guess that this account executive is a few years out of college and the reason I’m going to guess that is that the millennial population will pretty much do anything in order to not talk on the telephone and, therefore, e-mail is often leaned on as a channel in the workplace when it is it is generally an impersonal channel, so…

Joey Coleman: …well, for what it’s worth, I would totally agree with you that increasing. I think that problem actually goes beyond millennials. And you weren’t bagging on millennials and I’m not saying we should either, but I think increasingly this is an epidemic in every business. There’s this thought of, oh let’s send emails instead of taking the time to call someone because it allows us to cross the thing off our list. But I was giving a speech recently and I asked the audience they said OK raise your hand if you wish you were getting more emails. And there are a thousand people in the room and no one raises their hand right and I said great. Now raise your hand if email is the number one tool you use to communicate with your customers. And every single hand goes up. I’m like, huh look around the room. Something for us to learn here and I feel like that same philosophy applies here. This is a loyal customer.

Dan Gingiss:  Yeah it even happens within companies it’s the number one tool for communicating with colleagues even when their desk is 50 feet away. You know it’s like we can’t just get up and walk over and talk to them we’ve got to send an email. In any event, so my guy writes back you know pretty quickly, I think he took 20 minutes and he wrote back and basically two sentence response that said and, you know we can’t probably read all of it on this family show but it basically said that team stunk, and so, therefore, he was done being a season ticket holder. A couple hours later happy…

Joey Coleman: so, just to make sure I understand, he decided to leave because the team was not performing well? He was tired of them losing.

Dan Gingiss: I think that was a big part of it…

Joey Coleman: …that was a big piece, or at least that’s the big reason he gave in the email.

Dan Gingiss: Well and, certainly yeah, I mean I think other reasons include you know 34 years ago we didn’t have big screen TVs in our house. You know we’re watching him with slow-mo and replay.

Joey Coleman: But you know here’s the crazy thing. One year ago, we did. And two years ago, we did, and he renewed in those years.

Dan Gingiss: Yes, that is true. That is true.

Joey Coleman: So, maybe this was just the breaking point. But I sense there’s a bigger reason here, Or a bigger issue beyond the team. And my gut instinct it’s he didn’t feel appreciated.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I think that could be true too. And in one of the things that I’ve seen with some other teams lately like I’ve been to, for example, I was, I know this is going to shock you, I was at a Cubs game a couple of weeks ago…

Joey Coleman: WHAT!? A Chicago Cubs game, Dan Gingiss? That is stunning. Ladies and gentlemen, we have breaking news: Dan Gingiss attended a Chicago Cubs game.

Joey Coleman: And yes, while I attended that game I sat behind a person who was a season ticket holder and, I knew that because he was wearing a specially crafted Cubs hat that said 20 years season ticket holder on it which I thought was pretty cool…

Joey Coleman: Nice, nice… that’s awesome you’d give status to your best customers. And then guess what? Especially in a team setting right with fans they want to promote that.

Dan Gingiss: Right! So, what does my friend get back? He gets back yet another email and this one says, “Thank you for your loyalty and support of the team over the last 34 years. We truly appreciate you. We are so sorry to see you go. If there’s anything I can do for you in the future, please let me know and I’d be happy to help. Thank you.” Now again I’m not knocking the writing this very… it was a lovely note but like that’s it?

Joey Coleman: It is a polite note. But let’s be candid, it’s cold. It’s not personal. There’s no try to connect. There’s no try the upsell. There’s no, “Oh my gosh we’re heartbroken to see you go. The team won’t be the same without you. Like there’s so many things that could go into that email. It actually almost feels like, “Hey, thanks, we’re glad you’re going so that we can sell the ticket to someone else.”

Dan Gingiss: I dare them to find someone else who’s going to stay for 34 years, right? So, even though they probably will be able to resell the tickets I think that’s sort of missing the point which is, you had a guy who had these tickets for that long. And you’re right they did absolutely nothing to try to keep them…they didn’t -they didn’t give any sort of offer or maybe a price break or offering a smaller ticket package or maybe even giving him some sort of exclusive on-court opportunity or something that would say, “hey we really value you and we really… what can we do to get you to stay.” And instead, it was just, “thanks a lot for your loyalty later” and close the door. And I thought that was really unbelievable and surprising because these ticket departments in, with these major league and professional teams there are the revenue generators, right. It’s like this is how this is how the teams make enough money to pay those salaries. It’s a really important part of their business. And so, it was very surprising to me that this was the experience he had.

Joey Coleman: I couldn’t agree more. I mean I’ve been to some pro sports games recently. And let’s be candid they’re not usually selling out the stadium. Usually, there’s empty seats. And if you’ve got somebody who’s willing to keep supporting and buy tickets year after year, you get a hold on to that customer like their gold. I mean… the crazy thing is if that wasn’t bad enough we talked about in an earlier episode here in season two about the importance of making endings as remarkable as beginnings and I kind of told the story of my recent move and canceling some services. I mean here’s the thing, if you’ve been a customer for 34 years and they’re not going to really embrace you on your way out. Thirty-four years of goodwill 34 years of loyalty are flushed away. Don’t make that mistake. Pay attention to the people who’ve been with you for a long time. That’s how you get them to continue to stay with you for a long time into the future.


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


Dan Gingiss: I know we talk a lot about customer experience from a consumer perspective on this show, so I wanted to share a B2B or business to business story today. Now this one involves another friend of Dan’s, and before you make a comment there…

Joey Coleman: I love… I love how many stories go, got a friend. I’m reminded of so many of those like relationship call-in shows like, “so I have a friend that did this and…” and you’re like, dude you were the friend but that’s okay. Exactly exactly.

Dan Gingiss: Asking for a friend, right? But actually, as I know you-you experienced this as well, Joey, that you know because we do this show, we get a lot of people that talk to us and come to us with stories…

Joey Coleman: …we do, and we love that and by the way listeners, if you want to do that to go to ExperienceThisShow.com, click on the SpeakPipe widget and leave us a little message. Tell us about your situation. We may think of you as a friend on a future episode.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly! And because this again is not a positive story, the friend who did not want to be mentioned or the company mentioned. And that’s why we’re sounding like we’re being a little mysterious but it’s not intentional. So, in any event, said friend was at an event that was sponsored by a partner of his company and he brought along one of his clients to introduce to this partner and it was a very nice event, they served drinks and light appetizers. They had a couple of presentations from one of the partner’s clients and some other people and it was a casual thing but a nice event.

Joey Coleman:  Typical business event. Everybody’s feeling good. Everybody’s had some drinks had some apps seen a couple of presentations and we’re going to get the chance to potentially do some business with this new introduction.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So, one of the founders of the partner company does a presentation at this event and there’s a slide in it that highlights a bunch of logos of their various partners which is really nice because there were some of the partners in the room and I think it made them feel really good and I thought it was a really nice touch for him not to just be talking about his own company but to be referencing other partners that you know, frankly help his company be successful as well.

Joey Coleman: Sharing the love. I like it.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah exactly. So, his presentation ends and there’s a Q and A section. And one of the members the audience raises their hand and says, “Hey, you know notice that slide with all the logos on it. I’m wondering about these companies, in particular, it was sort of a section of the logo page, and do they really work? And, admittedly you know the guy was put a little bit on the spot because he’s being asked now about other companies.

Joey Coleman: Welcome to the joy of live Q and A, folks. If you’re going to open the mic, be ready for any question.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly! And, I don’t think he was ready for this question. He basically went on to bash my friend’s company. Saying, among other things, that he thought that his clients could get 80 percent of the way there without using my friend’s company and even poking some fun at some of the outputs of this company. You know some of the deliverables that they have. So, my friend…

Joey Coleman: …so, wait, on the heels, I’m sorry forgive me, so on the heels of showing the slides and saying these are our partners. He then proceeds to denigrate one of the partners on the presentation slide that he just showed?

Dan Gingiss: Yes, it kind of makes you wonder why the partner was even on the logo slide in the first place.

Joey Coleman: Well yeah, I mean at that point why-why are you a partner? Like if your partner, if somebody who’s “a partner” it doesn’t do a good job. Let’s not be partners anymore.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly.

Joey Coleman: It’s pretty straightforward.

Dan Gingiss: So, obviously my friend who is mortified, he’s there with the client and he and he brought the client specifically to meet this partner.

Joey Coleman: To introduce him, like I know what happened. How does the partner not know? Oh wow. Wow!

Dan Gingiss: Right, now thankfully according to my friend his client was equally mortified because he knew that that number the 80 percent number, was false because-because in his own experience he had had a lot of success with my friend’s company, so the client was sort of sympathetic. You know it wasn’t like, he wasn’t at risk of losing his client or anything the client was empathetic but still an incredibly awkward-awkward situation. So, it could have ended there…

Joey Coleman: …oh no… really?

Dan Gingiss: And that could have been enough of a story, right?

Joey Coleman: This this this in and of itself was not enough of a segment to say, folks pay attention when we’re talking about our partners especially on stage publicly! Come on. It gets worse?

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So, the problem is he didn’t actually know what he had done. And so, after his presentation he’s, everybody’s having drinks as you mentioned he comes up to my friend and according to my friend, the first thing he says is how do you think that went? And my friend is like, “Not well.” He’s like, “What do you mean?” And then he goes on to say, like you know I don’t think you were very complimentary of our company.

Joey Coleman: I didn’t appreciate you talking smack from the stage that normally how I like to hear our company referred.

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, and so he sort of let them have it. And the guy’s response, I mean I can’t make this up, right? So, this is why you know again I hate to be mysterious about the friend, but you can’t make this stuff up even if you tried. My friend says that the guy apologized but then he said, “I’m sorry I didn’t know you’d be here.” My friend was like, “Wait a second. So, if you knew I wasn’t here then it would be all okay.

Joey Coleman: If you wouldn’t have been in the room it would have been totally okay. Sorry I didn’t know you were coming ‘cuz I only normally talk trash about you when you’re not in the room.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah so, I mean truly-truly unbelievable. And you know look, B2B companies there’s a lot of them out there and they depend on these partnerships because it’s very hard to go at it alone and frankly, a lot of clients end up using more than one partner at the same time and so it sort of behooves them to work together because they can pitch clients together, prospects together and they can integrate technology, etc. But this obviously is not the way to handle a partnership.

Joey Coleman: Not at all. I mean there’s so many problems with this. Number one, if somebody is a partner and you’re not ready to speak positively about them they shouldn’t be a partner. Number two, if you are going to show a slide in your presentation saying who your partners are, know that you are known and your reputation hinges on the company you keep. So, you better feel good about the status and the quality of the work that your partners do. Number three, if you on stage and you open it up to Q and A, you better darn well be prepared to handle a question. And it sounds like the way the question was asked, it wasn’t a loaded question it wasn’t a setup, it was an honest question that this speaker decided to take in a direction and, I don’t know if they were trying to be cute or trying to be edgy but it’s like, why would you ever talk negatively about your partners? You know there’s so many ways this could have been better. And there are so many points in this story where there should have been warning bells going off letting him know. No this is not the way to do it.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And you know we said at the beginning of the show today that you and I kind of make a policy out of not talking bad about companies because frankly, there’s plenty of people talking about them without us that you and I try to find positives and…

Joey Coleman: …well that, and it’s also just bad form.

Dan Gingiss: And it is. It is. Yeah, it is bad.

Joey Coleman: I mean, let’s be a grownup. Let’s be a grown up. We know that there are companies that have bad experiences. You and I have negative customer experiences all the time but there’s no reason to, you know, whine about that publicly we try to use it from a teaching point of view of like, hey here’s what happened and here’s what we can learn to avoid in the future but, yeah come on folks, we need to be better at this.

Dan Gingiss: So, look whether you are a B2B or B2C company, many companies end up in partnerships. And one example that I wrote about for our friends at Oracle on their smarter cx site was about co-branded credit cards. So, in a co-branded credit card, you have three different parties. You have the branded party which is your retailer or your travel company or whatever it is, your airline. That’s kind of got their logo on the card. You’ve got the credit card issuer which is going to be a Citibank or Chase or somebody like that. And then you’ve got the credit card network which is going to be a Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Discover. And so, you’ve got three different parties that are all part of the same product. And when that happens, they’re often very dependent on each other and an experience fail with one of those parties, is then attributed sometimes falsely to the other parties. And so, when you establish partnerships it’s really important that there’s a strong level of trust and, that your partners are really well versed in your own companies offering and their competitive advantage so that they at least know enough to be dangerous to talk about you. And, obviously. if given the chance don’t bad mouth your partners in public.


Joey Coleman: We’ve talked, you’ve listened. Now it’s time to act. There are many things you could do to take what you’ve learned in this episode and implement it. But at times, that can feel overwhelming. Instead, why not just focus on three takeaways.

[THREE TAKEAWAYS: Questions to Consider for Episode 44]

Dan Gingiss: Takeaway #1: Have you properly trained your employees to take responsibility and not to make excuses to customers? Shep Hyken had a bad experience at a high-end restaurant because the server didn’t think it was his problem that one salad arrived much smaller than the others. The server was obviously not well trained to take care of the customer and not try to assign blame to someone else.

Takeaway #2: Are you paying attention to your highest value customers or are you taking them for granted? Dan’s good friend canceled his season tickets after 34 years because the team wasn’t paying attention to him. It’s critical to understand the experience of your best customers before something negative happens. If a company shows genuine interest and the customer’s experience and feedback throughout the relationship, the customer is much more likely to be forgiving of future mistakes or problems. Are you taking care of your long-term customers as well as your current customers? Are you continuing to build on the relationship of people who have done business with you for a long time instead of taking them for granted?

Takeaway #3: Are you acting like a partner to your partners? Dan’s friend’s company thought they had established a strong partnership with another company until they were embarrassed by that partner bashing them in public. A true partnership must be mutually beneficial, which means both sides are looking out for each other. Only partner with companies you truly trust and consider including some contractual language governing how each talks about the other in public.

Joey Coleman: Those are three takeaways for this episode.

Dan Gingiss: Thanks so much for listening to another episode of Experience This! If you haven’t had a chance to leave us a review on the podcast on iTunes, we would so appreciate it. It means a ton to us and it helps others find the show. You can also mention us in your social channels and perhaps share with us one of your favorite segments so that we know what’s working for you and we can deliver more of it in future 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 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: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more.

Joey Coleman: Experience.

Dan Gingiss: This!