Episode 49: The Value of Analog Experiences in a Digital World

Join us as we discuss: the live experience that tore apart the art world, the employee side of the experiential coin, and the power of birthday cards to drive annual renewals.   

The Banksy, The Employee, and The Birthday! Oh my!

[CX Press] Bansky Shredded Art [1:22 – 9:13]

What happens when the “experience” becomes the “product” we are selling to customers and the “product” is the “experience” they are buying? This is the question left for art world aficionados (and CX professionals) to consider after witnessing the shredding of a Banksy original that had sold at auction for $1.4 million. Today’s CX Press article, “Banksy’s shredded Sotheby’s art was a rebuke of empty consumerism from a master,” comes from Aja Romano on the website VOX, and details the crazy auction prank that left the art world questioning the true value of an experience.

It appears we just got Banksy-ed. ~ Alex Branczik, Senior Director at Sotheby’s

  • Banksy – a street artist known for his pranks – caught the world by surprise when he engineered the destruction of one of his pieces that had just sold at auction.
  • WATCH the shredding of Balloon Girl.
  • “When the hammer came down and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked. But gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.” European art collector who purchased shredded piece, “Balloon Girl”
  • With this shredded art, Banksy was able to continue his long standing practice of creating experiences. The greater the experience, the greater the perceived value.

[What Are You Reading] It’s All About CEX [9:29 – 20:00]

Joey shares the best parts of a new book by Jason Bradshaw – Director of Customer Experience for Volkswagen Group Australia. The book, “It’s All About CEX: The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience” is a treasure trove of advice for maximizing both your customer experience and employee experience efforts.

“If you want to allocate resources into one area that will have the broadest and most profound impact on the success of your business, at every level, focus on improving experience. Begin by focusing on the experience of your team members. When you create a more fulfilled, satisfied team of committed employees, that will translate into improvements for your customers and in the end you will transform your overall business in ways you never even imagined.”  ~ Jason Bradshaw, author of “It’s All About CEX

  • Brands that focus on creating a remarkable employee experience, end up getting a remarkable customer experience in the process.
  • “If you can focus on improving only one [aspect of your business] – focus on your employee experience – because more engaged and excited employees will directly improve the experience for customers.”
  • The most savvy organizations are the ones that are thinking strategically about how their customer experience needs to shift in times of crisis (natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc.).

[This Just Happened] Happy Birthday from Rocket Referrals [20:15 – 31:58]

Too many companies know their customers’ birthdays – and yet do nothing to acknowledge/celebrate the day with their customer! Celebrating your customers’ birthdays is a great way to create a personal and emotional connection while at the same time delivering an analog touchpoint/interaction.

70 percent of insurance agents unhappy clients say that the reason they are unhappy is because of poor or irregular communication from the agent. ~ Dan Gingiss

  • Referrals and references from other customers are some of the most credible forms of marketing as customers believe their friends, family, and even other customers, more than they believe your marketing materials.
  • With your focus on digital touchpoints, don’t miss the chance to create analog interactions by mailing your customers a birthday card.

Are you an insurance agent? Don’t miss this FREE webinar:
www.bit.ly/rocketreferrals

[Three Takeaways] Questions to Consider for Episode 49 [25:15 – 27:19]

  1. Can an experience go too far? What happens when the experience becomes the product we are selling to customers? What happens when the product is the experience our customers are buying? If your brand is going to fully-adopt an experiential approach to customer interactions, give some consideration to the fact that the bar is only going to keep being raised in the future.
  2. Are you giving as much attention to the employee experience as you are to the customer experience? When was the last time you asked employees for feedback on how their day was going? When was the last time you sat down with your team and defined what success, ease, and connection look like for your customers, and then explored ways that your employees could help your customers to have those types of interactions?
  3. Are you making the most of birthdays? Most companies are sitting on data that would allow them to connect in a personal and meaningful way – if only they got that data out of the CRM and put it into use. How are you using what you know about your customers to create meaningful interactions? Are you timing your requests for reviews and testimonials to come at the right place in the customer journey.

Links We Referenced

Banksy’s Shredded Sotheby’s Art was a Rebuke of Empty Consumerism from a Master – by Aja Romano, Vox

It’s All About CEX: the Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience – by Jason Bradshaw

Are you an insurance agent? Don’t miss this FREE webinar

Punkpost

Host Contact Information

Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss

Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com

DanGingiss.com

JoeyColeman.com

Subscribe to Experience This on Apple Podcasts

Episode Transcript

Download a transcript of the entire here Episode 49 or read it below:

[SHOW INTRO]

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 retention expert Joey Coleman and social media expert Dan Gingiss serve as your hosts for a weekly dose of positive customer experience. So, hold on to your headphones. It’s time to Experience This!

[EPISODE 49 INTRO]

Joey Coleman: Get ready for another episode of the experience this show.

Dan Gingiss: Join us as we discuss a live experience that tore apart the art world, the employee side of the experiential coin, and the power of birthday cards to drive annual renewals.

Joey Coleman: The Banksy, the Employee, and the Birthday… Oh My!

[SEGMENT INTRO][CX PRESS]

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!

[CX PRESS: The Banksy]

Joey Coleman: On a scale of one to ten. Dan how much are you into “street art” or more commonly known as graffiti.

Dan Gingiss: Is zero an option?

Joey Coleman: I must confess, I love you like a brother but I had the feeling the number was going to be a little bit lower. I’m actually a fan of this genre if you will and find street art to be a particularly interesting world which is why I was drawn to this week’s CX Press article by Aja Romano on the website Vox. The article is titled “Banksy’s shredded Sotheby’s art was a rebuke of empty consumerism from a master.” And while that title I must confess is a bit wordy, the story behind this is absolutely fascinating.

Dan Gingiss: Well, I may not be into street art but I certainly heard this story and for those that might have missed it – which would be a little bit hard unless you are possibly living in a cave. An auction at Sotheby’s recently drew the attention of the global media when the elusive street artist Banksy pulled off an absolutely crazy prank by somehow triggering a self-destruction device of one of his paintings. That’s right. The painting called “Balloon Girl” started shredding itself just after it sold for $1.4 million.

Joey Coleman: That’s a lot of cash going through a shredder. We’re going to LINK to a video in the show notes at ExperienceThisShow.com which we highly recommend checking out this video to get the full effect. But in short, immediately after the final gavel struck a loud beeping sound started coming from the painting’s frame and all the sudden the painting that had just been sold at the auction slid down through the frame, coming out the bottom of the frame – shredded. So it basically was shredding as it went and it stopped after about 70 percent of the painting had been destroyed. Now the audience at the auction, and those who’ve watched the video since, included a healthy mix of people that were shocked, as well as a healthy mix of people that were absolutely delighted.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah the looks on people’s faces are just priceless. I read later Joey that Banksy did not mean for it to be only 70 percent shredded he actually meant for the whole thing to be shredded. He was a little bit irritated that it didn’t work as he had planned and yet in some ways it worked absolutely perfectly.

Joey Coleman: Well, and that’s the crazy thing about Banksy. If you follow his work, I’m not entirely sure that the video that he released after the fact of the test shredding where it shredded completely was more of a prank. That’s the problem with dealing with kind of an anonymous – nobody knows who Banksy is – street artist whose works sell for millions of dollars and he goes all over the world putting his street art up via stencils and spray paint. It’s this really interesting world that he operates in, that is only compounded by how he comes to the table, if you will, with his showmanship. Now what does all of this have to do with customer experience you may be asking yourself? Well here’s where it gets interesting the reactions to this shredded painting were absolutely fascinating.

Joey Coleman: Sotheby’s senior director Alex Branczik said, “It appears we just got Banksy-ed.” Now that refers to the fact that Banksy is known for doing these types of pranks within the art world. Ironically enough, post shredding the art piece is probably worth even more money than it was the moment the auction hammer went down, thanks to the viral moment that was produced worldwide via videos of this prank. In fact, the buyer who is a female European art collector, agreed to continue with the purchase – Sotheby’s gave her the chance to get out of the purchase because the art had been destroyed before she took possession – she agreed to stick with it and keep the piece. She’s quoted as saying, “When the hammer came down and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked. But gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.” With this shredded art. Banksy was able to continue his long standing practice of creating experiences – whether it’s his provocative street art, or a crazy dystopian amusement park staffed with bored attendants that he opened one summer, or a thought-provoking documentary on art called “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” Banksy has continued to raise the bar on the experience of his work – figuring out new and creative ways to have the experience of seeing his art be augmented by the experiences in which he creates his art.

Dan Gingiss: I mean, I definitely agree that it is worth more now – thankfully it wasn’t completely destroyed or it may not have been worth as much – but I think that Banksy is so interesting because he’s obviously on to the same thing that we’ve talked about in pretty much every other industry, which is that today, people are looking for experiences. If you think about sort of the “old fashioned way” of viewing art, you go to this stuffy art gallery where everybody wants you to be quiet and you stare at a painting and you sort of hope that some inspiration comes to you. This is completely different right? This was meant to get the masses interested – which it was completely successful in doing – and the experience is part of the art. Like some of the other things (I haven’t seen them), but some of the other things that you describe it sounds like that’s something that he does pretty consistently which is that, if you’re not having an experience while viewing his art then you’re not doing it right.

Joey Coleman: I agree in that – you are correct – that’s basically a common thread that underlies each of his recent (and I’ll define recent as the last decade of art work) experiences in the sense that the best art is art that captivates you, that challenges you, that causes you to have an emotional reaction, and his art is definitely in alignment with that. He is so counter art establishment – the fact that his art is actually selling at Sotheby’s in and of itself is a bit of a shock. I mean this is spray painted art that normally is on the side of a building and they have a piece that’s framed, selling at Sotheby’s. So it’s one of those interesting times where the experience to your point (as we were making earlier) actually becomes the main driving factor behind the product. There’s an artist and I believe the artist pronounces their name Zardulu – I think the artist Zardulu Is quoted in the article and describes this best when the artist says, “Banksy is in a unique position that he can simply release a piece of work and it goes viral – the same way Kim Kardashian can tweet a selfie and it gets more attention than the overthrow of a foreign government. But this is different. He wanted to create a viral moment, a viral video, and he obviously wanted us to ask whether the piece is now worth more – or less – now that it’s been part of a viral moment.” I absolutely love this quote because in a customer experience context it encourages us to consider what happens when the experience becomes the product we are selling to customers and the product is the experience they are buying.

[SEGMENT INTRO][WHAT ARE YOU READING]

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?

[WHAT ARE YOU READING: It’s All About CEX]

Dan Gingiss: Well it’s time to ask that question again, to Joey Coleman: what are you reading?

Joey Coleman: Well you know Dan, as you know there are a number of books that I read at any given time. I’m a little weird – I like to try to have two or three books going at the same time – it helps my brain to kind of keep things in the proper places. Based on what I’m reading right now, I think there are a number of things we’re going to come back to in future episodes at ExperienceThis!, but one book that I just finished reading is one that I think you all – our listeners – might enjoy as well: It’s all about sex.

Dan Gingiss: Woah! Woah! Joey! This isn’t that kind of show man – we’re a family show!

Joey Coleman: Dan – of course I know we’re a family show, no, the book is called, It’s All About CEX – where CEX is pronounced, “SE…” well, you get the idea right? Anyway, the subtitle is: The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience.

Dan Gingiss: That is definitely not where my mind was going. I was getting a little nervous there pal…

Joey Coleman: Yeah that’s OK, and I can understand why, and sorry for catching you and our listeners a little bit off guard with this one, but this book is a bit different than the usual customer experience books we review. So I thought it best to feature it in a “What Are You Reading?” segment.

Dan Gingiss: So before we get into how it’s different, tell us how you found this book about CEX Joey?

Joey Coleman: Well – I can see I’ve opened a can of worms, great… Our mutual friend Shep Hyken – a fantastic customer service/customer experience expert – introduced me to the author of the book, Jason Bradshaw. Jason is the Director of Customer Experience for Volkswagen Group Australia, and in the interest of full disclosure, I recently had the chance to speak at an event which he hosted for a series of Volkswagen dealers in Orlando and in preparing for the event, I was doing some research on Jason and came across his book on Amazon. Now at the time it was out yet, but after I spent some time with him at the event and realized what a fascinating personal story he had, I knew that I had to pick up this book.

Dan Gingiss: All right, you’ve got my attention. What makes this book different?

Joey Coleman: Well there are actually a lot of things that make this book different Dan, but three in particular come to mind: (1) the book deals with both customer experience and employee experience – or as Jason refers to the combined effort in his book “experience management.” Now, lots of books that I know we’ve read (each of us) and that our listeners have read, deal with either customer experience or employee experience. But there are very few books (at least that I’ve come across) that spend as much time tying the external customer experience to the internal employee experience. What I love about this book is that Jason shows how closely the two are linked – offering story after story of how brands that focus on creating a remarkable employee experience, end up getting a remarkable customer experience in the process. To quote Jason from the book, “If you want to allocate resources into one area that will have the broadest and most profound impact on the success of your business, at every level, focus on improving experience. Begin by focusing on the experience of your team members. When you create a more fulfilled, satisfied team of committed employees, that will translate into improvements for your customers and in the end, you will transform your overall business in ways you never even imagined.” He goes on to say that, “If you can focus on improving only one – focus on your employee experience – because more engaged and excited employees will directly improve the experience for customers.”

Dan Gingiss: While I totally agree with the premise, I’m thinking about two things: (1) I’m thinking about the book that we reviewed in the last episode (by Denise Lee Yohn) called Fusion – which was talking about employee culture and how that kind of bleeds into the external customer experience and I’m also thinking about (2) our last segment where you referred to one of Banksy’s previous pieces of art – that was the amusement park with the board employees – because you know, customers see when your employees are bored. We’ve all had that experience where we walk up to a fast food counter and the person behind the counter – it’s like you’re interrupting their otherwise pleasant day. You as a customer, are the interruption in their day.

Joey Coleman: Yeah – Forgive me for asking you to do your job and take my money, but if I can interrupt your Facebooking/Snapchatting/texting with your friends, it would be fabulous if you could help me out.

Dan Gingiss: For sure, and there’s no question that that immediately creates an experience that is not positive and that I believe affects other aspects of the experience. I think that that psychology will show that you know you won’t enjoy the meal as much because you started off on the wrong foot. And so, I do think that happy employees make happy customers and there’s an absolute connection there. This goes not just for frontline employees. Remember that the people – every employee has some impact on the customer experience and they may not be customer facing – they may be working on building processes or you know something that’s really back office, but ultimately, that is going to affect the customer and if you’ve got employees that hate their job, or don’t believe in the product, or are otherwise bored or indifferent, I do think that’s going to come out in the experience.

Joey Coleman: I couldn’t agree more. I think all too often, people that are in a customer experience role or function within an organization think about customer experience all the time, and they somewhat expect that everyone in the organization is also thinking about the customer experience all the time – and without trying to sound funny, in my personal experience, that’s just not the case. I think most employees are going about their day-to-day jobs focusing on the job, not on the experiential outcome the customer has. And I think it’s impossible to ask an employee to deliver a remarkable customer experience if they haven’t personally had a remarkable customer experience. And so when we’re asking them to do something that they have no context or no framework for, we shouldn’t be surprised when it doesn’t go well.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I totally agree. It’s not just that they have to have had a remarkable experience somewhere because, like any other customer they can compare experiences across companies that they worked with, but I also think it’s really important that they have an experience within their own company. That they’ve used the product, or that they’ve gone to the website… I was shocked to learn that at some companies the customer experience department that is in charge of the website support, that some of the agents don’t even have access to the website. So they’re responding off of a script or off of things that they’ve heard or history – but they’ve never been on the website. So how is it that they can possibly help customers?! So Joey, what else was unique about the book?

Joey Coleman: Well, the second unique thing I enjoyed about this book is how much Jason includes his own personal stories. Now lots of books have the author sharing experiences they’ve had and relating their own personal connection to the topic, but one of the things I loved about this book is reading about Jason’s evolution through entrepreneurship to handling CX for a major global brand in their Australian operations. I mean this is a guy who goes from starting a business when he’s like the youngest kid in all of Australia to have a business license selling phones, selling computers, selling all sorts of things, and eventually ending up helping Volkswagens sell cars and create the customer experience around auto purchases. I just thought it was really interesting to track an experience professional’s journey in their career because I think it in many ways mirrors the, for lack of a better way of putting it, the randomness and uniqueness of the typical customer journey.

Joey Coleman: All that being said, the third unique aspect to the book was a short discussion that really got my head spinning. Now again, to quote Jason in the book quote, “Many companies are doing great work in humanizing the customer experience during times of devastation- such as financial companies forgiving loan payments when a loved one has passed away, or phone companies providing free mobile services during a natural disaster… these organizations understand that the experience they deliver will create long lasting memories, that will sustain them in a way they can feel proud of. Now we’ve talked about this on the show several times and it came up recently in a conversation that I had with a customer experience team at Comcast when they were explaining their process for rewriting the playbook for handling a hurricane scenario. They stop all bill collection efforts in the region. They roll in special services to allow communications to continue to exist, and before the hurricane hits they actually educate people via their cable TV on how to access up-to-date weather and communicate with loved ones when the hurricane actually hits. And at the risk of you know an aside here, I think that with the way climate change is dramatically impacting all sorts of businesses, the way crises are starting to impact all sorts of businesses around the world, I think that the most savvy organizations are the ones that are thinking strategically about how their customer experience needs to shift in times of crisis.

Joey Coleman: So that’s what I’ve been reading – and I recommend you check it out as well. You can get, It’s All About CEX: the Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience on Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and e-book format, and we’ll include a link to the book in the show notes at ExperienceThisShow.com as well as a link to find Jason on the web and on LinkedIn. He’s a great guy that I think most of our listeners – at least here in the United States – might not have heard about yet, and I think the key word in that sentence is “yet.” So go check him out!

[SEGMENT INTRO][THIS JUST HAPPENED]

Joey Coleman: We’d love telling stories and sharing key insights you can implement – or avoid – based on our experience. Can you believe that This Just Happened!

[THIS JUST HAPPENED: Rocket Referrals]

Joey Coleman: Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Dan, happy birthday to you!

Dan Gingiss: Joey – only one problem. It’s not my birthday.

Joey Coleman: Fair enough, fair enough, I know … but it’s coming up next month. And I wanted to prove a point.

Dan Gingiss: And what point did you want to prove?

Joey Coleman: I wanted to prove the point that as we get older, birthdays aren’t really celebrated nearly as much as they are when we’re younger.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah you’re not kidding! I try to ignore my birthday and kind of hope it just passes without incident.

Joey Coleman: I think a lot of people do, but even if you’re excited about celebrating your birthday, there’s not that many people that join in celebrating your birthday later in life then do in the early years of your life. I think this is such a HUGE opportunity for personalization and something that most companies miss when they interact with their customers – especially those that they want to stay around for years and years. One industry that I think could dramatically improve in this regard is the insurance industry.

Dan Gingiss: And in many regards Joey!

Joey Coleman: Allow me to detail the items that the insurance…

Joey Coleman: Well no, but I mean here’s the thing – I’m going to do my best to stay calm here because, as folks that listen to the show a lot know, I can get a little worked up on things. I had a call with a fantastic new insurance agent yesterday. And I mean this guy was incredible. He spent time explaining things to me which was a total shocker. He made sure that I understand all of the potential coverages we’re talking about – both auto and renter’s insurance and how they overlap, and marine policies, and talking me through several different options, before promising to go get some great quotes so that I can transition to some new coverages. And in doing this the interaction was so personal that it reminded me about a great company I came across earlier this year – six or eight months ago – that helps insurance agents like the one I spoke with, take this level of personalization and care and turn it into a fantastic aspect of the insurance agent’s business that is more systematized and consistent.

Dan Gingiss: OK. Well as much as we all want to talk about “marine coverage” what does this have to do with birthdays?!

Joey Coleman: So here’s the thing, and I promise I’m going to come to what it has to do with birthdays…

Dan Gingiss: He’s got a point here ladies and gentlemen!

Joey Coleman: I’ve got a point Ladies and Gentlemen – just stick with us! In the interim, I want to tell you about this amazing company – Rocket Referrals. Rocket Referrals is based in the great state of Iowa…

Dan Gingiss: I know a great guy that’s from there…

Joey Coleman: I do too – Radar O’Reilly from the TV show MASH. Here’s the thing, Rocket Referrals helps insurance agencies get referrals and reviews – and in the process, dramatically improve their retention. Now they do this by first of all, using analytics to review an Agency’s client list so they can find, and then engage with, their top promoters. Then, they cultivate those relationships in order to get testimonials and online reviews – which as we all know especially in an industry that has a tendency to be very local in terms of its market, online reviews are huge. They specialize in helping businesses crack this proverbial question: What is the ideal communication, with the ideal timing? Rocket Referrals is excellent at doing this.

Dan Gingiss: Well, and we all know that referrals and references from other customers are some of the most credible forms of marketing and that you know people consumers believe friends, and family, and other customers, far more than they believe a company or a CEO, so I can definitely see where this is important. But tell me where are you going with this?

Joey Coleman: Now this is where the birthdays come in! So thanks for your patience… In many businesses, the company knows when your birthday is. They have that data for their customers. Now with insurance, they’re required to ask this in order to complete your application. So the company has a record of your birthday and you happily told them your birthday (at least the date and the year) because you needed to do this in order to get your insurance policy. Now despite the fact that many insurance companies and other companies currently are sitting in their CRM on the customer’s birthday info, do you know what the typical company does with that info Dan?

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely nothing.

Joey Coleman: Ding, ding, ding! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Which drives me insane… We live in an era where, after you’re about 10 years old, birthdays are less exciting and there are fewer people involved… I mean, other than the big milestones – 16, 21, 40, some of the big ones that you might have a bigger party about – year in and year out, there isn’t much hoopla around your birthday.

Dan Gingiss: Definitely… By the time you’re an adult you know the only people that are giving you a birthday card are maybe significant other, perhaps your kids, and your mom with generally a begrudging signature from your dad.

Joey Coleman: Exactly. And so most people and organizations have got so caught up in the digital communication that they think that a trite “HBD” written on your Facebook wall – and for those of you paying attention at home, that’s HBD, as in a sick, ridiculous abbreviation of “Happy Birthday” – HBD – is enough to celebrate another year on the planet. It’s absolutely pathetic. And Rocket Referral feels the same way that I do. So what they did, is they created a handwritten birthday card that is custom created for the agents they work with, and they will send this birthday card directly to that agent’s customers, on their behalf, at the right time, each year. So you upload a list of all of your clients and their birthdays, you decide what you want the birthday card in the message to look like, and Rocket Referrals sends those out like clockwork so that your customers get them the week before their birthday.

Dan Gingiss: Now folks we should at least share with you that Joey’s a little bit older than I am… and so he doesn’t he doesn’t appreciate the Millennial abbreviations as I do. I like HBD. I think H BD is awesome. But…

Joey Coleman: Please… What you don’t realize folks? You just walked yourself into a future episode of Agree To Disagree because I think HBD on the wall… I would rather have someone NOT write on my Facebook wall on my birthday than write a trite, HBD. You don’t even have the time to write out happy birthday?! Like how pressed for time are you that you can’t write out a happy birthday?!

Dan Gingiss: But everybody writes “Happy Birthday.”

Joey Coleman: Beautiful! Thank you for proving my point sir! Don’t write “HBD,” don’t write “Happy Birthday,” go further! Give them something of substance if you actually want to acknowledge someone’s birthday. Can you imagine being in the office and walking by someone and going, “Hey Dan, HBD baby!” and keep walking?! I mean come on.

Dan Gingiss: So, I’m a little embarrassed because I’ll bet if you go back to your Wall on your last birthday, that’s probably what I wrote.

Joey Coleman: Rest assured that I will be pulling a screenshot and putting that in the show notes if I can find it… of Dan Gingiss putting an “HBD” on my birthday…

Dan Gingiss: Ah well, I meant it with all love and respect Joey.

Joey Coleman: Oh my gosh, so crazy… Well anyway, long story, we could go on this for hours, but here’s the deal, Rocket Referrals does an incredible job of doing this. They’re bringing an analog connection in an increasingly digital world. Sending a customer a physical birthday card in the mail – and they give a variety of different handwriting options, so for all those people that are like “Oh, my handwriting is too bad, I could never write a personal note,” – Rocket Referrals has got you covered. If you have a particularly unique style of handwriting they will turn that into a typeface and you can use your typeface for your cards, that look like they are handwritten by you. It’s that little extra touch that really changes how the customers feel about their insurance agent. And as we all know in the world of insurance, usually you sign up for a policy and then you kind of pay on that same policy until a year later when you have a conversation with your agent. They talk about what additional policies you might need or new coverages and then ideally, you re-up for another year. They don’t get a lot of in-person or frequent communication with you throughout the year. The birthday card is a nice way to surprise and delight the customer.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, I love the idea and this reminds me a little bit of an episode from last year – Episode 34 back in May – where we talked about Punkpost which were those handwritten cards that people can order. Now, they didn’t get all the way to the level of mimicking your handwriting (which I think is really cool) but, you know, customers and consumers in general want personal communication, and they appreciate it, and I think that it’s particularly useful and meaningful in an industry that’s not really known for useful and meaningful touch points.

Dan Gingiss: I mean, you know I think I read somewhere that 70 percent of insurance agents unhappy clients say that the reason they are unhappy is because of poor or irregular communication from the agent.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. And when we don’t communicate with our customers regularly, and in a personalized friendly way, the wheels fall off. But when we do communicate regularly, and in a personalized way, the results for our business are incredible. In fact, I asked the folks at Rocket Referrals to pull some data for me. They found that their approach to retention experience creates an average ROI of over 1,500% that climbs to 1,800 percent after the first two years. So the more that the insurance agents implement these long term strategies of communicating with their clients, the more their clients want to stay loyal to them. Fancy that – if you show your customers you care, they want to stay around! In fact, the birthday cards alone – mailing these birthday cards – has been shown to reduce their insurance agency clients detractors (the people who are not a fan of that particular agency) by 15 percent over a two and a half year period. If we can reduce the number of people that are writing negative reviews, or who are not fans of our brand, that actually helps our business grow – not only in terms of our impact, but in terms of our profits.

Dan Gingiss: You know, a former boss of mine who is now the CMO of Discover, used to say something that stuck with me which is that “loyalty goes both ways.” And I think that’s absolutely true here. Why should you expect a customer to be loyal to a company if the company isn’t loyal back? And this is a very simple way to show your loyalty to your customers.

Joey Coleman: Absolutely. You know friends this is a little bit of a different segment than our usual segment in that, I want to offer you something special especially for those of you listening that are insurance agents or work in the insurance industry – and we know there’s a bunch of you. If you go to www.bit.ly/rocketreferrals (and don’t worry we’ll include this link in the show notes) you can sign up for a free webinar, all about The First 100 Day Experience that I’m going to be doing with the Rocket Referrals team because I love their business and how they do customer onboarding so much. This webinar is going to be two weeks from now on Wednesday December 5th at 12:00p.m. Central. Come join us. It’s going to be a lot of fun. You’ll leave the webinar with all sorts of ideas on how you can enhance your customers experience with birthday cards and other fun things too.

Dan Gingiss: And in the meantime, make sure to make each year count when it comes to celebrating the years your customers have been with you. Happy birthday to your customers.

[SEGMENT INTRO][THREE TAKEAWAYS]

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 – Episode 49]

Joey Coleman: Takeaway #1 – Can an experience go too far? What happens when the experience becomes the product we are selling to customers? What happens when the product is the experience our customers are buying? Every day the bar is being raised for what it takes to create a viral experience, which calls us to consider what is truly newsworthy or experiential and what is merely a publicity stunt. If your brand is going to fully-adopt an experiential approach to customer interactions, give some consideration to the fact that the bar is only going to keep being raised in the future.

Dan Gingiss: Takeaway #2 – Are you giving as much attention to the employee experience as you are to the customer experience? The best way to get your employees to deliver remarkable customer experiences is if (1) they know what a remarkable customer experience is, and (2) they are familiar with having those experiences at work. To borrow some questions from Jason’s book, It’s All About CEX, “when was the last time you asked employees for feedback on how their day was going? When was the last time you sat down with your team and defined what success, ease, and connection look like for your customers, and then explored ways that your employees could help your customers to have those types of interactions?

Joey Coleman: Takeaway #3 – Are you making the most of birthdays? Most companies are sitting on data that would allow them to connect in a personal and meaningful way – if only they got that data out of the CRM and put it into use. Take a page from the experts at Rocket Referrals: how are you using what you know about your customers to create meaningful interactions? Are you timing your requests for reviews and testimonials to come at the right place in the customer journey? Have you identified the ideal communications and the ideal timing for delivering them?

Dan Gingiss: And those are the Three Takeaways for this episode.

Joey Coleman: Thanks so much for listening to another episode of Experience This! We’ll see you soon…

[SHOW CONCLUSION]

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 enjoy, what news 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!