Join us as we discuss: how to implement ancient wisdom into your employee and customer training efforts, how to take a painful process and make it enjoyable every step of the way, and how iconic talk triggers conveniently enhance your customer experience.
Tribal, Technical, and Bibliographical. Oh my!
[CX Press] Using Ancient Wisdom to Improve the Customer Experience [1:31– 11:22]
Businesses can use the same tried and true techniques humanity has used since ancient times to facilitate learning in a corporate setting. The article, “Learning Like Tribes: Three Methods that Apply Today,” written by Janice Eusebio at Sitel Group explains that ancient tribes learned in three specific ways: through observation, storytelling, and gamification.
Tribes had three very specific ways they learned. What’s interesting to us is how we can take these three concepts from tribal learning and apply them to both employee learning and customer learning in the modern era. ~ Dan Gingiss
- In ancient tribal settings, our ancestors learned to hunt by observing and shadowing an experienced hunter. Today, new employees learn specific job functions by watching our peers and leaders work.
- Storytelling passes on traditions and wisdom for later generations to learn from others’ experience. In modern times, storytelling is an opportunity to learn from previous employees even if they are no longer working at the business. For example, Joey’s client – the accounting firm LTBD – uses storytelling to build a positive company culture.
- The third tribal learning technique is gamification. When applied to learning programs, gamification can boost engagement by up to 60%. By using gamification techniques like advocacy programs and point systems to award top performers, businesses can promote the culture they desire.
[Dissecting the Experience] How to Enhance User Enjoyment by Removing Obstacles [11:38 – 21:54]
During Dan’s time as Head of Digital Customer Experience at Discover, he lead an initiative that looked at the lowest performing pages on the company website. He found that the smallest of issues could have an enormous impact on how customers experienced the Discover website. By finding and fixing these small obstacles, he was able to create a smoother, more enjoyable customer experience for those navigating the website.
When providing a service to a customer, keep them informed about the small details of the project in order to show them your value as a service provider. Yoko Co. – a website design company that Joey featured in his book Never Lose a Customer Again – does an excellent of job of keeping customers in the loop. When the Experience This! Show needed a new website, Joey reached out to Yoko Co. Not only did they do the research at the beginning of the project to make sure they understood what the site needed to focus on, but they made sure to keep the website visitor experience as a primary goal. In the process, Yoko Co. made sure that Joey and Dan knew exactly what was being done behind the scenes of the project – which made Joey and Dan’s customer experience fantastic as well.
Usually when you are dealing with a Web development firm they’re trying to sell you on every possible plug-in and add-in because they’re trying to win awards. They’re trying to create cool, awesome technical sites. They’re trying to keep their coders and designers excited and engaged. The folks at Yoko Co., the company we worked with, were not like that at all in the best possible way. They said, “let’s focus on what matters the most. Let’s make sure we have clear text, clear posts, and an easy to navigate site.” ~ Joey Coleman
- By utilizing surveys that asked customers to rate, “how easy was your experience today?” on each web page, Discover found that the submit button on their “refer-a-friend’ page was not showing up when customers used a specific web browser. Once that was fixed, the page survey score improved drastically. Applying this same treatment to the other pages on the website helped Discover to win the J.D. Power Award for Best Customer Experience.
- The web design company Yoko Co. specializes in developing websites that help Yoko Co.’s customers create a great user experience for visitors to their websites.
- To create a remarkable experience for their customers, Yoko Co. trains internal admin teams, holds their customers’ hands every step of the way, keeps customers informed about site updates, and regularly shares what is going on behind the scenes in order to reaffirm their value as a website provider.
[Book Report] The Trifecta of Great Customer Experience [22:07 – 34:43]
Instead of just featuring one book, this Book Report segment covers three brand new releases in the customer experience genre. “Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth,” by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin provides a framework for creating effective word-of-mouth marketing strategies. “Iconic,” by Scott McKain explains how organizations and leaders can attain, sustain, and regain the ultimate level of distinction in the marketplace. “The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty,” by Shep Hyken posits that convenience is the key ingredient for any business that hopes to differentiate itself from the competition.
Talk triggers don’t have to be expensive, they just have to be memorable and differentiated from the competition. ~ Dan Gingiss
- From Talk Triggers: Companies need to give their customers something to talk about. By focusing on specific aspects of the experience, a business can create a memorable talk trigger that customers will share when speaking about the brand (e.g., the warm chocolate chip cookies provided by Doubletree Hotels).
- From Iconic: there are five factors that help establish a company’s ICONIC brand status including, playing offense, getting the promise and performance right, stopping selling, going negative, and giving reciprocal respect.
- From The Convenience Revolution: The Ruhlin Group helped the Chicago Cubs create a memorable customer experience through a unique, meaningful gift.
[Three Takeaways] Questions to Consider for Episode 54 [35:02 – 37:10]
- How can you incorporate the ancient wisdom of tribes when training your employees and customers? Do your educational efforts involve observation of best practices and best habits? Do you package your lessons into stories that can be easily and enthusiastically told by your employees and customers alike? Do you use the power of games to teach people important lessons in a playful yet memorable way?
- Are you examining the painful aspects of your customer journey and making them more pleasurable? How are you focusing on the most important desires your customers have? Are you truly focusing on what matters the most? Are you holding your customers’ hands every step of the way? Are you showing them what you’re doing behind the scenes to keep showcasing your value?
- Are your talk triggers iconic and convenient? Have you specifically created talk triggers for your business? What aspects of your business are getting your customers talking? Are your efforts iconic? Are you focusing on improving the most frustrating parts of your customer experience? What are you doing to make the experience more convenient? Are you reducing friction by removing barriers that stand in your customers way?
Links We Referenced
Learning Like Tribes: Three Methods that Apply Today by Janice Eusebio at Sitel Group
Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin
Host Contact Information
Tweet Dan Gingiss: @DGingiss
Email Joey: JoeyC@JoeyColeman.com
Download a transcript of the entire here Episode 54 or read it below:
Welcome to Experience This – where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer 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 54 INTRO]
Dan Gingiss: Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show.
Joey Coleman: Join us as we discuss: how to implement ancient wisdom into your employee and customer training efforts, how to take a painful process and make it enjoyable every step of the way, and how iconic talk triggers conveniently enhance your customer experience.
Dan Gingiss: Tribal, Technical, and Bibliographical. Oh my!
[SEGMENT INTRO][CX PRESS]
Joey Coleman: 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: Ancient Wisdom Can Improve the Customer Experience]
Joey Coleman: Thanks to a new partnership with our friends at Sitel Group, which you’ll be hearing more about at the start of Season 3 of the Experience This! Show, we recently came across a blog post that we thought would be interesting to talk about on the show. The post was titled, “Learning Like Tribes: Three Methods that Apply Today.”
Dan Gingiss: And folks if you’re regular listeners to the show, and we very much thank you for that, you know that Joey and I are both students of the human condition. We like exploring why people do the things they do, and we enjoy taking what we know about human behavior through the ages and applying it to a modern context.
Joey Coleman: Which is why the analysis and perspective in this CX Press article was so interesting to us. In ancient times, tribes served as the foundation for society. As a human social group, they didn’t have access to the resources that later civilizations would have. Yet they were fully functioning, growing communities.
Dan Gingiss: Tribes had three very specific ways they learned. And what’s interesting to us is how we can take these three concepts from tribal learning and apply them to both employee learning and customer learning in the modern era.
Joey Coleman: Now, ancient tribes learned in three ways. First by observing other people and animals, then from the teachings of their elders, and finally by playing games that prepared them for life. Now most listeners are familiar with the observing practice. As humans we instinctively learn in a social way and that means we learn best when we observe the behaviors of those who have more experience than we do. In a tribe setting, a person would learn how to hunt by shadowing an experienced hunter. They would learn health remedies from observing the local tribal shaman. They would learn how to lead effectively by watching the chief. Now this approach is pretty common in corporate training today. We shadow our co-workers as new employees, we learn specific skills by observing an employee who has a particular job function, and we learn objectively and subjectively by watching our peers and our leaders work.
Dan Gingiss: So the second way that people learned in a tribal setting was storytelling. Every tribe had storytellers who served the role of continuing the tribes learning by telling stories of creation and histories of the tribe. Using stories the tribal elders passed on traditions and wisdoms for later generations to learn from their experiences. These stories activated the brain, creating neural coupling which allowed listeners to turn the stories into their own ideas and experience. Through modern research we know that facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story. Which is why more and more corporate training programs are weaving stories into their coursework.
Joey Coleman: And finally there is gamification. Now this is a word that’s become increasingly popular in recent years throughout corporate settings, and in fact as recently as today I was speaking with a client about incorporating gamification techniques into their new customer onboarding efforts. But this approach to learning is actually ancient in its origins. Tribes used games to teach their children safety, strength, agility, and sportsmanship. And while these tribal games were certainly fun, they always had a learning objective. The consequences were also much greater than those faced in a typical corporate training session today.
Dan Gingiss: So here’s the question when we think of training our employees or teaching our customers are we using all three methodologies from ancient tribes to their fullest potential? Now the first one I want to talk about is observation. And we definitely see that lots of companies have people training with one of their peers. You often walk into a restaurant and you have the waiter introducing you to the new trainee who is shadowing them.
Joey Coleman: Let’s be clear, which usually means awkwardly lurking next to them not making eye contact with anyone and feeling like mostly an annoyance to the waiter who is being shadowed. Am I right or am right?
Dan Gingiss: I think from the customer point of view it’s like oh boy that’s like it’s like driving behind a student driver, right?
Joey Coleman: (Laughing) But kind of worse because a student driver you can pass, the waiter at the restaurant there you’re, ‘OK. Good. I’m part of a learning experience now.’
Dan Gingiss: Exactly.
Joey Coleman: It’s almost I don’t know if it’s worse than being in a hospital and having somebody be like, “oh I’m the new trainee that will be taking your blood.” I actually had that happen one time.
Dan Gingiss: They’ll be removing your liver…
Joey Coleman: Seven tries to take blood… three on the left arm, three on the right arm. When the new trainee phlebotomist came back to the left arm for what would be the seventh stick (I was 17 at the time) I jokingly said, “If you don’t get it this time do I get a turn?” At which point the supervising nurse said, “I will take over now.” So this observation is a great technique when applied properly.
Dan Gingiss: Yeah and actually one of the best ways that I’ve seen that is becoming more and more popular is what a lot of companies call reverse mentoring and this is where you have you know a young millennial right out of college training a C-level executive on something like social media or kind of how millennials think or how to market to millennials for example. So my suggestion is: make sure that you’re observing with multiple people at your company, in multiple levels, and in multiple areas of your company. And that’s the best way to learn to the fullest.
Joey Coleman: I love it. And I just realized in this moment that I need a reverse mentee that teach me about the Twitters. The second tribal technique was storytelling. Are your stories spreadable? What we mean by that is are you creating the kind of stories in your brand that your employees want to tell and your customers want to tell. You know a few years ago I worked with an accounting firm that goes by the acronym LTBD. What I love about their firm is they came up with the tagline, “Accountants You’d Want to Have a Beer With.” And I think folks that says it all. Because I don’t think we’re spectrally of most accountants is the kind of folks that you’d be excited to go have a beer with, and I don’t even drink!
Dan Gingiss: Although, time out a second, time out a second. In our recent holiday episode we actually featured an accountant friend of ours.
Joey Coleman: This is true, this is true but–.
Dan Gingiss: He’s a good guy to have a beer with, I can tell you that!
Joey Coleman: This is true. This is true, but what’s interesting about LTBD is they actually have a wall in their lobby of sabbatical items. What I mean by that… as part of your tenure is an employee after you’ve been with the company, I think it’s for three years, you get a two week company paid vacation. And the rule is you have to use that money to leave town. You have to go on a trip you can’t do a staycation. And while there they give you a budget to buy an artifact. A memento from your trip that you bring back to the office, you tell a story about this memento and about your trip, and then they place it on the wall. So that when new customers walk in they ask about the item, all the employees can tell the story about which employee, who had been there for a long time, took a sabbatical, what that meant to them, and how it related to their overall experience. Now what does it have to do with accounting? Absolutely nothing. What does that have to do with culture and spreading stories? Absolutely everything.
Dan Gingiss: So I’ve decided that I don’t I no longer want to have a beer with these accounts. I want to go work for them. That’s awesome!
Joey Coleman: Exactly. And it’s a huge recruiting tool it’s amazing amazing group.
Dan Gingiss: So the third area is gamification, and studies show that applying gamification to learning programs boosts engagement by 60%. And I’ve seen this also in the workplace particularly when it comes to things like employee advocacy programs where you’re trying to get employees to help share positive news articles and press releases and stuff in their social circles. One of the best ways to do that is to put some gamification on. To have points, to award prizes for the top sharers. Even things like Waze you know the things I love about Waze is they still give you six points to report something on the road, and yet there is no longer even a scoreboard you can’t even like, you don’t know how many total points you have.
Joey Coleman: (Laughing) Like a Pavlovian dog you’re still reporting.
Dan Gingiss: And get my six points!
Joey Coleman: Get those points!
Dan Gingiss: So it absolutely is incentivizing and in fact when Waze did have a scoreboard there was no prize. It just it all it was was seeing your name up in lights. You know have more points than your neighbor, and that was enough. So I think that’s a huge part of learning that that is very valuable in the workplace.
Joey Coleman: I think what’s interesting about this article is these are three tried and tested techniques for teaching. Tried and tested techniques for learning. And while I think most businesses maybe incorporate some of them or maybe even all of them, I don’t think the typical business really consciously makes a decision to focus on these three methodologies for learning. To learn more about the wisdom of ancient tribes and see how companies have implemented this type of learning into their businesses, visit Explore.Sitel.com/ExperienceThis. Just like our show. Don’t worry if you don’t remember the URL, just go over to ExperienceThisShow.com and we’ll link to that landing page in the show notes as well.
[SEGMENT INTRO][DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE]
Joey Coleman: Sometimes a remarkable experience deserves deeper investigation. We dive into the nitty gritty of customer interactions and dissect how and why they happen. Join us while we’re dissecting the experience.
[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Removing Obstacles Leads to Increased Enjoyment]
Dan Gingiss: It’s those of you who visit ExperienceThisShow.com know, we launched a new website at the start of season 2 in an effort to provide you even more information from the podcast. Not only does it include the typical show notes where we share links and highlights and even pictures sometimes from each episode, we also include full transcripts written out and available as PDF download so that our content is more accessible to a wider audience, because we know some people don’t listen to podcasts. In addition, we have a functionality lets you search episodes by segment type. So for example if you love our book reports you can search for every episode that has featured that kind of content.
Joey Coleman: Now it’s interesting, designing a new website is really a double edged sword. It’s exciting, but it’s also incredibly frustrating and I know this because I use to help build websites for a living or, if any of my former team is listening… let’s be candid. I used to sell projects for building websites and then I had people that were much smarter and more talented than me do all the designing and coding. But one of the things I learned in that process is that everybody has a nightmare story of the website they built that was just tragic. That was over budget, past the deadline. It was miserable. It’s like the baggage you get when you talk to someone about their worst dating experience. It was an emotional engagement and I always try to do as part of the process, kind of get them to share those stories so we knew what to avoid in our new relationship as we built them a new website. Dan you used to spend a little bit of time on a big website as I recall, didn’t you?
Dan Gingiss: I did indeed. I was the head of digital customer experience for Discover Card and managed their website which only gets roughly 50 million logins a month, so kind of small… But the thing that I remember the most is just that there were so many little things and now granted a site of that size I mean it was thousands of pages but oftentimes the very little things cause the most problems and so one of the things that I did that I thought was really, really illuminating is we looked at the survey data. We had a survey on every page of the site that you click a button and leave us feedback. And it asked a couple of questions and there was a space to fill in comments. And one of the questions was, ‘how easy was your experience today?’ And so I asked for a report by page and I wanted it sorted in reverse order of the easy question in other words. I wanted the worst scores. How easy was your experience today.
Joey Coleman: Nice!
Dan Gingiss: Right, cause I want to know what are the pages that are causing people the most problems. And it turns out the top page that was causing the most problems that had the single worst rating out of thousands of pages was this page where we were offering a reward (speaking of gamification) to people for referring friends to Discover Card.
Joey Coleman: The irony is thick in this moment.
Dan Gingiss: Exactly, so you’ve got a $50 credit, you know cash back, to refer a friend. Well it’s got a terrible score so we looked into the comments on that page and very clearly like out of nowhere just absolutely popped up. There was one type of web browser I don’t remember what it was where the submit button was not showing up, so people were filling out the form and they were like, ‘Well what the heck do I do now?’ And it wasn’t everybody, and so there weren’t tons of complaints. And if there were tons of complaints it would have risen to the top for a different reason we would have seen it. But there was definitely a small audience using a certain browser that could not that this button simply didn’t show up. The minute we fixed that the second we fixed that that page went from being the least easy page on the site to having at least average or above average score, and the problem went away immediately. And then, honestly, we proceeded to do that about 100 more times, and that’s how we won the J.D. Power Award for best customer experience including sweeping all six of the website categories.
Joey Coleman: It’s a rinse and repeat model folks focus on the thing that isn’t working and make it better. Well our website and experience the show dot com gets slightly less than 50 million logins per month.
Dan Gingiss: It was like I think 49 last month?
Joey Coleman: I think it was 49 and a half million, yeah… Folks come over to the website. They got the show notes. We put them up there every week. We’d love to have you check it out. But when we were getting ready to build out this new website we searched high and low for a great partner. Actually, we didn’t have to search high and low for a great partner because that was one that I had featured in my book, “Never Lose a Customer Again.” What’s interesting is their employees, their staff, (I know the owner Chris Yoko very well) his team actually are avid listeners to the show. And when I went to them and said hey we’re thinking about you know building a new website we need to do this. They were super excited because the regular fans and it’s always great to be able to work with a vendor (and they’re anything but a vendor folks), but to hire someone to help you with a technical aspect of your business with somebody who really appreciates who you are, and what you do, and what you’re trying to accomplish. And this is where the experience of working with them got awesome. First of all they came to the table with a clean design. They said, “Look you guys are all about the experience. We want to make the experience of going to this website positive. We want the experience to be great on both mobile and on desktop. We want it to be clean. We want to focus on the content and what’s important now when people come to the site they want to see the most recent episode but they want to be able to look back if you know now they’re on the site and they think about other episodes or things they might want to check out. They want to be able to find that easily.” Secondly they wanted to limit the bells and whistles to make it useful to visitors. Now let’s be candid, usually when you are dealing with a Web development firm they’re trying to sell you on every possible plug-in and add-in because they’re trying to win awards. They’re trying to create cool awesome technical sites. They’re trying to keep their coders and designers excited and engaged. The folks at Yoko Co., the company we worked with, were not like that at all in the best possible way. They said, “let’s focus on what matters the most. Let’s make sure we have clear text, clear posts, and an easy to navigate site.”
Dan Gingiss: And again, I would bring back the Discover Card example. One of the key pages was that, you know, accounts center home page when you enter your name and password, the one that you land on. And we found the same thing which was, the wrong thing to do is provide people with a ton of information about everything related to their account because most people are coming to the website with a specific purpose in mind. And what we figured out was that that purpose often involved looking at a recent transaction. It used to be that you had to click on a couple of different links to get to your transactions. We actually brought the feed right to the home page and it was one of the most popular aspects of the page. And one of the cool things that we looked at, Joey, was that usually when you look at time on a page and you want people to spend a lot of time and then you want them to advance to another page otherwise you know if they drop off it basically called abandonment and abandon rate is usually bad. Well one of the things that we found was when we put the transactions on the home page we saw a ton of people log in and then log out our abandonment rate went up really high. But what we realized was that was great because we had given us for exactly what they wanted. They came in they got it they left and who wants to get with their credit card website. They want it to be fast.
Joey Coleman: No one measure the metrics that matter folks. Pay attention to what you’re actually tracking and make sure that it’s in line with your overall goals. You know this is very much in alignment with the way Yoko Co. in approach helping us do the implementation. So designing the website figuring out what it’s going to be, that’s kind of the fun exciting part. Then you get to the not so fun part of taking all of the show notes from Season 1, 40 episodes folks, and transferring those from our old site to our new site. But what was great and they gave us a roadmap. They gave us clear updates. They trained our virtual assistant on how to do it and help with us. They trained me (which folks if you can train me on this stuff it’s impressive) and they held our hand. The moral of the story is they did some great handholding and made sure that everything was smooth. They saw us through launch. But here’s where they stood out the most. Most Web site companies once you launch the stories over you’re now in charge of your Web site you’re now in charge of your content you’ve been trained on how to do the updates in WordPress. You’re ready to go. They also do our hosting and I had something happen the very first month we were hosting with them that I’d never have happened with a hosting company before and I’ve been hosting websites since, geez, as my father would say, ‘since Hector was a pup,’ for the old people listening. But long story short I’ve been hosting for a long long time. They send a report every month that says what their uptime has been, the plugins that they have added, the virus attacks that they have protected from. I mean this is a laundry list of activity that to be clear, I’m paying about the same amount for hosting that we were with some of the more well-known branded hosting companies before but now I know what I’m actually paying for. We’re getting more or at least we’re being told what’s happening. So the moral of the story here is building Web site can be an emotional experience. For many of your customers, the type of business they do with you (whether it’s a product or a service) has a high emotional engagement level for them. What are you doing to make that experience smooth? What are you doing to make sure that journey is enjoyable and continues after they accomplish the goal they had. If you need a new Web site and want to have a great experience, contact the folks at YokoCo.com, that’s Y-O-K-O-C-O, YokoCo.com and tell them that Dan and Joey at Experience This! sent to you, and I promise you’ll have a remarkable experience.
[SEGMENT INTRO][BOOK REPORT]
Joey Coleman: We’re excited to give you an overview of an important book you should know about, as well as share some of our favorite passages as part of our next book report.
[BOOK REPORT: The Trifecta of Great Customer Experience]
Joey Coleman: A few weeks ago the world of customer experience books was rocked when three leading authorities in the space each published a book, all within the same week. What are the chances? Now to be clear, all three of these books are fantastic in their own right. And while each one is worthy of a stand alone individual book report on the Experience This! Show, Dan and I couldn’t resist the chance to capitalize on the serendipity of all three of these books arriving from Amazon at the same time. Thus we combined them into a single, comprehensive, massive transformer combiner force-esque all-encompassing book report. Any one of these books can revolutionize your thinking and offers dozens of insights and ideas for enhancing your customer experience, but taken together they offer a trifecta of knowledge that you don’t want to miss. Have I built it up enough? Are you feeling good? Are you feeling excited to hear about these books?.
Dan Gingiss: I’m pumped! Can I start with book number one?
Joey Coleman: Start with book number one. Tell us about it.
Dan Gingiss: Alright, book number one! Ladies and gentlemen, our good friend and friend of the podcast Jay Baer partnered with his colleague Daniel Lemin to produce, “Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth.” The first thing that grabs you about this book is the fact that there are two alpacas on the cover. That’s right.
Joey Coleman: Did you say alpacas?
Dan Gingiss: I did, I said the alpacas. I think it’s the first business book ever with alpacas but I’m not sure. Yeah one of the alpacas is looking like it is whispering into the other’s ear, and that’s kind of the whole concept of a talk trigger. So, marketers have long been pursuing that elusive word of mouth marketing but many are going about it the wrong way searching in vain for the next viral video. Don’t do that people! “It’s dead,” says Baer and Lemin. Companies need to give customers something to talk about in the experience they provide. The book provides an actionable framework for how to do this explaining the four criteria that every talk trigger must possess to be effective, and the five types of talk triggers that companies can deploy. It then reviews more than 30 case studies of companies which have successfully integrated talk triggers into their business. Companies like the Cheesecake Factory with its gigantic menu that that everybody talks about all the time.
Joey Coleman: It’s like a dictionary menu folks. If you’ve been to Cheesecake Factory, you know what we’re talking about.
Dan Gingiss: Exactly. And Joey if you’ve ever stayed at the Doubletree Hotel what do you remember about it?
Joey Coleman: The cookies. It’s always the cookies.
Dan Gingiss: Chocolate chip cookies. That’s right, these are talk triggers.
Joey Coleman: They have them at the front desk. It’s amazing! You get it before I even get to your room. It’s glorious!
Dan Gingiss: Exactly. So one of the key takeaways is that talk triggers don’t have to be expensive, they just have to be memorable and differentiated from the competition. As far as I know Doubletree is still the only hotel that offers warm chocolate chip cookies.
Joey Coleman: Certainly the only one we’re talking about!
Dan Gingiss: So my favorite passage from the book was a case study about Five Guys and it actually wasn’t about their burgers but about their french fries. What does Five Guys do to stand out from other fast food restaurants? It gives every customer extra fries. So here’s the passage. “Order a small serving of fries at five guys and you receive enough fries to be credibly described as large. A medium order often solicits a, “Wow that’s a lot of fries,” comment. And a large serving of fries? Absurd, unless you’re feeding a high school hockey team or a mining crew. Comments about the amount of fries routinely show up on Twitter. Now Joey you can probably guess why I chose that passage.
Joey Coleman: Could it be a reference to Twitter? Or the reference mining crew?
Dan Gingiss: Neither of the above, although I love the mining crew reference. No I love French fries first of all. But also I talk about this all the time in my keynote speeches is that companies have to find ways to control the conversation on social media, and particularly, to make the brand lovers louder than the haters because there are always going to be haters. So, two examples of the book of tweets mentioning Five Guys the first one was (and these are tweets) “The best part about five guys is that they grab this tiny cup of fries and then dump in fries four times the amount that can fit in the cup.” And the second tweet was, “The amount of extra fries you always find at the bottom of the bag and five guys is what keeps me alive.” So when you talk about, you know, positive word of mouth this doesn’t a lot for Five Guys to put added fries in. And by the way, Joey, one thing I thought was really interesting I didn’t know from the book is even if you stay in even if you eat in it Five Guys they put your order in a bag so that they can dump more fries. On which I thought was really spiked as you don’t want it on like the tray that be kind of disgusting.
Joey Coleman: Glorious!
Dan Gingiss: So anyway great example of a talk trigger, really fun book, lots of examples. Check out, “Talk Triggers,” by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin. And of course we will include a link in the show notes.
Joey Coleman: Ladies and gentlemen for book number two… If you’re going to title a book, “Iconic,” you have big shoes to fill. Now to be candid, with most authors if I saw that was the title of the book I’d be skeptical at best. But that’s not the case with my good friend Scott McKain’s new book. Now you’ve been in the customer experience or customer service space for any amount of time, you almost certainly have come across some of Scott’s other notable books. With memorable titles like, “The Seven Tenets of Taxi Terry,” “All Business is Show Business,” “What Customers Really Want.” “Iconic” is all about how organizations and leaders attain, sustain, and regain the ultimate level of distinction. It sounds like it has gravitas just from the title and subtitle alone. This is a case study rich book featuring stories that go well beyond the usual suspects and examples to include iconic folks and talk about iconic case studies like, ‘The Millionaire Chimney Sweep,’ ‘The Valet Brewer,’ and ‘The St. Elmo Steakhouse in Indianapolis.’
Dan Gingiss: Wait, I’m a little concerned if my chimney sweep as a millionaire.
Joey Coleman: Let me tell you, the whole story about the millionaire chimney sweep is fantastic and this is the great thing, as folks at work in customer experience, we’ve heard the familiar stories, right? The Amazons, the Apples, the Zappos, and they don’t say that with criticism I tell those stories too. But what I love about Scott and his work he’s been at this for so long that he seeks out the examples you haven’t heard of to prove the point, which I absolutely love. His book outlines five factors of an iconic brand performance in each of the factors. I’ll list them out and give you a quick little description. First, play offense. You need to exercise your power of choice and keep improving your game, regardless of what the competition is doing. Second, you need to get the promise and performance right. Customers need to hear a compelling promise of what they can expect matched by a consistent performance of doing just that. Number three, you need to stop selling because the best iconic companies know that by enhancing the experience that is the ultimate way to increase sales. Fourth, you need to go negative. Now I know that’s not really a message that you would regularly hear on the Experience This! Show, but the fact of the matter is Scott outlines a principle of focusing on your specific weaknesses and eliminating your customers points of infuriation. This leads us back to the example Dan gave us earlier when he talked about the Discover Web site and how they found the page that was worst performing, the page that was least convenient, and focused on making that page better and the dramatic impact it had overall on the site. And finally number five, reciprocal respect. Clearly professionals attract other professionals and if you treat your employees with respect they will respect you and your customers and vice versa. That becomes a big respect triangle. Everybody taking care of each other. There’s also a bonus piece about how to regain iconic status. If you once had it and somehow lost it but you’ll have her read the book to hear more about that. My favorite passage comes from the end of the book. Craig Hughes, president of St Elmo’s Steakhouse says, “There are 14 other steakhouses operating just in downtown Indianapolis. We focus inside our four walls as there will always be competitors. Each new opening reminds us that we have to delight our guest each and every time. We cannot ride the coattails of our past into the future.” If you’re interested in building on your customer experience success today and want to take things beyond distinction to iconic status pick up a copy of Scott McKain’s playbook to do just that. You can find “Iconic” everywhere books are sold. And of course we’ll link to it in the show notes so you can find it quickly at ExperienceThisShow.com. Dan what about book number three for our marathon book report.
Dan Gingiss: Last, but not least it’s book number three, by another good friend of the podcast, customer service expert Shep Hyken, just released his 7th book called, “The Convenience Revolution: How to Deliver a Customer Service Experience that Disrupts the Competition and Creates Fierce Loyalty.” I love that adjective fierce. In this book the like and argues that convenience is perhaps the key way to differentiate your company from your competitors. In a simple and quick read, which by the way is meant to be convenient for busy people, Hyken outlines six principles of convenience that serve as a guide to creating better customer experience. Now, we’re not going to give away the whole farm here but we’re going to give a couple of these away (and you should definitely get the book to read more). The first is reducing friction, which means making doing business with you as easy as possible by removing barriers that stand in the customer’s way. As Hyken says, “Friction is a hassle in your customers world. Anything that removes friction regardless of the source is likely to improve your relationship with the customer.” The second is self-service, which is letting your customers controlled transaction or interaction with you. Now many companies have moved here and we profiled a number of them on the show. And Hyken says that this concept is quote, “Transforming the way customers buy and use products and services.” A couple other models that you may have noticed are getting more popular. One is subscription or establishing an automated schedule delivery of your products and services. Clearly this is a model that is becoming very popular from everything from razor blades to fruits and vegetables. I mean I now get a ton of things on subscription I’m sure you do as well, Joey. There’s also delivery which is bringing the product to the customer rather than having them go get the product. So think of things like Uber Eats and Grubhub and also access which Hyken says is, “raising the bar for customers when it comes to availability, communication, or location.” So think about a 7-Eleven as a convenience store being sort of the typical example but also companies being available 24/7 on social media, for example. So my favorite passage on this book was not particularly surprising. It talks about the Ruland Group, a company that helps identify high end gifts for star clients. One of their clients (I know, Joey, you’re going to roll your eyes even though I can’t see you) is the Chicago Cubs.
Joey Coleman: No, no that’s a good one. I like that. I know all about this story. I’m buddies with John Ruhlin. I actually wrote about this story in my book. I love it!
Dan Gingiss: You did indeed and here is Shep’s excerpt. “So if you’re the Chicago Cubs what do you give your top corporate sponsors and the people who buy the elite corporate box seats in luxury suites at Wrigley Field? If you said, ‘send everyone a Cubs calendar,’ go back to the back of the class. If you said, ‘send everybody a fancy fruit basket,’ go even further back. It’s the thought that counts, and neither of those options show much thought uniqueness or care. Here’s what the Ruhlin Group came up with for each of the Cubs top tier business allies: a top notch Bluetooth speaker, set into a casing built using wood salvaged from the Cubs original locker room constructed in 1914.” I would say that beats a fruit basket any day and I love this example not only because of the uniqueness of the group gift and because I’m a Cubs fan but I happen to know that Shep Hyken like him is a lifelong Saint Louis Cardinals fan. So good on him for including that one. Check out, The Convenience Revolution,” by Shep Hyken. As with all the books we included link in the show notes. We hope you enjoyed this book report featuring three amazing new books by customer experience experts.
[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: Questions to Consider for Episode 54]
Joey Coleman: Takeaway #1 – How can you incorporate the ancient wisdom of tribes when training your employees and customers? Do your educational efforts involve observation of best practices and best habits? Do you package your lessons into stories that can be easily and enthusiastically told by your employees and customers alike? Do you use the power of games to teach people important lessons in a playful yet memorable way? Just because we don’t live in tribes anymore doesn’t mean we can use their wisdom to enhance our abilities and teachings.
Dan Gingiss: Takeaway #2 – Are you examining the painful aspects of your customer journey and making them more pleasurable? How are you focusing on the most important desires your customers have? Are you truly focusing on what matters the most? Are you holding your customers’ hands every step of the way? Are you showing them what you’re doing behind the scenes to keep showcasing your value?
Joey Coleman: Takeaway #3 – Are your talk triggers iconic and convenient?
Dan Gingiss: (Laughing) Joey, I see what you did there, buddy.
Joey Coleman: It was a big segment and we’re trying to fit this all in, what can I say? All right. Are your talk triggers iconic and convenient? Have you specifically created triggers for your business? In the immortal words of country music legend Bonnie Raitt, ‘give them something to talk about,’ and make that part of the experience you provide, From the Cheesecake Factory and its gigantic menu to Doubletree Hotel’s warm chocolate chip cookies. What aspects of your business are getting your customers talking? Are your efforts iconic? Are you focusing on your own game keying in on the most frustrating parts of your customer experience and respecting your employees and customers alike? Finally, what are you doing to make the experience more convenient? Are you reducing friction by removing barriers that stand in your customers way? Are you offering self-service options? Does your technology help or hinder the overall interactions people have with your brand?
Dan Gingiss: And those are the three takeaways for this episode.
Joey Coleman: Thanks so much for listening to another episode of Experience This! Before we sign off, if you could take a few moments and jump over to iTunes and leave us a review, we’d greatly appreciate it. Give him something to talk about. Make your review iconic. It’s quite convenient. Just go over and think of yourself as a Secret Santa of podcast reviews.
Dan Gingiss: Let’s give them some than that talk about.
Joey Coleman: Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This!
Dan Gingiss: We know there are tons of podcasts to listen to, magazines and books to read, reality TV to watch! We don’t take for granted that you’ve decided to spend some quality time listening to the two of us.
Joey Coleman: We hope you enjoyed our discussions and if you do we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to ExperienceThisShow.com and let us know what segments you enjoyed, what new segments you’d like to hear. This show is all about experience, and we want you to be part of the Experience This! Show.
Dan Gingiss: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…
Joey Coleman and Dan Gingiss: Experience This!