Episode 66 – Going One Step Beyond to Engage Customers in Unexpected Ways

Join us as we discuss: embracing conspiracies to liven up your experience, making everything you touch part of the experience, and paying attention to your customers’ celebrations so you can join them in the festivities.

Gargoyles, Rings, and Birthdays. Oh my!

[CX Press] Embracing Conspiracies to Attract Customers [1:28-9:43]

The Denver International Airport is popularized among conspiracy theorists as a location for hidden bases and a hotbed for well-kept secrets. Instead of denying these theories, the airport decided to embrace them. In the process, the airport is creating a destination that people want to specifically visit as opposed to just transit through while flying.

What if airports became the destination? What if instead of airports being seen as the place you passed through en route to where you really wanted to be, the airport was the place you wanted to go? ~ Kim Day, CEO of Denver International Airport

Denver Airport’s Talking Gargoyle

[Dissecting the Experience] Sweet Dreams are Made of Great Customer Experiences [10:01-20:32]

Oura Ring offers the smallest, publicly available, biometric wearable device in the market (at least at the time we recorded this episode). While the ring is certainly remarkable, the overall experience is significantly enhanced by the customer experience the company’s staff delivers, the packaging the ring is shipped in, and the easy-to-use app that links with the ring in order to provide biometric data in an easy-to-understand format. Oura uses gamification techniques to help improve a ring user’s sleep patterns. The combination of these experiences/touchpoints helped create a loyal and avid user base.

Having a customer service rep follow up with me when I asked them to delay the shipment totally blew my mind. ~ Joey Coleman

  • The design of the Oura Ring is optimized to gather data while you sleep – a marked improvement over the widely adopted “bracelet-based” biometric readers.
  • Oura Ring’s customer service team follows up quickly and consistently on customer requests in order to provide an easy, pain-free user experience.
  • The app used with the Oura Ring is simple to understand/navigate and conveys a wide range of information about a customer’s sleeping habits. Gamification elements offer incentives for users to improve their sleep.

[Make the Required Remarkable] Use Information You Already Have to Make Your Customer’s Day [20:53-30:47]

When a speech in Texas resulted in Joey traveling on his birthday, the front desk at the Gaylord Texan Resort went the extra mile to acknowledge the birthday. Not only did the person who checked him in wish him a happy birthday at the front desk, but she oversaw the delivery of a card later an hour later that contained personalized well-wishes from all of the front desk staff. By simply paying attention to his ID when Joey checked in, the staff was able to turn a required step of the check-in process into something remarkable.

[I]t didn’t take a lot of time, it didn’t take a lot of effort, but it had a huge impact. ~ Joey Coleman

  • Many businesses collect the birth dates of their customers as part of a sign up process, but few actually use this information to wish their customer’s a happy birthday?!
  • Businesses can train their employees to actually look at the birth date on a customer’s ID when they are required to check IDs as part of their job. This does not take any additional time to do, and will leave the customer with a great impression of the company.
  • Paying attention to birthdays can also be used inside an organization as a way to create remarkable experiences for employees.

[Three Takeaways] Questions to Consider for Episode 66 [31:05-32:15]

  1. Are you willing to push beyond the “normal” to create remarkable customer experiences? Are there funny parts of your story or legends that are known about your brand? Do you embrace these in your own storytelling and marketing? Are you willing to laugh at yourself especially if it allows you to join in the fun and games with your customers?
  2. Are you committed to a philosophy of every touch point matters? Are some of your interactions with customers interesting and compelling while others fall flat?
  3. Are you paying attention to your customers birthdays? If you ask customers to share their date of birth or check their ID at any point in the customer journey, are you making the time to call out their special day?

Links We Referenced

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 Episode 66 here or read it below:


Welcome to Experience This – where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more. Always upbeat and definitely entertaining, customer 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!


Dan Gingiss Get ready for another episode of the Experience This! Show!

Joey Coleman Join us as we discuss: embracing conspiracies to liven up your experience, making everything you touch part of the experience, and paying attention to your customers’ celebrations so you can join them in the festivities.

Dan Gingiss Gargoyles, Rings, and Birthdays. Oh my!


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: Embracing Conspiracies to Attract Customers]

Joey Coleman It dawns on me that I’ve never asked you this before, Dan. But in general where do you come out on conspiracy theories?

Dan Gingiss Well it’s funny you ask this, Joey, and to our listeners, you know, Joey and I talk about what we’re going to talk about but we don’t always get into all the details so he has no idea how I’m going to answer this question right now.

Joey Coleman None whatsoever.

Dan Gingiss And so therefore you may be surprised to know, Joey, that I am the great great grandson of one of the single most well-known Lincoln murder conspiracy theorists in the world.

Joey Coleman Wow! I did not know that…

Dan Gingiss Yes – he is the author of seven or eight books on the topic. Many people thought he was completely nuts. So yes, I dig conspiracy theories.

Joey Coleman It runs in the genes is why you’re telling me.

Dan Gingiss Exactly.

Joey Coleman Well I love a good conspiracy theory myself which probably comes as no surprise to anyone that knows about my home airport.

Talking Gargoyle What, you’ve never seen a talking gargoyle before? Welcome to Illuminati Headquarters! Uh, I mean Denver International Airport!

Joey Coleman This episode’s CX Press article comes from USA Today and is titled, “Talking Gargoyle Shocks Travelers at Denver International Airport.” Now for years Denver International Airport, my home airport here in Colorado, has been subject to dozens of conspiracy theories. Some of the more famous conspiracies believe that the Freemasons, centuries old secret society, have controlled the airport ever since it opened with ties to the New World Order which is a group of global elites who wield power over international affairs. Another conspiracy theory believes that hidden beneath the airport’s underground baggage transport tunnels is a secret bunker or series of bunkers that are designed to house billionaires and the global political elite in the event of the apocalypse. And the fact that the coordinates used by the alien spacecraft in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” match the location of the airport.

Dan Gingiss Of course they do.

Joey Coleman Well they don’t actually but that’s the belief. It’s about, the actual coordinates are about 50 miles north of where the airport is but people believe that it’s the airport and we just let them believe that.

Dan And what about that giant Bronco horse statue with the glowing red eyes that fell on the sculptor cursing the airport forever.

Joey Coleman Exactly. And it’s kind of a little bit creepy but the glowing eyes. But as it turns out the glowing eyes are because the sculptor’s father or grandfather I forget which it was famous for working in neon lights and so we included those in the statue but the moral of the story is everywhere you look. There are interesting things to see at the Denver airport that have kept conspiracy theorist hopping for over 20 years. Now as it turns out, the CEO of the airport, Kim Day, finds these theories entertaining and is part of a huge remodeling project that is going on inside the airport right now, the airport has embraced the crazy and turned these conspiracy theories into intriguing marketing efforts. Now throughout the airport there are all these partitions that are set up to hide the construction work that’s being done. That’s pretty normal you see those in a lot of spaces. But what’s not normal is that the graphics on these partitions reference the conspiracy theories and paranormal events that have allegedly occurred at the airport. Well a few weeks ago the airport took this to the next level. They released a promotional video of a talking gargoyle. Now this was commissioned for the airport’s 24th birthday and the video shows a gargoyle statue interacting with guests as they walk through the airport en route to the security checkpoints.

Dan Gingiss I love that they’re embracing the crazy, but what exactly is the deal with the gargoyle?

Joey Coleman Yes so this is something that the Denver locals probably got more than passer bys. There are two cast bronze gargoyles perched inside suitcases that sit watching over the east and west baggage claim areas. Now most visitors never notice these but the regulars do. And thanks to a new promo video I imagine a lot more visitors will as well. Interestingly enough these two gargoyle art pieces are known as Notre Denvir.

Dan Gingiss Wait like Notre Dame? I should have known there’d be a Notre Dame reference in this episode somewhere.

Joey Coleman That’s understandable. Actually it’s more like Notre Dame, but close enough right? As listeners probably know throughout history gargoyles were placed on buildings to protect the site and the gargoyles at the Denver International Airport sit slightly above the travelers’ heads to help ensure the safe arrival of your baggage. Now building on this airport artwork, a moving statue was commissioned that included a camera so that a comedian could watch and interact with the people passing by. And it would make the gargoyle statue move.

Dan Gingiss Okay good cause I was worried this might have been a hallucination by, like, a visiting tourist who had sampled some of your fine state’s organic products.

Joey Coleman Yeah yeah. No this was an honest to goodness talking statue and in fact we have a link to a video showing this gargoyle interacting with the airport guests. You can find in the show notes for episode 66 at ExperienceThisShow.com.

Dan Gingiss You know I love any experience that is unexpected as long as it is unexpectedly good. And this certainly seems like one of those. It kinda reminds me of some of the things we talked about after your trip to Universal Studios, and we’ve both been to Harry Potter world there and there’s just so much there that is unexpected but that’s why you enjoy it and I love that a place like an airport, that you know, is a place where mostly expected things happen except when there’s bad weather and your flight gets delayed. I love that they’re inserting some unexpected fun experience where one usually isn’t.

Joey Coleman I totally agree. I was talking to my wife Berit about this gargoyle and she had a really fantastic observation. She said, “What if airports became the destination? What if instead of airports being seen as the place you passed through en route to where you really wanted to be, the airport was the place you wanted to go.” And I think airports used to be like that. You know especially before 9/11 when you could get past security much easier and actually take advantage of all the amenities of the airport. I see what some airports are doing today as an effort to kind of bring back the destination location and make going to the airport an experience.

Dan Gingiss Yeah I think some airports do that better than others. I think it often has to do with how many layovers there are and how long the layovers are. So for example Heathrow’s a huge airport with tons of shopping and actually one of my favorites is the hotel at the Hong Kong airport where I still own four pillows that they hand packed for me and put into a box so that I could bring them home on my flight because I thought they were the most comfortable pillows ever. But yeah that would be kind of cool you talked about getting a haircut and a massage at an airport recently.

Joey Coleman Got a haircut at Heathrow Airport actually I didn’t have time for the massage I’ll have to do that on the next time through. But yeah it’s… Well the moral of the story here is I love what the Denver airport has done. I love that they’ve created an experience. And I love the comments that the airport spokesperson made about the gargoyle statue and I quote, “DEN (or the airport code right for Denver) DEN is known for the conspiracies about our airport, and we want to find a playful way to embrace the conspiracies. We always strive to win the hearts of our passengers by giving them the unexpected. We hope the gargoyle gave them all a good belly laugh and more reason to want to travel through Denver.” And this is one of the many reasons why I love my home airport. As the airport noted in the gargoyle promotional video, “Travel is better when you’re having fun,” and flying through the Denver International Airport these days is a really fun 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 have it. Join us while we’re Dissecting the Experience.

[DISSECTING THE EXPERIENCE: Sweet Dreams are Made of Great Customer Experiences]

Joey Coleman Dan, I was wondering to track any of your biometrics using a wearable device of any kind?

Dan Gingiss Keep your hands off my biometrics, Joey Coleman!

Joey Coleman I’m not touching any of your biometrics. I was just asking because I recently joined the craze. I know. I know there’s a lot of folks that have these devices out there but I finally decided to give it a try and purchased an Oura Ring. Now I have a number of friends that say this ring has significantly improved their lives and after wearing it for just about two weeks now, I have to admit I can understand why. So I’d love to do is first explain the experience of the product and then explain the experience of wearing it as there are two different things in my mind. But we’re both pretty darn remarkable. So first of all the experience of the ring itself: this ring is gorgeous. It is a polished silver or gray or black. They kind of have different metallic colors that you can get, or matte. It looks like a metal wedding band. But what’s also awesome is it’s unobtrusive. Not only is it the smallest wearable ever manufactured, it’s incredibly light. I previously had a platinum wedding band that weighed like a brick compared to my new Oura Ring. I was planning to substitute wearing the or a ring on my ring finger instead of my wedding band, and so I’ve really noticed the difference in weight. And it almost feels like this new order ring… it almost feels like I’m not even wearing a ring. Which is great. And you know makes for much more seamless and fantastic wearing experience. And speaking of seamless it’s super easy to charge the ring. It’s easy to wear the ring. It’s easy to sync the ring with the app on my phone. Everything about the product itself is absolutely astonishing.

Dan Gingiss I have to tell you I’ve never even heard of a biometric ring so this is very fascinating to me because I’ve never really loved the idea of a bracelet. I mean you know it’s not really a thing guys wear very often and I haven’t chosen yet to invest in a watch and so I like the idea of a ring. Tell me more.

Joey Coleman The ring is nice. It’s you know like I said I have an Apple Watch that I don’t wear as much as I wear the ring. And it’s one of those things where if I’m going to be putting on a ring every day it might as well have two purposes. Number one it’s on my wedding finger so that you can kind of see oh yes he’s married and also…

Dan Gingiss Sorry ladies!

Joey Coleman Ha yeah! I realize that that that came out sounding awkward. That’s not what… but we know in society right. That can serve as a signal to folks letting them know kind of what your relational status is. But what I really love about it is the scientific benefits of this wearable. So first of all there are some things I learned that I didn’t know the readings that you get on your finger from tracking this using the pulse and the data from your finger are more accurate when it comes to sleep and recovery tracking then putting a trackable device anywhere else on your body. So the location of the ring isn’t just convenient and visible to other folks which by the way serves as a nice marketing tool because when people see the ring and it’s like, “Oh that’s different. That’s neat. What is it?” Oh. And now I’m talking about the ring. But the new design. This is the Oura Ring 2, right? They first came out with the Oura Ring and now this is the 2. It has more processing power, more memory, and a longer battery life. So it’s half the size of the original version of the ring, and it has 3x the battery life. So they are continuing to upgrade the ring. The ring is actually made in Finland and it’s just an absolutely fantastic device. But where things get really interesting is the experience of the ring. OK so first of all I ordered this ring online and after ordering it they sent me a message asking for the physical address and because I was going to be on the road when it was projected to arrive I had to email them and say hey I’m going to be gone. Can you delay the shipment. Not only did they respond very quickly but about a week later when I had asked them to ship it I got an email from the same rep saying, “Hey by the way the week has passed. Just wanted to let you know I’m going to go ahead and put it in the mail today so that it arrives when you get back. Let me know if there’s a problem with that.” So having a customer service rep follow up with me when I ask them to delay the shipment totally blew my mind so I was already excited about getting this ring. When I got the ring the packaging is gorgeous. It’s a sleek as the ring. I mean it almost feels like an iPhone box. You open it up it’s got that little sound in it is the ring. It’s ready to go out of the with.

Dan Gingiss So wait can you take that sound one more time?

Joey Coleman That little whoosh sound they make when you open it. There’s actually people may not know this there’s actually a member of the Apple staff whose job it was, and is, to create the sound of their boxes opening.

Dan Gingiss Love it.

Joey Coleman Right? They actually have someone on staff. But what I also love is they took another page from Apple in that the ring was ready to go out of the box. It was pre charged to I could immediately put it on sync it with my phone and start wearing it. The app? I’m not a huge app guy. I’ll be the first to admit the app is so easy to use. The interface is clean. It’s obvious what you’re supposed to be doing it pairs nicely. But one of the things that I love about the app is each day it introduces new functions to me based on my usage and behavior. So it will say things like. “Hey. It seems like you may have taken your ring off you know during the day don’t forget you can wear the ring in the shower it’s no problem.” Or you know, “Hey the ring is getting low on battery. Make sure that before you go to bed tonight you take time to charge the ring before you sleep,” because this is what they’re trying to break a habit. Right because normally if you’re like I’m like most folks I think I charge my phone at night when I sleep. Well you can’t charge the sleep tracking ring. But the fact that they prompted me on that was fantastic. I really appreciated it.

Dan Gingiss Yeah. I mean look they caught a smart ring for nothing, right? I mean it sounds like it’s pretty smart and I love the experience so far. Tell me a little bit about sort of the experience of, like, reading your biometrics. I’ve always wondered what it is I’m going to do with it and whether I’m even going to care.

Joey Coleman So I will say this is the piece that has had the most profound effect. I historically have prided myself on not needing a lot of sleep. I had entire decades where I was averaging four to five hours of sleep per night. Right? I mean it’s just I’ve never needed a lot of sleep and I’ve always had people tell me, “Oh you need more sleep than that do do do.” Now I have said and what that data actually shows for whatever reason is they have three different levels of sleep that the ring is tracking. OK? It’s tracking your REM sleep which is probably not surprising, your dream state. It is tracking your deep sleep right when your just which is kind of the below the REM sleep, and then it’s tracking your light sleep. Now most people have a high amount of light sleep every night and then a little better REM and a little bit deep. What we found out is that on average my REM sleep represents about 20 to 30 percent of my sleep and my deep sleep represents about 20 to 30 percent. So I haven’t checked this with experts but when comparing to a couple of friends that I know who have these rings my amount of REM sleep and deep sleep per night, even though I’m sleeping less, is greater than theirs. So I’ve got some data now. But what’s most fascinating about this is when you get a good sleep score you earn a crown. And the crown is based on your total sleep, the efficiency of your sleep, the restfulness, the REM, the deep sleep, your latency, the timing that you were in bed, how long it to fall asleep, it factors in all these things. But I have noticed is I find myself earlier in the night thinking, “oh I should get to bed so that I get a good score.” I find myself when I start to you know wake up a little bit in the morning saying, “No I’m asleep a little bit longer because I want to get my score better.” So it’s actually resulting in me, I believe, getting better sleep.

Dan Gingiss Well I’ve been telling you for a while you need to get more sleep, Joey, so I’m glad to hear that because we’re often up late recording and when I go to bed and Joey’s up for hours later and I get texts or emails from him in the morning that are time stamped it all sorts of crazy times.

Joey Coleman Now we have proof that it’s okay that I’m doing that. So I don’t know if this is technically the way I’m supposed to proof. But like my scores are pretty darn good.

Dan Gingiss Yeah that’s true but I actually like better that, it’s kind of or there’s a little bit of what you’re saying that’s kind of like, you know I smoke but the good news is I don’t have cancer yet, you know? So I like the idea that it’s changing your patterns and I think that’s what’s the most important me. Granted we’ve gamified almost everything else so why not game of sleep? But I think that’s important and I’ve found that even with the exercise trackers even with kids it got it got my kids out trying to get more steps when it became a game and so I think this stuff really does work. And if you have a habit that you’re trying to change and for you it is definitely or should be getting more sleep. It sounds like it’s a good solution.

Joey Coleman It seems to be working thus far. Well what I also love about Oura Ring is their philosophy, right? They have a great video on their website which we’ll link to in the show notes at ExperienceThisShow.com Episode 66 where they say and I’m quoting, “You can almost forget that you’re wearing a ring. The application learns about you and the customers will see more personalized vitals that will be fitting to them like a well-fitting dress or suit.” The video goes on to share some words from Hannu Kinnunen. The chief scientific officer at Oura Ring and he says, “I really think that wearing the new ring shouts out a positive signal that I’m unique. I care about myself and I know the importance of sleep and recovery.”


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

[MAKE THE REQUIRED REMARKABLE: Use Information You Already Have to Make Your Customer’s Day]

Dan Gingiss Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy Birthday Dear Joey. Happy birthday to you!

Joey Coleman I kind of feel like I was just serenaded by Marilyn Monroe. That was very nice, my friend. I love it.

Dan Gingiss At least I hope. No you had a birthday recently I remembered to wish you a happy birthday.

Joey Coleman You did wish me one on the actual day. But I appreciate you singing us in for this segment.

Dan Gingiss And how was your birthday?

Joey Coleman The birthday was great. The birthday was great. It was a little bit interesting though or a little bit different than other birthdays I’ve had in recent years because I was actually on the road. So I had a 7a.m. flight which meant I left my house at 5:00a.m. I flew to Atlanta, then to Dallas right checked in at the Gaylord Hotel for a series of three speeches the next day. So we tech checks and all this stuff. And so it wasn’t a birthday of celebration with friends and family, which was a little bit disappointing but it’s also ok because I’m obviously of an age where we can say, Hey let’s celebrate the birthday later in the week,” and that’s totally fine. But what I found was interesting and what made me wanted us special segment on the birthday was not because it was my birthday, but the fact that a ton of people saw my I.D., my driver’s license, and yet very few looked close enough to see that it was my birthday. Now to be clear I wasn’t expecting anyone to wish me a happy birthday. But I wanted to do this segment of making the required remarkable because for many businesses sharing your birthday either directly or indirectly is a required element of their business operations.

Dan Gingiss So I have to stop you there for one second, Joey, and I’m just kind of chuckling in the background here because as you may or may not know my birthday is on Christmas Day, December 25th. So I actually have the opposite problem which is that every time I hand someone my I.D. I get some comment about being a Christmas baby. It’s like, it’s like I’ve answered that question so many times I kind of prefer they not see my birthday. But anyway I think from the business perspective what I’m guessing that you’re saying is that either directly or indirectly, oftentimes you’re asked for your date of birth as part of a sign up process or, you know, purchasing an airline ticket or something like that. Or sometimes you just have to show an ID like when you check into a hotel.

Joey Coleman Exactly. And that’s why I had several interactions, actually, on the day of my birthday travel that left me thinking that customers who are celebrating their birthday visit businesses all the time on their special day and it doesn’t get noticed by their organization or their staff. So a couple of folks who didn’t notice. And this is, I want to be very clear. I am not being critical of these organizations. What I am saying is there’s an interesting opportunity here. So as folks know I fly Delta when I was checking in and while I was in the air, no mention of the birthday. I have a membership with Clear that allows you to get through security faster where one of the main things is there matching your biometrics to your ID. Again, no mention of the birthday. TSA waived me right through. Now they get a little bit of a pass because if you’re a Clear member you show your phone. You don’t actually show them the I.D. But if you’re a regular passenger who doesn’t have Clear my gut instinct is it would have gone unnoticed as well because they’re just looking to make sure the name on your I.D. matches the name on your ticket. And last but not least the waitress at the Atlanta airport where I had lunch asked to see my I.D. because on the back of my credit card I have please request I.D. as a security measure. So she took my driver’s license and also didn’t say anything. So there were multiple people who had my I.D. in their hands over the course of the day but didn’t look close enough to see that it was my birthday.

Dan Gingiss Yeah. And I think on one hand my thinking is, is oftentimes when you’re asked for your I.D. they’re looking for a birth year, for example, to see that you’re old enough to buy a beverage or something like that. But I think in this case what I think you’re getting at is that this is really a simple training issue, right? Is that is it all of those people could be looking at the date of your birthday with really taking no additional time. And it’s kind of. Yeah. And so it’s one of those things that they could be doing but they’re not, and so you’ve noticed it because I’m hoping, Joey, I’m hoping somebody did notice your birthday.

Joey Coleman Oh my friend you are correct the way segment’s get written here at the Experience This! Show, folks, is lots of time something happens to us that stands out is out of the ordinary and that helps us realize the other times when things didn’t stand out. And that’s exactly what happened to me at the Gaylord Texan hotel on Lake Grapevine in Dallas. So Ashley at the front desk, who in the interest of full disclosure I found out later happened to be the front desk manager, when I came up to the front desk to check in and I gave her my name, asked for my driver’s license and credit card. As they do when you check into a hotel. And she took the credit card swiped it and then she took my driver’s license looked at it and immediately looked up and said, “Happy birthday.”

Dan Gingiss Nice.

Joey Coleman I was caught off guard. Right? There had been multiple people all day who hadn’t said anything and I was like, “Oh wow thank you.” And not only that Ashley went one step further she said, I’m sorry that you’re on the road on your birthday, but do you at least have some fun things planned for while you’re in town to celebrate a little?” And I was like, “oh well you know I’m a speaker and I’m excited to be here for the audience so I’m sure it’ll be great.” And not to worry. But she was very kind and talked about you know, “well if you are looking to celebrate your birthday at the hotel you might want to check out this restaurant and you know there’s some fun entertainment late tonight over here,” and that kind of thing. And I thought, “Oh that’s very nice,” and you made some nice conversation and then she gave me my room keys directed me to my room. I go to my room, I get checked in, and I’m working away and all sudden about 20 minutes later so something slides under my door and I go over and I open it up and it’s a card. And inside this card says, Happy Birthday. Best wishes on your birthday. May your coming year be full of health and happiness. Signed, The Front Desk.” Now in addition to that, her business card is taped to the inside of the birthday card, and seven different employees who I presume are folks that all work at the front desk or maybe bellhops and things like that have personally signed the birthday card. Now I’m blown away at this point because not only did Ashley pay attention enough to notice it on the I.D. but she went the extra step of having some colleagues write me personalized Birthday messages and then have it delivered to my room. It was really quite lovely.

Dan Gingiss Fantastic. And, Joey, let me ask you. What do you think that cost for her to do?

Joey Coleman Here’s the thing. I’m guessing the printing of this card cost, at scale, less than a dollar. And it probably took her all of 15 minutes to walk down the line they have a huge check in area right at this hotel, it’s a big convention center hotel, to walk down the line. And I’m sure the employees know it’s like oh here right a birthday message. You know? I have everything from, I hope you have a wonderful birthday,” to “best wishes I hope your enjoy your birthday at our wonderful hotel,” to just, “have a great day.” They’re not hyper personalized messages but they don’t need to be hyper personalized because they’re all handwritten and they’re unexpected.

Dan Gingiss And actually I would have expected like a message with everyone just signing their names.

Joey Coleman Yeah. The fact that every bit it’s almost like a yearbook you know where like everybody writes a little message and then signs their name. I mean, one of these is very sweet. I’m realizing looking at the card right now. It says, “happy birthday,” and it’s got a little heart, you know, from Madison. Of course it does. Thank you Madison that’s lovely.

Dan Gingiss That’s cause she couldn’t see the ring, right?

Joey Coleman Yeah exactly. Nice nice. But the moral of this story is it didn’t take a lot of time, it didn’t take a lot of effort, but it had a huge impact. Now there’s an interesting addendum to this story. So as I was flying home from Dallas, I was lucky enough to get upgraded to first class. We’ve talked about this on previous episodes. And as I’m sitting in my seat, there’s a gentleman a seat behind me and he sees one of his colleagues getting on the plane. He stands up and he says, Hey it’s your birthday. You sit here today.” And the guy who says was like oh, “Mr. Johnson” or whatever the guy’s name was he calls him my name and I’m like oh this is his boss. So the boss gives up the seat in first class to let his what I presume is direct report or one of his employees sit in first class while he goes to the back to take a seat. And he’s insistent on this and I’m like, “Oh well isn’t that special. This guy’s birthday. Nice little shout out from the Boss.” Well the flight attendants take it one step further. As we’re about to land, they come out and sing happy birthday. And of course now the whole first class cabin joins in and singing happy birthday. And they have made an airplane birthday cake. Now I’m going to include a photo of this at the show notes with our show notes that experience the show as well. But it’s a birthday cake made out of rolls of toilet paper with a banana sticking out of the top, and little bags of like chips around the side. Right? They made the birthday cake out of the stuff they had in the galley. So what I think is fantastic about this is the opportunity for us to pay a little bit closer attention and then say something, right? When you look at an I.D. scan the birthday. If their birthday was in the last week, or it’s in the next week, or it’s that day, make sure to say something and make their birthday that much more special.


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 66]

Joey Coleman Takeaway #1 – Are you willing to push beyond normal to create remarkable customer experiences? Are there funny parts of your story or legends that are known about your brand? Do you embrace these in your own storytelling and marketing? Are you willing to laugh at yourself especially if it allows you to join in the fun and games with your customers?

Dan Gingiss Takeaway #2 – Are you committed to a philosophy of every touchpoint matters? Are some of your interactions with customers interesting and compelling while others fall flat> Model your touch points on the folks at or Oura Ring, where every interaction is designed to advance you to the next step on the path to becoming a loyal user and a raving fan.

Joey Coleman Take away #3 – Are you paying attention to your customers birthdays? If you ask customers to share their data birth or check their ID at any point in the customer journey, are you making the time to call out their special day? It’s a little thing, but in an era where fewer people pay attention to our birthday in real life you can stand out from the crowd if only for a moment.

Dan Gingiss And those are the three takeaways for this episode. And Joey and I want to add in a special thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in every week to the Experience This! Show. We couldn’t do it without you and we really appreciate you listening and telling your friends.


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 & Dan Gingiss: Experience This!