Episode 89: Disrupt the Marketplace by Giving Customers What They Want

Join us as we discuss brands that keep (and don’t keep) their promises, putting the functionalities you want into your luggage, and helpful parking lots.

Promises, Packing, and Parking – Oh My!

[Listener Stories] Keeping – and Not Keeping – Promises

Loyal listener Kyle Moeti called into the show to share three of his recent customer service experiences with brands and their promises. He even went as far as to title his voicemail for us, “Deodorant, Undies, and Wallets!” – which we loved! Thanks for listening and for sharing your stories Kyle!

When Kyle asked the representative from Schmidt’s Deodorant why the product regularly separated when used, he received a detailed response about how the products natural ingredients cause that to happen, along with suggestions on how to avoid this happening. After some back-and-forth correspondence, the rep sent Kyle two full-sized products to sample (not the mini travel size samples Kyle was expecting).

After corresponding with two other brands (Jockey and Tumi) regarding faulty products and how to return them, Kyle didn’t receive the responses he was promised from either brand. When customer representatives fail to deliver on their promises – especially in a faulty product/return/refund scenario, it takes a bad situation and makes it worse.

Unanswered customers actually can be worse than disgruntled customers because there is nothing worse than feeling unheard.

Dan Gingiss, co-host of The Experience This! Show podcast

[This Just Happened] Travel Away with New Luggage

Contrary to other luggage brands Joey and Dan have experienced, the new “Away” brand luggage creates a remarkable experience by offering a generous return policy, a customer-friendly warranty, and fun messages on their packaging.

When designing products, first you need to get the product right and then you can move on to the product experience. In Joey’s experience with Away luggage, the product is great. It’s a good looking suitcase, it has a ton of interior storage, it’s very lightweight (even when full), and it’s made
from a durable polycarbonate shell – which means it’s strong as can be. In addition, an ejectable battery allows for a phone to be charged four times before it needs to be refreshed.

If the product doesn’t live up to your expectations, you usually don’t get the chance to get to the experience.

Joey Coleman, co-host of The Experience This! Show podcast
Playful messaging keeps Away customers engaged throughout the order process.

As if the product experience wasn’t impressive enough, an easy to use website, a comprehensive and customer-friendly warranty, and playful notes/messages on the packaging made for a series of interactions that Joey is still talking about – months later. Remarkable experiences create the word of mouth marketing buzz that most businesses would love to have.

Creative messaging inside the box delivers an unexpected, “outside the box” experience!

[Avtex Engage 2020] Always Be Learning More

Any customer experience professional knows that the learning never stops – even if it happens on “summer vacation.” Don’t miss Engage 2020 this summer – hosted by our partners at Avtex!

June 21-24, 2020
The Walt Disney World Swan Hotel & Resort
Orlando, Florida

Engage 2020 offers unparalleled learning and networking opportunities, including multiple learning tracks and specialized breakout sessions focused on a wide range of customer experience topics. At Engage 2020, you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on what you can do to move your organization’s experience strategy and delivery forward.

To learn more and reserve your tickets before they are sold out, visit: AvtexEngage.com

Don’t forget to use the promo code: EXPERIENCETHIS10
to save 10% off the ticket price!

[This Just Happened] A Smart Parking Lot

Have you ever gone to the mall and forgotten where you parked your car? That will be an experience of the past when all parking lots adopt the same technology used by a Miami shopping mall to help visitors find misplaced vehicles in the parking lot.

When Joey forgot where he parked his car at a Miami mall, a kiosk allowed him to enter the license plate and the computer “found the car.” It then illuminated a map to allow Joey to navigate through the parking garage to find his “missing” vehicle.

“Park Assist” helps drivers remember where they parked in crowded parking garages.

Links We Referenced

Host Contact Information

Email Dan: Dan@dangingiss.com

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 89 here or read it below:

Dan: Welcome to Experience This.

Joey: Where you’ll find inspiring examples of customer experience, great stories of customer service, and tips on how to make your customers love you even more.

Dan: Always upbeat and definitely entertaining. Customer attention expert, Joey Coleman.

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

Dan: So, hold onto your headphones. It’s time to Experience This.

Joey: Get ready for another episode the Experience This show.

Dan: Join us as we discuss three different experiences by one listener, putting new functionality into your luggage, and two podcast stories about the same thing.

Joey: Promises, packing, and parking. Oh my.

Joey: You listened to us, now we want to listen to you. By visiting our website and sharing your remarkable customer experiences with us, we can share them with a broader audience. Now, sit back and enjoy our listener stories.

Joey: Dan and I were thrilled to receive a message from our loyal listener, Kyle Moeti. We’ve heard from Kyle before and we’re excited to hear from again. How do we know he’s a loyal listener? Well, he used the fun three word format that we used to title our podcast episodes as the subject line of an email message that he sent us. It read: “Deodorant, Undies, and Wallets!” I’ll let Dan share the email.

Dan: First of all, that’s a great subject line for an email.

Joey: That’s a great subject line.

Dan: Who doesn’t open that one?

Joey: Exactly.

Dan: Kyle writes, 

“Hey guys, Schmidt’s Deodorant is a fantastic company. I emailed them a question about their deodorant separating. The agent, Marie eagerly responded, stating that since the deodorant is natural, it can separate, but here’s what you can do to counter that and went on to explain it. Her email was three to four paragraphs of detailed instructions about this and other helpful tips. I asked followups and each of her emails was as thorough. By the end of her second to last email to me, she says they’ll send me two of their new scents and lists them for me to pick. Based on this line of correspondence, and had she offered nothing, I’d have already been sold on the culture of the company. Her final email to me stated that the freebies were on their way.

At this point, I’m stoked to be getting a couple of travel-size sticks from a fresh off the press deodorants. Nope. She sent me a couple of full-size deodorants. It’s customer service like this that started with a simple question that made a lifetime customer out of me. She went above and beyond to make this ordinary experience extraordinary.

Similarly, I hit up Jockey on Twitter to let them know of a drop in quality from a few of boxers I had purchased more recently as compared to years earlier. My intent was to air my grievance, because they’re pricey garments, not expecting anything in return. The rep responds apologizing and says she can replace them. I say thank you, provide her my information, and then the world of social responses to my DM go dark. I follow up about a month later. Nothing. I, again, DMed them a month later. Crickets. This raised a lot more questions than it answered. I’m left scratching my head as to why that conversation went from trying to appease a disgruntled customer who may still purchase from them to ignoring and guaranteeing I won’t do business with them again.

Unfortunately, the stories of negative experiences vastly outweigh the positive. I bought a Tumi wallet after finally deciding I was going to pull the trigger on a pricier but better quality wallet that I’ve had. I received the wallet and it wasn’t what I expected since I had purchased it online. I called to seek a return, which was simple enough. I had a request to have the return put back on another card than I had purchased with since the glass card had been misplaced. The agent said that was impossible. I pled with her a bit and explained my situation. She said she’d look into it and get back to me within the day. I’m still waiting.

My question to this is, why do people keep their promises? As a marketer, I find that keeping your word is an incredibly easy, cheap, and most importantly, effective way of pleasing a customer. Thanks for taking the time to read these. I’ve loved the show since day one. Thanks for making such excellent content, Kyle.

Joey: Wowza. Well, first of all, thanks so much for sharing your stories, Kyle. We love featuring stories from our listeners. So if you want the chance to have your story featured on the Experience This show, visit the contact page experiencethisshow.com and leave us a voice recording or send us an email. We love hearing from you. We want to share your experiences with our fellow listeners. Now, I think there’s three interesting examples here, Dan. Where should we dive in?

Dan: Well, I think we should take them in order. First of all, Schmidt’s Deodorant. like Kyle, I love the way that they were so responsive and engaging in their communications. They not only answered his question but went the extra mile to really explain it in great detail. And if that wasn’t enough, they sent him some free samples and let him pick the sense he wanted to receive.

Joey: Not only did they let Kyle pick, but they gave him a nice additional moment of surprise and delight when they sent full-size versions instead of the tiny sample versions that most companies would have sent. You know, I must confess, I’ve always wondered, why don’t they just send the full-size version? Yes, you may not use it and that could be wasteful, but the number of times that you’d be excited about receiving the larger size, even if you didn’t end up using it, I think that’s a story that would continue to pay dividends when it came to longterm loyalty.

Dan: I definitely agree. Send more than planned and you’re probably going to get a response that’s greater than you hoped for. Now, what about the exchanges with Jockey on Twitter? Well, I liked that they responded initially and that they offered to resolve the problem, which I think is really smart. They then moved him to DM, or direct message, which is a common strategy of brands, especially with people who are complaining, because let’s face it, they don’t want the complaint to be public, they want to take it private.

Dan: Had they solved his problem then in direct message, I think this story doesn’t ever get told because it’s fine and it works, but the problem is he goes to direct message and then he gets ignored, and so he’s still waiting to get these replacement undies. I just had to say undies again, because it was a fantastic word. Like he said so eloquently, it turned him from a fan of the brand to now somebody who’s not likely to buy from them again. This wasn’t a difficult thing to resolve, especially since they started down the path of resolving.

Joey: Yeah, and they said they’d resolve it. I mean, folks, as you well know, if you listen to the show with any sense of regularity, I’m not even really on Twitter and even I know that it’s bad form for social customer care. I mean, we should figure out a way to send this Jockey rep a copy of the fantastic Winning at Social Customer Care by Dan Gingiss. I mean, but I digress. Let’s talk about Kyle’s final story, Dan, with Tumi Luggage. I must admit, this one hits close to home, because I’ve had some challenges with that brand over the years.

Dan: Well, it’s a little too expensive for my tastes, so I’m going to have you talk about this one, but obviously it brought up some old wounds.

Joey: Well, it did. You see, I can empathize with Kyle and his decision to spend more than he normally would. Tumi’s products are definitely priced at a premium, which is marketers speak for saying they’re expensive, but I made the decision a few years ago to pay what was really a crazy amount to purchase some large Tumi suitcases for both my wife and me.

Joey: We were traveling a ton and I figured Tumi bags have a reputation of being the best, so I’ll make this investment because clearly I’ll get the value. Here’s where my situation ended up being similar to Kyle’s. I went back to the store to have them do some repairs where there had been damage and they were less than excited to fix it. Now, to be honest, this is a pretty typical response when you take a broken item back to the item to repair it, but the problem was it was in conflict with what the original salesperson had told me when he praised their lifetime warranty. As it turns out, he defined lifetime differently than I did. I thought it meant for my life, weirdly enough.

Dan: Wait a minute, that’s crazy, Joey.

Joey: He thought it meant for one year, and then a limited warranty for two to five years for these other things that were never going to happen anyway. Needless to say, this type of experience didn’t breed lifetime loyalty.

Dan: Yes, and that is definitely not the best experience. I’ve had the reverse happen with a couple of companies that do have lifetime warranties. I have to be honest with you, I’m always stunned when they do honor it, even though it’s called a lifetime warranty, so you would think they should, but that is an awfully generous component of a number of companies.

Joey: Absolutely. It’s one of those things that when they live up to it, you’re stunned. Why? Because usually, they don’t live up to it. The other folks, right?

Dan: Exactly. Well, if you’re going to look into things, you need to get back to the customer who brought the problem to your attention in the first place. We need systems to make sure that these types of complaints are answered. If it’s not possible on the first call, at least make a note of it and have a process to guarantee that you get back to the customer. Unanswered customers actually can be worse than disgruntled customers, because there’s nothing worse than feeling unheard.

Dan: I’ll even add to this. One thing that I recommend to companies is that you get back to people who even just make suggestions to your company. If somebody makes a suggestion, “Hey, Tumi Luggage, I think it’d be great if you added centered wheels to your luggage,” and then a year later you add centered wheels, you should get back to that person and say, “Hey, we took your great suggestion and that person will love you for it.

Joey: Well, rest assured, our loyal listeners, we hear you. As I said at the outset of this segment, we’d love to hear from you even more, so visit that contact page experiencethisshow.com and leave us a voice recording by pressing the big orange button that says start recording or send us an email. We’d love to feature your experiences, the good, the bad, and the ugly, on a future episode of Experience This.

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

Dan: Okay. Joey, you opened the door in the last segment that you might be in the market for a new suitcase. Did you ever find one?

Joey: I actually did. Once I knew that it was time to get a new suitcase, I started paying more attention to the bags I saw in the airport and the suitcases of my friends and colleagues and what they were using. I happened to be at an event with a good friend who had an Away bag and I found myself loading it into the back of an Uber as we headed to the airport together to catch our flights home after the event. I have to admit, I was thoroughly impressed.

Dan: What impressed you about a piece of luggage?

Joey: Well, there were a couple of things because I believe that luggage, while functional, can be impressive. First of all, it was featherweight light. We had been at an event for four days and this tiny carry-on roller bag felt like it weighed half as much as my bag. We had packed a similar amount, so it wasn’t just that I-

Dan: I was going to ask, yeah.

Joey: Yeah, I figured as much. We had packed a similar amount. As if that wasn’t enough, it had four wheels instead of the usual two. And these wheels had great spinners, and I don’t mean like spinners you see on the rims, right? I mean, the wheels spun around, so it was super easy to navigate through the airport.

Dan: It sounds like you may have taken it for a test drive.

Joey: Yes, I did. See, my friend let me drive his bag, if you will, while we were at the airport. I knew I wanted something different, and one of the big challenges I find with purchasing a new suitcase in 2020 is that you’re often buying based on a photo or a video on a website without ever getting to put your hands on the bag and test it out. In this way, the luggage buying experience, while more convenient with eCommerce, has some added new challenges that didn’t exist when you used to go to a luggage store and buy the bags you wanted and try them on for size.

Dan: For sure. I mean, we often talked about the fact that the product needs to be great first and then you layer on experience on top of that. How did the product and experience measure up this time?

Joey: Well, you’re right Dan. So often, if the product doesn’t live up to your expectations, you don’t even get a chance to get to the experience. But in this case, the product was great. It’s a good looking bag. It has a ton of interior storage. It’s very lightweight, even when filled. And it’s made from a durable polycarbonate shell, which is a fancy way of saying it is super strong and resilient. In addition, it has an ejectable battery that I can charge my phone four times on a single charge. Now, I didn’t even know that I was missing this capability in my old suitcase, and now I love being able to stand at the airport, right next to my bag, with my phone plugged into my bag, charging away, without needing to fight for one of those open outlets where everyone else is trying to charge their phone and laptop before they get on the plane.

Dan: Okay. I don’t want to digress too much, but is this one of those bags where they tell you that you have to take the battery out before you do something with it?

Joey: Yes, yes. Great follow up question since we’re promoting this bag. Some airlines, and I know Delta, because I fly Delta, make you remove the battery before you get on the plane. What’s interesting about Away bags is when they first came out, that wasn’t possible. Removing the battery wasn’t possible. What they did is designed a new bag with a removable battery and sent it free to everyone who had ever purchased one of their bags. So, early on they were winning customers left and right. But it’s super easy. You pop this little slot in the bag, press on the battery, it ejects, and then you can take it, and that way you can also charge while you’re on the plane if you’ve checked your bag.

Dan: But is that before you check it or before you carry it on?

Joey: Both. Even as a carry on, they want you-

Dan: So why does it have to be separate when you’re carrying on?

Joey: Because, and I was wondering, I was like, “Well, what’s the issue if you’re carrying it on?” They don’t want to then check your bag and put it underneath. The problem with these battery-based bags is when they put it underneath, so they want it out of there if you’re going to check it. The reason they have you get it out before you even walk on the plane is on the off chance that there isn’t enough room on the plane for your bag, they don’t want to have to remind you to remove it then, so they just have everybody remove it at the outset. It’s a little annoying, but the benefit of being able to charge your bag kind of trumps, in my experience, the inconvenience of popping it out before you get on there.

Dan: And just to clarify, Joey’s not charging his bag, he’s charging his phone with his bag.

Joey: Exactly. That’s what I meant to say. It’s a live show, ladies and gentlemen. Well, you know, here’s the thing. The overall experience was also great, going beyond the product. First of all, the Away Luggage website is easy to navigate and it offers clear specific descriptions of their products, including useful things like the exterior and interior measurements, and it promises that the bag is sized to fit in the overhead bin of most major airlines, something that’s very important when you’re considering a carry on. In addition, they specifically outline a warranty that I thought was very generous.

Dan: Given your last warranty experience, I’m curious as to what they offer.

Joey: Well, even the language around their warranty, Dan, was customer friendly, and I’m quoting here. “Put this piece to the test on your next trip and make sure it’s right for you. If not, you can return it anytime within the first 100 days of purchase.”

Dan: They clearly read your book, didn’t they, Joey?

Joey: We got to love a good First Hundred Days reference. What can I say?

Dan: Joey’s book talks about the first hundred days. Make sure to check it out and never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman.

Joey: You’re kind, you’re kind. But you know, I really love how they define their limited warranty, as well. Their limited warranty covers any damage to the shell, wheels, handles, zippers, and other functional elements of the luggage. Cracks or breaks in the shell? It’s covered. Wheels, handles, or telescoping handles that break off and are no longer usable? Covered. Zippers that can no longer be opened or closed? Covered. Fabric tears that render front pocket fabric nonfunctional? Covered. In short, they cover the important stuff. If it’s a cosmetic damage to your bag, that’s not covered, but that seems more than fair to me. They also covered the original purchaser and/or the original gift recipient if you decide to give a bag as a gift.

Dan: You’re saying they don’t cover when my shampoo explodes inside?

Joey: Right, but they cover all the things that you would hope a luggage manufacturer would cover. Now, granted, I get it that it might be the airline that throws your bag off the plane and causes your bag to break, but they recognize that they’re making a bag, and they know airlines, and they know that might happen.

Dan: Yeah, and I’m sure the price, by the way, reflects that, that it’s built in.

Joey: It does, but it’s not crazy. I got to tell you, it is on par with what a traveler, a regular traveler or a road warrior or a veteran traveler, is going to pay for a carry on.

Dan: Well, it certainly sounds more than fair, which brings us to a point we’ve discussed in previous episodes about warranties. When it comes to things going wrong with your products or services, the great majority of customers are not looking to take advantage of you. They just want reasonable coverage. So if you’re confident enough to sell your product, you should be confident enough to warranty it. If you’re not, it might be worth heading back into the research and development lab to come up with something that you will stand behind.

Joey: I totally agree, Dan. It’s not that complex. If you’re going to sell it, stand by it. If not, you’d better be ready to never sell for the same customer twice.

Joey: Well, now that I’ve shared a bit about the product, let me tell you about the experience. The confirmation emails about my order were playful and inspiring. Here’s what they said, and I quote, “You’re getting Away,” and the away, by the way, was capitalized, which is the name of the luggage. “Now the skies are open and the road is easy. Below is a summary of your order. We’ll send you an email is your items ship. If you personalize any of your pieces, your order will take a little longer to complete. You can find out more about when it will ship here. Also, if you ordered multiple items, they may ship separately. Our team works fast to get your order to you as quickly as possible, so we’re unable to make any changes now that it’s been placed.”

Dan: Tell me about this personalization. That sounds kind of interesting.

Joey: Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot to mention that earlier. Since many bags look alike, right, especially when it comes to carry on luggage Away allows you to personalize your bag with painted or etched initials, as well as a collection of custom stickers. They realize that the airlines aren’t joking when they say, “Bags may look alike. Make sure you have the right one before exiting the plane.” And since they’ve designed such a good look and classy product, they’d rather handle the personalization and customization themselves instead of leaving customers to their own devices with Sharpie markers and colored ribbons.

Dan: That does dress it down a little bit.

Joey: It does dress it down, just a touch.

Dan: That’s pretty cool. You also mentioned packaging. Tell us about that.

Joey: Yeah, so folks, you need to go to the show notes at experiencethisshow.com so you can see the photos I took. But the packaging is very well thought out from beginning to end. First of all, the suitcase ships in a perfectly-sized midnight blue box with large white lettering that says, “One for the road,” on one side and the bold, “Away” logo on the other side. When you open the box, a message on the interior lid reads, “Now the world is open. You can go anywhere, see everything, go off the grid, out of your comfort zone, or back to your roots. We’ll be with you every step of the way, so get out there and stay open.”

Dan: I love that messaging, because it suggests that they’re more than a product, they’re a relationship with a brand.

Joey: Exactly. And they recognize and acknowledge why people are buying bags. What can we learn from my luggage experience? Well, you need to get the product and the experience right. One without the other just doesn’t work. But when you deliver and even over deliver on both components, you can create raving fans that want to tell your story far and wide while becoming advocates in the process.

Dan: To tell our loyal podcast listeners that the quality of customer experience is important would be pretty much preaching to the choir. But my guess is that not everyone in your organization is singing in the same choir, if you know what I mean.

Joey: So true. We often hear from our clients that while they believe in the value of creating remarkable customer experiences, there’s at least one person in the leadership team, if not more, that needs convincing. Now, if this sounds like one of the challenges you are struggling with, ta-da, we have a solution for you.

Dan: Our partners and friends at AVTEX are hosting engage 2020 this summer in sunny Orlando Florida. During this three day immersive learning event, customer experience experts and thought leaders are going to offer their insight about designing and orchestrating remarkable customer experiences while also sharing evidence that these types of initiatives actually move the bottom line in your business, I.E., they can convince the doubters in your organization.

Joey: Exactly. I mean, at the end of the day, often it helps to have someone else convince your boss that your ideas are worth pursuing, and with sessions on journey mapping, and experience design, customer data trends, and contact center interactions, each session at Engage will provide ideas of things that you can immediately put into action to drive your experience activities forward. Oh, and by the way, your boss will become a believer, too.

Dan: I’m not sure if we mentioned this, but Orlando Florida is also home to a little place called Disney World, and as luck would have it, this event is being hosted at Disney World. Now, if you listen to this show, you know customer experience and you know that Disney is one of the best in the business. Joey and I both love Disney World so much. We’ve talked about it on this show. It is going to be really, really exciting to have an event right there in the heart of customer experience.

Joey: Well, not only that, Dan, but at Engage 2020, you’ll get the unique opportunity to pull back the curtain on the Disney World experience. Not only will you get to learn from the masters, but there’s going to be a series of special surprises, and I don’t want to give these away because it would ruin it, but you’re going to get the chance to experience the magic of the Magic Kingdom in person in a way that you’ve probably never experienced before.

Dan: As you are budgeting your training and development dollars this year, consider Engage 2020, which is happening June 21st through the 24th. We know that these educational dollars are not always unlimited, so we are here to help you save money, because if you use a special code just for Experience This listeners, you’ll save 10% off of your ticket. Instead of paying $500, you’ll pay only 450 when you use the code ExperienceThis10.

Joey: And you see, folks, we even did the math for you, because that’s our rule here at Experience This. We understand that no one likes to do math, so we’ll do the math for you. To learn more about the event, the agenda, what you can expect at engage 2020, visit www.AVTEXengage.com. That’s www A-V-T-E-X, AVTEX, engage.com. Make sure to get your tickets before they’re gone and we’ll hope to see you at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel and Resort for AVTEX’s incredible event, Engage 2020.

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

Dan: As our loyal listeners will recall, in season three, we had the great fortune of partnering with the amazing folks at the Cytel Group. Not only did we regularly feature their fantastic customer experience content on the show, but the season culminated with a live episode at their Empower CX event.

Joey: We had so much fun working with Cytel that when they came to us with a special project for 2020, we were both flattered and thrilled to participate.

Dan: That special project is a new podcast called Empower CX Now.

Joey: And we’re the cohosts.

Dan: Now, to be clear, we’ll still be bringing you the Experience This show every Tuesday, but now you can get a double dose of Joey and Dan, as well as all things customer experience by listening to Empower CX Now.

Joey: Now, to give you a taste or at least a sound of what’s happening over at Empower CX Now, we have a special crossover segment for you. This segment is the one time that the same content will appear on both shows. In this segment of Experience This, we’ll be talking about a crazy night in Miami where I lost my car. Okay? And you can hear this same segment on the next episode of Empower CX Now, which is dropping in just two days.

Dan: Which, if you’re listening to this later, is on a Thursday, Experience This launches on Tuesdays, and Power CX Now will launch on Thursdays. If you can’t get enough of customer experience and you’re interested in adding another podcast to your playlist, we hope you’ll subscribe to Empower CX Now. That’s not a command, although you can do it right now, that’s the name of the show, Empower CX Now.

Joey: And now, without further ado, here’s the story of my missing car in Miami, courtesy of our friends at the Cytel Group and their new podcast, Empower CX Now.

Joey: We had an interesting experience happen last night. Dan and I are in Miami recording our Empower CX Now show episodes, and we haven’t to park the car in the parking lot at this kind of fantastic high-end shopping center mall set up, where I have to admit when we went in, knowing where the car is parked felt like it was going to be confusing. Okay? Just the nature and the structure of the parking garage upon parking the car, it was like, “This might be hard to remember where we parked.”

Dan: We should know that that’s true for me of any parking lot.

Joey: Fair enough. Fair enough. And so, coming back from dinner, I happened to notice that there was this giant screen next to the little kiosk where you would insert your parking ticket, and the screen said something to the effect of, “Forget where you parked your car?”

Dan: Always.

Joey: Always, always. Every single time. It’s a touch screen. And so, upon touching the screen, it said type in as many letters of the license plate as you remember, which I was not informed that there was going to be a test on our ability to remember the license plate. But thankfully when you think about a rental car, often they put the license plate on the key, and so we were able to type in part of the license plate. What was interesting is it shifted to a searching screen and then it popped up a photo of the car in the parking lot and said, “Is this your car?” Then when you clicked on it, it then proceeded to draw a map and show you where you are now and where the car is parked.

Joey: Now, this was fascinating for a number of reasons. Number one, yes folks, Big Brother is watching you at all times. Number two, the fact that they adopted a technology that allows them with a video camera to snap a photo and then do recognition in the photo of the text and convert that so that you can search by licensed plate, there was a lot of innovation going on here.

Dan: Well, a first thing that I just want to point out for our listeners here is, and what I love about this story is, when there are two customer experience dudes just walking through a parking lot and there’s a touch screen that says, “Lost your car?” Like, of course we’re going to go hit the touchscreen, right?

Joey: It’s like children in a candy store, let’s be honest. We get super excited about this stuff.

Dan: Exactly. I’m glad that you did, because this is fascinating. I love it because I am legitimately someone who suffers from poor directions. I’ll park the car and especially if I go to one of those big amusement parks where you’re one of 30,000 cars, about halfway walking from the car to the park, I’ll be like, “Uh oh, I forgot to write down where I parked.” This is a very useful piece of technology for me. But I also love that it’s proactive in the sense that it got to you before you needed it, right? It wasn’t, “Oh crud, I lost my car. Now what do I do?” It got to you ahead of that moment so you could have the comfort knowing that having parked in this lot that you weren’t going to lose your car.

Joey: Well, and what I can decide, Dan, is this is a bit of a chicken versus egg conversation, right? Pulling into the garage, it felt like one of those confusing garages. I’m left wondering, did they install the help you find your car cameras and kiosk technology because it was a confusing garage or is it that-

Dan: Let’s just make it confusing.

Joey: Yeah, or is it let’s design this technology, if we can make it work in this confusing garage, it’ll work everywhere. I’m not exactly sure. We didn’t have the opportunity to figure out the name of the company who’s actually developed this technology. But I think what this speaks to from a disruption point of view is when you look at any industry, and I mean literally any industry on the planet, there are opportunities for disruption. I mean, I doubt a lot of boardrooms and conference meetings right now there are conversations being held about how do we disrupt parking lots, right? You would think it’s not really a sexy on-the-edge industry, and yet, here’s the technology solution that is doing just that.

Dan: Yeah, and I think that is a great message is that it can be done in any industry. I often get questions, I know you do too, Joey, after we speak, or if we’re consulting, “Well, does this apply to my company? I’m a B2B, or I’m in this industry, or I’m a small company, or what have you.”

Joey: Little do they know these are fighting words for Dan and I.

Dan: Exactly. And so, yes, it does apply to your company. It applies because there is something going on in your company right now that is being done because it’s always been done that way, or because the legal department says that you needed to do it that way, or because your competitors do it that way. That presents an opportunity to think differently. I loved always asking the question, I really loved asking the blue sky questions about, well, what if? When I worked at a credit card company, what if we lived in a world where there was no plastic cards? Well, guess what? 15 years later, we’re in a world where a lot of people don’t use plastic cards like they used to because you can use your phone and other devices, so asking those questions of what if, what if no one ever lost their car in a parking lot again? It’s a wonderful world.

Joey: A wonderful world. I also love this idea, speaking of the questions to ask, what about just simply asking the question, how could our customer become frustrated in this moment and just opening it up? I’m sure when they were building the mall, the bulk of the thought went to who are the anchor tenants going to be, who is the architect that’s going to design it, how are we going to get foot traffic moving around to the various stores, et cetera?

Dan: Why the hell are we building a mall in 2020?

Joey: There’s a lot of questions that might be going on here, but I also wonder if there was a conscious question of what happens if somebody loses their car in the parking lot? I think the moral of the story here, folks, is in every business, you have the opportunity, should you choose to accept, to sit down and ask yourself some of these disruptive questions, to sit down and consider how might you make the experience more convenient for your customers? How can you eliminate friction for your customers? Where might the disruption in your industry be coming from that you haven’t thought of yet? I seriously doubt parking companies are sitting there going, “Well, what if somebody comes along and figures out a better way to find the car?” Right? So, what are the ways that you as an organization are being creative and opening yourselves up to different lines of thinking and different considerations?

Dan: Joey, I’m going to put you on the spot here.

Joey: Oh, here we go.

Dan: This is unscripted and he doesn’t know this question is coming.

Joey: Great.

Dan: What would you say to somebody that says, “Okay, great, this is really cool, but does it get any new customers to park in the lot?”

Joey: What I love … Okay, he just wanted to get me riled up, folks. Okay, here’s the thing. It may not get more customers to park in the lot, but what it will do is get customers to talk about their parking experience. Okay? We had this experience last night. We’re now sharing this on an episode of Empower CX Now. Ironically enough, we’re also sharing it on an episode of the Experience This show. We thought this story was so interesting that we’re sharing it across two podcasts at the same time. Why? Not because it’s about parking, but because an experience was created that got the attention of two customer experience guys. It left us thinking, why did they do this, how did they do this, when did they do this, and what impact will it have?

Dan: And boy, was it cool.

Joey: And boy, was it cool. What’s fascinating to me is so often in the world of customer experience, the conversation comes down to by those who aren’t involved in customer experience. Well, what’s the ROI of caring about our customers? Well, you know what I can tell you is the ROI of not caring about your customers. Okay? That is very clear. They leave. They quit doing business with you and you don’t get to have a business anymore. When we think of the core essence of disruption, 99 times out of 100, the disruptive players in any industry come to the table with an ethos of, “We’re going to care more than the competition. We’re going to care more than the legacy players. We’re going to do this smarter, we’re going to do it faster, we’re going to do it better. We’re going to put more stock in what our customer’s experience of our product than everybody else in the landscape who’s playing.” I think that’s the opportunity for a disruptor.

Dan: So, a challenge to the audience, or audiences, as it may be, find a place in your experience where there is currently a pain point or potential customer barrier, and knock it down. Get rid of it. In this particular parking lot, there is no longer the pain point of forgetting where you parked your car. I’ve, again, done that enough times that I know how painful that can be. There is something in your business that you can do right now to remove a similar pain point for your customers.

Joey: Where do you start this conversation? Well, our great friends at Cytel have put together a fantastic PDF for you to download for free that talks all about disruption. How should you be thinking about disruption? What are some prompting questions to start the conversation within your own organization about disruption, some examples of companies that are disrupting the industries that they’re playing in. We’ve got to get ourselves thinking differently. It’s not enough to say, “Well, we’ve always done it this way,” or, “Well, our competitors are only doing this.” No, we need to look broader. We need to consider more possibilities and opportunities. And this disruptor PDF that’s I tell is put together is absolutely a fantastic way to do that. How do you get it, you might ask? Go to empowercxnow.com. That’s empowercxnow.com and download this PDF so that you too can become a disruptor.

Joey: Wow. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Experience This.

Dan: 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: We hope you enjoyed our discussions, and if you do, we’d love to hear about it. Come on over to we 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: Thanks again for your time and we’ll see you next week for more…

Joey: Experience

Dan: This!