In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Dan Gingiss. Dan is an international keynote speaker and coach who believes that a remarkable customer experience is your best sales and marketing strategy. His 20-year professional career included leadership positions at McDonald’s, Discover, and Humana. He’s also the author of – The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share.
How can companies stand out in a crowded marketplace that’s constantly evolving? The answer is customer experience. And the best part about customer experience is that it’s delivered by human beings who are unique to your company. No one else has your human beings, which means that you can provide a customer experience that no one else can. It’s time to make your customer experience a competitive advantage.
In this episode, I talk with keynote speaker and coach, Dan Gingiss, about how listening to and engaging with your customers will actually help you acquire new customers. Instead of spending more money on marketing and trying to acquire new customers, you should focus on providing your existing customers with a remarkable experience.
Questions I ask Dan Gingiss:
- [1:25] “86% of people admit in a recent survey to paying more for a better experience.” — what do you think about this statistic?
- [2:58] Why is providing a better experience for companies to make a priority – is there some sort of deep-seated, psychological reason why we don’t do it?
- [7:43] You have a framework in your book that you call Wise R – can you unpack that acronym for us?
- [12:05] It’s hard to track ROI for customer experience. Nobody gets a quota for creating evangelists that they have to meet. So what is some of the work that you’ve done with the idea of tracking and measuring it?
- [14:21] Can you talk more about the dramatic cost savings in having a better customer experience that you cover in your book?
- [16:01] What’s your impression of the role technology plays in all of this?
- [18:58] Is there an example of a good IVR system that you’ve ever encountered?
- [20:51] Are we ready for an ‘Experience Maker’ to be a role at a company, and should every company have one?
- [22:31] Where can people find out more about the Experience Maker or any work that you’re doing that you’d like to share?
More About Dan Gingiss:
- The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share
More About The Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network:
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John Jantsch (00:52): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dan Gingiss. He's an international keynote speaker and coach who believes that a remarkable customer experience is the best sales and marketing strategy. His 20 year professional career includes leadership positions at McDonald's discover and Humana. We're going to talk about his latest book, the experience maker, how to create remarkable experiences that your customers can't wait to share. So Dan, welcome
Dan Gingiss (01:23): To the show. Thank you, John. It is an honor and a pleasure.
John Jantsch (01:26): So I'm going to read a statistic and then you could just talk for the next 20 minutes, 86% of people admit in a recent survey to paying more for a better experience.
Dan Gingiss (01:37): Yeah, that's the reality today. And in some ways I blame it on the millennials or rather give credit to the millennials who really were the first generation to declare that they wanted to have a relationship with the brands that they spent, their hard earned dollars with when you and I were growing up there, wasn't way to have a relationship with a brand. We could write them a letter, but that wasn't much of a relationship. And then social media came along and it was the first marketing channel where people can talk back and guess what customers talked back. And they said they wanted a better experience. They wanted interaction and engagement. And so if they're not getting it with you, the company, they're going to go find another company that will give it to them. And I think one of the biggest challenges in almost every industry today is that it's become almost impossible to compete on price. It's a loser's game, race to the bottom, and it's also become almost impossible to compete on product or service because all because everything's become commoditized. So even a company that everyone would agree is one of the most innovative in our generation. Uber today, if you get in a car, I dare you to tell me whether it's an Uber or Lyft. And the answer is it's probably both. That's true. And so that's how undifferentiated the product has become. So what's left is
John Jantsch (02:57): Experience. I don't think anyone argues with this 86% is most of us. I don't think anyone argues with that. Why is it so darn hard to do it is really there are books written about it. There are people bring in experts all the time, but companies just can't seem to focus on that or make it a priority. Have you on earth really? Is there some sort of deep seated, psychological reason why we won't do it?
Dan Gingiss (03:19): It's definitely connected to our employee base because ultimately it's our employees that have to deliver the experience. And so oftentimes it starts with the employee experience. Are they happy to be where they are? We've all had the experience of walking into a fast food restaurant and that person behind the counter, it looks like you're interrupting their otherwise pleasant day by wanting to place an order. And so you're not going to get a great experience there. You compare that to a place like Amazon, which I know people love to love and love to hate. I happen to love them, but Amazon is so customer centric in everything that they do, they have ingrained it into their culture. And they've understood for a long time that it's not about one individual transaction. It's about the lifetime value of the customer relationship. So I tell a story in my book about how I ordered a set of pots and pans, and one of the glass lids of one of the pots arrived shatter.
Dan Gingiss (04:17): So I called up Amazon. I was just looking for a replacement lid. I was disappointed that one of them was broken, but I figured they would just replace the lid. The customer service woman tried for a few minutes and clicked and clock down on her keyboard. And finally said, you know what? I have no idea how to replace the lid. So I'm just going to refund your money and you go ahead and keep the pots and pans. Now I went from in the span of a couple of minutes from being disappointed that I had a broken lid to being like whew, free pots of bands, my whole mindset changed. And I can certainly attest to the fact that of the 200 or so orders I've made since then. I think Amazon's probably made up for the lost pots and pans, but they're so good at what they do because they intentionally make every part of the experience easy and a pleasure to do our mutual fund.
Dan Gingiss (05:11): Our mutual friend, Joey Coleman, who is my podcast, cohost told a story once on our podcast about how he and his wife downloaded a movie from Amazon prime and their internet. Wasn't real, wasn't working really well that night. So the movie was slow and pixelated, the next day, he gets an email from Amazon unsolicited saying, Hey, we noticed that you didn't get a lot of good quality in your movie last night. So we've gone ahead and refunded your money and enjoy your next movie. Wow. I want to keep doing business with a company like that because they get me, they're paying attention and
John Jantsch (05:45): I am a marketer marketing consultant. People hire my firm to do marketing. This point gets driven home how this entire journey is so connected because one of the things that we do standard fare that we do is we do tracking and things so that when somebody calls in and a lot of marketers, it's like, Hey, I got the phone to ring and the job I, we record those things and I'd listen to them. And I show a business owner. This is why you're not converting because, and all of a sudden it's like, oh wow, I don't care how good your marketing is or what people call it, marketing. If it's fallen out the back end in service or in sales or whatever the metric is for what an actual growth is. So nothing's gonna, nothing's gonna really happen in a positive sense. So this idea of really seeing this end to end journey is what marketing is today. It's not ending at getting the sale as it.
Dan Gingiss (06:32): Absolutely. And it also happens even after the sale, right? Is that we've got people that stay with us just for a short period of time and then leave. And I think the reason for that is that marketing has become not only is marketing the first part of the experience, it's like the experience before the customer experience, because how do we become aware of a brand in the first place we start getting
John Jantsch (06:56): Today? I think it's how the experiences before you even know that they exist.
Dan Gingiss (07:01): Correct? Correct. And also marketing's role, I think has evolved to being the promises of the experience. So a lot of marketing today talks about what it's going to be like to do business with us. How are you going to feel when you use our product or service? And if marketing is promising something that the rest of the company can't deliver on, and then you've got a big problem. And so I definitely agree with you that holding marketing and sales accountable for not just acquiring the customer, but keeping the customer is one of the ways that we can connect with,
John Jantsch (07:34): Oh, good consultants. You have a framework in this book that you call the, I don't know how to actually say this wise within our, is that how you would say that? So why don't you unpack that acronym?
Dan Gingiss (07:46): Sure. So I teach people how to be wise to customer experience. And then the secret is I teach them to be wiser than their competition. And so wise stands for witty, immersive, shareable and extraordinary. And these are four elements to customer experiences that make them remarkable or literally worthy of remark where the, of talking about, because we'd all prefer as marketers that other people talk about us, instead of us having to talk about us, we know that word of mouth marketing is the most authentic, most genuine, most trusted. And my belief and this, I got to remind you, I was a marketer for 20 years. And so I've worked in many of these marketing channels, but my belief is that the most powerful way to get people talking about us positively is to give them a great experience. And so why is helps you do that?
Dan Gingiss (08:38): It gives you the elements. You can use one of them or you can stack them. And then once people are talking about you positively, you gotta be part of the conversation. And that's the R which is being responsive. And one of the things I find in social media is it took a long time for companies to even on board with responding to questions and complaints. But what they're not doing still is responding to compliments. And the reason is there's no system for that. We've never gotten compliments in the call center before nobody's ever called the toll free number to say, Hey, you're doing a great job. And yet we've got all these fans on social media and people that are sharing their positive experiences and they're hearing crickets back. So the R's really about being responsive and how powerful it can be to be part of that.
John Jantsch (09:23): But they're doing it in a reviews by him. That's the place. I think a lot of people, just what you said, everybody gets all off about the negative review and they go and fire back. But look at all these affirm all these positive reviews that you're getting to. Absolutely.
Dan Gingiss (09:38): Yeah. And remember that in social media, it's all about your social capital. And so my social capital grows when a big company likes my tweet or responds to me, I feel really important. And I feel like they care about me. And just a quick example of that actually happened after the book was published. But I sent somewhat of a humorous tweet at my friends at Skittles because I'm a big Skittles fan, but I was upset with them for the last few years because they replaced the green Skittles, which used to be lime. And they replaced them with green apple, which I thought was a horrible replacement because line was my favorite and green apple in my humble opinion is disgusting. I send them a tweet saying, Hey, when's the green apple experiment going to be over. And they write back and they say, we're thinking Wednesday. And I'm like, what the heck does that mean? And Wednesday, they send me another tweet that shows the announcement of a brand new, all lime package of skills that they're bringing back by popular demand because so many people have been asking for it. Now, I know my tweet had nothing to do with that decision, but that it felt like I made magic happen. And so of course I love the brand even more than I did before.
John Jantsch (10:53): You've now shared this story numerous times,
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John Jantsch (12:05): I'm sure that one of the pushbacks that happens in customer experience discussions is that it's very hard to track the ROI. Nobody gets a quota for creating evangelists that they have to meet. So what is some of the work that you've done? I know that you talk extensively in the book about this idea of tracking it so that it becomes a priority. How do you talk to companies who, who really are struggling with, oh yeah, it's nice to make people happy. But does that
Dan Gingiss (12:32): Let analogy I like to use is actually back to social media because my friends in social media and I ran multiple social media teams at big companies. So I'm pretty familiar with this. They love to brag about what we call the vanity metrics, how many followers we have, how many likes we got, retweets shares, whatever it is. And executives, frankly don't care because they don't, there's no connection to the bottom line. Okay. So what you put out a tweet and 20,000 people liked it. How did that help sales this month? And the answer is it probably did it so much like in social media where what we really have to do is we've got to show here's how many people clicked on our post and came to our website and purchased. Now you've got a line to the bottom line. We have to do the same thing in customer experience.
Dan Gingiss (13:20): And so we often get stuck on metrics like NPS net promoter score. It's a wonderful measurement. It tells you how you're doing at one moment in time, but it doesn't tell you why you're doing that well or that poorly. And so what happens is we track NPS over time. And as it goes up, we all cheer and high five and pat each other on the back. And as it goes down, we come up with all the rationalizations and excuses, the weather, the pandemic, whatever it is. But the truth is we have no idea when it's going up or down. And so connecting customer experience metrics like NPS to business metrics like increased sales retention, rate referrals, things that actually have a bottom line value, especially if you know the lifetime value of every customer, then you can prove that you're getting more customers who are spending more staying longer and bringing their friends along with them. Now.
John Jantsch (14:21): So one of the things you write about in this book, and I really haven't ever heard anybody say this, but it makes so much sense. And I think this would get CFOs maybe on board a little more with this is everybody's focused on oh, retention and it, or revenue goes up if people are happy and they talk about, so we get new customers, but you talk a little bit about, there's also quite often dramatic cost savings in having a better customer experience. And I don't think enough people are talking about that.
Dan Gingiss (14:49): Absolutely. One of my examples of that, and it's in the responsive section is duke energy, which is a utility company in the Southeastern us. It should be noted that they're a monopoly. So customers don't have a choice of whether to do business with them. And Hey, we all have our own feelings about our utility company and not often is it positive? What they have done is they actually hired a guy whose title is storm director. And he is responsible among other things for going on to social media and recording videos, telling people that a storm is coming, telling them that they might lose power and telling them that duke energy is on the case and that they don't have anything to worry about. If they lose power, we're working on it. And then he gets updates through the storm on what's going on. Guess what? When customers lose power, they don't call customer service because they already know that duke is working on it. That's a huge cost savings. And especially the last thing we need when the power's out is to have our call center be bombarded with calls. And there are, that's a great example of how a company reduces costs by focusing on experience, which in this case, it's really just proactive customer. So
John Jantsch (16:01): I'm curious your kind of impression of the role of technology in all of this. So for good and for bad and how we should be viewing it rather than some of the ways that maybe we're using it.
Dan Gingiss (16:16): Technology is a great thing, especially when it makes things easier for the customer. So there's a stat in the book that the number one stat or the number one element of customer loyalty is actually ease of use. It's simplicity. It's about, uh, reducing customer effort. And so the extent to which we can use technology to reduce customer effort and make things easy. I am all for it. When we start to look at technology as a replacement for human interaction, then I put up the stop sign, especially because of what we were talking before, that, that I blame the millennials for that people want a relationship with the brand and they want that human connection. I think actually the pandemic exacerbated that we all craved more human connection and interaction. And so sometimes we don't want to talk to a robot. We just want to talk to a human other times, the robot is totally fine. We use Google every single day. That's a robot and it, it gives us what we need, but ultimately when we need to have a human conversation, that's gotta be available to us as well. So I definitely, I think it plays a role. It's just, we gotta be careful with.
John Jantsch (17:27): And I think that's the distinction. Is the role providing better service or is it a way that we don't have to talk to people? And I think that's the how to make a decision about does technology solve that? Does it create less friction here, go for it or does it just make it so that we can have fewer bodies
Dan Gingiss (17:44): Talking to people always wondered. I always wondered why companies don't want to talk their customers without customers. We don't have a business. So they are our number one asset. Why would we not want to talk to them? Why would we not welcome the opportunity to talk to them? Especially by the way, if they're upset because we're not giving them what they expected from us. And so I definitely agree that if the whole idea is just, we don't want to talk to customers and we'd like to save money by firing our customer service staff. That's not going to be a successful strategy as far as I'm concerned, but technology can play a great role in redo call length. For example, because if I always imagine a contact center rep sitting next to IBM Watson, the one that went on jeopardy and knows the answer to every question ever, right? Think about how intelligent you've now made your agent because they have, they can answer any question that comes to them in the world. And they're confident in their answer. Now, all they have to do is do what humans do best, which is engage with people and be human. And in the, in, in that sense, you're actually going to use technology to reduce the call length, which is a cost savings, but not by.
John Jantsch (18:58): So is there an example of a good IVR system that you've ever encountered?
Dan Gingiss (19:05): Ah, the old IVR system, I will say that knowing your customer is the best way to build your IVR. So the best way to build any experience. So when I was at discover, for example, we found that there were literally hundreds of thousands of people every month that called just so they could press one to hear their balance. And then they hung up. Cause that's just all they wanted to do. They didn't want to go online or they weren't comfortable going online. So they called, they pressed one and they left, Hey, that's great. That's why it was number one was because we knew that book, that the vast majority of people calling we're calling for that reason, in that sense, an IVR can be great too often though, an IVR is built based on a company's org chart. And the reality is customers should not be responsible for understanding your art org chart. They look at you as a single company, not as a series of departments. So really the purpose of the IVR is not to help the customer it's to more efficiently route the calls, which is a benefit to who, to the company, not to the customer. And so in that sense, there are not many great.
John Jantsch (20:15): My one wish would be that they would start off by saying, look, we're going to route you through all these things. It might make your experience better, but if you just want to talk to a person hit five, that's what I want because sometimes I didn't know.
Dan Gingiss (20:29): And some companies have started doing that where the first choice is to talk to somebody, press zero. And then they go into the other choices. I love that it's so much better than the inevitable we're pounding on zero or screaming operator and hoping it's listening.
John Jantsch (20:44): We both know what my mother's first dog's was. All right. So are we ready for an experience maker to be a role at a company? Should every company have the experience maker?
Dan Gingiss (20:59): Yes. And I think that experience has got to be a combination of a group that leads it usually via a chief experience officer, because they're the ones that have the 30,000 foot view that see the whole customer journey start to finish while everybody else is siloed into their one little spot. But also we've got to enable and empower every employee to be in customer experience, to have customer experience, be a part of their job. Even a person who's in finance, who never actually speaks to a customer has a huge impact on the customer experience if they just paid attention to it. So that invoice that they're sending out every month, does it make sense? Does the customer understand all the line items and why they owe what they owe? Does it allow the customer to pay using the method that they want? What kind of other policies do we have around when and how people pay? These are all finance questions that have a big impact on the customer experience. I know that from working at discover, right, some companies back in the day, didn't accept discover card. And that was a frustration to me as a customer. And so we think that a finance guy, because, or gal, because they don't talk to the customer really have nothing to do with CX. But in fact, what they're doing every day does same with the lawyers, same with the operations people, the warehouse people everyone's got an impact. It's really not a
John Jantsch (22:26): Department. It's almost more of a culture issue, isn't it? Yeah. So Dan tell people where they can find out more about the experience maker or any, and he worked at you're doing that.
Dan Gingiss (22:37): The good news is I have a unique, last name, but if you meet anyone else with my last name, they are definitely related to me. So I'm at Dan gingiss.com on Twitter at D Gangas, LinkedIn and Dan Gingiss as well. And the book is the experience maker available at,
John Jantsch (22:51): It was great to having to stop by the duct tape marketing podcast. And hopefully we'll run into you one of these days soon after.
Dan Gingiss (22:56): Thanks for having me, John. And I would look forward to meeting you in person sometime.
John Jantsch (23:00): All right. So that wraps up another episode. I want to thank you so much for tuning in and you know, we love those reviews and comments. And just generally tell me what you think also did you know that you could offer the duct tape marketing system, our system to your clients and build a complete marketing consulting coaching business, or maybe level up an agency with some additional services. That's right. Check out the duct tape marketing consultant network. You can find it at duct tape, marketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that offer our system to your clients tab.
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