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March 14, 2019

138: Customer Experience Marketing: Why You Must Embrace It to Stand Out as a Business [Dan Gingiss Interview]

138: Customer Experience Marketing: Why You Must Embrace It to Stand Out as a Business [Dan Gingiss Interview]

Customer experience marketing. It's a buzzword that a lot of people throw out, but what exactly does it mean, how important is it to you business today, and what are the first steps you can take to implementing customer experience marketing the right way?

I could not think of a better person than friend and customer experience marketing expert Dan Gingiss to have on my podcast to answer these questions and more for my listeners.

As Dan explains, customer experience marketing is a vital aspect to both your online and offline business. It also could be the one defining thing that can differentiate your brand from your competitors. 

Dan takes us through the correct way to implement customer experience marketing. Listen in and read the show notes below to learn more.

Key Highlights

[00:44] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Dan Gingiss

[04:09] What Dan Realized About Social Marketing

[08:03] Defining Customer Experience

[08:44] 2 Keys of Customer Support

[10:57] Why Customer Experience Is Getting A Buzz Just Now?

[13:00] Customer Experience As The True Differentiator For Brands

[13:21] You Need To Compete With Experience

[13:39] Example Of A Company That Provides Great Customer Experience

[16:33] Creating Emotional Attachment With Your Customers

[17:16] Customer Experience Audit

[22:21] Dan's Advice To Companies

[25:01] Connect With Dan

Notable Quotes

  • I think that's a really good thing because it has brought brands closer to their customer, so that they understand their customer better, and can create products and experiences based on that understanding.
  • By spending time focusing on providing remarkable experiences, you can get more people talking positively about your brand and start drowning out some of that negativity.
  • The way that I define customer experience is that it is how people feel about every single interaction they have with a brand.
  • One of the things that I love to say is that I believe today, there's no such thing as an offline customer experience. Because even things that we used to consider being offline, like say, being on an airplane, well, the guy that was dragged off the airplane, showed us that not everything on an airplane is offline anymore, right? Because it can come online in an instant.
  • I believe that customer experience is going to become the last true differentiator for brands.
  • When companies treat their customers well, customers don't mind as much, they don't pay as much attention to a sale down the road that you know, is going to get them a 10% discount to what you're charging them, because they know that you're going to take better care of them.
  • Creating that emotional attachment is, is probably going to be a great way to generate a positive customer experience.
  • I'm talking about actually becoming a customer and actually going through the process of whatever it is that your company offers to customers.
  • The harder thing is creating unique, remarkable new experiences. Differentiation, that is gonna make people talk about your brand versus another one's, that's tough, that takes a long time, and usually many years to establish. But getting rid of existing pain points is easy. 
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

What's up, y'all? Let's go. Welcome to the maximize your social podcast. Follow me discover the latest social media marketing techniques from the world's leading experts from top to bottom. This is the podcast where business professionals come together to master social media without all the confusing mumbo jumbo. With no further ado, turn it down. Here's your host, the one and only Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer, welcome to another exciting episode of maximize your social today is going to be about the Tale of Two Worlds I am here in winter in warm and sunny Orange County, we did have some rain, which made people freak out because we don't get a lot of rain here in Southern California. But on the other end of this microphone is a gentleman who is a dear friend, a thought leader in customer experience marketing that we're going to be talking a lot about today. My friend Dan gang is Who is calling in from the middle of the polar vortex, or it is colder there than it is in the South Pole. From what I hear Chicago, Illinois. Dan, welcome to maximize your social.

Dan Gingiss:

Well. Thank you, Neil. It's a pleasure to be on your show. And yes, we set some records this week, negative 25 degrees, that's before the wind chill. It was absolutely ridiculous. But luckily, I stayed indoors for most of it. And we seem to be on the back end of it.

Neal Schaffer:

Well, hopefully this podcast interview will warm you up, so to speak, as well as our listeners. So let's cut to the chase. Dan, I mentioned when I was scheduling this. So customer experience marketing, as I continue in the process of publishing my upcoming book on influence marketing, the business of influence. And I sort of hinted out this for those of you that listen to my previous podcast, you should listen to the one where I talked about, we need to do things differently. It's time for social media marketing 2.0, I have come to the conclusion now, it's not going to get this way overnight, but I'm already sort of working with my clients in trying to push them in this direction. You know, I've always said social media was made for people, not for businesses, and the personal brand is always going to win out versus the corporate brand. Now, if you're a Coca Cola, or what have you, it's one thing but for 99% of the brands that are not in that position, I begin to question why are you on social media? What are you using it for? So you know, it's interesting, Dan, we're both going to be speaking at Social Media Marketing World. And I think there's like a full day workshop devoted to Facebook ads, right? To me, Facebook ads isn't social media, it's digital marketing. It's no different than a Google ad. It's different targeting options, right? Different ways, maybe different content mediums. But I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that if social media is made for people, not for business, what are businesses doing on social media? I think it's time that they really rethink their approach. And I'm beginning to think the best approach for companies isn't the market themselves and social media unless they want to use paid social for that, which is like a Google AdWords, it's really to be there for their customers to answer their questions to help them get the optimum customer experience to become a robust customer support channel. And because I've come to a conclusion, people don't want engage with brands and social, right? They want to engage with celebrities and friends. So if they're going to engage with the brand, inevitably, it's going to be descending complaint. And I know that you're the expert at this, that's sort of the conclusion I'm I'm coming to, which all leads into why brands should be leveraging influencers and really, inside the word of mouth, they're using other people rather than trying to do it themselves. Because social media marketers suck at social media for brands is, is another one of the conclusions I have. So I'm just sort of dropping all these bombs on you, Dan, I'm, I'm sure you're smiling right now, because you've been talking about this different ways for the last several years. But that's my thoughts today. Dan, what do you think?

Dan Gingiss:

Well, I am smiling. I agree with about 90% of what you said. And let me put it in a slightly different way. And then I'll get to the 10% that I maybe differ a little bit. So I've been a marketer for more than 20 years, I got my start in direct mail. And in you know, newspaper and magazine advertising, direct response, you know, where people actually clipped out a coupon and filled it out and mailed it in. And so I've done pretty much every marketing channel except for television. And as we've moved more digital, and especially as social has come into play, the very first thing I realized about social marketing was that it is the only marketing channel that people can talk back to you. And I thought that was fascinating, which is why when most people sort of went towards Wow, social media marketing, it's the next great thing. I went to sort of the flip side of that, which is wow, this is a really cool way to engage with your customers that we've never had before. So as a marketer, I agree with you. I don't think social media marketing is all that I don't think it's that much different than other digital and non digital channels in terms of the mechanics of it. We still target people, we still segment them we still try to find the right product in the right place the right price for them. And it's just because it's on Facebook instead of on email or on a website or even in direct mail. I don't think it's that special to be honest with you. But this idea that people can talk back is special. And it's really interesting because you can't talk back to a billboard, you can't talk back to Super Bowl, TV commercial. But all the sudden, now brands have to be available to people talking back. And I think that's a really good thing because it has brought brands closer to their customer, so that they understand their customer better, and can create products and experiences based on that understanding. And I would say the one part that I maybe don't completely agree with, what you said is that I actually think especially the millennial generation does want to have a relationship and engagement with companies, I think it's one of the things that they're looking for, in deciding which companies to do business with, is which ones they can have a bilateral relationship with. And so and I think that, you know, those of us in Gen X, and others are kind of following suit. And that it is we're starting to, to judge the businesses that we spend good money with by the experience that we get back with them. And part of that experience is how they engage with us in social media. And so I always tell people, first of all, I believe that people share people are willing to share very positive experiences, as much as they're willing to share negative experiences. The problem is, we don't have nearly as many positive experiences as we have negative, because customer experience tends to suck. And so you end up seeing a lot more negative. But actually, one of the things that I talked about, and we'll talk about it Social Media Marketing World is that by spending time focusing on providing remarkable experiences, you can get more people talking positively about your brand and start drowning out some of that negativity, or as we like to say, at McDonald's, have the lovers be louder than the haters?

Neal Schaffer:

Yep, no, that all makes sense. Dan and I on the 10% we don't agree on I do agree that younger generations want a different relationship. I don't know how much of that translate the social media, and that would be our only bone of contention. But obviously when you know if you're going to see a Taco Bell out on Snapchat, you want to make sure really speaks to you. In that aspect. I completely agree. So, yeah, it's it's definitely but I think this is a conversation Damn that more and more brands need to be having let's, let's get started on sort of that terminology of customer experience marketing, you know, I run this blog, maximize social business, which hopefully by the time this is published, has already moved back and migrated back to Neal schaffer.com. And I had a contributor Joe Verghese, who I must have been five years ago, he goes, Neil, I want to change my category topic, he started talking about solo Mo, social, local, mobile, and you might be laughing about that, cuz no one talks about that anymore. But it's, it's indeed become reality. Because you know, customer experience, Mark is the next big thing. And, you know, Brian soul has published this book X, and it's already been a few years, but I don't think it's become as mainstream as it should. And I think sort of part of it is I see a lot of this customer support customer experience marketing. Let's start with sort of defining what is and what isn't customer experience marketing, maybe by contrasting it with customer support over social, which I sometimes see sort of diluting the conversation. Want to want to start with that, Dan, and we can sort of work into that definition. Sure.

Dan Gingiss:

Absolutely. And I think actually, the best way to do that is to kind of build in terms of what you just said. So customer service in social media is a subset of customer support, generally, which covers multiple channels. And customer support is a subset of customer experience. So the way that I define customer experience is that it is how people feel about every single interaction they have with a brand. And the two keys there are the field part. Because as we know, perception is reality. So your programmers could be telling you that you have the greatest mobile app of all time. But if your customers say it's hard to use, then the answer is it's hard to use no matter what the programmer say. But the other thing is that it incorporates every single interaction. And that's the part that I think companies tend to trip up on, because especially large companies, and I've worked for three of them, they're almost always built from an organizational perspective in a siloed manner, which means that the person who runs the website is a different person than the person who runs the call center who is a different person than the person who runs the retail stores. And so the customer ends up having these experiences that don't gel and that don't connect with each other. Because nobody's sitting there at the top looking at, you know, from the 30,000 foot view, and actually following the customer through all of these pieces. And so when companies understand that it's every single interaction that might start with a TV ad, it might start with a piece of mail that you send via the Postal Service. It might start with a social media ad, but and it may go all the way through an ordering process a delivery or return a customer service inquiry. If you have a storefront. During your restaurant, you know, the people that the customer interacts with in that location. All of those things, the cleanliness of the bathroom, for crying out loud is all part of the experience. And when you add all that up, that's how people perceive your company. Customer service is a big part of that. Because when we have a problem with the experience, we require service, and we want a resolution. But not everybody has a problem, right? So you could go and have a terrific relationship with a brand and never talk to customer service. In fact, that's that that's successful on both counts, right? It's successful from a consumer point of view. And it's also considered successful from the business's point of view. So does that make sense in terms of definitionally?

Neal Schaffer:

It does, it's really it's an end to end view from, you know, before they become a customer to after they become a customer. And and and I guess, you know, we could probably rant about how companies tend to put customer service as more of a cost center than they should but I'm just curious, do you you speak about things and it sounds like customer experience, marketing should have been a buzzword even before social media? Why are we talking about it? Now? Why haven't we talked about

Dan Gingiss:

it? Well, so here's what I think social did differently, right? When people when we started off in social media companies saw it as another broadcast channel. And not only that, they saw it as a free broadcast channel, because at the beginning, it kind of was free, right? So all we got to do is build followers, and we can scream our message. And and all these people are there to listen to it. And I remember having I won't tell you what company but I remember having internal discussions about we should put our TV commercials on Facebook, and I'm thinking to myself, yeah, great idea. Because you know, people love watching commercials so much, they're just gonna enjoy having their Facebook experience interrupted with our TV commercial, right? So and that's what I mean, when I say that, that social media allowed customers to talk back for the first time. And one of the things that company saw really quickly is they were often talking back about something else, not about the marketing. So we're, we're introducing a new product, and we're hoping to start a viral discussion about our new product. And customers are like, Yeah, I don't want to talk about your new product, I want to talk about how I called customer service the other day, and there was a two hour hold time, and you guys suck. And so all of a sudden, the control of the conversation went from the brand, to the consumer, the consumer, felt empowered by this and started demanding more from companies in terms of their experience, not just on social, but everywhere. And one of the things that I love to say is that I believe today, there's no such thing as an offline customer experience. Because even things that we used to consider being offline, like say, being on an airplane, well, the guy that was dragged off the airplane, showed us that not everything on an airplane is offline anymore, right? Because it can come online in an instant. It's so that power that was given to consumers, I think has caused this much more focus, more intense focus on customer experience. But I also think that and this is one of the things that that Solas said a while ago and I think is coming to fruition is that over time, I believe that customer experience is going to become the last true differentiator for brands. Because if you think about it competing on price is a loser's game, it just doesn't, you know, all you do is push price down until nobody's making any money. It's very difficult to compete on product, because so much today is copyable just ask, you know, Snapchat about their friends at Instagram. And so what you have to do is you have to compete on experience and experiences provided by the humans that are employed by your company and the technology that your company uses, which is unique and and can't be copied exactly. And that's why it becomes this really, really important differentiator. I know you told me you wanted to talk about a couple of examples. And one of the ones that I continue to be just amazed at, and we've covered on my podcast, and I've written about a few times is chewy, calm. Now chewy is a pet supplies company. And I'll be honest, I've gone I have pet I've gone on chewy.com I don't think their prices are any better than than Amazon's. In fact, they're probably a little bit more expensive than Amazon's but you talk to any chewy customer and they love this company because the service is so unbelievable. And our podcast the first time we talked about it, it was because a friend of mine from high school posted on Facebook, haha saw on social media that his cat had died. And that chewy after learning that his cat died because he called to cancel a food shipment. That chewy sent him a bouquet of flowers signed by the entire office staff telling him that they you know, felt so badly about him losing his cat. Now what's fascinating about this, Neil, is that because he lost his cat, at least at that moment, technically he wasn't even a customer anymore because he didn't have a pet. And so they're doing this for a non customer or for a former customer. Well guess what? The guy has another cat now and where do you think he's ordering all of his pet supplies? And every time I tweet about chewy or write about chewy I get dozens of people that write back to me saying I love chewy, their service is so great. Some other customer shared an email that they sent with me, where I ended up posting on on Forbes and article called this pet supplies company just wrote the greatest customer service email of all time, which I think it was. So when companies treat their customers well, customers don't mind as much, they don't pay as much attention to a sale down the road that you know, is going to get them a 10% discount to what you're charging them, because they know that you're going to take better care of them.

Neal Schaffer:

You know, and I think that's an awesome case study, for lack of a better awesome example. And I think that, do you talk a lot and I know before our conversation, I started hinted as well at the beginning of this podcast about trying to make this emotional attachment, right, because at the end of the day, you know, the example I used I always give is I always buy Tylenol rather than the generic drug, because I have this emotional attachment, right? That's been formed over decades, for various reasons. Obviously, what you know, what chewy did was they created that they generated an emotion. Obviously, it was in an emotional time that they did that. And I think back down before social media being a Crutchfield, I don't know if you're in a high end audio

Dan Gingiss:

company, myself into high end audio, but I definitely know them.

Neal Schaffer:

Yet. I'm not I mean, my dad was more in high end audio, and I lived at a house where the former owner was, so we were just talking, I needed to get some audio equipment. And I ended up being a Crutchfield customer, and sort of, you know, through the their magazine, and this is old school, obviously, back in the day, through the information they had, you felt like you're in good hands, and even after the the purchase, you know, call for support or what have you. So, once again, I think, you know, creating that emotional attachment is, is probably going to be a great way to generate a positive customer experience. And tell me what when you and maybe you know, and I know, we could go on forever about this topic, as we always do, Dan, for the sake of time, and to try to keep my podcast relatively short and sweet. I want to make sure we cover two more things. I'm supposing that there are business owners there are, you know, C Class executives that are listening to this podcast are saying, okay, I get it. I want to improve my company's customer experience. You mentioned me, Dan, that one of the things you do are customer experience audits. And I'm assuming that would be the first thing that companies should do if they want to go down and improve upon this. So can you tell me first of all, is that correct?

Dan Gingiss:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, what a customer sprint audit does is it solves this problem of what I mentioned before, which is that nobody's really looking at the entire journey from beginning to end. Now, people are creating journey maps, and they're doing it on whiteboards, because that's a popular thing to do. And, you know, any sort of customer experience expert worth their salt is going to tell you, that's one of the first things you should do. But I'm talking about actually becoming a customer and actually going through the process of whatever it is that your company offers to customers. So let's take a credit card company as an example, it's one thing to kind of write down on a board. Well, here's how people find us. And here's how they apply for a card. And here's what happens after they apply for a card. But it's a lot different to actually be that person that applies for the card, that fills out the application that sees how easy or difficult it is to fill out that application that receives the card in the mail that reads the materials and sees whether they're understandable that tries to activate the car, then try to go out and use the card and maybe make a return on the card, you understand what I'm saying. And it also includes kind of going to all of the different channels that a company might have, and frankly, trying to break things. So going on the website and trying to, you know, do a bunch of things that a customer would do are trying to go to the mobile app and trying to call customer service and, and having a complaint and then documenting everything that happened. And basically summarizing with a this is what you're doing really well, here are some pain points that I experienced as a customer, here are some things you really need to change that are you know, going to be frustrating people etc. And it gives that end to end view from a actual customers perspective. It's kind of like if you've seen that show Undercover Boss, it's kind of like doing that for an executive instead of having them to go on TV and embarrass themselves. By working one of those jobs, it's essentially, you know, becoming a customer, and and really reporting back with complete transparency about every piece of the experience,

Neal Schaffer:

which is why you probably want to work with an external entity like yourself to do this and someone that's done this for other companies that understands the area that most companies

Dan Gingiss:

also this objective. And that is, you know, so close to the experience. I mean, I've I've worked at, you know, I've had leadership roles at three fortune 300 companies. And one of the things that I've seen over and over again, is that employees get too close to the experience because, first of all, often many of them are responsible for designing the experience. So they're going to tell you the experience is great, right? And they're they're going to not intentionally but they're going to be blind to some of the pain points and sort of the holes in the experience whereas somebody who, frankly has no skin in the game I can come in and say, Yeah, you know what, it was really annoying. When the mobile app did this for I'll give you an example, the company that I bank with when I go on the mobile app, and I hit bill pay, it's actually bank with a brokerage company. So I have a brokerage account and a bank account. So when I go to Bill Pay, and I tap on Bill Pay, every time I do this, it says, which account would you like to build pay from? And the only one that's there is the checking account, because you can't build pay from a brokerage account? So I tap the only account that's there. And every time I'm like, Why the hell are you asking me this every time if there's only one choice? Just, you know, like, this is a, it's been like that forever. Now, is that? Are they intentionally trying to annoy me? Of course not. It's just that somebody's built it that way. And I'm guessing for a number of customers, there actually is more than one account, right? So it makes sense that you might choose an account. But nobody's realized that the person with only one account has an extra step that's very easy to code to eliminate. Right. And so that's a great example of a pain point that just doesn't need to be there. That is frustrating people. But is it enough of a frustration that I'm going to go and complain about it on social media? Probably not? Am I gonna call the 800 number to complain about it? Absolutely not. So they also may not even be hearing that it's a pain point. And I think again, that's, that's what is really helpful with having somebody who's objective who's just not afraid to say, hey, this was awesome. You did this great, keep doing this. And over here, this kind of sucks. And, you know, here's some examples of how I might do it differently.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, that's really interesting. I just think of some of the social media tools I use, where every time an action that I might do 10 times on a daily basis, they always asked me to confirm, right? So I mean, it eats up server bandwidth, it's an extra step in the tool, you don't need it, it makes it does not make the best use of my time, and it is irritating. So I'm sure that every company probably has some some, you know, somewhere in their line from acquiring a new customer to someone using their product over time, probably has those issues, which leads to my last question, I know, we're sort of running out of time here. But you know, for those, and I'm assuming, you know, an audit that you do on a company A, what you're going to find is obviously going to be very different than Company B, it all depends on each company's specific type of product and industry and customers, what have you, but in general, are there one or two sort of low hanging fruit types of advice that you can give companies there?

Dan Gingiss:

I mean, immediately moving pain points in the existing experience, right, the harder thing is creating unique, remarkable new experiences. Right. And, you know, our buddy, Jay Baer just came out with a book about this called Talk triggers, which is what is that differentiation, that is gonna make people talk about your brand versus another one's, that's tough, that takes a long time, and usually many years to establish. But getting rid of existing pain points is easy. And you know, the example of that I gave the brokerage, right. That's not even an expensive fix. It's a pretty easy fix the great story that real quickly that I remember from my time at discover, is we had a survey mechanism on every page of the website, 1000s of pages of the website. And one of the questions in the survey, you know, it was allowed customers to give comments and to ask questions. But one of the questions always was, how easy was it to do business with Discover today? So I once ordered a report. I wanted to see by page the ranking of that question, it was a one to 10 scale, but I wanted to see it in reverse. So I wanted to see what was the worst page on our site? You know, four people answered the question, How easy was it to do business? They answered, It was really hard. Right? So I wanted to know what what pages caused people to do that. So then the top page on the list, the one that had the lowest ranking in ease of use, was actually a very important page. To us, it was the refer a friend page. So this is where they offer a $50 bonus, if you introduce somebody else to discover, Well, turns out looking at the comments on that page, that a certain kind of browser, the submit button was not showing up. It wasn't for everybody, it was just one browser. Oh, that was a really easy thing to fix. And the second we fixed it, the scores went back to normal, like the instant we fixed it. So I said, Wow, let's do this a couple 100 more times. And we did, right, we just started looking for all of these little things, the little code gone wrong, that that causes a frustration, can you imagine you fill out a list of you know, 10 people that you want to refer a friend and then you can't find the submit button? That's got to be really annoying, right? But yet it was a piece of cake to fix. So I think finding a little places and frankly, if you ask most companies and they're honest with you, they know where their pain points are. They've just chosen to not fix them. And to me, that's the easiest and usually least expensive thing to do is just to fix existing minor pain points.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, yeah. No, that's really awesome advice. Now, I really appreciate how you've mixed from very holistic strategic perspective down to implementable advice with a lot of case studies, both of your own corporate experience as well as some other things you've experienced. So this has been great day I

Dan Gingiss:

certainly find Twitter at digging SD g i n g i s s. And I'm also a Dan Ganga calm. And I write many times, multiple times a month for Forbes. So you can check me out there as well for hopefully some wisdom that allows you to go back to work and, and do something new. And I also, as I mentioned before, I am a podcast host as well. And my podcast is called experience this. And wherever you are currently listening to maximize your social, the same app should get you to experience this awesome.

Neal Schaffer:

And by the way, if you are going to Social Media Marketing World, and you happen to see Dan and I together talking and you come up to me and said, Neil, I knew I'd find you and Dan together because I listen to your podcast. I'm gonna buy you a free beer fan. And so be on the lookout for us because I know you're all going to the event. All right. Happy listeners with beers in their hands. All right. Yeah. And I'm a big fan of the isn't called the Red trolley ale. Yeah. Oh, I love that stuff. Anyway, all right. That's, that's a subject for another podcast. But hey, I appreciate your listening. This has been one of my longer podcast. Hopefully it's been it's been fruitful for you. Dan, obviously, is a clear, thought leader, expert and more importantly, a great guy even though he is a Chicago Cubs fan instead of my LA Dodgers. But hey, we forgive him for that. But anyway, hey, I appreciate you putting up with us. hope you learn something from this. Always appreciate your ratings and comments on iTunes and on the Neal schaffer.com. Blog, wherever you listen to this. So hey, just want to end this podcast like I always do. Wherever you are in the world. Make it a great social Day, everybody. Bye bye. Thanks for listening to the maximize your social podcast major killer. Don't forget to subscribe and rate the show on iTunes so others can enjoy it too. To continue the conversation and empower your business your social media, visit Neal schaffer.com. Right now have a great week. Let's go we'll see you on the next episode.