On this week’s episode, Dan Gingiss joined the Voices of CX Podcast to promote his new book, The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share. Customers are more than eager to share a bad customer experience – in fact, companies have trained them for it, whether they meant to or not. So, what does it take to get them to share the remarkable ones?
And we did it live! Check out the video version below to see our guest’s lovely faces:
About Dan Gingiss
For 20+ years, Dan led marketing teams in nearly every marketing channel — from direct mail to email to social media. He also served in multiple customer service and customer experience leadership roles. Dan combines his professional experience at brands like Discover, McDonald’s and Humana with tons of real-life examples from B2C and B2B companies of all sizes to recommend actionable, profitable customer experience solutions.
Many customer experience speakers and consultants have never actually experienced life “in the trenches” at a company. Dan Gingiss understands those dynamics and challenges and provides unique credibility, including leading a team that won the J.D. Power Award for Customer Satisfaction.
Dan is a sought-after commentator on all things marketing, social media, customer experience and customer service. His Fortune 300 professional experience and independent client work have equipped him with the knowledge and insights to educate others in the field.
Follow Dan Gingiss on LinkedIn
Follow Dan Gingiss on Twitter @dgingiss
Get Dan Gingiss ‘s new book, The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share wherever fine books are sold (or, you know, Amazon)
Connect with the Voices of CX
The Voices of CX Podcast is a podcast that covers all things business strategies, customer decision insight, empathetic leadership practices, and tips for sustainable profitability. With a little bit of geeking out on behavioral science, A.I. and other innovation sprinkled in here and there. The guests span multiple industries, but all of them have years of experience to bring to the table.
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Mary Drumond: Welcome to Voices of CX season eight, as usual, bringing you the very best thought leaders, practitioners, and academics, all in one place. Our goal is to make your job easier by providing you with the tools and inspiration that you to lead through empathy, one new idea at a time.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are back for one more episode of Voices of CX podcast, and today I am lucky to, for maybe the third or fourth time this season, be joined by a very dear friend. Today I have Dan Gingiss, he has been on this podcast before. Last time he was on was season two, but I have been on his podcast and on his live show.
So we’ve been in constant communication and this is going to be just a really cool, kind of laid back conversation between two friends. So without further ado, Dan, introduce yourself, tell people who you are.
Dan Gingiss: Well, I had to correct your intro for a second because you were the very first guest on my live show.
Mary Drumond: It’s true!
About Dan Gingiss
Dan Gingiss: Thank you so much for having me back, Mary, it’s always a pleasure to talk with you. My name is Dan Gingiss. I’m a customer experience speaker, coach, author, and podcaster, which basically means I get to live and breathe CX everyday. Which is what I love. And I love helping companies create remarkable experiences that their customers want to share, that they can’t wait to tell other people about.
That really comes from my background, which is in corporate America, is actually in marketing like you. And I’m a believer that the best kind of marketing we can do is not another social media post. It’s not another email blast, but it is getting our customers to talk about us because they are far more authentic and genuine than anything the brand can say.
Mary Drumond: That’s absolutely correct. So we’re here today to celebrate something really important, which is the launch of your new book. And I have it right here. I have a special copy it’s limited edition and it’s signed. Okay. I am number 38 out of a 100. This is very special. And I just found out –
Dan Gingiss: Those were random by the way.
Mary Drumond: Don’t ruin it for me Dan. I also found out that I got an honorable mention in this book. So this is really exciting for me. Thank you so much. It means so much to me. And I know because we’ve been talking for a while about the idea of the experience maker and everything that you put into this book. So what was your inspiration to sit down and write?
Inspiration behind the book
This is your second book, right? What was your inspiration?
Dan Gingiss: It is my second book. And really this book started in my head a long time ago, as I was learning how to become an experience maker at the businesses I worked at. And there’s a story that I don’t know if I’ve told you before Mary.
Mary Drumond: I’ll acted surprised if I’ve heard it before.
Dan Gingiss: Thank you. See, that’s the kind of friend she is ladies and gentlemen.
When I was working at Discover, I got recruited to a role that was called the Head of Digital Customer Experience and Social Media. I was recruited by the Chief Digital Officer and we had lunch before I accepted that role. And I said, look, I just have one question. I have zero background in digital customer experience and zero background in social media. So tell me again, why you want me for this job? I mean, I’m flattered, but help me out here, and his answer, I think changed my entire career.
He said, Dan, I have watched you in company meetings and you are always the person with the customer’s hat on. You are always trying to solve business problems from the customer perspective and using a customer lens. And I think he said, we need to do that in digital. And he was right. I mean, this was 2013, I think. So he was absolutely right that we needed to do that in digital. But that observation that he made about me, that I hadn’t actually realized about myself was really identifying my passion.
And you know, I refuse to make decisions that were based a hundred percent on profit that screwed over the customer. That was not okay with me. And so I think when he identified that, and then when I went and did that role for three years and loved it and just, I felt this immense power, you know, I could make a little teeny tweak to the website and see all sorts of people being way happier with us than they were before. It was like, wow, this is cool. So I fell in love.
And over the years, sort of developed a methodology that really comes from doing it myself from having done it in the real world. And then subsequently in my own business, having worked with lots of different clients in lots of different industries and just knowing what works and what’s capable of getting done. You know, I know that it’s hard to accomplish things in businesses. It takes a long time. There’s a lot of red tape. You have to find budget, you have to get legal approval, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So I really try to focus on real life examples where you don’t need a whole lot of that stuff.
Where it’s- you sort of read it and you’re like wow why are we not doing that? It’s so easy. And that’s what I want people to do. This is not an academic book. This is a book that’s filled with really fun stories that will inspire you to focus on customer experience, just like Mary and I like to do every day.
Dan’s greatest sources of inspiration
Mary Drumond: Yeah. So who would you say other than me, of course, of course. Who would you say are some of your greatest influences or inspiration? I know that you’re very close to Jay Baer. And that he contributed a lot to helping form the concepts of customer experience that you have and everything that surrounds that. But who else receives an honorable mention here as people who really contributed with their thought process, with their ideas, with their inspiration?
Dan Gingiss: Well, you are in good company in that sense. And you and I have had some wonderful conversations, some heated debates, and always with great respect and humor, which is really fun. But yeah, I would say Jay is definitely up there, Shep Hyken for sure. Who I know, you know. Shep’s my brother from another mother and we share the same barber, yeah.
Mary Drumond: Bald mother, the same bald mother?
Dan Gingiss: No, she wasn’t bald. But Shep has been a great mentor to me. And then I look to guys like, I mean, Brian Solis. I think is just one of those guys where I want to read everything he writes. Youwant to listen to him all the time. I just, I think he’s kind of the, I don’t know, the smarty in the bunch. Who just, you know, the researcher.
He’s more of the academic I think. And I just love him for it. And I mean, man, so many others that- cause it’s just such a great space. Jeannie Walters, Jeanne Bliss, you know, Annette Franz, so many wonderful people in the space. And I love- it’s one of the things I really like about this space is that there’s good people.
We all, you know, we come at it from different angles. You know, I come at it from more of a marketing angle. ‘Cause that’s what I know. That’s not what- you know, Shep comes at it from more of a customer service angle. ‘Cause that’s what he knows. And- but that’s all great because we can all help each other out and co-exist without looking like- Like I’ve never thought of any of those folks as, you know, competition, there are people in my field. I should also mention Joey Coleman. Who’s my podcast cohost, great friend. And you know, just another guy that totally gets it and a really good guy to follow and kind of emulate.
Creating customer experience change
Mary Drumond: Yeah. Now, do you think that with this book, do you hope, of course you hope, but do you feel a little bit more excited about being able to actually cause change when it comes to customer experience inside organizations? I know that your methodology is in there. Your wiser methodology, which you’ve been talking about on stage for a while.
This book kind of breaks that up a little bit. Do you feel like there is more practical stuff that can be implemented by reading this book?
Dan Gingiss: Yeah. And here’s how I’m going to frame this for you. I’d love to know your thoughts on it too Mary. I’m now a believer that customer experience does not have to be this multi-year multi-million dollar gigantic transformation. Because that sounds scary.
And it sounds expensive and time-consuming. I think customer experience is best handled as a series of little things. And it is getting rid of the pain points because we do this to our customers. We create pain points, we stand in their way. We create frustrations, we make things more complex than they need to be.
So we have a lot of work to do there. And then there’s a lot of opportunities to create experiences where they don’t exist. In one of the concepts in the book is about moving from ordinary to extraordinary. Which isn’t about a private fireworks show in a Beyonce concert, that would be extraordinary, but would also be quite expensive.
Creating remarkable experiences
It’s about figuring out where are we doing things that everyone else is doing the exact same thing and how can we do it different and better. I want to give you an example, which is one of my favorite examples from the book. We took my son, he asked to go out to a steak dinner for his 15th birthday. So we went to Fleming’s Steakhouse and we told them ahead of time that we were celebrating a birthday.
Now it’s hard to impress a Customer Experience person, as you well know, but when we walked in the maitre d handed my son a handwritten birthday card. I was impressed. I was like, okay, that’s pretty cool, I haven’t seen that before. That’s really amazing.
So we sit down. We have this delicious dinner. And you know, maybe this only happens in families where the parent is in customer experience. But even my kids are talking about, I’ll bet we’re not getting a slice of cake and a candle. Because while a slice of cake and a candle is really nice, it’s what everybody does. And so it’s not unique.
And if you- if the goal is, as the title of my book says, to create experiences that customers can’t wait to share, who’s sharing a slice of cake and a candle, a few people, but it’s not unique and different.
We thought, man, if they started off with a birthday card, we’re probably in for something pretty cool. Well, sure enough, Fleming’s did not disappoint. And the waiter comes out with a box of handmade chocolates that is sitting on a plate where happy birthday is spelled out in cocoa powder. And the best part, no candle my friend, but a sparkler on top. Not telling you if all they did was replace the candle with the sparkle, we’d probably would have had a great experience.
But Mary, what happened next is exactly what my book is about. Four people at the table without being told, pulled out their phones, took a picture. The parents shared it to Facebook.
The kids shared it to Snapchat and Instagram, but no one told us to do that. There was no sign that said, Hey, follow us on Instagram and be sure to use our hashtag and take it to be sure of your chocolates and do this. Like they didn’t have to do that because they created an experience that was naturally shareable and they did it by taking a piece of the birthday dinner experience that everybody does, and said, we want to do it differently. And that becomes a metaphor, I think, for the book it’s- I don’t use it as a metaphor, but now post publishing, I’m like, oh, this is the metaphor I should have used. What is your slice of cake and candle and how do you turn it into your box of chocolates and sparkler?
That’s really what it’s about.
Fixing a bad situation
Mary Drumond: It’s interesting that it is quite, I’m not going to say easy, but possible to really positively influence an experience. And I think that that’s why there’s so much frustration when people like you and me are in situations, in which, they fail so horribly, like how can this possibly go wrong?
You know? And what happens is, I think it’s aggravated by the fact that we know that it is possible to do better, you know, and sometimes I find myself, you know, walking up to the manager or walking up to, I don’t know whom and saying, look, I don’t want anything, I don’t want a free meal.
I don’t want you to comp my purchase, I don’t want anything. Just want you to know that this is happening in your processes, and it’s really not a good experience. And, you know, I have this personal belief that hopefully, hopefully these people in positions of leadership will be able to somehow solve the problem. But it isn’t always possible. Because sometimes these people aren’t empowered to make decisions that will impact the customer’s life in a positive way, or fix a broken experience.
So, what is it that you’re able to deliver in your book that you think can somehow affect the chain of command? So that individuals that are on a lower level or the front lines serving customers can feel like they have more access to changing people’s lives in a split second with the written birthday card?
The power of observation
Dan Gingiss: Well, the first thing is people can be empowered, even if they don’t feel like they are. And really the power that we all have is the power of observation. That’s a power that I have really grown and honed over the years. And it started when I was at Discover. Because at the time, not every merchant in restaurant and retailer accepted Discover card.
So I trained myself to look at the sticker on the window before I walked into a restaurant and they didn’t have Discover, I walk to the next restaurant, literally that’s what I did. And so that taught me to really start to observe everything. Let me tell you about a conversation I had with the head of the produce section of my local grocery store.
It went something like this, sir I have a question, how much are the peaches? Oh, they’re a $1.99 a pound. Okay. A second question. How am I supposed to know that? Oh, well there should be a sign over there. Yeah, there’s not. And by the way, there’s not a sign on the pears or the apples or the plums either.
How do you expect people to buy stuff? If they don’t know how much it costs? Oh, yeah. Let me go check on that. And it’s like, you’re there every day. Your team is there every day. You guys stock the produce, and no one noticed that there’s no prices there. This is the lack of power of obser- is the opposite of the power of observation.
And we have to train our employees everywhere. To just be more observant because it’s not like he had to ask permission to put the price out. Right. It’s not that he wasn’t empowered. He just needed to notice that they weren’t there. Right. And so I think that you know, look, the cliche is, it starts at the top.
I think it’s true. If you don’t have a company that, you know, whose executives believe in empowering their employees to deliver great customer experiences. It’s going to be a tougher road to hoe, I’m not going to lie.
Experience your brand as a customer
The advice that I have for those companies is that, and really for any executive is that you should always be a customer of your own company.
You should always sign up for your own product, buy your own product, walk into your own restaurant. You know, I learned something. I have a big client in the dentistry industry. Do you know that dentists by and large walk into their offices through the back door because that’s where their office is.
That is the worst place for them to walk in there. They should walk in the front door every day to see what their patients see, to see if the front counter is messy, to see if the magazines are a year old, to see if the lighting is nice, to see if it’s too cold or too warm. Instead they walk in the back door and they miss all of that.
So everybody can do a better job of just being observant. And the best way to do that is to become your own customer in a company, like yours Mary. Log-in or actually you get an account. And then the best thing, I love telling people to do this, forget your password, because that is always the worst experience.
So forget your password and then ask yourself. Does this feel good when I forget my password. Is my company helping me to retrieve my password? Or is it making it more difficult? I just, this week just gave up on a company because their forget password I couldn’t figure it out. I’m like, I just want to log in.
You’re not going to let me log in. You’ve told me that you sent me a reset email three times. I didn’t get it. It’s not in my spam. I’m done, I’m out of here. I’m going to go to some other company that’s going to let me do business with them. These are the kinds of things that customers get fed up with and leave over. And then you have to ask yourself, is it worth someone- is it worth losing a customer over our forgotten password process.
And that’s where you start to go through some of the red tape and the red tape goes away. Where you say like, look man, security person, I understand there’s a reason why we can tell people when they create their password, that there’s 700 rules, but we can’t tell them when they forget their password to help them remember. But we just lost 10 customers over this.
So give me something better because otherwise I’m going to start reminding them that, you know, here’s the six rules of their password and maybe that will trigger their memory of their password.
Mary Drumond: Yeah, you know, you’re saying password all the time. And it was giving me PTSD of a situation that happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
I got a new debit card from my bank in the mail. So, you know, I did what most people do. I called the number in the back to try to unblock the card. And it was telling me that there was a pin error. But the card unblocked anyway. Right. So I exchanged the card out of my wallet and I, you know, happened to go to the grocery store.
And I mean, it’s everyone’s worst nightmare. You’re sitting there with the belt filled with groceries and you try to pay and your card just isn’t working, right. For some ridiculous reason, that was the only card on me. And it was a God awful situation, because then you have to say, excuse me, and go over to the front desk and try to work it out with management.
So I’m calling my bank and I’m like, look, the pin number is right. And they’re saying, ma’am, I’m sorry there’s nothing that we can do to help you because you’re putting in the wrong pin. Like I’m not putting in the wrong pin! Turns out, Dan it took maybe four and a half weeks for me to find out that that card was to another bank account from the same bank that I hadn’t used in years.
And it could have been avoided entirely, but nobody there was capable of giving me that information. Why do I always end up sharing bad stories?
You always tell good stories. And then I’m triggered by my bad stories.
Bad and good stories get the limelight
Dan Gingiss: I know, but Mary that’s the whole point, is that we see so many bad stories. People don’t share average stories, they share bad stories and good stories.
And so our goal has got to be to create enough good stories so that people are saying- are sharing more good stories about our brand than bad. People are going to always share bad stories. And you know what, for every bank that does that and eventually maybe loses a customer. There’s another bank, like the one like we featured on our podcast, PNC Bank that listened to their customers who were saying to them, asking the question.
Remember, I was saying before if everyone else is doing it, maybe you should think about doing it differently. Who made up the rule that ATM’s can only have $20? I want to go talk to that person, was it Andrew Jackson himself, like who decided that?
And so PNC Bank decided, you know what we’re going to do, we’re going to let people pick their bills. And a woman called into our podcast and I’m telling you the emotion just in when you hear her voice, in her story. She has four kids. She has to give them lunch money all the time. And she goes to the bank and she’s getting these $20 bills and that’s too much for lunch money. So she’s walking across the street to the convenience store, buying a pack of gum, feeling embarrassed, doing that, just to get the change to then split it up, to give her kids.
Now she goes to the ATM and it says, what kind of bills would you like? It’s a fricking lifesaver for her. And it’s all because one bank asked the question. What if they didn’t just give out $20 bills? It’s brilliant. Now that’s not an easy fix. Right? They had to reprogram their ATM’s and maybe even buy new machines.
And I mean, that was an investment, so I don’t want to understate that. But I loved that it was as the result of a question. That was, the $20 bills, are a bank’s slice of cake and candle. That’s what they are. And so, you know, do it different.
How to find out which parts of the experience matter
Mary Drumond: I have a question. How on earth did PNC find out how much this tiny aspect of the experience was actually affecting their customer’s perception?
Dan Gingiss: Well, clearly they listened to my podcast. Is there any other way?
You know, it’s a great question and I don’t know the answer so I can only hypothesize. But you know, look we collect- lots of companies collect a lot of feedback and you and I have talked about this before. I know that you’re a humongous fan of NPS and we could talk about that all day long. Here’s the thing folks, NPS, customer satisfaction scores or customer effort scores, or whatever score you’re calculating.
Those are all great. They tell you how you’re doing. The problem is they don’t tell you why. And so we report our NPS score and then the next month it goes up and we all high five each other, we all cheer because we’re awesome. And then the month after that, it goes down and we all start to scurry around and look for excuses or rationalizations.
It must’ve been the weather, or maybe it’s COVID, or maybe it’s something- global warming whatever. The answer is we have no idea because we’re not pairing that quantitative data with anything qualitative.
Actions of the customer
And so listening to what our customers are saying, reading the feedback, consolidating that. In the book I talk about this concept of, you’ll love this, of combining VOC, which is voice of the customer with AOC.
And I don’t mean the Congresswoman from New York, I mean, actions of the customer. So when you’re looking at a website, for example, you get the survey feedback and the qualitative feedback that people are giving you. But you also look at how are people using our site? Where are they going? How many pages are they viewing?
How long are they staying at them? That data will tell you just as much as the voice of the customer, because that’s what’s actually happening on the ground. You put those two things together, and now you have a really good view of the customer and you start to figure out, oh, It looks like they need more than $20 bills, right?
Because we can look at this and we can kind of, we can get, we can collect- we can analyze and then take action on this data. There’s so many companies that do all this VOC work and they collect all this data and then, you know what they do, they put it into a report. And I can tell you when I was in corporate America, I got more reports than I could shake a stick at.
And I didn’t read most of them because I didn’t have time. My whole job could have been reading reports. So when somebody just gave me a report that doesn’t do it, we’ve got to take the data, take the feedback, turn it into an action item and then pass it forward and say, Hey, here’s what we’re hearing and here’s what we need to do about it. And that’s where the magic happens.
Mary Drumond: This podcast is by Worthix the platform that does everything that Dan just said. Thank you.
Dan Gingiss: Awesome. Fantastic.
Mary Drumond: So this is for anyone who had any doubts about whether Dan was my friend or not. He does the shameless vendor plug for me so that I don’t have to do it, so great job.
Dan Gingiss: Exactly. That’s what friends are for Mary.
Mary Drumond: But regardless of what my day job is, I so strongly believe that. I so strongly believe that unless you’re able to understand what aspects of the experience are influencing your customer’s lives, then you have no way of knowing what you need to change in order to improve that experience. If you’re going to be so caught up in your own agenda, that you’re only asking questions about the products that you already have, or the services that you already offer. And you never stop to listen to what the customer wants, and you never give them a chance to express what they want to fix in the experience.
And if you don’t have a way to actually identify those elements of the conversations that you have with your customers, then all you’re going to have is excel spreadsheets that are providing absolutely no picture of what your customer’s realities are. So I do absolutely, regardless of all the other stuff, truly have convictions over what you just said, so I’m glad you’re addressing it.
Dan Gingiss: And since you mentioned that I’m always the positive one in the group here, I will say that this goes for positive things, too. I have a client who has really good NPS scores and also doesn’t know why they have- why, right? I said, well, why do you think you have really good at NPS scores?
Well, you know, we’ve always been known for service and- I’m listening to this answer, and I’m like, you have no idea why your NPS scores were really good. Right. And so it does, it is important to understand what we’re doing well, because we want to do more of that. Right. I mean, when somebody compliments us the bell should go off in our head and be like, oh, somebody likes this, maybe we could do it for more people because they’re likely to like it too.
And so, I mean, at some point Fleming’s tried for the very first time, the box of chocolates and the sparkler and they saw the reaction and they knew this is what we’re going to do from now on. And so look for both the positive and the negative. You know, obviously when we get positive feedback, we pat ourselves on the back, we cheer whatever.
But are you taking action on positive feedback as well? Because it’s really important that you do that.
Shifting value propositions
Mary Drumond: Yeah. I mean, how often do we see customers go absolutely mad on social media because a company canceled their favorite product or their favorite show or discontinued something that they were huge fans of.
And the company only finds out how important that one aspect is when people freak out and then they have to backtrack and do all this damage control. You know, I’ve got to say-
Dan Gingiss: I can’t believe you’re telling this, hold on, I know this is live. I’m walking away for a second. This is amazing. Keep going. And I’m going to tell you another fun story.
Mary Drumond: Well, you know, what came to mind here is OnlyFans that very recently changed their- I’m going to call it a value proposition. They changed their value proposition because this is a very PG podcast right here.
Dan Gingiss: Their values or their value proposition which one was it?
Mary Drumond: You know what I’m talking about! And they had to backtrack two weeks later because they realized the consequences of that decision. And then you- everybody was less scratching their heads as in were they trying to manipulate us, were they trying to pull a PR stunt, or were they really that stupid? You know?
And what I think that that could have been avoided by using technology that is available on the market right now to find out what is value to their customers, regardless of the industry that you’re in. I mean, it could have been entirely avoided, but let’s see what’s in your magical mystery bag right there.
Dan Gingiss: Well, so I have been tweeting at a particular brand for a very long time because of a decision that they made to change one of their products and that brand, my friends, is Skittles. And Skittles many years ago, removed or changed the green color Skittle from lime, which is a flavor that I particularly like, to green apple, which is a flavor that I find particularly repulsive.
Now, apparently the world is pretty strongly divided on this issue. And there are many of us that have been pleading for them to bring back lime. And there are several other, less intelligent people that like that green apple flavor. Well, every six months or so, I throw out a tweet just to kind of needle them a little bit.
And a couple of months ago I tweeted at Skittles and I said- I think I responded to one of their ads. And I was like, yeah, you know that’s great and all, when are you guys going to end the lime experiment with the green apple experiment? Like when are you bringing it back? And he wrote back to me in about 10 minutes and they said, how about Wednesday?
I was like, what? And Wednesday comes and they introduce, are you ready for this, a limited edition all lime version of Skittles.
Yea baby, and now just ask Dan, the man here, whether he’s a bigger fan of Skittles now or less, right, it’s amazing. Even if this thing goes away and it was only for a few weeks, now I forgive them, you know, I forgive them. And it was just, it was so brilliantly executed and it made it by the way- part of what was brilliant about is it, I knew better, but it made me feel like I did it. All I had to go was ask and then Wednesday came along. Right. Just because Dan asked and that’s what was so brilliant about it. And so, you know, look, we’re going to always have to make business decisions that some customers won’t like. I would say one thing I learned is customers don’t like change at all.
So oftentimes, you know, we do a big refresh of our website and we think this is going to be great. The first thing that happens with almost any website refresh is for two weeks, all you get are complaints because no one can find what- you know they’re used to going to this spot and now they can’t find it anymore.
Then of course, we get used to it. Same thing happens with Apple when they do their software updates, it’s like, wait a second where did all my apps go? And I can’t find them anymore. And then, you know, five minutes later, everybody calms down because they understand it and they realize it was probably better this way.
But, so change is tough, but when you make change and you’ve listened to your customers and you know what it is they want, to your point before, then you’re much more likely going to be successful with that change.
Mary Drumond: Yeah, you know, this, I always find marketing campaigns that involve the customer to be so brilliant.
And you’re going to appreciate this story because I know you’ve got a background in McDonald’s. But McDonald’s had this amazing campaign go on in Brazil. Now Brazil is one of McDonald’s largest markets if I’m not mistaken, but Brazilians cannot pronounce McDonald’s because it’s not in the language and it’s really, really hard to pronounce.
So everyone has their own personal way of saying McDonald’s and it’s kind of a cultural thing because depending on the region of the country, people refer to McDonald’s by a different name. Now, this brilliant marketer that I had the opportunity to speak to one-on-one had the idea of launching a campaign.
Paying homage or whatever, to the different names that people were calling McDonald’s. So they came out with a kind of a poll and asked people how they refer to McDonald’s on Twitter. And then the names that were most chosen were then adopted by McDonald’s stores all over the country. They changed the signage of the McDonald’s stores. They had to get permission from corporate here in the U.S. to do this cause they changed the branding and the name that was most popular was Mequi, which was how they would pronounce just Mac in Brazil. And it was spelled Mequi. Now, not only did they put that signage all over, the executives of the company on their LinkedIn account changed their names to so-and-so from Mequi.
And it was the most successful marketing campaign in recent times until today it’s talked about. There’s case studies in universities that go over how brilliant this campaign is. And if anyone here is curious, you can go up into LinkedIn and look up some marketing executive in Brazil for McDonald’s and it will be there, so-and-so from Mequi and they wear it with pride because that was their way to show the people that they listened. And I get chills because it was, as a marketer, it’s so amazing.
Dan Gingiss: That’s amazing. I mean, I was there for just a little under a year and I knew that in a number of places around the world, you know, in Australia they call it Macca’s.
Macca’s and there are places where it is called something different. I hadn’t heard that particular story, but I love it. And it’s you know, I actually just wrote a blog post about a different McDonald’s story that was not quite as complimentary. I’ll let you guys go find that one. But it makes a big difference when we listen to our customers.
And, you know, I think one of the things that we often forget is that if you look at the assets of your company. I don’t care if you have the nicest building in the world, I don’t care if your company owns some really fancy yachts or planes, or what have you, your best asset, your most valuable asset are your customers and your employees.
That’s it! I mean, without customers and employees, we don’t really have a business here. Everything else can go away. And if we start to value our customers in that way, you know, i.e. they’re our most important asset we ought to treat them that way. I think then is when the tide starts to change.
And the other thing that’s going against so many companies is that the switching costs are getting lower and lower almost in every industry. I mean, how hard really would it be for you to find another bank to issue you a debit card? Not so hard. Right? How hard is it for us to find a different fast food restaurant to go to.
There’s plenty of them to go around. How hard is it to find a different lawyer or accountant or whatever. There’s millions of all of them or dentists. I mean, oh, I don’t like my dentist. Great. There’s 50 more within about 20 miles of me. Right? So we’ve gotta be aware of the fact that our customers have choices and when they’ve chosen us that’s a gift. We may have earned it, but we got to keep it. And I think so many businesses fail to understand that. One of the early points I make in the book is that if we spend as much time focusing on our existing customers, as we did trying to get new ones, we’d be doing a whole lot better at customer experience.
And so stop with all of the, you know, great offers only for new customers. I think it was one of the telcos recently that announced that they were doing a great offer for everyone, that it was for new customers and for existing customers. Brilliant! It’s been one of the biggest complaints of customers of cable companies and telcos for years.
Why are you giving the new guy a better deal than I get that? So I love that. And I think it’s so important that we realize that the value of a customer. Then the last thing I’ll say is when you lose a customer, it’s like a double whammy because you’ve lost them and your competitor has gained them.
And that’s, you know, that’s not how we want to play. That’s not how we win. And so it’s, you know, it is, it’s so important that we not only value the ones that we have, that we prevent, the ones that we have from leaving. And every time we lose, you know, we ring a bell every time we get a new customer, where’s that bell, when we lose a customer or where’s that alarm when we lose a customer? Right.
Mary Drumond: Yeah, absolutely. Dan, where can people go to find this amazing book that has my name in it?
Dan Gingiss: Well, you can’t get it at McDonald’s, but you can get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million. I’ve seen it on target.com. walmart.com, et cetera, wherever fine books are sold. And, Hey, do yourself a favor, get one for you.
And then get a second copy and really quietly, like after hours, just slip it on your boss’s desk. Because one of the things that really helps companies get going is when everybody’s on the same page, but I’m bump- get it page, book? Everyone’s on the same page about customer experience so they’re speaking the same language.
And so if you really liked the book, which I hope you do get one for your boss and holidays are coming, it’s a great way to get the boss on board, so you don’t have to convince him or her.
Mary Drumond: That’s awesome. Dan, thanks so much for coming again for a second time. It’s always such a pleasure. It’s always the most fun and talking to you is never, ever work it’s great.
Dan Gingiss: Thank you, Mary. I feel the same way about you. Congratulations on your eighth season. That’s incredible. Most podcasts don’t make it past eight episodes. So you are doing amazing things. Keep it up.
Mary Drumond: Awesome. Well, to our listeners and viewers, thank you for joining us once again, and we’ll see you next week.
That’s our show. Thanks for joining us. We hope we’ve brought you one step closer to leading through empathy. It’s our way of making the world a better place, one business at a time. Don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell if you want to know, as soon as we publish a new episode, Voices of CX is brought to you by Worthix.
I’m Mary Drumond, this podcast is hosted and produced by me. Edited and co-produced by Steve Berry. See you next week.