Dan Gingiss on Customer Experience as the New Marketing Strategy

In this episode, we talk with Dan Gingiss about how amazing customer experience can be your new marketing strategy.

Dan talks about marketing from a historical perspective as well as what companies can focus on in the future up their game when it comes to being remarkable and shareable.

Dan also shares some great real-world examples as well as his WISER methodology for building a great experience for your customers.

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About the Expert

Dan Gingiss

Dan Gingiss is a keynote speaker and consultant with more than 20 years of professional experience at companies like McDonald's, Discover, and Humana.

He helps companies create customer experiences that customers can't wait to talk about with their friends and social media followers.

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Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations build with your strategy gold, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast Rocketeers, it's your boy George B. Thomas. We're back with another episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast where well of course we try to give you some strategy and sometimes and other times not we do it in 15 minutes or less today. I'm super excited. I'm always excited. Always always excited. Well, it's just a good way to be actually is to be excited. Like why would you want to be a Debbie Downer but today? It's because I have Dan the man The myth, the legend, someone who we've actually hung out at events and we've talked and he's super smart. Anyway, Dan, why don't you explain to the sprocket tears The viewers and listeners who you are, what you do and where you do it?

Dan Gingiss 1:12
Well, hey, what's up, George, thank you so much for having me on. I'm super excited as well. So I share your enthusiasm. And my name is Dan dingus. And I am currently a keynote speaker and consultant on the topic of customer experience and how it can be your best marketing. And I actually come at it from a marketing perspective, because that's what I did for more than 20 years in corporate America. At some companies, you may have heard of McDonald's discover Humana, really big companies. And so I've been in your chairs, being a marketer and struggling with the day to day and trying to figure out how to, you know, get out there and make some noise so that prospects and customers will pay attention. And so I like to now come at that from a different angle.

George Thomas 1:57
Yeah, and speaking of marketers being in your chair, You might want to buckle in because I think today's topic what we're talking about is customer experience is the new marketing. Did I go too far? I don't know, Dan. But here's the deal. Why don't you lay out the foundational pieces of kind of customer experience than new marketing, so that the sprockets ears of viewers and listeners myself can carry on a conversation today?

Dan Gingiss 2:21
Sure. Well, one of the things that we marketers are always looking for is this elusive word of mouth marketing. Right? How do we get others to talk about us? Because I think we've all learned over the last few years that when others talk about us, it's much more credible, right? We know that the brand is usually the least credible, the CEO of the brand is usually the second least credible, then you get into customers who are pretty credible, very credible, and then friends and family are the most. And so we're always looking for this elusive word of mouth marketing. But my perspective as we're looking forward in the wrong places, I've had many CMOS come up to me and say, Well, why can't you just Create a viral video. And I know that's gonna make you laugh, George, because if we could, if we could do that we would do that all day long, right? That's not how it works. But what we can do is we can control and improve the experience that we give our existing customers, and make them happy enough to want to talk about us in social media, in real life, to their friends and family, to their colleagues at work so that they're getting our name out in a very credible and genuine authentic way. And so what I like to teach both audiences and my consulting clients how to do is not spend a ton of money, not spend a ton of time, but make improvements along the customer journey, which usually come in two forms, either you're eliminating pain points, because we all in our companies have places where we're annoying our customers whether we are intending to or not. And two is creating or improving the experience to a point where you kind of go from good to great or ordinary to extraordinary Because the reality is most experiences we have with companies today are not memorable in any way. They're not great. They're not terrible. They're just so so or met, and so nobody shares experience. So we've got to be able to take those measures and improve them just a bit so that they stand out and that they're shareable.

George Thomas 4:21
Yeah, I agree that there is a lot of men and I would say Matt is poopy. Like, it's just a poopy experience. Because there's either good, you know, the great experiences or it's just, it's just not but my mind where my mind first goes down in this conversation is really the idea of if I'm a marketer, I'm probably programmed or used to looking for the tip, the trick, the hack the 20%, like, get me that. And when I hear about this, building the customer experience or focusing on the journey, immediately as a marketer, I go, ooh, that sounds like it's gonna take time. How does one shift the mentality From this marketing mentality into this customer experience mentality so that we can actually start to spend that time and think about the things that we need to think about.

Dan Gingiss 5:11
Well, from a marketing perspective, I think there's two things, George that you can do tomorrow that are really easy to get started. The first is if you haven't already, you have to become a customer of your own company. Now, I understand in a b2b world that can sometimes be complicated. If you can't physically become your own customer, then you need to attach yourself to somebody who is your customer, who is going to tell you basically be a mirror for you and tell you about every part of the experience. When I worked at a credit card company discover, I noticed that a lot of the executives had a VIP tag attached to their file in the call center. And what I realized was that meant that when they called in, they automatically got routed to one of the best reps or to a supervisor. And I got offered that VIP tag and I said I don't want that. Because I want to call in and get the same person that George is going to get when he calls it, because I want to see what it's like to be a real customer not to be a VIP. And I thought that was really, really useful to get that experience. So no matter what business you're in, figure out a way to become your own customer, or at least to play the role of your own customer. Okay. And then the second part, which is related to this, is marketing is really about communication. And I believe that the way we communicate with companies is one of the best ways to improve the experience. Most of the time, we're using language that we've used forever, or worse, we're using industry keywords and things that people don't understand. I've written about both the banking industry and the insurance industry using terms that surveys have proven customers don't know the definitions to and yet they continue to use them. Why do they do that? Why don't they speak in a language that their customers do understand. There's a great story about A Netflix competitor out in Asia called iflix. And I flex like many, many companies when they send out emails from their corporate headquarters. At the bottom of the email, there's this disclaimer that says, you know, if you're the unintended recipient, you need to delete the email, etc. Except their disclaimer starts with the words in all caps, covering our butts. Now when you see a disclaimer that says covering our butts, what do you do you read it, which by the way, is exactly what the lawyers want. They want people to read it. But most of us have seen 100 of those disclaimers and we never read a word of it. If you read the rest of the iflix is disclaimer. It's all humorous. It covers all of the legal parts, but it is funny and it's enjoyable to read. That is creating an experience one of the things on our podcast I co host a podcast called experience this and one of our segments is called required. Remarkable. This this idea of there's required parts of your business, like an email disclaimer, but you can still make those remarkable by doing something different So if you're sitting in the seat of the customer, you're going to notice some of these things. You're going to say, Man, this contract that we sent out to people's really complicated, can we simplify that? Or, man, I lost my password on the website and trying to reset it's a pain in the butt, can we make that easier in some way? Those are the types of things that are going to stick out to you. And you can make some of the required parts of your business remarkable.

George Thomas 8:22
So totally amazing. I love the idea of not death by jargon, but real language that real humans want to use. And I even want to reverse back a little bit because you talked about and said, become your own customer. And I'll tell you, Dan, My mind went to that sounds easy, but feels like it would be extremely difficult. So when when if I'm on board, like I want to look at let's say sprocket talk as a company and I want to become my own customer. How do I do that? Like how do I embrace the not so closeness of being in the trenches and weeds and separate myself Are there some tools I could use? Are there some some things or mentalities? I should have like, what say you on that?

Dan Gingiss 9:07
Well, I'll give you an easy thing that I would do first. Next time you're driving in your car, open up your podcast app, download your own podcast, and listen to it. Now, oftentimes as podcasters, we don't do that, because we know what it says already. We recorded it right? And we probably listened to it once before we sent it over to iTunes. But have you actually ever sat in the car, or gone for a walk or sat at work like one of your listeners would do and listen to it and really pay attention to enhance the sound quality? And, you know, is he talking too fast? Or is this guest interesting or whatever, you're going to think you're going to be hearing it from a completely different angle because you are taking a step outside of it. One of the challenges we have in almost every business, we're so close to it, that we can't take that step outside and experience it from a customer point of view. Obviously, if you work at a company like I did, like discover You sign up for a Discover card, right? And you and you pay attention to that process. And then you use the card. If you work at a company like it like McDonald's, you go and you eat there. And you see how the people treat you. And you see if the food's hot. Whenever you pay attention to that stuff, in a business like yours, Georgia does become a little more difficult. And so you try to do what you can. And otherwise you find one of your clients who you know is going to tell it to you straight, and you say, look, every email, I send you every this every day, I want you to give me feedback on I want it to be a consistent line of communication. And they will they'll tell you, man, that email kind of felt really spammy today, George, and you need somebody to tell you that because it didn't feel spammy to you, you wouldn't have intentionally made it spammy. But if you're not talking to your customers that frequently, you're not going to get that kind of feedback, which will help you make changes. And the good news is is the things that I'm talking about in terms of the changes and we can go through my you know, my system if you want in terms of how to identify some of these. They're not different They're not expensive, and they're generally not time consuming. You know, I've been in customer experience for a long time and lots of people love to talk about the real high end brands, the Four Seasons, right? And there's amazing customer experience stories that will make you cry because they're so incredible. The problem is, most companies don't have 100 grand to drop on a single customer to create such a story. So I don't tend to tell stories about four seasons, even though they're an amazing company and amazing brand doing great things. It's just not practical for most companies. So I tend to focus on things that are applicable to almost anybody with a little bit of work and certainly not a lot of money.

George Thomas 11:40
So I do I feel like my next question is actually leaning into you being able to talk about the system because where my mind was going is like, Okay, this is awesome. I can try to be my own customer. I can definitely get somebody on board with like, hey, just be completely authentic, transparent about the messaging and the communication that you're getting. But then my mind went back To the journey, the customer experience journey and how to a map out that journey if there's some things that should be in place. And when we find those potholes or those hero moments, how to decrease one escalate the other. Talk us through that a little bit and maybe in your system that'll that'll cover that.

Dan Gingiss 12:19
Sure. So the way that I teach audiences and clients to create remarkable experiences that people want to talk about is a method that I refer to as wiser. And I kind of joke because I feel like every speaker needs to have an acronym. So wiser is my acronym, and wiser, the first four letters of wiser which is being wise, stand for the four types of things that you can do to create remarkable experiences. W stands for witty, and actually George you got that one in spades because that's your personality, right? So people tune in to hear you because you're funny. And because you're in because you're enthusiastic just like you started this show and that goes a long way with people iflix was able to be witty with Legal disclaimers, right? Which is which is what made them stand out what he does not have to mean, hysterical funny. And I often I caution people about using humor because what I find to be funny, you might find to be offensive or vice versa. And so we have to be careful with humor. But witty means picking words that are clever, or that maybe cause a chuckle, not a roaring laugh. But something that is a little bit out of the ordinary and covering our butts is a terrific example of that. Ai stands for immersive, and that's about really helping your audience feel their experience in their bones. And it's about looking at the whole journey as one not as individual pieces so that you you become so attached to the company that you can't let go. Right and Amazon does a great job with that in terms of prime because they hit you on so many different places that it started off as just being about shopping and getting two days shipping. And now it's I get this and I get this and I get this and I get this and so You're in your full in and you're feeling the value of that program all of the time. S stands for shareable and shareable seems to be the most obvious, because the whole idea is we want people to share their experience with their friends and family. But oftentimes, we don't give them a vehicle to do that, or we don't give them on an experience that is worth sharing. Right? So an example that I'd love to tell about again, at discover is we did this thing where for every customer, new customer that had been a customer for 90 days, we sent them a $5 Starbucks gift card, just to say thanks for being a customer weren't trying to sell them on anything, or we weren't asking for anything. We just wanted to say thanks for being a customer. I convinced the brand team to add a hashtag to the card that was being that was being mailed. And this was early social days. But I you know, I was met with some pushback. I Well, what if people don't know what to do with a hash tag? Do we have to tell them that they need to follow us first? I said nope. The people that don't know What to do with a hash tag. We're not trying to talk to you right now, right? And then the people that know will know. So we put the hash tag on it. And lo and behold, not only did hundreds of people take pictures of the gift card that they got for free from discover, and tag discover on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. They also then went to Starbucks got the drink, and took pictures of themselves with the drink thinking discover, right? It was amazing. And all we did was add a hashtag. That's the only thing we did that was completely free. Right? So you have to give people a vehicle to share and saying, Please share this. Or, you know, our friend Tyler Anderson joked last year at social media marketing, what if you have to tell somebody it's a selfie spot? It probably isn't a selfie spot, right? So you can't be you can't push it in people's faces, but you do have to give them the vehicle. And then he stands for extraordinary. And what I mean by that is just a little bit better than ordinary. This is what we were talking about before that there's so many experiences are met. We just need to be a step above man, we don't have to be four seasons ask, we can be just a little bit better. And we're going to stand out from the crowd. And that gets people to share, then once I teach you how to be wise, I want you to be wiser than your competition. And so R stands for responsive. And that really gets into you know, you know, my history, George that I wrote a book about customer service in social media. And so the responsive part really is about you have to be there. When you when you create these experiences that customers want to talk about you. And they take time out of their day to compliment you or talk about how much they love your brand. The worst thing you can do at that moment is ignore them. Right? Because if they're coming out onto social and they're using their social capital, to say how great you are, you got to be in there and be responsive to them and say thank you, we love you too, and we're so glad you're our customer, etc. So if you don't have that responsive part, you run the risk of losing the goodwill that you built up with your experience, because you then dropped the ball at the end and you don't think the car Customer you're not there to to engage with them.

George Thomas 17:03
Ding, ding, ding sprockets here. So I hope you heard that that's the rewind point, you need to rewind, listen to that section again, because I'm sitting here, and I'm like, that's exactly the map. That is exactly what many companies need to focus on. I know, as you were listing each one out, I was like, Oh, we could do this. And we could do that. Oh, and we should do this and hopefully, sprockets years. That's the same way that your brain was working through that last section. Hit rewind. Dan, for the last question, because this is the 15 minute strategy podcast and we'd like to get people in and out back to their daily lives. Are there any myths that we need to kind of burst the bubble on when it comes to maybe the perceived perception of what people think customer experience is versus what it truly is and how they should be navigating from a marketing perspective moving forward?

Dan Gingiss 17:53
Yeah, I would say the biggest myth is that customer experience does not contribute to the bottom line and Reality is two things. I think, first of all, in today's world, competing on price is a loser's game, right? Just ask the gas station down the street that's got a competitor across the corner from them. If they keep reducing the gas price by a penny again, they're going to be given it away at some point. And competing on product is also really difficult because let's face it, we're all selling the same stuff, right? are competing with as our competitors, right? McDonald's or Burger King and Wendy's are all selling fast food hamburgers in some form. So competing on product is very, very difficult. What's left is to compete on experience. And you've seen the studies Gartner and others say that pretty much every company is going to have to compete on experience at some point soon. So you got to get on board with this. The other thing is, is that the data actually shows that companies that are that perform better. on third party customer experience surveys, like the Forrester customer experience index, actually performed better in the stock market as well. There was a longitudinal study done over 11 years of public companies that were either leaders or laggards. In that particular study, and the leaders crushed the market, the laggards were way behind the market. And the leaders actually returned over three acts, what the laggards did. So that is real money. And when you create experience for people, they're more loyal, they stay longer, they spend more, and they tell their friends, so they help you bring in new customers as well. And that is really the magic bullet of what we're trying to accomplish as marketers. And this doesn't mean that you get rid of all your marketing channels, it just means that you think of it through a different lens, and that you look at marketing, not just as acquiring new customers, but as taking care of your existing customers as well.

George Thomas 19:40
Hmm, good stuff. Dan. If people want to reach out to you if they have questions, if they need help with this journey, and the experience and all that good stuff that you're throwing down here, where can they reach you at?

Dan Gingiss 19:52
Well, my website is Dan Ginga. Calm and it's da n g i n g i s s calm and that's all the info You need about me. I'm also as you know, very active on Twitter and LinkedIn. So Twitter is DK, Angus and LinkedIn as Dan Angus, and always happy for people to reach out. I'd love to engage with people, I follow the RN responses or the RN wiser myself as well. So I like to practice what I preach. So if you reach out I will definitely engage back.

George Thomas 20:21
So sprockets ears. Remember, it's better to get others to talk about you. You want to become your own customer and as always in life, you should becoming wiser. And while you're doing that, we'll be waiting for you here in the next episode. Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast, we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership and in that membership area, you can find bundled episodes where we combine like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to Joe George Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.