How did “customer experience” become such a powerful, driving force of differentiation between companies – and a force of attraction or repulsion? Part of the answer to this question is how impactful an extraordinary or an underwhelming customer experience has become when deciding with whom we want to do business (nope, it’s not just about features and price points anymore).
Another part of the answer is what happened when social media realized its full potential. What began as a way to keep in touch with friends has quickly grown into the most important customer intelligence and feedback platform ever made.
How do we as professionals, teams, and businesses use all our avaialable channels and resources – including social media – to create and deliver better experiences for our customers? To generate more positive feelings about our brands?
That’s exactly what we’re talking about with today’s guest. Dan Gingiss joins us on the latest episode of The Customer Experience Podcast to talk about identifying and resolving customer pain points to create an “extraordinary” customer experience (good news: it’s not quite as challenging as the title of this episode makes it seem!).
As the Chief Experience Officer at Winning Customer Experience, Dan understands and anticipates the needs of all kinds of customers every day. Having experience running social and digital marketing campaigns for McDonald’s, Humana, Discover, and other major brands, his perspectives, insights, and stories are obviously valuable. Beyond this episode, Dan’s also shared his wisdom in his book Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media. He also co-hosts a smart and fun podcast called Experience This! with one of our previous guests, Joey Coleman (Ep 15: You Have 100 Days to Create or Lose a Customer for Life).
On this episode, learn how to analyze your company’s weakest points in a customer’s experience and improve them by:
- Identifying and resolving pain points (both for customers and ourselves)
- Seeing your brand through your customers’ eyes
- Going just one step beyond to deliver an “extraordinary” customer experience
- Tapping into the real service potential of social media
- Managing customers’ expectations in social media
- Structuring your podcast like The Price Is Right
Thanks to Dan for these valuable adds to our ongoing customer experience conversation. And thanks to you for checking it out! Enjoy.
2 Keys to Creating an “Extraordinary” Customer Experience
To hear this episode on the go – and many more like it – simply subscribe to The Customer Experience Podcast in iTunes / Apple Podcasts.
I also embed each episode into its companion blog post (like this one).
Hear the entire conversation with Dan Gingiss right here …
Before We Get Going: Defining Customer Experience
Dan begins our conversation by defining customer experience with a question: How do customers feel about your brand?
Check out this short clip for his feelings about our customers’ feelings (warning: this is where most companies fall down, according to Dan) …
Every single interaction with a customer is important because different touchpoints originate from different departments within our companies, creating discrepancies. This “choppiness” can weaken a customer’s experience and ultimately shift to negative feelings, unfavorable word of mouth, and lost business. So, we must work internally to align and connect these touchpoints.
Take that in again: every single interaction matters (a recurring theme here on the podcast). By understanding where customer joys turn to customer struggles with your brand, you can act on factors that will improve their experience. For Dan, being able to recognize these pain points was an extremely important topic and one we dive into later in the conversation and in this post.
Also note that prior to making that point, Dan echoes our last guest, Mike Redbord from HubSpot (Ep 34: 4 Things Every Customer Wishes You Understood About Them), in honoring each customer’s reality. Their experience is the experience; there’s no sense in fighting or denying their truth.
Important To Know: The Weakest Link Defines a Customer Experience Chain
Every department contributes to customer experience. No, we’re not saying everyone is responsible for ensuring a positive experience for each customer. What we are saying is that if different teams in your company aren’t coordinated and aligned with one another, it’s unlikely that you’ll create a consistently positive expeirence.
We can no longer afford this. The stakes are too high. In this video clip, Dan explains how big of a risk this can be for your company …
This is why interactions from sales calls to social media messages have such a huge impact. It’s not the sum, but the diminished value of the piece that most seems out of place that chips away at customer experience. Even if your company provides a near-perfect set of interactions outside of social media, for example, a social media failure is what your customer will remember most. The chain of CX touchpoints, then, is only as strong as its weakest link.
Once you realize this is happening, what are the first steps to solving these problems? Read on to find out!
Key #1: Identify and Resolve Pain Points
One of Dan’s highest recommendations for improving your customer experience is to identify pain points and prioritize their solutions. This is the “simplest, fastest way” to start.
He tells the story of a time when he took a person from the technology team and worked side by side for a few weeks to resolve a hundred small points of friction in the website experience. Though each issue was easy to fix, each was so small on its own that it would never bubble up to be a significant priority worthy of the full team’s attention. Making it a focus to resolve any single one of them didn’t seem worthwhile, but resolving all hundred?
Watch this next clip to see how small changes made a big difference for Dan and his team at Discover …
Discover won the J.D. Power Award for Highest Customer Satisfaction later that same year. This was a huge accomplishment for Discover to achieve, especially when American Express had earned it every one of the years prior. And Dan knows it was because they took the time to identify and resolve what was frustrating customers.
Key #2: Don’t Stop at Ordinary – Make Your CX “Extraordinary”
What moments have you had with a brand that you could describe as “extraordinary?” I can think of a few, but Dan makes a great point that not every companies strive for this level of excellence with their customer experience. It doesn’t have to be outlandish, crazy, or expensive, you just have to do something a little bit better than “ordinary.”
With a simple story, Dan explains how powerful the difference can be in this next clip …
Dan explains how this little change can be made by tweaking already-great touchpoints. One example goes back again to his days at Discover. He begins referencing the company’s 100% US-based service model. By asking agents to mention where they’re located, it created an immediate moment of “humanness.”
The result? An immediate connection with customers on most phone communications. Discover wasn’t trying to prove they weren’t outsourcing call centers. They wanted to create a meaningful moment their customers could instantly relate to on top of providing great service. Taking an “ordinary” moment and making it “extraordinary.”
Expert Insights:Where Social Media Intersects with Customer Experience
Why are we talking about customer experience today? One of the main reasons, in Dan’s view, is that social media is a driving force. It gives customers power they didn’t have before.
Dan wraps our conversation up with a great discussion on how social media has changed what customer experience can be for a service hub. Dan mentions how over the last decade, social media gave customers a forum to raise their voices and share their feedback with businesses (surprise, customers use the heck out of it).
Check out the clip below where he explains the advent of social media as a customer service and customer support channel …
Social media as a service channel started as a channel of last resort. Typically it was used when another aspect of customer service failed the customer, forcing them to social to vent their frustrations. Now it’s become a pleasant exchange for customers to interact with brands and create a more immediate and convenient service channel.
Dan explains in this final video clip how social can be best used by companies large and small …
Dan makes sure to point out that being available 24/7 can counter-intuitively set improper communication expectations – especially for smaller companies that might struggle to keep up. Setting a normal-business-hours reply schedule creates a precedent for future interactions with a customer. It’s all about defining and managing customers’ expectations.
Ideally, we’d be in any channel our customer wants to use and available whenever they need or want to communicate with us.
Social media allows companies a way for customers to share positive experiences. This in turn, creates raving fans that have lasting, positive impact on your company. So, we have to create and deliver better experiences at every opportunity!
Bonus Recommendation: Do You See What Your Customer Sees?
Identifying which aspects of your customer experience contain pain points or points of friction can be difficult when you work inside the company every day. When Dan first began at Discover, a coworker mentioned he should apply for the employee version of their credit card. Even after seeing all the employee benefits, Dan declined.
“That’s exactly what I don’t want,” reasoned Dan. “I don’t want to be treated differently from a regular customer.”
The best way for your team members to understand their customers’ pain points is to be customers of their company – everyone from the front lines to the C-suite. And not employee users – just regular customers without special treatment. This is the best insight into how their company operates and what can be improved in the process.
Some people refer to this as “eating your own dog food,” but I prefer an alternative version of the same sentiment that I encountered recently … “drinking your own champagne” (even though I don’t like champagne). Several other guests on this podcast have recommended similar; one that comes to mind is Matt Knee (Ep 20: Why Obsession Is The Missing Ingredient In Your Customer Experience).
This post is based on conversation with social media and customer experience expert Dan Gingiss. Learn more about Winning Customer Experience, the Experience This! podcast, and Winning at Social Customer Care by clicking its name.
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Episodes Like This One
- “You Have 100 Days to Create or Lose a Lifelong Customer” with Joey Coleman (author, Never Lose a Customer Again)
- “Why Friction Is a Customer Experience Killer” with Brian Gilman (VP of Product Marketing, Vonage)
- “Brand Legacy is a Human Thing (Not a Corporate Thing)” with Kristy Krueger (VP of Marketing, Revel Health)
- See them all by clicking here
- Sarah Toms – cofounder of Wharton Interactive and coauthor of The Customer Centricity Playbook
- Lance Risser and Levi Ayriss – VPs of Field Operations for Dutch Bros Coffee
- Dan Tyre – sales executive at HubSpot
Improving Customer Experience with Video
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Rehumanize Your Business gives you specific frameworks, success stories, and practical tips to help you and your team put video to use in a meaningful way.
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