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In this episode of Customer Service Secrets, Gabe Larsen is joined by Dan Gingiss to discuss the intersection of marketing and the customer experience. Dan has worked for Fortune 300 companies, including McDonald’s, Discover, and Humana, in marketing and customer service roles. Dan talks about how merging marketing and the customer experience is a smart strategy to drive a remarkable customer experience and grow a successful business. Listen to the full podcast below.
The Intersection of Customer Experience and Marketing
The lines between customer experience and marketing are merging, and they’re merging fast. Dan Gingiss, a keynote speaker and customer experience consultant, focuses on how marketing and company organization affect the customer’s experience. According to Gingiss, “[Marketing] sets the stage for what we can expect… what kind of experience we can expect and what kind of products and services [a company] offers…marketing is also telling us about a brand. Is this brand funny? Is this brand serious? Are they going to value my security?…that’s where the intersection starts.” Marketing creates the first impression for customers, and user stories are the most authentic form of marketing. Additionally, creating a “remarkable experience” for customers can often turn into free marketing. When people find something they love, it is human nature to share it with their friends and family. By providing exceptional customer experiences, consumers naturally end up marketing for the company on their personal social media accounts. The intersection of the customer experience and marketing is growing closer and closer with the advent and popularity of social media.
How an Organization’s Structure Impacts the Customer Experience
Social Media increases authentic marketing, but a company’s structure effects how long customers stay once the marketing brings them in. One problem companies face is that while they are focused on gaining new customers, too many customers are leaving without recognition. Gingiss points out that most companies invest heavily in sales, not customer retention. This lack of attention current customers receive decreases the positive attitude customers have toward a company. Consumers expectations aren’t met and only some of them will leave reviews to say why they are unhappy. Companies should focus on striking a balance between growing the customer base and retaining existing customers.
Another important organizational change that could improve the customer experience is the way employees and customers interact. Letting customers build relationships with sales representatives is essential, but pointless if once they sign, they are passed off to another person. Allowing customers to work with the same people consistently would, as Gingiss states, decrease “undue stress on organizations and on their customers.”
Basic Steps to Improving Customer Experience
Gingiss describes a few simple ways to make communicating with customers more effective and explains how to create a “remarkable experience” customers can’t resist sharing. First is signage. Are all of the words surrounding your company helping boost the brand reputation? Gingiss asks a few important questions. “Is it communicating what you actually want to communicate to customers? … can you communicate something better?” Reevaluating how companies use words will help improve the customer experience and create more effective marketing. Lastly, use the information that customers share. Gingiss recalled an experience where a restaurant used the information he put in OpenTable to create a special birthday for his son, and had a birthday card for him when they checked in for their reservation. There are so many ways to make customers feel valued and create a positive customer experience. You just have to have the tools in place to do so
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Full Episode Transcript:
Intro Voice: (00:04)
You’re listening to the Customer Service Secrets podcast by Kustomer
Gabe Larsen: (00:11)
All right. Welcome everybody to today’s podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about marketing and the customer experience. This will be a fun one. To do that we brought on Dan Gingiss. He is currently a speaker and consultant in the customer experience space. Dan, thanks so much for joining and how are you?
Dan Gingiss: (00:30)
Hey, my pleasure. Thanks for having me on the show. I’m super excited to talk with you about two of my favorite topics and the intersection of them both.
Gabe Larsen: (00:38)
Yeah, customer experience and marketing. That’ll be fun to jump into. But before we do, can you tell us just a little bit more about yourself and kind of some of the fun things you’ve done in the past?
Dan Gingiss: (00:49)
Sure. My pleasure. I spent more than 20 years in corporate America climbing the ranks and, and having leadership positions to three fortune 300 companies. I was at McDonald’s, Discover and Humana, I’m mostly in marketing roles, but also in some customer service, customer experience roles. And what I found was really that, the key to a great marketing campaign was actually having a great customer experience. And I got really interested in that and started doing some speaking and research. I wrote a book, I blog, I podcast, all this stuff. And about a year ago I decided I was having a lot more fun doing that stuff then my real job. And so, I went off on my own and I started my own company. And now speaking and consulting is what I do professionally. And my joke that I like to share with people is I enjoy working for the Dan a lot better than I liked working for the man.
Gabe Larsen: (01:47)
Love it. I love it. Well, congratulations. Sounds like you’ve been able to get to a better place. I would agree. I don’t like working for the man either, but you know, you gotta do what you gotta do. So, let’s get into this conversation. Maybe just our big picture as we think about the intersection of customer experience and marketing, I think a lot of people are like, Whoa, what does he mean by that? Start there.
Dan Gingiss: (02:10)
Well, first of all, the, the first experience that you have with a company is often some form of marketing. You see a TV commercial, you get something in the mail, you get an email, you see them on social media. So that often is how we’re introduced to companies. And I would argue that that’s a very important introduction. It sets the stage of what we can expect when we do business with this company, what kind of experience we can expect and what kind of products and services they offer. Of course, there’s the features and benefits piece, but more and more, marketing is also telling us about a brand. Is this brand funny? Is this brand serious? Are they going to value my security? Are they an old brand, a new brand, etc. and so that’s where the intersection starts. That is really the first experience that we have.
Dan Gingiss: (03:02)
But one thing changed about, I don’t know, we’re probably at eight or 10 years ago, and that was the advent of social media. Now, I’ve been in marketing for most of my career and I mean starting all the way back in direct mail and leading teams in email, website marketing, social media, etc. And when I first got into social media, the thing that struck me was that it was the first marketing channel where people could talk back to you. If you think about it, we’ve never been able to talk back to marketing before. You can’t talk back to a billboard or to a super bowl ad, but, well, you can talk back but no one’s gonna listen. But all of a sudden, in social media people could talk back. I mean, customers had a public voice for the first time ever.
Dan Gingiss: (03:51)
And what I believe is that actually set in motion where we are at today, which is this major focus on customer experience. Because when customers finally got a voice, they said, we’re fed up with this. Well, we want better service. And, that’s why you saw, especially early days that most comments in social media about brands were negative. And one of the things I try to teach audiences when I’m speaking and my consulting clients is how do you change that sentiment? How do you get people talking positively about your brand, not just coming to social to complain. And so, the answer in my mind, which is that second intersection is by providing a remarkable experience to them that they can’t wait to share with their friends and family and social followers. And so, it all sort of comes back full circle where the, if you want to change the sentiment in social media, the way to do that is not to bombard people with more marketing, talking about how great you are. The way to do that is to have your customers talk about how great you are because there are a lot more believable and authentic.
Gabe Larsen: (05:01)
Yeah. Yeah. So that’s a little bit about that idea. I mean, I think people when they hear that last part, I’m sure most of us say got it right. I mean, yeah, the customers would be more authentic than hearing marketing. But why don’t we do it? What’s the thing that’s holding most brands back from kind of mastering that idea of pushing the customer first rather than their own voice first?
Dan Gingiss: (05:26)
Because if you look at the expenditures at almost any company, all the money is going to sales. It’s all going to acquisition of new customers. And meanwhile, we have what I like to call this leaky bucket, right? Where we have customers that are walking out the back door while we’re so focused on bringing in new ones and we’re not even paying attention to the people walking out the back door. We don’t know why they’re leaving. We don’t know. You know, we haven’t heard anything from them. Right? And we’ve all heard the same stats that it’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep one. And yet, if you look at budget, companies are spending eight, nine, 10 times as much money on acquiring new customers as they are on making sure that their current customers are happy. Right? And so, and, and the thing is, is like where this gets really weird and you sort of wonder why more companies don’t pay attention to this, is that the customers who are complaining about your company are actually complaining because they care, right?
Dan Gingiss: (06:28)
They want a resolution. They want to keep doing business with you. They’re just unhappy with the service or with the experience. The bigger problem is that most customers when they’re unhappy, don’t complain. They just leave it. Just go to the competitor, right? I don’t like one, my mobile service sucks. I’m going to the competitors. And that’s the dangerous part, right? So when people come out into social and they complain, we should be listening and responding because these are people that want to stay customers. But likewise, the flip side is true, which is that when you are able to change your experience, likewise, I like to give simple, practical and inexpensive ways to change your experience to, to turn an ordinary experience into extraordinary. You surprise people and you get people wanting to tell the story.
Dan Gingiss: (07:23)
Because we don’t, as consumers, we don’t have very many positive experiences with brands. Yeah. I mean, I love to do this in front of an audience. I’ll say raise your hand if you remember the last time you were so impressed with an experience with a company that you couldn’t wait to tell people about it. And usually I get three or four hands. Okay, now raise your hand if you remember the last time you were disappointed by the experience with a company and almost every hand goes up. So what I like to say is you can be that company that people remember for the good experience and then you’re going to have people talking about the good experience and not the bad experience.
Gabe Larsen: (08:00)
Do you feel like…you kind of hit me with one of these lines on the, we spend so much more on acquisition than we do on retainment. is that because I mean obviously businesses are built like that in focus, but would you typically say to solve that Gabe, I recommend organizations kind of think structurally different. I mean we think of, we have maybe teams that are designed for more acquisition. We don’t really have teams like that are marketing, customer marketing or you know, upsell marketing, however you want to define it in your vertical or niche. is it a structure thing? Is it just a focus thing? Is it a strategy thing? How do you start to coach organizations to do that part better? Like guys focus on those customers and make them happier and win more.
Dan Gingiss: (08:50)
Yeah, I think it’s organizational and it’s two parts of it that don’t work and they’re both related to being siloed. So the first part is, is that at least in organizations that I’ve been down that are sales driven organization, the sales numbers are always built, assuming a certain amount of attrition. So for example, I was at a company recently where no joke, in order to net $1 million in sales, they basically had to sell 1.4 million dollars. Now that is putting way, it’s putting undue stress on your sales team. You know, it’s constantly rising sales goals to get harder and harder to achieve every year. But you know what, no one’s doing? No one’s focusing on that $400,000 going out the back door, right? It’s just, it’s just we’re assuming, well you know, we have this attrition and we’re going to lose some people, well we’ve got to make them up, cause our sales have to go up every year.
Gabe Larsen: (09:43)
Oh man. Man, you’ve talked to a few companies, haven’t you? I can tell.
Dan Gingiss: (09:50)
But the other part that’s structural is that usually the sales cycle ends as soon as the deal is signed. And this can be B2B or B2C. Correct. And there’s a, let’s think about this for a minute, right? Most people, whether you’re B2B or B2C, you buy from people that you like. You establish a relationship with the salesperson. And I mean very few people buy from people they dislike, right? So you’ve established this relationship with the salesperson. You’ve signed on the dotted line and two things happen. One, the salesperson goes and celebrates with his team that he just signed a new deal when he should be celebrating with his new customer who like any customer is going to have some amount of buyer’s remorse. So what we want at that moment is confirmation. We made a good decision.
Dan Gingiss: (10:40)
But the other thing that he does is he takes his brand new customer and he hands them off to somebody else to go execute on what the customer came for because they liked the salesperson, right? Now it’s like, well, I’ve been working with John and John sent me out the job, made all these great promises to me, and now I’m going to sign on the dotted line with John. And then John says, all right, thanks so much. Here’s Sally, right. It’s like, wait a minute, I don’t, I don’t know who Sally is. I don’t want to work with Sally. I want to work with John. And so those are the two things to me that cause undue stress on organizations and on their customers.
Gabe Larsen: (11:17)
Yeah. I’m getting amped up again! Oh man, it’s material. Well, you’re preaching truth. You’re preaching truth brother. Do you… what are some of the other, I mean, I’m actually now like trying to learn for myself. And I need to make sure I focus probably on the audience a little bit, but, your talk track Is really resonating. I’m like, oh geez, I totally do this. So I need to rethink some of my strategies. But when you were talking earlier, you mentioned there’s some simple, inexpensive kind of tips and tricks you do to help people think through some of this stuff a little bit more effectively. Bringing that back in. Anything kind of top of mind, simple, that you’re like, okay, Gabe, here’s a couple of brass tacks I could leave for the audience as they think about really upleveling the customer experience for their current clientele.
Dan Gingiss: (12:03)
So I’m glad you asked that. I often moved to real life examples and answer questions like this because I think that they’re just easy to relate to. I’m going to give you an example that actually happened last night. So I have not ever used this on stage or on my podcast or anything yet. Okay. Yesterday was my son’s 14th birthday and he asked to go to a steakhouse for dinner. Okay. So we booked a table through OpenTable. Okay. And we noted in the reservation that it was my son’s birthday. We walked into the restaurant and as soon as we checked in, they handed my son a birthday card. You’re kidding. And I was like, that’s amazing. Like that is brilliant. And they also, I said well, enjoy your meal. We’re going to have something special for you later.
Dan Gingiss: (12:55)
Right. And they ended up at the end of the meal, they brought out not a cake. They brought out a a box of homemade bonbons and a little sparkler on them. And you know, it said happy birthday Mark and whatever. It was really cool. But it was actually the card that got me, because I was like, man, that is so easy. How many companies know the birthday of their clients and do nothing with it? Yeah. And here they just, they didn’t even get it from us. Right? They got it from OpenTable. We go through OpenTable, we mentioned it was a birthday and boom, a birthday card. Now that is a simple, inexpensive way to really uplevel the experience. It will now be one of the examples I share. Of course, they took pictures because that is what you do when you’re a customer experience guy.
Dan Gingiss: (13:43)
But I think that you know, there’s other ways to do that. I love communication words, signage. I think it’s a, I was a college journalist for a while and so I loved writing and the words that we use are so important and yet we don’t spend enough time on them. So, if you have a physical establishment, I always recommend reading all of the signage that’s in and around your physical establishment. Is it communicating what you actually want to communicate to customers? What can you have at something? Can you communicate something better? Yeah. Also this goes for digital communication too. One of my favorite examples, and it’s in my book, it’s a company called iflix which is an Asian competitor to Netflix. Yeah. Now iflix, when they send out emails from their corporate email, like many companies at the bottom of the email, there’s a legal disclaimer.
Dan Gingiss: (14:39)
You’ve probably read it before it says if you’re the unintended recipient of this, you need to delete it immediately or we will take your children. Okay. But this one doesn’t say that this one actually starts off with three words in all caps covering our butts. Now I asked you if you see a disclaimer that says covering our butts, what are you going to do? Probably gonna, probably read it right? Because you’re like, wow, that’s got my attention. And if you read this disclaimer on iflix’s emails, the whole thing is hilarious and it’s very clear that it was written by both a lawyer and a creative person because the legal words are all in there. And even when there was a word where I could just imagine the fight going on, they use the word disseminate, right? And I’m sure the marketers just like, oh no, don’t disseminate me.
Dan Gingiss: (15:29)
So, they wrote in parentheses, it means spread because they knew that people wouldn’t know what it meant. The whole thing is brilliant and it’s taking a part of the experience on our podcast. We call it required remarkable, right? It’s a required part of your business, which is the legal disclaimers, but it’s making it remarkable. Can you imagine someone sharing your legal disclaimer on Facebook saying, I love this company. This is so cool, right? No one ever even thinks about that. Yeah. And that is, it was free for them to do that. And literally no cost, maybe an hour of somebody’s time some creative person’s time to rewrite it, but there’s no physical cost. So the ways that we communicate to people can have a huge effect on how we feel about a company and the experience that we have. And a lot of times today you make someone laugh or you know, you just sort of give them something that they can smile at and they’re along for the ride with you. They love you and they want to keep doing business with you.
Gabe Larsen: (16:31)
Yeah. That just feels so much more authentic, you know the legal, I’ve thought of some interesting things I think to kind of change the customer experience, but I’ll be the first one to admit I never considered messing with my legalese in my emails, so I might have to take that one to heart. That’s extremely creative, but I like it. You’re right. You look at some of those buying journey steps and that certainly is one of them. Legal with creative. All right, well I know our time is short, Dan. Really appreciate you taking the time. interesting talk track on bringing together marketing and that customer experience. I like the idea that, yeah, you’re right. Marketing has a power in the brand, so does customer experience how you bring it together. If somebody wants to get in touch with you or learn a little bit more about all the fun things you’re doing, what’s the best way to do that?
Dan Gingiss: (17:22)
Sure. This is my website, which is dangingiss.com. It’s Dan G-I-N-G-I-S-S dot com or hit me up on LinkedIn or Twitter where I spend much of my day engaging with people. I love to do that. So follow @dgingiss on Twitter and you can just search for my name on LinkedIn. I’m the only one there with that name and I always love to connect with people. I send out an every other week newsletter where I just share customer experience stories and articles and tips and just try to you know, give people good content that that gives them ideas. And I always try to focus on ideas that you can take back to the office and do tomorrow. You can go look at your legalese tomorrow. That’s something easy to do. I try to stay away from, there are some wonderful customer experience examples from very, very, very big companies who have lots of money to spend. And they’re great stories, but they’re not practical for most companies. And so hopefully somebody even in this conversation about something that says, you know what, I can go to work tomorrow and, and do that in my company.
Gabe Larsen: (18:33)
I love it. I love it. All right, well, hey, really appreciate you taking the time. Fun talk track for the audience. Wish you a fantastic day.
Closing Voice: (18:48)
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