Monday, October 4, 2021

The Alignment Between Customer Experiences and Marketing

Over the last decade, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege of meeting a myriad of amazing marketing, branding, customer experience, leadership, and social media experts. One of these experts is Dan Gingiss from Chicago. We recently discussed customer experience marketing, and highlights follow Dan’s bio.

Dan Gingiss is an international keynote speaker and customer experience coach who believes that a remarkable customer experience can be your best marketing. His 20-year professional career has consistently focused on delighting customers, spanning multiple disciplines including customer experience, marketing, social media, and customer service at companies such as McDonald’s, Discover and Humana. Dan is the author of two books, The Experience Maker: How To Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait To Share (released in September) and Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media. He also hosts the Experience This! podcast and The Experience Maker Show, and was a regular contributor to Forbes. Check out his website at, and follow on Twitter at @dgingiss.

QUESTION: Your website features this quote: "A Remarkable Customer Experience Is Your Best Marketing." How can a brand accomplish this on a consistent basis?
DAN GINGISS: When we create positive experiences for our customers, they naturally want to tell other people about them. This is because most of the experiences that we have with brands are average at best, and no one talks about average. The good news is that it's not very hard to differentiate your brand based on customer experience. It simply requires looking at every interaction your customers have with the company, and focusing as much time (and money) on your existing customers as you do on acquiring new ones.

QUESTION: Those of us who live in the marketing and customer experience worlds have heard the Jeff Bezos empty chair story many times. What does this mean to you?

(Check out the story here:
DAN GINGISS: One of the best compliments I received in my professional career was from the chief digital officer of Discover when he recruited me to head up digital customer experience. He said that he had observed me in meetings and that I always had the proverbial customer hat on. I always looked at business problems from a customer perspective. That insight actually changed my entire career path.
The empty chair tactic is great, as are the chairs that literally say “Customer” in Comcast's conference rooms and executive offices. But these become unnecessary when every employee realizes that they have a direct or indirect impact on the customer experience and must think through decisions and implementations with the customer in mind.

QUESTION: Since March 2020, which brands have stood out by providing excellent customer service during the covid pandemic?

DAN GINGISS: Charles Schwab impressed me early on in the pandemic by identifying my brokerage-specific needs (help navigating through a volatile stock market) versus the standard “enhanced cleaning procedures.” Once grocery stores and retailers figured out curbside pickup, that became a convenient enhancement that I believe is here to stay post-pandemic. Medical and dental practices did a great job of reinventing the patient experience as well.
QUESTION: What customer experience metric should every brand use, and why?
DAN GINGISS: Customer retention. Most companies have what I like to call a “leaky bucket,” whereby customers are leaving without even saying why. And usually, they’re headed for the competition. The leaky bucket is extraordinarily expensive, since we all know it costs much more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.

On the flip side, the more customers we can keep, the more revenue we generate both from them and from their referrals. Customer retention is also a great complement to traditional CX measurements like Net Promoter Score because while the latter tells us what the customer says, the former tracks what they actually do.
QUESTION: To quote Marilyn Suttle (@marilynsuttle on Twitter), "The secret to providing exemplary customer service is making it the priority and part of every employee’s job description." Sounds easy on paper, but difficult in execution. How do you execute this?
DAN GINGISS: I’d probably substitute “customer experience” here for “customer service” only because service is a tactical component of CX that not everyone is qualified to provide. But every employee should look at themselves as contributing to the customer experience in some way, and therefore looking for ways to improve that experience by making it simpler, faster, or more convenient. For example, someone in the billing department may never actually talk to a customer, but they should still be looking for ways to make payments easier. After all, why would we want to stand in the way of a customer paying us?!

TWEET THIS: Every employee should look at themselves as contributing to the customer experience in some way. ~@dgingiss #EmployeeExperience #CX #BrandExperience #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What's your favorite customer experience story?
DAN GINGISS: Well, I make a living as a customer experience storyteller so it’s hard to pick just one favorite! But I’ll choose one from my new book, The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences that Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share:
If you’re like me and travel a lot for work, that means you also stay in a lot of hotels. There’s a dirty little secret about frequent travelers that most of us don’t want to admit: Sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night with absolutely no idea where we are.

“Am I in my bedroom? No, it’s a hotel, but wait...which hotel is it again? Where is the bathroom? And why is it so dark?”

Even if you don’t travel frequently, waking up at night in a strange place can be quite disorienting.

At one hotel I stayed at (naturally, I can’t remember which one), I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. As soon as my feet hit the floor, a motion-activated light turned on from the bottom of the nightstand. It lit the path to the bathroom! Brilliant.

Now, being the customer experience guy that I am, I got down on my hands and knees and examined the light. It surprised me to find that it was a small stick-on light that probably costs fifty cents at Home Depot. Clearly it was not expensive, but it completely changed the experience of getting up in the middle of the night in a dark hotel. That counts as extraordinary in my book. (Literally.)

My gratitude to Dan for appearing on my Blog and for sharing his inspiring customer experience marketing insights.

Image Credit: Debbie Laskey.

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