Dan Gingiss has spent 20 years building incredible customer experiences at brands like McDonalds and Discover, and he is today one of the most respected experts in the hugely important and growing field of CX.
Dan’s book, The Experience Maker, has been recognized as a top business book by Forbes—and by Verblio’s own book club as we’re starting to grow our customer experience team.
in this episode, Dan shares insights for any brands looking to better leverage their CX:
- Why it’s such a differentiator for companies, especially in “boring” or B2B industries
- Examples of brands that are getting CX right
- How customer experience is related to employee experience
- And who should own CX within your company
Listen to the full interview above or read on for our highlights from the conversation. You can also check out clips from all our episodes at our show page.
📛 Name: Dan Gingiss
💥 What he does: CX expert and bestselling author of The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences that Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share.
💡 Get smart: “Perception is reality. If you think you have the greatest mobile app of all time, but your customers think it’s difficult to use—it’s difficult to use.”
CX is a journey, not a destination 👉
“It takes a lot of little things to improve customer experience,” Dan says. The good news is that you don’t need a multi-million dollar campaign to improve your CX. The other good news is that you’ll never be finished with CX, and there will always be new and better ways to meet evolving customer needs.
How to get started? And keep going? “To be good at customer experience, you basically have to be good at being a consumer,” Dan explains. He tells of getting his first position in CX when a superior noticed that he was always the one wearing the customer hat in meetings. “I was always the person that was trying to look at a company problems through a customer lens.”
While it’s important to have a team who owns CX, everyone at your company can affect customer experience, from the product to messaging to customer service to billing. Whatever your role, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What are their pain points in the process? Where is there an opportunity to delight and engage, instead of simply transact?
Pay attention to the experiences you yourself are having as a consumer. Draw inspiration from the brands getting it right—and notice missed opportunities where there’s a chance to improve the experience, whether it’s waiting in line, returning a product, or navigating your website.
Read verbatim excerpts from the interview on all things customer experience.
Experiences are your best marketing
“Creating remarkable customer experiences is the best marketing. It’s the best way to get people talking about us and creating word-of-mouth marketing, which is far more credible than us talking about ourselves.”
Your audience’s expectations are changing
“Millennials, Gen Z—they want a relationship with the companies that they do business with, that they spend their hard-earned dollars with, and that can happen in any industry, no matter how boring it seems like it is.”
Brand and experience are one and the same
“What the brand really does, or what marketers really do is, they promise the experience. So if you watch any television commercial, it’s basically saying, ‘Here’s how you’re going to feel driving our car. Here’s what you’re going to feel when you drink our beer.’ They’re promising the experience that you’re going to have using their product or service. Then the big question is, can the rest of the company deliver on that promise?”
Talk to your customers
“You have to talk to your customers on a regular basis. Whether you are surveying them or you’re calling them or you’re talking to them face-to-face—you have to talk to customers.
The good news is that when you ask them for feedback, they’re going to give it to you. They’re going to give you probably more than you asked for, but that’s great. As long as you can take it and you have a little bit of a thick skin and you can take the bad with the good, you’re going to get so much information.”
The silent but deadly
“The people that leave and don’t tell you why are the most dangerous. I call them the silent but deadly because they’re leaving, and where are they going? They’re going to your competitor. So it’s like a double loss: You’ve lost a customer, your competitors gained a customer, and you’re none the wiser.”
Look for changes in how your customers engage with you
“When I was at Discover, I got an offer on a different credit card that I had to take advantage of. I had been spending everything on Discover because I worked there—so I put 99% of my spend on my Discover card—but for three months, in order to take advantage of this killer offer, I moved 80% of it over to a different bank.
Discover never said anything to me. They never sent me a letter saying like, ‘Where did Dan go? Where did all his spend go?’ And I was a pretty high spender, so there was this missed opportunity to identify that something had changed in the way that I engaged with the brand, and it wasn’t a positive change. That was an opportunity for them to step in.
Now, they didn’t know I was an employee and I was going to come back anyway. But if I were just a regular customer, that’s the opportunity to step in and say, ‘Hey, Dan, something’s going on? What can we do? Or what did we do? And let’s try to resolve it.’”
Why you need a dedicated CX team
“The challenge with customer experience is that in one sense, it is truly everybody’s. However, we both know from corporate America that when something is everybody’s job, that generally ends up meaning it’s nobody’s job, so you also have to have a group that is dedicated to it.”
Where to learn about CX
“You should not learn customer experience by looking at your competitors because your competitors are probably bad at it as well. You should learn by thinking about the best experiences out there—the Apples, the Disneys, the Amazons, the Starbucks—and why those experiences are so great.”
“It takes a lot of little things to improve customer experience.”
“One of the best ways to stand out is to be the one company in your industry that isn’t boring.”
“Customer experience is the way customers feel about every single interaction they have with a brand.”
“Perception is reality. If you think you have the greatest mobile app of all time, but your customers think it’s difficult to use—it’s difficult to use.”
“The number of ways that we can interact with a brand today as a consumer—it’s almost endless.”
“The experience is becoming the brand. It’s one and the same.”
“Oftentimes where CX falls down is in the handoffs: the handoff from the salesperson to the account manager, the handoff from the installer to the biller.”
“Happy employees equal happy customers.”
“To be good at customer experience, you basically have to be good at being a consumer.”