Customer experience and brand advocacy go hand in hand. Get the customer experience right, and your brand advocates will grow, both internally and externally.
Yet as the ways brands interact with customers adapts and changes, and technology plays as big a part as the human interaction, how is customer experience evolving? Is it, or are brands living in the past?
In this week’s episode of Marketing on Tap, we look at how changing customer behaviour is driving the experience, and how brands can offer a human business face, even when automation is driving the interactions.
Settle back and enjoy this week’s topic, brought to you in the usual unscripted manner that you’ve come to expect when Sam and Danny take the mic.
If you prefer to listen on the go, the audio version of this week’s episode can be listened to below.
Intro: Welcome to Marketing on Tap, a weekly podcast in which marketing pros and authors, Sam Fiorella and Danny Brown, serve up the latest marketing hot topics, campaigns and trends. All washed down with a great craft beer, join in for the fund as they debate the pros and cons of the topic of the week, while featuring popular or up and coming microbreweries. Topics include influence marketing, brand campaign successes and misses, Customer Advocacy Programs and marketing challenges facing businesses and agencies. It’s the marketing podcast to listen to for CMOs, senior sales executives and key decision makers at mid to enterprise level organizations and with their good natured bashing of each other. Each episode promises to entertain and educate in equal measure. Welcome to marketing on tap.
Sam: Alright, welcome everybody. Back to another episode of marketing on tap. This is my mate Danny Brown. I’m Sam Fiorella.
Danny: You’re looking very dapper.
Sam: I’m looking very dapper. Well, thank you.
Danny: Makes a change.
Sam: There you go. It’s a backhanded compliment. Okay, well I’ll take it however I can get it from you. Today we’ve got a couple of challenges. We’re putting this together really quickly cause there’s some crazy construction going on outside our old historic building here, and so we’re trying to beat the construction noise while the guys are having their lunch. This is our lunch. I liked the looks of this one already. So today we’re gonna talk about an article that I just read, a study that came out from PWC which talked about customer experience and the changes in customer experience. The results of this survey that PWC did show that one third of all customers would walk away from a brand, even a brand that they really love after only one bad experience, which was fascinating to me.
Sam: That one bad experience today would say screw it and I walk away even if brand that I really love. So I want to talk a little bit about that because it really does seem that the whole landscape of customer experience is changing. It’s no longer about building that longterm relationship, building all those touch points, lifetime value, and it’s more what have you done for me lately?
Danny: Or right now?
Sam: What have you done for me today in this moment? So I wanna explore that and how brands can maybe look to either adopt technology or is it really something they should be shunning away from giving the results of this study. So that’s today’s topic but in the meantime Danny –
Danny: I know you the fingers again and we’re in trouble. Yeah, so this is. we’re going back to our friend Sawdust City.
Sam: Oh Nice.
Danny: This is like the Golden Beach Pale Ale. That’s a session IPA so now you know which family IPA is. This is a session once is lower and the hops and normal APA and you’re sitting in a four point five percent with only 25 IBU. Nice Betsy, you can see it’s like a real nice peel texture.
Sam: So we’ve done this a couple of times but I’ve not tried this one here before, so I like this one. Look at that. It’s like mud. It’s clear mud or not clear mud. Yellow mud.
Danny: Yes very fruity, real pineapple come through there.A dessert comes through I can’t really taste that at all. You can taste the hops but it’s not like [inaudible 00:03:17].
Sam: Yeah, not at all. I would never have known this as an IPA.
Danny: So there you go you know Ipa-
Sam: I am now an IPA fan. Thank you. I like that.
Danny: We have like the sirens around.
Sam: Okay.We have sirens, we were in Toronto, this is like New York. I was just in New York this weekend and you can’t get away from the sirens even at three in the morning. So that’s just what makes our podcast special. We have people being arrested and fires going on all the way around us. So let’s get back to this study. Another result from this study from PWC is a two thirds of those consumers that were surveyed or studied by PWC, report that brands have lost the human touch and what they refer to as the human touch in their engagements. And three quarters of them say that they want more human touch, not less. So I find this really fascinating because we’re all going online, we’re not going to stores anymore. Retailers are dying all over the place and yet we’re saying apparently that we want more human touch. How do we reconcile this?
Danny: And you know, I’ve written about this a couple of years back, I think where we asked brands to be human, but then we bitch on them when they’re too human back and speak to us like a human being. Sort of thing brands can win a lot at the time and I think as consumers, put on consumer head on for a minute, we do expect too much. Like one touch point is the only chance you’re going to give your favorite brand of the mess up and you wouldn’t, if your wife or your husband or whatever upset you wouldn’t divorce him for burning toast and that to me…maybe you would I don’t know. And that’s to me where we were sort of get a special way that the ease of contact on social and all the different channels we can communicate with. I think our expectations are way too advanced to even give brands half a chance at times.
Sam: Yeah. And I agree with that and, but we just can’t give up. Right? We as a brand and the clients we advise or if you’re just listening and your brand or own brand that Sensei, I know that we do have the situation where one bad experience or one mistake that one of our team members makes often sours a relationship that we’ve been excelling at for two years. I’m baffled at that. So you just can’t walk away from it even though. Yes, sometimes we can’t win. Experience is everything as they say. But the full experience right now because of chat box we have right now on screen and moving online, you have to look at that. Another step, I’m just looking at the stats here. The same thing. Sixty five percent of consumers report that positive brand experiences influence the more to repurchase a product and great advertising.So more marketing isn’t the answer.
Danny: Just more looking after me.
Sam: So more looking after me, but then we’re going online. So Amazon and their ilk have trained us to go online. I know I’m one of those. I just hate shopping malls. I just, in my old age, I just, I’ve really stopped liking people[crosstalk 00:06:18] so I buy almost everything on Amazon. I know my wife does that. My daughter at 16 is, she doesn’t even watch television anymore. Everything has Netflix and youtube and all of our purchases are online one hundred percent. I know like Amazon peer leader delivery guy on a first name basis because he’s there everyday. So we are moving online. We’re not giving brands the opportunity to give us that one to one. Yet we’re all, but we say one thing we do another, I guess is the point. So how much faith should we as brands put into this type of analysis and these types of surveys that we just complaining for the sake of it or do we mean it?
Danny: I mean it’s from PWC so it’s not like Joe Backwater Survey Company. So there’s definitely authority there and I think it shows that our consumers, we know consumer behavior changes year in year out. And most consumers are going online. So as you mentioned, you need to have that experience and if it’s something as simple as a low AI chat box pops up and gives you answers, we work with a client based on predictive text answers, right? So if we look at Ai Box, that’s the same thing where we’re trying to enhance experience and take them down a journey, based on where they need to be from the ownership clearly.
Danny: I know in that survey some would further down the line that mentions Ai Box, even if you’ve just got a simple ai box on your website, customer doesn’t care if it’s human or ai, they just want an answer to that question there and them. So that’s the start of the experience, the customer journey from that local connection point. And then you start to build up using a CRM. You start to build up data cookie behavior, except when you start to identify what these customers are like. Do they need different landing pages for repeat visits, excreta and force them over there.
Sam: So what you’re saying then is that the human to human experience that people are craving doesn’t necessarily have to be physically human to human –
Sam: As long as we’re giving them a step, that sense of it which can happen online, knowing what they like, knowing when they come back, giving them contextually relevant information and products, having somebody to talk to. That puts a lot of pressure on the service agent. On the other side of that, I’m still not convinced though that consumers really want that human to human. I know we say we want it because we’re conditioned to it. You take a look at sears Canada, which died toys us, you know died. I think somebody just bought them or is trying to eat them. Right?
Danny: Well they’re still around in Canada, I think over the US –
Sam: In the US, So I mean they built models where the traditional retail model and just talking about retail for a minute, where come to us, right? And it’s no longer you come to us and we’ll sell you something. Now it’s, we got to come to you. So they didn’t adapt with the Times. What I’m looking at are, do people really want this? Is still something that I’m struggling with. I know we say we do it and I don’t dispute PWCs and the survey, I believe people answered that and I believe I would say yeah, I want a brand that treats me like a human being and that’s there for me. But do I really really want that?
Danny: Well, I think it depends. I mean it’s often goes back on the channel. It depends with the audience as well. So if you and in the retail store best buy as an example, you’re in a retail store, you may buy the product at best buy, but they’re all about the overall user experience.So you buy a home TV. Are they going to up sell you to a smart home connect like Google home or echo, Amazon’s echo. And does that tie into your home theater? Does that tie into online account? Cineplex them with digital move straight on Europe to you, etc. So best buy because they were almost under after future shop closed best buy. We’re pretty cloSe to going under too and really revamped their model to be more above the service aspect versus the salesperson.
Sam: Let’s talk about that a little bit because it’s true because retailers now. So is there a place for retail in a world where we’re all going online? Best buy is a good example. Yes, they’re less reliant on physically selling you product because you can go online to buy product on amazon or on their site or somewhere else.
Sam: But I know even staples is doing that right now. Staples for years have been building up their copy center, which is now getting a bigger and bigger footprint because it’s a service. It’s not something you can do online necessarily or as easily. And they’re offering computer servicing, onsite delivery of troubleshooting network management now. And this is a paper store. They sell you stationary and I know as you said, best buy is doing that. So is that the future? It’s about building those in store experiences beyond just selling products?
Danny: Yeah. I look at the most successful, Apple.You go to an Apple store and it’s not about buying the latest mac book or iPhone or whatever. It’s about what you feel while in store and it’s a whole experience. Amazon, we’re talking about the biggest eCommerce kind of world that opening brick and mortar retail stores. So there’s clearly an opportunity for the right brands and the right products to have that touchpoint where you have one on one with someone in store or one on one with someone online, whether that be an ai chat bot or someone, some customer service guide tweeting. You knoW –
Sam: It’s funny, it’s really funny that Apple, being in an industry that sells predominantly online, you don’t need… I know I just bought this computer completely online. The last four or five computers I bought, I bought completely online. I haven’t gone into a store, but they sell more per square foot than any other retailer. They’re the number one retail sales per square foot, which is Apple store. But when you walk in there, unlike when you go to a department store, where you go to sears or any one of those where you can’t find a person because most retailers are cutting their staff to basically support the lower sales and keep their costs down.
Sam: So they’re dropping that so you know what they’re doing go into an Apple store. You never have a problem finding staff, even if it’s just the greeter who’s going to get you to somebody, there’s always staff walking around the floor. So they actually flipped them off and say, “If you’re going to come into our store, we’re going to give you the best experience possible.” Key is experienced.
Danny: Experienced again.
Sam: So now that’s computers. But how do we extend that to, let’s say, a fashion brand. You walk into a fashion retailer where you know, you can buy clothes online easily these days. How does a fashion retailer take that same human to human and develop expectation and create experiences in store as opposed to just selling product?
Danny: I think you can tie it in. You can still do with some digital stuff, so like AR and VR is one of the pushes for the next light by 2021. It’s got to be up 100 billion dollar industry and there’s a company, I’m not sure which fashion brand it is, but whoever it is[inaudible 00:13:14] but they’ll allow you to go and store and see what their makeup would look like, via your phone. Use an AR technology so you can choose the makeup you can wear, put a phone up your face, you can see exactly what you’re going to look like with it. So that’s given you the experience. And then you have someone like a makeup expert, for example, a fashion expert in store to help enhance that AR part. That’s one option, like look at IKEA as well. There’s a big study, the psychology of IKEA and it’s basically every store you go into the same as every one of their websites regardless of what country or region live follows the same design. So you guide it through the IKEA store, these little arrows obviously, but online, no matter if you go to IKEA Spain, UK, Italy, the website is exactly the same UX, exactly the same Leo. So you’re always familiar –
Sam: With familiarity –
Danny: To get to you where you need to be quicker.[crosstalk 00:14:09]
Sam: I’ve been into IKEA couple of times. I think their experiences get you so lost, that you know if you need to buy something in order to get your way out –
Danny: That’s when you get meatballs halfway through, you’re dying of hunger.
Sam: Meatballs are actually pretty good, excuse me, but I do believe though to your point of using AR or some kind of artificial intelligence or audio visual or something innovative and fashion retail to sort of create that experience. I do believe that innovation is the way to go. Technology is ushering in this age of less human to human contact. So how do we get people brought back in? What kind of omni channel? I’m thinking of a capital one bank, old client of ours. When we were working with them, they were 100 percent online. Now they’re changing the model, whereas most banks are cutting down the number of tellers and number of branches. I was in my bank not that long ago, standing in line and talk to a teller.
Sam: Somebody came up to me and invited me to go use the atm so that I wouldn’t have to wait. Are you kidding me? You’re purposely trying to take me away from talking to a human being? But capital one or opening up cafes. The capital one cafes and they are really fascinating. If they’ve just completely reinvented the in branch banking experience, you can go and get a coffee so it looks like a Starbucks, and they’ve got the big palm trees and really cool community seating. You can go in there and get some work done and then you can, if you want to have a chat with a banking advisor, they’ll come and sit at your table as you’re having your coffee so you can just hang out there. You’d even have to do any banking.It’s one of the, almost like a community center thing, which I think is kind of fascinating.
Danny: Well that’s when we look at craft beer, that’s how they’re competing against the big corporate brewers to making their brew pubs the community hub. And you can buy online if you want to get the online experience.
Sam: Yellow snail does that right?
Danny: Orange snail?
Sam: Orange snail, excuse me.[crosstalk 00:16:10] Orange snail in Milton, Ontario. We’ve gone in a couple of times. They’d get really involved in the community.
Danny: They’re real good. You get that with the most of the small bites brewers in the local craft brewers. It makes an experience you’re coming to pair with food as opposed to just come for a beer, go to lake, one of the big chains for beer. But when I go to the brew pub, for a pairing example, through their brewer that tells me this is the kind of food that goes well with this kind of beer.
Sam: That’s actually a really good point because I know what I’ve become a bigger fan of craft beer of late in part because of your influence, but also I love the experience, the craft breweries that you’ve taken me to. We’ve gone, I love just the whole vibe of being in there and I will order. I’ll go to the LCB next time I see them, I’d rather pick one of theirs, but I’m picking theirs as opposed to one of the multinationals that I happen to also enjoy. Well I should have very few of the multinationals I enjoy, but if it’s, I mean unless it’s Guinness or something like that. But then what I remember I’m picking up that can, I’m remembering the experience of when you and I sat and had a pint talking to the bartender and their little brew pub.
Danny: Yeah, exactly.
Sam: Right. And so for me, every time I drink one of these –
Danny: I’m not saying –
Sam: I’ve got that sense of community spirit –
Danny: And recall.So you’re going to buy their product. That’s customer experience, right? There’s planning recall with any marketing or advertising it really [inaudible 00:17:34]
Sam: Well, how important is social media in all of this? Because that’s another aspect of this whole digital technology push that’s happening and that’s giving us. Cause we all want everything tomorrow or not tomorrow today, excuse me. You send an email to somebody, you expect an answer right away. You expect a send a text. If you don’t get a response within seconds, you’re immediately irritated with the person. So twitter, as much as we all hate it today and we’d love to complain about twitter when you have a problem, what’s the first thing you do? I was on the commuter train coming into the city the other day. I had a problem the first thing I did, I went on twitter and I started to complain and I didn’t get an answer right away and I got even more annoyed than I was at the situation that I was experiencing while I was on the train. So how do brands have to adopt to this? This is another area of that human to human. How many people do we have to put on monitoring social media?
Danny: The great thing is there’s some tools that will automatically respond for you based on some keywords and setups that you can put in place and then not produce any a funnel where they get allocated to an escalation team or whatever, but also that costs money, this half that money to put it into social, so then you have to look, okay, what’s my customer base worth to me? That’s my business worth and how much do I actually allocate on a dollar value and maybe cut someone from another department or bring someone in from another department that you don’t need to be overstaffed on and make sure that the customer experiences one that’s looked after because it’s like anybody can see what happens in social, right? What happens on social stays on social. Everybody see. So you got to make sure you’re in a position that you’re putting a value on that channel as a customer service, mar fan advertising, everything that comes through that channel
Sam: So we’re talking about here is really a re shift not only a rethinking of how you deliver customer experience, that it isn’t just about that one to one, that it is also about how you’re developing those interactions through digital, but also reallocating resources. Say if you’re not going to have as many people in your retail shop or your physical environment, if you’re not in retail, make sure that you’re putting those people, or maybe take them out of one department and move them into customer service online, train them or hire the right people. I agree because while I know a lot of the clients that we’ve talked to are afraid to engage people who complain about their brand or ask questions online because I figured, what if I say the wrong thing? What if it gets interpreted wrong? Let’s just ignore them. The problem is, excuse me if you ignore them, that’s what stays online because it’s a permanent history of your experience managing people.
Sam: And if somebody does complain, how you respond to them? [Jay baer 00:20:19] says it’s a spectator sport right now in customer experience and he’s right in that case because everything we put out there is saved out there. So if you deal with those complaints in a responsive way very quickly and in a way that shows you care, that will stay out there. So when people go to do the research, do I want to buy from this company? Look up your name, they’re going to see how responsive you were and even if there is a bad issue or a bad complaint, if you’ve dealt with it. That’s what’s going to be left in their mind that you dealt with it. Not that you would ignore it. I know on the side of technology, another brand that I’ve been following for a while is the Henry Ford medical center in Detroit, Michigan.
Sam: They made a big splash a lot of years ago. They were a case study that I used to use in a lot of keynotes that I did when they took a hospital experience and says, well, why does a hospital have to be so utilitarian? Why does it have to be a place that people dread? You’re already sick when you’re coming here. We need to make it a better experience. So what they did is they adopted back in the day a hotel concierge style experience. That’s when you come in, you’re greeted by somebody. If you’re in the hospital and your kids at school, they will arrange to send a car or a bus to pick up your kids after school so that they can come and visit you like. And they’ve even got a highly rated catering service to come in.
Sam: So you could actually order catering from their cafeteria. That’s how good the chefs were. That it wasn’t like typical hospital food that nobody wants to eat. Like they really tried to elevate the onsite experience to be more hotelish as opposed to a hospital and clinical so that you’re more apt to want to go there as opposed to another hospital. And I know most recently I read an article, but they partnered with a technology for that through a digital technology that you can wear or devices they give you, they monitor you as you’re going through the whole process before you get to the hospital, while you’re at your state and then when you leave to improve the overall health care that they’re giving you. So they’re using technology to have that customer experience.
Sam: So again, it goes into innovation, which [crosstalk 00:22:35] so I’m getting the signal. Thank you for our bell Steven. Last call, final thoughts on this whole thing, customer experience, how is it changing? We’re moving towards technology. Technology is propelling us in a particular way where people want it, but they’re also complaining that they’re not getting human to human. So how do we bridge that?
Danny: Yeah, I think it just goes back to, like you mentioned earlier, train people on the platform that you used to be on to make sure that our customer is getting met with the right answer, whatever stage they’re at. So as a complaint you need to answer that. Is that an inquiry[inaudible 00:23:15] that’s a potential sale and trained folks already in love with your company to actually be a frontline people because they are your advocates. They’re the folks that are going to take that positive mindset to your customers or potential customers that are coming in for whatever they’re asking them Brian. I want just to say have advocates been your frontline people?
Sam: Well I think the advocates is key, right? And it’s funny how everything we talked about that back in influence marketing and advocate, but for me it’s the employees, when I take a look at it as customers generate revenue, it’s really your employees that drive the experience and I don’t feel that enough brands focus on training their employees or as we said earlier, shifting them into the AR, the retail role and into a customer experience role, train them. So don’t forget that while you’re investing in technology for the purposes of decreasing your costs, or speeding up service or being more competitive in our tightening times when it comes to budgets, don’t forget to invest in your employees. Make sure they understand that their value, make sure they understand the customer journey, what customer expectations are and the importance of that conversation that they have with them.
Sam: Be it through a chat box of some kind or a dialogue box where they’re communicating or maybe it’s even like a warranty call [crosstalk 00:24:39]. So you might have bought something online, but you got a warranty call and you call, you know what I mean? Like I called an airline the other day the phone number that they gave me on their website. Said its no longer in service. What the airline just go out service. I lost my mind, I got a ticket. What do you mean you’re on a service? You know what I mean? And it’s only because nobody bothered to update the website.
Danny: That small part is all about the customer experience it.
Sam: Well, I can tell you that, you know, I’m one of those because I will never go back to that airline again. I’ve already got issues with airlines, just I’ve got those of you that know me know I’ve got all kinds of issues –
Danny: I got issues with you.
Sam: They probably admissions with me, which is why they do this. But anyway, so yeah, the importance of having that telephone call and I got to tell you that with all of the issues that I have on airlines which have become famous now when I called, there’s a couple of airlines that I continuously fly on and then I give my loyalty to. And I think we’ve got just a minute here that I want to talk about this because I think this is a really good point. I recently flew to the United States. I went from here to Texas, from Texas to New York, from New York back here to Toronto, but I could not get on a Canadian airline that I wanna fly. I couldn’t get a flight that did the whole thing because they couldn’t book me on a flight inside the United States, from Texas to here. If I wanted it to go from here to Texas and in Texas back here, no problem.
Sam: But then so they said, sorry but you’re going to have to go to an american airline that can do that for you. But I don’t want to. So they were trying to push me to the american airlines. But I love you guys. Every time I call when there’s a problem, you deal with me right away. You know my name, you remember my past. They must have it on a CRM. I’m sure they don’t remember me, but they always referenced something that I’ve done in the past with them. They always reference my status with them when whenever they call or I call them. So what I ended up doing is I ended up, I did a one way flight where they could take me and then I went on an american airline for just the segments that they couldn’t. So I purposely found a way to give them my money simply because they gave me that human to human experience on the phone not face to face, but it was such an exceptional experience because their personnel were trained. By the way, this is west jet, so I’ll put it out there.
Sam: They’re limited because they’re not the biggest airline, but they’re phone. People are fantastic. So I will try and give them as much of my money as possible right now, even when they’re telling me you might be better off going to another. Train your employees, utilize them properly. They’re your best advocates when it comes to customer experience. That’s my final thought. And with that bid dude, don’t forget, if you like this podcast, please subscribe. If you’re watching the blog and you like to see the face, hit the like he’s growing his hair a little bit because one of the complaints we had was that the shine from the lights wasn’t going –
Danny: So I’m gonna actually keep my hair like this six months.
Sam: So that’s good. So we don’t have to wear sunglasses to watch the episode anymore. So hit that like button and subscribe to our podcast or to our channel so that you get updated every week when we give you these 20 minutes.
Danny: Keeps your hands tighter[crosstalk 00:27:47].
Sam: I’m Italian man, my background I got to use my hands. Anyway. Thanks guys. We really appreciate you joining us.
Sam: Take care. Cheers buddy. See you laters.
Outro: You’ve been listening to marketing on tap with Sam Fierolla and Danny Brown. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one. And please feel free to leave a show review. That’s always worth a cheers.