The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 2 weeks ago

204. What's Wrong With Authenticity? w/ Andrew Brodsky

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Authenticity is today's buzzword. "Be authentic!" say all the business gurus. 

What if they're wrong? What if being authentic is not always the best idea? What if — and work with us here — keeping it real is actually the wrong thing to do? 

Listen in on our conversation with Andrew Brodsky, Assistant Professor of Management, McCombs School of Business, The University of Texas at Austin:

  • How employees come off as authentic in their interactions with customers
  • Why being authentic isn't always the best
  • What emotional labor is and why it matters
  • The best and worst modes of communication for virtual work
  • Why you aren't as good as you think at reading other people's emotions  

More information about Dr. Huffman and today’s topics:

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. What are the causes and consequences of your workplace communication challenges? How does technology impact you and your team at work? How can you effectively convey emotion and authenticity when you're working virtually these are the types of questions that drive today's guest. He's an assistant professor of management at Macomb School of business at the University of Texas at Austin. Here in his PhD and organizational behavior from Harvard Business School and as Bachelor of Science and management and decision processes from the Wharton School. He's done research, led training and consulted with organizations like PWC, del No vote nor disc and bombomb. He's also featured in the new bombomb documentary dear first name, a business case against digital pollution, Andrew Brodsky. Welcome to the customer experience podcast. Great thanks for having me on. Yeah, excited to reconnect with you. We first connected back in two thousand and fifteen. Will probably get into that in a few minutes, but I want to start with you, Andrew, where we always start, which is customer ex burience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? Yes, so, you know, people are very different. Use what the customer experience is. A selling very much focuses on the psychology workers. For me, customer experience is about how the customer feels. It's not necessarily whether there is an objective good or bad outcome of the customer. So they that they initially get sold something, but they feel good after interaction because people tend to interpret their experiences through their emotions, as opposed to objective outcomes, really good. It's so fun like obviously you're a researcher, you're an academic. I don't know what words you would describe yourself, but I'm very often talking with business operators and revenue leaders, but this, this essence of customer experience being about how people feel in the emotional resonance that's left after any of these interactions or touch points is a consistent theme. So I love that you went straight to it. To cx come up in any of your research or perhaps, like you know, are you seeing it more often in journals? Like in general, I feel like it's being talked about a lot more. But from your perspective, where are we with customer experience in the Popular Business Conversation? Yeah, so customer experience is always key because the end of the day, one of the key parts for organization survival is being able to make money and for that you generally need customers. In my own research I've looked at variety ways, but a big one is understanding how to employees come off as authentic in their interaction customers, because at the heart of most employee customer interactions is that you're trying to sell something or you've got some self motivated goal, but it same time needs to make it seem like a care for the customer and you're doing something for their benefits. So there's this often contradiction there and the ideas how do you still come off as offending in those interactions really interesting. What is the you know, actually had this on the on my kind of outline for later because of a piece that you wrote that I highly recommend in a link up when I write this up at Bombabcom podcast called communicating authentically in a virtual world, and it is a mix of employee and customer conversation, I think. But let's go to it right now, because you're right there to well, talk about authenticity. The way that I read authenticity in your work is different than I think a lot of people consider. Often, I think authenticity people thinks. I was just like, you know, be yourself, be comfortable stuff, putting on this, you know, kind of professional affect or, you know, over adapting to the culture. Talk about authenticity and the importance of authenticity in maybe customer communication. Sure, so,...

...autent disease is buzzword that lots of people like to talk about. You know, all these googles. They should always be authending. You should always be an authentic meter, you know, no matter what it's when key create some good meters of good people are dracting customers. But in reality, always being authentic is not the best I guess. So they should tell how to old sketch when keeping in real goes wrong. And this is kind of the idea of business right. You know, if you have, for instance, this is born it that you know you're has been having a lot of they've been struggling at work. You know they're having emotional difficulty in their lives and you know you're in a moment where you need to provide emotional support and you need to coach them and kind of help encourage them. And you know and at the same time time they they've been under performing and then you're going to relate them that they might lose their job. You don't want to display emotion. That's not appropriate for that situation. You don't want to say, yeah, you know, I'm kind of annoyed. I spilled coffeel over myself this morning. I can't get over that now. And like you got his money thing happening to you and you're making about that in your feelings, even though this person's potentially getting fired in the near turn like that will horribly backfire if you're offending about what's bothering that moment. Or, you know, if you're interracting the customers. You know many of it. Many people are stressed because of covid and the idea is, you know, when you're interracting their customers, you generally want to have positive emotion. If you go into that customer interaction. Fully displaying your bad mood and being aufending in that regard, that interaction will go really poorly. So you know the devices be authentic when you can, but also there's has to be a realization that, you know, sometimes being authentic it's just not the best thing for the situation and it's okay not to be authentic sometimes when it really would backfire and potentially be worse for the person. So in many cases you're helping them by, you know, giving them the interaction they want as opposed to the one that you want to do really interesting. So it's like this, this kind of like radical transparency. I'm going to be exactly how I feel right now. I think when we think about it through that language or that lends, it becomes obvious that we do need to do. Is this related to deep acting and surface acting or you suggesting perhaps some surface acting here? Yes, so it bring those down, by the way, for listeners. Yeah, yeah, of course. So there's research on what's called emotional labor. So that is when we think about work, we when we think about the CASK, we do, but this is other type of Labor that knows, emotional Labor which is idea that we have to show certain emotions as part of our work. You know, if we're if we're angry because of you know, our AC unit broken our house in the middle summer and you know, and you've been like you just have many able to relax at home. You have beene a sleep. Like going to work and yelling at your boss because you're aim is not a good idea, right. So you know, we have to show you. Often it's a smile, but sometimes there's other things as well. You know, we have to show empathy for coworkers, even if we might not feel it. So, you know, if a customer has been creating their own issues, they have like broken the products and they're angry, you know you still have to be empathetic Tiv and even though you know it's their fault that they created the situation. So this is idea of like, you know, service with a smile. It's often what it's called, but there's two types of ways to use. One is deep acting, which is that you actually try to feel the emotion that's that's surfacing for the situation. So if here in then mood and you need to you know, services a smile. You need to be happy for a customer. You trying to think of something that they should really happy. That way you feel happy. And then their surface acting. And surface acting is this idea that you know, you don't worry about your deeper emotion. You just kind of put on that smile on your face. On the whole, deep acting tends to be a whole lot more effective because when your service acting awesome, people can detect that you're faking it, that it's just your facial expressions, that it's just your tone of voice. The problem is it everyone can easily change to their true emotions to match...

...the moment. You know, you'd have no need for therapist or anything more, because we'd all be in just this full control our emotions. So sometimes service acting is necessary because that's what fits a situation. Yeah, but that honesty sometimes leaks through in that disconnect probably is off putting, whether it's with a team member with a customer. Yes, when someone sees someone else as being, you know, authentic, even if they're doing it for really good reasons. So you know, if you're having a really bad day and I'm trying to comfort you, but they feel like, you know, hey, this person really seems distracted or concerned about something else and just kind of leaking through a little bit. You get it mad that they're not truly trying to comfort you, even though that person is putting their own emotions aside to try and comfort you. They're trying to put them behind. So this person is doing it for your benefit, but because they don't feel fully authentic, people get angry and upset about yeah, let's go high level here. You know generally your reas. I might mischaracterize this slightly, but I think I've appropriately in zone. A lot of your research is in workplace communication strategies and productivity. How did you arrive at this focus, like what set you on this path or when did you realize that you were on this path? Yeah, so I realized those on this path only my first job. So I actually got an accounts payable summer job when I was fourteen years old through like a family friend at their company. And effectually, what they had me doing the accounts table positions that actually counts payable. They had me filing and they had me filing in a building that no one else is and the eating goals for the day. But you know, I finished all the goals in about an hour and there's nothing else to do. So, you know, I went back, I asked for more work, you know, the manager, you know, giving a little bit more than I finished it. Then asked more work and the starting would that I was asking for more work to because they didn't really have anything for me to do. So when I ended up doing, as a fourteen year olds, mostly just taking naps in this other building, and they're all very pleased with how productive I was. They sent most of the day just sleeping, you know, on this Carl Rug another building. And you know, I came to realize that this wasn't just the case for me as a fourteen year old. Maybe people out their jobs were actually forced to kind of just sit there in the office for a lot of the day with nothing to do for no fault of their own. You know, maybe they're not going to work for their manager, maybe they're just no customers to serve, maybe something's broken, a computer program or something where they just can't do their work, or maybe they know they're going to get a ton of work very shortly so they can't start something in. So the idea is there's all this time the people had where they were stuck in the office with nothing to do but still had to look busy. So it seemed like this kind of like weird process that was not sensible to me. So that brought my interest focer productivity, but and also this idea about kind of being forced to be in a physical location, sometimes to the detriment of employees will be itself with no benefit to the organization whatsoever. So interesting talk about. I guess go to workplace communication challenges in particular. I mean that was definitely a strong productivity theme for again. You know, the common guests in the common listener here is typically operating in sales, marketing, customer success, customer service, somewhere in that revenue team or customer team. Think about that person and I know you've interacted with a lot of them and probably done a thousands and thousands of surveys and processed all that data over the years. What are some of the most common workplace communication challenges in your observation? Perhaps some solutions? Yes, this is a great question. You know I wrote a different challenge when it comes to worklace communication, I've seen a big one recently. Is Pretty good with this big shift towards virtual work has been you know what mode of communication is best in a given situation? Should I use email? Should I use meetings? You know, one of the things I hear a lot of people saying is like we should have, you know, we Shud a ton of your meetings. We should, you know, just do everything the email, like these meetings are all the recent time. The problem is is what so my research shows is that, yes, well, meetings are off...

...one waste of time. In many cases they could be a very productive use of time and people don't realize how much time is lost doing text based emails sometimes. So what happens is, you know, think about this, this interviewer, you right now, this conversation. You can ask me question, I take a second, I answer, it's done. But if you email me that question, I to type up an answer. I would probably type of that. I would think about it. I type of the answer, I look over my answer to it, I don't like it, I'd read type parts of it, I type it again. I probably go and eat some lunch while I thought about it and I come back to and type better, because I know this text is going to be out there and I'm guessing most listeners have had the experience of, you know, your emailing a really important customer and you want to get it perfect and you spend like hours on a single email, or your emilion executive you spent hours on a email. And so you know what some of the research shows is that there's this overcrafting of email where there's just a lot of time loss in these text based messages that people don't realize when they say let's just do email. So you know, one of the suggestions here is can balance it out and be very tentive and mindful of not just the sailing productivity losses student meetings, but also that email itself can have similar productive you lost, if not more, in many situations. So, and I would assume that it's not just me talked about it a lot in terms of time that I would I would assume two things. I think, and I think I read it in your work or some work that you've cited before. It's not just the loss of time in the amount of time invested in like like writing and editing and going with there's probably an emotional cost to that as well, like some anxiety around it. And I think also, I've read that we dramatically over estimate our ability to communicate clearly in that format. Yes, there's a lot of really good research on this. There's a great paper by a Professor Krueger and Eppy, where they talk about how people are heavily over estimate their ability to communicate emotion over email. Even when people are paid to guess the accuracy in which other people interpret their emotion properly, they tend to overestimated heavily. Then my own research I show that, you know, certain types of interactions can be a lot more emotionally tax so you know, going back to this topic of emotional labor, when your Djia service acting are facing are facing it face to face, interactions can be a lot more exhausting email. So that's one of the situations where it kind of reversus, is that you know when you're faking it. Sometimes it's better to use less rich modes of communication for your own emotional well being. That said, what my research also shows is that email comes off as a really awesome, in authentic mode of communication. So kind of the takeaway this one pay for them Frederick moment is twofold. If you're being authentic, you want to do the richest mode of communication, whether that's face to face, video conferencing or video emailing. You want them to be able to see your authenticity, because that's the best it feels most often. But if you're faking it, it's actually better to use telephone, the email or in person. And the reason there is telephone allis you do not have to worry about all your facial expressions and everything like that, but it comes off as a whole lot more authentic than email us. So the idea is that there's this happy medium that potentially exists where you can get the benefit of not having to worry about every single que that you're doing but also still seeing authentic and in my research I see that people underestimate the value of actually using audio and telephone communication in many cases. Yeah, I feel like no one uses the phone at all, Leny Moore. So interesting. Okay, so, so I'm clear, and so that anyone listening is clear, when we use faceless typed out email, and I use that because I obviously am deeply involved in video email and video messaging, faceless typed out email, even when we are completely sincere with our congratulations or our concern or our gratitude or whatever. There's just a natural, inherent bias in humans to receive it as inauthentic. Yeah,...

...so the idea is that emails seems very low. Text based email seems very little effort and in personal so it's this idea that, you know, if they really like we're really excited about my accomplishment, they would have put in the effort to, you know, do talk to me in person or call me or, you know, an expressly test eddeo emails. But that be, example, something that's higher effort. To feel like, Oh yeah, this person really cares about this is like they must not really be that excited. Of all they're doing is shooting off an email at solow effort. And the other side of that is, you know, it's very easy to take things over email and the other side knows that. So that is if you know, if you're suspicious about you know whether the sales representative really cares about me, you know what, over email you're gonna be like their fake. Heat's so easy to fake over email, but when you see their facing, you can kind of hear them talking to you. A lot of US suspicions dissipates because you could see that they're not being affected. So those richer modes help kind of provided extra information and go against the base assumption that. So it was trying to sell you something is being in affectic. So interesting. Okay, in two thousand and fifteen you're to piece. Those published in Harvard Business Review is called the DOS and don'ts of work email, from EMOJI's to typos. Maybe we'll get into some of the really fun findings there and I'll also link that up when I write up this episode, which is two hundred and four, at bombabcom slash podcast. So you wrote that in published at piece. I read it and then I wrote a blog post for bombomb at the time and I was there's a I think a content marketer or someone at buffer wrote on similar themes and topics. So I kind of made your article talk to their article, all kind of in favor of talking about putting the human back into the message through video, email and video messages. So I assume that what I'm getting at here's how you and I connected in the first place. And here we are years later and you're in this documentary that we just release that we'll talk about a few minutes and I've read a lot of your work. I assume you had a google alert on and so you saw that your name was cited, you went and read the thing that you were mentioned in and then you pulled back and looked at our website overall and then you reached out to me with some version of this is really interesting what you're doing. I want to talk about that, like what were you recount that in your own experience and tell me what was interesting about what we were doing to you at the time. It certainly fits, obviously, with all these themes that are the foundation for your researchers and interesting conversation to be had around video email, and you actually structured a project with us where I recruited some of our customers into it. But go back to that, like was it a google or let's start there. Yeah, so it actually, yeah, it was Google Er because, you know, at the time I was curious, you know, was my research having an impact, you know, my research on virtual interactions at the time, and then I saw that there was this random blog post I got a google lerch for, and I usually don't get Google lers blog posts, but like a came up and then I saw, you know, bombomb I'm like, what's an interesting name, and then I looked the blog post and it was very well written, and then I looked at the company and I saw that they, Bomba, was doing video emailing and at the time I never heard of them, like that's really interesting. You know, I wonder what the outcomes of this are. You know, this idea, you know, being able to be a synchronous, so it's not real time, but still having that rich mode of interaction. And for me as a researcher, it was particularly cool from a methods perspective because the most studies that book at email verse in person these is there's so many things that differ. Right the big one is in person you can see that. Emails you can't. But also in person in real time emails is not it's a synchronous it's, you know, delay. So times when you compare those two modes of communication there's no way to tell what's driving. You don't know what's you can see the person, you know it's real time or not. So for me being able to see the rich mode of interaction while holding constant the idea that it's not real time was methodologically really interesting to me.

As academic and scientist. What do you think, based on kind of what you've observed to date and, of course, the full body of research that not only you've produced but also the you've consumed and built from over the years, you've identified something that really has driven me. I mean, I've been at the company for over a decade straight now full time, and I was doing project work for a couple of years before that, and one of the reasons that there's a variety of reasons that I'm still here, which is not very common in the software space. I feel like people move every like two to three years or something at at the longest. And so one of them is this idea that video I'm firmly convinced that video email and video messages have a place in the common tool set daytoday, for today's professional work or almost regardless of role, almost regardless of industry, because of some of these things that you just addressed. It is a synchronous so it has this benefit of I can send five or ten of these at thirty in the morning when I I prefer to, and each person is going to explore or each group of People's going to experience me in person at their own convenience. So it's got the benefit of a synchronicity, but it's got this benefit of you know, face, voice, body language, tone, intense sincerity, authenticity or in authenticity. Certainly more control over the authentic components of it, but it also still lacks that kind of back and forth, you know, like you and I could have done this is a series of video messages, but it would be kind of a drag, you know. So it's so it's missing that piece. So it performs unique jobs. It has qualities and benefits from a variety of other formats, but it's unique unto itself. Like, do you buy that? In general, where do you see video messages fitting in among the mix of workplace communication tools and methods? Yes, in my bee it's important to have a portfolio of communication tools available because different kind of settings called for different kind of Communitian tools. So if you're driving the customer, you know you're having this really complex conversation with lots of informations being related, you really want to be in person in real time and you know if you're shooting off, Hey, what's going on? You know there's text based now. You know just it's quick, it's easy they can read it quickly, they're be needs. But there's a whole lot that's in between those two where it's key to be able to use the right mode. You know, there's many situations where you know you don't want to have to schedule a phone call and your person eating, but you know it just might not cut it. So the idea being that you've got some middle ground there can be really useful for different situations. And you know, in my own interactions, you know I'm very thoughtsful based on my own research, because you'll be bad about didn't apply my own findings to think about. Okay, you know, what do I want out of this? which mode is going to be best for this, and then choosing something along the continuum from my portfolio options and how interact with someone about how to approach that interaction. Yeah, really good, totally fair. Okay, when we reached out to you, someone from our production team reached out about this documentary that we were putting together. That kind of goes upstream from where we are. I mean, obviously we could go and talk about video, email, video messages all the time, but what we're trying to do is create some context for, you know, where this fits in general. We observed that a documentary might be a fun thing to do. You were one of the first people to come to mind as we were having conversations internally, like okay, who would have something interesting to say about kind of the state of affairs of business communication, kind of a noisy and perhaps even polluted digital environment? You've obviously spent, you know, your career focused on connecting and communicating effectively and digital, virtual and online spaces. What was your first reaction is this idea was introduced to you of like we're going to try to make a film about this. Yeah, you know, I thought was a really fun idea when I first heard about it. I mean this is such a common problem that many people are doing with, you know, having these overloaded in boxes. One of the big things now is not that...

...many people are not office you know, these ninety pear traditional ninety five hours gone, people working all different hours. There's just a lot of bears to everything. So it seemed like a really timely and relevant topic and, you know, I think the more education there is out there about how to approach these things, the better people perform at work and, even more so, the better people's well being and emotions are, you know, are they satisfied with their life? Do they feel like they're well balanced? So I think it's, you know, in addition to the obvious ide and thinking about for bombomb in terms of, you know, thinking about what communications are good, I think there's a really strong, positive Astra to hear. How can we help improve people of lives as well? Yeah, and what do you think about this idea? You know, I talked with Dr Eric Kuffman, who is also in the film, back on episode two, O two, and he's also a the director of it, of bombomb in addition to a variety of these things, it's just a really dynamic person in general. And one of the lines he said to me, and calling it a line like it was scripted or something, one of the really powerful uses of language at our conversation, was we're not made for this, like this environment, this mode, this what is become normal around us. Do you feel like the technology and what's become normalized his outpaced the human brains ability to adapt to these environments? Like how do you characterize the pace of change in the pace of technology relative to our deep and and millennium, Millennia long evolution, you know, with biases towards seeing people because we're so good at reading emotions from other people. Like is that a, if not the root cause of a lot of the issues we have in these spaces? Yes, you know, I think you hit on a couple different things. So, versus, on the whole, humans are social creatures. You know, throughout our history we've been formed communities, town cities, countries, whatever you name it. So this idea of kind of removing ourselves from that more, becoming more distant from people, you know, communicating only be a tax, obviously something that pushes against kind of the foundation evolution, the way we've evolved as animals, as humans. But you know that there's a second question you ask about, like is it going so fast that our minds can't adapt to it? You know, I think there's a two different perspectives on this. And once you think about evolution, evolution doesn't happen quickly here. So I think it's less so about, you know, can our brains adapts and the new thing and more so is how do we build our lives around this or change our behaviors to make it more effective? So, you know, I don't think it's assarily going to be something that kind of automatically happens behind the scenes, where our brains reconfigure themselves to make ourselves happy in the situation. Yes, people are going at adapt just on the whole, but you know, as our braining rewire itself in the short term, I think absolutely not. But can we figure out, as you know, people, as organizations, as countries, ways to make this more sustainable for everyone? And then my answer to that as a strong yes. And the problem is, when you have this rapid change that happens all of a sudden, you know, the solutions to actually made it effective don't come to down the road. So you know, now we're bearing a lot of the consequences of it without being able to figure out the solutions. And time and as things keep moving, we figure out solutions for, you know, what happened previously, but not what's going on now, because things are going on so quickly very often. That brings me kind of to the title of of the documentary, which is dear first name. Obviously it's a play on this idea that you know, we're trying to automatically personalize a lot of our messages because and we'll call this maybe an adapted behavior in this you know, less personal or perhaps even in personal space. We want to try to make it feel personal, but we want to do it at scale and we want to do it efficiently. So are personalizing things, I guess,...

...maybe as an adaptation to try to make it feel personal, but I've always drawn a line between personalized and personal. Does that trigger anything for you? Does that make sense? Yes, you know, the documentary talked a lot about this idea of personalization. I think doctor oft to mention it. You know, getting email that say your first name actually, you know, as opposed to, you know, as what he's for emails, and they didn't even embed the names properly. And I've actually got a couple of those myself as well. And I think personal zations two things. So one is it's a signal to the recipient that you actually put in the effort to community and you actually care about this interactions, not just a cheap you know, you said, all a hundred thousand emails and you don't care. And I think there's this other part of personalization. So it just kind of a queue. First off, did you actually send this specifically to them or did you send it to a bunch of people. And then there's this deeper thing that goes on there, which kind of gets this idea of authenticity is that, do you really care about the interaction? Are you being authentic in it? Are you putting a true amount of effort into it to true show that you authentically care about the outcome of this interaction? And I think that's incredibly important in both regards. One, being clear that you said this email perticuty to them. You know what I'm emailing the professor I never met. I make sure to specifically mention you know, especially I'm asking for a favor, some information, you know, one of the research papers that I love that they cannot recently, the show that I put a little bit of time into, you know, a maying clear I just email. been as opposed to send it to ten different professors and be that that they're my relationship with them is important because I'm willing to read one of their papers, I'm willing to mention email, and I find out that really does improve the outcomes of communication. Yeah, I mean I just some level it just goes to this idea that humans want to be seen and heard and understood at some level. Your ability to demonstrate that, especially maybe earlier on in the relationship, is really, really powerful. It's funny what you what you just offered, reminds you of a story. I forget her name, but she's an executive at a hunted killer, which is a kind of a murderer mystery game pursuit thing, and you know, someone center a cold prospecting email that was essentially like this. It was coded language and she had to use some decode er and something is like the level of care that went into it was enough for her to say like, okay, I get it. Yeah, I think that's just a really good thing. You know, it's too fold. One of them, what you mention, is, you know, we all this need to feel about. We all want you know, we are like our we all like our egos. True, and the second thing is we all have limited resources in terms of our own time. You know, if everyone had getting tons and tons of emails, had work at all, the for now urs some family responsibilities. We have to choose who to allocate our time to and we want to feel like we out keet our time to the relationships that will give us the most reward. So showing that someone's willing to print it time to interact him with us. You know to us that hey, if I hope them out, they're willing to put time back into me as well. So that personalization, it's kind of accos a type of signaling that can be really helpful. Yeah, so across functional team inside. Now I'm going to the subtitle of IT, which is a business case against digital pollution across functional team inside our company. A year or so ago was trying to get past the mechanics of what we do, which is, you know, recording and sending video messages, tracking results, reporting that back to people, creating environments where people can do this and see the reporting, etc. You know, that's all the mechanics and we're trying to get at, you know, the Real, real, deep value and benefit of what we're doing and arrived at this language of human centered communication. When used properly, it's it really has this special place in doing some of these things that we've just been talking about. But, you know, we also talked about it's antithesis, which is digital pollution. You've already alluded to what I think all of us would regard as as noise. Right noise, just being the level of volume in the environment, whether it's the eighty five untouched slack messages or the I mean it just...

...weirded me out to watch that film and to see some of those inboxes with thousands of untouched emails. Like I'm a hawk on that. Like you know, I make decisions quickly, and everyone does, because we need to protect our time. So I'm going to swipe delete and sometimes I'm going to swipe delete something that was perhaps, you know, more meaningful than I gave credit to. But it's because, in part that a lot of this is because in part that a lot of this noise is actually pollution, and by that we mean it's representing something that it isn't or its misrepresenting itself. Like did that strike anything with you? Like what? Like do you think pollution fits here as a special class of the noise? Yeah, you know, I definitely like communications and getting overloaded by them to be defined as pollution. You know, pollution, this idea is it's sending back can hurt the environments and it can hurt people, and we know that. One of the researchers have often called invention of smartphones. Is this that? Yeah, the automic parts. You know that is always going to free up everyone. Now they can work from wherever they want, without realizing that there's this paradox that when you have more freedom, suddenly you can now do work for wherever and you're expected to do work wherever, and the outcomes of that, I've been shown to be that it can really cause burnout, it can hurt people's well being. It worse, since work life balance and the idea that kind of our lives get can get polluted by work because there's just no longer any boundaries. Is definitely something that feels like it sits. Well. Yeah, do you have any just tactically and all the you know, you obviously are very, very well read on these themes and topics. Are there a couple practical takeaways for people that might be struggling in this paradox of autonomy and in kind of the always on environment? I mean, I think you know, I'm not sure if you've read cal Newport's work. He certainly is one of the foremost voices on shutting down, cleaning up thenning out, and now other people might have done the same, but like, what are a couple tactical things that you would offer people who are struggling here. Yeah, so you know, there's a lot of advice out there, but you know how to handle this best. You know the one key piece of advice, which has multiple parts to it, that I recommended. Trying to be very mindful of everything in question everything. Do I need to do this now? Do I need to respond? What's you know, this is a normal way I communicate, but question those things. Like, you know, I only do email for this. Should I always be doing text email for this? I always had the antidens. Should I be you and meanings for this. Don't take anything for granted that you do. Your answer should never be because we've always done it this where, because I've always done in this way. Questionable why I'm like doing that. And then relate to the bigger point here. There's this really cool research, it came out of University of michigetting meal, about this concept called job crafting, and it's the idea of thinking about each part of your job. So you're write down each part of your job and then you kind of draw, you know, bubble around it or shape about how much of your time that part of the job takes them and then you think about what part of my job do I like? That's what part of my job do I find most motivate, and then think about, well, how can you change your job to more of what you like and less of what you dislike? And the research shows by not just accepting your job as it is, but be mindful about the different parts and how you could potentially change it actually result in people changing their own jobs and making them a lot happier in that I'll come and making them more productive. So it's this idea that just not by taking things that they're given to you, but thinking about how can you craft things. And we're not talking about people like leaving their company changing jobs, we're talking about them staying in their exact same role but crafting it to better fit what they want. has been shown to be highly effective and I suggest the same thing with communications. Things about what you're doing, when you're doing it and how can you change it, as opposed to just accepting what's given to you as if fixed object. Really really good advice. I so appreciate it and I would hope that most people listening are working with the leader or...

...a manager that is open to these conversations, that is doing consistent and healthy one on one conversations where you can align your own strengths and interests, as Andrew just outlined, with what the team needs, what the company needs, what the customer needs, and find that healthy balance. I think a lot of people, you know, we've seen a lot of movement and we were calling at the great resignation. I've seen a lot of movement where people are imagining that the grass is greener and I've seen it really, even more often than not, I would say, not go as well as they hoped, tore expected. And you know, there's that alternative phrase which is, you know, the grass is greenest where you water it, and this is the idea of maybe watering it where you are, because things can be better than they are presently. And I just see so many people like chasing this imagination that something's way, way better somewhere else because it's not here, when in fact, so much of maybe what you're finding dissatisfying, this opening you up to other situations and opportunities. It is probably more in con more in your control than you think. And you know, as I even just watering it another it could be you could even frame it as fertilizing the grass where it is, you know, taking the basically hit you don't like them putting it on the ground, but make the grass better. You know you're always emailing customers that. You know you get email from a customer, email them back at nine cam at night, questioning like does it customer really care about email them back in nine cam at night or can that wait Tom the next day? There's a lot of things of the assumed we need to do or we just do out of habit that may not even matter in the long term. I mean not, you know, they may even rights level over magic. Need to change your job. Do you just things? We could check it ourselves that we've just doing because that's what we've done, as opposed to, you know, this is the way that I want to do it's or the way I want to approach it. Yeah, really well said, especially with the fertilizer. For folks listening, if you have enjoyed your time here so far with Andrew, got two more ash limn to do something different this time. I've got two more coming up that you're going to want to be on the lookout and listen out for. That's episodes two thousand and five and two thousand and six coming over the next couple of weeks with Dr Melissa Grasci, has a productivity expert, and knee out of shoken, who's a sales leader at a firm. They are both also featured in dear first name, a business case against digital pollution. So those are coming up over the next couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to those conversations myself. Before I let you go, Andrew, relationships are our number one core value here at bombomb so I'd love to give you the chance to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or career. Yeah, so I would have to say it's my wife. I miss you get that one a lot, but my wife. So she's a fantasy author, stepping FASIO. She's published a sixteen books, so her productivity puts mine to shame and they're real fun reads. But she's behind everything I do. She's my copy editor. She's given me to giving me advice. You know, anything by written always has her touch on it. So I would never have to give a shout out to her. That's awesome to she lead on you for any editing advice on her work. Yes, we actually get to be edit each other's work. I have the much better ended ideal because, you know, reading her fantasy books or a whole lot more fun than reading my research papers. So I definitely get the better side of that. That's awesome. And of course this is the customer experience podcast, so I'd love to put you in the customer chair. Is there any company or brand you like to give a not or a shout out to for the experience that they deliver for you? Yeah, so company that I give a shout out to, you know, I have to say its Outer Rac Entertainment Group. So my wife and I, like many other people, have been going with crazy during covid bordom and we got their game war chests. Were looking for new game. We heard about it and I we've been playing that game. We probably spent weeks of time playing that game. Is A trategy game and it's probably have we like fifty games or big, deep, big game geeks and is far and away our favorite game and definitely carried us a good way through the pandemic. Awesome. We always...

...write these episodes up. We link things up. I'll put a link up to your wife's work as well as to that company. I would also love to add a couple other links or for folks listening, they might even keep them in mind if someone is enjoyed their time with you as much as I have and they like to follow up. Where were you send people to learn more about you, the work that you're doing, some of the stuff that you've published in the like? Yes, some my website, a broad skycom, which you think can link would be great. I'm always looking for good company to research with, so your organization's interesting in figuring out, you know, how do we improve outcomes for employees or anything else. I'm always looking for good, good organizations to work with for that kind of thing. Awesome and I will give you a quick shout out on that. Andrew is awesome to work with. It's one of the reasons we've stayed in touch over the years. Again, we first connected back in two thousand and fifteen. Thank you for a spending time learning with and in connecting with our customers. I'm kind of video email, video messaging. Thanks for the work that you've published. I've learned a lot from you. Thanks for participating in this new film that we did and thanks for spending time in this conversation today. Great thanks for having me on this, but we have our inbox constantly foam. We constantly have messages coming in. Work emails just went up to two hundred and one. Have Ninety nine plus six hundred and seventy nine on ready mails. We're here to talk about a major problem. My names Kotbodner and I'm the chief marketing officer at help spot. I probably get ten to fifteen phone calls a day unwanted, and I probably get fifty a hundred emails a day unwanted. When I think about noise and trying to get that out of my life, I think about it through my most scarce resource, was just my time and attention. Is it worth my attention over here versus, like me, spending a moment with my son or cooking a meal with my son? The answers almost always know. We also know that the by product of that noise is feeling overwhelmed, feeling like there's not enough signal and that you feel discombobulated or confused. That's at least how I feel, so I also tried to protect myself from those feelings as well. Watch, dear first name a four part first of its kind. Documentary series now on Youtube and explore how digital pollution is eroding our ability to communicate with each other and build trust. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player, or visit bombombcom slash podcast.

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