The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 129 · 1 year ago

129. Create Forever Customers With A Forever Promise w/ Robbie Kellman Baxter

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The forever customer is someone who trusts you to solve their problem. They’ve taken off their consumer hat and put on their member hat. They aren’t looking for alternatives anymore.

In this episode, I interview Robbie Kellman Baxter, Strategy Consultant at Peninsula Strategies, about how to achieve forever customers with customer-centricity.

Robbie also talked with me about:

- Why short-term revenue matters so much less than long-term relationships

- Her journey toward the forever transaction — and what that looks like for businesses

- You want to balance acquisition and retention

- The importance of knowing what your best customers have in common

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Robbie’s books are The Membership Economy and The Forever Transaction

- Robbie’s podcast is Subscription Stories

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A forever transaction is that moment when your customer takes off their consumer hat, stops looking for alternatives, puts on a member hat and says, I am going to trust your organization to help me solve this problem, whatever this problem is, or achieve this ongoing goal for the foreseeable future. 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. Short term revenue versus long term relationships. I know which I prefer and I think I know which is better for most businesses, and I expect that today's guest here on the customer experience podcast is going to agree with me. She's the author of the forever transaction, how to build a subscription model so compelling your customers will never want to leave. It's a follow on from her previous book, the membership economy. Find your super users, master the forever transaction and build recurring revenue. She hosts a podcast called subscription stories, true tales from the trenches, to her readers, listeners and clients. She brings more than twenty years of experience writing strategic business advice to industry leaders like Netflix, Fitbit, Microsoft, Ebay, EA or electronic arts, as well as VC back startups and SMB's Robbie Kelman Baxter. Welcome to the customer experience podcast. Oh, thanks for having me. I'm excited. Yeah, me too, it is we were kind of warming up before we hit record at they're just so many themes that you're writing to and speaking to and learning about and coaching people on that are so incredibly relevant to the conversation we're trying to create here on the show. So I'm excited about it too. But I want to start with did I oversimplify it? Is it really that simple? Are we really looking at a short term revenue, kind of a myopic transactional mindset, versus a long term one, or am I oversimplifying? Now? I think you're right on the money. Literally. I think so many businesses suffer from quarterly capitalism and are very sales number driven in contrast to let's say, product centric. So we're trying to make the best thing, or you know where I think you and I go, which is customer centric, which is about maximizing the likelihood that that customer is going to achieve the goal or solve the problem that brought them in the first place. And by having that that third focus, that that customer centrict focus, it forces you to go with that customer on their journey and by default, take a long term look. I love it and I'm really glad that you already introduce that idea. That was one of the things that really jumped out at me in the forever transaction was this. Are we sales centric, are we product centric, or are we customer centric? I think you know, depending who you ask on any given day and any given organization, you'll get different answers and I'm sure you'll also get answers like we're all of those things are yeah, let's get going here with customer experience. When I say that to you, what does it mean? Does it conjure anything a particular to you of thoughts, definition, characteristics? What is customer experience to you? For me, it's about putting yourself, as the the organization, into the shoes of the customer and saying what is it like to do business with us, and it allows the organization to take up, to apply a broader lens to what value they create. So what brought them in the first place? How do they interact when they're trying to decide if it's right for them, credibility and relevance, and then do they get the results that brought them in the first place? And I think organizations that have customer experience, professionals or teams, are really focused on looking at...

...their processes in a customer centric way. Yeah, one of the lines that stood out to me in the book, because one of the one of the words that a lot of people use in talking when I ask that question here on the show is feeling. It's the way people feel, and you were right there too, which is, you know, what does it feel like to be our customer? What does it feel like to work with us? And one of the lines in the book that jumped out of me was it's easier to change what people do then how they feel, and I wonder if you if that triggers anything for you here in this context. For me it's, you know, obviously to get people to outcomes, often times we need to make them behave a particular way on that tends to be easier to do, but the feeling at some point, to me, starts to feel more resonant or enduring or that it might have a greater effect over time. Talk about that. If you remember writing that wide, talk about what you think about it now. Yeah, it's you know, what I think about with with feeling versus, you know, getting how you make someone feel versus what you get them to do, is that people will cut you a lot of slack if they feel good about you. Right. So I think about you know, if you're a member of, let's say, a club, and the person your waiter, your favorite waiter, has a broken leg and you end up having to go to the counter and pick up your own food, you don't mind because you feel good about that place and it feels like you're part of things, whereas if I walked into a restaurant where I, you know, never been before, I didn't have a relationship and they asked me to go get my own food and they were charging me high rates, I would be I would judge them for it differently, even if I did the same action right. They got me to do it because they had the signs and they set the expectations and they did all the you know kind of behavior modification things that you know, product people are so good at. But if you feel good about the organization, you're going to cut them slack, you're going to be more forgiving, you're going to give them feedback and you're going to relax into the relationship and and stay for the long term really good. I like that so much and I think it speaks to why customer centricity is so important. We need to feel good about them too. I mean, in a lot of these types of conversations, to start thinking about what it means to be a good friend to somebody and what you want in a friend. And where do we give patients and where do we give forgiveness and where do we give grace? And it's getting these kind of, you know, these kind of good will situations where we're past all of that, like we're not making transactional decisions about whether to go one step farther. We are truly in before we get into the forever transaction. You just used, you know, membership at which obviously is a theme throughout, but it's also the title in the title of your previous book. Really broad question for you. When did you personally see kind of membership and subscription coming on? How has it progressed relative to your expectations? Are we ahead of you know, like obviously you can. You can have a subscription or become a member, like I'm a member of a nonalcoholic beer club and and so I get special treatment and I get monthly shipments and I get discount prices, etcetera, etc. But you can also do that with underwear and socks and deodorant and all kinds of things we never expected. kind of like when did when did you see this really coming on? And maybe pe never was going to ask about the sharing economy, but that's a whole nother kind of letter. But you know, when did you really see this coming on, because I think giving a unique perspective. Where are we now and how far is this going to go? Will we be subscribing to everything? For example, will we be subscribing to our smart refrigerator? Yeah, it's such a great question. So I'll take you a little bit on my journey. So I've been interested in membership models and subscription pricing for a little over twenty years and my first client in that ways I was I've always been a, you know, for most of my career, strategy consultant, but Netflix client and I fell in love with the with the business model, and I started writing about it and setting up frameworks and, you know, trying to think about like what is Netflix doing that could be applied to other organizations, and I ended up working with survey monkey...

...and Oracle and eat a lot of different companies that were going on that journey. And one of the things that became really clear to me is it was about having a member mindset. And I realized, you know, as I was writing, and you know I'm a very analyotical person, so you know, I was like, well, what is member mean, and do you have to call yourself a member to be part of the membership economy and do you have to have subscription pricing to be part of the membership economy? Like, what is it? And where I came out was membership is about how the organization thinks about their customer, whether or not they have subscription pricing. So for a very long time apple did not have subscriptions and yet they very much thought about their customers as members. Right, if you commit to apple products, and you only have apple products. Everything will work well together. You if you, you know, God forbid, bring in an android product or IBM product or a PC. You know, all bets are off. We can't help you. We only help our members. Right. And then they eventually added subscription, but they had the member mindset all along. And when I saw that, like Ding Ding Ding, all the light bulbs went off and I started becoming this, you know, the zealot ambassador, telling everybody you know, anybody can have a member mindset. And suddenly you're treating your customer like a friend. You're effectively giving them your home phone number and saying, you know, if you have a problem, call me, I want to take care of you. And the long term revenue comes in, the predictable revenue comes in, the value of your business goes up. But it took a long time for other businesses to see what I was seeing. I wrote the membership economy now six years ago, to say this idea could work for virtually any industry and here's why you should consider it. But then last year I published the forever transaction, as you so nicely pointed out, and that book was no longer about the why, why this is so important, why it can be so good for you. But really about the how everybody is doing. Is Doing subscriptions now and a lot of them are doing it pretty badly without the member mindset, and it's been, you know, I never could have imagined this, but it's really accelerated during this you know, covid pandemic where, you know, not just startups, not just traditional membership organizations, not just digital first businesses, but every you know kind of business, including, you know, durable goods refrigerators, are working very hard on creating recurring revenue streams by focusing on the long term goals of the customer instead of how much money they can get on a transactional basis for the particular product itself. So good. And a confession. You know, I obviously Ima tuned to helping people achieve their desired outcome and as more than just a checkbox but actually as the experience along the way. But I thought a lot about prior to encountering you and your work. Thought a lot about it as just a business model choice. Right, you know, is this going to hit hit a credit card first, small amount over and over? Is it going to, you know, hit a credit card, a hit assign contract at one big amount and in this mindset, pieces obviously so critical. So let's dive into the forever transaction and I guess start with just a definition. Yeah, forever transaction is that moment when your customer takes off their consumer hat, stops looking for alternatives, puts on a member hat and says, I am going to trust your organization to help me solve this problem, whatever this problem is, or achieve this ongoing goal for the foreseeable future. So this is how I'm going to get healthy, you're getting stay fit, or this is how I'm going to stay current on world events, or or this is how I'm going to grow in my profession, or this is where I'm going to get my clothes. And it's that transaction that results in recurring business. That's what everybody wants. It's why they come to subscriptions. But it's not...

...about the subscription pricing itself. It's about the way the entire I like that way the entire business model is structured, from product to how you sell it to how you support it. Well, beyond what kind of pricing structure you use. Yet in the book you use language around the North Star, which I think is just really, really helps, like in one little term or phrase it really captures that alignment or, you know, organizing principle across the whole organization. You also did a great job covering a lot of the metrics. Do you have any guidance? Like frequently ask questions or things that you see people misusing or not understanding with regard of the metrics around this? Do you have a couple just basic tips? Yeah, so the first thing is that no one metric is the only metric right. So for a long time I was saying, you know, stop looking at your acquisition metric, focus on your retention metric. There are some organizations, especially long standing ones like professional societies and gym's, where they're great on retention, but nobody's joining anymore because people look in the window and they're like that's not what I want, that's not a good fit for me, so they don't join. But the people who are already in, you know, don't confuse inertia with loyalty. They're there because they you know, they took off their member had their consumer have put on their member at stopped looking for alternatives. They have no idea there's a better option out there. So I would say you want to balance acquisition and retention. And then the leading indicator of re tension is engagement, and I think about engagement as recency, frequency, depth and breadth of usage, and that's going to let you know well in advance of someone canceling if they're going to be a good and loyal customer or not. So those would be the metrics that I would encourage organizations to focus on, and you don't need to have, you know, sophisticated technology systems to track that. Even if you just say this is how many customers we have, this is how many customers left and this is how we could tell that they were getting value for what they were paying for and whether that value was increasing or decreasing over time. Really good. And for folks that are listening, and I say this from time to time, there's a sixty two bounce back button for a reason. It's not just because you lost your train of thought, it's also when someone like Robbie runs through things like frequency, recency, depth and breadth of usage. So we're hearing again now the forever promise is part of the forever transaction. Tell us about the promise. Yeah, so the promise is that that North start that we were talking about earlier. It's the reason that someone trusts you enough to pay you on a regular, automatic basis. So sometimes I hear language from entrepreneurs or exacts where they say we want subscriptions because, you know, we want the customers to not even pay attention and we just want to keep charging them. And what's really important for business leaders to understand is that the reason the customer is trusting you and willing to be on an automatic basis is because they trust you, not because they're stupid, and what they are trusting you to do is to keep helping them achieve that forever promise. So I join a gym because I want to get and stay fit in the most efficient way possible. I trust that my jim is going to continue to improve how they deliver on that promise. So maybe fifteen years ago it was jazzer size or a stair stepper and maybe today it's a boot camp kind of experience or a pilates class, but I can trust that they're staying current so I don't have to go out and research it. I can just go to them and say I trust you. You know, it's like walking into a restaurant saying bring me the special, I trust you. You know, Alma Cosa men, you put me in you know, put me in the chef's hands. That's not because they're stupid and they're giving you permission to take advantage. It's because they're saying, I trust you to solve my problem,...

...and that's really what should be driving all of our product development investments. So important because switching costs are not as high as most of US tend to think in most businesses. And so when you violate that trust and do treat people as if they were stupid, it's not that hard to feel terrible immediately and perhaps change your change your behavior, which brings me kind of the word forever. That's quite a commitment on everybody's part. Obviously it's aspirational instead of literal, but might these things change a little bit over time? I mean you talked about like this natural kind of evolution. So I would expect that if I committed to a gym, just to stay with that one, that if I keep showing up, you know, six years from now they're going to have new equipment and it's not just going to be the same equipment. Does anything change? Have you seen anything that's a maybe a necessary or successful part of a change beyond like a standard? I'm staying current in my expertise on behalf of you. My customer is forever shorter than forever in any time. Yes, okay, so there's are two parts of this. I'm going to break it into two pieces. The first one is about forever and the second is about evolution of the offering. So forever. Funny Story. The guys who started linked in. Before they started linked in, they started a dating site called social met and same mind that. They're fantastic. They're all about the you know, the forever promise, their long term thinkers. They want to solve problems for their customers, ongoing problems, right, but they pick dating as their first industry. Right. And if you do a good job on a dating club, right, your members are churning out like every six months, right, and you don't even want people to stay longer, like lost. Thing you want are people who are already hooked up to be, you know, polluting your dating pool. Right. And so they said. The next time we start a company we're going to make sure we have a longer runway. But the forever is really forever and as you know, you know people are joining Linkedin, like my teenagers, my high school kids are on Linkedin. My father, who is, you know, it's been retired for five years, is also active on Linkedin. So it's not quite forever, but it's a pretty long time. So that's kind of answer your question on forever. It's about what journey you're choosing to go on with your customers and what goal you're going to help them to solve. So this gets into the product iteration question. If I set up, let's say that dating site example again, so let's say that's my membership model. So six months is a great that's a great duration, right, great lifetime value as six months of revenue. What if I called it a relationship membership instead of a dating membership and once you said, you know, no, I'm hooked up, I've found a soul mate or I found a perfect for now date. Now we work on relationship development or we work on great places for great dates or how to have difficult conversations, and then I help you with your your marriage and I help you with buying a home and I help you with all of the other things that I'm guessing might be on your journey. So instead of being focused just on the six months, I'm really focused on taking you through the most important relationships that are by choice as opposed to by birth. So it's really important how you define what problem you're solving for your members and what journey, what customer journey, you're going to go along for the ride on, or even be the guide on. Really good in it. You just went someplace I wanted to go, which is, you know, two really really critical questions that I'm not sure that enough businesses are clear on or disciplined enough around, are fundamental to the forever transaction in the forever promise, which are, who's your best customer and what problem do you solve for them? A is my impression. Do you have a similar impression? Yeah, I totally do, and I think in the world of subscription that's I think what you just said is true in any business. You got to know who your who your customer is, and you've got to know what problem you're solving...

...for why they came to you in the first place. That allows you to create your headline benefit that gets them to buy. In a world of membership, in a world where you want to generate recurring revenue, you also have to have the engagement benefits. You have to really not just understand what brought them to you, but how can I continue to solve their problem and anticipate what problems might arise over time? So it becomes even more important that you really know who your best customers are and not just who your worst customers are. That's where a lot of people go. But who you're not best customers are the ones that are pretty good but not as profitable, or the ones that are pretty good but are pushing your product in a different direction. You really want to understand. We want to make you know, make more of these. There's a concept of look alikes. We want to know who's the look alike. Who Do you know well, buy from you get great value, recognize that they're getting great value and stay for a long time. And how do we make more of those? Yeah, I see a lot of challenge in the the kind of the focus and discipline pieces there. I think, at least in my experience, it's hard to turn down revenue, but if sometimes some of that revenue turns out to be bad revenue for any of a variety of reasons. You over work for it, you're doing one off solutions or fixes or things, activities that are in a benefit to your core customer. What advice do you have around determining best customer and key problem in a way that allows that focus and discipline? Obviously carrying it forward requires, you know, a lot of good internal conversations around it, but how would you guide someone to create some of those definitions in a way that is broad enough to be doable, profitable from a total addressabile market standpoint or whatever, but also narrow enough that it does have some inherent focus and discipline to it? So the first thing, I think that's important if you're just starting out, it's to start narrow, to start really narrow, and to know you're nailing it a hundred percent. Like this product is a perfect fit for these people. It's going to meet them where they are, they're going to find us, they're going to love it, they're going to stay for a long time and then over time you can experiment with adjacents, you can expand the features to better serve adjacent market. So for example, Amazon, when they started they had the vision of removing all friction from all buying occasions, but all they sold was books and they didn't remove all friction even from that process. Right it's you still had to sometimes wait two or three weeks for the book. The Nice thing was you could just go online and order any book you wanted. But they had a vision of like layering in more benefits over time, and over time it became more attractive to more people as those benefits became broader. So I think that it's really important to both have your big vision. You know, I imagine a world where everybody bought everything from our organization and it appeared instantaneously. That's The big vision. And today we're going to sell books in the United States to people who have computers, which is not the whole population. So it's all about like that vision and then starting with something very, very narrow and very, very granular. Super this is going to be kind of a really ground level in the weeds type of question in terms of defining a customer. I mean one it is some things that come to mind or, of course, industry, roll, title, the channel they came in on. You know, these types of things. What are some ways that you've seen people successfully define a best customer? What are like if you're going to find like three to five characteristics or something, or is it or is that too many years at too few like how how do you help people define a customer, because you know they're defined in part by common characteristics. What are those? Or is it all that stuff aside and it's usage and spend and expandion or let you know. Yeah, this is such a good question and it's something that I grapple with all the time with clients who dispatches me. Yeah, I know it's a really, really hard...

...question and I don't think that, at least for me, I haven't found like the perfect recipe. But what I try to do is to sit to to work with them and say, who do you know who would be a great customer? If they have customers, if there are going concern I say, let's make a pile of your best customers and then let's make a pile of you're not best customers and let's put them on the wall and let's talk about what the differences are that jump out at you. So, for example, you know, I've had I've had clients look at it and they say, Oh, all the really like this is a funny story, but you know, all the really good customers, those were the worst ones to on board because they ask so many darned questions. And you're like, oh, so something that we know about our best customers is that they take the onboarding process really seriously. Why is that? Well, because they're planning to use the product heavily, right, and so like that Aha moment that comes up when you see here's our best customers, we all know who they are, and here's some that have not been that great. We all know who they are. What do we notice? And we write. You know, a lot of times I'll have them do hypothesis driven and then we can test it. It's a lot easier to test things. But you know your original point about you gave some demographics. You know they live here, they have this much income, they work at this kind of organization. That says kind of starting ground psychographics, how they think and feel, behavior, what they do, and you know what they do before and after buying. I think is important. And another kind of interesting example of best best members that that I found really instructive was, as working with an association and a professional society, and one of the things that they realized was that their best members were usually brought in by their boss. So their boss said this was you know, their boss said, Hey, welcome to the firm. You need to join our society because that's how we learn and that's how we give back in our community. So come with me. So it becomes this opportunity to be mentored and those people that were mentored by their boss end up being the ones that volunteered the most, bring in the most people, spend the most money. But it wouldn't necessarily come up as a demographic or psychographic it's like, oh, that's how they on boarded. They had a mentor who they trusted and respected who on boarded them and that's the secret. Foss really good. It reminds me of there's a woman I know named Lauren Bailey who found it at an organization called Girls Club, and it's about creating female leaders in the sales business industry. You're profess Quession, and she observed that like conversion on the website to new membership is like one percent, but it's sixty five percent if that woman's manager or supervisor refers her to the club, because it's see exact same dynamic, this kind of implied permission. Right, this is important. I see I see something in you. I think it's important for you, I think it's important for us, and just gives this extra layer of permission. And to your point, it's not something that you see without really wrestling with all the details of WHO's best and who is not best, and I like that. I like that break. By the way, best versus everybody else, not best. Yeah, let's go back a little bit into that sale centricity versus product centricity versus customer centricity. Is My speculation fair here to that that some people see themselves as one thing but they're really something else, and or they want to be all of the things and it's impossible to be those things. is like, are those things approximately true? Yeah, oh, totally. And you know when I you know, I told you I was a strategy consultant. For most of my career I worked in strategy and then for five years I was in product, product management, which is very different skill set, much more in the weeds, much more operational, much more detail oriented, and I remember when I was work at the product people, they would talk about you know, we love product managers, where detail oriented, who get into you know, aren't afraid to get into weeds, and I wanted to be that because that's what was cool in that group. But really that's not me. I'm a strategy person and there's nothing wrong with...

...that, but when I have to make a choice and be honest with myself, that's how I think and that's how that's how I like to work, and I think when you ask somebody, do you care about sales, you care about product or you care about your customer, they rightly should say I care about all three. But the question is, when push comes to shove and something has to suffer, which one are you willing to let suffer? Or which people on your team? This is like I have all these kind of little tests so that I can tell which culture they have, even if they don't want to tell me. You know, for example, like what are the hero shots on the wall? Is it of the product or is it of customers? Who is most respected? Where did the CEO come from? Did they come from a kind of customer, you know, account management, ongoing relationship kind of space, or did they come from engineering or, you know, Journal in Journalism it's the writers, right. That's the product people. Or are they a fin to? They come out of the CFOS office, right, are they? Are they financial types or sales people? Were they're very much focused on you know, if we hit our number, of the business is good. So there are clues what the culture is and of course you're all of them. But the question is, when things get hard, which one becomes most important? Do you say, you know, we got to hit our quarterly number. So I don't want to say let's pull a fast one on our customer, nobody uses that language, but let's throw in a late fee so that we can hit our number. Is that what you do? Or do you create a product that's over engineered because that's what your tech team wants to build, even though it's not necessarily you know what the customer wants and it's so best, it's the best on the market. Like in the world of cars, right, some people love the engine and could talk about it all day and love the cars that win the prizes, and some of us just need something to get us from here and there to there with all of our stuff, and sometimes it's just about the Cup holders, right. And you know, if you're a sophisticated automotive engineer. You don't want to be Designing Cup holders, you want to be designing awesome motors and you have to decide. Are we designing awesome motors or we designing for the people that have money in their pockets to buy cars? Such a good distinction and I really love that you mentioned. I'm doing something for those of you who are listening. I'm doing something I haven't done on the show before, which is hold up a book. I actually have it marked to the quiz that you put in the book, on page even, to how customer centric is your organization. I'm just going to read a few and and and maybe you can tack a couple more honors share your thoughts about them, because I just loved it so much. I mean I mark, I mark up the books that I read in like in this one. Is All this, this page of particular is all marked up. We always speak as if the customer were in the room with us. These are yes or no questions. We always speak as if the customer were in the room with us, and I love this one. Every employee knows at least a few of our best customers by name. Every employee. Every is the word that I double underline there. You know, sure, of course our customer facing like a salesperson, can tell you the last five people that they brought into the business, and maybe your account managers or other people could. But every employee is a high hurdle. A couple more. Our organization focuses on the marriage post transaction more than on the dating, which is marketing. And we talked a little bit about that already. And then the last one, which I think is last on purpose. Everyone shares an understanding of what customer centric means, this idea that we're not just going to say that we are this thing, but no one agrees on what it means. It just so important. Yeah, it's it's funny. I was just doing a clubhouse talk. Was My first time on clubhouse, and someone asked out that. She said, you know, I have a really hard time finding people that have that are kind of experienced in membership and that can help me grow my business. And I said to her, you know, it's really about the mindset of that person. They don't have to have experience running a membership business or running a subscription it's that they think that way. They think about the long term relationship is being most important and that you give them permission to do that. But you...

...can feel it right when you walk into an organization. I'm guessing you feel that when you when you talk to a company, if you can tell if they're customer centric or not. Yeah, it's one of those I know it when I see it. You know it's it's hard maybe to put on paper, but we all know it when we see it. I'm going to go to something kind of fun that you did a drive by on at least once in the book, and it's this idea that all of us all, I'm assuming that everyone listening a has a smartphone and some kind of a subscription plan for that and be some kind of Internet service at home, perhaps with some television subscriptions attached to it. Those businesses treat new people differently than they treat their current customers. I can't get like you see, you know, get two brand new iphones for the price of one, only if you're coming from another service these types of things. Talk about that dynamic. Why do you think it happens? What are your thoughts or feelings about that as a consumer and as a professional? Yeah, so I hate them, both as a consumer and as a professional. That is my my point of view, because what you're saying is the people who trust us. You're going back to this concept of trust. They're stupid enough that they won't notice that we're charging them a lot more than we're charging our new members. We're not going to give them the benefits that we're giving our new members because they don't compare us with other alternatives. Because I would say, because we trust you, and they would say because they're so stupid. So I think that that's often the driver of doing those kinds of things. There are reasons to give people a free trial, right to give them a taste of what you have that's most delicious, because they don't understand or they don't believe it's as good as you say. But really, if you really believe in membership, the people that have been with you longest should get the best deal because they've demonstrated their their commitment to you and their loyalty. So when I see these kinds of seventy five percent off and your first year, you're talking about, you know, cable companies and a lot of the the telcos, you know, I just feel like that is, you know, number one. It's rewarding people who switch a lot. It teaches you that what you need to do is cancel and join somewhere else, or call and threatened to cancel. You did. You didn't mention that, but it's in the same family. Right. I'm going to cancel my subscription because my neighbor is getting seventy five percent off. Great will give you seventy five percent up to great. So mark your calendar. You know, every year around this time, call and threaten to cancel so that you can get a fair price. The whole idea of membership is that you can relax into it and trust that you're getting a fair price for the value that you're getting. Yeah, I could call picking up on some of those things I left out and I just had all these feelings as you were describing, and it's is like I'm too lazy to play that game and or I'm at a privilege enough point in my life, in my career where, you know, if I'm getting a little bit overcharged, it's less. I prefer my time to be saved rather than my money on some of these things that I just roll over, which is, I think, part of how they get away with it because we can't all play these stupid games that they design around us. A little bit of a change of pace here, you know. I think between weeen some combination of hustle culture and that the idea that you know, guys like Bill Gates got where they are but they dropped out of college. I notice you did your Undergrad at Harvard in English and you did an MBA at Stanford and strategy, marketing and entrepreneurship. What thoughts do you have about higher education, either from a value for your life in general perspective or a you know, any of the more current thoughts about the cost versus the benefit? Like you have any thoughts about higher education? I have so many thoughts. Is Like my favorite topic. I think about it all the time. I have three college age kids, so very friend of mine and a lot of my clients, honestly, are in either the professional development or the education space right now. So you know, I can't tell you the number of people that tell me that you know, the Harvard model...

...is obsolete and that there is no value in it and that their subscription based record prerecorded digital content is going to replace for your liberal arts colleges and graduate programs like, you know, Stanford Mba, and you know, I hear that and I think one of the things that I think that that they're overlooking is that these experiences have a lot of benefits other than just the course content. There's the relationships you develop. There's the signaling factor of, you know, different institutions being hard to get into in the first place. There's extracurriculars, there's the push that comes. You know, I have access to linkedin learning, because I'm linkedin instructor access to thousands of courses, but how many courses do I actually watch every year and finish, because nobody is going to make me and and I'm not having like even like the book club kind of conversation to discuss it? So there's all of those things are additional benefits that increase the likelihood of me getting what my goal was, which, you know, it's a going to college is partially about getting a good job and partially about becoming an educated citizen of the world. So another piece of this, if you're thinking about your model, or you know somebody's listening and think about their model, is the goal of your membership to help someone get a job, to get their first job, to get and continue growing in their profession? Or is it to be a great citizen of the world and have our broader knowledge? Or is it to have a community of educated people who love and trust you just because you're member of the same community? Those are all really different benefits and I think some universities have gotten lost, some colleges, some programs about which of those benefits they're going to provide and which ones they aren't, or they miss represent what you're going to get from it. So you know, lots of young people that are going to, you know, racking up big debt, going to for your colleges and they can't get a job. I don't recommend that. There's cheaper ways to become trained to get a job, but I think that right now there's so much disruption, especially with covid and people not being able to be on campus, that there's an opportunity to unbundle of the benefits of education and repack it to them for different market segments, different different customer groups with different experiences. I am so glad I asked that and what was echoing for me was who is your best customer and what problem do you solve for them and if you start like you lost your way, it's time to reset. So I like this idea to of kind of like tearing it down and reorganizing, or at least tearing it down to see what we have and then, you know, either putting it back together as it was or in a new way that makes more sense. Yeah, I think you know, one of the things as a mom of, you know, kids in private college, one of the things that's hard is that they still have access. My daughter take me gap here, but they still have access to the courses, but the course is like a tiny piece of what they get met for years and other things that they're not getting. You know, it could be eat. I believe there are ways to deliver on that digital environment, like building community, extracurriculars, exposure to new kinds of people, but that's a big part of what I am paying for and that is why my daughter is taking a gap here. So good if she's at home working. If you are enjoying this conversation, I typically I share a couple others that you might like. Actually have four of them, which might be too many, but they were, you know, in preparing for this one. Is like you know, excite structure these conversations a little bit. So I kind of so at least I know where we're going and then I try to make it easy enough to be engaging for you, Robbie, and and fun to follow along. And the just these episodes kept coming to mind, so I slugged him in, and so the first one I was thinking of was episode sixty five with Chris Hicken, who spent eight years in executive leadership at user testing and then co founded and served as CEO at enough said. We called that product usage as a vanity metric, and so we got into different ways to measure customer health and engagement, which I was obviously...

...a theme here. Episode Forty five with West Bush, who is the founder of the product led institute, an author of Product led growth and so on. Episode Forty Five we talked about product led growth versus sales and marketing led growth in some of the differences there. That's definitely on point here. Episode Thirty Six with Sarah Toms, who is the CO founder and executive director at Wharton Interactive at the Wharton School of business at pen she's also the CO author of the customer centricity playbook and she gets into defining with Peter Fader. Yeah, totally. Yeah, and she gets into define her or she and Peter defined customer centricity in a financial sense, you know, in terms of lifetime value, very explicitly. So that was more of a financial conversation. And then I would be remiss if I didn't mention episode one hundred and twelve with Lisa Earl McLeod, author of leading with noble purpose and selling with noble purpose, because she introduced us. So yeah, sixty five with Chris Hicken, forty five with West Bush, thirty six with Sarah Tabs and one hundred and twelve with Lisa Earl McLeod. Thank you for enduring that with me, Robbie, and fun that you are familiar with her in Peter Fader's work. Yeah, I I'm Famil yeah, Li says list. Obviously I'm a huge Fan Sarah and peters work. I think is phenomenal, and I mark wrote down number forty five, number sixty five. I'm going to check those out. Awesome. Please do and for folks who are listening, we write all these up at Bombombcom podcast. You can obviously scroll the episodes in your preferred player or you can go to bomb Bombcom podcast. We do short write ups. We put in video clips. You can see me flipping through the pages of Robbie's book, for example, if you visit this post. And and of course, we have an embedible audio player there too. Hey, before I let you go, Robbie in, this has been fantastic. I always love to give you two opportunities. The first one is to think or mention a person who's had a positive impact on your life or your career, and the second is to give a nod or a shout out to a brand or a company that you appreciate for the experience they deliver for you as a customer or, I guess, in your terms, a brand or a company of which you are a proud, proud member. I love that. That's great. So on the theme, you know, we talked a little about dating and we talked about a good a good relationship being more about the marriage than about the dating. I have to take the easy one here and say, you know, my own forever transaction as my husband, Bob, we met Freshman Year College on the stairs. I was on the landing. I said Hey, hey, they're we're having a Pizza Party and we've been together ever since. So sorry, my huh up, my own forever transaction has helped me every step of the way. Has Read every word that I've written edited them. He was an English major too, and so that's definitely who deserves deserves a shout out. And then in terms of favorite, favorite membership. Right now, then we're talking. We're still at least here in northern California, we're still mostly at home Peloton. I love my membership with Peloton. It's really gotten me through the pandemic. The rides and the meditations and the exercise classes, but also the the community has really helped me stay focused on on, you know, fitness and health, even during this kind of crazy and difficult time. Really good. I'm not keeping formal score, but I can say for a fact that that is the second peloton reference at this point in these conversations. Jeff Bruns, back of higher logic, also mentioned it and you wrote about stitch fix, which is the only company that has come up three times when that question has been asked in including ice, including by Sarah Toms. That's a whole nother conversation like this. Blend of personalization but high, high tech but high touch is the really unique Combo and I think Peloton fits that bill a little bit as well. If someone has enjoyed this, how should they follow up with you? How can they learn more about peninsula strategies? How can they learn about the forever transaction where the membership economy or your podcast, which we didn't talk about, subscription stories? How can people...

...catch up with you? Yeah, the easiest way to find me is Robbi kilman baxtercom my namecom the podcast. It's that slash podcast, and you can find me, you know, on Linkedin, twitter, instagram and if you mention the PODCAST, I'm glad to glad to link in with you. Awesome. Thank you so much. This has been a pleasure. Well done on the book and thank you for spending this time with us. Oh, thanks for having me. This was a great conversation. You're a very, very good interview. I know you know that, but real pleasure, clear communication, human connection, higher conversion, these are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pick up the official book. Rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improve customer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's BOM BE bombcom book. 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 podcast.

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