The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 129 · 9 months 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

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

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A forever transaction is that moment whenyour customer takes off their consumer hat, stops looking for alternatives, puts ona member hat and says, I am going to trust your organization to helpme solve this problem, whatever this problem is, or achieve this ongoing goalfor the foreseeable future. The single most important thing you can do today isto 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 expectationsin 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 mostbusinesses, and I expect that today's guest here on the customer experience podcast isgoing to agree with me. She's the author of the forever transaction, howto 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 superusers, master the forever transaction and build recurring revenue. She hosts apodcast called subscription stories, true tales from the trenches, to her readers,listeners and clients. She brings more than twenty years of experience writing strategic businessadvice to industry leaders like Netflix, Fitbit, Microsoft, Ebay, EA or electronicarts, 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 upbefore we hit record at they're just so many themes that you're writing to andspeaking to and learning about and coaching people on that are so incredibly relevant tothe conversation we're trying to create here on the show. So I'm excited aboutit too. But I want to start with did I oversimplify it? Isit really that simple? Are we really looking at a short term revenue,kind of a myopic transactional mindset, versus a long term one, or amI 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 drivenin contrast to let's say, product centric. So we're trying to make the bestthing, or you know where I think you and I go, whichis customer centric, which is about maximizing the likelihood that that customer is goingto 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, itforces 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 youalready introduce that idea. That was one of the things that really jumped outat me in the forever transaction was this. Are we sales centric, are weproduct centric, or are we customer centric? I think you know,depending who you ask on any given day and any given organization, you'll getdifferent answers and I'm sure you'll also get answers like we're all of those thingsare yeah, let's get going here with customer experience. When I say thatto you, what does it mean? Does it conjure anything a particular toyou of thoughts, definition, characteristics? What is customer experience to you?For me, it's about putting yourself, as the the organization, into theshoes 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 lensto 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 inthe first place? And I think organizations that have customer experience, professionals orteams, 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 usein talking when I ask that question here on the show is feeling. It'sthe way people feel, and you were right there too, which is,you know, what does it feel like to be our customer? What doesit feel like to work with us? And one of the lines in thebook that jumped out of me was it's easier to change what people do thenhow they feel, and I wonder if you if that triggers anything for youhere in this context. For me it's, you know, obviously to get peopleto outcomes, often times we need to make them behave a particular wayon 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 mighthave a greater effect over time. Talk about that. If you remember writingthat wide, talk about what you think about it now. Yeah, it'syou know, what I think about with with feeling versus, you know,getting how you make someone feel versus what you get them to do, isthat 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 favoritewaiter, has a broken leg and you end up having to go to thecounter and pick up your own food, you don't mind because you feel goodabout that place and it feels like you're part of things, whereas if Iwalked into a restaurant where I, you know, never been before, Ididn't have a relationship and they asked me to go get my own food andthey were charging me high rates, I would be I would judge them forit differently, even if I did the same action right. They got meto do it because they had the signs and they set the expectations and theydid all the you know kind of behavior modification things that you know, productpeople 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'regoing to give them feedback and you're going to relax into the relationship and andstay for the long term really good. I like that so much and Ithink it speaks to why customer centricity is so important. We need to feelgood about them too. I mean, in a lot of these types ofconversations, to start thinking about what it means to be a good friend tosomebody and what you want in a friend. And where do we give patients andwhere do we give forgiveness and where do we give grace? And it'sgetting these kind of, you know, these kind of good will situations wherewe're past all of that, like we're not making transactional decisions about whether togo one step farther. We are truly in before we get into the forevertransaction. You just used, you know, membership at which obviously is a themethroughout, 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 membershipand subscription coming on? How has it progressed relative to your expectations? Arewe ahead of you know, like obviously you can. You can have asubscription or become a member, like I'm a member of a nonalcoholic beer cluband and so I get special treatment and I get monthly shipments and I getdiscount prices, etcetera, etc. But you can also do that with underwearand socks and deodorant and all kinds of things we never expected. kind oflike when did when did you see this really coming on? And maybe penever was going to ask about the sharing economy, but that's a whole notherkind of letter. But you know, when did you really see this comingon, because I think giving a unique perspective. Where are we now andhow far is this going to go? Will we be subscribing to everything?For example, will we be subscribing to our smart refrigerator? Yeah, it'ssuch 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 overtwenty 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 Netflixclient and I fell in love with the with the business model, and Istarted writing about it and setting up frameworks and, you know, trying tothink 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 ofdifferent companies that were going on that journey. And one of the things that becamereally clear to me is it was about having a member mindset. AndI realized, you know, as I was writing, and you know I'ma very analyotical person, so you know, I was like, well, whatis member mean, and do you have to call yourself a member tobe part of the membership economy and do you have to have subscription pricing tobe part of the membership economy? Like, what is it? And where Icame 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 appledid 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 appleproducts. 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 onlyhelp our members. Right. And then they eventually added subscription, but theyhad the member mindset all along. And when I saw that, like DingDing Ding, all the light bulbs went off and I started becoming this,you know, the zealot ambassador, telling everybody you know, anybody can havea member mindset. And suddenly you're treating your customer like a friend. You'reeffectively giving them your home phone number and saying, you know, if youhave a problem, call me, I want to take care of you.And the long term revenue comes in, the predictable revenue comes in, thevalue of your business goes up. But it took a long time for otherbusinesses to see what I was seeing. I wrote the membership economy now sixyears ago, to say this idea could work for virtually any industry and here'swhy 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 aboutthe why, why this is so important, why it can be so good foryou. But really about the how everybody is doing. Is Doing subscriptionsnow 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 firstbusinesses, but every you know kind of business, including, you know,durable goods refrigerators, are working very hard on creating recurring revenue streams by focusingon the long term goals of the customer instead of how much money they canget on a transactional basis for the particular product itself. So good. Anda confession. You know, I obviously Ima tuned to helping people achieve theirdesired outcome and as more than just a checkbox but actually as the experience alongthe way. But I thought a lot about prior to encountering you and yourwork. 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, hita credit card, a hit assign contract at one big amount and in thismindset, pieces obviously so critical. So let's dive into the forever transaction andI guess start with just a definition. Yeah, forever transaction is that momentwhen your customer takes off their consumer hat, stops looking for alternatives, puts ona member hat and says, I am going to trust your organization tohelp me solve this problem, whatever this problem is, or achieve this ongoinggoal 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 currenton world events, or or this is how I'm going to grow in myprofession, or this is where I'm going to get my clothes. And it'sthat transaction that results in recurring business. That's what everybody wants. It's whythey come to subscriptions. But it's not...

...about the subscription pricing itself. It'sabout 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 youuse language around the North Star, which I think is just really, reallyhelps, like in one little term or phrase it really captures that alignment or, you know, organizing principle across the whole organization. You also did agreat job covering a lot of the metrics. Do you have any guidance? Likefrequently ask questions or things that you see people misusing or not understanding withregard 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 onlymetric right. So for a long time I was saying, you know,stop looking at your acquisition metric, focus on your retention metric. There aresome organizations, especially long standing ones like professional societies and gym's, where they'regreat on retention, but nobody's joining anymore because people look in the window andthey'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, youknow, 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 stoppedlooking 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 theleading 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 knowwell in advance of someone canceling if they're going to be a good andloyal customer or not. So those would be the metrics that I would encourageorganizations 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 howmany customers we have, this is how many customers left and this is howwe could tell that they were getting value for what they were paying for andwhether that value was increasing or decreasing over time. Really good. And forfolks that are listening, and I say this from time to time, there'sa sixty two bounce back button for a reason. It's not just because youlost your train of thought, it's also when someone like Robbie runs through thingslike frequency, recency, depth and breadth of usage. So we're hearing againnow the forever promise is part of the forever transaction. Tell us about thepromise. Yeah, so the promise is that that North start that we weretalking about earlier. It's the reason that someone trusts you enough to pay youon a regular, automatic basis. So sometimes I hear language from entrepreneurs orexacts where they say we want subscriptions because, you know, we want the customersto 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 customeris trusting you and willing to be on an automatic basis is because they trustyou, not because they're stupid, and what they are trusting you to dois to keep helping them achieve that forever promise. So I join a gymbecause 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 onthat promise. So maybe fifteen years ago it was jazzer size or a stairstepper 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 goout and research it. I can just go to them and say I trustyou. You know, it's like walking into a restaurant saying bring me thespecial, I trust you. You know, Alma Cosa men, you put mein you know, put me in the chef's hands. That's not becausethey'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 drivingall of our product development investments. So important because switching costs are notas high as most of US tend to think in most businesses. And sowhen 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 oneverybody's part. Obviously it's aspirational instead of literal, but might these things changea little bit over time? I mean you talked about like this natural kindof evolution. So I would expect that if I committed to a gym,just to stay with that one, that if I keep showing up, youknow, six years from now they're going to have new equipment and it's notjust going to be the same equipment. Does anything change? Have you seenanything that's a maybe a necessary or successful part of a change beyond like astandard? I'm staying current in my expertise on behalf of you. My customeris forever shorter than forever in any time. Yes, okay, so there's aretwo 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. Beforethey started linked in, they started a dating site called social met and samemind that. They're fantastic. They're all about the you know, the foreverpromise, 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 youdon't even want people to stay longer, like lost. Thing you want arepeople who are already hooked up to be, you know, polluting your dating pool. Right. And so they said. The next time we start a companywe're going to make sure we have a longer runway. But the foreveris 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 alsoactive on Linkedin. So it's not quite forever, but it's a pretty longtime. So that's kind of answer your question on forever. It's about whatjourney you're choosing to go on with your customers and what goal you're going tohelp them to solve. So this gets into the product iteration question. IfI set up, let's say that dating site example again, so let's saythat'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 Icalled 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 Ifound a perfect for now date. Now we work on relationship development orwe 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 buyinga home and I help you with all of the other things that I'm guessingmight be on your journey. So instead of being focused just on the sixmonths, I'm really focused on taking you through the most important relationships that areby choice as opposed to by birth. So it's really important how you definewhat 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 guideon. Really good in it. You just went someplace I wanted to go, which is, you know, two really really critical questions that I'm notsure that enough businesses are clear on or disciplined enough around, are fundamental tothe forever transaction in the forever promise, which are, who's your best customerand what problem do you solve for them? A is my impression. Do youhave a similar impression? Yeah, I totally do, and I thinkin the world of subscription that's I think what you just said is true inany business. You got to know who your who your customer is, andyou've got to know what problem you're solving...

...for why they came to you inthe first place. That allows you to create your headline benefit that gets themto buy. In a world of membership, in a world where you want togenerate recurring revenue, you also have to have the engagement benefits. Youhave to really not just understand what brought them to you, but how canI 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 areand 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 goodbut not as profitable, or the ones that are pretty good but are pushingyour product in a different direction. You really want to understand. We wantto make you know, make more of these. There's a concept of lookalikes. We want to know who's the look alike. Who Do you knowwell, buy from you get great value, recognize that they're getting great value andstay for a long time. And how do we make more of those? Yeah, I see a lot of challenge in the the kind of thefocus and discipline pieces there. I think, at least in my experience, it'shard to turn down revenue, but if sometimes some of that revenue turnsout to be bad revenue for any of a variety of reasons. You overwork for it, you're doing one off solutions or fixes or things, activitiesthat are in a benefit to your core customer. What advice do you havearound determining best customer and key problem in a way that allows that focus anddiscipline? Obviously carrying it forward requires, you know, a lot of goodinternal conversations around it, but how would you guide someone to create some ofthose definitions in a way that is broad enough to be doable, profitable froma total addressabile market standpoint or whatever, but also narrow enough that it doeshave some inherent focus and discipline to it? So the first thing, I thinkthat's important if you're just starting out, it's to start narrow, to startreally narrow, and to know you're nailing it a hundred percent. Likethis product is a perfect fit for these people. It's going to meet themwhere 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 canexperiment with adjacents, you can expand the features to better serve adjacent market.So for example, Amazon, when they started they had the vision of removingall friction from all buying occasions, but all they sold was books and theydidn't remove all friction even from that process. Right it's you still had to sometimeswait two or three weeks for the book. The Nice thing was youcould just go online and order any book you wanted. But they had avision of like layering in more benefits over time, and over time it becamemore attractive to more people as those benefits became broader. So I think thatit's really important to both have your big vision. You know, I imaginea world where everybody bought everything from our organization and it appeared instantaneously. That'sThe big vision. And today we're going to sell books in the United Statesto people who have computers, which is not the whole population. So it'sall about like that vision and then starting with something very, very narrow andvery, very granular. Super this is going to be kind of a reallyground 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. Youknow, these types of things. What are some ways that you've seen peoplesuccessfully define a best customer? What are like if you're going to find likethree to five characteristics or something, or is it or is that too manyyears 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 orlet you know. Yeah, this is such a good question and it's somethingthat 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 whatI 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 bestcustomers and then let's make a pile of you're not best customers and let'sput them on the wall and let's talk about what the differences are that jumpout at you. So, for example, you know, I've had I've hadclients look at it and they say, Oh, all the really like thisis a funny story, but you know, all the really good customers, those were the worst ones to on board because they ask so many darnedquestions. And you're like, oh, so something that we know about ourbest customers is that they take the onboarding process really seriously. Why is that? Well, because they're planning to use the product heavily, right, andso 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 beenthat great. We all know who they are. What do we notice?And we write. You know, a lot of times I'll have them dohypothesis 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. Youknow they live here, they have this much income, they work at thiskind of organization. That says kind of starting ground psychographics, how they thinkand feel, behavior, what they do, and you know what they do beforeand after buying. I think is important. And another kind of interestingexample of best best members that that I found really instructive was, as workingwith an association and a professional society, and one of the things that theyrealized was that their best members were usually brought in by their boss. Sotheir boss said this was you know, their boss said, Hey, welcometo the firm. You need to join our society because that's how we learnand 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 bytheir boss end up being the ones that volunteered the most, bring in themost people, spend the most money. But it wouldn't necessarily come up asa demographic or psychographic it's like, oh, that's how they on boarded. Theyhad a mentor who they trusted and respected who on boarded them and that'sthe secret. Foss really good. It reminds me of there's a woman Iknow named Lauren Bailey who found it at an organization called Girls Club, andit'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 onepercent, but it's sixty five percent if that woman's manager or supervisor refers herto the club, because it's see exact same dynamic, this kind of impliedpermission. 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 notsomething that you see without really wrestling with all the details of WHO's bestand 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 customercentricity. Is My speculation fair here to that that some people see themselves asone thing but they're really something else, and or they want to be allof the things and it's impossible to be those things. is like, arethose things approximately true? Yeah, oh, totally. And you know when Iyou know, I told you I was a strategy consultant. For mostof my career I worked in strategy and then for five years I was inproduct, product management, which is very different skill set, much more inthe weeds, much more operational, much more detail oriented, and I rememberwhen 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 becausethat's what was cool in that group. But really that's not me. I'ma strategy person and there's nothing wrong with...

...that, but when I have tomake a choice and be honest with myself, that's how I think and that's howthat'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 aboutyour customer, they rightly should say I care about all three. But thequestion is, when push comes to shove and something has to suffer, whichone 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 cantell 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 mostrespected? Where did the CEO come from? Did they come from a kind ofcustomer, you know, account management, ongoing relationship kind of space, ordid they come from engineering or, you know, Journal in Journalism it'sthe writers, right. That's the product people. Or are they a finto? They come out of the CFOS office, right, are they?Are they financial types or sales people? Were they're very much focused on youknow, if we hit our number, of the business is good. Sothere 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 thatwe can hit our number. Is that what you do? Or do youcreate 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 sobest, 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 dayand love the cars that win the prizes, and some of us just need somethingto 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 Cupholders, 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 intheir pockets to buy cars? Such a good distinction and I really love thatyou mentioned. I'm doing something for those of you who are listening. I'mdoing something I haven't done on the show before, which is hold up abook. I actually have it marked to the quiz that you put in thebook, on page even, to how customer centric is your organization. I'mjust going to read a few and and and maybe you can tack a couplemore 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 inlike in this one. Is All this, this page of particular is all markedup. We always speak as if the customer were in the room withus. These are yes or no questions. We always speak as if the customerwere in the room with us, and I love this one. Everyemployee 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 lastfive people that they brought into the business, and maybe your account managers or otherpeople 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. Andthen the last one, which I think is last on purpose. Everyone sharesan understanding of what customer centric means, this idea that we're not just goingto say that we are this thing, but no one agrees on what itmeans. It just so important. Yeah, it's it's funny. I was justdoing a clubhouse talk. Was My first time on clubhouse, and someoneasked out that. She said, you know, I have a really hardtime finding people that have that are kind of experienced in membership and that canhelp 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 runninga 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 givethem permission to do that. But you...

...can feel it right when you walkinto an organization. I'm guessing you feel that when you when you talk toa 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 knowit's it's hard maybe to put on paper, but we all know it when wesee it. I'm going to go to something kind of fun that youdid a drive by on at least once in the book, and it's thisidea that all of us all, I'm assuming that everyone listening a has asmartphone and some kind of a subscription plan for that and be some kind ofInternet service at home, perhaps with some television subscriptions attached to it. Thosebusinesses treat new people differently than they treat their current customers. I can't getlike you see, you know, get two brand new iphones for the priceof 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 yourthoughts or feelings about that as a consumer and as a professional? Yeah,so I hate them, both as a consumer and as a professional. Thatis my my point of view, because what you're saying is the people whotrust us. You're going back to this concept of trust. They're stupid enoughthat they won't notice that we're charging them a lot more than we're charging ournew members. We're not going to give them the benefits that we're giving ournew 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 ataste of what you have that's most delicious, because they don't understand or they don'tbelieve it's as good as you say. But really, if you really believein membership, the people that have been with you longest should get thebest deal because they've demonstrated their their commitment to you and their loyalty. Sowhen 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 thetelcos, you know, I just feel like that is, you know,number one. It's rewarding people who switch a lot. It teaches you thatwhat you need to do is cancel and join somewhere else, or call andthreatened to cancel. You did. You didn't mention that, but it's inthe same family. Right. I'm going to cancel my subscription because my neighboris getting seventy five percent off. Great will give you seventy five percent upto great. So mark your calendar. You know, every year around thistime, 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 trustthat 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 Ijust had all these feelings as you were describing, and it's is like I'mtoo lazy to play that game and or I'm at a privilege enough point inmy life, in my career where, you know, if I'm getting alittle bit overcharged, it's less. I prefer my time to be saved ratherthan my money on some of these things that I just roll over, whichis, I think, part of how they get away with it because wecan't all play these stupid games that they design around us. A little bitof a change of pace here, you know. I think between weeen somecombination of hustle culture and that the idea that you know, guys like BillGates got where they are but they dropped out of college. I notice youdid your Undergrad at Harvard in English and you did an MBA at Stanford andstrategy, 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 youhave any thoughts about higher education? I have so many thoughts. Is Likemy favorite topic. I think about it all the time. I have threecollege 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 tellme that you know, the Harvard model...

...is obsolete and that there is novalue in it and that their subscription based record prerecorded digital content is going toreplace for your liberal arts colleges and graduate programs like, you know, StanfordMba, and you know, I hear that and I think one of thethings that I think that that they're overlooking is that these experiences have a lotof benefits other than just the course content. There's the relationships you develop. There'sthe signaling factor of, you know, different institutions being hard to get intoin the first place. There's extracurriculars, there's the push that comes. Youknow, I have access to linkedin learning, because I'm linkedin instructor accessto thousands of courses, but how many courses do I actually watch every yearand finish, because nobody is going to make me and and I'm not havinglike even like the book club kind of conversation to discuss it? So there'sall of those things are additional benefits that increase the likelihood of me getting whatmy goal was, which, you know, it's a going to college is partiallyabout getting a good job and partially about becoming an educated citizen of theworld. 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 ofyour membership to help someone get a job, to get their first job, toget and continue growing in their profession? Or is it to be a greatcitizen of the world and have our broader knowledge? Or is it tohave a community of educated people who love and trust you just because you're memberof the same community? Those are all really different benefits and I think someuniversities have gotten lost, some colleges, some programs about which of those benefitsthey're going to provide and which ones they aren't, or they miss represent whatyou're going to get from it. So you know, lots of young peoplethat are going to, you know, racking up big debt, going tofor 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 thatright now there's so much disruption, especially with covid and people not being ableto be on campus, that there's an opportunity to unbundle of the benefits ofeducation and repack it to them for different market segments, different different customer groupswith different experiences. I am so glad I asked that and what was echoingfor me was who is your best customer and what problem do you solve forthem 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 andreorganizing, 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 anew way that makes more sense. Yeah, I think you know, one ofthe things as a mom of, you know, kids in private college, one of the things that's hard is that they still have access. Mydaughter 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 yearsand 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 buildingcommunity, extracurriculars, exposure to new kinds of people, but that's a bigpart of what I am paying for and that is why my daughter is takinga gap here. So good if she's at home working. If you areenjoying this conversation, I typically I share a couple others that you might like. Actually have four of them, which might be too many, but theywere, you know, in preparing for this one. Is like you know, excite structure these conversations a little bit. So I kind of so at leastI know where we're going and then I try to make it easy enoughto 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 withChris Hicken, who spent eight years in executive leadership at user testing and thenco founded and served as CEO at enough said. We called that product usageas a vanity metric, and so we got into different ways to measure customerhealth and engagement, which I was obviously...

...a theme here. Episode Forty fivewith West Bush, who is the founder of the product led institute, anauthor of Product led growth and so on. Episode Forty Five we talked about productled 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, whois the CO founder and executive director at Wharton Interactive at the Wharton School ofbusiness at pen she's also the CO author of the customer centricity playbook and shegets into defining with Peter Fader. Yeah, totally. Yeah, and she getsinto define her or she and Peter defined customer centricity in a financial sense, you know, in terms of lifetime value, very explicitly. So thatwas more of a financial conversation. And then I would be remiss if Ididn't mention episode one hundred and twelve with Lisa Earl McLeod, author of leadingwith noble purpose and selling with noble purpose, because she introduced us. So yeah, sixty five with Chris Hicken, forty five with West Bush, thirtysix with Sarah Tabs and one hundred and twelve with Lisa Earl McLeod. Thankyou for enduring that with me, Robbie, and fun that you are familiar withher in Peter Fader's work. Yeah, I I'm Famil yeah, Li sayslist. Obviously I'm a huge Fan Sarah and peters work. I thinkis phenomenal, and I mark wrote down number forty five, number sixty five. I'm going to check those out. Awesome. Please do and for folkswho are listening, we write all these up at Bombombcom podcast. You canobviously scroll the episodes in your preferred player or you can go to bomb Bombcompodcast. We do short write ups. We put in video clips. Youcan see me flipping through the pages of Robbie's book, for example, ifyou visit this post. And and of course, we have an embedible audioplayer there too. Hey, before I let you go, Robbie in,this has been fantastic. I always love to give you two opportunities. Thefirst one is to think or mention a person who's had a positive impact onyour life or your career, and the second is to give a nod ora shout out to a brand or a company that you appreciate for the experiencethey 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 goodrelationship being more about the marriage than about the dating. I have to takethe easy one here and say, you know, my own forever transaction asmy husband, Bob, we met Freshman Year College on the stairs. Iwas on the landing. I said Hey, hey, they're we're having a PizzaParty and we've been together ever since. So sorry, my huh up,my own forever transaction has helped me every step of the way. HasRead 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 interms of favorite, favorite membership. Right now, then we're talking. We'restill 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 communityhas really helped me stay focused on on, you know, fitness and health,even during this kind of crazy and difficult time. Really good. I'mnot keeping formal score, but I can say for a fact that that isthe second peloton reference at this point in these conversations. Jeff Bruns, backof higher logic, also mentioned it and you wrote about stitch fix, whichis the only company that has come up three times when that question has beenasked in including ice, including by Sarah Toms. That's a whole nother conversationlike this. Blend of personalization but high, high tech but high touch is thereally unique Combo and I think Peloton fits that bill a little bit aswell. If someone has enjoyed this, how should they follow up with you? How can they learn more about peninsula strategies? How can they learn aboutthe forever transaction where the membership economy or your podcast, which we didn't talkabout, 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, onLinkedin, twitter, instagram and if you mention the PODCAST, I'm glad toglad to link in with you. Awesome. Thank you so much. This hasbeen a pleasure. Well done on the book and thank you for spendingthis time with us. Oh, thanks for having me. This was agreat conversation. You're a very, very good interview. I know you knowthat, but real pleasure, clear communication, human connection, higher conversion, theseare just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages you're sendingevery day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance, so pickup the official book. Rehumanize Your Business. How personal videos accelerate sales and improvecustomer experience. Learn more in order today at Bombombcom Book. That's BOMBE bombcom book. Thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember thesingle most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a betterexperience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing rightnow in your favorite podcast player, or visit Bombombcom podcast.

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