The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 1 · 5 months ago

176. Features Are Commodities, Feelings Are Differentiators w/ Ethan Beute


Features are commodities, but feelings are differentiators. Customer experience is the last meaningful differentiator left to us — and we have to navigate it, for the most part, digitally and emotionally.

I’m Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and co-host of the CX Series on the B2B Growth Show. In this episode, I ask you three questions about how you choose companies and how your feelings about companies affect your decisions.

Ready to hear the questions? Here we go:

  • How do you make the decision about which company to choose?
  • How do we create feelings about our company?
  • How do we create trust and confidence in a digital world?
  • I also mention a takeaway, a solution, and a qualifier.  

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Feeling stick with us as human beings. Emotion drives both memory and motivation, features our commodities. Feelings are differentiators. That's the takeaway here. 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. Hey, thanks so much for checking out this short episode of the Customer Experience Podcast. I can hardly believe that we've been on this journey for almost three years now, here on the podcast, of creating conversations and advancing ideas around getting out of our silos, getting together with our team members, across teams and across our entire organization to unify in service of our customers, creating and delivering better experiences more often and more consistently for our customers. And in this episode we're going to call back to some of the deep truths that repeatedly surface here on the show and that of repeatedly surfaced over more than a hundred and seventy episodes. One of those primary truths is that CX is our last meaningful differentiator available to us. When we create and deliver unique experiences, we're actually adding value and differentiating ourselves from our competitors. Another deep truth is that the essence of customer experience, or Cx, is in how we make people feel. That emotional resonance, that thing that customers sometimes can even give words to. That is the essence of a great experience. It's also the essence of a terrible one. That feeling gives rise to the conscious thoughts and then the...

...behaviors of people that help or hurt our relationships with those customers and help or hurt our revenue. And this episode's got a little bit of an interactive component to it. I'll be asking three questions along this journey. As you think about these, feel free to email me Ethan etch n at Bombombcom. That's bomb bombcom. Email me Ethan at Bombombcom, or you can message me directly reach out on linked in. My last name is spelled be eute. Organize some of your thoughts and share them with me. I really welcome that. So after the three questions, I'll provide a takeaway, a solution and a big qualifier. So here we go. Let's say there are two companies, company A and company B, and in a way it doesn't matter what they provide, what product or service that they're delivering for you is the customer. It could be landscaping, it could be soft where, it could be anything, but it's not just a widget. There's something unique about you and what you need or what you want, or something site specific or location specific, some unique ways to implement or deploy it, something where you're going to want to talk with a salesperson. Similar products, similar features, similar prices. Company A and company be look pretty much the same when you line it out on paper. So here's the first question. In that scenario, how do you make the decision about which company to choose? Again, some parody, some commodity approximately equal. How do you choose between company A and company B? The answer I tend to hear is some version of the one I like the most, the one I feel are going to take care of me the best, the one I'm most confident with or the one I'm the most comfortable with, some version of the one I feel best about. Let me give you an example. A few years ago we decided to get air conditioning at... house. I'm in Colorado Springs. Some people argue that it's not necessary. We decided we wanted to do it and we knew that that might come with a new furnace. So we brought in three companies. Of course, I did my research online, like everybody else does. Who has good ratings? Who has great standing of the Better Business Bureau? Asked around to a couple friends. Who Have you used? Narrowed the list down to three companies, brought them in, invited them over to our house and each company represented a reputable brand. Were Consumer reports folks at my house. So consumer reports was good with all the brands they represented. Each had a basically compelling pitch and we ended up going spoiler alert with the most expensive one. The first person we didn't really even want in the house. My wife was totally creeped out by this person. It was not a very good experience and we scratched that company off straight away. The second one, the sales rep, was a little bit distracted, relatively unengaging and unengaged in the process, kind of just going through the motions, walking through the details, asking a couple of basic questions and then going into the pitch. The third is a guy I would definitely have a beer with. Engaging. He smiled a lot, he laughed a lot, he obviously had a view to a long term relationship. Sure, he was selling me a maintenance package kind of as part of it, but he's positioned himself and saw himself as our long term partner in comfortable, healthy air in our home for years to come. Turns out he was the most expensive. Turns out that didn't matter. It was how he made us feel, how he made us feel about ourselves, how we made us feel about him, how he made us feel about a potential future in our home, how he made us feel about a long term relationship. Just positive, positive, positive. All these kind of like little micro yeses that eventually led to the macro yes and relatively for our family, you know, a relatively significant investment in our home. Now here's the interesting thing. The decision...

...was hardly logical, it was barely product related. Yes, we had done our homework and narrow it down, but that's just kind of basic stuff. These were just the sales people, but they represented everything, these people that helped inform our decision in a very significant way and cast a significant amount of the feeling and emotion into our decision. Where the front end of the whole process. They weren't the installers, they weren't the manufacturers, they weren't the service people that come out twice a here to our home, but they represented everything. If you're a regular listener to the show, you might recognize that sang gramvagere is a multiple time guest and twice on the show he's mentioned something like this. He said some version of no one says this sales rep sucks or this customer service REP sucks. No one says this team or this department sucks. Everyone says that company sucks. When someone has a bad experience or a great experience, it's assigned to the company or the brand overall, and the same thing is true here. So again, the first question was when there's basic product parity and relative commodification across the competition, how do you choose between company A and company be? In most cases it comes down to how we are made to feel about ourselves in the brand. In the situation, the opportunity and the humans on the front end play an outsized role in that initial decision and on expectation setting and a little bit on expectation management as well. Again, what do you think about that? Email me Ethan at Bombombcom or hit me up on Linkedin. So here's the second of the three questions. Here's a follow up question. How do we get feel? How is it created? How do we help people feel very positively about us, about our team members, about our brand, about our product, about our service, about the opportunity of the first Macro yes, that first point of commitment,...

...that first exchange in the commercial relationship? How do we get to feel? I've already previewed the answer that I hear the most. It's about people and human to human interaction. That is where most emotional resonance is created. That's because we're fellow human beings, were social creatures. Sales very largely involves the transfer of emotion. It was hard to care about that second competitor because he hardly cared about the opportunity. He hardly cared about being in our home. He was distracted and unengaged. Therefore, we were unengaged as well. On the other hand, the third person we talked to was excited. He was excited about the situation the long term opportunity. It was a highly engaging and positive exchange. I've also foreshadowed some of the other factors that we have to consider, primarily expectations. Expectations need to be set, they need to be managed and they need to be met and exceeded on a consistent, ongoing basis. That's how we maintain any individual customer relationship and that's how we ultimately build a positive reputation. Repeat Business, referral business, retained revenue, expanded revenue and all of those things. But very foundational is rapport relationship, trust, confidence. That's how we get to feel with our prospects and with our customers. Now here's the third and final question, and again, reach out to me with what you think and feel about these questions and your own answers. How do we create that feeling in a digital world? How do we create that space when we're distanced from our prospects in our customers physically, emotionally, visually and personally? For well over a year we weren't welcome in people's homes and in people's offices. We weren't welcome at one on one meetings at the local coffee shop and even today, some buyers don't want that. We're...

...stuck trying to connect and communicate in digital, virtual and online spaces. So again, how do we create that feeling in a digital or virtual channel, in a digital or virtual base and a digital or virtual exchange? And a quick note here. This question holds. It's just as relevant and arguably more relevant in thinking about our recruits and our employees, just like it does with our prospects and our customers. How do we create that connection, in that feeling, that positive vision, that exchange of emotion with our current team members and our future team members? When we're not connecting facetoface, they face the same issues that our prospects and customers do, but instead of features and benefits, its salary, benefits, titles and all the other features that can feel like parity or commodity, is their weighing different employment options. Some of the elements that can never be matched from company A to company, be whether it's for customers or whether it's for employees. Culture, vision, mission, how that team makes you feel, how your boss or supervisor or hiring manager makes you feel about yourself, about the company, about your work, about your team members, about your future growth together. Notice that I haven't given you an answer to that question yet. How do we create this feeling and digital, virtual and online spaces? So here we go into the takeaway, the solution and the qualifier. The takeaway from this set of questions is that features our commodities. Feelings are differentiators. Feelings provide the foundation for our thoughts and our behaviors. Feeling stick with us as human beings. Emotion drives both memory and motivation. Features our commodities. Feelings are differentiators. That's the takeaway here, and one solution I'm proposing, especially to that final question. How do...

...we create these feelings? Is more video messaging. By video messages I simply mean a twenty seven second or three and a half minute simple video recorded with your smartphone or your Webcam and used in place of what would otherwise be faceless, typed out text. So often we try to capture our true thoughts and feelings by getting intellectual, getting conscious, constructing words and sentences and paragraphs, pecking those into a keyboard and sending them to other people, hoping, even expecting, that they're going to fully understand what we intend. But in so many of those cases, especially our most important and valuable messages. We can make stronger personal connection, we can be more accurate with our emotion in our tone. We can simplify detail or complexity simply by looking a Webcam or a smartphone in the lens and talking to someone or to a group of people. It's more natural, it's more human and it capitalizes on all of the underlying idea. As in these three questions, you are the differentiator. You are the reason people say yes. Sure, they're saying yes to price, features, benefits, but even more they're saying yes to you and to who you are and to the trust and rapport and relationship that you've built with them. And, by the way, even if you're not in sales formally, you don't have a sales title, you're not on the sales team, you're not in the sales department, no matter what team you're on, no matter what rule you're in, you are selling opportunities to say yes. Yes, I'll make that personal introduction, yes, I'll deliver that on deadline. Yes, I'll return that phone call, yes, I'll fill out that survey. You're asking people to say yes to something, something big or something small or something in between. Throughout your day. All of our success is built with and...

...through and for other people. So, instead of hiding behind that cloak of digital anonimity, instead of relying on faceless, typed out text, we can find opportunities to create that feeling, to create more human to human interaction, or the best digital semblance of it, in order to differentiate ourselves and to encourage people to say yes to our opportunities. And here's the one big qualifier. It has to be about the other person, clearly, since serially and consistently. It has to be about and for the other person. Clearly needs to be clear to them. You need to make it about and make it for the other person sincerely. You actually have to want what's best for them and mean it, and you need to do it consistently, over and over again, across time, analog, digital, face to face, in text, in video. The more we can communicate in a human centered way, the more likely we are to have pre sold ourselves as being worth someone's time and attention again in the future, validating that we are trustworthy, validating that they should respond and engage with us again. This is how we improve employee experience. This is how we improve customer experience. This is how we grow relationships, this is how we grow revenue. If you found this interesting or provocative, I hope you'll check out episode one hundred fifty seven with chef hiken. We called that why repeat business may not be loyal business. We talk about that role of emotion in creating loyal customers, not just repeat customers, and sheep as awesome. He's a customer service and customer experience expert, Wall Street Journal, in New York Times, best selling author of like eight or nine books. So it's episode one hundred and fifty seven with chef hiken.

Also one hundred and forty eight with Dan Tire. Dan Is the first salesperson and six them Ploye at hub spot. He is a big video messaging practitioner and we called Dan's episode. Again. That's episode one hundred and forty eight. Video Messaging and the next normal. It's got themes of this digital transformation, virtual selling, virtual service reality that we all live in now. And before that, episode one hundred and twenty nine with Robbie Kelman Baxter. She is the author of the forever transaction and the membership economy very much about bringing people back. We called that one, creating forever customers with a forever promise. This one has themes of expectations throughout it. This has themes of long term relationships, repeat customers, recurring revenue, expanded revenue, making that forever promise, delivering on that promise and creating forever customers and potentially forever team members. And of course I'd be remiss if I did not mention bombombcom book. That's bomb bombcom book. There you can see rehumanize Your Business, the first book I co authored with Steve Passonelli, my longtime friend and team member, are chief marketing officer here at bombomb. Rehumanize your business is the complete what, why, who went and how of using video messages to accelerate sales and improve customer experience. You'll also find there our newer book, The Wall Street Journal Best Seller, human centered communication, a business case against digital pollution. You can find both of those at Bombombcom Book. Again, my name is Ethan, butte email me, Ethan Etchn at Bombobcom or hit me up on Linkedin. I would love to hear from you. I appreciate you listening and I hope you have a great day. One of the most impactful things you can do to improve customer experience and employee experience is to include some video messages in your daily digital communication. Explain things more clearly, convey the writing motion...

...and tone, save time by talking instead of typing prevent those unnecessary meetings. There are so many benefits to using simple videos and screen recordings, and bombomb makes it easy. In email, Linkedin or slack messages from Gmail Outlook, sales force outreach or Zendesk, learn how bombom can help you and your team with clear communication, human connection and higher conversion. Visit Bombombcom today. 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 podcasts.

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