The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 7 months ago

194. Winning Digital Customers w/ Howard Tiersky

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We could call it customer experience. Or we could call it love. 

How should our customer-centricity change when we want to win digital customers? 

In this episode, I interview Howard Tiersky , CEO at FROM, The Digital Transformation Agency and author of Winning Digital Customers , about emphasizing customer experience during digital transformation. 

Howard and I also talked about:

  • What the three key elements of customer experience are
  • Why you need an ambitious vision for digital transformation
  • How to love your customers — and earn their love
  • What the role of values are in digital branding
  • How to temper the pace of change with customer-centricity    

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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.

If behavior is the most important thing to business and emotion is the thing that drives behavior, then we should be very, very interested in the emotional reaction that we get from our customers, and if we wanted to be a very positive one, well, you know, I call that love. 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. When a customer journey results in far more positive emotions than negative ones, when the customer thinks and feels that the brand is meeting their needs consistently and even occasionally giving them that delightful feeling of surprise when their expectations are exceeded, and when the experience is aligned with the customers values, then we have the right ingredients to inspire the love that is so valuable to long term business results. That quote comes from page sixty seven of one of the best customer experience books I've ever read, The Wall Street Journal Best Seller winning digital customers, the antidote to a relevance in today. On the podcast you're going to be learning from the author of winning digital customers. He served as director of new media at Ernst and Young VP of media and entertainment at Cap Gem, and I as an adjunct professor at Nyus Tishue School of the arts, and for the past fourteen years he served a CEO at from the digital transformation agency. He's done work for brands and companies like Verizon, NBC, a, vis, Mattel, AAA, air bus, farmers all state, Mary Lynch, Morgan Stanley, MX, visa, Amazon and many, many more. Howard Tierski, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thank you. Thank you for having me, Ethan, and listening to your incher. I'm thinking I should have a vacation at this point. That sounds like an awful lot. You know, I could have listed many, many more brands and companies and before we get into it and before I before we get into customer experience specifically, is the work that you've done for those brands I listed in all the other ones that I could have is it all on digital transformation? A lot of the themes and practices that you outline and winning digital customers. Yes, absolutely, I mean this phrase term digital transformation is kind of a recent hot term, but in fact the work that I've been doing for the last twenty five years with large brands is largely answer one question, which is how can digital helped our business? And so much of the answer is by creating more differentiated customer experience, although there are other ways it can help as well, like improving employee tools so that you can lower your cost of operations, things like that. But yeah, wide range of industries, wide range of different types of projects, but they all boil down to one basic, simple idea, which is winning digital customers and avoiding irrelevance by meeting them where they are and serving in the way they prefer to start be served, in the way they're living their lives, which is digitally. You mentioned that digital transformations become a hot term, and certainly it has. But still has customer experience. So let's start, Howard, where we always start on this show, which is your thoughts or your definition or the primary characteristics. When I see customer experience, what does that mean to you? Well, customer experience is what happens every time your customer has any kind of interaction with your brand, which could be seeing a television commercial, visiting your website, walking into your store, if you are brand that makes some sort of product. Every single time they use your product, Call Your Call Center, read your direct mail piece, anything that they do that interfaces between them and something that comes to your brand, that's part of an overall, you know, customer experience journey, as we say, and the way I think about it is it really boils down to three key things. What do you what really happens when someone interfaces with your brand? Well, first of all, there's some kind of a stimuli, right, they see something, they hear something, they receive or don't receive something, they feel something, they open a box, they cut their finger on the on the packing material, you know, whatever it is, right, they bleed whatever. So some so they have some kind of stimuli and then that results in three things. They have thoughts as a result of that, some of those thoughts become memories, they have feelings as a result of that and they in age and some kind of behavior as a result of that. Maybe they may or may not, you know, they may see your add and do nothing, but they may engage in some kind of behavior. And so I think when we think about customer experience, the way I like to think about it is it's those moments of connection when their brand in the person the customer is is interfacing in some way. But then it extends to what's behind the scenes. What are they actually experience? What is their actual stimulating experience? What do they see here fields that are and then what do they think, feeling do? And if you look at that full x Ray, ...

...that's really the customer experience that we then can ask the question, hmm, did this work? By work I mean well, we stimulated the customer in some way, we made them think of us, we gave them an experience. Did we get the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that we want to help our business, or did we get some thoughts, feelings and behaviors that we don't want? And the work of customer experience, the work of improving customer experience, is largely improving the Stimuli exped what we would kind of classically call the experience, so that we get the thoughts, feelings and behaviors the best align with the business outcomes that we're seeking. I love it. I love the way any and you did this so nicely through the book, which is continually anchor back into the fact that the experience is not yours, it is the customers. It's always the customers, it belongs to them. It's based in the feelings that are created, which drives thoughts and drives behaviors, and that those behaviors are going to either enhance or diminish ai their perception of what's going on. But in addition, it's that they're directly related to the business outcomes and we're either moving them toward the outcomes that we like or not. In all the time that you've been doing this work, when did customer experience as language just kind of bubble up a little bit? I feel like it's a lot more common now than even when I started this podcast over three years ago. When did customer experience that specific language? Because of my feeling is that it's newish language for things that we've tried to work on for a century. What are your thoughts on like where we are in the use of the language itself? Cash? You know, I don't even remember. I feel like we were referring to user interfaces and USABILITY. You know, earlier and at a certain point people started to say, you know, it's not just user experience, it's customer experience. And I have to admit there's a part of me that has limited patients for all this terminology, because sometimes I feel like people want to pretend something is new and breakthrough and all they're really doing is relabeling something. And so I'm at my I'm always want to get past the buzz words. Okay, what are we actually trying to accomplish? Are What really matters, and we can label it however we want. But yeah, I don't know, I feel like it's been at least seven or ten years that we've been using that term customer experience. But you know, honestly, it's all a blurred to me. I can't believe I've been doing this as long as I have and I feel like I can't I can't really date the origin of that term in my life, but it's been around for a while. Cool you and and what you just share. There's why I love to ask everybody the same question to kind of get going, is to see where the answers converge in where they diverge so that we're approximately talking about the same thing and so that we can also understand it from variety of perspectives. Before we get too much farther, I would love to learn a little bit more about from what are you all doing there? Who's your ideal customer? What problems do you solve for them at from the Digital Transformation Agency? Sure, well, the problem, I'll start with the last thing. The problem we solve is helping brands inspire the love of their customers, because when people love a brand, they're their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are almost always very, very well aligned with the the the financial and business goals of that brand. So that's a very, very worthwhile goal that any brand should pursue. And obviously, I'm sure we can all think of brands that many people love, whether it's apple or a Disney or Teslaw, and acknowledge that the financial results are almost always outstanding. So then the question is, how do you do that? And today so much of that, not all of it, but a lot of it, is about creating a better digital experience, because our customers are largely living lifestyles with digital at the center, and if we're not delivering an incredibly elegant and and satisfying digital experience. It's highly likely that we are not in a position to inspire that kind of customer love, and so the practical day to day work that we do is usually working with brands like Aa a, air, boss, JP, Morgan, chase, Transamerica and many others, a vis and first of all making sure we really understand what is their current customer experience like. Just go back into the definition we head before, what actually happens in the real world when customers interact with their brand, and then how do they think, feel and feel, and what are they doing as a result, so that we can optimize or transform it, and then developing strategies to do that, developing customer experienced visions, like in the form of journey maps, developing detailed product designs, like through wire framing and prototyping, and conceiving of new types of experiences and then helping to implement them through technology and whatever else it takes, business process, if necessary, customer service training, etc. To sort of go from the idea to the point that the money's coming back into the bank. And lastly, very often, when you really create an ambitious vision, which is what many companies need to do, because the world has changed so much. So any...

...company that says they only need to change a little in response to the digital world is probably kidding themselves because if the world has changed that much, or are the adds that you don't need to change quite a lot. And when you try to take particularly the kind of large brands that we work with and make substantial changes, changes to business model, radical shifts to the way they interact with their customers, possibly rattle still shifts to how they deliver their products to their customers, there's a lot of resistance in almost any organization and there's a need for a level of leadership skill which transcends what's necessary in normal business as usual times, and so we often get involved in the question of how do we get this organization to actually make the change that's necessary. Sometimes it's change is necessary to save its life in the long run because, like I say, there's tends to be a lot of resistance and you have to really be inspiring in order to get people to come along with you, along for the ride. So good, really well said, and it reminds me, of course, you're kind of reminding me of reading the last portion of the book where you provide a lot of practical advice on managing that change in resistance, as well as balancing the short term incremental wins that we need with the much larger ambitions that we also need for long term sustainability. And I forget it's probably somewhere in the middle where you where you shared the key idea that you know, taking these six existing experience and not just putting like patchwork improvements on it. That's not going to get us where we need to go long term, although it's still worthwhile work. You mentioned customer love in that response. I'd love to spend a minute there. That actually came up on a recent episode with Sue Wodard, who spent thirty years in mortgage and in Fintech organizations, and you know, we talked a little bit about some people's resistance to using that word in a business context. You obviously embrace it completely. In fact, I'll read a quote from the book and then let you kind of tee you up for why aren't more people using this language? Why have you chosen to embrace it so much and kind of what does it mean? But to quote you to you just going to be awkward. I'm going to do it in a number of times here. This book is a blueprint for earning love from today's customers and it's a treatise on the idea that obtaining that customer love is the single most important factor in the success of Your Business. Such powerful language. Talk to me about what love means in this context. We obviously love different people in different things differently. Why we chosen to use this language? Sure, yeah, so, so, as you say, you know, I love my wife, I love my kids, I love my Ford Mustang, and clearly that doesn't mean the exact same thing. And, as I said a moment ago, you know, I don't want people to get too hung up on words. If someone is allergic to using the word love in a business context, then then let's talk about, you know, a powerful emotional desire by your customer to engage with your brand. If that is more comfortable to you, then we don't want terminology to get in the way of business results. But I use the word love because I want people to be thinking about the idea that this really is a strong and powerful emotion and that that's the thing, that that's the ambition that we want to have, not just customer satisfaction. I think the idea of customer satisfaction, I think the phrase customer satisfaction is a terrible phrase to use in the context of any kind of objective. We want our customer satisfaction scores to go up. I don't want customers to be satisfied. I want customers to be, you know, so delighted and so in love that you know the IE. Can you imagine if someone said how's your marriage and your partner said it's satisfactory? I mean that would not be, you know, success. And so you know, let you know, words can be important and it's not about any one particular word, but it's about acknowledging that the single most powerful driver of customer behavior is emotion. Many, many studies support that idea more than any kind of rational thinking. And the single, and I'll say the single most important indicator or the single most important contributor to the success of a business is customer behavior. So if customer behavior is the most important thing to a business, meaning they buy, they buy more, they you know, are they refer you to others, they post good reviews, they don't caught. Behavior can also be things that we don't want. They don't call your call center and you know caught run up your cost to serve them, etc. Etc. Right. So when your customers do what you want them to do, that's not the only goal in business, but it will make up for a multitude of other sins if not, everything else is perfect. And if your customers won't do what you want them to do, that it doesn't matter how good your warehouse fulfilment technology system is, you know you are out of business. So if behavior is the most important thing to business and emotion is the thing that drives behavior, then we should be very, very interested in the emotional reaction that we get from our customers, and if we want it to be a very positive one. Well, you know, I call that love, but if it helps someone else to call it something different, I'm fine with that. The only thing I would say is don't call at loyalty,...

...because I think some businesses start to get all wrapped up in the meeting of the word loyalty, which I have no problem with the word loyalty in general, but in business that term has come to mean something very specific, which is repeat transactions. United Airlines considers me a loyal customer based on how many segments I fly and I I fly more segments, I'm more loyal. That's fine and that's a valid thing to be measuring how much business I give them. But does that mean I have a stronger emotional connection to united? It might, but there's all kinds of reasons why I might do business with a company that I don't have a strong emotional connection with. I do business with some companies that downright annoy me because they're convenient or whatever. So we just want to make sure we keep these terms discrete just so we don't confuse each other when we're talking. So loyalty is an emotion on the battlefield when one soldier won't leave another man to die on the battlefield, but in the business board, in the boardroom, loyalty has been co opted to mean something different and I say let's leave that beat. Loyalty means repeat transactions. We need another word to refer to the kind of emotional reaction, the emotional commitment that we want to have from our customers. Yeah, really good, and I'll just note for listeners that are resistant to the word love. Howard did a great job giving you alternative language, but it took like six times or eight times more words. You know, it's simple, it's powerful, it's an emotionally powerful it's based. You broke down three criteria for love. One of them is about consistent delivery, be on expectations and needs. One of them is about periodically delighting people in the third is about standing for something. In the quote that I chose to open the this episode with referred to customers values. Talk about standing for something, customers values is kind of shared, you know, purposes a word that gets thrown around here. Mission like talk about that, because I think people are also sensitive to that. Like I don't know what I can stand for. I don't know what I you know, like I think a lot of people start to associate with political positions and things and that becomes a really fraud and scary thing. Talk about what you mean around standing for something. You know, I see it as like the the way to really take root emotionally with somebody, like that's the deepest thing, and then the rest had also is positive feelings associated with it, positive memories. Little does the stories and inconsistent delivery in the periodic delight that wind up in customer reviews and are the stories that we use to refer other people to your brand or your company, but I feel like the root is in this standing for something and this shared value. It's the basis for community and all these other things. How do you think about this, this dynamic of standing for something? Sure? Well, we see in the data more and more all the time that the today's customer, and particularly millennials and younger they really value doing business with brands that really, you know, as you say, quote unquote, stand for something, and it connects back to the model that I described in the book, about the Formula For customer love of that you talked about, because a lot of businesses and brands are kind of dehumanized to the customer. You know. I mean, do you really feel that like City Bank cares about you? It's hard if you if you don't see a brand is having a sense of humanity, then it's hard to believe that that they really care about you at all. And if they don't care about you, then it's unlikely that you're going to care about them. And that goes back to the model that you mentioned earlier. But just to stick for a moment with the idea of values. Values are the most fundamental thing that makes us human, the thing that, you know, we passionate, we care about something, something means something to us more than like, say, like a robot. You know, it's kind of like, you know, I see these things on websites all the time. You know, like prove you're not a robot by telling me which of these pictures has a school bus in it and which ones don't have a school bus. You know, and I would think to myself, could a robot really not tell the difference between? If I were a robot, I'd like to think I was a robot that would know whether something was a school bust or not. It is not it self. Driving car is supposed to be able to do that. You know, I'm at sure that's the ultimate test of a robot. The ultimate test of whether something is a robot or not is what we get from the old, you know, Star Trek, the next generation, where data wanted to be more human, right to care about something, to feel something. And so when your brand really stands for something and demonstrates values, it's your way of showing that not just the people who work there, but the brand itself has an element of humanity and that humanity is an essential ingredient in order people feel emotional, emotional connection and back you know, you mentioned politics. I think that there's no question that there are some brands that have taken extremely political stands and have demonstrated to their customers that they stand for something, Nike being example, when they supported Colin Kaepernick, when hey, you know, took a knee during the NFL Games and what you know, as a result of doing that, two things happened. First of all, immediately their stock went down because people thought, O't my God, this is going to be horrible for Nike's business. And in fact there were a whole bunch of people that said, because Nike did that, I will never again buy another pair...

...of Nike Shoes. And there was another group of people that said, because Nike did that, I will be Nike's loyal customer forever, because they've demonstrated that they share a value with me. Because that's the truth. It's not just that people want brands that have values. People want brands that have values that they resonate with. And when you communicate your values, inevitably there's going to be somebody who those brands anti resonate with. Right there, the antithesis of that person's values and you'll wind up pushing that customer away. But I think what we've seen, and I'll give you a few examples, is that you attract more than you repel if you do it in a smart way, meaning, you know, obviously you could come out with some position that only one percent of the world shares and ninety nine percent of people disagree with, and that probably wouldn't be smart business. But you know, even if your value is only shared by thirty percent of the people, having thirty percent of the people be a loyal customer and seventy percent of people hate you is actually usually better business than having a hundred percent of the people be like one way or the other. And you know, another example is is chick fil a, and they're maybe backtracking on some of it now, but you know, at a certain point they became known as a company that was really sort of against a lot of lgbtq values and other progressive liberal values. You know, personally that really turns me off. You know, I don't go to Chickfila, but it was great for their business and I don't know if they genuinely felt those things or it was just a strategy but if it was a coldhearted strategy, it's sure worked, because the net result was a massive increase in business, even without my five dollars to buy a chicken sandwich. So I think that that there's no question that that can work. But I would just end with this. That's only one category of values. Political values are one type of value, but Disney also conveys a real sense of having values that they care about. Apple conveys a sense of having values that they care about, and it's not mainly in either of those cases, a Democrat versus a Republican thing, a right wing versus a left wing thing. You know, Disney believes in family, and you know apple believes in in innovation and empowering people. What is Doli believe in? You know, let me just as in contrast. You know, I think it's easy to see that these companies, you know, Disney, Disney beliefs in family. You know what is what is paramount believe in? I don't know. You know. So I think that that's that's just important to realize, is that politics is one category of values, but there are many others that you can choose from as well. Such a good share there in great use of examples, and you know, it's interesting because with your examples of Disney and apple in particular, I think where a lot of people get hung up to is on like slogans or taglines or things, and so when you know, when you think about Disney, you don't think of any taglines. I mean you said family. That was certainly a word that came to mind. Magic was another one that came to mind, and he's kind of transcendent, kind of pro human values that I think almost anyone could relate to. Let's dive into the book even more directly than we have and I am going to do one thing that's less awkward than quoting you to you. I'm going to quote Michelle McKenna, who is an SVP and the CIO of the NFL, who wrote the forward for the book. This book documents and approach that helps you plan ambitious but rationally paste change, starting with quick wins. That language that she used, you know, is the is the forword. So I hadn't read the book yet, but I really appreciated and I felt like it delivered on what she promised their talk about the importance of rationally paste. I feel like, you know, for people who get lit up on some of these ideas like we're behind our competitors. We should have been thinking about this five years ago, but we all know today is the best day to take the first step if it's a direction we know we should be going. Talk about rationally paste change versus what I assume that you're often called into situations that feel very, very urgent and something is on fire, but we can't work that way if we're going to create sustainable will change. Talk about that language of rationally pace change and maybe even the value of quick wins. Yeah, well, I guess I'd say a few things. I'll start with quick wins. Quick wins are very important because there's tends to be so much resistance to large scale transformation. Even it's hard to get it approved because there's resistance. And you look anything that's expensive and disruptive, it's it's it's reasonable for people to say, wait a minute, do we really need to spend all this money? Do we really need to do something that's such a radical departure? Sounds risky and you know what, it is risky. The only problem is that not changing is probably riskier. But I can understand why it's hard to get something improved and then once it's approved, you know, a lot of transformations get killed right they make a misstep, something bad happens or just the enemies that were against the transformation the first place are waiting in the wings to prove that it should be put out of its misery. So you have to be constantly looking for arrows in your back when you're leading transformation and I think that it makes sense to think...

...about, you know, what's the pace of change that the organization can effectively accomplish if you try to change that? The fast you try to change, in a sense, the more risk you create, at least the risk that the organization won't be able to keep up with a change. Now, having said that, the world is changing very fast and one of my favorite quotes is from Jack Welsh, the legendary CEO of General Electric, who said back in the s he said when the pace of change on the outside company exceeds the pace of change on the inside, the end is near. And I see you nodding vigorously and whenever I use that quote with clients and almost anybody, they go yeah, and that's so true. And most big companies today, big predigital companies right they are experiencing the fact that they aren't moving as fast as the world around them, which puts them at risk of irrelevance, as I say in the title my book. So when we talk about rationally paste change, we have forces pulling us in two different directions. On the one hand, you know, if we don't change rapidly, we could be out of business or lose our place in the customers heart and wind up like toys or us, or wind up like circuit city or so many brands that were changing. It wasn't that they weren't changing, they just didn't change fast enough. At the same time, you have to ask realistically, well, what can I accomplish here and how quickly can I go? So I think that the key to rationally paste change actually is the perception of rationally paste change by having some quick wins, so people see the quick wins, but you're also driving as rapidly as possible towards, you know, an ambitious transformational program that will really I mean the question is really, how long is it okay to wait to get your company to the point where you can really stand toetote with any competitor in the market place. How long is it okay to be behind? So you have to you have to balance those two things out. Yeah, I'm going to jump into your writing and to quote. So how to customers evaluate your brand in products if they assume most of what you say is a lie, mostly from their own digital experience? I love this. It reminds me of something that I teach a lot in the context of the work that I do, which is that so many of these things we want people to feel and think and then act against our things that if we declare them ourselves, they're not likely to be believed. In fact, the more we declare them, the less likely they are to be believed that it really is something that we need to demonstrate and it's through their experience. Why do you think you had to state that so clearly? It seems so intuitively true, but I don't know that a lot of people understand and behave in accordance with it. Yeah, well, you know, people are increasingly cynical, especially about brands and especially about marketing. You know, if we asked a hundred people to name what airline do you think is the friendliest airline, like Ethan, in your experience what's the friendliest airline you've ever flown? Gosh, I'd probably go to southwest just because I feel like they have a bit more autonomy to have a little bit more fun. Now I'm starting to experience on other airlines that they're that they're trying to provide a little bit more of that freedom, but they certainly started that move. Yeah, yeah, a lot of people would say southwest, some people might say jet blue, some people would say Virgin Atlantic. Personally, I think Virgin Lanic is fantastic. If you're flying internationally. How many would say United Airlines, the friendly skies, right, what about fly the friendly skies? Now I've, if you're not at a lot, partly because where I live and there's a hub at New Work Airport, etc. And I have no problem with you noted airlines. I think they're good, but I don't think years of telling people that they were the friendly airline has made that many people think they were any friendly or than they would have thought had they not said anything about it at all. Maybe a little, but and that's how it is today. You know, you mentioned tag mines earlier. It's like people of just just people, are ignoring mostly what you say they're doing. When you make a claim about yourself, very often one of two things happen. Either it gets ignored and filtered out as just propaganda, or it gets disbelieved. And if you have to choose between them, I would choose disbelief, because disbelief sometimes means that someone's open to the evidence. Right, if I say I have this pill here that if you take it one time, you can eat whatever you want for the rest of your life and never exercise and you will always be fit, you probably won't believe me, but you might say, come on, you know, how is that possible? At least you're asking me to tell you more. At least you're opening enough to say I'm willing you know if the thing sounds like a promise that you're interested in, at least now I've created...

...some level of interest, whereas if you just ignore me, then you know we haven't done anything. So I think that that brand should think about a lot of the things they say about themselves. And you're there are exceptions. Right, if I go to Boeing and I go to the website and I download a pdf of the specifications for their engines, I'm not saying people assume that those specifications are a total lie. But a lot of marketing messages are met with a lot of cynicism and as so I think what that means is that if we talk about how to position yourself in the mind of your customer, you better not just leave it at words, because the words, at the at best, are going to make them pay attention to the evidence as to whether you really are or really are not what you claim, but they're not going to create belief. And you have many other ways of really you know, it's the classic idea of show, don't tell. Instead of telling people that you're the friendliest airlines there, make sure that your television commercials make people laugh, make sure that when people call your call center they feel really warmly taken care of, make sure that when, of course, people come on your aircraft, that they feel that friendliness. And I think you're right that southwest does a great job of that, and a much better job than united does, even though United I don't feel you know, of course, and then what happens is, and actually this is a good example what I was talking about, a video comes online of united having policemen drag people off, someone off their flight right, remember that thing. Now, listen, I am sympathet it to united. Right. I don't remember the whole story, but it sounds like the guy was being a jerk. They had a problem. They probably didn't tell the police officer to really be quite that aggressive. I don't think that this reflects United's corporate philosophy of how they should treat their customers. It was an isolated incident, or maybe it happened a couple of times, but it's not typical of United Airlines. I flowed them hundreds of times. I've never seen it, but because they claimed to be the friendly airline, it only magnified the attention people paid to evidence. In this one case they definitely did not treat this passenger with friendliness. So this is the opportunity and the danger of making claims, which is people start to pay more attention to whether it's true or not. But in the end what they believe is what they experience or what credible sources tell them that they experienced, and that is, of course, the power of, for example, online reviews and so but what are online reviews? But largely the experience that other people have had. So in both cases, whether you want to convince someone to come back as a customer again by giving them a great experience the first time, or you want to attract a new customer. The best ways to give other people a great experience so they post credible reviews, so that that person, when considering coming to you for the first time, will have a believable place to go, not what you say about yourself, because you're biased, but what other, presumably independent people have said. And so in the end, experience is the best marketing, absolutely, and I think the language that we use internally should be used to hopefully set expectations, maybe manage them a little bit after experiences, reminding people of things that went favorably, to help reinforce some of the positive things or set you set them up for realistic expectations. But ultimately it is their experience that they leave with and it's ours to influence, but it's theirs to define. Speaking of language, you know, there's obviously a lot of talk about customer centricity and some companies will declare themselves such and so from page fifty six, putting the customer at the center means that the whole strategy of the business orbits around the customer what does this look like practically? Maybe give us one or two examples, because I think it's something that everyone aspires to, to be more customer centric. It's something that some people, fewer people fortunately, claim, but I think it's something that is hard to achieve because of the key language here, the whole strategy of the business orbits around the customer. Yeah, well, a lot of companies use that terminology customer centric, and they're they're not customer centric. Now, on the one hand, there are a lot of companies that do okay that aren't customer centric. You know, you don't have to be customer centric to be successful. It's just that the companies that are the most successful are customer centric. Plenty of banks and turns companies, you know. Mean Gosh, think of the health insurance companies that make boatloads of money and they're terribly not customer centric. Having said that, though, if you look at all the companies that have the most growth, the highest profitability, you look at you know they are highly custom cercentric. So it certainly makes sense to be aspiring to that. I think the best way to understand customer centricity is to compare it to well, what are the alternatives. I think some people would say, well, how can a business not be centered on the customer, because that's where the money comes from? And some businesses think, well, you know, if we care about the customer, then we're customer centric. No, all businesses care about the customer. You can't not care about the customer, but you can care about the customer not becustomer centric. So what are the alternatives? What if you're not a customer centric company, What Are...

...you? And the answer is, generally speaking, one of two other things. You're either a product centric company or you're a distribution centric company, because these are the three components of most businesses. They have a product or service, they get it to the customer somehow and then at the other end there's the customer. This is the essence of business. And the question is, which of these three things is at the center? So how do you tell which is at the center? Well, you know, the analogy using the book is when things are static, if you look at a picture of the solar system, if you really zoom out, you might think it's obvious that the sun is at the center, because you always see these pictures where the sun is at the center. You know but if you look at it just a picture from space, it's not at all obvious what's in the center. It's a bunch of different DOTS, right and different sons, different, different stars and planets. What's at the center? There's no center. Until you see things move, once you see the planets moving, you see an animation, it becomes clear that all these planets are orbiting around one thing, and that's how you know what's at the center. Well, that's the way to tell whether a company is customer centric, which is to say when something changes in the market. Because in any given moment you have a company, they have customers, they have products, they have distribution. So nothing's changing, it's hard to know it's in the center. But look once when something changes. So let's look at Apple, for example. Apple used to sell computers a product to their law to their customers, people who loved technology and wanted to empower themselves in new and creative ways. And how did they sell those computers years and years and years ago? Well, I bought my first Macintosh at like a comp local computer store right in my neighborhood and Skoke, Illinois, and so they sold the mostly through stores. Well, that was decades ago. Well, where are they now? Well, first of all, they don't mostly sell computers anymore. They still sell computers, I have one, but we know that that has been massively eclipsed by phones and and media and things like that. And if you look at most of the other computer companies, product center companies from that era, they're still selling computers. You know, Dell still selling computers. Right. So Apple, you know, as a as a not being a product centric company, had the flexibility to say we should go into phones, we should go I'm sure there is somebody at some point in time when apple wanted to introduce the IPHONE, when Steve Jobs. They might not have set it him directly because they'd be too scared, but someone was saying at Apple, I'm sure, what are we doing, why are we bringing a phone out? Where a computer company after all? But no, they weren't a product centric company. And then look at distribution. Apple mostly does not, no longer sells their computers in like places like best buy, and they sell some, but mostly they sell their products direct and so they have and and through their own stores and through their websites and such. So these are this is a company that overtime has shifted radically both the products they sell and the distribution, whereas they're still selling to that same profile of customer, the person who's passionate about easy to use technology, who wants to be empowered, who wants to be creative. And so their customer centric, because over time the products have shifted, the distribution is shifted, and not to shift, but radically shifted, not just like a better computer, but like a totally different idea about what we should be selling to our customer. But the customers say the same, whereas you could think of a lot of other companies who are basically selling the same kind of stuff. And let me just give you one more contrary example. Let's look at a company like Kodak. Kodak was in the Film Business Right Their Chemical Company at heart and they were in the film business, and so for years they sold film for cameras and we're very successful and they the film was sold everywhere. Then digital cameras came along. Many people know that Kodak actually invented the First Digital Camera in their Rd lab, but they didn't really promote it because they just couldn't stomach the idea of not having to sell film because they were a product centric company. They were a film company. Who wants to kill your product when your product centric company? In contrast, apple pretty much killed the IPOD when they came out with the IPHONE, you know. So, anyway, to wrap it up, Kodak still exists today. Right most people think Kodak is dead. They're not dead. They still exist. And what do they sell? Mainly film. They sell film because there are certain industrial applications, certain narrow examples, where people still need to buy film. It's a very tiny portion of the market, but they rode that film thing all the way down because they were so committed to their product film, instead of being committed to the amateur photographer who had been their customer. Amateur photographers don't want codec film anymore, they want their iphone. Healthcare companies that are doing Miri imaging maybe need that film. So, Anyway, point is that's how you tell the difference. Perhaps a little longer answer than you are bargain from it looking at what happens to the company when it changes over time. Yeah, I really love just going back to the start of that just you can't really tell where everything is until things start to move and that it's a really, really great illustration. There's so many things we could touch on. For the sake of time we cannot. I mean I just want to, I guess, give you a chance to talk about because I feel like I should have done this earlier in the conversation for listenerss because I really think people that like...

...this show should absolutely read this book. What were you trying to do with it? What kind of experience were you trying to create and what do you hope maybe a couple things people would take out of the experience of the book? The most important thing to me with this book was that it be a tool to help people trying to change their companies and their companies customer experience and their brands, not like a theoretical thing, but like I mean, I've spent twenty five years in the trenches dealing with the stuff, and so what I wanted to do is take what I've learned about what works and what doesn't work in trying to transform a company to create experiences customers love, and allow somebody who wants to do that to follow a step by step plan. So in the book we outline a five step plan. Here's what you do. And you know, the book is longer than other some other business books. Plus it comes with supplemental ebooks and supplemental videos and all kinds of extra stuff, and the reason is because we really want it to be a practical tool, a guide, a blueprint, a handbook, whatever you want to call it, that allows someone to say, okay, we're going to start here and you know, we have a we have a journey to go on, but at the end of that journey is a dramatically transformed customer experience and I guess I'd say like I feel like that's kind of like my mission in life, I mean raising my kids and helping brands thrive and transform so they can delct their customers in a new age and not become at the toys or Ross of the circuit city. So of of these brands, or the code acts some of these brands are, are fantastic brands with great products and great people working there and they have to find that path to successful change in order to survive in a world that's changing bottom line. And so my goal is to give them the tools to do that, and or at least a set of tools. I would never know milion you're say that the path that I describe in the book is the only way to be successful, but I've seen a lot of people, a lot of companies try things that I know are not the path to success. So at the very least, because I've seen them fail over and over and over. So at the very least, I try to lay out a path to success that I know works because I've seen it over and over, I've applied it over and over. It's a predictable process that can get you to successful transformation. Awesome. I'm going to do a video review of the book. It will be live in this post along with video clips, and we do the full audio and everything else at bombombcom slash podcast. We do write ups on every episode. I'll embed my video review there because I've so much to say, but for the sake of time I'll put it there. But it's incredibly well structured. I love the five step plan and was so easy to follow along. It's incredibly well organized. Last thing I'm going to ask you before giving you a couple of opportunities to give some additional nods and shoutouts to people and brands. I sent you a video kind of introducing myself talking about the structure of the conversations and things I wanted to do. You mentioned that you had seen some video messages before, but not often. I would love to get your your thoughts, just quick thoughts, on video messages as a way to rehumanize some aspects and to build some of that familiary, to add back some of that humanity, to perhaps, in in instill some emotion or some feeling into what is otherwise faceless digital communication. I see a lot of kinship in the way that you talk about your work in the way that I talked about what I do. What are your thoughts on video messages as a way to add a little bit more life or humanity to what is often otherwise colder and more faceless? Yeah, sure, well, well, I think they're very powerful in many situations. Of course, we live in a texting world right, where people sometimes they don't even want to bother with words, they just want to send little emojis, right. So a lot of our non real time communication is getting made smaller and smaller and more concise, and I think there's a place for that because clearly, clearly there's an appeal of that to people. At the same time, you know, there's the other end of the spectrum, which is to say the opportunity to communicate where people can can see your body language and can hear your tone of voice. And of course, many studies have been done that show that, you know, when people communicate, I forget the exact numbers, but I thirteen percent is words and you know whatever. You know, fifty three percent is tone of voice and twenty seven person body language whatever, and I I believe there's a lot of truth to that. And you know what we were talking about about even being believed right. That one of the biggest challenges we have in business communications, and there's many applications for video messaging. Of course. You know I want to send a pick a video message to my daughter and Israel and it's a different time zone, so I can send her a video message telling or I love her, and that, of course, conveys a lot more than if I just put a you know, Emoji into it, into a text. But from a business perspective, one of the biggest challenges we have in business is authenticity and being believed because again, just as everything we're talking about before so cynical, and when you hear a message from a person, you have the opportunity to be much more credible if that person comes across as credible. So video is the opportunity to substantially EXP and how much is being communicated compared to text, for better or for...

...worse, depending on how authentic that person actually is. A message from a salesperson that comes across a little bit creepy and in text could be even more creepy on video. And so I think the opportunity is for the person who can look in that camera and speak to you and be be authentic, I think the potential power of that message is far greater than what you can get with text. And for the person who's going to come across as as in you know, not congruent, it could be worse. So I think the key is you want to combine the types of tools your company has with training and quality assurance to make sure that the people who are sending those messages, particularly in, for example, a sale situation, are actually adding and that detracting for the message through their body language, in tone of voice, really, really well said. Sincerity and intent are absolutely critical to making that whole thing work. Before I let you go, Howard, and thank you so much for this. I really appreciate what you're up to. I really appreciate the way you communicate examples and stories to support these really powerful and important ideas, because relationships are our number one core value. Before I let you go, I'd love to give you the chance to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or your career. Yeah, well, you know, I they told me I could have one page of acknowledgements at the back of my book and I think there's like two and a half pages because there are so many people that I'm grateful to, and then includes all the clients that I've had to work with WHO's given me their confidence over the years, and that's one of the places that I've learned so much, just the opportunity to work with so many brands, as you said at the beginning, and that's just a great a great gift, you know. But if I had to pick one sort of figure who's been influential in my life, I would say Tony Robbins. I've had the opportunity to be a part of Tony's organization. He's a client of ours. I've been to Zillions of his events I've worked as a trainer for Tony, helping people going through his programs around personal development and business for many, many years and he brings a level of insight into human psychology and many people don't some people know who what he does really and some people just have an impression of who he is that may come from like informercials from like twenty five years ago. But what he really is is is a practical psychologist, as he likes to say. He's somebody who has figured out a lot about how the human mind works and he teaches it and that's really essentially at the core what he does and I've learned an enormous amount from him and a lot of the principles that I talked about are aren't necessarily directly like. You wouldn't find it describe the same way in a Tony Robins book, but it's applying a lot of the same kinds of ideas that Tony has taught me that then I've had a chance to filter that through the kind of corporate work that I do and seen on the other end how that turns into stuff like we talked about before about thinking about driving thoughts and feelings and behaviors and things like that. So it's hard to pick one person, but off the top of my head one person definitely would be Tony and I encourage anyone to check out his stuff. He's, I think, one of the great geniuses of our generation. Really powerful words. I will absolutely do that. Give him another look. I'm familiar with a lot of his work, but I need to give it another go. And and how about this as a final opportunity given not or shoutout? You've already mentioned many brands that are doing things really well, some that aren't for you personally. Give a not or a shout out to a company, your brand that delivers a great experience for you as a customer. You know. I'll tell you one that I've been working with recently and it's a company called Bulk Reef supply. I've recently set up a big two hundred and twenty gallon marine aquarium and that in evitely involves a lot more things you'd need to buy than you would otherwise think, additional filtration and chemicals and sins, replaceable supplies at other than and they do a beautiful job of providing it's any commerce site. Book Reef Supplycom but they have tremendous customer support. You can chat them, you can ask them questions. They have a wide range of products, they provide videos, they provide their opinions on the site of when certain products might be the right ones for you or the wrong ones for you, and I just think that it's just a great experience interacting with them. They made a mistake recently. I ordered something and then it turned out to be out of stock and they sent me like a very nice you could tell it was more of a personal message. It wasn't just like an automated system message. They said, Oh, we made a mistake. They immediately acknowledged you know, sorry, we made this mistake. How would you like us to correct it, which I just you know, just just really, really polished, well done and authentic. You know, they don't come across as I don't know how big a company it is. It's not a billion dollar company, that's for sure. Maybe it's a fifty million dollar business or something, I don't know, but anyway, if you're in the Aquarium Hobby, I definitely encourage you to check it out and I think it's just a beautiful example of a company that's picked the space. They're expert at it and some of the products they sell you could buy on Amazon to but I wouldn't, because these guys really know their stuff and getting the right stuff is just as important as getting like a great price or the absolute fastest shipping. And went so well said. I was thinking expert is. You started to get into what they did for you and it really is a powerful differentiator and it trust is another word that came to mind as you were describing that. How I have kept you a long time. I sincerely appreciate you making time for me and for the listeners, for folks...

...that have stuck with us all the way to this closing moment. Where would you send them to learn more about you? To learn more about from to pick up winning digital customers? Sure, well, if they're just in learning more about my company, a digital agency works with large brands. Our website is at from dot digital. If you're just learning more about my book, you can find the book wherever you normally buy books, Amazon, Barns and noble whatever, but it also has there's a website for the book at Winning Digital Customerscom and if you go there you can download the first chapter for free and I'm very active on Linkedin. I Post that leadership every week. So if you want to find me and follow me on Linkedin, you can do that under my name, Howard Tearskey tieers Ky. Awesome, well done. Thank you again. Thank you and a lot of fun. We have art inbox constantly foam. We constantly have messages coming in. Work email just went up to one hundred and one. Have Ninety nine plus six hundred and seventy nine on ready email. We're to talk about a major problem. My name is Kipbodner and I'm the chief marketing officer at help spot. I probably get ten to fifteen phone calls a day unwanted, and I probably get fifty a hundred emails a day unwanted. When I think about noise and trying to get that out of my life, I think about it through my most scarce resource, was just my time and attention. Is it worth my attention ever here versus like me spending a moment with my son or cooking a meal with my son? The answers almost always know. We also know that the byproduct of that noise is feeling overwhelmed, feeling like there's not enough signal and that you feel discombobulated or confused. That's at least how I feel, so I also tried to protect myself from those feelings as well. Watch dear first name, a four part first of its kind documentary series now on Youtube, and explore how digital pollution is eroding our ability to communicate with each other and build trust.

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