Speaker 1: Welcome to the JMARK Business Innovation Technology Experience.
Todd Nelson: Hello, hello, hello. Welcome again today. I’m Todd Nelson, we’ve got Kristina Coons, Dax Bambrough again, and we welcome our guests for the day Michael Bartlett. Thank you so much for joining us. So we thought we [inaudible] and talk about this a little bit as we’re going through the COVID situation right now and just everything else going on in the world. I don’t need to remind everybody about all the craziness. There are a lot changing there’s and we’ve been talking about the better normal, the new normal, we’ve been talking about how to innovate and adapt to those changes.
One of the things we’ve mentioned is this idea of meeting customers where they are through this adapting, because we see behaviors changing all over because people have had to change because of the pandemic and that has essentially made people like some of the changes that they’ve had to make. So this brings us to customer experience and we talk about how technology plays such an integral part in every facet of a business.
But I don’t think a lot of people think about this idea of how technology can be a maximizer to the customer experience. So, Michael, can you share some thoughts about how does technology play a part in customer experience and maybe a little bit about your experience with customer experience and what makes you an expert?
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah. I’m a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. I hold a CCXP, which is a certified customer experience professional, and I train people all over the world on how to prepare for that exam as well. It’s a very rigorous exam that you need to have a lot of real world experience, that you need to be able to document to get that designation. One of the things that I’ve noticed recently, and a lot of the other customer experience professionals have also noticed is that the basics haven’t been covered very well in COVID.
I kind of set up a little group on LinkedIn and a number of people contributed to the conversation. One of the things that kind of really came out of that was that even though everybody’s very understanding right now about what everyone’s going through and we understand that there are limitations and there’s been some challenges, at the end of the day people engage in a transaction normally for some form of risk transference, and it’s because they’re trying to meet a goal, they’re trying to meet a need. If a business keeps failing, people are trying to be understanding, but ultimately they’re just going to go elsewhere.
I’ve seen examples recently of businesses where someone has ordered something and it hasn’t arrived and then no one’s answering the customer service. They can’t even get hold of anybody. It’s almost like some businesses are running away from their customers. So the customer experience, the whole idea behind that movement is a lot of people that hear it for the first time they normally say, “Customer what?” Because they know about customer service but customer experience is very different. But it’s all about the psychology like you just kind of alluded to is meeting customers where they are. It’s trying to understand why people feel [inaudible] how meeting their needs can help them both from a functional perspective and also from an emotional perspective as well.
So all I’m trying to challenge people to do right now is just get the basics right. Essentially the way to explain the basics would be you have your customer, and then you have the goal that they’re trying to get to and any kind of friction in between point A and point B is going to produce a bad customer experience. Customers will have expectations based on previous interactions. I don’t have to be with your business, they could have been with similar businesses, similar transaction styles, but anything that slows that process down gets in the way adds more effort is going to increase the friction. Anything you can do to take friction out of that process is going to produce a much better customer experience.
So that’s where automation plays a really useful role, because if you’re clever, you can find ways to remove friction from the customer experience, but still keep it personalized. That’s kind of the trade off is you want to be able to scale or you don’t want it to become so icy and unpersonalized that it becomes more transactional and less about the experience for the person. So I see some unique opportunities for people and COVID has really accelerated that way.
Todd Nelson: How do you think that, when I’m thinking about all of the changes that have to be made and about an executive that’s sitting there going, we need to change the experience. I worry that a lot of people don’t even know where to start. Or maybe they don’t even recognize that behavior has changed or maybe they’re living in the past and hoping things are just going to return to normal. How do you just even begin the process of using technology to either determine the customer experience that exists or to start adapting the customer experience?
Michael Bartlet…: I get a feel for exactly how people are suffering right now and what they’re looking for, the best way to do that is to try and collect different types of data and then triangulate that. So you could look at industry data, so you could look at what other companies that are in the same space as you, and you can see what they’re experiencing. You could also look at what their customers are saying online or what kind of chatter’s going on within the industry. You want to be able to take very high qualitative data and also quantitative data as well. Once you’re able to kind of triangulate all of that information that can be useful.
From a company specific perspective, we always talk about voice of customer systems and you’ll see there’s a lot of these really big software players in the field now like Qualtrics and Medallia and companies like that, that help businesses get in touch with their customers and really understand what they’re looking for, and they have all these extra services, they can mine thousands of pieces of data on texts. So they can look for kind of emotional changes, they can look at common themes, that kind of thing, but really it all essentially comes down to empathy and loosening.
You’ve got to really get out there and listen to your customers and then walk through their shoes. One way of doing that is to get customers into the building with your team and do what we call customer journey mapping. And then you can understand the kind of journeys that people are going through. You can understand the kind of problems that they’re running into, the friction that they’re running into. And then you can use that to inform where you can best look at improving the journey, maybe with automation, maybe with other techniques as well.
Dax Bambrough: You almost took the words out of my mouth when you talked about listening to your customers, Michael, because it always surprises me how few businesses take the time to do that. Because people will tell you what they want if you listen to them and if you ask the right questions and if you make that part of creating the customer experience which you talking about. One other thing I wanted to say, something that Todd said is, businesses that are hoping that things are going to return to normal and sort of living in the past, and I’ve seen that too and it saddens me and makes me worried for those businesses because plain and simple things are not going to return to the way they were.
Todd and I joke a lot about, well, we don’t like this term, the new normal, but it’s an absolutely true term, whether it’s overused or not it’s true. Every time that technology changes, the customer experience changes, customers adapt to that, and that becomes the new normal to them. That becomes what they expect. Businesses can look at things like Amazon, what Amazon does with delivery or things like that and say, “Oh, that’s frustrating. These guys are doing this thing and I can’t compete.” But you can’t expect that that’s going to go away because that’s what people want now.
Even in smaller ways I’ve seen, Todd and I were talking earlier about businesses now that are adapting. Todd and I were talking about a bookstore near me that is offering curbside pickup. I was talking to the guy who runs that store and talking about the idea that they had to figure out how to be able to do real time inventory, which was something they’d never done before three months ago. But they had to figure that out because people want to be able to go online, see what they’ve got, order their book and pick it up within an hour. And that’s not going away in six months or a year or however long when COVID-19 is over, people aren’t going to say, “Well, I don’t care about real time inventory anymore.” It’s going to stay. And these every time technology moves things forward, that’s where things stay. Things don’t go back.
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah. We have a phrase for that, it’s called hedonic adaptation. So you have to be very careful in a customer experience design point of view because every time you improve the customer experience, the expectation set that as the baseline. So if you’re continually improving it too frequently, you go off a cliff and you can actually destroy your business that way, but you have no control if it happens naturally in the world. Speaking of the curbside pickup, I have a good story for you as well. I love dogs, I do a little dog rescue. I’ve got some dogs of my own and so that’s changed now when we go to the vet.
So I went to the vet recently with my dogs, and they said basically, call this number when you arrive and then we’ll come out to the curbside, we’ll get your dog. I called the number and it was just voicemail constantly. What it was they hadn’t thought through the experience and they had everything going to one line, which was new people coming in and just general questions, prescription refills, and the people at the curbside. They haven’t been able to see that it might be sensible to differentiate those into two groups.
So that at least when the group that are arriving for curbside pickup are there, they can actually let someone know they’re there. So what ended up happening is of course, when a business fails to take account of these factors, people will create their own workarounds. Now workarounds are really useful because they’re good sources of innovation. A good example of this is when I used to go into Walmart, the big Walmarts. I used to go up to the checkout area, ask them if I could grab one of the little bags and then I would zip through the store really quickly putting all the things in my bag and then check out.
The reason is I hate pushing one of those giant carts around and having a battle all of the other people, but not move around properly, and it just takes too long and you get frustrated. So if a CX person was there and they were watching my behavior, they’d say that behavior is unusual, but that could be a source of innovation. Maybe we need to bring in hand boxes.
So you should always watch how users create their own workarounds, because that’s where great sources of innovation come from. So my hope is, I’m not talk to those people directly but I said, “You’ve created this system that doesn’t work at curbside. I know what you’ve got is a large queue of people doing their best to social distance who have no idea what’s going on.” So some real thought needs to be put in when we get these kind of life changing events like COVID because it’s going to change the paradigm and then people will adapt their own way. So business needs to come up with a very careful design. Again, just involve the customers, it doesn’t hurt and then you can find the best ways to make the customer experience good for everybody.
Dax Bambrough: Pieces that we’ve seen in customers, existing clients and in process we’ve called, where there’s been this big difference is we’ve seen a lot of our clients who had the right technology have the right IP services and we’re able to essentially adapt really quickly when this all hit and they’ve been able to adapt fine. And as things have come, we’ve seen banks that are adapting, video technology and adapting new collaboration tools and had they not had the right strategy in place to be able to move they wouldn’t been able done that.
Whereas on the other side, we’ve seen a lot of prospects that we’ve talked to or tried to talk to where they don’t even have a system to be able to forward their phones. Where they don’t even have the ability to take a phone call from a customer because their phone system doesn’t transfer out to an outgoing thing, or where they don’t even have a voicemail set up to go to a digital format. So somebody has to go into the office and listen to the voicemails and then email out to different people. Those are the ones who are going to really struggle with being able to meet customers where they are, because they can’t even adapt to the normal business processes.
Kristina Coons: So what do you think is the difference between those banks or other companies who were ready versus those who weren’t? Why? How can somebody basically predict the future? Anyone.
Michael Bartlet…: Predicting the future. So very interesting, you bring that up. So essentially that’s how all species are wired. The most biologically successful species are the ones that predict the future. It obviously worked in two formats is our genes, and then of course our ability to learn, attach emotion to the memories that are the most important because by remembering you’re pre-experiencing the future, and then our imagination combines with that. So that’s how humans work and of course then you take that up to a business level.
Essentially what’s happening with what Todd just described is I think, when animals and humans are in situations where they’re trying to predict the future and it becomes very uncertain and it looks threatening, there’s three classic responses which most people know of fight, flight and freeze. So I think essentially what’s going on is some companies don’t want to move. They don’t want to do anything because they’re still waiting for more information to come, and that ends up putting them into a freeze position and companies that freeze ultimately are the ones that I think are going to fail the hardest.
Whereas the ones that are bold enough to take on the problem and to try and find proactively the right solution, yes some of those might fail as well, but there’s going to be a lot more of those that succeed. So essentially, that’s kind of like the biological underpinnings of what’s going on, but it works at a business level as well as the organism level. But I think that would be a pretty good explanation. So that’s why I would say to any business, and when you come up with times like this, yes, you do need to pause and you need to assess, but then you need to move as well. You need to adapt as our CEO says, adapt or die.
Todd Nelson: Yeah. I think oftentimes it’s not always about just predicting the future, it’s about being ready for whatever the future holds. A lot of times you can’t necessarily could have predicted the behavior changes that have occurred in COVID-19. You could have a think tank and sit down and think about all these things, but we’ve seen these adaptations in just about every industry where they didn’t freeze, they moved, they tried something, sometimes they failed and they had to adapt again. Sometimes they succeeded and built upon that and then technology helped them to improve and make that even better, a better experience for the end users.
So oftentimes I, I don’t think it’s necessarily even about predicting the future, but making sure you have a strategy in place that you can adapt to the future no matter what that future holds.
Dax Bambrough: I would add to that. I think, especially when it comes to technology to me, just the metaphor of a foundation. I live in Utah where we live on a fault line and surprisingly earthquakes are rare here, but they could happen. So going back a couple of decades, what’s that Todd?
Todd Nelson: And they have happened.
Dax Bambrough: They have happened. There was one just a couple of months ago actually, but for the size of the fault line and everything, they are rare, but that doesn’t change the fact that building codes take that into account. So starting the foundation of buildings, we’re building for things that could happen and you don’t know what it is, but you’re at least more prepared than if you’re expecting nothing to ever happen.
I think with technology that comes through into account building and working with your IT provider to build your technology stacks so that it is adaptable and agile to changing conditions because that’s the state of the world we live in today, regardless of, that was a state of the world in 2019 before any of us had even idea of what a coronavirus was. We still, even then we lived in a world where change is constant and you need to be ready for it.
Todd Nelson: I think that, that also part of it just has to do with the basics. We know from a continuity standpoint, we need to go through the process of developing a backup and disaster recovery plan, a business continuity plan. So if a certain disaster happens, what’s the technology that we have to have in place? What’s the communication and collaboration tools that we have to have in place? What if a flood comes through our office, are we able to distribute our workforce and have them work?
I don’t want to get into a tangent of backup and disaster recovery plans, but I think that is critical to when you’re in the situation of having to adapt, it sure is a lot easier to adapt when you have the tools, going back to what you were saying, Michael, if we go caveman days and a tiger is coming at you or whatever, I’d sure like to have a spear rather than a rock and that’s equivalent to technology nowadays. In that if we have the technology, we have the communication tools, we have the integrations, we have the right people.
We have the strategic foresight. When crap hits the fan, we can go, wait a minute, we can do this. All we have to do is move this over here and move this over here, and we change and adapt. In the digital economy that we’re in and where digital transformation is going so fast right now, that is why it’s so important because we see the behavior changing towards a digitization. That’s where I worked. People are using their phones more, using their computers more shopping online more, even what I would call non-digital experiences are becoming digital experiences.
I’ve talked about going to a Lowe’s or Home Depot and going online and buying what I needed to buy and then going over to the store, and there’s a sign in a parking lot that says call the number and they bring it out to me. That’s basically taking a non digital experience and making it digital, and that’s kind of changed my behavior. I hate going to the store walking around Home Depot or Lowe’s and trying to find somebody to help me find something, it’s just [inaudible].
But anyways, the point is that as having the technology, having the plans in place allows us to adapt and then allows us to meet our customers where they are to improve that customer experience, whatever’s changing.
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah. A lot of it comes down to how you perceive the world as well. So if you think back to the caveman here. So there’s always a slight variation in the population, which is good. That means that you’re more likely to be able to adapt to things that change. So there’s going to be some, hopefully the vast majority of us that back then you see a stick on the ground and you think it’s a snake in a split second, and you react to it, then you realize it’s not a snake and you’re okay.
So false positive, those are good. You need that kind of buffer built in. Normally the ones that have the buffer built in, allow them to be able to adapt to these changes in the environment. So you take that forwards to where we are now, businesses that actually have a slightly different way of perceiving, and they may be more customer centric than they are operations centric would have maybe looked at customers and talk to customers and maybe spoken to someone like you about what do you like? What do you not like? And they may have listened to you when you say, “Well, I really don’t want walking around the store and having to ask someone.” And then they may have looked at technology and they may have seen that technology is an opportunity where someone else may have seen it as something that’s threatening.
So it’s a mindset thing. I think that’s what makes populations or rather the better performance within a population more agile and more likely to survive is being able to see that world slightly more differently. The best way that I can recommend for anyone listening today, how to do that is just to get very diverse lenses in the business. You get people that see different things differently in the world. Everybody has a voice, as long as it’s all being considered in the lessons, then you’ve got much more decision making data to use, to try and adapt to a new environment. So I think there’s another good evolutionary underpinning there of how businesses might be able to take that forwards.
Todd Nelson: I think also Dax and Michael, you kind of mentioned this earlier, is this idea of asking customers where they’re at and looking at data. The thing that I’ve always struggled a little bit with that is and this is a personal opinion. I’ve never agreed with the idea that the customer is always right. Steve Jobs, he didn’t do what customers wanted, he did what he basically developed an innovated and gave them something that they didn’t know they wanted. So how does that apply to customer experience and technology and with the idea of, it’s not always what they say they want, but how do I adapt to give them something that they really are going to love and crave?
Dax Bambrough: I would push back a little bit and say that I think that customers wanted that and one of, I think Steve Jobs, I think one of his parts of his genius was that he was able to read between the lines of what customers wanted to say, “People want convenience.” Like with the iPod. So he was able to in a way, I think Kristina asked about predicting the future, is he was able to look past like the surface level of what people want and think deeper than people were thinking and see what they were really sort of talking about by looking beyond that.
I think a lot of that comes in my opinion, and you could probably speak to this better than I can, Michael, of what you were just saying. Of taking in as much data and as much information as you can to start seeing those patterns. And then you can sift through the information to get to the heart of what your customers want.
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah. There’s this new field that’s emerged recently that kind of taps into some of the stuff that Steve Jobs was doing and they call it emotional design. A lot of what people look at when they look at the iPhone is it’s not really so much the functionality, it’s how it makes you feel, and it also incorporate some other things like status, for example. There’s only two different ways that people can show their status. One of them is by domination, which would have been good in the caveman days, and then the other way, which is used more frequently now is through affiliation. Joining, like I’m a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, or Apple people, that kind of thing. They show their affiliation and their status that way. So those kinds of things need to be factored in as well.
A really good book I would recommend if anyone wants to learn more about, this is the book called Decoded. There’s actually a new edition that’s coming out now. It’s quite a famous marketing book but there’ll be a new edition in a few months. Little things make so much of a difference, like TurboTax recently, they were looking at their customer journey and they realized there was a point where a question was going to be asked, which is, I think it something online, it said, “Have you lost a loved one recently?” Of course that would affect the filing of the taxes.
They knew that if someone’s selected yes as an answer that would change their emotional state while they were in that customer journey. So all they did is they built a very small feature in that says, if you click yes, a message pops up and it just says, “We’re really sorry to feel loss.” That’s it. It’s a very human gesture, but it made a huge difference and it really helped that person connect with the business and the product more.
So taking those little steps and understanding, not just meeting people where they are, but meeting people where they are emotionally as well as very important as well in product design these days. Because yeah, anyone can copy features, but taking that extra human step can sometimes make a really big difference.
Todd Nelson: It’s so easy because, and I’m partly wired this way to look at something that needs to get done and try to figure out the easiest and quickest way to get from point A to point B. But what you said is so important when innovating and adapting and that it’s not always about speed, but it’s also about the emotion and that plays into the experience. So it might not be the process of this is the quickest way we get there, but that’s how a lot of executives are wired because time means money, but retention also means money too. As we can make the technology and adapt it to improve the emotional state of those that are working with our organization, we’re only going to retain customers. That’s pretty interesting.
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah. If you’ve ever been to a website where you want to book some travel and you put your flight information in, I guarantee you the information would come back like that if they really wanted it to. But they allow the little logo to spin for a little while and make it makes you think some really impressive processing is going on in the backend. And that comes from the idea of what we call costly signaling. That’s a very important feature, again, it’s wiring into how people think, because if people know a lot of effort has been expanded, then they’re more likely to appreciate that.
Luxury is another great example as well. So for example, if you’ve got two banks, you’ve got a really big opulent bank, marble walls, you name it, and then you’ve got another one that just sets up shop across the road. Which one are you more likely to trust? Well, the one that’s just like a shack that’s set up across road. Anyone could mimic that really easy, but luxury and effort shows that someone’s really made the time and the effort to say, “I’m here for the long haul.” And it becomes a proxy for trust.
So again, by understanding how humans and not just humans actually, all animals use this costly signaling theory as a proxy for trust. We can play into that as well to improve our products and to improve our brand imaging as well.
Todd Nelson: Michael since you’re so tapped into this field, what are some examples of how you’ve seen technology play into adapting the customer experience?
Michael Bartlet…: So the best example I had recently was I ordered a whiteboard from Amazon. I’m one of these whiteboard guys, I can’t think without whiteboard so I have tons of them. I ordered one and it showed up damaged. So I went to Amazon using their app and there was a chatbot and I thought, I’ll give it a go, why not? I like AI, so let’s see how it does. They had clearly done some research and thought about what are the most common things someone’s going to come to the bot about. So the whole process was menu driven, which was great. It didn’t need to do any natural language processing or anything. It just said, “What is the most likely problem? Is it one of these?” It was. So I selected, damaged product and it took me through a whole series of steps, nice and elegantly and at the very end, it says, “We’ll go ahead and we’ll send you a replacement free of charge. Does that work for you?” “Yes. Done.” And then here’s your tracking number, all good.
So the whole thing was handled so conveniently for me, I didn’t have to worry about messing around, getting on the phone with anybody or trying to wait for a human to be available. And it’s because they thought of, it’s kind of like the 80/20 rule they thought, what are the things that are the most key that are going to come up? And let’s just automate them if we can. And that saves them a ton of money so they can take all those people that would have been doing those transactions and they can put them to better use and maybe coming up with other innovations or handling the not so common queries.
So I thought that was a really beautiful piece of design by Amazon. And the thing that impressed me the most is it was menu driven, I didn’t even have to type anything. So it was really well done.
Dax Bambrough: I think a Michael you’ve ruined chatbots for me because like a while back I was in the office one day and you were there and we heard maybe you were working on a chatbot. This conversation was maybe five minutes long, and you just kind of told me some things that you were excited about and you kind of got me excited about because your passion kind of flow over into me and just enough that I kind of caught some of these things that you’re talking about, and now whenever I have to use a chatbot or interact with one on a website, that’s always in my head.
This like idea that you’ve talked about of whether or not, and once you can see that you can’t help us see whether or not they’ve thought through that customer experience and whether or not they’re doing what Todd said, which is, “Oh, here’s the solution.” Everybody says, “chatbots are the next thing so let’s implement it.” Or whether they’ve thought through my end of it, the customer end of it, to actually make it work for me, not just because it’s a shiny thing they want to stick on their website.
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing is people sometimes rush to automation, they’ve rushed to AI. You may not need to do that. I was speaking to someone recently about their customers that didn’t want to work with them. A bit like prospects that didn’t sign up and they wanted to send a survey out and I’m like, “Well, you could send a survey out, but if you have the time to record a personalized message to each one, not only will that achieve the same result, you’ll still have the survey link in there, but they’re more likely to remember that engage.” The fact that you took the time to do that.
Again, this goes back to the costly signaling theory and in the future, that will make them probably more likely to come back to you as well. So people need to not rush into automation, but they need to strategically design where automation is appropriate and where actually, maybe we’ve actually make this process more time consuming for us and more personalized and more human. If you’re very strategic about that, you can create a really nice balance and create a very effective customer experience, I think.
Todd Nelson: So how do we bring that though a little bit more down to earth? Taking this example of Amazon which has billions in cash and can implement something very quickly and rapidly. How can we bring this down to a community bank, a transportation company, longterm healthcare? These companies that are really struggling with the customer experience in the COVID era.
Michael Bartlet…: Well, the good news is customer experience doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor as well. It doesn’t really cost very much to talk to your customers and to listen to what they’re saying, which actually a lot of people don’t even do that right now. It’s amazing that, like I said, the basics aren’t being met. Now from a technology standpoint, there’s lots of really basic chatbot systems that exist out there. I think one of them is called ManyChat, there’s also Drift as well that you can have human operators on. But I would just advise people rather than worry too much about the different types of technology, worry about the experience.
Think about what the experience is. How do you want the experience to look? And then once you’ve kind of designed that out and test driven it for a little bit, then you can start thinking about what those technologies look like. But yeah, in this day and age I feel like every other day there’s like some AI company popping up that has chatbots. There’s so many of them. A lot of them are really basic, a lot of them are keyword driven. All they’ll do is they’ll look to see if you said a key word and then if you have, then it will respond with the next answer.
So they can go from very, very trivial, basic Facebook bots, all the way up to much more nuanced, complex bots. A lot of these companies are producing them, just out of the box right now. So on workplace, there’s a number of chatbots. There’s one, for example, that it will look at your out of office and see if you’re not available, and then if someone sends you a message on Facebook Workplace, it will respond on your behalf and so you’re not in the office right now. These little things like that can make all these small little tweaks in the long run can help the employee experience and then that can cascade onto the customer experience.
Kristina Coons: Yeah. I think you made a good point when you said don’t just jump right to the technology because there is nothing more frustrating on the customer end when it doesn’t work like it should. Like the robot voice when you make a phone call and then you say something, “Did you say, blah, blah, blah.” “No, I didn’t.” It’s so frustrating. And then chatbots, same thing. There’s plenty that I’ve used where you type out your message and then it deletes your message and says, “Hi, I’m blah, blah, blah. What can I help you with today?” It’s like, well, I have to retype in now I’m already frustrated. So good call on that.
Michael Bartlet…: So for example, let’s say someone’s interested in implementing a chatbot, that they’ve got a human chat currently working. My advice to them would be let’s look through the existing transcripts of the human chat because you probably not really standardizing anything anyway right now. So let’s figure out how it’s even supposed to look, then maybe let’s try that out with the human operators, and then once you’re happy with that, rather than jumps at the technology, you can fake a chatbot. So you can have a person that’s got all the rules in front of them and they can follow that and they can type it out in real time. When a customer goes off script and it’s something they hadn’t considered, then the human can elegantly handle it and you can make a note.
I don’t know if there’s a term for this in the industry, but basically having a human, be a standing for an AI and follow those rules can be very useful because you get what we call graceful degradation. So it doesn’t fail miserably like an AI would, but you can get more key insights to then take back to the design team to keep tweaking it until you’re finally ready to go ahead and deploy it.
Todd Nelson: One thing that you mentioned that I hadn’t thought about because we’ve been talking about the customer experience and we often think about the customer experience as in somebody outside of our organization. But what you reminded me of though, is that the customer experience inside of our organization can affect the customer experience outside of our organization. So if we have the right technology within our organization, the right tools to facilitate connectedness, to facilitate communication, to facilitate collaboration, the velocity of the organization increases the ability to collaborate and get things done increases and the productivity increases, and that ultimately affects the customer experience, because you are improving the experience inside the organization, and that ultimately improves the experience outside the organization. I think that’s a pretty often overlooked strategy especially when it comes to technology.
Dax Bambrough: I wanted to add too-
Michael Bartlet…: Well, go ahead Dax.
Dax Bambrough: Go ahead, Michael. I think you’re going to talk more about what Todd just said, mine will move beyond that. So you go first.
Michael Bartlet…: I’ll make my point really quickly. I was just going to say it. So everyone knows the field of customer experience, well, now employee experience has literally popped up as its own field with its own little set of governing principles and so forth. So I was just going to mention that that’s a thing now, like people talk about employee engagement. We’ve heard that for many, many years, but employee experience is a completely different thing.
Think of employee engagement is the emotional connection that you have with the business you work in, but think of the employee experience as everything that the employee experiences on a day to day basis. And then, they’ll form judgments about their colleagues or what it’s like to work there and so forth. It will create moods, and of course those moves can let you say they’ll transfer directly onto the customer experience. So that’s all I wanted to say [inaudible].
Dax Bambrough: I was going to go back to Todd’s point about not every business is Amazon with billions of dollars. I think the one thing that also needs to be remembered that we kind of forget this word, innovation gets used all the time, and we tend to think of innovation as huge leaps. Innovation, it’s usually small steps. For your business, that innovation might just be something small. The example of what made me think of this was Todd mentioned longterm healthcare. I’ve got a brother-in-law who his grandmother’s in a longterm health care facility.
So of course they’ve got things locked down tighter than anybody to keep visitors out and there are people who are getting lonely. He was telling me about how that facility went through and set up a system for Zoom calls so that people could still visit their grandparents and made it, this was something that four months ago, it wasn’t even on their radar of anything they were ever going to do. They realized very quickly that it was necessary and so they made that, and it’s not a huge leap, in the grand scheme of things. That’s not the innovation we think of when we throw that word around, but for them it was. And for them it made a massive difference to their residents and to the residents’ families. So it was innovation and it set them apart, in customer service, customer experience to everyone else.
Todd Nelson: I think that’s an awesome example and it hits a whole bunch of the things we talked about, because if you think about this from the perspective of thriving in a disaster, you equate that to money, cashflow. Cashflow has to keep coming in. Well, I know this is a little bit more bid, but if your patients all contract a virus and pass away, you’re not going to be thriving. That’s potentially revenue, money from the government that is lost. But here they implemented an emotional strategy, a strategy to be able to connect people through technology that was very, very low cost and ultimately it not only improved the experience and the perception of the organization, but also improve the safety, which improved the longevity and the survivability of the longterm healthcare organization.
Michael Bartlet…: Yeah. There was another example. Dax just made me think of it actually. So this is pre-COVID, but it was something that was so impressive I’ve never forgotten it. It made a real big impression to everyone that saw it, it was a nursing home and the people weren’t really able to even get out and about. So what they did is they took a big chunk of one of the sides of the building, and they made it into a train carriage. And then they took digital monitors and place them behind what were the size of windows. So they allow people to go on like their own, like Orient Express, if you will. And the train carriage will kind of rock a little bit and I’d have all the China tea cups and everything.
The environment moving by them and it made them feel they’re actually able to go out into the world and be [inaudible] and it makes such a difference to those people. Now that probably didn’t make the company any more money, but it was such a brilliant human gesture that it was better than any marketing campaign ever would have been for them because they were just doing something really [inaudible] and making a very emotional experience for the people that were the customers.
Todd Nelson: But ultimately it probably does make them more money. I know it’s not always about making money, it’s about helping people and serving people, but you have to make money to thrive and survive. Ultimately by creating that brand trust that if I’m going to put my grandparents or my parents into a facility that you are going to take care of, not just their physical, but their emotional health. It’s little things like that, that create retention, create brand trust, create longevity for the organization.
Dax Bambrough: Yeah. I think it comes back around to something we were talking about earlier with talking and listening to your customers, and especially in 2020 with the world of social media, remember your customers are talking to each other. So when you build those emotional connections, when you create a good experience for your customers, the people are going to find out about that, people are going to share because people are asking for recommendations, who takes care of you? Who do you trust to do your banking? Do you trust your bank? How do you feel about your bank or your accountant? Who does your taxes? How did he take care of you? How’d you do your taxes this year with COVID-19? How did it go?
People find out about these things and so it goes back to what you were saying about it does in the long run, taking care of your customers and implementing these technologies is an investment in the future even if it takes a little bit of effort and expense in the short term.
Todd Nelson: We were talking about banking a couple of days ago, and the idea that like in our little town there’s more banks than restaurants and there’s no shortage of banks to take your money to whether it’s a community bank or national bank or what. I think what you said, Dax is where it comes down to it’s the brand trust, the experience that you’re having with a particular bank, or possibly even the lack of experience. Being able to make sure things are taken care of in the background, not having to worry about insurance and being pestered by insurance all the time, knowing that your insurance is taking care of things, knowing that your bank is taking care of things and not nickel-and-diming and you and providing you the ability to do things no matter your situation or your location of where you’re at.
This isn’t about banking but I think that’s what it all comes down to, is this idea of meeting your customers where they’re at, creating innovations both internally and externally, that improve the employee experience and that customer experience and that is most easily done generally through technology and being able to have the technology in place to it allows you to have the tools to adapt and to innovate and to create more connectedness in the organization and more velocity ultimately is what’s going to improve the longterm health of the company and the customer experience, the brand trust that people have in you.
So I think we’ve had a really good conversation. Thank you, Michael, for joining us. I learned a lot in this conversation and I think it’s a something I’m going to be thinking about a lot as we talk more about innovation and adapting to the better normal. So the last thing I’ll close with is don’t forget that no matter what business you’re in, you’re a technology business and technology as we stated will help you adapt and innovate and create better customer experience.
If you’d like to learn more about JMARK and what we do for our customers to help them adapt and prepare for the future, just go over to jmark.com and fill out a form or give us a call and we’ll be happy to engage. Take care.
Dax Bambrough: Thanks everybody. Bye.
Todd Nelson: Bye.
Speaker 1: Thank you for attending this podcast. We hope it has been informative and helped convey that at JMARK, we are people first and technology second. To learn more and discover additional content relevant to your business, please visit us online at jmark.com or at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You may also call us at 844-44-JMARK. Thank you for your time and we look forward to seeing you again.