What's going on right now in Customer Experience (CX)? We're doing something a little different, a little new in this Experience Action episode. This CX Pulse Check is your ticket to understanding the customer experience economy today, so you can plan for future success! You'll come away from this episode knowing more about how to leverage behavioral data and technology to create personalized, efficient experiences, and more. Fasten your seat belts!
We've brought in a special guest to add richness to this conversation: Experience Investigators' Director of Business Development, Paige.
In this episode, you'll hear real-life examples from Mcdonald's, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, and Portillo's, specifically how they're all revving up their drive-through models. We'll also take an exciting trek into the strategy of Lego's adult-targeted, high-tech journey, Delta Air Lines loyalty offerings, and Amazon's latest offering - end-to-end supply chain management.
This is the new age of customer experience, and we don’t want anyone to be left behind. Let's turn ideas into action!
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Article: Is Customer Experience Worth It? And How Much Should You Invest? -- experienceinvestigators.com/take-action/customer-experience-value/
Experience Investigators Learning Center -- experienceinvestigators.com
Experience Action. Let's stop just talking about customer experience, employee experience and the experience of leaders. Let's turn ideas into action. Your host, Jeannie Walters, is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker and founder of Experience Investigators, a strategic consulting firm helping companies increase sales and customer attention through elevated customer experiences. Ready, Set, Action.Jeannie Walters:
Hello everyone, I am Jeannie Walters. It's another edition of Experience Action podcast, and today we're doing something a little different, a little new. I have with me our director of business developement, Paige. Paige, welcome to the podcast! Thank you, I'm happy to be here! Well, you are here because we were chatting about kind of just some things going on in customer experience, and so we had this idea to create the CX Pulse Check once a month. So I'm really happy you're here because I think there's a lot of things to cover. I think a lot of the CX leaders out there will be really interested in some of the things that we're talking about, and you know, you're relatively new to customer experience. So this was a cool idea. So what do you think?Paige:
Yeah, I mean, in the short time I've been here I think I started in end of July, so definitely just getting into it. But with the conversations I've had, I've heard a lot of people wanting to just like tap into the Jeannie Walters perspective, the points of view, because you have a unique viewpoint. I mean you work, Experience Investigators works with so many different industries and companies and you work with different branches even within those companies. So I think that you have a very good point of view on the latest and greatest in CX and how we can use it, awesome.Jeannie Walters:
Well, thank you for that, and I think that you know, in that work with different leaders and in responding to the amazing questions that we get on this podcast, I have really found that, unfortunately, like, customer experience is not a universal business topic, right, like we all have different opinions, we have different roles, we have different goals, and so sometimes just keeping up is a real challenge for these leaders. So I grabbed a few things from the headlines, as they like to say, to talk about, and so one of the things that I've been following for a while is this idea of how McDonald's, the fast food company that we all know and love, is actually really investing in customer experience in creative ways, and so a couple of years ago, they actually started putting together a global team very much dedicated to this. They also have been really investing in modernizing the brand not just the experience, but also kind of how they interact with their partnerships. They had that adult happy meal come out and it was a huge success. So they're tapping into nostalgia and all these different things, but what I'm fascinated by as a customer experience professional is the way that they're using behavioral information, data from their customers, but also kind of the macro view to change the actual experience that we might have as customers with McDonald's. And so you know, we shared a couple weeks ago with our CXI Flight School group about how they McDonald's used an acquisition they acquired an entire company called Dynamic Signals. It's a technology firm and that was also. They could make more personalized experiences through their drive-thrus and through the kiosks and through those ways that we interact so that information will actually change based on where you are in the country or where you are in the world, what the weather is like where you are, because they're taking it all into perspective and that's great they are, because, you know, on a cold January day in Chicago, I bet they don't sell as many shakes as they do on a hot July day in Kansas City. Let's say so, that's you know. They take all that into account because that's what people are saying. They want is a more personalized experience. But they're going even further now in this headline that says the end of McDonald's self-serve soda signals a drive-thru only future. Lots of S's there, but essentially what they've found, and I'm curious what people out there think about this. People are spending less time in restaurants, we are going through more drive-thrus, we have less time, we want more convenience, we want to order ahead all of those things. So they started really experimenting with drive-through models like order headlines, and so you can order on the app and then go through a special line because I don't know if you've had that happen, but I've had that happen where I order ahead at like a Starbucks or something and Then you go in and you don't. You see this huge line and there's no obvious place to pick up the order.Paige:
Yeah, starbucks was the first one that popped into my head. They're so great about that order ahead, but you still have to go through the line.Jeannie Walters:
That's right. That's right, and so they're trying to make it more obvious and make it actually more convenient. But in one of the Pilots that McDonald's has going on, they actually have a conveyor. So you scan your order and you say this is the order I'm picking up in that order headline, and then you pull up to the window and the bag just kind of comes your way and you grab it and go. So they're also reducing some of the Interaction time, you know, and paying ahead and all those things really helps streamline the process. So they're not the only ones experimenting with drive-through. Taco Bell is doing a lot with this, chick-fil-a is doing a lot with this Chipotle. And then I've written about this on our blog because I'm in Chicago. But Portillo's here in Chicago is known for their drive-through Because they handle it very differently with a lot of people. So they're kind of going the opposite end, where they use technology on the inside but they actually send people out to the drive-through line to take orders and send them in and it actually speeds up the whole process. So now when people go by of Portillo's, like we know, even if it looks like a really long line, you're like, oh, that's not bad.Paige:
Chick-fil-a right. They send those people out with the pads there's usually two or three of them so that by the time you can order and then pay before you ever get to the window.Jeannie Walters:
That's right. Nice, that's right. And actually in this, according to this data that we have here, chick-fil-a is the fastest car drive-through, by 107.41 seconds to McDonald's 118. So we're talking seconds, but it does make a difference, right, it does. And so what? What really struck me about all this news about McDonald's was just how much they're investing, how much they're looking ahead to the customer experience and really taking in. How are people behaving and how will they behave in the future, and what are they really looking for? So I think it's something all of us can think about, as what are we doing to look ahead and make sure we're keeping up with customer expectations and investing in the right places? And this is, I mean, half of what we do with our clients is talk to them about priorities, because Customer experience leaders have too many priorities right, that's what I was gonna ask.Paige:
I mean, obviously they're taking it into account and they're making actionable moves to affect their bottom line. It's obviously going to affect their revenue. So if I'm a CX leader, how do I take the same actions? How do I get where McDonald's is?Jeannie Walters:
Yeah, well, first of all, you need to be a billions of dollars global brand. Yeah, so start there. No, so what I would say is it's really about understanding what you're trying to do with the information that customers are both telling you explicitly and implicitly, because I think sometimes, as customer experience leaders, we get really caught up in just focusing on customer feedback based on what they're telling us, but, like you and I are not going to say to McDonald's you know, I think in five years I'm going to be want a faster drive through like we're not going to say those things out loud. So we have to look at what is the behavioral shift. How are people responding to things? The pandemic was a huge lesson in this, and one of the things that I've seen as a frequent traveler is, all of a sudden, like we all really care about health and safety and cleanliness in a different way than in the past, and so we need to see signals of that, to feel safe and to feel like we're getting the experience we were promised. So a lot of hotels have different signs. Now they have. I like when I walk into the hotel room and the remote is like hygienically sealed and they say we clean this, because then I'm like, oh, I've got my wipes ready, just to be clear, but because those remotes are nasty, but but that's like thinking through what are the expectations now and how can we stay ahead of them and look at not just what customers are telling us, but what is the behavioral stuff that's going on too, yeah, so so another fun headline, and this one will be quick. But you and I both like Legos, right?Paige:
Yes, I have them literally on my desk. Right next to me, I have this cool bonsai tree that my husband made for me. Oh, that's beautiful.Jeannie Walters:
Right now you'll be able to see it, but it's a beautiful white bonsai tree, thank you and well, and you and your husband are great examples, because what they found was that several years ago, they really started noticing that we are adult enthusiasts. They have many more adult enthusiasts than they used to think, and so they started really designing products and experiences for adults, but they still had this whole idea of their. I think it was called the VIP program, their loyalty program, and that was really kind of geared more towards kids and, you know, interacting in the stores and things like that, and one of the things that I think is really important is that they have a lot of experience. One of the things that I think is really interesting is that they're such a physical product, but they're really embracing the digital experience and combining the two in very creative ways, and so they've revamped their entire loyalty program. It's now called Lego Insiders, and one of the things that they have changed is that you have to be 18 or older. Now they are doing this in a way that embraces the idea that you could be a parent or a guardian and still get your kids involved, but it's really a pretty big spectrum of customers that they're looking to appeal to here, and so they are kicking this off in such a creative way. They have an augmented reality treasure hunt, essentially, so you can use the augmented reality with the physical bricks that you have and find different treasures and get different rewards. So it's already really taking off and it's just a great example of if you want people to engage, if you have something you're launching or signing up, you need to kind of give them something to really make it urgent then and make it something that they get value from immediately. Right. And the other thing this reminds me of is, a couple months ago, delta Airlines. When they first announced that they were the first airline to have free Wi-Fi on all of their planes, the way to get the free Wi-Fi was to sign up for their loyalty program. Now, it didn't cost anything, it was just like submitting your data, essentially, but they were expecting I don't know how many. They were expecting a couple, you know, 10,000 or so signups, and they got 250,000 signups right away. So it exceeded so many expectations because there's value there for somebody. So I think this is where we talk a lot about data, and how do we get customers to submit their data? We have to give them value as well.Paige:
Yeah, I mean and I think they're so smart, like from the customer experience side Lego because, for example, my husband and I we don't have children. We live here in Kansas City. There's a Lego land. We can't go into Lego land unless we have a kid with us. Oh, so we are, isn't that odd? Like they won't let you in unless you have a kid with you. So we haven't been able to go in and like explore. Yeah, opening it up to like 18 plus and doing things like that allows those without children to be able to still Invest, and because we will, we'll buy it all.Jeannie Walters:
They paid attention to the trends and yeah, well, and I think you bring up another really important point about being inclusive and the. The other thing we didn't mention about Lego is that they came out with Braille bricks and that was because they wanted to create an experience that could be more inclusive. And if you think about, you know, building things with color and things like that and or even just Understanding some of those little tiny pieces if you're not really looking at it can be hard. So they have Different ways for people to engage with their products that way too. So, yeah, really thinking about inclusivity is so important to any customer experience, professional, especially today. I mean, we we are past the point of it being expected. It needs to be demanded, and it's harder than it, than it sounds sometimes, but there are always ways to be more inclusive and part of that is just collaborating with those customers and, like if I were Lego, I would say, hey, page and your husband, come with us, let's figure out how can we get you to Lego. I'm gonna go on for us.Paige:
I'll be fun, right? It's so fun.Jeannie Walters:
Well, the other thing that I wanted to touch on today that is very new in the headlines is about Amazon. I don't know if you know them. They're a small little company.Paige:
Tiny. You know I've heard of it in passing one time.Jeannie Walters:
Exactly. They're just teeny tiny, but they are constantly innovating around the customer journey, and so they've done this in so many ways. Of course, with prime, which many of us are members, with how they rolled out their you know, their video on demand and all of those things, they're starting to produce content, I mean, they've just kept expanding, and every time they make a decision to expand it's based on Really, what are they trying to do for the customer experience. Now, some of you might fight me on that, because of course, they're going to be profitable when they do this, and that is Definitely motivation. But you know, all of us have to think that way. We are in business to be successful and get profits and keep our executives and our shareholders and our customers happy, and so the way that they do that is thinking about how can we make our customer journey a little more effortless, a little easier, a little less unpredictable. And this headline here says end-to-end supply chain management for all your sales channels. Now, sorry, I shouldn't call it a headline. This is actually on the Amazon site, but we have another actual headline here that I'll pull over. That is Supply chain by Amazon. Sounds like Amazon Prime for manufacturers, and so essentially what they're doing is they figured out that a lot of their sellers who aren't necessarily selling Through Amazon, but those third-party sellers that you see that they were having trouble with their supply chains, they're their logistics. They were not able to deliver goods on time, and so Amazon started hearing about that from both the customer and the seller, and so what they started thinking through was like, okay, we know that we're really good at this, right, like they have the supply chain pretty much locked in logistically. Amazon is Exceptional at what they do and so now they're offering that as a service for these sellers, so that they can, you know, make it easier for everybody. And they're thinking through that journey. So they're saying you know, one of the things that they're going to do is have this multi-channel Distribution as a service which will allow sellers to move products in bulk from Amazon's warehouses to other non Amazon facilities. Now that might not seem like a big thing, but if you're thinking about it from, okay, we could move one thing at a time, which can be unpredictable, it can be costly. That's what causes some of the delays To now, we're going to say, okay, we're going to move in bulk, we're going to save those costs. We're not going to have to pass those on to our customers. We're going to know what we have as far as our inventory in a smarter way, all of these things. And it's just a good reminder for any of you leaders out there who are maybe B2B but at the end of the day, those businesses you're serving are delivering to customers. The more you can think about that B2B experience and how to streamline that and make it better, then you actually deliver more for those customers and everybody wins.Paige:
Yeah, this is something that I mean. Prior to me getting into the CX world, I was in the tech world and when the pandemic happened I mean it was back orders trying to get those software chips, like the supply chain issue was a very big topic for, I mean, still is. So the fact that Amazon's taking strides and trying to figure it out and get the best way possible is great, because a lot of companies just kind of froze huge companies. What do I do?Jeannie Walters:
Well, especially when we had barges stuck in canals for 19 days or whatever that was like, there were so many crazy things happening, but I think it was a great lesson that all of us took was you cannot separate supply chain from customer experience. You cannot separate logistics from customer experience, and now I'm seeing a lot more dialogue with the leading companies that we work with. Like, when they get it, they really get it. That we need to communicate back and forth, we need to respect the process and the leadership of both so that you can have those open dialogues, because things are going to go wrong with your supply chain Like that's going to happen, and so what do you do? What's your backup plan? How do you communicate to customers in a way that is proactive, that is, you know, with empathy and compassion, but also understanding, like, hey, this went wrong, sorry, this is what we're going to do about it, this is what you can expect, and the only way we can do that is if we talk to supply chain, and they talked to us.Paige:
So yeah, and the other unfortunate thing that I still think we're seeing is massive rounds of layoffs have you seen that happening. What do you?Jeannie Walters:
Yeah, unfortunately. You know, I read a headline a while ago and I'm going to botch it paraphrasing, but essentially it was like forget, quiet quitting. Now we're like quiet firing because they're not announcing these huge layoffs like we saw a couple of months ago, but we're seeing these like small waves that are happening. There is a lot of uncertainty and concern about the economy and the future and all of those things, and what I'm seeing with CX is that leaders are basically kind of being told like sorry, we had a bad year, right, like weather events were huge this year and that affected a lot of different organizations local services, construction, logistics, all of those things and so when things like that happen, of course leaders look around and think where can we cut those expenses? And I would just say, if you are a CX leader listening to this right now, you better know your ROI, you better understand what is the value that you bring, not just you personally, but also what does customer experience do for your organization. You're spending money and time and effort doing things like collecting that customer feedback If all you have to show for it is a dashboard. That's not going to convince anybody. What you need to do is tell that story in a different way, and you know I wrote an article a couple of years ago that I still send out, and it's called is customer experience worth it and how much should you invest? And so it really is like kind of a playbook of how do you define ROI, how do you think about it, how do you actually look for things like customer lifetime value. Make your case. That's my recommendation. If you are in a position right now and you're hearing about these layoffs and you're getting nervous, make your case, because the thing is, if this is done well, if we invest in customer experience in the right ways, the company wins, no matter what the economy. That's been proven again and again. You will come out ahead long term. You will come out at the end of an economic dip or any of those things, with customers still with you, instead of having to rebuild. And in this economy where there's all this weird stuff going on with employment too, right, weird time. Let's just talk about how weird everything is, thanks 2020. Yeah, but employees actually do better when customer experience is doing well, because nobody wants to work in a place where everybody's complaining, right, and nobody wants to work in a place where they feel like there's a lack of alignment with what the company says and what they do, and so the more that you can have that integration in. We're all on the same page. We all understand our customer experience mission statement and we're all working towards that. Then you're actually going to have employee referrals, you're going to have employee retention all those things that we want too. So this I would totally we'll put this article in the show notes of this episode, but I think it's just a good reminder for anybody out there today. Customer experience absolutely is a winning business strategy, but we have to speak like business strategists to do it, and I think a lot of customer experience people are put in a position where their success is defined on the wrong things. So make sure that you are empowered enough to define success the right way and make your case, because we are rooting for you.Paige:
Yeah, and if you want help, just ask us. We are always happy to step in and help you define your ROI. That is absolutely right. Yes, yes, speaking of us talking more, we do have a couple of things coming up. Do you want to talk about things?Jeannie Walters:
coming up? Yeah for sure. So, if you're listening to this, when it comes out in September, we have a couple of things happening. We have a webinar September 26th at 2pm central, so some of you might be able to catch that at CXIFlightschool. com. Even if you don't catch the live webinar, go ahead and check out CXIFlightschool. com and you'll be able to see what we offer there, and that's really to support leaders like you who are in this position where you need to really make your case and define success the right way. And then on the 29th, we're back with LinkedIn Live and Paige. You're going to be joining me there too, right? I'm excited.Paige:
You guys can ask questions and talk with us. It's going to be fun. I'm excited, it's my first. And you know what else is my first what? This is my first CX Day.Jeannie Walters:
This is so exciting.Paige:
For those that don't know, it's October 3rd. I'm super excited about it. Jeannie has gotten me all revved up and ready, so I'm very very excited.Jeannie Walters:
That's right, and if you are celebrating CX Day at your organization, as I know some of you are, we would love to hear about it. So let us know what you're doing. We're really interested in your story. So please feel free, leave us a voicemail, send us a note through the website at experienceinvestigatorscom, or just you know. Leave me a voicemail at speakpipe. com/E xperienceA ction, to leave a question or let us know how you're celebrating, what you want to share, anything like that. CX Day is a really special event. It's really aimed at customer experience professionals like you. The CXPA is kind of the owner of it. That's the Customer Experience Professionals Association. They have global events throughout the day and I put that in quotes because, depending on where you are, it might start on October 2nd, but there are all sorts of webinars and activities and things, and I know some of you are celebrating at your organizations. We're certainly going to be celebrating here at Experience Investigators and I just love celebrating the work that you are doing. So thank you so much for joining us for this very special episode. Thank you, paige, for being here. This was a lot of fun. Of course, I had a blast. I hope to come back. Excellent, yes, well, we will see you and talk to you in probably about a month with another CX Pulse Check. Otherwise, you will hear from me every week answering your questions at Experience Action. So thanks for joining us and we'll talk to you soon. To learn more about our strategic approach to experience, check out free resources at ExperienceInvestigators. com, where you can sign up for our newsletter, our year of CX program and more, and please follow me, Jeannie Walters, on LinkedIn.