Experience Action

CX Pulse Check - November 2023

November 28, 2023 Jeannie Walters, CCXP Episode 50
Experience Action
CX Pulse Check - November 2023
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to decode the new age of customer experience? Join Jeannie and her insightful guest Nate Brown, co-founder of CX Accelerator, as they decode the latest customer experience trends in the face of evolving consumer behavior. They uncover the mysteries of the "hermit consumer" - a seismic $600 billion shift in consumer behavior brought about by the pandemic. Listen in as they discuss its impact on industries like entertainment and dining and how businesses can adapt to lure customers back into physical spaces.

Ever wondered why some businesses are just a joy to deal with? They reveal the secret sauce - simplicity. Tune in as they dissect how straightforward customer experience can outshine competitors and why it's crucial to consider every touchpoint in the customer journey. Discover the intimate connection between customer satisfaction and the longing for community. They also put the spotlight on Duolingo's bold logo change, sparking the conversation on how such alterations can impact customer perception. Buckle up for an episode filled with insights, discussions, and the cold hard truth about the world of customer experience.

Resources Mentioned:
Experience Investigators Learning Center

Want to ask a question? Visit askjeannie.vip to leave Jeannie a voicemail! (And don't forget to follow Jeannie on LinkedIn! www.linkedin.com/in/jeanniewalters/)

Jeannie Walters:

Hey, hey, everybody, it is Jeannie Walters and we are back for another episode of Experience Action. Now this is our special monthly CX Pulse Check edition, where we talk about things that are happening out there in the real world of customer experience. Now, in the past we've had Paige from our team as the co-host, but today we have a special co-host, Nate Brown.

Nate Brown:

Hey, what's going on everybody? Good. Good to see you, Jeannie. Well, thank you so much for having me. I think I'm the first non-Experience Investigator guest, so I'm so happy to be here. This is amazing.

Jeannie Walters:

That is absolutely true. So this is our special monthly episode where we talk about what's happening in the world. How can that inspire CX leaders? What do we need to know about customer expectations moving forward? So I'm thrilled to have you as part of that conversation. Before we get further, I would love for you to introduce yourself to the Experience Action audience here.

Nate Brown:

Yeah, Nate from Nashville. I love fishing out of my kayak and pickleball and disc golf. I got two great kiddos and a whole brood of chickens. Just loving life out here in Middle Tennessee and I'm a student of CX. And, ever since I came up through a customer service environment and started asking questions like where do these tickets come from and how can we make them go away upstream. I've been addicted to the work of customer experience and I love the puzzle that it is so, so excited to be here.

Jeannie Walters:

Well, we are thrilled to have you, and you know you also are a co-founder of CX Accelerator, which is a fantastic CX community. If any of our listeners don't know about it, I recommend you check that out too, because you have really developed a special community there, and I think that that's a skill set that you could bring out to the world as well. So if anybody's looking for that connection between community and customer experience, give Nate a call, so, or find him on CX Accelerator. There we go, all right. So we have a couple fun topics to talk about. Some of them are kind of macro and some of them are a little more micro. But, my hope is that we talk about things that impact you, whether you're in B2C or B2B, or maybe you're leading an internal team around employee experience. These are the things that we pay attention to, and a lot of times people ask me, "Where do you get your CX information, like, how do you stay up on CX? And I find that's a really challenging question because I really like to look beyond customer experience. Right, we have to look at where customers are. So before we move on, Nate, I'm curious where do you get your kind of information about current events, customer experience, all those things?

Nate Brown:

Gosh, I love reading good books. I just had this one recommended to me The Four Disciplines of Execution. So, like you, I like to go beyond the world of customer experience, which can be a little bit of a vacuum at times, and it's like what are people thinking about? What are people talking about beyond CX that are going to impact the world of CX? That's right. For me. For me, Jeannie, it's about having good conversations with smart people. I mean, that's my favorite way, and then, when they do recommend resources to me, I'm going to jump in and consume those.

Jeannie Walters:

That's a great way to approach things. So, speaking of smart people, The Economist has some smart people working for them. One of my favorite resources because it is kind of this perspective from the UK about what's happening in mostly North America, and I always find it just kind of an interesting perspective. One of the things that they talked about recently was this idea that we are moving into a phase that they call "welcome to the age of the hermit consumer, and the sub headline here is really what grabbed me. "The world economy is witnessing a $600 billion with a B a year shift in behavior.

Nate Brown:

Yikes!

Jeannie Walters:

And you'll see, if you're watching this, you'll see behavior is spelled with a U because this is from the UK. So the concept here is something we've been talking about for several years, because when COVID hit and everything went on lockdown, we got very comfortable in our homes. We got very comfortable understanding that we had great entertainment at our fingertips, we can stream, we can order in food, we can do all of these things, and so people are really spending dollars on making kind of their hermit lifestyle work, and so one of the things that I think really stood out for me in exploring this article and just this topic in general, is thinking through what does that mean for all of these places that we used to gather right the gym, even going out for restaurant meals with groups or the theater, or going to see movies or whatever? We have to give people more and more reason to show up because things evolve, and if you are offering exactly what you offered before we went through this huge behavioral shift, then you're probably gonna be left behind. So are you? First of all, do you feel like you are a hermit consumer, sometimes Nate, and, and what do you think about this?

Nate Brown:

No, not at all. So I, I personally, am not but I am absolutely seeing this happen inside of my own family. Yeah, my, my 12 year old daughter cracks me up. I mean, is I got to drag her out of the house for just about anything and I make fun of her so bad. Within 45 seconds of coming back in the door, she's got her cozy clothes back on and she's locked in. And, heaven forbid I asked her to leave, leave the house again. So you are so correct in that Jeannie in that we've got to got to give people a good reason to leave if we're gonna get them out of their homes. It's so interesting.

Jeannie Walters:

It is, and I think one of the examples of this is you know, there was a huge big deal about that Top Gun movie this summer. Right, Top Gun 2 went really well in the theater, and partially because they did this whole push about, it's really important to see in the theater. And let's go back. And everybody said, okay, movies are back, but the same actor, the same level of production, Mission Impossible, the next movie, did not do very well in the theater, and so people were kind of like what's going on? And I think that when you look at giving people a reason, it's really important to kind of generate that sense of almost, like that sense of this, this is only happening right now and we have to participate that way. Anybody who knows me knows I'm a huge fan of live theater, I love musicals, I love plays, and so we have a great and amazing theater community in Chicago here, and so we make it a habit to go see different productions. But one of the things I found is that there are more people in those audiences who, first of all, have forgotten what it's like to be in public, right, so they're commenting or they're making a lot of noise because they're so being at home. And then the other thing is I'm noticing more people are leaving at intermission.

Nate Brown:

Oh no.

Jeannie Walters:

And this is totally anecdotal. I should say that I have no data on this, this is just my observation, but I thought about that and I was like I wonder if it's because we're not just competing with, like, is this an enjoyable thing in the moment. You're competing with, "Well, I could go home to my cozy clothes and I could, you know, I wore real pants or whatever, like people are. So I think that there's so much about thinking through, like, what are we really competing with? We're competing with not just the other play in the other theater. We're competing with that sense of I can do this at home, I could. I can watch Hamilton on Disney Plus. You know, like all those things, that it's not the same. I love Hamilton, I've seen it four times and I've watched on Disney Plus more than once, but it's not the same. And so how do you give people who are just used to these things that idea of what it's like to come be part of that community? How do you give them enough to really make that decision? So I think it's just something that's going to affect all of us, and I think that there's an element of this that will impact B2B that people aren't seeing yet. But you know, we have to give people a reason to come to the office. We have to give people a reason to do something that if we're asking them to come to the office and sit on zooms all day, that's not gonna work. So really thinking through, like, how are we competing with the, the hermit lifestyle that people are really gravitating to? So it's a great article. If you do that, get The Economist. It is subscription, but I highly recommend checking this out. So let's jump into another one, and this one is really quite macro. This is about the US American Customer Satisfaction Index. US, American, that's redundant. I shouldn't have said that. But when we're talking about these things, we're really talking about those big ways to collect data. What are people thinking? How are they feeling about their experiences? And in Q3, it went up and the headline that grabbed me here was that you know what? It actually has pretty dramatic implications for the economy when the customer satisfaction index goes up or down, and so it actually impacts consumer spending and GDP growth, gross domestic product growth. So I just think you know we talk all the time about proving the return on investment of customer experience. It doesn't get much more macro than this about how it can impact actual, real results, revenue, dollars, spent all those things. So what do you think about this Nate? Like, it's probably not a surprise to us, right, because we understand these connections.

Nate Brown:

Well, I'll tell you what the surprise is is that the satisfaction index did in fact go up. Because in talking with, as an example just this week in my pickleball friends, one of them in particular was like I've never seen customer service so bad. People have just forgotten what it even means, and I hate having to interface with brands these days and there's a lot of sentiment strong sentiment out there about the nature of customer service and how much it has changed. So I am a little bit surprised. I think it's incredibly encouraging and I wonder how much of this, Jeannie, is driven by our improvements in the technology area. Maybe these customers are actually getting really good self-service and that's what's improving, which would be a little sad to me because, as a community builder and somebody who loves equipping the agents who are doing this work and making that such a high value interaction but I do hesitate. I wonder what it is that's driving this up. But then I think about Brad Cleveland had this amazing keynote at ICMI recently and he had a similar correlation that he made. There's a simple index. Matt Lyles would love this, wouldn't he. There's brands that are especially simple to do business with, and they looked at those brands that are at the very top of that index and how much they outperformed their competitors. And it was astronomical, like unbelievable, the outperformance quadrant of these organizations who are deemed to be simple to do business with. So I mean, there's some things here that we got to wake up and recognize.

Jeannie Walters:

That's a great thing to highlight, because I think we often think of service customer service as the friendly people. How are they helping all of that? But it's really, when you look at this and you think about customer satisfaction in general, that's about the entire end-to-end experience. That's about how simple is it to find what I need, how, all of those different things. One of the things I remember a couple of years ago was when the big box stores kind of came to life in the last couple of decades and everybody had these big, huge stores. And one of my friends said her grandmother would call her and say are you going to go to one of those stores? Could you pick up this, Could you pick up this? And she was like you could go and she said no, they're too big and they're hard on my feet. And I was like that's probably something that they hadn't thought of when they're putting all this together. So we have to really think about all of those touch points and how can we make it easier, more simple, more straightforward for the people who are trying to just get something done. But to your point, another sub headline here is that customer satisfaction still remains at a low historical level. So, while it's coming back, it's coming back from a pretty low point, so hopefully we see this trend continue for all the reasons we just talked about consideration of making it simple, more self-service options, because we're learning people want those options. Easier technology, better omni-channel choice, all of those things that are so important to customers. But there's optimism here, so I'm excited we have a little optimism.

Nate Brown:

These things are connected. I mean the story one and story two are connected. So we're talking about giving people a good reason to get out of the house and go experience community. Yeah, as a customer, as a consumer, right, but like. So I was introduced that apparently there's a large sandwich franchise and I never heard this before but they're famous for their employees hating on customers. I was here the stories about this, I was like I never. But then I recently went into one of these places and I swear this woman hated me that I was in there, like hated the fact that I walked in.

Jeannie Walters:

You have to give the brand now. Well, no way.

Nate Brown:

But so it's like yeah, of course I'm not going to leave the house.

Jeannie Walters:

Right.

Nate Brown:

If I'm going to go out there and be hated on by these folks, that hopefully we'd be able to come out and experience some level of community. Yeah, and camaraderie with the people and the brands that are out there. Give me a reason, pull me out and then, as a consumer, hopefully I'd be more incentivized to spend more and go out there and do more and contribute to the global economy. So I think there is a connection here.

Jeannie Walters:

I agree with you. Now I'm going to flip what you just said a little bit on its head, because here in Chicago we have the world famous. You may not know it, but it's Wiener Circle and they are known. They are known, it's a hot dog joint, they're openly, they are known for abusing customers in the funniest ways, and so you go in there. You know what you're talking about. Jason Kelce, the football player not dating Taylor, just showed up there recently and they did a whole video thing about talking back. And then they changed the marquee and instead of saying welcome Jason Kelce, they said welcome Taylor's boyfriend's brother. That's so bad. It was great. And so we really like there's something there, there is a community around that whole like cheeky idea, and so you can like. But I think it's about like that started a long time ago, but it became more famous as social media and everything took off. But when I lived in the city eons ago, like we would go there and you knew what you were getting into when you went to Wiener Circle, and so I think that there is this element of, you know, creating an authentic community. You'll attract certain people, and that's part of this too. We cannot be everybody, everything to everybody, and so we have to decide who are we to our customers and how do we show up, no matter what, and how can we be consistent and authentic about that? So you're right, it's all weaving together, and next time you're in Chicago, let's go to Wiener Circle, because it's a lit of fun.

Nate Brown:

You will never catch me in a Wiener Circle.

Jeannie Walters:

It's so fun, all right. So the last one that I have for you. It's a little silly and it's also it could be considered brilliant and clever, depending on who you ask. Love it. So Duolingo, which is the app that is used for learning different languages, very, very popular app. They gamify it, all of these things. So there were headlines a couple of weeks ago because their logo started showing up in a different way. Now, for those of you who can't see the visual usually it's a bird and it looks pretty normal. This it looks like the face is melting off of the little app icon. And so people started talking about this. They were like what is happening? How the content? You know why Duolingo is melting. And then they have another headline here. This is from Digital Trends, saying how to get rid of the Duolingo melting app. Now here's the other thing. If you were a member of the Streaks Society or a super member meaning that maybe you pay a little more you had the option of using those icons, but it otherwise. What would you do if you had seen this? If you were just looking at your phone and you saw this melting app icon, what would you do, Nate?

Nate Brown:

I would click it.

Jeannie Walters:

Yep, that's exactly right. That is exactly right. So they were trying. They realize an app like this is all about usage right. The more that people engage with it, the more likely they're going to be loyal, the more they're going to renew, all those things. So they were trying to get people to simply click on the app and so, by doing this crazy kind of melting version of their logo, it's still identifiable, as Duo lingo, but it's just different enough and weird enough where people are like oh my gosh, is my app broken right? and then you click on it and you're in it. And so there were huge discussions about this on reddit and other platforms, and some users, of course, said this is so dumb. I can't believe they did this and some users said this is great because now I'm learning Spanish again, and so I think that it's just another like little creative tweak and, as you know, I'm a fan of micro moments right, these little moments that can otherwise be neglected. But if you turn up the volume a little bit on these little moments, they really help engage the customer to move through the next step of the journey with you, and I think this is just a great example of leveraging a neglected micro moment. You know all these other apps that we have on our phone. We see them every day. They become kind of like wallpaper. We don't really interact with them, and just tweaking a little was enough to get people to interact, and it increased their usage for sure. So.

Nate Brown:

Jeannie, I think, I think it's brilliant. I mean, it's just amazing to know what. What are we fighting against? We're fighting against inertia.

Jeannie Walters:

That's right.

Nate Brown:

Let's look at the brilliant research from Prime to Perform, and they're and they're talking about if you want to create great experiences, you want people to care about your brand. You got to develop a sense of curiosity and excitement about it. That's exactly right. What's the antin into that? It's inertia. You follow a rut, you're doing things like you've always done them before, and brands fall into ruts and we, as a consumer, put them in a little box and tuck it away and they're gone. Yep, you got to light that fire. You got to establish that sense of urgency that John Kotter talks about. Little play on the fact that the build, the bird is melting. I can't fire under your brand and under your customer to reinvigorate that relationship with them. You've got to do that regularly in order to help them follow along in the journey with you.

Jeannie Walters:

That's exactly right, and I think part of this is this goes to everything we just talked about too. We are fighting against inertia. We are fighting against, "you know what? I don't need to do anything, I don't need to go anywhere, I've got everything I need, wow. We are fighting against all of those things and because of that, like, we are also feeling like, well, they don't really care about me because they haven't done anything for me lately, right, as a customer. But with something like this, it takes engagement. We need to make sure that they are actually connecting with the very thing they signed up for, and so it you know, what this reminded me of a little bit is that whole like gamification of fitness. In a way, like how you know, and on the picture we're looking at here on the phone, there's the Apple Fitness app, and I find myself, like there are certain days I'm like, well gosh, if I don't do it today, then my streak will be over. Oh, right now, who cares about my streak? Nobody, that's right, nobody cares about it. But it's enough of that little act of engagement so that I feel like, oh gosh, I need to do this because of my streak. So I think that it's just it's, it's kind of an example of really clever design tweak, really clever gamification even though that's not what they're calling it and just really a great way to reengage with folks who maybe otherwise wouldn't be engaged in that moment. So, so that's what we have for CX Pulse Check today. Anything else you want to add, Nate, about what's happening in the world or customer experience in general.

Nate Brown:

I've been having some tough conversations with some folks and I know you just saw Justin Robbins. I talked to him this morning. I had a great conversation with Bill Staikos recently, was blown away at MSU Tom DeWitt show in Michigan State University. It's crazy to me how much the work of CX is changing and the customer psychology is changing even faster. Yes. So I mean we need to be challengers, we need to be disruptors right now. We need to foster our own sense of curiosity. That's why I love your show here, Jeannie. I mean, we're on the pulse, like we're creating the next generation of CX, whatever that looks like. However we term that, there's some huge stuff going on right now and I feel like and this is me, like that was all kind of, yeah, this is happening. Now, Nate Brown. Community's at the heart of it. To me, I mean, that's where, like, we don't compete against AI. Why would we? Let it do the incredible stuff that it does? We shouldn't be competing against it. We should be embracing it to do what we can do incredibly as humans. So what do we do? That's so good. We cultivate community. We cultivate great connections with people. So let's do that in the experiences that we're creating. Let's earn that loyalty, let's draw people out of their houses, and the way we're going to do that is through community and giving people a meaningful sense of identity.

Jeannie Walters:

Amen, amen, yeah, and I think the whole discussion about community is so interesting because for years now there's been a whole discipline around community management. Right, and often that is with customers or on behalf of customers, but those teams often don't talk to the actual customer experience teams. They're not connecting what the customer insights team is gathering to the community and so, or vice versa. So there should be a two-way street of communication there to build, not just from you know, learning about what customers want and building the community around it, but the community will tell you so so much about how customers behave, what their expectations are, what's really appealing to them, all of those things so like, if you're not connected with your community management folks and you have a customer community. This is your signal to reach out right now and connect, because it's my.

Nate Brown:

This is your melting app icon.

Jeannie Walters:

There you go, love it, love it. Well, that's a perfect mic drop moment. So I think that's great for this month, Nate. So thank you so much for being the very first co-host outside of the XI team here, and we are going to be including, you know, people from our community. We're so lucky in the customer experience world. We have such a great community of people who really connect and share, and I can't wait to feature more of them on CX Pulse Check every month here at Experience Invest, here at Experience Action. And don't forget, if you do have a question for me, you can leave me a question anytime as a voicemail at askJeannie. vip, and then that's what I do every other episode, as I answer those questions, so do not be shy. So, Nate, I'll be listening for your question, so I hope you leave me a voicemail.

Nate Brown:

I'm going to know, I want to know what your favorite disc golf disc is. But I'll ask you, oh jeez.

Jeannie Walters:

That one. We might. You might be waiting on that one for a while, but thank you again so much and thank you everybody for being here with us, for being listeners to Experience Action.

The Rise of the Hermit Consumer
Positive Customer Experiences and Overcoming Inertia
Introducing Co-Hosts for CX Pulse Check