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John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Joey Coleman. He is the chief experience composer at Design Symphony and also the author of a book we are going to talk about today, Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days. Joey, thanks for joining me.
Joey Coleman: Oh John, it’s my pleasure, thanks so much for having me on the show.
John Jantsch: I don’t think I’ve heard experience composer before, but I love it.
Joey Coleman: Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s kind of one of those things where everything I do is about helping companies create better experiences for their companies. The thought was, we can have a little fun with this.
John Jantsch: You and I met a few years back, the first time I met you, you shared stories with me about your journey in life. Somewhat leading up to this, but prior to this, to the point where i came away thinking, “this guy’s either really, incredibly interesting or full of crap.”
Joey Coleman: The jury is still out on that folks. You’ll know by the end of this podcast whether you have an opinion one way or the other.
John Jantsch: Just some of your stories of your travels, you couldn’t make it up. You have a really interesting story, I’m sure you’ve written about some of it somewhere. You can tell people where they can go get that, because I think it’ll fill in some of the blanks after this conversation.
Joey Coleman: Thank you, yeah. In many ways, my wife teases me that I ended up in the business of experience design because my life has been one eclectic, crazy experience after another. I feel very fortunate for that, but definitely have had quite a few adventures along the way.
John Jantsch: A customer experience is sort of buzz worthy these days. Let’s define what the heck that is.
Joey Coleman: I look at customer experience, and I think what happens more often than not, is people confuse the concept of customer service and the concept of customer experience. They use them interchangedly and I personally don’t think that’s a good way to do it. I think customer service is more reactive and customer experience is more proactive. I think as customer experience as basically all the different interactions that contribute to how your customers feel about you. That goes to the way you answer the phone. The types of communications you send. How you make them feel welcome or at home when you have a meeting, or they open your product or start to experience the service.
Joey Coleman: To me, there’s more of a need for companies to focus on proactively creating remarkable experiences for their customers, then reactively just, we have to deal with you? Okay, then we’ll do this thing.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I guess you could make a case for if you design a great customer experience, you might not require as much what we would call customer service.
Joey Coleman: Exactly. I totally agree. I think it not only helps on the cost front, but it also helps in terms of the employee experience. One of the interesting things that came out of the research for the book was the number of companies who had implemented these techniques and these tactics to enhance the customer experience, that in the process, impacted the employee experience as well.
John Jantsch: That’s a great point, because you imagine companies, maybe they have a good product, but the experience is so bad that their people that then are at the help desk or whatever we want to call it are just constantly beat on. That’s not a very good way to go through life, is it?
Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Absolutely.
John Jantsch: One of the things that I think also people underestimate about this topic is, you know, they might say, oh, we’ve got this gimmick, or we came up with this way to wow our customers. It’s really … it’s interesting, because I think if you pay attention, it’s everything.
Joey Coleman: Absolutely.
John Jantsch: Google knows this. That’s why site speed is a huge ranking factor. That’s why if you’ve got data that’s wrong in two places, they won’t show your information when somebody does a search. That’s a bad customer experience. I think, I don’t think enough people maybe extend it to that level.
Joey Coleman: Very true. I think the interesting thing John, is most people kind of go for the low hanging fruit when it comes to customer experience, without recognizing that customer experience is every touch point. Every interaction, from the most minor and passing thing to the biggest moment of a kick off meeting or the obvious customer experience.
Joey Coleman: I think that two things, number one, it’s something that I try to address in the book, was really look at all the different interactions that contribute overall to the experience and number two, to be able to step back from that and recognize that it’s a never ending process. On one hand is kind of frustrating, because you’re never done, but on the other hand, it says there is always the opportunity to make things better. To enhance the story, to enhance the experience and it provides a lot of opportunity for companies to grow and continue to polish their presentation.
John Jantsch: I’ve actually heard people talk about it as a process of continuous optimization, customer optimization.
Joey Coleman: Absolutely.
John Jantsch: That like an ad, you think you’ve got a good ad out there, you put it out there and it’s doing okay, but you’re always testing, how can I make it better? That’s probably true about all of these touch points.
Joey Coleman: Very true. One of the benefits, you know, I know you regularly talk with your audience about technology tools. There’s pros and cons to this, right? On one hand, I would posit that we’re becoming too focused on technology and automation and we’re losing some of the human touch. On the other hand, many of these tools, if you actually apply them and look at them a little more strategically, they give you the opportunity to create experience at scale in a consistent fashion that allows you to do that ongoing optimization.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I think there’s a level of, I’m not sure where the friction point happens, but I think there’s a level of automation that a customer wants, too. They don’t necessarily have to pick up the phone and call you to ask a question. If it would actually be their preference to get that answer in an automated way, perhaps. I think that’s a real balance, a lot of times, is we have to figure out what technology is good for the customer, as opposed to good for us.
Joey Coleman: Very true. This gets into an interesting conversation around segmentation because there are some of your customers who are all about the self serve, and there are other customers who want to be serviced. The crazy thing is, sometimes that can happen within the same home. I joke with my wife a lot because she would much rather go on a website and sort through and maybe do a live chat, but probably just navigate through the site to find the answer. Whereas I’m a little more old school, and maybe I’m showing my age here. I scroll through the website looking for the phone number because I’m going to call and talk to a human being because I feel I’m more of an extrovert. I feel like, hey, let’s create some rapport and then maybe they’ll hook me up with some discounts or make my experience even better.
Joey Coleman: Where as my wife, who’s more of an introvert is of the mindset, how quickly can I solve this problem and move on to the next task? She’s happy to do it in more of a self serve environment.
John Jantsch: Yeah, that’s a real challenge, because I relate to your story, because my household’s the exact same way. I dread the fact that I have to actually talk to somebody on the phone. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s that I’ve had such bad experience talking to people on the phone. How does a company balance that? We’ve got millennials, we’ve got old fart Joey we’ve got to take care of, how do we balance that?
Joey Coleman: I think what they need to do is a couple of things. Number one, take a real look at the customers you serve and find the similarities, but don’t be afraid to also point out the differences. Segmentation is something that a lot of businesses talk about, very few do it effectively. Really, try to figure out what are the different types of customers you have.
Joey Coleman: Secondly, take the time to ask them how they would like to be communicated with. When you first sign up a customer, check in and say, would you prefer us to call you or email you or send something in the mail? Lots of times, the customer will tell you the truth, and they will tell you how they like to be communicated with. Of course, as the relationship continues, you want to check in every six months or so and make sure that that’s still their preferred method of communication. Number three, I think what you want to do is create different ways for your customers to interact with you so that even if they flagged that they liked to have the phone call, that there’s the opportunity for them to do the chat on the website, because maybe, I have situations, I’m a night owl by nature, where it will be 3:00 in the morning and I’m working. It’s not going to work for me to call a business that’s a 9 to 5 shop.
Joey Coleman: If I can self serve on a website or send an email or fill out a contact form and describe what’s going on in that moment, that’s actually serving me better than needing to make me wait until the following day, during regular business hours.
John Jantsch: One of the things that I find is a challenge is sometimes creating a better customer experience, maybe it costs money. Certainly costs some time, costs some thinking, planning, and I think a lot of companies don’t realize what having a bad experience is costing them. You know, people don’t usually pick up the phone and say, “I wish you would have had chat. I would have bought from you.” You know, you just don’t feel it. Have you been able to do some research to help companies understand what it’s costing them?
Joey Coleman: We have. A couple of things. First of all as just a general comment, you are so right. We’re all familiar with the customer who screams and yells and, “that’s it! I’m canceling my subscription” and storms out the door. More often, the customer just drifts away. To be frank, that’s why we put a balloon on the cover of the book. It’s a balloon with a frowny face and it’s kind of floating away. It’s really meant to symbolize that most customers don’t go out with a bang. They just kind of drift away and we don’t even realize they’re gone until it’s too late.
Joey Coleman: In terms of the researcher, absolutely right. One of the things, and I’m, as you know, I a recovering attorney. As I was writing the book, my publisher kept teasing me and saying, you know, you don’t need to source and cite every sentence in your book. I was like, no, no, this is how you write a brief.
John Jantsch: I’m just the opposite. I’m like, hey, I don’t know, I read that somewhere.
Joey Coleman: Right, right. The good news is John, I actually quote you several times in the book, because you make a great point in one of your books, that a sale isn’t a sale until the customer gets the result they were looking for. I think that is such an important piece of the puzzle that many companies miss. The reason these, the customer retention is so valuable is a couple of impacts. Number one, the typical business is going to lose somewhere between 20 and 70% of their new customers before they reach the 100 day anniversary.
Joey Coleman: That’s staggering to me, how many businesses are spending all this time, money and effort filling the funnel, converting, driving prospects, getting them in the door, only to have them running out the back door as quickly as they came in the front, and running out the back door before we have any hope of recouping the acquisition cost?
Joey Coleman: Number two, we look at the fact, I did some research around all businesses and the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is somewhere between 5 and 20%. That’s when you take all the averages across all industries, products and services and combine them. The average is somewhere between 5 and 20%. Interestingly enough, if you are selling to an existing company, an existing customer, that statistic skyrockets to a 60 to 70% likelihood of closing. It’s a lot easier to sell to people we already know, and finally, in the typical business, if you stop 5% of your customers from leaving, it’s going to increase your profits 25 to 100%.
Joey Coleman: To be honest, this is the one that blew me away, because I’m like, I’m not a math guy. I’m going, wait a minute, 5% equals 25 to 100% increase in profits? How does that even work? Basically it boils down to the fact that most businesses are already operating at a profit. The incremental cost of adding on a new customer and keeping and serving that customer is much smaller than the cost of acquiring a customer. These aren’t just Joey’s statistics. These come from Bane and Company, Harvard Business Schools, Stanford Business School, there’s a lot of research out there that shows retention is really where it’s at, despite the fact that most podcasts and books and speakers and conferences are focused on what happens before the sale.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and I’ll throw in some statistics that have been evolving. One of the reasons we’re so focused on the funnel and the sale component of it is because people go out there and find their own stuff now. They don’t depend on us reaching out to them and say, “hey, buy my stuff.” They do all their research and they make a decision. Somewhere like 75, 80% of the decision is made before anybody contacts a supplier or a vendor, but that same survey said, that 75% of those people make a decision about staying with that or being loyal based on the experience itself. We just have, we have to do a better job at getting involved in the customer journey early, and staying much later.
Joey Coleman: Absolutely. That’s why, to be frank, I put so much emphasis on the first 100 days of the relationship, because if you build that foundation, if you get that experience right, you can have a customer for life.
John Jantsch: Where does this fit, and obviously I have a lot of listeners that are one and two person shops. I have a lot of marketers. I certainly have enterprise people that have figured out that they’ve got the same issues as very small businesses. Where does this role, if we call it that, fit into the organization? Is this the CMO’s job to get better at this, or do we need experience officers?
Joey Coleman: I actually talk about that a little bit in the book. I think number one, it needs to be part of the business, right? We need to start by having people who have responsibility for customer experience. At the very least, somewhere in the organization. I would love to see a chief experience officer, surprise surprise, who’s reporting directly to the CEO. There’s a reason for that. If you actually look at the path that the typical CEO takes throughout their career before becoming CEO, they go through sales and marketing. It’s highly disproportionate number of people that come up that way. Additionally in the typical business, if they do have a customer experience person, they report to the head of sales or the head of marketing and then that person reports to the CEO. The very nature of our businesses and the structure of our businesses are designed to focus on sales and marketing over post sale retention and customer experience.
Joey Coleman: I think doing something within the organization to really separate that out and call it out is really important. You mentioned that you have all different kinds of listeners, and to be candid John, that was one of the reasons I was super excited to come on your show. I wrote this book to be applicable to businesses of all sizes. One of the things I talk about in the opening chapter is I present a grid that shows all of the case studies, and there are 46 case studies in the book. I show them all ranked by revenues, and then ranked by number of employees. I am really proud that we have many, many examples of companies that have one or two employees, less than a million dollars in revenue, because this stuff works even for small companies. It doesn’t require a big commitment of money.
Joey Coleman: You’re right, it requires thoughtfulness and a commitment of time to think about how we can make the experience better. Now, if you’re bigger than a million dollars and you have a hundred or more employees, great. You’re well served. There are tons of opportunities and examples for you to bring the resources to bear, to really create great experiences at scale. It was important to me to tell the story of solo entrepreneurs and small shops, and even a coupe of organizations that were more volunteer run as opposed to revenue run so that people could look at it and see and say, you know what, there are things that I could apply in my business as well.
John Jantsch: For a lot of small business, I think the impact could actually be greater than larger organizations because the bar’s not that high in a lot of industries. Local businesses are competing against folks that aren’t even thinking this way. I think the impact can even be greater for many, many small businesses.
Joey Coleman: Indeed, and I think, I’ll take it even one step further, most small businesses have a smaller number of customers as well. It doesn’t require as much time to create a great experience if you have ten clients or 20 clients of even a hundred clients, as opposed to some of the companies that I talk to, who, one of the companies has 500 new customers per day.
Joey Coleman: That’s really difficult to scale. There are ways that you can do that, don’t get me wrong, but what I love about some of the examples of the stories that are in the book is folks being able to do this with smaller numbers of customers. If you are one of those companies that’s listening who has a ton of customers, at least start with a group of them, a subset of them. Create remarkable experiences there. Get a feel for what’s going on and then scale that across the entire enterprise.
John Jantsch: We’ve been talking sort of theory here, you’ve been giving some great advice. If I’m just whatever sized business, small, mid sized business and I’m thinking, this sounds really great. I know we need to do something about this, how would I get started? I know you have a very systematic approach, probably starts with an audit of some sort to begin with, to audit the touchpoints, but how would somebody go about bringing this into their organization if it just hasn’t existed in the past? Or not at least intentionally?
Joey Coleman: I think there’s two key things we can do. Number one, every customer has the potential to go through eight phases in the relationship with you. What happens in the typical business is they try to get the customer to go from phase one, which is assess, when they’re trying to decide if they even want to do business with you, up to phase eight, but you can’t jump them from the first eight to the altar in one conversation. You want to ease into it a little.
Joey Coleman: There’s an eight phase process that you want to be your holding your customer’s hand and navigating them through. The other thing that you can do very quickly is, I believe there are six tools that we can use to communicate with our customers. In person interactions, emails, physical mail or snail mail, phone calls, videos and gift and presents.
Joey Coleman: What’s interesting is, I’ve done this exercise with you know, tens of thousands of audience members around the world. I have them write down which, just which of those tools do you use in the first hundred days? What I found is, when you just at base level, consider that, the typical business is using two, maybe three. They’re using email. They, depending on their business, may use in person or phone, and they might occasionally send an invoice via mail. That’s about it.
Joey Coleman: They’re not really using video as much as they could for communicating. They might be using it for content sharing, but not one on one communications. They’re not doing anything around gifts and presents. A lot of the online companies say, “Joey, we can’t ever do in person.” The fact of the matter is, you can. There are really creative ways to do in person interactions if you’re an online business. In terms of that first step, if you’re interested in what we’re talking about, and this seems like something that could be a fit for you, just look at those six tools. In person, email, mail, phone, video and gifts and presents and determine which ones you’re using, and then start using the other ones. That alone will dramatically impact your business.
John Jantsch: Joey, for being a guest on the show, I have a foam stress ball that I’m going to send you with the Duct Tape logo on it. Is that what you mean by …. ?
Joey Coleman: Fantastic, that would totally work. Here’s the crazy thing, we both know that that’s not a gift. At least it’s not a gift for me, it’s a gift for you. When it comes to gifts and presents, I’m a big fan of the teaching of a great guy, John Ruhlin, who wrote a fantastic book called Giftology. John and I are good friends. We’ve talked a lot about this. If you’re giving a customer something that has your logo on it, it’s not a gift for them, it’s a gift for you. It’s a hope that they’ll wear it or use it, and by default, market you.
Joey Coleman: If you think about your grandmother, if you know, come Christmas time or your birthday, she gave you a gift that had her face on it. On one hand, thanks grams, but on the other hand, I’m probably not going to be wearing it around town, you know? We need to think a little bit differently. Before all the folks that are in the promotional product business start reaching out and commenting negatively on this episode of the podcast, I’m not against promotional products. Just don’t think of them as gifts. To me, a gift is something that the customer actually wants to receive. Its’ thoughtful. It’s unique, it’s special, it’s personalized towards them. Doesn’t mean you can’t give out marketing materials. You just can’t count it as a gift.
John Jantsch: Yeah. I’ve been blown away by some things people have given me. It was clear, they learned about me, they learned about what I liked, they went out and got something just like you would get for a family member. That does have amazing impact.
Joey Coleman: Absolutely. Absolutely. If I were to ask you to make a list of the three best gifts you ever received in your life, statistically, those gifts would come in at under $20 each, in total cost. It’s never about the money. So many perspective clients that I talked to, and audience members say, well Joey, we don’t have the budget to give every customer a $500 gift.
Joey Coleman: I’m like, who said we were giving out $500 gifts? That was nowhere in the messaging, right? Sometimes, something as simple as a sincere, thoughtful, hand written thank you note that explains why you’re excited to work with them and how much their business means to you and your family is huge. One of my buddies sells fitness programs online. We were talking about this, and what he did, which I thought was really creative, he has twin boys. He took a picture of his twin boys, and made thank you cards with their picture. Then he pays his sons, who are eight or nine years old, to write little thank you notes that basically say, “thanks for buying our dad’s product. He really appreciates your support and you made it so we can eat tonight. We’re enjoy our dinner thanks to you.”
Joey Coleman: Right? It’s fun, it’s playful and you don’t expect that in an online, e-commerce type interaction. It allows this guy to bring his family into the equation. For those of you that are interested for tax purposes, he hires his kids and he pays them to do this. Everybody ends in the process, and it creates a meaningful, personal touch point with the business.
John Jantsch: I guess if your going to put your name on a gift, it ought to, it better be something somebody really wants. I give away these hydroflask, 32 ounce hydroflask water bottles that do have Duct Tape Marketing engraved on them, but people are always saying, “how can I get one of those?” If you’re going to give away something, make sure it’s something people really want, or really will use.
Joey Coleman: Right. The cool thing, John, briefly, about you is, you’ve created a tribe. People that want to promote the duct tape marketing brand, it’s because they’ve bought into your philosophy of doing business, they’re fans of yours, they’re followers of yours. I imagine that water bottle goes over a lot better with a long time listener, someone who’s read all of your books than if you randomly threw it out from when you were on stage giving a speech, right?
Joey Coleman: It’s still something that the person receives, but it has a lot more meaning when they are associated with your brand.
John Jantsch: Full of water, this thing weighs about two pounds, too. I don’t throw it at people.
Joey Coleman: No throwing at people.
John Jantsch: I want you to end with this last one, because I have become a huge fan, and there’s all these tools in the last couple years, that have come along that make video messaging so easy. We put them in contracts now or proposals now. There’s a point in the proposal, we want to make sure somebody understands. We do client reviews with them where we want to say, hey, here’s what we did on your website this week, and you’re a big proponent of using this as an ongoing communication tool, not just as a, “hey, buy my stuff.”
Joey Coleman: Absolutely, yeah. I think what’s great about it is, you can use videos, a lot of people are increasingly using video as part of the sales process, right? They’re delivering content on their website, they’re educating. I believe in using it after the sale. One great place to use it, that I talk about in the book, is the hand off between the sales person and the account manager.
Joey Coleman: There’s a company out of Canada called Total Debt Freedom. What they do is, after they’ve had these phone calls and they’ve signed up the new customer, they will actually film a hand held selfie video, in the office, where the sales person who’s been on the phone with the now new client describes, “hey, these are the things you mentioned are important to you, allow me to introduce you to so and so. He’s going to be your account manager. He’ll take great care of you. Go ahead Bob, tell them your information.” and then Bob says his phone number and email, and all that. It’s all included, but don’t worry, I’ve briefed them on what’s going on and you’re well taken care of.
Joey Coleman: One of the biggest fears that consumers have today, especially when dealing with larger organization, is that once the sales person makes the sale, they’re out of the equation. Sending a video that shows the sales person explaining the prospect’s problems to the account manager gives them that feeling of confidence that all the conversations they had before in the time leading up to becoming a customer have actually been translated through in the institutional memory, so that they’re not going to have to repeat themselves.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and a lot of times what they’re doing, is they’re actually solving a problem that people have experienced. We’ve all experienced that. I said yes, that’s the last time I’ve heard from anybody, now. I think a lot of times, these great opportunities are when you’re just doing something that is kind of a well known problem in the industry.
Joey Coleman: Right.
John Jantsch: Joey, tell people where they can find out more about you, and the book itself, obviously we’ll have this in the show notes, too.
Joey Coleman: Sure thing. You can find out about me at joeycoleman.com, that’s J-O-E-Y, like a five year old you know somewhere, Coleman, C-O-L-E-M-A-N, like the camping equipment. JoeyColeman.com, on the website you can find all sorts of information about the first 100 days process, free downloads of how you can implement it in your business, a course, etc. the book is available as an audio book, an ebook, a hardback copy at all bookstores, anywhere you would be able to find a book, you’re going to be able to find it. Obviously Amazon and Barnes and Noble and your local independent bookstore, lots of places. Definitely go check it out.
Joey Coleman: I will say, in terms of things that we try to build into it, there’s a guarantee in the first chapter of the book, that if you buy the book and it doesn’t dramatically help your business, all you have to do is message me and I’ll refund 100% of what you paid for the book. I’m a big believer in trying to put your money where your mouth is. I think this book can help every business be better at creating remarkable customer experiences. If you’re willing to give it a read, give it a try, and I wanted to put my money where my mouth was and say, hey, if for some reason it doesn’t work for you, let me know and I’ll make you whole, and then some.
John Jantsch: There you go. Got nothing to lose, Joey’s going to take all the risk in you buying his book. Joey, thanks for joining us. This is a great message and needed message. It’s a missing link, I think still, for a lot of businesses. Great that you put this together and congratulations on a successful book launch.
Joey Coleman: Thanks so much John, really appreciate you having me on the show.
John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is sponsored by Podcast Bookers, PodcastBOokers.com. Podcasts are really hot, right? You know what’s also really hot? Appearing as a guest on one of the many, many podcasts out there. Think about it. Much easier than writing a guest blog post. You get some high quality content. You get great back links, people want to share that content, maybe you can even transcribe that content. Being a guest on podcasts, getting yourself booked on podcasts is a really, really great SEO tactic, great brand building tactic. Podcast Bookers can get you booked on two to three to four podcasts every single month on auto pilot. Go check it out, PodcastBookers.com.