Inside Your Customer’s Imagination – E56 with Chip Bell – 1st Half

Release date: 10. January 2022

Link to the second half:

Inside Your Customer's Imagination – E56 with Chip Bell – 1st Half Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

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The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Chip Bell

Chip Bell is a World-Renowned Authority On Customer Loyalty And Service Innovation

The discussion was split in 2 episodes. This is the first half.

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to align privacy and personalization
  • The responsibility of impacting people’s life
  • The balance between generosity and curiosity
  • The role of customer service
  • how Chip Bell foresees the future of CX and Service

… and much more.

Link to the second half:

His book suggestion:

  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Chip Bell’s golden nugget:

Trust the frontline! They are the ambassadors and your scouts. @ChipRBell on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

How to contact Chip:

Thank you, Chip!

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

What did we discuss:

Gregorio Uglioni 0:01
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni, will have small discussion with expert, thought leader, and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership IOP will enjoy the next episode. Ladies and gentlemen, today’s really a big, big pleasure, I am thrilled to say that Chip Bell was on my podcast, The CX Goalkeeper has the chance to speak together with Chip Bell. Hi Chip, how are you?

Chip Bell 0:39
I am wonderful, and it’s great to be with you, this is gonna be a lot of fun. Thank you for having me.

Gregorio Uglioni 0:45
Sure. And I am really thrilled to have some discussion with you. Because I said this in the previous discussion. I know you went well due to due to your books, and all your presentations, but you don’t know that and therefore I will ask some nasty questions I hope that you will answer all of them?

Chip Bell 1:04
Oh, certainly I will. Certainly I will. Right?

Unknown Speaker 1:07
Before we started deep diving in some topics, where you are really the experts only to mention one or two things, you are the pioneer of customer journeys, you are one of the first men on this word implementing and using customer journeys. You are also really you have an such innovative mindset in customer service, creating outstanding experiences, experiences that people will remember. But before start talking about these topics, Chip, could you please introduce yourself?

Chip Bell 1:42
Oh, great. I am Chip Bell, as you’ve said, and my passion is all about the customer. I love working with organizations to help them create a culture that creates not just customers who come back customer retention but deeply loyal customers. And that’s that’s my whole area of focus. I have been in this business for over 40 years, I’ve had my company over 40 years, starting when I was like eight years old, I guess that iterate, I, I love, I love that work, I love making a difference in terms of how organizations approach the customer, how they deliver great experiences. It’s a it’s a very rewarding and an exciting area to be in, particularly now, with so many changes. And with the requirement. Today, I believe for organizations to innovate, innovate is not a strategy, it’s not a value added, it is a survival. Either you reinvent or you die. And from the customer standpoint, they tend to now more than ever before, recognize, when they see a company do things that are ingenious, that are innovative, they know they’re going to be around and so they’re more willing to put their time and energy and effort. And in those organizations, they can bet on long pool. And so innovation has become a symbol of survival, not just a symbol of progress. And so helping organizations create that kind of imaginative experience is what my work has been about

Gregorio Uglioni 3:21
Thank you so much. And I really like it. And you didn’t mention that. But you’ve wrote more than 20 books, I think 24 books, all the possible awards that you can win, you won them.

Chip Bell 3:33
Yeah. I like to say I wrote I’ve written more books and I’ve read.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:42
Yeah, I think it’s important to be on the right side that you are often mentioning as you are you’re really a creative man. And you mentioned that what you are often doing is you are writing on sticky notes. Your ideas are what pull out you you see around, what is the last thing that you wrote on such a sticky note.

Chip Bell 4:06
The last well, I’m working on new work now. But let’s see, I carry these little cards around and they they have ideas all the time, like we all do. And I found if I take a little note, I can recall it. And sooner or later you got enough for an article and then an article and an article and an article and then all of a sudden I’ve got a book. So that’s kind of my process. But I’m now working on the application of what I would call creative, whimsical fun kind of applications in arenas and business arenas that are more serious where where the concept of deep respect for the customer needs to take preeminence over something you might do that’s that’s clever, creative, and how you manage that balance for Apple, a funeral home, I see you in a hospital, all of those places where innovative experiences are important. But now you got the component of it’s a setting in which it’s more serious by definition. And so that’s, that’s kind of a fun area to find ways in which you can communicate to the customer. Both that ingenious experience as well as deep respect. So that’s kind of a fun area to work on them.

Gregorio Uglioni 5:30
And I think you’re touching two important topics. And it’s really fun. And basically the question that I would like to ask also based on what you mentioned, which are the values that drive your business?

Chip Bell 5:43
probably passion for the customer, it’d be number one, the desire to make a difference. And it would be another, I’d like to make a contribution and that the lives of people, not just the work of people is impacted. And I think the third one is, I like to have a good time, I like to have fun. So that’s one of the hallmarks of my work is criteria is, is this going to be something that can make a difference? Is this going to be something that will channel my passion? And is this going to be fun? And now we all know there any endeavor? There’s oftentimes components that are not necessarily you’d call fun? But when you look at the overall narrative at all, is there more fun than pain? So that’s also a criterion, I think that’s also important from a service provider is customers and customers like organizations that deliver with a sense of joy? And so how do you help them experience the joy that you’re trying to communicate in the marketplace?

Gregorio Uglioni 6:47
And you are often doing an example about joy? And it’s, you mentioned several times the chewy example, that they are sending birthday cards to your cat is still the case?

Chip Bell 7:02
Yeah, right. Yes, yes. I mean, all kinds of little things that one can do that brings a smile to somebody’s face to cause them to remember a positive thing. All of those things, I think, are in reflect that overall sense of compassion and kindness. I think those are the things that sustain you in the marketplace. We like organizations that, that we enjoy, and we feel I care about us in a more in a personalized way. So kind of reflecting that caring is, I think, a key part.

Gregorio Uglioni 7:36
And you mentioned one thing that I think is really relevant nowadays is personalization. And I think businesses need always to find the balance between personalization and privacy, because at some point of view, personalization can can get a bit creepy. Could you please elaborate a bit on that?

Chip Bell 7:54
Sure. I’ll be glad to and I think part of it is I’ll give you an example. One of our high end hotel chains, which is owned by the Marriott is the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Ritz Carlton is renowned for great customer service. I’ve worked a lot with Ritz Carlton over the years, I don’t work with them now. But I did. And they had a program by which they would craft work to personalize your experience. And the program is now called mistake, but it’s a customer preference program by which the even down to the point where the housekeeper, when they go into your room to clean your guest room notices things about your room and how you use it. That you tend to use more towels. So the next time you’re there, there are more towels than normal. Maybe the people in in the room service notice that every time you order the the fruit plate, you don’t eat the Kiwi because you don’t care for kiwi, and after about two or three times they go I don’t think he likes kiwi, let’s don’t put it on there anymore. And so and that goes into a process that is replicated all over to every Ritz Carlton all over the world. And so if you’re in London staying at a Ritz Carlton, your Kiwis not on the proof flight you order so that’s always customers really really enjoy that kind of personal license personalization but as you say, there is also a balance because the respect for the customer again because you know, there’s too much personalization I started looking for the cameras you know, where are the cameras in my room? feels creepy they know me too well then all my secrets while they watching me is big brother here, you know all of those kind of unusual kind of negative things and so working with them to try to find protocols and almost communication signals where the frontline might say things like I saw in your profile that so now I know. Wow. You know, I know how you do all of this. It’s not so mysterious. It’s wonderful. I enjoy it but it’s not creepy, but there Many other things you could do in an experience, to help create a personalization without it feeling like you’re invading their privacy. So that’s it’s a, it’s an exciting area. And what we found in doing that work is, people differ in customers differ based on the region they’re from, they differ based on the country they’re from. So their needs for privacy, where I live in the south might be not far less than might be some other part of the states or some other country in the world, where they’re more cautious about revealing things about their privacy. So being able to put a cultural filter on it, I think is also a critical part of knowing the customer. Because again, the key part of personalization is no you. Because what we really want is we don’t want, we sort of not want it personalized. We want it customerized it meaning it’s not just for people like me, it is for me, and so that the level of I know you, I know you not just people like you is is I think a key part is how do we take our market research and dig deeper into, almost down to the individual when they can. So that’s an exciting area. And now with more and more technology and the capability of, of doing deep diagnostics on customer data, we know more about and we can know more about the customer. But again, they’re humans, they have a sense of privacy, we have to remember that.

Gregorio Uglioni 11:31
And what you’re saying makes totally sense as we like the beginning, I am coming from Switzerland, and therefore we have a different attitude towards privacy compared to other countries. Sure. Basically, also to show that as you said, you need to know your customer, you are always sharing one great example from my point of view, this is about buying the car, the last car for your wife, yeah, mentioned this example. Could you please share that? We sure

Chip Bell 11:59
sure. Oh, yeah, my wife has a new car, she loves this new car, she traded in her old car had the same brand to get a new car. And a week after she had the car, she turned on the radio for the very first time and discovered the service Dec had programmed in her radio stations from her trading. And it didn’t say anything. They didn’t say we put your week programs, your radio station, they just let her found it about a week after she had it. She turned on the radio. And so it’s it’s those kinds of things that make a difference in terms of wow, look, they noticed in the key part of that example, is one it was simple in one complex. And I think the more simple we do that kind of effort, the more ingenious kind of effort, the better to it was unexpected, which makes it surprise which makes the customer’s loyalty go up. But But third, it fit on one company it was it fit was appropriate for that situation. And so, and it was doable. I mean, it was a complicated one hard It didn’t take long training or deep, you know, they just said let’s do let’s to add this to the, to the, you know, to the cost to our one of our steps as a Service Tag, and we’re getting a brand new car ready. Let’s just take the stat and program to the right it just making that matter. And I think that’s, that’s that’s what makes this particular she drives a Lexus makes that particular brand. Very successful is their capacity to do that. It comes right down to the service tech.

Gregorio Uglioni 13:35
And I think exactly what you’re saying. It’s not always about spending a lot of money. You are mentioning that in your books and in your speeches. It’s finding a way to balance generosity together with creativity.

Chip Bell 13:47
Yes, right. Absolutely. And that’s, it’s to me, that’s part of what I hope I make make a contribution, we know that that while we all have value added, we love the value added component. We out love the generosity of taking what customers expect and adding more. That’s always wonderful. I’d like to upgrade you to first class, I’d like to give you the fancy room on the fancy floor of the hotel. I’m all comp your dessert, we all like those kinds of value added. The challenge is those value added efforts. The customer expectations tend to climb right up there without addition. And so you can pretty soon run out of the room where you can’t go, you know, we can’t keep doing this all the time. And and so what I talk about in my work is value unique, not value added value add is fine. But there’s some limitations. There’s no limit to ingenuity. Value unique is doing things that are unexpected, that are unique, that are different, sometimes whimsical, but it’s creates that kind of wow, that’s different. Whoo, that’s good. And the key thing about it is when I work with organizations, they sometimes say, you know, I can’t keep doing innovative things every time See the customer? Well, BF Skinner, if you remember taught us, you don’t have to do it that way, what makes the Cassina work, what makes the slot machine so addictive, is you did the you don’t get rewarded every time you put a coin in the slot machine. It’s, it’s random. And so I don’t have to do these kind of whimsical things every time. But once in a while, when I get it, I go, you know, it has a big impact on their emotion in relationship to that customer to that organization. And, and the most important piece is they have a story they can’t wait to share. My belief is the pinnacle of customer loyalty is not a recommendation, would you recommend to a family member or friend, that’s not the pinnacle? The pinnacle, the high point in loyalty is? Do they have a story, a compelling story they’re eager to share with others, because, you know, recommendation, you might try it. But when you hear somebody say you’re not gonna believe what happened to me, you go, I gotta try this. And so it has a much bigger impact on prospects on customers who are willing to say, well, let me try that too. Let me go to that organization as well, I heard this great story. And I think it has a much better it more influential impact. And so that’s to me, the pinnacle, we focus on that advocacy, in the form of a story. And so very unique create stories.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:27
So, but nowadays, we are always speaking, it’s all about storytelling, and therefore exactly what you are, what you are selling, it’s extremely important, I share my story, we are going always to the same small, really, really small, small shop to buy meat, because the lady there is giving always to my four year old son something to it and think about where he always asked me to come with you when we are going there and all these stories that then I share again and again. And this makes me not only recommend them, but sharing the story also, for example now with with you, it’s only a small, small shop two kilometers far away from where I live there. And they are small. They know their customer because they have not 1000s of different customers. Exactly what what what you’re saying makes totally sense. And and this is also one of the differentiators is service and this is the next question I would like to ask to you. What we are saying now seeing now is in service, there is an extreme pressure, most of the contact center call center are trying to reduce the handle time of a call or have a service interactions. Where is driving us this pressure on contact center on service in general.

Chip Bell 17:56
I think I think there’s a big problem with that. Because if you look at if that if you’re looking at reducing handle time, what you’re what you often are not impacting is first call resolution. And so you may be saving time on an individual call, but they because their problems not solved because you’re it’s all drive bys all quickly too quick. The customer is gonna call back and now they’re gonna call back not so happy. Even more angry. And so I think it you recreate a different problem. And I think about this what other bit what other role in in any organization? Do you get managed with a stopwatch, think of, can you think of any other role in the organization where we got a stopwatch, own your behavior all the time, fast, fast, fast, hands down, I don’t know how to get it down mass mass mass mass as sometimes I think we measure it because we can. And I’m not saying we shouldn’t measure handle time. Obviously it has big impact on staffing, there are things you do but to keep make the Cust make the frontline person the call center contact center operator constantly aware of fast, fast, fast fast, drives that conversation so they’re more interested in in the stopwatch and less about taking care of the customers needs however long that might take. And so you create a greater experience for the customer. They’re much more loyal to that particular organization. And so in the end, you think, you know, I think about the greatest organizations that are dependent on call centers, Zappos, you know, some great hotel, you know, you can go down the list. They don’t they don’t have that those numbers right in front of that frontline person. They say take care of the customer, whatever that takes. And you say, Well, what do I do if I got somebody who’s chatty and they want to take a long time to take care of the customer longer than necessary? Well, that’s not a stop watch issue. That’s a coaching issue. You know, you can address those kind of one off situations in a much more in a supervisory way, not in a standard way. And so I think, while I appreciate the the cost of people I understand, you know, need for discipline in an organization, when it comes to a relationship, you know, what happens in your, in your marriage, when you rush the conversation? What happens in your marriage, when you don’t really listen, you’re just trying to get it over with, I mean, that doesn’t have good impact on the relationship there. Why would it have a positive relationship on the on the customer. And so I know, and sometimes it’s all driven by, you know, all these metrics to save money, money, money, I get that, but you’re to me, you’re cutting your nose off your nose to spite your face, so to speak. You know, it’s a, it may be a short term game, but it ultimately it’s a long term loss because customers a negative to calling back two or three times to finally get their needs met. Because he was so quick with them. So that’s my, that’s my concern about that particular metric that we use, we need metrics in any organization in any, any or any role, but I think, measure, you know, driving it quantitatively is opposed to relationship was, could be a problem.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:17
Now, and I think what you’re saying with example of wife, sometimes I would ask my wife to perhaps speed up some discussions, but then afterwards, the feedback is not so good. That’s exactly

Chip Bell 21:30
exactly that is so true.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:34
Now basically, you are really extremely innovative. And ahead of everybody in this discussion. Let’s quickly close our eyes for two seconds. And think about now it’s 2030. It means you wrote five additional books. And what are people discussing about customer experience in 10? years?

Chip Bell 21:58
Oh, great question. Great question. I think, in 10 years from now, they’re going to be talking about the more the role of technology in a much more poignant, powerful way. Where is AI gonna take us? Where is robotics gonna take us? Where is, you know, where does where does this all lead? In terms of, do we, you know, how much we mechanize how much we create, build technology into, and its impact on the human relationship. You know, I keep remembering that famous great Stanley Kubrick movie 2001, Space Odyssey way ahead of its time. And if people who saw that movie may remember, the computer on board House took over, and the two power two astronauts had they closed and shut them outside of outside the space capsule, and they had to figure out ways of course, house smart, smart, smart, smart, but not creative. And so in the end of the day, it was the creativity, something that is distinctively human that that enabled them to be successful, and overcome, something that computer cannot do, it cannot, it cannot be ingenious, in terms of what what’s does, it follows its program. And so I think in the final and the end of the days, we are going to have to use it AI, all things technology, we need to think of them in a support role, not in a dominant role, where they drive the the entire encounter with the customer. Because at the end of the day, if a customer service is human, it’s emotional. It’s interpersonal. It’s while there are certain things we like to have done in an expeditious way, and technology helps us do it that way. It’s a great tool, I think that’s gonna be that discussion is gonna be with us for many, many years. What, you know, we’re now looking at drones for delivering food and delivering packages, and we’re looking at driverless cars and, and all those kinds of things. And, and we see this positive side of that, we see that but there’s also a dark side. Again, back to my 2001 Space Odyssey. So learning to balance that is gonna be a challenge for long term.

Gregorio Uglioni 24:28
What I really like is that you are speaking about balancing technology and human touch, because service is all related. And not only services but also customer experience. Experiences are intimate within a person a human being, and not, let’s say through, they don’t go through through a machine and then they get back and then I fully agree with you.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it. Until the next episode, please don’t forget we are not in a b2b or b2c business we are in a human to human environment, Thank you!

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