The Dark Side of Customer Experience with Michael Bartlett – E62 – First Half

Release Date: 21. February 2022

link to the second half:

The Dark Side of Customer Experience with Michael Bartlett – First Half Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had a smart discussion with Michael Bartlett.

Michael is the creator of the CCXP exam simulator and the director of Experience Innovation at JMARK. He is a serial founder and philanthropreneur dedicated to helping animal rescues.

The Dark Side of Customer Experience

The Dark Side of Customer Experience – Michael’s book

We discussed about:

  • cataloging priyome (“well established principles and patterns”)
  • if you know the enemy, it makes easier because you know what to do about it
  • the Iceberg Model and how to leverage it
  • The importance of understanding goal and social frictions when creating experiences
  • the Endless Waiting
  • Local optimization
  • The key takeaways from the books
  • what will Customer Experience look like in 10 years time

… and much more

His book suggestion:

  • Animal Behavior by John Alcock

Michael’s golden nuggets:

“in any complex system, you may not know what the end point is, so what you can do, is to have a direction. And if you know what the direction is, you just have to go in that direction, you may end up making a few mistakes. But you’ve got to keep following that direction.”

“If you’re younger, save up as much money as you can. Because what everybody needs to have is a bad boss escape fund.”

“in any complex system, you may not know what the end point is, so what you can do, is to have a direction. If you know it, you just have to go in that direction, you may end up making few mistakes. But you’ve got to keep following it.” Michael Bartlett

“If you’re younger, save up as much money as you can. Because what everybody needs to have is a bad boss escape fund.” Michael Bartlett on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

How to contact Michael:

Related to the CCXP Exam Prep

Thank you, Michael!

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

click here to subscribe
my YouTube channel

You like more to read:

Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX Goalkeeper podcast. Your host, Gregorio Uglioni, will have a small discussion with experts, thought leaders and friends on customer experience, transformation, innovation and leadership. I hope will enjoy the next episode.

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight. It’s really, really a big, big pleasure from my side. I have Michael Bartlett with me. Hi Michael, how are you?.

Michael Bartlett 0:32
Hello, Greg. I’m doing very good. How you doing today?

Gregorio Uglioni 0:35
Well, and I am really pleased that you accepted my invite that I have you on the CX goalkeeper podcast for me, you are the architect of my but not only mine CCXP exam preparation because your simulator, it’s outstanding. And also, I want to say thank you publicly and officially to you for helping me preparing this exam. Thank you very much, Michael.

Michael Bartlett 1:03
You’re very welcome. It’s also great because I’m so happy to be on your podcast because you use football as an analogy for CX. And I used to do that many years ago not with CX but with film directing. And we would always talk about our dream 11. So I’ve done the similar things to you before. Oh,

Gregorio Uglioni 1:21
that’s that’s, that’s very nice. And it’s also a big pleasure. I start every podcast in the same way. And I asked my guests to introduce himself. Michael, could you please introduce yourself?

Michael Bartlett 1:35
I am a generalist, I guess is probably the right term to use. Now, I’ve never heard that term before until I went for a job interview in 2001. Was it 2017. And the guy I told the guy what I did, I always felt embarrassed when I was trying to explain my career because it kind of zigzags quite a lot. And he said, Oh, yes, you’re a generalist. So I guess I’m a generalist, then I live in southwest Missouri, I do a lot of dog rescue. I’m very passionate about helping shelter animals and rescues and supporting foster networks. And I do it all through my work in CX, I have a day job, essentially, probably the best day job in the world. It’s so cool. I work for a company called J. Mark, who are based here in Springfield, Missouri. I had a local businessman approached me recently, and he says, give me a number, what would it take to get you to leave J mark. And I said, Honestly, you’d have to pay my mortgage off twice, because that is how much I love working at J mark. So even though I do all of my CCXP work on the side, and I do you know CX consulting here and there, not very much of it. To be honest, it’s mainly CCSP work I do. I just My day job is so enriching that I just love it. And I hope you know, and if you’ve ever heard people talk about getting the Sunday night blues. And they know they have to go into work on Monday. And I don’t get those, I actually look forward to Mondays now as well. So I work as my job title is director of experience innovation. And I do a little bit of AI, a little bit of CX. And generally just try to protect the company and make sure that the company is moving in the right direction and advise the CEO and then work with other members of the staff just to make sure that we’re doing things the right way and our customers are being taken care of. So I’ve quite a meandering career, little bit of film directing in there for a little bit, a little bit of consulting with Accenture. So the I think a generalist is probably the best summary.

Gregorio Uglioni 3:30
I am also former Accenture, and therefore I need to say best people and therefore the best people come to to this podcast. Joke by side, I think you are saying that you’re a generalist, but you are very well known in the customer experience field in the customer experience community for all the work that you’re doing. And it’s it’s, it’s, it’s really great to, to have you here. And I really love also how you are helping others. And in this case, it’s not only human beings or human beings in a broader sense, because you are also helping with your support to the dock rescue. Yeah, I would like to understand a bit which values drives you in life.

Michael Bartlett 4:16
So if you go to my LinkedIn profile, I’ve actually got a copy of it here. So I can read them out to everybody. I don’t know what possessed me to do this. But I know that businesses have core values. And I figured it would make sense if I listed my core values on my LinkedIn profile page. So I’ll go through them and I’ll explain where they come from. Most of them come from my parents to be fair. So let’s start with generosity that actually comes from my dad. My dad was always very generous. He always tried to look after other members of the family. He was like basically the best dad could have ever had really because he was responsible. He took care of everything. And he made us feel that there was never anything to worry about as kids he had everything taken care of. And he was just immensely generous. I love that about him. And I didn’t copy that, I don’t know if it just flowed through naturally into me. But that’s how I’ve always been, you know, I always see people that maybe are in weaker positions than me, the one is lucky is me. And I try to help them out. However, I can, you know, sometimes extends into the CCSP, where I’ve had candidates from sort of low income backgrounds, and they can’t really afford any materials. And so I try my best to work with those guys as well. I had someone that got hold of a copy of my book illegally. And they told me and I said, don’t worry about it. Just if you make a donation to a dog shelter after you pass the exam, that’s fine with me. And I assume they did. I mean, most people I’ve worked with seem to be pretty good. So generosity is very important. Knowledge is one of my biggest ones. And that’s because I just can’t stop learning, I don’t know why I’m obsessed with it. And every time I come across a new field that might have some very revealing information, and that could make big differences. I start, I run headfirst into it, and I just do everything I can. So right now, I’m looking at the VUCA field and the anti fragile field, and I’m just reading and reading as much as I can. What frustrates me when I try to learn new things is and I ran into this with culture, as well, is there’s a number of books by culture experts. And each of these books will have a framework. And normally, it’s a nice little acronym that you can remember the framework. But they’re all different. And like, well hang on a minute. But what is the fundamental truth behind Korean culture? If there is one, I don’t think any of you have found it yet, because you’ll disagree with each other with your frameworks. So I tried to look for commonalities underlying patterns. And that’s a lot of what drives the work I do. And actually, what drove this book that I’m about to release because of the nature of looking for patterns. So that’s kind of one of the things I do with my with my books is I extract as much knowledge and patterns for them as I can I document them. And then I come back to them later on, if I might need to in any way, whether it’s to help someone with a specific problem, or for a new book, for example. And then the other two are positivity and fun. So I just tried to stay as positive as I can, I’m very much a glass half full person. And I also believe it’s very important not to take yourself too seriously to have fun in life. Because no matter how good you are at something, whatever the specialty, if your field, there’s always someone who’s going to be a little bit better than you out there. So try not to get you know, an ego. And just remember that we’re all in this together. And you know, you can learn as much from other people as they can learn from you. So it’s best to take a collaborative approach to life. So it’s kind of my attitude, really.

Gregorio Uglioni 7:27
It’s really nice and are really important values, perhaps one question, How many books do you read on a yearly basis, because I am following you on LinkedIn. And often you are reviewing books on one side or publishing them on LinkedIn. But also you have a great YouTube channel, where you’re summarizing books. Are you eating the books? Or are you speed reading them?

Michael Bartlett 7:52
So I try not to speed read. I do sometimes, but so what I’ve done is I’ve made a rule that on my YouTube channel, if I’m going to review a book, then I have to have read every word in that book. But then there are some books, oh, this, there’s a song on the VUCA stuff. I’m reading another one right now. And it’s got a lot of stuff very familiar to it. So now I’m skimming and I’m skimming and I’m looking for areas that could be very interesting. There was a really fascinating book that came out a few years ago called humans sigma. And instead of reading that one, I scanned it, because a lot of stuff was familiar. And then what happened is I ran into a section on the concept of fairness. And that was new. And then as soon as I hit that section, then I went through it very, very slowly. And actually, there was lots of really great information in it. And then after that, I started speeding up again, because it was familiar territory. So I don’t really need to, I don’t want to keep rereading the same things that I’ve seen before. So let’s say you buy a book on CX, and it talks about behavioral science. And then there’s a whole chapter on system one and system two, I don’t need to read system one, system two, again, I’ve seen it in so many books. But generally, I used to read a lot. I don’t know what the number was 4050, maybe a year, but last year, not very many at all, maybe 1520. And the reason is because I started working at a startup and was in charge of doing all the UX and CX work for them. My employer invested in them, just assigned me to the startup full time. And that’s all I’ve been doing, since 2001 is working on this startup. So I’ve dramatically slowed down now. And I always tell my wife, you always know when I’ve got a bit of free time, because I’ll speed up the reading again. And suddenly the book reviews will start appearing on the YouTube channel again. So unfortunately, not as many as I would have liked. I wish there was a way that someone would just pay me and all I could do is read books every day. That would be amazing.

Gregorio Uglioni 9:40
That’s true. But I think that now it’s time to come the big topic that we would like to discuss. And I really say for my art ladies and gentlemen, don’t speed read the book of Michael because I’m 100% sure that it will be full of insight. I had the great honor to have short preview on that. And now we are having this discussion. But as soon as you can buy the book, please pause the podcast, go to Amazon or wherever you can you want to buy books and buys Michael’s book, because it’s really a great one. And the name is the dark side of customer experience. But I don’t want to start thinking about it. If I have Michael Europe, and TerraForm migrations, why did you decided to did you decide to write a book?

Michael Bartlett 10:32
So I guess it came, the inspiration was from another book I read called predictable success. It’s my favorite ever business book. What I liked about predictable success is the author presents some scenarios at the beginning of the book. And he said, cuz he’s been a consultant for many, many years. And he said, I go to a business, and one of my longtime clients would come to me and I’d be waving their hands. In the end, they’re like, nothing’s working, everything’s going wrong. And then just a litany of all the things Yeah, just just throwing out at him. And as reading the book is becomes overwhelming, like, oh, wow, yeah. How would I even go about trying to know where to start with something like that? What he presents those three stories, then he presents the framework in the book. And then at the end of it, he says, Now let’s go back to those stories and see if they make a little bit more sense to you. And immediately, you see patterns, and you’re like, oh, okay, this is happening, this is happening. Therefore, this is what we need to do. It was a wonderful way of problem solving. And it relates directly to a concept in chess, which is called pre ohms. And pre ohms, in chess. And I mean, I have so many books, I could talk you through on chairs. But basically, what it is, is it takes a pattern, a familiar pattern that you can recognize in a position. And if that pattern appears, then you can take an associated maneuver to exploit the situation, and give your give your game an advantage. And I thought, well, you could combine those two ideas. And you could literally create a bunch of pre arms for customer experience, because you see them every day. And everybody knows what they are. Some people even have the same names for them as well. So why not just catalog them. Because then when you think about someone who’s sick, and they don’t know what’s wrong with them, it’s horrible. Once they get the diagnosis, and they know the name of the enemy, it makes it makes it easier, because then you know, this is what I’m dealing with. Now I know the kind of steps there’s a body of knowledge about what things I can do, there’s experts that are aligned to solving a specific problem. So it’s all about trying to catalog and name the problem. And then once you can do that, it should make hopefully solving the problem a lot easier, which makes obviously, customers lives better, which is the most important thing.

Gregorio Uglioni 12:37
It totally makes sense. And I think and then with squar, quite scared to speak about with you, because I’m sure you’re already checking my behavior, what I’m saying what I’m not saying, our moving my eyes and so on. And it’s quite, quite scared. But let’s continue the discussion. I think it’s really interesting. And and before we deep dive in these different patterns and what we could how we could work against them or create experiences, then that fit for our customer. You are also introducing one interesting concept. It’s about the iceberg model. Could you please elaborate a bit on that?

Michael Bartlett 13:19
Well, the problem is systems. In businesses, they’re very complex, and there’s lots of moving and interacting parts. And so you can’t just sort of look at something like, I’ll give you a great example, I worked in a company once where we had to do data imports. So what we would do is we would take a client, well, actually, we would work with an Indian company, and the Indian company would bring the client offline at nighttime, we would then run through our import, and then the Indian company would bring it back online. But the process was a real mess. The process was like using instead of identifying the customers by their name, you’d use a three digit code. And it would sometimes be something like a bx, and maybe there was a client called AV y. And you can see how that could get very dangerous very quickly, especially when human beings find it difficult to discern distinctions in very similar letters and patterns. So what happened was one person actually made a mistake. And they they pulled client A’s database down offline. And then they when they were finished with the work, they overrode their production database with client B’s database, and everybody was freaking out. And of course, it turns out luckily that the the Indian company have made a backup. But the fact that event happened was shocking. And people just said, Oh, well, you made a mistake. And then people just carried on as if nothing had happened. And this is where the iceberg iceberg model is useful, because it says what could have caused an event and could that event be part of a larger pattern? Well, if they’d looked into it what they would have seen is that I had at least two or three I was terrible was this actually, I had two or three incidents where I’d got the the names wrong, and I’d put the wrong characters in and last We had multiple people double checking it. But once we have someone check it three times, and there’s still errors in there. And so it what it did is it illuminated a fundamental pattern that was wrong in the business, when you have to just go deeper to try and understand what what was causing that. And underlying the pattern is some kind of a structure in the business. And underlying that structure is a mindset. And what happened was, we’d been taken over by some investment companies, they just wanted to grow, grow, grow, sell, sell, sell, so there wasn’t any interest or enthusiasm put into trying to look at where the cracks might be. And understand, oh, when we start scaling quickly, those cracks could get bigger and bigger and bigger. And we can put ourselves into a bad situation. I spotted it not knowing anything about the iceberg model. And they wouldn’t let me actually fix it. So I had to use my own weekends, and I wrote a tool. So the tool would present the name of the client in plain English. And then you would select that, because that’s what the human deals with better. And then in the background, it would write the document to the Indian company, and put in all of those little fiddly codes. And they would be correct. That way, there was no possibility of anything going wrong. But if somebody had actually known about the iceberg model and been a systems thinker at the organization, they would have been able to discover those underlying problems that could come to the surface. And, you know, sink, you literally as I spoke to do. And so that’s why it’s an important model. And I’ve talked about it in the book, talks about how I’ve used it to identify typical root causes for patterns. But the problem is, every business is unique. So whilst I can tell you, if you see this particular CX pattern, this is the most likely reason for it. It doesn’t mean it always will be. So you should use the iceberg, model yourself to investigate your own business, investigate your own customer experience patterns, and then hopefully, pull out what those root causes are, pull out the structures, pull out the mindsets that are driving them, and then make some changes to try and fix that. So that’s where that model is very useful.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:56
Thank you very much. And and it totally makes sense. It’s something that that we can leverage in our daily jobs, to understand better issues. And we understand now from you that why you’ve wrote the book. And my next question would be what’s in for the readers, if readers read your book, what are they going to learn?

Unknown Speaker 17:21
So the book was supposed to originally just be a catalogue of patterns. But I wanted to give people an appreciation for why bad customer experiences are bad customer experiences. In CX world, there’s a lot of emphasis on the customer in that world customer experience, but less so on experience, the actual psychology of the experience. So what I’ve done is with the book, I’ve introduced this concept of pre ohms, I’ve talked about chess a little bit, I know not everybody’s gonna understand chess. So I’ve tried to keep it fairly high level. And then I’ve got gone into a deep dive on what makes a bad experience my show from a, from an evolutionary psychology perspective, all of the deep drives that are within human beings and why we have them, then I bring that up a level of abstraction and say, a higher level, you can boil it down to one of two things, which is either Gulf friction, where something gets in the way of you trying to get your job done, or social friction, where maybe the experience is a wonderfully efficient, that people will route you people talk down to you that kind of thing. And normally a bad customer experience has one of those two elements, if not both. So I wanted to give everybody the psycho psychological grounding first. And then after that, then I catalog the experiences. But rather than just being a big list of of customer experience, pre ohms occasionally will take a diversion. So for example, in the topic where I talk about culture, and how culture can be the underlying problem with some patterns, it’s not enough just to say that I then wanted to go and talk about culture for the reasons I mentioned earlier to which is that, okay, so there’s one of about maybe eight books they can pick up, but they depending on which one they pick up, they’re going to get a different framework. So how do I want to make I want to make sure everyone is approaching this consistently. So the book then goes and talks about certain subjects from a fundamental level, what why is culture even a thing? Where does it come from? From a scientific perspective? How do we get it and how do we use it. And once I cover that, I think it gives you enough grounding, that you could then go and get one of those other individual books and use those frameworks. But at least it lets you know where culture comes from, I have these little diversions occasionally, just to mix it up just to make it a little bit more interesting for the reader. So it takes them on a journey. Sometimes they’ll have an interview with a CX practitioner, or a business leader who specialized in that particular area and make things work. So you get to see not just the theory, but you actually get to see some people that have been there and done it as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 19:47
And it totally makes sense because at the end experiences are human and something that we are doing, but really to understand these patterns or presume you explained to us what they are perhaps Can you make an example? What is it? What is the pattern? And how we should enter this pattern? And to make that a bit more understand understandable also for the audience? Which one do you prefer the most.

Unknown Speaker 20:13
So there is a classic pattern called the endless weight. And it’s a pattern that appears a lot where basically the customer, so what happens is, before you engage in an experience, you always do some level of mental accounting like, Okay, how much time is this going to take me, even if you have no idea, like you’ve never been to this business before, on some level, you’ve still made a prediction, because that’s what our human brains do, as they try to predict everything to optimize the energy that we use. So you’re in a business, let’s say you’re in the DMV, for example. And if especially if people not in America, that’s the place where you get your driver’s license. And so you get in, so you get there, and the DVDs got a bad reputation anyway, so most people probably like, it’s probably gonna take a long time, 3040 minutes, and then you get in line, and then something happens where you just goes too slow, and then you start to get irritated and angry. And it’s because you’re the prediction is incorrect, what you’re feeling that frustration and anger is one of your drives, which is your drive to explore meaningful goals is being suppressed down. And you’re because you’re being forced to stay in a stagnant position. And it’s an evolutionary drive, but it doesn’t matter, there’s nothing you can do about it, when it when you’re in that line, you can either get out of line, or you can stay there. And of course, that’s where the sunk cost fallacy comes from, is it makes people even more angry. Now the causes are there, there’s, there’s, there’s a number of different causes, but with, with the endless weight, the way to solve it, there’s only really two ways to solve it, you can solve it objectively in the real world, or you can solve it subjectively in the customer’s head, because it’s customer experience. So there are tricks you can do. So the first thing is easy. So you work on your operating operations to make sure that you know, when the when the peak times are, and then you have extra staff on hand. Maybe if there’s exceptions, where some where people could take longer, you’ve got something really for them. I see this a lot when people go into stores and says do you want to set an account up with us and then everyone has to stand behind that person while they take 10 minutes to set something up with you have a separate booth, you redirect them to that could make life a lot a little bit easier. So you can solve it operationally. The other way you can solve it is psychologically, so what you could do is you could put a timer on the wall, and it says expected wait time, and immediately that helps people form the right expectation. So they shouldn’t be angry, even if it’s the big number. But it has the numbers a little higher than what it actually takes that might not be such a bad idea to depending on the frequency of visits, because remember, people will then learn that and then associate that next time. Other things you can do is you can maybe if there’s different areas they walk through, you can color code them, so that like I’m in the purple zone now. And if I’ve made it to the yellow zone next, I’m a bit closer. So there’s, there’s traditionally you can always solve these patterns in two ways objectively, and then subjectively. And then in terms of what what causes them. Normally, it’s the customer experience design, like they’ve either not designed it properly, or they’ve not designed it with customers, or at least tested it with customers in the real world. Normally, these things are all done before they even open the doors, everyone’s come up with this great design, they open the doors, and then reality happens and then you see what goes on and you’re like, oh, this didn’t really work out the way I thought it would. So that’s that’s kind of one of the neat tricks about the pre ohms as well as I not only offer what the most likely causes are, but I might hear some of the things that you can do to fix them as well. And the endless weights are really good example because you encounter that everywhere. And it can be so easily fixed just with psychological means as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 23:47
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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