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

Episode released on: 28. February 2022

link to the first half:

The Dark Side of Customer Experience with Michael Bartlett – Second 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.

Michael published his book on February 22nd 2022:

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 take-aways 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.”

“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!

click here to subscribe
my YouTube channel


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

what you’re saying, it makes total sense. And also in contact center, all the companies start telling you how long you need to wait that you can prepare. And then as you’re saying, it feels a bit less than it’s really, really it is, because you know that you need to wait, for example, eight minutes in the queue. I think this is really interesting, deep diving in these patterns you shared one that you really like, and perhaps is there any odor pattern that you would like to share with us with such great example that you are doing, where you can see, this is something that you can quickly find out and fix?

Michael Bartlett 1:00
Well, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t talk about any of the other patterns. But what I would talk about is something else that happens within the CX realm, which I mentioned in my book, which is related to this, which is what something I call local sub optimization. And so local sub optimization, you can think of a game of Whack a Mole. And so a problem comes up and they try and fix it. But what they actually do by trying to fix it is they cause another problem somewhere else. And then they’ve tried to solve that problem, another one pops up. And so what I would recommend, because obviously, a business is a complex system, the problem with complex systems is a small change can have a big effect, but also a big change might have a small effect. And you can’t predict really where the what the results are going to be. All you can do is make these little probes and experiments and see what happens and see what the results are and then just take it as you go. Secondly, the same as monitoring the football team, you know, make a few little tweaks here and there doesn’t work out fine, you try something different, which is what the whole preseason is for really is figuring out those patterns that work compounds that don’t. So I would urge anybody watching or listening now to be very cognizant of local sub optimization. And if you’re going to make changes, try to make them in a safe controlled way. So a really good example is Kohl’s, Kohl’s, were looking at dealing with new operating hours. And so rather than just roll out across the business, what they did is they rolled out in one or two locations. So what happened, and then based their decisions on whether to tweak it, change it, iterate before they finally rolled it out across the nation. So that’s an example of where you can kind of combat that. Because that way, if there were any unintended consequences, they would have seen anyone just have been in one of those one or two stores. And it wouldn’t have been it wouldn’t have hurt them massively, if like it would have if they’ve rolled it out across the whole company.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:51
Thank you, Michael, and perhaps trying to elaborate on what you are saying, after this 15 minutes that we are discussing about your book, we’ll find out or I’ve personally found out that your book will be extremely interesting. And therefore, after this local optimization, or I already got an insight in your book, I am now sure that I will buy your book. And perhaps the last question on your book are there, let’s say one, two or three takeaways from from the book itself, that people can then learn reading your book.

Michael Bartlett 3:28
So the first takeaway probably is to understand that you can evaluate customer experiences in a very simple way, just using goal friction and social friction. So a nice clean way of being able to understand negative customer experiences. The second takeaway is that even though I have cataloged the main patterns doesn’t mean that that’s all the patterns that exist. Different industries are going to be very specific and going to have their own patterns. So my second takeaway would be to urge people to start looking for their own patterns, start building up those questions. All chess players do it by the way, there’s not a definitive set of patterns in chess. But if you strong chess player speaks with another strong chess player about one that they know about. Most likely, they’ll both know the same one, they might have a different name for it, but they’ll know the same one. But then the more and more you learn the more little intricate ones you come across that are very specific, you know, the more detailed and specific they are, the less likely other people will know them. That’s where it becomes interesting and you start cataloging your own. I’ve been doing it for years, I’ve been cataloging my own chess patterns that I see when I look at chess puzzles. And those might not be ones grandmasters know because there’s so specific so if you’re in an industry, you know, like healthcare, for example, it’s pretty gonna be very specific. Once your industry started cataloging them, start making a note of the interventions that work the interventions that don’t and then you have a playbook almost and then maybe a few move career and you’d go from one hospital to another hospital. You can bring those patterns with you, I actually recommend just trying to share them with the industry as much as possible rather than hold on to them, just in the same way that dog patterns have become very popular in the UX world, I would like to see CX patterns become popular in the CX world, and people openly talk about them, call them by the same name. And then people have their, you know, this is the, this is the best in class way to deal with this kind of pattern. So that would probably be the second takeaway. And then the third takeaway is, these patterns are not evil by design, let’s say in UX, they tend to be that way. So in UX, people will try to trick the user, they’ll put a fake timer saying, if you don’t buy at this price, it’s going to go up in 20 minutes, and all horrible things like that. I mean, maybe I’m just again, being an optimist. But I think that most of the bad customer experience patterns happen, because people just weren’t paying attention, or they were, but they tried something. And they, they ended up experiencing local sub optimization, and there was a negative consequence they didn’t foresee. So I think everybody has best interests at heart. And so I’m not saying that if these patterns exist in your business, you’re a bad person who will try to trick anybody or anything like that. It’s just unfortunately, it’s a consequence of designing something for humans, that’s complex, you’re going to have all of these unintended things that you just could never foresee. Because in a complex system, there isn’t a tight link between a cause and effect in the system. So they come about and then you just have to try and find ways to fix them. It’s kind of fascinating. And it’s kind of like a game because I really liked it to football. And whenever I watch matches, my team is Chelsea, I’m always thinking, how would I change the lineup? Like how would I change the substitutions to optimize the result. And there’s a lot of fun involved in as like being like a detective almost on a problem solver. So if these patterns are there, don’t feel bad, because they’re everywhere all businesses have them. The key is really just to get stuck in and start trying to fix them. And hopefully, my book can serve as somewhat of a guide to get started on that.

Gregorio Uglioni 7:06
Thank you very much. It totally makes sense. And these are three great takeaways, based on the fact that I have your the my customer experience architect, preparing me for the CCT exam, I need to ask this question. It was not pre discussed, but I am sure that you will answer that. Now we are in 2022. Now we close our eyes ended 2032 in 10 years, what we are speaking about.

Michael Bartlett 7:37
So let’s go back 10 years and see if we can think about that. So what are we talking about in 2012? In 2012, here in Missouri, our internet wasn’t particularly good, social media hadn’t really exploded the way that it had. So really, what changed is things got connected more, and they got faster. I think those are the two main trends I can think of. So if we imagine we become even more connected, and we accelerate and even more pace, I hate to say it, but I think in 2030, to some of the psychological problems that we’re seeing now, because of social media may have become even worse. But I also think, wherever there’s a problem, there’s always a very innovative person standing by to come up with a solution. So what you may find is that you, you end up with a number of reasonable alternatives in the social media world, that think about behavior when they design them. And I’m maybe Facebook dead, because I know that they did experiments where they created algorithms to see if they could make people angry, and things like that. So I’m wondering if and if I had the money, I would do it, create social platforms that stop the bad behaviors. So I actually got off Facebook a year ago as a challenge to see if I could do it. And it felt very strange for about the first two or three months, because I felt completely disconnected from the world. But now having been off it for a year, there’s no way I would ever go back to it, because it was just wasting so much of my time. And so maybe there’ll be things popping up challenges popping up, where can you get off for four months, can you get off the six months, that kind of thing. And then maybe people will realize how enriching it is not to be plugged into those kinds of networks. And then maybe there’ll be other networks they can go on like I always said to developer I’m working with if I had a social network, I think I probably wouldn’t allow people to post photographs or post videos, I might just make it so it’s just a way that you’ve got people’s connection details. You can contact them and maybe a major life event you can select from a drop down like had a baby got a new job, that kind of thing. Try to keep it positive and then if people want negative things if they want to tell the whole world about how they what was in their cupboard that morning or what they had for breakfast and they can go on other social networks, but being in one of these other ones might be a lot better in terms of just your psychological health COVID. Also, I think COVID has made people really take their health seriously where they didn’t do it before, because they knew they could always get bailed out by the doctors and the healthcare system. And the amount of strain that it put on this year, I think people realized, I mean, my wife got ill recently, it wasn’t COVID, thankfully, but she had a three hour wait in the ER, and my mother in law got really sick and had a 16 hour away after potentially having a stroke. And they tried to convince her that she just had a panic attack, when actually she did, and she had a stroke. So I’ve got to the point with health care now where I’m thinking, I think I might just have to take control of this myself, because I don’t know if I really want to have to rely on other people anymore, you will at some point in your life, but why not take control of it and take as much responsibility as you can for your own health and wellness. So I think that’s going to be a big shift. And we might see more of that happening. And maybe 10 years from now, that’s where we’ll be working to be in a world where people are actively taking their psychological and their physical health more seriously. And maybe there’s products, I mean, we have a few now a few apps for meditation and things like that. But maybe that will be a bigger industry in 10 years. So I guess I’ll speak to you in 10 years, and we’ll find out where we are

Gregorio Uglioni 11:24
more than happy, Michael, that would be my pleasure to still be in contact with you. And what you’re saying it’s really brilliant, because it’s something that I am also seeing communities that are focused on some topics. And quite a lot of people stopped getting this push notification about bad news. And therefore they don’t get the news, because it’s always bad news. And therefore they are laser focused where they are investing their time. And for sure, as you’re saying in health care, as we are more connected, and there will be quite a lot of devices that could help us in our daily daily jobs. And creating something for the well being of people of human beings will do would be extremely interesting. Now we are going to the last part and bits learn a bit more about you the three usual questions. The first one, and for for you, I know is the most challenging one. Is there a book that you would like to suggest to the audience? And as I know, you will, perhaps more than one book. But yeah, not for the next five hours?

Michael Bartlett 12:30
Well, let’s think about a books I have read recently that I thought were excellent. And I’m looking at my shelf now. So let’s have a look and see. I want to recommend something that’s going to be very different than most people would not have read. Here we go. All right. So if people really want to get into the evolutionary psychology side, I recommend this book. This is deliberately an old version I picked up recently, because this is the version I had when I was doing my master’s degree in 1999. And I threw it away, because I never thought I’d ever need it. Because I did my Master’s in AI and evolution. And I couldn’t get a job in artificial intelligence. So I have another book up there called practical neural network recipe I couldn’t find no one was hiring. And all I wanted to do in the year 2000, when I got my first job was code AI. And I couldn’t find anyone doing it. And then when I joined JMARK, one of the first things I did when I joined them was to see if I could create a neural network that could learn to play Connect for on its own. And I went out and bought my books again, while books and it was like coming full circle. So if anyone has any interest in that, and I’ll give you an example of a really good takeaway in this book as well. So I saw a debate recently on on LinkedIn about home court advantage, is it even real is even a thing. Well, this book actually shows you there’s a biological reasons why homecourt advantage does exist. And they even showed it with a kind of moth when it guards its tree. And then they did all these experiments where they would take the moth away from its tree, they would put another moth there, that moth then thought it was in its home. Therefore it had home court advantage. And then they released the other month back. And nothing horrible was happening when these animals bow, there’s no no one gets hurt. But there is amount of energy that’s expend before one of them has to give up. And so it’s very interesting, the mathematics and the game theory behind all of that. And that’s why I think that would be good. I know that this isn’t necessarily just going to be on video. So I’ll read the title is called animal behavior by John Alcock and I have the fifth edition. But like I said, that was in publication two decades ago. I think they’re they’re way up now. I think they might be able to 12 or 13 edition.

Gregorio Uglioni 14:46
Thank you very much. The listener will be really pleased also that you mentioned the name of the book and I think it’s really really interesting. If somebody would like to contact you what’s the best what’s the best way?

Michael Bartlett 14:59
I’d recommend just using LinkedIn for now. I mean, I have email address, I’ve so many different email addresses for the different places I work. But it’s best to just come through LinkedIn, because I check it on a daily basis. It’s one of the few social networks that I really actually do enjoy.

Gregorio Uglioni 15:15
Thank you. And could you please also mention how it’s possible to reach your CCXP simulator.

Michael Bartlett 15:22
So I teach this students to prepare for the CCXP exam. And I do it in two different ways. The first way is through a very small little booklet where I condense down all of what I thought was the essential CX knowledge into 18 principles. And that little box called CCXP, exam preparation, you can just get that from Amazon if you type in CCXP exam. And then the other thing I have is an exam simulator. So that is a just a website called the CCXP exam simulator DOT com. And basically, that is a tool that allows you to run through simulated versions of the exam, they’re actually much harder than the real exam. And there’s also a little bit of elearning in there, if you need to solidify anything that you may have already learned that one of the other master classes or courses that are around from a recognized training provider. But essentially, yeah, it just I want to make sure people are ready for the exam. And the best way to be ready for something is to go through it, you know, in a simulated condition, kind of like pilots do.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:22
Exactly. But I want to be honest with the listener and and the audience, if you want to have a chance to pass the exam, then use the book and use the simulator because they’re really great tools and prepare you from for the exam, not only from a content point of view, but also from a psychological point of view. Sorry that I mentioned that, but it certainly makes sense. Now we are coming to an end, and therefore I asked you always the same question. And this is Michael golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new new, that you would like to leave to the audience.

Michael Bartlett 17:02
Yes. So being a generalist. I’ve struggled my whole career, like people might have noticed this, how does someone start off in AI, go into programming, go into consulting, then go into film directing, then come back out into consulting, then come back out into user experience and customer experience. And the best way that I can explain this is you don’t always some people do like some people don’t want to be a lawyer when they’re like 20. And then they just go do that. And that’s great. I’ve got so much admiration for those people. But we don’t all have that. So what do you do if you have more of a generalist mindset where you get interested in things, and then maybe you start to lose interest? And there’s something else that interests you? How do you how do you make that work in today’s society? Well, first of all, it’s a lot easier to make that work in today’s society than it was 20 years ago, when I was starting out, it was horrible, because you always worry about people looking at your resume, asking questions. Where are you going to be committed, you’ve been here for a year, you’ve been here for two years. And what I would say is, this comes from the field of complexity theory.

And I really recommend people follow a guy named Dave Snowden, he talks about this, he says, in any complex system, you may not know what the end point is. So all you can do well you can really do is 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, you may end up in a job that didn’t work out. But you’ve got to keep following that direction.

You can’t you know what everybody else has been a lawyer and I don’t want to keep losing jobs, I’m just gonna go do that. Even though I hate it. It’s gonna work out really badly. And people always talk about following your passion were sort of what this is saying is you just need to go in a general direction.

And the other thing I would say to people is, especially if you’re younger, like save up as much money as you can. Because what you everybody needs to have is what I call a bad boss escape fund. Because sooner or later, you’re going to run into a job where you’re not learning, you’re not growing, you hate being there, you can’t seem to get a job anywhere else. And you get stuck on a treadmill. And I’ve been in that twice in my life, and it’s absolutely horrible. You’re just not and all you’re doing is you’re wasting years of your life. And so the best way to get out of that now I did it.

In my case, what I did the first time this happened to me, I was working at a space agency. I love my job and they changed my manager. And I hated every day and I actually was going to the doctor and having problems. That’s how bad the situation was. I snapped in the end and I just quit. But luckily, I was young enough that I could move back in with my parents. And then I took some time off. I learned study, took some courses and then I got my job with Accenture that worked out really well. Most recently happened in 2017 when I was working at a school district, horrible manager really enjoyed the work but it became the pressure was was cranked up little by little by little, and in the end, I snapped. Now that was a very different situation because my wife doesn’t work. And I didn’t have much to fall back on to. So I had four months of savings. So I spent four months building the CCXP exam simulator. And then by the grace of God managed to get my job at JMARK, just as I was literally about to run out of money. And then I’ve never looked back since. And I don’t want people that are generalists to have to go through what I did, where you’re looking at empty bank account, in your 30s, I want them to be able to be in a position where if you’re in a bad situation, with a bad boss, you can get out and you can be comfortable for at least a year. And normally, in that year of downtime, you will learn so much and you will grow so much that people will be desperate to hire you. Whereas if you’re in a bad job, and you’re beaten down, and you’ve got that mentality, you will recommit when you go to other job interviews, and people will sense it, and you’ll find you can’t get out of the bad situation. And I wish I could go back and tell the 20 year old version of myself that you don’t even have to pull away a lot of money a month, because you’re just looking at 12 months of rent bill or mortgage. But I just don’t want anyone to have to go through that. So that’s why I would recommend that.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:14
Thank you very much. These were two outstanding golden nuggets for the audience. And and the last thing that I want to say thank you very much, Michael, for your time. It was an outstanding discussion. And also to the audience, please post this podcast, go by Michael’s book, because it’s really full of insight. We had a great discussion about it. Enjoy the day, the book, and I wish you a great day. It was really a great pleasure. Thank you very much and also to the audience. I hope that you enjoyed this discussion as much as I did. It was really an outstanding discussion for a great book. Thank you very much, Michael.

Michael Bartlett 21:56
Thank you, Greg. Take care. Bye. Bye.

Gregorio Uglioni 21:58
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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