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This is an incredibly insightful episode that will cause you to rethink the customer experience from both the customer and business perspectives.

So many businesses optimize for the first sale with no consideration for investing in an experience that will result in creating extremely loyal customers that will continue to buy from you again and again.

This episode includes some incredible customer experience stories that Community members shared in the live chat as well as from our own encounters. In one story, a business that previously used to get people who constantly asked for discounts made a simple change that revolutionized how their customers saw their products and services. Not a single one of the new customers ever asked for a discount.

We talk about how you can use customer support to turn unfortunate circumstances into a unique opportunity to craft an incredible story that will turn your customer into an ambassador.

It’s also full of discussion around promotion, discounts, popups, and other things that may appear to deliver tantalizing initial returns but are, in reality, affecting your long-term brand perception and success. This was one of the most enjoyable and eye-opening episodes in recent memory.

Highlights, Takeaways, & Quick Wins

  • As a business owner, how you choose to conduct customer support affects your brand and the customer.
  • When people go to your website, they’re trying to figure out if it’s a giving page or a taking page.
  • Your first product shouldn’t be a money-maker—it should be an experience.
  • There’s no second sale without a first experience.
  • Would you rather have 100 engaged people or 10,000 subscribers that don’t open, click, read, or buy?
  • The only way to win at discounting is to become a discount brand.
  • If you put enough value into your products, then you have the headroom to increase the price.
  • Discounts train people not to be loyal customers because there’s always a chance it will be cheaper in the future.
  • The positive experience a person has with a low-dollar products could drive them to purchase a higher-dollar product when they’re able.
  • People talk about the negative experiences they with companies. Mistakes are an opportunity to create an incredible story people share. Don’t just fix the problem, go above and beyond.
Show Notes
  • 14:42 Sean: Today we’re talking about every step throughout the customer experience. What is the customer feeling? We’ve got some great stories people were sharing in the chat room this morning from the perspective of being a customer—how you’re feeling when you buy a product, when something is wrong with it, and you have to call in to customer service. It’s easy for us to put ourselves in that position because we’re in that position a lot. I don’t think we put ourselves in that position when we’re running the business and it’s to the detriment of our company a lot of time.
  • 15:48 If I asked you if you had a recent customer support experience that was memorable—good or bad—and asked if it effected your perception of that company, I imagine you could think of something pretty recent. I want to bring in these stories to get people to think that way about their business.

As a business owner, how you choose to conduct yourself with customer support affects your brand and the customer.

  • 16:42 Ben: You have to separate yourself from just thinking as the owner of the brand. It takes putting yourself into a completely different mindset to consider all the different ways your customer might interact with your brand and all the experiences they’ll have. It’ll be not just the big things that are obvious, like the texture of the shirt you sell, but it could be the little things, like the packaging it comes in, what shipping is like, or whether or not you include anything extra along with your product. Those kinds of things can make a big difference.
  • 17:25 Sean: I think of the packaging when you get something from Apple. It feels almost soft and the top of the box just slides off. You don’t have to shake it, pull it, or rip it off. Even what would be corners are subtly rounded. There’s no hard edges or sharp corners, and it’s reminiscent of their devices.
  • 18:48 Ben: If you really think about all the details that go into making it, the design, and the user interface, the product itself is so amazing, but the fact that they go a step further and pay attention to the experience you have when you’re getting to the product—that’s what really makes the difference.

Give First, Then Ask

  • 19:23 Sean: Popups make me want to rant and even though I didn’t have that topic in my outline, I think it’s relevant to the show.
  • 19:49 Ben: I had one this morning. Someone shared an article on Facebook, I clicked on it, and before I could even start to read the content, there was a pop up. Because it was on mobile, I had to adjust the size of the screen so I could close it. It was that thing where you try to zoom in on the close button but it shifts over, like “Haha you can’t get me”. I finally closed it out and then the article was terrible. I never want to go there again.
  • 20:37 Sean: It’s the Rule of Reciprocity—give first and then you ask. If you’re asking first, you’re fighting the Rule of Reciprocity. Why are you asking me for something before you’re giving me value? I just see you as a taking page, not a giving page.

When people go to your website, they’re trying to figure out if it’s a giving page or a taking page.

  • 21:07 Ben: It’s ridiculous. It’s on a timer for either before you read the article or you’ve gotten a few lines into reading. The question they ask is, “Do you want to read more articles like this?” I can’t even answer that question because you haven’t let me read the original article!
  • 21:39 Sean: The worst is when it pops up and says, “Do you want to 10X your revenue? Sign up now!” with a pop up box that says, “No, I hate bunny rabbits and money,” and that’s the only way to close it! I don’t know why they think they’re being clever, but I hate when it feels like someone’s putting words in my mouth. You’re forcing me through that path! I guess people think it’s cute, but it’s such a huge turn-off. When a popup is blocking the page you’re trying to get to, you haven’t even had an experience other than a negative one.
  • 22:43 Ben: But Sean, statistics show conversion rates are higher when you’ve got a popup window. What do you have to say to that?
  • 22:50 Sean: It’s true! I admit you will get more signups when you have an email popup. The problem is everyone doesn’t care about the long-game. They care about the numbers right now. How can I profit right now? How can I get the best margins out of my product?

Your first product shouldn’t be a money-maker.

Your first product should be an experience.

  • 23:18 There’s no second sale without a first experience. So many people only care about getting as much as they can out of the first one, they don’t care about whether the person comes back. There’s no long-term business plan, just exploitation. It’s, “Someone is on my site, how can I get the most people on my email list?” That’s not what it’s about! Yes, popups will convert the most because it’s so obtrusive. You’re going to get people who are clueless and don’t know how to get past the box. They think they have to put their email in! First, you’re going to get a lot of spam emails that way.
  • 24:06 Secondly, you’re going to get people that are clueless and that’s not high quality. Third, all you see are the numbers and conversation rates, not the negative brand perception. You don’t see that I’m pissed off and I’m never coming back. Every time I see your name, I’ll feel animosity and unsettled. I don’t want your products. I don’t like your brand. You don’t see that because all you’re looking for is the conversion rates. You’ll get a nice big email list full of people that are not loyal, who don’t care, aren’t connected to your brand, and who aren’t going to buy. If all you care about are numbers, you’re going to miss out on the long-game.
  • 25:06 Ben: I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt. They might be doing it because it’s conventional or they’ve seen other people do it and be successful. You might be thinking about the numbers, but you really want people to have a good brand experience and you don’t realize the harm you’re doing. When you think about things in that way, people become numbers and you don’t want people to be numbers. Numbers don’t stick around. You want people to be people, because you want to be able to engage with them. You want them to have a relationship with your brand that’s going to last. Numbers can’t have a relationship.
  • 26:03 Sean: I’d rather have 100 engaged people than 10,000 subscribers that don’t open, click, read, or buy. I’ll take 10 Community members over 1,000 subscribers. It’s about the engagement and depth. Gary Vaynerchuck talks about this a lot—the numbers don’t matter, the engagement does. What are people actually saying? It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers on Twitter. Only a few thousand people are clicking your stuff and you need to connect with those people.
  • 27:05 Ben: I’m working with a client who sends out a monthly newsletter and I’ve encouraged him to go weekly. He’s nervous about that because he doesn’t want to scare people away. He feels like that’s spammy, but I told him to send out something weekly and always provide unique value and share something new. People who don’t want weekly emails are going to unsubscribe, but those are also the same people that won’t be engaged, click, or purchase products. The people who do stick around when you’re doing something weekly are the people you want to connect with. You’re paying for all those other people and by doing this thing weekly, you’ll be forcing the hand of the people who aren’t really that committed so you can get to the people who really are.
  • 28:02 Sean: It even applies to daily emails if you’re providing value that’s hyper-relevant, but that’s a whole other show. I get six-figure visits a month at seanwes.com and learnlettering.com. I could get so many more subscribers by throwing popups in people’s face, but I don’t care about that. I care about the long-game; I care about the seventh time someone comes to my site because they want to and the level of engagement I have with that person. They’ll eventually listen to podcasts, watch videos, join the Community, or buy something from me. It’s not about the first time they come, it’s about value. Upfront there should always be value. Give first, then ask.

The Middle-Finger Bin

  • 29:26 I like to call the discount bin the middle-finger bin. I saw a tweet that said, “An example of how unfair the world is: people who have been too dumb to buy [this app] before can now get it for 30% off.” He was promoting the app tongue-in-cheek, but inherently, he knows something is off. It’s a “smart person tax” or “loyal customer tax”. You buy from me early and you get the worst price. You’re a loyal customer waiting overnight, forming a line at the door to get in first, and you get the worst deal. If you had been smarter, you could have waiting to get it cheaper because it’s discounted. Instead, you were stupid enough to be a loyal customer and get the worse price—that’s why it’s a middle-finger bin. The early customers, like me who spend hundreds on a course, get screwed over because several months later, you’re sad your course sales have gone down so you run a discount.

Discounts train people not to be loyal customers.

  • 31:36 When you come out with something new, I’m hesitant. How many of us have given clients a discount and they come back expecting the discount? I have a friend who works at a business where they have regular customers they perform a service for. There’s a regular customer they do a lot of business for and makes up about 30% of their income. They started out discounting their service, so this client comes back constantly trying to negotiate the price. There’s other customers that are paying full price and are very satisfied! The client that gets the discount only accepts the discount and they try to negotiate even lower.
  • 32:53 Their perception of the company is totally different. It’s like the story that Matt tells about the two identical gates he built for two different clients. One he charged $1,000 for and he brought the price down to $500 for the other one, because that’s what was negotiated. The full price gate customer was totally satisfied, while the customer that paid $500 had him come back out and change things. They weren’t happy and they were constantly nagging at him. You already lost money, but then you get the worst customer along with it. It’s just bad all the way around.
  • 33:43 Ben: It’s really hard to see how that would be the case. You would think if you discount the price or make it lower, they would appreciate the fact that they’re getting a better deal, but it really is the customers that don’t value your brand. It’s not about the price, it’s about the perception of value. When you discount something, the customer who got the discounted gate felt like they were getting half the value. Because they were getting half the value, there was 50% of the value they wanted to make up by nit-picking. Maybe they are just nit-pickers, even if they had been charged the full price, but I would say they would be more likely to value what you provided at the full price and won’t have nit-picked so much. It doesn’t have to do with the dollar amount.
  • 34:55 Sean: Devon says, “What about those companies or retail where they bump the price up and then discount it to what they really wanted to charge? Example: the actual value of the item is $90, list it at $200, then discount 50% so you feel like you’re getting deal.” The reason he has this example is because he’s aware of it. If he really thought it was a deal getting a $200 product for $100, he wouldn’t be bringing it up. Something is off here and people aren’t stupid. I guarantee you can think of a company right now that always has an arbitrarily inflated price with a 50% discount. Who are they trying to fool? Not discounting means you won’t see it immediately, but it does pay off. You have to play the long-game.

Not Discounting Pays Off

  • 36:10 A guy emailed me and said, “I was one of the people with Learn Lettering 1.0 that wrote in asking for a discounted price,” I obviously didn’t give him a discount and now he says he’s spending his savings on Learn Lettering 2.0. I put out Learn Lettering 1.0 in March of 2014 so I didn’t even knw this worked until a year and five months after it happened and the only reason I know is because this guy wrote in! Think about all the people who didn’t write in. The new class is basically twice what the old one was in price. When it comes to a course, there’s no physical costs—I could have gone down in price and still made money. I could have given that guy a discount and nobody would have known. I would have known and he would have known, but I didn’t do it.
  • 37:31 A year and five months later, he came back and bought the new version with new material that cost nearly twice as much. How long is the game you’re playing? Are you going for the first sale, or are you trying to get a life-time customer? Are you training your customers to wait to buy or are they eager right at the gate? My customers know they’ll get the very best price. People are smart. People will know if I come out with something, the very best deal will be right up front. They know I reward my early buyers every single time. They know the price isn’t ever going to come back down. The more you play to people’s smartness, the better off you’re going to be. Don’t act like people are just numbers you can throw popups and discounts in front of—that’s short-term thinking.
  • 39:11 Ben: Kerri asks, “What about Early Bird Discounts?” You could call that a discount or use whatever terminology you want, but the principle here is rewarding loyalty. For you, that looks like giving your early purchasers the best price upfront.
  • 39:32 Sean: Two things are going on here. The people that bought the original Master Class 1.0, I gave them the 2.0 version. I do increase the price but I never bring it back down. They may have paid $250 or $300, but the new class is $699. I could have given them an upgrade deal or something, but I decided to just give it them. I really want to reinforce that I reward loyalty. We had 50 lessons and 10 modules in the first version, and 75 lesson and 15 modules in the new version. It was 50% more content for free to those loyal customers. When I debut a product, it’s the best price it will ever be. You can’t wait and get it cheaper during a sale, it’s the best price it will ever be when I debut it. This is how you incentivize early purchases.
  • 40:42 If you’re playing the long-game, it’s better for your revenue too. The only way to win at discounting is to become a discount brand. You end up going the way of WalMart. You can go the discount route or you can go the premium route, but you can only go those two routes. I always increase the price of my product. Some people are probably wondering why I debut my product at one price and might argue that I brought my price down. I don’t ever bring the price down, I increase it and it increases permanently. I don’t discount later to squeeze more revenue out of it because I’m playing the long-game. I raised the price of Learn Lettering 1.0 and kept it there for a year and it continued to sell.

If you put enough value into your products, then you have the room to increase the price.

  • 42:22 When you increase the price, it creates urgency. You can run a promotion that says, “This has been selling really well and people have been writing in saying they would have paid way more, so I feel like it’s time to increase the price to reflect the value. In two days, the price is going up permanently and it’s never going to be this rate again.” I’ve made $50,000 in revenue over a weekend by increasing the price of the product by $50. I increase it and it stays there forever, that’s why it’s not discounting. That’s just an increase in price.
  • 43:01 Ben: The difference is where it’s ending up, it’s not about where it’s beginning. That’s the problem with doing it the other way around—the value perception is in where it ends up. If you did it the other way, people aren’t going to perceive the Learn Lettering 2.0 Master Class at $699, they’re going to perceive the value at the price you offered as the introductory rate of $447. Even though it’s worth many times more, that’s the value they’re going to ascribe to it. The people who buy it at the introductory rate even value it at what you’re going to charge once the introductory rate is over.
  • 43:46 Sean: That’s very true. They see that it is $699, it’s not going back down, and they have it. It’s not like the companies Devon was talking about where it’s fake. The gate the person paid $500 for is worth $500 to them.

Giving vs. Taking

  • 44:39 Robert shared this story: “Customer experience is a major area of focus for our business. Just wrapped up our 10th craft show in 15 weeks, and reflecting on how much we have have learned about improving the customer experience over that period. One example: we started out just displaying our DIY skin care kits. But after a few shows, we started including space in the booth for an interactive custom clay mask bar. The customers were able to create their own custom blends on the spot for a low introductory price. At the end, we had them label the jars with an encouraging message that they chose, and as we packaged the finished product for them to take away (but before they paid), we had an email sign-up.
  • 45:09 “Results: the response from potential customers was extremely positive. I can’t begin to tell you about the quality of the conversations we had with them while they made something at our table. Instead of coming into the booth for a simple transaction, we gave them someone to connect with. They signed up for the newsletter as a natural part of that experience because they wanted to hear more from us and continue the relationship. Biggest difference in the customer interaction before and after we started including the custom clay mask bar—before we had that as a feature of our booth, we got lots of questions about discount prices, like, “Any show specials?”; after the bar was part of the booth, we had zero requests for a show special. The bar was the show special.”
  • 46:07 How cool is that? It’s like making them more of a premium brand where you get an experience before you even pay. That’s the value! Not a single person asked for a discount. Now, we’d like to hear Ben’s solicitor story.
  • 46:55 Ben: The problem with someone knocking on our door is that there’s a good chance it could be a friend of my boys’ from the neighborhood, so they’re the first ones to the door. I have to scramble and beat them there. It happened twice last week right in the middle of dinner and the first one was a salesperson for Kirby Vacuum Cleaners and the other was some pest control company. They’ve interrupted my dinner and I have six young boys, five of which can run to the door. It’s so difficult to get all of those boys to sit down for a meal at the same time. Meal time is also the most important part of our day. Do you want my introduction to your company to be you interrupting the most important part of our family’s time together?
  • 49:09 Sean: They knocked on the door and offered to clean the carpet in your dinning room right?
  • 49:22 Ben: I don’t care what you’re doing, what you want is my time. You could clean that carpet and it would be dirty in two days again anyway. You’re going to do that and try to sell me on your product. I have a vacuum cleaner. We have a “No Solicitation” sign in our neighborhood. I don’t have a sign like that on my door because I’ve heard that companies who solicit say those are the doors they should knock on because statistically, those are the people who will buy. That’s weird to me. I got into a conversation with the pest control guy about it. I asked, “Do you understand what this does to the brand perception of the business you work for?” He said, “We’re the fastest growing…” like he didn’t even hear me. It’s like the popup ads—door to door sales are effective.
  • 50:46 Then, I mentioned we have a “No Solicitation” sign and he said, “It’s more illegal for them to put on signs than it is for us to knock on doors.” Really? That’s how you want to start this relationship? I understand people need to make a living, but there are lots of people in jobs doing things that aren’t in the company’s best interest because they need to make a paycheck. The companies that employ these tactics are taking advantage of people and putting them in situations where they’re becoming a bad representation of their brand. If you’re the kind of company that’s ok with doing that, there’s a problem and you’re part of a much bigger problem. It’s not the people, it’s the company.
  • 52:05 Sean: Let’s say someone is listening right now and they’ve never even thought of this. Can you break down what’s wrong about this situation and why it feels weird, Ben?
  • 52:31 Ben: It’s an interruption. I wasn’t asking for anything and they’re not even asking for my time. It’s even worse than a popup! With a popup, I was asking for your content by going to your website. This is you coming to my door. The very first thing they’re doing is asking me for something even though it seems like they’re offering me something. It’s the Rule of Reciprocity.
  • 53:25 Sean: The only way that works is if you give something with no strings attached. That’s how reciprocity works—you give and you give and you give and then you ask. It’s giving upfront, it’s not, “Can I do this so that you do this other thing for me?” They’re trying to accelerate reciprocity and it’s not working. It’s coming across as an ask or a take.
  • 54:02 Ben: This did work on me once. There was a young guy who knocked on my door and said, “Hey, I’ve got a new lawn mowing business and I just wanted to mow your lawn for free.” He wasn’t trying to come in my house or sell me something, he just wanted to mow my lawn for free. He did and he did a great job. When he was finished, he asked me to come take a look at it and then he gave me his card and said, “If you refer anybody to me, I’ll give you half off on future services.” That was one of the best door-to-door solicitations I’ve ever experienced.
  • 55:05 Cory: I recently purchased a DGI Ronin-M, which is a 3 Axis Gimbal camera stabilizer. I’ve been looking forward to getting one of these for a year so I’m pretty excited. I haven’t talked to their customer support or anything, but the packaging is so good. I’m very impressed with how sleek it is. I’ve bought a 3 Axis Gimbal before that had wires everywhere, but with this one you can’t see any wires. A company that’s super good with customer experience when you’re talking with the representatives is USAA. They’re the kind of people that don’t look to hire because they need someone on the phone. You can tell when they’re hiring, they’re looking at the people. I’ve always felt like they were trying to look out for me, even before I had an account with them. They even pointed me to another company to help me. I’ll probably open an account with them.
  • 56:49 Sean: You were telling me the company you bought the camera stabilizer from also has a $3,000 or $4,000 drone. Would you say your experience with the DGI Ronin-M plays into your perception of their brand and the likelihood you would spend $3,000+ with them in the future?
  • 57:25 Cory: For sure.
  • 57:26 Ben: Maybe Cory is in the position right now where, even as much as he would love to, he can’t afford to buy something really expensive. As a business, you might think the higher quality products is where you want to focus your attention with the packaging and the details. You might think the lower dollar products don’t matter because they don’t increase your profits margins.

The experience people have with lower dollar products could drive them to purchase a higher dollar product when they’re able.

  • 58:18 There’s a ton of value in focusing on the details of little things.
  • 58:24 Sean: The point where you even lose money. I always say to make your less expensive product so good that you don’t get any profit out of it, or you even lose money.
  • 58:38 Ben: Almost to the point where when your customer gets the product, they wonder how you make money on this. You almost want them to have an experience that powerful that they say, “How could they be profitable if they’re doing this?”
  • 58:55 Cory: Another company is American Organic, which is where I bought my wooden ear gauges from. They threw in stickers and it came in a custom-made bag with custom-made tape on the box. The box even had print on it. I would say my best experience with packaging was from Sean before I was an employee. Even the sticker on the outside was perfectly placed. I opened it up and received way more than I expected, which means a lot to me and says a lot about the brand. I bought one thing and I got like five things. If you one-up any other company, you’re going to stand out.
  • 1:00:01 Ben: It’s one-upping the customer’s expectations. With Apple, I expect the packaging to be good, but now they include stickers and stuff. It’s not just the value of the product. You want the value of the product to exceed what people are paying as a general rule, but you also want to go above and beyond. You want to shock and aw.

Create an Experience When Something Goes Wrong

  • 1:00:43 Sean: There’s one place you can look to create an amazing experience that’s less obvious, and that’s when something goes wrong. How many of you have had an experience where something went wrong, you got the wrong thing, they messed up, or something was broken? Imagine getting something premium and it came wrong or broken, you would want it to be made right. As a business owner, it’s easy to have a negative attitude about a situation that went wrong and to think about the money lost or the problem you need to fix. Really, everything is about creating stories. You actually have a huge opportunity! When you buy a product, you get it, it’s what you expect, and it works great, there’s no story—that’s commerce. That’s a transaction.

Negative experiences with companies are the stories people tell.

  • 1:01:57 What’s the resolution of that story? Don’t just fix the problem, go above and beyond. Create a positive story that’s going to be shared with others. I’ve made all kinds of mistakes and we’re very transparent here, so our employees know we share stories about mistakes. Laci had two orders that were supposed to go out recently and two packing labels that she accidentally swapped on the wrong boxes. That’s an honest mistake and unfortunately, it creates a huge problem. Not only does someone not get their order, but they got someone else’s order, which means the other person didn’t get their order.
  • 1:03:18 One little swap with labels creates a mess of negative experiences. When you put the wrong label on the outside, it doesn’t mean the packing slip inside is correct. It’s the other person’s information and order inside. They’re wondering, “If I contact them, are they going to tell me to print off a label and drop it off at the post office?” What a hassle. I always make sure to go above and beyond by saying, “I’m so sorry that happened. First of all, feel free to keep the item you got or give it to a friend. You don’t need to do anything. We’re putting your correct order in the mail immediately. It’s on it’s way to you. Here’s a coupon.”
  • 1:04:25 If someone needs to change out the size of a shirt, I’ll ask them to print off a label and drop it in the mail, but I let them know we’re sending the new size to them immediately, before we even get the first shirt back. With the coupon, I want people to understand this isn’t the experience I want them to have. It’s not good enough to say that we’ll send the right order and it doesn’t cost you anymore, because their experience so far has been that they didn’t receive what they bought and now they need to wait longer.
  • 1:05:03 That’s not equal so you have to go above and beyond. I give a coupon for an amount off their next order. I did this three weeks ago and immediately the guy applied the coupon towards a Community membership. How cool is that? Don’t give up hope if you give someone a coupon and they still haven’t bought from you three months later.

Care About Long-Term Customer Loyalty

  • 1:06:38 Ben: I want you to tell the story about an experience you had with an apparel company. The reason I want you to share this is because I want to point that there’s something that seems really subtle, but really over time it can do really bad things for your brand. This isn’t to say not to buy from this company. I hope someone from that company is listening because this could be a really good thing for them.
  • 1:07:21 Sean: We talk about real stuff, real stories, real businesses, and real customers in hopes that people can learn something from this. I wasn’t going to share this story originally because my intent is never to throw people under the bus, but Ben thinks there’s something that can be learned from this and I’m interested in what he has to say. I bought a shirt from Cotton Bureau that was designed by Brent Gallaway. It was the Caffeine Please shirt that you might have seen me wear in a promo video. What happened was Brent put this design up, it sold, and then he made a new version of it, but I didn’t buy the original version.
  • 1:08:22 I liked his revised version. He changed the concept a little bit. There’s steam rising from a coffee cup and there was way more steam in the original version and he minimized it in the revised version. It’s very visually pleasing to me and I notice those kinds of subtle things, so I ordered that one. Apparently, that composition was similar enough to the original that Cotton Bureau didn’t notice the difference. I don’t know if they just printed the old version or what but they sent me the old shirt. They emailed me and said, “Your shirt is on the way but Brent made an update and we didn’t catch the difference, so you’re receiving the old shirt. The correct design should have looked like this. If you really want the new one, you need to let us know by Friday, otherwise you get the old one.”
  • 1:09:51 I think their hope was that most people wouldn’t notice the revision and it would result in them having to print off less shirts with no regard for how Brent would feel about this. I’m sure Brent revised the design because he thinks the new one is better. Most people probably wouldn’t notice the difference so they put the onus on me to tell them by a deadline that I actually want what I purchased in order for them to actually give it to me. To their credit, I wrote them that I wanted the new version because I specifically bought that one and not the original for a reason. They did send me the correct version and told me to keep the old version.
  • 1:11:14 Ben: That’s a story that one of Cotton Bureau’s customers has about their experience now.
  • 1:11:28 Sean: Brent is in the chat room right now and he says, “I’d be bummed if there are people that got the old design and didn’t email them for the new version.” I guarantee people have the old shirt, because that’s the default. When there’s a default, a lot of people are going to default. There’s a fall off in conversion.

The more steps you add to the customer support process, the more people you will lose.

  • 1:11:54 Ben: Cotton Bureau, this is the perception people have when they’re a part of that story. You’re not coming out and saying, “It’s ok for us to make mistakes as long as nobody notices or cares,” but that’s what you’re saying with your actions.
  • 1:12:30 Sean: By not automatically saying, “We printed the wrong shirt. We’re going to follow up and whether you ask for it or not, we’re going to send you the correct shirt.”
  • 1:12:42 Ben: How different would the story have been if they had emailed Sean and said, “We printed the wrong design and realized our mistake before the new shirt arrived. You don’t have to return the new shirt and we’ve already put the correct version in the mail?” Maybe they could have thrown in a coupon or not, but you still get two shirts.
  • 1:13:27 Sean: Because I opted in and had to write something at their mistake to make sure I get what I actually bought, I did end up getting what I actually purchased and I did get to the keep the wrong shirt. It’s clear that because I went out of my way to correct their mistake, I did end up being happy, but I wasn’t thinking as deeply as you were. If you really boil this down, what’s left at the bottom of the pot is if the customer doesn’t notice or care that we made a mistake, then everything is fine.
  • 1:14:14 Ben: What you’re doing is forcing Sean to be the hero of that story, when you could have been the hero, Cotton Bureau.
  • 1:14:31 Sean: Christopher says, “Cotton Bureau did the same with my buddy’s shirt who updated his design. I emailed and received a new one in addition to the old at no charge.” My guess is, to them, that’s sufficient. That’s probably enough to them.
  • 1:14:51 Ben: In the short-term, you’re not going to lose as much money over mistakes like that. You’re still providing a version of the story that results in a happy ending, but in the long-term you’re not going to fare as well, because you’re not allowing yourself to be the hero of those stories. You’re not the one coming to the rescue when those mistakes happen and you’re not taking full responsibility of those mistakes. You’re putting some of the responsibility on your customer, instead of taking it all on yourself.
  • 1:15:27 Sean: I like the emphasis on short-term vs. longer-term, because I guarantee they save money doing it this way. There’s no way 100% of people are going to take the time to write in to make sure they receive what they ordered. You’ll save money not having to do as many reprints to fix their mistake, but what is the brand perception in the long-run? What about the person who doesn’t notice the design for three months? Maybe it was a gift or they didn’t get around to wearing it and they realize the desing is different three months later. They may forget and weren’t motivated at that time to write about it, but a perception was left, an experience was had. You would never know this person noticed the design three months down the line.
  • 1:16:42 We have another story from Brent, “September of last year: My iMac of 3.5 years (without Apple Care) started to fail. The hard drive failed two months ago, then 9 days ago the video card went out. After over a week in repair, they ran into many complications which would extend the repair time and overall cost. In dire need of a computer to continue work, I went in to purchase a new Macbook Pro – having to open a credit card in order to pay for it. During the checkout process the tech and manager came out and stopped the order. Rather than having to buy a new computer on a new credit card and get my current iMac repaired, they handed me a brand new, current model iMac with even better specs. I was blown away at that level of customer service! The fact they stopped a nearly $3k sale to give me an updated computer for free, plus a discount on Apple Care for it was too good to be true. I walked out of the store last night giddy and thankful. Apple, you’ve only strengthened my love for your customer service and products!”
  • 1:18:01 Ben: You might think, “They can afford to do that because they’re Apple,” but that’s the kind of thing they’ve been doing all along and the reason they can do that today is because that’s the precedent they set and the kind of experience they provide for their customers, who are now very loyal to their brand. They would be willing to spend $3,000 on a new machine when the one they had was failing. It’s not something you arrive at, it’s something you start with. You start with that level of care and it breeds that kind of customer loyalty and long-term relationship.