Intro: Magical customer experiences don't happen by accident. They happen through careful planning and meticulous design. Kevin and Debbie have been engineering, extraordinary customer experiences for over 30 years. Join us as we explore corporate culture, branding, service, excellence, and much more through storytelling, technical curiosity, and friendly conversation. The Disney way for the digital age will be revealed.
[00:00:29] KK: Well, welcome back to episode three of the Disney way for the digital age. I'm Kevin Kelly and my partner in crime here. Debbie. Zmorenski How you doing Deb?
[00:00:42] KK: It’s nice to be back, uh, doing a little weekend recording for a change, right? Uh . Yes. Well, I got out this morning, got out on the bike. I am sorely out of shape, got out on the bike and did a little run. I have a race next month that I am not prepared for, but I, so I'm gonna. I’m a little bit tired.
[00:01:00] Debbie:I admire that, you know, I, I admire that. I, I get my most steps when I, uh, go to my dad's and run all around for him. But other than that, ,
[00:01:11] KK: and next week I'm gonna head over. I'm gonna be in your neck of the woods, so we're gonna have to get together. I'm gonna be in Orlando for the that's right. Uh, the high tech. Uh, expo that's the hospitality technology. Yeah. Uh, expo. I'm excited to, you know, walk through the expo and, and see some of the folks I know. And I don't know if folks know that, um, we do, uh, technology installations and design for, uh, for hospitality brands.
So work for, um, hard rock hotel, build their chat bot and their voice experience. And mm-hmm Alexa in the room and what she can do and say, and help and fix. Fix your toilet, or at least tell someone you need to fix your toilet or tell you where the best burger is and fun stuff like
[00:01:50] Debbie: that. So, um, well, and, but you have to be careful.
I, I have a, a psychic friend of mine who says that Alexa's are portals and can let bad things in. So I, you know, I just, I thought we should. All of the possibilities of what Alexa can do for you or to you . Yeah, I guess
[00:02:07] KK: she doesn't have Amazon stock. Geez.
[00:02:09] Debbie: I, I don't know more, probably not more and more often I find my Alexa butting in.
We haven't even said her wake up name and she'll just butt into the conversation. And I she's kinda like cliff Clavin on cheers. It's a little creepy. I, I just told her mind her own business and she'll know when we're talking to her.
[00:02:28] KK: well, she's kinda like Cliff Clavin on cheers. She tells you random fact, you know, she little known fact that the ancient Inca's is using flowers to build their huts and these,
[00:02:37] Debbie: and this is where, you know, uh, uh, technology gets a bit like the Terminator, you know, gets a little scary, they're taken over,
[00:02:45] KK: but I tell my kids that I.
Be nice to Alexa, you know? So say thank you, cuz she may be your master someday, someday. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:02:52] Debbie: Yep. So, uh, as you know, my dad has the, uh, remote senior care. Yeah. He had his echo show and oh my gosh. He said it's like his best friend at home and he'll he'll thank her for something. And she does the, she does a little dance, like the screen dances back and forth.
He goes around, thanking her just to watch her do the little dance.
[00:03:15] KK: it's so nice. Yeah.
[00:03:16] Debbie: Yeah. It's kinda like Raj on big bang, you know, wanting to date Siri. So yeah. All gone little nuts.
[00:03:25] KK: yeah. So I think we have some of that in our, in our, um, topics today, but, um, to recap where we left off and jump in. So we were talking about, we did talk about three pillars.
Support and extraordinary, uh, customer experience, brand culture and technology. And then we got into, but didn't finish, uh, the six questions you need to, to ask, to assess your culture and design a plan for success. So we did get through the first three and I'll run down them and then turn it over to you, Deb.
But so we did get through on episode two, if we didn't. You didn't see, uh, listen to that one. You can jump back and, and hear, uh, we covered looking at who we are today. Taking a careful look at that and being honest with yourself and defining what's working now. So taking a good look at what's working and then looking at what not, again, an honest assessment at what's not working and, and, or what's missing.
So, and then I'm turn it over to you. Deb for number 4.
And the, the first three questions to ask yourself about your company, your culture are very specifically to get the information that you need to make B good decisions about what will it take to move you forward, right? So you don't waste money and time on fixing things that don't need to be fixed.
And laser. Focusing on those things that need your real attention and resources. So the fourth question to ask yourself, when you are assessing your culture is what will it take to, to move us forward? Uh, and, and in general, you want to understand. What you look like today, as we said a moment ago, but also what will we look like tomorrow?
If we're successful, if we're delivering exceptional service, if the business is growing, um, if you know, we're improving our bottom line, improving our market, share what will we look like tomorrow? And what's it going to take to get us there? And, um, so. I'll just give you a quick example. I'm working with a client right now, a concrete company.
Um, actually, and this company did a great job of answering those first three questions. They are in a kind of a unique position for today and they are growing by leaps and bounds and they're getting ready to build two new plants. Wow. But they were also struggling with giving exceptional service today, much of that because of what everyone else is facing labor shortages.
Um, Supply chain shortages. And so they did a great job of asking those three questions, you know, and, and who are we? Where do we wanna be? And what's working and what's not working. And what they were able to focus on is that actually their. Customer service rankings. They're probably in the 90 percentile most of the time.
Wow. Their customers are very loyal. They do a fantastic job. They're a family owned company and they have a great reputation, but they felt like they were losing control. Hmm. They didn't have enough help. They've been very, very busy, you know, with all of the, the issues that we just, we just discussed. What they were able to identify is what it was going to take to move them forward is certainly some new technology.
Uh, I know a little bit about concrete business now, probably more than I ever expected to know. Yeah. Um, but their chemist is working on new technology to create more customized mixes and to be able to deliver those quicker and more efficiently. One example is something as simple as buying a front porch truck to replace the back poor trucks. And I, you know, I know you all are in the concrete business more than likely, but the difference is with a back pour truck, you've probably seen them out and about in your towns or cities. Yeah. Uh, they unload, they unfold this big shoot and. Pour the concrete out the shoot has to be manhandled.
It has to be held steady and, and so forth. A front pour truck is a, uh, more or less a stationary shoot and the concrete comes out and it takes one less person to actually do the job. Wow. Which is actually a benefit to the customer because customers, the one that has to hold the shoot pour the, pour, the concrete, those guys that are finishers, that do that amazing job of bending over all day long with a two by four and scraping the concrete it out.
Yeah. So this allows the customer to use one less person on the job and they can reallocate their resources someplace else. So it's not technology like we normally think. Right, right. But it's a great example, but it is new
technology. It's not screens and circuit boards it's, you know, but it is certainly technology that, you know, that new.
Innovation that has, has reduced your human resource needs
it. Absolutely right. So the, the idea of technology, you know, earlier in, in episode two, we said, the question is, do you need technology? And if you decide that you do, how much do you need, and then exactly what. Is that right? Focus on the technology.
That's going to be the most beneficial for you as this concrete company did and get the most bang for their buck. The other thing that they identified, um, that involves some new technology as well, is that with the labor shortages, they have to be sure that they get the right people on the job first time.
Right. They really cannot afford. This revolving door of labor. So they identified that as they've grown so rapidly, they did not have a good process in place for right fit, recruiting, interviewing, and hiring a right fit folks. They also promote their folks from within almost 100%. And. They've had to figure out a way to identify just because a person is a great operations manager.
Does that mean that they'd be a great leader? Right? And if they're promoting these folks into these positions or even hiring from the outside, they had to identify. What training do they need? Do they, do they need additional operational training? Do they need people skills training? Do they need right fit, hiring training?
Uh, so they have really focused on bringing training and orientation to the forefront, not only for their frontline, but they're hiring, making sure that they understand the new service framework and how to deliver exceptional service. but also making sure their leaders understand how to be great leaders and lead people, which of course improves retention.
Right? So by doing those three steps, so, uh, thoroughly and diligently, they have been able to really identify those things that are going to give them the best bang for their buck. And it has been for the most part focused on the people part of their business.
[00:10:09] KK: Yeah, that's so important. And very often, um, I don't wanna say overlooked, but not the right amount attention.
Um, and, and planning is typically put forth. Right? Um,
[00:10:20] Debbie: honestly, I think I would say that the people, part of the business is often one of the most
[00:10:24] KK: overlooked. Yeah. Yeah. I'm sure they're working on their product. Right. They've worked on new trucks and
[00:10:29] Debbie: technology and new products, people, products compete, and innovative products to compete and, uh, Growth and the bottom line, but they often skip one of the most important parts and that is the people side of the business.
[00:10:41] KK: most of our businesses, they're, you're not the only one there's somebody else. And I realize that in the agency world, boy, there's a ton of great agencies out there. Mm-hmm and, um, typically what we've found that people. People stay for the people. Yeah. Or we, we had that large electronics company, they had a, uh, uh, they, they were distributors.
So their competition was distributing the exact same products. Mm-hmm but they, they liked bill. Right. And that's what we found. It's like, well, bill knows my business. Bill knows what I need. I might go in for, you know, this kind of wire and these speakers and, uh, controller and bill bill says, well, if you tried this one, cuz I, I know what you're trying to get done.
So it's the people and, and how knowledgeable and how well they're trained. Yes to fit the culture. Right. I agree. Yeah, absolutely. And it's so often overlooked. And so an extension that right fit hire, uh, I just want to expound on that is that, um, the, to continue that process, once you've hired someone and to have a review process that's aligned with that, uh, culture.
So you've, you've right fit hired for the culture. Are, are you reviewing for the culture? And that means. What are you reviewing against? And I actually, I would dread review times. I, I just don't. Cause I think we didn't have good process. Once I realized that what we're really doing is reviewing people against the
purpose statement or what you folks probably more, we'll talk about purpose statement, standards, service, standard behavior in the future episode, um, as a real foundational elements, but you more familiar with a mission statement, vision statement, are you reviewing against these established standards for your company?
Um, and right. We ask that question and folks very often answer, well, we don't have a mission statements. Mary put one up on the wall that she liked about two years ago. And people look at it occasionally
[00:12:27] Debbie: and it, and it no longer has anything to do with our business. exactly.
[00:12:31] KK: So that's something we gotta write down and make sure we get to sooner than later, but, you know, yeah.
Once you hire these folks, you need to review them and then you need to understand how they feel about your business. Right. You know, they, typically don't leave for money. They leave for a lack of understanding of where your company's going. Uh, they may not like their direct report. So mm-hmm, , you know, getting these folks and keeping these folks.
And it's also such a big hit to the bottom line. When you turn people over, it is costly in so many different ways. So. I, I can't stress enough, the right fit, hire, and, and the idea of, of real strategic, uh, review process.
[00:13:07] Debbie: Yep, absolutely. And then, you know, that the, along with that, and because we honestly believe so many companies overlook the people side of the business and what's needed there.
Always, we seem to look at the customers. The question is, and this comes with question five. Do we really understand who our core customers are and what their real needs are? Many companies make policies and procedures around what will help them to run the business efficiently, but don't always think about what the impact will be on the employees and on the, the core customer.
And. With many companies that I've worked with, I will ask them about the core customer, what are their needs and their, and their wants. Then I will go out and ask the customers what their needs and wants are. I think you mentioned this in one of the first episodes is doing round tables or, or, you know, surveys or interviews with customers.
So first I asked the client, what do you believe or the core customer's needs and wants, they give me a list of things. And then I talk to the customers and, and I can honestly tell you, uh, they missed the mark quite often. Yeah. And they will say, well, our customers want this. And when the customer, I talk to them, they often say, well, we don't care about that.
This is what we care about. And it's not that they are terrible businesses. It's that we get preconceived ideas about. What our customers want, unless we ask the customer specifically, we don't really know more, more than likely. So understanding your core customers is critically important. And then we've just sort of already touched on this.
Where does technology fit within our culture, if at all, and. What type of technology and how much and how, how are we gonna make it work,
[00:14:59] KK: right. Yeah. I just wanna jump back to que, um, question five real quick, because do we, do we understand our core customers? Right. So I think we've all heard the term voice of the customer.
Um, You know, it's really easy to get the voice of your customer. If you ask them right surveys, I don't wanna over oversimplify it, surveying your customers can be, can be scary and time consuming. But I think most folks don't do it out of fear of finding out something that they don't want to hear. Um, and I'll say this, as I say, with a lot of things, it is better to know than not to know always.
always, always, always. So, um, Do a, you know, create a survey, go to survey monkey, you know, spend, uh, hundred bucks. If it's even that, you know, and, and send, email it out to your customer base, ask some questions. Um, you can get a professional to help you with it. And very often you can spend an hour with your, your executive team and come up with five, you know, questions.
I, I wouldn't, wouldn't ask less than five. Wouldn't ask more than 10, uh, make it easy. And. You know, give them something you got, you do have to incent people to give you information. So whether it's everybody gets a $20 or $10 Starbucks card, or, you know, you're in a drawing for a $500 Amazon card to find out what your customers are thinking, or if you're in the kind of business where you speak to your customers.
You know, the next phone call ask, how are we doing? You know, what, what, what could we be doing better? So, um,
[00:16:24] Debbie: simple. I say, keep it simple. Uh, you know, honestly, just like what you said, Kevin, you're on the phone with a customer. Maybe you're fixing a problem. Or maybe just gathering information, but just simply throwing out there, how are we doing?
Be honest, what would you like for us to do differently? Um, so it, that that's important. And you know, I always tell you this example, and then you sent me some new information today. So this little story lends itself to how once the customer gets a preconceived notion, you may not sway them. And when McDonald's first rolled out their self-service kiosks, I felt like they were the most difficult things on the planet to use.
You couldn't substitute items. If I was going to order something exactly as it was on the menu, it was a piece of cake. If I wanted to substitute an iced tea for a soda or say, I don't want pickles on my cheeseburger um, it, there was just no way to do it. And. At first, they put people out there to help you, and then they stopped doing that.
Yeah. And every time I went in, I just glared at that machine and went and got in line . Yeah. Right. Because I just did not like using it. And to this day I have a very negative opinion of that. So maybe when they first rolled it out, they rolled it out quickly and didn't make it as user friendly or yeah. Think about accommodating all of the customer's needs.
And obviously according to the data, I think that data showed these types of self-service kiosks have resulted in a 30% increase in sales. And which is amazing. So, you know, when I, I, I go in, I won't use it because I had such a frustrating experience in the beginning. And so I just ignore it and I go, and I, I get in line, but obviously they've done some due diligence around, what is the frustration with customers?
Why aren't they using this? Well, I
[00:18:25] KK: think we they're, depending on a little self selection. Right? You tried it. Yes. Not your thing. I got, you know, there's, there's now three. Uh, three folks up front that you can order directly with the people. Right. So, right. Um, maybe there was six before the kiosk, so, you know, that's the other thing.
Um, these jobs are getting harder, harder, and harder to fill. And honestly, you know, um, when you talk about spending more through the kiosk, um, remember, uh, Would you like fries with that is the butt of a joke, you know, for most people that want a low level job, you know, up sell. Yeah, exactly. You know, what does the drummer, what does the drummer say when you see him at work?
He says, would you like fries with that? So one of my many drummers jokes, but anyway, being a drummer, I've heard 'em all. Um, but yeah, I mean, it. It's kind of a fact. And I remember, um, one of our favorite people, Clara DeSoto, who's now over at Google Deb when we were at SXSW she said, right. Uh, and here's Alex, a millennial who reminisces that his parents at 27 were married with kids, but Alex lives in Mom's basement and prefers to order pizza online.
So I don't have to ever interact with a human so, but funny as it may be, it's a real persona. So if that is X, percent of your customers well then give them technology. If your cus, if you figure 90% of your customers are just, they just don't want to deal with it. Um, then you make, then you make a different choice.
So mm-hmm, yeah. Understanding your core customers and adjusting your business to them. Um, The last thing I'll say on that topic as a, as a guy was branding and, and, and, uh, brand development for 25 years, I heard so many times the either CEO or president say, I think this should be our tagline. And I, you know, our customer is this.
And I, I think the campaign should be this. I said, that's great, but you're not the customer. Right. So, you know, the fact that you think that I. I want you to have a voice, obviously it's your business and you have a vision, but let's understand the customer and understand what they want. And then we'll build a campaign that resonates with them.
Mm-hmm right. So important to understand your core customer and then yeah. You know, this idea of where, where does technology fit in? Is that last question? Um, and as, um, so aply tied in to the people. In your example, right? So technology fits in not to replace all your human folks, taking orders, but to augment and maybe also solve your, your people problem.
So mm-hmm, absolutely also very integrated. Yes, indeed. Okay. So before we wrap up, there's a couple things I wanna comment on about your example, the, the concrete company, you know, it was great to see that example with a company that has. Rapid growth. Right? Mm-hmm but you said there's a little, little bit of chaos.
It sounds like. So somebody had told me there's this cycle of growth and chaos comes right after growth. Maybe we could put the, the graphic up on the website, but this idea of you have this rapid growth and you don't have time to put structure in place as you you're just dealing with the growth, right?
Yes. And from that comes chaos. So that's in this cycle, you go from growth to chaos and then you recognize that you're in a bit of a chaos mode. Now you've gotta do some analysis and examination of what's going on. And then you add some additional structure, whether that's in the form of policies and procedures of people technology, right.
And then believe it or not after that, well then what comes next? More growth. So you have to recognize that, yeah, this is gonna be a cycle, right. We don't just grow. And then everything's great. Typically growth begats chaos. so that's something that I. Does sometimes scares people and I just wanted to reassure them.
That's kind of normal. So that's kind of, you know, this chaos is, is somewhat normal.
[00:22:11] Debbie: It is very normal. And the, the idea that growth, especially rapid growth creates chaos is absolutely true. The question is, can you keep control of the chaos, right? Because companies that grow so rapidly that they lose complete control, uh, that can be a death sentence.
Yep. And one day they're on top of the world and all new new customers are coming in, but they can't service them and they haven't figured out how to get control of that. And then next, next thing, you know, customers are defecting saying, well, they used to be great and now they're not so great anymore.
[00:22:51] KK: And I think we've seen it. I think we talked about this offline, um, once the, the, the Verizons of the world or my, you know, up here in the Northeast Cablevisions of the world where they, their service was horrible. And then they recognized it and they got, got better. And then they got more people signing up mm-hmm um, and then it was garbage again, you know, and this idea you really need to, to monitor it as it happens.
[00:23:13] Debbie: Well, that means that when you're planning for growth, you have to plan for potential chaos, try to identify whatever chaos might come along. In other words, where are our sticking points? If we continue to grow like this, we're gonna have to hire more people. People are not readily available. How are we going to address that?
So you've also got to be able to. pre-plan for the future, right? So that you can mitigate the chaos and continue to grow and give exceptional service Customers don't care you're having a tough time. they don't, you know, if you've ever been into a restaurant and it takes forever to get you seated. And then the, the waitress finally comes up after making you sit for 20 minutes and says, oh, I'm really sorry.
we're really shorthanded today. And we had four call ins. I don't care. I want I want to order my food. I want my food. I wanted to get home before 9:00 PM. Okay. Right, right. So companies can't tell customers, oh, gee, it's really tough now, you know, they don't care. They want what they want when they want it.
[00:24:17] KK: that is true. Although I am a little more tolerant. I'm a little more tolerant because I've felt.. lately well. I think
[00:24:23] Debbie: those list, the work in this business are because right, we work with people who are going through this and we help them get through it. So people like us are, and I'm more tolerant in a restaurant because they used to be a server! That's right.
You know, so I, you know, back in the day, long time ago, galaxy far, far away, I used to be a server and I understand what it's like to do that job. A lot of people don't and a lot of people don't care. Right.
[00:24:50] KK: Probably why you were so successful in food services at Disney. I know you spent the time a little time there
[00:24:54] Debbie: too.
Yeah, I did. Yeah, I did.
[00:24:56] KK: So last thing I wanna say, and then we get a sign off, um, uh, for this episode is you mentioned something about question four. What will it take us to move forward? And you mentioned this idea of, um, recognizing what you wanna be, what you wanna look like down the road. And I think it's really important to, to go through that exercise.
A lot of people think that's, oh, that's, you know, hippie dippy stuff with the vision boards. And, but if you don't know, mm-hmm, who you wanna be, what that end game looks like. Mm-hmm , I don't know how you're ever gonna get there. Right. You get in the car, you don't know where you're going and what, you know, I'm I'm yeah.
I'm driving to the restaurant and I can't wait to eat, you know, it really does help that vision to come true. If it's written down and doesn't need to be up on a wall, maybe it's, that's your thing too. That's fine. Mm-hmm but you've gotta have a clear vision of right where you wanna arrive and what that's
[00:25:49] Debbie: gonna look like and that vision, you, you, if you remember at Disney Institute, we talked a lot about vision, right?
Yeah. And that vision has to be very precise and full of details. When I ask a client, where do you wanna be in the future? And they will tell me I wanna open four more stores. Okay. That's great but what does that look like? And we ask people when you are envisioning who you are in the future, what is it that will drive that pie in the sky success?
So if you can envision your ultimate success, what will it look like and what will it take to. Get you there, right. It's more specific than we wanna open four more stores. Right, right, right. Um, so that vision is incredibly important. And just, as you said, Kevin, if you don't have a clear vision, it's probably going to be impossible to move forward.
[00:26:44] KK: Yep. Absolutely. So that brings us to our greatest piece of advice you'll ever get always just slightly better than the last episode, because I guess that's how it would have to be, to be the greatest piece, but it's really a summary of, of, of what we've gone through today. And I think, um, we could sum it up today and, and, and saying that we really encourage you to look at technology as an integrated and primary piece of the solutions.
For your business challenges and, and a big part of your way forward. So, um, you're not going to only examine technology, but surely included in all of your. business challenges, you know, does technology play a part in solving this problem?
[00:27:25] Debbie: And, and that's the key question. And as you are assessing your, your organization to move forward, you should be asking yourself, you know, what do we wanna look like in the future?
Certainly. And at every sticking point, once you've done a good job of assessing, you will know where your sticking points are, whether they are with the employees or with your processes, your policies, your procedures, or your customers. If at those sticking points, you identify every touchpoint. Nice. So in other words, if, if my sticking point is I don't have the right people on the job, then they are touch points with my customers.
And how might that damage us? So ask yourself at every touchpoint, what are, what are my pain points? What are, what are our sticking points? And then that will be followed up with the question, how do we solve this? And where does technology fit in if at all? And if you ask that for every single sticking point, You will figure out where technology fits, what to invest your money in and where you just need some good old fashion, cultural redesign, you know, that's right.
Policies, procedure changes, or whatever.
[00:28:41] KK: Exactly. Well, that's great. That's the wrap tune in. Next week when we talk about demystifying brand and, um, we are excited to talk to you about that. Um, we've somewhat demystified culture and we're gonna move on to brand and how these two things work together. So we look forward to seeing you on the next episode next week. Thanks everyone!
[00:29:03] Debbie: Thank you!
[00:29:07] Outro: You've been listening to the Disney Way for the Digital age!
Our producer and engineer is Steven Byrom. Show coordinator is Taranpreet Trehan. And voiceover by Cindy Clifford. Kevin and Debbie can be reached for free advice or paid consulting at [email protected] or [email protected]. A new episode is released each Tuesday morning. We hope you’ll continue to listen!
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean or
To leave or reply to comments, please download free Podbean App.