Entrepreneurship Podcast post

Give the People what They Want with David Avrin

George Grombacher October 13, 2022

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Give the People what They Want with David Avrin

LifeBlood: We talked about modernizing customer experience, how to give the people what they want, why companies are falling short of this, and what to focus resources on, with David Avrin, customer experience expert, keynote speaker, author and podcaster. 

Listen to learn why providing great customer experience means being ridiculously easy to do business with!

You can learn more about David at DavidAvrin.com, Facebook,Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


David Avrin

Episode Transcript

left with this is George G. And the time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful David Cameron. David, are you ready to do this? I am more than ready, George G. All right, let’s go, David. He’s a customer experience expert, a keynote speaker. He’s the chairman of the legacy board a five time author, a podcast host Dave excited to have you on. Tell us a little bit about your personal life some more about your work, why you do what you do? Sure, you know, I’m we’re really fortunate is a great time. I mean, granted, we’re coming out of COVID. I know that your your podcasts are pretty evergreen people can be listening or watching anytime. But my wife and I were new empty nesters, five kids grown and gone. It doesn’t mean that they’re off the payroll. But at least they’re out of the house for now, as people remind me, I’m really fortunate. I’ve had a great career. I work with business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders and others to help them compete in a very competitive marketplace by becoming ridiculously easy to do business with my background goes way back to I mean, even in college, I was a I was a theater major originally went on an acting scholarship. So I sort of been on stage my whole life. And realize that, you know, towards the end of college, I didn’t want to be doing community theater in God’s wrath Iowa when

Unknown Speaker 1:29
and knew that at some point, I would actually have to support a wife and kids. So I changed to broadcast journalism. And because I have this radio voice people like you should be radio. So I did for a short time and I DJ in college. At the at the more music 96k GBS in Greeley, Colorado, very exciting, farm country. And but I spend most of my career in marketing, marketing and public relations. I worked with organizations, big and small as an employee with my own firm as well to help them stand out and differentiate and craft the word that they use to better describe what they do. But my career, and I’ve been speaking for almost 25 years now speaking in consulting and writing books, but my career took a pretty big turn about six or seven years ago, when I realized that the work I was doing in marketing, not only was marketing, changing in significant ways, and my kids were I mean, I wrote books on this, and my kids were running circles around me because they grew up in a different world. But I came to the recognition that what we say about ourselves, while certainly important is far less meaningful today than what other people say about us. And so I began to do the research about what was driving customer reviews, what was driving people to competitors. And in almost no case, was it the quality of the slogan or jingle that the company had. But it was very much about the experience that their customers and clients were having that that drove them either to a competitor or drove them online to leave a review on Yelp or TripAdvisor or rotten tomatoes or Glassdoor. And so that’s what led to my my book, why customers leave and how to win them back. And we’re in six languages now. So apparently, it resonated and,

Unknown Speaker 3:13
and even coming, you know, through through COVID. And and even after COVID, my my job is working with companies to help them create a better engagement, a better experience. And to be clear, I don’t talk about customer service. We’ve been talking about it for 40 years, if you don’t know how to be nice to people, you got bigger issues, excuse me, but how we engage with companies is different. We do it virtually we do it digitally.

Unknown Speaker 3:38
Banks have talked forever that they think their competitive advantages is the relationship, right? They know their customers by name well, 95% of our transactions on our phone. So where does service come into that? It doesn’t, but it’s very much about the experience. So that’s what I do. I like it. So how often are people so happy with the with the experience that they actually go online? Or leave a review? Does that happen? Rarely.

Unknown Speaker 4:06
First of all, most people don’t have a remarkable experience one way or the other, right? And as Seth Godin talks about being remarkable, is that you’re worthy of being remarked about, like what are you doing that’s so different or special that somebody would actually talk about you to someone else, that’s the that’s the vast majority of people. Most of our most of our interactions are transactional, right at that the post office at the gas station at at Arby’s or wherever we’re going to eat. And then another small percentage of people who have such really amazing experiences that they want to go tell the world about it. A lot of my colleagues, a lot of others talk about the importance of creating Wow experiences. I don’t really buy it because I don’t think most business models lend themselves to wow, you know, we’re not Apple. We’re not We’re not Six Flags park or Disney.

Unknown Speaker 4:53
So the people really have a great experience. I mean, it’s awesome if you can, but they’re few and far between. But the most people who actually

Unknown Speaker 5:00
We do go online and comment with people who’ve had negative experiences, their venting, their venting a poor experience, or some frustration they had with the company that seems to be tone deaf. It wasn’t whether or not the person was nice. It was really that they were frustrated that they couldn’t get what they wanted, or it took forever, or the they felt like they were talking to a brick wall. Because it happens all the time. And in most cases, businesses aren’t trying to piss people off. They’re just trying to create a predictable business. The downside of that is when you try to create predictability, you script, your script interactions, you script transactions, we tried to say, here’s the way if we can predict how most people are going to do it. And we can have a greater prediction of the process that they’re going to go through and what they’re going to buy and cash flow and revenue. And we can plan for that. We can schedule for that. It’s we can hire for that. It’s great. The problem is, your customers have never read your employee manual. They don’t know how they’re supposed to do it. They don’t know how they want to do it. And what’s what keeps me in business today is how we want to do business with companies is changing, changing tremendously.

Unknown Speaker 6:09
Well, that’s wonderful segue.

Unknown Speaker 6:13
How is it? How is it changing? Oh, okay. I say,

Unknown Speaker 6:17
you know, it’s changing that. Why I ask audiences all the time I said, You ever notice anybody notice that your customers or clients or patients, whatever you call them are a little more impatient, a little more a

Unknown Speaker 6:30
little more? Demanding, right? And of course, every hand goes up like well, they’re my my role? Well, we all are, because we’ve learned that we can get almost anything that we can afford delivered, or within a day or two, right? We can reach anybody 24/7. Now we’re realistic. I don’t expect I can get my hair cut at four o’clock in the morning. But I do expect I can make an appointment to do so.

Unknown Speaker 6:53
And a lot of these companies who are sort of dragging their feet in that they’ve got a model that works, it’s always worked. But look what’s happening every year, look at the amount of brands that are falling by the wayside. We can lament the loss of Toys R ‘s right, we have all had memories of Toys R Us nobody struggling to find toys, they didn’t leave a big hole in the market. They were replaced, they were replaced by something that was better. By some measure, right? We judge that differently. They were more convenient. Somebody who was was less expensive, somebody was was easier to do the selection, they could do it from their own homes. Right. And so it is frustrating. It goes back to the old Who Moved My Cheese. Well, it’s moving, it’s being chucked across the room, it’s going online, it’s and the reality is, we used to compete on quality, and, and commitment and a caring and trust in people and things we talked about. Today, the research is showing really, really clearly that a we assume quality. So when companies boast that they have better quality or that their people really care, it falls on deaf ears because everybody’s good or you wouldn’t survive. But the research is showing that the primary driver today is convenience, and speed and flexibility. And right and access.

Unknown Speaker 8:10

Unknown Speaker 8:13
Speed Trump’s quality, convenience Trumps quality. And it doesn’t mean that quality is unimportant. It’s incredibly important. I spoke at a conference and I heard this the CEO before I went up and he did the big state of the company. And he says and remember folks, at the end of the day, it’s about quality. Right? And I said I thought to myself, I could not disagree more. I couldn’t. It’s but it’s not that it’s unimportant. He says at the end of the day, it’s about quality. No, at the beginning of the day, it’s about quality. Quality is the entry fee. You better be good at this or the marketplace is going to figure it out pretty quickly. The beginning of the day, it’s about quality. That’s the entry fee. At the end of the day. It’s about competitive advantage. It’s not what do you do? Well, it’s what do you do better than others who do it well. And the companies that are winning today? And my my guess is going to be in the near future as well. Are the companies that are ridiculously easy to do business with? We’re not saying no for stupid things? Because we just don’t do that. Right? Somebody goes to a restaurant you get this all the time. Can I get I’d like to a chicken caesar salad. Can I get shrimp instead of chicken? What do they say? Always? Sorry, no menu substitutions. Why? Why? Because they don’t want to figure it out. Well guess what? Your customer doesn’t even always have to say yes. I mean, it’s an easy yes, it’s a different protein, my god throw it on their charger, a couple extra bucks. There’ll be thrilled but instead, sorry, we don’t. So you’ve ordered some you don’t want any you never come back and they lose the lifetime value of that customer. There’s so many simple things, but I get this all the time. Well, if we do it for her, we got to do it for everybody. Here’s a little clue. No, you don’t do it for whoever you want. Most people will never ask for special accommodation, which makes it very easy for us to say yes, if we can. We sometimes it’s No, right. If you have a vegan restaurant somebody wants a buffalo burger. Sorry.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
Do it. It’s a hard no. Right? But there’s so many things that are very simple that we can say yes to. And even if we can’t, here’s the magic phrase, you want a big takeaway for your audience right now.

Unknown Speaker 10:10
People are unreasonable, I get that. Even if you can’t do even if it doesn’t make sense to stop a major manufacturing effort for one off, right, here’s the magic phrase, here’s your big takeaway. Let me tell you what I can do. Just that, in anything that follows. That’s helpful, right? Somebody wants something, we don’t do it. We’re not open for that. We don’t offer that. But let me tell you what I can do. And it might be

Unknown Speaker 10:33
a referral to someone else. Maybe it’s an alternative product, or somebody’s complaining because of the supply chain, right? We can’t get that product in four months. Well, let me tell you what I can do. We can put you on a system where we’re keeping you updated. Every time something changes, we will reach out, right? People just want information. And so that is an experience, isn’t it? It’s not service. People are being nice, I think we’re in a pretty good time for service. But we have expectations for what that experience. How complicated is your process? How frustrating is your lack of flexibility? how restrictive are your policies, we spent a lot of time teaching our people how to quote policies. Right. And we don’t like to hear that. I would love to see more companies. And I help them with this. Because I work in I consult with companies as well focus more on teaching them teaching their frontline people what a good decision looks like, within the context of our business model. Here’s how we make money. Right? Now we’re a little more comfortable letting people in front of make decisions. But instead, they just say no, because it’s easier. And we get frustrated. And the big challenge is we have choices. And so I love what I do. Now that sounds like a pretty intense, but I’m actually not. My presentation is very funny. It’s very entertaining. But I use it strategically, to temper a pretty tough message about what it takes to compete in a world where everybody’s good, or at least good enough. And sometimes good enough, at a better price point is a better choice.

Unknown Speaker 12:07
That makes a ton of sense. That’s all really good stuff. We’ve got a page full of notes,

Unknown Speaker 12:12
making it ridiculously easy to do business with you. And yeah, I can certainly remember as, as everybody who’s listening in the last time said, well, we can’t do that. That’s our policy says this well, what is your that has nothing to do with me. I’m individual. And I want to have it this way. So that we we get our way. But it just means at least feel like we’re having a conversation I was I had called we we move we’re new empty nesters, which is just awesome. And so we moved to new place. I’m trying to set up the Wi Fi and my cable company I’m calling. And there was an interesting issue that I have. It wasn’t the normal one. And as soon as I started talking, he says, Well, I understand, sir, we can’t guarantee speeds as well. It’s not my issue. Here’s what I’m trying, he interrupts me again, here’s the way our works are policy. We can’t guarantee pedagogy, and I’ll get really, really frustrated. So if you would stop interrupting me, I can tell you what my actual issue is. And then I realized it was recording. You’re arguing and I feel really stupid. And so I’m like, Look, I like real person, real person.

Unknown Speaker 13:12
And to my surprise, George, he says, I am a real person, sir. And I said, Oh, I, I thought this was recorded because you kept interrupting me. I apologize for that. Anyway, here’s my issue, and he starts talking again. And I’m like, and he says, Sir, if you would let me finish, I said, No, sir, you let me finish. I called you.

Unknown Speaker 13:34
I have this and I said, and he says,

Unknown Speaker 13:38
Fine. And I’m like, Alright, let me talk to a supervisor. He says he’s gonna say the same thing I am. I said, How do you know what he’s gonna say? You haven’t yet let me I guarantee you. The script you want to read is not nearly as important as the conversation your customer wants to have.

Unknown Speaker 13:55
So I get a supervisor on and in 30 seconds, I gotta figure it out. But he was so sure what I wanted to say he was so eager to read his script.

Unknown Speaker 14:04
And I’m like, dude, just listen, just listen, to have a conversation.

Unknown Speaker 14:09
But he’s like, I do this all day. I noticed you don’t know. For your listeners, anybody in business, you don’t know. Every situation is unique. Now granted, could it make us crazy? If every situation was unique? We had no sort of predictability? Of course it can. But don’t be so rigid. I was I was on a podcast and someone’s saying, if we’ve been talking about this for 50 years, how could it possibly be getting worse? And so it is getting worse, it’s getting worse because we’re getting more rigid? Because we’re trying to predict and create a customer journey, a customer path that is predictable. And in doing so we tend to over script. But the good news and there is good news in this is that it’s a phenomenal opportunity for business owners, entrepreneurs and others to not be that

Unknown Speaker 14:58
right. I have a big favor when

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Do you have a whole philosophy in our business? The answer is yes. What’s the question? And it doesn’t mean that we’re, we’re ridiculous in that, right? If it involves inappropriate things, or whatever, no, if it involves me having to eat onions, no. But in general, like I did over like when everything went virtual, and of course, very scary for anybody who makes their living traveling to live events. And this is one way. So I built a studio, and I just set it all up. So I could do virtual well. And six months into it, I was doing actually pretty good. I did 87 virtual presentations over COVID. And my colleagues were like, I can’t believe you did all that. And I looked at him, I said, I can’t believe you didn’t.

Unknown Speaker 15:38
Like, I’m not a hero. I’m feeding my family. I’m feeding my staff. Right, I did six presentations, between one and 4am on a webcam on my studio and people like I can’t believe I’m like, This feeds my family. So he presentations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg and Dubai, Singapore, right. I’ve spoken at 24 countries, but this was all virtual. This is what you do, of course, and when my clients because I mean, look at us right now, you and I are doing the Zoom call from my parents generation, this is magic. For you and I it’s Tuesday. Right? It’s amazing.

Unknown Speaker 16:18
And so what we’re able to do to increase our touches to be better this great lesson for people in business. Don’t be afraid of this, but but I’ll tell you all honestly, if I see another palm tree, oh, look, look, Jim’s on a tropical island. That’s so funny. It’s not funny anymore. Jim, it’s not funny. It’s been two and a half years, if I see another palm tree, or Golden Gate Bridge, I swear to God, I’m gonna slash my wrist. It’s been it’s been years get better at this. And when you’re on a call with with colleagues and friends and are having a meeting and one or two people have their webcam off, because they just got back from the gym. That’s not okay anymore. It’s not, we got ready for the call.

Unknown Speaker 17:04
Don’t use that as an excuse. I think all this is a is a great opportunity. I’m so bullish on this. I think the opportunities are phenomenal because so many companies are dragging their feet. Be no matter how somebody wants to do business with you find a way to make it happen. I was at a convention and there was some panel with millennials like in their hipster beard in their black T shirt and jeans. And they were sitting back all cocky. There’s some tech companies say nobody wants to talk on the phone anymore. Nobody wants and we sat there just laughed. Okay, Jr. You don’t want to talk on the phone. But most of us are serving multiple generations. That is customer experience. That’s customer centricity. However they want to do business, give me choices. If somebody wants to talk on the phone, given the choice if somebody wants to do it just on the app, given that choice, but when you’re at Walmart, you walk up to the checkout with a full grocery cart, and they try to direct you to self checkout. Right? I think I don’t work here. Right? I went to the break room and they wouldn’t let me and I’m like I thought I should write and my parking space for employee of the month. I’m not being demeaning. I’m horrible. I’m a horrible self checkout, or every item is an unexpected item in the bagging area. And they’ll say no, we do give you choices. But it’s not one step checkout lane with nine carts deep and 27 self checkout. That’s not doing it right. So that’s my job. And I’m really funny when I do it. To help organizations recognize that what they’re doing well it makes sense to the bean counters are inadvertently frustrating their customers and so we work together to to alleviate that

Unknown Speaker 18:39
powerful stuff. David, thank you so much. Thank you, sir. And for everybody’s listening, it’s it’s obvious that David is an absolute expert when it comes to customer experience. And he’s been speaking on stages, literally all over the world in person and virtually but getting back out now. So back back in person and he’s literally all over the world. So for your next event or for your company, reach out to David and David, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people get in touch with you? How can they connect? Thank you. This was a whirlwind. Yeah, if people want to learn more about me just look me up at David averin.com A V R I N David outfront.com and then just search me on YouTube and everything else just put in my name and I’ll come up a million times but yeah, I appreciate the opportunity. Excellent. Well, if you enjoy as much as I did show David your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to David averin.com D A V i d A v r i n.com check out other great resources pick up a copy of one of his or all of the all of his five books and quickly located next to my head here in the video and bring him in to speak at your next event. Thanks again, David. Thanks. Good day.

Unknown Speaker 20:00
And until next time remember do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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