B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1689 · 7 months ago

When Customers Want To Talk To A Human, with Samantha Stone

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this replay episode, Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, talks with Samantha Stone, founder and CMO of The Marketing Advisory Network, about communicating with customers in times of confusion, frustration, and anxiety.

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is be tob growth. This is be tob growth coming to you from Austin, Texas. This is Benji Block, and I am joined by Dan Sanchez from Nashville. What's going on, Dan? I said or not answer this question to in a row, and Dan's own a row to. I need to have an official answer to this question, just like Dave Ramsey has the answer. How you doing better? Not deserve yeah, like I'd probably now I have to ask Dan this like for future episodes, because it's become a thing to see if he's gonna go over three. Okay, Emily, you are joining us from Louisville, Kentucky. Welcome to the show. Yeah, and okay. So if people don't have context, let me tell you a little bit about who we are. So I am the host of be tob growth and Dan is our director of audience growth. He's also doing a lot with Mike are my club community for be Tob podcasters, and emily is very active over on Linkedin and tick tock and she's our creative content lead. So that gives you a little bit of who we are. We're trying this model out we're and take about ten minutes before we jump into a fullblown interview that we typically do here on BB growth, and we're just talking about things we've seen. Maybe it's a book we're reading or a Linkedin Post, a conversation or an ad. And Emily is up today. So, Emily, what have you been paying attention to? What something you saw recently that piqued your interest? Yeah, so rand Fishkin published a post this week about marketing attribution and he made the claim that it's counterproductive that marketer should trust their gut. So it's a pretty controversial I think he really stirred up so heated arguments in his comments, because I also read someone who wrote a post in response to that article that was saying, like, I'll due respect, ran, but I totally disagree with this. So I'd love to talk about both those things, starting with getting those thoughts on what you think about his thesis, which is that, like his he says his marketing actions aren't driven by provable attribution but by belief that conversions journeys are long, complex and mostly unworthy of measurement investment. Okay, I have a lot of thoughts on this. I'm sure Danda has a lot of thoughts as well. I'll say I think he's right in that we over complicate it. We know at this point that it is a complex journey with a lot of stops along the journey and it's very hard to map out exactly how someone ends up doing whatever it becoming a buyer right. So I think he's right in that. Should we not track it? I do think it's still worth tracking. I just don't think we should like spend all of our time sweating it out and wondering, like are we tracking it just right, like how complex we want that to be? I don't know how I feel about that, Dan. We're your initial thoughts. Honestly, I think he's wrong. Good, I think he's about halfway there. I think the answers in the middle. Yes, but I don't think the whole trust your gut thing is enough, because guts can often be wrong. I mean, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book called he's wrote a lot of great books. Good luck, I can't remember, but it was about a blink. Blink is the name of the book about like we're gut decisions can be really good and we're gut decisions can go very wrong. Like a quarterback has to be able to make a gut decision and a half second about whether he's going to throw that thing, what time he's going to throw it or if he's going to run. Sometimes right there's the play, but then there's the what happens in the two seconds of when he says hike. You know, gut decisions can be really helpful and honestly, marketers can build a good gut into around guiding their decisions too. But I think throwing out all the Datas like a huge, huge problem. I've always had the theory that, like, you should triangulate, like if you've ever done any kind of like map or compass work, one way to figure out where you are just try triangulate based on where a mountain is or another sign post is. You can take two locations. This is...

...what radio towers do. Cell Towers do to figure out where your phone is, by the way, you take two radio towers and then you do, you know, the trigonometry to figure out like, Oh, the lines meet here, there for you're here. So I like to triangulate based on a few different pieces of information. One is all the attribution data. It does tell you something exactly. It does tell you. So another past the data is surveys. What did customers tell you they're seeing? And then just you having one to one conversations about their buying Urney, between those three pieces of data, surveys, attribution data and one to one conversations, he usually get not a full picture, but it's a better picture. But at the same time then you make good gut decisions based on those three pieces of information. It's kind of like, you know, reading tea leaves as far as what's actually going on. Still, even then, yeah, emily, emily, bring us down that that wrote a little bit more on like what your initial thoughts were on what he was presenting. Yeah, well, I thought it was just a really interesting take. I tend to agree with Dan in that there are so many things that you can track to attribution and maybe not with a hundred percent accuracy, but I don't think you should say let's just not let's just trust our gut and not worry about this. One point that rand was making that that I do agree with was that he was saying if I knew exactly how to attribute this piece of content or, you know, whatever strategy I'm working on if I knew that that was what drew the customer in, like, would I change my content strategy? Would I stop putting out this other content just to focus on this? And he said no, like I would keep if I think there's value in this, I'm going to keep publishing that. And I thought that was a good point, that there's going to be something that resonates with everyone, and so you should definitely keep going with what works. But I like, I'm going to keep putting out content that I think it's helpful and valuable to people. And, you know, I may never know that it's helpful to them because they may never say anything about it, but I'm still going to could to work on that. You know, I do think that's where be toob can get it wrong a little bit, as we can go so data heavy that's like, Oh, this is what works, so this is all we do right, versus we need to wake up to a larger conversation and go hey, like helpful, useful, those are words that also need to like come in and yeah, like don't, don't just quit doing things and only focus on what the data tells you. And you'R I mean Dan, you're right to this in the middle somewhere. The extremes get people talking, which is wonderful, and then the reality is like, if you're way too data heavy, you're missing things, and if you're way too in this camp of like and just throw it all out, you're definitely missing things to and it's worth like. I like the one on one conversations. That's a key piece that because they're the way that someone even is thinking, like let me think back to how I first heard about you. Oh, and you can ask follow up questions to have them go deeper, like you're going to get a lot of information that you wouldn't get otherwise or even on a survey. Between the three sources of data in personal interviews are by far the most reliable accurate. You don't have to do too many of them. After ten of them, which is it's a lot to do ten, but after ten of them usually have a pretty good day idea of like how people are finding you, why they're picking you, and lots of information. Let me give you a story real quick about why doesn't work or why the gut thing doesn't work. I was working at a nonprofit where we're as sending out a magazine to all the donors. My impression, based on the data, was that it wasn't working. We weren't getting back any donations because of this magazine and it wasn't like I had a pretty good impression that people are just throwing this thing away, right, because I I get a lot of them. I throw them all away. But the person that wanted to keep doing them because his face was on the magazine or on the inside cover, he had a pretty good gut feeling that it was working because maybe two or three people each magazine going out to thousands of people. He would get a phone call being like Oh yeah, and I saw you on the magazine. Right in forming his gut, but incorrectly, because we...

...actually losing money on the magazine every single time. It was costing a lot to print and send it to all the donors that may have given to the ministry for totally different reasons than actually wanted to give to that particular ministry. So I'm like, I think the gut was off because all the day I'm getting from all the different ways I can measure this is saying that this is losing money right and left. Well, in our pride is wrapped up in our gut to. So, like if you're not very aware of your pride as a marketer, then your gut is probably off, because it's so easy to get your identity and all that stuff wrapped up in it. In like in you don't want that. That's where data can be a source of truth. Not the source of truth, but a source. Emily Wood, bring us in a little bit more to the response article, where it's like pushing back on it. Any thoughts there or the things that you really liked about that? Yeah, so the author of this post was pushing back same dark funnels are often not as dark as people think. The ways to eliminate them aren't wellknown and I think that Dan brought up great ways to eliminate them. But it's true that a lot of times they are dark and there there are not things that we can track. Big points in both the article and this response they were talking about tools that you can use to track data and like how expensive some tools are, and this guy was saying like well, I don't have the budget for this, and so I think that's a big part of it too, is like what is your budget and what are you able to do with that? So that's something to definitely think about. I think there's a lot to be said for it doesn't have to be gut or or data. It could be like the data could inform your gut feeling or prove your gut feeling or I mean, I think I would definitely put more value on the data, because I would even is get feeling like. And also another point he brought up was like well, ran, you've been in you've been doing this for fifteen years. So not all of us have that same experience that you have and that same like longevity. So how do how do we know that our guts are as good as a refined at making these calls? You know? Hmm, I had an interview like the last couple weeks with someone from constant contact. Well, sharp spring got bought out by constant contact and they have this whole motion of like life cycle and they did, you know, a lot of work, because it's literally what they're doing as a business to like bring as much information to the customer journey as possible. Like it's great there's more and more tools and resources being provided to the market to do this. That's where I would say again, I hope people stay in the middle somewhere, because I love that that is becoming the data is becoming more and more like evident and it's needed. But I also I'm like artsy enough where I'm like, okay, but keep trying stuff because we don't know everything yet, and acting like the data is just going to be the thing that that tends to be something I'm constantly frustrated by, and be tob is wheeling like way heavy into the data to the point where it's like where's the room for this to breathe in, something new to be created that's not just being informed by the way the market is today? Any final thoughts? Emily, this was a good one and people can go that and should go read both articles, because I think that's it's really informative and the back and forth is where the fun is too. Yeah, definitely. I think dark social such a hot topic right now. That's it's worth looking into and going back, and I would go back and find his post and then look in the comments and see how you can get involved in that conversation or even just learn from it, and also read the blog article, another fun one. I've really enjoyed this week testing out this new way of doing be to be growth, least, just fun quick ten minute conversation stuff that we're seeing from around the world of marketing. And if you've enjoyed what you've heard this week on be tob growth, let us know. We would love your feet back,...

I guess, good or bad. I'd love to know what you liked about this or things that you think we can continue to improve on. Talk to us over on Linkedin. Can Find Dan, emily and I over there. All right, let's jump into today's conversation. It's Friday and so for those that are regulars around be to be growth, you'll know that we are in this cadence of sharing episodes from our archive on Friday's kind of a throwback of sorts or replay, and today wanted to bring you an episode from a series we did on customer experience. Ethan Butte, who is the chief of angelist, that bomb bomb, sat down with Samantha Stone, founder and CMO of the Marketing Advisory Agency, and they discussed communication, specifically how do we communicate with customers and times of confusion, frustration and anxiety? Their conversation was held right as Covid nineteen was man it was just this time of mass, confusion, frustration, anxiety. And wouldn't we all know that, even though time has passed since that crisis was was right at the forefront, we still are dealing with uncertain times and things are going on in the world, and anyone who's been in business long enough and in marketing long enough knows confusion, frustration and anxiety are things that we will deal with from time to time. And how do we deal with, or how do we walk alongside rather custom summers as they're going through these things as well? So when customers want to talk to a human what do we do? That's what we are set to tackle in today's conversation. I think you'll enjoy this, ethan butte chatting with Samantha Stone. Let's jump in. Well, I am so honored to be your first return guest. I have so enjoyed our conversation last time and I'm looking forward to having another one again today. Yeah, and a just a quick note before couple things before we get going. First, you do such a nice job of staying in touch and you were the, I guess, unintentional creator of the episode with David Merriman Scott by sending a copy of fanoccracy over and so I hope folks check that one out too. And you know, before we get into customer experience, I think let's just set the scene a little bit. We're recording this on Mark Sixteen of two thousand and twenty. You're in Massachusetts, I'm in Colorado. Where are you right now with the coronavirus, covid nineteen situation? You know, I'm glad you brought that up because we were talking about before the show. Ethan. I actually don't think really we can talk about anything else. I think the reality is that when there are moments of crisis like we're seeing today and it's widespread, it's global, it's affecting everybody, to pretend it's normal course of business is just not realistic. People can't think about what they might eat in six months from now or twelve months from now, but they thinking about right now is what do I need tomorrow? Maybe do I need this year? I'm happy to share, sort of very transparently opening, a little bit about myself. I have a lung health condition. The lung health condition makes me extremely vulnerable to the COVID nineteen disease and virus because of some of the injections that I take to treat that lung condition were suppress my immune system. In addition to that, should I get any respiratory infection in including this, I am likely to be one of those people has a very, very severe reaction to that. It's so what's like in my household right now is a lot of for cautions. My poor son made the mistake of ordering Burger King through Grub Hub, and here I am before you open the door. Tell them to leave it on the ground. You've already paid. Here's gloves, pick up the bag. You know I'm really we are, you know, all joking aside. We are being very, very cautious right now, but we are going outside, we are living in guests. Were doing no travel, but we're communicating,...

...and one of the great reasons I'm excited to be talking to you about this during this time is that video is a way that we're staying connected, not just at work but also with family. I have a mother and father who drove back from Florida after several weeks away and because of their age, we're not visiting with them right now and it's really hard to not give my mom and dad a great big hug, but we did do some video chatting. That also made us feel just a little bit better that we're all connected with each other. That's good. Yeah, there is no substitute for real in person connection and nice warm hugs. They will come again, but it won't be any time very immediately. We did the same thing here. We still have all the stores and restaurants are still open, although I know they're closing down elsewhere, and we're all working remotely at bombomb. And first all the events and everything are canceled and we'll kind of get into some of the consequences of that, I think, to the conversation. But one thing we did spin up within thirty six hours of saying yeah, that's a good idea, let's do it, as we started offering bombomb absolutely free to all educators so that they could stay facetoface with parents, students, peers and other people important to that process. And as a parent whose son is hanging out at home right now, they just said two weeks. Basically they doubled spring break and there they'll reassess, but there's not a chance he's going to go back to school physically in the next you know, two weeks when this when this initial period is over. So it's a really interesting time. It's highly, highly fluid and as business operators and practitioners, I think we need to be, as you already offered, highly sensitive to where our customers and future customers are, and we're our employees are just kind of in a headspace and in a legitimate, direct, immediate experience. So let's get into and let's start where we started last time, so where we always start here, which is, you know, what thoughts do you have at a high level on on customer experience? What does it mean to you? What are some of its characteristics? You know, for me customer experience there's a couple ways of looking at it. So one way of looking at is a structural with an organization. What's the team that's responsible for creating an experience with our the people that we sell to and that we serve, and that is, you know, organizationally, done in many different ways by different types of organization. But fundamentally, what customer experience really means? It's all the ways that we interact with people. It's how they find out what we do and how they come to our website. It's the tone of the conversations we have with them during a sales process. It's when they we deliver the service to them. Right. So whether, like me, I might go in and I might be running a workshop or I might be running a meeting, how I do that as part of the customer experience. If I'm selling them a physical item, how it's packaged as part of the customer service. When there's a problem, how we respond. It's it's everything about how the people we serve interact with us. That's what customer experience is all about. I really like it. I think, you know, it's a little bit righter cliche to refer to Simon Sinex start with why, but you know this. You're in that middle layer of how, in the second part of that in that how is something that is so much more difficult to replicate or steal or a mimic than the what. The what is very easy to mimic and in the how, I think, is the you know what is the first really good chunk of differentiation in the experience that we're creating. So you already said it's not business as usual, and it is not. It's not life as usual either. Right now in the United States or anywhere else on the globe. So just to kind of get it going, what are some of the implications that you see immediately from a business standpoint of social distancing and, you know, going remote and all the other consequences that were all experiencing right now? I'm glad that you ask that question because there's a lot that's going on. So some of the...

...things that are affect marketers, for example, are I got in my facebook feed a person who was promoting and in person event on March twenty four. No, just no, stop right. So that was a really obviously means well, you know, look, I could have chosen to just scroll on past that advertisement not respond, but I actually had a really negative reaction to it. Right. It felt very toned for me. I know that's not the spirit. Technically they were targeting fewer than twenty five people, they were abiding by the rule of law, but I didn't feel like they had my best interest at heart. So we as market as a look at all the things that we do on a day to day basis and how we're communicating and make sure we're wearing a sensitive lens that acknowledges it. The other thing that we have to do is you have to realize that are the way we serve. Our guidience is going to change. If I am someone who works in an office and I'm now working remotely, do I have appropriate call routing? For example, I have a friend who works for Legal Aid. She's an amazing attorney who dedicates her life to service, and I said different will just phone call people, like, don't show up to the hospital to meet them. What are you doing? Like I get all this anxiety and she pointed out to me that she can work from home, except the translation service that allows her to communicate with people whose English is not their first or dominant language is not working in her home phone. It only works at our office phone. Right. So they'll solve for that. They'll fix that. But in all of our businesses we have lots of things about what we do that we have to think about. What happens when the people who can be remote our remote. We also have to recognize that there's lots of things that can't be done from home. You know, if you're a first responder, if you're a healthcare worker, if you are working for an essential city service, if you're keeping our water and our power running, if you work in a grocery store, God bless you because you have this incredible, difficult job and a stressful situation and we need our food supply chain did not be interrupted. Right. We don't think about all the stuff that has to happen there. So we as leaders need to acknowledge the fear that people have around that, the concerns their family members have around that. We need to do what we can to protect them. So for those of us who have a service that could maybe protect them, we should be making that readily available. We've seen some great things. You gave an example or earlier of providing edge caters video access at no cost. We've seen other people make other kinds of conciliation. We also need to take care of security. The reality is when people are working more remotely or they're working and more social distance situations, they are maybe not following all the secure protocols or filing sending files back and forth an email and they're throwing things and, you know, portable drives and they're exposing us. They don't have the same networks and firewall. So we need to make sure that we're thinking about the infrastructor to protect the data of the people that we're serving in this situation, and so sort of the threat about all of this is simply using our good sense to think through the scenarios that our customers are going through, to be sensitive to how we communicate and to be consistent and transparent about what we are doing with our customers. And then, on the flip side, we have to accept and be ready for an entourage of people who are trying to cancel reservations, reschedule meetings, transform whole conferences into virtual events, who are just not sure how to make all these bits and pieces because we've never gone through something like this on a global scale. I've certainly done this and crisis management, for example in New Orleans when we had those, you know, terrible hurricanes, or we had flooding in Texas last year, but when we think about the scale of this, it's unlike anything that we've done, and so we have to be ready to have questions that we don't have time to answer be asked and we have to be patient with it.

These are the times we're talking to human is probably better than talking to a machine. Right if I'm worried, I need a I need rubbing alcohol. The clean my medical equipment. This came up on a facebook group recently. And before I go to the store and I send somebody there get my rubbing allcle I want to make sure it's in stock and I call the store, I need to talk to someone who's going to be able to tell me whether it's in stock, tell me whether I'm going to be able to get it in stock, maybe recommend places where we could have it be put on a weight list, whatever those things. Maybe, and come together and interact with people in a way that is sensitive to even if we're feel like business is normal, because I'm sit in the same office I sat in three weeks ago and six weeks ago, it's not normal for the people who are calling me and asking me questions. Yeah, really, really good. There's a lot there. The couple things I want to touch on. One is, you know, when you talk about transparency, that couple words came to mind there, and it's visibility and accessibility, and so you know all this is up in the air. Is this two weeks? Is it a month? Is it eight weeks? Is a number that was just thrown out like it's so, so fluid, and so I think keeping communication channels open for our team members right as we try to figure out what is something that we didn't anticipate. We need to close this loop, we need to fix this. You give a number of really good examples of just work flow issues that we need to pay attention to and and then you also teat up something that I spend a lot of time over the weekend doing, which is UN undoing all of my travel plans. I have a high school junior at our home and we know we have with all. He's a school kid, love school, high performer. So we're like we had a bunch of college tours scheduled between now and next fall and you know, so we've been to a few schools already, but the first big trip here over spring break, of course, is canceled. So we had to cancel personal plans, professional plans, etcetera. And so I found myself in a zone that I know you have a lot to recommend an offer around, which is the communication channels that are available to us as consumers. And so you know, I was on I was any emails, responding to some emails, I was in some mobile APPS, I was on some websites, some was front facing some I was logged into my own account and I was on the telephone intermittently across these experiences and in one case they took me from an email where to cancel. They still wanted to charge me fifty percent of the charge and then I called and they said, Oh, okay, no problem at all, you don't have to pay that. will send you another email. Take a look at it. This for a rental car. Take a look at it and just reply and see what your circumstances are and then we'll just use that on file and then just canceled. Well, turns out at even work out that way. So at some point I need to call him back because their reply to my email, which said entire trip is canceled. The schools are not accepting us to visit the campus anymore. We're just not doing the trip. It's not the prudent thing to do and we can't even execute the whole reason we're going in the first place. So we would like a you know, a refund, and the reply was well, there isn't. There is not a national mandate not to travel, so we can't do that right now. You know, this is like be still my heart, like I look I'm sensitive and I understand that there are financially vulnerable companies out there that these changes impact and I believe that our government and our communities and our customers and our partners need to find a way to keep people solving through this. Having said all of that, they answer and solution is not to piss off every customer. Even they shouldn't even have made you ask the question of sending the emails. We are in lockdown as a globe right now across much of the world, certainly across the United States and the campuses. Every college student right now is on force break.

My son tomorrow is going to empty his dorm because even though they have an officially said it's going to be six or eight weeks, it's I think everything indicates it's going to be and we don't want to have to go back. If school reopens, will bring a stuff back. I'll like to have that problem right, but we're going to go empty it. At least we can get his books and things for online learning. So they the right customer service and customer experience should have been to proactively communicate hate with you. We suspect your travel plans have changed. If we're not correct. Please let us know. So a default, that the default, should be the most likely scenario somebody's going through and they shouldn't make it go through the hoop of saying why your plans have changed, because we know the answer to that question. Your plans of change because everything is in a slowdown mode as we as a country respond. Now, I don't blame the individual person who had to read that email. Clearly they haven't been given a corporate policy that gives them the fortitude to address that. They could have a policy that says, at this point, we actually can't afford to do refunds and maybe we're not in a financial situation to do that. Then they should have been should at least give you a credit towards future, or they should have some dialog with you about that situation. But they defaulted wrong. They asked you to jump through hoops incorrectly. They have a policy that's going to make you uncomfortable and unsatisfied with it and instead of delivering bad news to you and a conversation where at least the empathy can come through, they didn't do it. For example, I canceled my housekeeper. Let me tell you, this was a painful decision for me to make. I'm in a situation where I could Ford to pay her, so I said that I'm going to just then mow you the money, at least for a couple of times. She's an individual and I'm fortunate and grateful to be able to say that I can afford that. But, but, if I had to call and cancel, I wouldn't have sent her a text message saying I'm canceling and I'm sorry I can't pay you. I would have picked up the phone and, at a minimum, left of voice mail where she could hear my voice and hear my sincerity in understand that I feel bad about it. We can't always do the thing that's going to make the customer on the other side happy, but we can do the thing that makes them feel we're human and empathetic to the situation we find ourselves in. Yeah, just allow them to feel like they've been heard and that they're appreciated. I see you, I understand your circumstance. I want to meet you there. Let's talk about what we can do. I thought the airlines in general did a very nice job of the two things you specifically recommended, which is default to what is the most likely situation, which, by the way, this applies at all times, not just in times of crisis, but default to what the expectation is and then make it really, really easy. All of them are hey and and I forget which one, because I had flight schedule. I mean United Guy, on points mostly, but because they fly out of Colorado Springs. But you know, I had flights on Delta and American also schedule, just so I could go direct out of Colorado Springs, which is not a major airport. So I mix up my vendors and they all did a really nice job of proactive communication. And I forget which one it was, but they said, Hey, don't call us, here's the deal. You know, you have no obligations right now. You have up until the end of the year to reschedule. You know the value of this flight and it's like so they're like it's really kind of this whole flat in the curve thing, but you know, in a very acute customer service situation, is like, don't call us right now. You're going to hate it, we're going to hate it. We got your back. Don't worry about it. You have months to figure it out and so what now? What I need to do is make a little spreadsheet to say, you know all the flights I canceled in a little open credit, because they're spread across various APPS and websites. But they did both of those things really, really well.

The perfect example of how to use technology, because what they needed to free up their staff for was the person who says my son is stuck in London and I need to get my kid home. Help me do that. So look, technology can help us communicate to the default step and they made it very easy and Airy vampathetic so that the when the things that are emotional, things that I need to respond to, I can make sure that my phone staff is available for them to be able to I agree. I think the airlines overall have done a nice job. My son reluctantly was on a flight this week. It was a short domestic flight from Rochester. I was really uncomfortable situation, but I needed to get them home and I was comforted by talking to the airline about the cleaning thing. So sure, I got the email everybody else got, but given my scenario, I also called the local airport and I asked them to give me, you know, sort of the lay of the land and I felt they were honest and sincere and well trained, and because we could have had the option of him renting a car and driving back or something like that. So I think you're right. There are so much good happening right now and so much that I've actually been pleasantly surprised by. But there have been pockets of opportunists that are sort of feeding in to the frenzy and the fear and the discomfort or just making us go through a whole bunch of extra hoops. Nobody needs the extra stress right now. Let's make it easier on ourselves. Yeah, so let's talk about one of the channels that I know you have some thoughts on, which is chat, and we have kind of two ways to go about that, live chat and chat bots. You know, last time we talked we talked about the transparency of automation and AI. Although a lot of cover ground episode fourteen, go back and listen to it, is really, really good. So we won't won't do too much of it again. But you know this idea that so much of what we're calling ai is actually automation in these channels. You don't have what you have on the phone or even what you have with videos, kind of this empathetic thing. We talked about transparency and not acting as if you're a person if you're actually about. But you know, in this context of our conversation here today, what do you think about the chat experience today as regards the customer experience? You know, first of all, I think the chattocks were, in both live and, you know, ai driven, our part of the tool kit that we should be using. I think they're incredibly useful. I did a study where we talked to about five hundred and fifty. Thing is where the number at it up, but over five hundred consumers and we very specifically ask them, when they want to talk to a machine when they don't, what their expectations are. We gave them scenarios and asked them to say, if you read these three scenarios, how would it change? Would you buy from that person again? How do you what do you think about their brand? And it was startlinglingly clear. For every day operational things, talking to a machine instead of a person is perfectly fine and often preferred. I want to know if you're open. I want to know, you know, what's the balance on an account. What time is that? A pointment I scheduled again. Right. I don't actually need to have a back and forth, I want to ask the question to get it answered. When I have a moment of concern, upset frustration, do not give me to a machine. It actually makes it significantly worse and it doesn't just make it significantly worse in the moment that I'm in right now, it makes me not want to interact with your brand prior the other thing that it's surfaced very clearly is don't pretend your human if you're a machine, because when we get into scenarios where I can tell that the transper they were more the same bad chat experience that was clearly a little robot symbol and like not a real person, as it look like a picture of a person. Right, the same exact chat script was way more negatively perceived in the long term relationship...

I want to have with the brand. When it was I thought it was a human or were pretending to be a human. Then when you were just clear that's robot. I forgive the robots ignorance because it's a robot and I'm okay with that. forgodness. It also became very clear. We need escalation pattern. So it's particularly in scenarios like this where we all have questions. You're running around trying to figure out how I'm going to respond to events being canceled and I'm trying to figure out where I'm supposed to be. Your get home from wherever I am or adjust a meeting for wherever I am. When I hit a steck point, I need to be able to talk to an actual human being and our automated technology needs ways to I identify that I'm getting that point when we put that chap bought up and we simply say here have a you know, here's the phone number to call. It's one of the most frustrating things that can happen because you're asking me to leave the medium I chose to use, in this case a chat window, and go find my phone, dial a number and reget in a queue for somebody to answer my phone call. And even if the phone call gets resolves my issue, we've created extra steps for someone at a moment that's the worst time to create ex extra work for them. Yeah, putting the burden on the customer, even the perceived burden in some cases really not that much. More work. But if it feels that way, the customers experience is the experience. The customers experience is a matter of fact. We need to respect it and appreciate it. In this channel switching situation, I did a solo episode just based on some of the learnings of the first chapter of the effortless experience by Matt Dixon in a couple other folks, and that's one of the being treated like a number and channel switching are two of the most frustrating things people can experience. Really interesting survey results, by the way, love that you're just doing that work so in unleash possible. You advocated for video like extensively. I forget which chapter it was somewhere toward the end and of course we already touched on it a little bit here, and I think what it does is takes a little bit of that what we were talking about, that empathy that can be delivered through a voicemail or through a phone call, and just steps it up to another level. That if we are sincere in our message, whether it's I'm really sorry for your experience or I'm so excited for you or congratulations, you just hit a milestone or whatever, the message is that if we're sincere in it, that our bodies, in our faces and our voices all tell it in a way that just simply can't be communicated any better except live in person. And so, in light of our conversation here, maybe set up your your initial ideas about video, whether as expressed in the unleash possible or since you wrote the book and in the context of what we're talking about here today. Yeah, you know, I really believe that video is critically important because not only can you better see how I'm responding to something or I'd project my surprise, my sincere apologies, my excitement, my you know, information, but equally, as a person I can see the other person on the other side and I can read their body language and I can respond and adjust to what I'm seeing on the screen, just kind of like if I was in a room with a person. It's a little bit different, but it proxies it very well. So I think video is critically valuable tool and we use it in one on one conversations. I'd by default turn my camera on for pretty much every conversation. There's a couple exception. Sometimes bandwidth is you is an issue for a day or a moment, and that's fine. I do do a podcast that's audio only because that medium is meant for someone while they're doing something else, like driving and and and that's okay, but the my default is video on. But we also have to remember that video is a really powerful tool for all different kinds of content, long form content, teaching something, interacting with someone. It's a great tool for direct mail to...

...open something up and actually have a video welcome message instead of just another message. And there's just a whole bunch of things that happen. One of the things we have to remember and remind ourselves of is that video doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to be always polished. You know, I have on a scarf and I threw some lipstick on because I love you, Ethan, and I knew you're going to be videotaping me right, but I'm still comfortable and I'm still not overly prepped. I didn't have hair and makeup come in do this today right, and I don't need to, because the whole point of video is actually to make people comfortable with each other and it is a unique medium by which we can do that and if you were not yourself on the video. Whether it's a direct mail piece you're sending out, whether it's a little note from a salesperson, whether it's a high five to somebody did a great job, it doesn't matter. So just you know, we just got to get good at being comfortable and I'm always thinking about what can I do for video. I'll give you a really good example of how I used video to affect a business outcome for myself. Actually, not that long ago we ran a marketing strategy workshop my business partner and I, and it was the first in person workshop that we done for a classroom set and we were in workshops for individual clients all the time and I've taught big workshops at conferences that other people have hosted off and off, and it was the first time that we'd done it and we assumed the math that half the people who registered wouldn't show up right like kind of typical event type of thing. That happened. But I was determined to break that trend and so I I think the thing that gives us the most it was a good class, so I'll say that. And I think people wanted to come and we had a good venue and we had a good material. So we did all of that. But even when you do that you still have drop off. So what we did is, as soon as somebody registered, I sent a video message to them that said Hey, congratulations, so excited you came. Here's what to expect for the day. You don't need to prep and I you know, and it's and it's like if they don't show up, they've disappointed me a little bit right and then and then the day before the event we said Hey, can't wait to see you tomorrow and gave some other like little stuff and we had twenty. I think we ended up having twenty people registered. One person got called away on and out of town trip last minute for an urgent worker and couldn't show up. Every other and and they sent this hugely apologetic I can't be their node. Every other person came and came on time and stayed the entire time or good. But it's not just because we did a good workshop. We took the time to connect with people who had registered in this very intimate way and I really truly believe that the video played an important role and getting that show rate to be higher than it might otherwise have been. It's really good. That's the social reciprocity pieces. is a really good one, in an undervalued one, but you referred to it twice. The first one is this idea that they're not just letting down some organization that has an email signature and some details at a typed out email. They're letting down Samantha. I can't let her down and in the case that I have to, this is a second part, I'm going to be profusely apologetic, whereas otherwise it's just so much more difficult to disappoint or reject a human than it is, you know, a wall of faceless digital text, and we've seen this too, by the way, using video to increase show rates on appointment set demos, set in these other things, you know, not just a full day workshop, but even like lighter weight stuff, even zoom calls in those types of things. We had a pretty large one of the top...

...ten franchises in the United States. Their franchise sales team uses bombomb and they were able to increase show rates from fifty six to seventy eight percent on one of their initial calls. And so can you just like walk that? I've just think about a traditional like sales funnel. generically speaking, the ability to take the initial conversation and set the appointment is one thing, and then to actually have the appointment shown to be able to bump by, you know, twenty plus points the show rates on that call. To me, just think about all the downstream consequences and all it is is what what we've already observed, which is it's just human connection. It's just this. Yeah, you know, I can't let her down or I feel more connected or I feel more trust toward the situation. I feel more clear about what to expect because it's been communicated to me, not through my own tone of reading this. This otherwise like toneless text. I mean really, really good writer can infuse text with a little bit of tone that people can feel, not just read and think, but actually feel video. You just start feeling immediately. Yeah, you know, it's a perfect example of how to apply this at scale, and that's a huge difference in your business. Think about that. It's twenty percent plus swing and the people who show up for demo like that's big and I do think social reciprocity, as we've been talking about, as part of it. I also think it shows it's going to be worth my time because they're saying things that are relevant. I'm likely to maybe skip through and read an email like theistic uptate. I probably scan. I also sent text, by the way, because not everybody watches videos, so we did that. But also I think there's this component of I'm important. They took time to send me a message. I'm I'm important to them, and so therefore there's a piece of this. I'm going to want to go there, I'm going to want to see this and it's going to be worth my time there articulate they have something relevant for me. So I love the application of applying to show rates for Demos. I think it can be used for all kinds of thing. Ethan is the best set this. Every conversation with Ethan Big milestoness if he always sends the the most gracious of videos afterwards out and is a real living example of how to build that connection with people that we may never have been in a room with before, but I can still feel like it right. Yeah, I appreciate you seeing that in a really good point on that. This, this gift of your time and attention, is something that can't be fake. Like no one knows how long it took you to write that email, but everyone knows the you spent forty two seconds explaining that thing just for like when it's you know, you can do evergreen or you can do truly personally, do a truly personal that is just the ultimate like this gift of my time and attention. Now, no one's going to say that consciously and say, my Gosh, she took forty two seconds out of her day to say that, but I do get all the time. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question in a video right and it's like I just saved myself like five or ten minutes. It would have taken me a lot longer to explain it by typing it all out. So there's a number of really, really good benefits there. At the risk of time and at the risk of throwing a complete curveball into the conversation. It was recently, I'm going to do it anyway. I love you, Ethan. Do it good. It was recently International Women's Day and on Linkedin you gave a shout out to several women that you've worked with and really respect. You. Help give away some free subscriptions to innovation women and I just wanted a quick take from you on, as someone who is obviously built a successful career as a woman, like why in two thousand and twenty are we still in this gender inequality situation or and or what are some seeds of hopes? Just like give me a quick take on what's the scene and where are we going and what are you encouraged by? Yeah, you know, I wish I could tell you why we're still in this situation, because the reality is in my entire lifetime laws have been in effect to make this relatively easy in parts of the world that I work. That is not true in large parts of the world. There are still real inequalities in legal structure, in...

...the rights that a woman has versus a man in big parts of the world, and so part of what holds woman back is cultural and legal context that we take for granted in the United States and in a lot of European countries and and many places around the world. We just take it for granted the exist. They don't in many places. So that's a fundamental infrastructure that needs to be fixed more daytoday. Operationally oriented, I think we don't do a good job of rewarding people of different approaches to solving things. I'll be quite candid. As a woman, I quickly got promoted in my career and I quickly had success and I didn't hit a lot of direct glass ceilings. But I believe there's a real reason for it, and I believe the reason for it is I acted like a man. I did the things in the environment and now not all men act the same the don't you know, everybody, don't interpret that. What I mean was I was really assertive about what I wanted. I was super aggressive about forcing myself into conversations. I'm not known for sitting back and being quiet. That makes me a strong woman, but that doesn't make me every woman. There are strong women like that and we, as communities and as business leaders, yet to be back to listening to all voices, including quiet of voices. So you know, I think there's any quality, not just in men and women. I think there's any quality and a whole bunch of context around different thought process and different things. But the female and versus male and equality is robust inconsistent because all of the infrastructure to address it isn't there. We're not taught the same things, we're not supported in the same way and it's real and it exists today. So I do have hope. I personally have had a very wonderful journey, but it hasn't always been easy and I've had to I've been a working mother with young children and the first day I started a job, the president of the company looked at me and said I did not want to hire you, and I didn't want to not hire me because of my skills or my experience. I was a perfect fit. They didn't want to hire me because I had an infant and I lived forty five minutes from the office that we were required to be in and they were worried that I would have to leave to pick up my kid at daycare. And literally, that's the exact conversation we had. I shouldn't that should not have been a conversation and I was very fortunate. We made a decision as a family. My husband chose to stay home with our kids and he took the childcare issue off the table for this particular organization. But I shouldn't have had to. It was the right choice for our family anyways. But a lot of people don't have a choice to make, or they make that choice because they feel like they have to, and so I think just fundamentally in equity still exists. We have to take an active stand to change that, and days like International Women's Day gives us the opportunity to surface those challenges and to move forward and correct them. I love seeing all these programs that are designed to elevate female voices. I love seeing more young girls follow pursuits and sciences and Maths and other things that have traditionally been very male dominated. And, quite frankly, it's not just the right thing to do, we have to do it, and I'll give you a really real example. We have artificial intelligence technology that is building algorithms that fundamentally decides what we see what we don't. So Hugh would target we don't if a woman's perspective and the only people who are coding that are men and it's only trained and they will inherently miss things about a whole a half of the world's population, just like if it's all young people versus old people, or if it's all people of one culture versus a different culture. We have to have...

...that kind of diversity. So if we don't do things to encourage young women to move into these sciences, we're going to find ourselves in some very tricky and dangerous situations. That are not because people are evil, it's just because we all have the context that we have. And so I am excited and I am optimistic because the fact that we're even having this conversation even would never have happened twenty years ago and any of my conversations. So I see that as a positive sign, but there's still a lot of work to do good. I'm really glad that I asked. I think a couple things, and it's see something, say something. I think that's one way that anyone listening to this in a workplace environment can start to make the cultural change when it like it's one thing for that gentleman that you were referring to earlier to think these things, but to say it openly says something about the culture inside that organization. And so when you see something borderline or obviously inappropriate, just say something. Question the person who said it, question the person who did it, just make them think twice. To create this warness doesn't have to be highly confrontational, but letting things fly. We're all complicit in in the consequences of letting things fly, and I do think that just general awareness of I mean it's hard because it's unconscious bias, and so making the unconscious conscious, you know, is a little bit oxymoronic or a contradiction in terms or something, but the more aware that we are, the better off we are. I am going to even though you'd already did this once, you think Jeff Holling for opening up an early stage of your career in a really welcoming way, and you gave a shout out to the at bbmx for accommodating your health condition that you described at the top of this conversation. So we're just a minute. I'm going to ask you to answer both of those questions again, because it's been like ten months since we've talked. But but before we do, for folks who are listening again, be sure to give a listen to episode fourteen, balancing automation, AI and human relationships with Samantha and, if you want, check out episode sixty three, creating fans through human connection with David Merman Scott. Again. One of the reasons that that, I mean it was not this transactional, but this is the way that just, you know, being thoughtful and gracious works out. You were kind enough to think of me when his book Fan accracy released. You had a sign copy sent to me and I was like, I like her, you're just reminding me like I need to. I need to talk to her again and we had been in communication anyway. But Anyway, episode fourteen and episode sixty three. If you enjoyed this one, you'll like that one too. So, Samantha, as we wind down, take a minute here to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or your career. Oh Gosh, I'm so fortunate. There have been so many amazing and wonderful people. I won't thank Jeff Howe again just because holy sorry, that's okay. Will spread the love a little bit around that. But you know, one of the people that I I'd love to recognize as Katie Martel. I'm not sure that she would think of herself in this way. So if you care a lot about equality for women or truce and advertising in general, a lot of things, Katie does some amazing work around pandering and cause marketing and and calls out a lot of companies who do it wrong. And she also happened to edit my book. She also happens to be a person that I've been fortunate to know for a lot of years and I I really have to give her credit because she makes me want to be a better marketer every day and she is the kind of voice that we need out in the world. You know, it's easy to pay to their turn things pink on International Women's Day. That you know that probably isn't going to serve your business well. And she holds us all accountable and I think we need more of Katie mortels in the world, and so I'm really deeply grateful for her inspiration but also, very practically,...

...for, you know, her help. I'm not sure that unleash possible could have ever happened without Katie. She and I. She kept me honest, she kept me true to what I wanted to say. She knew me well enough to know when I was going astray from my my purpose and pulled me back. And anybody that can make you look smart and talented deserves a big hi five and she certainly gets a shout out from me for that. Awesome and we are all fortunate if we have one or more people in our lives that make us want to be better today than we were yesterday. Just to get that like I have that inside me, but to get that support is so helpful from other people. So I love hearing you describe her as someone who makes you want to be a better marketer. How about a company that you really respect for the experience that they deliver for you as a customer? That's an excellent question. I've had some really good experiences recently and I've had some really bad experiences recently. I'll give you one of the examples that I that I like to use because I think it really is demonstrating of a commit with this company has made to their customers. wayfarer. So I ordered chairs from my office when my office was coming and I was being a little obsessive about everything because this was his brand new workspace for me and I wanted everything to be perfect. And the chairs came and I didn't love them. They didn't look the way I thought they would and I was super disappointed in them and they looked a little damaged and you know, I called up wayfarer and I'm prepared to sort of go to battle over why I need to return these chairs and I want different not only did they like graciously, with no hesitation, say no problem, we'll take back the chairs. I'm sorry you have that experience. You were looking at these other chair designs that are very similar that were out of stock. Would you actually like those instead of replacing the one that looked a little damage when I got them? Like yes, so good. Through all this and I'm excited and I'm like okay, so how exactly do I box these back up and like get them to you? It's a chair, are you know? I'm not going to stuff and a nimble open take it to coals to be returned, like I might do with some of my Amazon things. You're like, Nope, you got someplace you can donate them. Like I'm sure I can find the Dona. They're like keep the chairs, donate them. So they made the whole experience positive. For mean, not only did I get replacement chairs that I'm in love with and I just adore, they also let me keep the old chairs and not have the hassle of returning them, and I got to donate them to something that I feel good about. So all this stuff came together in a way that I think is wonderful, and I will say that I think wayfiar's phone service has this kind of cared I don't think they've translated it well to their email services and their chat services. So I caution you. Know that experience with them, but on the phone their team is phenomenal and I really value and I keep shopping their knowing that I'm going to be able to have this kind of positive experience should another issue arise, which doesn't. Most of the things I'd buy them are great, but occasionally it does happen and I know they're going to take care of me. It's really good. I mean, I can't imagine. I always worry about that, even on a much smaller I mean, and you reference that, like I worry about that with the smaller thing, like should I save this box? You know it's got a one year warranty. I live in a very, very small house, so saving boxes so that I can rebox something is not on the top of our list. It's like straight to recycling. And so anyway, I love what they did for you there, Samantha. This has been great. I wish you good health and continued success, especially through this really interesting and odd window that were in. But folks want to catch up with you or they want to check out unleash possible or anything else where we send people to follow up on this conversation. Yeah, thank you. I'm going to give you that information, but I want to say one thing before we wrap them. I hope you MND Ethan, but as we're going through this amazing point of uncertainty,...

...we don't have all the answers to all the questions that are going to add be asked of us and that we're going to ask ourselves. And the right thing to do here is just acknowledge the uncertainty, be as open and transparent you can be. Don't share false information and don't make promises you can't keep. This is the really hard one. Don't say we're going to do something that we not certain that we can do. So it's okay to say I don't know. It's okay to say we're going to try. I've been seeing a lot of those positive communications, so please do that. I love for new readers of unleash possible. Every you know, week I get new messages from people with with information and comments and questions, and there's nothing more rewarding than that. And least possible is available on Amazon, both as an audio book as well as a regular, good old fashioned physical book. What's I like? Still the touch and feel. Ethan's got the copy there, which I love, and Paul Schmitt, my narrator, did an amazing job narrating for me even one little sentence about being pregnant, which you know, that's a whole nother story and we can talk about another time. If you'd like to get ahold of me, please do. I'm on Linkedin, I'm on twitter. It's Samantha Stone, really accessible. My email address is Samantha Dutstone at Marketing Advisory Networkcom, and I really I give that out freely because I want people to reach out and ask questions and there's just nothing better than helping your idea has come to life in a particular organization. So look forward to meeting all your listeners. Awesome. It's funny. I used to be a little bit tentative about giving out my email address as I guessed on in conversations like these, and then you realize someone a if they made it this far, they're obviously into it and be if they're really into it, I want to talk to them right it's a privilege, and so anyway, you can also reach me Ethan etch an at Bombombcom. Hit me up on Linkedin, Ethan Butte, and I everything that Samantha just said I will include. I write up these episodes at Bombombcomla podcast. I also drop in some video clips. So I know there were some visual moments in this one. I'll do my best to try to find those that include them just to kind of bring the episodes to life. So I appreciate everyone for listening. Samantha, I appreciate your time so much today. Yeah, thank you so much. I Hey, if you do nothing else but connect a still that doesn't show me like up my nose or something, I'll be happy. I don't know what it is, but everybody collects that one thunnail that you don't want. But thank you to your listeners for listening. This is a time of uncertainty and I'm so grateful to have a collaboration with you to talk about and just acknowledge it and to remind us all that this is about human connection. Video can play a very important role for us as we're going through this moments, weeks, possibly months of uncertainty and come together as a community, a.

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