Event Recap: Customer Experience Design

June 21, 2018 9:18AM

What does being weird have to do with customer experience? A lot, it turns out.

Stan Phelps is the co-author of Pink Goldfish, a book that outlines how exploiting your imperfections and embracing what makes you weird will help your company succeed and grow. Stan recently led a sold-out half-day workshop for AMA Minnesota.

During the engaging and interactive workshop, Stan highlighted some key concepts from the most recent Goldfish book (he's written 6 other books in the Goldfish series) and guided attendees through exercises on how to highlight rather than hide what makes their organizations different.

But first, what is customer experience? Customer experience can be summed up with this equation: Everything your brand does for customers MINUS everything your organization does to them EQUALS how all of these experiences make your customers feel.

Lagniappe is a Creole word that originated in Louisiana. It's a concept that has to do with doing "a little something extra" and it's used to describe when a business does something unexpected for a customer. Stan talked about this tradition as the G.L.U.E. to keep your customers coming back. G.L.U.E. stands for "give little unexpected extras."

  • Give - Lots of hotel chains leave a mint on your pillow, but DoubleTree gives customers a warm cookie at check-in. The DoubleTree cookie has some enthusiastic fans.
  • Little - Izzy's Ice Cream offers a trademarked Izzy Scoop on top of each ice cream cone, a small ice cream scoop in a different flavor on top of a big scoop. It's a little something extra that makes Izzy's ice cream cones look unique and it provides an extra treat for the customers.
  • Unexpected - Zappos is a large online shoe retailer. Every once in awhile, for Rewards Members, Zappos will randomly upgrade an order's standard 3-5 day shipping to 1-day shipping at no charge.
  • Extras - Safelite is an auto glass repair company that will travel to your home or office to repair chips in your windshield. In addition to fixing your windshield, they will also vacuum out your car at no charge.

So how do you stand out as a Pink Goldfish? Stan highlighted several companies that have embraced their weaknesses and turned them into strengths. SouthWest airlines is known for offering cheap tickets. SouthWest knows people choose their airline to save money, which is why SouthWest does not try to compete with the in-flight perks of other airlines. If in-flight perks would raise ticket prices, then SouthWest could lose customers. Rather than trying to hide the fact that they are the budget airline, they have embraced it. Perks that are included in the ticket prices on other airlines are paid add-ons for SouthWest passengers.

To help turn your company into a Pink Goldfish, think about something at your company that might be considered a weakness (high prices, low quality, unhealthy food) and how you can reframe it as a strength. If you want more guidance, check out Stan's book Pink Goldfish.