If You Need To Give Your Customers A Choice, You Don’t Know What Your Customers Need

As a musician you have to understand your audience and then put on a show that will leave them as satisfied as possible - as a Customer Experience professional you have to understand your customers then create experiences that leave them as satisfied as possible.

By James Dodkins

##CX #customercare #customerservice #CustomerExperience

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At Botsify, we help companies improve their Customer Experience (CX) through the use of technological tools such as our website chatbot or Facebook chatbot. However, these tools don’t improve CX alone. They only work within the context of a larger CX strategy.

Today we were lucky enough to chat about different CX strategies with James Dodkins, a Customer Experience rockstar. 

Let’s jump into the interview below. 

The Interview

First things first, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today James. I'm sure you're no stranger to people's interest in your image as the CX "rockstar", which we know is because you used to be a heavy metal musician before you switched over into the world of CX. How do you implement that heavy metal attitude into your CX philosophy, or your work in general?

For me, the parallels of being a musician and a Customer Experience professional are very interesting. As a musician you have to understand your audience and then put on a show that will leave them as satisfied as possible - as a Customer Experience professional you have to understand your customers then create experiences that leave them as satisfied as possible. The attitude of a rockstar is a little different however. We can all be rockstars all it takes is a shift in the way you think about who you are and what you do.

You also pull a lot of weight in the social media world. When most of us think about social media, our brains go straight to marketing. You, however, have utilized social media platforms to a CX advantage. Could you tell us, then, how social media engagement has an effect on the overall CX? What are some techniques businesses can use through social media to have a positive effect on their overall CX?

I personally use social media to help spread my message and to reach and help as many Customer Experience professionals as possible. Of course, commercially, I don't make money from posting on social media but the approach I take of trying to deliver as much free value as possible to as many people as possible pays off in the long run. I think companies can take this same approach when it comes to content, don't create content to sell your stuff, create content to create value and your stuff will sell itself.

Someone during one of your talks asked you who you thought delivered the worst CX experience, and, naturally, you got a laugh from the audience when you mentioned airlines. You then, however, went on to say that you believe "Ryanair delivers one of the most customer-centric experiences in the world". Now, considering that Ryan Air is, shall we say, not the most revered company in the world, how did you draw that conclusion? Is there anything we should emulate from them when it comes to our CX strategy?

Ryanair get a lot of bad press, but it happens to be from people who their experience was not designed for. If you are one of Ryanair's target customers your experience will be amazing, it's just that their target customers are a very specific type of customer… and that's most likely not you and me. The lessons we can take away from Ryanair are - 1. Understand your target customers to an extreme level. 2. Create your experiences to deliver those people successful outcomes and needs. 3. Pay attention to criticism but don't be swayed by people who you don't actually want as customers.

You have a very popular presentation entitled: Rules For Rockstars, in which you make direct connections with the ideals of heavy metal to those of CX, such as, "Nail the Intro", "Create Superfans", and "Let Teams Rock". I find the advice to "Create Superfans" is especially relevant for an online platform, which is what our readers are working with. In the description of that particular tip, you mention that a company's superfans "promote, advocate, defend and market" for them. That is undeniably the holy grail of business growth. Could you share with us some specific ways in which we can develop superfans through our CX strategies?

The best way to create 'Superfans' is first to understand them at a deep and meaningful level. Many companies focus on demographics, to me this is just 'what' a person is. If you are serious about creating customers that will market, advocate, defend and promote your brand on your behalf you need to focus on psychographics, to me this is 'who' a person is. Once you understand people to this degree you can create experiences that touch them in ways that demographics would never allow.

I love your article from 2018 called "Don't Give Your Customer's Choice". In it, you write "If you need to give your customers a choice, you don't know what your customers need." That's an innovative concept, since traditionally, as you also said in the article, we think of customers as being satisfied when they have more choices. Could you elaborate about what this means? What are some examples of times when a customer has a choice, and it should have been already assessed as a need? 

The simplest example is that we don't give customers choice as to how many wheels they have on a car because we know they need 4 (and one extra for steering). We just need to extend this thinking. We have spent far too long trying to give customers what they want, and to give every customer what they want, you need a multitude of different options. The best companies in the world know what customers really need, and when you know what they need, the number of options shrinks. 

You have successfully drawn a connection between two seemingly unrelated worlds. Are there any other industries or modern concepts that you also believe we should be learning from in order to create the best CX of the future?

I have chosen the music world as that is what I know, but I think that anyone can take any interest or passion and help people think about Customer Experience in different ways, if you're a chef, an artist, a skier a football player, whatever. The power isn't in the message itself, it's in the delivery of the message. Anyone else could tell people the stuff I tell them but it's the way I frame the message that makes people pay attention and retain the information and act on it. I think more people should use their passions to spread messages in fun and interesting ways.

Finally, I see that you're supported by a ton of major brands that have been around for ages, such as Kellogs, Lego and Nike. In your work with them, what have you seen as the biggest mistakes of outdated CX strategy that they needed to change, and that the modern business owners of this blog need to change as well, in order to keep up with the future demands of CX?

I won't name names but the biggest mistake I see in the Customer Experience world is companies trying to deliver amazing experiences without first taking the time to understand their customers, their successful outcomes and their needs.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with our blog readers today James. We truly appreciate it. To our readers, if you’d like to learn more about James you can do so by following him on Twitter or checking out his website here

About the author

James Dodkins

Former Heavy Metal Rockstar, Current Customer Experience Rockstar, Host Of Amazon Prime's 'this Week In Cx', Cx Influencer And ​Accidental #1 Best Selling Author​