My favorite CX, or customer experience, measurement tool is the simplest one: Did you just make the thing better or worse for the customer? Or, was it a forgettable, nothing-burger of an interaction? It really all boils down to those three choices. In Creating Superfans, I call these outcomes Net Positive, Net Neutral, and Net Negative.
The overwhelming majority of interactions we all experience in life are Net Neutral ones. Hundreds or even thousands of times each day, you have interactions: emails, texts, phone calls, in-person conversations… the list goes on. You process most of them so quickly, and so automatically, that you don’t think about them again after they end.
What if you could elevate those often-overlooked interactions into experiences? What if, all around you, there are countless opportunities to give your customers a little extra? A little extra jazz to take something from neutral to positive? From forgettable to I’ve-gotta-post-a-picture-of-that.
Guess what? You can! And this episode is all about ten of the countless ways you can do it. These simple interactions illustrate how you can intentionally elevate mundane moments into memorable ones.
listen to the EPISODE
5:37 – #1: Your wifi network name and password
8:00 – #2: Your voicemail message
9:57 – #3: 404 page
12:19 – #4: Email unsubscribe message
14:52 – #5: The hours and service details on your site or storefront
17:04 – #6: Sandwich board in front of your store
18:27 – #7: Notes or terms on your invoices
20:05 – #8: “Hello” and “Goodbye” moments
22:45 – #9: Overlooked physical space
24:49 – #10: OOO or vacation auto-responder message
Brittany Hodak [00:00:02]:
Hello, and welcome to the Creating Super Fans podcast where you learn how to turn your customers and employees into superfans. I’m your host, Brittany Hodak, and I’m a speaker, author, and entrepreneur obsessed with all things customer experience. Here’s the thing. We’re living in an experienced economy right now, and regardless of the size or age of your company or even the products or services you’re selling, one thing’s for sure. If your customers aren’t telling their friends about you, you’re in trouble. If you wanna create super fans, being great is no longer good enough. You’ve got to be super. This is the show that teaches you how.
Brittany Hodak [00:00:48]:
Welcome to a very special solo episode of the Creating Super Fans podcast. When I launched this show, one of the things that I was most excited about Was getting to interview some of my heroes, he, CX leaders, practitioners, authors, people that I really admire, and I love that and will continue to do that, but a piece of feedback that I’ve received several times in the past few months on the road And also in some DMs and emails was, I would love more solo episodes of the podcast, Britt, because I love meeting all these great people, but I also want more from you on creating Super Fans. So I hear you. Thank you very much to everyone who has shared that feedback. I will, of course, continue to have guests on this podcast, but I’m going to start sprinkling in some solo episodes like this one. And today’s episode is going to be a really fun one because I’m going to give you 10 places where CX opportunities are hiding in plain sight, things that you can do in your organization that are low cost and, in many instances, no cost to create remarkably different experiences for your customers. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll get right into these 10 things after a quick word from this episode sponsor.
Brittany Hodak [00:02:06]:
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Brittany Hodak [00:03:05]:
In my book, I wrote that my favorite measure of customer experiences is probably so simple that it doesn’t even get to qualify as a measurement tool. There are a lot of different ways that you can measure customer sentiment, customer experience. Maybe you’ve heard of things like NPS or net promoter score, CSAT, which is customer satisfaction, CES, customer effort score. The list goes on and on and on. I’ve done some episodes this season and last about earned growth rate or EGR. But my favorite system is simply asking every employee To train themselves to think in every interaction, did I make things better, worse, or the same for my customer? Because if you think about it, those are really the only 3 outcomes of any interaction. You’re going to leave it feeling better, worse, the same. I call these net positives, net neutrals, and net negatives.
Brittany Hodak [00:04:01]:
Now the overwhelming majority of interactions that all of us experience in life are neutral. 100, sometimes thousands of times a day, We have interactions where we’re just simply trading information. We’re processing what we’re given or told, what we learn over an email or text or phone call in person. You just, like, process it and move on. They’re almost automatic. You don’t even think about them. Now if we know that the overwhelming majority of interactions are neutral, think about what it could mean To elevate a few of those into positive, to intentionally look at all of the interactions that you know Countless customers are going to have with you because a lot of what you’re doing is systematized. A lot of what you’re doing is repeatable.
Brittany Hodak [00:04:52]:
What are some little extra things that you can add to turn some of those neutral experiences into positive ones. Because when you can exceed someone’s expectation, especially in a moment that is traditionally neutral, It’s going to get their attention. It’s a pattern interrupt. It might make them laugh or smile. Maybe they take out their phone to take a picture because they wanna remember it or they wanna share it on social media or text it to a friend. So that’s what today’s episode is all about. What are some of these opportunities hiding in plain sight Where you can sprinkle just a little bit of your brand’s magic into an experience to make it memorable. You’re intentionally elevating mundane moments into memorable ones.
Brittany Hodak [00:05:37]:
I’m gonna give you 10 fun ways starting right now. Let’s go. The number one often overlooked CX opportunity hiding in plain sight is your Wi Fi information. How many customers in a day or a week ask for your Wi Fi? Maybe it’s a handful. Maybe it’s a few thousand. My experience as a customer is that oftentimes, the Wi Fi passwords and even the network names are nonsensical. It’s a string of random letters or numbers that nobody’s gonna be able to remember. Even the people who work there can’t remember, so they’ve got it on, you know, little, like, index cards or business cards or maybe a sign.
Brittany Hodak [00:06:21]:
What if you made the network name and the password something that was relevant to your brand. Now for anybody saying, oh, doesn’t that mean people can just steal our Wi Fi? I mean, how often in is that actually going to happen. And would you rather have 1 or 2 people steal your Wi Fi occasionally when they’re not paying as a customer that day, or would you rather have thousands of paying customers who don’t have an experience with a Wi Fi network name that they’re going to remember because you’re worried about a few. Don’t let the potential actions of the few Detract you from doing something that’s going to matter to the many. I started thinking about this when I was out at a Mexican restaurant a couple of weeks ago with my family. And we were eating dinner. I didn’t have my laptop. I would not have been, like, doing Wi Fi at the Mexican restaurant.
Brittany Hodak [00:07:15]:
But the reason I thought about this was because they had a sign taped to the desk that said, the the name of the network was Casa Jose, which is the Mexican restaurant. Shout out to Casa Jose in Franklin, Tennessee. It’s fantastic if you ever find yourself hungry on the south side of Franklin. But at Casa Jose, the Wi Fi password is chimichanga, which I thought was really funny. It got my attention. What can you name your network, or what password can you create if you’re not able to rename your network that’s going to make people smile. That’s the number 1 CX overlooked opportunity hiding in plain sight. Number 2, your voice mail.
Brittany Hodak [00:08:00]:
What do people hear when they call and leave a message for you? Is it elevating the experience, or is it just like blah, blah, blah, blah, words, words, words, words, words until the beep? Often, it’s the latter. I’ve told this story before, but it’s so great. I wanted to include it in this list. I was calling the Nashville Zoo a few months ago to get clarity on this really cool event they were doing, called ZuFARI Slumber, where your family could buy a ticket and camp at the zoo overnight. It was so fun. My kids absolutely loved it. I can’t even remember what my question was. It was something about, like, what we could bring or not bring that wasn’t on the website.
Brittany Hodak [00:08:38]:
So I called and hear the standard message that, you know, it’s gonna be a minute before anybody can answer my phone. But then instead of hearing hold music, There was a recording where zookeepers were talking about the animals at the zoo and then playing sounds. So it was like, Here’s what our spider monkeys sound like. We have this many laurikeets. Here’s the sound that they make. Did you know this about kangaroos? Let’s listen into kangaroos. It was so Fun. It was an expert way to connect the zoo story with mine and keep me incredibly entertained While I was waiting for someone to pick up, when somebody finally did get on the phone, I was like, oh my gosh.
Brittany Hodak [00:09:20]:
I was having so much fun listening to the message. I had wanted it to take longer. And the woman laughed and said, I hear that all the time. People are constantly saying, oh, I wish it’d taken you longer to answer the phone, or people will tell her, I’m gonna, like, hang up when we’re done and call back. Don’t answer. I just wanna get through the whole loop. Like, how long does it take to hear the whole recording? If you can create an experience where people are excited to wait for you on hold, you have elevated that particular touch point into a moment that people are going to remember and talk about. Alright.
Brittany Hodak [00:09:57]:
Way number 3 that you can elevate your CX, Something hiding in plain sight, the 404 page on your website. Now the 404 page is the error page that pops up when somebody goes to a URL that doesn’t exist or won’t load. You’ve definitely experienced these. Oftentimes, it’s just a random, like, page not found note that will either give you a link to go back to the site’s home page Or just, like, dead end out and be like, sorry. We have no idea. That’s maybe a neutral, but probably a negative experience Because you’re like, the thing I wanted wasn’t here. And sometimes the the person who owns the website or the business that owns the website isn’t particularly helpful in redirecting you. So I think a way, way, way often overlooked community is to make your four zero four page really fun.
Brittany Hodak [00:10:52]:
The four zero four page on my website, if you go to britneyhodack.com/ and then something that doesn’t, exist, You see an emoji of, like, the face palm. It’s, the face palm emoji girl with her hand on her forehead, And it says, well, this isn’t super, which is obviously a nod to my super acronym and creating super fans. And then there’s a search bar for people to, like, search for what they’re actually looking for. A couple of websites that do a great job with their 404 pages, one is TripAdvisor. Another one is Steve Madden. But, I mean, there are countless out there. If you’re not sure where to start when incorporating your brand’s DNA into your four zero four page. Just try to find some broken links across the Internet to inspire you of brands that you love or brands that you think typically do a great job.
Brittany Hodak [00:11:42]:
You can incorporate a funny GIF, or, you know, maybe, like, even a poem. I I know for a while I don’t know if they still do this or not, but For a long time, if you would go to a a broken Amazon link, it was a picture of a dog of somebody who worked at Amazon. So it was actually like you know, it would be a golden retriever with a cute picture, and it was like, this is Mary’s dog. I don’t know if they still do that or not, but, you get the idea. The opportunities are endless. If someone is going to have the neutral or maybe even negative experience of landing on a broken link, Make it fun. We’re gonna stay in the technical realm for a minute for our 4th tip, And it’s this, your email unsubscribe message. Now, obviously, we don’t love it when people unsubscribe from our newsletters, but It’s oftentimes, to quote, like, every bad boyfriend you had in junior high, them, not you.
Brittany Hodak [00:12:36]:
People are telling you they’re not the right fit for your communication, which is fine because, of course, you don’t want to, have your your marketing messaging going out to people who aren’t going to be a great fit for whatever it is that you do. So make your unsubscribe message fun. Fashion retailer Revolve does a really good job of this. They sometimes will even send a note if somebody hasn’t engaged with their emails in a while saying, hey. It’s been a while from since you opened an email from us. Was it something we said? This is me now actually reading from one of these notes. It says, we get it. Sometimes the inbox gets cluttered just like our closets.
Brittany Hodak [00:13:15]:
We wanna make sure that you’re only receiving relevant content that’s best for you, and then they give the option to update preferences. So whether you’re proactively asking someone if they’re still interested because they haven’t engaged in a while or whether you’re directing them to Click a button to unsubscribe. Remember that the way you send them off is important because it’s often what they’ll think about next the next time they think about your brand. So we often remember, like, the first thing, the worst thing, and the last thing, you know, the best thing too. So make sure you’re leaving them on a high note so that when they’re ready to come back or they have the opportunity to recommend you to someone, They’re not thinking about, like, how annoying it was to unsubscribe. I went to cancel something yesterday, and it was so annoying Because, you know, it was, like, 5 buttons. Click, click, click, click, yes, I’m sure, yes, I’m sure, yes, I’m sure. And then I got to the final opt out page, and it was like, You’ve gotta watch this 32nd video from our founder, which I’m sure was some trying to, like, convince me not to leave, although I never unmuted it, so I don’t know.
Brittany Hodak [00:14:22]:
But you had to watch that video before the button became available to be, like, for the 5th time, You cannot have any more of my money. Like, I’m so done with you guys. We are never ever getting back together. Like, it was incredibly frustrating. So Make sure you don’t leave your customers on a sour note or a low note. When they wanna opt out, make it fun, make it easy. And if you can make it, you know, cheeky or relevant to your brand in some way, even better. Alright.
Brittany Hodak [00:14:52]:
The number 5 opportunity hiding in plain sight. You know, this is one that I I wouldn’t think that I would have to say, but it’s It’s amazing, like, when you experience things and you’re like, wow. Someone thought that was a good idea. I was driving Somewhere in Missouri. I was getting from an event in Missouri to arc to 1 in Arkansas, and it was like a 2 lane road. And there had been no food for a really long time, and I finally saw a Taco Bell and was like, oh, finally food. So I, like, pull over, to go get food at this Taco Bell. And I noticed on the door, it said, open from 9 AM to 10 PM or later.
Brittany Hodak [00:15:33]:
See restaurant’s website for store hours. And I was like, what? Like, why would you make someone go to a website to see what your operating hours are when they’re literally at your restaurant, especially if you’re a franchise like Taco Bell where, you know, it’s not as Simple as just like going to a single website and seeing that information. You have to, you know, accept the cookies and turn on location and put in your ZIP code and all of the extra your steps. So I, you know, I was like, this is a really crazy thing that somebody, like, thought this was a good idea. And so then I started noticing other stores. And on that same trip, a few hours later when I got to wherever it was that I was going, I stopped at a Chick Fil A. And I noticed that on their door, not only did they have the hours, but they had the words, here to serve you. Like, it didn’t say open from this time to that time.
Brittany Hodak [00:16:27]:
It said, We’re here to serve you and then the operating hours and then, of course, you know, closed on Sunday. And I thought, what a great way to convey that information. You can convey the same information in a lot of different ways. 99% of salons and spas that take walk ins will say something like walk welcome on the door. But at European Wax Center, they say, walk in, strut out. And in just those 4 words, they let you know a little bit about what it feels like to be a customer. Like, if you walk in, you are gonna strut out. So that’s my number 5 tip.
Brittany Hodak [00:17:04]:
Look for things like service details or hours, whether it’s on your website or storefront, that have the opportunity to be elevated. Another opportunity, sometimes right inside your door or maybe even right outside your door is the, like, sandwich board signs. So a lot of times people have these sandwich boards, And they just have really basic information, you know, like the hours or open now or something like that. How clever can you get with your sandwich board? Not only is it going to, you know, catch someone’s attention in the moment when they’re walking by, but this is something that is likely to get shared on social media. I feel like people have really elevated their sandwich board game in the past few years. So it’s a really great way to not just get your customers involved in, you know, like, noticing something fun, but also your employees. Chances are if you’ve got more than a few people working on your team, you’ve got someone who’s incredibly artistic, who may love the challenge of Drawing something or writing something or coming up with something funny or clever to say. So if you don’t have a sandwich board, maybe get yourself 1 And look for ways to share contextually relevant but also funny or on brand information with your prospective customers.
Brittany Hodak [00:18:27]:
The number 7, CX opportunity hiding in plain sight. Honestly, this is one that I haven’t looked at, in my brand for a while. And as I was making this list, it reminded me that I need to go back and take another look. And that’s the terms or notes on your invoices. Think about how many invoices you send out in a given month. If you’re a company that sends out invoices, maybe it’s a lot. And, usually, It’s a pretty neutral experience. Like, someone gets your invoice, they process it, and you get paid.
Brittany Hodak [00:18:57]:
But In almost every instance, there are humans on the receiving end of those invoices, someone who’s going to look at it. Can you add a sentence or 2 sentences or a joke or an emoji or a thank you or something that’s going to make that feel a little more personal. There’s no reason not to infuse the same uniqueness that you would give to every other part of your business to something like an invoice. Now depending on where somebody is in their journey with you when they get this invoice, you may be able to even, like, mitigate buyers’ remorse. But, Regardless, you’re going to be able to turn that neutral interaction to a positive one if you bring some intentionality to that invoice. And, again, this should go without saying, but I’m going to say it. Make sure that it’s easy for people to pay you. Don’t make them jump through a 1,000 hoops to be able to give you money.
Brittany Hodak [00:19:58]:
The easier it is to give you money, the more likely people are going to be to do it. Alright. The number 8 CX opportunity hiding in plain sight is when I’m going to call hello and goodbye moments. I said before that we are very likely to remember the first and last parts of our interactions. That’s something that we know it’s true. So ask yourself, what are you doing to amplify those hello and goodbye moments? I have spent a lot of nights in hotels this year. I think I’m getting close to a 100 nights on the road, which is a lot. It’s been a crazy, crazy year.
Brittany Hodak [00:20:36]:
But Checking into hotels is something that is like a blur in my mind at this point. In fact, most hotels, I don’t even, like, go to the front desk. I just check-in on the app. They told me my room is ready. I have the virtual key. But when I do check-in in person, gestures that welcome me to the hotel Can go a long way. You know? And I’m not just talking about the warm cookie from DoubleTree, although I 100% get the cookie every single time. But what are you doing to literally or metaphorically make somebody feel more welcome? Whether you’re giving them something, Whether you’re, you know, inviting them to experience something about your space in some way.
Brittany Hodak [00:21:16]:
I always love when I go somewhere and they tell me about something that’s, like, contextually relevant that’s happening at the moment. Like, oh, we’ve just, you know, started our holiday lights displayed downtown, or, you You know, we’ve got this going on at the hotel, and you may really enjoy it. What does that moment look like for you, for your customers? You may be meeting them virtually or in real life, but how can you amplify a welcome moment? The flip side of that coin, what can you do for a send off? Earlier this year, I took my my dog, bear to a vet ophthalmologist. I did not even know that was a thing. And the thing that I remember most about that appointment is not the fact that it was, like, 100 of dollars, but they had a tennis ball dispenser at the front desk, like a gumball machine, but, you know, 10 times bigger. And it was beautiful. It was, like, blue and white, which were the colors of the entire office, and it was filled with blue tennis balls so that As every patient was leaving, they were asked by the receptionist if they wanted a tennis ball for their dog. I would imagine most people say yes.
Brittany Hodak [00:22:26]:
My dog, Bear, was very, very happy with his new blue tennis ball and played with it the entire way home. Think about the 1st and last touch points with your customers. How can you make them feel a little bit more special or a little bit more elevated? Alright. The number 9 overlooked CX opportunity is overlooked space on packaging or invoices or boxes, anything that has just been, again, like a total neutral nothingburger, in your business. So I tell a story about, Amazon and, like, some of the fun things that they have printed on the side of their shipping boxes this year, because that’s a relatively new thing for them. Most of the boxes for the history of of Amazon shipping history have been, pretty boring. They don’t promote anything, or if they do, it’s prime. But spending, you know, fractions of a cent more, per box to print something on on the outside can really, not just be, like, a huge advertising sales to, like, sell that space or use it for a partner, but to really amplify the experience.
Brittany Hodak [00:23:38]:
Because, again, it’s a pattern interrupt. If you’re not used to seeing anything, you’re going to to see it, and you’re going to notice. It’s going to elevate that neutral experience into a positive one. Another piece of overlooked space is, like, physical space. Like, what is a physical real estate, if you have a storefront that you are ignoring right now. I took a picture earlier this year, and I’ve I’ve shown it on stage a few times this year. It was of my sons at the Nike store in your house. They had a big, like, sticker on the floor where you could compare the size of your foot to Nike athletes so you could see how your foot measured up to, like, Lebron or Serena Williams.
Brittany Hodak [00:24:21]:
And I was like, what a fun, way to take space that was being used for absolutely nothing and elevate it. We all saw the, you know, stay 6 feet apart floor decals on, you know, elevator floors and merchandise floors During COVID, you can get a lot more creative. It doesn’t just have to be for, like, dots telling you where to stand. What can you do To elevate the experience and rethink your physical space to create unexpected moments of magic for your customers. Okay. The 10th and final CX opportunity hiding in plain sight is your out of office or vacation autoresponder. I did an entire newsletter about this earlier this year. If you’re not subscribed to my newsletters, you can go to BrittanyHodak.com and sign up for them.
Brittany Hodak [00:25:16]:
I did an entire newsletter on out of office messages because a lot of times, I mean, they’re So boring. This is about as neutral of an experience as it gets. But if you wanna really maximize your out of office message, Don’t write it like a robot. Remember that there’s an actual human on the other end reading it. Can you make someone laugh? Can you tell them a joke? Can you give them a lead magnet to take away? Can you answer some of their questions either by directing them to another person on your team or giving them a list of FAQs. Can you give them a calendar link to schedule time with you when you’re back? There are so many things that you can do To make that out of office message more fun. I sent a note to, my friend AJ a few weeks ago, and she was in I think it’s Mexico. She was somewhere, and her out of office message was like a quiz.
Brittany Hodak [00:26:10]:
It was like, alright. Question 1, where is AJ? And there were, like, You know, 3 locations. And then I was like, why is AJ there? And there were, like, you know, fun, silly things. It was such a fun touch point, and she told me when she got back into the office, like, half of the emails in her inbox were just people being like, That quiz was hilarious. That was so fun. I loved that. Now her business is personal branding. She is the CEO of a company called Brand Builders Group that was the sponsor of this episode today.
Brittany Hodak [00:26:42]:
But because she talks about personal branding and standing out, that was the perfect out of office message. It was a 100% on brand and a 100% aligned with who she is. And that’s really the biggest takeaway today is in All of these examples, all 10 of these moments that I mentioned, look for ways not just to elevate the experience, but to make it more on brand for you. You can infuse creativity and authenticity, but you wanna make sure that it’s a 100% on brand for what it is that you and your business are all about. Now with that, I would love to hear your often overlooked experiences with creating magical CX moments. Is there something that you’ve done in your business or that you’ve been on the receiving end of as a customer? Go ahead and send me a message or let me know in the comments. And while you’re at it, if you get a chance, it would mean the world to me for you to rate and review this episode. Those are so, so important.
Brittany Hodak [00:27:47]:
And as I continue to grow this podcast, I wanna hear your feedback so that I can incorporate more of your great ideas like solo episodes. Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back next week with a brand new episode of creating super fans. Alright. That’s all the time we have for today’s episode out of the Creating Super Fans podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. Now remember, if you’re a super fan of today’s episode, you can help us out in a big way by leaving a review and a rating wherever you get your podcast. It may seem like a little thing, but it can make a huge difference in helping others discover the show. Now until next time, remember, super fandom is a two way street.
Brittany Hodak [00:28:25]:
Show your love for your customers and your employees, and they’ll love you right back. We’ve got an exciting show lined up for next week, so I hope we’ll see you right back here.