How to Craft a Customer Experience That Creates Conversations

How to Craft a Customer Experience That Creates Conversations

How to Craft a Customer Experience That Creates Conversations

The common goal all business owners share is the desire to grow their business. I’m right there with them.

By focusing on customer experience, businesses can achieve growth more effectively than through any other means.

Qualtrics Master Session
I recently presented on this exact topic during a fantastic event on customer experience with my friends at Qualtrics. Check out my session here. You’ll also get access to 8 master sessions on customer experience with leading experts. Well done, Qualtrics!

Here’s a recap of what I discuss.

Improve Retention and Acquisition by Improving Customer Experience

While many businesses think of customer experience as one thing, CX actually produces two desirable outcomes: 1) customer retention and 2) customer acquisition.

According to research from Forrester and Adobe, companies that truly invest energy and resources into their customer experience generate a 1.7x higher retention rate over companies that don’t.

Companies that invest energy and resources into their customer experience generate a 1.7x higher retention rate over companies that don't. Click To Tweet

It stands to reason that, if you focus on experience, your customers will stay with you longer, will be more loyal, and will benefit from an increase in their lifetime value (LTV).

Retention is the benefit most often talked about when it comes to customer experience. Acquisition, however, is the other side of the CX coin.

Companies focused on their experience have a 1.9x higher return-on-spend than companies that don’t. This means those companies that make customer experience a core part of their business aren’t only keeping the customers they’ve earned, they’re also attracting nearly twice the amount of customers they otherwise would have.

Companies focused on customer experience have a 1.9x higher return-on-spend than companies that don’t. Click To Tweet

The majority of customer experience is rooted in making things better. Whether it’s improving the overall satisfaction of your customer, eliminating hurdles, etc., trying to achieve a worthwhile experience for your customers is a worthy objective.

After all, continual improvement of the customer experience enhances the competency of your business and, therefore, your acquisition and retention efforts.

However, what I’ve learned over the last few years in my research at Convince & Convert is that competency rarely drives conversations.

Nobody EVER says: “Let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I just had.” Why? Because that’s not a story worth telling.

We don’t talk about things we expect.

The desire to find best practices and follow the leader are natural instincts and sound great on paper. In practice, these methods create zero customer conversations.

The best way to succeed is to design a remarkable customer experience that B2B or B2C customers do not expect. Same is lame. People are wired to discuss different and ignore average.

If you want your customers to tell their friends about your business (and you do), and you want CX to be one of your greatest drivers of customer acquisition (you do), you need to give them something interesting to discuss. We call this a talk trigger.

How to Create Your Talk Trigger and Improve CX

Stories not worth telling are simply left untold. Fortunately, achieving a story worth talking about doesn’t require a massive operational push. It requires a talk trigger.

The 4 Requirements of a Successful Talk Trigger

1. It Must Be Remarkable

The first requirement is that your talk trigger is remarkable. With their insanely long receipts, CVS Pharmacy certainly accomplishes this.

Regardless of whether you’re in their membership program or you’re just buying a rogue packet of Wrigley’s, you get a receipt twice as long as your arm. CVS’ receipts are so lengthy, customers are using them as wrapping paper and sharing the results! Seriously, check it out — its next level.

2. It Must Be Repeatable

Customers hate inconsistency.

Making your talk trigger repeatable means doing something every day for your customer that has the opportunity to create conversations every day, week, month, quarter, and year.

It is a strategy—not a lottery ticket.

One of the best examples of a repeatable talk trigger is the menu of The Cheesecake Factory. The length of the restaurant’s menu is so epic (5,940 words!), you could say it is the CVS receipt of menus.

While the menu the size of a novella may be absurd, it is a brilliant CX decision. When my co-author, Daniel Lemin, and I were doing our research for the book Talk Triggers, we discovered that 38% of Cheesecake Factory patrons had told stories specifically about the menu, either online or offline.

Cheesecake Factory Menu

The Cheesecake Factory menu features over 250 items!

38% of Cheesecake Factory patrons spread online or offine word of mouth about the size of the restaurant chain's menu. #wordofmouth Click To Tweet

3. It Must Be Reasonable

No one will tell your story if they don’t trust your story.

Experiences that are too grand create suspicion. Just as you can’t scale surprise and delight, doing something that blows expectations out of the water doesn’t generate sustainable conversation. What you’re looking for, instead, is a reasonable talk trigger.

I call it The Goldilocks Zone: different enough to be remarkable but reasonable enough to be trusted.

DoubleTree Hotels achieves this by giving warm chocolate chip cookies to every guest at check-in. In fact, they’ve been doing this every day for 30 years — that’s nearly 75,000 cookies every day!

And these cookies drive some serious word of mouth business. Daniel Lemin and I learned that 34% of DoubleTree customers told a story, either online or offline, about this cookie. That’s roughly 22,000 stories being told today about a chocolate chip cookie. This is volunteer marketing at its best.

doubletree hotel free cookies

4. It Must Be Relevant

Unless you’re in the elephant business (and chances are you’re not), renting and parading an elephant down Main Street doesn’t make any sense.

Your CX choice needs to make sense in the context of your brand in order for it to create conversation. This is what makes Jay Sofer’s talk trigger so relevant.

As the highest rated locksmith in New York City on Yelp, Jay generates a lot of great reviews. In her review, Chantelle commented, “I almost WANT to get locked out again. Yeah, my experience was that great.”

Jay Sofer locksmith reviews

Jay Sofer’s talk trigger creates a great, talkable customer experience.


Jay’s trigger is simple: after he successfully fixes the lock in question, he does a complete security audit. He checks every window and door and then oils every lock all for free. It’s straightforward and perfectly aligned with his business, making it a tremendous talk trigger.

Don’t Miss My Master Session with Qualtrics

By knowing the 4 requirements, combined with the 4 types of talk triggers (Generosity, Speed, Usefulness, and Empathy, which you learn more about in my Qualtrics master session), you can make your own CX choices to generate conversations about your business.

Give your customers a story to tell. If you do, they will tell it.

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