Michael Hinshaw – Best-selling author (Smart Customers, Stupid Companies) and President at McorpCX
Nick Glimsdahl 0:03
Welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is Michael Hinshaw. Michael is the President at McorpCX, which is a leading customer experience management company delivering consulting design and technology solutions to customer-centric organizations. Michael, welcome to the podcast.
Michael Hinshaw 0:23
Thanks for having me.
Nick Glimsdahl 0:24
You bet. So one question I asked, every single guest, at the very beginning of every podcast is what’s one thing people might not know about you?
Michael Hinshaw 0:32
Oh, that’s a pretty long list. Actually, kind of given the context to this, it’s probably appropriate to share that, you know, I have a degree in design, right. And I have a master’s in graphic design. And for the first, you know, half of my career maybe a little bit longer, that actually was kind of looked at as a liability. It’s like, Oh, hey, you’re a artsy guy. And interestingly, I’m teaching fellow at UC Berkeley’s Business School. Yeah. And so when that comes up, it’s like, wow, you have a design background, it really surprises people. But what’s super interesting is that that has turned from a perceptual liability into a, you know, an attribute a good thing, because the importance of design and creativity and problem solving has really risen in business. So it hasn’t changed the way that I approached the world or think about things. It’s just interesting to know that having a design background has kind of shifted around me. So
Nick Glimsdahl 1:32
that is interesting. So as you were starting out, though, and you’re like, Hey, I’m going to get my degree in design. What was that ultimate goal? Oh,
Michael Hinshaw 1:41
yeah, it would, I’d be lying if I said I had a grand plan. Yeah, I asked that, you know, the, the trade answers are that they’re really pretty girls in art school. There. I’ve always enjoyed art, and and certainly, you know, thinking that way came naturally to me. So it seemed a logical path at the time, because it turned out, it worked.
Nick Glimsdahl 2:03
The truth comes out, the truth comes out. No, I appreciate that. That back end of the story. So let’s, let’s walk right into it around our podcast. So what does what does customer experience have to do with the experience or the overall experience just inside the contact center, because inside customer experience, it’s like a holistic approach. And then there’s a portion of it inside the contact center. So focus on just a little bit.
Michael Hinshaw 2:32
I mean, arguably, everything that a company does has impact on CX, which both makes it confusing, as well as interesting. But looking at the contact center, specifically. And by the way, so I’ll pull out my art background occasionally. And this is one of those times when I give statistics, numbers, facts on directionally accurate. So in other words, it’s not entirely precise.
Nick Glimsdahl 2:58
Math is directionally accurate. And I’m good at math.
Unknown Speaker 3:05
So let’s just
Michael Hinshaw 3:06
say 15% of interactions that occur between an organization its customers, happened in marketing, and maybe another 15% of total interactions occurred during the sales process. You’re kind of you take that you got about 70%, left, and a lot of that 70% falls into service. Right? Once someone becomes a customer, how do you interact with them most effectively? What are the kinds of questions that they have? And a big chunk of that service component falls in the contact center? So the short answer is the contact center is critical to the customer experience, and almost any organization that has won
Nick Glimsdahl 3:41
someone to poke the bear just a little bit, be in and ruffle some feathers, feathers in the CX space? So from my perspective, why is customer experience not talking to or interacting with that contact center? And maybe why is customer experience in a separate department, then the customer service side?
Michael Hinshaw 4:03
Actually, we got a question. We did a webinar there today. And that’s one of the questions that came up. It’s like, Where should customer experience live? sales marketing and contact center right are the service and the reality is that the the best customer experience organizations inside companies actually span disciplines. The goal of customer experience holistically isn’t just right, and so I’ll be ruffling feathers also. It’s not just to optimize sales, optimize marketing, and in many cases, you know, customer experience has started in marketing, but we’ve started and customer experience engagements in operations in it. Yeah, some of our biggest clients that we have right now. The customer experience and movement started it because it touches every part of the multinational global organization.
Unknown Speaker 5:00
Michael Hinshaw 5:02
in a contact center specifically, you’re going to find, and I know you know this exceedingly well, but that many of the interactions that occur in a contact center are the result of something happening
Nick Glimsdahl 5:12
upstream when the system breaks, right, or,
Michael Hinshaw 5:16
or marketing made a promise that you could look at that as the system breaking. But sales said something. And customer expectations were set, those expectations were not met, when the rubber met the road. Who do they call, they don’t call sales guy, they don’t call marketing. They call the contacts or they call service. So the goal of customer experience back to original question is to knock down the silos between different parts of an organization is to create a consistent end to end experience that allows a customer to have their expectations realistically set against their wants and needs upfront, whether that’s through marketing, sales combinations There are so that when they become customers and stay customers, there’s fewer problems, because the customers are being treated in ways that they expect to be treated.
Nick Glimsdahl 6:03
It’s a great point that you just said kind of called me out a little bit saying it’s not necessarily that the system broke. But it was the perception, maybe even that it broke, it could have been marketing was saying something or operations didn’t do what they were supposed to do, or something else happened. But it was just that though it was the way that it was designed. But the perception as a consumer is something’s not right, I need to get ahold of someone to fix this, quote, unquote, problem.
Michael Hinshaw 6:30
I mean, customer experience all that lives between our ears and the ears of our customers. It’s not a thing. It doesn’t sit on a shelf. Right? It’s it’s perceptual. And it’s tied up with thinking, feeling emotions, you know, if we want something to be a certain way, and we don’t get it the way that we’re expecting it. Typically, as human creatures, we’re
not happy about
Unknown Speaker 6:53
it. Or not usually.
Nick Glimsdahl 6:56
Yeah, exactly. And you don’t call the Ghostbusters you call you call customer service. So I fully expect to see an art design of Michael Hinshaw has had the customer’s head, and then cx smashed somewhere in the middle. I see that going on the market is a hot commodity here. There it is t shirts coming. So within the context center, though, one of the most expensive resource are the people. And the problem inside the contact center is year over year, there’s a exceedingly amount of people that are leaving the organizations. And it could be a number of things. It could be culture, it could be technology, or it could be, you know, fill in the blank. But let’s focus on the retention and the retaining of that customer or that employee, how do you go about retaining that employee or that keeping that experience?
Michael Hinshaw 7:54
Well, when organizations have, so I just want to talk about the flip side of customer experiences employee experience, right, there’s inextricable linkage between those two things. To the degree that employee experience is good, that helps drive employee loyalty, engagement, etc. Employees who are engaged and loyal, deliver better customer experiences. So for organizations that believe customer experiences important employee experience is important as well. So I bring that up, because the concepts that we’re talking about, apply to both audiences, right. So if you want to retain your employees, just as if you want to retain your customers, you need to understand what your employees one, you understand what they need, how they feel, you know, we hear a lot about, you know, employees dropping out of a particular contact center, because they get another 20 cents an hour someplace else, right? Maybe it’s 40 cent, maybe it’s a boss, whatever it is, the reality is that money is rarely the primary motivator of employees leaving it’s other stuff. And if you’re a contact center professional, and you’re appropriately hired appropriately, onboard and appropriately trained, to the degree that their organization, the company you’re working for does a good job meeting your needs, giving you a career path, showing you what the future looks like, you know, basically setting up a world in which you want to thrive, you’ll stay companies that don’t do that, that don’t value the employee experience that reduce it to the point where an employee will leave if they get another 50 cents an hour, because that’s just that much better. That’s not really the employees fault. And that’s not really the fault of the industry. And in our opinion, that’s the fault of the individual organization for not engaging with their employees enough, not understanding what’s really valuable to them. And frankly, not investing in delivering experiences that there are customers who’ve been alive either.
Nick Glimsdahl 9:51
Yeah, back in the day and it could even be 10 years ago. That would the contact center was where Korea Yours would die, right? You didn’t really have an upper mobility in the organization, you couldn’t really grow. And it wasn’t really a fun place to work. I think a lot has changed in the last 10 years when it comes to the perception of the contact center the technology and process the interacting with with leadership. And it can’t maybe it’s has to do with data and customers expectations. But I think it’s all all important in being able to bring it back to that employee experiences. A buddy of mine, Nate Brown, says, happy employees equal happy customers. Or my analogy is married Guys, if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy. So if the employees ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Michael Hinshaw 10:48
We wrote a white paper with the not that mama ain’t happy title. But, you know, happy happy employees equal happy customers. But you know, four or five years ago, I think there is a lot of research on that there’s no, no doubt that the happier employees are net effect, customers are happier.
Nick Glimsdahl 11:08
Yes, so let’s get into that. Because let’s say that you’re able to retain hypothetically 100% of your people, which is not going to happen, but hypothetically, we’re in hypothetical stage right now. And I think there’s, there’s ways to to retain them. But once you keep them in there staying inside the organization, how do you increase that engagement? Because a lot of times is, uh, we talked about customer experience or employee experience, and they’re like, this is great, but you want me to do what, like, what’s, what’s in it for me? What? How am I going to get paid on that? If I’m trying to provide a better experience to the customer?
Michael Hinshaw 11:46
Yeah. And I think, you know, it’s, you said something interesting there that I think goes to the core perceptions of the contact center. And when I say that I’m not referring to any one organization or to every organization. But how do I get paid on that? It goes back to the earlier comment, right? if all you’re thinking about is how do I get paid on that you’ve lost as an organization? If that’s the mindset your employees have, then it’s, it’s not too late. But you’re down a road, that isn’t a great one. So when you’re thinking about what employees want, but from my perspective, is less about how you get paid? and more about, what do you do to, you know, increase the richness of their their work life? What do you do to provide them things that, you know, are, are less tangible? Perhaps, but but no less valuable? emotional support, engagement? I mean, you talk, we hear engagement, they talk about like, well, we need engaged employees, you’re engaged with our customers, you can’t, you know, oh, let me grab the engagement switch and give it a yank. And work that way. Right? You need to need to figure out well, what does engagement mean to different employees? Where do they want to go? What do they need? in their work life? They’re not getting from you? What do they need to realize they’re not getting? How do you give it to them. So when you build when you build engagement, when you understand what employees need, and different types of employees have different needs, and no employees the same, right, but as with anything, if you can solve for the group as much as possible, while at the same time, delivering against individual needs, where you can, that’s where you want to end up going.
Nick Glimsdahl 13:28
I would 100% agree with that. So let’s bring it back to, to training. Because if, if you have a great experience in this, and I kind of want to get more into that in a minute, but it isn’t training isn’t just you don’t just set it and forget it. It’s not the Easy Bake Oven. of of that process. You don’t just say, Hey, we’re gonna do this once guys. And there’s a training switch, like you just said, and everybody’s gonna be fully trained, it’s gonna be awesome, and we’re gonna move forward, and we’re gonna be able to consume all this. But how do you continue to reengage after you’ve done it done it the first time.
Michael Hinshaw 14:07
So the biggest challenge with that is making it part of the rhythm of the business. And when I say it, I don’t mean the training itself. I mean, the core lessons imparted by the training become part of the way the organization does business. You know, we’ve worked with lots of organizations, I’m sure you’ve seen it to where, you know, to your point, you know, oh, we’ve got a requirement to train go listen to these nine videos and find the cert that you you spent time listening to videos. And and here’s your your training, certificate of completion, you listened to nine videos,
Nick Glimsdahl 14:39
you listen to nine videos, and you took a true or false on three questions. Yeah, and,
Michael Hinshaw 14:45
I mean, we worked for a number of global organizations which require, you know, annual training and a number of different areas. You know, and I do it because we have to, right, there’s literally no better Carrying members of some of these companies. And it kind of cracks me up, right? It’s like, if you ever have you ever had to take the driver’s training to get take it off your record, not that I ever have, I’m just asking,
Nick Glimsdahl 15:12
I have may or may not have, may or may not.
Michael Hinshaw 15:17
So what I’ve heard is that people who’ve done that they do the online training was been available for a long time. And you know, they have like a timer, oh, you can’t switch forward too quickly. So what you do is you have a glass of water, maybe there’s an email and wait for the timer to go down, you keep clicking until you move to the next slide. But yeah, anything, it doesn’t mean anything, you’re checking the box. And when you think about training, it’s actually it’s training. Successful training is about change management. understanding where the organization wants to go, and why helping the organ with everyone in the organization understand why it’s important to the company, and helping everyone in the organization understand why it’s important to them individually. So you know, back to your earlier comments, like, Hey, what’s in it for me? Well, it means different things to different people. But ultimately, if you’re able to have some understanding, organizationally, of what motivates your people, and what drives your bottom line, and your top line, if you can connect those three things up. That’s when training succeeds. When you get people to, for example, I’ll use that insurance company. Right, so we’re doing a pretty big training for a pretty big insurance company, specifically, the call center. And their goal is organization, they have many of those pick one, one of those is to reduce the number of, you know, kind of legal battles against claims. Because anytime you get sued anytime a customer is so upset with you that they call a lawyer, it costs a lot of money. And that has little to do with the actual settlement amount. If it comes to that. It’s all about time, energy resources, the energy, I mean, that kind of stuff is negative energy for everybody. Right? Yeah. To the degree that you buy into that or not, the fact is, it burns emotional capital. So for this organization, the training is designed in ways that deliver against employee goals, how do I communicate better with customers? How do I not upset my customers? How do I help my customers understand what the process is in ways that align to their expectations? And don’t, you know, upset them? Because when I’m dealing with somebody on the phone, as a claims agent, or as a call center? rep, I don’t enjoy talking to people are hostile and angry? mean? There are some people that do right. And there are jobs for those people. But yeah, it wasn’t the rep doesn’t want to, certainly not an insurance company. So
Nick Glimsdahl 17:53
maybe a prison warden or something
Michael Hinshaw 17:55
perfect. Yep, there you go. I mean, I don’t know any prison warden. So I can safely say that, maybe. But now, it’s, it’s about figuring out how to, you know, for this organization, tying their business goals, to their employees goals, which also linked to the desired outcomes of the job. And so for this organization, we’re helping employees understand their personal communication styles, and how they can understand the communication styles of their customers, you know, not only mostly shorthand, but there are cues, right? You’ve done Myers Briggs, I’m sure desk or, you know, we, we’ve done most of them as, as employees and partners over the years. But understanding how one person’s communication style can be different from another and how you can essentially moderate or change your communication style to match somebody else. And do so in ways that are, you know, work for both parties. That’s one thing, empathy is another one. actually putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, looking at your customers interactions with you from the outside in. It’s just, it’s just a shift of perspective. It’s not just about you know, I’ve got to get this person off the phone and 20 seconds from the loser bonus or whatever. It’s, you know, what I, this person, I deal with claims every day, all day, every day, five days a week, sometimes, like days a week. But customers, they’re dealing with these claims, once a year, once in their lifetimes, in some case, how do you empathize with somebody who’s experienced this is brand new to them, they know nothing about it. And so that kind of training not only reduces the risk of miscommunications, misunderstanding and unmet expectations. It also makes the experience more enjoyable for employees, more enjoyable for customers, and at the end of the day, increases retention and reduces costs by reducing legal liability the organization because customers know what to expect and not surprised.
Nick Glimsdahl 19:50
Yeah, there’s, it seems like a lot of this is is common sense when it comes to interacting with a customer but if you are Interacting with, I don’t know, 4000 customers in a year, because you’re in claims, and you’re just grounding and pounding these, these customers and you’re trying to hit your success metrics, whatever that might be, it might not be beneficial for you to have empathy, because that means you have to sit there. Listen, acknowledge what they’re saying, understand what they’re saying, and then respond with accordingly. Not just saying, that sucks. So it looks like you here’s, here’s the situation, right? It’s not hearing where they’re at maybe what what, Derek gone, he was on the podcast, hostage negotiator, he talks about labeling. So it sounds like it feels like it seems like this situation. And he’s like, most of the time in hostage negotiation, you just had to shut up and listen for 45 seconds. Like they’re gonna they’re gonna vent, and they just want to feel like you care about them. Because when they feel like you care about them, then they might actually listen back.
Michael Hinshaw 21:00
Yeah. And that’s a perfect analogy, because that’s, you know, when you talk about communication styles, for example, or empathy, it doesn’t automatically mean you have another four minutes to every call, right? Because what you give up on the front end, you’re going to gain on the back end. And whether it’s you following a claim, again, using insurances in example, it applies to every industry, whether you’re going to be the person handling this customer all the way through their relationship with the organization, where you’re handing off to somebody else, if you don’t set if you don’t help your customer upfront, understand that you as an individual, and the organization you work with actually cares to some degree about them their situation, it’s going to cost more time, it’s going to cost more money, it’s going to take more resources, at some point along the line. And ultimately, you know, as human creatures, we all want people to acknowledge where we are, want them to acknowledge our feelings want to acknowledge what we’re going through. And it doesn’t have to be complex, it doesn’t have to be super time consuming, but the art of active listening and being able to communicate in ways that people can hear, right if somebody wants to tell you a story, and you’ve got a four bullet point list that you got to get through Darn it. mismatch right yeah, they’re not gonna hear anything you say. Then you’re not hearing anything they say.
Nick Glimsdahl 22:21
Yeah, it would be refreshing if everybody just like was the perfect call center representative they just answered they already knew the problem was they knew we you authenticated them already there was no problem they understood what you’re what you’re going through they labeled it they solve your problem then they pushed you out on your merry way. But it’s not how it always is so we’re we’re grateful for for people like you to train train them in that process.
Michael Hinshaw 22:50
There’s no I was talking about slight sidebars talking my mom last night, it was her birthday yesterday. So I called her wish Happy birthday. And you know, she’s got some some physical stuff going on. And my wife works, works for a doctor and she set my mom up with the name of a specialist that can help her out. And I said, Hey, so did you talk to Dr. so and so? She said, No. I said, why not? He’s perfect. I said, Well, I called the hospital, make an appointment. And they won’t even listen to me. They want to know my name, my address and social security number as some questions about the doctor. They were talking to me. And she said, any anybody that’s going to hire someone like that isn’t something somebody I want to see. I said, Well, you know, he doesn’t hire the hospital staff. He works with a hospital at day two, she said, but the hospital obviously doesn’t care about patients like me. Done. Right. So you take that. I was like, dang. So?
Nick Glimsdahl 23:42
Well, you you take that at that hospital? And how many people haven’t have felt that same experience, but haven’t voiced it? And they just left?
Michael Hinshaw 23:52
Yep, they just don’t. Okay, great. Bye, click, and my mom voiced it to me, right? She’s not voicing to the hospital, they have no idea that they’re losing patients and the mission of most hospitals. I mean, other than making money, of course, but at least in the US, but the mission most hospitals is to provide health care. So if people aren’t coming there, because they perceive you don’t care about them as human individuals with you know, problems, then you’re losing a lot more than money. So in a stretching analogy a little bit, but you take a call center, the reality is the same kind of dynamic applies.
Nick Glimsdahl 24:27
Yeah. And the truth is, same with the doctor, the leadership might not have any idea that there’s an unsatisfied customer that just left.
Michael Hinshaw 24:39
Yep. Yeah, good point.
Nick Glimsdahl 24:41
Yeah. So I wrap up every podcast with two questions. Michael, the first question is, what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year? And then second one is if if you can leave a note to every customer service representative. It’s going to hit everybody’s desk Monday at 8am. I wouldn’t say
Unknown Speaker 24:58
Okay, which one I would start with
Nick Glimsdahl 25:00
The first one, the Booker person.
Michael Hinshaw 25:03
So I’ll actually start with the book and over the last year I’ve been reading a lot since I, I haven’t been on airplanes ironically usually I work on airplanes and read at home well, so art Gensler. Art Gensler actually appropriate I think he passed away two days ago. And he’s the founder of Gensler and Associates, one of the largest architectural design firms in the world, over 5000 employees. I met him once we did a project for their firm designing passenger experience for SFO to San Francisco International Airport. And were brought in by his firm to help them do that. We met him I was walking through their new offices was like, hey, Michael, you gotta meet art. And at that time, is at his early 80s came in work every day, he had a modest cube like everybody else’s. And he wrote a book called arts principles. And he’s, you know, published a number of books, but arts principles, it’s actually about building a world class professional services firm. But some of the things in that book are completely applicable to customer experience, things like, you know, listen, value value your people, you know, it’s okay to stop work at 6pm. Because work is gonna be here tomorrow. And you know, there’s a lot in there about managing a professional services firm, but it’s not a very heavy read, it’s something I’d suggest to anybody who’s interested in customer experience, recognizing that this man, you know, through his curiosity, creativity, interest in the world, they have built one of the most enduring architecture and design brands in the world.
Nick Glimsdahl 26:41
I love the fact that you just brought up a arkad architecture design firm book, around customer experience, because that’s a lot of things that I bring in, you know, I talked about the hostage negotiator. There’s all sorts of people and because you can learn a ton through others in other industries, if you just listen.
Michael Hinshaw 27:04
Yeah, well, in response to the second question. That’s the memo. Right? Listen to your customers. And there’s obviously a lot to expand on that. But the short story is listen to them. And the second part is dot, dot, dot and act on what you hear.
Nick Glimsdahl 27:24
Yeah. I love that. I think we could do a whole podcast just on listening and acting. But that’s for another day, Michael, what’s the best way for my listeners to get a hold of you?
Michael Hinshaw 27:36
Email now you can email me directly. I’m Hinshaw at m corp.cx. or visit online, you can find me there at m corp.cx. So dub dub dub dot mcorp.cx. Yeah,
Nick Glimsdahl 27:54
that’s great. Well, I appreciate your time and looking forward to the success you will have to come. Thanks for your thanks again for the opportunity to interview.
Michael Hinshaw 28:05
Absolute pleasure. Thanks a lot, Nick.
The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.
Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:
- Customer service & customer experience leaders
- A hostage negotiator
- Award-winning authors
- Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
- Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
- Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:
- What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
- If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?
You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.
If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.