Here's the transcript of the webinar:
Haley: Welcome everyone, we are going to get started. We are excited to hear this webinar today, Stand out in the crowd, how a convenient customer experience sets you apart. My name's Haley and I will be moderating this webinar. Just a few housekeeping items. This webinar will be recorded and sent out to all registrants so you can check your inbox in the next couple of days for that recording. We're scheduled for about a 60 minutes presentation. We also have a Q&A from the audience at the end of the webinar, so feel free to send any questions you have throughout the presentation on the questions section of the Go-to Webinar control panel dashboard.
Haley: We are excited to learn more about how the customer journey has changed over the years and what businesses can do to keep up. We're joined by Than Hancock, senior VP of sales at Podium, and Bart Butler, previous Disney executive, former CIO of European Wax Center and owner of My Blue Sage Consulting. Than is a senior VP of sales at Podium, a SaaS platform that helps local businesses interact with their customers through various forms of messaging, including SMS, text messaging and influence purchase decisions by streamlining the collection and management of online reviews and customer feedback.
Haley: With over 13 years of relationship based sales experience in both B2B and B2C sales, Than has demonstrated success driving multimillion dollar sales growth at multiple organizations. He has expertise in social media marketing and has presented at over a hundred various marketing and recruitment related conferences throughout the world. We're also joined by Bart Butler who as we mentioned before is the owner of My Blue Sage Consulting and was the former CIO at European Wax Center. He also spent 16 plus or 15 plus years at Walt Disney World and helped create their FastPass program. Bart is an expert in the customer journey and we will let him explain and introduce himself a little bit more.
Haley: But before that, just the agenda, we're going to hear about Bart and his experience with the customer journey, how the customer journey has changed over the years, what businesses can do and which industries will be effected most. We'll turn the time over to Than and Bart.
Than Hancock: Yeah, welcome everybody. We're excited to have you. Thanks for joining us. We know you've got a lot of different things that could be for your time, so we're glad that you chose to spend your time with us. We're confident this will be a very, very good use of the next hour. We're excited to learn from Bart. He's built an amazing career with over 25 years of experience as you heard just a second ago. So we're going to jump right into it and then we can hopefully, leave enough time for Q&A there at the end.
Than Hancock: Bart, why don't we start off, and tell us just a little about yourself. You've built this, again, amazing career in the customer experience area. Tell us where that started and how that's developed over time and really some of the things that you saw having the biggest impact on your career over the last couple of decades.
Bart Butler: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks Than. Thank you everyone. Great to be here. Haley did a better job, I think than I can do talking about myself, so maybe we should just let her run through it. [inaudible 00:03:34] that introduction, but I'll go through last three years as quickly as I can. I started at an AG company, I'm originally from Iowa, as a programmer. Even then, it started to get really clear to me that as we were building something that we call the field information system, which was a distributed system across North America, but it was not about systems or technology, it was about usability and experiences that drove business results.
Bart Butler: I moved into project management kind of grudgingly moving away from different [inaudible 00:04:05] I like that a lot and I was lucky enough to get recruited by a little company called Disney, whereas Than and Haley said, I spent a little over 16 years, fantastic years and was lucky enough to have I think multiple careers through that 16 years. I worked on back of house implementations, SAP, [inaudible 00:04:21] consolidation, to front of house, the way front of house guest facing technologies with park interactions, ticketing, point of sale and FastPass. Really, they were through those journeys, that's when my passion really started [inaudible 00:04:36] up that it was not about a series of experiences, but an overall connected guest experience.
Bart Butler: That leads me to my last five years at Disney world where it was just so enlightening because we were working on a platform called My Magic Plus. Some of you may have heard of it. It has FastPass Plus in it, so the next iteration of FastPass, a seamless in-park entry, the magic band, etc. A lot of things were part of that platform. That's where I could see that was in the guest of tomorrow, which is now the guest of today wanted this full on 24 by seven brand experience. That takes me to the last five years that I've had the pleasure to serve as a CIO. Now, they're just amazing brand European Wax Center, it's a beauty brand, so a little different than hospitality, so I learned a lot there, but we took those concepts that I just talked about and we put them on steroids.
Bart Butler: We looked at every, and I can't stress that word enough, every experience, guest and employee. It's just a fully connected experience and really trying to bring that together, so you can't just think about a guest experience and an employee experience. You have to think about an entire experience. Then, as Than and Haley has said too, in just the last few months, I've started a little company called My Blue Sage Consulting because I wanted to share my experiences about experiences with some other companies and see where that takes me. I'll throw it back to Than, but the last thing I'll say is that even though I know that I told everyone now I had 30 years of experience, I'm still only 32, so please don't do the math at home and try and keep up with that.
Than Hancock: Yeah. When I said a couple of decades, that may just sound old Bart, so I apologize. Glad to know you're only 32 years old, so I appreciate that. Also, I must say as a dad of six kids, I probably need to give you thanks every night, every time you go to Disneyland for the system that you built because it has made for a much more enjoyable experience for me and my family trying to manage the fun that is Disney. I want to do a follow up question if I can Bart. There was something that you said that just jumped out to me. I know we've got a list of things we want to cover but I want to ... in my role, just to maybe touch on it, we actually cover six different verticals here at Podium.
Than Hancock: We mainly focus on local businesses that are really the front line of the American economy. We focus a lot on door swings and revenue coming in and out of those shops. One thing I think is interesting, there's this fine balance of treating the customer you had today versus the customer that you want in five years or six years. That's becoming more complex as you're seeing a shift in who is spending money in today's economy. When did you start thinking about the future guests? What would you recommend for people on the phone here to start thinking about that future guests experience and when do you start making the changes so that you don't alienate the current audience that you serve? I thought that was a fascinating concept. I'd love if you could touch on that at all and maybe share your insight there.
Bart Butler: Yeah, absolutely. At Disney, we did start the ... My Magic Plus program was started seven years before we launched it. Now, that's probably more like five from a development stand point, but that's how far out that we were looking at, okay, we've got to change even something, and by the way, thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you enjoy the product, but I'll tell you, we started thinking we've got to change how we can interact with guests or we'll start losing them or never get them, which is a big thing to say when you're a brand like Disney.
Bart Butler: I think from just an overall industry perspective, to your point, you constantly have to be looking out. You said you're father of six kids. I'm a father of one kid, and I used to always joke, and it's not really a joke, but she's my focus group one. I watched her go through it and now I'm nervous that my career is going to stall because I don't have my focus group one anymore. She's 19 and left the house for college. But if you just keep in touch with what that next generation is doing, and I think that's why ... nothing magic about it seven years back, right? And always thinking, okay, that's up and comer and what is changing with them and what's changing with the technology, and the way they interact with that technology with different brands to, as you said, get door swings and whatnot.
Bart Butler: I think that's how I tend to look at it. The other thing I'll say is I also look forward. So, folks who are not on that lower end curve, [inaudible 00:09:11] we're going to talk about millennials here, but we're a little bit more advanced in their age that you look at them and say, how are they adopted? Is to your point, they may or may not. A lot of them started to do that in my opinion. And so, it's not just about that, okay I'm looking seven years back and trying to predict what they're going to do. It's also saying, how is it these new folks are adopting it because I've seen it with ... if I use my folks too now, my parents, they've adopted a ton more technology than I would've ever expected them to do. Does that answer the question?
Than Hancock: No, I think it's fantastic. I love that idea of thinking seven years ahead, and I think that's something that hopefully everyone here is thinking about. Maybe in the world of Disney seven years is probably the right time. For local business, I would highly recommend thinking two years ahead of what is your customer journey going to look like two years from now. Because if you're not already making at least small incremental changes, I think you'll find yourself two years down the road behind. I think that's the message we definitely try to share here at podium of how do you make sure that you're staying up to date, but to your point, not also alienating your customer. I also love the idea that I think we generally think of innovation as strictly a young person's game.
Than Hancock: I actually love and agree with you completely that like, I actually don't think that's the case. I think you see people of all ages adopting innovation at a rapid rate, and I think it's important that we are careful not to silo that to one specific audience. On that note, you as obviously connected with European Wax and other businesses and you consult. And so, we see at least on our end, Google, Facebook and others are having massive impacts on just the way customers find, connect, choose, interact with businesses. Just would love, at a high level, what are you seeing as some of the biggest changes and inflection points that you've seen from when you first started your career in that customer journey? Maybe even touch on what you're seeing today and then even what might be coming down the road in the future.
Bart Butler: Yeah, absolutely. I'll kind of start up general and then drill down a little bit. As I said, it used to be all about disjointed transactions. I'm very specific with my words here. Everything was disjointed, and it was about transactions. It was like, I found my store, I went in, I bought something, I went home with it. It was transactional in nature. Then people started talking. I don't know exactly when it happened, Than, but they started talking about what you'd like to hear about experiences. The words changed, but it was still very disjointed. So, I'd have an experience of booking something, I'd have an experience of going into a center or something like that, but it was still very disjointed that then when I went home, that experience went away. That one just ended and it wasn't continuing on.
Bart Butler: What I've seen and changed the most is it now, especially with the business consumer, and again, I use that very generically, it's all about full-on interactions all the time. Very, very real time. And so, the journey, if you think about it, yes, it starts when somebody first does a Google search and says, I want to find X, Y, Z. They find it. Now, we're talking about some 3D technology as there's SEO and SEM. It helps you find that, but once they do, they start that interaction right there. You can keep them into that ... I'm sorry. They start that experience right there and you can keep them with it if it flows all the way through. But if it's one of those is still disjointed, I think that's the struggle that's still out there of, yeah, you're finding me, but I'm not keeping you.
Than Hancock: Yeah, and that's what we're seeing as well on our side is that, I think businesses have adapted to the search component and the complexity, but yeah, what are they doing to then take that next step and make sure if we talk about it in the form of a funnel, which maybe makes it a little inhuman, but how do we make sure that each step of that process has it like, to your point, an integrated experience? Where we're not losing anybody or we're not exposing ourselves at any point to, maybe an experience that would turn them off or have them look elsewhere. And through [crosstalk 00:13:26].
Bart Butler: Sorry. If I could just dovetail on that point real quick, Than, I'm sorry. I think what you just said is so powerful because that's true. Again, when I look to the future of this now, search is going to change again. I think a lot of people don't think it will. I think it surely will change again. It's certainly all, obviously today it's already shifting. It used to be, hey, there was no Google. Now there's a Google, now there's Google mobile and I can do so many different things. I don't know whether it's some kind of an augmented reality type of a search or what that's going to be, but search is going to change too. So, if you're not now adopting that, hey, I've got to find you, keep you, make this full-on experience all the time, whatever search becomes, it's going to lead so far behind.
Bart Butler: Again, that's my prediction. I could be wrong, but I just see that in the next, again, I'll go five to eight years, search is going to change drastically again on how people interact with it.
Than Hancock: Couldn't agree more. On that note, as you think about making sure they're staying ahead, I'm curious, from your vantage point, as you're working with hundreds of thousands of different business partners, where do you see some of the most important conveniences that company can provide to improve that customer experience, to make it feel like a truly integrated experience at each part of the journey? Any just simple recommendations or even critical recommendations that you feel a company should be thinking about?
Bart Butler: Yeah, I'll kind of answer it in two ways. One is that I think of the feedback cycle that's changed over the last 30 years and really it didn't exist 30 years ago. It was only at the local level was where feedback were. And then, it became more social media driven obviously. But I think what people don't think about enough is it was all customer driven feedback and very little company driven feedback and now it's really come together to say, you know what, what's the most immediate way and pervasive at all levels to bring that feedback loop all the time? Again, I hate to repeat myself, the 24 by seven. There's two kinds of feedback that I really wanted to talk about, there's the immediate type that needs immediate tending to.
Bart Butler: Okay, so somebody had a bad experience. Somebody's out there slamming on your brand or your store or whatever level that's at and that needs to be dealt with immediately. And then, there's listening to the guests and listening to what they want. Just as you adapt and create new products and new offerings. First one's pretty simple, because it comes down to, that's an operational type thing. The second one can be a very, very slippery slope because there's local [inaudible 00:16:18] jobs here, I will quote on them, but I'll [inaudible 00:16:21] their names. They taught us that you've always got to be looking forward to create what the guest doesn't even know that they wanted to get.
Bart Butler: So, you want to be focused, from a business perspective, on strategy and innovation. So, if you get that first part right, I'm going yo give you guys a shout out here, I think a product like Podium can help you then more of your organizations. If not, the best part of your organization can focus on strategy and innovation.
Than Hancock: Bart, are you there? I think we may have lost you. I don't if that technology glitch is from our end or or your end. Sorry, are you there Bart?
Bart Butler: Yeah. Can you hear me Than?
Than Hancock: Yeah, we can now. We lost you just for a few seconds. You were saying something really powerful. I want to revisit it. You said that getting that feedback loop, you mentioned Podium and how that feedback can [inaudible 00:17:22] you're understanding what the guest ... what they want but also that they don't even know. Maybe if you can just elaborate on that last part one more time in case others missed it.
Bart Butler: Absolutely. Yeah, I guess that's the things that are out there, if I could use, just as an example. Somebody has a bad experience in a store and so they go post something on social media and they say, "Hey, I had this bad experience in the store." Where that technology and that automation can help is you are able to give that guest who you know you'll lose if you don't give them immediate feedback at that point. And you can do it in a way that you don't have to have, I'll make up a number, 75% of your organization focused on, I'm always just giving guests feedback or listening or watching or anything else. Then you can have more of your organization focused on what creates that longterm strategic value, which is creating the new products. And you're still getting that information from the guests. You're just listening in a very different way. Does that make sense? Than, lose you guys?
Than Hancock: No, sorry Bart. I'm not sure why we're having problems but yeah, we are here. Did you hear my last question?
Bart Butler: No, I did not hear the question. No, I'm sorry. I tried to answer your ... I think the previous question that I heard from you was expounding a little bit on the two different types of feedbacks. So, no, I didn't hear your last question.
Than Hancock: Sorry. I was actually wondering if you could share with us how you used the structure specifically when it came to Disney and the FastPass and the Magic Plus program. This balance of listening to like innovation and coming up with a product or an experience the customer may not even think about in their own as something that's possible, so I'm just curious if you could share that experience and what you guys did there.
Bart Butler: Yeah. That's a really interesting use case, right? Because again, guests would just tell you I just want a shorter line. That's certainly good feedback and listen to and say, "Okay, we get it. You don't want to wait in any lines or hospitals." But at the same point, what we did with, what we attempted to do with FastPass Plus and how it's continued to evolve is give the guest a way to go through a theme park in simple and seamless way that they're not backtracking so much. So, where if we just listened to what the guest said and that kind of simplistic, "Hey, I'm standing here right now, I want a shorter space mountain line, it's too myopic in thinking. We needed to think about it of how do we get the guests what they really want, which is going through the theme park in a better way and getting more experiences with shorter wait times.
Than Hancock: Yeah, that's great. When we think about it here at Podium from a similar angle of, whenever somebody brings up a product for us, what we try to think about more is not just to solve that immediate need. I think you've touched on this in a really eloquent way Bart, but it's to look at it from like, what's the why or the problem we're trying to solve? If you read it, if you take the feedback just on face value, if I want a shorter line, well that's not actually what they're saying, to your point, they want a seamless experience that allows them to experience the whole park in a frictionless way. I think here at podium, we look at product development as the same thing. When somebody comes to us and says, "Hey, I want to be able let's say respond to a review in a faster manner on this platform, right?
Than Hancock: We take that feedback and try to look and say, "Okay, what are they ultimately trying to accomplish and how can we build products that actually solve the bigger why of the problem versus the direct feedback? I think for local business, it's important that you think about that as well. Don't necessarily take the feedback from a review or a social media post or even an NPS survey and just try to create immediate action, but maybe try to dig a little bit deeper into what's the larger problem that the customers are experiencing and how do we solve that for them.
Than Hancock: Let's move to maybe the next section. You have spent Bart a lot of time in recommending various tools, services, ways that businesses can do both paid and free ways to gather feedback and improve their customer experience. I'd love if you could think about what are some of the free things you see out there that businesses are using to improve their customer experience and answer the demands of the shifting customer segments. Any ideas, just small simple things that people can do?
Bart Butler: You know what? I think in this case, yes, there's probably a lot of small, simple things that people can do. I tend to look at this one more as if there is some automation that you can get to do it, that needs to start for you and get some information. I tend to look to a product rather than I do to look to solve it with anything else. I'm always afraid, to be honest with you, of something that's free because you don't get nothing for nothing. I look at some of the bigger products here that I'd probably get. I know exactly what you're saying though, because not everyone can go out and say, "Well, we're Disney, we're an EWC, we can get the biggest, best thing out there."
Bart Butler: I just say, "You know what?" Have a dialogue with the person and sit down and say to them, "You know what? This is what, this is what I can afford to scale and size of my organization. Can you help me ..." again, kind of like what we're talking about with the guests. "Here's my business problem. Can you help me solve it?" So rather than I talk about the kind of freeware stuff that's out there, I'd look to say, "Go out and do some research." There's a lot of players in this space, obviously Podium is one of them. I think you guys are doing a lot of things right or I wouldn't be doing this webinar. But there's others. There's Zendesk, nice job, kind of different sizes and scales in there of what they do. So, there's a lot of players out there. Somebody is going to fit your size and scale rather than taking maybe some of the more arduous free things would give you. That's my opinion in the marketplace.
Than Hancock: No, I think that's good advice. To the point earlier, there's a lot that Facebook, Google, Yelp, different platforms that are kind of forcing change at the business level. And then, I really think at a larger perspective, you think of just Amazon and Uber and what those platforms and those companies have done to shift the mindset of what's possible relative to whether it's convenience or like I the term user, you have a seamless experience, and a fully integrated experience. I think of Amazon and the fact that on one platform, I can run a search, I can get really concrete confidence around a product, I can engage with users who can tell me about their actual experience with that product, and in two clicks and a swipe right, I can have that product delivered in most geographies to my home in less than 24 to 48 hours.
Than Hancock: I think that immediacy and that convenience and just how simple that's becoming is something that people are looking for and really every experience that they have now that idea of, we should be able to leverage technology to make that seamless. And so, the things that I would recommend and just highlight for people is what are you doing to take what is an offline face to face experience and adding elements that look, feel, and the customer experiences is almost an online experience. At the end of the day, people are never going to mind to get their teeth cleaned or to fix their car. And in most cases probably to buy a car or to get services for whatever it is they need. That can't ever be outsourced online.
Than Hancock: But things that we can do from their first touch point interaction with our business till the day that they go home and share that experience with their friends to make it seamless, frictionless and feel like Amazon is critical and there's a lot of great tools and systems out there. To your point, some there are free things that they can look at and others obviously are paid. But recreating that Amazon experience for local business, we think is going to be pretty critical over the next two to three years. To maybe shift, I'd like to dive now into the industry side of it.
Than Hancock: Bart, you work with a lot of different channels and industries. Curious, from your perspective, when you think about like millennials in particular relation to customer journey and how companies are thinking about conveniences, what are some differences you see between ...? Let's start with age groups first, and then we can dive into industries. But yeah, you mentioned earlier feeling that we may be categorize our stereotype a little quicker than we should. I'd love for you to touch and expound on that a little bit.
Bart Butler: Yeah, absolutely. I guess my direct answer would be I don't think of it as just that millennials want convenience anymore. I know I read that, every time it seems like pick up one of the trade rags out there. I think of it in a much broader perspective that is who doesn't want convenience? To your point before, that's why we go to some of these local places, right? A dentist is a great example, a car repair place is a great example unless you're on the road. I want convenience and, and I get convenience because I have that personal interaction with them. I've created a dialogue with them rather than just making it a one and done type of again, transaction and it becomes that longstanding interaction. So, I don't just classify millennials anymore.
Bart Butler: I think that what all consumers want is obviously convenience, but then if they want that personalized connection to whatever brand is, and brand [inaudible 00:27:58] is too global of a term, but really, your brand could be one store, one center, one business. And so, I think you had a great point before, talking about what you want that Amazon experience, but you don't have to be on Amazon to get that. You can do that with individual stores, individual businesses that can just go out and say, "You know what? I can connect with my consumer because that way I start acting like the "begs" and I'm staying connected with them through an entire journey.
Bart Butler: It's like you can't just say, "Well, I'm too small of a business. I can't be on the Internet. I can't be wherever." I think that if technology is used in a simple way that all companies, big, small, local or spread out across the world can feel local because they're always present out there in virtual land and so the experience really never stops. That doesn't matter if it's my down the street dentist or something that [inaudible 00:29:01]
Than Hancock: I think that's great feedback. And you know, we're getting questions, Bart, coming in relative to this concept that you just touched on. I'm like, how does a small business that maybe it doesn't have that big national brand support door or presence, how do they ensure that they can bring these elements of convenience? I think you've touched on some really powerful things and I've got a question from the audience I'd like to ask, but maybe before that question comes in, I'll just touch on a few things like we look at text messaging and business messaging as a huge leverage point for local businesses. Facebook now has business messaging. Instagram now has business messaging. Obviously, Google has click to chat and direct lead generation and messaging off of their platform. I think those are elements ... I think of an experience I have the other day.
Than Hancock: My wife actually went to her dentist and we apparently miss like $30 out of our bill. I'm not really sure how that works. And we've now received two letters in the mail requesting for us to send a check or information or call them to pay that bill. I think about that, and I think, "Man, why is this business ... how can they not just text me with some way for me to online fulfill that payment?" Not only would that create amazing efficiencies for the business and save them a lot of time and money, but it also would incredibly improve my experience with that dental practice. I think those are small little things that local business can look at to say, where do we bring, again, this kind of convenience, Amazon efficient, seamless pipe experiences into what we're doing today?
Than Hancock: I think sometimes we look at like internal efficiency and internal improvements, whether it's how does our call center work or how do some of our systems and processes, but I think thinking of it from that experience of like, are we making it an efficient for the customer? Yes, we can improve by not sending posts mail [inaudible 00:31:10] people to send us checks or phone call our business, which would be efficient for the business. But also, there's a massive piece of it's way easier for me as the patient and the customer to not have to call if I could just simply text and pay that bill. I think it's important that you look at both sides of that integrated experience. To touch on maybe some industry, I don't know if you have any follow up to that Bart, if you want to touch on that. If not, we can dive into the next question that's come in.
Bart Butler: Yeah, just a real quick one on that because I think it's, again, a very good point is that, yes, guests will do things if it's good for them, and it can also be good for whoever the company is. The example that I've used an app one that kind of dovetails on what you said is, I always, when I consult with companies now, and I haven't been doing it for terribly long, but I've done enough now. One of the first questions I ask them is, "Do you have an app?" You can't believe how many people come back and say, "No, we don't have an app, but we don't need an app." Well, how do you know that? How do you know that you don't need an app? Because guess what? Everybody in world now has a phone in the pocket and most people will both have a smartphone in their pocket and apps are one of the best ways to integrate with it.
Bart Butler: Now, that doesn't mean just go out and build an app for app's sake. It means go out and do it. It says, Hey, I'm going to build this convenience, to your point, for both the guests, and I'm going to get something from it, and hopefully you include that thing that you get from it is that I am able to learn more about my guests and then continue to adapt my business to them and to them in a personalized way. I think your point, we can move on, but I think your point is very, very valid and is very important and it's going to become much more important in the next decade than it ever has been before.
Than Hancock: Yeah, I love, and I think again, if we're thinking about the customer experience the right way, it shouldn't be transactional. It should be how does both the employee, the business and the customer all experience the changes, and it should be one that improves for everybody. We're getting a question from the audience Bart. It's a little bit specific, but I think there's some good talk points here. This person is particularly in a collision repair industry, and they're seeing an impact of insurance companies being able to direct business to preferred shops or providers. As an independent shop or really independent business, curious your thoughts Bart on how can these businesses survive when there's so many different things out of their control impacting where people go or how people decide or who they decide to work with.
Than Hancock: Any feedback on that, both as a specific, but then also maybe a more general question around helping independents survive in a competitive environment?
Bart Butler: Yeah, absolutely. It's a great question. I'll start out by saying if I had the silver bullet for that, I'd probably retire on my own island in the Bahamas right now. I don't know if the silver bullet exists, but is looking at this thing, and I probably overuse this term, but think of it in terms of an ecosystem. Okay? What ecosystem does your business live in? Then, you have to go out and start creating relationships, not just with your end consumer, but with those people who could bring you those end consumers. We talk about it with the search ecosystem all the time and how it's so interconnected, all the different ways that searches can happen. And again, SEO and SEM. That's all great. I'm not saying not to get into that game, but I'm saying take a different perspective on it, create a snow globe around yourself and say, "What's my ecosystem for that business?" And that, "For that specific business, how do I start to reach out to the right channels?"
Bart Butler: Whether it's physically doing so and creating a partnership with somebody, but whether it's again, and as a third year technologist, I'll say, I'm probably going to think technology, technology, technology too much, but how do I use technology to tie in and reach the end consumer? You're right. Sometimes that that little person can be the barrier. So, you have to figure out if that's part of my ecosystem, either how do I remove the barrier by going directly to the consumer or how do we work with the barrier to make them not a barrier anymore?
Than Hancock: I love that concept. Again, where I think of the customer journey changing is, I've even experienced it myself where we moved our family of six probably three or four years ago into a town where my brother lives and an aunt who lives here. When we first started to get all of the different services that we need, whether it was primary care physicians, dentists, lawn care, I think of all the different things you have to kind of start over when you move, and I'm amazed at how much my wife rarely asked our family for recommendations as opposed to literally going online searching terms such as best dentists near me, lawn care, specific terms. And we started to quickly find those providers all through our own online search.
Than Hancock: It's important to understand the ecosystem you live in, those that influence both online and offline influence within that environment and then create the systems to take advantage of those influencers and then see where you can be a support to others who are may be going through the same challenges as a local business. Let me ask, pivot just a little bit here in terms of our questions because I think, so maybe go a little bit higher level. I want to touch a little bit on this industry. Do you see certain factors that are impacting certain industries more than others?
Than Hancock: I'm curious, you've worked at a massive brand that was a maybe more one or two locations in Disney, and now you're working for another massive brand that has very different experiences across hundreds and thousands of franchises and locations across the country. How do you see those industries being impacted differently? And then, how do you, as let's say, an owner of a European Wax Franchise, think about the experience that a customer get to your location versus one that maybe down the street that you don't have control over? How do you influence that to make sure that you're equally taking advantage of the EWC brand? I'd love to hear your thoughts on that. Sorry, that was a lot of questions in one.
Bart Butler: Yeah, sure. I was just going to say, wow, that's a big question. There are a lot of small ones. I'm not sure which. I think my [crosstalk 00:37:47].
Than Hancock: I know. Sorry.
Bart Butler: No problem. I'll do my best here and then you can ask any follow ups. I think from a high level, when I think about it from again, from a global perspective, I don't see it as any different. The last couple of companies that I worked for, and even now, again doing some of the consulting work and talking with people out there, I don't think that it's that much different, but it's more important than ever because any savvy consumers, we've seen before, if they had that one bad experience, they're never going to come back to the brand.
Bart Butler: If they have that one, and as an example, deny somebody access to a website or booking a reservation and you're probably going to lose them from that brand. It's really, really full fan, but I do think about experiences at Disney and European Wax Center and in both places, we looked at it much the same way. Disney, like you said, this massive brand, very spread out. European Wax Center, great brand, very spread out, and we still thought about it, but two completely different industries and we still look at it the same way. Because the "feel", and I did air quotes around that. The feel of the interaction, no matter whether it's in park or beauty experience or the car shop that you talked about before, it should be the same. To get that is a delicate balance.
Bart Butler: But if you think about it and start with that, I just said, I think I said it before, but you start with a vision when it comes to the solve, you get a strategy and then you stick with those and adapt as you have to go along. Don't try and boil the ocean. Do one thing at a time. I think too many companies think that there have to be like, I'm not picking on my former employer, but like at Disney and you don't have to be. You can do smaller things and eat the apple one bite at a time.
Than Hancock: Yeah, that is great. How does it work, and maybe you can touch on this, and when you think of, again, like a franchise network, I know a lot of our listeners own franchises. How do you work with your colleagues in other European Wax Centers to make sure that no matter where they go, they're getting the same, if not, hopefully close to the same experience so that every ... a rising tide raises all ships. Do you guys do anything particular or unique there at EWC to make sure that you're sharing best practices? Or any advice you have with other franchise owners on how to coordinate, collaborate with some of their colleagues?
Bart Butler: I think the best way that I've summed that up, and I'm probably not ... you're taking me a little bit out of my depth on this one, so I'll kind of flip back into where it [inaudible 00:40:37] first off, the experience that I'd say that should be the same everywhere that you can control is that, if I search for something, I do what's right for the guests first. That was one of the strategies that we came up for our SEO, SEM was put the guests at the center and say, "I'm going to do what's right for them instead of just me thinking about my own little fiefdom here." It was really the same. At Disney, if I could invoke that one more time, is that we said the same thing, put the guests at the center of everything that happens and then everything else spreads out from that Venn diagram from there.
Bart Butler: When it comes to the consistencies of procedures and things so that it's, hey, have no matter what Taco bell that I go to, I get the same experience. That gets more difficult I know, and I think, again, that's a little out of my depth to answer.
Than Hancock: Okay. No, problem. I appreciate that. I think to the point like putting the guests at the center, we should be able to find the little nuances that will impact their experience and hopefully then share that across [inaudible 00:41:40] in colleagues, you might also be impacting your brand. We're coming up on the Q&A section here. Maybe what I'll do is I want to recap a few of the important takeaways and then if anyone else has questions, we'd love to take those now here for the next five to 10 minutes. But couple of things I'd like to summarize that I think I've heard on this that if we can give some takeaways. Number one, I think you know, at Disney, you guys look seven years ahead.
Than Hancock: I think for a local business, looking two years ahead to what the customer experience would look like is really, really critical. Hat should always be a focus. I know here at podium, we build tools that, not only is tall but problems of businesses today, but we think about what does that look like three years from now. I'll give you one example. Apple business chat has recently launched, and they're largely focused on massive brands, but we don't think it's too much longer before Apple business chat will impact local business. So, we've already started the development process to make sure our partners can connect with Apple business ... So, you're going to have a big impact. We know, and believe to know that in two years you're going to see more and more transactions and customer journeys flowing through Apple business chat.
Than Hancock: That's just one example for us here at Podium that might be a good takeaway for you and your team is look two years ahead and start building some things now to stay ahead of that. I love the idea of an integrated experience, not making it about transactions that are in silos, but how do you create an integrated experience that starts from the minute they find you till when they go home and they talk to their friends, families, and others about you? And how does that experience integrate with both the employee experience as well as the customer experience? The third thing is there are conveniences you can provide today that can make or break your business, but start small, don't boil the ocean. Just find the one aspect of your business that you can improve from a customer experience, customer journey standpoint, and do that and then tackle it one by one.
Than Hancock: Be careful not to overgeneralize your audience because innovation is happening ... they're happening everywhere on every level and I think that that was a really important takeaway. Then finally, I think building an ecosystem around your business, making sure that you're connecting with the influencers in your space and controlling those things that you can control and being out there within your environment and understanding all the different players that can improve your customer experience or hurt your customer experience and making sure that you're making progress in those influencers. Those are some of the key takeaways I took. Bart, maybe, unless we get other questions, we can wrap up here in the next few minutes, but we'd love to maybe give you last word here as you are truly the expert, and would love to get your final thoughts on anything else you'd like to share our audience today.
Bart Butler: Sure. I was just going say if we could have started with that, you'd have saved us all 45 minutes, you've summed it up perfectly, and I'm not giving you lip service. That was great. I think those are the most important things, is know your business, know the ecosystem that your businesses in and then adapt the guest experience to that, while always putting the guest at the center. Sometimes that means you may not get that guest and I know that's a tough one to swallow, but the more than that you do that, you're actually going to find that more guests will then find you or the ones that you do have, will give you those better ratings that we know are all important out there.
Bart Butler: I guess the last one I do want to re-echo is, you don't have to be any of the companies that we've talked about today. Be your company, and as you go out and represent your company to these influencers, I love that word because they're going to become more important in the next three years than ever before. You get tied with these influencers, be your own company and say who you are and then give those solves as part of the context of your company. You don't have to be a Disney, you don't have to be European Wax Center. Think about those solves that you then get up there to give these conveniences to your guests, and part of that influential sphere and just be yourself.
Haley: Thank you so much Than and Bart. It looks like we didn't have any more questions come in, but we sure did ... I think that you both just covered all the questions that everyone had. Just a reminder that this was recorded so it will be sent out to all registrants in the next day or so, and we like to thank our presenters and wish everyone a good day.
Than Hancock: Thanks everybody.
Haley: Thanks everyone. Bye-bye.