David Avrin

and Robert talk about customer experience and how it is different from customer service. David shares incredible insights into the rules companies create that disempower their front line workers from truly helping people. The world is changing and customer expectations are changing, your business needs to understand and meet customers where they are and give them what they want.

A little bit about David...

One of the most in-demand Customer Experience speakers and consultants in the world today, David Avrin, CSP, Global Speaking Fellow, has shared his content-rich, entertaining and actionable presentations with enthusiastic audiences across North America and in 24 countries around the world. David helps organizations better understand and connect with their changing customers and clients to help future-proof their businesses. 

David's insights have been featured on thousands of media outlets around the world. He is also the author of five books including the acclaimed: It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Knows You!, Why Customers Leave (and How to Win Them Back) and his newest book: The Morning Huddle -- Powerful Customer Experience Conversations to Wake You Up, Shake You Up, and Win More Business.

Check out more of David

Website: davidavrin.com

LinkedIn: /davidavrin

Twitter: /DavidAvrin

Facebook: /therealdavidavrin

Instagram: /therealdavidavrin

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David Avrin
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Show Notes

Robert Peterson 0:00 

I'm excited about today's guest, David Avrin. David is one of the most in demand customer experience speakers and consultants in the world today. David has shared his content rich, entertaining and actual presentations with enthusiastic audiences across North America and in 24 countries around the world. David helps organizations better understand and connect with their changing customers and clients to help future proof their businesses. David insights have been featured on 1000s of media outlets around the world. He's the author of five books, including the acclaimed It's not who , it's who knows why customers leave and how to win them back. his newest book, The morning huddle, powerful customer experience conversations to wake you up, shake you up and win more business, David Avrin. Robert talks about customer experience and how it's different from customer service. David shares incredible insights into the rules companies created to disempower their frontline workers from truly helping people. The world is changing, and customer expectations are changing. Your business needs to understand and meet customers where they are, and give them what they want. Well, David, thank you very much for joining me today. I'm excited to have this conversation. I know how important the message you share is, especially for entrepreneurs to consider the customer experience and customer journey.

David Avrin 1:56 

 First of all, thank you for having me on, it's nice to see you again. We, for those who are watching or listening, we were at a conference together to achieve. I had a great opportunity to have a conversation and you had a chance to see me do what I do, which is speak at conferences and consult with organizations to help them understand a whole new generation of customers and client expectations. When I say whole new generation, I don't mean millennials.all of us? All of our expectations have changed. If COVID, taught us anything. It taught us a lot of things that in many ways accelerated what has long been predicted about how we're going to do business, and this whole new generation of conveniences.that's what I work with organizations to help them future proof their business by becoming ridiculously easy to do business with.

Robert Peterson 2:52 

if you don't, you won't exist, is the real reality of it.

David Avrin 2:59 

What when and look at how many known brands have fallen by the wayside for no other reason than they just didn't recognize the changes that were happening around them. Good businesses doing good business continuing to do good business. But we changed

Robert Peterson 3:15 

the brand I thought the brand I always thought that should have should have made this transition. The easiest way Sears? The mother of all catalog companies, they already had a catalog, they already had a system for people to order things and mail them to you. yet they didn't transition to this technology, technological space. Of course, now they no longer exist. It's

David Avrin 3:42 

like wow. in some ways, it was just a lack of refreshing the brand. You look at some of these sort of older brands, there's some older brands that are doing very today General Electric or, or things like that, or McDonald's but the ones that are sort of seen as that old tire, they didn't refresh the physical locations, they didn't refresh their process, I remember as a kid, getting that Christmas wish book was the biggest deal of the year, when the Christmas catalog came for them. But you think about how many other brands like Montgomery Ward, or Oldsmobile. I remember they tried to counter the perception in their ads when they would go that it's not your father's Oldsmobile. Well, yes, it was. It was. around some of these brands, nobody bought them. Nobody saw it was cheaper to actually start something new than to try and change your perception of something that was old and tired. There's a lot of psychology and that and it's a lot easier to form an impression than to change an impression. That's why companies that go through challenges or scandals. It's a lot of work to overcome all of that.

Robert Peterson 4:54 

Oh, absolutely. Al before we get too far I want you to share your own entrepreneurial journey and what's led you down this path to being a professional consultant speaker. of course , customer experience trainer, ultimately.

David Avrin 5:09 

I like many people, I started off as a child. I was very young, it's a good place to start. Very young, when I started very young. No, I am. I spent most of my career in marketing, and marketing and branding, I worked for hospital healthcare systems. I went on my own in 1995. yes, I'm that old, and worked with a lot of big national brands and helped launch restaurants across the country and did some work with Boston Market, and some others as well. I spend most of my career helping organizations craft the more effective words to describe what they do. My early career was all in marketing and branding. How do we talk about ourselves in a way that truly differentiates? Everybody loves to talk about their quality and commitment and caring and trust in people and ask them, what, you're different for us. It's about the people really, for everybody else. It's about what crustaceans or hears, but it was such pedestrian language that worked back then, and quality is job one, or the companies that would would talk about such basic things like, financial institutions saying honesty, integrity, and trust, at first national we, you're literally telling people, you're not going to cheat them. There was a time probably in the 60s and 70s, when that kind of an approach worked. Anybody who's in food service, they only start with the freshest ingredients, you're serving the food, what's the alternative there? we use nearly expired ingredients, but we pass the savings onto you. That was my early career. I spent a lot of time helping organizations craft words that were more effective, that were more evocative, that were more descriptive. But I saw a significant change happening probably six or seven years ago. The shift was, from having a lot of value in what we said about ourselves too much more value and what other people say about us. It's not that what we say about ourselves is unimportant. It's just not as important today as what other people say, that's social proof. Because we have many vehicles and venues to communicate to complain to  , you're not going to go to a movie without checking Rotten Tomatoes, doesn't mean that that's going to be the final decision, but it's an influence, You're gonna go to Yelp, you're gonna go to TripAdvisor, and rotten tomatoes, and Glassdoor social proof today carries tremendous weight.for me, it was a big shift, I had spent a lot of years working with organizations speaking that's, that's my primary job. I'm a keynote speaker and consultant. I've been doing that for over 20 years. I saw a big shift in the clients I was working for.I made a shift in my own business.I no longer talk marketing and branding, there's an element of it. But I've come to recognize that the customer experience and doing business with an organization is the primary driver today. Convenience is more persuasive than quality. Not the quality is unimportant. But when companies talk about us, it's all about the quality. Or here's what I get.I was speaking at a conference, and the CEO spoke before me and did a big state of the company. he says he gives the whole state of the company at the very end, he says, and remember, at the end of the day, we are going to win on quality. At the end of the day, it is about quality, and they're clapping and cheering, and I thought, oh, my gosh, I could not disagree more.

Robert Peterson 8:48 

I'm gonna get on stage and get fired.

David Avrin 8:51 

I had that voice in my head, like, do I say it? Do I contact him because here's the reality. Quality is assumed today. qualities. It's not unimportant. It's incredibly important. But it's not at the end of the day. It's at the beginning of the day. Quality is the entry fee. Quality gives you permission to do business in the marketplace. Because if you weren't a good marketplace, we'll figure it out pretty quickly. We have many mechanisms for complaining in companies.my message today is that at the beginning of the day, it's about quality. That's the foundation. But at the end of the day, success is about competitive advantage. It's not what you do? Well, what do you do better than others who do it well? There's been this great sort of equal equalization commoditization of many intricacies of industry industries, everybody's good. Or at least good enough? And sometimes good enough at a better price point is a better choice, but the bad players get weeded out.when companies talk about quality and commitment and caring and trusting people, here's what the research shows today. Customers are prioritizing speed, speed of service, speed response, speed of access, speed of information, not just delivery, but that's part of it. speed, flexibility, combination, which is different from flexibility. and convenience, today convenient, Trumps quality. In terms of our decision making process, we assume everybody's good. Okay, who can get it to me faster? Absolutely. I saw something on TV. This is sort of big in the news. I know your podcast is pretty evergreen.when they're when we're watching this a lot, a lot in the news about Bed, Bath and Beyond. they've been struggling of late the last couple of quarters, they've been down. But a couple of weeks ago, they had one of their representatives on TV. She was talking about how they had two down quarters. She said we'd had challenges. She was explaining it . She says we've had challenges with the supply chain, there were certain items customers couldn't get, and I looked at my wife and I said that is garbage. They're not down because people couldn't find things. They're down because people aren't going to bed, bath and beyond. They're sitting in their living room, and they're going on Amazon, and they're getting it delivered the next day or same day. Companies are scrambling to figure out how to compete in a world of profound convenience.There's a long answer to a short question, which is sort of my career. I did marketing, branding, most of my career. I've spoken and consulted. I still do it to an extent. But I've made a wholesale shift, because I've come to recognize that companies that are easy to do business with have a distinct competitive advantage. I help organizations future proof their business. to clarify one thing, I don't talk about customer service. people oftentimes equate or conflate the two services that we deliver, we've been talking about it for 40 years. If people know how to smile and be nice to people, you have bigger issues. What are we experienced as, as customers? How complex is your process? How frustrating? How rigid? Are you a business owner or entrepreneur? How maddening or time delayed? Is something that seemed fairly straightforward to us.that's what help organizations do.

Robert Peterson 12:23 

Yes. I know, the one example that not only did you share at the conference that we spoke about, but the people in the room experienced, the competence goes through the day, and people need to check out. the number of people that came up to you saying, oh, they wouldn't they wouldn't let me check out late because too many people had asked to check out late.

David Avrin 12:49 

 It was a great example. We were at the hotel where the conference was, and I told a story about wanting to check out early, or do a late check out of my hotel. the scenario that I shared about them being rigid of saying no late checkouts. It was echoed by many people at the conference who came up to me afterwards. After they left, I tried to do the same thing. they said no, no, too many people won't do it. So.in that case, let's let nobody do it. Let's treat everybody like children. No. Money.

Robert Peterson 13:24 

The challenge is, you mentioned how rigid how rigid? Are your guidelines rigid? Are you rules? And that's where the customer service piece of this really happens? Are you empowering your front facing employees to make decisions?

David Avrin 13:39 

It's scary. I'll tell you, it's scary for companies to let people make decisions. I get that, because they might make a wrong decision. But we spend most of our time and training helping people understand the rules, Are our employees, here's our guidelines, here's our policies. I would love to see them spend some time helping their employees understand what a good decision looks like, within the context of their business model.when somebody has an outlier, somebody has a special request, which at some point we all do. Sure, . We all don't fit in a box, companies love to create this customer journey that is predictable. Every step, here's how they learn about us and reach out to communicate and buy and customize and deliver and pay and follow up and all of that works. We design our customer journey because we want some predictability. I get that this is what an entrepreneur's journey is. We gotta figure out how people are gonna do business with us. How are we going to make money? If we can have a greater level of predictability of our customers journey then we can have predictability of sales and revenue and cash flow and we can plan for that. We can budget for that. The problem is your customers have never read your employee manual. They don't know how there's rules I don't know the rules. But But But But Companies are very good at quoting the rules. I remember I was talking to somebody from one of the cable companies about some wireless, high speed thing for my office. I tried to explain it. they just kept jumping in and saying, Well, here's where, we can't guarantee and I said, No, no, but that's not my issue. I started talking, they started talking again, and saying, but no, but here's a bit of, and I promise you, the question I have to ask you is more important than the script you want to read. Please listen to me. You understand? I teach that I have enough things in my back pocket. But  , your example was a really good one. I gave an example of a very rigid situation where I needed a late checkout. they just said, No, we're not letting anybody checkout early. The amount of people upset I just experienced the same thing. It's maddening. But in that situation, I just said to the young woman, okay, if I can get a late check out, I'm just not going to check out at all.I paid for them up if you're going to charge me for another day. I'll keep the room. but now you don't have a room for that conference. Attendee you were trying to get in real quickly? Is that the outcome you're looking for? And she'd like, goes in the backroom. One o'clock would be fine, you think. the problem is many of the frontline people, it's not their fault, There's just lazy managers who just say, let's just punish everybody. Because God forbid, somebody might actually want a unique scenario, or some measure of flexibility. Somebody's trying to go around your system.

Robert Peterson 16:38 

And clearly, the cleaning crew, no matter how large, can't clean 100 rooms at once,

David Avrin 16:44 

not at the same time. But it's a good example that is pretty indicative of what we're seeing from a lot of people, people who say, for your listeners and viewers, if you ever thought like that, I feel like I felt like I was talking to a brick wall. You were you weren't 

Robert Peterson 17:00 

because they have a script, or they've been taught a certain way to deal with this. this is the answer, the only answer they're allowed to give.that's what they're left with. Now, obviously, over the last three months, the airlines are falling into the same boat, and they have no, they have no customer service, they have no real answers. They're not being honest. Everybody knows they're not being honest. and they're just making themselves look worse. Because

David Avrin 17:29 

you're in constant crisis mode, which is only exacerbated by the fact that they're their fliers. Their customers are all in crisis mode. We're at a point because I traveled pretty extensively when there's not a pandemic, I travel and speak at conferences. I have 21 flights in the next five weeks. But I'm as a team, my staff, we sit down and we look at every scenario about how we do, which ones do we double booked flights in case something happens. I used to fly out towards the end of the day, the day before a speaking presentation, because I want to spend time with my kids. Now I take the first flight out the day before, because if I cancel it goes to the next. But here's the reality, if you look more broadly, there's this interesting dichotomy on one hand. Services are pretty terrible. People are struggling with staffing shortages. I get that it's a big challenge for business owners, challenged with supply chain, they have customers who are frustrated, because something is delayed for months, because there's a ship that's stuck offshore. On the other end, there's this incredible new menu of conveniences that we never had before, I have my groceries delivered, I would never have thought that that would be something reasonable for me to do. We just sit on the couch, my wife and I go in with the iPad, we just choose all the things that we want. An hour later, it's on our front doorstep. It's awesome.

Robert Peterson 18:58 

And now, Walmart and the grocery store offer memberships. if you join the membership, the delivery is part of that, that package and you can have, you can have multiple deliveries in the same day if you need

David Avrin 19:12 

  1. There's ridiculous conveniences. Okay, I'm not apologizing for it. But part of my message for business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and others is recognize what's changed for us. I ask audiences all the time. Does anybody notice that your customers and clients are a little more impatient, a little more demanding? And they'll give you the look like Welcome to my life? Well, we all are.

Robert Peterson 19:41 

Absolutely. I've had Amazon millennials since Amazon Prime started. Amazon Prime has set me up to expect my deliveries in two days. if I ordered from anywhere else, but Amazon in two days I'm like where is it? They haven't even shipped it yet. Like what's going on? Why isn't it? Why isn't it left there? Their warehouse? They haven't even printed a label yet, like that level of frustration because Amazon has set a standard. Now everybody else in the marketplace is competing against that standard of convenience.

David Avrin 20:11 

Get away. Here's what's interesting about that: we used to have to be one of the best within our category. I'm a keynote speaker, I've got to be one of the best keynote speakers on my subject to get good gigs. Best Chiropractor against all the other chiropractors, well, for the first time ever, ever, we are being compared against industries that have nothing to do with us. Nothing to do with us, you need something for your car or some part for whatever and, and your mechanics across town.why can you do it on Wednesday? Well, Amazon can do it. Same day. It's like we're not Amazon. Okay? but it's making organizations scrambled to really recognize where, where they can compete. You can lament all you want, you can complain about Amazon, I was in London, and the taxi drivers were just up in arms about Uber. They called it UberEATS, already a freaky Yuba. Visit Laura. My wife and I are just laughing in the back of this really cool taxi. But you can push for regulations to keep out disruption. But almost every disruption is just a better way of doing what we used to do. A better answer is to get better at what you do, the taxi taxis could have a long time ago, had an app and made it really easy to , instead of flagging them down instead of just trying to do it. Like when you go to Las Vegas, and you fly into Las Vegas. If you want a taxi, you walk out the door. But if you want to get an Uber, you have to go up the escalator across the way into the parking garage down to a different level and across the other side. Because the unions and I'm not anti union don't don't get on me about that whoever your listeners have pushed to make the rideshare apps really, really inconvenient. Isn't that the reason that we shouldn't be in taxis? Because you've artificially made the better choice and convenience? How about we all just get better at what we do? And for me, it's an exciting, exciting time. The innovations are really interesting. There's a whole new generation of entrepreneurs, we're rethinking how we solve problems? Traditionally, companies have every iteration of their product or services a little bit better. I want to be a little bit we're on the calendar here in about a week or the new iPhones are going to come out. Within two months, Google will replicate and surpass that and next year, it'll be a little bit better. This disruption is different from disruption as a more basic question, which is, is that how we should do it at all? ? If we were going to create a communication device in 2022, or 2023? What might that look like? And for me, it's super exciting. There's a whole new generation of innovations and conveniences coming from young minds who are just rethinking everything.

Robert Peterson 23:19 

there's obviously many things now that are more convenient. I talk about it all the time, that there's a price for convenience. one of the areas that we haven't considered, I just saw a video about the plastic water bottles, and the idea that bottled water is somehow better than tap water, all of a sudden, you and I grew up drinking out of a hose in the front yard. We were still here. But the convenience of these bottled waters that we're paying extra for we're wrapping in plastic, and actually hurting our planet because of convenience. In our culture, at least in the United States, fast food is more convenient. One of my guests the other day was working in a city in Oklahoma to create healthy food options. Because in this little town there, this little area, there's 15 fast food stores, and no convenient healthy food

David Avrin 24:23 

and food deserts.

Robert Peterson 24:26 

Yes, exactly. food desert and they're sacrificing health for convenience. At some point somebody's got to innovate a way to make health convenient. But we don't

David Avrin 24:37 

really I'm very much a free market economist and I agree. I agree. These communities are incredibly underserved. Somebody needs to be creative, and find an economic model that works

Robert Peterson 24:50 

 and that's what she's done. She's creating a grocery store that's going that they put into this and what the grocery store can do is support farmers and they're creating some kind of stand up farming like they're growing vegetables on poles and stuff. But it's interesting how I agree the free market, the free market, if left alone will create better solutions.

David Avrin 25:17 

]I do think that the government has a role to play to support those kinds of innovative things until it becomes profitable, whether it's renewable energy and others as well. But if there's a to me, there's much argument. I don't mean to get divisive about what is America, what makes America great, what makes America great is ingenuity, and innovation. less about harkening back to whatever  , the thing that really built this country is people with a dream, and an education and an idea. Now we have to get the government out of the way to allow them to do the work that they're going to do. But I have such trust in the innovation of people. Once a need becomes profound enough, somebody's gonna go there and figure out how to make money doing it.I'm excited, I'm excited about many of the changes and innovations. Some people have called it the new normal, or the new next, I heard somebody call it the touch free tomorrow. Some of those things, but then all it can, it can be an excuse, and I rail against this as well. In some ways. You'll see these wonderful conveniences. I love depositing a check with my phone and not having to go to the bank, when my daughter is off to college, and she needs money. she just texts me. Her ringtone is a cash register sound, by the way, nice.

Robert Peterson 26:41 

Very true.

David Avrin 26:45 

 I just sent her money.I love that convenience. But on the other hand, companies can use those kinds of conveniences as an excuse, as a long term excuse. My wife and I were in Nashville about two weeks ago for an event and we're at this very nice restaurant with some colleagues. We were sitting there and finally I said, Can we get menus, please?'' the waiter pointed to the QR code. I said, I got that. But I'm almost 59 years old, like I can't read stuff on my phone, could you have our actual menu? They didn't. they said, for us, we just use the QR code. It works really during COVID. we were recognized that we can update menu items. and I looked at him. It's not his fault. But I teach this of course. I said, Well, it's easier for you. it's more convenient for you. But I'm the one who's about to pay for a really nice dinner. I can't read this. Is there an option? There was no option. That's where the pendulum swings too far. When you go in, it's the only option when I go shopping. I got three teams home during COVID were new empty nesters but we have a big WalMart where we are and I'm grocery shopping and literally overflowing carts. I get to the front and the manager tries to direct me to self checkout. I'm like, No, you don't understand I'm really bad at this. I was gonna go park in the employee parking lot because I figured if I'm going to do the work, then at least I don't remember getting a 1099 from Walmart for the work that I did. I'm not being demeaning. I'm terrible at self checkout. what's going to take me 45 minutes. A train checker could do it in four.but they say oh no it but we give you a choice. It's not a choice. You got one staff checkout lane with nine carts waiting in line 27 self checkout. It's gone too far in. Listen, what does Walmart need to do? Listen to me. They're being honest, and have made the calculation that we're going to make people do the work themselves. My wife loves self-checkout. I hate it. Give us an honest choice.

Robert Peterson 28:54 

Because it just depends too. There's the option our grocery store here handles it much better and has both options.if my carts overflow, I'm absolutely letting the checker do it because like you said they do it much faster and with fruits and vegetables.

Robert Peterson 29:16 

exactly. They know it all.our grocery cart grocery store does a pretty good job although they just opened two brand new, full full line self checkouts like it's a whole big conveyor belt and leads into bagging and my wife loves it. One of the things you mentioned earlier on, when you were talking about brands refreshing and making that change and updating, and you mentioned McDonald's, and my wife and I were just talking about this, on our corner, there's a McDonald's and there's a Burger King. We've lived here for 15 years, and the McDonald's has been remodeled four times. they're just now remodeling the Burger King and tearing or tearing out that old it. We both comment all the time, but I don't know how they stay open. There's like two, two people there and one of them works there. it's been that way the entire time we've lived here, but that that idea of, of refreshing, like the Chick Fil A's only been here 10 years, just down the street, and they just completely tore it apart and rebuilt the new, a new building on a brand on a brand new building, as far as , 10 years, that's not very long at all. But that brand Refresh is valuable, because of the message that it sends. McDonald's has done that corporate wide. But other companies are figuring that out.

David Avrin 31:14 

But it's all a good metaphor for every business model. It's refreshing your approach, and your product mix, and the services and how you communicate. and we see this with many Listen, I don't expect that I can get my haircut at four o'clock in the morning. But I certainly expect that I can make an appointment without talking to a person. I should be able to go online and select.many business owners and especially family owned businesses, this is a unique dynamic, they're enamored with the history, they're enamored with the fact Oh, people notice that we've been here for 50 years. Well, 60% of the people locally haven't even lived where you are for 10 years, they came from somewhere else.Complacency is a real challenge. As you had said before, companies aren't going to survive, or they're going to be greatly diminished. Because there's somebody who's young and hungry, behind them, or disruptive or doing it differently.I love the idea of sort of future proofing your business of just taking a step back and say, if we were going to start this today, how would we do it differently? because that's what anybody else can do. Somebody else comes new to your market unless you have a business model with a significant barrier to entry. Like if you're an automaker, not everybody can do that. But most businesses, especially small businesses aren't.when it's one of the exercises that I didn't want to go and work with companies and organizations, things that I often do is do that exercise of saying imagine you left your company today, you left on really good terms. They asked everybody to come to the break room, and they said surprise, and they got cupcakes, and they thank you for your service. you go and you opened up a competing business two weeks later, across town, fully funded, but you're not bound by any legacy policies, or symptoms or systems, or people or leases or anything like that. you gotta start from scratch. But , everything that , if you were going to start that same business today, what would you do differently? and elicits some phenomenal conversations and great ideas, I probably wouldn't do this, or I would I would outsource this part of it, all of those things are but just focus on this part, which is really our core competency, I probably wouldn't have as big a physical location because that's a big rent every month because we're a third of our people could work virtually, well, new players in the marketplace, new competitors, they get to start from scratch. they come in and they beat you.when we do that exercise oftentimes with leaders of organizations, I say let's do it to ourselves. Let's fix our problems before somebody else comes in. Because when it happens to you, we call that disruption. But when we drive the change internally, we just call it innovation. It's the same thing. Disruption happens to you. Innovation is driven by us.that's part of my message is just really challenging organizations, refresh, rethink, reconsider, take a step back. You may have a business model, and I say this to entrepreneurs all the time. If you have a business model 1020 30 years old, and processes and systems and products that were created back then, and it always worked. Think how much we have changed the buyers in the last five years. How do you expect to communicate how we expect visibility into your process? If somebody has to call you and ask what the status of their order is? You're already losing.

Robert Peterson 34:59 

Absolutely Well, I'm thinking about talking with leadership and having leadership stick, step back. What about leadership asking the frontline the people that are dealing with customers? What would you change? What would you do differently as the frontline person, the person representing our company, to the public, under perceived differently? And what would that look like? it's a challenge for entrepreneurs, especially solopreneurs small businesses, to even to sometimes take the time to figure out what is their customer journey? What is their customer experience? And how can we, how can we make it easier? How can we make it one click instead of 10? On your website? How can we

David Avrin 35:39 

100% Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. But here's the thing, Robert, people are, they're just busy, we're doing the work, . I've heard speakers say, you don't care about this, you don't care about? Are you kidding? Everybody cares. I don't I don't demean entrepreneurs and others, everybody's working hard,

Robert Peterson 35:59 

was just like the parent, the parent that doesn't treat their kids the best, but they're working with the best tools that they have. the same thing for entrepreneurs, they're, they're working with the very best that they have. They've just hit their limit. and they don't, either, they don't have time to even consider this as an option. they're just busy, that it's like I believe that

David Avrin 36:20 

they fall back on what works. But what worked five years ago, in some cases, in some cases, it works just fine, it will for a long time, there's a lot of traditional business practices that are pretty universal. But some of the experiential things are the things that have changed. That's where I focus my business. To be clear, I have many colleagues and other great, very smart people who talk about how we create Wow experiences. I don't think most businesses lend themselves to wow experiences, it's really easy to get on stage or in a book and talk about Zappos or talk about Amazon, or talk about Apple. Most of us are not those, if you're selling a little electronic part that goes into a bigger electronic part that goes into an automotive dashboard. There's not a lot of WoW in that. But it doesn't mean you don't WoW is, wow it is being able to get information really quickly. Wow, is being able to make any minor changes on your cell phone, while I was being able to click a thing and knowing exactly where it is in the process, what time it's going to be delivered.when you have four other subs that you have to schedule around the installation of that. That's why I'm just a big believer that today, that real competitive advantage is being ridiculously easy to do business with. There's companies who are just phenomenal products and services, and pardon my language, they're just a pain in the ass to work with.

Robert Peterson 37:52 

And they probably won't last because somebody's going to come up with something that does it a little nicer, and does it with a better attitude, and makes it easier for the customer. But it's interesting how companies are stuck on their systems, their processes, their tradition. Having come from a church background, we see that all the time . I remember, I remember, one of my early years I was interning at an early elder meeting and one of the elders was saying if the drums are ever on stage, that's lit and Satan enters the church. Now of course, the majority of worship music includes drums and drum sets. it's that there's just this blindness to innovation.

David Avrin 38:38 

that I don't question people's intent. I don't question their work ethic. I just don't, people are working hard to support their families and others as well. But when things change, it's scary. What's safe is what's worked, what always works. That's what goes back to the old parable of who moved the cheese ? Remove my cheese. holds true in many ways. Now, there's other industries that , even if your manufacturing processes stay the same, even if the content of your counsel stays the same, or is universal or timeless. How people engage with you has changed how people schedule with you how your process is delivered, or built or customized. That's where the opportunity is. I had to be really careful when I first started talking about this because when I wrote the book, which is behind me here called why customers leave and how to win them back. It started off just as a rant, like 24 Different things that just frustrated the heck out of me. I'm talking to my wife . I hope this resonates with other people because she's an angel under my representative Angel. She's fine. I go off on a rant about something. It's fine. I'm like, No, it's not fine. I'm the kind I'll tells you funny stories. This is a difficult thing to work with, or live with. I went to the grocery store and I struggled through the Self Checker. I'm trying to do the wand and it's not working. Then it says, unexpected item in the bagging area, please wait for it and I'm looking around, I can't find anybody. I saw some staff in the distance, and I grabbed the prize gunners shooting people. they're kind of just staring at me blankly and I shoot other people. I put my hands up like anybody can I get some help? And I go home and my wife says, Do you need help bringing in the groceries? And I said, No, I don't have any she goes, you went to the story and I did. This is where the groceries are. I said they're still there at self checkout. She says Did you just leave?'' But he said halfway. I got frustrated. Now, of course she would very much like she's a sweetheart, she had just gone through and scanned everything and waited for help. I was just frustrated. I literally left, I left my food. I left the stuff because Anyway, like I said, I'm a little bit of a rant.when I was writing the book, she was such a great sounding board for me. She says, You need to be more than just diagnostic. You need to be prescriptive. My wife has a master's in psychology. She says don't just tell them what they've done wrong, tell them or suggest how to do it. That has made such a difference in my presentation to my counsel. The first part is very funny. I went on these rants and you were there. I talked about the things that are frustrating. But what's really important is saying here's how to get better. Here's how to look at it. I'm very optimistic. there's many great opportunities for companies that are paying attention to do this better.at the end of every chapter, it says I go on a little bit of rant about something that companies think works. But here's and the very first part says here's why. Here's why you do it. Tom, I understand why you have the policy, here's why you do it. But here's why we hate it. Here's a better choice, or here's a better alternative.it's letting them off the hook. Nobody's trying to frustrate their customers by trying to do good business, but they're trying to have predictable business. The problem is, Robert, how many of your friends are the same? CEO and account fine, like three, three to five? None?  That's the quandary of the challenge that companies have now? Well, predictability.

Robert Peterson 42:34 

You mentioned the self checkout. and everybody kind of said the same thing about McDonald's. We hang out at McDonald's, and they've got these new kiosks and, and an app and, and they're like, well, I know, I've ordered it myself, and , I should get paid for placing my own order, get a discount. But when I talked to the franchise owner, he actually said we actually employ more people in production. Because we have four different ways for people to order food now. Oh, we're actually producing, we're actually producing more than we were before.nobody

David Avrin 43:13 

will get better at it, they're guessing we'll get better over time.

Robert Peterson 43:16 

And of course, they know they incentivize using the app, get you great deals, if you use the app, you get deals if you use the kiosk, and you still can have a human being do it. Most McDonald's sometimes get busy in their drive thru, they ignore the human element but they created this for convenient options. I love to order your food. Now of course with COVID they had we've added delivery and now we've added your pick it up, pick it up outside, pick it up in the drive thru, or , walk in and pick it up. and it's crazy. They are ridiculously easy to work with. Because they've created all the options, and not just said, Hey, you have to use this this one because that's,

David Avrin 44:00 

That's the key. I'm not naive. I know that self Services is here to stay. I know that chat bots, which is short for robot, by the way, is going to overtake live person chat. Just give us an off ramp, give us an off ramp to a real person. But McDonald's is beyond brilliant and leading the way I saw an interview with the CEO. It was probably 10 years ago. It was something along the lines of that 98% of the population in the industrialized world lives within three miles of a McDonald's. he saw the future being and this is pre COVID The future being delivery. But then of course it brings a whole nother level of challenges, which is the last mile, great products and services, but they're not responsible for the last mile that's Uber Eats and that's DoorDash and that's Postmates and all those as well. But once again, wonderful new conveniences. So

Robert Peterson 44:58 

 Those companies are all still figuring Get out too, because not one of those companies is profitable yet.they're even in the midst of COVID, which, which saved most of those companies, most likely. But the reality is they're still not profitable as corporations. they still they're still figuring out this employee model and how they're going to how they're going to compensate and gas prices going up.they're all facing some innovation challenges in the midst of their growth.

David Avrin 45:29 

I love innovation, intelligence, that just means we get better. and absolutely every innovation, we win as consumers. Absolutely everything that's gone by the wayside. we can lament the loss of Toys R Us, and then selja. But do you struggle to find toys today? Is it really hard to find toys? Nope. Not at all.

Robert Peterson 45:51 

Nope. It's hard to put my hands on one and touch it before I order it. But

David Avrin 45:57 

Somebody was saying that they really miss going to Blockbuster and kind of staring at the wall and making a selection. I'm like, I don't know.

Robert Peterson 46:05 

I don't even miss Netflix coming in my mailbox and having to walk out of the box.

David Avrin 46:12 

I love playing the stuff. I have a 19 year old son. He's my youngest. We just took him to college or we're new empty nesters. I love sort of playing the game of like, do you really? Do what this is? And like a T shirt with a symbol for the old 45 record the little insert, adapter the whole thing. I said, What's that? He says fidget spinners and no, and he doesn't know what these things are.I said, What does this phrase mean to you? Be Kind Rewind. we laugh because of course, that's when you bring back the video cassette of the blockbuster. But there were many things. I remember he was in my office. If you look behind me, I have some really cool old things. I have an old typewriter and I have old microphones and some kind of old media symbols.I had this old typewriter behind me in my office. He was, oh God, he was probably six or seven. he's in there just playing on it one day and typing on it. Then he says, How do you do ? Where's the screen? How do you do what you're typing? And I said, it doesn't have a screen where you put paper. I showed you where you put paper on their back because it's a printer. They would just have no idea. I was at some baby boomers store out of Washington DC. It is literally called a baby boomer store. I got an etch a sketch with which I would listen, I was pretty good. Just saying. I gave it to him. He was probably eight or nine. he takes it and he's turning it over and turning it over and turning it over. I said what are you doing? He says, where's that? Where do you turn it on? Dude, you don't turn , turn it on. He's like, Okay, this is lame. But think about it for the rest of us. If somebody.here we are, as we record this now it's 2022.imagine in 1970 to 50 years ago, some random guy was caught up in some temporal vortex and spinning around and all of a sudden, he's magically flung into today. He would starve to death, you would have no idea he wouldn't have no idea how to make a phone call, how to pay for something, how to buy something. You wouldn't know what emojis were or the internet or the world has changed? Absolutely. It's incredibly exciting. But many businesses are dragging their feet. And I can say if necessity is the mother of invention, The people will find some way to make money, then complacency is the father of disruption. The more people are complacent, the more somebody's going to come in and rock their world. they're going to scramble to catch up.

Robert Peterson 49:04 

 true. I help entrepreneurs with mindset and our cultural mindset is good, that our net nature goes towards complacency, Comfort agents change dangerous comforts. safe.sitting on the couch, having my beer gone to bed, waking up next morning, going to work, having my coffee, going home, having dinner and a beer going to bed, We create this safe cycle. they're living by default, they're living in that complacency space.when you get a group of humans in a company, the same natural thing happens unless you're intentional, Unless you're living intentionally with goals for your physical fitness with goals for your mind with goals for your activity, you will fall back to that complacency. I think for people and for companies, it's really important to live intentionally.

David Avrin 50:06 

There's another factor in business that makes it even more difficult. You're all competing against the workload. . It's just that we're busy. I remember back in the, in the 80s, this was sort of the day of the back in the time of the continuous improvement movement, Six Sigma Kaizen and all that. But it was the CQM and the T Qi that continuous quality improvement and total quality management really transformed businesses, really a phenomenal movement to consistency and quality. But at the time, I was PR director at Children's Hospital in Denver, Colorado, or in my mid 20s. At that time, we had hired a big firm to do this whole big CQI continuous quality improvement initiative. Throughout the hospital, part of it was compliance with health regulations, or whatever else. I was early as an employee, and there was everybody in the auditorium, and they were rolling out this new initiative. I remember looking in the back in this row of nurses standing along the back wall with their arms folded and their gum, just shaking their head. This is nonsense. one of them raised her hand and the woman on stage was presenting this whole program that we're going to do nursing the back, and we know they do all the work, said, I don't have time, none of us have time, we don't have time for another initiative, we learned in another program. We're up to our elbows in diapers and blood and whatever else, there's no time for this. The woman's response has stuck with me to this day, because the woman's response was brilliant. she said, this isn't about doing more. This is about doing what you're already doing differently. I have carried that with me that when we're in organizations, it's daunting, it's daunting when they think about how we do social media, there's all these different sides, how do we prioritize ? And the easiest thing to do is nothing or to do what you've always done, because it's overwhelming. I like the line, it's not about doing more, it's doing what you're already doing differently. That requires taking a step back and saying what's changed in the world? What are the things that we love with other companies? And what would it take for us to implement? Because some of the best innovations are actually coming from other industries? And that, to me, is pretty exciting.

Robert Peterson 52:27 

One of the things that, obviously, there's a lot of great things that have come out of COVID. the online workspace and the options for work at home. It's interesting how as humans, we say, we're busy. We've, we're saving an hour to 90 minutes in commute. But we're gonna have time. Social media, that time filled up for everybody, 

David Avrin 52:53 

Where do you live?

Robert Peterson 52:55 

Denver? I'm,

David Avrin 52:56 

you're here. Oh, you're local.I'm doing calls with clients all over the world. Even during COVID? I did. I did 87 virtual presentations on a webcam in my basement. Not ideal, but I made it work. But I did seven of those presentations between one and 4am. Because well, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Singapore.they're on the other side of the planet. For and I'm having zoom calls with people all over all over the world. For my parents, it's magic, this is this for their generation they've passed. This was the magic for you and I, it's Tuesday. . It is what I heard a lot, early COVID When people weren't sure how long and the people really freaked out. Besides those who had to shut their business down. Were the salespeople. Because like I have to be able to face to face I have to I was literally training people on how to do zoom calls, which isn't that complicated. Just look at the cameras that are looking at the person's face. But they were petrified that they couldn't make the same connection. here we are two and a half years later, and I'm still on group zoom calls. somebody's got palm trees behind them or the Golden Gate Bridge and I'm like it's been two and a half years. Dude, it's not funny anymore.

Robert Peterson 54:24 

Take your own picture come up with something or just curate your

David Avrin 54:29 

background.For those who are looking at the virtual video version of this, you have your logo behind me, but I've got all my books strategically located next to my head. I've got pictures of my beautiful wife and others. It's like the people who are dragging their feet who are still there. I was on a call this morning with a client and there were five of us on the call. One of them had their camera off because they had gone to the gym or something else. you want to say we all made it . We all put on a shirt or combed our hair. But it's just used as an excuse.I just think we can all up our game doesn't take that much. You have no idea what's happening from the waist down now. I've got bare feet and some sweatpants on. But the reality is when we're on we're on with our clients and our customers. and there's no reason to drag our feet. because we know too much.as you had said before, it's about getting out of the comfort zone. Because there are some really great opportunities, We know in fitness, when you don't work a muscle, it atrophies. Same thing.

Robert Peterson 55:45 

Absolutely well, and the brain is absolutely a muscle until keep putting that thing to work, because it's too important to let it atrophy your

David Avrin 55:53 

Jeopardy every day for the last 20 years. That's my, that's my, my daily routine. keeps me sharp and actually distresses me. I'm a Jeopardy fanatic. Nice. That's what I do at the end of every day. Keep those neural pathways sharp firing.

Robert Peterson 56:12 

Al David, we're gonna switch it up real quick. Yes, sir. Favorite, Most Memorable Date with your wife.

David Avrin 56:18 

Most favorite day with my wife, I'll tell you something really funny.I'm very blessed to have found love again later in life. Mike, I was married for 20 years and would love to refer to that trip last but it didn't. I've been with my wife for 10 years. My last and only and forever and wonderful.she knew I spoke for a living but she had never seen me speak because I don't speak locally, it never happens, as they say, you're never a prophet in your own land.I traveled to places. She doesn't need to come see me when I'm speaking in the back room at Perkins restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa. But the first time she saw me, we got to go on an international trip. I spoke on the mainstage for the million dollar roundtable. Now that's like Carnegie Hall for the speaker is through the million dollar round table.the first time she ever heard me speak was before 10,000 insurance professionals in the million dollar round table in another country. and it was nice, because I could impress her but I looked at her. It's not always like that. Which is just to know. But I've been really fortunate with my wife that we get to do some really wonderful things together things that my parents would have dreamed of my mom passed away at 69 She had a stroke and and never owned a passport.I get to travel the world 24 countries far.every I know it sounds really sappy. But every time I get to travel with my wife, and see something new together and through her eyes is the best date I could possibly have loved Angel.

Robert Peterson 57:55 

I've traveled extensively and my wife is just now starting to go with me. I was able to take her to Kenya for our 25th anniversary. She has a list of other places that she's like to go to and we're building the business to make that happen.it's it's definitely exciting. I love that idea of seeing things through her eyes. But just being able to have that experience together is much fun. David, what inspires you?

David Avrin 58:27 

Well, it's a great question. The answer that has changed. It was chasing a lot of success, which I'm still doing to love my family. But as I'm sort of approaching my third act, as I said, new empty nesters, my priorities have changed and it's very much about as they say, leaving the campsite better than you found it. When I started this new legacy initiative. I believe that for those of us who have enjoyed a measure of success, it's important that we send the elevator back down and, and and lift somebody else up as others lifted us up.whether it's mentoring, or things that outlast you, there's a lot of talk about , how do we we save up and what do we leave for our children? I want to leave it all while I'm here. I want to do good work while I'm here.that's what inspires me is his legacy. Leaving the end not about credits not about credit. It's about leaving the campsite better than you found it

Robert Peterson 59:36 

 good. It's such a simple concept I'm not a I'm not a tree hugger I'm not a I'm not a saved the planet but but I I want to leave the campsite better and I found it I want to humans are obviously responsible for the planet and acting like we're not responsible for the planet. It seems to be the most irresponsible thing that we can do. So, if each one of us takes responsibility for the planet, and I feel the same way about our fellow humans, we were responsible for each other and, and we should be helping each other and we should be encouraging each other and, and lifting each other up.

David Avrin 1:00:14 

And we can build on what other people have done. we're not starting from scratch, that's biblical, that's Deuteronomy. There is that we sit in the shade of trees, we do not plant. We built on foundations, we did not lay. Okay.there are others who have done every medical discovery, is just building on somebody else's work. we have to, we can't stop.

Robert Peterson 1:00:41 

 good. David, what's your big dream?

David Avrin 1:00:46 

My dream? Boy, that's a good one. My dream for many years was for my kids.there's something really comforting that they've all launched in a really successful way. Their challenges are more complex than they were when they fell down as a kid, you could give them a root beer popsicle. Nice. But Archer, But for me, it's about doing all the things. I'm really blessed to do all the things I've always wanted to do. I just want to do it all with my wife now. Nice. My dream is to do all the things that I want to do. do it all with her.

Robert Peterson 1:01:24 

Nice, David, the audience of entrepreneurs has, has listened to such greatness, your wisdom. But now I want you to leave them with David Evans, words of wisdom, what would you share?

David Avrin 1:01:36 

 what a share is rewind this and go back to the beginning. listen to this again, there's because I already shared all the wisdom. My wisdom is, don't stop kissing your kids. No matter how old they are. Like, literally, when your kids walk by, you have to attack them, you have to chew on the back of their arms, you have to kiss the back of their neck and chew on their ears. don't let them squirm away. Because they don't have a choice. Grant and your grandkids need to be covered with your saliva, in the most positive Kissam squish they stuck their eyeballs on their toes as best.

Robert Peterson 1:02:24 

It is absolutely the best. My wife's one, we both got certified as coaches in 2018. But she was still working for the state and one of her goals was to be a stay at home, grandma. then of course, COVID hit and she was a stay at home grandma with a job.she said, we need to change this and, and now she's left left the job and she's working we're working together and and our daughter's working for us.she comes over most days with the kids and we get to see the grandkids and go love love that my my one of my aspirations is to figure out a system where we can be grandparents without having to deal with the kids thing. and I know it's the million dollar idea like bottling the kids energy once we figure it out. It's priceless.

David Avrin 1:03:13 

I heard a great line. I'll leave you with this one. this is not original. This is the reason why grandparents and grandchildren get along as they both have a common enemy.

Robert Peterson 1:03:25 

Very, very big truce in that. David, thank you very much for joining me. You knew what a treat. How

David Avrin 1:03:33 

Do other people want to learn more about me? Look me up David averin.com to search me online everywhere.

Robert Peterson 1:03:40 

Absolutely. we'll include that in the show notes.make sure everybody gets all that information.