- Identity evolution. Changing one’s name post-marriage becomes a moment for contemplating identity in public spaces.
- CX wisdom. Travel experiences bring valuable insights into customer experience, emphasizing the balance between human interaction and technology.
- Global impact. World travels shape a unique and diverse lens on customer experience, enhancing consultancy approaches and writing insights.
In this discussion, CMSWire Contributor Nichole Hinton offers a fresh take on the multifaceted world of customer experience. The talk goes beyond treating customer service as a mere buzzword and delves into how culture and individual journeys shape the experience.
With insights from various cultures around the world, the interview reveals invaluable lessons in delivering exceptional customer service. The conversation suggests that the secret to excellent CX could hinge on finding the right balance between technology and the human touch.
Dom Nicastro: All right, Dom Nicastro, managing editor of CMSWire back with a familiar face with a new name. So that’s the news right off the bat. Nichole Hinton. Hi, Nichole.
Nichole Hinton: Hi. How are you?
Nicastro: Good. A large departure from the Devolites brand of Nichole, her former last name, but big news recently got married. Congrats.
Hinton: Thank you very much. And I feel like if Prince can change his name, it’s alright for me.
Nicastro: I love it. How do you pronounce your company’s name again, Nichole.
Nicastro: OK, LYSI company. You do CX consulting there. We know that. And you’ve been a frequent CMSWire contributor. We appreciate that very much.
Hinton: So besides the wedding news, we’re going to talk CX. How’s that sound?
Hinton: Sounds perfect.
Global Travels Reveal Unexpected Lessons in Customer Experience
Nicastro: OK, good. Now, first topic is, you know, you did a column shockingly about travel and CX. Like that’s that seems to be a theme. No.
Hinton: Yeah, small theme.
Nicastro: You’re either writing about your travels, or how your home experiences relate to CX, like going to a local grocery store, getting wine having to deal with inflation, with wine.
Hinton: So, right, they’re developing around what I like.
Nicastro: But seriously, these columns resonate because they have you’re getting experiences from around the world, not just like the North American experience with customer experience. And you’re learning some big lessons. So let’s talk about this column. You went you traveled around the world talked about three particular places. Let’s start with Seychelles, which I looked that up how to pronounce it. Did I do that right.
Nicastro: You did. Yes. So you went there, what did you learn?
Hinton: Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s, by the way, it’s so far away. For those of you that have no idea where this is, it’s in the middle of the Indian Ocean in East Africa. And that island, there’s a chain of them, actually. But most of those people don’t actually leave the island, the more that we met, the more that we found, they were born and raised, but they never felt like they needed to leave, because so many different cultures come in. They feel like they experience it while they live there.
But the really cool thing that I learned was a sense of community. They have tech, obviously, I mean, I was able to get access to the internet, but it doesn’t rule their life. It’s something where they’d rather build those human connections, which is what their customer service is based off of, is taking the time to get to know people and have conversations, something I think that you know, we tend to take for granted.
Unlocking Exceptional Customer Service Through Cultural Exchange and Language Learning
Nicastro: Yeah, yeah. And I think what was I think it was that example where the person that you’re talking with, like, like you said, had a lot of pride in meeting people in connecting people and being prideful about their island. And they kind of, you know, see getting getting in these positions is like a badge of honor.
Hinton: Yeah, they do. And, and it’s, it’s interesting, because in there’s an example, here’s our Orientation Guide, when we got to a resort, born and raised on the island never left. But she spoke three languages simply because the people that she met over time, taught her a lot of those languages. So she speaks both Russian and French. Now French, is traditionally what you would think they would speak and say shall there’s a whole history behind it. But usually they don’t they speak English. And so for them to learn this piecemeal just by people visiting the islands and then being curious, just think what that does for customer experience for people from other countries that might not speak English. So it’s really neat to see what kind of effect it’s had on the island, just in terms of, you know, connecting again, with humans, but also providing, you know, a higher level of experience you wouldn’t expect.
Dubai’s CX Magic: Where Memorable Moments and Tech-Driven Comfort Meet
Nicastro: Yeah, we use that as a metaphor with CX. We say speak the language of your customers. Literally that person did.
Nicastro: Which is really cool. And then you moved on, you went to Dubai, and you you think this is like the goat of customer experience. Like no one beats Dubai. CX is queen. Now why?
Hinton: Yeah, well, the first thing that I tell everybody is I’ve never gone to a mall where somebody else is opening my door. It’s not a you know, press the handicap button and you’re through the door. It’s somebody is there to greet you, and the way that they greet you, you just you feel like royalty, so to speak. And every single experience we had there, it didn’t matter where we were, was first class and it’s memorable, right? Those little memorable moments make a big difference. But the biggest one for me is we were staying in a hotel that is, you know, probably on the nicer end of the scale, but they used tech to support comfort. So for example, the curtains closed if you press a button, but they would call every day and ask what do you need, what do you need from us? What can we do for you?
And the more that we went places, the more that we heard this question. And it’s something that, you know, we also take for granted in America, right? We look at efficiency we look at, you know, okay, yes, we want to take care of people, but it’s for the sake of time and how much we’ve got on our plate, they will take the time, no matter what you do, no matter what they have to do to help you out.
And so it’s something that left a huge impression on us and why and we now get why it is so many people like going there. But above and beyond that, it really made us think about the little moments, right? And how just a little bit of help just a different kinds of level of personalization, or just making sure that somebody is taken care of in the smallest way. That is a memorable moment. And so we brought that back with us and actually brought it back in our business and tried to figure out, you know, how could we incorporate these kinds of little lessons that can make a big impact?
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Setting the Global Standard: Dubai’s Hospitality Industry Shapes Employee Handbooks
Nicastro: Yeah, like adopt that that mentality of just being super passionate about what you do, given it all in those eight odd hours that you just clock in for the day? And times? Sometimes there’s so good, you’re like, Are you sure you want to do that for me?
Hinton: You don’t have to go back and open my door. Right? Right. Well, we learned, we learn from a guy who was actually from Ghana, he was the door valet at the hotel. And he said, You know, it’s an honor to actually get any position in the hospitality industry in Dubai, because it’s setting the standard for all the hotels around the world. There are a lot of hotel brands that are now basing their employee handbook on the standards that were created in Dubai. So it to me is such a cool way to see a handbook come alive, knowing that fact really. And then seeing how proud they are to work in the hospitality industry there because they can write their own ticket to go anywhere and take higher level jobs or you know, even get promoted within Dubai hospitality?
Related Article: How Amazon Prime Created a Bad Customer Experience for Everyone Else
The Flip Side of Connection: How Tech Rescues Us from ‘People Exhaustion’
Nicastro: Yeah. And then our little CX traveler here, goes on. And then she contracts this big disease called people exhaustion. Now, where did that happen? And why did that happen? And what did you learn from that experience?
Hinton: Yeah, so I should preface this by saying that we’d already been to Amsterdam, then Seychelle, then Dubai, then Paris for a week. So as you can see why the people exhaustion.
Hinton: So I know, I know, I got it. But and I should make no mistake, I was working the entire time while this was going on. Um, by the time we got to Hamburg, Germany, which is what I think you’re referring to, I just had had a lot of big cities, right? It’s a lot of walking around and navigating ways, and I just tired. And so at that point, I really didn’t even want to leave the hotel. But you have a lot of amazing things to say in Hamburg, but I was just tired. So that’s when you start going, Gosh, what food delivery is or nearby, you could drop it off at the door, and I don’t have to talk to anybody.
But the point of that is that we all hit people exhaustion, right. And so that’s where the tech steps in. And it’s another thing that we learned was that anybody could get that anybody can get the people exhaustion. And so how do we have tech there to complement it? And you know, we use food delivery as an example. We tell people this kind of story. But really, it could apply to the to anything, where we supplement human interaction for that kind of tag just to kind of keep our sanity intact.
Finding the Balance: Tiny Moments in CX that Make a Big Impact
Nicastro: Yeah. Nichole, my wife and I are a little different. We we go at the people exhaustion thing right off the bat, we that’s where we start our trip, we’re in the hotel, wondering if the TV’s good, the room service works. So we kind of want to like ease into people. So we start that way we hide from everybody, and then we go out
Hinton: Good idea. Yeah, I should really think about reversing this.
Nicastro: But, you know, let’s, let’s ask one more question about the bringing this all together. And talking to the CX leader who’s not in Dubai, you know, maybe they’re in LA or something, and they’re trying to create these great experiences try to motivate their staff. What’s the final lesson here?
Hinton: Yeah, you know, right now, we’re all in a really tough position as CX professionals really trying to blend tech, and also, at the same time, deal with stress about budgets and figuring out, you know, how we still create that level of customer experience. Anybody that’s heard my articles know, I’m a big proponent of human interaction, because no matter what, that’s going to drive things a lot further than using tech to supplement in the case of people exhaustion.
And so when I travel the world, and I see these things, I really think about what is going to make me want to come back. And so that’s the big question that I always invite everybody to ask for themselves as customers, much less as a CX professional to say, what are the little things that are going to make me go, gosh, that’s really amazing. I want to go back and have another experience or I want to write about it or tell people about it. And so to me right now with that focus on smaller budgets and trying to do more with less, let’s focus on those tiny little moments that matter more, because that’s going to carry you a lot further at this point.
Nicastro: And that applies everywhere to B2B, you know, software sales.That’s the world we live in, you know, at CMSWire. We’re talking with vendors all the time and everything and our sales team is and, you know, they want to have that experience that makes the vendor say, hey, wow, okay. Yeah. CMSWire there’s good people there.
Hinton: Yeah, Let’s go back.
Nicastro: Yeah, absolutely. Customer retention. Nichole Hinton. It’s gonna take me a little while to get used to that. But congratulations on that.
Hinton: Thank you.
Nicastro: And we wish you the best, you and your your new hubby the best. And thanks for joining us again on CMSWire and thanks for another awesome contribution for an article.
Hinton: Of course. Thanks for having me.
Nicastro: All right, we’ll chat soon.
Hinton: OK, bye.