The 2023 North American Career Education Convention left attendees buzzing with excitement following the keynote address by the renowned author Dan Gingiss, whose works include Winning at Social Customer Care and The Experience Maker. With a wealth of expertise in customer care and experience design, Gingiss delivered a presentation delving deep into the intricacies of the customer experience.
In today’s world, where institutions often echo each other’s attributes and accomplishments, the importance of standing out cannot be overstated. Gingiss highlighted that the contemporary landscape hungers for genuine, memorable experiences rather than an inundation of content and marketing. Furthermore, competing solely on the basis of product or service quality is growing progressively challenging as nearly every industry faces some degree of commoditization.
What People Share
Gingiss’ first tip underscores the significance of sharing. He acknowledges that while it is natural for people to share both positive and negative experiences, a notable imbalance exists. Approximately 30% of U.S. consumers, and likely a similar proportion of Canadians, are willing to share negative experiences on social media or write unfavorable reviews. In contrast, nearly half of consumers are equally inclined to share positive experiences. This inclination suggests that people genuinely want to share moments that bring them joy and satisfaction.
Consider your own behavior on social media platforms like Instagram. You will likely find that you eagerly share the highlights of your life – the vacations, celebrations, and achievements. This inclination to share the best aspects of our lives extends to experiences as well.
Gingiss asserted that by crafting exceptional experiences, individuals naturally become enthusiastic sharers. These experiences have the potential to not only transform entire industries but also create a legion of devoted brand advocates who eagerly share their positive encounters with others.
How do you create these experiences?
Gingiss discussed the concept of being WISE, which stands for Witty, Immersive, Shareable,
and Extraordinary. These principles, he suggests, can transform businesses and make them memorable in the eyes of the customer.
- Witty: Witty does not necessarily equate to humor; it is more about cleverness and a refusal to be boring. Employing language
effectively and thoughtfully can infuse wit into communication. It is about making interactions memorable by engaging students’
minds and eliciting smiles.
- Immersive: Immersive experiences are those that resonate deeply with individuals, touching them on emotional or sensory levels. The best
way to create an immersive experience is to either appeal to one of the five senses or to appeal to people’s emotions. When we can hit on their emotions, we are going to keep them with us.
- Shareable: Shareable experiences are those that compel individuals to capture and share them spontaneously. These moments are not forced; they are genuine expressions of joy and satisfaction. Crafting such experiences necessitates a strategic approach, ensuring that they are worthy of being shared.
- Extraordinary: Extraordinary does not mean extravagant; it simply implies going a bit further than the ordinary. It involves identifying areas where institutions can break away from the commonplace providing something exceptional to students.
Gingiss reassures institutions that becoming extraordinary does not necessarily require a substantial financial investment. Often, it is a matter of shifting perspective, being attentive to the details, and constantly seeking ways to elevate the educational journey.
To truly embrace the principles of being WISE, Gingiss encourages institutions to put themselves in their students’ shoes. Become your own customer. Take a walk through the student experience – fill out forms, navigate online systems, and engage with the institution as if you
were an applicant or student.
This approach offers a unique vantage point from which to identify areas for improvement. It is an opportunity to discover what might be considered ordinary about the institution’s experience and how to make it extraordinary. The process of self-assessment becomes the first step toward creating exceptional educational experiences.
Being WISE is not just about crafting extraordinary experiences; it is also about being Responsive. When students or stakeholders begin sharing their experiences, institutions must be part of that conversation. Responsiveness involves taking action based on feedback
and actively engaging with students.
In essence, institutions need to listen to what students are saying and use that information to enhance their offerings continually. Responsiveness ensures that students feel heard, valued and understood.
In a world saturated with information and choices, the key to success for educational institutions lies in providing remarkable experiences. The principles of being WISE – Witty, Immersive, Shareable, and Extraordinary – provide a roadmap for institutions to create memorable
experiences that differentiate them from the competition.
By embracing these principles, institutions can not only enhance the educational journey but also create a community of enthusiastic advocates who share their positive experiences. As Gingiss aptly puts it, it is about transforming satisfied students into the best salespeople
an institution could hope for.
The transformation to being WISE is not only achievable but also sustainable, giving institutions a path to growth and success. By focusing on the power of experiences, educational institutions can secure a lasting place in the hearts and minds of students, ensuring
their continued success in an increasingly competitive landscape.
Guest post by Jenny Faubert, Vice President of Communications, Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU). This article was reprinted with permission from Career Education Review, a publication of CECU. Subheads were added for better readability in a digital format.
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