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Q&A with Dan Gingiss: “We don’t need everybody to be the same; we need everybody to bring their unique talents”

Customer service4 MIN READSep 11, 2023

Dan Gingiss


Dan Gingiss
 is a customer experience expert and author of the best-selling books “The Experience Maker” and “Winning at Social Customer Care”.

His over 20 years of experience in CX and marketing has helped some of the world’s leading brands, such as McDonald’s, Humana, and Discover.

What one invention would make your work life easier?

The Spam Eliminator™: Works on email, snail mail, and all social media channels. No. More. Spam!

If there were no holds barred, what change would you make to customer service?

I would turn the customer service agent role into something that is coveted, highly compensated, extremely rewarding and lots of fun. This employee experience enhancement would, in turn, greatly improve the customer experience.

If AI is going to change the customer service industry monumentally, who do you think stands to benefit most, and why?

The agent, and ultimately the customer. The best use case for AI is to help human agents eliminate complexity and time-consuming tasks, give them access to the answers to every conceivable question a customer could ask, and allow them to do what they do best (and what AI can’t do), which is to be human.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when nurturing a team?

A team is both a group unit and a bunch of individuals. We don’t need everybody to be the same; we need everybody to bring their unique talents so that the team as a whole is better. We also need to understand that a majority of individuals want to grow in their careers; they want to be at the next level in the organization. As a manager, your job is to help them get there.

What do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned recently?

When my girlfriend saw that I was getting down on myself for the speaking gigs I didn’t get, she asked me a simple question that changed my whole approach: “Do you celebrate the gigs you win?” The answer was no, so immediately we began a tradition of taking a moment to celebrate – even if it’s just clinking glasses – every win. It’s made a world of difference in my confidence – and in my success booking more speeches.

Which living person do you most admire?

Howard Schultz, the founder and multi-time CEO of Starbucks. I think Starbucks is one of the most customer-centric companies in the world, and much of that is due to his vision and leadership. 

Which book, podcast, or newsletter are you enjoying right now?

I am learning so much of the small details of the speaking business from Andrew Davis, who has both a free newsletter and the only paid newsletter I subscribe to.

What part of your day do you look forward to most?

I am generally not a morning person, but I do have a morning ritual no matter when I wake up: a cup of coffee and a daily newspaper. Yes, a real newspaper made of actual paper. I serve on the Board of Directors of my college newspaper and have several friends who are journalists, so I am doing my part to support journalism.

What’s your most memorable experience as a customer?

When my ex-wife was pregnant with our daughter, her water actually broke in the middle of a performance of Les Miserables at a theater near our home. The ushers sprang into action to help her, even reminding me to go get the car. After our daughter was born, we received a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a Playbill signed by the entire cast and crew of the show. It was such a kind and memorable gesture, and that Playbill is framed on the wall of my daughter’s bedroom all these years later.

Who is your favorite cat?

Real-life: My all-white Siamese cat Powder, who sat with me almost every minute of writing my book, The Experience Maker. Unfortunately he’s no longer with us, but he and I had a special bond.

Fictional: Garfield for sure! Bring on the lasagna!

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