John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

U.R.X. | Carpe Momento | THERE YOU ARE!
November 18, 2015, 7:16 am
Filed under: Customer Service
Employee apathy creates Customer apathy – Today too many companies think it is a race to evolve their Customer Experience from costly human interactions to the bells and whistles of fancy technology like self check in/out iPads, apps, kiosks, marketing and by communicating solely through social media channels, and online support. While this is a necessary evolution for our business models, this must not come at the expense of sending our employees the message that it is no longer about you and what you do, you are no longer a critical piece of the Experience. Employees will feel less important, having a decreased sense of value and disconnection from the company’s purpose, which will create employee apathy. Employee apathy produces Customer apathy.  Customer apathy is a sign of a terminally ill business. We cannot let our leaders and employees rely on technology as a crutch for the Customer Experience. 

URX – Our employees need to be reminded and told constantly, “You are the Xperience.” (URX) That it is about them, how they interact with the Customer. Ipads, apps, websites, and kiosks don’t build relationships. People do. Employees who connect instead of communicate create loyal Customers. Consider making your 2016 CX theme around URX – “You are the Xperience.” 

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Are you in LOVE; Expertise is not an advantage; Loyalty on the decline
November 11, 2015, 7:13 am
Filed under: Customer Service
Is Expertise no longer a competitive advantage? An article appearing in Harvard Business Review, titled, The End of Expertise, talks about how expertise is losing the respect that for years had earned premiums in any market where complex knowledge is valued. Talk to people in such professional service industries as private banking, auditing, consulting, even engineering, and you begin to hear concerns about the commoditization of professional knowledge. So much of what Customers would have called an expert for in the past, can be found online in a few minutes today. 

Being Human – If genuine expertise is no longer commanding its traditional premium in the marketplace, how can professionals differentiate themselves? It comes back to relationships; building strong, solid relationships, based on emotional connection, trust, and empathy. It is back to the future, where technology has taken us 360 degrees by knowing your client as a person and genuinely being interested in not only him/her as a Customer, but as a person, with a family and dreams. 

NewDay USA accelerates growth by inspiring Millennials
November 5, 2015, 7:51 am
Filed under: Customer Service
Well read – In last week’s eService (one of my more popular ones) I shared The difference between a Mission, Purpose, & Customer Service Vision Statements. In it I demonstrate the clear difference and importance of each statement, especially how it should be interpreted by your employees. In this eService I want to demonstrate exactly how one company does that. 

NewDay USA is one of the fastest growing VA mortgage lenders serving America’s veterans and their families. NewDay
has a similar dilemma to what many other companies face; their Customer facing employees don’t have the same perspective as their primary Customer. The vast majority of NewDay’s Account Executives are in their mid-to-late twenties, and a high percentage of NewDay’s Customers are Vietnam Veterans. So you can see how it would be hard for a 25-year old, recent college graduate, to relate, empathize, and walk in the shoes of a 72-year old Veteran. On top of that, too many leaders discount what a great workforce the millennial generation can be. Not Rob Posner, CEO of NewDay USA. Posner has created a strong purpose, making sure every one of his employees has compassion and empathy for their Customer.

The difference between a Mission, Purpose, & Customer Service Vision Statements
October 28, 2015, 7:26 am
Filed under: Customer Service
Statement overload! When we start working with a consulting client and tell them the first place we start is creating a customer service vision statement, they say, “The last thing we need is another statement, we have mission statements, purpose statements, and our employees can’t even keep them straight.” Good businesses have evolved away from lengthy
wordy mission statements that no employee can recite. Today it is okay to have three major company statements, provided it’s clear as to how they differ and how your employees need to
decipher them. 

What is controllable? While every company needs strong, inspiring mission and purpose statements, they are results, not actions. If your mission is to be the #1 financial institution in the world, what does that tell a bank teller or loan officer to do today, as they interact with each Customer. Even the greatest mission and purpose statements are not actionable by employees. Let’s look at a few great purpose statements:

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time

John Robert’s Spa: To enhance the quality of lives around us 

The DiJulius Group: Changing the world by creating a customer service revolution 


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Are you just a line item on a P&L? The best three-minute speech
October 21, 2015, 7:33 am
Filed under: Customer Service

CX Love – Customer Experience Officers are committed to a life of transforming how people are treated. Well then, what happens when two CXO’s meet, fall in love and eventually get married? Can you imagine what their wedding vows would be? Check it out CXLOVE

The best three-minute speech – While the 2015 Secret Service Summit featured an incredible lineup of prestigious headlining speakers, the one that captured the hearts of the 600+ attendees was a high school senior who has never spoken publicly before. However, it just goes to show you, when you speak from the heart, nothing can compete with authenticity. I am proud to say the presenter was my middle son, Cal DiJulius, who was speaking about under privileged kids trying to overcome hardships. While Cal spoke for a little over three minutes, his message was incredibly profound, “While tragedy doesn’t discriminate, overcoming it does.” Many people say he is a chip off the block– and they are right! He is his mother, which is the highest compliment you can give him. You can watch it here: Cal DiJulius’ Believe in Dreams presentation.

Are you a line item on a P&L that can be outsourced to the lowest bidder? If you are a business that serves other business (B2B), someone’s vendor, then you may be in serious danger at this time of year. Every company, including yours, is examining their 2016 budget. They are having meetings and reviewing all their expenses from this year. And a CFO is demanding that their leaders find ways to trim their expenses in 2016. You and your company are one of two things: 1) a line item on their P&L that can be outsourced to the lowest bidder, or 2) a non-negotiable partner, who, when they get to how much money they spent with your company, a key decision maker in that room will say, “Skip them, I don’t care what we have spent with them, get it from somewhere else.” Have you created enough value that a CEO or COO will say that about your company? Have you created so much value, far and above what your company provides (products & services), that your clients can’t imagine doing business without you? 

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Would your Customers save your life?
October 15, 2015, 6:44 am
Filed under: Customer Service
ImageFIRST= CustomerFIRST – ImageFIRST is the largest and fastest growing provider of healthcare laundry services to medical practices throughout the US. Why? Because of the fanatical approach they take to the Customer experience they deliver. One of their key differentiators is their Customer Advocate, who comes in contact the most with ImageFIRST Customers. 

Not Just a Delivery Guy – Take for instance their drivers who deliver their products to the Customers (i.e. hospitals). Their drivers are not called Delivery Drivers, their titles are “Customer Advocates.” The ImageFIRST website states, “Don’t settle for just a delivery person. When it comes to ensuring positive patient outcomes, your ImageFIRST dedicated representative, called a “Customer Advocate,” is your partner…” ImageFIRST trains their Customer Advocates to build real relationships with each of their Customers. 

A Customer saves a Customer Advocate’s life – Recently, a Customer Advocate was on his daily route servicing a long-standing Customer. While making small talk with his Customer at a Health Care facility, the Customer, a nurse, noticed that something wasn’t right. She asked the driver how he was feeling. The driver responded that he felt a little off, having trouble catching his breath. Concerned something was off, the Customer insisted on checking him out. As it turns out the driver’s blood pressure was dangerously high. The Customer called an ambulance and the driver was rushed to the hospital. Turns out the driver had a heart aneurysm, which if gone unchecked could be very dangerous and definitely life threatening. 

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5 steps to a successful Customer service initiative
October 7, 2015, 8:30 am
Filed under: Customer Service
Every company is guilty of having a bunch of great ideas and incredible initiatives born in a meeting room only to eventually fizzle out and die, leaving the management team frustrated and cynical and the employees skeptical about what is the next program of the year, flavor of the month, or management by best seller.
  1. Create it – Whether your are creating your Customer Service Vision, your Non-negotiable Standards, Secret Service Systems, or your Service Recovery (Zero Risk) Protocols, you need to have a team that is tasked with this project. They are most commonly known as a steering committee, ideally composed of 12-18 people. This group should not be all management personnel, rather representative of nearly every department the company has, as well as some front-line employees. This will ensure the group as a whole is working for the best interest of the entire company.  This project also needs to have a leader, a champion (CXO), someone who reports to the CEO/President and will lose sleep at night over the success of this project at every stage; not just in the short term, but 6-18 months from now. When creating an initiative, the project champion needs to get the steering committee together for a workshop initially, and a follow up at a minimum. Homework and exercises need to be created to create the absolute best outcome possible. In between physical meetings, the project leader will need to manage regular communication between the steering committee through emails, conference calls and webinars to ensure everyone is collaborating and staying on target with outcomes and deadlines.
  2. Sell it – Creating your initiative can be exhausting. It should be exhausting, otherwise it won’t be taken seriously. Now the hard work starts. The only thing that is nearly as important as executive sponsorship is front-line sponsorship. Here is where a major mistake is commonly made. The steering committee can assume that everyone in the organization will have the same passion and commitment to this initiative, but no one else outside of the steering committee has been immersed in it for weeks, debating with passion what will help take the company to the next level. So there is typically a dis-connect between the group that gives birth to the project and the audience (rest of the organization). That is why it is so important to have a launch that gets everyone on board and able to understand why this initiative is so important to the company’s success, the Customers’ well-being, and employees’ future. A launch involves communicating with everyone, and in that launch, there needs to be a story told. Every story has a villain and a hero. The villain is what’s wrong with the way it is currently being done. The villain may be the competition, the status quo, price cutters, or the pain the Customers are experiencing. The hero is easy; the hero is our initiative and how it will change the company, the industry, our Customers’ lives, and solve their problem. You have to be able to sell the purpose of your initiative to all your employees and get them to rally around it, rise up to defeat the villain.
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